Las Vegas Trip Report

June 12-15, 1998


Day Three - Sunday, June 14, 1998


Sonya was fast asleep when I got up, so I took the opportunity to do a little sightseeing on my way to Krispy Kreme. I had seen Vegas documentaries that talked about a casino called the Moulin Rouge, so I thought I would drive by and check it out.

I wasn't certain exactly where it was, but I hard heard that it was north of downtown. I found Vegas a few blocks north of downtown to be dry and shabby, much like Barstow California. It occurred to me that if it wasn't for legal gambling, Las Vegas would be EXACTLY like Barstow today.

I found the Moulin Rouge on Bonanza west of I-15. It is sad that the resort that was the first to break the code of racial segregation in Las Vegas was in such dilapidated shape today. I didn't stop, there were two many scary looking men drinking from paper bags in this neighborhood.

Krispy Kreme is out, WAY OUT on Spring Mountain Road. If you go there, be prepared to see a lot of the REAL Las Vegas as you drive through the neighborhoods and past the strip malls where the people who build and work in the resorts actually live and shop. - Dan

I woke up and Dan was gone. He took a drive around Las Vegas to see some of the outlying areas and he stopped at Krispy Kreme to pick up donuts for breakfast. He liked them, but they tasted like donuts to me. I thought it was nice not to have to deal with the restaurant/buffet hassle for a change though. He got an assorted dozen for just under $5.00. We would snack on them as well as eat them for breakfast.

After breakfast, we had to pack and get out. We were switching to the Tropicana for our last night in town.

When we arrived at the Tropicana, there was nothing but problems. First, there was nobody around to valet our car and help with bags. There were cars out front, but no employees! We drove around the side of the building and parked between the garage and the garden rooms. WE walked down a long hallway with a very low ceiling where most of the rooms had been converted to offices to get to the casino.

When we got to the registration desk, there was a huge line. It was about 12:15pm and they were still checking people out. They had three checkout windows and one check in window open. A woman who appeared to me a hotel manager of some sort rearranged the line so we wouldn't block the front door anymore and assured all of us that they would be opening more windows shortly, as people finished checking out. I don't know what her definition of shortly is, but it is longer than an hour.

We stood in the line for much too long... and we were not alone. The line stretched the length of the registration desk and then back again towards the front door and down the steps. Almost the entire time we were there, (until we were third in line) one clerk was checking in one group of people. For the first 10 minutes, they let the line just stand there while he worked with them. Finally, they added another check in clerk. It was ridiculous!

After about an hour, they added a third check in clerk, but as the check out windows finished with people, they just closed and went away. They didn't open any new windows to check in people as the woman had promised.

When we were third in line, the man finished with the group and he closed his window and left. I understand the need for a break, but there should have been someone to take his place... never mind the fact that it never should have taken an hour to get one group of people checked in with so many other people waiting.

After 1 hour and 15 minutes, we got to the front of the line and it was our turn. We had made our LVRS reservations and easily upgraded. It was an additional $10 for the Island Tower and $20 to the Paradise Tower. We asked for whatever room had a king-sized bed and a good view of the strip.

We ended up with room 1457 in the Island Tower. It was a non-smoking room with a king-sized bed. The room was larger than the one we had at Main Street, or at least it appeared to be.

There was a sofa bed under the window and a desk area opposite the bed. There was a safe in the room, but there was a $3.00 charge for each use. The bathroom was large and had a great big tub. It was not a jetted (Jacuzzi) tub, but was large enough to be.

The room had an excellent view. We looked down on the pool and grounds, out across to Excalibur, MGM Grand and New York, New York. If you stood really close to the glass on the right side of the window, you could see Luxor.

Only one thing about this room. Don't stay here unless you like the look of your body! The entire room is done in mirrors it seems. There is a huge mirror on the wall opposite the bed, there is a mirror on the wall next to the bed. There is a mirror on the wall behind the bed and again, on the ceiling above the bed. I had views of my body I don't think you're supposed to have. I presumed that the mirrors weren't for doing your hair, but I can't figure out what they're there for (she says, tongue firmly planted in cheek ).

The check in process had really taken a lot out of me, so we spent some time in the room just unwinding. After about an hour, we went to sign up for the slot club and to explore the grounds.

We took the elevator down to the pool. The pool is very convenient from this tower. No need to run through the casino in your bathing suit. We stumbled across the swim up blackjack tables and found these huge rum drinks available at the bar in the covered part of the pool.

We walked around the grounds and made our way back around to the casino. We joined the slot club, noticing that there were now only about 6 people in the check in line.

We did the free slot tournament, but forgot to come back at 8:45pm for the random drawing. We gambled a little bit, playing a handful of video poker machines. I had the best luck on the ones at the top of the escalator to the Island Tower and wildlife walk area.

At about 5pm we went down to the deli and got sandwiches and drinks to bring back up to the room. After eating, we changed into our swimsuits and went down to the pool. We got huge rum drinks at the bar and went to the "adults only" pool. It was nice to have a separate area. A couple of kids came over at one point, but someone shooed them away after just a few minutes.

We swam and sat by the pool for an hour or so and went back upstairs to change clothes and get ready to go out to explore the corner.

We went out front and took the bridge to the MGM. I just love the new lion and fountain. It is gorgeous and I loved sitting by the water listening to the music and watching the dancing fountain! I especially liked it when the "waterfall" goes up.

We walked across the bridge to NYNY. Dan wanted to ride the roller coaster, so I got out my slot card. I had joined through the web page and they mailed me the card. I tried it in the first machine I found and it said "Hello SONYA, you have 0 points..." Great! I found a Bonus Poker machine by the restrooms and put in a $20 bill.

Dan was gone about 40 minutes and I played that $20 the whole time. The casino had some band playing somewhere. They did a lot of "Sinatra-like" music and it was enjoyable. It wasn't so loud that I couldn't stand it, but it was loud enough to be heard over the general casino noise. Very nice.

Dan came back and I wanted to play four more hands to get the last slot club point (1 point per $20 in play). I was glad I did because my third hand was four kings! It didn't make up for my losses at the Rio, but it was still a win!

Cashed out and headed over to Excalibur. The last four trips to Las Vegas had ended with me not seeing the dragon battle for one reason or another. This trip I wanted the extra night at Tropicana to be sure that I was on that corner at night to see the battle. We walked down the bridge towards the door and didn't see anyone hanging out waiting for the show. Then we saw the sign......."Temporarily closed". Boo! Hiss!! Oh well, maybe next trip.

We went inside and walked around upstairs. All the shops and restaurants were closed. It was eerie. We went downstairs to get on the magic motion ride. The one showing at the time was the Mine Ride, which we had done before, but I love the Excalibur rides. I think that at $3.00 each person, it is the best bargain in Las Vegas.

We had a full room/ride for the first time I've been there. We filed in and sat down. They lowered the lap bar and some guy in the back complained it is too tight.. so up goes the lap bar. Then down again.. then up again. Now I am not exactly petite, and I agree that the lap bar is too tight on anyone over a size 10, but it's okay for me. The guy ended up leaving with one of the attendants and the lap bars went back down.

Then, for whatever reason, our ride operator lost it.. she just couldn't get out the little speech they give about safety without cracking up. It was funny. She screwed up the process for starting the ride and had to start over. I asked for her to raise the lap bars again and we all started chanting "Lap Bar! Lap Bar!" over and over. She started laughing again and went behind the movie screen.. the other attendant came over and started the ride.

After the ride, we headed over to Luxor to find something to do because everything was closed at Excalibur. We took the walkway over and stopped at the talking camels that have been moved to where the walkway comes into the Giza Gallery shopping area. Apparently they don't talk anymore.

We walked through the shops and they were all closed at 10:30pm. We walked up to the attraction level, noticing that the really expensive sushi place at the bottom of the escalator was open, but everything upstairs was closed except for the "we'll put your face on a magazine" place. No thanks!

We walked out front to see if there were any laser beam eyes or anything happening, but nothing was going on. We decided to walk down to Mandalay Bay to take a closer look at the front of the construction. On the sidewalks in front of Luxor there were hundreds of grasshoppers everywhere. Some were squished, but many of them were alive. Dan took great pleasure in frightening them and making them swarm up and around my legs because I scream like a banshee every time it happens. He now has a really big bruise on his arm!

We walked down to Mandalay Bay. It seems kind of "out there". It feels really far away from everything else because there's nothing across the street or further down. At least Luxor felt like it has something across the street from it, even after the Hacienda was blown up.

It seems that the front of the casino is going to look a lot like the front of Treasure Island (without the boats) because of the fake rocks and water. It was interesting to see the hollow rocks before they place them. I'm not sure how I feel about this place. The building looks like Mirage and the front seems to look like Treasure Island. I wonder if Steve Wynn gets a royalty on this property.

After a few minutes on this dark and creepy corner, we headed back to Tropicana. When we turned around and I saw how far back to the hotel it was, I felt like I had made a bad decision. My feet and legs were really hurting and I was wondering if I could justify taking a taxi the two blocks back.. and if the taxi driver would carry me all the way back to the elevator for the Island Tower.

When we were back at Excalibur, approaching the bridge, a pack of cigarettes and a lighter fell from the sky. It was the strangest thing. When we got up to the top of the bridge, nobody was there and the only people we passed on the way up, didn't stop to get the smokes. So, if you're a smoker and you run out, I think the tree in front of Excalibur grows them.

We did make it back to the room and we spent a little while unwinding and watching the lights out the window, but sleep wasn't far off for either of us.

End of Day Three