Tuesday, April 20, 2021




I made it from a coupon run and steak and eggs special at Ellis Island to the Bellagio Conservatory to see the latest display and the lobby to see that spectacular chihuly glass blown ceiling display.

I remembered it was just a short walk to the Bellagio, but for some reason, since I had last walked it, city planners had moved Bally's, Planet Hollywood, Paris and the Bellagio much farther apart from one another.

So it was a challenge, and very tiring.

However, to soften the affect of temperatures approaching 90 degrees, nature had kindly created a strong wind that kept us all cool.

Of course, there is never anywhere to sit for a bit and rest up between stretches.

Vegas does not want us to sit unless we are gambling. But I did remember the Deuce bus stop where there was one bench and I sat there resting with another disheveled old fellow. Neither of us was going to take the bus, but we could rest.

He was also collecting cigarette butts that folks had discarded, but I did not need to do that because I don't smoke.

I knew just where to enter Bellagio. There is a short escalator going into the Bellagio, and then a long shaded path, somewhat elevated which really gives a grand view of the neighboring casinos.

After a long meandering walk on that elevated path, I went into the main lobby to see the chihuly.

Then I stopped and listened to a bit of really fine piano coming from the lounge. I could have rested there, but I'm just too cheap to pay ten dollars for a seltzer, just for a temporary seat.

Why, I'd just stopped with coupons at Ellis island on the way down and had an entire steak and eggs breakfast special for just $6.99,(reduced from $11.99) and in my American Casino Guide couponing and free play, I won. I lost the $10 craps matchplay, but I got to roll the dice. 10 was the point. I did not add free odds. I don't know why. But on my third role I sevened out, so it worked in my favor. I left Ellis ahead $5.

I was sorry to see the new Ellis Island had no full pay VP at the quarter level. It is at the dollar level only.

They did, however, have some roulette machines that were single zero. That meant 2.70% house advantage, reduced from the unplayable 5.6% of a 2 zero wheel. So I used that to qualify for freeplay and to play it.

I made the famous low volatility bet. A dollar on the black, and a dollar on the last column which is mostly red. I went up and down, but quit ahead each session.

I was well entertained at the restaurant. There was a 40 minute wait, but since I was only one, they had a spot for me in the lounge and seated me right away.

I sat in the back, facing the bar and all the action.

In came eight pretty young women and I delighted in watching them. They were there for a while, until one realized that Ellis was not very Vegan, and she was. So they left without ordering.

Then a Spanish family took their spot, and I could hear some of it, and follow a bit. My Spanish has dwindled, and I like it when I get to listen.

Anyway, when I got to the Bellagio Conservatory, I tried to cheat and enter the exit, but I got caught with two other fellows and politely asked to join the line at the entrance. That is new, to restrict crowds during covid, but it meant twenty more minutes of standing that I did not welcome.

I endured.

The display was wonderful, all flowers and flower constructions and a great Buddha section and a fine elephant spraying water, and two large displays of hummingbirds.

I was delighted with it, and delighted to have made the walk, my longest hike since well before Covid.

The wind gave the six sets of flowered girls (who were looking for folks to pay to have their photos taken with them) a real challenge and a couple decided to abandon their regular spot and look for a wind sheltered area back at Bally's.

So, I followed two of them, with their tall feathers reaching high into the air.

They are very sexy from the back because the fine mesh they wear makes it look like they are naked.

And that broke some of the weariness of the walk.

I took another rest on my bus stop bench. This time by myself.

And then I made the last part of the hike back.

My only disappointments were the fountains did not seem to be working, and Bally's poker room was closed that day.

However, in truth I was so exhausted that I would not have made a very good poker player, and the fountains not working made me not feel bad about missing escargot and steak steak au poivre at Mon Ami Gabe.

I took the bus back and slept like a dead man for about three hours, and then arranged to see relatives.

Friday, February 15, 2019


Well, this is a very overdue trip report, so I had better get to it.
The trip was mostly to Laughlin, but I stayed at the Four Queens when I first arrived, and again just before leaving, and I had a few nights at Skyline to make it easier to visit relatives. One nephew came from Cheektowaga (near Buffalo) and stayed with me there while we visited his sister and assorted neices and nephews.
My trips are usually long. I like to get the value from the airfare and go for longer stays rather than many short stays.  Pretty much now I am down to just one trip a year.
 This one was just after a long bout of illness that kept me fairly housebound, So, my pace was very slow as I was very out of shape.
I tried the Aloha shuttle from the airport.  It was about $100 round trip.  I was very nervous, but I ended up very pleased with the service.  I even left a book on the bus, called quickly, and the driver came back to give it to me.
However, I did not want to take a chance on being delayed in the air and missing the shuttle.  So, I gave myself a few nights downtown, thinking the WAX was convenient.  Last year we still had a nonstop Southwest plane ride on my way out to Vegas.  I could not get a nonstop back.  Now we don't even have it for part of the year.   If I have to ride for 8 hours, I'd just rather not go.

I got confused downtown and exited the WAX long before I should have, giving me a long crawl from the BTC to the Four Queens. The WAX has a new, longer route that goes around in a circle when it leaves the airport, gives the driver a break, and ends up right back where it started at the airport.
It should no longer be called an Express.
So when I hit the Four Queens I was exhausted. For some reason I must have looked pretty bad. The clerk upgraded me to a suite without my asking.
That was pretty cool, especially the view. However, I did not need a bar. The refrigerator was nice, but the place I used my computer was a bit dark.
Before leaving I spent a few nights in a standard room. The room was fine, but the hallway was being renovated and pretty ugly.
One thing to remember is that you can get $10 food credit if you tell them at check in that you are going green.  If you stay a few days, it can be $10 a day.
The WAX ride back to the airport was the old route and very efficient.
While at the Four Queens, I played the DB poker and played next door at the Nugget live poker. Once there was a bank of progressive DB, but that is all gone, and finding a full pay 10/7 was difficult. There were not too many left. I suspect they will all be gone soon as they are from other places.
I probably won't go downtown again.
It is very nice. But I am feeling my age and the crowds and loud music seem hard for me expecially when I am recovering from illness (which seems now to be always)


In Laughlin I stayed at the Golden Nugget for the entire time. I averaged about $47 a night by booking months in advance. I liked the rooms, the pool, the jacuzzi, the location. I love the river.
My room was fine although at the end of the hallway and no where near the elevator.
There is no good gambling there. But I played a Bonus 7/5 nickle machine in the back of the Nugget facing the river. It is no where near full pay, but for a low bankroll it is entertaining. I like to play a dime. However, I switched seats and forgot to adjust to a dime. So my one royal of the trip was on nickels.

Live poker is good in Laughlin. I like best the 3-6 games at Harrah's, but it is so far away from the other casinos. Riverside had a 3-6 but also had better players. One Sunday there were three dealers at my table and one was doing things I could not follow.
The 2-4 at the Colorado Belle is a nice enough game, but it is very difficult to overcome the rake.
None of them beat the 3-6 40 minutes from my house at the Rivers Casino in Schenectady.
Video poker at Aquarius is very good and they have my favorite 10/7 DB, but I lost badly there.
The trip itself was a losing one.


Laughlin's walkway along the river is very nice in spots, and in others it is like a cruel joke. The signage is very poor and the route meanders.

I like the section from the Golden Nugget to the Lodge and a bit beyond.  It is well kept, has some light music, benches, and this beach which is for use of River Palm guests,

It would be fine to walk to Harrah's along that, but all of a sudden the boardwalk was gone and Harrah's was not accessible. Walking the highway is the better route, or perhaps now just taking the $5 river ferry.

The rest of the walkway is at best a maze that goes into some casinos and out again. It is not easy to follow. From the Belle to Aquarius is fine, however.

Also, from the Golden Nugget to the River Lodge is a very nice walk. Here the walkway is kept up, there is light music, there are nice benches and a decorative beach that can be used by the River Lodge guests.

I'd be tempted to stay at the River Lodge. I went in and looked at the rooms. They were nice. However, they do not have TCM on the television and that is a deal breaker.

They do have a fairly good store for snacks and souvenirs and part of it is a liquor store with good prices. That makes it convenient. It is hard to buy liquor without a car. I bought two bottles of whiskey at the gift shop of the Colorado Belle with the second being half price before I found the Lodge store.

I was tempted to stay at the River Palms my next trip, and the rooms looked very nice.  However, it is farther from the live poker and good VP, and they do not have TCM on the television.  That is a deal breaker for me.  Solo, I don't go out to eat as much as just snack a bit in the room and watch a movie or two.  I hate commercials.

I never got a chance to try the late night special there, but it was in the closed open 24 hour 7 days a week café, so perhaps I did not miss too much.


I wanted to hike the canyon, but when I got there I was not sure footed enough. I just walked up a bit to a cave and stayed there. I still liked it. If I ever get well again, I'd like to hike as I used to.

Not having a car I was in a dilemma. I could get an Uber to the Canyon, but was not sure of cell service to get me back. I said something to Jerry, a dealer from the Belle, and he offered to take me there. 
What a grand guy! 
He took me there and to the maze created by fieldstone and to a little market for some room food.

I wanted to hike the canyon, but when I got there I was not sure footed enough. I just walked up a bit to a cave and stayed there. I still liked it. If I ever get well again, I'd like to hike.

Not having a car I was in a dilemma. I could get an Uber to the Canyon, but was not sure of cell service to get me back. I said something to Jerry, a dealer from the Belle, and he offered to take me there. What a grand guy! He took me there and to the maze created by fieldstone and to a little market for some room food.

Here is Jerry and a petroglyph.  

We were both fascinated at the way this particular rock lost slices that dropped and pile up like pieces of bread.

Folks told us that just the week before they had a flashblood in this flat and dry section leading to the rocky parts of the canyon.




Jerry took me to see these mazes.  They were built from fieldstone and are used as a place to meditate.

Here is a look down at Laughlin casinos from the maze,

Here is the bell in front of the Colorado Belle.

Next to the Colorado Belle, where the old River Palms used to be, is the River Lodge.  I got a kick out of this eating place there which says it is always open, only just now it is closed.

Here is a night photo of the Colorado Belle and one of a grand band that played there one night.

In the photo above, the no trespassing sign is clear.  However, I got lost coming from the parking lot and ended up on the other side of the fence where there is no sign.  It had been a long and confusing walk, so I just decided to unwind the wire that held the gate closed.  
I did not get arrested, but one vender did yell at me.  I explained I would rewire the fence once I was through, and she was fine, even friendly.

Flowers in front of the Lodge

On the way up to Harrah's when walking in the road, there is this saloon which looks interesting.  Again, the walk to Harrah's is as much a maze as the boardwalk.  I had to go up to the saloon and then turn left down a road to enter the parking area and then walk back to Harrah's.  Not pedestrian friendly.

At the Four Queens I was upgraded to a suite and it was grand and spacious and wonderful with a fine view through two long stretches of windows.
Here in Laughlin at the Golden Nugget I have just a basic room with just a view of an alleyway where at about 6 AM a couple was handcuffed and I guess arrested. They did not look very threatening to me. Perhaps they are back packing and slept in the parking lot.
I never feel unsafe here, and I would not have given them a second glance had I seen them walking in Laughlin.

So my view is one tree.

However, sometimes a more basic room has advantages over the fancy room. It is true here. I am here for 3 weeks, so I need practical. Here are the advantages.
The desk for the computer is large and has a normal chair. The fancy room had as area tucked into walls, so that I could not see the key board.
I could not get the fancy Kherig to work in the fancy room. Here there is an old fashioned Kherig. It works fine. I brewed both coffee and Sencha Green tea today. I might try running the water through twice. I also used my little Melita inserts with a little coffee I had and that worked great too. So I will probably buy some coffee today.
Also, the pot is located conveniently and was plugged in. The other pot was where I needed to use my computer, and when I moved it to the bar, there were no plugs, so I tried it in the bathroom at the suite, but could not get it working.
The bathroom has a tub here. There was a fancy shower in the suite, but the tub here is very useful for rinsing washed clothes and to take a tub with epsome salts later.
Of course, I could not get the tub plugged with what they offer. I think that is a plan by the casinos. I had a wine cork wrapped with a handkerchief to make it just the right size, that worked just fine.
A huge advantage is the television has Turner Classic Movies. I love the old movies while I am puttering about in the room. I watched one entire movie while I unpacked. I took a day just to lay around and watched three Rita Hayworth movies. I also saw a great Charlie Chaplin movie in which he takes over a county like Germany run by a man like Hitler because he is a look-a-like. The last time I was here, I was at the Pioneer and they had TCM, but television was full of snow. This one is clear as a bell.
And the remote is much simpler than the suite remote.
Both rooms were at the end of a corridor. I love that because it means I have no neighbors on one side, so I don't have to worry about disturbing them with music or television.
Then the heated pool and jacuzzi here is really very nice, if they get the heat to work. SWIMMING IN THE POOL
One interesting feature I have not seen anywhere is that the pool towels are provided in the room. They are a specially stripped towel and we carry them down and then back. It seems a fine system to me. Easy. So many times I am at a pool and there are no towels. Other times I carry a room towel down, but it is frowned on. Of course, I could swim most days with no towel. Everything dries so easily here in the desert.
However, this also is a green way to go. I won't need a new towel every time I swim. I can use these two for many days.
It is uncrowded here, so clerks and such have time to help with anything. The front desk popped bags of popcorn for me twice although they have an old and slow microwave.
The two kherig coffees per day holds up fine for me because I also brew tea and I bought some hazelnut coffee for the kherig filters.

There is a much nicer pool at the Golden Nugget, even if the Binions pool is open in warm weather. The view from the Nugget is not obstructed by that plastic Binion's shield.
Also, the room has windows that open to fresh air by pulling forward and toward the hall the little metal clasp.
I am ashamed to say that I did not know how to open this window until my last day. It adds a bit to the noise, but the clean fresh air is just wonderful..

FOOD  FOOD  FOOD  FOOD********************************


On the way back from shopping I stopped at IN and OUT Burger and had a great burger for a bit over $4. It was a double burger with cheese, but the patties are thin. I added pickles and onions and chopped up jalapeno peppers. I had my Himilayan salt in my pocket. It was served on a few leaves of iceberg lettuce rather than a bun. I had to ask for mustard. There was a counter with ketchup and on it were tiny bags to take extra jalapenos. They were just right. I could make a meal on those. I had tap water. Nice frugal meal.
I went back again, and this time I knew the drill. I ordered the double with onions, pickles and jalapenos. Then I asked for 4 bags of mustard and a knife and a fork. Water is free. The meal costs $4.19.
The mustard just would not open. I told one of the workers and she too could not get it open. Finally, she got four more and used a scissors to snip off the tops.
I took lots of jalapeno peppers and every wrapped up two and brought them home for other meals.


Wings were 75 cents, but I played for a free IPA and enjoyed the beer, but lost $140 on Double Bonus. There was a fine royal progressive. It was 9/6 but I did not hit full houses or flushes much, so the short pay did not affect my overall losses. I have been wanting to seed the Belle, but this was a bit ridiculous.
I had left over chicken wings for breakfast while I did a large laundry. I was almost out of clothes. Easy enough with pod casts from selected shorts and then some BBC news in which they really covered the Wisconsin election and the impact it might have on 2020.

I needed a Player's card and went to get one printed. The clerk reminded me of the Total Rewards credit card and told me that it came with a fee buffet for that day.
I was skeptical, but I bit. 
I hope it was not a mistake.
The seafood buffet was to be one of the best I have had. I ate plates of dungess crab and found it very meaty and tasty. I also had an oyster Rockefeller that was good. I tasted little else, but they had a sugar free brownie that was fine. I

I really pigged out on the crab. There was so much of it. It was cold and a bit watery, but still very, very good.


Sunday is a special day for this buffet, so I did not think I would encounter the issues the woman told me about when she gambled next to me and trashed the buffet, claming the food tasted left over.  She came to the casino often, so I thought she had some credibility.
I was right.
In the morning they get $30 for a champagne brunch that probably has the same menu as my $18 supper. I got $4 off from my gambling, but I was surprised it was so small and perhaps I did not redeem it correctly. Next time I need to start at the Player's Club and ask how much I should have.
Wine comes with the meal. I had two glasses.
I ate: lamb, roasted beef tips, meatloaf, mushrooms, red peppers, fresh onions, brisket, broccoli, and sugar free cookies and cherry pie for dessert with just a dab of chocolate iced cream and lots of chopped nuts.
I also tried the Brazillian chicken that had been marinated and done on a spit. I did not much like that as it was too dry and too bland.
What I disliked was the waiter. I asked for a sharp knife. He did not bring it. He did not come back and say anything. So, I flagged down a more functional waitress and she chewed him out. Then he brought the knife.
However, when I got my dessert, he did not come and ask if I wanted coffee. I did not or I'd have found him. He came back only when I was nearly done.
Finally, he called me "big guy" as if we were old buddies. Old, fat men don't want to be called "big guy" by a waiter.
This was the only wait person this trip who got no tip from me whatsoever.


They took my American Casino Guide coupon for 50% off and then I paid the rest with poker comps. So, this was another free buffet.
I ate: chicken picata, a pounded breast with a white sauce. Very tasty.
It was pounded very thin. I'll have to try that at home.
  • acorn squash. This was cut in steak like sections and toasted. Very good.
  • cat fish in corn meal. Nice and sweet. I wish I could get this up North.
  • sausage in peppers and onions. The sausage pieces were well cooked, just the way I like them.
  • A nice salad. I chose what was called "mixed greens" but what was iceberg mixed with carrots and perhaps other things. I added crumbled blue cheese, then the sauce. From another counter I covered it with cilantro. Added peppercini and green olives. It went well with the other food.
  • They had a mildly spiced chili ranchero with large chunks of meat. I added from the sushi bar chopped onions, sour cream, salsa.
  • Dessert was sugar free apple with the bottom crust removed and part of an off diet chocolate chip. Neither was great.
  • They brew the iced tea.
  • The wait person was on top of everything. She got tipped.

I treated myself to the Saltgrass Steakhouse just to see what it was like. It is over priced and my gambling comps amounted to just 81 cents, so it was not a frugal decision, but I have not regrets.

The wait staff was just wonderful. My own waitress was friendly and cute and very personable.
The room was decorated with elk and deer heads and with stuffed fish.
I sat so I could see toward the river and the mountains. Gradually, the sunlight dimmed to lights from across the river. The walkway was just outside the window, so occasionally someone walked by. I liked it.
There was no music, just the chatter of other diners. I liked that.
In spite of the prices the place was packed. I was lucky to get a seat. By seven it had cleared some. That may be the time to go. I suspect most were using gambling comps to pay for the meals.
I had gone thinking I'd get a new york cut steak, but was tempted by many of the offerings, including a redfish. Finally, I went with the 16 oz prime rib, but it was really more than I needed.
It was delicious.
I had an off diet small loaf of bread and a side of brussels sprouts done in a way I've never had. They were all shredded and mixed with garlic and other spices in olive oil. They were both delicious and a perfect food blending with the prime rib.
There was a small salad that came with the meal. It was pretty standard. Mixed greens in this salad meant mixed greens, and there were bits of red pepper and other things. Th blue cheese dressing was very good.
to drink I had a $9 pino noir that complimented the steak. That was the same as I paid for two bottles of wine for my room, but it was much better. The Tisdale in my room was a cabernet and not as good as our Tisdale at home. I used it to make a good, sugar free sangria with lemon and lime juice and these tangerines and truvia. Then it was fine.
I did not feel out of place dining solo at the saltgrass. I liked that. It was not upscale. Folks came in the relaxed clothes they wore everywhere. No retentions.
I did overhear a conversation where a granddaughter was asking her grandfather if he had been in the mafia. He said he had "a little bit."
He also said he had killed a couple people, but she did not believe him, and he laughed as if he were putting her on. White Bulger at 89 was beat to death in prison this week. So that may have sparked the conversation.

It was all pleasant.
I know there are cheaper prime ribs, but I did not want to walk anywhere and I wanted to bet back to the room to see the Bowery Boys on TCM. By not renting a car I saved $800, so I guess an extra ten bucks on a meal is covered. One of the meals said Gulf steak and shrimp. I wonder if they do get Gulf shrimp here.


It was a Wednesday and wings were just 75 cents. I'd had them and knew they were good.
I decided to take my coupon for a free off diet pint of brewed beer from American Casino Guide. It required me to buy an "entre" so I thought I would and then get a dozen wings to keep in the room for supper.
My room food was depleted.

Luckily there was no line. I asked the person seating me about the coupon, and she said that it should be loaded on my card. I said it was not, that it was from the American Casino Guide, so she sent me to the Player's Club.
They took one look and told me that I should take it to Pints.
I said I had done that and been sent to them.
She called.
She came back and told me Pints would honor it, and said that the reason I had been sent to her was because I did not show the girl the coupon.
Well, the girl had not asked to see and read it.
They just wanted to shift the blame.
She also told me my little ACG identity card was ten percent discount off something.

I explained what I wanted to the first waitress, and that I wanted just dry wings to sit while I had my entree so they did not lose their crisp.

She did not listen.

I went back to the Pints and was seated. My waitress came and I explained that I wanted 12 wings and they would be to go, but first I would let them cool as if they were early covered, the crisp is destroyed.
It is a hard thing to explain to waitresses because most eaters don't care if the wing is crisp or not. And most people don't know that a covered wing is one that is not as good as an uncovered wing.
My wings came right away and were cooked right, dry and crispy.
But my waitress just waited for me.
I waved to her a couple times.
Another young Black girl came to help me and I asked her to get my waitress so I could order my entree.
She asked about boxing up the wings, and so I explained again all about the crisp being destroyed by covering.
She got my waitress.
I had thought they had some good steaks. They did seem to have a prime rib, but I had eaten that the previous day.
I ordered a brat platter which was two tasty brats, with mashed potatoes and shredded cabbage, obviously not the folded leaf of cabbage I had anticipated.
There was gravy on the potatoes, which was fine, but no one had asked.
I asked for mustard and apparently there were no choices, only the bland yellow kind.
The cabbage was pretty bland.

The Blueberry beer was good and nice that it was free. 
If I go again with the ACG, I won't bother meeting the requirement to get an "entre" but just get the on sale wings.
No one would notice.

Toward the end, I got better service and the first waitress took up my bill to the register. She found $5 of comps on my card and that reduced the meal as well.
So, it worked out this time.
But I won't be in a hurry to eat there again, unless it is just wings on Wednesday.


I was given $2 off because I am a Veteran. I asked if there were any deals. I must remember to ask that more often.

There were not too many in attendance to see these two comics, Brandon James and Jon Barhard.?? Perhaps they knew more than I did. Generally, Laughlin gets the same comics as Vegas, so it is just the luck of the draw.

Brandon's timing and material was very lame. He tried, but he flopped.
Jon was better. He had very quirky body language and facial expressions that helped. However, many of his jokes also did not go over.
He kept telling us we were a great audience, but I did not believe we were.
The material for each was not raunchy. They made some sexual jokes, but they did not use Fuck at all. They reflected on ironies, told some stories, did a good bit of marriage.
Both were touted as having entertained the troops as many comics are. I guess that gives them some status, but perhaps it is just a way for them to get the work and then later associate themselves with the military. They always love the military, but I have never met any that enlisted.
I did like one of Brandon's jokes. He said not to drink with successful friends, but to look for the unemployed and down and out so as to look better by comparison, not worse.


The Skyline was a disappointment for gambling, but was a great place to meet up with relatives as they accommodated us evenings in the uncrowded dining area, and did not mind how long we stayed.
The rooms were fine. 
However, I could not use my points to reduce the bill. 
Also, there could be no sleeping in.  The fellow collecting sheets was banging and clanging so much in the hallway that I had to get up.  Quiet is valuable to me.  
It was also hard to access by bus from the airport where the shuttle dropped me.  I don't do well with luggage these days.  Leaving, I went back downtown, so that was just one bus and fairly easy.

It was a losing trip for me.  $1400 down.  One of my worst.  I especially lost at the Aquarius where I pushed through $500 inn one day.  I get a few free room offers, so I may get some of that back on my next trip.
I have to go through Denver on my next trip, so I think I'll spend an evening with my kid and fly out the next morning early so as to be sure to catch the Aloha Shuttle.
I'll not stop in Vegas at all.   
Thanks for reading.