Richard (me, the team leader, LV veteran)...Bel Air, MD
Greg (Second in command, LV veteran) ...Abingdon, MD
Adam aka "Monkey Head" (Vegas virgin)...Kingsville, MD
Scott (Vegas virgin)...Santa Cruz, CA
Tim (my brother-in-law, LV veteran)...Willits, CA
Sue (my sister, LV veteran)...........Willits, CA
Reason for the trip:
Supposedly to attend the CES (Consumer Electronic Show) but mainly just to be in Vegas baby...........
Since half of us have been to Vegas a few times, we decided to make our accommodations as cheap as possible. Greg and I started planning and looking for travel and stuff many months ahead. We stumbled on an amazing deal at the Terribles Casino. We paid $9 a night for 2 nights and around $50 for each of the other two. Adam waited a couple of days too long and paid about $100 more total than we did. Gee, when did we actually let him in on that piece of info? But no way can he complain about $200 for 4 night's accommodations in Vegas.
I started trying to get my old friend Scott to join us. I told him that he was free to stay with me. So he jumped right in as well. It was pretty cheap to get him from CA to NV.
Tim and Sue decided they were coming too. But since it was a few weeks later, they could not get a reservation at the Terribles. So they were going to stay at the beautiful Key Largo Casino across the street. Not a great place but they were going to get some Choice Hotel credit for the stay.
All was going well with the reservations. Greg, Adam and I were to fly to LV Yeah, ol' M.H. had to pay more for that too since he didn't have the Rapid Rewards Card! and get there around 4pm. Scott was to get there about an hour before and wait for us. Tim and Sue were coming in the next day.
Well all seemed ok until the actual flight.
Greg and I drove to BWI together. His parents were dropping off Adam. We met at the gate, but soon heard the news that our flight will be late. Dammit, Dammit Sonofabitch!!
Our flight was a bit weird anyway. We were flying out of BWI, the plane was to stop over in Norfolk and then make the cross-country trip to Vegas. Well, I guess the plane was coming from Norfolk as well and was running at least an hour behind. Eventually that 1 hour become closer to two. Again, Dammit, Dammit Sonofabitch!!
Eventually, our plane was at BWI. We quickly got on board, only to have to taxi back in for a technical problem. WTF!!!???? What kinda grab-asstic nonsense was that!? Another half hour later, we were finally off. I really do appreciate them taking care of technical "issues" but it was just cutting down on our Vegas time.
One stop and many hours later, we land in the desert. Poor Scott was stuck waiting for us at the airport, since he was staying with me, all the reservations were in my name, and he could not go anywhere without all his belongings.
We gather our luggage as well as check in at the CES airport booth. We get on the Alamo/National shuttle. We had reserved a Quickrent, so we just needed to head to the Economy row and pick out a car. Problem was there was no Economy row. Finally their "helpful" staff gets us to the right row and we pick out a nice car. Ever seen that episode of homicide...? After loading all of our luggage in, we try and start the car. Nope....................The battery is dead. So we get out and grab the car next door. Yes...........this one works. We are finally on the road.
Checking in at Terribles is pretty easy. Scott and I get a decent room at the rear of the hotel. Greg gets an upgraded one on the second floor. Yeah, because I had to wait behind some disorganized ass-clown and the manager had to get involved. The room WAS nice though! Adam gets a pretty noisy room close to the casino floor. It will be pretty convenient for his many naps, so he is happy. To quote Bette Davis: "What a dump!"
We are all hungry and looking for some beers. We decide to walk over to the Hard Rock. Mr. Lucky's has the $7.77 Steak and Shrimp special. I was going to drink an Anchor Steam beer, but they were out. So the waitress recommended Fat Tire. Fat Tire gooooooooood. But it's not distributed East of the Mississippi. L Scott has had this often, so he said that would be fine. I think we all agreed that Fat Tire might be some of the best beer we have ever tasted.
The food was good and filled us up nicely. We saw Apple's Steve Wozniak at the Hard Rock. Yeah, I didn't tell M.H. because, Mac Addict that he is, he would have caused a bad scene and ruined Woz's night. Pretty cool thing for geeks like us.
After leaving we decided to keep walking. After a few long blocks we stumbled into the world famous Ellis Island Casino and Brewpub. We went immediately to the bar and ordered some of the brews. I had a wheat beer; Adam had a root beer and a beer. Scott and Greg also had some type of beer. Pretty tasty for a buck. Not the best, but you really cannot beat the price. We tried to take our beers into the Karaoke lounge Nicholas Cage was sighted there earlier in the month, but were scolded against taking our beers from the regular bar inside. G-damn rent-a-cop! So we just said screw that and left. After finishing those tasty drinks up, of course.
After the travel delays, we were getting pretty tired. I think if things had gone more smoothly we may have stayed out longer, but I know I was exhausted. M.H. especially, as you'll see, he talks a good game, but sure can't party with the big boys! J We all decided to head to bed and get up earlier than normal for Vegas.
The next morning we all met at the car. We were going to eat at the amazing this is where food goes when it dies! Wow!!! Paris breakfast buffet. Greg and I had eaten there on previous trips, so we knew it was well worth the expense. We have our own Vegas diet. Stuff yourself silly at a good breakfast buffet and that will take you pretty well until your dinner meal. No need to slow down for lunch.
The food was awesome as usual. Scott and Adam were amazed by the selection and quality. Especially the salmon scrambled eggs! The best part was Scott going back to get one last plate, just "to have it'. I think he stared at it for a few minutes. I think if he had a camera he would have taken a photo of it.
We decided to head over to the Aladdin. They have this great slot tournament. You pay $25 and play a certain amount of credits for possible prizes. These are special slot machines just for the tournament. Scott was very close to getting a prize, but it was not to be. You still get consolation prizes. Scott got a $20 food credit. Adam and I got an Aladdin fleece jacket and Greg picked up some other kind of jacket. I think it became payment to his Dad for watching his house the obscure but heavily enforced, "Schwag Tax.
Another cool thing is they put $10 slot credit on your slot card. You can only get the $10 back if you win an equal amount. I did very well with this. The Price Is Right machines were very good to me. I left about $25 richer. Not bad for free. And I had a free jacket. The rest of the losers were just that......losers. This would be the start of a major sore issue for Adam. Oh yeah! His Vegas luck is non-existent. I think he would continue to lose on EVERY machine he touched. I think he even lost at the ATM. LOOOOOOOSER!!!
We got back in our car and headed to Red Rock Canyon. It is a great stop to each of out trips. Adam had never been to a place such as that. We must have climbed on every rock imaginable. Fun was had by all. Yeah, and to this day you can hear M.H. recount the tale "Remember when Priebe got lost in the sticker-bushes...that was cool..."
After such a wonderful nature setting we needed the extreme. The 3 east coast geeks wanted to go to Fry's Electronics and revel in the "fun" of motherboards and processors. Scott was not as excited, but was willing to go wherever. So we started driving towards the southern part of the strip.
About half way back we spotted the most bizarre thing. It was a giant Energizer Bunny. Having no alcohol that day, I knew it couldn't be some kind of beer-driven haze. It really was a giant, hot air balloon size, bunny. We decided to track it down. But, numerous dead ends later, we finally gave up. If we had stayed on our initial road, I think we would have gotten closer, but........
The Bunnyquest over, we pulled into the Fry's parking lot. Inside, Adam bolted towards the computer goods much a like a bull in Pamplona and almost pushed an old lady down to get to the Mac Section!. He is always good for a laugh.
We spent close to an hour there looking over all the things we were too cheap to buy. Surprisingly, we left empty handed. But the breakfast was wearing off, so we needed to find some food.
We drove over to the MGM and parked in the largest known parking edifice. I guess attached to one of the largest hotels in the world it is only fitting.
We wandered through MGM, Grand Canyon Experience and Showcase Mall. I think we decided to put Scott's food voucher to good use and eat at the Aladdin buffet. Since I was still ahead at Aladdin, I thought that was a mighty good plan as well.
What can I say about that meal? It was way better than the more pretentious Belaggio buffet. The themes were well executed and the meal excellent , but Scott and I almost got taken out by a 500lb "buffet destroyer" on one of those gimp carts. I think Scott stared at his plate a few more times.! I know that I personally ate more dessert there than I should have.
We then "rolled" ourselves down and across the strip, catching one of the great fountain shows. Can't get better free entertainment than that. We just had to re-enact the "Ocean's Eleven" scene!
Adam was getting pretty tired, but this was no time for a nap (more on that later).
Greg wanted to try the Monte Carlo brewpub. Since I was not a big drinker anymore I planned on killing some time in the casino. Adam was sleepy WHATEVER! so he planned to do the same. Scott and Greg decided they were going in and try a few. Being in Scott's proximity made me way more extraverted than normal. Pretty funny, since less that 24 hours these two had never met each other, but they were like two good friends by now.
Adam and I wandered around, had a soda, looked at a couple of shops and just basically stood around. Eventually we were standing around back by the Brewpub, watching the bar band on the monitors outside. I guess Scott and Greg saw us (they looked like a couple of lost dogs) and decided we needed to come inside. Scott came and got us. He said the band was pretty entertaining and then dragged us inside.
It was a nice and big bar, with a pretty indifferent staff. But the band was pretty good, with a pretty diverse set list. The lead singer was very attractive as well. We did not know their name, but we soon would.
The band took a break. Soon after, Scott went looking for the bathroom. I guess somewhere after he had met up with the band and chatted them up. He knew the singer's name and the band name (Clockwork). He even knew what music the singer liked.
Soon the band was back on stage talking about our own Scotty. He definitely makes an impression.
Scott decided he was going to buy beers for the band. So he talked to the bar management and sent up a round. The boys in the band seemed very appreciative.
Eventually, we had tired of the Monte Carlo Brewpub. it was way better than I expected, although I think that Clockwork had something to do with that. Oooh yeah... The funny old couples dancing added to the fun as well. Yeah, they were as embarrassing as my parents!
I had just gotten a call from Tim and Sue. They had landed and decided to check in at the CES booth. This ended up being a bad experience for them, but we would meet with them soon.
We started walking further down the strip figuring we would hear from them soon. Well...........New York, New York, Excalibur, Luxor and we finally hear from them as we near Mandalay Bay. We decided to meet in front of Red Square.
By this time Adam was in sleepwalking mode. I guess he just needed a good nap.
Everyone met. Tim and Sue had never met Adam, and they hadn't seen Scott for a few years. Tim, Greg and I had fun together last year. But we were one big happy group now. Adam wanted sleep, but.........
Tim and Sue were hungry. We thought that the Tropicana's 24 hour diner would make for a good meal. It did just that. But instead of walking over we decided to pile into Tim and Sue's rental car. I guess 6 people are not meant for a Hyundai/Kia/Daewoo............, but we made it.
Adam, of course, fell asleep at the table.
After talking and eating, it was getting pretty late. So Tim and Sue headed off to their luxurious hotel. We needed to get Adam some beddy-time "time".
After walking by the amazing Hotel San Remo, and crossing Tropicana Avenue, we found our car in the MGM Parking structure. A quick drive back and Adam was headed to bed. The three of us divulged in some high finance gambling on some of the numerous penny and nickel slots that Terribles has. I won a little and finally stumbled to bed.
Thursday morning was here. Time for CES. We were to meet Tim and Sue at the Terrible Buffet, but they were closed. So instead we had a fabulous McDonalds breakfast. The McDonalds is located next to the Sportsbook. Scott become excited when he saw the news on one of the Sportsbooks monitors that Joe Gibbs was coming back to coach the Deadskins. Since Adam, Greg and I like the Ravens we teased him about it. I think he was in such a good mood he didn't even care.
A short walk over to the Alexis Park and we were on the shuttle to CES.
This was Greg and mine's third trip in a row to CES. Truthfully we are getting a bit tired of it. It is a great show, but little changes from year to year. I think you should have a gap of a couple years between visits.
Once inside we split off. Tim and Sue in one direction, Greg and Adam in another. Scott and I went off as well. We all planned to meet up later.
Scott had only a passing interest in most of the exhibits. But soon Scott became an exhibit of his own.
At CES, the car audio booths have big-breasted, slutty-dressed women signing autographs on their equally slutty posters. Scott was in his own kind of heaven. It was amazing to watch him interact with these "ladies". He would schmooz and chat them all kinds of ways. I think that most of these women really liked him and missed him when he left their booths. Scott has that kind of personality. Women love him and guys just idolize him.
We also caught a performance by 3 Doors Down at the Sirius Satellite booth. Not my favorite band, but they sounded good in an acoustic setting.
Also spent some time at the TechTV booth checking out some our favorite personalities from that late, lamented channel. Scott scared Martin Sargent, host of Unscrewed. Martin may be the one person who Scott's effervescent personality frightened. But we got a good group picture out of it. We also saw Cat Schwartz and a few other of their staff.
After a few more schwag items, we hopped on the shuttle to the Embassy Suites. Not only was it the shortest shuttle line, but it was only a short walk back to our digs.
Adam needed a nap. The rest of us hung out, gambled, snacked and otherwise relaxed before our night downtown.
With Adam sufficiently rested, we drove downtown, parked at the 4 Queens, and walked to one of our favorites the La Bayou. Not sure why we love this hole in the wall, but it is on our not-miss list. Tim and Sue met us there.
We were hungry and thirsty, so we headed over to our favorite LV restaurant, the Triple 7 Brewpub. It is located in the old-fashioned Main Street Station Casino.
We were seated at a large round table and order some drinks. Adam, Greg and I had the beer sampler. Scott and Tim had a single beer. Sue was not drinking (After being hit by a flying shoe this one time she was drunk, I was glad.). We also ordered some sushi as an appetizer.
The food was excellent and quite cheap. The beer was also quite good. Even when we have had some indifferent service here, we really love this place. Don't miss it!
We left the Main Street Station, making sure we did stop and see the Berlin Wall in the men's restroom. Not sure why it is there, but.............
The La Bayou was of course our next stop. A few cheap beads and some heavily liquored up drinks later, we left. I of course won a bit more on the slots. Adam, of course, did the opposite.
We wandered across the street to Mermaids. Not as fun as La Bayou, but at least Greg broke his losing streak. He won a quick few dollars on a nickel or so.
There was a big gathering at the middle of the Experience. LG Electronics had brought in some of the world best BMX, inline-skaters and skateboarders for an exhibition. It was, in one word, awesome. There was some great runs, especially from skateboarder Sandro Dias. It was fun seeing the reaction from some people who have never seen X-games type sports. This one group of older African-American men were in heaven.
Eventually, they took a break for a performance by the Bea Sisters. They are an act that is popular with the Hilary Duff crowd. I wanted to stay around and check them out. The rest didn't want to look at the hot girls fearing they were too young. They changed their mind later when they found out the sisters were in their 20's. Of course, we were back in Maryland by then................................losers..................
We walked down past the canopy to the El Cortez. It is a real dump, but Sue and I wanted to stop in and check it out. One of our cousins used to be a pit boss there. Not sure where his now though.
I of course cashed out nicely on a slot machine, Sue won some money on Roulette and Adam lost some more.
The only other thing I can mention about the El Cortez is that the cocktail waitresses are HOT!!!!!! Hehehehehehe.
We stopped and watched a few more minutes of the skateboarders. They were on their second session and the runs were even cooler. LG even gave some prizes away. That may be the only thing I did not win all week.
Scott and Tim wanted to venture into the Girls of Glitter Gulch strip club. Sue even gave him some money and sent him along. I didn't want to go. I figured it would be let down from Olympic Gardens from a year before. Also, although I was winning left and right, I was feeling cheap tonight.
Greg, Adam, Sue and I decided to head to some kind of coffee shop for some java and maybe some ice creams. We decided to check out the smelly Plaza. The smelliness should, of course, been a tip off to stay away.
On the way, we lost Adam. He disappeared. Sue thought she saw him go in someplace, but she could not be sure. Oh well.........
The Plaza had good milkshakes and some decent coffee. But the surroundings were pretty awful. The service was not much better. But since we were killing time while Scott and Tim finished their "adventure" we didn't mind.
Eventually we found Adam. He was quiet about his whereabouts. Soon after Tim wandered out with a big smile on his face. A few more minutes later Scott came out as well. I guess he was very popular with the staff. Of course.........
We called it a night and agreed to meet at the Paris Buffet the next morning.
On Friday morning, the 2 groups met at the buffet of the gods. Once again we stuffed ourselves silly and planned our day.
Adam, of course, needed a nap already. So Greg and I were going to drive him back to the hotel.
Tim, Sue and Scott decided to walk the strip. Greg and I wanted to go over to The Orleans Arena and buy our tickets for the hockey game that night. We planned on meeting Scott back at the Venetian.
An hour or so later, we were at the Venetian for a round of unexpected entertainment. Tim, Sue and Scott were standing near the entrance to the Adult Video News Expo. There were some strange and wonderful sites.
Sue and Tim headed off to Henderson in search of some kind of amateur radio gizmo.
Scott decided we should look into attending the AVN show. He did some of his schmoozing, but we still found the show way too expensive for what it is.
Instead we decided to head to the Stratosphere and see their afternoon show. Tim and I had tried to see this in November 2002, but it was dark.
We decided to give Adam a call to see if he wanted to go. Sleepily he said yes. So back to him up and away we went.
Of course, the show was dark. So we wasted a trip to the Strat.
Since Adam looked unhappy, I decided to try and cheer him up. We went to the Sahara to ride the Speed roller coaster. I had been on it before I knew it was a pretty fun ride.
Scott, Adam and I purchased all day tickets. Greg declined and headed to the Nascar store.
After 1 hellicious ride, Scott decided that was enough for him. At least someone knows his or her limitations. He then headed for the Nascar store and started hitting on the 40 + -year old cashier.
Adam figured to get his "money worth's" we needed to do at least 10 rides. I was up for that.
10 rides later I had a minor headache, but it was obvious that Adam was close to exploding. I wasn't sure if he was going to spew or what. He did not spew, but the moron did sit in the rear of the car. Not a good idea when you are spew-worthy. I did not help by making some high speed cornering maneuvers. Not on purpose, of course...............
Adam needed a nap now like he has never needed a nap. So back to the hotel for him. Scott also wanted a rest, so stayed back at the hotel as well.
Greg and I planned on meeting Tim and Sue at the newly opened Margaritaville Café at the Flamingo. We also figured that we had enough time to go to the Barbary Coast and see Big Elvis. If you have not seen him, then you should.
We found out Big Elvis was sick that day, so our plan went out the door. I won a large amount of cash after playing 3cents on a Rock Lobster penny slot. Another good day for me.
We then walked next door, and met them at Maragritaville. We only had appetizers and margaritas, but we thoroughly enjoyed the place. We picked up some souvenirs here as well.
It was getting close to hockey time, so we scooted back to the hotel to pick up the sleepy heads. Then we drove over to the Orleans Arena.
The Arena is beautiful. The game featured the hometown Las Vegas Wranglers against the Peoria Riverman. Unfortunately the game was a loss for the Wranglers. But our own Scott was a featured entertainer. My Hero! He managed to get his mug on the Video Scoreboard more than any other in the place. He was more animated than the team mascot. It was great fun.
We were all pretty hungry after the game, so we stopped at In and Out Burger for a meal. Great as always.
After the meal, Adam was wanting some more sleep. Scott was also ready to head "home."
Tim offered to drive the sleepy guys back to Terribles. Sue, Greg and I wanted to head to the Boardwalk Casino and see the Prince cover band, Purple Reign. Tim was going to come back and pick up Sue later.
Purple Reign was amazing. It was like see the real thing. The band and dancers were great as well.
After awhile we called it a night. Not bad for our last night in town. I of course hit for some more winnings on the penny slots before going to bed.
The next morning we all ate at the Terribles Buffet. It was not terrible, but not worth any more than the $4 we paid each. We all said our goodbyes to Tim and Sue. They were staying one more night, but the rest of us were leaving that day.
We drove Scott out to the JW Marriott on Rampart to meet a friend of us. We said goodbye there. We were all sad to see Scott go. Even those who only knew him for a few days missed him.
After making 2 more stops, at Sonic for a drink and Ethel M's for a present for Adam's parents, we headed to the airport.
The travel home went way more smoothly than the outgoing adventure. The best part for me was hitting for $50 on a slot machine by the gate. Just one more thing to annoy Adam with...................
A good time was had by all.