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Overdue Oct trip report: Golumpki TSA search/Rampart/Hemenway Park/+

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by zignerlv, Feb 22, 2021.

  1. zignerlv

    zignerlv VIP Whale

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    My Trip Report

    I kept putting this aside, but finally finished my October trip report.

    Edit to add my disclaimer: I don't have any gambling or VP pics in my reports. So, not a good report to read if you are looking for that in a report!

    I will proudly state that I am the first person to have a LV trip report with golumpki in the title, and likely to be the only one ever to do so!

    As usual, I have copied about 40% of the report here, with the full report on my trip blog: https://deamonlv.blogspot.com/2021/02/october-2020-trip-report.html There you can click on the pictures, for fuller resolution photos.


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    Flight

    Here's a line that probably no one has ever heard before in a TSA line. "Is that golumpki (pronounced like....gwump-ki) (Polish stuffed cabbage) in that bag"? A woman confessed that she was bringing a dish of Polish golumpki on her flight to Arizona through the TSA inspection. The reason was that the East Coast has larger cabbage leaves which are more suitable for golumpki! I never knew there was a difference between each coast cabbage and that from the west. We hadn't even boarded the plane, and we learned something new for the trip already!

    Later, our connecting flight was boarding, after about 30 people went down the jetway, I heard one of the attendants saying that boarding needed to be stopped. Then the real bad sign, people coming off the plane. In the background, we could hear some kind of alarm going off. There was a minor malfunction in a back up GPS unit, but this meant that the aircraft needed to be "rebooted", and part of that process requires that no passengers be on the plane. This procedure took 90 minutes, which meant we'd be missing dinner time upon our arrival.

    An air travel tip: When flying long distance I like to avoid the sunny side of the plane. One reason is because the window tends to get hot, even with the shade down. Also, I like to look out the window, which cannot be done of course with the shade down to keep out the blinding sun and heat. Well there is something you can do that is more than guessing. There is a website, http://sunflight.net/ , which when you enter your trip information, will tell you which side of the plane will have the most sun, so that you can seek it or avoid it, depending on your preference. There are times on a westbound flight when the north side of the plane is the one in the sun. The sunny side will depend not just on the route, and time of day, but also the time of year.



    FOUR OF OUR BREAKFASTS

    One of my favorite trip reporters is "Dewey". I love reading about his low roller ways. I felt like Dewey when Panera sent us offers that were timely and we couldn't refuse. Subscribe to their normally $9/month for unlimited coffee (for free), AND receive two $10 off a meal online coupons, all for free!

    I researched (google maps helps with their picture views of street level shots), and saw that the Flamingo Road Panera location had outdoor seating. Great for distancing, and great for enjoying nice weather. The weather our week was just about ideal. Low 90's days, and mid 60's nights.


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    So with this deal, 4 different mornings (not consecutive) we each had a Egg/Avocado/Spinach on a flat bagel, for $5.29/each, and free unlimited coffee. With the $10 voucher, each breakfast for two cost exactly 63 cents a day. Add to that, we had great service from the Panera staff. They all were very friendly and attentive. We tipped them in thanks. Dewey, the ball is in your court! Beat that!

    BTW, these were the only meals in this entire report, that we paid for. The rest were comped!

    What was also good is that we had a small styrofoam cooler, with ice, that we left in the trunk while staying downtown, where we had a fridge in the room. We learned that even a brand new styrofoam cooler can leak, and the entire trunk mat was soaked, to the point of even smelling a bit moldy. These breakfast trips helped, as I was able to park the car with the trunk pointed to the sun, and left the trunk open to dry out. We were only 40 feet away so didn't have to worry about people getting into the trunk.



    CAESARS

    The plan of the trip was to try to stay on east coast time to try to have the natural distancing in the early AM casino hours. It was surprising that by 8am how things pretty much filled in each morning.



    We had our "usual" dinner at Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill at Caesars. After we returned home, we learned that they are closing and will reopen with a new theme/menu. That is really disappointing. Mesa to us is a rare reasonably priced, quality restaurant. These pics below will be our last meal there. Saying goodbye to the chicken quesadilla, and the shrimp tamale appetizers. We split the lamb chop, and it was still enough food for two.



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    My artsy pic of Bellagio through Caesars courtyard.
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    This will make you appreciate the overhead walkways crossing the Strip!
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    A strange occurrence when we returned to our room in Caesars. We had noticed the night before that one of the bathroom sinks was mostly clogged. Our stay was 2 nights so we didn't bother calling it in to be fixed. But, the next day when we returned, we found the sink like this and no note. I assume they already had the issue called in, and came into our room while we were out, to fix the drain. I guess they didn't care what the result looked like afterward.

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    Near the strip, we saw VMB poster "wasilla" drive by us!

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    RAMPART

    Another brand new experience for us was to spend most of a day at the Rampart casino. We'd visited maybe twice prior to this, many years ago, and didn't really have much memory of it. Coming back and seeing it again, I can say I want to make this a stay on future trips, and so am hoping my play will generate offers. If you haven't been there, I can best compare it to Green Valley Ranch. Maybe a little less trendy, and they have much better promotions. We came here mainly for the dinner promo, where for just $6k coin in video poker on the promo day, you receive two $50 dinner vouchers!


    I had known the restaurant, Hawthorn had outdoor seating, but on OpenTable, that seemed to only be available on the weekends. I made our 5pm reservation, and then we headed over there to see the area around 4pm and found we could switch our reservation to outdoor dining! Great for natural distancing, and great for an 82 degree early evening. The grounds around the patio where the outdoor tables were located were resort like! The views all around were great. The food and service were excellent too. When sunset came, they lit a gas pit fire between the tables for extra ambiance. This was our favorite day of the trip. The hotel, a Marriott, looks pretty nice too.




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    Walkway to the Hawthorn restaurant




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    We both had the Rack of Lamb

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    Tiramisu dessert



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    At sunset, the firepits were lit for a little warmth.

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    View from our table.

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    Our time there was about 5 hours or so, and at this point, the 5th day of the trip, I ended up for the first time, coming out a few dollars ahead!!!!!! I had forgotten what that felt like. Here I had played mostly 5 play machines, meaning that this was the second day + of mainly multi play, I'm probably already at one royal flush cycle for the trip, with nothing to show.



    FOUR QUEENS

    I started playing a bit before 5am at the Four Queens, and was a little taken aback by the "clientele" that were in the casino at that hour. Many not really playing, more hanging out, sitting at machines. Just an unsafe vibe. By about 730 things cleared up a bit, and it felt like a normal-ish crowd there. A few weeks after my return though, I read a post where a man was assaulted and robbed in a Four Queens South Tower elevator, at around 5:30am. Soon as I saw that information, I thought back to the conditions, and sure, I could see that happening around that hour. My feeling of being unsafe was warranted! I'm glad I had a relatively safe area to play, and that I didn't need to go back to the room until much later.

    Back to my day. Well I sat down at my machine, slipped some money into the machine, and began my long day of play. Of course, the first thing on my mind was, how long would it be until I got to hear "Bette Davis Eyes" on the Four Queens casino playlist. Shortly after I started playing, I thought I was maybe hearing things. I stopped and looked up towards the speakers... I have the timestamp on the video. It was exactly 10 minutes after I started my play. No drama this day, another trip accomplishment box could now be checked off already, and the Earth can continue to rotate around the Sun, the forces of nature are still in sync!



    We usually brainstorm the Four Queens top 20 playlist, and mentally check them off when we are there each trip. This time, in addition, I now have my phone running on contrast Now Playing history, giving us a physical list. Other songs that we can't seem to go without hearing there are Who Can It Be Now, by Men at Work, and St Elmo's Fire is a lower top 20 entry that we got to hear.


    Typical breakfast from the limited choice, current menu, at Magnolias in the Four Queens.

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    I confirmed what I suspected at Magnolia's, that the large cookies that they typically sell at the register were not being offered due to Covid-19 cutbacks in menus and offerings. Dealing with the virus is bad enough, but now, it's messing with our cookies? This means war!

    While playing at the Four Queens, I saw a large, no, VERY large man sit down on a chair in the row of video poker machines that I was playing in. I'd estimate that he was certainly over 400 pounds. When he sat on the chair, his legs, in shorts, were so thick that his knee wedged in between the chair and the lower glass sheet on the machine. In just a few seconds there was a large crack! The pressure of his huge knee broke the glass, which in turn cut his knee. I was doing pretty well at the time, and was hoping that they wouldn't close off the entire row. They didn't. First, security arrived, and then in a few minutes the EMTs came. Of course with the covid situation, they were very careful with his blood. A half hour went by and they were still tending to him. I mentioned to one of the attendants that I had witnessed this happen, and this was a pure accident (vs someone abusing the machine after a bad luck streak). About an hour later I returned, expecting to see the area still roped off, due to the machine with missing/broken glass, but amazingly the slot techs must have had access to replacement glass, and pretty quickly had the machine looking like nothing had happened!

    I had another long bad day of play there. However, there was a time, about 2/3rds through the day, where I hit 9 four-of-a-kinds in an hour, playing Double Bonus, which was quite a rush, and I had break even in sight. But, that super hot streak ended, and turned back into a cold streak.

    We had dinner at Hugo's. They had a row of tables in the middle removed for distancing. We caught up with some on the staff, and wanted to confirm the news that one former member of the staff, and one current member had passed away in 2020. Both were two of our favorite people there. The one that passed in February at the time was said to have passed from pneumonia. Obviously now in hindsight, it is possible, likely even, that he was one of the early victims of Covid-19, at the early stages of the US infections. The other, our favorite waiter of all time, who retired, was a victim in a fatal motorcycle accident.



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    Afternoon calamari appetizer at Chicago Brewery at Four Queens

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    Dinner salad at Hugo's

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    Rack of Lamb - Hugo's

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    Chilean Sea Bass - Hugo's






    HEMENWAY PARK

    After 60 or so trips to Las Vegas, we still find things that we've never managed to get time to see, so this time, on our way back from Laughlin, we stopped at Hemenway Park in Boulder City, where there is a resident herd of wild long horn sheep. I think this was not planned, but after the park was created, a herd of long horn sheep set up a residence, more or less, in the park. No fences separate their areas from the rest of the park. As we walked towards the park from the parking lot, we didn't know what to expect. Where there ANY sheep there today? To our surprise, there were probably about 30 or so, lounging, socializing with each other, grazing on the grass.

    We didn't see any battles going on, but one experienced park viewer said that when two of them line up and run at each other from yards away, and smack their horns into each other, that it sounds like a car accident. (That person's voice can be heard in a background in the video)

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    Turn on closed captioning when watching the video, to read the mountain sheep's conversation!





    The D

    I am not one who thinks they can predict Video Poker outcomes, but I have a pretty good track record for having a feel when a royal is coming. I posted a prior report when I called home and said that I felt 2 royals coming, and I proceeded to get one an hour later, and then, another one the next day. Here, at the D, after 8 days of losing at other places, for the first time, I had a feeling like the machine wanted to give me a royal. The machine just was generous, and I had many early royal flush misses.

    Mid day, the bar chatter at the upstairs machines included a man whose occupation was a greeter at the Iowa 80 truck museum, he said, and I quote, "my job basically to greet people when they come in and day 'Hi, Welcome to the Iowa 80 Truck museum.'" Amazing what kind of "celebrities" you encounter on LV visits! I suppressed my desire to get his autograph!

    My early luck faded, and I was comfortably into another losing day. During one break I said to myself, well if I had a choice of staying healthy or getting a royal, I'd pick staying healthy. Of course, these are mutually exclusive, and you can't trade one for another. I was just looking for a bright side to this unprecedented long losing trip.

    With about 90 minutes left in my day of play, and in my trip, I got dealt 4 to a royal, for the 3rd time of the day. I thought this would be it. Held the 4 cards, slammed the deal button, and expected the best. But no, just a pair of jacks.

    Less than 5 minutes later with the song Magic, by America, still playing after a 4 to a royal miss, I was again dealt 4 to a royal. I said to myself, just keep these coming, and eventually it will come. Bang! King of Spades comes to complete the royal flush! Just over an hour before my play ended for the trip, I ended up with a royal. Of course, I was still in the red for the trip, but this made a huge dent in the losses for the trip.

    Our last dinner followed, and was our first time dining at Andiamo, using food credits from my marketing offer. I had to have the Osso Buco which is one of my favorite dishes. It was very good there, and the whole meal was a really nice, new experience. It was just a little disappointing that even though we had the first reservation, at 5pm, the place was filled on a weeknight by the time we finished, just after 6pm.



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    1/2 a salad portion. A split order was enough for two!
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    Lamb, below
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    Ceiling of our booth.
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    The flight home was uneventful, and it was nice being able to do this on Southwest before their middle seat empty pledge ended.

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    Last edited: Feb 22, 2021
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  2. VegasBhoy67

    VegasBhoy67 Low-Roller

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    thanks for the report and the excellent pictures
     
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  3. smerrian

    smerrian View from Bally's

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    What a great report, thanks. Loved all the foodie pics. No pick of your royal? I only at Andiamo once. It was a caesar salad and a shrimp cocktail...which was abysmal. After seeing the ossobuco I really have to give the restaurant a second chance.
     
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  4. zignerlv

    zignerlv VIP Whale

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    Thanks. I now have eaten in Andiamo twice. I am an Osso Buco fan (for years), and ended up learning how to make a pretty good one myself at home. The Andiamo one is pretty good. I can understand that for some, it might not be ideal in the hot weather months, as it has that warm, stick to your ribs quality to it, but I can't resist having it all year anyway.
     
  5. Heresiarch

    Heresiarch Tourist

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    Thanks for all the pics! I ate at Andiamo a few years back and enjoyed it. Sounds like you didn't like the crowds by 6, but I'm glad to see the crowds returning. Vegas right now still feels kinda dead.
     
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  6. Philonous815

    Philonous815 Low-Roller

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    Love your report, zignerlv. Did you ever receive the offer you were hoping for from Rampart?
     
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  7. zignerlv

    zignerlv VIP Whale

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    Thanks! So far a couple of mailers from Rampart with low level tournament invites, others with some free play and I think a buy 1/get 1 night room, so a bit disappointing on the room part. (I haven't paid for a single room night anywhere in NV since 2001) I might risk another seeding, especially if I can get another dinner deal like the one I did. Part of me wonders if they still have my several year old quick stop in, day of play, in my average play.
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2021 at 10:14 AM
  8. zignerlv

    zignerlv VIP Whale

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    Glad you liked them!

    For Andiamo, it was just that from a virus standpoint, dining is the largest risk, due to an hour seated near others without masks. My attempt to minimize the risk by dining at 5pm was fruitless, as most tables were full by 5:30-ish. It didn't feel distant or spaced out, although I suspect some tables in the center were removed. I think part of the problem is the closure of other choices (The D Grill is closed), so people have less choice = more full seating, which is the opposite of what is supposed to be happening. And this was on a weekday!
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2021 at 10:17 AM
  9. booker

    booker VIP Whale

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    Excellent report with nice food photos. Now I want lamb.
     
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  10. Philonous815

    Philonous815 Low-Roller

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    When I visited in September, Andiamo and American Coney were the only two food options available for Club One food offers, so reservations at Andiamo were hard to come by. Situation for using food offers improved dramatically late October when Circa opened.
     
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  11. pebbles

    pebbles VIP Whale

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    Many thanks for your report. I enjoyed reading it.
     
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  12. bshowell

    bshowell VIP Whale

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    Thanks for that report. And Rampart looks really nice!
     
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  13. tringlomane

    tringlomane STP Addicted Beer Snob

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    Nice report and pics!