Jack and Mary's Trip Report--Las Vegas Club and The Orleans--Dec. 26 thru Dec. 30:

This was our third trip to Vegas this year, and it was probably one of our best trips ever--filled with 'Vegas Moments.' We are avid readers of others' trip reports and enjoy hearing of their adventures and good and bad experiences. Hope you will get some pleasure from reading this.

Day 1:

Our flight out of Minneapolis was thankfully uneventful. I should add that the check-in lady at Sun Country was especially pleasant and helpful, and we took this as a sign that our trip was going to be a good one. Our good feeling continued as our flight arrived on time, we retrieved our one bag at the baggage claim with no problem, we walked out to the Alamo shuttle and barely got seated before the driver pulled out with us as his only passengers. The good feeling continued at the Alamo Quicksilver kiosk which spit out our contract just like it is supposed to, we walked about 100 feet to our shiny, clean 4-door Mitsubishi Gallant, and were pulling onto highway 215 in less than 5 minutes. We took a right on Las Vegas Boulevard and a left into Vacation Village. This is a tradition with us. We always stop here when we leave the airport and spin the wheel to win half our airfare. We were pleasantly surprised to find that they had updated their funsheet, and all the staff we came in contact with were welcoming and helpful. We only won $2 when we tried the wheel, but Jack did hit the jackpot on it when we stopped in August. The funsheet coupons are worth stopping for--2 free drinks each and several good match plays. After several margaritas and some fun playing, we decided it was time to move on to our home-away-from-home at The Las Vegas Club.

Jack had booked our room over a month ago for $18 a night.
The room was on the 9th floor of the north tower--- and we feel it was better than our rooms at Fitzgerald's and The Imperial Palace, and as good as Harrah's and The Golden Nugget. The room had a king-size bed, floor-to-ceiling window with a love seat, 2 chairs, and a coffee table. There was a nice big TV at the end of the bed , a make-up area, sink area, and separate bathroom facilities. We were starving so walked to the Fremont for the Tuesday night seafood buffet. We had about a 30 minute wait , but we visited with a nice family from Hawaii while in line and the time went quickly. The food was OK but not outstanding. The main feature is lobster claws--they have been cracked, but you have to pull them open. Jack took a hunk out of his thumb on one, and he was bleeding all over the plate. We had a hard time getting any staff person's attention, but after several requests were finally given 2 small Band-Aids. Well...the blood soaked through immediately, and from then on the wait staff totally ignored us. We asked the cashier for assistance when we left, and were referred to security. When we got there, we found the security officer had little if any first aid supplies or knowledge. When we mentioned the lack of assistance and how this had taken away from our dining enjoyment, he suggested we speak to the Food and Beverage Manager. He was pleasant but of absolutely no help--all we got was an apology and 2 more band-aids! This was the one and only disappointing moment of our trip.

From there we went to Fitzgerald's where Jack played the quarter totem machines and won--these machines have always been good to him. I played quarter Leapin' Leprechauns and won $100 on a fifty cent Triple Diamond/Double Diamond machine.
Then on to the Four Queens where we played using their promotion cards and each got coffee mugs. Our next stop was La Bayou--we like this place. We got our beads and played their quarter Easy Money machines with a bonus spin. Jack ended up with a hand pay in there. We headed back to Las Vegas Club and sat down at the Deuces Wild VP machines. Not full pay but not bad. Jack was dealt 3 deuces and 2 eights for 5-of-a-kind which pays 80 credits. He agonized over the decision to go for the 4th deuce (2000 credits), but in the end settled for the $40 win. Later we played quarter progressive VP, and Jack got 4 tens for $62. We went back to our room about 2:30 (4:30 Iowa time) and checked our cash supply. Jack thought he had $3 more than when he got off the plane, and I think I spent about $60. It was a great day.

Day 2:

We always bring our own little coffeepot and instant coffee, so our day started off with coffee in bed served in our newly acquired Four Queens coffee mugs! The forecast for today was for 58 degrees and sunny--last night's low was 36. We were up by 7:30, called home to check in with everybody, showered, fluffed, and then headed to one of our favorite breakfast stops--Main Street Station. If they don't have it on this buffet, you don't need it for breakfast. The omelet station is outstanding--the gentleman cooking them is an omelet master and an entertainer. The Western Omelet with their salsa is to die for. After a wonderful meal, we looked around the casino and decided to try the new nickel I Dream of Jeanie machines. We had a lot of fun on these, and Jack ended up with another hand pay--$80. We took the sky walk from MSS to The California. Jack played nickel Wheel of Fortune for a while and made a few dollars. We both made $10 parlay bets on that day's bowl games then back to the room to fluff up and then head to the Battle Bar at Treasure Island to attend our first Vegastalk meeting.

We enjoyed meeting people we only knew by discussion board user names but lost at everything we tried at Treasure Island. Left there about 2:30 and drove out to see the new Sun Coast. Jack got a t-shirt, beads, bungi, key chain, and pens for signing up for their slot club on the internet. He used his card and we both played 50 play Deuces Wild VP. No luck there, so moved to some 9/6 JOB machines. We both got 4-of-a-kinds and left those machines up $20 each. We ordered onion rings at Terrible Mike's in the Sun Coast, and they were excellent. We drove back to The LVC about 5:00, and it was still 57 degrees.

We have always enjoyed the $5.99 prime rib special at The Plaza, and we were not disappointed this trip. Delicious food and a relaxed atmosphere. Next, we went to The Golden Gate where we tried the Yahtze machines. These were new to us, and Jack ended up with a $140 win. Then we went back to La Bayou to the quarter Easy Money machines, and Jack won again--another $110. We carried the quarters over to The Golden Nugget and cashed them in. He then put $10 in the big-handle, 4-reel machine by the front door and turned it into $50. We took that win and played it back into dollar machines--bye-bye $50!

Then back to The Las Vegas Club where we had a fantastic end to our day. We thought it would be fun to play nickel The Adams Family machines. We sat side-by-side and put in our $10 each. It wasn't long before Jack got the bonus round and he had the opportunity to Fry Fester. When he did, the machine lit up, and a big jackpot screen lit up that said 'Attendant will pay jackpot. 2250 credits' Well, it was so fun when the attendant did come--he not only got the cash, but also had his picture taken, got 2 complimentary dinners, and found out his $100+ jackpot on a nickel machine had earned him The Las Vegas Club Four Season Pass. This entitled him to 3 free nights 4 times a year! Yikes! Is this fun or what! Our fun wasn't over though. After the Adams Family win, we tried some other nickel machines by the door. They have a football theme and 2 bonus rounds. One of the bonus rounds you just pick a football and it reveals your bonus credits. The other has 5 footballs lined up, and you kick them by touching them on the screen. Each successful kick up to 3 earns you more bonus credits. After playing 30 to 40 minutes, we both cashed out 700 nickels--$35 each. A good return on our $10 investment, and a lot of fun.

Day 3:

We got up late--9:30. Jack still has his 'death rattle' from slight touch of pneumonia we had been doctoring for a week before we left. In fact, he is coughing worse than ever, so we call home to our local doctor for advice. She recommends another round of antibiotics and is willing to call a Vegas pharmacy with a prescription order. This makes us both feel better. The bell captain at LVC was very helpful. He suggested the White Cross Pharmacy on LV Boulevard just north of the Stratosphere--said it was the closest and easiest to find. He gave us good directions, and we were out of valet parking and on our way in no time. Waiting for our prescription at the pharmacy was a lot like waiting for a bus at the bus station--I think if you sat there long enough, you would see most everything. With antibiotics in hand, we headed on to the Bellagio. We wanted to check on our slot club account from our play in August. When we stayed there, their computer system was down and we were given diaries to record our slot play. We were told to be generous with our recording, and we were!!! We wondered if these diary entries would ever be entered by hand into the system. Well, kudos to Bellagio! We were delighted to find we had earned 2 complimentary buffets and $79 cash back. Another win! Bellagio will be glad to know that we played the $79 and then some back into their slot machines with absolutely no wins. However, while we played we enjoyed some of the best margaritas in Vegas. We then decided to go to the car museum at Imperial Palace and play at Barbary Coast before using our Bellagio buffet comps for the evening buffet. We got 2 coupons out of the 'What's On' magazine for free admission to the car museum. We had never seen it before, and I enjoyed it way more than I thought I would. The neat part of this display is that all the cars have a price on them, so it's a little like shopping and visiting a museum at the same time. About 4 o'clock, we headed back to Bellagio for the evening buffet. Apparently, everyone else had the same idea because the line was very long. We, however, with comp in hand, got to use the VIP line. It was great! Our first time to look like high rollers! We spent about an hour eating --the line for the Alaskan King Crab legs meant about 20 minutes of waiting--but Jack said it was worth it. The feast was everything we remembered and more. Then we were off to Palace Station. This is a new casino to us. After cruising the area, we settled in at a couple nickel Rock 'N Roll machines. I lost $10, but Jack had a $65 hand pay. Now it was time to head back to LVC to freshen up and then hit the casino. We played at the LVC most of that evening, although we played a bit at Fitzgerald's (Jack won $25 on the $5 Wild Cherry machine that he'd won $1,000 last trip) and also at LaBayou. In fact, we played the nickel Betty Boops at LaBayou until they closed. We picked up some fries at McDonald's in Fitzgerald's to eat while we walked back to the LVC. Fremont Street was nearly deserted at 2 a.m. It seemed like it was just us and 4 security officers. Back at the LVC, we split up. Jack played blackjack--probably lost $10, but won $20 or $30 at roulette making outside bets. I got an $80 handpay on nickel Adams Family in the same bank of machines Jack had won on. Jack also played that nickel football machine and cashed out 1,000 nickels--it was the same machine he'd won on before--it's the one closest to the door. With winnings in hand, we were off to bed.

Day 4:

We were up and out by 10 o'clock. Checked out of LVC and got the car out of Valet Parking and drove to MSS for breakfast. We had all kinds of free buffet coupons and 2-for-1s, but we love the breakfast buffet at MSS, so we forked out the $4.99 each for another fantastic meal. We hiked over to The Plaza to pick up our photo key chain--this is now for new slot club members only, but I whined and offered to pay for it, so a really sweet girl went ahead and took our picture. Jack had printed a Lady Luck coupon off the internet, so we headed over there to get Funbooks. At Lady Luck, we played nickel Monopoly--no luck for either of us. I had a small win on The Winning Bid machines, and Jack won on a quarter RW&B 7s machine. We used our funbooks to get coffee mugs and free buffets for our play. Jack also got a T-shirt there. Now it was time to head for our new home--The Orleans--for our last day and night in Vegas. Jack used the old 'it's our anniversary--do the best you can for us' line, and it worked. He got us a great room on the 19th floor, close to the elevators, and with a great view of the strip from Mandalay Bay to the Stratosphere. It was a standard room but spacious and tastefully decorated. And, yes, there is a lovely little window over the tub. You can open it and enjoy the sounds of LV while you soak or shower. And there is the ever-important phone by the potty. We took some pictures of the room and the view. We highly recommend The Orleans. We walked around, played here and there, decided to go to the afternoon showing of 'Cast Away', and then hit the Orleans buffet. It measured up to all other buffets--except Bellagio and Paris--in our estimation. After eating, I played a couple hours and then called it a night. Jack went down to play some blackjack and came back an hour later down $40. Called operator for a 5:30 wake-up so we could return our car to Alamo and make our 9:30 flight back to Minneapolis.

Day 5:

Thinking this was an early flight out, we were up, showered, and dressed by 6:30. Knowing there were weather problems all over the U.S., I called the 800 number to check on our flight. Yahoo! It's delayed until 3:15! More time for us to enjoy The Orleans. We returned to their buffet for breakfast, and, contrary to some reports, we found it delicious. We scouted around the casino for nickel machines we hadn't played before--Little Green Men was one, Easy Street was another--can't remember the others, but we had fun and stayed about even. We had to check out by noon, so Jack suggested we investigate the Belz Outlet Mall. We only had an hour to shop, but folks, I plan to spend a lot more time there on our next trip. They were having after-Christmas sales and the place was packed, but I found several good buys in the short time we were there. With Jack dragging me kicking and screaming to the car, we drove out to the airport. A very pleasant clerk checked us in and informed us the flight was delayed another hour or so and gave us $16 in food vouchers we could use anywhere in the airport. After checking in, we returned the car to Alamo which took about a minute. We jumped on their shuttle and were taken back to McCarran. We chose to eat at Cheers where Jack could watch the NFL play-offs while we had sandwiches and beers. Went from Cheers to Gate B-21 where they announced that the plane was in the air but battling headwinds which would push its arrival to 5:30. But, they also announced, Sun Country would be handing our vouchers to all passengers for free round-trip domestic flights! Another win!!! Finally left about 6:30 and enjoyed free in-flight cocktails (another win!) and a box lunch on the way home. Arrived in Minneapolis to find the temperature a chilling 4 degrees and about 6 inches of new snow. Our 2 hour drive back to our home in Iowa got us to bed about 3 a.m. Thankfully, we had 3 days to rest up before we have to go back to work.

Parting thoughts:

We didn't get to do several of the things we planned: eat Saimen at The California, visit the new Aladdin, visit casinos on Boulder Highway, eat steak/shrimp special at The Hard Rock, see the Checkmates in the lounge at Arizona Charlie's, see the bird show at The Tropicana, or get a fresh Krispy Kreme . Well, guess we'll have to go again!

We don't feel that downtown is getting seedy. I felt very safe everywhere we went.
Panhandlers and homeless were not evident. We were not approached by any time-share people.

Jack always carries 8 to 10 gold dollar coins in his pocket for valet parking and drink tips. 4 out of 5 cocktail waitresses seem truly excited about receiving them. Much easier than fishing for paper bills. They are still easy to obtain at our local bank.

Already looking forward to our next trip--probably over spring break.