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Grand Sierra Reno April 28-May 1 / Harvey's Tahoe May 1-3

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PostPosted: May Tue 09, 2023 8:38 am    Post subject: Grand Sierra Reno April 28-May 1 / Harvey's Tahoe May 1-3 Reply with quote

In the early 1990s, I was working for the then-Women's International Bowling Congress (now part of the merged USBC) and the top bowling congresses were working with the people in Reno to design and build the National Bowling Stadium. Originally, the intent was to hold the Men's National Tournaments every three years starting in 1995, the Women's National Tournaments every third year starting in 1997, and the "off" years would be for improvements.

Due to the recession in the late Aughts, another planned permanent stadium in Orlando was never started, and an installation in Wichita was scrapped. Reno stepped in to host those events in addition to the regular rotation. Therefore, beginning with the 1995 tournament, I had bowled in Reno ten times, the most recent in 2016 (I did visit Reno in 2018 when my wife bowled the Women's Nationals there). Ironically, despite Reno being the venue to pick-up tournaments that other cities couldn't host, the 2020 tournament in Reno was cancelled due to COVID.

Back to almost-current times, when I was in Las Vegas in October, I did a status match at the Sahara and was upgraded to Iconic status (one of the benefits of which is a free three-night stay at the Grand Sierra Reno), obviously I took advantage of that benefit for the front end of this two-legged trip.

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Friday, April 28 - Despite just returning from New Orleans just a week earlier, it was again time to load all manner of suitcases, backpacks and, yes, bowling balls into the Wagon Queen Family Truckster and head to the airport. Oh, to have an amazing story of agita, heartbreak, anxiety or drama to tell, but this time, there was none. The wife was dropped off, the car parked, mjames1229 through TSA and everyone to the gate in lots of time (but not too early).

During the first leg of the flight (to Denver) I pulled out the Chromebook and watched the downloaded Whatever Happened to Baby Jane... well, the first 90 minutes or so. Once in the air en route to Reno, I tried to pick-up where I left off and somehow was logged out of the HBO Max app and I couldn't log back in without an internet connection. I wasn't going to buy $8 of Southwest wifi to watch a free movie so I figured I would watch the rest on the flight home (Spoiler alert, when I tried to log in yesterday, the download had expired. It was a great movie, now I have to try to figure out how to see the ending!)

Rental car prices are stupid-high in many areas of the country, and Reno is no exception... up to a few weeks before the trip the best price I could find on a compact SUV was almost $500. I did find a 2016 Jeep Renegade on Turo for $278, so I grabbed it. Upon arrival in Reno, I planted the wife and all of our gear at the passenger pick-up area of the Reno airport and I took a Lyft to the Turo pick-up spot (trust me, it was cheaper than the $75 Airport Drop Fee). When I rented the Lyft, it was 4 minutes away.

12 minutes later my Lyft arrived and I took the 2 minute trip to the pick-up spot. I could have walked there more quickly. But with a lap back to the airport, the wife was loaded into the Renegade and... golly it was loud when it idled. Whether in Park or Drive, the vibration during idling was intense, and the reverberation went right through us. I immediately texted the host, but headed to the GSR to check-in and face the day. The host quickly called back and said that he had personally driven the car to the pick-up, but he offered that we could return the car early and he would reimburse for any charges from any other rental agency. I said that we'd drive it tonight and see how it is on a longer ride.

"Enough with the boring nonsense, James! Can we finally get this party started?", says you, the Gentle Reader.

"OK", says I.

First stop was some Bucket List dining at Casale's Halfway Club, which their website indicates as the oldest restaurant in Nevada, opened in 1937. I am not sure how I found out about Casale's, but I had been following their Facebook page since before my cancelled 2020 Nationals trip. I remember this, as the matriarch of the family died (at age 93) in the fall, and her son died of COVID just three weeks later and there was a real concern that the business would not survive. But the restaurant knew that I needed to get there, so a daughter took over, saved the restaurant, and I was able to get a reservation for 5:00 PM.

We ordered (what Melissa describes as) "the most amazing garlic bread ever", and the entrees come with a salad with homemade dressing.

Casale's makes a big deal about their hand-rolled ravioli. So what else would we order but $19.50 worth of ravioli and meatballs. The only issue is that the sauce is a little aggressive, and tends to obliterate the gentle, ricotta-filled pasta pockets. But mercy, was that good, an excellent start to what could be a great foodie trip.

After dinner, we headed to the theater. During the trip planning (and in trying to fill the Friday Night hole with something other than gambling) I found a boutique theater in downtown Reno that had a play opening that evening. I had never heard of The Beauty Queen of Leenane, but the Bruka Theater is almost exclusively love-seat seating and the upper theater seats maybe 100 people. I've spent worse $30/ticket than this on vacation, so we were looking forward to it.

The theater opened at 7:00 for the 7:30 show, so I dropped off Melissa early in front of the theater (while I parked the vibrating Jeep) and she made quick friends with the daughter of the actress who played the mother in the play, as well as a few other apparent regulars. By the time I got there, she had been offered a seat on the stoop and was laughing with everyone.

We were offered seats in the front row. We were told that there was a bar downstairs, but the theater was not ADA compliant so I went to get the drinks.

I got down there and found a second theater in the basement.

For those of you who have never heard of The Beauty Queen of Leenane, let me tell you that it is incredibly dark for a community theater. The show was 2-1/2 hours long and only had four actors, but all had heavy Irish accents... to perform a show that long with such accents must have taken a LOT of rehearsal and some great acting. The jist of this play (kinda comedic at first, and disturbingly intense the second half) is that a home-bound mom and her middle-aged, virginal daughter share a small house in Ireland with mom as the narcissistic, mean old biddy and her put-upon daughter taking care of her (think of a white, Irish "Sanford and Son"). In the back half of the play, once a love interest is introduced, we learn of the daughter's mental and emotional issues and the play flips the script... is mom really a mean old biddy or is the disturbed daughter mistreating mom? This was a really intense play for a community theater in front of 100 or so people. Being opening night, we were invited downstairs to meet the cast and crew and have champaign, but again with no elevator, we politely declined.

By the time the show ended, it was late in the evening and with the time change and everything, we decided to turn in early without any gambling.

As I've begun doing on gambling trips, I'll list my daily and cumulative wins and losses. I only made one (losing) sports bet on the day, so after Day 1, I was -$30.00

Evening came and morning followed, the First day.

Last edited by mjames1229 on May Wed 10, 2023 9:25 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: May Tue 09, 2023 8:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Adder regarding Day 1 -

One of my bowling guys, Pete, had planned on arriving on Saturday, however he got "the itch" so he changed his flight to Friday. He only plays poker (he's a regular in our Poker Trips to Vegas each fall) and figured he could win enough on Friday night to cover the cost of his air fare change. His weekend room was at Silver Legacy but they wanted almost $400 for Friday night (and the other resorts weren't much better) so he decided to reserve Friday night at the Travellers Inn on Virginia St. for about $100.

Upon his arrival, he sent me pics of his room (these are Pete's actual pics, not stolen from the internet)...

No pillows on the bed.

Dirty floor.

I wish he hadn't even sent this one.

Pete said that once he saw the sink he refused to stay there. The hotel would not refund his money, however he checked around and he could get a room at Circus Circus for $200 (plus resort fees) so he moved there.

He said that between the air fare change, cost of two hotels and two ride-shares, it cost him $600 in real money to arrive a day early. He got to the Silver Legacy poker room and it was filled with nits. He made $19 playing poker when the game broke up around Midnight.

The punch line to all of this? At least two other bowlers had double-booked rooms that had sat empty that night. We have both a Facebook Group Chat as well as a text message group with different combinations of bowlers. Had Pete posted to either of those group chats, he'd have gotten a free room Friday night... especially if he had posted these phots to the group.
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PostPosted: May Tue 09, 2023 9:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Saturday, April 29 - Good morning, Reno!

Started the day by waking up around 4:00 AM for about the third day in a row. Excited about the trip, running the day through my head making sure the logistics are set, fantasizing about that huge craps run, thinking about being process-oriented about bowling, and if I follow the process, I'll be OK, etc, etc. I do manage to doze off and on before getting up around 8:00 AM or so. Previously, we had both agreed to skip breakfast due to the timing of the lunch and dinner plans, but when I do awake I assume Melissa was downstairs gambling, only to learn that she had snuck out for brunch in the cafe. I decide to keep with the original plan, so I go down to the casino to get my gamble on. Turns out that pulling out my fingernails one-by-one would have been a better start.

As I head towards the room to get ready to face the day, I notice that all of the bro-dudes and overly-produced-women have been replaced by a cadre (coven? force?) of high school girls volleyball players... with their long athletic teenage legs and *STOP IT, JAMES*. We found out there was a regional volleyball tournament in town and many teams were staying at our hotel.

Clothes changed, we run to the Sparks Nugget to pick-up a package at the UPS Store there, then head for a must-stop meal on each trip... The Oyster Bar at the Atlantis for me, and absolutely anything else at The Atlantis for Melissa.

Wasn't trying to make this an artsy-fartsy photo, I was just trying to get the sign in the window while going up the escalator past the mirrored supports.

View from the Oyster Bar (which is actually in the walkway over Virginia St)

I sat at the counter so I could watch the magic happen.


That, my friends, is a $33 lobster pan roast. But lest you think its all just soup...

Look at all that real, dead lobster!

I hadn't had that pan roast since 2016 (the ones at South Point and Palace Station in Vegas are not without their charms, but this is the GOLD STANDARD in lobster pan roasts). Meanwhile, my wife went to the Manhattan Deli for her lunch...

Matzo Ball soup and a turkey sandwich. I won lunch. Clearly.

We did a little gambling at Atlantis, but as I'm plugging the slot machines, I am wondering why I am gambling at somewhere other than my "home" base or a CET property. I do like the style and comfort of the Atlantis, but I've tried seeding them for offers in the past and just lost money, so we head back to the GSR for more gambling and some naps, then head to the Ol' Ballpark.

A couple of months ago, knowing that there were zillions of guys in our group that liked baseball and with a start time of 4:00 PM, I called the Reno Aces to check on group discounts. They have many offerings, but the one in our sweet spot was the Tito's Batters Box which is space on the concourse behind home plate with room for 25 people (at $45/ea) and unlimited food and soft drinks until the end of the 5th inning. Once I mentioned this in my group chat, I had collected 23 sets of $45 people that I was already turning other people away the same day. That was unfortunate that they couldn't be in our group, but many did buy tickets for the general stadium bowl and stopped by for a greeting. But they got no food.

Among the bounty offered were hot dogs, Mexican corn, mac and cheese, pulled pork and - the clear star of the show - meatballs swimming in green chile. Once the guys tried those, they kept bringing pan after pan of replacements.

Oh, and everyone got a hat, too.

We got the group name on the scoreboard, too. Apparently, though, we didn't spend as much money as Brenny Boo's parents.

There really was just one problem with the whole set-up. Every seat was a high top bar seat. That's great and all, except for Melissa's knee... she can't dangle it off of a chair without support for four hours, so we asked and they quickly brought a folding chair for her. One problem with that, though...

Pardon the quality of this photo, as someone else took it from the right field berm and sent it to me as a "We see you!!!" text. But it clearly shows the problem. You can see me (second from the right) talking down to my wife... who can't see home plate or the bases with that counter right in front of her face. She spent nine innings looking at a counter, hoping the ball was hit to the outfield so she could watch anything. Luckily that happened a lot, as the Aces beat the Sugar Land Space Cowboys 11-8.

The game ended around 7:10, and since we were stuffed with ballpark food, instead of finding something to do, we went back to the GSR and gambled and planned a reasonable bed time as Sunday would be a big day. Aggrivated at the slots from earlier in the day, I went searching for a Pai Gow game. All of the Face Up games were $15, but the Old Fashioned Pai Gow Poker That We Grew Up With and Love With All of Our Hearts was only $25. Granted $25 is a little up there, but it was a Saturday night, the bro-dudes and overly-produced-women were back out, and it was the price I had to pay to play. Too rich for Melissa's blood, she went off to play slots.

I played for a full 2 hours and lost exactly $3.75 (but had two Jameson and Gingers). Around 10:00 PM my wife said that we were ready for bed. She headed to the room while I went to the cashier, wondering exactly why I shred money at slots when I can play table games at par for a few hours.

Then I lost $250 in slots WALKING TO THE ELEVATOR. Man, I hate the psychological pull of those damn things.

On the day I lost $826.72 (cursed, vile slots) for a 2-day cumulative total loss of $856.72

Evening came and morning followed, the Second day.
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PostPosted: May Tue 09, 2023 9:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sunday, April 30 - The big day... team event for the USBC Open Championships. It's a day that's circled on the calendar each year in crimson.

And I can't peel myself out of bed. Just too many days running around, and frankly too many times up in the middle of the night thinking about it. For an amateur player, Nationals is a big deal. I've had some success in the last 5-10 years, so I hold this feeling that despite turning 55 years old with a heart attack on the ledger, I can still have a humdinger of a series.

But the wife insists that I get up and atom, so we head to a favorite chain restaurant (I allow chain dining where there is no nearby location) for a big, hearty breakfast at the Black Bear Diner.

Even in Vegas, when I need to ensure loads of calories and protein, an order of sweet cream pancakes and a side of hot Italian sausage does the trick. I've posted a photo so often, though, that I didn't bother to take a picture and I am too damn lazy to find a past photo to try to sneak past you. But they absolutely hit the spot.

Next on the agenda was a practice session for 10:00 AM at the Bowling Stadium. The stadium has 72 lanes on the 4th level for tournament play, but they also have 10 additional lanes in a bay on the first level for practice.

While I threw a practice round, Melissa found some parking near the stadium and The Row, so she walked around downtown to do some souvenir shopping and then some gambling. When I was finished, I contacted her and I had a specific place in mind for lunch, so we each walked there. She said her knee was fine, so we separately headed towards 2nd St.

Path took me right past an old friend.

Eleven previous trips to Reno (and many stays at Harrahs) and I've never tried it. I was about to correct that maltryage. I take a seat and get a phone call from Melissa... she made a wrong turn and got lost on her way from Eldorado. But one 180 degree maneuver and she was back on track.

They've got the best #6 in the city (if you know, you know)

A lovely pho for me.

A competent orange chicken (hold the veggies) for her.

Then it was back to the stadium for the main event.

Relaxing while chatting with my Aunt Barb and Pete (the poker player who checked into the nasty hotel).

From left, my Uncle John (bowling his 51st consecutive tournament), Steve, Chris, Your Beloved Trip Reporter and Glenn.

As it seems to happen every year, I get befuddled by the difficult lane conditions (and nerves) and start tragically.

But not this year!

Unfortunately, I didn't throw enough strikes. The lane pattern was relatively easy for our caliber of team, but personally, I could not pry the ball off my hand and threw too many bad shots. My final 3-game score was 599, and the almost-200 average is higher than my career 185 Nationals average, but oh, it should have been more.

Well in advance of the trip, I had been working with a nearby gastropub for a group dinner. Mellow Fellow (kitty-corner from the baseball stadium main entrance on 2nd St) has a "semi-private" room for "20 to 30" that I had made a reservation for. We had actually finished bowling well early so Melissa and I made a quick trip back to our hotel to change clothes. The first to arrive at Mellow Fellow was my aunt and uncle.... who informed us that Mellow Fellow had closed early that day due to staff shortages. Big dummies didn't even bother to inform me.

I had about zero time to reassess and notify 20 to 30 people of a change in plans. All I could think of was Brew Brothers inside the Eldorado, so as my wife drove, I worked to (A) collect texts from people who didn't know I knew, and (2) text everyone who already knew.

People on various message boards give Caesars (especially since the Eldorado takeover) a lot of grief. But Lisa the Hostess at Brew Brothers managed to re-arrange her dining room to accommodate 24 people with zero notice... people just started showing up and she went to work. Because they were already a little busy, she couldn't get us all together, but she had one table of 9 in the corner, and she set up a set of tables for 15 just a ways over.

For all this sudden work that I had to undo and do, I frankly wasn't very hungry, so as I see these humongous plates of food bring brought out, I went with something not as voluminous.

I went with a Pork Bahn Mi.

Melissa went with the barbeque chicken pizza.

We all hung around and chatted after awhile, and again, I have to give these Ceasars/Eldorado people credit... they absorbed 24 people with no notice and ACED the dinner. Afterwards, tired, sore and exhausted, Melissa and I headed straight for our room. Her knee decided that at about 2-1/2 miles, it was time for some ice. I got her set up and felt guilty about not "paying" for the room, so I headed into the casino. But I vowed not to play any slot machines.

Once I got off the elevator, I was just too tired to take that long walk to the table games, so I dropped anchor at the video poker bar that was right there. Though it was a quarter machine, it had a 10 credit max so I decided to just go with it at $2.50 per hand. In went in a bill, then another, then another.

As I slid in that fourth hundy, I was kinda down on myself and even though I know the theo wasn't what the casino wanted, I decided that four was enough. And as I am watching the credits slide away, the machine said "Not so fast, Buddy!"

This was time-stamped at 10:14 PM. Years ago, I determined that I was tired of seeing posts of every bonus game and every quad from every trip reporter on every board, so I established a personal minimum of $192.40 as acceptable to post photos of wins. This qualifies.

14 minutes later, after giving up too much of that quad-3 money. Then, just four minutes later...

Now that was a horse I could ride. I managed to goose the meter up to over $900, and cashed out with a $500 win

In about 20 minutes I went from $350 down to $500 up. I went to bed with a smile.

On the day I won $549.34 (thanks to some sports bets, too) for a 3-day cumulative total loss of $307.38

Evening came and morning followed, the Third day.

Last edited by mjames1229 on May Wed 10, 2023 9:49 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: May Tue 09, 2023 9:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Monday, May 1 - In a bit of role reversal of our New Orleans trip, Melissa had to work in the morning (end of month stuff, filling in for someone on maternity leave) so I was flying solo for bowling the doubles and singles events of the National tournament.

Maybe we should have just gone over to the Peppermill to gamble, as the only place the sun was shining was over that property.

Seeing as I had to pack for Tahoe and pack the car before leaving for bowling, breakfast was a quick hitter at Jamba Juice for an Acai Bowl and also a Ginger Lemon shot while Melissa went to the cafe at GSR for her breakfast.

On my way out, I stopped at the VIP Host office to see if the three meals (two breakfasts at the cafe and one a Jamba Juice) could be back-ended. The hostess on duty said that she could take off $85, which left a $30 balance. My mind heard "$85" and thought "no way three breakfasts cost that much" so I thanked her and headed out (Side note; later in the day I got a copy of my folio E-mailed to me...

No accounting for room charges, etc... and no charges nor comping for $85 worth of stuff. When I got home, I E-mailed the host who said that tips cannot be comped, so they actually took $63.00 off the bill for the two cafe meals but there wasn't enough left to take off the Jamba Juice. Besides the fact that I think its silly that if I had $22 in comps for a bill of $23.45 they can't make that go away, that means that my wife and individual breakfasts averaging $31.50 a meal. She doesn't eat that much, so if they really charge $31.50 for two eggs, sausage, toast and a Diet Coke... I am glad I didn't eat there. I sent a follow-up and will add to this again if they say anything of note. My hunch, though, is that I will never hear from them again on this.

I arrive at the National Bowling Stadium for the last six games of the tournament, and after the first one I am ready to leave. I've stated in many of these bowling tournament trip reports that the lane oil is made intentionally difficult (worthy of a National Championship) and that the pattern is not disclosed. In other words, put your shoes on, grab a ball and figure it out.

Took me three games to figure it out (and those games were a complete train wreck). Bowled a little better the last three games of singles, but ultimately my 9-game average was 186... just a tick higher than my 28-year average of 185. I know I am getting older and I know that sometimes you have to be average... but no I don't. I spend too much money on equipment and travel to have an average tournament. I guess I just gotta work harder before next year. Minutes after I finished, I bid adieu to everyone as I had to get Melissa from the hotel and head out of town.

Reading some online article or another, I found a list of the hottest newest restaurants in Reno, and Daddy's Tacos intrigued us, as they had been a food truck that was able to open a brick-and-mortar location between Reno and Sparks. The food was pretty good (but by no means spectacular) and frankly isn't worth the trip out of the way... and trust me, it isn't on the way to anything, its just out in the middle of nowhere.

I had a Al Pastor Torta with a side of beans. The beans, unfortunately, were nothing special, and there were way too many on the sandwich... it was all I tasted and made the consistency of the sandwich quite mealy. The Horchata was lovely, though. My wife had a burrito (in the background) and she was happy with it. Maybe it was because I bowled like tinkle and wasn't in the mood for a non-perfect meal, but I personally won't search this place out again.

And with that, we were on the road to Lake Tahoe. Melissa was driving so that I could relax a bit, and I directed her to the north end of the lake, on the Mt. Rose highway.... where I find out as we're halfway up the mountain that she is having a panic attack. Apparently she is afraid of the "rinky dink" guardrails and falling ass-over-teakettle down the mountain to our fiery death. Took no time at all to find one of the slow-vehicle pull-offs and she pulled right off and ejected out of the driver seat like someone had pushed a button.

Meanwhile, I was taking in the scenery...

Ending the mountainous driving in Incline Village, I decided to head west a bit to the Crystal Bay Casino to gamble a tiny bit and get a chip for my collection. "A bit" ultimately was lighting a Bennie on fire on a 3-play VP machine.

As we were in the neighborhood, we stopped by the Cal Neva Lodge (that was recently sold again) and I mansplained a bit of the history to Melissa. I was frankly kind of amazed at the road access that was available, as I took a road that lead to the back of the property amongst the cabins. No photos of those, though, as I had a distinct feeling that I wasn't supposed to be there.

We went back east, first stopping at a visitor's center to get some reading materials, then we stopped at the Grand Hyatt Lodge. My last time there I believe they used coins for dollars, I was hoping they had switched to clay or plastic chips (they did, so I added to my collection). I managed to burn off too much money there, too, so we just went directly down to Harvey's to check in. We had been comped a View room, which the front desk clerk mentioned was a great room.

I concur.

It was starting to cloud up, but Melissa caught the last of the sun before it disappeared for a couple of days. A couple of naps later, it was time for our Date Night (even though, to be honest, we had had a LOT of Date Nights since we started our New Orleans trip two weeks earlier). We were going to be using our Celebration Dinner at the Sage Room, on the 19th floor at Harvey's.

We each had the French Onion Soup, as well as the bread course.

Melissa had the Steak Diane.

I had the special, 14 oz New York Strip with roasted onions and peppers and some Gorgonzola..

The dining and service was spectacular, and with two cocktails for me and a diet soda for her, the bill was under $200... a steal for the wonderful Date Night event. After that, we decided that we really hadn't gambled much in two days (and we really had low-played at Harrah's New Orleans the previous week) so we hit the slot floor.

Both of us were doing ok... making our money last (which, when you know that slots are losing games, that's where are expectations are... give us some play for the money you know is going to vaporize) when I wandered away from her, found a Dragon Link that called my name, and....

By Job, I believe that is more than $192.40! I only popped one more dot after this, so the total win was $763.43. I know I just said that I just want some play for my money, but really, I always want the Major. Got it this time. Before I could lose it all, we cashed out and headed for bed.

On the day I won $200.42 for a 4-day cumulative total loss of $106.96

Evening came and morning followed, the Fourth day.

Last edited by mjames1229 on May Mon 29, 2023 12:40 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: May Tue 09, 2023 10:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tuesday, May 2 - Good morning, Stateline!

Snowed overnight, and I can't stop looking at this view!

One problem, though... we had the morning news on TV and they indicated snow off-and-on all day, and we had planned on a drive to Virginia City. I was still game, Mrs. Aaaarrrrgh! Mountains! vetoed the idea. So until we could come up with something else to do, we gambled. But first I need a new card, as my card wasn't working for Melissa. And Caesars, if you don't man the rewards booth, you need to be better.

After seeing this, I went to a kiosk.

Dammit. I had to walk all the way over to Harrah's to get a new card. Luckily they have the underground walkway, but it is so Caesars to have both an unmanned booth and a kiosk on the fritz.

Once I got back and joined the wife, I put in a few bills too many and was going too offer the gods only one more before going to the room. Fortunately for me, I found the right machine. Tim Lawson (The Bettor Life podcast) and Michael Trager (Travel Zork) have come up with Coffee Dice for a morning craps session. Maybe I can come up with Coffee Dragons, as this is one of those runs you dream of.

I generally start my Linking with $100, betting two bucks a spin. This got me back even on the morning.

If I start hitting, I go to $2.50 a spin (rotating between pennies, nickels and dimes, whichever might be hitting).

When things are really, good, I go to dollars (which was only once before). I like dollars, as it is easier to figure out how much my bonus is while it is in process.

"Another coffee, please. I may be here awhile."

Climb, Credit-O-Meter, climb!

I eventually got the meter to a little over $1200, so I cashed out (without a hand pay) with an $1100 profit on this machine, and starting the day up $800. We had gambled through breakfast, so we looked at our list of potential lunch places in the area. Unfortunately, the snow pretty much ruled out anything with a deck, so we went to the Lucky Beaver.

Skipping the mountains might be a good move for the day.

We had heard about their legendary dry-aged burgers, so we ignored that two-digit number next to the description and ordered.

The locals call this the "Gold" burger with bacon and pepperjack. I added the chile. Comes with garlic parm tater tots.

While we were waiting for the food, we were thumbing through brochures, looking for impromptu snowy-day things to do that don't include skiing or snowboarding. We decided to take a yacht cruise to Emerald Bay. It was almost $300 for the two of us, and I was concerned about how much we could see, but again, vacation.

Even if it is vacation, it is hard to part with $70 for burgers, fries and a soft drink.

With about two hours to kill before needing to be at the dock for the cruise, we went over to Harrah's (right next door to the Lucky Beaver) to kill time with gambling. I told Melissa "No Crushing Rebound Losses (or CRL's for short)". I didn't take my own advice, and dropped an excruciatingly quick $500, causing us to head over to the yacht way early.

Bleu Wave Cruises was in one of the booklets Melissa found, and the dock was buried somewhere in the Tahoe Keys (thank you, Google Maps). Their yacht has four viewing levels, the one in back (where we started) had the most room and large windows, but was unheated and the door from the outside was there, making that room disturbingly cold. They had a top viewing deck that was sheeted in vinyl, but that was harder to see out of. We settled on the bar, which also had the benefit of having an electric fireplace, which helped make the cruise tolerable for those that are eternally cold (raises hand).

Once we left the dock, I was disappointed. The low clouds had us riding in a fog in cold boat. I just kept thinking of that $300. Fortunately, as we got to Emerald Bay, things got better.

I stepped outside on the deck to take some pictures, and I felt like I was in a snow globe. The fog had lifted and was replaced by some very pretty snow. Didn't seem to be nearly as cold as inside the boat, either.

Once back to shore, we headed back to the hotel for some Old People Naps, then started thinking about dinner. A Facebook friend responded to our "stuck on the south shore of the lake" post by suggesting Base Camp Pizza. We drove the car back across the street into South Lake Tahoe and walked through the cold Shops at Heavenly Village, aimlessly looking for pizza.

No big signs, but we found it. I hope everything goes smoothly (he says with a subtle foreshadow...)

Looking at the hot drinks, figuring that I could get one and pretend I've just stepped off the slopes after a long day of, um, sloping.

The Slippery Slope I received was room temperature. After sucking off the whipped cream and about half of the drink, I sent it back and I got a new, hottenized version. It was very good.

We then ordered the namesake Base Camp Pizza, which had onions, peppers and disgusting fungus. Melissa, even after quitting smoking 25 years ago, still has affected taste buds and doesn't want peppers but loves mushroom. At times like this, we are well versed on how to order.... "We'll have the Base Camp, with all of the mushroom on one side and all of the peppers on the other". Seems simple, right? The waitress - who was otherwise very friendly and talkative - just could not understand that, and as she walked away, we knew the pizza would be wrong.

And we were right. Peppers on half and no mushroom at all. The waitress tried to rectify it by telling me to eat this one and firing a personal pizza for Melissa (with lots of mushrooms) which was appreciated, but frankly I wasn't going to eat that entire pizza and Melissa wasn't going to eat all of hers, either, so she watched me eat half and call "uncle", then hers came and I got to watch her. In the end, way too much pizza was left behind as neither of us are cold pizza eaters and we didn't have a heat source in the room. I will say that the pizza was good, though, and besides replacing the drink and pizza, they gave us another 20% off. I might try it again, but we kind of wished that this would have been better.

After dinner, we went to the casino at Harvey's to gamble and try to re-create the morning magic (didn't happen). Melissa's knees started feeling as if she's had 10 days of vacation out of the last 17 calendar days, so I settled her in the room with an ice pack and got back to work. After getting her set up, I gambled for about 3 hours and only lost a hundred or two... I guess that's the "give me some play for my money" that I had wanted, however, even with a huge head start, I ended up with a losing day (and I am looking at YOU, Harrah's).

On the day I lost $459.04 for a 5-day cumulative total loss of $566.00

Evening came and morning followed, the Fifth day.... but with the next day being a Get out of Dodge day, let's keep going.

Wednesday, May 3 - We are in no real hurry, as our flight leaves Reno at 3:30, so we sleep in and take our time in showering and getting ready. We abandon packing for awhile to get a light breakfast at Creative Crepes, which is in the same outdoor mall as the pizza place. However because California doesn't like cars, I may as well have dropped Melissa off and parked back at Harvey's. My legs were also feeling quite heavy after all of this vacation (and the bowling as well) and the long walk from the car left me a little owly. Then I saw the portion size of my Carmel Apple Liege Waffle, and wondered where the rest of breakfast was.

The restaurant didn't have prices on the menu, and I wasn't particularly happy at this moment, so I made my wife pay as I wanted no part of seeing the bill.

After that appetizer portion of breakfast, we completed packing and checked out of Harvey's... but without first noticing something that I had missed for three days...

The doors to the elevator vestibule were being held open with towels. Caesars has this wonderful property, which I liked maybe a little too much, and they can't afford $1.49 worth of Ace Hardware door stops.

Driving out of town, naturally I was driving and instead of going back to the Mt Rose parkway, I went east on US 50 to the Spooner Summit into Carson City. US 50 is a four line highway, with gentle curves and swoops. One of us (I am not sure who) said about twenty times "Why the hell didn't we come down this way? This would be an easy drive for me." To which the other one of us (I am not sure who) replied "I like the views taking Mt. Rose better". To which the other one of us (I am not sure who) replied with "Harrumph!" Good times.

After gas in Carson City, we continue into Reno and decide to go to a Caesars property to do some final gambling and to get a free lunch by burning off some Reward Credits, so we head over to Silver Legacy. I play about an hour of craps, never getting in a hole, but never able to break loose that great roll. The closest we came was when the shooter established and made both the 4 and 10, then the 9, leaving the easiest three numbers to hit the Fire bet; but it was not to be. When Melissa told me it was time for a "quick lunch" I colored up with a $22 loss.

We get to the overpass (which makes the row The Row) and decide to just get an easy meal at the Port of Subs, which I guess is officially at Circus Circus. Each of our sandwiches were about $10 (and we just had water with them as we were headed right to the airport). I get to the cashier and they have me sign off on using 4000 RCs. I stopped them to advise them they double billed us... I couldn't even fathom that a sub shop in CC Reno would be a 2:1 redemption, but here we are. I work so hard to hoard these RCs and my penance is two $20 subs. It wasn't even a great one, like Jersey Mikes for criminy sake.

We do the Airport Shuffle, first dropping off me and my bowling balls, then circling around to drop off Melissa and the luggage while I return the car to the Turo lot and Uber back to the airport. All goes perfectly smoothly and we get to the gate 20 minutes before loading (I still say that's 19 minutes too early, but still)... the flight out of Reno was a few minutes late, but we sat on the tarmac a good 20 minutes, which will make for a tight connection.

Vegas, Wooooooo!

The flight to Las Vegas is fine, however there are no wheelchairs at the gate, and the flight to Milwaukee was about to board (and we have pre-board because of her mobility issues). Instead of waiting for the wheelchair, Melissa hoofed it from Gate C1 to Gate C7... it doesn't seem long, but try doing it with a balky knee and a big backpack. She got to the gate right before loading so it all worked out. But as I've said in other reports, if you are going to offer wheelchair service, you gotta have the wheelchairs at the gate. The airport already knows how many staffers they need, as wheelchairs are to be reserved in advance. It would have been really upsetting to miss our plane or at least have my wife (with a bad knee, oxygen concentrator AND a purchased extra seat) get squished in the middle because no wheelchairs were where they were needed if Melissa couldn't walk it.

But we did get seated in appropriate seats and I settled in and watched La La Land on the Chromebook... such a lovely movie and Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling are so adorable together. Pisses me off that (spoiler alert) Emma marries someone else.

On the day I lost $55 for a 6-day total loss of $621.00. Although I had three big hits, I am very happy to have it only cost me $100 per day to gamble. I'd take a trip like that every time. My wife, on the other hand, is still waiting for a hit...
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BC Dave
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PostPosted: May Fri 12, 2023 9:23 pm    Post subject: Wow! Reply with quote

I do believe that takes the cake for outstanding trip reporting! That must have been a lot of work. Thanks very much for posting M James!
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PostPosted: May Sat 13, 2023 7:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just trying to prime the pump, Sir.
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PostPosted: Jun Sat 03, 2023 5:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quite the trip report. Wow! Love seeing the snow in Tahoe.So pretty. Have always wanted to visit in the winter. We prob wont go back there for some time. Maybe it was just us, but we were so dissapointed w the lack of food options between Harveys and Harrahs. No lare night dining and so many places were closed down mid week. Ceasars needs to put some money in updating those properties in my opnion. Just little things.. I still dont get home everything wa sso banged up on those remodelled rooms considering they were recently done. I will say that Caesars is great about the reqards they provide. You can pretty much always get feee rooms with them, even if you havent played in some time.

Do you have a youtube chanel?
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PostPosted: Jun Sun 04, 2023 8:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

alison wrote:
Do you have a youtube chanel?

I *have* a YouTube channel, but since I am not a content creator I don't have a lot of gambling/tourist related content. All my content falls generally into three categories...

1) 1980s and 1990s indoor soccer games that I've uploaded from VHS tapes.
2) Family stuff I've uploaded from VHS tapes.
3) Vids of less than a minute long of various Vegas/gambling clips that I put there to easily upload onto various message boards.

Go in with low expectations and you shan't be disappointed.

I also have a second YouTube channel that I've tried numerous times to get combined into my main feed, but can't get it to work. This second feed, however, does have a brief Virginia St walk from over 10 years ago.
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PostPosted: Jun Sun 04, 2023 8:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

alison wrote:
but we were so dissapointed w the lack of food options between Harveys and Harrahs. No lare night dining and so many places were closed down mid week.

See, funny you mention that... I almost never, ever eat at the property in which I am staying. Whether Reno or Las Vegas, I always rent a car so I have no real interest in being cooped up and beholden to one property. That's part of the reason I had over 60,000 RCs at CET properties; I gamble there to earn comp rooms, but the RCs just increase. As I did on this trip, I will always burn RCs with my Celebration Dinner and maybe a quick snack one day... but then we run the tally and I've earned more new RCs than I had burned.

Frankly, even that dinner at the Sage Room was kind of a "Well, we gotta use that Celebration Dinner some time..." event. My boss has a favorite spot in Tahoe City that he raved about and suggested we go. When we knew that we on coming in on that Monday on the Mt. Rose Hwy, our first plan was to go west to Tahoe City and eat on the deck overlooking the lake at Bridgetender Tavern, but even in a five night trip we couldn't find any other date to place the Celebration Dinner so we passed on Bridgetender in favor of The Sage Room.

We loved our dinner, but eating at a CET properties is not at all a priority for us.
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PostPosted: Jun Sun 04, 2023 10:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

We actually did try to go to a couple places away from property'. We went to a pizza place that was across from Harveys....i had read about another place online we attempted to go to for breakfast butba super long wait. We tend to be night we often will want a late night option. We tried going to Lucky Beaver one night... the place was so oacked and they had security at the door who basically ignored us.

You will have to give me some suggestions for places to eat in Reno area for my next trip. We will probably stay at Peppermill a few nights and then downtown...prob wont go to Tahoe.

The oddest thing for me in Tahoe was no one served Strawberry Daquiris. I have no idea why. Such a common drink. I tend to drink alot of those on our trips to reno...every olace in Tahoe said nope..cant make that.
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PostPosted: Jun Sat 10, 2023 9:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Awesome trip report, M James! A lot of effort put in there.

Note to self: never stay at the Travellers Inn in Reno.

I have not been to Lake Tahoe since I was a kid so am planning three nights there in the fall before my three nights in Reno.

I agree with Alison that Caesars is quite generous with their rewards. I haven't been to any of their properties in two years and they are still sending me free night offers every month. I will be staying at Harvey's too but am a bit leery as the reviews are not good. Sounds like their Tahoe properties need some work done. I will be in one of the "recently renovated" rooms but we'll see how renovated they actually are. But since I am getting a comped room I guess I can't complain too much. I know I have a couple of door stops laying around in the garage somewhere so maybe I should bring them and replace those towels. Wow!

May have to check out Bridgetender Tavern!
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PostPosted: Nov Sun 26, 2023 5:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

GREAT trip report! Love the photos!

I join SeattleSiren: Note to self: never stay at the Travellers Inn in Reno. Run. Run away fast. Do not stop. Avert your eyes.
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