This is approx my 80th trip and was to celebrate my parent's 50th anniv; they have easily been there at least twice as many times as I have. So why am I going? Good question, but my mother was very insistent that I go along. With them offering to pay room & air, plus whatever food & shows we do together, how could I say no? I hadn't been there in a year, only major problem was that about 2 months ago I voluntarily downgraded my hours and title at work (had to as the stress was causing me health issues); I knew the change in income would affect my cash for Vegas. Normally for 5 days I would take $1000 ($200 a day for gambling) and maybe another $200 for emergency money and charge most everything else. Although the money was still available to take, I just didn't feel it was a smart thing to do and instead took $100 a day for gambling and $200 in emergency money plus a credit card. I knew I would have to watch the gambling this trip, perhaps less 21/3 card poker & more slots. Luckily I love penny slots.
Sunday June 28 - Day 1
I always fly via Frontier for their mileage points & my parents do the same with United. We had gotten outgoing flights close together, and then both Airlines changed their departure times. So I left at 8:30 and they left about 9:00 both in the morning. We all went together and they just hung out until their flight left. My flight was packed & uneventful. In over 40 years of flying, I have to say this was quite possibly the best flight I have ever had and I hate to fly. Between my book & Direct TV, I don't think there was 1 ripple. Normally I can't wait to touch down so I can get off the hot/cramped plane, with this flight I didn't even know we were about to land until I felt the wheels touchdown. Extremely smooth flight. One of the flight attendant's had a great sense of humour. When she was telling us that all phones had to be turned off, she said all blackberries, blueberries and banana berries and if Chuck Berry is singing in your ear, tell him goodbye. Then before they gave the in case of emergency talk, she reminded us that our tray tables & seats had to be in an upright position - she added that they want to be sure you are as uncomfortable as possible. It was a nice change to the usual speeches they give. They only served drinks, but you could buy snacks, I had brought a snack from home.
We all agreed that since our flights came in so close together it made sense for me to wait for their flight and then all of us take 1 cab. Not a long wait for my luggage, then went and asked at the information counter which carousel my parents bags would be coming off of, I went and sat down and waited. Between people watching, checking the Internet on my phone and my IPOD it wasn't a bad wait.
Parents flight was on time and due to my mom's slow walking these days, by the time they got down to baggage, their bags were already there.
We went out to grab a cab and no line, no wait at all; it was about 11:00 AM.
I told the driver Mirage, no tunnel please. I have had drivers sneer when I tell them this and I've had drivers tell me they would never take the tunnel as they can get into a lot of trouble, this driver never said a word. Traffic was pretty heavy though and with the airport fee, the ride was $19 before tip.
We checked our bags with the bellman making sure my parents had one ticket and one for mine.
We always give checking in a shot no matter how early, no long lines for check out and we were told they could check us in but the only rooms available were on the 2nd floor. My mother is afraid of heights so that was perfect for her, and for me, I don't really care. Since all of the rooms are renovated, it doesn't really matter what floor I'm on. Not to mention the fact that if I the $20 upgrade my parents would flip out. They wouldn't understand what I was doing and why I was wasting gambling money for this. Frankly, I don't really get it myself I've done it on solo trips, but a little voice always asked me why?
Went up to our rooms, did a quick check to be sure it was clean and stocked and everything worked and called down for my bags. Was told it would be about 20 minutes. It was now a little after 11:30 and I was meeting a friend for lunch at Mon Ami at 12:30. I did have a view of the strip, but because I was so low I could only see the tops of a few hotels.
About 12:05 I called down to the bell desk to see if they hadn't sent up my luggage yet, to hold off, but they had and within 5 minutes the bellman was knocking on my door. He looked for the luggage stand and discovered there wasn't one in the room (wonder if someone took it with them), and was on the phone calling down. I gave him his tip, thanked him and told him I was late for meeting someone.
I grabbed a cab to Paris all the while my friend and I (who met via a Vegas board) are texting each other. She told me that she had the table and it was outside. After walking in the opposite direction and having to ask questions twice I finally made it to Mon Ami (3rd time eating there). I was afraid it would be too hot but with the big umbrellas over the table and the misters it was perfect. I was even sitting across from the fountains although we were too busy talking to do anything more than a couple of quick peeks.
My friend C ordered 2 cosmos, a salad with shrimp; I had a daiquiri and an open faced shrimp sandwich with avocado. We split an appetizer of homemade potato chips and my sandwich came with fries which we also split. Then for dessert we split the chocolate mousse. Food & service was great. My friend paid for lunch so I have no idea the cost.
She had never played a Wizard of Oz slot, so off in search we went and without walking more than a few feet, there's a bank of them all full (of course), but wait, there's someone leaving. Her first spin - Glinda. No huge wins, but she said she could see why I liked them so much. She was getting tired and hadn't checked into Caesar's yet, so off she went and of course I jumped into the chair. I played for maybe an hour, getting up $20 but exhaustion was beginning to take over, so when I got down to my original $20 I cashed out.
Even though I was full from lunch I can't be at the Paris without stopping by one of their bakeries. On the way saw a Poppitt slot - I play that game online so had to try it. Between being so tired and the game a little boring I cashed out down $9 and went to find a bakery. Stopped at the 1st one I saw and bought 2 chocolate croissants (shop was busy but not packed).
There is a candy shop downstairs at Bally's that I go to once every trip. They have wonderful truffles & turtles (as well as a great place for souvenir items). Got my fix and without even playing a penny went to the cab stand and back to the Mirage.
Straight to my room (luggage stand was there), called my parents; they had eaten at the coffee shop at the Mirage (great meal) and then went to TI. They were thinking dinner about 8 (it was now 4) and we agreed on BLT Burger. I asked my mom to give me a call about 7 as a nap was inevitable
Fell asleep immediately, 3 seconds later my phone is ringing and it's my mom telling me it's 10 past 7. I don't even know what I said to her, but it wasn't 'be right there'. I do recall her saying we should each do our own thing that night and meet at the tram at 9:45 the next morning for brunch at TI. I turned over & went back to sleep (Mirage beds are too comfortable).
Woke up and forced myself to look at the time - midnight, figured I should at least get up and unpack, did that, took a sprite out of the mini bar, went down the hall and filled up my ice bucket, climbed back into bed with my book & the croissants and at 1AM turned off the light and went to sleep. I know, you're thinking, you've hardly gambled and just slept you're in Vegas, get up! Part of being on vacation is doing what I want when I want, if this had been my last night, I would have gotten up, but I was so tired, it felt so good not to have to be anywhere or do anything if that's what I wanted.
Monday, June 29
However, because I had gotten so much sleep I was up & awake at 7, figured I would have a good chance of $5 tables this early, so was showered and dressed and in the casino by 8:15 and bingo a nice $5 3 card poker table. I played for an hour and cashed up $130, good start to the day, played a little slot and finished up about $20 (good enough for me), now it was time to meet my parents at the tram.
In all of the times I've been to TI, I've only eaten there twice (once at the coffee shop & once at Buccaneer Bay), so first time for their buffet. At 10:00, walked right in, paid and we're seated, no wait at all. I thought the food was good, hot items were hot, cold items were cold, etc. I don't eat omelets, but that station was very popular. My parents both had one and said they were very good. Dessert station was a little lacking though and the ice cream machine was out of order and apparently it's the only one they have as a new one was not brought in. By this time though I was stuffed, so dessert wasn't a problem for me.
At one point during the buffet, I took out my reading glasses to check something on my phone and was surprised when one of the lenses popped out, upon further inspection I realized that a screw had fallen out. So, a trip to the mall was next since there is a Lenscrafters there. My parents came with me since a walk seemed a good idea after all that food.
Mall was fairly busy, as much as I wanted to hit the stores, I didn't, went to Lenscrafters, they replaced the screw, popped the lense back in and we were off. Took a cab to Bill's. Bill's was moderately busy. My parents decided to go to the Flamingo, I had found a WOZ and decided to stay, the CW came over and I asked for a frozen daiquiri. She said she thought the bartender could make one. Not sure if she was kidding or not. She brought the drink and I saw it was in a plastic cup, about the size of a large thimble and BITTER! I drank ¼ of it and dumped it. I broke even on WOZ and walked around to see what else they had (my 2nd favorite slot is Pompeii and wondered if they had it (didn't see it), but over by the bar they had the other WOZ that I had read about it on either this or another forum. I do not like it, never knew what I had or why I was being paid off.
Ran through my $20 and left. Over to Flamingo. Found several slots, pretty much stayed even, played more WOZ and cashed out up $20. From there to Harrah's which I consider penny heaven. They have a number of penny sots that I like and WOZ (up toward registration). Never had trouble getting to a WOZ slot, once or twice I would play a slot where I could keep an eye on WOZ until a seat opened up, but just for a minute or two.
Again finished up $20 or $40. (Very lucky this day as I only had 2 or 3 times where I lost money). This would soon come to an end!
Back to the Mirage and up to my room for my book & a nap. (I have a bad ankle that may need surgery and the rests in between walking helped considerably).
Met my parents at 6:45 and went to Cheesecake Factory for dinner. I was surprised & happy to see that in addition to their regular menu they have now added a smaller portion menu. I was not starving so decided to order off that one as did my mother. My dad ordered a pasta dish off the regular menu, my mother had shrimp crostini, I had stuffed mushrooms and we split an order of onion rings, with 1 diet coke and 2 glasses of wine and no dessert, bill was $65 before the tip. At 7:00 we only waited maybe 5 minutes, by 8:00 place seemed much busier and looked to be a line waiting to get in. Keep in mind that the items on the smaller menu are indeed small.
From there walked through CP playing a little bit and breaking even and on to Bellagio. My dessert was going to be their gelato.
Bellagio seemed pretty busy, didn't walk through the conservatory, but did walk around the side of it (very nice) and on to gelato.
Busy, but not much of a wait to place our order. One huge coconut/chocolate covered strawberry for my dad, a dish of chocolate gelato for my mom and a dish of strawberry for me (one scoop each) was almost $20. I ate about a fourth and was full, but it sure was good.
Time for gambling, there were many 21 tables at $10 and my mother saw one for $5, I went for slots. Found a mermaid one that honestly not sure what I needed for the bonus round, but luckily the slot knew as it kept triggering bonus after bonus, within 30 minutes I was over $100 (started with $20 on a nickel slot), finally cashed out at $100) one of my last wins of the trip too. My dad couldn't do much (theme for him for the trip) and my mom was already up $100, we were all ready to go. Cabbed it back to the Mirage.
My mother & I wanted to play some VP, I grabbed a Starbucks at the Mirage, we each ran $40 through a .25 slot and nothing. She went back to 21 and I went to Harrah's, stayed there for several hours, up & down, up & down, think I ended up down maybe $20.
Back to the Mirage and my book and bed.
Tuesday, June 30 - parents 50th anniversary
Tried some 21 this morning and nothing, sucked my $100 right out of my hand, I tried 21 2 more times at various places and no luck, so I stuck with slots.
Cabbed it over to the Wynn for their buffet. Wait was 5 minutes at most. Food and service were great. Big dessert station and I love that their desserts are all miniature, so you can have more than one and not feel like a pig. Afterwards, gambled some (lost), and then went over to Encore. First time, it's nice (very red), but nothing new or different. Very quiet & understated. I went over to their red card desk to ask them a question about my card and NO ONE was in line, I never saw that before at any hotel. It was before noon. Drink service seemed quick, but again, casino was very quiet.
Made our way back to the Mirage and I ended up at Coconuts (ice cream). I have problems with dairy products and try to take a pill before eating them, but didn't take anything before the ice cream cone (this will become important later on), it was delicious though and I enjoyed it while playing slots. Couldn't hit much, and went back to my room (reading & nap). Plans that night for me were PF Chang's for dinner and my parents had reservations at Kokomos for their anniversary.
Plans were to meet at BLT Burger for dessert. I cabbed over to PH about 6:30 not feeling real hungry, so thought I'd hit the slots first and see if things changed. They didn't (and I was losing), decided to change my original order for dinner to a couple of appetizers. I hadn't bothered to make a reservation as I figured I could eat at the bar. They were very busy, but sitting at the bar was no problem.
Service was fast & friendly, it was noisy but I had my IPOD and was able to enjoy it. Ordered the lettuce wraps and spring rolls with a diet coke. Everything was delicious and the bill came to $17 before tip.
Did a little more gambling, but already was beginning to not feel well. Walked over to Paris and through to Bally's, no gambling, was hoping I would start to feel better. It just felt that the dinner was a brick sitting in my stomach. Realized while in Bally's that eventually I was going to be sick and would rather be in my hotel room's bathroom. Grabbed a cab and was back in my room before 9, not to get too graphic, but sick I was, of course, then I felt so much better. Still had an hour before I had to meet my folks, so laid down in bed and sent a couple of e-mails and read.
Met them in front of BLT at 10 (never let on that I was sick), just had a diet coke telling my parents I was too full from dinner. They had had a wonderful dinner (Kokomos) wonderful food/service/setting, thoroughly enjoyed it and even had their picture taken ($45 I think) to have as a souvenir. They split some berry shake and said it was outstanding.
Afterwards, I went to Harrah's, didn't do much, but had fun. Got back to the Mirage, it's now about 1:30 and all night (since I was sick) I had been craving a bowl of matzo ball soup from Carnegie Deli and technically I hadn't had dinner, so thought it was perfect. It was very good. Tried my luck at a new
Slingo shot, fun, but not much luck, did play for a little bit on my $20 before losing it and to bed.
Wednesday, July 1
Plan was to get a later start by meeting at the cab stand at 11:00 and going to the Orleans. I stayed there for a few days (for a concert) last June and had a great lunch at Big Al's Oysters and wanted to eat there again, it seemed a win/win when my parents mentioned seeing a movie. My dad had eaten earlier in the morning at the coffee shop at our hotel, so he went in search of 21 tables and my mom and I went to Big Al's for lunch.
I had the clam chowder (delicious) and what I thought was a cobb salad, but was in fact a crab cobb salad and not so good. My mom had a shrimp plate and hers was good. We each had a diet coke and the bill was about $38 before tip. At some point my dad having no luck gambling came to join us. We wandered around and gambled here and there and at 12:30 my parents went to their movie (The Proposal).
I have a friend who lives in Vegas and thought this would be a good place to meet up. We met at 12:30 and went and gambled & talked for the next 2 hours. Had a very nice time. She cashed in up $25 and I cashed in up $45.
After the movie (which they both liked) we grabbed a cab back to the Mirage and decided we were hungry. We went to the Carnegie Deli.
Since my dad hadn't eaten since breakfast this was his lunch (at 3:00), so he had a fish platter, my mother had a grilled cheese sandwich and I had french fries. Everything was very good.
After this I went to my room; we decided to meet at 8:00, since it was now about 4:00.
Met up at 8:00, my father wanted dinner, my mother and I not so much. My father went and had dinner, my mother and I off to TI. We had each received an e-mail from TI, both for $10 in freeplay,
$35 if we stayed there and $55 a night for a room.
Took the tram (it was full) over there, but when we got there, only 3 or 4 people were waiting to take the tram back. Went over to the players card desk and waited for our turn (they had 3 or 4 people working there, but they were busy). Finally, our turn. My mother went first - she had left her card in a machine somewhere, so she needed a new one, and her $10 in freeplay. But they couldn't find her promo code. She had brought the e-mail and the woman behind the desk read it over & over & over again, and finally pointed out on the bottom (in very fine print) it said it was only good for a few days in May, but they gave her $5 and her new card. My turn got my $10 with no problem.
I specifically asked if we were all set to use them now? Yes!
Found a hot shot penny machine and took out the card with directions on how to activate freeplay.
Got everything entered to activate the freeplay, then selected the number for freeplay and received a message that said my point balance was too low for freeplay (that hurt). My mom tried hers and when she tried to enter her pin number her message said that her card was locked. Huh?
I turned on the service button and after a few minutes a gentleman in a suit with an earpiece came over. I explained to him the trouble both of us were having and he said we'd have to go back to the player's card desk. I said, nope. So he called them on his headset and in less than 5 minutes he had everything taken care of and both cards worked. Did we make .01 on the freeplay...of course not.
On the way back to the tram I passed a store that sold accessories, they were having a big sale and I wanted to look at their purses (I have a purse addiction), lights were on, people were inside, so I opened the door only to have an employee YELL at me, 'we're closed', not to be outdone, I responded back with 'then lock your door'. Not clever, but got my point across. Now really, all the store lights are on, 3 to 4 people were in there (how was I to know they were all employees), no closed sign, door wasn't locked and no signs indicating opening & closing times.
We took the tram back and went to meet my father. Now that's he's eaten; now my mother & I are hungry. Talk about out of synch with each other. My parents & I have gone to Vegas together many, many times and normally our feeding times are mutual. My mom & I decided to go to the California Pizza Kitchen, sure there's one 5 minutes from where I live, but the food is always good and they have a big menu. Neither of us wanted dinner though, my mother ordered ½ of a chopped salad and water, and I ordered shrimp lettuce wraps (PF Chang's are better), I love their salads and should have split one with my mother or ordered my own.
After this, yep back to Harrah's for me. Only stayed for a couple of hours, wasn't winning and since the next day was our last day, wanted to get a good start in the morning.
Thursday, July 2
We had planned to have breakfast at Palazzo since none of us had been there yet, but when I started to get ready I realized all the things I wanted to do and how my dad said we should all meet at the outside baggage stand at 1:15, so I called my parents and told them I had changed my mind and that I'd see them at 1:15 or before.
Showered, dressed, packed, double & triple checked room, called for a bellman and in the casino by 9:30. First stop was the Roasted Bean for 4 chocolate croissants, then onto the slots. Played and had 2 of the croissants. Then off to the gift shop and bought a pair of earrings that I had seen earlier in the trip. From there back to the slots, I had a TITO for $30 that I had started off as a $20 that morning, I had played it in 3 or 4 slots and sat down at another slot and went to put in the TITO...TITO is gone. Went back to the last slot, retraced my steps, checked pockets, purse, bags, numerous times, it was gone. It was only $30, but I had been proud that I was still on the same $20 through 4 different slot machines.
Pretty much had done everything at the Mirage and still had time, so went to Harrah's. Played 3 of my favorite slots, nothing. Back to Mirage. It was now about 11:30, normally I have more then enough to keep me busy on the last day there, but not wanting to lose more money, not sure what to do with my time. Thought maybe I'd find a lounge, have a drink and read. But wait, my book & reading glasses were in my c/o bag that was with my luggage.
I know the area my mom likes to play 21 in, but no sign of her.
Decided to take another look at a purse I had seen a day or two before. Nope, nothing to buy there.
It's now about 12:45 and here come my parents, first thing my father asks me if I'm ready to go to the airport? Am I ready? Hell yes!
So, off to get our luggage.
Cab dropped me off first at Frontier and I discovered no curbside check-in, so had to go inside, oh well, I have plenty of time.
That all taken care of now is security, which can be huge in Vegas, it was busy and getting busier literally by the minute, but again I had the time. Although one woman almost ran over me to get to the x-ray machines first!
No problems with security, now to my gate and had planned on getting a sub to take on the plane, that concourse used to have a sub shop, but ...no more. Not too many places to choose from, Starbucks, a gourmet Chinese place and a Chili's Too. Finally decided on Chili's and had a really good smoked turkey sandwich with fries. Listened to my IPOD while eating.
Finally time to board, again full flight. I had the aisle seat, man in the middle and woman with a 10 month old son at the window.
Admittedly I am not a child person, but this little boy was golden!
Nothing but big smiles. He immediately bonded with the man in between us. She fed him during takeoff and he napped, then woke up, had a snack and more smiles. Really good little boy. I even held him during landing.
Another smooth flight (not as smooth as on the way there), we had to circle for awhile over the airport waiting out a thunderstorm, pilot announced it would be bumpy, but except for a few small bumps, nothing.
Another trip is over. No trips are planned and probably won't be for a while. May take a small break from Vegas, I'll be 50 in 2 years and hopefully will have a new full time job by then, my best friend lives in SC and I haven't seen him for almost 3 years, so would like to take a trip there. But we'll see. My mom came home about even, my dad...don't ask. He hasn't had a winning trip for quite a while now, so he's in no hurry to go back (and if he gets an itch we have gambling 1 hour from here).
The Mirage coffee shop has changed its hours. Friday & Saturday 7 AM to Midnight, Sunday through Thursday 7 AM to 10 PM. Carnegie Deli is open 24/7. BLT Burger opens at either 10 or 11 and seems to serve until 1 AM (or 12:30). Starbucks opens at 6 and closes at midnight (can be charged to the room). Didn't order room service, so don't know if their hours are affected.
Gift shop is still 24/7, but only the actual gift shop the attached clothing shop closes around 9 and the rest of the gift shop (the area that has clothes & jewelry) closes at 9 or 10 and reopens at 8AM.
Didn't see more kids than normal, drives me crazy the kids that are walking the strip or waiting for their parents in the middle of the night. One day at TI we were on our way to the buffet and the area where there are slots on one side and shops on the other, there were 3 kids playing on the carpet. Ages about 4, 10 & 12. No security or parent anywhere around, they were running and wrestling, laying all over the carpet, while people (and that area was busy) were walking around them.
One day I was waiting for my parents at the bench outside of the Mirage. Was people watching, saw a family of 4 (2 parents 2 kids) walking towards the Mirage and 2 girls walking in the opposite direction. One of the kids a boy around 10, on purpose tried to kick the younger of the 2 girls walking by, she was about 13, he missed, but it was 100% deliberate and she did nothing to provoke him. I was hoping she would go back and say something to his parents, I sure would have. What nerve!
Temp was very warm, but we usually go in August for my birthday so it seemed a little well not cooler but less horribly hot. Heard on the news on the morning of my 2nd day that the day before was 109, then changed channels and they said the day before was 108, so, who knows. Not much wind, the day we left, it was overcast and cooler and they were calling for rain.
The Hotels for the most part were comfortable, one night at Harrah's it was so cold I was shivering and the night I was at PH I thought I was going to pass out the casino was so warm.
Although lots LOTS of pedestrian and street traffic, no waits at almost all restaurants and where there was a wait, less than 5 minutes. Also felt like even if I cashed out even or with a loss, most places gave me quite a bit of play for my money.
I think some people would benefit from a full length mirror. There was a woman at the airport that seemed perfectly happy to display her assets to the public and maybe years ago it would have been ok, but well, things fall.
I also saw the most itty bitty teeny little dresses worn with sky high heels than I have ever seen.
The worst one was at the forum shoppes, she had on shorts that were not only skin tight but SHORT, I mean underwear is longer short, with at least 7 inch heels.
One lady who obviously was fighting the aging process (and losing) was wearing a too tight dress with too high heels and having a lot of trouble waking. Didn't appear to be drunk, just in too high a heel, she was pushing 50, in fact she had pushed it close to 60.
Totally inappropriate. I will say that 99% of the girls in the teen dresses & huge heels were in their late teens to early 20's and small. But honesty some of these outfits, there was more material used to make the heel of the shoe than the whole dress.
That's about it!