Well the trip all started with me already being in San Diego during the week of Thanksgiving, and a joking remark to my neighbor that we should meet up in Vegas on Wed. Nov. 26, since he was driving out to San Diego with his nephew from Austin on Tuesday Nov. 25th. He agreed and so my quick rush to plan a Vegas trip was in the works. Side note, I am 26, my neighbor is 47, and his nephew is 22, it helps to put the report in perspective.

I knew that I wanted to splurge and spoil myself and impress my neighbor so I tried Travelaxe to see what hotel prices were during Wed. and Thur., but nothing jumped out, so I decided to do the Priceline trick at the Venetian. I started my bidding at $79 for Wed and Thurs. and it was rejected. I then bumped it up to 89, still rejected. I figured the Thursday night stay was what was the problem, so I changed the bid for Wed. night only and increased it to $110. The bid was accepted immediately and I was very proud of my accomplishment. Sometime later in the day I called the Venetian to see if I could request 2 beds, since Priceline stated all bed requests should be made directly with the hotel. The Venetian said that since the reservation was through Priceline no changes could be made until the day of check-in, I was a little worried but I didn't let it get me down, bad comes to worse we would have one bed in a 700 sq. ft room. I think we could manage.

Next I thought about where I wanted to stay on Thursday, again I tried Travelaxe as a starting point. I found some decent prices at a couple of casinos. I wanted to change locations so I looked for places at the South end of the strip. The choice was between NYNY and MGM. MGM had a Bungalow Suite available for $139. I looked at the floor plan and the place was huge, larger than anything NYNY had to offer at a comparable price. I booked the MGM room through their website and everything was set.

On Wed. I drove from San Diego to Las Vegas the whole way on I-15. It was an easy drive, only about 320 miles, and I made it in about 4.5 hours. I was cruising about 80 most of the way but if you do the math I averaged about 75 miles an hour. Man there is nothing like coming over a hill and seeing the beautiful city of Las Vegas before you, it was an awe inspiring experience. As soon as I hit the city limits I popped in my Swingers CD and started jamming to "With Plenty of Money and You" by Count Basie. Anyone who has seen the movie, this is the song that is playing when they first get into Vegas. Let me tell you it was awesome. My first stop in town was the In and Out Burger, I had already been on the west coast for a couple of days and I had yet to get a Double Cheese Burger, the burger was good as always.

Next stop was the Venetian to check in, and thanks to this board I always try the $20 trick whenever I stay at a hotel in Vegas. At first the guy at the reservation desk gave me a look like I had mistakenly handed him some money with my ID and credit card. I told him,that the money was for him, if there was "anything he could do". I told him the only condition was that I needed two beds. He looked in the computer and told me there was a Rialto Suite available and that it was twice the size of the room I had reserved. Here is a link: http://www.venetian.com/accommodations/opt_venetian.cfm#rialto . Off to the room with the biggest grin on my face. Things were off to a good start and only going to get better. The room was huge, and spacious but for some reason it felt like something was missing. It didn't seem very comfortable, it might even have been too big, oh well, I was still very happy. I met up with my neighbor down stairs and brought him and his things up to the room. He was as impressed as I was with the room.

Since his nephew had never been to Vegas we decided to do the beginner tour of the strip and all the casinos. We stopped in at TI and I was able to check out their new theme. I don't like the new sign, and I think more work is need to distinguish their new brand from their old one. Changing the sign and repainting the building doesn't cut it. My neighbor was playing some nickel slots so I decided to try my hand at 25 cent Double Double Bonus Poker, a new game I learned how to play. In the first five minutes of play I got four 3's for 800 credits ($200), I decided to stop playing and pocket the money. My neighbor and his nephew were both impressed. Never got to check out the new Pirate Battle, gotta save stuff for next year. We continued down the strip through Mirage, Harrahs, and even Casino Royale, I wanted to try to play some craps here but the tables were full. Checked out Bellagio's setup for Thanksgiving in the Conservatory. It was different than last year and that was a nice surprise. Stayed and watched two fountain shows, Andre Boccelli, and Frank Sinatra's Luck Be a Lady, another good sign. We continued to NYNY to grab a quick snack. I sat down at a Triple Play 25 cent Double Double Bonus Poker machine, and again within like 10 minutes I get four Ace's with a 2 kicker for 2000 credits!!!!! ($500) Again I quickly cash out, except now my neighbor is not so happy with me. He is more upset with his lack of good luck. We cross the street to MGM, and by this time I am dying to play some craps. I think I stepped up to a $10 table. My neighbor tried to hang out a watch a little bit, but got bored since he didn't know how to play Craps, and he didn't understand when I tried to explain it to him. I was up, then I was down, and then I was up again about $150 so I decided to cash out. We then walked over to Excalibur to catch the train to Mandalay Bay. We walked around to every restaurant in the place before we finally decided on RumJungle. The meal was great and everyone was happy. I decided to pay for half of the bill since I was up. I offered to take care of the whole thing but my neighbor wouldn't allow it. Cruised the strip some more playing here and there. At the end of the night I was up a Grand, the most I have ever been up for a trip. I think we ended up falling asleep around 1 am.

My neighbor and his nephew left early to continue driving to San Diego. I took my time checking out of the Venetian. Grabbed a coffee (Caramel Royale my favorite) at the Grand Lux Cafe, and went over to St. Marks Square to people watch. Relaxed for a little bit and tried to soak up as much "Vegas" as I could, since I didn't know when I would be back. I checked out, and hoped in the car, which took about 10 - 15 minutes to get from the Valet. I should have self parked. Instead of going straight to my second hotel, MGM Grand, I decided to go check out the Hoover Dam, and stop by Green Valley Ranch. Green Valley Ranch was a nice casino but not what I would classify as a "locals casino", the payouts on the VP machines were poor sometimes even lower than many strip properties. Also since it was Thanksgiving day all of the tables had a $10 limit. I don't know why casinos do this, many of the tables were empty and the dealers were just standing around. If they would open up more lower limit tables they would get more play. I would have stayed and played a little bit had they had a lower limit table. I quickly left GVR and headed out to Hoover Dam. Since it was a holiday there weren't any tours, which I thought might have been the case, but I still wanted to check it out. Not much to say about the Dam, hard to tell how big it is when you look down from the top. Walked back to the car, and headed back to Las Vegas.

Checked into the MGM Grand, but this time I did not try the $20 trick since I knew I already had a nice room, and I wanted to check out what the Bungalow Suite was like. My room was very nice, and laid out better than at the Venetian. Here is a link for the room: http://www.mgmgrand.com/pages/accommodations.asp?link=bungalow . Also it was the little things which made the room great. MGM had the best water pressure in the shower for a hotel. The only negative is the shower head is mounted low, and since I am 6'2" I had to get on my knees to wash my hair. Also another positive, the towels they give you are huge, they were big enough to tie around my waist, and I don't remember the last time I was given a towel that big. I know it is weird things like that which make me happy. But any guy will tell you how stupid it feels when you try to tie a small towel around your waist, and you don't get adequate coverage. Sorry to get off the subject. That evening I just lounged around the hotel, listening to some good bands and dropping $20 here and there at bar top Video Poker terminals to get complimentary drinks. Around 10 a friend of mine showed up who is a dealer at Boulder Station. She just moved back to Vegas and is trying to get a job at one of the strip properties, hopefully MGM or Ceasars. She wanted to play Pai Gow Poker really bad, a game she taught me how to play last time we met up in Reno, but none of the $10 tables were open at MGM. We decided to walk over to Excalibur. We played some Pai Gow Poker and some Let It Ride. I lost about $200. At midnight we decided to call it a night, and I went back to my room, no she did not join me, what did you think this was a HurricaneMikey report!! Just kidding. The next morning checked out of MGM and high tailed it back to San Diego.