Another year has gone by, and it's time for another trip report. I enjoy reading everyone's thoughts about Las Vegas, so now you all get to read mine. I will break the trip down into catagories as to motel, dining, etc.

AIRLINE: We (my husband Ken and I) flew out of Milwaukee on Monday morning on time. We had a direct uneventful flight on Northwest and arrived a few minutes early. By the way, we are from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and drove down on Sunday and stayed at the Best Western Hotel by the airport for their stay and fly package for $55.00 plus tax. We were schuttled to and from the hotel and were able to leave our vehicle in their parking lot while we were gone, thus avoiding the $10.00 a day airport parking fee. The hotel wasn't much, but for staying there vertually free, who can complain? The flight back on Saturday was on time and got to Milwaukee 30 minutes early. Check in was quick at McCarran even though it was quite busy. Printing your boarding pass before leaving home was nice, and a time saver, although the kiosks at the airport are very quick.
HOTEL: We have stayed at many hotels both on the mid-strip area and down town, as this was our 14th annual trip to Vegas, but this was the first time we have tried the Mirage. Check in at noon was fairly quick, but our room wasn't ready until 3 p.m. Ken slipped Autumn at the desk $20.00, and she upgraded us to a volcano view room on the 22nd floor. So, we checked our bags with the bell desk, and proceded to lose the first of many 100's. Such is the Vegas experience! We went up to our room a little after 3, and it was very nice. Marble entry way, brown, gold and burgundy decor, a huge armoire with tv, and plenty of storage space, a comfotable king size bed and nice fat pillows, for a change, a safe in the closet(no charge to use it), a desk, a regular table with two chairs, and a small but functional bathroom, especially with the vanity area outside the bathroom, so the ladies can get beautiful when the men are in the bathroom. Lots of Aqua Lime toiletries were replaced every day without asking. We leave a $5.00 tip for the houskeeping staff each day, and they did a great job. Everyone else in Vegas has their hand out for a tip, so these people deserve a toke for cleaning up our messes. The hotel staff all seemed friendly enough, as did everyone except for two schuttle bus drivers for the Sam's Town schuttle bus. The casino was VERY tight, didn't do much winning there. Casino has a nice atmosphere and not too smokey. We ate at the California Pizza Kitchen- very good. Cravings Buffet- not worth the price, and a cold ugly atmosphere. Had room sevice once for pizza and caesar salad- good, quick, hot and not too expensive. Stay away from the stuff in the minibar, way overpriced, beware if you move it, you just bought it, so you might as well drink or eat it!

WEATHER: It was windy much of the time, so it was much cooler than it usually is this time of year. There was lots of sunshine, and rained lightly on one night after we went to the room.

DINING: Some are covered above, otherwise we ate at the TI buffet for breakfast 3 mornings ($12.00 each), and found it to be very good, almost as good as Paris and less expensive.The servers were very helpful and friendly, especially Jackie! Also, breakfast at Paris one day- very good as usual. We also went to the Redwood Bar and Grill in the California Casino downtown, as we do every year. Their not on the menu Porterhouse special is the best meal we aways have in Vegas. $14.95 gets you warm bread, a delicious salad, excellent steak, choice of potato or rice, fresh steamed vegetables, and warm apple dumpling with ice cream for dessert. It's the best!! Try It!! The room is dark, cozy, and romantic. Our server this year was Janelle, and she was excellent and very friendly. Green Valley Ranch Buffet was also very good, but a LONG wait, as a Hall and Oates concert was there that night.

ENTERTAINMENT: Way to many losing slot machines! Everyone says Downtown and off strip properties are loser, but we went downtown, to Sam's Town, and to Green Valley Ranch, and found them to all be equally tight. We complain about our local Indian Casino being tight, but it's no different in Las Vegas. We saw only a couple of jackpots won, and not many other bigger wins, those beautiful hotels don't get there by us winning! As, I said, we cabbed it to Green Valley Ranch to check it out after seeing it on thr Discovery Channel's American Casino. Cab fare one way from the Mirage was about $30.00- it's quite a ways from the strip. We thought the hotel and casino was very nice, and we saw Wayne, Ralph, Matt, and the blond food and beveridge manager(can't remember her name) as well as a few other familiar faces.Had a good strong drink at the Whiskey Bar, but we didn't fit in with the younger (not 50ish) crowd. We also went to the Rio to see Extotica. We were planning to see it anyway, but were given a two for one coupon at Harrah's by the Carnival Court area, so that was great! There is also a BOGO coupon for Skintight at Harrah's. Exotica was great if you like good loud rock music like we do. The band (U.K.U.S.) and singers were excellent, and played the likes of ACDC, Guns and Roses, KISS, Pat Benitar, Velet Revolver, etc. Also, there were topless dancers to entertain the guys. Gabriella Versace was the "star", think that's her stage name or family name? Stage, I'm guessing!

RECAP: Like ya need one! This thing is too long!
Mirage was nice, but we liked our room at TI better (a panoramic room).
You must try the Redwood Bar and Grill- it doesn't get better for the $$!
Old Vegas once was a cheaper vacation spot, not so anymore!! The $1.99 buffet is long gone! Try $25 to $30!! And $100 to $400 each to see a show is too rich for my blood! But it's VEGAS BABY--YA GOTTA LOVE IT!!

Sorry this was so long. Good luck and enjoy your next trip to Sin City, it's finally going back to that, it is NOT a family destination.
Later, Cookie