September 4-10, 2005 - Las Vegas anniversary vacation

We took our 2nd year anniversary trip back to Las Vegas. Flew Delta airlines from Knoxville to Atlanta to Las Vegas. Watched "Dare Devil" movie on the laptop. We got into town late on Sunday night, picked up a Buick LeSabre from Avis and went to the Fairfield Desert Resort on Harmon Avenue about 3 blocks off the Strip. The place is a nice RCI condo, 1 bedroom suite. We had a nice view of the interior pool areas. Tuesday morning we went to the Palms for an all you can pig out on buffet breakfast. We played the slots for a few minutes and walked out with $3.75 of their money. We went to a grocery store a purchased things we needed for the week. We dropped the groceries off and then went to Ethel M for our weekly fix of chocolate. Last year the price was $18 per pound, but on Sundays there are specials for half price. This time there were no specials and the chocolate was $30 per pound. We bought the barest minimum and left discouraged! Then we went back to the Fairfield for a short afternoon by the pool. Later, after laying around, we went to Target for more supplies.
We had dinner with Kim, David, Dave and Shannon Sperry Monday evening. The food was great and the company better. Kathy and Kim got to laugh at old photos of them selves. On the way back to the condo, Kathy and I stopped at the Rio for a little gambling. On the first slot machines we played, I won $125. Kathy won and lost a little. I then decided to play a little roulette. I play a "slice of the wheel". Typically I bet $5 on 3,13,24,36. I played 3 times and won $175 on 24. I decided I had won enough for the night we started walking around looking for the "mega-slot machines". We played only 1 or 2 pulls on each of these machines hoping for the big wins. Of course, they are the least likely to win machines. On the way out, we decided to play a few dollars in the "high limit" room. We found a $5 "wheel of fortune" machine. This is Kathy's favorite machine! I put in $10 and with a double bet lost on my 1 pull. Kathy put in $20 and lost the 1st pull then hit the "Free Spin" on the 2nd pull. At first Kathy didn't realize she won a free spin. Finally she became a little excited and then hit the "Free Spin" button. The wheel went around and stopped on the $800 slot. She looked at the wheel and started saying over and over "800 hundred dollars, real 800 hundred dollars?". She was so excited, she wanted to put more in the machines, but I talked her into walking away with the money. Actually I just grabbed the winning slip and went to the cashier. Of course, in my need to control, I kept the money. So wee decided to call our second night in Vegas "Done!".
Tuesday morning we woke up to find that Kathy had a rash on her arms. We think it was a combination of the "Acutane", the "Sea & Ski" 50spf lotion, chlorine in the pool and sunlight. We had spent most of the time in partial shade, but something happened to Kathy. I didn't think we get sunburned myself. We had a fine breakfast of cereal, then we went to Target again to return a few items, buy lotions for Kathy's rash and to Sally's for Alan's hair coloring. We came back to the condo and spent 70 minutes coloring my hair white. Then we headed out for a little shopping. On the way, we stopped at a "Chipolte" Mexican restaurant for lunch. Then we went to the Las Vegas outlet mall, to look for a new "makeup travel case". We found a case that connects to a rolling case and a new makeup case for Kathy. Kathy also bought a cover shirt for her arms.
Tuesday afternoon, we headed to my favorite casino "Green Valley Ranch". I like the place because of the TV show "American Casino". I have watched all 29 episodes. While we were there we ran into Ralph, the VP of the place, a super friendly guy! I found out that they have 9 more previously shot episodes that run Wednesdays on the Travel channel. Can't wait to see them! Note - last year we saw them taping extra footage of the show. We started out on the 25? Wheel of Fortunes and I would $40 on 1, $30 on another and $20 only another machine. My philosophy is to move to another machine as soon as I lose more than 50% of the money I put in or if I win big. Kathy won and lost a little on those machines. So, we walked around playing a few more machines, I saw the roulette tables and talked Kathy into letting me play again. I put down $5 each on 1,3,13,24,36 and on the first spin won $175 on 1. I immediately picked up my winnings and walked away. We then headed to the high-limit room and lost $140 on the $5 slots. We walked around the hotel for a while and on the way to buy a hat, I stopped at the roulette table and put down a $100 chip on black to win. And guess what? I won again. We decided that we had enough, so we left Green Valley Ranch.
We then decided to see a couple of the free attractions at the strip casinos, so we headed to the Tropicana. We went to check out the "new member" rewards card, but decided a free show for playing for an hour of slots was too much. The lady did give us the "free" coupons. I went to the roulette table and play $10 to win $25 on black and lost on the 1st spin, then won on the 2nd. I was up $5, so I went to another roulette table, gambled $25 and won. We walked out with $30 winnings, minus a few dollars for various "mega-slot" pulls. We were between acts (trapeze artists who work without nets above the slot machines), so we headed to the MGM to see the Lions. Unfortunately, they were not out. So we played the slots again. On the way to the Wheel of Fortune slots, we were passing my favorite slot, a 25? Red, White & Blue. I put in $20 and after $7.50 I hit (3) 7's for a winning of $100. We finally played the Wheel of Fortune and Kathy hit the free spin but lost most of the winnings. We left the MGM with most of my $100. We then headed to the NYNY across the street. Kathy was hungry so we stopped for a $5 pretzel, it was good, but only worth $2.50. We walked around for a while playing 1 hit on the mega-slots. We then found 50? Wheel of Fortune. Kathy sat down next to a couple that had put $40 in a machine and lost. They offered their machine to me saying, "you should put your money in, it's ready to pay out". So I did. And guess what? I hit for $200! I gave the couple $20 of their money back and they were surprised! We played a few more mega-slots and finally left.
We headed back to the condo around 8:00 pm to find a sea food restaurant. We found that there was a "Bahama Breeze" within 4 blocks, so we went there. It was the restaurant we went to twice on our honeymoon in Orlando, so we had to go. Kathy and I had the exact same meals as our first time. Kathy had the Salmon pasta and I had the Ahi Tuna. I wasn't as good as our first time, due to that fact that it was our honeymoon, but the food was still great.
We retired back to the condo around 9:30 pm Tuesday evening for a lotion slatterfest. Kathy's rash had spread more on her arms and all over her back. We talked about emergency care options, but decided to wait until the morning before going.
Wednesday morning we woke up and decided that Kathy's rash needed medical attention. I called Blue Cross about coverage (and as usual got the run around). But they finally gave me the name of a Dermatologist group that was in network. After a little finagling with the appointment girl we got an appointment with the head doctor. We drove across town to the "Las Vegas Skin and Cancer Center" and since we were early, we stopped for lunch at "Tanaya Creek Restaurant". The food was moderately expensive, but vary taste! Afterwards we picked up the medicine and decided on the way back to stop in at the Rio to cash a $7.50 winning ticket. I had a bad feeling about gambling, but decided to play anyway. Of course, it was a disaster. I couldn't hit any slot for a winning. We did get to see the free "Carnival" show about the slots and caught one of the beads (but the girls wouldn't show anything, drats). On the way out I stopped at a roulette and almost put down $100 on black, but decided to just watch. It hit 00 green. So, my instincts were correct. I wasn't meant to be betting at that time. We left the Rio and headed back to the condo for a more extensive slatterfest. Around 5:00 pm we decided to go out to get a bite to eat. We saw a short clip on TV about the Mega-Hotdogs at the "Slots-of-Fun". They are 1/2 pound dogs for only 99?. We stopped at the "Wynn" on the way. It is a new casino and is absolutely beautiful. I decided
?to test the winnings at the Wynn and started with the mega-slots. Of course, we didn't win, but then after moving on the a few other machines, we won a few small jackpots. As we were getting ready to leave I stopped at the roulette and played $100 and won $175 on the second spin. Having not eaten and being ahead again, we decided to go get supper. We drove to the Circus Circus valet and asked the guy if the hot dogs were any good, he said "no, I don't eat them!". We choose to ignore and went over to Slots-of-Fun. The dogs were $1.29 if you didn't have a players card. Kathy and I split the dog. She said it wasn't good, I thought it was. We played a couple of 5? and 10? slots and won a few dollars. I bet $30 black at roulette and won. Black seemed to be my favorite and winnable color. We then proceeded to Circus Circus. At first we played the 25? slots and were losing, but I finally hit for $50. Then we went up to the 97.4% pay-out $1 slots. I put in a $50 ticket and quickly won $300. I gave Kathy around $40 in $1 coins and she went off to play by herself. We then decided to walk around a little (plus the bathroom thing), when she showed me her winning ticket of $200. We found a Krispy Kreme shop in the casino and while Kathy waited for a fresh donut, I played $40 black on roulette and won again. It was around 9:50 pm, so I talked Kathy into going to the Treasure Island for the free "Sirens of TI" show, in exchange for more slattering and washing her hair the next day. We made it to the valet at 9:56 and walked over to the boardwalk out front (along Las Vegas Boulevard). The place was absolutely packed. We shuffled our way finally to a half decent vantage point (of course the people standing behind weren't too happy since we're so tall). The "Sirens" started coming out onto the ship and getting into position. The music started up and 30 seconds later, stopped. After a 3 minute wait they cancelled the show, double drats!!! We went inside the Treasure Island casino and started playing the slots again. We would win a little and lose a little. I decided to try to play 1 slot for more the my normal amount, so Kathy wandered off. We she had come back I had lost $40 and Kathy told me she had dropped a quick $50 at the $5 slots plus a little more. We decided to call it a night. Kathy went to the bathroom and while she was gone, I laid $60 down on black again. After the ball was started, and immediately won! I love that black!! This meant I hadn't lost money at TI. We then went back to the condo for another slatterfest. I hope they can get those stains out of the bed, couch and off the ceiling (just kidding).
Wednesday we laid around the room until 11:00 waiting to find out where we were going for lunch with Kim Sperry and her mother Nancy Perusse. We went to the "Fashion Mall" across from Wynn's. We ate at "Ba Ba Rebba". We had around 8 "tapas" (small dishes of food). Most were excellent and a few were okay. The price is a little much, but not for Vegas. Afterwards, walking through the mall I stopped and bought several Ethel M chocolate bars. Nancy mentioned that she really liked "See" chocolates, so we drove over to the store and bought chocolate for around $13 per pound. I didn't think it was quite as good, but the price was definitely much better! We came back to the condo and laid around for a while waiting to hear from Kim about some free tickets to the Circ-de-Sole show "Mystre". Her next door neighbor is an acrobat in the show and offered us the free tickets.
Okay....the previous writing was done in Vegas, so is accurate. All that follows was written almost a month later, so my memory is sketchy in some places.
That night we went to the Aladdin for dinner at the "Bonsai" sushi buffet. The meal was around $60 including tip. There was a huge selection of sushi, but most pieces weren't too good. The ahi tuna though was excellent, and on that night they had sushimi, so I ended up eating around 20 pieces. There was a wide variety of "cooked" items for Kathy to eat. Again most were average, but a few were really good.
Final win/loss tally -
We started the vacation with somewhere between $500 & $600 dollars, that we allowed ourselves to lose or spend. We only completely lost at 1 of the 13 casinos (Treasure Island). But since we got a free Circ-de-Sole show, that normally costs $125 per person, we feel we still came out ahead at Treasure Island. On the day we left to go home we had $1600 in our pockets. So, this was a great trip.

Las Vegas advice -
Rent a car! They are only around $150 a week.
Drive to a casino and use the valet! I usually tip a few dollars (depending on the winnings).
Watch the roulette wheel previous numbers and bet on the "outside" (red or black, odd or even).
If you are going to stay at one casino and gamble for extended periods, get the players card, otherwise don't bother.
Food is plentiful and typically not cheap. I personally think the casino restaurants are way over priced. But there are so many to choose from, it's hard to decide.

Photos -