This was our first, and probably our only, trip to Las Vegas this year. We obtained excellent rates from Allegiant Air. Seats were $19.99 on the way out, and $59.99 on the way back. With taxes, fees, and a baggage fee, the total each was about $158. Both flights (Springfield, MO to Las Vegas and return) were on time, smooth, and problem free. Upon arrival in Vegas, we took the shuttle to the car rental place. We had reserved an intermediate car from Enterprise Car Rentals through Expedia.com for four days for $101. Well, that turned out to not be the case. By the time they added on all their extra little doo dads and fees, the end cost was about $238. They kind of coerce or pressure you into purchasing extra insurance ($60) by telling you that if you bring the car back with even a tiny little scratch from a parking lot somewhere, they will immediately collect from you up from the amount of your personal insurance deductible and more. Since they already have your credit card information, there would be nothing you could do to stop that. So, even though I could have said no, I agreed to the extra insurance charge and immediately regretted it afterwards. That will be my last rental from Enterprise, although they all probably do the same thing.

We drove to the Golden Gate on Fremont Street and were able to immediately check in (about 1:30 PM). The rooms are very small, but the beds are comfortable and it's very affordable at only $20 per night. I had no complaints. The 99 cent shrimp cocktail is no more.....now $1.99, but still a good deal. The restaurant has been renamed from the Bay City Diner to "Dupar's", with the requisite increase in prices. We walked over to Main Street Station and played slots/video poker for a couple of hours, then to Triple 7 Brew Pub for dinner. They have the best calimari at Triple 7. I love it. Everything was very good and reasonably priced. Made the mistake of stopping by the roulette table on the way out and quickly lost $200. From there we proceeded to the Vegas Club and remained there playing video poker for several hours. We had the best cocktail waitress ever. She kept a steady supply of red bull and vodka coming, and we were pretty buzzed by the time we finally left. We also took advantage of the ACG coupons for $10 match play on roulette and buy one, get one beers from the bar. Then we moved across the street to the Plaza and used the same coupons. Before the evening was over, we had been in the Four Queens, Fitzgerald's, and the Fremont also, and even walked down to the El Cortez for a free slot play offer. All the slots everywhere were very tight, and nobody was winning. Even though, I love the WOZ and Star Trek machines at Four Queens and kept playing them. The bonuses are a lot of fun.

The next day (Monday), we were up fairly early and had breakfast buffet at the Paradise Buffet at Fremont (buy 1, get 1 coupon). It was very good. From there, we drove out to the Hoover Dam and looked around for awhile. There was a bad accident on the freeway that held up traffic for a really long time. In the evening, we had dinner at Magnolia's Veranda at the Four Queens (buy 1, get 1 coupon). The food was pretty good, but not great, and the service was spotty. Still nothing much in the way of gambling.

Tuesday we ate breakfast at the buffet at Main Street Station (2 for 1 coupon again). It was good, but I actually liked the Paradise Buffet better from the day before. We then drove to Eastside Cannery, Sam's Town, Palms, Gold Coast, Rio, and Stratosphere, spending the rest of the day at those resorts. Back to the Vegas Club late in the evening, but our favorite cocktail waitress was not there :-(.

On Wednesday, we decided to drive out to Red Rock Canyon and Red Springs. It was well worth the drive. The scenery was spectacular, and we had a great day. Stopped at Kohls on the way back to spend some "Kohl's Cash" we had. We had dinner at the Market Street Cafe at the California. Without a doubt, their prime rib dinner special is the best value for our money downtown. The meal was excellent, and the price can't be beat. I highly recommend this place to everyone. Most of the rest of the evening was spent at the Plaza and the Four Queens, still without any wins to speak of.

We moved from downtown to the strip on Thursday, staying at the Imperial Palace the remainder of the trip, and we also took the rental car back. I still think the IP is a good value, primarily due to its outstanding location, not its amenities or comfort level. It works for us. Most of the day and evening were spent at the Imperial Palace, Harrah's, and Bill's Gambling Hall (taking advantage of $10 match play coupon). The next morning, we decided to give Hash House A Go Go a try for breakfast, having heard so much about it. I can say that I was NOT impressed. Yes, the food was pretty good with large portions, but the service was really bad. Even though the hostess gives you a pager to alert you when your table is ready, she still yells, screams, screeches, caterwauls at the top of her lungs when your number is up. It was very annoying listening to her each time a table was ready for someone. Isn't the point of having the pagers not to require you to call out loud? Our waiter was also less than steller. For $2.39 for a cup of coffee, I would expect maybe they would keep the cup from becoming empty. Not the case, my cup sat empty for most of the meal, with only one refill near the end of the meal. Then, the waiter brought the ticket, and we politely asked him to separate the orders so we could pay separately. Well, that really ticked him off, and he gave very noticeable attitude. He didn't like it one bit, and he let us know it. It took him about 10 - 12 minutes before he finally returned with the separate checks (only 3 were needed). He failed miserably in his customer service skills. Won't go back there.

The only other bad experience I had was at Planet Hollywood. Now, we're not wealthy and like to take advantage of coupons and other marketing offers to make our dollars stretch. I'm not at all embarassed to use coupons. I had a $25 match play coupon for any table game at Planet Hollywood. I wasn't sure if a voucher was needed first, so I go to "Guest Services". The lady there doesn't have a clue and refers me to the player's club. I go there, and the man there also has no clue. He refers me to the cashier's cage. So I go there, and the lady in the cage has no clue. She refers me directly to a dealer. So I go to a roulette table and present my coupon and $25 cash to the dealer. She has no idea how to proceed and calls her supervisor over. The supervisor looks very briefly at the coupon, says NO, and then just walks away. I asked the dealer to speak with another supervisor, and this same supervisor (Julio) comes over. I hand him back the coupon and explain that I have already been the Guest Services, Player's Club, Cashier's Cage, and to the Dealer. He still says NO, so I ask to speak with his supervisor. He calls her over. She is very friendly and wants to help but also doesn't know what to do. She takes the coupon, looks at it, and also tries to send me to Player's Club, Cashier's Cage, etc. I reiterate that I've already been to those places, and they won't deal with it. So she takes the coupon herself and goes to those location and returns. She says there is language on the coupon referring to the "A List Player's Club" instead of the current Harrah's Total Rewards Club and they won't take it. She places a phone call to her boss (now Planet Hollywood's 7th employee consulted about this), and her boss says NO. I had a valid coupon for $25 match play on any table game at Planet Hollywood that expired 12/31/2010. I was at that location within that time frame and they refused to honor it. I obtained names and titles of everyone involved, as I intend to complaint to Harrah's corporate. In any case, AVOID Planet Hollywood with any coupons because they are too incompetent and unknowledgeable to be able to provide good customer service with respect to them.

The rest of the week, we did the usual taking in the locations on the strip. We certainly took advantage also of the $25 match play coupons at Sahara, Westin Causarina and Ellis Island (also their 2 for 1 dinner coupon and free drink coupons). We saw the Legends in Concert and Frank Marino "Divas" shows, and both were excellent. We ate at Flavor's Buffet at Harrah's (not too great, maybe 3 stars at most), at the Grand Luxe in the Venetian (very good, and a couple other places that I don't even remember.

Nobody in my party had much luck at all with gambling. Vegas seemed pretty busy and crowded, particularly on the weekend. It's too bad there are so many stalled projects and abandoned buildings. There seemed to be very few bargains. Everything was expensive. All in all, a fun trip with just a few upsetting moments. Looking forward to returning next year.