Hey all, So I'm sitting at home, freezing my ass off and Jonesing for Vegas. As a cure I've been reading recent trip reports so I decided to add one from our Halloween trip. Truth be told it is more for me to get over my lingering post -Vegas funk than you guys....but still hope you enjoy! I'm certainly not the word-smith that many posters on the VMB are so I'll try and make it up with more pics. Some will be from this trip with a few from the previous trip thrown in. A little background, the plan called for me & wife Jane to meet friends Xavier & Molly at the Grand Canyon for a night then drive to Vegas for five nights. This is our 30-something trip Xav's 5th and Molly's 2nd. Molly Hates Vegas (yes capital "H" Hates). Her & Xav's first trip was a three nighter where he stayed up all night gambling then would roll in at 6:00am when Molly was ready to start exploring. And he couldn't figure out why she refused to go back for 10 years....great guy but can be one dumb shit! So flew out of Bradyland with a stop in Houston then on to Phoenix. In Houston they were asking for volunteers which I wasn't interested in. After the third announcement I asked what they were offering...$600 each...hmmm. When can you get me into Phoenix? 45 min after your scheduled landing. Book it Dano! $1,200 in the bank....wonder where I could go with that...say in early Feb? Let me think. As a bonus the flight we were supposed to be on was delayed and we beat it in by half hour! First win of the trip! For those thinking of visiting the GC. It's nothing I ever had a burning desire to see but kinda felt I "should" see it if the opportunity presented itself. Molly has always wanted to see it and as they were spending three days there we decided to spend a night pre-Vegas. And you know what? It looked exactly like every one of the million pictures I've seen of it. It was pretty far down, pretty wide and pretty meh. Maybe that's a bit harsh, it was impressive when you first walk to the edge, after a half hour oohing & ahhing I'm thinking about how many "yo elevens" and double down splits I'm missing! Here's a few picture so you can say you've been there! Look close and you can actually glimpse the river in a few areas! And after an hour of "oohing" this seemed like a reasonable alternative! I guess this is the most scenic shot we got. Pretty nice, huh? And it's yours for $29.95! OK, I admit it, I'm glad I spent a day there, check it off the bucket list kind of thing. Going back? Nope. Glad I didn't spend 4 hours driving from Vegas to see it and 4 hours back? Yep. Your mileage may vary. I enjoyed the scenery on the way to the GC and from the GC to Vegas as much as the hole in the ground itself. I guess I'm just a neanderthal. So, arrived in Vegas dropped off Xav & Molly at Ballys while we moseyed over to our home for the next two nights, the Bellagio...no slumming it for us this trip! Our first stay at the B as I got a two night comp for the first time. A couple Jacksons changing hands and here is the view we had. Not bad. Things get a bit fuzzy at this point. I'm sure we ate someplace, drank someplace, watched some football someplace and soaked up the atmosphere someplace. Damned if I know where! We did wander over to Aria to say hello to a friend who is fairly high up the food chain at Aria. The PGA was having their tourney that week over at the TPC Summerlin track starting on Thursday. That led to our friend inviting us to a reception at Top Golf that a pro named Charley Hoffman was holding. The purpose of the event was a charity auction he was holding and a pro-am the next day. I don't like to use real names but Charley is a great guy and his Foundation does a wonderful job raising money for less fortunate kids. If you make a few bucks on your next Vegas trip please consider his foundation for a bit. BTW I'm only a casual fan & had never heard of him before the event so I'm not shilling for him. I was just impressed with his giving back....Kudos Charley. Top Golf was a blast. Good food, good drinks and the pros there were a lot of fun and mixed with the crowd. All good guys. I must admit, they live good and know how to party! Won't say who but someone missed his tee time the next morning! Top Golf That about wraps it up for the first day. Oh, except for one thing. Played a little blackjack and hit the pillow with an extra $600 in the bankroll. Before crashing I had to watch a couple fountain shows. Here are the night views. I'm so glad they keep improving the view of the strip with more CVS's and Walgreens. Can't wait for the first LVB Walmarts to open! For all the haters of the Bimbo & Buccaneer show at TI isn't the Walgreens so much cooler?? GRRRR. Up the next day and look at the calendar and well, well, well, it's Halloween! That calls for a few hours Downtown tonight! Xav and I decided to drive over to check out the pro-am at TPC in Summerlin. By the time we drove there, figured out we had to park at the Marriott Las Vegas, shuttle bus it back to the course, find where my friend was on the course we only saw about three holes. Still cool to see. TPC Summerlin Someday I want to tear up Shadow Creek and the Wynn, and the way I play I will tear it up. Back to the B and checked out the Conservatory. Just my opinion but the fall displays are always the worst. A lot of boring brown & gray colors, just reminds me winters coming, depressing! Brown leaves, brown squirrels, stupid brown talking tree...ugh... So next item on the agenda was a bit of blackjack. That went well...dumped $600 and back to even for the trip. My usual game is to start at $50 and go up if things go well. At the $50 level the B deals a decent game. I'm a bit of a blackjack snob, unless you're going to pay me 3:2 on bj's and let me double after split I won't sully the table with my presence. In other words, real blackjack. I wish everyone would do that, 6:5 and the rest of the crapjack would disappear within a month. Just like playing 7/5 VP. Don't play and it will go away. Off the soapbox now. So now it's time to head DT and check out the festivities. First stop was to find some grub. I wanted to try Pizza Rock but they had a 40 minute wait so we decide to give this place a chance. I'd heard a lot of good things about it and they could seat us outside right away . I've seen a lot of love for this place. Well, how to put it??? It sucked. Don't remember what exactly anyone had but all four agreed it was bland, nothing special. Maybe we ordered the wrong things, who knows? What I do know is service was atrocious, not bad, atrocious. You should never have to get up to chase a server down to get a drink. Or order, or get your check. God it was bad. I'm not a foodie by any stretch, the food is probably the least important, within reason. For me, higher on the list is atmosphere, preferably with a view or outside and decent service is more important. And I find friendly service can go a long way to covering up blah food. Oh well, at least at 3 George we were outside. And the best part is there was a Rat Rod show on the street with lots of cool rides. I'm guessing it had something to do with the SEMA (auto) convention going on. A couple pics. Bus from the TV show Counting Cars Franken Bug....only because I know the you guys are interested in Rat Rods! Sonny & Cher After 3G and checking out rat rods we wandered down to Container Park as Molly had never seen it. First time I had been there at night to see the preying mantis fire up. Pretty cool for a free 5 minute show. I hope the place makes it but it never seems real busy. I like that Zappos and locals are trying to re-vitalize the place. Gotta admire the effort. After the bug we stopped at a couple places for cocktails on the way back to Fremont. Commenweath I think and Don't Tell Mamas for sure. We always try to stop at the DTMama's in NYC and its always a fun time. Singing bartenders with serious talent and catch as catch can kareoke. We got to the Vegas version a bit early and with Halloween going on I think most people were talking in the sights under the lights. It was somewhat dead but starting to fill up as we were leaving after an hour. Still fun so we'll hit it up next time a little later in the evening. Speaking of sights under lights! Last thing from downtown. A while back I read a Vegas book called My Week at the Blue Angel and decided I wanted to track it down. The Blue Angel was an old motel that long ago saw it's glory days that had turned into a place for the down & outs and folks one small step from living on a strip overpass. By the time I got there the motel was gone but fortunately the Angel was still up in all her glory. I understand it's destined for the Neon Boneyard...hope so. Back to the B and turned in I think around 2:00 down for the trip about $400. This is moving day for us. The next three nights are comped at Aria. We actually like moving in the middle of a trip. It feels like a brand new sparkling vacation starting all over. We ended up with a mini-suite thing. No strip view but nice to have the "spread out room". Aria is our 2nd favorite place, modern, shiny, decent blackjack, good restaurants. If it were a little closer to the strip and had an exterior theme it would be perfect. Cosmo is #1 but alas, no offers for this trip. Tightening up maybe? Aria room and the view Didn't do a lot during the day. Wandered down to Venetian so Molly could see it and had a cocktail in St Marks square while listening to the opera singers. From there off to Wynn and as soon as we walked in they had a room blocked off with a bunch of gorrillas outside keeping people back so we stopped for a few minutes. Shortly after this guy came out...recognize him? Our brush with fame.... Picture of the Gorillas The guy is boxer Manny Pacquiao. Guess he was in town for a fight. You can see a boxing glove by gorilla #1's ear. Next stop was a couple cocktails at the lake. Such a cool spot. Stupid money for a drink but I'll do it every time. After that it was time to head back to Aria for some blackjack then get ready for a helping of Carrot Top . I am truly amazed by the level of blackjack play I see. I always expect it to be pretty good in Vegas, especially on $50 tables and up. But NOOOO! Every time I get fooled, and this time it was worse than usual. The genius this time was at a full $50 table, I got the last seat, seat 1. In the 4 seat was a guy playing with a couple friends and cousin. He was playing black chips from $100 to $400 a hand. Seemed to be a nice guy and completely sober. I know blackjack pretty well but keep it to myself. I don't care what anyone does, your money, your play. If someone asks I might tell them what the book says, no more. Genius makes a few minor mistakes, doesn't hit his 12 vs 3, doesn't double soft 18 vs 4 etc. No biggee. Then he gets two 10s vs 3 and splits, gets another 10. Its right once so might as well keeps splitting right? He ends up with 4 hands in front of him with a high of 17. Dealer draws to a 19...ouch. Oh, well, I figure he was taking a flyer. But no, in the next hour he split 10's against any 2 thru 6 at least 8 times, and no, he wasn't counting. And he always re-split if he got another 10. And for the most part it worked for him. Unfortunately I had a $400 double up when his cousin who didn't know how to play got 10-10 and figured his cuz must know what hes doing. Yeah, that $400 double went up in flames! I went up to get ready for Carrot Top down $1,200 for the trip. And I didn't know it at the time but tomorrow I'd sit with an even worse blackjack player! And I'd run into the cuz on my last morning! Stopped at Skyfall lounge on the top of Mandalay for a pre-show cocktail. Wonderful view, crappy picture. Next off to Carrot Top. Solid as always but I've seen him at least 3 times now so it's time for a break. I've got to speed this up. Didn't plan on it taking so long....sorry. It's road trip Wednesday now. Off we go heading south and stop for our obligatory sign picture for the 20th time or so. We keep heading south and I haven't told anyone where we are going. Finally off in the distance I see them in the horizon. They get closer and closer. Then finally......THE SEVEN MAGIC MOUNTAINS! Some artist (using term loosely) put these things up and I guess they'll be up for a couple years. If I can drive 4 hours to see a hole in the ground I can drive a half hour for Seven Magic Mountains! Back in the car and the next stop is Primm and Whiskey Pete's. And why did we drive all the was to Whiskey Pete's you ask? Here's why! Bonnie & Clydes last car ride! Wednesday night it was Million Dollar Quartet. Fantastic but if you haven't seen it you're too late, I believe it shut down. I wonder what Vegas plans for entertainment in the future. An amazing number of shows have closed this year. Please, no more Cirque shows. Played at Ballys with Xav at the 2d game. I forgot it was no DAS. I played with a guy betting $200 -$500 a hand. This genius thought nothing of hitting 14 vs 5, standing on any 15 or 16 vs 7, doubling hard 7. He lasted about 20 painful minutes before they wiped him out. Surprised he lasted that long. I then got 7-7 vs 6 and split then tried to double when the first one got a 4. NO-NO-NO, not on Ballys double deck. I left before next hand was dealt. The shoe game is pretty good. $25 6d DAS Surrender but H17. Crashed for the night still down $1,200....ugh, but treading water at least. Thursday, last day. We went to Mon Ami Gabi for breakfast as Molly hadn't been there. We got seated on the patio and after a few minutes the server came over and said it would be a few minutes because they just lost all power to the hotel, casino, everywhere. A few minutes turned into 20 so off we went, can't waste valuable last day Vegas time waiting for someone to flip the breaker on. Good thing, as most of you know it took until the next morning to get the lights on! We ended up at Giadas. Very good but not great. Stupid money for a couple fancy eggs and juice. It's probably me but I'd rather be outside anyplace for breakfast. I don't mind paying stupid money for a view...eggs, not so much. Wrapping up now. I played at Mirage and found only one decent table left at for $50 and even there they hit soft 17. Lost $400. Next stop was TI where they have a good $25 game, S17 and if I remember it was 2D. Luckily I made back the $400 I dumped into the Mirage coffers. Next it was back to get ready for dinner at The STRAT and Top of the World. I know this place gets beat up pretty good by the foodies but I'm not one. I've been there a couple times in the past and the view is obviously great and I found the service outstanding. The food is perfectly fine for my taste. We got there just before the happy hour at Level 107 ended so we stopped on the way up for a drink and to enjoy the view. Planes, helicopters, moon and lots of lights. Ok, finnnnalllly wrapping this up. We went back to Aria and I hit the tables to the tune of $1000 to the good so the head hit the pillow down $200 for the trip. Up in the morning, and got all packed with an hour to kill before we head for the airport. Hmmmm....what to do? You guessed it. Finished the session up $300 for a whopping $100 to the good for the trip. I'll take it! Went back up to the room to gather luggage and wife. All in all it was a great trip, Molly even had a great time as we did things other than just gamble like her first trip. I did play significantly less than normal so it might hurt future offers but whatever. Oh, BTW, this might be the thing I'll miss most about the room! I flew home with the cleanest, dryest,warmest and most ocsillated butthole on the plane! And one last thing, I checked my offers last week. What to my wondering eyes should appear? My, my, my, a comp during the Superbowl! BOOK IT AGAIN DANO! Arriving Sat leaving Wed! Now if only my Pats will do their job!