The day of departure is finally here. I am up at 4am to finish packing and be at work at 7. I know it will be a long day until my flight at 6 pm. I get to work and start the count down, each hour just crawls by but finally the clock ticks 3:30 and I am out the door. I drive home and get my bag and daughter in law drives me to DFW airport, a quick kiss to my granddaughters and promise to bring back surprises.
I check my bag at curbside for American. I have plenty of time so I have one last cigarette before going inside. Big mistake....the line to security is back to the baggage claim....I could have done without the smoke!!!!! It takes almost an hour to get thru the line. All at once I remember I have not had anything to eat all day, so I run to McDonalds and grab a quick burger. Ok that helps with the shakes I was having, now to my gate. I read my book until we start boarding. That feeling of anticipation and excitement overwhelms me..You all know that feeling. I read the same line in my book about 15 times and finally realize all I can think about is which slot machine I will play first!!!! I close the book and daydream until they call my row number and I get on the plane.
The plane is full and we taxi out for take off. Finally we are in the air!!!! I am in full excitement mode now; you can feel it thru out the passengers on board. Then I hear this child's voice from about 2 rows behind me... oh da, oh da, oh da, at exactly 4 second intervals. Now I love children and have 5 grandkids that I love dearly but this kid is driving me nuts!!!! This goes on for 30 minutes straight and I am about to say something to the flight attendant when I hear the mother say I found your pacifier and all is quiet again. The rest of the trip is uneventful and we land on time.
Off the plane and to baggage claim grab my bag and take Bell to Harrahs. Walk inside the door to proclaim to everyone, I AM BACK, I decide not to shout it out and cause a scene. Now to check in, this is the ugly part.......Harrahs the place where I have been staying for the past 5 years. Now just to clarify a few things. I do not have a credit card, I don't want a credit card, I don't need a credit card, If I can't pay for something in cash I don't need it so I use my debit card to make reservations. I have used the same debit card for the past 5 years at Harrahs and this time should be no different....WRONG!!!!! I am informed that I have to put up a deposit, other than the one that was charged the day I made my reservation. This includes a $50 deposit for the towels and the remainder of what I owe and it will be taken on my card right now. Well I plan my trips around my pay days and my check will go in tonight at midnight and I have left a bare minimum in my checking account and no way to transfer any funds tonight. I have to give a deposit in cash. I told the reservation clerk I can do that but I don't want to have to use an ATM to get that cash back and she tells me I can come back in the morning and they will refund the cash and run it on my debit card. What a hassle!!!! I have never had to do this before and it makes me mad but I am tired and just want to get to my room so I do it. Strike 1 for Harrahs!!!
It is now 10:30 Vegas time and I am pooped but still want to play a little before going to bed so I take my bag to the room. Big room handicap accessible, 2 big beds, and a view of the Mirage volcano with mountains in the background room 2159. I was prepared to do the $20 trick on check in but changed my mind and just asked for room with strip view. I drop off my bag and head out to the casino. Oh no!!! They took out the FlipFlop machines, my favorites, what will I do now? I decide to walk over to IP and play a few slots there. I love watching the couples interacting as they play. Some are so thrilled to hit for 10 nickels they start yelling with joy!!!! It probably cost them $10 to win 50 cents it is so funny to watch. I am getting tired and check the time, it is 1am which means 3 am central time, I have been up almost 24 hrs now and I am really tired so I walk back to Harrahs stop at the Garden Cafe for an omelet. Now I am tired and hungry and there is a line I am 4th. I stand there as about 6 people are seated before they start on our line. People keep walking up showing their platinum or diamond cards and they in get first. This really ticks me off as I have been waiting 20 minutes and it is too late to go anywhere else. I finally get seated. Strike 2 for Harrahs!!!!
I wake up look around and finally realize where I am, VEGAS!!!!! I look at the clock, it should be around 6 am, it is 9 and I am wasting time sleeping!!!! The message light is flashing on the phone so I call to see what message I have. Well the desk clerk gave me back the wrong change last night and they owe me $32. I get a quick shower and dress, out the door and down to the desk to get my money back. I tell the desk clerk to make the charges to my card and refund my cash. I also tell her about the change that is due to me. Well she does the card refund but has no information about the change due to me and tells me to come back when the clerk that checked me in is there. Another hassle for me! Strike 3 for Harrahs!!!
This is a day to do what I want, the only thing I have plans for is to get my money at Harrahs, go to the Orleans to get beads for my coworkers and pick up my tickets for Penn and Teller at the Harrahs box office. I go to the coffee shop for café mocha and I decide to walk down the strip and stop at each casino along the way. First stop is IP. I play a few slots there and walk out even money. This made up for my losses last night. My win was on a Texas Tea machine back by the slot club booth. On down to the Flamingo and do nothing but lose. Next stop Oshea's and lose there too. This is a recurring theme thru out my stay. I play slots only, simply because I haven't the courage to try blackjack because of all the complaints on my talk board about newbie's ruining people's play. I make it to Barbary Coast and do not try anything there, trying to break this losing streak. I hop the shuttle to the Orleans. The driver is extremely nice and we have a good conversation on the trip. I am the only one on board, It is early in the day.
I get to the Orleans and play a few slots and do not win anything. At this point I am really getting discouraged and just go ask for my beads, which I get for free, then try some video poker. I lose again. I have been here several hours now and decide to make it back to the strip. These beads weigh a lot and my hip is hurting by now. I am just getting over bursitis and it is starting to flare up again. Just what I need now, losing and now I can barely walk. I will be in great shape when my brother arrives tomorrow!!!
I get on the shuttle, same driver, she tells me about a man she just let off. He has had nothing but bad luck since he got here. His wallet was stolen before he could check in and had a time doing that, he lost his wife in a casino and did not find her until he returned to his hotel. She had the key so he had to call the room for her to come and get him because they wouldn't let him into the elevators. I asked the driver where he sat on the bus and she says "right where you are sitting "I just prayed that his luck did not rub off on Me.!!!!!
I make it down the strip again, lugging a bag with 180 strings of beads! This time I have to stop at each casino because of my hip and these damn beads! Of course I play at each one and lose. Elvis wasn't even good to me this time. I make it to IP and go inside. The Dealertainers were on and I really enjoyed this free show and watching them deal blackjack. I wish I didn't have this fear of playing because this really looked like fun. I sit down at a slot machine with the yen and yang symbol on it, I can't remember the name but it was by the Dealertainers. $10 in and I play for at least an hour on this one machine. I walk out with $200. That helped but it does not bring me even.
Outside of IP there is Elvis taking pictures that are free so I get in line. Very nice man, I get my picture and am told to pick it up I have to go back inside to the slot booth. So I drag my beads and my bum hip back to the slot desk get my picture also cash in comps for a coffee mug and head over to Harrahs. These damn beads are killing me. Now my hand is numb and my fingers are about cut off. If I did not like the people I work with I would throw them in a trash can at the first opportunity. But I trudge on knowing everyone will get on their knees and thank me for bringing them back something!!!!
I get to Harrahs and go to the desk to see if I can get my money. The girl that was working when I checked in is there. She recognizes me and says she can't believe they made me come back again because the information is in the computer. I get my money and go over the box office and pick up my tickets for Penn and Teller for Friday night show at 9. My brother is really looking forward to this show!!!!!
I go up to my room and drop off the damn, damn beads put my tickets in the safe and rest for a little bit. Now that the feeling has come back into my right hand and arm I am ready to go again, my hip is still hurting but it is bearable. I go down to the casino and walk by the new piano bar. There is Elvis again!!! What the heck is this? A gay Elvis!!!!! At least that is what he looks like!!! (No disrespect intended) Well it is karaoke time and he is the emcee!!! This was really fun. I stand there to watch and there are a lot of really good singers. I truly enjoy watching this!!!! There is this wonderful black man that sings My Girl and he is amazing!!!! The crowd goes crazy when he gets done. Not only did he have the voice he had the moves too. It was wonderful!!!!!! The Elvis emcee was really funny too!!!!
All at once I hear this inner voice saying "HEY YOU FOOL, YOU HAVE STOOD IN THE SAME POSITION FOR THE PAST HOUR, THE HIP IS ABOUT TO GO OUT". I pray that I don't fall down when I move!!!!! I hobble over to a slot machine to rest the hip and quickly lose 20 bucks, but the hip feels better!! I decide to go over to the Mirage to see if they still have the FlipFlop machines.
I make it across the street barely by the skin of my teeth. The traffic is horrible and everyone drives like they are in the Indy 500!!!!!!! The white tiger is still here and is yawning as the crowd looks on. The FlipFlop machines are still here!!!!! Yea!!! I lose 20 bucks in the blink of an eye. What a bummer!!!!! I walk around looking for something new to play. I sit down at a Bucks Ahoy machine and win a little, this game is really fun. I like the machines that you have to interact with, you know touch the screen to pick stuff and this one is really good. I put in $10 and cash out $75. That is a little better. I am getting tired and realize I haven't eaten all day.
I start back to Harrahs and stop at the Mirage gift shop on the way out. I have to find something for the 5 grandkids. Now my 5 year old granddaughter has asked me to bring her some Elvis chocolates and I have been searching everywhere and cannot find any but I will keep searching before I buy anything. I do see several things but will wait to see what else I can find. I walk over to the Panda Express outside of Harrahs, get my dinner to go and take it to the room. I eat and hit the sack. It is 11:30 and I am tired!!!!
Today I need to pick up tickets to Wayne Newton for Saturday night and look for presents for the Grandkids. My brother gets in at 6 pm and we will just have time to make it to Penn and Teller at 9.
I get ready and go over to IP for breakfast. This is a comp and the only meal I will eat at IP is breakfast. Lunch and Dinner buffet is horrible so beware. I decide to catch the trolley to the Rivera and check for handicap accessibility. The Trolley I take has a lift so I ask the driver what the charge is and he says it is the same for everyone and every Trolley has a lift. Ok I will keep that in mind because I had planned to use handicap taxis. I play a little at Nickleworld in the Rivera then I walk over to the Westward Ho to lose there too. I go to the Stardust and pick up the tickets then catch the trolley and take it all the way to the Tropicana. I get there in time to see the air show and this is a good free show. The hip is acting up again and I catch the trolley to Harrahs. Up to the room and put those tickets in the safe and decide to go over to the gift shop at the Mirage again.
I decide to try the FlipFlop machines one more time. Yea!!!! I keep hitting the bonus round this time and walk away with a $150 win on $10 investment!!!! I also play the balloon game and win on this one too!!!! I know my brother is in the air and should be getting to his flight change in Minneapolis any time now. I go to the gift shop and pick up 5 of the tiger heads on a handle that makes the mouth open and close. I know the grandkids will love terrorizing each other with these!!!! I also get 3 large suckers with a stuffed with baby lion on them for the 3 granddaughters. My cell phone rings as I am paying and it is my brother. Here comes the bad part!!!!
He has missed his connection in Minn. And now has a 5 hr wait for the next plane!!!! I am really angry about this because I had made arraignments for handicap transfer so he can make that connection. No wheelchair was available and he had to take the handicap tram. Well there was time to make the flight but the tram driver stopped at every gate and would not take my brother directly to his flight. The plane was backing out of the gate when my brother got there and they would not call it back!!!!! This was thru Northwest Airlines booked thru Expedia. I had checked the box for wheelchair assistance and also called to make sure this would take place. My brother reminded them of this also to no avail. No wheelchairs are available in Minneapolis airport so beware of how they treat their handicap passengers. They do not care if you make your connections or not!!!!!
This means we will miss Penn and Teller as my brother's flight will now be in at 11 pm instead of 6. We are both really mad about this but it is too late to do anything about it now. I know the tickets say no refund or exchanges but I decide to go to the box office and tell them what has happened anyway. Well all is not lost. The gentleman at the desk says he will see if he can get a refund when I tell him what has happened and he gets me the refund. This is good but I am still disappointed about the show.
I dropped off the gifts in my room and decide to check on the scooter that I have reserved for my brother. It is there and ready so I go ahead and take it, just to see if I can handle it too. This is fun!!! I go up the elevator to take it to the room and get to speeding down the hall way and decide I will use it until he gets here. This is the way to go!!!!!
I go down to the casino and am playing on a slot machine when an elderly man starts hitting on me to give him a ride we laugh and he goes on his way. Well later on the same man approaches me, this time his wife is with him, she says "honey he is hitting on you for the scooter not your body" and I reply "that is the sad part" we all laugh and this is in good fun. I meet them several more times this evening and we all have a laugh each time!!!!!! It is almost time to go get my brother at the airport so I head for the Bell Desk.
I have called Bell transport earlier in the evening to pick me up along with the scooter to go to the airport. I tell the guy at the taxi pickup and he says they should pick me up right there but to go wait for them at the regular stop. I wait 20 minutes and they do not show up. I go back to taxi pickup and they call for a handicap cab. They are on hold for 15 minutes and are told don't know when one will be available so I check the scooter and take a cab to the airport. They should have a wheelchair waiting for my brother to take him to baggage claim.
Well I am waiting at baggage claim when my cell phone rings. My brother is here but no wheelchair he makes it to the tram and is coming down the escalator. We walk outside to the taxi area and the line is a mile long and I know he cannot stand in that line. We walk back across baggage claim and get on a shuttle bus to Harrahs. This is much faster than the taxi line.
We get his scooter and I rent one for me too. We drop his bag in the room and head out to get something to eat as he is not feeling too good right now. We race down the hall way on the scooters; this is so much fun, and go to the Garden Café. I am praying for no line and we get right in. We eat and visit for awhile. We haven't seen each other for several years and the last time was at our older brother's funeral so this time it is for fun only!!! We decide to go outside and tool down the strip. We are having a blast, it is not too crowded and when we see a break in the crowd we ride side by side. People are high fifing us and urging us to race each other!!! We go all the way to Paris. We go inside and play a Texas Tea slot. This is my brother's first slot machine ever. He turns 10 bucks into 50. This was fun!!!! Now keep in mind that I am a 57 year old woman and he is 50 so everyone thinks this is so cool!!!! This is the only way to travel in Vegas. We make it back down the strip; at Margaritaville people are leaning over the rail to high five us and cheer us on!!! This is so much fun!!! We have a busy day planned for tomorrow and are getting tired so off to the room for a nights sleep!!! It is 2 am!!!!
We wake, up open the curtain at the window to sit and watch the beautiful view. The mountains in the back ground are really beautiful. We sit at the table and talk for a while and then realize what time it is! We have been talking for 2 hrs and need to get on with our plans. We get ready for the first half of the day and are out the door by 9 am. We check out the buffet for breakfast and there is no line so we eat there. Out to the back to catch a ride to the Hilton for the Star Trek adventure. We decide to take the Trolley and see how that goes. Well no problem other than loading the scooters. We have to back onto the lift and then maneuver them inside so they both fit. We are off. The Driver did not tie the scooter down and we both worry that they will go rolling and break someone's leg but that does not happen and we arrive safely at the Hilton. We get all day passes for the trolley.
We are early and have time to check out the casino and all the Star Trek decorations. We race around the Warp Core and everyone probably thought we were drinking because we were having so much fun. Neither one of us drink so there is no problem there!!!! My brother checks out the men's room and the talking urinal's what a laugh that was!!!! We play a couple of slots with no wins but who cares. We are kids again and having a ball!!! It is time for the Borg Invasion and we get our tickets and sign up for anything that we can get!!!! We go thru the museum and on into line for the invasion. Note: My brother is a big Star Trek fan and so am I so this is really fun for us. This ride is great!!!! The replica of the bridge is perfect and we walk down several corridors on the ship to get to the shuttle. I won't go into the exact details of the ride but it is well worth the money and a lot of fun too. It is very handicap friendly too!!! We come out of the ride and they have pictures available and we get our pictures with the crew from the original series and also next generation these are really cool. Next back in line for the Klingon part of the experience this is the 3d version and at times I have to close my eyes because it gets to my stomach but is still a lot of fun. Quark walked thru the line as we were waiting to go on the ride. We got off of that ride and went to Quarks Bar and Grill for lunch. The food was good but a little expensive but we did not care as this was so much fun!!!!
As we finished our meal a Borg walked in. Now I got to laughing and could not stop and he says "Human why are you laughing" This guy is good he stays in character the whole time. I just say I don't know why and he says "Do you think everything is funny" I say yes He says "Do you think human suffering is funny?" Now I am laughing and cannot stop. He says "Do you think death is funny?" Now I have no answer for him and ask to take a picture with my brother and he says "assimilate" we take turns getting our pictures and I finally quit laughing. Now I have had enough death and human suffering in my life and I really do not think it is funny, I don't know why I got that laughing fit but it was fun!!!!!
We find the place where you can take part in filming parts of the original TV show opposite Captain Kirk and take the DVD home with you. Now mind you I am no actress but I do it anyway because I know my kids will get a big kick out of it. Now my brother takes his turn and he ad libs at the very end telling Captain Kirk "Thank you for vaporizing those liberal democrats" the guy in the booth got a kick out of that. We are both happy with our acting debut's and go on out to the gift shop. We buy a lot of stuff here, Star Trek coffee, tribles, Borg implant, cards, and the best of all a Klingon teddy bear and a Feranga teddy bear. What fun this will be when my older son sees these bears!!!!! We check the time and it is almost 2 pm. We have to get back to Harrahs and get ready for Wayne Newton. My brother takes one more turn around the Warp Core and off we go.
The Hilton is very handicap accessible with ramps and automatic doors, Oh I forgot to mention that the scooters went on the rides with us too so no standing in line. This was wonderful.
Out to the curb to wait for the Trolley. This driver tells us she has been looking for us as the previous driver radioed that we will be riding all day. She is ready for us and is very helpful although she parked very close to some stair rails and it took us several tries to back onto the lift we make it and she straps down the scooters. Off we go to TI, this driver is extremely helpful and friendly I tip her really well and we take the tram over to the Mirage go thru the casino and out the front door and over to Harrahs. The transportation has not been bad at all and a very good experience all around. We drop off our loot and get cleaned up for Wayne Newton.
We wait for the Trolley again and get another good driver. We get off at the Rivera with plenty of time before the show. We go thru the casino and out the front door, again very handicap accessible, cross the street and take our time getting down to the Stardust, we don't go inside any other casino.
We get to the Stardust with plenty of time before the show and we go to the buffet for dinner. This must be seafood night because most dishes are seafood and neither of us like seafood. There are some other selections and we do get enough to eat. The desert we chose was not good at all, sugar free brownies and a couple of other things that were all so dry we could not eat them. While finishing up dinner one of the girls selling souvenirs came by. She had some cute little ghost pins with flashing lights and I think the grandkids will love these. My brother wants some also so we asked for 7 of them. She doesn't have that many but if we follow her to the supply room she will get them. Now we do this but it takes her almost 30 minutes to check the batteries in all of them so we don't have time to play any slots. I really am not upset at this because she did make sure that they all worked and gave us spare batteries.
It is time for Wayne Newton. We go in the theatre and our seats are in the back but have a perfect view of the stage and it is a small theatre so we are very happy with our seats. My brother is really looking forward to this. His son is in Iraq and Wayne Newton supports our troops and has entertained them in Iraq so we really appreciate what he is doing.
Wayne's voice is really going but he puts on one heck of a show. He is so talented on all the instruments he plays and is very entertaining. At one point he asked that all veterans in the audience stand for recognition, my brother and I look at each other and we both stand together. There are a lot of others standing too, the crowd cheers all of us. Wayne talks about supporting our troops and that he will be in Iraq in 2 weeks and my brother is brought to tears. It is so nice to hear an entertainer support our President and military as all you hear about are the ones against them. This also brings the house down as he sings America the Beautiful and talks about not giving in to the terrorist. This ends the show and the applause is deafening. I would have paid double the price to see this show!!!!!!!!
We are all hyped up after the show and are going thru the casino when we see a show girl and I make my brother get his picture taken with her. This is a present for his wife!!! She will get a good laugh at this. Now on out to the Trolley. The first one comes and can only take one scooter so we wait for the next one. This is the first time this has happened as most of them have room for 2. It is not long before the next one comes and we get off at TI again and this time we go over to Caesars Palace. Now with all of the construction it is hard to find a way inside with our scooters.
We get almost to the main entrance before finding a handicap entrance. I know this is just because of the construction but they could at least put signs up to tell us where to go in. We look around and take pictures and start looking for a way out. We are totally lost it takes forever to find a way out and we are at the cross over for the Barbary Coast we have a lot of fun making our way down to Harrahs but it is more crowded tonight but we do make it. It is almost 1 am and we are hungry so we go to the Garden Café again for a bite. This ends our wonderful day and we have to be at the airport tomorrow morning to catch our flights home.
We get up and pack, load our suitcases on the scooters and head out for the bell desk to check them. We go to the buffet for breakfast and get right in. We have time to play a little before leaving so we head to Mega Bucks to try for the millions. Of course we lose but at least we did try. It would have been so nice to retire!!! We check out and take scooters to turn them in at the bell desk and get our bags then cab it to the airport.
We get there in plenty of time and I go to check my bag. Well I am way early for my flight and cannot check my bag until noon. The plan is to visit with my brother until his flight leaves since our gates are in the same terminal but nooooo!! Our gates are at opposite ends and I cannot go to his gate. I get on a house phone and ask for a wheelchair for him since security is 2 miles long at this time and we say goodbye. I have 5 hrs until my flight leaves!!!!
I go find a seat close to where I have to check my bag and watch the lines get longer and longer. My brother calls on the cell phone and he has made it to his gate and all if fine with him. It is finally time to check my bag and the lady at the queue line knows I have been waiting and she lets me in the line. I check my bag and have to take it over to another area. As I am walking a lady is fiddling with the retractable strap on the queue line and it flies loose and hits me in the arm!!!! She just looks the other way as if she did nothing!!!! This is not a major injury but it did hurt and I have a whelp the size of Texas on my arm!!!! Now my arm hurts along with my hip so I ask for wheelchair assistance to my gate. I have several hours to wait so I play a few slots with the same results, pick up a few more things in the gift shop and people watch. I finally get on the American West flight and sleep all the way to Dallas.
The Good...Scooters, the Trolley, Wayne Newton, good handicap access everywhere but Caesar's Palace, acting like a fool and no one cares. The Bell Desk at Harrahs' (The only thing good at Harrahs')
The Bad...Bell shuttle not showing up to take me to the airport, no handicap cab available, Harrahs'
The Ugly...Losing, Harrahs', waiting at the airport, Harrahs', Northwest Airlines handicap Assistance(non-existent), and again Harrahs'.