Another amazing trip has come and gone. I'll try to cover as many details as I can remember.
The Crew: Me, a retired sailor of 31 years service, now working for the government as a navy civilian writing training materials for the navy (55 years old). Her, a leisurely stay at home gal who enjoys incessant bingo and rapid fire video poker (no ages will be listed for women in this document!)
This trip had been planned since September. We hadn't been on a vacation together in three years. Bride had sworn she would never step foot on a plane again after a particularly turbulent ride to Vegas some 2 and ½ years ago. So we were planning a cruise but then suddenly Pam changed her mind and said she would suck it up and go to Vegas. The games afoot!
Two weeks before leaving I stupidly arranged to have Pam's son paint the inside of the house. He is out of work and the house needed painting so why not? Stupid sailor, don't you know any job takes twice as long as you plan?
Truth is after two weeks of living in total chaos the job was nearly complete. They'll be coming back next week to finish up. But I shouldn't have put the bride through all that crap two weeks before a Vegas trip. Once the day finally came, she was already at her wits end and exhausted.
We had an early flight with Air Tran and left Pensacola regional airport around 6:50am bound for Atlanta. A short delay but nothing to get in a twist over. We easily made our connection just a few gates down and then settled in for a long boring flight of almost 5 hours. I'd bought a DVD player the night before so Pam would be able to keep her mind off the plane ride. I must have done something wrong because after 10 minutes the battery went dead. Stupid sailor!
We arrived on time at about noon and took the tram from concourse D to baggage. Took awhile to find the Air Tran baggage carousel and there was our limo driver from Orleans. I always love arriving in Vegas like this. Makes you feel all vacationy if you know what I mean.
A short ride later and we're in front of the Orleans. Hardly any line at check in and true to her word our host had set us up with an Executive suite on the 20th floor. It was not the nicest suite we've ever had but certainly the nicest we've had in Vegas. Two separate rooms with a big living area with LCD tvs (four throughout the suite), bar, sink, fridge, coffee maker, etc. The thing I like best about having a suite is that I can get up in the morning and have my coffee and CNN fix while not disturbing the bride. Photos of the room as well as other, miscellaneous misadventures are posted here:
We were starving so we headed to Big Al's Oyster Bar. We each had a cup of the New England Clam Chowder and split a shrimp cocktail. Fast service and good, filling food. We did not want to fill up too much as the plan for tonight was to eat at The Prime Rib Loft, one of my favorite places to eat.
Since the bride had never been to Orleans I gave her the nickel tour. As an avid VP player I knew she would be impressed with the seven VP bars and abundant VP machines on the floor. 'I love this' she said. I was pleased that she was pleased.
We played for a few hours then headed to PRL for dinner. Pam had roasted chicken which looked and tasted wonderful, but was not as good as the chicken she'd had at Emeril's in Gulfport, MS a few months back. I had the small cut of prime rib, salad and baked potato fully loaded. Delicious food and great service. For those that are familiar with the now defunct William B's at the Stardust, the manager is the same at PRL. She is a very gracious lady and took great care of us.
After dinner it was time to meet up with Buddha777, Westie and their spouses - people I've talked to many times online but never met. Both of them were great to chat with and Westie brought a number of freebies from the Rampart which he said I could hand out at my meet on Tuesday. Great to meet you folks!
At some point Pam hit 4 Aces on DB VP and was beginning to feel very happy about being at Orleans. I was holding my own but by 11pm the last two weeks were beginning to catch up with us. For the first time since I can remember I was in bed before midnight in Vegas.
I was up pretty early, about 6:30am. I made coffee and watched the news and basically tried to put a plan together for the day. Yes, I had come to Vegas without a plan. Bride likes to go with the flow. I'm a detail oriented 'what's the plan'? kind of guy.
We decided on a light breakfast at Seattle's Best. I had a bagel and iced coffee, and Pam had a banana muffin and chocolate milk. I suggested renting a car so we could get out and see some of the outlying properties. That met with the bride's approval and I arranged a compact car from Enterprise since they will come and pick you up no charge.
About 30 minutes later they arrived in a Jeep Liberty and drove us to the office on Flamingo - not very far away but certainly not within walking distance, especially since it had started raining.
There were no compacts available so the Jeep Liberty became ours for the next three days. I got directions for Boulder highway so we could check out some new properties. I headed down Tropicana and stopped at a Radio Shack to see if there was anything wrong with our new DVD player. The rep at RS told me they could find nothing wrong and also gave me better directions to Boulder highway. He sent me over to Harmon which had far fewer lights and far less traffic. Thanks RS guy!
Before that we went into the local Wal-Mart as I thought it would have a plethora of Vegas souvenirs at bargains prices. Not so. Just some common junk. No t-shirts or anything other that Wal-Mart crap. I bought a refrigerator magnet. Woohoo!
Our first stop was the new Eastside Cannery. It was raining and I was hoping for a parking garage. Couldn't find one so we parked close to the entrance and dodged the raindrops on our way in. We both signed up for cards and got a whopping $5 in freeplay. Lost that in seconds and looked around the property some. Nice place with what looks like decent gaming options. Ran back to the Jeep and headed next door to Sam's Town, which does have a parking garage.
We didn't need to sign up for cards at Sam's since the Boyd Connected player's card is good there. We played some DB VP which, sad to say, has been downgraded from 10/7 to 9/6. Despite that we hit a couple of 4OAKs (four of a kinds) and walked out of Sam's with a $80 profit.
Now I'd been hydrating pretty well so far and as usually happens when I do this I have to visit the 'facilities' at every property we visited. That and the cold, wet weather didn't help. I don't think it ever got above 43 degrees the whole trip. Ah, December in Vegas!
Our next stop was Arizona Charlie's. I never even thought about visiting this place but it was next in line so we gave it a look. Got player's cards and was told about the $100 cash back - for every $100 you lose you get $5 back up to $100. No thanks. We played some video keno and moved on.
When we got the Jeep it only had a quarter of a tank of gas so I stopped and shivered while I put about 12 bucks worth in. Gas prices were pretty reasonable at about $1.65 a gallon. This seemed to be the average price all around town.
Last stop of today's tour was Boulder Station. I really liked this place and it was the only casino we visited that didn't seem deserted. As expected the crowds were light everywhere and so was traffic. I'm still not a big fan of driving in Vegas and hadn't done so in over 8 years. This time didn't seem so bad and I think I'll rent a car again when I go back. It also helped me cut down on the alcohol intake which is a good thing (really, it is).
We were going to sign up for players cards here but the line was huge. There was even a larger line for the buffet. I mean like 100 deep. There may have been something going on there that we didn't know about but we never asked. Could the food be that good?
We played some at Boulder Station and I hit a 4OAK which brought us up ahead for the visit. We cashed in and headed back into the rain.
We drove back up Harmon and made the trip back to Orleans in about 30 minutes or so. Parked in the garage and decided we were hungry. Orleans now has a Sbarro's and Fudrucker's next to the Subway. They are adding more fast food places as they expand their food court. I had planned on a burger at Terrible Mike's but that has been shut down for good unfortunately.
Pam and I both had cheeseburgers and split an order of bacon cheddar fries. We took that up to the room and enjoyed it on our glass top dining room table. Very good burgers. About 18 bucks was the total.
We decided to spend the rest of the day at Orleans since the weather was so nasty outside. They are talking about snow on Wednesday. Snow? In Vegas?
So after about an hour of playing live keno while enjoying various VP play I'm up a bit. My keno bets weren't paying but I was having fun sitting on a triple play VP machine near the keno area. Bride comes by with a much different attitude than yesterday: 'I hate the Orleans. This place sucks. I've already lost $200 and I'm going to the room. I'm not gambling another nickel here.'
I tried to get her to take more money but she was having none of it. Sigh. What can I do? Bride has been on such a losing streak these last 3 years that she is getting very disenchanted with gambling. I can't say that I blame her. So I let her go up to the room to cool down for awhile.
Less than 60 seconds after she left me I was dealt 3 to the royal on line one and it filled in on line two for a progressive hit of $253.00. These triple play machines have different progressives for each line and if you get a royal on all lines it pays a bonus progressive which was up to 1400 at that point. Didn't snag that but was happy with my $253.00 win.
After that I went over to the VP bar at the Cabaret Lounge. I like playing here during the day before the music starts and it gets crowded. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the music, but sometimes that place gets to be what we used to call 'A$$hole to elbow' crowded!
But today the place was not crowded and I was playing some double round-de-round (play each game twice, if you don't hit, move on) strategy which I made up and you may have for free. When I hit Deuces Wild I caught a flush with 3 deuces. I debated for just a second before holding the 3 deuces then hitting the 4th deuce for a nice $250.00 win.
Every night while we were at Orleans they had the 12 days of cash giveaway. You get tickets at the player's club based on points. The nice thing is they print out your tickets with your name already on them so you don't have to spend hours writing in your information on a form. Each night I'd sit at the Mardi Gras bar and listen to the smarmy announcer call out the names. Once again I got skunked for $250 so I headed up to the room to check on the bride.
What's this? No bride. Well, the 'I'm done gambling' shtick didn't last long, did it? I called the bride and she's back to the good fight. We're both hungry but not starving so we stopped at TGI Friday's for some appetizers. Just about all Boyd properties have TGIFs in them now. I enjoy eating there but when I'm in Vegas I always like to try something different. So far it's not working out that way.
We started playing together which I'm not a big fan of but the bride is disgruntled about gambling. I'd forgotten I had $50 free play so I charged that up and we played on it for quite awhile snagging quad 4's and Aces without a kicker on a DDB VP machine at the Crawfish bar. I was disappointed to find out the Crawfish bar is closing until the 23rd of December. I was additionally disappointed to find out Don Miguel's and Canal Street were doing the same. Two places I always like to eat at were off the table (so to speak) this trip.
I remembered seeing a Ruth Chris steakhouse just past the Enterprise office earlier in the day. Perhaps we'll give that a shot tomorrow.
We were back in the room before midnight again. This is not like me at all, but I was truly tired. Age sucks.
For the second night in a row I tossed and turned. Sleep always comes with great difficulty for me in Vegas. So I started my morning routine. The night before I always lay out my clothes in the living room so I can iron them in the morning while having coffee and CNN. When I opened the window I was greeted by a wonderful view of the mountains covered in snow. I had never seen this before. I hadn't mentioned our view since it was the mountains but I have to say it was picture perfect. They are very majestic to look at. Bride is still sleeping to I get ready and perform my favorite morning ritual: Iced coffee, keno and triple play VP.
The iced coffee was good as usual, but my keno and triple play were not cooperating. I lost over $60 in an hour which is unusual for me playing this game. I was very hungry and decided to try the buffet. The hit of the meal was the Mexican eggs benedict. Same as eggs benedict but with salsa and scallions. I was secretly fearful a Zantac would be in order later but my old gut seemed to suck up the spicy chow just fine.
As I made my way back from getting my food I found a man about my age sitting at my table! I kind of stammered 'you sure you are at the right table'? I picked up my receipt from the table and sure enough my name was on it. The guy was truly embarrassed and had indeed sat back down at the wrong table. I wasn't really surprised, the French Market Buffet is huge and you are literally dropped off at you table and left to fend for yourself. It made me think how often this happens so I paid attention. Sure enough, I saw some guy searching for his table and sitting down at the wrong one. He got embarrassed too!
I had a 10 dollar match play coupon we received upon check in. Being 60 bucks down I thought I'd give it a shot. I sat down at a Super fun 21 table and dropped my 10 bucks and coupon. Won the bet and got $30 in chips back plus my ten bucks. Lets roll! I won 7 out of the next 7 hands. Then I lost a couple and cashed out with $70. Nice recovery. The patrons at the table were winning as a result of my presence but they seemed annoyed when I cashed out. Sorry, BJ isn't my game of choice and I had recouped my morning losses. CYA!
The semi-plan for today was to take the trusty Jeep Liberty to Red Rock and maybe hit Red Rock canyon. So after breakfast I returned to the room. Bride was moving slowly. Apparently she was have slight back spasms, something she gets quite frequently. She decided to brave it and got ready. As we headed down the hall holding my arm she grimaced and dropped to the floor like a sack of potatoes. 'Take me back' she said and so back we went.
She was pi$$ed that she was down for the count but insisted I go without her. Things just don't seem to be working out like we planned. I reluctantly left and got directions to RR from the bell desk. I can't say enough good things about these guys. The day before they had coordinated the car rental and every time I asked a question they had the answers. They even gave me a map and drew out where I needed to turn.
So I made my way down Tropicana, picked up the 215 and got off at Charleston blvd. There was RR, right at the exit. I parked in the surface lot - there were not a lot of cars. I played some 8/5 Bonus VP with no luck and dumped another $20 in a DDB VP machine with similar results. So much for RR. Lets go slumming!
I looked over the map and figured if I took Summerlin Parkway I'd run into 95 and could get downtown. I always try to play some at MSS for the 4OAK scratch off coupons. My sense of direction seemed spot on and I made it there with no problems. I was beginning to feel very comfortable driving in Vegas. Of course, the lack of traffic helped a lot!
I saddled up to the Boar's Head bar and commenced to play. As has been customary on recent trips I had no luck. So I decided to walk over the California and find those 10/7 DB VP machines DMJewel always talks about. I found them and they were coin machines, so I looked for a place to get some quarters. When I finally saddled up I remembered why I like TITO so much. In minutes my hands were covered with gray, dusty coin grit. Nasty. I lost quickly and decided to get out of there. Some scrubbing at the rest room and I was ready to go.
Something was screaming at me 'GO TO SAHARA'. I should have told that sumbit@h to shut up. I signed up for a players card and dumped 40 bucks on VP at the bar. 'Don't forget to come back when you earn 10 points and you get a free glass' echoed in my ears. I had 8. So I was going to leave but decided to run another 20 through a Double Diamond quarter machine. After that greedy computer ate my 20 I had the obligatory 10 points. I returned to the player's club and got a coupon to pick up a souvenir glass at the VP bar. It turned out to be a cheesy, pink plastic glass that said 'Sahara, celebrating 55 years'. You'd think with all that history they would have chosen something more classy looking. Anyway, this now called 'My 60 dollar glass' and is displayed proudly on the guest bedroom nightstand. I hope it rots. You can see a picture in the link posted above.
I made my way out behind Sahara and got stuck in the turn only lane for the Desert Inn Parkway. This turned out to be a fortunate error because the DI Pkwy zips you to the other side of the strip by crossing under it. I was back at Orleans in no time and beginning to feel like I had this Vegas driving stuff knocked.
I called the bride and she is in great pain but hungry. She asked me to bring her some pizza from Sbarro's so as the dutiful husband I did just that. Ate pizza in bed because she can't get up. We're thinking we should maybe get a doctor or go the air force base hospital. She doesn't want to do this and just wishes she had some muscle relaxers.
Now it's time for the meet I had set up at the Mardi Gras Lounge and she can't go. I had wanted to bring anyone who wanted to up to see the room but that isn't going to happen now. So I make my way down to the meet and seconds after arriving Rhonda from OV is there.
People started arriving and I tried to take good notes so I wouldn't leave anyone out. Attendees were from several different LV boards as follows:
Rhonda (aka Bubbly)
If I missed anyone I apologize. The meet lasted for about 2-3 hours and was great fun. I'm not going to give away names, but a certain medical professional volunteered to write a RX for the bride for some muscle relaxers. Go figure. You arrange a meet, your wife gets back problems, a doctor shows up at your meet and writes an RX for the wife. Only in Vegas I guess. Actually I'm afraid no one believes I really have a bride. I think the only one who has met her is DC1377 from OV. I did show and pose with her picture on my cell phone. But I guess that doesn't count.
Since I'd had a couple of cocktails, Frank volunteered to drive me to Walgreen's to fill the prescription. Thanks Frank! Love that new vehicle of yours!
I returned said medicine to the bride and she was very grateful to get it. Now maybe in a few hours she can return to the world of the living!
We dined on leftover pizza and chicken appetizers from TGIF. Again, the dining experience is not what I had hoped for, but one has to adapt.
Bride is feeling better so down to the floor she goes for some losing times. I buy some keno tickets and plant myself at the Cabaret Lounge bar. There is a great country band playing. The meet had gone well, the bankroll is well within budget, I'm sitting on my a$$ listening to good music and playing VP. Life is pretty damned good!
As I was listening to the band (The Devil Went Down to Georgia...he was lookin for a soul to steal) I hit 4 aces on DB VP for a nice $200 win.
After cashing out I decided to check on my keno tickets. Now I have never won at live keno. Never. Live keno pays much higher than machine keno. For example; if you play 5 numbers at a machine your average return when getting 5 for 5 numbers is around $200 on a 25 cent bet. When I turned in my ticket the machine beeped. It had never beeped before. Then the total win amount came up - $750! I was blown away. I quickly collected my winnings and like a jackrabbit on a date I got the hell out of there and ran to the room. I socked away all but $100 of the cash and strolled, yes strolled back to the casino knowing I had practically restored our bankroll in one fell swoop.
Bride was losing and hurting so headed up to the room. I finally played until after midnight and went to bed with my $100 in tact at a respectable 2:30am.
Normal routine, but bride is in extreme pain. She can't even get out of bed. Never should have pushed it last night after the initial relief from the medicine. The forecast is for snow. Snow? In Vegas? They seemed serious on the news. Since bride is stuck in the room and the car poses no adventures I decided to take it back. If this snow crap is serious I don't want to be on the road when it comes. I grew up in Massachusetts and know how to drive in the snow. That knowledge is useless when surrounded by people who don't.
So I decided to do one of my favorite rituals in Vegas. Visit Bellagio. I drove down to Bill's (formerly and always to be remembered as Barbary Coast) and parked in the garage. Very easy access and quite empty so it was a breeze.
I walked over the pedestrian bridge to Bellagio and noticed something strange. I stopped, turned around, and there was no one on the bridge in front or behind me. No one. This is a first for me. I stood there for a minute and savored the moment. This will probably never happen again. Then I looked down on Las Vegas Boulevard. It looked like it was 5am and it was around 10. Very light traffic. Even though there are lots of cons to coming to Vegas in December, this was the ultimate pro. I owned that bridge, if just for a moment.
I did the conservatory and chocolate fountain routine. Took photos and stored memories. It was fine, I've seen it before. I always enjoy it.
Time to settle into my favorite Bellagio ritual. VP at the Fontana bar. I ordered up a cup of coffee and water (I'm driving, remember?). Things were nice and slow. I was playing a buck at a time on dollar VP. Enjoying the ambiance and chat with the bartender. He even lit my cigarette before I could grab my lighter. That is service from the past. He told me about a fellow bartender who had won the (Gimlet?) mix off contest in Beverly Hills. Her name was Diane and she had made some concoction that beat out everyone throughout the country. All the employees were buzzing about it.
I played my round-de-round style and ended up hitting 4 aces on DDB VP (no kicker) for 160 bucks. Then I hit another 4OAK for 50 bucks and in the end cashed out over $260 for a decent profit. Time to go!
I dropped off the rental car and got a lift back to Orleans. As we walked out of the office the skies opened up and white flakes started falling. Another first for me. Snow in Vegas. Wow.
Checked on the bride and she is flat out. Taking meds and sleeping a lot. She was willing to get up just to get out of the room and get some food. So we went to the closest restaurant near the elevators - the Courtyard Café coffee shop.
Pam ordered one of her favorites - liver (ick, sorry, not for me). I had the chicken parmesan with pasta which was pretty good. I was hungry as I'd skipped breakfast. Not sure why - maybe I just didn't want to face another buffet at the moment.
Pam was still hurting so asked to be escorted (hey, watch your imagination) back to the room. I headed back down to play with the promise that she'd call me if she needed anything. I took up residence at the triple plays near the keno area and then started noticing people walking in with overcoats and lots of white stuff on their collars. Nope, that ain't dandruff, it's snow!
I looked outside and could not believe the intensity of the snow. Being from New England I know what fat flakes look like (hey, watch you imagination!). This was truly intense snow. It didn't seem to be sticking to the surface roads though.
So I took up residence at the bar by the Cabaret Lounge. It was amazing to see the snow fall so hard. I had to find out what the news said so I headed up to the room. I-15 closed, airport closed, schools closed, calamity, Armageddon, fuhgettaboudit! I know Vegas is not a snow-ready town so I can see how this little bit of snow would cause problems. I was just proud to be a part of it. I went down to the main entrance and walked outside in my shirtsleeves. I thought about sticking my tongue out to catch a flake, but then I thought better of it and returned to gambling in the safety and warmth of the casino.
I was on my own for dinner again. Pam is down for the count. The place was pretty crowded for a Wednesday night. I ashamedly had dinner at Subway. Subway! Oh the pain. Here I had visions of fine dining every night. Mon Ami Gabi. Ruth Chris. Emeril's. And here I am scarfing down a roast beef sub at Subway. You have to suck it up for the team now and then (hey, I didn't mean anything by that!).
So I hit the drawing again and got bupkiss. Played a little more and started losing and ended up next to my love by about 2:30am. No, things aren't going exactly as planned.
Pam's back is much worse. I'm getting worried about the trip home. Would we need a wheelchair? The I-15 is still closed due to a jackknifed tractor-trailer. I'm sure glad we weren't leaving yesterday or today.
We ordered room service for the first time. I actually like this. It's very Vegassy. I ordered the Streetcar Sandwich; it's a ham, egg and cheese on a croissant with hash browns and toast. Way too much carbs but who gives a rip? Pam ordered pancakes and milk, her favorite breakfast. Great indulgence. It was very bad for us, so we thoroughly enjoyed it.
Pam has to stay horizontal so I'm left to my own ends again. There are so many things I wanted to do on this trip. I wanted to show her Palazzo. I wanted to see Aliante Station. But the most important thing right now is for Pam to get her back better so we can make the trip home tomorrow night.
So I got her comfy and headed out for one more excursion. I couldn't think of anything else to do so I grabbed the shuttle and headed to Bill's. Crossed over to Bellagio to try an re-enact the scene of yesterday's crime - VP at the Fontana bar.
I met Diane, the winner of the bartender contest. She is a really wonderful lady and was just gushed over winning. She has a free trip to the Bahamas coming and people are asking her if she has a press agent. It was really fun to hear her talk about all this. She is not used to all the attention. I suggested she should get the Bellagio to make her winning cocktail a signature drink at the property. It seemed to spark a light and she is thinking about it. I'll never see a cut. Oh well.
My luck from the day before failed to rematerialize but I did get to see a cool scene. As I was playing two things happened. First, I realized I didn't have to drive. Ding! I can have an early morning drink. I ordered up my favorite Bellagio bloody mary. Diane made it to a T. Then, as I was taking my second sip, I heard a commotion in the background. Across the room some dude was yelling and being yelled at by a floor manager. Things got heated and the floor man called for security. Within seconds this guy was surrounded by 8 or 10 goons (and I call them goons in the most positive manner). He spent at least 20 minutes discussing why he shouldn't be 86'd from all MGM properties. As far as I know, it didn't? work, as did my play at the Fontana. Oh well. Best of luck to both of us!
I decided to 86 myself from Bellagio since my play wasn't working out. I'd love to stay here, but the price of play may not be worth it over time. On the way out, I re-discovered my favorite Bellagio machines; two coin Double Diamond progressives which currently stood at 26K. Amazing you could win that much on a two coin quarter machine. Well, I didn't but I had a good run while finishing off that great bloody mary.
I crossed the street to take a look at Paris. I walked by Mon Ami Gabi and saw happy people eating steak frittes which I can't have or at least I won't without the bride. Some day Damnit, some day.
I played VP at a bar in Paris and didn't win. At least I got a 20 dollar bottle of water.
I continued on to Planet Hollywood since I haven't seen it for awhile and was impressed with the improvements. It seems like a whole new joint. I settled in at the heart bar (I think) and played keno for awhile while enjoying some bloody mary's. Not as good as Bellagio for sure, but not bad.
I had to check on the bride - she was always at the front of my mind and timeline. I caught the shuttle back to the Orleans and went up to check. She was still down hard and had almost been in the room for 24 hours. This is getting scary. How do I get this lady home? She was hungry so we ordered room service and split a filet mignon (my first of the trip), baked potato and salad for me. Great food but I was still not satiated in the dining arena but what can I do? Got to take care of your gal.
After dinner bride shooed me out to go play. It was almost time for the drawing anyway so I set up camp at the Mardi Gras bar and played some keno. I actually played the numbers I won on the other evening. I'll even share them with you. They are 19-26-44-59-62. I picked them completely randomly. I usually play blocks of number but that never seems to work. Wouldn't you know it, they hit. Of course, it was only for 200 bucks as opposed to 750 if I were playing live, but a wins a win, eh?
Every name called at the drawing which was up to about 400 bucks now was Chin Lee, Bofo Akura, or something that did not resemble my name. Oh well. Longshot at best.
I played various machines and returned to the Cabaret Lounge bar to hear the country band again. I'm sorry I can't recall their name. They were excellent.
Around midnight I was ready for bed. Just before I headed up the cell phone rang. 'I'm ready to play now' says the bride 'but I need you help to get down'. Well, ok, says I. So I head up to retrieve the invalid.
Now you have to understand I was really worried at this point. If Pam was hurting as bad as she had been all week tomorrow - how was I going to get her home? So I escorted her down to the casino and left her at a machine of her choosing. I went to the Alligator bar and just stuck at one machine keeping an eye on her.
And so the next 6 hours went. Pam seemed to be having fun. The fun she had missed out on all week. I kept a close vigil and played this machine I was at to keep a close watch. I was worried, I'm not ashamed to say. And even though this relentless machine kept me losing every second I stayed and watched. Once I went and got change for her. Yet that ruthless ba$tard kept killing me. All the wins kept melting away.
At one point I had to hit the rest room so I walked by and asked how she was doing. Before she could answer I looked at her credits and it looked like $1,370. Huh?
My lovely bride had hit four aces with a kicker on Triple Double Bonus VP for one thousand dollars. This particular game, if which you are not familiar, pays the same as a royal for four aces with a 2, 3 or 4. I was delighted she had won. She won't admit it - but this was her royal. Even thought it pays the same as a royal, she would not admit it was a royal. It's a royal in my books.
But now the truth is that I felt compelled to stay and watch her for safety reasons. I lost my friggin a$$. So when all was said and done we went to bed with her a winner and me an on looking loser. As Tony Soprano would say - 'whaddayagonnadoo'?
We ended up in bed at 6 am, the day of departure. I finally got to pull an all nighter but at the expense of a chunk of change. Oh well. At least the bride is ambulatory!
10 am finds me and the bride awake. We need to do a few things like check the flight, cash in our points, get tickets for the drawing tonight, etc.
Pam wants liver. Ah, ick. But the coffee shop has much to offer so we head down for a meal. She gets you know what and I order the club sandwich. Some burnout customer is flinging the f bomb for all it- worth but I try to resist saying anything. Bride is proud of me. I'm glad I'm too old to pick a fight.
Food is good but I'm getting melancholy feelings. I've had fun sure, but I've missed a lot of my goals. Oh well, there is always the next time, although the bride is again saying never again. Hmm, maybe more solo trips for me?
As is customary we take all of the cash that is left and split it up and go our separate ways. We agree to a 3pm nap time to prepare for the redeye flight at 11:30pm. We haven't done a redeye since 2000 and we were both much younger then.
I play here and there but end up at my new favorite place; the Cabaret Lounge bar by the shuttle entrance. I'm having my first beer of the trip. A Bud Light Lime sounded just great and tasted twice as good. When the new bartenders came on I ordered a shot of Crown. I don't know why, but this tasted like vacation. Unfortunately the attentive bartender kept them and the Bud Lime Lites coming.
Over a few hours I collected three 4OKs including 4's and about as many shots and beers. By the agreed upon time to nap I was more wasted than I had been in years. I called down for the wake up call and collapsed. This hasn't happened since the Hamburg, Germany incident in 1976. But that's a tale for another day!
When 6:30 rolled around I was a bit better than comatose. Wife seemed to be there as well so that was a good sign. We got ready and headed down to the buffet, our agreed upon last meal. Ick.
But as fate would have it the buffet offered my favorite - Mongolian BBQ. I raved about this place when I had it at Gold Coast last time and this was no exception. My mistake was only to add too much garlic. I'm a sucker for that stuff. It was wonderful and I finished it off with some apple cobbler with vanilla ice cream on top.
Yep, I didn't have all the dining highlight I'd have liked. But I did enjoy some good chow.
So we returned to the Mardi Gras bar for the last drawing. Pam hit some machines off to the left and I grinded it out at the bar. Wong Fu, Dirk Dee, Juan Fix, you name it, but then; Peter J. ? - what was that? That's my first name and middle initial. It repeated. It was for $500 bucks. Nope - Peter J. Alphabet. Not me and certainly not the gent I was conversing with. His name was Peter J. too. Oh well.
It was time to travel. Before I left the Mardi Gras bar I had a vision. Nah, it wasn't cool or anything like that. I was looking at the VP screen and noticed the lights dancing off the screen. It was pretty cool and a vision of vacation that I'm going to keep in my head for future reference.
So now it's time for the grind. I went cheap (hell, 700 plus cheap) for our flights so we're taking the redeye out at 11:30 pm. We pack up, check out over the phone and find that all out charges for the first time are not comped. No food comps. $315 bucks to pay. I wasn't surprised. With the bride down hard for most of the week it's no surprise the food wasn't comped. She's the champion of fast VP play. I figure with the way she was losing over time it probably saved us money.
We hit the cab stand and load up in a mini van that looks like the one I had in 1998. I tell the driver he looks like an honest guy and probably won't tunnel us. Word up and we hit the airport for 13 bucks. I've always found that is a fair fare form Orleans.
Both of us are tired so when they offer upgrades to first class for 99 bucks apiece I say ok. Yeah, we've lost a good bit of our 2K bankroll but it hasn't been a disaster and we deserve a little luxury.
We board on time and break out the now functioning DVD and watch Shawshank Redemption while they keep the bloody mary's coming. Bride falls asleep but I watch the whole movie. Great film.
We xfer planes in Atlanta and end up home at 10am dead tired. We dump into bed and now after 6 hours up I'm finishing this trip report.
I have a lot of mixed feelings about this trip. I enjoyed having the bride with me but I had so many other ideas to have fun.
I guess every trip is an adventure to be formed by circumstances. This one certainly was.
Thanks for reading. Who knows what the next trip will bring?