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Wynn and Death Valley, a UKFanatic TR

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by UKFanatic, Jun 11, 2018.

  1. UKFanatic

    UKFanatic The Arbiter of Taste Caviar Kid

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    My Trip Report

    So its been a couple years since I last posted a TR here. Now I find myself two days returned from an overseas trip and unable to get back on my regular sleep schedule. So I decided to kill a little early morning time by writing up a TR of my partner and I’s trip to vegs a few weeks ago. So here we go….

    First, the background. This trip was planned on short notice. Presently, I am totally burned out on Vegas. Anyone on here who knows me, knows that I go to vegas a lot. Too much. That happens when you don’t really work, are fortunate enough to have the means to travel, and go stir crazy after spending a week at home with nothing but your cats! It’s a recipe for grabbing a flight and heading to Vegas. Which I have done a ton of over the past fifteen years, and particularly the last four years. I had already visited Vegas a half dozen times this year before this trip and had reached the point where I was kind of sick of the place.

    But, my partner hadn’t gone there with me since super bowl weekend and she has been working so much lately that I knew she needed a getaway. Vegas is good for that because with the comps, its essentially a free vacay for us (as long as I don’t lose my shirt in the casino) and we know the city so well, it doesn’t take much planning to do a vegas weekend.

    Still, I didn’t want to spend a three day weekend sitting at the tables. I am even more burned out on gambling than I am Vegas in general. Over the past six or seven months, I have reached the point where its just not much fun. When I win, that’s nice, but the money doesn’t really change my life in any significant way. And when I lose big, that sucks. Lately, the only gambling I have truly enjoyed is making sports futures bets on team win/loss records in the major sports. And I only need to go to Vegas for an hour a couple times a year to make those bets!

    So I told my partner I would take her away to vegas for a three day weekend, but I wanted her to pick a national park to visit so we could get out of the casinos for a day (knowing that an outdoors day would significantly limit the time I spend gambling). My partner enjoys the outdoors, but she is not a big hiker. So she told me to give her some options of national parks we could visit in a day and see major sites without having to hike all day to see them. She hasn’t been to any of the parks near Vegas, so I suggested Zion, Death valley, or Grand Canyon. I thought for sure she would pick GC, but she wanted to see Death Valley! So, if you’ve made it this far in the TR, you know what’s coming next. A lot of Death Valley pics! But I will recap everything else as well. One of the main reasons I don’t write as many TRs these days is that I feel the vegas portions of my trips are repetitive. I show up, I gamble, I eat, I spa, I pool, etc. But when I add a national park side trek, I feel like those trips are worth recapping!

    We left for Vegas toward the end of a work day on Thursday. Actually, the day before we left, the trip was in jeopardy. A big work project my partner was leading received a pushed up deadline. I thought for sure she was going to cancel the trip. But she brought her work laptop along and thought she would only have to do an hour or two of work. So we departed for Vegas scheduled.

    The flight was uneventful. I downloaded two new shows from Netflix to try out: the Rain and Safe. Watched the first episode of the Rain and it was just ok. I liked the premise, but I can’t stand dubbing. I would rather read subtitles. So I switched over to Safe. It was ok also. Started slow but got better. Still, I wouldn’t really recommend either one. The shows, however, helped pass the time and then I saw the lights of Vegas!

    Got off the plane and the airport was expectedly busy for a Thursday evening. Our driver from the Wynn was readily waiting for us at baggage claim. That was a very good sign because the Wynn car service has been a little hit and miss over the years about being on time. But this was the third Wynn trip in a row where the driver was on time and waiting. And, to my partner’s delight, he picked us up in one of the Rolls Royce. I am not a car person. Have never cared how fancy a car is as long as it gets me where I am going. Actually, one of my favorite little Vegas moments was a couple years ago riding in one of the Wynn Rolls with a couple friends who are car people and joking with the driver about how the cost of that one car would buy an armada of the hybrid car I drive at home (which left my car loving friends aghast). Anywho, my partner had never been in the Rolls. The couple times she had come with me to the Wynn, we had ended up in other cars. So she was excited to see it and ride in it, which was very cool.

    We arrived at the Tower Suites and checked in at the RFB VIP. My partner happily got a drink and a snack while I checked us in. We headed up to the salon suite and settled in. I was a bit surprised my host comped us a salon suite. I had gambled pretty hard one night during our super bowl trip to Wynn (even making a couple reckless max bets at the bac tables). But then I barely gambled the other days of that trip. So I thought for sure we were going to get downgraded to a parlor suite. So getting the salon was a nice surprise.

    I have written about the salon suite before and posted pics of it. There haven’t been any significant changes the past few years. Its still enormous, pretty, and has a fantastic view. And I still feel like its too much, lol. I have taken so many pics of it in the past that I did not this trip. If you want to see it, there are pics in one of my old TRs: https://www.vegasmessageboard.com/forums/index.php?threads/ukfanatic-live-tr-from-the-wynn-vof-mirage-and-more.122177/

    Now, the bad news. My partner had to work Thursday night. She learned when we got off the plane that her team had not made the expected progress when she left work a little early on Thursday. And due to the sensitive nature of the project, my partner couldn’t work on it on the plane. So I knew she was out for Thursday night. She set up her laptop and began to work as I unpacked. I told her I wanted to go down and play a little and would get some take out from Charlie’s Bar and bring it back to the room for dinner. She agreed that was a good plan and asked me to get her some mac and cheese. So I headed downstairs.

    My host had sent me a text that I needed to swing by the credit desk before I played, so I walked that way. I assumed they needed me there for the usual annual (or so) confirmation that my bank account and ID have not changed. Turned out that was not the case. I already a brief summary of what happened in another wynn thread last month. Short version: the casino refused to open my line unless I gave them additional new accounts for my line. Initially, I was perplexed. After all, I have always paid every marker on time. So I started to pull out my phone and provide some info on additional accounts and then my mood changed. Fuck you, Wynn! I always pay on time. They have never had any problems with me or my play. You don’t need any more of my personal financial info to extend me credit. And if you do, no problem. I have credit lines and most casinos on the Strip and Venetian has been dying to get more of my business for the past year. Besides, I am wanting to gamble less anyway and not having my credit line is a good way to achieve that.

    So I look at the credit rep and tell him no and if you don’t want to open my line, then I can walk over to Palazzo and play there. The employee was a bit stunned. I guess that’s not the response they usually get from degenerate gamblers who want to play right now!!! He asks me to wait, that he will call my host, and see what they can do. I tell him no need, that I don’t feel like standing around, and that I have plenty of other options. If they want to give me a big suite for the weekend, but don’t want to open my credit line so I can play, that’s their choice. But I’m not giving them any more of my personal info and I walk away.

    So after that, I decide to go get the food. I miss Zoosacrackers, but Charlies Bar is solid food and does have a larger menu. I walk up to the bar in the sports book, ask for a menu, and start to place our to go order. Then, I am stunned to learn that the vegan Wynn Burger is no longer on the menu. Boooooo! That was one of my favorite meals on the whole property. An employee confirms for me that the vegan burger has been removed from all restaurants at the resort and replaced with an impossible burger. Sigh. My partner loved impossible burgers, but I am not really a fan. Still, I order her mac and cheese and something for me.

    While I wait for the order, I check my phone and see I have a flurry of texts and voicemails from my host and the credit department. They decided to go ahead and open my credit line. Shocker! Springing that request on me after I have already arrived at the resort was incredibly stupid in the first place. But it will save me a walk over to Palazzo, so that’s a good thing.

    I take the food upstairs and my partner takes a break from work to eat. I tell her what happened at the credit desk and she laughs. She knows me too well. After we eat, she heads back to work and I head downstairs to play a little.

    I am burned out on gambling, but still want to give a little play to try and maintain my relationships at the various resorts. My goal is to try and win enough to pay for the trip and then walk away. So I find an empty blackjack table, take out a 10k marker, and start playing purple chips. Honestly, at this point weeks later, I don’t remember many of the gambling details. I think I got up a little, went way down, took out another 20k marker, and got back to even. I might have even stopped up a grand or so. After an hour of play, I decided to head back upstairs for the evening. I grabbed my partner a drink from the VIP and headed up. She still worked for another half and then we crashed.

    Friday was pool and spa day! Unfortunately, my partner had to keep working. Boooooo! So I woke up early and went to the gym. Got a decent workout in. The Wynn provides a good, albeit small, hotel gym. After the workout, I head back to the room to clean up. My partner is hard at work and tells me she is going to need at least two more hours to finish the project. So I have to kill some time.

    I walk downstairs and check the lines at the sportsbook. Don’t see any games I really want to bet on, so I head back to the high limit room. Glad I did. It went much better than the night before! I bounce back and forth between BJ, bac, and roulette and leave up about 5k for the trip! By the time I get back up to the room, my partner is finishing her work project. So we get ready and head down to the tower suite pools.

    The oval pool is already packed, so we cross the bridge to the square pool on the other side. There are more chairs available there, so we set up, order drinks, and get in the water. Love those pools. They are always relaxing. Here are a couple pics I snapped from the pool deck:

    Encore.jpg

    Tower Suite Pool.jpg

    While at the pool, I send a text to my Cosmo host. I know I am going to stop by there later to cash some old sports tickets and we want to stop by and catch up if she is available that day. She says she is and we tell her we will swing by after the spa.

    This trip, we decided to go to the Aria spa. I go back and forth between Aria and Encore as to which is the best spa on the Strip. We did the Encore spa during our Super Bowl trip, so my partner wants aria this time. She also learns that Charlies Bar offers an impossible burger. So we eat a quick meal there and start walking to Aria. We get there just in time for our appointments. My partner adds a pedicure to the services we already have scheduled and then we hurry upstairs to get ready for our massages.

    Aria spa was excellent as always. I do dislike that its outdoor patio is so close to Liquid (and its party pool atmosphere this time of year), but otherwise everything is excellent. After four hours, we clean up and head over to Cosmo. I cash a couple grand in sports tickets and then we seek out our host. We haven’t seen her in a while and we catch up for a bit, which is nice. I like most of my hosts, but she is the only one we have a relationship with outside of the casino/customer environment.

    We catch a Lyft back to Wynn and get ready for dinner. We have reservations at the Mizumi teppenyaki table. Its my favorite meal at the resort. We end up at a full table and have a great time with great food!

    After that, we head back to the high limit to play a little and get my partner a drink. We win a bit at BJ, lost a bit at roulette, and then win a lot at BJ! Up over 10k for the trip, so we decide to stop playing and head up to the room to relax. Saturday we have to get up nearly for Death Valley, so we go to bed early.

    We wake up early the next day, grab several bottles of water, and head to the rental car station. The plan is drive to DV, stop for a snack in Pahrump, visit the park, drive back to town, see the Seven magic Mountains, and then grab dinner somewhere on the south end of the Strip.

    The drive goes well. We stop off in Pahrump for a snack and to but a plastic sheet for sliding down sand dunes. We also pass by the abandoned opera house on the way to the park. Its such a strange site and I enjoy it.

    Once we get to Death Valley, we stop at Zabriske point on the way in. Its an easy, paved, yet steep, quarter mile hike up a to a vista where you can look down into the south part of the valley. Here are some pics from the vista:

    Colors.jpg

    Death Valley.jpg

    Desert Clouds.jpg
    You can see the Badwater salt flat in the distance

    DV Ridge.jpg

    Next, we drive in to Furnace Creek Station and stop at the ranger station. Its time to renew my annual parks pass (support the national park service!!!). So we get that, my partner buys a cute hat, and we make a plan to head south toward badwater basin. I have visited badwater basin and most of the sites at the south end of the park in the past. But my partner has never been here and you have to see badwater. Here are some pics from the lowest point in North America:

    Badwater.jpg

    Basin Sign.jpg

    BW Basin.jpg

    Salt Flats.jpg

    After badwater, we reverse course and head north. We decide to skip the artist point drive and hikes, but we do stop at the devils gold course. That’s another post I have seen before, but every first time visitor to DV really should see it. It looks like the surface of Mars, lol. Here are some pics:

    Rocky.jpg

    Wide Angle.jpg

    We continue north, past Furnace Creek, and head toward the mesquite sand dunes. Now we are entering part of the park I have never visited and I am excited. The sand dunes are remarkable! There is no set trail. You can just walk out onto them for as far as the eye can see. We try sliding down one on our plastic sheet, but not with much success. My partner is getting hot, so she heads back to the car, but I decide to scramble out farther. Soon, I am out there all alone and everyone back toward the parking area looks tiny. Still, it’s the desert and your voice carries. My partner and I carry on a conversation about what I am seeing, even though we are about three hundred yards apart! Here are the amazing pics:

    Cloudy Dunes.jpg

    Desert.jpg

    Dune Shrubs.jpg

    Dunes.jpg

    Hardpan.jpg

    Little Jamie.jpg

    We are hot and tired after the dunes and have a short debate about whether or not we should drive to the far western edge of the park and hike to Darwin Falls. What is Darwin Falls? Glad you asked. Its an actual desert oasis. A waterfall and lush pool hidden in Death Valley! We decide to go for it.

    If you ever make this drive, be warned, its crazy. You drive up one side of the mountains and then down the other side at an 8% grade!!! If you’ve never done that, its steep, lol. And there is a long flat valley on the other side as you drive downhill from 7000 feet to almost sea level. Its distorting as you drive, so be careful. Plus, we encountered more than one idiot who simply pulled their car over to the side of the road and decided to walk across a two lane highway that cars are barreling down. No view is worth that risk!

    The Darwin Falls trailhead is a bit tricky to find, down a dirt/rocky road. But we eventually get there and start the hike. It starts fairly easy, but quickly becomes a rock scramble once you reach the crevice between the mountains. My partner has never rock scrambled in her life, but she was a trooper and made it through. Also, the sole of one of my boots totally detatched and fell off. I loved those boots! I had hiked in them for over twenty years, so I got my use out of them. And remarkably, then gortex waterproof lining was so thick, I was still able to continue hiking without much difficulty. Eventually, we made it to the falls and oasis. It was worth the effort and we swam around in the pool of water before hiking back to the car:

    Darwin Falls.jpg

    Form Panamint Springs, we were closer to the north end of the park, we decided to take a different route back to Vegas. That was a mistake. We got caught in the interstate construction zone on the north end of town and the traffic jam prevented us from getting to Seven Magic Mountains before dark. Booooo. So we stopped at Luxor instead and ate at Tacos and Tequila. I have always enjoyed T&T in the past, but they were off their game this evening and the meal was very mediocre.

    That’s pretty much it. We went back to the hotel, cleaned up and packed for an early Sunday departure. My partner went downstairs and played some slots and got a few drinks. The next morning, we got up incredibly early, found that my host had comped the couple hundred bucks in meals we had charged to the room, and headed to the airport. Best of all, my partner had a good enough time with the DV experience that we are now planning a similar trip in the fall to visit Bryce Canyon! Hope you enjoyed reading.
     
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  2. Dutch34

    Dutch34 Low-Roller

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    That was awesome. I've got to put this on our list for our July trip!
     
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  3. dukeofdarby

    dukeofdarby Low-Roller

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    GREAT REPORT----EXCELLENT PHOTOS
     
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  4. smerrian

    smerrian VIP Whale

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    Great TR! Thanks for putting up the pics. I would have liked to have seen more of the Darwin Falls oasis. I've been to DV but have not been to the Falls. I visited DV on a Winter trip so the temps were in the 70s and it was easy to walk around. I wouldn't go to Death Valley in June; you're a braver man than I, Gunga Din.
     
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  5. UKFanatic

    UKFanatic The Arbiter of Taste Caviar Kid

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    If you mean putting DV on your list, get ready for heat!! When I visited DV three years ago, it was in July and the thermometer at Furnace Creek was 122 degrees. This trip, it was 99
     
  6. UKFanatic

    UKFanatic The Arbiter of Taste Caviar Kid

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    Here ya go:
    Darwin Valley.jpg
    This is the valley you start hiking into. And that long pipe runs all the way from the oasis to Panamint Springs

    Jamie Hiking.jpg
    On the trail

    Oasis.jpg

    Rock Lizard.jpg
    My new lizard friend from the trail

    Trailhead.jpg
    And the trailhead sign

    The other oasis pics have the two of us splashing around in the pool and I don' think my partner wants me to publish those
     
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  7. SH0CK

    SH0CK Stylin' and Profilin' Quasi Tech Admin

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    Those are some of my favorite trips where I get to do something with someone who hasn't had the same experiences as I have before. Probably more fun than getting to experience something for the first time myself.

    On our trip a few weeks back from San Diego to Fallon, we had debated on places to see and go and Death Valley was on the short list. Unfortunately, it would have also added several hours to a day of extra driving in an RV, which ended up being a no go since we were somewhat short on time. Kinda bummed we didn't make it, but that always leaves something we can do on a future trip.

    Fun ride UK :thumbsup:
     
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  8. UKFanatic

    UKFanatic The Arbiter of Taste Caviar Kid

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    It is totally worth it. From Vegas, its half the drive it would take to grand canyon, so DV is a very easy day trip. The only part I wish I had seen is the racetrack (where the rocks move across the desert). But its in the northwest corner of the park at the end of long, unpaved roads. That section is not a day trip, but the rest of the park is
     
  9. tringlomane

    tringlomane STP Addicted Beer Snob

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    Great report and pics! Bummer that J had to work almost half the trip though! Hope she had a full break in Europe and you both had a great time!

    If your somehow still bored, M and I will be in Tunica starting tomorrow. Haha
     
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  10. UKFanatic

    UKFanatic The Arbiter of Taste Caviar Kid

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    Wish I could be there! Once Tunica gets their sportsbooks up and running, I am likely to be down there more often. Europe was great, thanks!
     
  11. TomTWI

    TomTWI Professional Grandpa

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    Always enjoy your gambling exploits the park tour is a bonus!

    TomTWI
     
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  12. amk121

    amk121 VIP Whale

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    Enjoyed your trip report, thank you for doing it!
     
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  13. theghost

    theghost Stuck at work, but should find a poker table

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    Awesome pictures UK, and great trip report......appreciate you taking the time to share.
     
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  14. Electroguy563

    Electroguy563 Over-Fried Gambler

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    Thank you for the trip report. I enjoyed reading about your day trip to DV. Loved the pictures. I don't think I'll ever get a chance to be out there ( I'm out of shape and my wife is not an outdoor person) and I'm definitely not going there solo, lol! But maybe we'll take a drive out to Red Rock one day.

    I like when you mentioned how you stood your ground against the Wynn credit people. I thought that was just bullshit when they asked for more personal information. I am nowhere even close to the level of gambling you are at but if something like that ever happened to me I would do the same. I have no problem playing and staying somewhere else.

    Thanks again for sharing your trip with us. Hope the spark and excitement of Vegas will return to you someday.
     
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  15. Royal Flusher

    Royal Flusher Savvy Gambler

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    Enjoyed your report and pics. Good call with the Wynn credit peeps. What the hell do you suppose they wanted with extra info?

    Bonus points for having the balls to buy a plastic sheet in Pahrump!
     
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  16. Packer

    Packer VIP Whale

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    Hi UK,
    Thanks for posting. Love your trip reports as you always take excursions somewhere..
    Glad you had a great weekend.
     
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  17. UKFanatic

    UKFanatic The Arbiter of Taste Caviar Kid

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    Just grab the wife and drive out there, lol! There is plenty you can see even just from the car.

    As for my issue with the Wynn credit department, it kind of stinks because I suspect if I want to stay there again, they are going to request the additional accounts prior to the trip (which is what they should have done this past time). It means this last trip to the Wynn may very well have been the last, lol. Fortunately there are lots of other places I like to stay and play.
     
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  18. UKFanatic

    UKFanatic The Arbiter of Taste Caviar Kid

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    I really have no idea. I think every place I have a line updates their info on me periodically, usually once a year. And I know they all share info, but I don't have any outstanding unpaid markers anywhere (never have). My best guess is that they are modifying their credit requirements, but that guess is a stab in the dark.

    We stopped at a Dollar Tree for the plastic sheet. We are true tower suite high rollers, lol
     
  19. Sonya

    Sonya Queen of VMB

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    Thanks for sharing this. I hadn't ever seen those falls. Going to have to add that to the bucket list. Sounds like the drive there alone is worth the venture. :) The Racetracks are kind of cool, but it is a long drive, especially coming from the south end.

    Sorry Wynn gave you the credit hassles. You've got a good attitude about it. :)
     
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  20. ScottE

    ScottE Low-Roller

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    Sounds like an amazing trip.

    What day were you at Death Valley? We were there on June 3rd and it would have been way to hot for us to go hiking. We had a beautiful visit to Artist Drive and the Badlands.

    IMG_20180603_1419473.jpg

    120F at Furnace Creek


    IMG_20180603_1507225.jpg

    126F on the Artists Drive (52C)
     

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