April 13-17 Monte Carlo Hotel and Casino I have been lurking on this site for over a year now. I have gotten some good tips about all that is Las Vegas. Now I am a single guy 30 and I usually go to Vegas by myself. The reason that most of these trips are made alone is that I don't have a real good Vegas crew, a). Half of my buddies are married and are forbidden from going to Vegas with me and b). the others do not have more than $100 to their name at any one time, so they can't afford to go. That leaves me to try and tame Vegas alone. This trip was a bit different than my usual trip. I usually make the drive of 10 1/2 to 11 hours from Denver at least once a year. This trip would start and end in LA, after a short flight on America. I decided to combine my annual trip to the Grand Prix of Long Beach, which is usually a long weekend trip, with a trip to Vegas. Sunday afternoon after the last race of the day, it was time to turn my attention to Vegas. After saying goodbye to my uncle and aunt who I stay with in socal and filling the rental car with gas it was time to go. Sunday April 13th. I feed on the 22 at 7:30pm, took it to the 57, to the 91, to the 15 north. The drive was not that bad, even though they seemed to be working on the 15 for most of the drive. At about 30 miles out I could see the light from the Luxor, I knew I was getting close. I figured that the drive would take about 4 hours. At 11:30pm I walked into the Monte Carlo lobby, as Hannibal from the A-team use to say, "I love it when a plan comes together". I walk right up to the cute little front desk women and tell her my name. She begins to bang away at her computer, and then she picks up the phone and calls someone. At this point I am starting to get worried. But then she turns to me and says "Mr. Giant we are all out of deluxe rooms, would it be ok if you stay in a Monaco suite for the same price as your deluxe room?" After thinking about it for a split second, I took them up on their offer. I gathered my stuff and headed for my suite on the 26th floor. I dropped off my bags and headed back downstairs to get to some gambling. I am sad to say that I lasted only about 30 minutes of playing the cheap slots before complete exhaustion set in. I was asleep before my head hit the pillow. Monday April 14th Wake up Monday morning about 8:30. Lounge around the suite for a while. I call the Spa and see about getting a massage in the afternoon. They have a 3:00pm, I take it. Shower and get dressed, head down to see about getting some breakfast. There were lines at both the buffet and the cafe. I really didn't want to wait and didn't feel like fast food. Decided to head out to the store to buy a little foam cooler and some beverages and of course water. I ended up at an Albertson's on west Tropicana. I will say that I love the fact that you can buy alcohol at the grocery stores in Nevada. I am still hungry so I start driving around looking for a breakfast place. End up driving to the end of Tropicana and then on the beltway around the southwest part of town. I am always in shock to see what the desert really looks like, there are no palm trees growing or green grass fields, just dirt and rocks. Anyway ended up back on Tropicana at an IHOP for some eats. Once my belly is full, it is time to purchase the other necessity of a Vegas trip, cigars. I head over to a cigar shop that I had looked up on the internet. I am walking around the humidor thinking about what I will purchase, a Partagas, a CAO, maybe a Davidoff, when the sales guy comes in and asks if I need any help. I told him that I was doing good. He says well maybe these will help. He unlocks a box in the humidor that contains cigars from a certain island country in Caribbean that we have an embargo against. Needless to say it was easy to make a choice of cigars after that. It is getting to be about 1:00pm now, I drive back over to the Monte Carlo. I wanted to head to the Spa for a steam and a soak before my massage at three. My time at the Spa was very nice. I did me good after walking the streets of Long Beach for three days during the races. Went back to the room and got ready to head out for the night. First stop was the ESPNzone at the New York,New York to watch the Avalanche vs. the Wild, 4:30pm start time. I got one of those nice leather chairs at the front of the place by the big TV's. Had a couple of beverages and some grub. Not a bad place, your typical sports bar kind of food. The game was over by 7:00pm. By then the rain that I had been dodging all weekend had finally caught up with me. It was sprinkling outside when I left. I headed next door to get my golf windbreaker from my room. Now I like to walk the strip and go from casino to casino. Stopping at each one to gamble at bit and suck down some free drinks along the way. I just like to be out and see all that the strip has to offer, plus it is a great place to people watch. So after I get my jacket and a cigar, I am off. It is still just lightly raining when I head north on the strip towards the first stop, the Bellagio. I have check out the flower display, nice as always. Next on to Caesars, will they ever get the construction finished at this place. I make it as far as the Mirage, before it is raining to hard to continue walking. I have lost only about five dollars so far, and had four free cocktails. It is about this point in the night when Vegas shuts down. There was nobody on the strip, the casino's where full but not really crowed. It was a strange sight to see. I think a lot of people called it an early night. Not me. I was off to the new gentleman's club Sapphire's. Now let me say that I enjoy helping the poor young college girls pay their way through school, I made a few donations to the girls school fund. Sapphire's is supposed to be the biggest club in Vegas. I thought it looked like an empty Costco that they turned into a club. After finishing my cigar, it was time for the next stop, Cheetah's. I always love this place, and it is like coming home. I make a few more donations, and at two in the morning, it is time to call it a night. I take a cab back to Bally's and walk the rest of the way back to the Monte. It was a strange sight. The light from the Luxor was shinning up into the clouds that were only a couple hundred feet from the top of the hotel. The whole south end of the strip had an eerie glow to it. I was thinking on the walk back that the rain had really killed the great vibe that is always present in Vegas. Tuesday April 15 I get up about 8:30am. I look out the window and all I see is blue skies, the rain is gone. But on the tops of the mountains around the valley are covered with snow. It was a great site to see. Lounge around a bit. I have to be at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway by 10:30 for the free Shelby tour. Shelby is a car maker that makes roadsters both old and new. It is a great name if you are into cars like I am. They give a short tour of the factory, on this day there were about 40 people on the tour. You get to see how the cars are hand made and some of the materials used in building the cars. Plus they have a little museum in the lobby of some of Carol Shelby's great cars. At the end of the tour they let you sign your name on the walls of the factory. It is worth the trip to the speedway if you’re into cars. Now since I didn't have time to eat, I am really hungry. I am off to eat, and from a tip from Hoyaheel, I am going to eat at the Peppermill. Now let me say that I am so glad that I checked this place out. The food was really good. I had breakfast during the lunch rush, and I couldn't finish my three huge pancakes that I ordered. At the table next to me were a bunch of real estate guys all talking about the good deals to be had in the valley. I really liked this place because it had some character, it had a great feel to it. I can't wait to go back and have some cocktails in the lounge. You got to love a lounge that has dark red couches and a fire pit in it. After waddling out of the Peppermill, I was off to the Stratosphere . I have always wanted to go to the top of the tower for a view of the valley. I paid my eight bucks and I was off to the top. Now the rides on the top of the tower were not open do to the high winds. But it was a clear day and I got some good pictures of the valley. I played the cheap slots a bit at The STRAT , not a bad place, didn't win anything. While I was on the north strip, I decided to check out the Sahara . I had not been in the Sahara since I was a little kid and that was a breakfast stop on a trip to Socal. And I have to say that is was not as bad as it is made out to be. There seem to be a lot of frugal travelers there, and a lot of people that it looked like had just turned 21 and were on their first trip to Vegas. I played the small limits blackjack tables. I played for about an hour and a half. I cashed in up sixty dollars. On the way out I did get to see the monorail that is being built on Paradise. I heard on the news that they were testing the cars on the section by the Sahara, but I didn't see it. It will be a great way to get up and down the strip once it is finished. It was back to the Monte for a well deserved nap. Up at about 6:30, I had plans to eat at the Aladdin's Spice Market buffet. After a short wait, it was time to grub. The buffet was good, I liked all the different choices that they have, and I liked the lamb and the shrimp. For some reason I was only good for two trips through and a dessert. I was disappointed in myself. I as started to make the walk of the strip I stopped at the Paris to find my Adams Family nickel machine. I found this machine on a previous trip, I can't lose when I play it. I put in five dollars and it will give me at least fifty back. I put in a fiver and start to play, cash out when I got to fifty dollars, thank you very much. I walk through over to Bally's and watch the craps game that is going on. I am trying to follow the game from what I have learned on this board and playing it on my computer. I am getting a good handle of how the game flows in a real casino. I will play craps on the trip just not tonight. I start walking, to the Venetian and through the shops and casino, past the Fashion Show mall and whatever they are building there, looked through the fence at the Le Reve and finally to the Stardust. I got a cab at the Stardust to Olympic Gardens, yes once again to visit those hard working college girls. Made some donations while I was there. Was sitting next to a guy who looked like Jamie Kennedy's character in his new movie Malibu's most wanted. He seemed to know a lot of the girls that were working. After he left I asked one of the girls what the deal was with that guy. Her response was "He is some big drug dealer, who likes to stop in and pick some up to go". Classic. After finishing my cigar, I was trying to decide what to do next. Was thinking of going back to Cheetah's, but decided to go to the Crazy Horse instead. I have never been to the Crazy Horse. But I am glad I did. I will just leave it at that. I took a cab back to Bally's and was going to walk to the Fatburger across the street from the Monte. On the walk to the Fatburger, now it is almost four in the morning, a car that is going up north bound on the strip pulls over into the strip mall that I am walking in front of. It is a women driver, she asks me to come over to the car, and I get about 30 feet from it and look inside. She asks me "Are you looking for a girl to party with tonight?" I told "No thanks, I was good." She came back with "Are you sure, I will make you a good deal." I told her "That is ok". She left back up the strip. I was so happy. I finally had a hooker try and pick me up. It was the first time in all my trips that it had happened to me. A few trips back a pretty boy friend of mine got all kinds of offers from the working girls, but none for me, till now. On to the Fatburger that place is busy no matter when I go in there, tonight is no exception. I get my burger and drink and think Ice Cube was right "2 in the morning got the Fatburger, today was a good day." Wednesday April 16 After going to bed at 4:30 in the morning, the alarm goes off at 7:30. Now why would I be getting up after only 3 hours of sleep? It is so that I don't miss the breakfast buffet at the Paris. After pulling myself out of bed and into the shower, it was a quick walk to the Paris. I did have to wait about 25 minutes before they finally let me at the grub. The first stop was the crepe guy. He and I got to know each other very well. After three trips to the crepe guy plus other breakfast items, I was done. I walked back to the Monte and went straight back to bed. I woke up around 1:00pm. Got myself back together and I was off to see downtown. Seeing downtown was always on the list of things to do, but somehow I never make it. I make the drive over and park in the Golden Nugget's garage. Spent some time just checking out the casinos, did want to try a fried twinkee, but they were all out of them. I finally ended up at the Golden Gate to roll the bones. They had a couple of 3 dollar minimum tables open. I bought in for forty dollars. This was my first time playing craps in a real casino. And I am here to say that I am hooked. I played just the pass line, pass line with odds and some don't pass and some of the point numbers. I played for about an hour and a half, the guys working the game where real cool about answering my questions about betting and yelling at me when I touched the dice with both hands. I did finish up about forty bucks, not bad for my first time with the bones. On the way back to the car I did see an older couple fighting. The fight was about if the husband should pawn is wedding band or not because some machine was about to hit. Good times. Next stop for the afternoon was the Hard Rock. I will have to say that I was disappointed in the place. I bet when it gets packed with hotties, like I hear it does, it would be a nice place. But I think the Palms is a better place off the strip place to go. Now it was time for dinner. It is has become somewhat of a tradition of mine to eat at the In and Out burger off Tropicana and I-15 the last night in Vegas. I think these are the best burgers anywhere. Two double doubles later, it was back to the room to pack up. After trying to fit everything back into the suitcase, it was time to enjoy one last night in Vegas. First stop was to watch the fountain show at the Bellagio. This is another last night tradition. I will take in at least two shows, and kind of reflect on the trip. After the shows it was a walk down the MGM. I found another good nickel machine and took the money and ran. Then it was on to the Manadaly Bay, took the train to get there. I really like that place, to bad it is at the far end of the strip. Lost some of my winnings from the MGM there, that place is always tight for me. Took the train back, over to the New York New York. Played some slots there and realized it was getting late and I needed some sleep for the drive back to LA tomorrow. Walked back to the Monte to enjoy one last night in the suite. Thursday April 17 Up at 7:00am, down to check out at 7:45am, on the road at 8:00am. The 15, to the 10 to the 405, to Century Blvd. American Airlines LAX to DEN. Back home again. Some final thoughts of the trip. - This trip seemed like a blur, I think it was the combining of the race vacation with the Vegas vacation seemed to make it feel like a long seven days. - I love In and Out double doubles, I am sad to say I only eat 4 in a seven day period, a new low for me. - The 4 hour drive for LA is a lot better than 11 hours from Denver. - I am hooked on craps now and can't wait to go back and play it again. - A day time temperature that only reached 70 is a lot easier to be out in, rather that the heat of the summer when I usually go. - I love helping out the girls working their way through college, it give me such a warm feeling inside. - I really liked having a suite, I didn't enjoy it as much as a member of the opposite sex would have, or if a member of the opposite sex would have stayed with me. I was never there long enough. - I think my run at the Monte Carlo is over. I have stayed there the last four trips. I love the place but it is time to check a new hotel out. - And even though I just back I can't wait to go again.