Monday July 24 to Saturday July 29

National Airlines:Newark New Jersey. Excellent and attentive service. Boeing 757 gave a smooth ride. There is extra legroom but heavy duties will still be squished in the middle seat. Fortunately they do flying better than they do luggage. Both out and back the luggage was delayed and both times passangers were sent to the wrong carousel. Will definately fly National again.

National Car Rental(no relation):These guys are good. Had my free upgrade to a full size and was on my way in no time. Returning the car was even easier. The computer thingey spit out my reciept in about 15 seconds and I was on the shuttle. There was some confusion after getting off the shuttle. Shuttle drops off on the wrong side of the street. Missed the big National Airlines sign for curbside baggage check-in. Went into the terminal and had to ask two people before then going back out to check my bags. I blame myself a little but mostly National Car Rental shuttle driver for not pointing me in the right direction.

Rented the car for the week. $165.00. Bad move. You don't need or want a car in Las Vegas. Even though I got a good price on the Chevy Lumina I could have taken a lot of cab rides for $165.00 Example: Treasure Island to Monte Carlo was $5.40 plus tip. We walked back and though it was 110 degrees we survived. Not pleasant but no big deal. The problem with having a car is not only the legendary heavy traffic but fact that nothing is really well marked. The several casinos we drove to had maybe 1 sign for self parking or valet at the enterance and then there was nothing and you had to guess the rest of the way. I and my passangers consistantly guessed wrong. This could become a safety issue and was very irritating at best. Las Vegas has no white lines for lanes painted on the streets and only the very major streets have visible street signs. When making a left onto the major streets from a Casino or attraction you're cutting accross 6 lanes of traffic counting the turn lanes. Las Vegas is a very dangerous place to drive. If you do drive don't even think about having a few coctails after dinner. If your life can't go on unless you see Hoover Dam then rent for 1 day but my suggestion is take a cab to a show instead. I've driven in other major cities such as Manhattan and Washington D.C.. This is the only major city I have had a problem with from a safety standpoint.

Treasure Island at The Mirage: The much hyped Pirate Battle here is really just an exploding sign. I appreciate the effort of the cast but found the 10 minute show just a little silly. Ok that's the only negative thing I can say about Treasure Island at The Mirage. We had a wonderful time and will almost certainly make this our home base on subsequent trips.

The Room at Treasure Island at The Mirage: Equal to Holiday Inn in size and clenliness. Nothing special. Bathroom was oversize with a lot of counter space. We arrived at 11AM for a 3PM check-in. We were issued a room immediatly. It was not made up but we could store our bags there if we wanted(we kept them with the bellman). Since we had a room we could charge things to our room right away, a nice convenience. We asked for a view and were put on the 28th floor with a spectacular Southerly view of the strip and were directly above the Mirage Volcano which was cool.

The Food at Treasure Island at The Mirage: Really neat having a Starbucks and a Ben and Jerry's in the hotel. Get to Starbucks before 8 or prepare to stand on a slowwwww line. The Terrace Cafe' was ordinary but the food was plentiful and good. The Black Spot was excellent for lunch. Try the pizza. Great burgers and appys too. The Steak House was OK but overpriced for what you're getting. We had planned to go to the Buccaneer Bay Club for our big dinner but fortunately checked the menu first. It is very limited. We cancelled and went to The Steak House. There are a few bars scattered around the periphery of the casino. This was very convenient for a quick break from the casino or to meet someone.

The Pool at Treasure Island at The Mirage: Very nice. Plenty of shade. Good size pool. If you plan a lazy day at the pool get a cabana for $75.00. It's well worth it with a changing area, cable TV, a couple of mister sprays, a chest with juice and water. Well worth it.

The slots at Treasure Island at The Mirage: Poker machines are mostly Jacks or Better of the 8/5 variety. I didn't play them for this reason even though I play 6/5 in Atlantic City(and the fact that the Slot Club does not give cash back for quarter play)Go Figure. Took us 2+ days to find some loose slots but when we did we did quite well without hitting anything big. If you can get on them try the 2 Progressive 5X $1.00 machines facing the Terrace Restaurant. Near these is a 50 cent area with an incredibly loose aisle. It has a Kangaroo machine on one end. Most of the machines on this aisle were loose especially the 5X, 10X, and a 3X baseball machine. We also saw the Double Diamond and Red White and Blue 3 Line machine on this aisle pay out quite a bit. There are 3 One Dollar machines on the Island/Carousel facing the Gift Shop/Buffet Line. They are 5X, Double Diamond, and Triple Diamond. I am sure these are 98%ers'. Another tip is to check the card readers. If anyone has over 1500 points(quite a few) they may know something. Check back later and give the machines they were at a few bucks.

The Slot Club at Treasure Island at The Mirage: $15.00 coin in per point. $30.00 coin in per point for Poker. Cash back does not start until you've accumulated 100 points($1500.00 coin in) That will get you $10.00 and then you get $1.00 for every 10 points. Example 122 points gets $12.00 cash back. In addition you get $24.00 food comp for every 100 points. At some point you get the Casino Room rate so be sure to ask. We were getting it($49.00) for weekdays anyway but our Friday night rate dropped from $199.00 to $79.00. Just go up to the Slot desk for comps and cash back. At our level of play the comps were cut and dried and plainly spelled out. We also got the name and card of a slot host to make reservations for future trips at the Casino Rate. We booked July to save money and got $550 for the five nights. Our final rate was $275 +tax and they also picked up almost all of our food. Naturally you want to book your flight and room seperately and only pay one nights room in advance. At this time quarter players are out of luck with regards to cash back but your play is recorded for food comps. Supposedly this will change soon. The Mirage has the same point system but I'm not sure what they do about adjusting your room rate.

Must do while in Las Vegas: Don't miss the Seafood Buffet at $27.00 at the Rio. Don't miss the Cirque de Sole' show Mystere' at Treasure Island. Don't miss the Dancing Waters show at Bellaggio. Don't miss the Venetian Shopping Mall. It's like the Truman Show where the outside is really inside. Don't miss going to the Top of the Tower at the Stratosphere. Most importantly don't miss the Pub and Brewery at the Monte Carlo. This gem was my favorite find. Do miss Sam's Town and the Fiesta.