Vegas 2016 Trip Report Part One (picture heavy)
Just back from a week in Vegas. Lots of fun was had, lots of hotel room changes and lots of relaxation. It was a very nice trip.
We headed out Saturday, the morning of the 19th. We normally drive out the Friday night after work, but a friend of ours was having her annual Pre-Thanksgiving party at her parents house in Tehachapi on that Saturday. Since we were going to be passing right through there on the way to Vegas, we decided to just wait a day and head out first thing in the morning.
We were on the road by eight after dropping off our beloved Shilo at the vets to be boarded. It was her first time being boarded without her brother Pappy so I told the girls to make sure she got extra lovings that week. They understood completely as they knew and loved Pappy as well. On a plus note, I didn’t cry when I dropped her off.
The drive was pretty uneventful, just the way I like it.
We arrived in Tehachapi right on time, which of course meant we were the first ones there. We met Cheryl’s lovely family and I was very excited to see there were at least six dogs milling about. I was in Dog Heaven!!!!!
We chatted with Cheryl’s family for quite a while as more guests began to trickle through. Our friends Kate and Jason arrived so we new more people but we really enjoyed chatting and getting to know more people. Hopefully the planets align next year and we can make the party again. It was a lot of fun, but we had to cut out after three hours to get back on the road so we missed the ornament exchange, which I hear is the highlight of the party. Oh well, Vegas beckoned. Who am I to say no to the city of sin?
While stopping at the party broke up the drive quite nicely, it made for a very long day and it seemed like FOREVER to get from Barstow to Jean where we would be spending our first night.
Background: Years ago, we used to stay there quite often because it was cheap and we loved the old school machines and the free arcade downstairs. However, the last time we stayed there was over five years ago and they only had a smattering of machines and one place to eat open. It was touted as a buffet but they only had like two options on what you could get. We figured it was on its way to demolition town and haven’t been back.
We had read recently that they are under new management and making improvements so we figured “what the heck?” might as well see what it’s looking like now. It’s only one night if we hate it.
We rolled up to the only Casino left in Jean called “Gold Strike” around nine thirty I think and headed inside. Even though none of the signage has changed outside, the inside signs claimed it was now called “Terrible’s Roadhouse” as it has been bought out by the Terrible’s Casinos. I believe it is JETT gaming, not sure. Anyhoo, there was actually a LINE at registration, which was rare when we stayed here before. We had a nice chat with a fellow waiting in front of us about Monterey and his visits there in his youth.
Check in was pretty painless, and we got our new players cards at the same place. So off to our room on the fifth floor, about a mile down the hallway. Seriously, we had never stayed on the fifth floor before because there was never anyone else staying at the hotel when we were. We were always first floor, right off the elevators. It looked like they had all the rooms full. Which is great for them I guess. The room was nice. I could tell the upgrades for sure. Gone was the grandma bedspread that crinkled whenever you sat on the bed. There was a CD player from the 90’s on the nightstand that didn’t appear to work when we put a CD in it, but it served well as a clock.
The funny part was that we could NOT find the remote for the television. We looked everywhere we could think of, but it was just gone. I called down to the front desk and they said they would bring someone by with a new one. I told her just get one to the front desk as we would be heading downstairs anyway and she said that was fine.
We ventured downstairs and were very disappointed to find that the arcade in the basement now charged for the games. One of the best features of Jean when we had stayed there in the past was that they had all the games set to free so you could play to your hearts content after you ran out of money upstairs in the casino. 🙂
I figured that would be the first thing they would change, but I had remained hopeful anyway.
They had a lot of slot machines in the first half of the casino near the entrance, where they bar and the stage for live bands was, but the other half near what used to be the restaurants is now taken up by an “exhibit” called MOVIE CARS. This is basically a handful of cars from the Fast the Furious movies as well as the car from Back to the Future and the Batmobile from the TV series, all roped off with signs next to them so you can take pictures of them. It’s a cute way to kill about five minutes, but it takes up a lot of real estate.
We didn’t gamble much but I did play a Big Bang slot and another one I can’t remember, just to get my chops ready for Vegas. Otherwise we were pretty darn tired so we got the remote from the front desk and headed back up to the room.
After putting around for awhile I headed downstairs to Denny’s for dinner while Rob headed out to get more water and such out of the car.I arrived and got there while they had a few ppl wanting to check out. I grabbed up a menu and waited no problem.
When it was my turn the hostess indicated she had to go do something for another patron.
I told her no worries, I was on the first day of my vacation, I had all the time in the world so she disappeared for about two minutes and came back.
I placed my order while joking around with her. A burger and milkshake for my husband and pot roast melt for me She was really nice and I could tell they were understaffed. I paid with a five dollar tip.
She asked if I wanted any extras. I said just ketchup, she raised her eyebrows and asked “ranch?”
I fell in love.
When I came to pick up my order, she kicked the door open from the kitchen with her foot and approached me with a bag of food and Two milkshakes. She told me that she made me a second one on the house since I was on vacation, and she made it properly, starting with vanilla and then adding the Oreos. She was a kick in the pants and I loved it.
Sunday morning there was no real reason to get up early. Check out was at 11:00 and we couldn’t check into our next hotel until the afternoon so I enjoyed sleeping in. We were up and ready to go by ten thirty. The shower was made for someone the size of my mom(she’s 4″10″) and there was very little water pressure, but we made it through.
We had a voucher for two free “value slams” at Denny’s so we ordered one to split and got coffee.
A half an hour later it became apparent they lost our order, but we were in no hurry so we just went with the flow. In case you are wondering what a value slam is, it was 2 eggs, 2 pancakes and 2 pieces of bacon or sausage. I got bacon.
The drive into Vegas was pretty uneventful, we parked in the parking garage of Caesar’s Palace at the earliest spot we could find. As we would later find out from our Iphone tracker, that was about a half a mile away from the Lobby.
We had never stayed at Caesar’s before.
Background: Two years ago I signed up for the CET Total Rewards credit card and have used it faithfully as I would my debit card. Groceries, gas, dining, bills etc. Since it is money I am going to spend anyway, I just pay it off at the end of the month with my checking account so I don’t have any interest and there is no annual fee. Last year I earned enough points to pay for our stay at the Flamingo and some shopping in the gift store. This year it will be paying for our two nights at Caesar’s. I highly recommend getting the card for anyone on the fence about it. It has really come in handy. We normally would never be able to afford this hotel without it.
We kept the luggage in the car because we were still early, so we trekked the half mile to check in and were told of course that our room wasn’t ready, but the lady said they would put a rush on it and that as soon as it was available she would text me.
Since we knew that was going to happen, our plan was to walk over to Casino Royale to get some White Castle. We don’t have those around our neck of the woods in Monterey, and I’ve never had them. However, Rob had and he was very keen on getting some and introducing them to me. There was a small line, but it went pretty quickly.
This is in no way shape or form gourmet cuisine, it was more like an assembly line process. In no time we had our massive amount of sliders, half with cheese, half without and a thing of french fries and a thing of onion chips. I had no idea what onion chips were, but had I known we would have skipped the fries and got two servings of those!
While we were in line we got a text from Caesar’s that our room was ready so we grabbed our grub and beat feet out of there to get back to check in. I made a joke that they were going to kick us out of the preferred check in as soon as they saw the White Castle bags in our hands. 😉
Check in was painless, we got our keys and headed up to the Augustus Tower room.
The room was nothing short of amazing. As I said, we don’t get to stay in places like this very often and this was a real treat! The room was large and luxurious and the view was insane! A full view of the Bellagio fountains! We soaked that in for a bit while snacking on our WC spoils but eventually we had to make the hike down to the car to get our bags.
A mile later we were back up in our room, kicking off our shoes and relaxing for a bit
I truly enjoyed this room, it was easily my most favorite room that I’ve stayed in in Vegas. I kept telling Rob that I was in my happy place, the whole two days we stayed there.
At some point, I got out of my PJ’s and put on real people clothes to go downstairs. We wanted to explore a bit and see about dinner choices, but first we wanted to check out the diamond lounge. I was really impressed with the lounge, but didn’t want to be taking pictures of everything like a total newb, which I was. But there was a nice little snack buffet to choose from and the drinks were fast and made from the good stuff. We sat at a table with our snacks, but there were plenty of couches to sit around on and watch TV with your drinks if you wanted. It just felt extravagant and that is not something we get to experience every day. It was pretty nice.
We headed out from there to explore a little. We played a bit but nothing major and wound up getting dinner at the food court. Chow mein for me and Carne Asada fries for Rob.
We didn’t do much else for the rest of the night, but watch the fountain shows from our hotel room. 🙂
Monday we got up and ready. We headed down to Brioche and got a tasty and filling pastry before heading over to the Bellagio. I hadn’t been to the conservatory in many years so I was excited to check it out. It was really pretty of course, all decked out for fall and while it was crowded, we were able to get quite a few pics.
After we were done, we headed over to the Fountains and waited about ten minutes. Thankfully I checked my phone and realized they weren’t going to be running for another two hours. We decided to take the long way back to the hotel to get pictures of the strip.
We had a dinner voucher we needed to use that night. We didn’t really want to go sit down anywhere so we knew we wanted take out. There were very few high end restaurants that opened before 5:00 PM so we based our choice on the fact that we didn’t want to have to wait if we could help it. We decided on Bejing Noodle for that reason. That and I love Asian food.
It was quite a lot of food, but if we didn’t use it we would have lost it. I snacked a bit and watched more fountain shows.
In the end decided I should go back down to the lounge just because.
I drank way too much there. They served the good stuff and it went down a little too smooth. I gambled a bit but thankfully realized I needed to put myself to bed.
To Be Continued…
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