TRIP REPORT 3/1/06 to 3/7/06

This was a girls' trip with me (mid-50s), my sister (early-50s), my niece (mid-30s) and two of her friends (mid-30s). We all left our husbands at home and had a ball. Most of my time was spent with just my sister and me kicking' around. This is the first time we had a rent car. I really liked having the car so it was easy to go to any casino we liked. (Previously, we had only been to strip and downtown casinos; of course we didn't get to half the casinos we planned, but that's part of the fun of Vegas. Go with the flow.)

As usual, much of the 'stuff' we intended to do, did not get done, however we had a fantastic time. This is probably going to be long (and boring) so if that's not your 'thing', feel free to move on.

The weather was beautiful the entire time....upper 60s in the day and mid to upper 50s at night. We only needed a sweater or light jacket in the early morning or evening.

Tuesday - 3/1

We left about an hour late from DFW. When you have traveled a lot, you think you have heard and/or seen it all. The plane left late due to 'Poison Ivy'. A passenger who deplaned mentioned and showed his poison ivy to one of the flight attendants. They decided since it was contagious, that the seat covers in his row and the row in front of him would have to be removed and replaced. So a crew was called to strip the covers (which they did), and lo and behold, there were no clean seat covers at DFW to put back on (the plane was an old TWA and its seat covers are not the same size as AA planes). American finally decided to block off the 6 seats and get 6 volunteers for a later flight. So finally we got going. As a PR offering, the movie, 'Walk The Line', was shown.

Arrived in LV about 40 minutes late. The pilot made up some of the time. My niece and one of her friends were going to hang around the airport for their other friend to come in on another flight. Sister and I grabbed the bus to AVIS and hopped into a 4-door Malibu with just over 300 miles....nice.

We drove to TI via the strip. Traffic was not too bad. Beautiful day! Got to TI about 2PM and was checked right in. Room was a little worn, but clean and roomy. Unpacked everything and headed downstairs. Sister and I played 'hit and run' on some slots for awhile and then headed over to the Wynn.

The Wynn was still offering the 2 free buffets for 50 points. I signed up for a Red Card and we went to Megabucks. In 10-15 minutes, Sister had 51 points and was up $27. Cashed out, went back to the Red Card desk, and they put the two buffets on my card. Went over to the buffet....only waited about 15 minutes. We were very satisfied with the quality and choice of food. I can't remember how many king crab legs I ate. The legs were already split, and the butter was warm enough to take the chill off....Mmmmmmm.

Walked around Wynn (very beautiful especially the mosaic floors and lighting fixtures) and decided it was too pricey to play Pai Gow or BJ. Hit a slot or two, but no luck. We walked back to TI, but felt too tired to play Pai Gow or BJ. Did a little 'hit and run' on slots. The jet lag and time change were getting to us. Went upstairs and crashed about 9:30PM.

Thursday - 3/2

Got up about 8AM and by the time we were both ready, it was about 9:30AM. Headed to the Orleans. Played 'hit and run' on several slots. Enjoyed the bonus rounds on The Beverly Hillbillies and Twilight Zone. Moved on to Gold Coast.

Used the ACG 2-for-1 buffet coupon. Lunch with tip was $5 each. Good, basic buffet, nothing fancy, and the food appeared and tasted fresh. We had gotten there right after they opened for lunch. Played VP until about 1:15PM. Headed to The Palms for a scheduled facial.

Got up to the spa about 1:30PM. Both of us changed into a robe and slippers. We had a bottle of water as we waited for our 2:00PM appointments. We both had the Palms Signature Facial and used the POV $50 off coupon, making this a good value. The facial was very moisturizing and relaxing. The technician was very gentle. The only thing Sister and I didn't like about the set-up was that you go up and change your clothes on the 3rd floor, and then, when the technician is ready, we were brought back down to the 1st floor through the same area where you check-in and is visible from outside the spa due to glass in the two doors. My sister, in particular, wasn't too happy to be 'paraded' back through this area in only a robe. The facial was very good, the price was right, however, you don't have the same ambiance and facility like places such as Venetian or Caesars.

Sister and I headed back to TI for a little rest and to dress for the evening. The whole gang, including niece and her friends, went to the Rio. Sister and I used the 2-for-1 POV coupon (total coast about $13 for both of us) to ride one of the floats during the Masquerade in the Sky parade. They took us back stage and provided lockers for our personal belongings. Each of us was given a costume to wear, beads and a bead necklace with a Rio logo. Pictures were taken of us at the float with two of the performers. Six of us were loaded on the Brazilia float, required to buckle up the seat belts, and each of us had a tambourine. It was a hoot! We beat the tambourines and laughed like crazy. The only disappointment was that we were not allowed to throw beads. One of the performers would throw beads to specific people if you asked.

After the parade, we went and looked at the photographs at the photo shop. The two photos were very nicely presented in a faux alligator folding photo album. Sister and I decided we liked them so well, we bought (about $25) one set.

The rest of the gang had already moved on. Sister and I were starving so we went to the Rio Carnival buffet using the 2-for-1 POV coupon. The food was somewhat above average and there were many choices, however I would not pay full price for this buffet. It was a good value at 50% off.

We were going to go up to VooDoo Lounge, but it was closed for a private party that night. Oh well....next time. No Pai Gow tables with open seats and no BJ at $10 or $5. Sister and I decided to drive down to the new South Coast casino.

We really liked South Coast....new....high-high ceilings....not smoky. We also liked the feel of the casino and the personnel were really friendly. We found a $3 blackjack table (we were newbies playing BJ at a table) and the dealer was very friendly, helpful and patient with us. We were able to play about 20 min. without anyone else at the table, so when others joined us, we felt pretty comfortable. Also the casino allowed us to have a small BJ strategy card on the table which we did refer to occasionally. I came out ahead about $25. By midnight we were too tired and brain dead to play any more. Drove back to TI via LV Blvd....great ride and crashed for the night.

Friday - 3/3

We got up about 8AM. Had breakfast at TI's café with a 2-for-1 coupon that we received as part of our TI package. Headed back to South Coast to try out Bingo. Got there in time for the 11AM session. Large room...complimentary drinks....high ceiling....mostly non-smoking tables. We purchased cards loaded into an electronic unit. (This was new for us.) There are probably those who hate the electronic units since they do everything for you except yell 'bingo'. There are those people who love them because they can talk, visit, drink, etc. and not miss marking a number. We noticed that many people had an electronic unit and one or two paper cards to daub....kind of the best of both worlds. The big jackpot was over $15,000 but no one won it within the specified amount of numbers called. The last game is black-out with a $1,000 guarantee jackpot. No luck for either of us during this session.

Went downstairs and Sister had the most sinful Butter-Finger ice cream at their ice cream parlor and I had a very good Pistachio. We then played Pai Gow until about 5PM. Headed back to TI and went over to Mirage to pick up our Jay Leno tickets. We returned to TI and had dinner at Kahuanaville. We used a $25 restaurant dining certificate that I had bought online for $5. We each had soup, a cheese burger with fries and then split a dessert. Total cost for each of us (tipped at full value) was $13. The Chicken Tortilla soup was awesome. The burger and fries were very good and very hot. However, the dessert was to die for. It was a huge mug filled with vanilla ice cream and bananas. There was a thick cascade of hot fudge with pecans on about half of the outside of the mug. There were two more scoops of ice cream on the plate, around the mug. We couldn't finish it, but we made a big dent.

When over to the Mirage, and did 'hit and run' on several slots. I won a $250 jackpot on a 25¢ 2-coin Red, White and Blue....nice! By that time, it was time to go to the Danny Gans Theatre to see Jay Leno. We had seats about 10 rows up and somewhat to the right of the stage on an aisle. Very nice theatre and very good seats. The show opened with Derrick Soul (I think), country-western singer. I was not too impressed, however I'm not really a country-western fan. Then Leno came out and did his gig for almost 90 minutes with no breaks. Fabulous! We laughed until our sides hurt. It was nice to see a comedian who was funny without using profanity. No 'F' word at all!!!! His bit about men and cats was hilarious!

It was about 12:30AM when the show ended. So we went back to TI and crashed.

Saturday - 3/4

Got up about 9AM. Today we move downtown to GN. We packed up everything and checked. Assuming it was too early to check-in, we left our luggage in the car. Since we skipped breakfast, we were starved. We called the rest of the group and they were at a Pai Gow table at 4 Queens. Greeted them there, and then went to Magnolia's for late breakfast using a 2-for-1 ACG coupon. When we came out, we were able to join niece and friends at a Pai Gow table. Played until about 3PM; I came out ahead by about $25. Stopped on our way to GN and had a yummy greasy hamburger at the Binion snack bar.

Sister and I went back and checked in. Got our luggage from the car parked in GN's self-parking garage and unpacked. Room was nice. Our only complaint was the very small bathroom and the almost non-existent water pressure. Oh well, we managed. Went back out with the gang and checked out several casinos. Downtown was very crowded by then, and casinos were pretty smoky.

We decided to take the car and go to Sun Coast. Got to Sun Coast and looked around a bit. Niece and friends wanted to slow up their gambling for awhile (had switched to BJ after we left them at 4Q and did not do so well). Sister and I suggested a session of bingo and the group said sure....let's try it. We all purchased cards on an electronic unit except for one who bought $5 worth of paper cards. The group was happy chatting and relaxing for an hour. No bingos.

By the end of bingo, we were all hungry. We drove over to nearby Rampart for their T-bone night buffet (note: the 2-for-1 ACG coupon is not good on Fri-Sat or Sun brunch or Thu night). This was our most expensive meal of the trip at about $15 per person. The T-bones were thin, but not too bad if you had them cooked rare or medium rare....pretty good taste. If they were cooked much more, they become somewhat tough and less tasty. I personally thought the prime rib was better. Nice selection of salads, sides and desserts. The J.W. Marriott resort looked really beautiful the way it was lit up at night.

The Rampart casino was pretty crowded and smoky. We headed back downtown to GN and played Pai Gow until about midnight. Packed it in about $50 up and crashed.

Sunday - 3/5

By the time we got up and going, it was about 10AM. Walked down to the Fitz and had McDonald's for breakfast. Headed to South Coast for the Super Sunday bingo sessions at 1PM and 3PM.

Wow....what a crowd. We got there about 12:30PM and were barely able to purchase our electronic cards before game one started. Another minute or two, and we would have missed the first, large jackpot game. In the Super Sunday sessions, there are 2nd and 3rd chances on the $1,000 jackpot. My sister won $334 on the black-out 2nd chance (was split between 3 winners). Hooray!

Sister got in line to purchase our cards for the 3PM session, and I headed to the bowling alley snack bar. Got hot dogs, chips and bottled water for the two of us for $10. No luck on bingos during this session. Oh, well. Consoled ourselves with ice cream. We both got the Butter-Finger flavor, and I added hot fudge for extra chocolate.

Found a $5 Pai Gow table and played for awhile. Left up about $25. Drove to Stratosphere to purchase 'Bite' tickets for the 10:30PM show that night. Headed back to GN and played Pai Gow for about an hour until we decided we were hungry again. Went to the café and were seated almost right away. Waited for a server and waited. Heard a lady nearby ask another waiter about a server and he said that 'so and so' was her server, however he would take her order. I wasn't able to get his attention so I asked the hostess if our table had a server since we had not seen signs of one during our wait. Within a minute our server came, apologizing. We ordered open-face roast beef sandwiches with gravy and potatoes.....very good. Our meals came really fast, even before the lady's order that the other waiter took. Forgot to use a coupon in the booklet that GN had provided at check-in. Total cost with tip was $8 each.

Went back to the room for some down time. About 9PM we dressed for the evening and drove to the Stratosphere. Looked around a bit and then went upstairs to get in line for the show 'Bite'. Used the 2-for-1 POV coupon so total cost for each of us was about $20. The venue was fairly small primarily with round tables for 8 people. Our seats were fine but if someone was unhappy with their table, a $20 appeared to get you moved to better seating. The music was LOUD especially during the first part of the show. Unfortunately neither of us had ear plugs, though as the show went on, at least the bass was turned down a bit. The show has a vampire theme. The singers are topless during much of the show. The male singer was very good. The other recorded rock and roll songs were OK to very good. I didn't really care for the show much, however my sister loved it. By the time the show let out, we were ready to return to GN and crash.

Monday - 3/6

Niece's friends have all left. Called her to see what she wanted to do. She was feeling pretty rocky and asked for 2-3 more hours of sleep. She was playing a hot BJ table the previous night at GN into the wee hours. One of the somewhat famous poker players and his friend joined the table. She got his autograph, but I can't remember who it was.

Since sister and I had not had a Crispy Crème fix, we walked down to the Fitz and had donuts and milk. We then drove back down to South Coast for the 11AM bingo session. I couldn't believe it.....I bingoed and won $200. Wow!

After that session, we went down and had the lunch buffet with a 2-for-1 coupon that we had received when we signed up for Coast Club cards. Good, basic food....fresh and pretty good. Another cheap meal for about $8.

Drove downtown to meet up with Niece. We went to Binion's and played Roulette on their electronic system. Stayed pretty even for awhile, and then the money slowly drained away. It was fun, however I haven't played roulette at a table, so I have no comparison. I am sure it plays faster than someone manually clearing chips and making the payoffs.

We then went to GN and played Pai Gow. When we got hungry, we went to the GN dinner buffet with a 2-for-1 coupon that GN provided in the coupon book upon check-in. We split the tab 3 ways. We went back and played Pai Gow. I was up about $50 and then I lost 3 in a row. That was it. I cashed out at $10 up, and told my sister and niece I was going to 'hit and run' some slots. I did really well for me. I first played Monopoly (the one with the plumbing...Cash Flow I think) and cashed out up $50. Then went to Jeopardy, hit Play Double Jeopardy and cashed out up $100. I then went and played A Fist Full of Dollars, MIB and Star Wars coming out about $50 ahead. So in about an hour or so, I made $200.

Searched out my niece and sister. They were at a BJ table and doing very well. I told my sister I was beat so I was going up to pack, watch a little TV and hit the hay. She said she would see me later. I went to our room and about 5 minutes later, here comes my sister. She decided she was tired too and didn't want to wait until morning to pack. So we both packed and went to bed about 10:30PM. Niece was still playing BJ downstairs.

Tuesday - 3/7

Got up and away about 9:30AM. No problem checking out....no problem with AVIS. Bought 1½ pounds of fudge for our Mom (She gave us American miles to make this trip so the cost per ticket was $10 for taxes; it was the least we could do.) Got through security in about 10-15 minutes....not bad at all. When we got near our gate, we stopped and had some breakfast. Flight left on time....home on time. (You know you had a great vacation when you really didn't want to leave yet!)

This was the very first trip that I brought home more money than I took. I paid for everything in cash (no pesky credit charges coming later) and still came home with about $200 more than I took. Wow! Too bad this doesn't happen all the time. Normally I come home with about 50% of what money I took, and am glad for that. So this was a very special trip and I certainly had some luck. Sister and Niece were just happy they were returning home with some of their money.

I highly recommend a girls trip (with sisters, nieces, friends, etc.). We got up when we wanted, we ate when/what we wanted, we gambled as long as we wanted, we did not have to worry about the needs of our husbands and we totally relaxed....unstressed.

Time to think about next year's trip! Maybe 3 nights on the strip and 3 nights at South Coast since we spent so much time there....maybe an offer??? If you lasted this long, hope my report didn't bore you to tears. I really appreciate all the information and tips that this board provides!