We left Portland on the 10p.m. flight. Got in about 12:30 a.m. had a friend pick us up. Drove up the strip in his brand new convertible, with the top down. We had to put the top up because it started to rain, and also saw lighting.

First place we went was Mandalay Bay he never saw it before so he wanted to play tourist with us. He never goes on the Strip because its a tourist trap for the locals. He works at one of the station casions. From there went to Luxor to have an early breakfast at there 24/7 cafe.

Went casino hopping all over used valet parking which was a breeze.
Before that checked into our room at the Riviera. We never stayed there before but got a killer deal from America West vacations packages they beat any price that the travel agents were quoting us.

We were up all night got back to our room about 2 p.m. Buy this time both of us were lethargic The hotel gave us a room in the Monaco tower. Very nice room except for the connecting door to the next room. We just started to go to sleep When the Asian yayhoos next door who decided to have a convention in their room, they were so loud we felt they were in the room with us.

Todd called down to the front desk and put in a complaint. Security talked to them, but this only helped for about an hour. We ended up calling them ourselves. That did not work out too well either. I asked them to either be quiet or go downstairs and party. They basically told me to go f__k myself, in very broken English.

Todd went downstairs to ask the front desk to change our room. Well, not only did they change our room, wth no questions asked, but they put us up in the VIP Tower, the Monte Carlo. No adjoining room!!!

Todd placed some baseball bets, and I played the slots. Shortly thereafter we went over to the Stardust and ate at the Island Paradise cafe. We tried their advertised $11.95 steak and lobster dinner (which is actually $9.95 during the summer). It was very good. Planned on eating there again.

Mary went over to the Westward Ho and bought one of their 32 oz. $1.00 margaritas. It was good too.

Went down to the Desert Inn to see it before they tear it down. They are closing August 31. Todd played Blackjack whie I played the slots. Won $125 playing $.25 Wheel of Fortune. That's the omly time that I ever really won anything on that damn machine. I usually refer to it as the Wheel of Ripoff Fortune!

Todd had an interesting conversation with one of the Blackjack dealers about some of the high rolling celebrities that have stayed at the DI recently. One story was about Bruce Willis. Apparently he was chewing tobacco inside the casino and spitting on the floor! When confronted, Willis gave the standard "Do you know who I am?" line, which did not impress the DI staff at all. They said that if he did not stop spitting, they would pack his bags for him.

TO BE CONTINUED

Back with the second entry in our latest trip to LV. This was our 4th trip to LV, our first being in 2/97, when we were married at the Little White Chapel.

In our previous trips we had mostle gravitated towards the south and center strip areas, doing the mega-casino thing. Having seen all of those a few times, we have become interested in some of the older casinos. While the north strip neighborhood may not be as clean or seem as"safe", we certainly enjoyed the casinos themselves. We spent a good deal of time at the following casinos:

Desert Inn: historical, old style class, good multi-deck blackjack, friendly staff-did not have to wait long at all for beverage service.

Stardust: Loose slots, older clientele (translation: not too many kids), great food (Tres Lobos--awesome shrimp fajita!), Island Pradise Cafe (steak and lobster $9.95), good service, and that great old Las vegas feel.

Westward Ho: $1.00 margaritas! foot and 1/2 long hot dogs (truly the largest I've ever seen) 75 cents!

Slots of Fun: noisy but fun atmosphere, mostly slots but some table games, including $3 blackjack (for the budget conscious), they or Westward Ho also advertised $1 BJ.

Circus Circus: kids everywhere!! But the place has a crazy, fun atmosphere, fun place to gamble, don't like the hitting on soft 17 BJ however. Great drink service.

Sratosphere: neighborhood a little scarier, don't know that I would want to walk around there at night, daytime ok, lots of people around. Casino is first rate. Beautiful, comfy sportsbook. Great place to play slots. Roxy's cafe has good food-did lunch there.

Riviera: This is where we stayed (see previous report for 1st day experience). A great older hotel, you can't beat the price, friendly staff. Great place to play slots. Nothing personal against kids (we have our own), but when we go to Vegas, we really don't want them around. The Riv caters to adults, calling themselves "the adult alternatve". It ain't Disneyland.

Saw "Splash" and thought it was excellent, but pay the extra $10 and get the VIP seating. Our seats were at tiny tables, cramped, and you had to look sideways to see the show.

We passed on the $40 of slot play for $20, as so many people on this board had suggested. The slots that you play on are just a certain group of what I am sure are very tight machines.

We did however get in line at least once a day for the free pull on a machine where you could win $100,000!!!(yeah right), but we did it anyway just to get the free souvenirs (mugs and decks of cards) Hey, our friends at home don't have to know that we got them for free!

If you're hungry late at night, and want a ton of food at a decent price, try the Peppermill, right next to the Riv. A cabbie suggested it to us. It's old Vegas, and it's where the locals like to hang out. If you buy the Cobb salad, just buy one! It will easily feed three!

Good souvenir shops in that same area, as well as a Taco Bell if you're looking for non-casino food.

Well, that sums up the North strip part of our trip. If you've never been there, check it out.

MORE OF OUR TRIP__TO BE CONTINUED