Category: 2009
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As the title says, it was a trip of firsts. I hope I can remember it all and will do my best to be as detailed as possible, in other words.....LONG!

Here goes:

Sunday, July 19: We started out from home about 12:30pm and headed to Omaha. Arrived at Harrah's, parked in Diamond parking and scheduled our shuttle to the airport. Went into Harrah's for a bit to try our luck..not good..lost, lost, lost. Oh Oh, not a good start to the trip.
3:30pm arrives and our shuttle is waiting. Arrive at the airport by 3:50pm and proceed directly to the gate(we don't check luggage in the summer). Our flight leaves at 4:35pm and its on time, so off we go. The captain announces that due to help from Mother Nature, we are going to be 20 minutes early(good tail wind)YIPEEE!!..

As promised, we arrive 20 minutes early, taxi to our gate(C9) and our experience our "first new" in Vegas. We wait.....and wait.....and wait....then we seems the plane ahead of us was getting a late start, so our 20 minute early arrival turned into a 30 minute wait...we finally deplane and head for the tram to the main terminal. Down the escalator we come and experience another "first new" (at least for SpaLady). Our driver is standing there with our name on the card and waiting patiently( I surprised SpaLady with a limo). She gives me this big smile and off we go. Our driver was great and was very talkative the entire time. She had a great sense of humor and we had a wonderful ride to the hotel.

We arrive at our next "first new" experiences. We are staying at Bally's, and thanks to all the info on this site, we asked for a north tower room. We check in at Diamond and get our room (2044). Nice large room with a decent view of the pool and Ellis Island. We unpack a few things and head out, as we are hungry, so we head to another "new": dinner at the Range. Now, I have been there once before, but this was a first for SpaLady. I had a very good experience the first time and the second time started out that way. We ordered drinks and our meal. I had the prime rib, medium rare and SpaLady had the salmon. Or meals came out in good time, but even in the darker lit room, it didn't seem that my meal was cooked per my request( probably more medium then medium rare). So when it came time for our waiter to ask how was everything, I told him!.. He was very apologetic and even offered to take it back to make it right, but by that point, I was tired, half full and ready to hit the casinos, I just told him no I would eat this as is but would sure make it known on this newsletter and now I have kept my promise

We finish eating and down we head to Harrah's to try our luck..nothing but BAD LUCK..yikes..this is not starting out good. Time to head back to Bally's as it getting late and we are tired, so we start out walking back and can't believe the crowds. Wall to wall people on the sidewalks. Crazy! where did they all come from??? Couldn't believe the difference from my March trip to now, oh well, guess thats good for the Vegas economy.

We arrive back at Bally's and decide to play in their casino for a bit. I play several different machines and nothing. SpaLady sits herself down at the Star Trek(her new favorite machine!)and proceeds to have good luck hitting the bonuses and actually making some money. I keep trying but nothing. I finally end up at the progressive video poker bank of machines by the Keno Lounge and sit on the end machine. that three aces I was just dealt..hmmm. maybe the 4th? sure appears!..WhoooHooo!!!..I am a winner..taking the progessive amount of $204...finally a win! but its about maybe my luck it turning around...yep..there is again..I am dealt four 2's..again take the progessive amount of $ feels good!! I keep playing...sure enough..its being kind to me...DEALS me 4 aces..I think, if I can just get the kicker..oh that a 4 with those I can relax after taking the progressive amount of $506..thank you Bally's!!! I play down to $600 and decide its time to cash out and head up to bed, as its been a long day and I need my sleep(ah, the signs of getting older!). Evening came....

Monday, July 20: Morning follows.....up at 6am and ready to head down for some play...wait..look around..where is SpaLady??? hmmmm. not here..where did she go?? bathroom?? no, well, thats not like her to be up and at em that I get dressed and head down to the casino. I wonder...could she be at the Star Trek?? see, she is really not a gambler, she likes to play for a bit and then go get a coffee and sit and read her books and watch people. But not knowing where in Bally's she might be, out the elevator I go and on our floor this is a very nice sitting area with sofa, two chairs and table. As I pass by this area, there is shirtless person laying in front of the sofa with a big plate of some kind of food in front of him. I wasn't even sure if he was alive( how many people lay in a public area, shirtless and sleeping? eating? not sure what he was doing and why), but I pass by and hope that he is ok. I head for the Star Trek machine on a hunch..another "first new"..she is sitting there playing that machine and winning!!!..wait..who is this lady??? where have you taken the one that I came with?..hmmmm. maybe she actually found something that she could really enjoy and not spend a lot of money. I say good morning and startle her out of her "trekkie mode"..she says she is having luck and so I figure I will sit and join her and see if I can "play long and prosper"...well my first hit is bonus..but nothing big..and then its down hill from there..ok I go back to my vp progressive machine. Sit down and play for at least an big wins but enough to keep me going...great...but getting tired of that, I head back to the room to shower and spy a quarter Super Times, I love those machines and figure might as well give it try...and glad I did...I ended up cashing out another $200 ticket. So up for the morning!

Time to head up stairs,(shirtless man is gone) take a shower and go check in for the VP tournament that I registered I have never done anything like this, so I was both nervous and excited to experience another "first"..9am is sign in, so down I head to the check in area and can't believe the line..but it moves fast and I end up with machine #74 out of 80..and play at its off to do a bit more gambling(no big wins) until 10:50am when we head back down to the tournament area. Arrive at my machine and listen to instructions. We have 850 credits and 10 minutes to play(whichever runs out first) its a count down.. 5...4...3....2.....1....GO...ok, as I said, I have never done again, thanks to some searches on this site, I found out its speed and here goes my best shot...well I use my 850 credits with 2:52 to spare on the time with a score of 1620...This tournament will only pick the top two winners from each session( there are 10 sessions) and they will come back to the finals at I figure my score isn't high enough to qualify, especially with 80 machines in we wait for the results and they announce that second place goes to.....MARK with 1620..what? me?? no way??? beginners luck??? I guess, so I get to come back at 5 for the finals and I won $50 bucks cash for placing second. Wow...great for me and SpaLady tells me I am buying lunch(figured I would)..Johnnie took first place with a score of over 2600, so I tell him I will see him back at 5pm, and off we go.

Its now 11:30 and time to off to another "first" for both SpaLady and me..Ellis Island. Now I have been there before and enjoy playing there, but SpaLady has never stepped foot off we go and decide we are going to try the steak special, both "firsts" for us. It was excellent along with the service. We were impressed and would definitely return. We tried our luck there, but no big hits for me, but SpaLady did cash a ticket for more than she started with, so that was a plus.

We left Ellis and headed for the Westin, which we tried our luck but again, nothing. So off to Bill's(Barbary Coast), another "first" for SpaLady. She has good luck on the Star Trek Machine(figures!) and I had minimal luck at poker( I did hit four aces on nickle Ultimate X poker for 2400 nickels) but that didn't last long.
Its now about time to head back to Bally's to play in the finals. Ok, but now my luck has not been good and so I didn't have a good feeling about this outcome. Play time comes and I am assigned machine #2..oh oh..not good, and Johnnie has machine I wish him luck and at 5pm..its 5...4...3...2...1..GO...I said GO.....come on..GO..hmmmmm...this machine isn't going, oh yeah..its playing..but not with won't even give me a pair..oh wait..a am in the money now...yep..I end up spending my credits before the time runs out with a whopping score of I know I am not in the money now, but we wait( I ended up 17th of 20). Money was given for first place($2500), second($1500) and last ($50)..well congrats to Johnnie, he ended up in second with only 985 credits. He was thrilled and we were happy for him( he was a character!). Well tournment over for today, but I will be back tomorrow for round two.

We then headed down to Harrah's to catch the shuttle out to Sam's Town, so we could check in there and recieve our $90 Billy Bob's credit for our dinner on Tuesday evening. So we shuttle out to the Boulder Highway, check in, and decide to play a while there before heading back to the strip. Again, not alot of love shown to me, but SpaLady did ok on pennies.

Time to head back and head home. On the way back it has started to rain( the weather was hot but also humid by Vegas standards(25%) and cloudy) so we decide to monorail it back to Bally's so we don't get soaked(good thing we did, as it downpoured and the rivers ran high thru the IP parking garage)
We arrive back at Bally's and SpaLady is tired, so up to bed, while I decide to try one more time on my Super Times Machine..well good thing I did..lady luck smiled on me and ended up cashing out $400 for the night..made the perfect end to the day....and listened to a great group performing in the lounge..but sleep crept in, so..evening came.........

Tuesday, July 21: morning followed.....up a bit later, and yep, SpaLady gone again( how do I sleep thru that???) so I figure I know where she is...ok..wrong, this time she is out in the public area(no shirtless man this time!) reading. I said "what, no Star Trek?"..and she said " Been there, done that!"..oh, should have known . Ok..well I am headed down to play a bit and then back to shower and go check in for round two of my tournament. I get checked in for the 11am session on machine #61..ok..maybe this day will be different. 11am comes and goes and once again, not in the money. I am done! but it was fun and would do it again. You could play again if you wanted for a $20 buy in..but I figured twice(complimentary) was enough. So I was done with tournament play for this trip.

Our plans for the day were to head downtown after tournament play. We walked down to Flamingo and experienced another "first". We caught the Duece downtown. For $3, not a bad ride and we got to sit up on top and watch the strip go by. We arrived downtown and headed directly for 4 Queens and Magnolias to grab some lunch. This was "first" for SpaLady and we both enjoyed our meals. We played some at the Queens and then headed over to Main Street Station to try our luck. I did hit a 4 of kind and recieved the scratch card for $2, otherwise no other luck. We headed over to the luck..then over to the Fremont. SpaLady has luck there on Star Trek(what else?) and I do ok on Video Keno(they have the old machines that I like). But its time to catch the Sam's Town Shuttle and our dinner at Billy Bob's. Off we go, and arrive about 7:15pm and head for dinner. As usual, its a great dining experience and we max out our $90 credit with drinks, appetizers and a good meal. Afterwards, we decide to walk down to the Cannery East and check out the new place(Jane, we waved as we walked toward the Cannery..did you see us?????). It was a nice evening for a walk and we arrive in good time. We sign up for new cards and off we go. I try Wizard of Oz and no luck...what next?? Ah, All that Glitters penny machine..we played this on our cruise and had terrific luck, so what the heck...and yes, its paying well and I play on it the entire time we are at Cannery..but its time to leave and catch the 10:30pm shuttle from Sam's Town back to the strip..but wait..we have to swipe our cards and see what we win...whohoo..I win $10 cash...SpaLady wins entries for some drawing...I like mine better!, so we cash out and head back to Sams for the shuttle. We arrive back on the strip about 10:50pm and decide to walk back to Bally's from Harrah's. Its late, we are tired and wondered what we were time its the monorail..oh well, we arrive back and I decide to play a bit in the casino before heading to bed..I should have went to luck tonight..but thats ok..I am still doing ok for the trip and haven't cashed those tickets from Bally's .......yet!.....evening came......

Stay tuned for Part II....

Part II

Things finally slowed down at work, so now I will try and remember the rest of the trip:

Wednesday, July 22: Morning followed: Slept in later this morning. It was good to get some rest. After we got up, we went down to register for the second day of the VP tournament. Got my usual 11:00am time, so off to the casino till our check in time. No big wins this morning, so I knew this part of the tournament wouldn't be a success.

10:50am-time to check in at the tournament. I am assigned to my machine, let the play begin...alas...I didn't even finish close to anything, so I know I am out of the tournament. But thats ok, cause today, we had planned to hit the north end of the strip.

We walk down to the Flamingo and catch the Deuce down to the Riveria. We have always like Slots-O-Fun, so in we go. There is some major remodeling going on in there. Machines missing and wide open spaces, but I still found my VP machines that I liked. No luck there, but SpaLady did find a penny machine that was treating her kindly, so she was having some luck when two "boys" came and sat down beside her and started "flirting" with her. At first it was kinda funny, but then things started to get out of hand, so she cashed out and headed over to find me. On her way over, she told a slot attendent about the incident, but he said there was nothing he could do when she found me, she told me about it and I was just about to cash out and go see what I could do about it when security came over and asked her if she was being harrassed by the two "gentlemen" over there(he points) and she said YES. The other security guy said, " you want me to escort them off the property?" and the head security guy said "YES" out the guys went. I guess the slot attendent meant HE couldn't take care of it, but he did report it to the proper people. So I give credit to Slots-O-Fun security for handling the situation.

We decided it was time to leave there and were a bit nervous about where those guys might be, so we went out the north door and walked the long way around and crossed the street(those two guys were sitting right out front) and walked quickly thru the Riveria and out and on to TI.

Whew...glad to be away from that..that was a first and hopefully a last for SpaLady!. Anyhow, on to the Peppermill, another First...we thoroughly enjoyed our meal and would definitely return. Now its on to the TI and try our luck on to Caesars and hope to find Del's machine. Thanks to the good directions on here, I found it and proceeded to win.. thank you Mr. Triple Diamond for the $200 I cash and we decide to head out to the Bellagio and the Fontana luck there but a great bartender and we has a nice chat, as there was NO ONE else at the bar..but my luck ended and so it was time to eat, so another "first". We decided to try the Bellagio Buffet...It was very good and we hit the breakfast/lunch switch over, so we had the best of both worlds. This would be another place we would return to eat on future trips. I then headed off to the video Keno machine by the least there I found some luck and hit a 7/8 with two bet for $700.. Cashing out at $600, we headed back to Bally's to try my luck again.

No luck on the progressive I am getting tired and decide to move closer to the elevators. I find my quarter Super Times Pay machine and its HOT..I am hitting wins that finally let me cash out at $300. I then head over to a triple play quarter machine and am doing quite well , when I decide to up the ante to 50 cents. Two deals after that I am dealt four 3's,. WooHooo!!..hold the threes and get one of the triples with a kicker for a total of $800...(I have pics of these, if I can figure how to get these on here). The machine was continued to treat me well for a while and then cooled off, so that was my sign to go up to bed and prepare for our last full day in Vegas.

Evening came........

Thursday, July 23: Morning followed.....Up and at last time at the pool and then its time to check out. We have a free room at the MGM Grand, so we check out and head over to Bill's to try out luck until its time to have the Diamond Lounge print our boarding passes for our flight the next day. 12:45pm arrives and we are in the Diamond Lounge, she prints our passes(A44 and A45) and off we go to the MGM.

Check in was a breeze but a TON of everywhere, it seems there were some sort of basketball activities going on and it was high school kids everywhere! up to the room and nice room..small but will do for one night. Then down to to the Grand Wok for some food. We always enjoy eating there and have never had a bad meal. We then found the Majestic Lions? machines and have heard so much about them, I wanted to give them a try...good thing I did..$200...thank you MGM..good start.
We decided to go back downtown , as I didn't get to see the light show. so we caught the Deuce and headed back downtown. We tried out luck at Fremont, MSS, Binions and Vegas Club. I had some keno luck at the Vegas Club(they have the old Game Maker machines I like, and they still take quarters) and ended up hitting 5/5 for $202.50. Some lady next isle over hit the progressive on a VP for $2500...she was really excited and kept jumping up and down and dancing around was funny, but neat to see someone so happy.

We are finally getting hungry, so we head over to MSS and decide to try the 777 Brew Pub...very good and didn't cost me anything, as I paid with points. We would return. Spa Lady isn't seeing much love from the machines and its time for the show, so out to the Fremont Experience and I am truly amazed by this show. It was dedicated to the Apollo 11 moon landing and loved the way the used the current shows of the day(Bewitched, Bonanza, Love American Style, Gunsmoke, etc) and interrupted for the latest on the was fantastic.

We then headed back to catch the Sam's Town Shuttle, so we could catch the strip shuttle( I know. alot of wasted time, but it was ok) and then we caught the Monorail back to the MGM. SpaLady was tired so up to the room she goes and I find my place at the bar and try the vp machines for a luck in that respect..but a nice young lady sits down, and I make the mistake of making eye contact and saying hi(stupid, stupid me.) and realize..oh I cash out before things go too far and she says" awwww..leaving so soon?", and I say, "yep, time to give up for the night and go join the wife"...and off I go...sigh...but off I go and find a nickle Supertimes machine. I settle in for 10 play and the fourth hand dealt were four 3's...WOW...lets see...400 nickles x 10 plus any kickers..I ended up with 5600 nickels or $280, not bad for a just starting. The cocktail waitress comes by and so I order a drink, and when she returns she has TWO and says it may be a while before I get back to you..ok..I can handle that..and she was right, as it was just a madhouse in there with all the BB kids and parents...crazy...

The machine cools off and its time to head upstairs to bed. I get off the elevator(17th floor) and head down my hallway and see two security guards standing outside our door..hmmm, now what did SpaLady do? ...when I get closer, I ask " is there a problem"..yes they said, disturbance in the room next to yours...hmmmm. not good I say...guess the kids in this room were being LOUD AND OBNOXIOUS..and were breaking things, etc...( I heard about all this from SpaLady who was not very happy) told me if there was any problem, let them know and these guys would be it would be there third strike!!!..well, that didn't happen...they were loud and obnxious till about 1am( I came up about midnight) and then went out clubbing. We finally fell asleep and they came home about 5am and started being loud again..laughing and talking and letting the world know who slept with who and how good she was, etc...YUK!!..I think it was a room of 3or 4 age or needless to say we were up earlier than we expected and were not happy . Evening came....

Friday, July 25: Morning followed..... We went downstairs to the players club( the line was unbelievable). I wanted to see if I could use some points for breakfast. The lady was super nice and said I had plenty of points to use, plus she gave us a VIP pass to eat the cafe. The meal was good, but after our short night, and all that went on..we will not be staying there again..and told Mgt that..this was another first(MGM), but also a last...
We caught a taxi to the airport and had no problems getting thru security and then off to wait for our plane.
I wanted to try some last minute gambling, so I head over to the VP machines, but no there is the Wheel of Fortune machine that I have seen many people win on, so I sit down and with a $20 givt it try. I ended up hitting the spin button 6 times and cashing out at $150...I have seen many people do this on this particular machine, and now I have another first..what a way to end the trip.
Our flight was uneventful and we landed in Omaha a bit early. Called Harrah's for a shuttle pick up, got our car and headed the hour and half home.

It was a great trip and all really went well except our stay at the MGM. I am looking forward to coming back in October to celebrate two 50th birthdays(mine and my cousins). It sounds like we may have quite a group going, so I hope I can plan a mini-meet. I didn't get the time to do that on this trip and I do regret if you are going to be in Vegas Oct. 5-9..lets see if we can get together.
Thanks for being patient for part has been crazy and this is the first time I can really take some time to finish up this report.