Las Vegas, April 2019, Part Five by @MJames1229


You’ve made it to Part Five of @MJames1229‘s April 2019 Las Vegas trip report! It’s an April report, but today is actually May 1st. Did you know there’s nature in Las Vegas? It’s true! And @MJames1229 will show you. Oh, and there’s gambling and food too.

I Lost My Wife 

This day started with me waking up around 10:00 AM, after getting to bed around 3:00. I awoke to an empty room – assuming my wife was gambling – but found out that she has gone to the comfy chairs on the walkway between the California and the Main Street Station to read her book. I guess her gambling on this trip was as bad as mine.

Good morning, Las Vegas!

The Matrix said that breakfast was to be at the Omelet House on Charleston, even though I am not an egg eater (and my wife can take them or leave them). My reasoning was that is where Jerry Seinfeld took Jerry Lewis in that episode of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, which was recorded shortly before Lewis’ death.

But I had slept the morning away, and with another busy day ahead of us, we settled for breakfast at the Market Street Cafe. And settled was the appropriate description, as we had a very average breakfast. It was by far the most mediocre meal we’ve ever had there.

Gotta Get the Show Tickets 

The first real excursion of the day would be to stop at the Rio to get our Diamond tickets for that night. Being the first of the month, we hadn’t seen May’s show offerings, and we had our eye on two potential shows… Wayne Newton at Caesars, or (using a Hail Mary) of the return of The Greatest Piano Men. We figured that the Piano Men hadn’t been extended as we hadn’t seen any advertising for it, but when we got to the TR booth and saw the show list… and…

Dammit. Wayne was out. Double-dammit. Second time in two years (last year they were out of the Diamond seats for Wayne when we were there). Turns out that he had had back surgery a few weeks earlier (without contacting me first, natch). So we decided on The Bronx Wanderers at The Linq.

A Nature Run 

With that night’s tickets in hand, we headed to the Springs Preserve for looking at more nature. This is another part of Las Vegas that makes you forget that you’re in Vegas (except for when you spot the Stratosphere in the background). My wife, who is President of our local Bonsai association, is always interested in botanical gardens, so off we went.

If you’re looking at me for a review of all the purdy flowers and such, you got the wrong man, lady. But I gots pictures…

Nobody Ever Suspects the Butterfly 

I recall lots of other things than cactus, but none was particularly interesting to photograph. That is, until we got to the Butterfly Habitat. Because who doesn’t like butterflies?

They even had a handy photo guide so that we could see what real life photos we were looking at.

Melissa vs the Geode 

We spent a couple hours at Spring Gardens and on our way out, my wife decided that she wanted to crack a geode.

120 years ago, inmates were forced to crack rocks with hammers on a chain gang. In 2019, people pay $5 to do it.

That’s what a post-cracked geode is all about.

Previewing Our Thursday Plans 

Though we were there a couple of hours, it was frankly a couple hours less than we had scheduled, so being cognizant of our horrible gambling losses this week, we decided to begin our Bingo Tour a day early, and we headed over to Suncoast for their 3:00 bingo game.

You know that shit is going sideways when I am voluntarily playing bingo in Las Vegas. Then again, I did play the tan packs…

A Little Gambling Time 

Bingo was non-winning, but with the Young at Heart 11x points on the day, we did decide to gamble a bit. New to me was the penny VP machines.

Isn’t it a shame when the low end of the Royal Flush only pays $50? And before y’alls kvetch about the paytable, I was playing that bank because my wife wanted to play there… 5 credits at a time. I did manage to blow $100 there, and another $100 in random slots $20 at a time as I walked over to the promotions area so that I could be there when they called my name for the 4:00 PM drawing. The fact that they didn’t call my name stung just a little bit more.

On to Date Night 

Two years ago when we were in Vegas for the National bowling tournament, we had our first-ever “Date Night” at the former Nove Italiano at the Palms. Last year we dined at Hells Kitchen with our Diamond Celebration dinner. This year, we had put Hugo’s Cellar on The Matrix for our dinner, but frankly, I didn’t know when we’d use our Diamond Celebration, so we decided to make BLT Steak part of our special night. The only concession was that I didn’t feel like driving back downtown to change clothes, so we looked more casual than we would have preferred.

I had been to BLT steak last September with my poker guys, and even for a big eater like me, the 20 oz Cowboy Ribeye was too much. On the other hand, I was concerned that the 8 oz filet (or the 6-ounce American Wagyu filet) wouldn’t be enough. My wife solved that by indicating that she would order the NY Strip and if I were hungry, I could eat the rest of her steak.

That was a sound strategy, especially as the waiter brought our gratis Duck Liver Mousse, charcuterie (hashtag DiamondLife) and popovers.

Then the Real Food Arrived –

I had the American Wagyu filet.

My wife had 3/4 of the New York Strip.

We had sides, too… some disgusting fungus, loaded mashed potatoes and creamed spinach.

Not Done Yet

Though we weren’t hungry, per se, it was Date Night, so we splurged on calories….

Banana Cream Pie for the Better Half.

I had the Meyer Lemon Cheesecake

These are possibly still in the fridge in the California room 1539.

The balance of the bill was paid for with the Reward Credits that I had been hoarding for the right time. And speaking of timing, we timed it just right to head over to The Linq for our show.

The Bronx Wanderers 

The Bronx Wanderers is a father/two son trio, where Dad was a record exec and his kids became musicians, so Dad decided to make a band and start touring and honoring musical styles from Dion and the Belmonts to The Four Seasons to Billy Joel and the Stray Cats.

Dad (Vinnie) has a pretty good singing voice but is effectively a statue when he’s leading. But when his son Vin A. takes over (Bohemian Rhapsody, Rock This Town and Uptown Funk) the energy skyrockets.

If you go to see them in the Mat Franco Theater, most of the seating are on metal, high chairs (similar to bar stools). With my wife’s knees, that was no bueno, so we were moved off the center aisle all the way to the corner where they had some “regular” chairs. I guess that for free, the seats were still pretty good. But if you have issues sitting in bar stools, you might want to make arrangements ahead of time or else spring for the couches in the first couple of rows.

Finishing the Evening With a Long Gamble 

Because many people hit the Linq valet at the same time, my wife and I decided to sit down at the Lightning Link machines, and sadly I had my biggest hit of the trip, cashing out eventually with a $200 profit. Even more sadly, that money wouldn’t stay in my pocket very long.

Returning downtown to put the wife to bed, I decided to begin to pay Mr. Boyd for the lovely room… and pay and pay. I had established a Line of Credit prior to leaving home, but the first part of my trip had been break even or better, so I was hoping not to need to tap it (in part because I had never taken a marker before). However, it proved quite easily to get a marker for slots at the cashier, and (he says, sheepishly) also one for the craps table. My second consecutive brutal gambling session. In both cases… if it would have lasted quite a while, I could have dealt with the losing money. But both Tuesday at the Flamingo and now at the Cal, it just went so fast… hundreds and hundreds of dollars without any entertainment value.

Good thing I was quite entertained at the show.

Evening came and morning followed, the fifth day.

The End

There’s Part Five. Click here for Part Six where @MJames1229 shows us there’s more to Las Vegas than bowling…there’s bingo too!

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