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A series of trip reports from this winter and spring

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Joined: 25 Dec 2005
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PostPosted: Apr Fri 24, 2009 11:06 pm    Post subject: A series of trip reports from this winter and spring Reply with quote

What's up, hope everyone is doing well!

Since I've been lagging due to various computer issues, deaths in the family, getting molars pulled, wicked snowstorms and lots of powder turns, I decided to consolidate all of my trip reports from this winter (and spring) into one big thing. What a wild ride this season was, so here goes:

Tahoe, December 12-14, 2008

Even though another snowstorm was lurking I decided to brave it and headed for South Lake on Fri, December 12. I was greeted with the tiniest Ford Focus I've ever seen at the rental car place! "Hope this makes it over the grade," I thought to myself.

Believe it or not, the only place I could get into in Stateline was at Montbleu, everything else was outrageously overpriced for that weekend due to the Tahoe Film Festival. It wasn't the first place I would've picked after my hell trip a couple years back but it was pretty much the only option at $79 per night casino rate. I guess enough people have raised hell about their customer service that they're finally getting a bit more organized. They put me in a premiere room on the 15th floor, no problems at all, really strong WiFi connection and an awesome view of Heavenly. The hot tub was really powerful. Didn't drop a red cent in any of their machines with the exception of the free $10 of slot play which went in about 5 seconds.

Next day, snowboarded all day at 50 mph winds and really bad visibility. Only a few trails open, so gotta keep it fun right?

Lost about $250 between Harveys and the Horizon that evening. They still have the $7 prime rib moonlight special at the Horizon coffee shop, it's always good.

Back on the slopes the next morning to watch the wind clear up, and for it to start dumping again...hard! I decided not to take Kingsbury Grade going back home because of the little rental car, so I went straight down Hwy. 50. About a mile down the road, the "Chains Required 1 Mile Ahead" sign was flashing. Turned around, went to Raley's supermarket and picked up a cheap set of tire chains for the little rental car. Turns out, the roads going down were pretty clear so it was kind of a wasted purchase at the moment. Started dumping again hard in Carson City, but was clear until I was about 20 miles outside of Mammoth. The chains came in handy after all, only way in and out of town! Actually lost them and spun out in the snow right in front of the rental car place at the airport...close one!

Down about $300 on this trip but still had fun.

Reno, January 9-11, 2009

Some of you might remember all of the computer trouble I had earlier in the year. My first machine got stolen during UPS shipment, and I noticed that the screen started going on the fritz on the replacement that took forever to get. So, the main purpose of this trip was an appointment with the Apple Store (and the Peppermill).

This time, no snow or stormy weather whatsoever on the roads here, so go figure that they gave me a free upgrade to a 4x4 at the rental car place on this trip! Just when you need it the least...

I responded to an offer I received from the Peppermill for 2 nites in a Grand Suite for $59 per night, not bad at all for a suite on a weekend. Got into town at about 11 pm and was checked in on the 10th floor. Fortunately, I got one last view of the old ghetto decor...this one hadn't been remodeled yet!

Everything was in really good condition and everything worked. The hot tub, steam shower, refrigerator, icemaker, ac, everything was in really good shape. I still don't understand why they don't at least keep some of the suites the old way, I haven't encountered any trashed ones yet. I think it's the tower rooms that were in major need of remodel. I did happen to catch a glimpse of the new tower rooms while housekeeping was on my hall and was actually close to the front elevators where the three hallways connect. Two of the hallways were decked out with the new carpet, and the third hallway was still the old zebra skin stuff. It was pretty funny, a little bit of the old and new throughout the whole trip. The only downfall was that I got stuck in a pink suite...

Went down to the casino and like the case has been lately, no new machines anywhere at the Pep, so I decided to stick with the old standbys. Sure glad I did! After being down about $150, within an hour, the wins were as follows:

$150 on the three coin $1 Double Ten Times Pay (never fails me...)
$200 mixed 7's on the three coin $1 Blazing 7's
Another $200 mixed 7's on the three coin $1 Blazing 7's right beside it
ANOTHER $200 mixed 7's on the three coin $1 Double Blazing 7's on the next aisle
$500 on the three coin $1 Diamond Line Frenzy

Played about $150 of it back, and called it a night...up about $1100!

Next morning, it was off to the Apple Store. Don't ask how or why this happened to my brand new computer, but it turns out that the logic board, inner LCD panel, and power supply all needed to be replaced! They couldn't get it done by Sunday night so I was told I'd have to come back the following weekend to pick it up. Reno two weekends in a row...dangerous! Everyone, avoid the new Apple iMac at all costs, lots of people are having trouble.

I wound up meandering off into the high limit lounge once I was back at the Pep. Lost about $200 but did manage to play for a while and it's always fun playing the $5 machines. The free cocktails in the high limit lounge have to be triple the size of the regular ones!

Managed to get another set of all the good buy one get one free coupons, and the coffee shop is always good.

Besides leaving up $800, I was able to get about $40 in comps this trip, and made my way back five more days I would be back again...

Reno and Tahoe (AGAIN), January 16-18, 2009

Hey, wasn't I just here? Managed to leave Mammoth and get to the Apple Store literally 30 seconds before they locked the doors. Although my machine was fixed for the moment and was covered by factory warranty, I made up my mind right then and there that I got stuck with lemon and that an eBay sale would be in progress very soon!

Since boarding at Kirkwood and Heavenly were in the lineup for the weekend, I wound up staying at Montbleu again with the same $79 casino rate offer I did in December. Still didn't win anything off of the $10 free slot play, and STILL didn't gamble here!

Finally caught a good riding session at Kirkwood the next day, it was kind of bummer that three previous sessions there this season all turned out bad, the chairlifts close due to wind alot here, so it was good finally being able to ride with everything being open.

$300 up on a $1 Wheel of Fortune at the Horizon Saturday night, another full day of riding at Heavenly the next day, down $150 on another 3 coin $1 Blazing 7's at Harrah's, and it was time to go home. Still ahead!

Las Vegas, March 20-22, 2009

OK, this trip it was time to head south to Vegas. I had just been through major hell for the previous two weeks...had to wind up getting three molars extracted on my birthday, woke up with my face swollen like a balloon, massive infection that came pretty darn close to entering my bloodstream! About an hour after that was over, I found out my grandmother in North Carolina passed away. Not a good time!

I responded to the usual 3 free nights, 2 free buffets and $50 freeplay offer at Sam's Town. The main reason I was hitting Vegas this trip was to finally redeem all of the points/comps/etc. I've accumulated over the past six years at Terrible's Paradise Road location. Seems like every trip, I only tell myself I'll stay in there for an hour but something always keeps me in there all day. (I think it's all the hardcore locals, it's always free entertainment in shady, it's fun!) Tried their restaurant a couple of times, but other than that, hadn't redeemed any points or comps for a full six years. It was definitely time to do something!

I wound up with a $750 gift card to Best Buy, where I got a 32" 1080P SurroundSound HDTV/Monitor, a new iPod Nano, some accessories for my new laptop, and a few other things. Not a bad comp package at all (although I'm still wondering how much money I blew getting those 95,000 points!) Vizio makes awesome TV products, best bang for your buck...they had to wind up ordering it right from the manufacturer but it was worth the wait.

Got an outside facing room on the top floor at Sam's Town. which is actually the best area...the rooms facing the atrium have nice views but that laser light show they have going every few hours gets really annoying. Sam's Town replaced all their TVs with flat panels, and they do have WiFi available from a separate company now. One thing I noticed about all these hotels in general is that they're all advertising "Hi Definition TV" but in reality it's still good ole' fuzzy cable hooked to a flat panel. Hopefully they'll upgrade soon, they have the equipment and there really is a difference! Everything was in good shape and the Firelight Buffet is always good.

This trip was a bit scary, I was down $650 within a day and managed to win $400 of it back between Boulder Station, Arizona Charlie's and the new Eastside Cannery right before leaving town. Not a bad trip at all, Vegas always seems to be the place where I lose the most in the shortest time frame!

Reno and Tahoe, April 20-23, 2009

A few weeks ago I found out that I had 4 unused sick and personal days at work I needed to utilize before April 24 or I lose 'em. I tried putting together a last-minute trip to Hawaii, but it was still really pricey even with all of my normal discounts, so once again, I followed the comps...back to Reno and Tahoe! I decided that if I won $500 or more, I'd go to Hawaii, but if not, at least I was using up all the comps...I'm going to the Gold Coast Australia this summer and am trying to get primed up. (I just found out they have a casino there too...)

Decided to try out the shuttle bus that goes from Mammoth to Reno this trip. You can't shake a stick at $42 round trip and it got there practically the same time as driving.

This time around, I received my first official FREE offer from the Pep. It was for two free nights in the Peppermill Tower (an offer that's actually usable twice during two separate time frames, so it looks like I'll be going back soon.) They spoke of some type of coupon book called Adventures In Tuscany that was available and looked like a pretty good deal as their mainstream coupons usually are. This particular promotion, however, turned out to be a ripoff, and very misleading! In order to get the full benefit and honoring of all the coupons and the full $250 slot play, you had to do every and all of the following things during your stay:

Spend $50 or more at Bimini and Chi for a free entree
Spend $50 or more at the Edge nightclub for a free admission ticket
Spend $100 or more for a free treatment at Spa Toscana
etc., etc... about 9 more things...

So in other words, "spend a grand and get some free stuff."

In reality, I couldn't see doing all of this in a couple of days even if I was a high roller! They didn't even honor my $25 free slot play that was supposed to be included in the deal. I was looking forward to some more buy one get one free coffee shop and island buffet coupons but they were nowhere, I think they actually base the coupon set on which tower you're staying in.

Oh, speaking of which, they did offer me a free upgrade to a Tuscany Suite in the new tower, and since it started out as just a regular tower room, that was quite an upgrade, so I took it. Keep in mind, I had only been in this part of the new Pep on the day Biscotti's opened in November 2007, so it was pretty interesting to see that it's all been built up pretty well since then!

I had no complaints about the suite, it was massive! I was on the 4th floor facing the back side so the view was actually of the apartment complex behind the Pep. I have to admit that I still like the old jacuzzis better than the new ones. The one thing that drove me up the wall is that the motor turns on and off on these new ones at random after they are drained to pump air in and dry them out. After about an hour of the thing going on and off at random, I finally figured it out. All in all, it was a free upgrade and I took it, but I don't think I'd pay money to stay in the new tower. It's too far from the casino, too many escalators, and endless streams of people you have to trip over to get there...not my thing, but it was nice. The new pools, nightclub ad lounge looked pretty well maintained. It just doesn't seem like the old Peppermill.

Checking out on Wednesday, it was off to Tahoe again, where I used my free mountain tower room at Harveys. It had actually been a few years since I'd stayed here and it looks like they're keeping the rooms up well. A little on the small side, but no complaints here, free is free! Unfortunately the pool and hot tub were closed, but the ones at Harrahs are a little nicer so it was worth walking over.

No luck at all on this trip, unfortunately. Wound up losing $250 at the Pep, $120 at the Atlantis, and $20 at Harveys. I did win a whopping $2.50 off of a $10 freeplay ticket there, so at least it was a little something...

So, that concludes all my gambling adventures for the winter (and spring). Hopefully I'll have better luck on my next trip!

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PostPosted: Apr Sun 26, 2009 10:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey MG

Good hearing from you. Certainly canít say you havenít been up to much this past winter-early spring. Sad to hear you grandmother passed away. No matter how old they are, itís still a shock. Who needs molars anyway? Just kidding, glad you got it taken care of. Of course you didnít have much choice.

Happy to hear you had a winning trip at the Pep on your favorite X10 machine. Blazing saddles (err i mean 7's) have never been good me. But, there are plenty of people who win on these machines. Gary and I feel the same way about the new addition. Itís lovely, itís beautiful but it sure is a hike to the casino. We go over but not every day. We prefer the tower rooms too. Surprised to see you had a room that hadnít been refurbished. You must have some pull for the Pep to have a Mammoth Gambler 70ís suite for you. Good going!

Tahoe looks as beautiful as always. What a piece of heaven. Thanks for including the pictures.

Sounds like you have big adventure plans for the remainder of the year. I even looked at America's casino listing to see if Hawaii had a casino. None were listed. Sure you'll find something else to do.

Weíre heading back to Reno end of next month for five days. Itís been a long dry spell for us since we havenít been gambling since last December.
Thanks again
Sharon and Gary
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PostPosted: Apr Mon 27, 2009 11:08 am    Post subject: Grist for the (Pepper) Mill Reply with quote

Comprehensive and voluminous - just the way we like 'em!

Thanks for sharing all that - good stuff!
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PostPosted: Apr Mon 27, 2009 1:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I enjoyed the reports. I was wondering if you have ever made a quick trip to Topaz Lodge or Carson Valley Inn (Minden)? I have met several people from Mammoth that come just for a day.
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PostPosted: Apr Mon 27, 2009 2:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


Thanks for the very interesting TR. If you go to that casino in Australia would you be willing to bring back a chip for me? I can send you some money in advance to cover the costs. Thanks.
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PostPosted: Apr Mon 27, 2009 7:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi everyone and thanks for the replies!

Remano, yeah I'll be more than happy to get you chips, no worries about the cost...I'm hearing that down under their bills are made of plastic so I was planning on checking that out myself. The casinos are Conrad Jupiters in Surfers Paradise/Broadbeach, and Conrad Treasury in Brisbane. I think they might be relatives of the Hilton chain, there might be a few others along the way too so I'll definitely bring back some stuff. It's going to be winter there, BIG waves! One thing I thought of right off the bat, is if I have any wins, the exchange rate right now is about $1 US to $1.42 AUS so that could be a good little bonus. Over there the machines are called "pokies" I think and the Aristocrat machines pretty much rule it.

CaSwede, yes, I actually hit both places very frequently and they are very unique, a much different vibe than the bigger casinos. The Topaz Lodge usually has some of the cheapest gas between Reno and Mammoth, their buffet is very good and their reels still drop coins. I've only been in the Carson Valley Inn a few times recently but it's a cool place, I think it might have recently been remodeled. Plus, the shuttle even stops at all these places along the way to Reno so you could really go casino hopping at a very cheap price, and back!

Stan, thanks, good to see you!

GaryandSharon, thanks for the condolences. The upside was that I was able to attend the funeral via webcam! Technology is awesome these days. Best of luck on your upcoming trip and hopefully you'll win big! I noticed they did move a few machines around in the dollar area but that was about it.

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PostPosted: Apr Wed 29, 2009 9:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for writing up your trip reports, and the pics are always a nice touch.

R and I just did a loop of Nevada, and we were wondering about taking 395 sometime, rather than our usual CA hwy 5 route, or 95 through Nevada. (from Davis).

We've never been to Yosemite or Mammoth, and would like to see some new terraine on one of these next loops. Which way do you go when you head to Vegas?
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PostPosted: Apr Wed 29, 2009 10:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Mammoth!! Enjoyed it as always!! Smile
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PostPosted: Apr Wed 29, 2009 8:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi RenoLady, good to see you! I'd highly recommend the 95 to 395 route for sure. To Mammoth from Vegas it's a 300 mile stretch and it's awesome - pure desert that just stops and turns into mountains and lots of cows as you get closer. Death Valley is along the way. The last 35-40 miles or so on 95 before hitting 395 is a long, windy, STEEP road over several grades, it's awesome but don't get stuck on it in the winter as they don't snowplow or salt and it's deadly. There's actually a unique feature, a one lane stretch of road that rides right through the bottom of the canyon. Once on 395 there's so many smaller, way cool towns along the way, like Bishop (the Paiute Palace Indian Casino is there), Lone Pine, Independence, Crowley and Convict Lake, etc. There's actually an ancient Japanese shrine along the way that was once a prison camp during the wars, as well as the Bristlecone National Forest. Lots of historic stuff to see and do. Funny thing was, I didn't know about most of it until I actually moved here. Keep going south on the 395 towards Reno and there's Topaz Lake, Carson City, Gardnerville, and the roads to Tahoe along the way, it's perfect, about a dozen casinos before the Reno casinos! Yosemite is only about 35 miles away, I still haven't been yet.

Hi Alison, good to see you, when is your next Reno trip?

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PostPosted: Apr Thu 30, 2009 8:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

not FOREVER!!! October!! Booooo!
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PostPosted: Apr Thu 30, 2009 10:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

MG & RL,

By all means check out Yosemite. It has got to be one of the most spectacular pieces of real estate in the country. The only problem is that it gets so crowded. If the park service would just close it down to everybody but me and a few of my friends, it would be perfect.
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