I must tell you, I'm a Vegas junkie. We did not start going out to Vegas until 1992, however, I've been hooked ever since. Anyway, I sign up for all the e-mail specials that the airlines have. My husband and I took advantage of a Continental special (129.00 r/t from San Antonio to LAX). We figured why not, we can rent a car and drive to Vegas. The drive wouldn't have been so bad if someone had taught the California drivers that you DON'T DRIVE IN THE LEFT LANE CONTINUOUSLY, IT'S THE PASSING LANE. Sorry if I offended anyone. We rented a car from Hertz and about 30 miles into the trip, the brakes started going out. We knew that we didn't want to chance it on this drive, so we went back to Hertz LAX office and switched cars (They did give us a $35 credit for next rental). It was nice when we left LA (75 degrees). We stopped along the way, don't remember the name of the town, in Death Valley, step out of the car and it's 110 degrees, let me tell you that the Ford Taurus a/c was awesome. We couldn't believe the change in temp. Anyway, we had to struggle to get a hotel room at the last minute. There used to be time when you could get a hotel room any day of the week without any problem and not cost an arm and a leg. I digress, we stayed the first night at Holiday Inn Emerald Springs, it was a nice diversion from the gambling scene. The room had a refrigerator, coffee maker, iron, ironing board and nice sitting area, $67 internet rate for Saturday night. We got settled in about 6pm and headed out for Maxim's. I had a $5 free offer to join their slot club and a 2 for 1 buffet. Little did I know that everyone else in Vegas had the same coupon. The buffet was crowed, waited 45 min. and the food as you can expect was only mediocre. Played a little bit there and hit 4 of a kind on VP and won $100, cashed in and left quickly!! This seems to be the only way I can hold on to my winnings. We then walked over to Caesars (my favorite place in the world!!!) We couldn't get a room on this trip (sold out). We usually stay there and I can't say enough about their rooms, staff, restaurants, buffet and just the overall ambiance. My husband loves to play the .25 machines for a chance at a Mustang. It just upsets him every time we go back and he sees on the winner board that someone has won either the day or 2 after we leave. I guess he believes that if he had just stayed a little longer, that it would be him up on the winner board. No luck at Caesars, I ended up putting back $60 of the money that I won at Maxim. We decided that we would turn in early and hit it early the next morning. Our early turned out to waking up at 11 am. I think the drive to Vegas took more on us than we thought. We decided that we would sightsee and not gamble until later in the day. We found free tickets to the IP car show and decided to go. This was very interesting, my husband is a car buff and we ended up staying there over 2 hours. We were staying at the Las Vegas Hilton on Sunday so we decided to go ahead and checkin around 3pm. My husband dropped me off at the front door and went to park. I walked in and almost fainted. There were probably 250 people in line to checkin. I do go to Vegas very frequently (5-6) times per year and I have never seen a line like this. I had found a $29 night rate on lvrs.com and apparentely so had everyone else. Boy, was there rumblings in the masses. As we slowly moved along in line, staff were there to direct traffic. It ended up taking 55 minutes to check in. When I finally got up to the counter, the clerk said "welcome to the Las Vegas Hilton, how are you?" At which I replied, "Well, this pretty much sucks so far!" I think that I shocked him so much that he felt compeled to make our stay a little more enjoyable. He upgraded us to a petite suite with a strip view. He then told me that he had upgraded the room and hoped that would make me a little "happier. The room was very nice. Marble entryway and all the wonderful amenities that you would expect from a suite. This does rival Caesars. My husband who is not a big gambler decided that he would lie down and "rest his eyes" so that he would be ready for "the primetime gambling." So I left him in the room and went downstairs to play BJ. No space available at the $5 table and I didn't want to sit at a $25 table, so I started playing slots. I am usally not a slot player, I play BJ, roulette and craps. Anyway, I had lost $20 in a machine and decided to get up and try something else. I saw a machine that had roses on it and decided to play it, put $20 in and on the first spin hit $340. Cashed out and went upstairs. Hit and run. The remainder of the evening we mostly casino hopped. Saw the Venetian, wasn't that impressed, saw the pirate show at TI and played BJ there, broke even. We tried to go to the buffet at the Mirage, line was entirely too long and we ended up at the coffee shop at IP for their $3.95 steak and egg breakfast, not bad. Woke up Monday morning and had the buffet at the LV Hilton. Not very good and was overpriced. Our flight left LAX at 6:50pm so we knew that we need to leave Vegas no later than 1:30 for the 4 hour ride and to turn the rental car in. We did stop and see Mandalay Bay on the way out of town and we were pretty impressed by it, will definitely want to see more of it when we return in December. My husband was surprised that I did not gamble much this trip, at which I replied that this was just a quick fix as we are coming back for the National Finals Rodeo and staying 8 days in December. All in all, it was a good inexpensive quick fix, however that drive from LA is not enjoyable, someone please tell the California drivers what the LEFT LANE is supposed to be used for. There were car after car who remained in that left lane going 50-55 miles an hour and would not move come hell or high water. Anyway, hope you enjoyed reading and I hope to post another report after our December trip.













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