Finally, our much anticipated summer return to Treasure Island. Kids safely settled at grandma's house--it's time for us grown-up kids to have some fun, re-coup some brain cells, and (hopefully) win enough to finance the next trip. No kids, no cats or hamsters, no schedules, no office, no deadlines, no computers, no phones....heaven! SUNDAY: Early (8am) direct flight out of DFW on America West. It's early, but we're on adrenalin. Landed at 9am (wow--sounds like a short flight until you figure in the time zone change.) We had our bags and were checking in by 9:45; no lines, and our room was actually ready. Asked for a complimentary upgrade, but no suites were available that early, but she said she would get us a high floor with a great view of the south strip. Wow--absolutely beautiful! We realized it's the same view as on the front of the recent Casino Player magazine! We spent a little while unpacking and settling in, when I discovered my sneakers had not made it into the suitcase. Uh-oh. Sandals just weren't gonna cut it in that 109 degree heat. After resting a few minutes, we headed to the mall next door, and just in time because my poor soles were literally baking from the hot pavement. We decided to walk on down to Slots-A-Fun because that's always been a fun place we've enjoyed. Along the way, we walked through Stardust to see if it had changed. We used to stay there, but it really needs to be updated. Sadly, it hasn't changed much. Good memories, though. We were getting awfully hungry, so we tried the Stardust buffet. It was okay, but very crowded tables. We walked back to Treasure Island, to the sports book for a while, then in search of drinks and snacks for the room. We'd been up since 4am, so it was an early evening. MONDAY: Up early and dressed by 8am and a great breakfast at the Terrace, we ventured off to Venitian, Casino Royale, Harrah's, Bally's/Paris, and as far as Alladin. Time sure flies in Vegas, and by now, it's 4:30pm, so we went to Outback Steakhouse at Casino Royale for a late lunch/early dinner. The grilled mahi-mahi is fabulous. Oh, and that bloomin' onion, of course. Hubby stayed to play BJ while I went to the Fashion Show Mall to replace the clothes that were in the suitcase that somehow didn't make it into the car with the rest of the luggage (oops!) Then back to TI sports book to place some futures bets and called it a night. TUESDAY: Up early again, determined to stay on Central Time. This is the day we always go downtown because Main Street Station has T-bones on the Buffet on Tuesdays. After a good breakfast, we took the 302 to Freemont Street. We always have such good luck downtown. After visiting (and leaving a good donation at)the Golden Nugget, Las Vegas Club, and Horseshoe, we made our way to the Plaza. I just love to play VP at the Plaza, and my hubby likes the BJ tables, too. I can plug $20 into a VP machine and sit for several hours, playing on that $20, sipping margaritas. They always have someone on the stage singing bad disco hits, with a real thick accent, and I absolutely LOVE it! This place is a "must" for us. Until some crazy woman sits down next to me,loudly smacking gum, playing Keno and pounding the buttons. Why do they let people abuse the machines like that? Scared the luck right out of my VP. Time to wander over the Main Street Station. This casino is one of the most beautiful in Vegas, in my opinion. The stained glass is gorgeous. Unfortunately, a lot of them are blocked by machines, which is a senseless waste of those beautiful windows. I tried to sneak into the mens room to see the Berlin Wall, but that's one busy bathroom! Maybe next time. The buffet was great, and not at all busy if you get there early enough. We always leave swearing we won't eat again for a week! On the way back to TI, we stopped at The STRAT , but didn't have much luck there. Back at TI, hubby played a little roulette and craps. It was an early evening again. WEDNESDAY: Up early, and wanting to try Mirage's new Cravings Buffet, as we'd read good reviews. The tram from TI to Mirage doesn't open until 9am, so we walked. There is a sidewalk that runs between the parking garages at the back of TI, in the shade, with nice landscaping, so it wasn't a problem at all. Cravings is great, so if you haven't tried it, do so. They've got the standard breakfast items (omelets, sausage, bacon, buscuits, etc.,) but in my opinion, much better than most. You also get a coffee pot at your table so you don't have to wait for someone to come around to refill your coffee every few minutes. We rented a car at the Dollar Rent Car desk at TI, so we could visit some of the Station casinos. A good friend of ours grew up in Vegas, and told us those were local favorites. The Dollar guy was very nice and went out of his way to show us on a map which ones we were looking for. Today, we went to Orleans and Palace Station. Orleans was much larger than we'd anticipated, and really a nice place. There is actually a 70-lane bowling alley upstairs!!! I don't bowl, but I was impressed. Not much luck at the tables or VP, but sure had fun playing. The Palace Station was on our way back, so we went in there for a while, and seemed our luck picked up. Hubby did okay at the BJ tables, and then we both played VP for a little while, coming out a little ahead this time. On the way back (well, not really on the way, but sort of) we discovered an In-&-Out Burger on Tropicana, just west of the interstate. Good stuff! Terribly unhealthy, but this is Vegas Vacation--who cares. I'll eat leaves and water next week. THURSDAY: Up early and off to Boulder Station casino. This is a nice casino, fairly large, and friendly. Came out about even in BJ and VP. Next stop, Texas Station. Now, maybe it's because I'm from Texas, but I thought this one was my favorite Station casino. It's huge! Another friendly place, and busy! We had skipped breakfast in favor of an early lunch when we got hungry. Some wonderful aromas were coming from the buffet, so we decided to try it. They had every kind of home-cooking: creamed potatoes (real ones, the way my grandma made them,) BBQ ribs, steamed veggies, tacos, pot roast, meat loaf, ham, chicken... We tried the ribs and chicken, which were great. I must say, the gumbo was good, too, and I'm picky about my gumbo. Let's not bring up the desserts. I'm ashamed. Back to TI to turn in the rent car. Then we walked to Ceasars Forum to pick up souveniers and visit an art gallery we like. The Forum is one of the coolest places, and I can't wait until they get the new addition completed. Then back to Casino Royale for more BJ and craps. By 6pm, we stopped by Margaritaville for quesadillos and Margaritas (and Jimmy Buffett.) This place is a blast! If you like his music, even a little, just try it. Finally,it was down to the Bellagio to check out the Conservatory, which was decorated with a huge patriotic theme with a gigantic eagle on an equally gigantic Liberty Bell. I wish my hydrangeas and roses looked that beautiful, too. The Conservatory is always impressive. From the Chihuly flowers in the reception area, the intricate tile mosaics, and the fountains, The Bellagio is such a fabulous hotel, and still seems to maintain her attention to the minutest detail, even in the absence of Steve Wynn's ownership. This was our final night, and we wanted to watch the fountains. Standing at the ballustrade surrounding the lake, you could see the moon rising behind the Eifel Tower, like a picture postcard. And then the music and fountains began. I know it's corny, but such a romantic moment. But back to TI to pack, for tomorrow we head back home. FRIDAY: The day I've dreaded all week. Our flight doesn't leave until 5pm, so we left our bags in the hotel baggage. Time for me to make my semi-annual pilgramage to Sephora (you guys would NOT understand this place, so they have chairs where you can wait patiently and quietly--or you can do what my hubby does and go to the Venitian or Casino Royale for some BJ and craps.) Ladies, if you like cosmetics, and you haven't been to Sephora, you don't know what you're missing. It's like the Disney of Cosmetics. You can play with the cosmetics to your hearts content. Try it before you buy it, or to see if you even WANT to buy it. Warning--it can be addicting. And costly. Lunch was at Winning Streaks, in the Sportsbook at Harrah's, so hubby can keep up with his bets (and hopefully come back to collect when he wins.) Sadly, the time came to get our luggage and head to the airport. Back to the real world. Until our next trip---hmmmm---I can be packed again in, oh, 5 minutes! Oh--one more thing: Ya know the commercial--the one that says, "What happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas." Not true. I brought back an extra five pounds.