Self, husband, sister, brother-in-law....all between 50 and 55 years of age. We are low rollers....we budget about $150 per day per person for gambling. We were armed with the POV and ACG coupons plus a few coupons found on internet sites.

We departed on Sunday, 1/30, out of Chicago O'Hare on American (free tickets from the Fly Three...Fly Free promotion). Our scheduled flight was going to get us into LV about 9p so we went to the airport early to standby for earlier flights. We lucked out and got on the 9:14a flight, so we were in LV about 11a. We picked up a car at AVIS and headed out.

Sunday, 1/30

Because of the much earlier flight, this was like having an extra day! We headed to the Orleans and had lunch at their buffet. Everything looked and tasted fresh. Not many items you would consider gourmet, but very good. I particularly liked the lox and bagels with cream cheese, capers and onion. Lots of choices...lots of desserts. Played some VP (no luck) and headed out.

Drove to TI (easy parking in the self-park garage behind the casino). There was almost no line at check-in. We were on our way to the rooms within about 5 min. (If no smoking is important to you, the non-smoking floors have their own elevator group so we were in elevators with people who did not smell like smoke.) Both rooms were on the 28th floor and just one room apart. The bedroom and bathroom were both very roomy. Everything was in good condition. Had a southern strip view; watching the Mirage volcano was fun. My only wish would have been for 2 sinks in the bathroom, but you can't have everything. I thought our rate of $69 per night with some free food and drinks was pretty good.

After unpacking, we went over to Harrah's to see if Improv tickets were available for the early show that night. We were in luck and were able to use the $10 off per ticket coupon on the 4 tickets. We played some slots and VP, and returned to TI to freshen-up and change for dinner.

We took the tram over to Mirage and went to the Caribe Café. Since we had eaten buffet at lunch, we were looking for a light dinner. When we approached the hostess, we asked for non-smoking. She advised (in a not so friendly manner) that non-smoking would be a wait of at least 20 min., however she could seat us in smoking immediately. When we advised her that we would wait, she got 'huffy' and said, 'The wait may be longer and there is no one in there smoking right now.' I replied that this could change at any time, and that my sister had brought only one inhaler with her (which was true). Talk about a turnaround. The hostess became very nice, winked and said, 'Let me go check in non-smoking and see what I can do for you.' She came back in a minute, and asked if a booth was OK. We said, fine. She advised it would be ready for us in a couple of minutes. While we were waiting, my sister and I had been picking up and looking at some polished stones in the boxes with artificial flowers. We were talking about how many of them would made good 'worry stones'. When the hostess came back, she saw we were looking at and rubbing stones, and asked about it. We told her that the not too big and flattish stones were good 'worry stones'. She asked what was a 'worry stone'. We told her a smooth, flat stone that fit in the hand well, was a great 'worry stone'. All you had to do was rub your thumb on the stone, and your stress was reduced. We gave her one of the stones, and told her to use it whether people 'bugged' her, or she was stressing.

She took to our booth. We had a great waitress and the food was very good. When we left, the hostess smiled and again called out to us, 'How was your service and dinner'? We told her great....she was now our new best friend.

We went over to Harrah's and played some VP and slots. No greats wins or losses. We went upstairs to the early Improv show. (Not sure when this changed, but The Improv is now assigned seating, though if you are not seated at least 15 min. before show time, your seats can be given away.) We had great seats on the first platform, centered to the stage.

David Gee was the comedian great shakes. The first comedian was Ty Barnett. He was really funny and we enjoyed him a lot. The headliner was Lisa Lampanelli. Her 'thing' is sarcasm, politically incorrect comments and making fun of audience members. She kept berating the audience that we weren't laughing and/or clapping enough. At the end, she did thank the audience members that she had used as the butts of many of her 'jokes'. She did have a couple of funny lines, but she was just too crude/rude for our tastes. Would not go anywhere to see her again.

We were pretty tired when the show was over, so we returned to TI. It was midnight, our time, so we all hit the hay.

Monday, 1/31

This morning was designated as Men's Morning Out and Women's Spa Morning. The two men went to The Gun Store for some target shooting (there is a $5 off coupon on their website), then to Bass Pro and then to Fry's Electronics. The men had a great morning.

My sister and I went to the TI Spa for a facial and massage. Though pricey, both procedures were heavenly and worth every dime. I had the European Facial and the Honey-Butter exfoliation and massage....mmmmmmmmmm. When finished, my skin was as soft as a baby's bottom.

We met up with the boys, got the rental car and headed to The Palms. We had a great lunch at Garduno's and used the POV coupon. We all had the fajitas express which was made to order fajitas and lots of side and main dishes on a small buffet. Very good. We stayed and played for awhile....just VP with no big wins or losses.

We headed downtown about 4p. We had free show/free one drink coupons for Bobby Ruffin's Tribute to The Drifters at 5:15p at Fitzgerald's. Honestly, we weren't expecting much from this 'free' show, but it was FABULOUS! Small venue on the 2nd Floor of the Fitz ...about 50 people attending that afternoon. The singing was great...had the audience singing and clapping along on many songs. Songs included....Under the Boardwalk, This Magic Moment, and more. We really had a ball and I would recommend it to anyone liking old Rock n Roll. (We thought the act should be somewhere like The Orleans...we would have paid for that terrific performance!)

After the show, we stopped for dinner at The Fremont buffet with 2-for-1 coupons. It was OK, but nothing great. The desserts were the best part of the meal. We then caught the Area 51 Fremont Experience show. Cool. We moved on to the Four Queens. The men played Blackjack, and my sister and I played Pai Gow Poker for about 3 hours. Between my sister and her husband, they were up about $200. My husband and I were up about $50. Not bad for 3 hours of entertainment. We caught the American Freedom show and headed back to TI. Great day!

Tuesday, 2/1

We started the day about 8a with the breakfast buffet at TI (Dishes) with 2-for-1 coupons. Lots of choices....made to order omelets/eggs, cereals, oatmeal, lox/bagels, homemade hash, pastries, homemade donuts, fruits, etc, etc. Very nice. Fresh...cold things were things were hot.

We then headed to Hoover Dam. It was a beautiful day...not hardly a cloud in the sky. We parked in the visitor center lot ($5), and then purchased the tour ($10). We each got a dollar off the tour with coupons I printed from the Hoover Dam site. They are good until 3-31-05. There was a theater presentation, a visit down to the Nevada-side generators, a video, lots of exhibits, and a wonderful observation deck. The views from the observation deck were the highlight for us. There was a really nice volunteer on the observation deck that talked to us and answered any questions we had. We spent about 2 hours at the dam.

We went back to TI for a quick snack and a little down time. About 3:30p we headed out to Green Valley Ranch. The main purpose was an early dinner at the GVR buffet using 2-for-1 coupons. The buffet did not disappoint. They had wonderful hot crab legs, cold crab legs, mussels, clams, tender/tasty prime rib, lots of American, Mexican and Asian dishes including a Mongolian grill. There were tons of desserts including hand-dipped ice cream. It was like....'roll me out'. This was the first time on the trip that I really over ate. those crab legs.

After dinner, we looked at the Pai Gow and Blackjack tables. There was only one $10 Pai Gow table and no empty seats. The cheapest Backjack table was $15, and no open seats, so we headed back to the car. We drove downtown and stopped back at the Four Queens. No luck in getting a Pai Gow table, but the men found a $5 blackjack table and settled in. My sister and I went to The luck. We moved on to Binion's and found Pai Gow seats at a $10 table. About 3 hours later, the men left the Four Queens and came to check on us. They were both about even. We cashed out and I was $40 ahead; my sister $50 down. Not bad for over 3 hours of entertainment. Went back to TI and hit the hay.

Wednesday, 2/2

Husband returned the rental car very early. This was going to be our day to use the monorail and our feet for the casinos along the monorail line and the strip. Had a light breakfast at TI's Terrace Café. Had heard on the television that some debris or something had hit a section of the monorail, however they were predicting that it would be running by 9a....NOT. We headed to Caesar's Palace and threw away about $100 on Megabucks. Played some 9/6 VP. Husband and I came out about $500 up. Went across to Flamingo and spent some money in the Margaritaville gift shop. Moved on to Paris.

Had lunch at Mon Ami Gabi. My sister had the mac, cheese and ham...awesome. My brother-in-law had escargot and the steak sandwich...very good. Husband and I shared escargot and a cheese/fruit platter with a bottle of Merlot....mmmmmmmm. Wonderful!

From there we walked to the Tix4tonight office by Harley-Davidson. Had an internet coupon for the VIP line and a $1 off their fees. Got 50% off on four Star Trek Experience admissions. Walked on to MGM so we could monorail to the Hilton. No Go....monorail still down, so we grabbed a cab.

Had been to the Star Trek Expereince before, but not since they opened the 4D Borg adventure. We did the Borg adventure, and then the older Klingon adventure. We thoroughly enjoyed both. Still no monorail. Cabbed back to TI for a little rest/downtime and to change for dinner.

We had a sandwich at TI's Kanter's Deli about 5p and then cabbed to MGM for the early Ka show. We were about 8 rows back from the stage and dead center. The theater was magnificent, and the show was great! Having seen the show, I would suggest trying to sit back maybe 20 rows for easier viewing of some of the activities. Well worth the money!

We cabbed back to TI (still no monorail). We went to the Breeze Bar for some after dinner drinks with free drink coupons. Not too crowded. We then went our own ways. I played Men In Black (on $10) for a couple of hours. Cute bonus rounds. I cashed out about $50 ahead, found my husband and we went to the room to pack. Packing done....hit the hay.

Thursday 2/3

Up and out early. Flight leaving at 8:47a. Short lines at the ticket counter and security. Stopped for breakfast and then on to the gate. Smooth flight home however, there were lots of people coughing and coughing and coughing. If none of us gets sick, it will be a miracle.

We all had a fabulous time, and are trying to figure out when we can afford to go again, hopefully before the end of 2005. My husband and I came home with all of our gambling money, and sister/brother-in-law came home with half their gambling money, so we were pleased with our gambling results.

Highs - Ka, Hoover Dam, Bobby Ruffin?s Tribute to The Drifters
Lows - Lisa Lampanelli at the Improv.