Monday, October 12, 2015


I had a great time in Vegas from September 9th to the 29th.  I've organized it into trip report snippets so as to capture a huge amount of detail in some sort of skimmable fashion. 
All of it won't load at once.  Go to the "older posts" link in the bottom right hand corner and the next set of posts will load.  They have meaningless dates because that is the way a blog organizes.  Just ignore them.

Here is a rough outline of what is to follow:
A few posts on the overview of expenses, transportation, etc.
Then a block of posts review the rooms where I stayed over 20 nights.
Then I move on to the food I ate.
The next block of posts review the gambling
Then the entertainment
And in the

Sunday, October 11, 2015


This September trip was planned because my son Keith was to celebrate his 40th for a few days in Vegas. So it was an unusual trip, very unlike my solo adventures.

I rarely am in Vegas with my wife Elizabeth so that was a treat as well.

All four of Keith's brothers came to the party. It was a hectic and wonderful time.

Then I did Vegas solo to round out a 21 day trip.

I was concerned about having a bankroll for two long trips this year, so I am happy to have a gambling score of $255.09 profit and in spite of the added expense of the party and visiting Vegas relatives, the trip cost very little.

I never include tips in my expenses. Certainly they add up as an expense, but I never take time to count it. I don't give very much to charity, and I think of tips as my gift, small or large, to working people who are generally less fortunate than I am. So, without tips, here are the figures for this trip.


Rooms were a bit more expensive than normal. I paid extra for premium rooms at the Gold Coast to be certain my wife was comfortable. But then we split the cost, so even that did not add much to my overall cost.

The Four Queens new comp policy and the Life is Beautiful Festival did mean I paid 66-66-24-24 for the end night stay, but I had $48 in comp dollars so that balanced out the fact that during the Festival they did not honor the free night mailed offer, not even for the last night of the four.

And the D new policy of charging $20 resort fee on a 2 for 1 offer with an inflated festival price also boosted my usual. 2 nights there were $54.

link to full discussion??

In between I had:

2 free at Orleans (mailer)

1 $22 at Excalibur (My Vegas)

3 free at Palace Station (My Vegas)

2 $101 nights at Air B and B room near Flamingo and Maryland.

If I just count the solo part, I averaged $20 per night.


I kept a fairly accurate account of my expenses. I may have missed some of them. Even with all the family events, counting purchased food and drinks, I spent under $13 a day.


My rental car share for the first 6 days $187

15 day bus pass $17

So that is less than $10 a day


I saw only six shows or lounge acts and visited one museum this trip, (not counting those I spent a half hour or less watching or the downtown free street shows.) I spent $36 on all of those.

So, it was a successfully frugal trip and I certainly have the money to go again.


In the far past, when I was working, I could only go to Vegas in the summer and generally went for frugal deals in August. When I first retired, I added in December to see the cowboys and again find very frugal deals. The year I turned 60 for example, I stayed a month in December (my birthday was in October) and invited everyone I knew to meet me, saying I would help arrange a good hotel.

I stayed mostly at the Orleans. Folks came who had never been to Vegas and my month was full of friends and family and it was a tremendous birthday party. I found early deals in one part of December and later deals in another, mostly at the Orleans and no one except one friend who wanted the Bellagio, and another who wanted Tuscany, paid more than twenty five dollars, even on weekends, with no resort fees.

At the time 10/7 double bonus was their signature game. In fact, I watched them downgrade to 9/6 while I was there. Seeing machines I played one day and gone the next was very distrubing.

It was a smart move on the Orleans part because most players don't know anything about pay tables. Those Double Bonus 9/6 machines are still there, right along side Double Double Bonus 9/6 that is such a better play.

Lately, since we migrate to Florida in winter, I've just been going to Vegas once a year, usually starting around Halloween and then escaping a good portion of November, my least favorite upper New York month.

September and early October I'd save for fishing. I'd start a trip at Halloween, so as to get the October and the November comps in the same 20 to 23 day trip.

I had no idea how nice it is in September for swimming. All the pools were warm enough. Some days were too warm and that put a strain on bus riding, but in general, with good planning, I could make September to early October my go to time next year.

However, for any sort of deal in late September I have to stay away from the Life Is Beautiful festival. Or else I have to stay out of downtown for that weekend. I've hit it twice now and hated it both times.


I had to repack my 52 pound bag before I could check in for the plane, but that went well also. I did not get the special security boarding that allows me to board without taking everything apart, but there were no lines and with Elizabeth behind me, folks don't get pushy.

We had forgotten to check in and so we had middle seats, but that too was no problem, except for the crabby guy who had hoped he would have no one next to him.

On my right was a young woman and we got to talking the second part of the trip. What a delight she was. She had lived in Alaska and San Diego and had plenty to say about both. She love Fairbanks where she had lived without running water or electricity. She said the time to go their to beat the tourists was in September and to rent an RV and just go from park to park. It is a common thing to do there.

She will soon be running her own business and will be even more flexible on where she works. She lives in Summerlin here in the cooler months.
Those of you who know me, know I like the buses. This trip we had a car, a van actually, for 7 days and while I get some of the convenience, I'm still in favor of the buses. In general, I am just frugally prejudiced.

However, this trip I was reminded of other reasons. many of them just relative to my own sense of comfort.

I am never comfortable renting without the LDW. I just don't want any insurance hassles while I am in Vegas. I also don't want to have to make a detailed scientific study of the vehicle after being on the plane for 5 hours just to be sure that it is not damaged. Nor do I want to have to protest a damage claim from the company long after I've returned the car. Nor do I want to worry about “loss of value” from the company. I suppose it is irrational. After all, I am a gambler. But peace of mind is what I want in Vegas and so the LDW gives me that.

We arrived very tired after out 5 hour flight.

I was put off by the shuttle bus ride.

This is not the WAX where my luggage goes on with me and can stay right there in front of me. The driver set up the large suitcases against a ridge on the floor and then tipped each over to crash down on the floor. Now I know that such things happen in airport luggage moving, but I have carry ons, a computer and sleep apnea machine that when I arrive I pack in my suitcase so that I have just one bag to roll and carry. They are more fragile than what goes on the airplane as checked baggage. 

I was smart enough to keep the sleep apnea machine separate or it would have experienced  the tip and crash on the shuttle.
On the WAX all my luggage would be right with me.  None of it would be tipped and crashed.

Had I ridden the WAX, I'd have boarded just one bus and then been at my destination. I now had to board a bus to get to the rental car to get to my destination.

However, I could not have started a trip at the Gold Coast and got there easily on buses.

We had a Budget Kia van reserved and luckily we had signed up for Fastbreak because their system was down, and we were assigned a van that the computer said was in D38. Only it was the wrong car. So at inspection on the way out, we had to turn around and go back to the clerk. This is with all this luggage in the van already and 100 degree weather in the garage. 
 We did not walk back. 
 We drove. 
 And we asked that she change the paperwork rather than change the car.
She did.

Coming to the Gold Coast was easy using no highways on phone GPS. Most of the drive was on Dean Martin, a delightful ride.

But it was tiresome.

It took us ten hours to get from Burden Lake to our room here at the Gold Coast. It was a long journey, and it felt long.

I took the car one morning to go solo out to Boulder highway. Now comes the reason I ride buses which is personal to me, my own inability to go to the simplest places and not get lost. 

 How hard should it be to drive to Eastside Cannery and back? Well, coming back, tired, I made a wrong turn on Nellis, made some other wrong turns trying to find Flamingo. I found Tropicana and then made some wrong terms trying to head over on Dean Martin. I did have a good scenic view of the most amazing dead end roads, some just a few yards from the Gold Coast. 
I should have stuck with the long route down Arville.

And I lost value at the Eastside Cannery because I would not drink. 
 Two drinks of bourbon. 
 Plus I had to buy gas.

Because we had the car we picked up some of our sons from the airport. That too was confusing. I better like making folks responsible for getting their own transportation and meeting up with me. My wife and I picked up one son a little after eight and delivered him to Paris where he got a key to his brother's room.

It was a long, long walk from the Paris parking lot to the lobby.

We then walked over to the Bellagio buffet for a good breakfast with the birthday boy, but I was rushed to get back to the car and go again to the airport in time to get two more sons.

It all worked out.

However, it did rush my breakfast and cut short that visiting a bit.

I parked in the short term and went to baggage, but both boys had gone to the passenger pickup. So I paid an unnecessary two dollars and drove around to pick them up.

There is no waiting at passenger pickup. If you try to wait even a minute or two there is a very friendly guard telling you that you have to circle and come back.

Cory arrived at Terminal 3, unusual for our experience which is usually Southwest. We did not find that out until we had gone to terminal 1. Finally, we managed to find him.

Of course, the van was great to get a bunch of us to Red Rock Canyon for a hike and a meal at the buffet at Red Rock.

I think a good bit of my discomfort with driving in Vegas is due to aging. I am feeling the loss of crisp attention to detail in many areas of my life. Driving is one of them.

I was fine about going twice to the airport one morning to drop off two sons going to different places.

My first drop off went easy. It is very driver friendly. Coming back I caught the Tropicana Swenson exit and turned on Harmon to pickup the Paradise to Flamingo part.

I felt like my disfunctional part was over.

The second drop off I missed the left turn and tunneled myself, ending out by the car rental area. I found my way back, but I knew that car rentals were not for me.

When we added it up, we realized that we could have just rented for one day to go to Red Rock, cabbed the rest and saved money.

However, it was hard to know what everyone wanted to do. Three boys wanted to play cheap poker machine tournaments downtown, and it was convenient to do that until late at night and tired I could not seem to find my way off the strip and back to the Gold Coast.

And the car did reduce my bus expense. I only needed a 15 day pass, so I saved $17.

It also was a great benefit in filling the room with cold water and snacks and moving it all from the Gold Coast to the Orleans on the morning my wife left on the plane.

In November I'll rent one for a week to get to Red Rock for three days, and then to Laughlin and then back downtown. That sort of driving will not be as much of a hassle. I will also bring my little GPS and not try a phone GPS.

The key in making these transportation decisions is to examine yourself for comfort level. I am very uncomfortable driving after dark anywhere.

However, I am very comfortable traveling with strangers I have met serendipitously. I always remember Thomas Wolfe in Look Homeward Angel seeing the woman on a passing train.

My old gambling buddy, Lucky Pete, new all the driving ins and outs and angles and side roads without any GPS. He hated the buses.

When my wife left in the rental, I was so happy to feel the total independence of bus riding, happy to be able to drink again and to be exhausted and not have to struggle with where to turn. My only snafu was the Life is Beautiful where I did not follow my first plan and take the BXH to the BTC and then the Deuce into downtown. I got off at Maryland and decided to walk. Huge mistake! I ended up with facing a long walk on blisters to get around the fenced in area.

I kept loobying at the gate and they finally gave me this number


I called and at first they said no to me. There were only dealing with the elderly and disabled.

I'm seventy years old, “ I exaggerated. “With blisters.” Doesn't that count.

You're seventy years old, “ she asked. (I have a young phone voice)

Yes.” I said, although I actually turn 69 this month.

And in twenty minutes this cute and very friendly Black American college girl came in her little golf cart and drove me through the fenced in gate and across what looked like a war zone and up to Las Vegas Blvd.
 My blisters and I thanked her.

So I did hear some of the music from the festival as I waited on the corner by a small corner store where I found snacks and a $5 of Tisdale Cabernet to take back to the room.

I thought it was the antithesis of beautiful.

I found the buses so much more comfortable than the first week of driving a rental car.
The 201 from the Orleans to Excalibur was great.
The free Excalibur trams have me a bit confused. I rode to Mandalay Bay from Excalibur and then back to the Luxor. That may be the only way to do Excalibur to Luxor.
This is my first time taking numerous trips on the 109 that goes along Maryland. From Excalibur I took the WAX to the airport the 109 to my Air B and B. I took it back from the UNLV campus. I took it to the Onyx Theater on Sahara (a short walk) and back again. I found it comfortable and not too crowded. Fine with luggage. However, they did not announce the stops. I was going to this small stop on East Katie. I asked the driver to call it for me, but I saw it before he announced, and I suspect he forgot about me.

I never did miss it, but I had to watch carefully on my way back from the Sahara. There are good landmarks. That is the key to remembering a bus stop.

Also I got directions that indicated 10 stops.

I guess my phone would also have done it for me. Duhhhhhh!

I was going to take the 109 to the airport and then call for the free Palace Station shuttle, but that seemed a rather long way around and the Sahara bus seemed a better option. So I took it.
On my way from Palace Station to downtown I debated whether to take the free shuttle to the airport and the WAX downtown, or the Sahara Express to the strip and the Deuce downtown. I was very conflicted. It seemed so odd to go all the way South and then back North again.

However, the free shuttle and WAX was the right decision. I know that because I left in too much of a hurry and left a rubber banded pack of plastic cards, (player's cards and insurance cards and one expired credit card) and I had forgotten to redeem for my free shirt. So, once I settled downtown, I headed right back to Palace Station, this time on the SDX and then the Sahara Express.

Those buses were too crowded for luggage. I was happy I had gone the other route earlier.

That route did work out for shopping, however. On the way back downtown I went the Sahara Express to that large souvenir shop, bought some things, and then walked through the SDL to see that new casino and out the back door for the SDX stop there along Paradise.

And while forgetting things and having to go back seemed at first a hassle, it became a benefit because I played another couple hours of dime VP and used up my Palace Station points for a free buffet.


I like being around the Bank of America in downtown. It is just a short couple blocks down 4th from the D. I got money there, and so I saved my traveler's checks for the next trip.

My last day, my gambling over for the most part, I deposited money that I did not want to take with me on the plane. It is a handy bank.

Another handy Bank of America is across the street from the Eastside Cannery. It is a drive through, but I have walked through at times.

I also went to a Bank of America on Sahara near the Onyx Theater. With a good phone, it is not hard to locate a nearby Bank of America. We find them on all our travels.

And there is one close to the Orleans, heading West on Tropicana on the way to Walgreen's.


We had a really fine time at the Gold Coast. My wife generally wants an upscale room at a strip casino, but I think that she will come here again with me. I'll certainly come solo. I often stay there and pay the mailed casino rate offer just to not worry about my gambling daily average and to use the heated pool.

Two sons met us here for four days. Their room was not the premium, but I did not see much difference. It was fine, perhaps a bit older in décor.

There were no lines and no early check in fees. We were ten hours from our house to the casino room. We were tired when we arrived from the plane and car rental. We were put in a room at about noon. I can't figure out how there could be so many people here and no one in a check in line. Perhaps when they don't charge the early check in fee, the folks coming in are more spread out.

The Gold Coast gave absolute first rate service everywhere.

Our last trip my wife had paid the big bucks to stay at Trump Towers. Here is the review of that place

I was surprised when she told me that she actually liked the Gold Coast much better, felt more comfortable, and especially liked not waiting an hour or so to check into the room.

She has stayed and liked the Orleans and did think that was better than the Gold Coast, but she liked trying new places.

Making her comfortable in Vegas really pleased me and gave me even new respect for these Boyd casinos.

Elizabeth is sensitive to smoke and she did detect more at the Gold Coast casino than at Aria or at the Orleans. She wants to write them and tell them to upgrade their air freshening system.

A security guard in a wheel chair worked hard to locate my lost bag and prescription glasses. This sure improved my mood that day. Great service.

Our rooms were very quiet. I can't get much quiet downtown anymore.

A lower room floor was great for easy access, especially when we were wet from the pool.

The pool was delightful except for the gate and the clock. The gate really bangs each time it closes. The clock never is the right time.

There is a nice workout room with a good view of the pool and a feeling of openness. It rarely has more than one person exercising. I go in when I swim to get the good cold water the keep there.

There is great shade in the water and in chairs on the edges. The hot weather did not bake us while we used the pool. There seemes always to be a place in the water that offered shade as well.

I like the jacuzzi.

We liked the buffet.

We danced one night to the SanFernando band. It is a fine group with all the old Vegas chestnuts. Great floor for dancing. That show alone would draw us here again. Some nights they charge $10, but this night they dropped that. We could buy our own drinks. Scotch was $6. Even had they had the cover, it would include one drink.

For $15 total we had a refrigerator in the room the entire stay.

There is good video poker, but I am curious as to why the JOB straight flush was shaved down to 239.

The wifi worked easily. It was the only time I got on line while in Vegas.

There are good promotions. Young at Heart was just great. Other promos were there too and good mulipliers even if I did forget to swipe before playing.

The sports book famous hot dog is there. It is a bit more money, but still cheap. Frank liked it. It was just enough to keep us at the video poker rather than looking for a light fare somewhere.

On Elizabeth's last night we went to the Cortez. It was wonderful in every way. She had a Caesar salad and some lobster tacos. I had the 22 ounce prime rib and shared with her. The left overs she put with the left over bread and made a sandwich the next morning for the plane. Nice to have the refrigerator.

For 20 bucks I had a bottle of zinfandel from Sonoma. I took a photo but it blurred. It was just delicious. The waiter said it was a $40 bottle they put out for $20 because they were getting rid of that stock.

So, you can see the frugal parts of this meal at an upscale restaurant.

The hostess came and got us from the VP machines when the table was ready and our waiter was just delightful without any affectations.

So for seventy buck plus fourteen dollar tip we had a fine, quiet meal our last night together here.

Elizabeth had suggested TGIF, but I refused. I hate that place.

The Cortez is probably not a place I would go solo although perhaps I might consider eating at the bar, and I have wanted that dining experience. The ambiance was somewhere well above diner without approaching upscale snooty and pretentious.

Appealing too was that the décor was that quiet décor of paintings and the music was not the loud new whinny rock sounds with undecipherable lyrics and beats so loud that it is hard to talk over them.

At home I am picking restaurants by sound these days as much as food. It is always amazing to me that while the Rat Pack is so popular that live shows happen all the time, we can't find a restaurant playing that sort of quiet lounge music or even a mix of music or one that has a quiet room or section. Even the Chinese buffet we go to at home plays repetitive modern American sounds rather than some Chinese background sounds.

And it is not that those sounds have faded from interest. We were just up at Tanglewood hear John Pizzarelli from radio deluxe play lounge into jazz. In October we are going to hear Kat Edmonds who is a fast rising star in just such music and performing for the most part new songs that she has written but with a relaxed lounge to jazz sound.

I hope they don't close the Cortez.

On the negative, we did have a room air conditioner with a slight noise that came and went, perhaps something caught in the fan. We reported it at check out. It did not bother us much and we hate the interruptions of having repair people in the room.

Television needs the Turner Classic movie channel. Don't they all?

Security lost and found at first claimed not to have my lost bag from the pool area. However, it was there. I found it a few days later, and it had been turned in before I first asked.

The first fellow was incompetent.

The second was amazing. So I know now that if I lose something, I should ask at least twice.

I miss the old afternoon Classic Jazz group that performed for so many years.

The pool gate slams everytime and the slam is so loud that it startles the swimmers.

The pool clock is never set on time. Three trips and the clock has always been unreliable. A clock is an important feature in a pool. This isn't rocket science; just a clock.

Some days there were no towels left.

TGIF served bad food and bad coffee. They should replace it with something of the quality of the rest of the casino.

The buffet should add one fish to the buffet and add a small salad section to breakfast.

They should offer more full pay VP. Consider a ten seven double bonus or that nice seven triple play progressive bank that is at the Orleans and draws us there. This is very popular. Some of the full pay JOB upstairs did not get regular drink service.

But overall it was a great place to stay, and so much less expensive than the high priced rooms our sons paid at Paris and Bellagio on the strip.


In second grade my teacher Mrs Ritter named me “Forgetful Dewey”

I have worked hard to realize her early expectations. Losing things has always been a hobby of mine. When tired in Vegas it is a passionate avocation.

One day at the pool at the Gold Coast I left my dayglow green bag with my unread copy of the Sixth Extinction and assorted other bits of things. I discovered it missing three days later. Security said they did not have it, but they did.

A day later I lost my prescription glasses in their case. I have no idea where.

Another visit to Security Lost and Found was more successful, and I had both returned to me.

The first security guard did just a cursory check, missed the bag, and sent me on my way. The second fellow brought me into the office and spent almost ten minutes tracking down the bag and then another few minutes tracking down the glasses.

Some people do their job. Some don't.

I also found in inquiry that sometimes the pool attendant, who is rarely there, just puts the lost and found stuff behind with the towels because he is busy. That did not happen this time, but I'll remember that bit of information the next time I leave something at the pool. Unless, of course, I forget it.


The Orleans is my favorite place. I had checked in and was in my room by 9AM because Elizabeth was leaving early for her flight home and needed to return the rental and get checked in. 

No early check in fee here.

No resort fee for comped rooms.

I had a good long talk with clerk at checkout, and she was surprised that so much of our paperwork for comped rooms contains the note that a resort fee will be required.

I told her how many had worried about it on the Vegas Message Board.

See this thread:

I suggested that the paperwork might be costing them some business from folks who took it at face value and booked other comped rooms rather than pay a fee for a free room.

I usually try for a room on a lower floor, to make an easier wet trip back from the pool. This time I was given the ninth floor and found it very convenient. It is the last stop on the 1-9 elevator, but the first stop on the 9 and above. So either elevator accommodated me. I like the quiet of this place and the view of mountains.

I'll ask for 9th floor again.

I found a microwave in the ice area of the Orleans. That is a nice touch. If I stayed there and went to the Cortez restaurant, I could microwave a hot steak breakfast the next day. This trip I would have used it for my nachos. I did not buy food that second night but just ate up the snacks left over from the week at the Gold Coast.

By the way, cheese keeps pretty well in Vegas, especially a hard cheese, like Manchego. Having fruit, nuts, and cheese in the room along with a coffee maker is often fine for a quiet breakfast while writing.

There is a coffee machine and pretty good coffee in all Orleans' rooms. I'm not much for coffee and use it just to wake up and get my daily dose of cinnamon. Cinnamon is really good in coffee especially when not using sugar.

I do carry tea and make that with one of those little immersible hot loops. I carried my own little portable coffee pot this trip, but I won't next time. I never felt like bothering to assemble it. I had tea instead, sometimes iced.

Elizabeth requires better coffee and there is a coffee place downstairs that serves upscale coffees
just at there is one with Starbucks coffee at the Gold Coast.

The room coffee maker requires a plastic slide in that holds the small one cup bags. Check and see when you get in the room if that slider is there and ask for another if it is not. I'll add that to what I carry in next time as well. I think I have one somewhere.

It was an older crowd, especially on Young at Heart day. Still there were some very pretty girls. Generally, the tone is more local than tourist, but there are folks from all over. When I am too old to care about being so frugal or to ride buses, I'll just come and stay here or do as Turtleman does, hop easily between the Gold Coast and the Orleans.

There is so much to take advantage of on a Wednesday that I just could not do all of it. I missed the cheap movie.

I played the smoke-free bank of nickle Double Bonus 3 play most of the day and for a few hours in the evening. I am sure to have cinched up my next mailing.

No royals. I lost $125 dollars on the video poker here chasing their three progressive royals. I earned 3000 points to use later downtown. I ate two free buffets. I got $20 in free food. 
The Young at Heart swipes gave me 5x points, a free breakfast, a free late supper and a $10 I combined with my $10 food comp on the offer for a good bit of Oyster chowder at Jack's.

The lines for breakfast were very long. Next time I'll stand in the line before the buffet opens.

They took my buffet voucher with no look at Player's Card or ID and not punching in the pin. They just took it. So, I guess I could have been anyone my age.
The Nite Kings did do their lounge act, and it was as wonderful as always.

I only caught 2 sets because I needed to be at the 4 PM drawing where they give away $500 to one person and $100 to twenty people. I left in time to eat and play some more.

I did not win.

They used to keep all the unclaimed money and toss it into the last of the month drawing, but now they just call more names on the day of the drawing. It is a much better system, and it was run fairly quickly without all that needless banter I remember from other years.

At the Nite Kings lounge act I bought a nice Merlot for each set at $6 total each including tip.

I left to have my supper and swipe in for the new Young at Heart evening deal which includes a chance multiplier (I got 5x, the minimum I think) It can be up to 50X. Last visit I had 15X.

I carried the second wine into the buffet with me and had it to accompany the ribs.
There were no crowds saving seats in a panic, but I saw the same faces from other times. This time I did not dance or have interesting conversation. I was tired, a bit blistered, and the clique crowd of regulars was not very open to making new friends.

I played off two match plays, the one that came with my check in and the one from American Casino Guide. The ACG coupon was taken right at the table with no registration at the Player's club. The other required me to go to the Player's Club and have my name hand written on a fancy matchplay which the pitboss then still studied for a few minutes before letting me use it. Odd that it was issued by the Player's Club in this very ornate and probably hard to duplicate format, and yet he did not just take it. I lost the first matchplay on the first roll.

Snake eyes.

I won the second matchplay when the guy next to me made his 6 point. So that meant I was ahead $10. I love match plays. What an advantage they have!

I like the ease of finding my way around this casino. I know where things are. I'm never disoriented.

I like the buffet, especially the Cholula hot sauce and the Mexican soup.

I like that they enthusiastically extended my checkout time until 1 PM with no charge. This time it meant I did not have to worry about an early check in fee at Excalibur, my next stop on the MyVegas dime. Excalibur said they did not have such a fee, but I liked being covered just the same.


I always enjoy the Orleans pool, and this was no exception. However, one day it did not open until 10 AM because the cleaner had not finished getting out the leaves and the chemical guys needed time to do their jobs.

I was annoyed that I had to wait.

However, there was compensation. They did a photo shoot for one of the Ms. Olympia women. I don't know her name, but she was very attractive, more so than most of the rather muscular women in that contest. Here she is in 2012, the one on the far left.

That morning she was dressed in a sparkle outfit with very attractive black anklets which matched her long black hair. She took these off and did poses around the pool in her ivory bikini. She was very sexy; it was nice entertainment for a morning swim. The girl is the one on the far left of this older photo.

One night Elizabeth had ridden the shuttle from the Orleans to get back to the Gold Coast, and she said it took 35 minutes because of the stop at the strip coming first. If that is accurate and the usual, it means that most days we could walk the distance just as fast as the shuttle takes us. I would not do that after dark, but Arville is easy walking during the day with sidewalks for the most part. Of course, I would not have wanted to do that this trip because temperatures hovered about 100 degrees.

But in November it is much more interesting to walk that route than spend time on a treadmill.

I did not use the Boyd shuttle this trip. We had a car the first 6 days at the Gold Coast. I was picked up by relatives a couple times. I did RTC buses to get from place to place and the Palace Station shuttle and the WAX.

I also played where I stayed more often this trip and did not do so much bus wandering.

Walgreen's on Tropicana just West of the strip is handy when staying at the Orleans.

For the beginning of this trip we had a van and so we went up for bottles of water and assorted odds and ends. I also bought a 15 day bus pass there and used it after my wife left.

I had to pick family up at the airport, so I had Walgreen's give me some quarters for the parking.

The people were friendly. Be sure to get the best prices by using a Walgreen's card. I don't carry the card, but it is easy to access by typing in my phone number.

Here are the negatives:

The poker room is struggling to get a balance in its bonus offerings. So every hour on Friday-Saturday-Sunday they give a generous high hand bonus to two people. This is a good promotion, but it is not every day.

The bad beat had terrible rules. The bad beat must be flopped until it reaches a certain amount ($75,000 I think)

This greatly reduces the chances of hitting.

I did think the games were less tight and local dominated, but I don't think I'll play again if the bonus awards are unequally distributed.

More live poker discussion and narrative details of my live poker play are included in this post:



At the end of my visit I have $10 from Young at Heart and $10 from the booking, both food comps. I decide to go to Al's Oyster House and use them up. I do end spending $26 for crab cakes with salad and the oyster stew.

The oyster stew is not on menu because when they had it there, folks would order it and half of them complain that without potatoes or vegetables this was not a stew.

The dish is just oysters in a most deli caious cream sauce.

So I go in and order oyster chowder.

And it goes like this with Jose, my chef server:

We don't have oyster chowder.”

I know it is on the menu, but I've had it before. They just make it up to order.”

No, there is no chowder.”

I pause perplexed. And then Jose decides to share something with me.

We do have oyster stew.”

I too expect this will not be in a mild sauce and have potato and vegetable. Jose does not say that it is very close to a chowder. He does not explain the ingredients.

Well, I am going to have that. How much is it?

I don't know. It is not on the menu. The computer knows the price and I get is when you order.”

Well, could you could you just check the price. I'm trying to use up some comps. It was eleven dollars the last time.”

Jose is not happy that he has to go and swipe a card and read the price. But he does it.

fourteen dollars,” he says.

Okay, I'll have the crab cakes the stew.”

I'm sitting there thinking that this guy is the biggest jerk I've seen in Vegas.

I know that I am tipping just 15% and on the $10 reduced price.

Then along comes Ron. He is the exact opposite. I ask him the difference between stew and chowder and he says it is very confusing, depends on the part of the country we live in, tells me the history of this dish, explains to me the difference in the rue used for this (chicken) rather than the one they use for chowders, tells me there is a lobster dish also that is not on the menu because the name confuses people as well.

It is a grand conversation. He likes talking about what he does and the food and everything. He is as friendly as Jose is surly.

So, the tip goes up.

The crab cakes were good but not wonderful. The salad was very good. The stew chowder soup was wonderful. What a treat to get all this for the tip.


I spent just one night at Excalibur between the Orleans and the Air B and B.  It was easy to get to on the 201 bus and then easy to get from using the WAX to the airport and the 109 to Maryland and Katie.

I used a MyVegas reward to stay there, took a free buffet at Aria while I was staying and also saw the show Fantasy at Luxor.  I did not need to stay at Aria to see the show, but it was very convenient.  I found the room was fine and I'll stay at Excalibur for 4 nights in November, one on My Vegas and the others pretty cheap, especially with $50 freeplay from MyVegas (3 night minimum stay) and another Aria buffet.

It was good to stay on the strip for the first time in many trips.  Also, I was under the earlier $22 resort fee, so it was a cheap deal.


This trip , looking for some alternative to casinos for a break on my long trips, I tried an Air B and B room. I had a mixed experience.

It think it is safe to say most of the people would not be satisfied with this alternative.

Many already knew that.

Certainly if you gamble enough to get comped or semi-comped rooms, then those stays were far and above this one.

But for those who are frugal or want to stay in Vegas for a couple nights and perhaps for those who are young, it might be great.

In the end, I could have booked a great room on a two for one at Eastside Cannery and then, using their terrible Webpass program, I think I could have upgraded to one of my favorite rooms in Vegas, a corner room high up with wall to ceiling glass and a luxurious tub.

But casinos just don't send their mailings out in time. By the time I got that offer, I had booked the B and B and canceling would have cost me my first night, $50. Besides, I really wanted to try it.

However, that is the first disadvantage. Cancelling is not free. I generally don't book where I can't cancel or modify even a few days before I arrive, and I won't probably break that pattern again.

The room itself was perfectly clean and large.

I had large room with my own bathroom. I needed that. It was very clean and very nice bathroom.

Then sharing the other rooms was an extra treat, especially the kitchen where I would end up having a really amazing experience.

It is very odd that my wife and I have just spent half a year buying a new bed and mattress, both upscale. This bed was a cheap one with a very basic mattress, very thin compared to the usual in casino hotels. It was nothing like the mattresses I love in Vegas.

Ironically, I slept perfectly well on this cheap mattress with no issues.

The rooms were very underfurnished. There was plenty of space to add useful pieces. One blank wall just cried out for a small desk and chair for the computer. I did my computing on the kitchen table, a comfortable and easy place, and a grand reason to be out there to meet other guests.

There was no art. The bedroom walls were barren. In the living room was one large painting that was very nice. That was it. 

What is clear is that the landlady, a very pretty young blond Hungarian, was trying to make part of her living renting 14 properties and giving a fine product with no real style.

One wall of the room was a long, mirrored closet. I can't imagine anyone traveling with enough to fill a quarter of that closet.

There were plenty of kitchen supplies, even some spices, and a nice refrigerator.

Included was a Puri water machine that gave nice cold, and I think filtered water.

The television was upscale I think. I only used it twice and both times I hit the wrong button and kicked out the settings.

Electronically, I'm an idiot.

It took the landlady two minutes to get it back. I still have no idea how. The first time I hit a small remote to change the channel when only the large remote was correct to use for that. I was very conservative about buttons after that, but I did something the second time as well. A millenial would not have this problem and probably love the advantages of this television over the Vegas casino hotel televisions which offer the worst choices.

However, there was no Turner Classic Movies station.
No one wants that station except me and it is the only station I want. I used to stay at the Plaza just because they had that station, back in the day when they also had a laundry room

Doing a nice big laundry midtrip was one of my goals, and it was met beyond expectation. It was four quarters for a  fine long wash, and four more for a fine long dry.
I could leave those machines running, walk out the door, and swim all the while, alone in the pool and enjoying it.

So, for the second half of my journey I had clothes that were well washed and soft. Handwashing is what I usually do in hotel rooms. I especially hate the way socks have a crunchy look and feel after drying on a clothes hanger. But I also hate Laundromats where it is humid and uncomfortable and there is nothing to do except wait and wait.

However, I should mention things that fall in the category of “locals know this, dummy.”

First there was no change machine. Second there was no soap dispenser. There were just machines.

I solved the first problem by getting a roll of quarters at Von's grocery (described later). I could have solved the second problem, but Von's did not really have single serving sized laundry soap except for one upscale mix of some soap ingredients that sold for $7. I looked through the information to see if this would give me clean dry clothes and would also enable me to levitate or send out phenomes to young, hot women. I might then have paid $7.

In years back I would have just added a few of the free shampoos and body washes. They do an okay job.

However, these days I never leave home without a half bar of Fels Naptha. For hand washing it can't be beat. It lasts forever. Walmarts sells them for about a dollar.

Here I just took my room key, the old fashioned kind, and flaked soap into the machine. I flaked about a tenth of a bar. It flaked easily, and it worked very well.

Unfortunately, I first flaked into a machine that was broken and would not accept quarters. A young man told me it was the only broken one. I thought,  “Locals would know that, dummy!”

Of course, there was no sign indicating the machine was broken. The signage in this complex was terrible.

Finding the apartment was very difficult because all the buildings looked alike. They were lettered, but not on all sides. So I'd have to walk around the building to find out the Letter of the building.

There was no sign on the Men's room by the pool. I would not have known it was there had I not arrived to the complex early and talked my way into the locked pool to use the bathroom before I had the code to get in my room. I thought,  “Locals would know that, dummy!”

I also thought I could print out some vouchers for Eastside Cannery, but EC have made it so hard to redeem anything, that I did not bother to ask. I did not see a computer or printer, but then I did not ask either.

The internet worked great. This was a time too for me to check into my emails, clean things up, take a look at Facebook, and do things that I can't really do on my phone yet for the same reason I can't work remotes.  Usually, I don't use wifi in Vegas.

Last trip I picked up a persistent virus at Monte Carlo's internet. I have an older computer which I really just bring to write up the day or my experiences to edit and post later in the blog.

A friend cleaned up the computer for me, so I did get to actually write an email.

Truthfully, when I am in Vegas I want to be there. If I want quiet moments in the room, I write. I don't want to visit a Vegas board. Visiting a Vegas board while in Vegas seems like bringing a blow up doll on a date with Marilyn Monroe.

I don't want to have to write emails. I'm just too busy. If I have any extra time, I sleep.

My new Galaxy 5 does most of what I need whenever I can figure out how to use it. It was good. But I was often confused. Texting worked the best.

Another advantage of the B and B placed me easily in walking distance or short bus distance to UNLV. As it worked out, I missed the Barrick museum because I was on campus very early, and it did not open to noon. But I love walking campuses and I love the small cactus gardens there. I only managed one but it was wonderful.


This greeted me on the way into the campus from Maryland.

 As it worked out, I missed the Barrick museum because I was on campus very early and it did not open to noon. But I love walking campuses and I love the small cactus gardens there. I only managed one but it was wonderful.

I walked into a few of the buildings.  One fine thing about visiting a college campus is that it is very easy to find a clean bathroom.
I liked this display in front of an office of a technology professor.

I think this was in front of a Physics building.

And this was in the neighborhood of the B and B, just art along the sidewalk


And I went to the Onyx theater for one of the funniest and sexually raunchy shows I have seen. It is a spoof on a famously panned movie in 1995 called “Showgirls, The Musical” and while I missed the meanings of much of the spoofing because I have not seen that movie yet, I had a great time.

And it was sexy. Local theater generally could not draw actors who would look good enough to be topless, but the lead in this show was absolutely gorgeous and looked grand. The show drew actual Vegas showgirls.

The theater was small and old, and it was a bit hard to get a seat where I could see everything, but I was first in and moved around twice to position myself with a good view from almost the last row.

In this small venue that meant really close seats. I could see every character.

I had an empty seat on both sides of me and the seats were wide and comfortable. They reclined. A pretty blond sat to my right. That was nice as well.

This small audience filled the place with nonstop laughter.

And no one had to say, “Put your hands together.” They just put on a grand performance and the audience knew how to respond without being prodded.

I had just seen Luxor's Fantasy on a My Vegas ticket and enjoyed that show, but I liked this show better. I liked the projected personalities of the characters.

Once in a while the actors did not project their voice enough, but otherwise there was not that sense of uncomfortable cringe I sometimes get in less than professional performances.

It is a very small theater. It seats about 60 which they can expand to 90 if they need to. It was well attended, but I was able by coming early to be the first in and to actually change my seat three times to get a spot where I would have the best view. Heads get in the way of this old style theater. The seats actually can recline a bit.

There is also a small venue with couches and comfortable chairs for small performances. That was quite an unusual room.

Prices were $25 for the dozen first row (sold out). Gold star had them for $10 and I suppose a service charge. I decided last minute. They sold cheap popcorn, dollar drinks and coffee and other snacks at a movie like counter.

Folks were friendly and many were part of the larger acting community. One high school boy was dressed as a pirate because if you showed up at a doughnut place that day dressed like a pirate, you got a free dozen doughnuts.  He and his techy girlfriend were going after the show.

I found the theater easily, taking the Maryland 109 bus to Sahara and then walking a few blocks to the theater. However, the theater, while sort of on Sahara, opens only the back entrance where there is a fine parking lot.

The problem is that it is a long walk around the building from the front, and things look a bit deserted. I did not want to walk back that way at the end of the performance in the dark.

There are plans to build an entrance on the Sahara side, but now there is just an Emergency exit. However, the girl who sold me my ticket offered to let me out that emergency exit after the show. 

She was very helpful.

So, I met my goal of getting to this theater without a car and because I was staying at the B and B, without a long bus ride.

The landlady of the B and B wrote that guests needed to have a car or use a cab. Of course, I could tell that the bus would work fine and it did, with just a bit of roll down Katie from Maryland, not much more really than the roll to get from the Sahara bus stop back into the Palace Station. Certainly nothing like the walks from those strip parking lots to any destination.

The neighborhood seemed safe, and I was comfortable walking alone, even at night.

However, once in the apartment complex, navigation was hard if I did not take a good look at where I was located on my way out. Room numbers were easy to see, but every letter apartment had room 22. I needed O22.

Even once I got settled in, I could easily get confused because I am geographically challenged. I had to really look for differences and small landmarks to get back what was just a really short walk from the pool to my room.

One other goal was to break up the chain of buffets with some simple and inexpensive food and to stock up my suitcase for three days at Palace Station. That worked because the local grocery Von's, right up on Maryland, had plenty of choices.

I love to cook at home, but I did not want to cook much and do dishes at the B and B. The refrigerator kept my nice salad fixings and oranges fresh and cooled my seltzers. The microwave warmed up chicken wings cooked at Von's.

I had three meals on the salad and cheese.

I was sitting down to a nice salad of mixed greens, pepperoni, assorted cheese, peanuts with a touch of salad dressing I took from my host and some haberno hot sauce. I had a half dozen wings, all drumsticks. I had a nice bottle of cucumber watermelon Seltzer and a glass of the last of the E and J brandy my wife left.

As I ate, in came the one other guest in the place. Actually, Jollie, was a relative, perhaps an Uncle of the landlady and had been in the States just 5 nights. He was a very pleasant and personable fellow who showed me the kitchen when I first arrived and showed me how to use the Puri machine for cold water. Oh, that was very nice.

He spoke no English. The closest he got was a few words and the expression “No problema.”

He had put on a pot of whole garlic, white onion, large chicken legs, parsley and it had been simmering with just salt and pepper all morning.

I finished up my meal and then I watched him cook. He mimed everything or showed me the spices from the cupboard. It was a live cooking show by a person who had just come from Hungary. I was very pleased.
The food was removed from the broth, it was stained, and then very tiny noodles were added to make a soup. The chicken legs were stripped of skin, rolled in flour, dipped in egg, and rolled in plain bread crumbs. Then they were fried slightly in oil with some lard added until they were brown.

Of course, I had to try some even though I mimed that I was too full. I also had to try to cooked garlic. Everything was very plain and simple and delicious.


So, now I figured I could lose more gambling because I had experienced a mini trip to Hungary without the uncomfortable plane ride. It is true that I missed the Hungarian architecture, but I'd spent some very upclose time with one of its people and sampled authentic cuisine.

One other downside was that checkout was ten AM. But I am always up early and wanted to roll luggage in the cooler morning. 

From there I went to Palace Station, taking the 109 on Maryland and the Sahara Express to get there. 

Palace Station put me in a fine tower room at eleven thirty. That was good because Jollie had awakened me at 1:30 AM when he had the long phone call in Hungarian, and I had for the most part stayed awake. That taught me that I am too old for these B and B places because I am too noise sensitive and don't fall back to sleep.

Sad really.

In college I got four hours of sleep a night until Sunday, slept most of the day in front of the television and then began a hectic week again.

To add to my need for rest, I had spent the night before I went to the B and B playing cards at Excalibur from midnight when Fantasy let out until four thirty in the morning.

So I was ready for some good sleep to catch up.

Just a couple more observations.

Because of the way she runs this B and B, she is not at the site. Most visitors report never seeing her. The code is released by Air B and B in email. I made the mistake of calling her, and she did not know who I was and at first told me she was driving and could not access the code, but with a little thought, and some prodding from me,  she remembered the number.

So we did not get off on the right foot. She was very pleasant and took care of me, but it was clear that I could not be too confused without annoying her.

I am always too confused.

That alone would stop me from booking solo again. What if my phone did not work, or I lost it? This was a very quiet complex, and so there might be no one to help. Of course, Jollie would have helped. But he is not everywhere. 

There is no early check in here. I arrived at one thirty for a two o'clock check in and had no chance of getting in early.

That was clearly stated in the paperwork, but it is enforced because Air B and B does not release the code for the keys until check in time. I arrived having to use a bathroom and did not want to roll my luggage down to Von's, but there were few people around, and it took me a while to solve that issue.

Easy bathroom access is another good thing about being in Vegas or going on a road trip in my van. In Vegas casino hotels there are bathrooms always available. On a road trip, if there is not a Mcdonald's then there is some isolated tree hidden off the road.

When I was in college, I did landscaping for a fellow who ran his business in upscale suburban houses. We could not ask to use the bathroom. Then I was able to manage myself until lunchtime or every longer if I was not picked up for lunch. I could go until quitting time. (I had no car)

I would like to be young again.

But at least I had this good B and B adventure, and it may well be my last.

Ten years ago the Costa Rican Tico buses made very few bathroom stops. It was uncomfortable at times. Now, I just don't know if I could ride them.

The hardest bathrooms were always those in NYC. They don't let you use them unless you are a customer and sometimes have guards. I remember one time going in a crowded bar and taking out a twenty dollar bill as I walked past the guard as if I was going to jockey myself into the crowd at the bar to order a drink.

Then when he looked back out for more rule breakers, I slipped to the bathroom and afterwards just walked out. That was twenty years ago.

On the other hand, technology might solve that issue for me as well on my new phone.

Fifty years ago I remember the old men in Madrid peeing openly in the small, barren parks and I remember once in the Rastro one boy of about six peeing a stream from the middle of a crowded alley and all the shoppers divided by the running water.

Well, I can't say I regret the experience of the B and B, but I doubt I'll do it again, and I can't really recommend it over a casino hotel.