Sunday, January 09, 2022

LONGHORN AND SOUTHPOINT TRIP IN OCTOBER/ NOVEMBER

 As I usually do, I stayed cheap at the Longhorn on Boulder for two weeks to be close to relatives and to 10/7 Doas VP at Sam's Town where I can play in dimes all day, but this was a 75th birthday trip, so I treated myself to an additional five nights at Southpoint.

Quite a contrast.

One thing that the Longhorn has that is better than Southpoint is the television selection. Southpoint has mostly stations with commercials and fewer movie stations.

It also has great access to the BHX bus to go downtown and the 202 bus to go to the strip.

Also, the nonalcoholic beer at Southpoint is O'Doul's which is the worst alcoholic beer made. I know it is the oldest, but every other NA beer is better, even the 00 Heineken that the Long Horn serves.

I am waiting for some casino to discover Athletic Brewery choices, but even Bush NA would make a good choice.

I went to a Vegas pool room and they had Buckler. There are plenty now to choose from. I've been reading about them on a Facebook group dedicated to nonalcoholic beer.

And one could argue that getting food at the Longhorn, while there are often waits, requires no line. We can play VP until they call us.

However, it is hard to beat the buffet at Southpoint.

The rooms at Southpoint are as nice as any I've stayed in on the strip. Clean, spacious, comfortable. They will certainly draw me back again.

I always have a dilemma when asking for a room because I want to be close to the elevator and the ice, but I don't want to hear the elevator all night long.

At Southpoint there is a fine gap between the elevator, or the ice, and the first room. They did not build rooms into the noisy section.

Also, I think there must be ice on every floor, unlike the Longhorn which has ice only on the casino level.

I like getting ice in the middle of the night in my pajama tops, shorts and slippers.

The wifi at Southpoint was fast and easy to access.

The wifi at Longhorn was in and out.

There was a safe and a refrigerator at Southpoint. And there was an ice bucket that actually kept the ice as ice for a few hours.

Ice is important to me.

The bathroom double sink counter had fine space for all my meds and junk.

Kherig is their coffee offering, but I made my own with my little folding hot pot and stainless steel funnel which fit easily on the counter. And I boiled water for hot tea and iced tea as well and for chicken broth.

The sink and shower water was very hot. Each room has a small tub, so I could do my oatmeal baths that are doctor recommended for my skin.

The tubs are just designed perfectly for me. I can get in and out with no trouble at all. Actually, they are easier than those I have at home except that they are much more shallow, so I can't easily soak my chest area.

But I had a delightful time soaking with John Pizzarelli's Radio Deluxe radio music, playing on my computer on a chair facing into the tub area.

The shower and toilet have a separate room from the sinks. Perfect for a couple.

I was glad to have a few bag clips that could be used to end the sunlight leak where the curtains meet. I did not need those clips in the Longhorn, but I'll take this fine Southpoint picture window over the Longhorn view any day.

One of the hardest sights at the Longhorn is looking out at the closed Eastside Cannery casino. So sad.

At Southpoint I was on the 21st floor and enjoyed the high view of the mountains. I watched one sun rise that was very nice, even if short of cloud patterns that morning for reflective color.

At night the lights of homes and cars were just delightful.




AAA TEN PERCENT DISCOUNT.

I had not known about this when I booked but read about it on a board post. When I checked in, the check in girl did not know how to apply it, but I came back later as she suggested, and they readjusted my rate to give me the discount.




THE FOOD




I arrived on a Friday and did not expect to have the seafood buffet. I had read about the lines, and they were here again. Perhaps I should have waited, but I did not.

There were waits everywhere. The Coronado Cafe had a line. The Primarily Prime Rib had a three hour wait for walk-ins (make reservations.)

I could eat at the Oyster Bar, but as a solo eater I would sit at the bar. I'm not comfortable sitting shoulder to shoulder with unmasked folks. And I don't like the high chairs anyway.

So, I went back to my room and that was the better choice anyway. There I could turn off all the lights and have a grand view from the 21st floor of all the lighted residential areas and the tiny cars moving like ants along the highway. For a solo eater this was really better than a fancy restaurant. I had one diet cactus tortilla topped with no sugar/no salt Crazy Richard's wonderful peanut butter sprinkled with the last of some mixed unsalted nuts. With that I ate the fruit I saved from my Denny's free Veterans grandslam breakfast and a couple jalapeno peppers my nephew had raised and given to me. Okay, just one pepper was plenty.

It was a fine meal, and I was actually glad that the crowds had pushed me toward it.

I could have walked across the stree to Denny's, or McDonald's.

On Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday I just decided to brave the line. It took a little under or over a half hour each time, and that did not seem bad at all.

I have trouble waiting in long lines because meds make me use the bathroom often. As soon as I was assigned a table and ordered drinks, I could just walk to the bathroom outside and nextdoor and come in the exit again. That made it easy to deal with old age bathroom issues.

Once a drink waitress told me they had a provision for holding a spot in line if I were to tell them that I could not wait that long standing up. Perhaps next time I'll use that for the long, long seafood buffet wait. But for a half hour, I was fine.

I had two lunch buffets and two supper buffets. Using the half off coupons that came with the room, an old American Casino Guide coupon they still honored, poker comps and VP points, the four meals cost me $1.90 total. Pretty good.

I liked the buffet; it felt like old Vegas.

I had Mexican menuda soup, taking just the broth. I think the meat flavor is tripe, and the corn in that soup always seems a bit tasteless anyway. The broth is just grand.

The ribs were good. The chicken fried steak with sausage gravy was good. The carving station chicken was a bit dry, but fine.

The supper time prime rib was just wonderful. It is as good as any I have had in a restaurant.

The salmon was not good at all. It is the worst salmon I've eaten in a while. Nor was the sword fish.

The catfish was fine. The second day the salmon was better seasoned in some sauce, but having tasted it the day before, I just could not bring myself to try it.

I loved the deep fried shrimp. Very fresh and tasty.

I made a plate with blueberries and nice whole walnuts topped with just a bit of strawberry yogurt. The canned peaches were good. The pineapple was sweet and juicy.

For dessert I ate no sugar added vanilla iced cream and had a couple of these very decadent candy pops on a stick. I had the dark chocolate dipped. They were amazing, like a treat from a fine chocolate shop.

I ate one buffet each day with just snacks in between from my dwindling room food.

A bit of left over ham, cheese, Marie's blue cheese, tumeric and black pepper and slices of jalapeno all spread on cactus tortilla was good room food along with some low sodium pork rinds. I did not shop around Southpoint, but brought my room food from my stay at the Longhorn.

It was a fine supper in front of the picture window a couple nights, watching the lights.




I checked out the upscale Michael's menu. Very, very pricey. If I wanted a fancy meal, I would have eaten it at Primarily Prime, but that was closed Monday and Tuesday.

I laughed that many of the steaks were $79. As if folks would be more apt to have one than if they were $80.

Actually, I think Sam's Town Angry Butcher has spoiled me for solo upscale eating because there I could arrange to sit on the balcony outside the restaurant and in the Mystic Garden and so be better entertained with the sounds of animals. It is hard to eat solo and fancy and not be a bit bored.

I understand the attraction of the oyster bar for those who eat raw oysters. I need mine to be cooked, but I don't really like them breaded or covered with Rockefeller gunk.

I'm spoiled by the oysters I eat in the winter in Florida. I like those pan simmered in their own juices or topped with just spice that brings out oyster flavor. If they were prepared to do oysters in their own juices, I'd have eaten there.




I did try the Kherig in the room coffee once, but it is not as good as the Don Francisco vanilla nut blend I brought at Walmarts. If I brew my own coffee I can adjust the strength, and I generally like it strong. Also, I am not pleased at the environmental impact of those cups.

Room iced tea I made by steeping it in a soup cup, and putting the cup in the refrigerator and then adding ice.

A soup cup is a very handy thing to bring along. I also bring a ceramic coffee cup.

For most of the trip I had a bottle of lime to add to the iced tea.

Seltzer in the room was very handy. Sometimes I carried one to the VP machines up on the Bingo floor.

FALSE ALARM

I go to sleep early, and on Friday was awakened by a loud beep and a voice that said, “We have a report of an alarm.” I dressed and went to the lobby area on my floor, but it did not seem that anyone was evacuating. So I did not attempt descending the stairs from 21 floors up.

Some security guards passed and let me know that evacuation was not necessary. Actually, they laughed it off. I was not pleased at that.

Nothing more was said about it on the intercom.

On Saturday things were almost as crowded in the casino. I decided to play some live poker, thinking that the limit players might be very different, but they were not. They were the same. Most of them are regular locals working to get their 100 hours in for the local bonus. I lost money. I also lost on the VP.




BOWLING

In the early morning. 7AM to maybe 9am they have bowling for a dollar a game. I did not manage it this trip, but what a great deal.

MOVIES

The most popular movies these days give me nightmares. I just missed seeing the French Dispatch, and after that there were animated or rough and tumble movies. Dune was there and attractive because it is so popular, but I knew I would not do well afterwards.

However, other movie tastes would find senior price of $4.




SWIMMING POOL

This pool is large and not designed in a rectangular, but in a series of half circles, each one with good access. The water is shallow. This was perfect for November. The pool is not heated, but by 2:30PM the sun had warmed it enough. Mostly on my first visit it was kids in it; I was the only adult. One day there were just a few Hawaiian kids who never seemed to tire of it.

The same was true on my second visit. Lots of folks left at 2:30 as I arrived. I suspect it is because the sun is just starting to dip behind a part of the building, so sun bathing loses its possibility.

Tucked in the back corner was a grand Jacuzzi, a huge circle with an island of rocks and a palm tree with palm trees and other green trees surrounding the area.

The water was bubbling away and rushing around.

I have never seen a better jacuzzi.

While the rest of the casino was crowded, there was no crowd in the pool or jacuzzi, at least not on Monday or Tuesday afternoon.

It was easy to access from the room elevators. And although I was on the 21st floor, the elevators were very fast and easy, a grand convenience when I left the pool with a wet suit.

In fact, I liked the room layout. Without going to the main casino floor I could go to the spa or pool or up to the movies and bowling center or a less congested spot for playing VP.

I finished up with a tub of oatmeal bath treatment in my room, getting rid of any chlorine and setting up my skin for a healthy feel.

When I don't do this, my skin itches from pools.




GAMBLING

The live limit poker was a bust. Same local folks, even on Saturday afternoon when I expected more tourists in this crowded casino. I just play 3/6 limit, but I've pretty much decided to play NL at my home casino until I get the game down, or perhaps just to quit and stick to the VP. Without some interesting talk from other players, I find the waiting for hands a bit boring.

I miss the days when there was more talk at the casino, and between playable hands I could get stories and learn a bit from strangers and jokes abounded.

I don't find that anymore.

I don't even find it at the Golden Nugget downtown. Some of it may be the masks. It is harder to talk with a mask.

With the VP I seem to have a better ultimate score. And I get to play every, single hand. I was going to play 9/7 Double Bonus, and I did for a while, but actually, unlike 10/7 Double Bonus,the math favors 8/5 Bonus over 9/7 DB, and the Bonus poker strategy is just easier to remember for my old brain.

Also, I really don't like playing 9,7 with less chance of a royal flush, I don't like playing for flushes, I don't like never getting paid extra on two pair, and I hate Holding an Ace and three cards to a wheel straight. Those are emotional reasons to play 8/5 bonus.

I found a great spot off the main floor to play. It is up the escalator in the Bingo and arcade area. It was somewhat quieter, sometimes very quiet. There was a bathroom right there and a ticket redemption machine.

There was not drink service. I guess when the bingo is on, we can duck in for a nonalcoholic drink. I just stuck a can of LaCroix in my pocket and that was enough. I can't drink alcohol, so giving up free drinks is not a sacrifice.

Also, I found a machine I like. I like to be able to play slow. I don't like the cards to come in one speedy rush all at once where I'm paid before I experience the hand I have caught. I like to hold a pair and see the trips come and still have time to experience the anticipation of quads. I don't want the machine to rush my experience of the game.

I also like the noise of the game if it is set at gentle. I like a ding to remind me I have a winning hand. I like the click, click, click of each individual card. There is such a machine in this Bingo area.

As crowded as the casino seemed always to be, I never played with anyone next to me and rarely with anyone in my row of four up in this area.

Distance is a deterrent to COVID and to the flu and to those Vegas colds I always seemed to get until we started keeping away from germs and wearing masks. The fight against COVID is also a fight against the common cold.

I won't say it is dead quiet in this area. There is one slot that hits a million noise hits in a row and can be annoying. There is the occasional walker who just has to shout at unexpected moments, and kids pass because the Arcade is nearby. Cleaners are always noisy. If I were in charge, I'd do an in house workshop on limiting noise when cleaning. Cleaners do not have to shout greetings from down a corridor. They do not have to bang and clang cleaning equipment and wake me from my naps.

Here the Longhorn as the advantage. The room cleaners are very quiet, and I hear very little although Longhorn walls are rather thin.

On a Tuesday morning it seemed the Southpoint time share was parading its intended prey right down in front of that area, so I had to listen to the same pitch over and over and finally I quit.

The Bingo hall was closed for remodeling, and that was explained dozens of times.

However, I can see why they would show potential customers the bingo area, the movie theater, the bowling alley.

So, I guess Tuesday at 10 AM is not good timing.

Still, over the din of the overwhelming cacophony of the casino floor, the area in front of the Bingo Hall is very pleasant in general and at off hours.

Now, if they could just play a little Sinatra in the late after hours like the Fiesta Rancho casino across from Texas Station used to do for a few hours in the morning.

Well, those times seem gone forever.




In dimes I do play 10/7 Double Bonus at Sam's Town when I am staying at the Longhorn. There the small bets offset the volatility. I bring a strategy sheet and look up the hard choices. The math for 10/7 DB is better than 8/5 Bonus.

I did hit Aces a few times and a Royal on the 9/7 Double Bonus at Southpoint.

But it all dwindled away and I left $522 down for the trip.

I wanted to play for straight flushes, and may have played sometimes against the best odds. I got two; one was dealt to me.




Randomness is very strange. This video poker is a grand way to encounter the fundamental arrangement of the universe, to encounter randomness and know it is not chaos, and know that reasonable choices can be made, but that if the end results go against us, we are not to blame.

And to face all that with joy just to be in life.

For me video poker metaphorically replicates how reality is arranged.

I've been more lucky in life than at the VP. Perhaps life offers a bit more power in a good life strategy than my Tomski Strategy maker offers in VP.




GETTING TO THE AIRPORT




A relative took me from the Longhorn to Southpoint, but getting to the airport was supposed to be by free shuttle.

However, the reservations were all taken by the time I checked in. Next time I'll make reservations when I book the room, but actually my flight changed after my booking, so that may not have helped.

There is a shuttle that makes the rounds and it is first come, first serve. Luckily both that shuttle and the Uber pickup are just out the Valet entrance. Just as I arrived, a shuttle pulled in and there was room for everyone. Two women said they had been there ten minutes earlier and found a packed shuttle, but the driver told them another was on its way. That is very helpful.

I also thought that I might have to be dropped at Ground Zero at the Airport where many of the shuttles and buses go, but this one dropped right at Departures. It is about a fifteen minute ride.

And as far out as Southpoint is, the Uber would have been just $20 to the airport. It is less to the strip.

I'll certainly go to Southpoint again. Perhaps I'll get a room offer next year. I'll probably shorten my Long Horn stay and book longer at Southpoint. For old folks it is just a perfect place with more offered than any other casino I know.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

TRIP REPORT INTRODUCTION

 IMPORTANT:  I forgot that to get the full trip report, you have to hit "older posts" in the bottom right hand corner of the first loaded blog page. Then the rest of the trip report should load. Sorry.

This is a very, very long trip report and certainly is more than anyone wants to read.

However, I write primarily to remember what happened and what I was thinking. In a year, the events will be muddled by the feckless fading atrophy of my mind.

So, blogging and  posting this trip report helps me to remember, and reviewing it before the next trip, will help me to plan and pack.

I do arrange the details of the trip in what I call snippets, so a reader can skim to topics of interest and avoid the rest.

It is not chronological.

Still, even the snippets are long.

*************************************

I've had many health issues these past couple of years, and both my wife and I were unsure of my going solo to Vegas at all and especially for such a long while. But I have relatives for an emergency, who live right around the little casino, Longhorn, where I had chosen to stay.

And if I found I had overshot my abilities, I could just stay at the Longhorn with 24 hour food, video poker, and a pool.

So, wanting to seize the day, I gave it a shot. After all, I am not getting any younger.

However, a week before I left I was wondering whether I had bit off more than I could chew by staying almost two weeks.

The day I flew out, however, I was sorry I had not booked for three weeks.

And it ended up being better than I could ever imagine. In fact, I am still astounded by what I could accomplish.

It was life changing.

However, my pace needed to be slow. When I was tired, I needed to sleep. When I met a day with little energy, I had to just stay locally, perhaps just in the Longhorn.



Many thanks to the Vegas Message Board and its very informative posters. Their information let me plan more easily, and settled my anxieties about buses.



Well, I hope there is some detail or two, packed in this long report, that will help you plan your next trip.

Thanks for reading.

TRIP REPORT SNIPPET GENERAL PRACTICAL CONSIDERATIONS

 

Staying at the Longhorn in Vegas for 12 nights is more of a challenge than just staying in Vegas for a few nights.

For a short trip, what is forgotten or poorly planned needs to be tolerated for just a short while.

Not so for a longer stay.

Also, I am on a diet of low sugar, low salt, low carbs. I expect to go off diet while in Vegas, but I can arrange my room, so I'm not off diet for many meals.



I also go solo. Sometimes I'd much rather pick up a simple snack meal in my room than sit by myself in a restaurant. There I can write, listen to computer music, or the television.



And I have to do what my body demands. When it is time to sleep, I sleep. When I have a low energy day, I stay close to the room.

Gone are the days of flat out party.

My first trip to Vegas, my buddy and I made a pact to not sleep for the three days we were there. We were in Palace Station, and they had a shuttle to other Station casinos. We'd catch naps on the shuttle bus.



I'd often stay up late through the night playing live poker, especially at the Golden Nugget where in past days the bonus hands doubled in late night and early morning.

I played there once a few trips ago and had a great time with a guy I met, ordering Fireballs one after the other.

Then I returned to the Cal, slept a couple hours, and still under the influence, too my bags on the bus to my next destination, a night at Excalibur.

Those days are gone.



These things were of great help:

(some I packed; some I sent by Amazon to my nephew ahead of the visit, some I bought at Walmarts)

  • I carried with me daily one of those bags that are sectioned to hold six bottles of wine. I loved it. It held my plastic bib, my Benson's substitute salt, my Brother Bru Bru no salt or sugar hot sauce, my sun glasses, a bottle of water or seltzer, garlic powder, American casino guide coupons, whatever I wanted. Unlike a regular cloth bag, the sections separated things, so they were easy to find.

  • A small, folding electric hot water heater that turns off when done. Perfect for either tea or coffee.

  • A small stainless steel funnel that fits a ceramic cup and allows for dripped coffee

  • A ceramic cup, two small plates, a soup sized cup

  • Real silverware: two knives, two, spoons, two forks, wine and bottle opener, sharp knife, kitchen scissors

  • Ground coffee and Truvia packages.

  • Bar of Fels Napha laundry soap.

  • Steel metal scratcher

  • Teflon scratcher.

  • Clips for shades that don't quite close

  • Small flashlight

  • Rubber bands, plastic bags, and twisters.

  • room snacks

  • salt and pepper. I carry Benson's salt substitute.

  • Hot sauce. I need a salt free version. I like Brother Bru-Bru's original. {This trip I took the Chipolte and it is not as good.}

  • A couple cloth napkins

  • small lemon juice

  • garlic powder

  • corn tortillas (low salt)

  • rice cakes

  • Favorite drinks. I drink NA beer and took along a few cans of something from athletic brewery.

  • a few honey crisp apples

  • jar of Crazy Richard's peanut butter. When I packed a half jar from home, I had some sugar free chocolate from Penn Yan's Amish store and dropped them in the top of the jar. My suitcase was in the Vegas heat at my nephews house, and the chocolate melted into the peanut butter. Very good. Next time I'll do that on purpose.



I found I was quite comfortable, overall, and next trip I may well stay for three weeks.

TRIP REPORT SNIPPET FLYING

 

One of the reasons I have not been flying is that I am not comfortable for more than 3 hours. Flights from Albany to Vegas, which used to be nonstop and under five hours are gone. Six is the best time, and some are seven and eight. For a while I could get a nonstop to Denver, stay over and see my son, lovely daughter-in-law, and then head out to Vegas.

That non-stop is also gone.

Actually, I can fly to Tampa from Albany and rest a bit, and then fly non-stop to Denver or Vegas in a much more comfortable manner. And the total air time is less than flying Albany to Vegas.



My wife and I were going to Denver to see the new granddaughter. So, to add in a Vegas trip, added just one short flight. The plane from Denver to Las Vegas was easy. Quick. Basically, for the cost of one two hour ride I could add two weeks of vacation in Vegas.

I imagine we will visit the granddaughter again, and we can use the same pattern, adding in a Vegas trip for very little extra money.



It was a crowded plane going from Denver to Vegas. Few seats were left. In front of me two Black women were delightfully full of anticipated joy. 

 One turned around and asked me my name.

 Then she told me her name was Bunny. Appropriate for Easter Sunday. This was Bunny's Easter trip.



I can't believe how much I can get into the suitcase and still not be overweight.  I'm happy to have bought such a light suitcase.

There is no way to easily prepare for security. It is different each place. Slip on shoes are very helpful. Next year I won't need to take off my shoes. There were no belt issues.

I did get a pat down at each place. I never was sure why.

Inadvertently, I had left a can of NA beer in my carry on from when I took my Blackhawk trip on the bus. I must have missed it when I packed.

There are places in this backpack where things hide out just as those socks do in the dryer.

What a mess while they tried to find what was setting off the alarm.

I was very embarrassed.





ARRIVAL BACK IN TAMPA



It cost $23 plus tip to catch an Uber with just me as a passenger to the airport.

I arrived in back in Crystal River at about midnight Florida time, and Elizabeth greeted me with a homemade and delicious chicken soup accompanied with a few key lime seltzers.

The journey went very smoothly, but I am still very uncomfortable flying even these relatively short flights.

Other issues I worried about were no problem. This one just doesn't go away.


I shared a row of seats with two of the largest women on the plane, so we that were wedged into a sort of forced intimacy, so to speak

However, they also giggled and talked Spanish together for a good portion of the trip, so I was well entertained, although they did not know it until one shook my hand at that end and said, "Nice to meet you," and I answered "Mucho gusto"..

I only followed small bits of the conversation about their nail colorings and their reservations about some Americanos in Georgia, but their Spanish was very clear and I caught enough of it to be entertained.

They did not seem delighted to know that the old gringo on the aisle had been listening to more than they had expected.

"Hablo solo un poco," I said when they asked if I spoke Spanish. And that is perfectly true.

However, I don't know if they believed me.

Anyway, I am safe, seem healthy, and getting ready for Florida adventures and a summer of bluegills. (Well, today I am ready for sleeping, seltzer, and more sleeping.) I found I gained five pounds on my food fling, so I'll be eating more in the correct manner to get that gone.

Much of it was water weight that dissipated over the next two days.


Buddy Mike picked me up at the airport at ten thirty.

He loves to drive.

He does the pickup at Tampa with perfect timing. He has done it so many times.

Now, there is a pal. He loved my stories, and we had a good visit back to Meadowcrest.

Without him I would have stayed overnight somewhere as Elizabeth does not like driving after dark into Tampa.


He is a grand friend. He does so much for us.


TRIP REPORT SNIPPET THE LONGHORN CASINO AND HOTEL

 

My reasons for choosing this spot for my two week stay in Vegas probably do not reflect what most folks want when they go to Vegas.

However, age has crept up on me, and I don't much like large crowds or have the stamina to see late night shows.

I don't navigate well.

I get confused easily.

Longhorn strengths for me included:

  • It was the cheapest in all Vegas.

  • It was near a Walmarts, so I could get room foods that better fit my diets, or anything I might have forgotten to pack.

  • I did go off diet for certain meals, but going solo, I would rather just grab something tasty and listen to WRVO NPR in my room.

  • It had a coin laundry which is luxury compared to my bar of Fels Naptha and a tub or often just the sink.

  • And coin here is not a euphemism. It took quarters only. A dollar got Tide soap. Another dollar for clorox. Another got dryer sheets. Two got the shortest wash. Two more got a fairly long dry. Two washers, two dryers open 24 hours and everything worked.

  • It had a tub. Doc says I should soak once a day in oatmeal. These tubs are small with short sides. This is perfect for me because I have trouble getting out of them if they are deep. This one is easier to exit than my jacuzzi tub at home.

  • It was just steps to two bus routes, Boulder Highway and 202 Flamingo to the strip.

  • Some of the best VP left in Vegas is along the Boulder highway: Sam's town, Boulder Station, Arizona Charlie's. In addition, a live poker game happens at Boulder Station. 3-6 limit. This turned out to not be so great.

  • This casino is very small. It is easier for me to negotiate. A walk from room to elevator was short, no winding mazes.

  • There is not good VP, but I played a Bonus Poker 7/5 with a Progressive royal here that charted out to about 98%. Not great. But with little mobility, sleepless nights, etc. I have to give up something. Also, on Thursdays they have a promotion that matches any royal with the same amount in free play. So, that ups the EV.

  • There are elevators

  • The Chuckwagon served delicious, inexpensive food 24/7.


The rooms were clean and there was a flat screen TV, good window curtains, a fine desk for the computer, plenty of drawers and nooks for clothes, and a small refrigerator so I could keep my room food fresh.

There was no clock, but I have time on my computer, a phone with an alarm, and the hotel does wake up calls.

There was no coffee pot, but I bring a little folding water heater and a stainless steel drip funnel. I like to make just one half cup at a time and then the coffee does not get cold.

The same pot makes tea, and unlike doing that in some coffee pot after coffee has been brewed, there are no left over flavors because the coffee is external to the boiling pot. This trip I brought a blend of left over coffee from Denver and bought some San Francisco Kona coffee at Walmarts blend that my nephew ground for me.


I also use the pot to make no salt bouillon with garlic spice and any left over vegetables from the restaurant. Except broccoli. I hate broccoli in soup unless it is a cheese soup. To make soup I bring a soup cup, which is also a fine cup for steeping tea, letting it cool, and making iced tea later.

However, I plugged the hot pot into the same strip that served the television and the refrigerator and clicked the circuit off. It took me a while to get the television back.


After that, I plugged in the bathroom. That makes sense anyway because the water is there.

The rooms were quiet enough, but not like those plush no noise places. I could hear murmurings of conversation as I fell asleep. I think once I heard a television. once I just barely heard a snorer. If there were to be a huge fight in the next room, I'd hear it. However, after my first night, I did not seem to have neighbors very often.

All in all, there is the sense that I had gone back into time here at the Longhorn. This is the Vegas I remember when I started getting basic, inexpensive rooms. With the resort fee and taxes and room charge, it cost me $600 for twelve nights, starting on a Sunday and ending on a Friday.

I booked on booking.com, but I'll book directly next time, so if I do feel unable to get around, and if I choose to gamble here more than late nights and small amounts, I can use the points to pay for rooms. They seem to add up fairly quickly.

I got 500 points just for checking in. Folks who never had a card would get 1000. That is enough for a free strawberry shortcake. Also, they gave me a logo mask that they sell for $7, and a small plastic logo water bottle, a coupon for $2 off $10 at Chuckwagon, some free slot play, and one free drink at the bar.

Doesn't that remind you of old Vegas with her bling?

Oh, on some booking sites it said the wifi came with a charge. Basic wifi does not. It is included in the nightly resort fee

unless you need something more advanced.


Here is printed clarification:

The Longhorn Casino & Hotel on Boulder Hwy. charges $7.90 ($8.93 after tax) resort fee per night. It covers pool, hot tub and wifi. This info came from an email from the property.

I usually make some conversation in Vegas, but it is hard with masks and distance.

I miss that because then I really am solo.

There were quite a few Spanish speakers, but it went too fast. even when it was not mask muffled, for me to comprehend much.

There were some young people, especially later at night. However, it was generally filled with old codgers like me.


In reviews I read some reports of security being abrasive to guests.

I did not see any of that. What I saw was security laughing and joking with some the regulars, holding doors for me, asking me if I needed anything, and in general being both professional and friendly.

But then I don't often break rules.

I saw one, who when patrolling our hallway, lightly pushed on each door to see it was fully latched. The doors latched well, but it was good to pull them and check. Once I left mine ajar to wait for help with my television, and security was there asking why it was ajar.


There were also in reviews some reports of poor wifi, and the desk clerk agreed that it sometimes happens, especially to some laptops.

I called ahead and told the clerk it was important to me, and she figured a room on the second floor would be my best bet. 228 was my room. I had full bars. A few times it did not load right away or there was an interruption in service, but for what I do, it was just perfect and better than some I have experienced in pricy places, including the house we rented in Denver.

The television had a huge selection in channels and did not have that annoying stutter that sometimes comes with modern sophisticated systems. I had that verbal stutter at the fancy Monarch in Blackhawk, CO. And the remote is a retired, one eyed guy's dream. Very simple. Change channel, change volume, mute, turn on, turn off. I want one of these for home.

Uni it was called. I can't find it on the internet. There were no numbers on the remote, and there were not a million buttons to confuse me.

There was a televised chart in the system that posted which channels were on which numbers and I just would scroll to them.

I dislike most television, and no commercials. However, I love TCM, and they had it. That is rare in Vegas. Sadly, I have watched TCM so often during lock down at home that I've just about seen everything in the 30's or 40's. I watched one I had seen while I unpacked, but not much after that.

There was at least one other channel without commercials, and I watched the end of Mrs. Doubtfire on it, but I don't know the number or name.


FOOD AT THE CHUCKWAGON

menu:CHUCKWAGON RESTAURANT – Your Vintage Vegas Destination (longhornhotelcasino.vegas)

In reviews of cheap eats in Vegas the Chuckwagon at the Longhorn is sometimes mentioned.  More often it is completely ignored.

I think it probably overall is the cheapest place to eat in Vegas.

And the food is good and available 24/7.

I ate the $9 porterhouse steak quite a few times. There was a choice of potato and I picked the mashed. It came with some brown gravy. The vegetable once was a mixture of green beans and other bits and it was very good. Once it was a corn mix. Once it was a broccoli but that was not my favorite.

I had a turkey casserole and it was good, but not spectacular.

I had the steak and lobster. It was good, but the steak was tough in some sections. I liked the porterhouse better. Of course, the lobster tails, coming in frozen, are not as good a fresh lobster from Maine, bought live and cooked at home. But I liked a taste of their lobster just the same.

The service was excellent. There was a 30 minute to an hour wait time because it is a popular place for locals. Some meals can be take out, and that goes more quickly, but the porterhouse cannot.

It was not a quiet retreat, but it was not overly noisy. Conversation was easy. There may have been some light music from the casino, but it was not what I experience everywhere I go to eat. There were no annoying sports televisions in my face.

I asked for medium rare, and that is what I got each time. It even had that little plastic marker to indicate how it was cooked. Since my first steak was not a really thick steak, I marvel that a chef can get this right. I am often in restaurants where they don't.

Served with the steak was Heinz 57 and A1 sauce. I use neither.

I just drank water and it was refilled in a timely manner without my needing to ask, but always with my option to say no.

I found the second steak a bit thicker. That might explain that this one picked up more grill flavor as it must have cooked longer to get it to medium rare.

A roll came with the meal. I rarely eat the rolls in restaurants, but this one was very tasty, again more like the old days.

I also went down for a graveyard specials when I woke in the middle of the night and was restless.

The $1.49 biscuit and gravy was good. It is a plain gravy, not rich in sausage, but it was good. It was a good portion as well. I was laughing as I tipped because I can't remember tipping over 100% of a meal.

One midnight I had played live poker at the Nugget for about ten hours,  and then took the long bus ride back.  I had not eaten since morning and I added the pancakes. 

 They were incredible! All you can eat was $2.29, but the first order was all I could eat. The plates are larger than the average diner plates.

If paid by charge card, the receipt comes with a series of tips, mathematically computed for our convenience. Very helpful.

I kept looking at the dessert case. There were so many delightful choices.

Unfortunately, at this age, I just don't have the appetite I once had.

Then one night I had a bit of appetite. It was late, and I had not eaten since morning. I had the $7 turkey casserole special and decided to follow with a $3 slice of pecan pie. It was good, but I could only finish half, so the rest of it went into the refrigerator for another day.

This night I sat in the far back corner. The table there moves so that I'm comfortable in the booth seat, facing all the action. Some of the booths are too tight for me to eat comfortably.

I don't usually like eating solo, but this was a great seat with fine perspective on people passing. Then too, I've gone so many times now that all the waitresses know me and say hi.

I like them.

There was one fellow cleaning down tables who was new. He had a speech impediment. So he really had to struggle to be heard through his mask. Yet he was very responsive if called over.

However, my waitress must have gone home, and when it came time for a bill, I had to ask for it. I asked this fellow and he was just fine getting me the bill.

That only happened once.

One older waitress here only wears a plastic face shield. I guess that is allowed.

I sure liked watching people, although I could not hear anything. I was sorry because there was one fellow who was telling stories and was very animated. I wanted to hear his stories.

I have really liked this place.

The turkey casserole was just okay. It was bits of turkey, green beans, some other vegetables and some mashed potatoes all combined. I like more spice, but I always carry with me my Benson's salt substitute and there was pepper. I also was carrying my no salt, no sugar, no anything Brother Bru Bru hot sauce, but it did not seem right for the turkey. I had it on vegetables.


When I was planning this trip, I was very hyped about getting some upscale meals at The Angry Butcher at Sam's or The Broiler at Boulder Station. However, it never worked out that when I was in those places, I wanted to eat. I tried too late at the Broiler after live poker. It closed at ten.

I saw both and they looked great if you were not eating solo. Expensive, but a real treat.


CHEAP BEER


All varieties of beer could be had at $1.50 each at the Longhorn. The bar was packed.

I got Heineken 00 NA while gambling, and it was tasty. I had not liked it very much in New York. Perhaps bottles taste better than cans. It was common in other places as well. It does not end up being my favorite, but it works, and I'm not afraid of having a few because unlike other NA, this one has no alcohol.

One night the drink service was slow so I took my free drink coupon and a dollar tip to the bar. The bartender was very efficient in spite of a fully packed bar.