Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Las Vegas, Nevada

Wednesday, October 8 - Sunday, October 12, 2014

We spent 4 nights in Las Vegas this time. As usual, we made Sam's Town our base. Not only does Sam's Town have good video poker for people at our financial level (low), but it has other entertainment: good eateries (TGIF, Willie and Jose's, Billy Bob's Steak House, numerous fast food places, and two in-house delis), a multi-theater movie-plex, and bowling alley.

I'm an early riser, so when I'm in a casino like Sam's Town, I get up early and head down for breakfast. At Sam's Town, I can get a reasonably priced and good breakfast at McDonald's (usually a meatless breakfast like plain biscuits or pancakes), as well as a good, large cup of coffee. By showing my receipt, I can get another cup of coffee later that same day. That's a good deal.

I then mosey into the casino and sit down at my favorite full-pay deuces wild machine (return of 100.76%) and play for 3 or 4 hours. It's nice to play early when hardly anyone else is there. At some point during this time, Donna makes an appearance and plays along beside me.

After we tire of playing, we then break to do other things. It may be taking a walk around the RV park next door to see what people are traveling in. We may catch one of the Sam's Town buses that shuttle visitors to 3 locations downtown or to Harrah's on the Strip. We may watch a movie, especially when we have special offers from Sam's Town for free or reduced-price movies. Or we may take a day trip, as we did this time to Red Rock Canyon (see upcoming entry).

We usually return to Sam's Town later in the day and have a nice meal. We always make it a point to eat at Willie and Jose's at least once for their fajita special. And true casino junkies that we are, we always have to get a chili dog at one of the delis at some point during our stay. Sometimes there are tournaments or drawings we participate in. Donna won a nice pot of money about a year ago or so at one such drawing at Sam's Town.

This year, we took a day trip to the Strip aboard one of the shuttles. We didn't stay long. The bus let us off at Harrah's. We took off and headed south past the Imperial Palace, the Flamingo, Caesar's Palace, the Cromwell, Bally's, the Bellagio, Paris, and the Cosmopolitan. We turned around at Planet Hollywood and headed back to the bus as quickly as possible.

Donna in front of Caesar's Palace

Bally's and Paris on the Strip
Numerous casinos on the Strip, with the fountains of Bellagio along the bottom.
The fountains in action

More fountains
After the fountains cease

I guess I'm getting old, but the things I saw on that strip just aren't my idea of fun. We were there mid-morning, and the sidewalks were already crowded. People of all ages, but especially young college age folks, were carrying around their drinks, especially those arm-length glasses with reddish concoctions. The language is awful and the manners are worse. Vendors handing out cards and leaflets and soliciting you for various schemes approach from every direction. Vagrants link walkways with signs saying, "Please help: need money for plastic surgery" or "Give money: I don't want to work." Begging is just a joke, I guess. We were in the midst of Sodom and Gomorrah and I didn't like it. Now, I'm not a saint -- anyone who knows me can tell you that -- but there's a line that I won't cross and these folks were way, way beyond that line. I don't care to go back. If this is what passes for civilization, then I want no part of it. Everything I saw was decadent and shameful. There, that's my rant for the day.

So we hustled back to the bus, secured a seat, and were delighted to leave this part of Sin City behind us. Sam's Town, by contrast, seemed so tame. After all, Sam's Town traditionally caters to older people with its RV park and various "Young at Heart" promotions for guests age 50 or over. True, you'll get an occasional drunk or rowdy, but security takes care of such folks rather quickly. Sam's Town is, after all, a "locals' casino," so it's more about business than rowdiness and ostentation.

We were disappointed, however, that Mystic Falls was undergoing some repairs and was not operational. I enjoy that part of Sam's Town and always look forward to the light and water shows there. I also like hearing the screech of the eagle and the howl of the wolf, which I can hear from my favorite video poker machines in the casino.

All in all, our stays at Sam's Town are peaceful and relaxing, at least by Sin City standards.

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