about time to start getting this trip report going, 5 days away from home and business, then trying to get caught up while mothers day and kids divisional track meet is going on, let just say we are not rested up yet from vacation. isn't it supposed to work the other way? anyway, we got up at 3 am to travel to the airport for our 6 am delta flight, via salt lake, to las vegas. everything on time, arrived before 9 am las vegas time, broke our cheap habit of taking the shuttle to save a few bucks, and took the first of nine cab rides of our trip, down to the Stratosphere where we stayed our first two nights. to save money on our airfares, we buy through a consolidator, and through them you need to book at least two nights hotel. they had the strat for 49 a night, and since we had stayed there twice before, be went for that, knowing that we would get to be moving to free rooms at the rio for our last two nights. at the strat about 930 am, tried to check in, lady has us on the computer, but room isnt ready, have to come back at noon. i politely tried to ask about the remodeled rooms in the premier tower, was informed that we were booked in the world tower, thanks to our package, but could upgrade to a suite for 50 bucks a night! no thanks. so we played for a while, had a hard time finding their full pay machines, one set of them were still coin out machines. did not have mcuh luck in our video poker at the strat. quick salad at the deli next to the race book, which is an ok place for a sandwich or salad, and then to the checkin desk, room taken care of already on the package, but had an added 5 dollar a day "resort fee". this was to get to use the pool, observation deck, and to get the funbook. did those not use to be free? not a coupon in there i would use, wasnt even a matchplay on blackjack, so got charged an extra ten dollars for nothing we used. up in the room, first thing that happened was that i walked into the bathroom and got my socks wet from the water seep from the toilet base, nice first impression, strat! decided right there that this was the last time we would ever stay there. otherwise, room was clean enough, the bed ok, and really did not notice the towels, other than just having two, until i got out of the shower at the rio a couple mornings later and grabbed one of their plush towels, what a great contrast to the pieces of cloth at the strat. back down the elevator, out the door to a cab, no more walking up the strip from that far away for this guy, and up to caesars palace. walking through deciding on forum shops or video poker, the machines were calling us, and though it was impossible to find a good pay table, i had a dollar machine winking at me, and hadnt played more than 40 bucks of my hundred dollar bill through when i got four to the royal, and the ace of hearts filled it out for me for a thousand dollars! credits rang up on the machine, no wait for a hand pay or w2g! cashed out, lots of ez ticket redemption machines all over caesars, cocktail service wonderful and beautiful, i was very impressed and did not see much to suggest a dragdown by harrahs so far! out onto the strip to the bellagio, clockwork, a classic rock band, is playing in the fontana lounge at 530, since we were there early, had to split up and go play some more, though i think my wife went to the conservatory and spent her time there??? oooh, plants. anyway, just out front of the fontana lounge, i found a bank of progressive dollar vp, with a jackpot over 4600. while playing at one end of the 5 machine row, a lady came and sat in the middle seat. i heard the machine singing, i looked over and she had 4 of a kind, and had bet 1! so, instead of having 250 dollars, she had 50. few hands later, another 4of a kind for her, this time she had bet 2. i felt sorry for her, on a progressive machine she should be playing max coins, so if the 5 bucks was too much for her, she should have been playing 5 quarters somewhere else. i moved to the other side, but when i saw her get up from the other side, i was over there fast. the lady playing at the other end and i both just smiled and shook our head at her play, i really dont know if she knew what she had passed up, but i know how she would have felt if she had hit the royal and got gypped out of her 4600 by her silly play. anyway, her machine had been hot, and within ten hands i hit 4 aces, without the kicker, for 800 dollars! just in time for the band. wife and i went to the fontana lounge, seated right away, perused the drink menu up 1600 or so for the day. despite the 14 dollar price tag, decided this was my best opportunity to try a mojito, since i had heard so much about them on this board. wife had some other fancy drink, 28 bucks for the first round, the second round i just had a really good gin and tonic, so the tab was only 24 for the next round. fountains going off outside, great band playing inside, eagles, fleetwood mac, rush, bad company, my kind of music, great drinks, scenery, and company. only thing that could make it better... besides that...dinner! out and across the street to commanders palace. this was our third time dining there, in three consecutive trips. it is that good, and though this time might have been a little off in service vs. the other two times, it was still good. my perception is that it is a little easier for them to give that great service at 6pm, rather than during the crunch of 8 pm, so will give them the benefit of the doubt. tab without wine, we had enough drinks earlier, was about 110. and with a 25 dollar Restaurant.com certificate that cost us 4 bucks, not a bad deal. gator, turtle soup, pecan crusted fish, shrimp and crawfish somethin, good except for the tasting attempt on the crawfish. and then some great coffee and that bourbon bread pudding. after dinner, out onto the strip, to the paris, up the side to the cab stand, and back to the strat. straight to the room for the best thing in las vegas, great day, paying cash for everything, and a thousand or so dollars more than we started the day with. actually won just enough the other days to pay cash for everything, and came home 935 dollars up, so this was the big winning day, and set the stage for the rest of the trip. coming up, two days at two different trade shows, more vp and some paigow, the bryan adams concert at the hilton with miss july and august from at least two different calendars, the rio and whatever else i remember.