Sunday, May 22, 2011


Well, I don't want Lucky Pete to be short on blog posts to read, so I guess I better post my Trip Report for my stay in Vegas from may 2-17.
I lost.
I had a great time.
The cost of the trip was low.
I did not get sick, but I was tired for the entire trip and that meant I traveled around more and gambled less.  I did not see many of the shows I had planned because by evening I was too tired and afraid I would go to sleep.
Part of that may be due to the fact that this trip was an add on.  I went to Chicago for grandson Gio's first birthday and then Denver for son Cory's 30th before heading out to Vegas.
Part of it might have been malfunction in my apnea machine.  The motor died three days before I came home and perhaps it has been weakening before that.
Or perhaps I am just getting too old.

At any rate, here it is with photos and links.  I don't expect anyone to read all of it, but it is arranged in focused snippets so that readers can skim for stories or information of interest and skip the rest.  I write it in this detail so that I can remember it.  And I do have some discussion board members who check this site.  Also, arranged like this I can copy one of the snippets into a discussion where it is appropriate.
I like comments. Just pick the Anonymous option and then put some identification in the comment section.  Oh, I know five folks named Mary.  Try "Mary her her dog Bonzo" 

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Sam's Town and Eastside Cannery composite

The 202 Flamingo bus runs about every 30 minutes. So if you take the free shuttle downtown or to the strip and overstay, you can get back on that bus. It picks up right on the Flamingoside of Bally's.
You can use it with luggage as well. From Bally's it is a straight run.

From the airport it requires taking two buses. I'd take the 109 to put me farther out Flamingo(on Maryland in the University area) for the 202.
This is the cheapest way to get there. The whole ride costs less than the cab tip. Ask the driver for a 24 hour pass when you get on at the airport and make sure that you are on the 109 going directly to Flamingo (22 minutes) rather than South to the Transfer station (over an hour)

And if you are there, you might like the new express buses that run now along Boulder, just starting up last week. They can get you downtown and back quickly or even into Henderson to explore some really local casinos. I can't wait to try them. I read that they are SDX style without the SDX price. Check the schedules and routes as there are two express buses and they do different things, especially going South.

Use the drop down routes and schedules menu to find Boulder Highway Express and Henderson Downtown Express.

I stayed at Sam's Town in May for 6 nights. I would stay there again, but I rated the room I was assigned as my least popular for that trip:

Scroll down past the other four in this comparative review.

I think had I asked for a room change I would have gotten a better room. I liked the quiet, and what do I care anyway. But it was a boring room. Some of my research suggested the walls can be a bit thin. I took photos of the art work and when I looked at them they were blurred. Which actually made them more interesting.

No coffee maker. I have a little light traveling pot now and I like it.

I had lots of free/cheap buffet coupons of one sort or another, so I sampled that often. It was not my favorite buffet and Italian night was really pretty lame. I get enough to eat anywhere. So free may mean just some salad.

There is an outdoor Bank of America down the street and across from the Eastside Cannery. It is drive in, but I walked in. No fees for B of A customers.

There is a Wallmarts across the street for any room snacks, but don't Jaywalk. There is a huge fine. Take one of the long, but safe route.

I thought the walk at 1 am from Eastside Cannery was a bit sketchy along that direct East side, but they I found that at about midnight all these sprinklers went on. That would discourage anyone lurking in the bushes.
A walk along the other side of the street gives you Walmart's parking lot security to walk to. I saw no other walkers out that late.

I intended to see the Live show on Thursday at 2 PM which I think is free. Here is one:

That and a lot of other stuff just got away from me and I spent my time drinking at the poker table or Deuces Wild machine.
I can't believe I spent 6 nights there and one at Eastside Cannery and never once saw the wolf howl out the rocky mountain.

Poker was a disappointment except for a great daily tournament in the morning for very little money. I won once. The rest of my limit play was against locals who knew one another and were actually very boring. It felt like they resented my joining their game. Eastside Cannery poker was great. The most personal floor manager I ever met (Brian?) and a fun, rather soft game. I still lost. I won a drawing once but I was late and missed the collection. $100 loss. An hour later I hit $100 for cracked Aces. I played Jimmy from the El Cortez and rattled his game by button raising. I won those hands. Otherwise I lost. I met one player who had been in a concentration camp when he was 9. That was interesting. There was one large argument and that was interesting as well:

Four hours of play gave me a free buffet at the Eastside Cannery with no comp reduction. Just ask. It is a basic buffet, but had great cookies. I liked it much, much better than Sam's Town Italian night.
I read the Mexican at Eastside Cannery is great, but I had too much free food to bother with it.
Latin night at the Eastside Cannery lounge was one of the best Latino lounge acts I have seen with most songs in Spanish and mostly filled with Latinos. I loved it. Eastside Cannery microbrewed beer was $1 a bottle delivered in the lounge. Amazing deal!

At Sam's full pay Deuces Wild can be found in a bank of machines near Dunkin Doughnuts and on one side of the bank there was at least one 10/7 DB as well. They were marked with the over 100% signs. I gave them good play, but I got back almost no offers for this trip. One free night does not do it for me. I took one free night from Eastside Cannery, but with just poker play they have stopped offering.

So this November trip I am not up there again.

NIce to have a free flight

I am not a fan of the new Southwest Rapid Rewards.  I was doing just fine earning a couple free flights a year and using them for the most expensive journey, the nonstop to Vegas.  Retired and flexible I did not care about black out days, but I did like that a free trip was a free trip, not a free trip one day and more money the next as points earned are inflated in value.
This time I paid a little because I flew Albany-Chicago-Denver- Vegas.  However, I could it as free to Vegas because without those other stops for family visits and parties, it would have been.
I have one more such free flight to use in November.  They let me convert points to the make it an old fashioned RR free flight.
After than I'll have to shop and shop and shop and book and rebook just as if I was using money.

TR Snippet - Overview of expenses

Yes, it was a losing trip.
However, for those of you who travel, here is what a losing trip to Vegas costs.
And for those of you who come back from Vegas and see the eyes roll when you tell friends that you lost $1516, here is the mathematics to put that losing number in perspective.
I like to get folks to give me the amount spent on their last vacation adventure and compare costs.
I did not add in tips, nor did I include the value of free alcohol which easily exceeds value of any tips, especially since free drinks means I tried B-52, Caesar's spicy bloody Mary (tequilla) and enjoyed plenty of Courvasier and never had a morning coffee at the poker table without Sambuca.
Some trip I need to just count the number of free drinks in one trip. I think it would exceed the number of drinks I drink in a year at home.
However, this math gives a pretty good sense of expenses and value.

Total cash paid for rooms was $146 (minus $32 back from the El Cortez unusual freeplay room deal.)
15 nights computes to
$7.60 a night for rooms.
$10 a day average over 16 days for food
Lost $1516 or an average of $94.75 a day over 16 days gambled away
$5.66 a day over 16 days for transportation and entertainment (including a rental car day trip and hike to Red Rock Canyon.)

So, (not counting any tips,) the trip cost me
$117.66 a day.

I did not count air as I had two free legs from SW although I ended up spending money to fly other places on the way.

Orleans - 2 nights free - with $10 food comp

Eastside Cannery-1 night free

Sam's Town 6 nights for a total of $146
Note here that because I booked on the B Connected site, even at these ridiculously low rates, I was not charged the resort fee. Since for my weeknights the fee would have increased my room costs by 50%, this was a great value.

Rio was 2 nights free

Four Queens was 2 nights free with $20 freeplay which I computed in my gambling scores.

El Cortez Cabana is complicated. There I got the deal of renting two Cabana suites for $120 which got me $50 in food and $70 in freeplay. I decided the food would be added in my stats as a food expense and I would adjust the cost of the room based on the result of the free play, since teh freeplay was tied to the room promo rather than a reward for past gambling.
On $70 El Cortez freeplay, I cashed out $102 or $32 in profit.
Freeplay could not be used in the best poker machines, so I wanted to limit my exposure to poor pay tables and only ran the money through once.
So the El Cortez rooms compute as free, and the extra $32 I subtracted from my room expense rather than included as gambling winnings.
Bus day 1 - Airport to Orleans/Orleans to MGM and back- $2
Bus day 2 - Orleans to Flamingo and Flamingo to Cannery East - $1
Bus day 3 - Bus back from Flamingo/then to Terribles/ then to airport $2
Bus Day 4 - Eastside Cannery to El Cortez and back - $2
Trip to Redrock -
Car with CDW- $50.59
entrance $7
gas $10
bus back from airport $1
Total is $75.59
Two Comedy shows at Four Queens $15

$90.59 / 16 = $5.66 a day

TR snippet Hotels compared

I am going to list these places in the order of my own comfort and enjoyment with the first being the favorite of this trip.


 Note the interesting shaped sink
 Padded headboard and a fine fancy bench at the foot
 Heavy stainless steel ice chest
 Lamp detail

 Mirror detail
Handy little shelf.

And yes, this place is very green.

 I have wanted to treat myself to these rooms because the Pavillion is just not doing it for me and the Vintage meant a night of two other people's loud televisions, one on each side.
So I jumped at the deal that gave me two nights for $120 with $70 in freeplay and $50 in food credit, making the room free, depending on how the freeplay worked.
Mine gave me a $32 profit, so the stay was free, even if I lost plenty at other gambling.
I love green, and I actually like a smaller and more cozy room for my solo trips.
I loved the television and the refrigerator.  Some don't see the refrigerator as it is behind a sliding door. I came in with a dozen bottles of water left from my Red Rock trip and with the little lemon squirt container I had brought with me from Denver, that made a fine, cold room drink.
I just laughed at the look of the place. For a solo traveler this was really too much. 
 I wished I was forty years younger and had some hot bit of stuff with me. It would have been a great room to romp in.
However, it was quiet. The blinds really did exclude most of the light. I was very comfortable.  I slept easily and well. It was a fine place to end a long journey.


I could not get the high floor rooms that Sailor recommended. I think that was because I reserved two queens rather than a king. They gave me a 19TH floor room, but it was just as nice as the low rooms, and next time I'll pick low, simply to be closer in elevator time to the floor and closer to the pool.
I swam in the cold water one day and then enjoyed the fine jacuzzi that is hot and spacious. The pool area is just wonderful, but they do not get the sun other places get, so the pool water can be icy.
I booked here to take advantage of senior Tuesday, but I lost money. Buddy Wild Bill who met me hit the senior drawing for $250 in freeplay and walked away with $230 of that playing video poker on the nickle triple progressive I like. It is a 9/7 DB with three progressives, one for each line, and then a huge progressive should we hit a dealt royal.


I had rented my Red Rock car the day before with the idea it would also at least get my luggage downtown from the Rio and so save me 3 buses. That worked.
I called and they told me to just park at Valet, tell them that I was just checking in and would be out in a few minutes. This saved me the parking fee of $3.
I expected to have to have the bellman store my luggage since I arrived at about 9 am.

The woman took forever to check the computer. She certainly looked around a lot. But she ended up putting me in a South Tower quiet room as I requested with even a sort of interesting view of the squared buildings from Bank of America back until the Statosphere broke the pattern of shapes. It was great.
My only disappointment was that the Binion's pool was closed because it had "maintenance issues."
Some other poster said they told him maybe June.
I hope they open as I set up my trips so I can swim everyday.
I had missed my second day at the 
Rio pool because the water was cold, the dead bug and leaf clutter on top was the most I have seen anywhere my whole trip and the music was a collage of Brazillian drum and percussion, which might not have been bad, except two separate forms of it, in uncoordinated cacophony, came from two opposite directions at the same time.
So after that experience, I could have used some relaxed swimming time at Binions watching the big clock and the helicopters at dusk from Binions in peace and quiet. 

Other than the closed pool,  the customer service was just great and came just at the right time, after feeling less than well treated at the Rio. I was so comfortable that I stayed my first night downtown inside this one casino and never ventured out under the canopy.
In between bouts of 10/7 DB I saw two comedy acts. The first was a 6 pm and was more magic than comedy. It was not Mac King, but I liked it for $10 especially when they gave me a $10 matchplay on the way out and it hit for $20 profit. Then with the ticket stub and $5 I saw the second comedy show, and I liked that as well. There was one really bizarre comic who had won an Andy Kaufman award.
None of this comedy was Rickles type of audience abusive or depended on f*** as the main joke getter. Some was good and some fell flat, but I liked the experience.

I lost money at the Four Queens and still had a great time.

And where do the Player's Club people say, " Don't forget to play your freeplay, sir," when you just ask for another card to be printed.
Last trip while getting a card printed I got a 2 for 1 for Magnolia's handed to me.
And they took the 
ACG double points coupon not just for the day I played, but would apply it to any of my play during my stay.
I think everytime I go, whether I need it or not, I'll get a card printed just to see what they offer.
I liked too not having so far to go as I had at the Rio. I guess I prefer the smaller places.


I tried to get a corner room again, but none were available. I did not try a $20 trick , however.  I was only there one night.  That may have made a difference.  Often I don't take one free night with that close check in and check out, but in this case it satisfied my longing to play poker into the early morning hours at Cannery East and not have to walk in the dark to Sam's Town.
The room I had was fine; however, I understood the disconnect between my past praises for Cannery East and the other reports of the rooms being, "adequate but not plush."
If you don't get two complete outside walls of floor to ceiling glass, the effect is just not the same.
There are still some long, nice views.

I do like the size of the bathtub and the fine large computer desk table.
The view was fine too, especially at night, even if it was not the overwhelming view that two walls of floor to ceiling glass offer.
I like the theme of squares and rectangles reflected in all the art from the look of the casino to the neon lights at night to the carpet in the floor.
Wall art was a bit off that theme but interesting and much better than Sam Town's  tacky room art.

There was a refrigerator and that was very helpful.  If I get any offers beyond one free night, Walmarts would provide me with room supplies that could be kept cold.
The buffet here is just adequate, but was free with 4 hours of poker play, so I had it the night I stayed there and another night as well.
I ate mostly on the free and cheap, especially since I started losing money on day one, so I wanted to keep my bankroll safe for gambling.  My eating is detailed here:


Old victrola in the hotel room entrance

I liked being in this location for a trip. I have some relatives nearby and it was easier for them to find me. Also I wanted to try out the live poker.
However, this room was very basic and was least vacuumed room of my visit.  There was a nice overstuffed chair, but it was under vacuumed and black, and I found that a turnoff.
This did not make it bad, really. The check in clerk listened when I said, "the quieter, the better" and gave me a room at the end of the hall, ROOM 463 which also meant I was free to play my television during sleepless late hours because it was on an outside wall.

At first I found it annoying to run my extension cord behind the television, and later I saw that this was unnecessary because the lamp on the table has a hard to see plug in its base. A handy plug along the wall near the bed made my sleep apnea machine plug in easy. In the other places I have had to put in an adapter to make more room on the light and clock outlet. I am constantly unplugging the lamp to plug it into my adapter and not having enough light to see to do it. Oh well, small annoyances. Here it was easy.
I had read some complaints about the cooling system. I seem comfortable, but it is a mild time of year. I could change the settings on the thermostat and turn off the fan at least for a short while.  I did not actually get the hang of it, but none of this seemed bothersome.

The curtains here were thick and the best of my trip for keeping out nap time sunlight.
But as well as being a bit dusty in those obscure places that I look for bedbugs, or behind things I move to plug in my sleep apnea machine, this room was just boringly dull.  The art was the most tacky.  This country photo in the lobby would make sense and add  enjoyment to the ambiance, but there was nothing like this.  What I had was photos of fall leaves.  This was May.
Bed bug inspection was helped by places being poorly vacuumed because it was clear that were they there, I'd see them. It was hurt, however, because these mattresses are so wrapped up in layers of this and that and covers and such that I could not really see the mattress itself.  I have not seen anything like this sort of mattress wrapping.
I ate at the buffet the entire week and find it not up to the Orleans or Gold Coast, but adequate. I least like Italian night. I am not fussy about food on my trips unless I choose a place to just treat myself when I have extra money.
With the free buffets I won with posting on the American Casino Guide site, I took my realtives out for a buffet. The two free buffets included two free drinks for them, so that was a nice way to meet and we had a good visit.
I also gave blood here at the blood drive and they gave two free buffets, so I ate for free most of the week and without touching my points very often.
Other food advantages for me was a McDonald's that actually had a $1 menu. I don't eat there, but one $1 hamburger would be a meal if I had indulged the buffet at lunch. Also, I liked the little quarter candy machines in the front of the cinema. For a quarter I could get a nice bunch of Jelly belly jell beans. These are not the usual dull flavor os just sugar, but each color is so distinctive that they need to be eaten one at a time.
I went to the $3 movie. The comp machine did not work to print my coupon and I had to go to the player's club. They said that this happens all the time to that machine, so next time I'll print the coupon early. At the movies I treated myself to a large popcorn and on the way out got a free refill. That refill was sampled over four days and still tasted better than any bagged popcorn might taste. I did close it up in a plastic bag.
Once I had it with a little Cholula hot sauce that I keep in my room.
Popcorn makes a great breakfast.

Not swimming more than once at 
Rio did not preclude my "enjoyment" of the Rio pool cacophony called music, because during naptime I could hear the basic repetitive and unchanging drum beat all the way up in my high room.
You know those scenes in the old Tarzan or King Kong pictures where they are in Africa in tents and for hours the drums beat and beat and beat the same repetitive sounds until the beautiful lead woman (who we know does not belong on this trip in the first place) jumps out of her tent with her hands clasped over her ears and screams, "I can't take these drums anymore; they are driving me crazy."
Well, I was that woman. Only it wasn't in the middle of the night and instead of my hands clasped over my ears, I put on my noise reduction earphones, which did help, just as they do on the airplane. 
 It was hard to nap with those and the sleep apnea mask. 
 I felt like cyberborg tourist. 
And at times with the right pressure those earphones whistle. But I got half a nap anyway.

I brought my noise reduction earphones for the airplane, but this was the first hotel that has ever required them.
And, yes, I had asked for a quiet room.
Rio had just not listened very well. (I didn't want the hassle of a room change for just two day booking when I knew I was going to Red Rock during nap time the second day.)
I did manage the Ipanema Tower room and a great view. The room was the most spacious of my trip, but there was no coffee maker, no flat screen TV, and the wonderfully designed and separately wired for computer desk, that swiveled in any position, was not wired correctly and not working.  My computer went out before I noticed this, so I needed to rig up my extension cord across the room after all and then some time to recharge my computer.
I was happier when I moved to the Four Queens.
I am also thinking that next time I earn free rooms fro CET, I'll go to Harrah's. I liked it better even if it is a luggage roll away from Flamingo Avenue which is my route of intecasino access. I can never seem to get Bally's as a possibility.  I had problems at the Flamingo and their pool as well.
However, I'd have liked this better if I had been hanging around for the show in the sky, or for the music at the Gold Coast. It is a great location.
And I did like the art work behind the couch

I loved this mirror.  

I loved the view

In fact, I liked the views out the window much  better than those o the old television screen at a rather strange angle to the bed.

And just a note on television:

The best television was at the
El Cortez Cabana.  Plenty of visual stations with all sorts of programing and music stations as well.  They did not have my favorite TCM but if I got sick there, I'd find plenty to watch without being overwhelmed with commercials.

This time I covered myself as well by bringing some  DVD's to watch on my computer.  I only watched a couple George Burns and Gracie Allen but that would entertain me if I was not up to gambling or going out.
El Cortez Cabana rooms, Four Queens, and the Cannery East all had the large screen televisions.

Just a note on keys:
The hardest key to use was the Cannery East key that was required for the elevator.  It would not always register and yet I could not access out floor without the right key.  Great security because I could not even steal anything from myself, but a great inconvenience.
Sam's Town had a door to the elevator that required a room key.  Once inside I could go anywhere.  Usually people let each other in that door.
El Cortez had a key for the door to the Cabana suites and a guard or two in the lobby to make sure I behaved myself.  I had a long, fine talk with guard Michael there.  
And there is a designated walkway to cross the street.  Cars are supposed to stop.  Good luck in Vegas, where most of the drivers feel they own the road or ought to.  
No such key systems at the Rio.
At the Orleans a guard visually checks you key on the way to the elevators.

TR snippet - Overview of food


Well, my "eat only when it is free" diet did not work this trip, but at least I only gained 5 pounds back of the 25 I put on while training for Vegas buffes.
I just had too much free food.
At the end I had $25 of food comps and a $25 coupon to eat up at the El Cortez.

I had been eating out so much on this long trip, Chicago, Denver and that did not help either.

I just have not had any great desire to search out any of the restaurants I took notes on from all those Westie reviews.
Since even the most basic buffet is so much a change from my rigid diet that it is a treat, I did not even need to use my Spice Market $5 coupon.

The Orleans buffet was as good as ever. Lots of delicious meat choices.

The poker room at Cannery East offered a free buffet after 4 hours of play which is not deducted from any comps earned, but must be eaten on the day earned. It is not the most wonderful of buffets, but like all such small places, it has some interesting foods.
I am dieting everywhere but Vegas, so things taste just great to me. The beef was good. The sweet potatoes were a favorite. They had a fine selection of cookies, including these little black and white moon cookies. I don't care much for buffet desserts short of places like Bellagio, but I like a good M and M cookie.
They had baked potato with toppings of mushrooms, onions, bacon bits. I like the onions by themselves with some Mexican taco beef mixed in.
Also served were some interesting cold salad mixes. One with broccoli caught my attention.
They did not have Cholua hot sauce, but did have TapaTio. I do like it that most places here have a choice of hot sauce because I dislike Tabasco unless it is green. Main Street Station only has Tabasco as does Gold Coast. I actually carry Cholua with me, but I did not pack that down to any buffet. I do sometimes take it into a restaurant at home because up North Tabasco is the hot sauce most commonly served.
It tasted good on some left over popcorn from the $3 senior theater at Sam's Town. I bought the large popcorn with a free refill and had the leftovers for a couple days afterward. Sometimes popcorn does not keep well, but this did. It was much better than any bagged and purchased popcorn. I don't bother with that stuff.
At Sam's I had a good breakfast. I liked the biscuits and gravy.
I have found no crisp bacon except a few crumbs at the bottom of the pan at any spot.
Once again I am not too fussy. I order my eggs over easy and simple.
Well, actually there is nothing simple about the term "over easy." At home this would never get me eggs with runny whites as it did at the Gold Coast. Were I to question them, I am certain that they would advise me to order "over medium," but in some places that does not leave the yolk runny.
At the Bighorn I talked to the waiter and had him note that I wanted the eggs so the whites were cooked and the yolk runny. There I forgot to mention that the biscuit should not be burned black. That meal was won on the American Casino Guide site by posting and being picked. Matt (The Bucket) came along but I am afraid it was not the best of treats. We both used our comp to get a 16 oz steak with eggs, but the meat was laced with grizzle and odd bits of bone. It had good flavor. The waiter listened hard to get it just right, but it was not the kind of meal that folks talk about at their sister casino, the Longhorn.

Prices were the best part of my buffet meals. At the Orleans I had $10 comp on the free room. I used $5 points. I used the senior citizen Tuesday half priced coupon, and for some reason they gave me another $5 coupon when I went through that line, and I used that for a graveyard meal of steak and eggs. The steak is pretty basic, but I like the special.

At the Cannery I always ate on Poker comps.

At Sam's I paid or one breakfast with points. I have two free buffets, but these must be redeemed together, so I am hoping one of my relatives may meet me. Giving blood at the blood drive earned 2 vouchers (and 1000 points on my card). Then I still had the ACG coupon for a free buffet with 200 points earned that day. I guess I'll save that one for my next trip.

I used the comps to have a meet up with my relatives and that seemed to work fine. With the buffet comps from the ACG came two drinks as well so I was able to treat them to a margarita and to a mixed ginger ale.

The blood drive here at Sam's that offered 1000 points and two free buffets. I decided it would be a good time to donate and very convenient. Unfortunately they were not really ready for the turnout and the waits were quite long. I made an appointment, but I did not realize how long it would take after the paperwork was done to actually have the blood taken. They should have had many more people. I guess I waited almost two hours after the paperwork. I went back to my room and got a book.
Giving blood sure has changed over the years. So many questions. At least here a young woman typed in my answers, and I did not have the long four page form that I saw at home.
I used to giver regularly, but have fallen out of the habit. Now they will remind me periodically.

I used one of the buffets for Saturday night and that was good value because the buffet was $17, prime rib night. It came with a bit of red wine or beer as well. I enjoyed it. Off my diet again, but I had not eaten anything except a couple cookies at the blood drawing station.

I enjoyed the Main Street Station buffet again even if my favorite treat, soul greens mixed with kalua pork could not be topped with crunchy Chinese noodles because they were out. I added a bit of jalapeno pepper, but I like it better plain.
The waitress was friendly as always. I love the ambiance here. It is all delicate lighting in a huge high ceiling with Victorian arches of metal. I just feel so comfortable. For dessert I had iced cream laced with M and M type candy and butterscotch topping and taste of sticky bun on the side.
I also tried a new pork stew from the Hawaiian section that I thought was very good as well as a piece of very tasty fried chicken.

At the Golden Nugget I had a pattie melt served with potato chips and a fine dill pickle. I also got a huge and decadent brownie which was the best dessert I ate all week. It is filled with a creamy chocolate filling and just rich in sweet chocolate taste. The waitress warmed it up and I ate it first, hot and wondeful. Nice use of the poker comp. The entire meal cost me a dollar.
At the El Cortez I had a couple prime ribs at the cafe and a pattie melt that was good as well.  I had breakfast one time and that was great.  Finally, I ate this huge meal at Flame which I wrote up separately at this link:

put in Flame lin,

I ended up with trailmix, an orange, some figs, and pistachio's in the room, so I never a trip to Walmarts or Walgreens downtown. I will bring pistachio's again. They are a great little meal in the evening.

There are plenty of food choices at Sam's Town, but they shut down in early morning hours. Walmarts is right across the street so were I not well stocked, I could get something to eat there.
There is one of those fine collections of dispensers of candy and nuts right in front of the movie theater. For a quarter I got a little taste of something, usually jelly belly jelly beans which are individually flavored and quite a little treat.
They are off the diet, but I can enjoy a quarter's worth. Unlike the average bland sugar of normal jelly beans, each Jelly Belly bean has a distinctive flavor, so I have to discipline myself to pop just one at a time and take my time with the gourmet flavor.
Sam's also had a Mcdonald's with dollar hamburger choices.
And the decadent popcorn refill as I left the movies tasted great as well.


TR Snippet - Bus routes and rides

Well, I'm playing poker across from Joe at the El Cortez and the Orleans poker room comes up in the conversation. Joe says he just does not want to drive there, so I tell him about the bus.
"I never take the bus," he says, "too many degenerates."
And then he goes into a mini rant about guys who are disheveled and pee on the bus seats.
And he seems to really like the term, "Degenerates,"  because he uses it over and over like a chorus in a song.
Because he senses I am not sympathetic, he really stops talking directly to me and talks to the dealer. Joe is a fine and friendly fellow, but he is one of those locals who just is not much interested in these tourists.

When I tell him I have the senior citizen bus pass, he adds sarcastically,
"It must be nice to be retired," 
so I joke with him,
"Oh, I get it... everything the matter with the world is because of those bus degenerates and those old, retired people."

Joe is older than I am, perhaps over seventy. He laughs and in a small way I feel more included.
Inside, I am laughing my head off. 
We are playing, after all, at the El Cortez. This is the casino avoided by many folks for the same reasons that Joe avoids the buses. 
I have read the same sort of rants often on discussion board threads, although as the El Cortez and Fremont East in general embraces a new renaissance, the talk about this casino and the neighborhood of Fremont East is changing.  Something is happening there and no one is quite sure what it might be.

In the conversation, I mention some of the new bus routes, explain the advantages of the bus for me, but Joe has his mind made up, so he does not want to be confused with facts.
It isn't that we have different tastes and needs.
Joe is just sure that I'm wrong.

The contrast between my going easily from my home in upstate NY to the Orleans with my luggage by bus while Local Joe is unable to give himself permission to go to the Orleans poker room, because he does not want to drive there, is just amazing to me.  
So often we cripple ourselves with attitude.
Next to me is another local poker player who is handicapped. He quietly tells me that he loves having his $30 a month bus pass and how it just seems nuts to spend money on gas. 
I guess Joe overhears, but he ignores this fellow.
I mention to my neighbor that I am more worried about the Vegas car drivers than the bus degenerates. I can avoid the degenerates. 
I tell him about the one day this trip that I rented a car to go to Red Rock Canyon and go hiking, and how close two cars came to crashing right in front of me in a way that easily would have included me as well.

As much of a bus advocate as I have become, I have not taken as many Vegas bus trips this time as I might have taken. Most of these trips were just to move from one hotel to another.

Fifteen nights in Vegas would be pretty expensive were I to stay at the same place for the entire trip. I also think I would get bored. What I have tried recently to do is to patch together free rooms and discovered deals.
This moving from place to place strategy lets me build a trip of 15 nights (including two weekends) that on average costs a mere $7.60 per night for hotel. But to realize any real savings by chasing freebies, I have to move with little moving expense.  
As I age, I also find I need more naps and I can't predict when I need them. So my old inexpensive pattern of staying downtown and just taking off with a small bag for a day and night of travel on the bus is impractical.
So I arrange my play to match the places or area around where I stay and ride the bus less.

Generally, this means I try to plan my trip using Flamingo as my "strip" because I can take my luggage on that bus.

It also means some hassle. There is the packing and repacking. There is the repetitive bedbug inspections and the worry that since I am in so many different places, my odds of discovering the buggers are increased.
And there is the problem of moving luggage from place to place, when I generally do not rent a car and never take a cab unless I am ill.

This time I was also burdened by having packed too much. My suitcases were just too heavy for a comfortable roll.
I had left Albany, flown to Chicago for a first birthday party of a grandchild, then to Denver for a son's thirtieth birthday party and finally went on to Vegas. That meant I carried more than I usually carry. I also added to my journey a small coffee maker and an electric hot plate. 
 The hot plate was unnecessary. I thought it would let me warm up some leftovers along the journey. I never used it. It will be great for camping, but it does not offer much convenience in the room.
The little coffee maker was a great investment.
Add to the heavy luggage my feeling of age. I turn 65 this year, and I'm surprised to feel it. I guess I expected to just keep going along pretty capable of lifting the suitcase of 85 pounds or so, complete with sleep apnea machine and computer. I am not looking forward to the time when I have to stay in one place because I just can't carry like I once could.

Matt "The Bucket" helped me out on one journey. 
 We wanted to meet up while he was in town, and he had a car, so I suggested one way to meet was for him to drive me from Sam's Town to the Rio. I gave him other alternatives as well. He is a very generous fellow, and he chose that way.
I then rented a car to both enable a day at Red Rock and allow me to avoid a three bus travel with luggage from the Rio to the Four Queens. So some of the longer between hotel journeys were made more comfortable.

One problem in the past I have solved.
I used to pack out too early. Now I wait in the room or take an early morning swim or get breakfast or gamble, and I call to extend my checkout. Every casino will give me until one o'clock, and while I am often out well before the deadline, that extra hour gives me more flexibility and less anxiety. 
 It also means that I arrive at the next place when generally there is a room waiting for me. In all my shifting from place to place this trip, I did not had to store luggage with the Bellman until I stored it at the El Cortez after my last checkout while I was waiting for my 2 pm free shuttle to the airport.
The worst was the Fiesta Rancho in days past. They had a $10 early check in fee, so they would not put me in a room even if it was ready. I'd bring a book and sit in the lobby and take that time as my reading time. 
 But I hated the whole idea. 
 Why would I pay $10 for an hour when my average daily room rental charge is $7.60?

This is one reason I skip the Fiesta Rancho in my current travels.
The El Cortez is hard as well. I will often wait there. Perhaps paying for a Cabana room this time made it easier for me to get a room than when I use the ACG coupon for the Pavillion. I saw the woman in front of me have to check bags and wait for her room.

Most places want to get the guests gambling as quickly as possible, so perhaps they better serve those who rent better rooms.

Here are the details of my bus trips and my reflections:

Airport to NYNY on the WAX and then to the Orleans on the 201.

Getting on the WAX, I asked if my senior citizen $2 day pass was good on all the buses and the driver said that it was. I never did use a Deuce or SDX to try that out, but that is what he said. This is exactly what board friend Jimbo reported as well.

This was a great ride. I arrived at a time when the buses were fairly close together. I was tempted to take a 108 or a 109, but was glad I waited for the WAX.
Easy, uncrowded.
And yes, in spite of what the RTC told me on the phone, there is a stop at Koval, so that NYNY is the second stop for the WAX after leaving the airport.
This first stop could be a practical addition for future trips.  At the Koval stop we can pick up the luggage friendly 119 or walk across the street to Coco's for a meal before moving on if we like.
I told my driver that I was worried I'd miss the NYNY stop, and he remembered to remind me, but it could hardly be missed coming right after the light on the strip.
I waited a while for the 201. I don't think the schedule is coordinated so that the WAX folks quickly hit a 201, but so that the strip travelers hit one after they leave the strip bus.
Still, this is a very pleasant place to wait. 
It is out in the fresh air and right in front is the Excalibur, which I think of as a delightful study in color and shape and lighting and fantasy.  It is fast becoming the last of a certain style of casino construction, one that tried to attract families.
Folks pass on the overhead walkway. I was content.
I liked avoiding the pay airport shuttle which always drops me off last when I am going to the Orleans. I worry that my apnea machine or my computer will be joggled and broken as they move luggage around to get all the other folks off at earlier casino stops. 
I like having my hands on my own stuff. Even with my personal handling, before the end of the trip the apnea machine motor stopped working.
The 201 bus drops right at the edge of the Orleans parking lot. Listen for the "Arville" prompt. The stop is just past Arville.
It took me 46 minutes from airport to check in and cost me a senior citizen price of $2 for a 24 hour pass with added benefit. I later used that same pass to go to the MGM to play poker, and to get back to the Orleans in early morning hours, when I was again waiting and watching the Excalibur all lit up in the dark night.
Security on bikes passes close to this stop.
I better like waiting with luggage there over those more remote bus stops out Tropicana where the 108/109 (Swenson or Maryland) would drop me. With luggage and my age I just feel vulnerable at those more remote places. There is probalby little actual danger, but I don't want to feel uncomfortable.
So I have experienced a fine new way to access the Orleans on a bus with luggage, and I liked it.
The WAX, as you might expect, is very luggage friendly with half the bus open in the middle, seats with backs to the window.
This 201 bus was the old style, so that was more difficult, as I had to lift my bag up three steps. No other bus this week had more than one step in or out and I think it is just the luck of the draw. Once in a while we draw the old style buses.

Orleans to Eastside Cannery, Boulder

I have in the past enjoyed rolling my luggage down Arville to the Flamingo bus stop. I just would skip using the tread mill that day, take what rests I wanted along the way, and thought I was getting some great time outside in the sun and air as well as needed exercise.
I plan trips in April and November partly because I can comfortably be outside walking, even with luggage in tow.
However, I had overpacked this trip.
I tried to repack for this roll, so that the bag was better balanced and easy to roll, but it just was not pleasant. 
It was heavy!
So I just went to the first bus stop on Arville and called the bus company to see how long my wait might be. Just as they were telling me a time, the bus arrived. At Flamingo Avenue, I then had to rush to catch the light and cross back over to get my connecting bus.

At Cannery East, the Flamingo bus is at the end of the 202 route line and will wait right by the Cannery East parking lot while the driver has a break, and then it will head on a long loop around Sam's Town and back down Flamingo.
It was piece of cake. I'll feel free to do that again.
However, next trip I will bring an Arville printed schedule and leave the Orleans at a time when I can catch the bus without much wait. My other trips I remember walking down Arville and getting to Flamingo before I ever saw a bus pass me. The walk is about a half hour.
Check the schedule to see when they come.

Cannery East to Sam's Town

I only had one free night at the Cannery East. It gave me a time to play poker late into the night and not have the walk back to Sam's Town along Boulder in the dark.  I also wanted a chance at those great corner rooms, but I was not so lucky this time.

Comments on walking Boulder are here:

My play is here:

But it did mean I had to somehow roll my luggage to Sam's Town. 
 I found out the bus stops on the other side of Boulder across from Sam's Town.  So, the next day, I decided to take the parked Flamingo 202 with my luggage just to give me easier access, but the drop off was still a good walk to the Sam's Town door, so I probably won't do that again. I think the walk down Boulder is just as easy.
I am curious about the horse farm we passed along this loop, however. What is that? I know some place in Vegas there is a rodeo. I wondered if that is one spot, or if they have horse shows there.
I am left wondering too about crossing the street were I to go directly from the strip to Sam's Town with luggage. It might be better to take the long route around the loop than to have to roll back up to the light in order to safely and legally cross Boulder. 
I should have taken a more closer look at the logistics of that.
Hopefully, I will pack lighter next trip and not have the issue.
I had six nights at Sam's Town, so that gave me a good time to rest and also to repack my bags so things were better arranged where I wanted them.

Pre-packing for the airplane prioritizes weight over function.
I have to get the main bag down to 50 pounds and leave room for my carry-ons ( computer and apnea machine and small bag and camera) to be packed in after I arrive in Vegas. 
Then I repack in the luggage area for the ease of rolling all my luggage.
After checking into  Sam's, I repacked for my convenience because I knew that Matt "The Bucket"  was driving me to the Rio the next day as part of a meetup and as a generous act on his part.

Sam's Town to the Rio

Matt "The Bucket"  was actually staying at the Rio, so we pulled out my GPS and headed first to the Bighorn for a visit to a new spot and a couple free meals courtesy of American Casino Guide discussion board posting contest. Each month they give two free buffets by drawing the names of folks who have posted.
There are so few posters that I won twice.
Then we went back to the Rio, and I got checked in.

On my second day I took the 202 to Terrible's, stopped for a $2 breakfast at the Terrrible's buffet, played off a matchplay, and then headed out on the 108 to the airport, and then on the shuttle to pick up my Budget car.
I take the crash damage waiver for my peace of mind.
The day's rental cost me a total of $50 and $10 in gas for a Ford Fiesta which would take me to Red Rock one day and also get my luggage to the Four Queens the next. In between I used the car for my last visit at the Sahara.  They no longer honored the ACG matchplays; still I walked through and said good-bye.

I had planned a visit to the Bass Pro shop at Silverton or perhaps a show, but Red Rock and my all night gambling the night before had tired me out and given me a headache, so once again I was just ready for bed.  I did not even stay on the casino floor another half hour to see the Show in the Sky.  I am sorry not to have done that.

Rio to the Four Queens

The Four Queens let me park in the valet loop long enough to unload my luggage and check in to my room. It was early (before 9am,) but they found a room for me that was in the South Tower and quiet.
I love the service here.
I was booked by a host when I phoned from Florida, so I suppose I looked more important than I am.  I have to phone  a host because the postcards will not be forwarded to me, so I never know if they can comp me a couple nights of rooms.
I returned the car at the airport, took the shuttle to catch the WAX, and was amazed to see it pull right up as I arrived. I had not paid any attention to the schedule. I had brought a book for the wait.
One thing perhaps to say to the people who want to find Ground Zero is that there is an escalator with "ground zero" noted in a sign above the escalator. By that escalator is the elevator that goes down as well.
Confusing perhaps is that once on Ground Zero the only sign says, "Economy parking Terminal 2" So just know that is Ground Zero, and walk out and far to the right to see the bus stop area. 
 The WAX, 108 and 109 share the one and only airport stop.

Four Queens to El Cortez

This is not much of roll of luggage even when I am so overpacked. I use the main El Cortez entranceway which is usually empty and an easy luggage roll with no people to work around. 
There is pleasant piped in music, and generally I have the space to myself. 
I think there are security video cameras there as well. At any rate this roll went very easy, and my final journey with luggage was in the El Cortez free shuttle to the airport at 2 pm of my last day. It is a bit early, but I like it better than any other way of travel, and by then I am ready to say so long, Vegas, see you in a few months.