Some thoughts and pics gleaned from the immersion in the Vegas scene

Saturday, December 12, 2009


After the usual twofer buffet, it was back to old whine, "What are we going to do today?" This was easily answered - we were at the South Point, a newer casino at the South end of the Strip. Home to plenty of the cowboys in town. This casino was the venue for the Team Roping Championship and it was being held in the built in Stadium at the back of the casino. Amazing just what is in these places. There were stalls for 1200 horses in the parking garage and these players were in for the whole ten days of the event. Paying a $2,000 entry fee they get three steers to rope. The teams that managed to rope all three steers went into a runoff and the quickest ropers move into the finals for the $100,000 prize. It was surreal to see all these common folk sitting next to you at breakfast and then we'd see them on their horses roping at a feverish rate. The pure American Dream. A vey interesting and different way to spend a few hours

Evening comes around and we are off to see Terry Fator, he of America's Got Talent fame. Winning the first prize of $1million two years ago he has now landed a ten year contract at the Mirage. Ninety minutes of very clever and funny impressions ventriliquism and very good singing.

Friday, December 11, 2009

No pics today

Yep I did it again - had a camera malfunction. Seems I left the battery in the charger when I grabbed the camera when leaving to take pics of the Bellagio Conservatory. Naturally brother in law had to bring up the time of the Death Valley trip, a few years back, when the happy snapper (me) proceeded to take award winning pics of Death Valley only to discover at the end of the day that the film had failed to lock into the rewinder. Sometimes pic-taking is a hit and miss thing.

Anyway despite the no-pic time the rest of the day was spent taking in the new sites on the strip. New City Centre is going to be a windswept, in the winter and a heatsink in the summer, and as the whole concept of 6,000 condos depends on the "nouveau riche" it may be a dinosoar before its time.

However good news to report: so far the gambling gods are shining down, I still have my stake. Playing games with a negative expectation, that's good news. And $3.00 tables are much easier to find this trip - that makes the money go further, although I had my best result on a $5.00 table.

Big Elvis is still showing off his weight loss and singing well. Sat next to a couple from Calgary, they are in town for the rodeo, they watch it at the many big screens around town but snowbird it for six months in Yuma AZ.

Today we are going to hit the shopping, electronic gazing for me and the outlet malls for the others, The weather is going to be 40 deg (F) so no snow for us!!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A day on the road

A trip down a section of Route 66 was on the agenda today. Drive to Kingman AZ, take the route 66 section, veer off to Laughlin and then head back to LV and finish the day. That was the plan and we stuck to it. But the planned 6.5 hrs became an eight hour stretch.

The second of the twofers from the coupon book reduced the cost to $3.50 per person and the two coupons used paid for the cost of the book. Hey we're making money everytime we use a coupon. Back to the narrative, today the car was found a lot faster than the fiasco that took place yesterday. In that case the maze of the parking garage swallowed us up and even when using the alert on the key fob only produced a lot of echo and noise. So the car was parked in a more locatable spot the second time around, and it was found much more easily.

On to the plan. Driving south to Kingman Arizona was the first leg. Kingman is the place that local historians and enthusiasts have established as the locus of Route 66 memorabilia. A fabulous museum has been set up and exhibits depict the trials of earlier travellers - a moving place. The pic of the old car doesn't really show the bad condition that most of these vehicles were in. Held together with baling wire and fueled with bad gas, this poorest of the poor have been described as "economic refugees in their own country". Travelling the short stretch from Kingman to Oatman was a trial for the person who sat in the passenger seat of our car, the edge of the precipice was too near for comfort for her! We can only imagine how the "Okies" managed it.

Arriving in Oatman AZ one was struck by the fact we have all seen too many westerns. The place looked like a scene from a Clint Estwood movie. Now a tourist trap since the gold mines have closed the main feature of the place was the burros that look very well fed and continually scrounge food from the tourists. These animals were just turned loose when the mines closed down. They survive, as does the Town, on tourists. The burros modus operandi is to approach the tourists anyway they can, even to put their heads into people's cars.and they will eat anything they find.

Coming back to LV via Laughlin one can quickly forget the fact that in previous years the number of times we have been waiting in traffic because of construction. The finished road is a marvel.

But not quite the marvel that is going to be the new bridge at the Hoover Dam. This bridge just defies description as one watches the build. Take plenty of pics as words will fail.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Walkabout day

Still on Ontario time, up at 5am. played with the internet connection, the network is available but pretty slow and temperemental. Managed to discover that you folks had a snowstorm, well so did Vegas. Snow in the mountains and rain in the valley, very wet and slippery.

Breakfast was at a local casino, as opposed to a strip chain. Prices have doubled since the last visit but there was a special - steak and eggs for $3.99. Add in the 10% discount for showing a gaming card and it was a mighty and cheap breakfast.

Next stop was a pickup of a coupon book that offers many twofers. At $12 for a three month yearend special it will be a mighty fine deal. Then off to the grocery store for the vittels - 12 Dos XX and a lasagna, washed off with a bottle of wine.

Off to the "Cowboy Marketplace" at the Mandalay Bay events centre. This was a marketing show that piggy-backs onto the National Finals Rodeo (NFR). Imagine a Pickering flea-market but nothing but cowboy related booths. Many things to watch but stetsons are the hat of choice this week.

Even snapped a pic of a budding cowboy.

Whilst in the Mandalay Bay we did do a gambling run. I haven't hit the craps table yet but upon spotting a bank of machines that offered a brand new Camaro I knew that I had to hit them. Whipping out a Hamilton (10) and preparing to lose it, the maximum spin was $2 only five spins were available to to win. Second spin hit 15 credits, another six useless spins and then whammo a 100 credits, cashed out with $102. Whoopee!

Tomorrow is Route 66 day.

Monday, December 7, 2009

A long day in transit

Up at 3.45am for a breakfast of muffins and coffee, shuttle over to the Buffalo International and board a regional jet to Cincinatti. These airports were not crowded so it was very leisurely but the level of security was quuite intimidating, one TSA person for almost as many people being examined at the scanners. I couldn't make out who was the "behavioural scanner expert" the person trained to spot terrorists just by looking at them. but if I did he would lose his job - he was made! Anyway the scene at the LV airport was completely different - plenty of people - the week has been set up for the National Rodeo Championships so cowboys abound, ten gallon hats an' all. The pic is of Cincinatti airport. The first time I have ever been there, never heard WKRP on the radio either!
Anyway booked in figured out the internet network and decided to stay in and get an early night haven't put a penny down yet, but the week is young

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Getting ready

Got the ritual down pat: put the furnace down, same for the water heater and lock all doors leave a key with a trusted person, one last look at the place as you head off to the four-nothing-one.

Heading to Buffalo (saved over $250 in flight money - transferred to the stash!) to a Park-Sleep hotel near the airport. Sleep, park the car and get a shuttle to the airport all in one price.

Boarding passes printed off this morning for a flight tomorrow morning, boy this travel stuff gets easier every time we do it.