For those of you that may be not be the biggest drinkers and could be intimidated by the alcohol-fueled activities at T2V events, take heart - you can still have blast without even imbiding. As a non-drinker, I can attest to that. It's the people that make NSF and MM fun. The booze is just an enhancement to the entire experience. Another discovery is that the more of these you attend, the better it gets. This was my second sojourn into the reality world of T2V trips and it was like seeing long-last friends again. The beauty of this board is that we are like-minded in our appreciation of all things Vegas. Sure, there might be trepidation that first meeting, but that feeling quickly gives way to all of sudden being part of one big party. My only regret was I did not spend as much time with fellow T2Vers as I could have. Originally, I planned to fly in from Chicago on Wednesday on SWA, but jumped on a $21 one-way fare from Rockford, IL that departed Friday. I had intentions of heading to join the gang at Carnaval Court later that night, but with a 18-mile round trip hike up to Mt. Charleston the next day, I went to bed early. We (son and I) stayed at the Plaza (3 comped nights for previous craps play). I also made plans to see some other friends of mine from Vegas early that same morning. Actually, I was probably just getting up while some of the NSF attendees were getting to bed. After two previous failed attempts to get to the top of Mt. Charleston (11,920 ft), I finally made it this trip out. It couldn't have been a better day for hiking. There was not a cloud around and the weather was suitable for shorts. Halfway up, we ran into snow on the trail, but atleast it wasn't waist-deep like it was in March on the last try. The view at the top was phenomenal. We could see well into Area 51, Arizona, the mountain range surrounding Death Valley, Lake Mead and of course, Las Vegas. Visibility was probably 100-150 miles. It took 8 hours to go up and back. Next time, we will camp, as our favorite part is a meadow halfway up. And, you virtually have the whole mountain to yourself. That same night while soaking in the Plaza bathtub (I had to be sore to be using that tub as you know they never get cleaned) I got a call from Sin that everyone was meeting at Rio. I got cleaned up and hooked up with the crew (sin, patty, tonya, silversmith, becky, shock and hubby john). Later, mikey, stickyfingers briefly joined us, along with a surprise, good old angy. And, I can't forget marty, who looked very tired. As far as dining and drinking at the Bambalo (or whatever it's called) at the Rio, the conversation was the highlight. Poor service and mediocre food quality. Caesers Palace wasn't much of an improvement as it was too damn crowded. Plus, the traffic was a killer. Between going from the Rio to drop the crew off, taking a wrong turn, getting back on the Strip and finding a parking spot, it took nearly an hour. Traffic is getting worse and worse in this town, and not just Saturday night either. The sidewalks aren't much better either. Between the Rio and CP, we lost a lot of quality time that have been better spent. I'll tell you what, though - we made the best of it. Like I alluded to earlier, it's the people that make this fun. My personal chauffeur service took everyone downtown where I bid them goodnight. Sunday was a day of melancholy for me as I spent the last few hours of one of my favorite places ever - sitting besides the villa pool at the Stardust. In nine days, it would be off-limits forever. The villa pool is special to me because it is an old-fashioned rectangular-shaped pool with a deep end. There is real grass around the entire area and Mediterrean olive trees. Everytime I have been here, it has been quiet as most people hang out by the regular Stardust pool. The villa pool is one of the truly peaceful spots on the Strip, perhaps the most serene of all. It's a wonderful place to sit quietly, read a book, write letters, make phone calls, do a crossword or just enjoy the weather. It like's having your own little oasis amidst the glitter of Vegas. Man, I'm going to miss it. I also said goodbye to the godfather of Vegas sportsbooks - the one at Stardust. That place has character. Later that night, had a brief hook-up with the NSF crowd, including a first-time intro to sanosurfer (Larry), at the Vegas club. Another good egg (and I don't mean that because of your head Larry) like other T2Vers. sin had to get to the airport and I gave her a ride back to the Alladin. We had a lovely conversation. sin has good communication skills and I enjoyed bonding with her. Again, it the relationships that one develops that makes this special. I tried tracking down the gang when I got back downtown, but missed them. Dragging ass anyway, I called it a night as I had promised to meet a Vegas friend that next morning at 7:00 am. That same day (Monday) my son and I did a match-play run at the Cannery, Ramparts, EI, Palms and IP. Made about $70. We stayed at the Alladin that night for the $59 special. I am quite serious when I say this - it was much easier figuring the trail up Mt. Charleston than it was finding our way around the Alladin. The room was nice, but, the rest of the place was a navigational nightmare. My co-mod Don D checked into the Plaza that same Monday. I had planned to see him, but after driving in rush hour traffic to eat at GVR and having to get up at 6:00 am to fly out, I came back and crashed at the Alladin. Sorry Don. I didn't even have the energy to go back to the Stardust to cash in a winning game-two World Series ticket. I hope Boyd still honors winning tickets after Nov. 1. Flew back on SWA feeling quite refreshed. After a hectic Sept and Oct schedule, I needed this trip. In summary, the two highlights were seeing old and new T2V friends and the glorious weather.