I was an early arrival to the MM3 party and a early departer, but that's not to say I didn't get a taste of what was happening. First on the agenda, though, was some serious hiking and mountain climbing. To prepare us for the rugged conditions we would encounter, we spent the first night at the Gold Spike in a room closest to both elevators. Believe me, as I settled into my sleeping bag a day or two later in 30-degree temps in complete wilderness, it was a step up from the Spike. Seriously, I slept better A preliminary hike was done on Summerlin Peak (an easy climb), on the far western fringes of Vegas. The next day, we took it more serious and headed 70 miles north to Moapa Peak. This is a level-5 (on a 1-5 scale) hike. This is based upon steep elevation, rock scrambling and lack of an established trail. However, it can be done without ropes or other technical equipment. Hardly anyone tries it, though, because of the severity and difficulty in reaching it. I know it's against Dollar rental car policy, but we took the Chrysler Sebring on 20 miles of a 4-wheel drive gravel road, loaded with big potholes. A rough ride, but being veterans of traversing parking garages into downtown Vegas helped. It was a rough climb up Moapa, but we made it to within 50 feet of the top. Couldn't go any higher because of snow on a narrow ridge at the peak. Great views. Not a cloud in the sky that day. It wasn't as high as Mt Charleston, but the scenery at the top was comparable. A problem arose on the way down. We took a wrong turn and lost the trail that we came up on. And, there is only one way up and down. The danger factor is if you don't find your way before nightfall, you're stuck on the mountain until daybreak. We didn't have our sleeping bags and the prospects of spending 10 hours in 20-degree weather was a bit daunting. You can survive, but it is one miserable night. Things got worse when I attempted to seek an alternate route and took a fall down a limestone cliff, uprooting a cactus on my way down and getting pricked all over. If anyone of you would have been there to see it, though, I think you would have laughed your ass at me. It was that kind of fall. The pressure was on. Not only we're we lost, but in a few short hours the first event of MM3 would be kicking off, a get-together at the Plaza. I didn't want to miss that. Perhaps that motivated me to find my way, which eventually happened. I was worn out, sun-burnt and scratched up from numerous cacti attacking me, but walked into the Keno Bar at the Plaza right at the appointed time of 8:30 pm and all was well in my world. I am here to tell you that all the T2Vers I met that night had all their body parts intact and actually appeared normal. You never know what you'll find on a message board, but this was a friendly, articulate, fun-loving bunch. It was kind of like scoring on a blind date. After spending the past 4 years on T2V, it was an enlightening experience to match up the personalities and faces with the actual posters. No offense to my friend ken2v, but, it was also nice to finally meet someone else from this board. I had never met anyone other than ken prior to MM3. There was my co-moderator Don D and wife Jennifer, Keno and wife Emily, the almost-famous Mikey and companion Andria, Cyndi, Beach Crazy (Angy), Marty, Patty from Ontario, Coaster Kikky, Vegas Jer and sin. Thanks to Don for comping everyone's drinks. Don's a big wheel at the Plaza, just like Patty's a hot shot at the Vegas Club and a personal friend of Mr. Barrick. I heard Blackjack (Ron) was down at Harrahs. Jer, BC and sin and I piled into the Sebring, which was still reeking in body odor from the camping trip, and wheeled down the Strip. I caught flak from those guys for not using valet parking at Harrahs, but as Frugal moderator, I need to set an example and use self-parking. Met Ron, who also appeared almost too normal-looking. Apparantly, we lack the freaky types on T2V, unless some showed up later in the week that I missed. Another one of my goals on this trip was to meet doctor al, RamBill and Ross. Failed, even though doc and I stayed in same tower of Plaza Thursday night. For whatever reason, we weren't able to hook up. However, we did have verbal intercourse on the phone. I'll guess we'll try to catch you guys next year. As far as the rest of the trip, the craps tables were choppy, did some nice buffet-eating at various joinbts and enjoyed a comp stay at the Plaza. I always wanted to take part in March Madness, but, while the sportsbooks were full of adrenalin, it was too crowded for my tastes. I had to leave Friday and wasn't able to take in any other MM3 festivities. Got back to Midway at 1:30 am, was home by 3:30 and at work at 7:00 am. It was a long day Saturday, especially knowing how much MM3 frivolity I was missing.