Sunday, January 9, 2005
Got up at 5:00 a.m. Left house at 7:45 a.m. Check in, ate at Burger King ($11), thru security no problem, at gate by 9:00. Took off at 10:45, pilot said there would be about a half hour delay as we were flying into 100 mph head winds. Had In-flight café turkey sandwich, salad, pickle and chips for $10, very good. Landed LAS at 12:45. No wait for luggage and hopped the Dollar shuttle right away. Our name was on Fastlane list and the only SUV was a 2005 Jeep Cherokee and that was fine. The weather was awful—pouring rain.

Took Tropicana to Industrial Road over to Rio. At 2:00 it was too early to check in unless we wanted a room in the Ipanema Tower, which we didn't. I explained that it was our first stay at Rio and we were very excited about that and we would come back a little later to see if there was a better room available. We went to Tuscany's Deli for a bite to eat and found a table right next to the Sports Book where we could watch the Packer's lose the playoff game. Went to the "key pick up" desk at 3:30 and the clerk says "Someone must like you because we have a very nice room reserved for you." Up to the room we went, Masquerade Tower Room 38024. The clerk said this is a room on the Diamond Player level, the 39th floor is the last floor of rooms. The room was very nice and the view of the strip awesome, although the rain was pouring down.

Went to the casino and I started my play with a Deuces Wild progressive machine that I played last May. A few minutes into playing and I got all four deuces for $285! Played for a bit more and cashed out at $321.00. Headed over to the Blazing 7's machine that our son, Jason, gave me money to play for him and gave him a call while playing. $40 in and no hits whatsoever. It was hard for Jason to listen on the phone to me playing with no wins. Oh well. Back up to the room at 9:00 to get some sleep for the night (Jeff started feeling the effects of getting sick the day before). Beds were very comfortable but didn't sleep too well. Very nice room and the window in the shower is cool, however, if one is in the bathroom with the light on, it shines thru the window in the shower and lights up the bedroom. Also the carpeting and couch were stained but everything else about the room was very nice, refrigerator, coffee maker, loved the mirrored closet doors and the separate vanity from the toilet/shower area. The view was awesome!

Monday, January 10, 2005
Got up at 6:00, but only because the previous guest had turned the alarm on—couldn't figure out how to turn it off so yanked the plug from the wall. Ate at the SaoPaulo café for breakfast and it was very good. Played a little bit and then headed over to the Las Vegas Advisor office to renew our subscription and pick up our POV for 2005. It was right around the corner from Rio, however, the building was so small, we drove by it several times before realizing that was the right place. Met some friends at Bellagio who were curious about Green Valley Ranch since they're fans of American Casino and so we jumped in the jeep and headed to GVR. Walked around GVR and out to the pool area for a look around. There was no one there of course since it was still raining but it is more beautiful than it looks on the show. We played for a couple hours and they were anxious to get back to Bellagio since it was their last night and we were anxious to get back to Rio since it was our last night there also. So we dropped them off at Bellagio and decided to use the $5 off coupon for the Rio Buffet. I took a good slow walk around the entire buffet before making my choices. In the past I would just start loading up and then wasn't able to allow myself to try anything else since I was too full from my first helping. One major choice I made was at a station where you could put your favorite veggies on a plate, hand them to a chef who would add either chicken, shrimp or beef (your choice) and stir fry them on a huge griddle. The chef was so funny I couldn't resist taking his picture and after my first helping, I went back for more. Also took a small variety of deserts. Left the buffet full but not so uncomfortable as I have in the past. Lesson finally learned!!! Went up to the room for a while to relax before heading down to the casino for awhile. Had a really good run on the deuces wild machines but no major win. Headed up to the room at 10:00 for the night.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005
Woke up at 6:30 wide awake. Got ready for the day and since Jeff wasn't feeling too good yet, I decided to let him sleep for a bit and went down to the casino—the deuces wild machines were calling me! And yep, I hit the four deuces again, this time for $261.00. Gave Jason's Blazing 7's machines another shot since I felt bad that I had lost his money the day before but again, nothing. It must just be his lucky machine! Went up to the room to pack and we checked out of Rio at 10:30; 2 nights room comped as well as $48 in food—balance of $13.00. Not bad considering we got the 2 night comp after only playing at Rio for about an hour last May. We really liked Rio tho and would definitely stay there again.

Drove to Luxor to check in and get settled into our favorite room—Pyramid Jacuzzi suite #24160 that our host Debbie puts a block on for us. We arrived at 11:00 and I was surprised to see that they were allowing check-in that early as usually they don't start until 1:00. They said that yes, our room was blocked for us, however the previous guest hadn't checked out yet and to come back in an hour. Went to get some lunch at the Pyramid Café and then went back to check in. The guests still hadn't checked out and it was almost 2 hours past check out. They said the guest had the option of extending their stay and if that was the case they would not be able to give us that room. We decided to wait another hour and at that time (4:00) the guest had still not let them know if they were staying or checking out and no one answered their room phone. They sent housekeeping up to the room to see if it was vacated and sure enough it was. Apparently the guest left without formally checking out. Housekeeping then cleaned the room and after almost 7 hours of waiting (and losing at gambling) we got into our favorite room (home sweet home). Unpacked, relaxed a bit and went to the casino to see if we could recoup our earlier losses (nope). When we got back up to the room our host, Debbie, had sent up a dozen bottles of Diet Pepsi, 2 dozen bottles of water, a plate of turkey and ham sandwiches and a plate of cut fresh fruit as well as the pyramid gift basket we usually get. Called it a night at 10:30. By the way, it rained again all day.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005
Woke up at 6:30—read for awhile and watched the sunrise. It was awesome with the view of McCarran from our window, watching the planes take off to the north with the sunrise in the background. The weatherman promised sunshine today (finally) but very windy. (And he was right).

We were to meet Cory, our financial advisor for the purchase of our new LV home at 10:00 and then meet our realtor, Rhonda, for the rest of the day of house hunting. After looking at several homes, Rhonda knows exactly what we are looking for and we will be purchasing one in May for our June move to LV. Frank, the LVTalk Webmaster, had set us up with Rhonda as our realtor (thanks Frank!) and we then all drove over to a place called the Lodge for a couple of drinks (and some great food) where we met up with Frank and also Cory. We had a great time and we are confident we made the right choices in Rhonda and Cory.

Got back to Luxor around 8:30 p.m. and went to visit our host, Debbie, in her office before she left for the day. I decided to play a DW machine and after just a couple hands was dealt the Royal Flush for $1,000! It must be DW week for me. Unfortunately the JOB progressive machines that we usually play had all hit the Royals while we were gone all day which was disappointing (they were up from $1,200 to $1,800) but hey, I got one anyway and I didn't have to work too hard for it! Up to bed at 12:30 a.m.

Thursday, January 13, 2005
Woke up at 7:00, read for a while and watched the sunrise. Usually I like to take a brisk morning walk up the strip but it has been cold (not as cold as Wisconsin) and the wind was too much for me to do that this trip. We went to the Mandalay Bay buffet for breakfast/lunch, played a little bit there, but we are never lucky at MB so headed back to Luxor. Sat down to play my lucky DW machine and Debbie had just come into work and had checked her computer to see where we were playing (she can tell by my slot card) and we had a very nice long visit. There is a Double Diamond Cheese slot machine a stones throw away from the DW machine and the entire night before everyone who played that machine was getting some huge bonus hits. It is a very loud musical machine and looks like a lot of fun and since the seat was open I sat down to play. I had a lot of fun on it too and made the bonus round thru the 3rd tier. Decided not to wear out my stay and cashed out for $150. On my way to the rest room I passed a Triple Diamond Wheel of Fortune $1 machine and decided to put $20 in. On my first spin I got to spin the wheel and hit for $100!. Cashed out right away and continued my journey to the rest room.

I forget which day it was as I didn't write it down, but as most of you know, the Wheel of Fortune machines are always being played. This one day in particular I noticed no one was playing any of them and I sat down all by myself. A man tapped me on the shoulder and said "Excuse me, but did you know that the WOF was hit about 30 minutes ago for $3 million?" No I didn't but it was so funny that once it was hit NO ONE was playing them. It was like the WOF had the plague! Too funny. Later found out tht it was hit at the airport.

We headed over to the Suncoast to meet Norm and Andrea (LV Norm) and Natalie & Jerry (NkinNY) for dinner. We had never been to the Suncoast before and were anxious to meet up with the four of them since they also have relocated to LV and were excited to hear about our plans. We ate at the café and the burgers were awesome but the company was fantastic. We had a great time with them and are looking forward to spending a lot of time with them after our move.

We drove back to Luxor and found that Debbie had sent even more soda, water, 2 more plates of sandwiches and some chocolate covered strawberries to our room. She is a sweetheart! Played a little at Luxor with no luck at all and headed to bed at 11:30.

Friday, January 14, 2005
Got up at 7:30; I was supposed to meet Vegas Sue for breakfast but she had called to cancel because of her work schedule. But we'll be seeing a lot of each other tho when we move. We had some LV things to get for our son and drove to the Bonanza Gift Shop for those and then to Bellagio to cash in a winning ticket of Jeff's, and walked over to Caesars for the one thing I have to have every trip...cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory. Headed back to Luxor for a relaxing jacuzzi and then had another tradition at the Pyramid Café rib. We found that the prime rib there is just as good as the fancier restaurants.

We decided to do something we haven't done in years—play bar top poker. And so we sat down, ordered a drink and the bartender kept them coming. It was fun to play at the bar. It was more relaxing, talking and laughing with the bartender and other players as well as watching the football game. I wasn't doing too well at playing at first but after the bartender kept my glass full I was playing better and actually winning. The bartender was way too kind to me and I finally had to cash out $125 ahead (quarter machine). Jeff got me to the room safely and I hit the bed at 11:30.

Saturday, January 15, 2005
Woke up at 8:30 with a major headache (wonder why) and stomach ache. Jeff insisted that I go to the casino while he got showered and dressed and so I did. Right after he came down to the casino I hit the four deuces for $250 on the same machine I got the royal on Wednesday. We met our host, Debbie, for lunch at the Pyramid Café at noon and had another great visit with her. Went up to the room to do some packing as we were leaving early the next morning. Hit the casino later but had no luck or playing time on anything at all. After cashing in our slot points for $118, we said our final goodbyes for the trip to our friends at Luxor and went to bed at midnight.

Sunday, January 16, 2005
Up at 5:00. Our flight is at 9:40 a.m. and we wanted to give ourselves enough time to check in, have breakfast and play a little at the airport. We left Luxor at 6:45, dropped our car off at Dollar and had checked in by 7:30. That gave us enough time to eat at Ruby's Diner for their wonderful breakfast sandwich and play a little. We usually are fairly lucky on winning something at the airport but not this time. Our flight took off on time, the flight was wonderful and we landed back in snowy, below zero temperature Milwaukee on schedule. One hour later we pulled into our driveway.

Our next trip is in May and that week we hope to purchase and close on a home in Las Vegas. Our move date is set for June and we are looking forward to living in Nevada. Many people question why we would want to move to where we love to vacation. Many answers, but the Las Vegas Valley isn't the Las Vegas Strip. There is a "real" life there and we can still vacation there by visiting the strip and our beloved Luxor. We just don't have to take an airplane and rent a car to get there!

Thanks for reading.