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Vacation. Good. Gambling. BAD! – July 15-19 – The Rhinoman TR

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by rhinoman7, Aug 9, 2019.

  1. rhinoman7

    rhinoman7 Whale-wannabe

    Nov 27, 2013
    Trips to Las Vegas:

    My Trip Report

    Been back for three weeks, but have been too busy to finish this TR!!!! Well, I have finally finished it, so here it is, in its entirety!!!

    First trip of 2019, 25th trip for me overall, 14th trip with wife.

    Pre-trip mumbo-jumbo

    Our last trip to Vegas together was in August of last year, and it was looking like we weren’t going to be taking a trip at all this year. However, that all changed when my wife’s best friend’s husband passed away in mid-May after a 4 year battle with cancer. They were the ones that introduced us to Vegas back in 2008. She is planning on having a Celebration of Life get-together on August 10th, so my wife thought it would be a good idea to get one of her loose pearls set in something with his birthstone to give to her friend on that day. So, it was time to start planning a trip! With SW airfares being so much higher than normal, it was hard to find a good time to take a trip without having to spend a lot on airfare. After lots of research, the best time to go was going to be the third week in July. Despite that, we were still going to be paying more on airfare than we have every spent on any of our other trips to Vegas! Of course, we were able to book 4 nights at the Rio comped, so now it was time to look for shows.

    Last August, we had wanted to see Tape Face, but he had taken August and part of September off. So, the first thing I did was check on his show, and he was going to be playing during our stay! Was able to book 2 tickets through Vegas.com for a great price!!! I had also seen some posts about a Post Modern Jukebox show at the Mirage, but it had been cancelled. After looking more into it, found out that it was back on, and they were going to have shows while we were there! We have seen a lot of their youtube videos and think they are great! Was able to book a couple of tickets through an mLife offer, and show number two was set!

    Now for the third show. For our trip last January, we went and saw Carrot Top , and my wife mentioned after the show that she was probably done with seeing his show, since we have already seen it so many times. I was bummed by that, but I understood. I guess seeing him 7 times is enough. Well, a few weeks before this trip, my wife asks if we are going to see Carrot Top! I said NO, and reminded her of what she had said after seeing him the last time. She then said that she really did want to see him again, so who was I to argue!!!

    So, time to book the tickets. Unfortunately, there weren’t any discounts on the front row seats, which is where we have seen every show from! There was a 50% off reward on myVegas, but the closest seats were going to be in Row 5. On top of that, our favorite seats (Row A, Seats 9 and 10) were already taken! I went back and forth several times trying to decide if sitting in row 5 was going to be worth the savings, also remembering that I have stated many times that paying full price for front row seats was worth it!!! So, I finally bit the bullet and purchased the second best seats in the house (Row A, Seats 7 and 8) at full price!

    I won’t bore you with the rental car roulette I played for several weeks leading up to this trip, but I will say that I ended up with a Premium car with National for about $40 more that a Full Size car with Budget. We went with Budget on our last trip, and I didn’t really like being assigned a car. I really have gotten spoiled with National and Alamo being able to choose a car! So, I felt it was worth it!!! And it sure was!! (Will get into that a little later)

    The day before our trip, we took our dog to the Puppy Farm, so we had a nice quiet evening to finish packing and get to bed early, since we had to leave for the airport at 3:30am!!!!

    Finished packing, and got to bed nice and early!!!

    One other thing I forgot to mention. I have a friend who was in Vegas earlier this year, and I had him and his wife purchase a couple sets of WIN chips from Mandalay Bay for us, since they were going to be staying there and they don’t play table games. I figured this way, my wife would have $120 in WIN chips to play with on our next trip!!!

    And now….on with the trip…….

    Day 1 – Monday – 7/15

    As I mentioned, we had an early flight this morning (6:15am), so we needed to leave our house at 3:30am. Got the van loaded up, and were on the road about 15 minutes late. No traffic, so got to the parking lot in plenty of time. Transferred our stuff from the van to the parking shuttle, and were off to the airport. Got inside to something I wasn’t expecting. The Southwest area was packed with people!!!!! They now have a bunch of self-checkin kiosks, but since my wife needed a wheelchair, I figured we would need to go to the full service section. Since this line was very long and not moving at all, we asked an attendant if we could use the self-checkin kiosks even though we needed a wheelchair. She said YES, and we were off to the kiosks. Tried scanning my D/L to pull up my reservation, but that didn’t work, so had to look it up on my phone to get the confirmation number. Got all checked in, boarding passes printed, and the luggage tag printed and put onto our bag. Was able to walk right up and get our bag checked in, and confirmed that my wife needed a wheelchair. They said it would be a bit of a wait, since there was only one person doing the wheelchairs at that point. Got to the waiting area, and there were a couple of other people ahead of us, so we settled in for the long wait. Yet another reason I like to get to the airport so early! We still had plenty of time, so there was no reason to worry or stress. I think we waited for a little over a half-hour, and we were finally on our way to the gate. Security wasn’t too bad, so we got through that fairly quickly, and were to our gate with plenty of time to spare.

    Time to board! Got our seats in Row 5 on the right side of the plane. Unfortunately, it was going to be a completely full flight, so no row to ourselves! Got my phone all set up, and decided to watch something other than Vegas Vacation! Not quite sure why!!! I ended up watching Undercover Grandpa on Netflix, which was OK from what I saw of it. I was falling asleep during the movie, so didn’t see the whole thing. Watched a couple episodes of The Big Bang Theory, and after a nice smooth flight, we landed in Vegas right on time at 8:00am local time!!!! A wheelchair was waiting for my wife, and we were whisked away to the baggage claim area. On our last trip, the wheelchair person stayed with us until we got our luggage and then pushed my wife all the way to the rental car shuttle. This time, they were short-handed and they couldn’t stay with us, but did leave the wheelchair with us. We waited for about 20 minutes for our luggage, and I was able to push my wife to the exit door, and we left the wheelchair there. We crossed over and headed to where we always used to get the shuttle, only to find out that is for unloading only!!!! It now stops right near the doors, so no need to cross over to the other section!! One of many changes we faced during this trip that threw us off a bit! Ended up being some unnecessary walking that my wife was not happy about!

    Got to the actual shuttle, and squeezed in for the 7 minute ride. The good thing is that the shuttle stopped right by the entrance doors, so that saved some steps. Because I ended up booking this final reservation with National at the last minute, I had not printed out the new contract. However, I was told on the app that I could just use the app to scan the QC code on the car I choose, and I wouldn’t even need to show the booth my CC on the way out! Thought I would give that a try! So, off to the Executive section, and there are a LOT of cars to choose from! For many trips, I have tried using my Jedi Mind Tricks to get us upgraded to a Camaro Convertible with absolutely no success. Well, wouldn’t you know it? There are not one, not two, but THREE Camaro Convertibles available!!! Finally, I get the chance to grab one, but there are two things that stop us: 1) It’s just too %&#* HOT for a convertible, and 2) A sedan would be much more comfortable for my wife, especially since we will be making a 4 hour round trip to St. George, UT. So, we continue searching for a car. Seems like the best car of those remaining is a Lincoln MKZ, so we grab it! I am not a Ford/Lincoln person, but this was a very nice car!!! Checked for any damage, and proceeded to the exit booth. Showed my phone to the attendant, and it took her three attempts to get it to work! But, we were out of there pretty quickly and on our way! The plan was to stop for breakfast and do some shopping to kill time before attempting to check-in, but we just wanted to get to the Rio and hope for the best.

    Arrived at the Rio and decided to self-park so that if we were able to check-in right away, I could just run down and get our stuff. I dropped my wife off at the main entrance so she wouldn’t have to walk as far, and found a parking spot. Met her at a slot machine, and we headed for the VIP Check-in. There were a few people ahead of us, so we had to wait about 15 minutes to get checked in. So, here it is, 8:30am, the earliest we have ever tried checking in, and hoping for the best! I am somewhat picky on my rooms at the Rio, so I thought I may have to compromise, but I made my requests known anyway. Ipanema Tower, NOT overlooking the pool area, and close to the elevators. After some searching, the desk clerk was able to find a room that fit my criteria with the exception of not being close to the elevators. However, it was a little less than halfway down the hall, so that was acceptable, especially if it meant we could check in right away! We were informed that there would be a $20 early check-in fee, which was fine with us! I took it one step further and asked about a later checkout on Friday, since our flight wasn’t until 8:20pm. Being Platinum, we were offered a 1:00pm checkout for free, but she had to check into something later. Turns out it would be an extra $50 for a 4:00pm checkout. We decided to pass on that and see how the week went. Normally when we have a later flight like that, we just checkout at the normal time, stuff our luggage in the truck, and wander around the area until it is time to head for the airport. However, we are usually too tired to really enjoy much, so we always wished we were able to checkout later to avoid that issue. Another thing I sometimes do is book the room for an extra night and then just checkout online from home the next morning, but since it was a Friday night, it was going to be over $100 (+resort fee) for the night!!! No thanks!!!! Also, with the extreme heat, we didn’t really want to leave our luggage in the trunk of the car for several hours!!! Come Friday, this will be discussed further.

    Another thing I needed to verify was that we had the $40 food credit with our room, since that was the offer I had booked. I wasn’t able to verify this from my confirmation e-mail, so I wanted to make sure that it was intact. And it was. However, it was limited to certain restaurants!!!! I was planning on putting that credit towards dinner at the Carnival World Buffet, since I wasn’t able to find any coupons!!! However, it was only good at: Gordon Ramsey’s Burger (PH), VooDoo Steakhouse (Rio), Gordon Ramsey’s Fish and Chips (Linq), one other place I can’t remember, and my FAVORITE place, the Parasite Garden Buffet (Flamingo). What a bummer!!!!!!! Guess I’ll have to rearrange some of our meal plans to make use of this credit. I’ll have to figure that out later, because it is time to go to our room.

    So, with keys in hand, we are off to check out our room. 10th floor, not as far from the elevators as we thought, and after inspecting the room, everything appears to be just fine. While my wife settles in, I run down to get our luggage. Return to the room, and proceed to completely unpack. My wife wanted to wait until later and just rest, but I just wanted to get it all done and get on with our vacation! Once I was finished, we decided it was time to eat, since we hadn’t had any breakfast yet, just some snacks on the plane!

    Since we weren’t ready to head back outside just yet, we headed downstairs and had breakfast at HHAGG. I am not a big fan of this place, since I can get the exact same basic breakfast for $5-10 cheaper at almost any other Café on the strip. But it was close and convenient, and it filled us up. Charged it to our room, and then headed out to the casino to scope things out. On the way, we ran into someone that was going the same way and struck up a conversation. He had some WSOP gear on, so we got to talking about that. I mentioned that I may be interested in checking out the final table at some point, since we were right there. He encouraged me to check it out, and said that I would be surprised at how close I would actually be able to get. After chatting for a little while longer, we parted ways. My wife was really tired at this point, so we decided to save the casino for later and head back up to the room.

    Since I was wide awake, and we still needed to do some shopping for essentials, I decided to head out to CVS while my wife stayed in the room to get some more rest. So, back out into the heat for me. As I was leaving the Rio, I thought it might be a good idea to stop at Harrah’s first to get our Tape Face tickets (I had purchased them through Vegas.com and was not given the option to print the tickets from home). This would save us a trip later today when we were going to do that. So, I headed for the Casino Royale/Best Western parking lot, and self-parked. This is much more convenient than parking at Harrah’s! Walked through Casino Royale and into Harrah’s. Found the box office, but it was closed!!!! By now it was about 11:30am, but the box office doesn’t open until 1:00pm on Mondays!!! I had tried unsuccessfully to find the hours online, but was not able to find them!!!! Wasted trip!!! Well, maybe not……

    So, heading back through Casino Royale, I heard Epic Monopoly screaming my name!!!! So, I figured, What the Heck! Only $5!!! So, I put in $5, and start playing. Started off slow, but just when I thought I would have to either leave or put another $5 in, I hit 3 bonus rounds, one on each of the three side reels!!!! So, now that I was going to be here a little longer, I thought about texting my wife to let her know what was going on, but decided not to because I didn’t want to wake her up. Well, about 20 minutes later when the bonus rounds were done, I was up to $82!!! Played that down to $80 and cashed out. Any easy $75!!!! Unfortunately, this would be my best gambling highlight of the trip!!!

    Now it was on to CVS. Got our stuff and then headed for home. Got back to the room and my wife was really worried since it was taking so long! Ooops!!!! She was happy about the $75, but not happy about me not letting her know what was going on. Guess I should have sent that text!!!!

    So, since my wife still hasn’t taken a nap, and now I am beat from running around in that heat, we decide to take a nice long nap!

    Now that we are well rested, we are ready for our evening on the South Strip. Drive to the Luxor and valet park, then hop on the tram to Mandalay Bay. Of course, we have to stop at Excalibur first, and then all the way back to Mandalay Bay, but better than walking! Our first stop is at the mLife desk to redeem our myVegas rewards for a free dinner buffet at the Bayside Buffet, and also purchase our WIN cards. Since we are pretty hungry, we decide to hit the buffet before we get our WIN chips from the cashier.

    Now I have heard lots of bad things about this buffet, but I figured since it was going to be free, and since we were going to be in the area anyway, it was worth a shot. Definitely not the best buffet we have had, but it was actually pretty good. Lots of good things to try, and several great desserts. It filled us up, and that was all that mattered. Server did a great job of clearing plates and refilling drinks, so left a $5 tip.

    Head out to the cashier to get our WIN chips. $40 for a total of $60 in chips, plus my wife had the other $60 in chips from our friends in her purse. With her $120 in WIN chips, we went in search of the Free Bet Blackjack table. We always seem to do good at this table, and we found out on previous trips that they usually don’t open it up until later in the day, which is another reason we waited until after dinner to play. However, after searching all of the table games and not finding the table, we finally asked a pit boss, and he informed us that they no longer have a Free Bet table! My wife was NOT happy!!! In the past when the Free Bet table wasn’t open and we used the WIN chips on a regular BJ table, my wife has not done well. But here we were, all of these chips that can only be used at Mandalay Bay, but no Free Bet table!!!! So, we ended up finding a $10 BJ table with a CSM, and joined in. My wife had her first set of $60 WIN chips, and I bought in for $100. We played for about 20 minutes before my wife’s WIN chips were gone, and she was left with $40 in real chips, and I was at $102. Tipped the dealer $2, and we left that table even. Decided to save the other $60 in chips for another day. My wife had visions of making enough money with those WIN chips to purchase the pearl and setting for her best friend, but now that dream was quickly fading. After cashing in our chips, my wife saw a Super Jackpot Party machine and decided to give it a go. After playing through her first $20, I went across the way and put $5 into an old DaVinci Diamonds machine. Was able to play on that $5 for quite a while, but ended up losing it all. Went back to my wife to find that she had put a total of $70 into the machine with nothing to show for it. Of course, she was even more upset now!!! I had an extra $60 on me, so decided to give that to her to continue playing. She played through almost all of that before hitting a really good bonus round! By the time the round was over, she was at almost $300!!! She cashed out, gave me my $60 back, and had over $150 extra in her pocket!!! She was happy again!!!!

    Now it was time to head back to the tram and ride over to the Luxor. Just in time to see Carrot Top. Again!!! This is my wife’s 7th time, and my 8th time seeing his show. It never gets old!!! As usual, the show did not disappoint!!! He added a new segment where he brings out a vintage chest of props, which include a lot of the props he started with. I remember seeing him with some of these on the Tonight Show way back in the day! Very cool idea! Of course, when it was time for the shots of Crown, both my wife and I got one. I normally give mine to my wife, since I am not a drinker (neither is she, but she will make a small exception sometimes when in Vegas), but this time she told me to at least give it a try. I started to take a sip, and then for some reason I did the only thing you are supposed to do with a shot. I downed the whole thing at once! It reminded me of drinking Seagrams 7 back in my college days! Went down very smooth! I’d like to say that I got a real good buzz and did a lot of crazy things that night because of the alcohol, but I guess in realty that would be pretty embarrassing!!!

    Overall, we laughed from start to finish at another amazing Carrot Top show!!! It is still my favorite show in Vegas, and I still think it is worth paying full price to sit in the front row!!!!!

    By now my wife is worn down, so we get our car (had to pay for parking since we aren’t Pearl anymore!) and head back to the Rio. Valet parked and headed for our room. Got my wife settled in and tucked into bed, and was on my way down to the casino. I believe it was only about 11:30pm when I got down to the casino, and the plan was to play for maybe an hour or so and then head to bed. However, that is NOT what happened. Normally, I track my play very closely, but for some reason, I just didn’t’ feel like it this time. Because of that, my gambling isn’t going to be very detailed, since it is now three weeks since we have been back, and I am going strictly from fuzzy memories. I do know that I hopped around a lot between Mississippi Stud, LIR, Free Bet BJ, slots, and VP. If I remember correctly, I started out this night at the MS table, and after about an hour or so, I was up $300. It was a really fun table, and I just didn’t want to stop playing! I really should have went to bed at that point, but instead I pressed on. The result? I ended up getting to bed at 3am, and was down a total of $600!!! NOT a good way to start a somewhat long week!!!! But at least I had fun!!!! :p

    Day 2 – Tuesday – 7/16

    Three hours of sleep! The full night’s sleep in Vegas continues to allude me!!! (Maybe if I went to bed earlier, that might happen! But what fun is that???) Awake at 6:00am, so got up to get my day started. Made a quick call to my cousins in St. George to make sure they were still up for a visit today, because if they weren’t, I was going back to bed!!! Well, they are looking forward to our visit, so it was time to get ready. My wife finally woke up, but we were both moving rather slow. The plan was to be on the road by 7:30am, but we ended up not leaving until a little after 8:00am. It is a 2 hour drive to St. George, UT and they are in the Mountain time zone, so after a stop for breakfast, we were looking to arrive around noon. The drive between Vegas and St. George is really nice, and making the drive in a Lincoln MKZ was even better! Stopped in Mesquite for a quick breakfast at McDonald’s. Cheap, fast, and easy. Finally arrived at my cousin’s house, and we had a really nice visit, as always. We were offered some food, but neither one of us was hungry, and considering that my cousin is not in the greatest of health, we didn’t want to stay too long. 5 hours flew by, and we could tell they were getting a bit weary, so we decided it was time to head back to Vegas. Said our good byes, with promises to visit again on our next trip, and we were back on the road.

    By the time we arrived back at the Rio, we were both starving!!! So, it was time for the Carnival World Buffet! Unfortunately, couldn’t find any coupons for this trip, and with our schedule, the Buffet of Buffets did not make sense. The intention was to use our $40 food credit towards this buffet, but it was not on the list!!! So, for the first time since our very first trip in 2008, we were going to be paying full price for this buffet!!! We have dined here many times since then, and have absolutely loved it! However, this time was very different!!! Of course, paying full price didn’t help matters, but even if we got it for free, I don’t think it would have changed our experience in any way. My two favorite items on this buffet are the prime rib and the chicken wings. No prime rib, and I was not able to find the chicken wings on my first pass. (They seem to be in a different spot every time since they stopped serving breakfast) Don’t remember exactly what items I chose on my first pass, but nothing was really very good. On my second pass, I finally found the chicken wings! Got a few other items to go with them, and headed back to our table. Again, nothing was really very good, not even the chicken wings!!! Done with the food, it was time to move on to dessert. The crowning touch of this buffet has always been the several flavors of gelato available at the dessert station. However, the gelato has been replaced with self-serve soft-serve ice cream and frozen yogurt machines!!!!!! WTF!!!!!!!! I dejectedly got myself some soft-serve and a couple of other desserts, and headed back to my table as if I had just lost all my money at a blackjack table! I have talked up this buffet for many years, but I am officially done with it now!!!

    After that terrible meal, we just headed back up to our room to relax for a while and decide what we wanted to do next. I decided to tune into the WSOP final table to see how it was going. They were down to the final three, and even my wife got a bit interested in it. We had plans of heading down there, but my wife wasn’t really up for the long walk. And it was a good thing, because it was a MUCH longer walk that I was expecting!!!! Since it was a rather long day, and my wife’s back was not doing too well, she was in for the night. Once I got her all settled in, I started the LONG journey to the Amazon Room. I got there just in time to see the last few hands before Livingston busted out. It wasn’t long before they started bringing out all of the cash and stacked it up on the table. It was pretty cool to watch it all happen! Took lots of pictures and some videos. I was hoping to see it all go down to the end, but of course there was no telling how long it was going to last. Much different not being able to see what the player’s cards are, but at least there were TV screens showing the results of each hand along with the chip count for each player. However, after about an hour, they weren’t updating this on the TVs anymore, so it was real hard to tell what was going on. I hung around for about another half-hour before heading back out into the casino. I understand that even with live TV events, there is some sort of delay, but for this event, there was about a 30 minute delay! While sitting at the Free Bet table, I was keeping an eye on the final table, and saw a hand that looked very familiar. When I saw the final results of that hand, it was then I realized that there was a 30 minute delay, because I had just seen that hand live 30 minutes ago!!!! I spent the rest of the night hopping around between Free Bet, LIR, MS, VP and slots with pretty much the same dismal results as last night. The cool thing is that I was at the LIR table with a TV nearby around 2:00am, and was able to see the final hand!!!! I thought for sure Dario was going to pull a straight or flush on the river, but guess it wasn’t meant to be! It definitely made for an interesting night, despite my losses at the table. I believe it was about 3:30am when I finally headed back to the room. Fell into bed and hoped for a decent sleep!!!!

    Day 3 – Wednesday – 7/17

    Got a few more hours of sleep, and next thing I knew, it was morning and time to wake up! Today was Pearl Factory Day, so my wife was excited! Got ready for the day and drove over to the Luxor and valet parked. Headed inside for breakfast at the Pyramid Café. Got seated right away, and for the first time ever, we got our order taken within a couple of minutes of being seated! It usually takes at least 10 minutes before we get our order taken, but everything is always fine after that. We both ordered the standard breakfast and enjoyed it very much! We just love the Pyramid Café, from the amazing food to the general atmosphere. A nice breakfast with the faint sounds of the casino in the background is a great way to start a morning! We just sat at talked for a while before paying our bill and heading out. Ready for another great day in Vegas!!!!

    Headed back outside and to the tram. Had to wait in the extreme heat for a few minutes before the tram arrived, but it was nice and cool inside! Made the trip over to the Excalibur, but for the first time the tram went all the way to the end stop nearest to the front entrance instead of stopping at the one nearest the casino. Thought that was odd, and it would cause me grief later today!!!! For now, this was a good thing, since we wanted to be closer to the front entrance! We had gotten in touch with our friend at the Pearl Factory and found out that she switched from the store up in the Castle Walk to the one by the main entrance, so this worked out real good. Made our way inside, and found the Pearl Factory!!!

    Spent some time catching up with our friend, and then got down to business. As it turned out, the setting that my wife really wanted to get for her friend was no longer available. After being shown a few other settings, she just didn’t see anything that her friend would have liked. However, my wife did find one that she really liked, so she decided to get one of her loose pearls set in that. After picking a new oyster, I excused myself and headed into the casino.

    The Free Bet table was only $5, but it was full. Didn’t see any other blackjack tables worth joining, so I figured I would give UTH a go. I generally hate this game because unlike LIR or MS, you can have a really good hand, but if the dealer beats your hand, you lose! So, bought in for $100, and hit a flush on my first hand. Ended up winning most of my hands, and was up $125 in less than 20 minutes! Cashed in and headed for the cashier, since the Free Bet table was still full.

    Got back to the Pearl Factory to find that my wife ended up setting two pearls, and was in the process of paying. She didn’t spend nearly as much this time as she has our last few trips, but she was happy nonetheless. After saying our good-byes with plans to return tomorrow, we started to make our way to the front entrance. On the way, there was someone from DQ handing out samples of something called a Cherry Misty Freeze. I guess it is the Mister Misty cherry mix that is mixed with vanilla soft serve ice cream instead of crushed ice. Holy Cow, was it good!!!! We started to head across to catch the tram, but realizing that we would not have the aide of the moving walkways, plus the fact that my wife’s back was killing her from standing for so long, I decided to leave her there and go get the car myself and come back and pick her up.

    So, here is where things get a little weird. Since the inside tram stopped at the end of the line near the main entrance, I thought I would wait for this one instead of having to transfer trams at Mandalay Bay. However, for some reason, the inside tram never showed up!!!! The outside tram (Express between Excal and MB) came and went, and I was left standing there all by myself wondering what the heck was going on!!! Needless to say, the next time the express tram showed up, I got on! Turns out it was an easy transfer from the express tram to the other one, and in no time I was on my way to the Luxor. Retrieved my car, and then tried to figure out how to get from the Luxor main entrance to the Excalibur main entrance!!! Took a bit, but finally figured it out!!! In all the years I have been between the Luxor and Excalibur, I have always walked or taken the tram, so this was new to me!!! When it comes to driving, nothing is quite so simple in Vegas!!! I finally arrive at the Excalibur, to find that my wife had been sitting outside waiting for me that whole time!!!! By now we are both beat and ready for a nap! Get back to the Rio and valet park, and head straight for the room! Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    Since we didn’t really have any dinner plans, we decided have some snacks after waking up from our nap and figure out what to do for dinner later while we were out. Since I wasn’t able to get our Tape Face tickets the other day, I wanted to get over there to make sure we not only got our tickets, but to see if we would need to get in line, since it was general admission seating. Decided to park at Casino Royale, since it was a shorter walk than valet parking at Harrah’s. Plus this would give me a good excuse to play some more Epic Monopoly on the way out later. LOL!

    Walked over to Harrah’s and headed straight for the box office. Got our tickets and then headed for the House of Tape. There was already a line forming, but it wasn’t too long. I was able to get in line, and my wife was able to sit at a slot machine nearby. It was about 6:00pm at this point, with the doors opening a little after 6:30pm, so not too long of a wait.

    It is a small theater, and the chairs are a bit close together, but that is really my only complaint about the theater. We ended up sitting in the 5th row with a perfect view of the stage. There was a comedian/magician that came out and did some stuff leading up to showtime, which was pretty cool. And then it was time for Tape Face!!!! All in all, it was an amazing show! Of course the whole show relies on audience participation, which I thought added to the hilarity! I was eventually chosen to be a part of one of the bits, which was a lot of fun!!!! (To those who have seen this show, I was the Bull. LOL!)

    After the show, we headed back over to Casino Royale. As luck would have it, both of the Epic Monopoly machines were empty, so we sat down and played both of them. We did get to play for quite a while, but the bonuses we were getting were not that great, and in the end we were down a total of $100. By now we are getting a bit hungry, so we were trying to decide what to do for dinner. I said we could go out somewhere and try to find something, or we could just stay here and have Subway. My wife liked that idea, so we got a couple of sandwiches from Subway. Filled us up, and we were ready to head back out. However, on the way out, my wife saw one of the Free Bet tables. It was $5, and there were a couple of empty spots, so we decided to join in. Bought in for $100 and split it between the two of us. The dealer was real quiet and slow, and seemed rather annoyed, so I figured we weren’t going to be staying here very long. However, not only were there some great people at the table, but the dealer ended up being rather funny, and we ended up playing there until about 3:30am!!!! I think we started around 11pm, so it was a pretty good run! Had a blast, and ended up even!!!

    Of course by now, we are both beat and ready to head for home! Back to the Rio and straight to bed!!! Needed to get some sleep before our last full day in Vegas!

    Day 4 – Thursday – 7/18

    If I remember correctly, we woke up about 8:30am. I do know that the original plan was to have breakfast at the Spice Market buffet, but neither one of us was hungry enough for that, so we just had some snacks for breakfast. My wife had a massage scheduled at 11am in the spa, and she wanted to get there early to enjoy the hot tub and stuff. So I walked her down around 10:15am to get her checked in and make sure that the massage was charged to the room.

    I headed back out into the casino and did my usual hopping around between MS, LIR, and Free Bet. And unfortunately, with the same dismal results I have been having up to this point. When it was about time for my wife’s spa visit to be done, I headed back up to the room to wait for her. However, she ended up texting me from the casino to let me know that she was done and ready to head out for lunch. So, I met her downstairs and we headed over to Paris and valet parked. We then walked over to PH to have lunch at Gordon Ramsey’s Burger, since this was one of the places we could use our food credit. There was a line, but we didn’t have to wait too long to be seated. We both ordered the regular burger and split an order of fries. They were very busy, so it took a while for our food to come out, but when it did we were not disappointed. The burgers and the fries were fantastic!!!! Charged the meal to our room and headed back to get our car. My wife’s back was really bothering her again, and we were both still a bit beat from the late night last night, so we headed back to our room for a nap so we would be ready for a nice evening!

    Woke up well rested, but not too hungry, so we decided to have some snacks and figure out dinner later. We then got our car and headed over to the Mirage and self-parked. Tonight’s show was Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox Hideaway in the 1OAK nightclub. This show was also general admission, but we did get the upgraded tickets to sit in the lower seating area. The show was at 8pm, so we got there about 7:15pm to make sure we got good seats. We got a nice couch with a great view of the stage, however there really wasn’t a bad seat in the house, since the performers were pretty much all over the place throughout the show. This was an amazing show, and it is such a shame that it ended so soon. Hopefully they will get another chance!!!! I thought the setup of the 1OAK nightclub made for the perfect setting for this show!!!! Not sure how it would be in a regular theater setting. During the show, there were CWs coming around for drink orders, and my wife ordered a diet coke, and I ordered a regular coke. For some reason, my coke didn’t taste quite right, but it didn’t seem like it was diet. I thought it was just me, and just kept drinking it. Finally, I decided to ask my wife to take a sip, and she confirmed it was definitely diet! I told the CW, and she got me a fresh regular coke. Later in the show, my wife ordered another diet coke, so we had a total of 3 soft drinks. There was no menu, and we didn’t ask how much the drinks were. I just assumed they were probably $4-5. Well, when the bill came at the end of the show, I thought we were given the wrong bill! The total was about $36, and it showed that there were 3 juices at $10 a piece! I asked about that, and she said there wasn’t a button for the cokes, so it rang up as juice. Of course, I wasn’t as concerned about that as I was the fact that we just drank three rather small cokes for $10 a piece!! I know this is Vegas, but c’mon, man!!! Chalking it up as being my bad for not asking first, I was about to pay for it, but my wife insisted on speaking to a manager. The manager came out, and we expressed our surprise at the cost of the drinks, and admitted that we would not have ordered them had we known the price. He apologized and said that he had no control over the price of the drinks, since that was all run by the nightclub bar. He did admit that the CW was rather new, and that there should have been some sort of menu with the drink prices, and he told us not to worry about paying for the drinks. I would have been fine paying $4 or $5 for each drink, but was happy he took care of the whole thing. We did make it a point to give our CW a very nice tip, since she did do a good job of serving us. Lesson learned….never order a drink (or anything for that matter) in Vegas without first knowing what the price is!!!!

    After leaving the theater, we stopped to talk about what we wanted to do for the rest of the evening. Since we had intended on going downtown at some point this trip to give the new Lucky Cat Blackjack a try, we figured now was as good a time as any. My wife knew that I really wanted to try this new game, and she really wanted to try and make the trip down there, but I could tell that she was not really up for it. Regardless of where we parked, there was going to be a somewhat significant amount of walking, and I knew that it would be really hard for her, and I did not want to put her through that. She told me I could just drop her off at the Rio and go downtown myself if I wanted, but I just didn’t have the heart to go there without her. She felt really bad because she felt she was keeping me from going downtown, but I reminded her that we are here to enjoy our time TOGETHER, and if she wasn’t up for the trip, I was just fine with that, and I would be more than happy to go back to the Rio with her and be done with travelling for the night. So, we headed back out to our car and drove back to the Rio.

    After valet parking the car, we headed inside, and my wife said she wanted to hang out with me and play at some of the tables, but I could tell that she was not really up for it and really wanted to head for bed, so I took her back up to the room and got her all tucked in. Once she was all nice and cozy, she smiled and said good night! I knew she was much happier now that she was all tucked into bed, so it was time for my “last hurrah”, and hopefully a chance to at least get back to even for the trip!

    Rinse. Wash. Repeat. Gambling was more of the same, with no chance of getting anywhere near even!!!! I finally called it quits around 3am and headed back to bed. Since we had a later flight back home, there was still plenty of time later today, so it was time to get some sleep!!!!

    Day 5 – Friday – LAST DAY! – 7/19

    Woke up around 7:30am and got ready for the day. My wife was still sleeping, so I decided to head downstairs to see about a later checkout for today. When I had asked about it during check-in on Monday, I was told it would be $50 for a 4pm checkout. Today, I was told it would be $25 for a 4pm checkout, so I jumped on that!!! Got our new keys, and headed back upstairs to give my wife the good news!!!! We didn’t need to head for the airport until about 6pm, so we would still have some time to kill, but I figured we would figure that out later.

    Got back upstairs and started getting some things packs up while my wife got ready for the day. We needed to head back to the Pearl Factory, plus we still had two free myVegas breakfast buffets for Mandalay Bay, so we headed for the south strip. On the way, we decided to stop and fill the tank, since it was just about on Empty! Took $50 to fill it up!

    Got to Mandalay Bay and decided to valet park here. First time parking here, so I was trying to figure out exactly where I would need to go to get our car back, since it was a different place than where we dropped it off. Once I had that figured out, we headed for the mLife desk to redeem our buffet rewards.

    On to the buffet! Again, it really wasn’t that bad for breakfast, but it filled us up quite nicely. As you may or may not recall, my wife still has that extra $60 in WIN chips in her purse, so it is time to use them. We found an empty $10 CSM Blackjack table with a really great dealer, and sat down. I bought in for $100, and we did much better than the other day! By the time my wife’s WIN chips were gone, she had $100 in real chips, so she decided to quit with that. I was at a little over my initial buy-in and decided to continue on, with plans to quit if I got back to even. However, I went on a nice run, and when I doubled my buy-in, I quit as well. Cashed in our chips and headed for the tram.

    Next stop, Excalibur. Got to the Pearl Factory, and our friend was there. She had told us she had some meetings today, so she wasn’t sure if she was going to be there, but she was! My wife had found another setting she liked, and also one that she figured her friend would like, and proceeded to have two more pearls set. Of course, this triggered the choosing of another oyster! However, she was only able to get one instead of two, so maybe there is an end in sight!!! Last trip she came to Vegas with three loose pearls, got four pearls set, and still ended up with three loose pearls!!! This trip, she came with three, and went home with only two!!!!! So, while this was going on, I decided to head down to DQ and get one of those Cherry Misty Freezes that we got a sample of the other day! I asked our friend if she wanted anything from DQ, so I got her a Triple Berry Smoothie. Turns out the Misty Freeze is not on the menu anymore, but the manager thought it would be a good seller, which is why she had them giving samples out. It sure worked!!!! Got a large one for my wife and I to split, and boy was it good and refreshing!!!!! I wasn’t able to get any gelato this trip, but this Misty Freeze sure did make up for that!!!!!!

    Finally finished up at the Pearl Factory and said our good-byes. After the debacle of waiting at the Excal for me to go and get the car the other day, my wife wasn’t too keen on doing that again, yet to make that walk all the way out to the tram was not a much better idea. So, I told her that this time, I would be taking the correct tram from the start, plus I told her I would text her once I was actually in the car and ready to head over, and she could wait inside until I texted her. She liked that idea, so on to the tram I went. There was one already there, so I was able to step right on. Got back to Mandalay Bay and headed down to get our car. Had to wait a while for the car, so it was a good thing that she was waiting for me inside this time!!! Once I was in the car, I texted her, and then made my way over to Excal. As it turned out, I pulled up just as she was walking outside, so that worked perfectly!!!!

    We were both a little tired, so we headed back to the Rio to finish packing up and get some rest. It wasn’t long before it was 4pm, so we got our stuff together and headed down to the VIP room to have my play evaluated. We had a little over $100 in RCs between the two of us which were applied to our bill, and after a review of my play, I was told they couldn’t comp anything more. So in the end, our final bill was a little over $360 for 4 nights at the Rio, dinner for two at the Carnival World Buffet, breakfast for two at HHAGG, lunch for two at Gordon Ramsey’s Burger, an early check-in fee, a late check-out fee, and an 80 minute massage in the spa. Not a bad deal!!!!

    So, we had two hours to kill before it was time to head for the airport, but we really didn’t feel like going back out into the heat just yet. So, for the first time ever, we left our luggage with the bell desk and hung around in the casino. The MS table was full, but there was only one person playing LIR, so I sat at the LIR table and my wife was able to sit on one of the chairs from the empty table next to LIR. Bought in for $100, and played for about 20 minutes before losing half my buy-in. My wife noticed there was an empty spot at MS, so we headed over there. I squeezed in and proceeded to lose the rest of my initial $100 pretty quickly. Bought in for another $100, and just was not getting good cards. I would fold a small card and high card after seeing that the first dealer card was a small card, which is something I always do. About 85% of the time, this is a good move. However, during this session, almost every hand like that would have turned into a paying hand had I stayed in. I was overtired, tired of so much losing, and was aggravated with the cards I was getting, so I refused to play anymore. By now it was only about 5:20pm, so we sat at the electronic roulette table for a while and finally decided to just head for the airport. I was tired of losing and just wanted to get home!!!! Don’t get me wrong, despite the incessant losing this trip, it was an excellent trip, and I really did enjoy all of the time I got to spend with my best friend!!! However, no matter how great a vacation is, there is nothing like finally getting back home!!! And we were both ready for home!!!!

    A quick check of our flight and I found out that our 8:20pm flight had already been delayed a couple of times, and was now set to take off at 9:15pm!!!!! That would mean spending even more time at the airport. YAY!!! (not!) So, we got our luggage, retrieved our car, and headed for the rental car center. Returned our car with no issues, and made our way out to the shuttle. I must say that it is so much better since they added a second stop of the shuttle for Southwest passengers!!! That walk from the first stop all the way to the Southwest counters was brutal after a long exhausting Vegas trip!!!!

    Got inside, checked our luggage, and proceeded to wait for a wheel chair. It took almost 45 minutes before someone came to take my wife to the gate! At least we weren’t in a hurry!

    Once we got through security, we found out that we were at the first gate nearest security!!!! Very nice!!!! Once we got settled into a spot, I checked and found that our flight was going to be completely full again, so no row to ourselves!!! We were both pretty hungry at this point, so I asked my wife what she wanted. I gave her a quick rundown of the choices based on my memory of the concourse, and her choice was Burger King. However, as I was walking, I quickly came to realize that Burger King was all the way at the other end of the concourse!!! I called her and she agreed to have something from Nathan’s, since that is where I was going. Got our food and headed back to our spot. Not the best meal, but it did the trick of filling us up. As it turned out, our plane arrived a little earlier than expected, so they were making announcements to let all passengers know that the departure time was being moved up and it was time to make their way to the gate. Got the plane loaded and we were taking off by 8:45pm. That meant we would be arriving in Milwaukee closer to 2:00am.

    The flight was good, and I dozed on and off through several episodes of Jerry Seinfeld’s Comedians in Cards Getting Coffee. When it came time to descend into Milwaukee, there was a real bad storm. As we were descending through the storm clouds, the plane was rocking and shaking all over the place! This by far was the roughest ride I have ever experienced on a plane! This went on for about 5 minutes before you could hear the engines rev back up a bit and you could sort of feel like we were starting to climb again. My wife was hanging on to my arm for dear life, and ended up leaving a bruise on my arm, which she pointed out to me the next day! LOL! After another 5 minutes or so, the captain comes on and tells us that they are pulling back up and are going to circle around for a bit to try and wait for the storm to move on. They assured us they had enough fuel for this, and there was nothing to worry about. After another 10-15 minutes, he comes back on to let us know that the storm is not moving very fast, and they are waiting for further instructions from the tower. Another 10-15 minutes goes by, and we are informed that the storm is still not moving fast enough, and we are being sent to Midway in Chicago. I had visions of standing in a long line waiting to get on a bus to be taken back to Milwaukee, and I was not happy!!!!

    We finally arrive at Midway, and when we get to the gate, they tell us that they are going to open the door, but suggested that we don’t go too far because once they get the word, they will be closing back up and heading back to Milwaukee as quick as they can. 5 seconds later, he comes back on to inform us that everything is closed anyway! LOL! So, we got up to stretch and take a little walk, but did not go far. After about 30 minutes, we were informed that the storm was moving enough that we would be able to leave in another 30 minutes. So, after sitting at Midway for an hour, we were back in the air and headed to Milwaukee.

    This time, our decent and landing in Milwaukee was smooth, and we were to the gate by 4:00am. By the time we got off the plane, made our way to baggage claim, and got our luggage, it was about 4:45am. Called for the shuttle to take us to our van, and headed for home. It was almost 6:00am by the time we got home and got our van unloaded. We had to go pick up our dog at 8:00am, so we only slept for about an hour. For the rest of the day we picked up our dog, stopped to pick up breakfast, and came back home to take a nap. Woke up to have dinner, and then it was back to bed for the night!!!!!


    We did quite a bit of new stuff this trip:

    Two new shows (Tape Face and PMJ)

    GR Burger

    Bayside Buffet (Breakfast and Dinner)

    Free Bet BJ at Casino Royale (I thought I would never play that here, since at one point it was the only casino where they paid 6:5. Now that most of the other casinos also pay 6:5, figured might as well play here. LOL!)

    Stuff we planned to do, but didn’t:

    Madam Toussauds (Had two myVegas rewards for free entry, but never got to the Venetian)

    Downtown (Lucky Cat BJ) – As it turns out, I am taking a solo trip in a little over a week, and since I will be renting a car, I am going to give this a try!

    KISS Mini Golf (Still have a free game coupon we were given the last time we played, but I couldn’t find it before leaving, so it is still sitting at home somewhere!!!!!)

    Spice Market Buffet (Maybe this was a blessing in disguise? I hope not, because it is my wife’s favorite breakfast buffet!)

    Bellagio Fountains and Conservatory

    This is where I usually list my gambling stats for the trip, but since I didn’t keep track at all, I’ve got nothing! Except to say that I pretty much lost my entire bankroll!!!

    I’ll just have to win the Caesar’s Blackjack Tournament to make up for that loss!!!!
    • Like Like x 6
  2. casinokid68

    casinokid68 VIP Whale

    Sep 25, 2013
    brooklyn, ny
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    This was a great and well written report. Sorry about the gambling losses, that happens in Vegas unfortunately. But hopefully you get it all back and then some on your upcoming solo trip!!
  3. casinokid68

    casinokid68 VIP Whale

    Sep 25, 2013
    brooklyn, ny
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Please stay away from this buffet on your upcoming stay at the Flamingo!! :nono:
    • Funny Funny x 1
  4. rhinoman7

    rhinoman7 Whale-wannabe

    Nov 27, 2013
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    I will try very hard!!!!!! :goofy:
  5. Kobra2848

    Kobra2848 VIP Whale

    Oct 30, 2011
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    No big loss on missing breakfast at the Spice Market buffet. I had a dining credit to use up on our trip in May so we went there for breakfast our last day and it was terrible. It used to be our favorite place for breakfast before the flood and remodel.

  6. Joe

    Joe VIP Whale

    Sep 11, 2009
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Wow! Those are some sucky flight times to and from MKE. Nice report!
    Who doesn't fly into Las Vegas on New Year's Day?
  7. miss_sonja

    miss_sonja High-Roller

    Feb 18, 2009
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    That's a detailed report! Glad you had a good time despite the losses.
    Taking the Sweetie to Vegas