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We were departing from Spokane for a 3 night stay at the Barbary Coast. The weather in Spokane was pretty grim, with rain, but the weather forecast for Las Vegas called for sunny sky's with something of a cold snap moving in. It was not expected to break 100 degree while we were there. I considered packing a sweater, but than decided to just tough it out.
We flew Southwest again. This is becoming my favorite airline to fly to Las Veas with because they have a non-stop flight. Logged onto their web site just after midnight and scored an "A" boarding pass for the wife and I. That was nice.
The flight was delayed about 45 minutes because the bad weather was making it hard for the plane to land. I guess the clouds have to be at least 1,000 feet up and they were only like 800 feet.
Just as I was about to lodge a strongly worded protest with the Gate Attendent about screwing with my vacation over 200 feet, they annonuced the plane had landed and would be at the gate shortly.
Once we were all loaded, the pilot announced he was going to try to make up some lost time and he was NOT joking.... I swear we took the tun from the taxiway to the runway on just the port side wheels and scraped a wing tip in the process (I didn't know a plane could taxi that fast!) then he punched all the throttles to the firewall and we were gone.
I like those Southwest Flight Attendents. During the safety briefing the flight attentdent was telling us about the oxygen masks. It went something like this:
"Ladies and Gentelman, in the unlikely event the aircraft looses cabin pressure, oxygen masks will drop from the ceiling. They look something like margarine cups. Should you see these deploy, stop screaming, get off your neighbors lap and place the mask over your face..... "
We zigged and zagged for a bit, cut off a Cessna over Post Falls, Idaho, and were on our way.....
The pilot, Crash Ramjet was really pushing it, and we got into Las Vegas only about 20 minutes behind schedule. The landing was a little rough though.... In fact I'm still not sure if we actually landed or were shot down, but we made it!
As soon as I got off the plane, I called Dear Cabbie on my cell phone. He was down town but said he was on his way. He is a lot quicker than Southwest baggage handlers and was getting static from the Parking Nazi's at the airport about waiting around. Fortunatley I had talked to one of them and he knew I was waiting for a cab. We finally got our luggage and got outside just in the nick of time.
The bathroom is divided into 2 small areas. The toilet and shower/tub are in a small room and a vanity sink, and clothes rack are in the other. Things you get? Shampoo/Conditioner/Soap. For 30 bucks a night I was'nt expecting a whole lot.
Our confirmation letter said check in was at 3:00pm and we got there about 1:30 but I boldly marched up to the Desk Clerk and asked if a room was ready. It was, and check in went pretty quickly.
After getting settled into the room, we decided to head over to the Flamingo to give my old favorite Blazing 7 slot machines a whirl. I quickly discovered they changed the casino since my last visit. The place where most of my machines had been has been converted into a poker room. After wandering around the casino for a bit we finally found a bank of Blazing 7's. I sat down and started to play using my system. See my Febuary trip report for a description of my system.
The Blazing 7's were just not loose enough yet, so I decided to give them a break for a while. We figured we may as well take a trip down to the MGM so my wife could check on the Lion Habitant and I could give their Blazing 7's a try.
We decided to give the monorail a shot just to be able to say we tried it. From the Flamingo you walk down the hall past check in, following the signs. A quick trip up an escalator brings you to the ticket kiosk.
We each brought a 2 ride ticket. Now here comes my one little beef with the monorail. Remember way back, when the government, in their infinite wisdom, decided to come out with a brand new 1 dollar coin and thus was born the Susan B Anthony?
And remember how Americans hated these things mainly because they looked too much like a quarter? And even worse, they worked just like quarters in vending machines? No one will ever know how many people paid $1.25 for a 50 cent can of pop.
So in silent protest, Americans just stopped using the stupid things. It was'nt long before the government was stuck with a couple hundred tons of these things, taking up space in some warehouse someplace.
Well someone on Uncle Sam's staff came up with a great idea for what the government could do with this 1 billion dollars in Susan B coins.
"Let's use them to make change on the monorail in Las Vegas", some young government employee on the fast track to stardom suggested. And thus was reborn the Susan B Anthony 1 dollar coin.
Now in most vending machines, you insert your money and make your selection. These are a little different. On the touch screen you first select single or multi ride ticket. If multi ride, you next select how many rides you want. The machine then displays the cost and you now insert your money.
If your change is more than 75 cents, it spits out Susan B's for you. Nice huh? I decided to use them as tips for cocktail waitresses. The first time I used one, the waitress told me she could not accept arcade tokens, until I explained it was a Susan B.... That seemed to make her happy, but only just...
To get to the Flamingo monorail station, you take a walkway right past their pool area.
For those who are directionally challenged, the monorail is easy to use. It only runs north or south. If you can remember the Stratosphere is north, your in business. The station platforms are marked with the direction each monorail is heading. The monorails come by every 6 minutes, so if you just missed one, the wait is no big deal.
There is security at all stations, so you should not have any concerns about traveling alone or at night.
The MGM monorail station drops you off just around the corner from the Food Court. Since the MGM is my old stompinig grounds, I know the lay out of that casino pretty well. It didn't take long for me to find my Blazing 7's.
After the Blazing 7's cooled down at the MGM, we decided to head back to the Barbary Coast.
We planned to try the $7.77 steak dinner at the Burbon Steet casino, so we walked down there.
Pretty small casino, and not at all crowded. We walked around looking for Blazing 7's but could not find the ones I usually play. But we did find this one.
I thought the buffet was pretty good for $11.00 each. They had several stations, and the food was hot and tasty. Drink service was fine (we were drinking pop with our meal), and after I went up for my dessert, the waiter came right up and asked if we would like coffee with our dessert. I thought it was nice he noticed.
Now, I admitt, it was no Bellagio, but it also wasn't 30 bucks a head.
We stuck around the Gold Coast for a while and played some Bingo. I got skunked there so we headed back to the Barbary Coast and decided to call it a night.
We were still pretty stuffed from the buffet last night, so we just grabbed a coffee and danish at the BC coffee shop. We wanted to see the gardens at the Bellagio, so we walked across the street to visit there.
We than took a walk around Ceasars Palace.
We than decided to take the monorail to the Hilton. I played some Blazing 7's with a few small hits, but nothing to brag about. My wife Marie was playing a slot called UFO and had some better luck.
We left the Hilton and wanted to make a stop downtown. I wanted to check out the new and imporved Fremont St light show to see how much better it was with the upgrades from the older version.
I have to admitt, I think it is a lot better. The graphics appear to me to be much sharper. The following images were taken of the first show we watched. I think the theme of this show was about an alient invasion and being taken aboard their ships for a "medical examination".
Coming back we decided to stop off at the Strat again to check out the tower. We waied over an hour on line to get up there but the view was worth the wait. Especially at night. I took some shots but they came out all blurry. I could not hold the camera still enough long enough. The wind was really kicking up that high.
Our last full day in town was spent just kind of walking around. We were meeting some friends at about 1:00pm at NY/NY so we did not want to stray too far. After meeting up with them we had a pizza at the American Gril in NY/NY. The wait for the pizza was very long even though they were not at all crowded. I would rate the pizza there just OK. Not great, I've eaten better, but my friend picked up the tab so I couldn't complain too much I guess.
That night we did go back to Burbon St for the $7.77 steak/lobster dinner. It's not listed on the menu so you have to ask for it.
It was not too bad for the price. My steak was cooked the way I asked, and it came with 2 small lobster tails. If you like beer, you can order a bucket of Coors (5 bottles in a small bucket full of ice) for $8.50 or Corona for $10.00.
We than walked down to Harrahs to meet our friends and played a litte there. No luck. We than walked back up the strip, stoping in a few casinos along the way.
When we got to the Flamingo, I sought out my Blazing 7's to see if they had gotten any looser since my last visit. Put about $70.00 into different machines and took $288.00 out, so I would say they loosened up a little.
We than walked over to Ballys and played there for a while. Got one of their Silver Strike tokens, but when I tried to cash out, the hopper ran out. There were only 9 credits left unpaid, but I was determined to wait it out to get them back. I figured the casino had gotten enough of my money. Took a while but finally a security guard came by and called someone his radio to come help us out.
It was getting late and we had to leave in the morning so we packed it in for the night.
Aug 27th Our last day....
Got up about 8:00am. We packed the night before, leaving out only what we would need for the morning. Finished getting dressed and went down for coffee. We decided to have breakfast at the Victorian Room.
There was no wait for a table and the service was pretty good. They were handing out free coffee cake so we took a couple big slices while we waited for our breakfast. It came pretty quickly which surprised me. I had read where the service there was very slow, but maybe thats only for dinner. How long can it take to cook bacon and eggs.
After breakfast we still had about an hour to kill before we had to leave for the airport, so we played a few slots at the Barbary Coast. After about an hour of playing Lucky Wheel slots, we cashed out for $517.00.
Caught a cab to the airport and used curbside check in. Even though we were there about an hour and a half early, we still got nailed with a C borading pass. Bummer.
But we decided to try the "seceret" security check point for Southwest. We followed the instructions I printed off a post from the LVTalk forum and found the place. It is not as seceret as it used to be I guess. There were only about 20 people ahead of us, so it still took a lot less time then the 200-300 we would have run into using the regular security check point.
We did enter the terminal at Gate 21 and our gate was #8, so we had a little walk, but plenty of time so no rush there. Our flight back was also delayed, but even with a C boarding pass we were able to get seats together near the back of the plane.
The fligt attendent back there was preety attentive. Every time he walked by me, he offered to get me another cup of Coke, so I had about 10 cups on the 2 hour flight. Fortunately, the restrooms at Spokane were not far from the gate...
A few observations:
The title for tightest slots is a tie between the Monte Carlo and Excalibur.
Best FREE show is still a ride on the 301 CAT bus. The headliner for this trip was the woman who was waiting at a stop across from the Flamingo. When the bus stopped and the doors opened, she asked the driver if she was on a tight schedule. The driver admitted indeed she was on a tight schedule. The woman explained she wanted the bus to wait for her 2 friends who were using a rest room.
The driver told her she could not wait, and the woman got on and made a show of looking for her money, trying to stall the driver. The driver, being no fool, closed the doors. Immediately thereafter, lo and behold, the womans friends showed up. The driver refused to open the doors to let them on, and made the woman take a seat while she fumbeled for her fare.
Meantime, the woman was complaining and looking around at the other passengers, who she was delaying, for support. Finding none, she finally dug out $2.00 for the fare. In hindsight, I should have stayed on the bus to see how the show ended, but this woman was starting to tick me off, and knowing me as well as I do, I decided I had better bail out of the bus before I had to bail out of the Clark County Jail. Patience is not one of my strong points.
Dumbest thing I packed for the trip: Two books to read while resting in my room. HAHAHAHAH yea right! They never even made it out of the suitcase.
Our new "favorite" slots: One is called Top Money. If you get the Top Money symbol on the pay line with 3 coins in, you go to the bouns round. In the bounds round, the machine will make you 4 offers of bonus coins. If the first offer is too low, and you think the next offer might be better, you can pass on the first offer. You do this until you either take an offer or are on your 4th one, which you have to take.
Another is Monte Carlo. Kind of like Wheel of Fortune, where a rouelte ball goes around if you get the Monte Carlo spin symbol.
And finally Lucky Wheel found in the Barbary Coast. If you get the lucky wheel symbol on the pay line, you get a 1-2 or 3 arrow Lucky Wheel spin. with say 2 arrows, when the wheel stops, the coins lit up by 2 arrows combined for your win. The very first one I played, on my very first spin, I got a 2 arrow Lucky Wheel spin. That spin ended with 1 arrow pointing to 100 and the other to 200 coints, for a total of 300 coin pay out. Those were the ones we took $517.00 out of in 1 hour.
Newest neat gadget: The monorail. I really like that thing. Easy to use and a quick alternative to the bus or a taxi.
Newest pet peeve: Susan B Anthony dollars dispensed as change from the monorail kiosks. I didn't like those damn things when they first came out, and time has not changed my opinion.
Casino pet peeves: Casinos who do not have TITO redemption machines, or have ones that don't work. Same goes for coin machines. And Change booths that are either not open or open only to employees. While I had good luck on the Blazing 7's at the Flamingo, I still wound up wandering all over the casino looking for a change machine or open change booth while carrying 3 buckets full of quarters. Those things get heavy after a while.
Well there you have it. I hope you enjoyed reading this report and looking at the pictures. If you have any questions, please feel free to drop me a line. If I can answer them for you, I will.