Trip Report - Cam & Joan, Las Vegas - 25 July to 02 Aug 98
We had been planning this trip to Vegas for our 25th Anniversary since April. We had never stayed anywhere but the strip so we decided to give the downtown area and Laughlin a try for something different. We booked 4 days at the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas and 3 days at the Golden Nugget in Laughlin. Our trip package also included a car for the 7 days. We travelled from Winnipeg using Northwest Air. It was cramped but who cares. Just get us to Vegas!!! A couple things they could have done to make it better was when on route, and the flight being during the day, tell us what we are flying over. We seen some beautiful sights but we have no idea what we were looking at. The second thing is tell the staff to smile occasionally. It doesn't cost anything to do either suggestion and would make it more enjoyable. The flights were on time both coming and going. For the numerous times that we have flown to Vegas over the years using quite a few different airlines this was a first. Bravo! to Northwest on this point.
This is the first time we arrived using the domestic terminal. Being old hands at Vegas travel we got off the plane, followed the baggage signs down the escalators and arrived at a dead end with windows and patio doors. Huh! Both my wife Joan and I looked at each other. We had no idea where we were. There were other people, with what I'm sure was the same perplexed look that was on our faces, looking around and trying to figure out what had just happened. What happened was that as part of the renovations they have put in a Tram that runs between the two terminals and we were at the Tram dock. We took the Tram to the main terminal, got our bags and grabbed the shuttle bus for the Alamo Car Rentals, and a marathon wait to get the car. They were busy! There were about 50 people in front of us. The Alamo had 5 people working but the shuttles just kept coming carrying more people looking for cars. It took us 2 hours to finally get to the counter and get a car. Once again this was a first. We both agree that the next time we will get a car at the hotel. Two hours waiting in line, in sight of the casinos on the first day, is cruel and unusual punishment.
The weather during the entire stay was HOT and ranged from the low 100's to 118 in Laughlin. We loved it since we are having a lousy summer with lots of rain at home.
Golden Nugget Las Vegas - 25 July - 28 July After looking on the Internet at the rooms at the Nugget it was everything we expected. Large, spacious room, beautiful casino and the hotel staff were friendly and helpful. We were early for our ckeck-in time but we were able to get a room (with an upgrade when I told them it was our 25th) with no problem. Nice pool area, the wife loved the mist around the pool during the day.
We play everything and play everywhere but my wife stays primarily with black jack and craps and I play primarily slots from nickels to dollars. Of all the casino's in Vegas that we played in this trip our favourite was the Las Vegas Club. The people there are a lot of fun. That includes the dealers, change people, security, everyone. There are a lot of Vegas casino's that should take a lesson from these people. A person doesn't mind losing money if they are having a good time and these people show you a good time. In all the times I have been going to Vegas I have never had a security guard sit and joke with me or have to beat the drinks person off with a stick whether I was playing nickels or dollars. They have a promo for cash. If your name is drawn you spin a wheel for a chance to win money or you do an event to win money. This one lady did black jack that you couldn't lose the 20$ bet for 4 minutes. Everyone was crowded around the table watching and shouting encouragement. The poor dealer. Everyone was strongly encouraging him to deal faster, faster, faster and booing when he didn't deal a winning hand. What a hoot. There are a couple of nickel machines hid in the back left corner if you enter from Freemont St. called Silver Sierra. I put 20$ in each and kept spinning and spinning and spinning. I finally quit. Not because I ran out of money but I was there so long and like I said you have to beat the drink person off with a stick, which I didn't .... Anyway, the count for day 1 after playing at the Vegas Club, Golden Nugget, 4 Queens, Fitzgeralds and Binion's - Me, up. Joan, up. For meals we had the lunch buffet at Main St. Station which was good. Joan who loves food ate too much while I ate a small meal (saving myself for supper) For supper I wanted to have the Lobster Tails and Steak for 9.99 at the Freemont but the line up was so long to get into the restaurant that we went to Binion's for their steak special. The food there is always good although I do miss the 2.99 steak special after midnight. Why did they stop that special?
Drove to Primm. We stopped at the casino Nevada Landing (about half way between Vegas and Primm) as we had seen it on previous trips but had never stopped. It was really busy which is a good sign. I played the super stars slots and hit for 400 quarters. I seen people hitting some good sized pots while we were there. I have marked this place down for a revisit on our next trip. We arrived at Primm and Joan played black jack and me the slots at Whiskey Pete's. We both lost on this round. Back to Vegas. We played at Main St. Station, Sam's Town, Vegas Club, Fitzgeralds, Golden Nugget and Binion's. My highlight of the day was playing the 10X machines at Fitzgeralds when I hit a 10X 10X bar. 2,000 quarters, and those same nickel Silver Sierra's at the Vegas club 7 times for the silver bars. This time I chased the drink person away. (still suffering from yesterday) As a note, when we played at Sam's Town I was a little disappointed that they had taken out so many of my favourite machines and replaced them with those gimmick machines. Give me the single line single spin machines anytime. The count - Me, up. Joan - even. We ate at the Carson Street Cafe at the Nugget. There was no line and the food was very good. Joan had the veal and I had the stuffed pita.
I layed down for a snooze while Joan layed around the pool. We went to the strip. Our first stop was the Stratosphere and we worked our way up the strip playing up to the Monte Carlo. Has the strip ever changed since our last trip a year ago. Aladdin gone, Harra's completely remodelled, more casino's going up. I am constantly amazed at how fast Vegas changes. The town planners should take a serious look at the end of the town that has the Stratosphere. We never got out of the pan handlers until we reached Circus Circus. I don't remember there being that many pan handlers before, the garbage was all over the place and groups of people just sitting, drinking and watching the "tourists". We didn't like it as it made us feel somewhat unsafe for the first time since we have been going there. I particularly like the "Monte Carlo" machines at the Monte Carlo. I usually throw a 20$ bill in each of the machines I see as we enter and play max credit. I usually come away with more than I start with and this time was no different. Other than the Monte Carlo my luck at the machines is on the downturn so I start mixing what I'm playing. Still with no real luck so time to quit for the day and do something else. We took a cab back to the Nugget. Count for the day - Me, down. Joan - up. We ate the steak and tails special at the Freemont. It was horrible. Everything was over cooked and we both left feeling hungry. I definitely would not recommend this meal although from what we seen for chinese food it was a different story. They have a dish of appetizers called (i'm not sure of the spelling) Pau Pau. It looked delicious, smelled delicious and the people that ordered it said it was delicious. The atmosphere was ok so I marked this one down for a revisit for the Chinese.
We wanted to have room service breakfast but the menu was too limited so we went downstairs for the buffet. There was no line up and the food was good. After breakfast we walked over to Lady Luck because we had never been there before. We didn't stay long because it was so quiet. We played downtown for awhile and I layed down for a power nap. I got up, showered and we both headed for the Rio Suites for the Sea Food Buffet. This buffet is excellent and well worth the 24$ each. We then went to the Excalibur where I hit a 1$ triple diamond for 320$. Joan played at the tables and was not impressed with the dealers. They were no fun at all, no chat and all business. They should take lessons from the Vegas Club on how to make it fun for the people spending the money. We then went to the NY NY for the Lord of the Dance show. We stopped in at the Times Square piano bar because we were early for the show and had a real good time there. The two guy's playing the piano's and singing were good and got the audience into the fun by playing requests and having us sing along. There was one request for the Unicorn song with the actions. Joan shouted "no". They played the song complete with the actions. After it was over the one entertainer said that he only heard one person say no to the song and only one person did the actions while they were playing. It was the same person, my better half. The Lord of the Dance is excellent. The energy coming off these entertainers is incredible although for the guy in front of us it didn't do anything. He slept through the whole thing. I don't know how he did that with the pyrotechnics and music. Count for the Day. Me - down. Joan - even.
Checked out and headed for the Golden Nugget in Laughlin. We never did find pictures of this one on the internet. We arrived shortly after 12 noon for check-in and we were told we would have to wait until 3. The casino was nice but the rooms were like any motel room anywhere, not a casino. The pool was only 3 feet deep and the water temperature was more like bath water than somewhere to go to get refreshed and with lots of chlorine. We couldn't get our room until 3pm. Joan slept once we were able to get our room which was just that, a room like any other motel. Definitely not to casino standards. Played at the Golden Nugget while Joan slept. The long days and late nights were catching up. I have never played 10 spins at max credit on any 15 machines and hit absolutely nothing but I did here. Warning bells were going off big time. Not just because I hadn't hit anything but because it was very quiet. When Joan got up we shifted our play to the Colorado Belle, Flamingo, Edgewater. We both liked the Flamingo because of the staff. They are a lot like the people at the Las Vegas Club which is, they make it fun for the customer to lose. I played some different machines called Super Stars. I hit for 600 quarters a couple of times which kept me going. I plugged a few hundred into dollar machines and held my own which is all a person can hope for. Count for the day. Me - up. Joan -up.
Drove to Lake Haversau City to see the London Bridge. It's a tourist trap. There were a lot of shops but really not all that much to do. The candle factory is worth seeing. We wanted to take the boat cruise there. We boarded and looked around when I noticed people trying to get the motors going. After watching for a while we asked someone who worked there what was going on. She told us they were having mechanical problems and that this trip would not be going and probably not the next one either so we drove back to Laughlin. We did some shopping in Bull Head City and the Factory shops in Laughlin. We then played triple play Black Jack and craps at the Colorado Belle and the Edgewater. I won at black jack, Joan lost. Joan won at craps, I lost. We make a great team. We then went to the Flamingo where I played those super star machines I had played the previous night. I hit for 600 quarters again and the other machine I played and played and played. It kept me going with multiple small hits but nothing big. I finally got tired and found Joan. We headed back to the Nugget for bed. I played 1$ machines for an hour or so prior to bed and went down, down, down. This was the last time I played here. Count for the day. Me - down. Joan - up.
Joan spent most of the day by the pool and I layed around, watched TV, had a snooze until the evening. For supper we had the buffet at the Nugget. I should have suspected something when I asked the girl in one of the shops in our hotel what the buffet was like and she said she never eats the buffet here. It was horrible. I have never seen Joan not eat Prime Rib, mashed potatoes and gravy but she couldn't here. Everything was cold despite that we were there 20 minutes after opening. On the positive side, we had the breakfast buffet here twice and it was good and the cafe across from the buffet has excellent food. We never had a bad meal there. We played at the Flamingo again where we held our own and then played black jack and craps at the Colorado Bell and Edgewater where we both lost. Count for the day. Me - down. Joan - up. I've got to stick to BJ and Craps.
Checked out of the Golden Nugget in Laughlin and drove back to Vegas. We stopped at Nevada Bob's looking for srixon golf balls and was told they only have them at Pro shops. We then went to the Rio Suites because we wanted to get on the floats for the 6pm show but their computers were down. We left there and went to Excalibur where I played the triple diamond again and Joan played craps and BJ. Joan was even and me down. We then went to the Monte Carlo where I played my favourite machines. The best I could do was hold my own while Joan watched. She was tired and it was just about time to leave for the airport.
The overall stats for this trip was that we both came home with money in our pockets, Joan more than me this time and we had fun which made it a successful trip. A lot of the plans we had made from information we had obtained off the internet didn't work out because of the heat such as horse back riding in the desert. We should have looked at the map because we had planned a trip to the Grand Canyon from Laughlin. Vegas was closer so we didn't do it this time. Next visit we will plan the trip around an event such as a PGA Golf tournament or something similar. We have about 3 years left until I retire from the Military with 25 years service and are looking foreword to buying a place in Utah or Nevada so we can visit our most favourite city in the world more frequently and we love the hot dry weather.