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16 days part 4

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  • 16 days part 4

    Here is some information for those of you who like to go and not rent a car or pay cab fare:

    Well, I'm playing poker across from Joe at the El Cortez and the Orleans poker room comes up in the conversation. Joe says he just does not want to drive there, so I tell him about the bus.
    "I never take the bus," he says, "too many degenerates."
    And then he goes into a mini rant about guys who are disheveled and pee on the bus seats.
    And he seems to really like the term, "degenerates."
    He really stops talking directly to me and talks to the dealer. Joe is a fine and friendly fellow, but he is one of those locals who just is not much interested in these tourists.
    When I tell him the retirement benefits he adds,
    "It must be nice to be retired," so I joke with him,
    "Oh, I get it... everything the matter with the world is because of those bus degenerates and those old retired people."
    Joe is perhaps over seventy. He laughs and in a small way I feel more included.
    Inside I am laughing my head off. We are playing, after all, at the El Cortez. This is the casino avoided by folks for the same reasons that Joe avoids the buses. I have read the same sort of rants.

    I mention some of the new bus routes, explain the advantages of the bus for me, but Joe has his mind made up, so he does not want to be confused with facts.
    It isn't that we have different tastes and needs.
    Joe is just sure that I'm wrong.

    The contrast between my going easily from my home in upstate NY to the Orleans with my luggage by bus and local Joe unable to give himself permission to go to the Orleans poker room, because he does not want to drive there, is just amazing to me.
    Next to me is another local poker player who is handicapped. He quietly tells me that he loves having his $30 a month bus pass and how it just seems nuts to spend money on gas. I guess Joe overhears, but he ignores this fellow.
    I mention to my neighbor that I am more worried about the Vegas car drivers than the bus degenerates. I can avoid the degenerates. I tell him about the one day this trip that I rented a car to go to Red Rock, and how close two cars came to crashing right in front of me in a way that easily would have included me as well.

    Still, I have not taken as many Vegas bus trips this time as I might have taken. Most of these trips were just to move from one hotel to another.

    Fifteen nights in Vegas would be pretty expensive were I to stay at the same place for the entire trip. I also think I would get bored. What I have tried recently to do is to patch together free rooms and discovered deals to lower the cost to very little.
    This moving from place to place strategy lets me build a trip of 15 nights (including two weekends) that on average costs a mere $7.60 per night. But to realize any money moving I have to move with little expense.

    Generally this means I try to plan my trip using Flamingo as my "strip" because I can take my luggage on that bus.

    It also means some hassle. There is the packing and repacking. There is the repetitive bedbug inspections and the worry that since I am in so many different places, my odds of discovering the buggers are increased.
    And there is the problem of moving luggage from place to place when I generally do not rent a car and never take a cab unless I am ill.

    This time I was also burdened by having packed too much. my suitcases were just too heavy for a comfortable roll.
    I had left Albany, flown to Chicago for a first birthday party of a grandchild, then to Denver for a son's thirtieth birthday party and finally was in Vegas. That meant I carried more than I usually carry. I also added to my journey a small coffee maker and an electric hot plate. The hot plate was unnecessary. I thought it would let me warm up some leftovers along the journey. I never used it. It will be great for camping, but it does not offer much convenience in the room.
    The little coffee maker was a great investment.
    see the review??
    add a link here

    Add to the heavy luggage my feeling of age. I turn 65 this year and I'm surprised to feel it. I guess I expected to just keep going along pretty capable of lifting the suitcase of 85 pounds or so, complete with sleep apnea machine and computer. I am not looking forward to the time when I have to stay in one place because I just can't do this.

    Matt "the bucket" helped me out on one journey. We wanted to meet up while he was in town and he had a car, so I suggested one way to meet was for him to drive me from Sam's Town to the Rio. I gave him other alternatives as well. He is a very generous fellow, and he chose that way.
    I then rented a car to both enable a day at Red Rock and allow me to avoid a three bus travel with luggage from the Rio to the Four Queens. So some of the longer between hotel journeys were made more comfortable.

    One problem in the past I have solved.
    I used to pack out too early. Now I wait in the room or take an early morning swim or get breakfast or gamble, and I call to extend my checkout. Every casino will give me until one o'clock and while I am often out well before the deadline, that extra hour gives me more flexibility and less anxiety. It also means that I arrive at the next place, and generally there is a room waiting for me. In all my shifting from place to place I did not had to store luggage with the Bellman once this trip until I stored it at the El Cortez while I was waiting for my 2 pm free airport ride.
    The worst was the Fiesta Rancho in days past. They had a $10 early check in fee, so they would not put me in a room even if it was ready. I'd bring a book and sit in the lobby and take that time as my reading time. But I hated the whole idea. Why would I pay $10 for an hour when my average daily room rental charge is $7.60?

    This is one reason I skip the Fiesta Rancho in my current travels.
    The El Cortez is hard as well. I will often wait there. Perhaps paying for a Cabana room this time made it easier for me to get a room than when I use the ACG coupon for the Pavillion. I saw the woman in front of me have to check bags and wait.

    Most places want to get the guests gambling as quickly as possible, so perhaps they better serve those who rent better rooms.

    Here are the details of my bus trips and my reflections:

    Airport to NYNY on the WAX and then to the Orleans on the 201.

    Getting on the WAX I asked if my senior citizen $2 day pass was good on all the buses and the driver said that it was. I never did use a Deuce or SDX to try that out, but that is what he said. This is exactly what board friend Jimbo reported as well.

    This was a great ride. I arrived at a time when the buses were fairly close together. I was tempted to take a 108 or a 109, but was glad I waited for the WAX.
    Easy, uncrowded.
    And yes, in spite of what the RTC told me on the phone, there is a stop at Koval, so that NYNY is the second stop for the WAX after leaving the airport.
    At the Koval stop we can pick up the 119 or walk across the street to Coco's for a meal before moving on if we like.
    I told my driver that I was worried I'd miss the NYNY stop, and he remembered to remind me, but it could hardly be missed coming right after the light on the strip.
    I waited a while for the 201. I don't think the schedule is coordinated so that the WAX folks hit a 201, but so that the strip travelers hit one.
    Still, this is a very pleasant place to wait. It is out in the fresh air and right in front is the Excalibur which I think of as delightful. Folks pass on the overhead walkway. I was content.
    I like not taking the shuttle which drops me off last at the Orleans. I worry that my apnea machine or my computer will be joggled and broken as they move luggage around to get all the other folks off. I like having my hands on my own stuff. Even with my personal handling, before the end of the trip the apnea machine motor stopped working.
    The 201 bus drops right at the edge of the Orleans parking lot. Listen for the "Arville" prompt. The stop is just past Arville.
    It took me about 45 minutes from airport to check in and cost me a senior citizen price of $2 for a 24 hour pass that I later also used to go to the MGM to play poker, and to get back to the Orleans in early morning hours, when I was again waiting and watching the Excalibur all lit up in the dark night.
    Security on bikes passes close to this stop.
    I better like waiting with luggage there over those more remote bus stops out Tropicana where the 108/109 would drop me. With luggage and my age I just feel vulnerable at those more remote places. there is probalby little actual danger, but I don't want to feel uncomfortable. and I don't at this NYNY stop.
    So I have experienced a fine new way to access the Orleans on a bus and I liked it.
    The WAX, as you might expect, is very luggage friendly with half the bus open in the middle, seats with backs to the window.
    This 201 bus was the old style, so that was more difficult, as I had to lift my bag up three steps. No other bus this week had more than one step in or out and I think it is just the luck of the draw. Once in a while we draw the old style buses.

    Orleans to Eastside Cannery, Boulder

    I have in the past enjoyed rolling my luggage down Arville to the Flamingo bus stop. I just would skip using the tread mill that day, take what rests I wanted along the way, and thought I was getting some great time outside in the sun and air as well as needed exercise.
    However, I had overpacked this trip.
    I tried to repack for this roll, so that the bag was better balanced and easy to roll, but it just was not pleasant. It was heavy.
    So I just went to the first bus stop on Arville and called the bus company to see how long my wait might be. Just as they were telling me a time, the bus arrived. At Flamingo I then had to rush to catch the light and cross back over to get my connecting bus.

    At Eastside Cannery, the Flamingo bus is at the end of the 202 route line and will wait right by the Cannery East parking lot while the driver has a break, and then it will head on a long loop around Sam's Town and back down Flamingo.
    It was piece of cake. I'll feel free to do that again.
    However, next trip I will bring an Arville printed schedule and leave the Orleans at a time when I can catch the bus without much wait. My other trips I remember walking down Arville and getting to Flamingo before I ever saw a bus pass me. The walk is about a half hour.
    ?? check the schedule to see when they come.

    Cannery East to Sam's Town

    I only had one free night at the Cannery East. It gave me a time to play poker late into the night and not have the walk back to Sam's Town along Boulder.

    But it did mean I had to roll my luggage to Sam's Town. I found out the bus stops on the other side of Boulder across from Sam's Town, so I decided to take the 202 with my luggage the next morning just to give me easier access, but the stop was still a good ways from the Sam's Town door, so I probably won't do that again. I am curious about the horse farm we passed along this loop, however. What is that? I know some place in Vegas there is a rodeo. I wondered if that is one spot or if they have horse shows there.
    I am left wondering to about crossing the street were I to go directly to Sam's Town with luggage. It might be better to take the long route around the loop than to have to back up to the light for crossing Boulder. I should have taken a more closer look at the logistics of that.
    Hopefully I will pack lighter next trip and not have the issue.
    I had six nights at Sam's Town, so that gave me a good time to rest and also to repack my bags so things were better arranged where I wanted them.

    Packing for the airplane means everything is scattered.
    I have to get the main bag down to 50 pounds and leave room for my carry on to go in afterward. Then I have to try to repack in the luggage area for the ease of rolling all my luggage.
    At Sam's I repacked for my convenience because I knew that Matt was driving me to the Rio.

    Sam's Town to the Rio

    Matt was actually staying at the Rio, so we pulled out my GPS and headed first to the Bighorn for a visit to a new spot and a couple free meals courtesy of ACG board posting contest. Each month they give two free buffets by drawing the names of folks who have posted.
    Then we went back to the Rio, and I got checked in.

    On my second day I took the 202 to Terrible's, stopped for a $2 breakfast at the buffet, played off a matchplay, and then headed out on the 108 to the airport and then on the shuttle to pick up my Budget car.
    I take the crash waiver for my peace of mind.
    The day's rental cost me a total of $50 and $10 in gas for a Ford Fiesta which would take me to Red Rock one day and get my luggage to the Four Queens the next. In between I used the car for my last visit at the Sahara, but they no longer honor the ACG matchplays. Still I walked through and said good=bye.

    ​​?? photo
    I had planned a visit to the Bass Pro shop at Silverton or perhaps a show, but Red Rock and my all night gambling the night before had tired me out and given me a headache so once again I was just ready for bed.

    Rio to the Four Queens

    The Four Queens let me park in the valet loop long enough to unload my luggage and check in to my room. It was early (before 9am,) but they found a room for me that was in the South Tower and quiet.
    I love the service here.
    I did have a comp set up when I phoned a host, so I suppose I looked more important than I am.
    I returned the car at the airport, took the shuttle to catch the WAX, and was amazed to see it pull right up as I arrived. I had not paid any attention to the schedule. I brought a book for the wait.
    One thing perhaps to say to the people who want to find ground zero is that there is an escalator with "ground zero" noted in a sign above the escalator. By the escalator is the elevator that goes down as well.
    Confusing perhaps is that once on ground zero the only sign says, "Economy parking Terminal 2" So just know that is the gound zero, and walk out and far to the right to see the bus stop area. The WAX, 108 and 109 share the same stop.

    Four Queens to El Cortez

    This is not much of roll of luggage. I use the main El Cortez entranceway which is usually empty and an easy luggage roll with no people to work around. I think there are video cameras there as well. At any rate this roll went very easy, and my final journey with luggage was in the El Cortez free shuttle to the airport at 2 of my last day. It is a bit early, but I like it better than any other way of travel and by then I am ready to say so long, Vegas, see you in a few months.