Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Vegas Trip

This is our annual trip to Vegas for vacation.  Gary and I just love going to Vegas and we always have a great time.  This year Jennifer went with us.  We decided to drive down, this way if we wanted to go somewhere we could. 

It took us two days of driving.  We left Hardin when Gary got off work on Wednesday the 9th and we made it as far as Dillon.  We chose to drive I-15 all the way due to the storms east of us.  We had great weather. 

We got into Dillon around 8:30 pm, found a motel got a room and slept.  The plan was to leave bright and early in the morning and make our way to Vegas.  We did, but it sure was a long day.  It helped that Gary and I switched about every 3 hours.  Somehow I ended up driving in the cities.  In Salt Lake we ran into a very heavy down pour and that was the worst weather we got.

We arrived in Vegas about 3:30 pm their time.  It was very easy finding our way to the Excalibur, however I ran into very heavy traffic.  The GPS on my phone was very handy.

Last year Gary and I bought a timeshare in Vegas, so this was a great opportunity to stay there, we could only check in on Friday, Saturday or Sunday, that's why we stayed at the Excalibur for one night.  This also gave Jennifer a chance to visit the strip. 

We were so tired from driving 12 hours that we didn't visit the strip for very long, we all just wanted to get some good sleep.  The next morning we ate breakfast in the Rainforest CafĂ© in the MGM Grand and that was fun, then we made our way to the Grandview by South Point Casino.

Getting onto the interstate is not easy from the Excalibur, even though it looked easy we were not able to make a left hand turn.  Followed the GPS to get to the Grandview, but the GPS did not recognized where the Grandview is, off of Silverado Road.  We went a couple blocks and was told that our destination was to our left.  That was an empty lot fenced in.  We at least had an idea where to go, managed to get onto the Interstate and made our way.

Got checked in, found where we needed to go.  The clerk who checked us in told us that we could get a free breakfast on Saturday, we would be taken to the Silverton Casino which is the next exit over, get to tour the new building and take a quick survey.  We said sure why not, we also got $100 worth of meal vouchers to use at the South Point Casino.  At check in we were given coupon books for all of us to use each day we were in Vegas.  The most important one was a free cocktail, which we had every day.

We spent the rest of the day wandering around and checking things out.  Got in touch with Ed and he met up with us at the South Point later that evening.  Took him out for dinner then we went to the lounge for some drinks and visiting.  It was a very nice evening.
Saturday morning Gary and I got up early, got a workout in the little gym at the condo complex, then we got cleaned up and down to the reception area to meet with people for our "free" breakfast after we placed our bets on the college football games.  I had a sneaking suspicion that we got conned into listening to another sales pitch.  The sales person came out and greeted us and sure enough we were in a sales pitch.  Gary was a bit rude with her at first, which made me mad.  Told him that it wasn't her fault.  Anyway we went out on our "free" breakfast to the Silverton Casino.  This time it was one on one with her.  We didn't go with a big group.  We qualified for this as being first time owners and being within one year.  In the end we upgraded to a two bedroom condo getting 80,000 points every other year and two free weeks every year.  Before we got one free week every year and 49,000 points every other year with a one bedroom.
Jennifer had a horrible night trying to sleep on the pull out couch that Gary managed to get her her own room in the complex.  The unit right next to ours was empty but they put her on a different floor but in the same building as us.  She got her own space.  We also learned that we use our free weeks to Vegas and use the points to stay else where. 
On this trip I used points to stay in Vegas and now we have a free week to use.  We are thinking about going to Deadwood for a long weekend in December.  Otherwise we will have to eat our free week.  We have until February to use this free week.
Gary did apologize to the lady for his rude behavior earlier.  Our whole morning was shot so we made the best of it.  We are happy upgrading and with Gary retiring again in April will have more of an opportunity to travel.  I told him that I want to take one week for our annual girls trip.
We did get our $100 dinner vouchers to use at the South Point Casino, so we ate at the Mexican restaurant, only used $50 worth and paid $2 for the rest of the bill.  Our dinner for 3 ended up costing us $10 out of our pocket, this included the tip.
Later that night we met Ed at Fremont Street.  He had Eden and it didn't make sense for him to drive all the way south to pick us up then head up north.  While we were at the sales pitch, told the gal what we were doing, she told us parking is a premium down there.  She had a key to the Golden Nugget Casino, told us that we could park in their garage all we had to do was show them the key.  I just had to make sure that she got the key back.  That worked like a charm.  There was a guy at the entrance to the garage and told me that only guests could park inside, I showed him the key and in I got to go.  It was crowded, ended up parking on the top of the garage.  Glad he didn't ask what room we were in.
Found Ed and we enjoyed ourselves people watching.  I took a picture of the Fremont Street Experience, it was an experience all right.  We must have spent a couple hours there.  Watching the light show was the highlight.


Getting back onto the Interstate to get us back to The Grandview, I just followed the GPS.  It took me through an area that was very dark and was not a place where we should have been, but there was the turn off to get onto the Interstate.  Whew!! 

The rest of our time was spent lazing around the pools at the condo complex or gambling in the casino.  Gary and I both lost on the sports betting but I won probably about $200 on the machines.  Jennifer played the machines as well and she won around $200 too.  She was pretty happy.  There were three games that she liked the best.

Gary and I went to the MNF party at the casino.  It was free and they were giving $250 after every quarter along with some other prizes.  Jennifer didn't go with us to this, instead her friend Arthur met her while he was headed to his family home in Palm Springs.  They got to visit for a couple hours.  Gary and I didn't win any prizes, which went right along with our luck this year.

Before we knew it, it was time to get ready to head for home.  We took I-15 all the way, this time there was no rush.  We made it to Pocatello for the night.  Then got back home around 4:00 in the afternoon on Wednesday the 16th.  It worked so much better breaking up the drive into two 8 hour days.

All in all we had a good time and are already planning for our next trip to Vegas in April.


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Cody Tae Kwon Do Tournament

Last Saturday we had a tae kwon do tournament in Cody.  A great opportunity to visit the Grandma's in Meeteetse and check out Mom's new house.  I was excited to be her first guest to spend the night.

Jennifer went with me, she had a rough two weeks at work.  She had to work 10 days straight and each day she worked 1-2 hours overtime.  She really needed a break and this would give her a chance to get out of town for the weekend.

We had to be in Cody by 9:00 so that meant leaving Hardin by 6:30 am.  I had every intention of getting an early start, but the tires on my car had other ideas.  I had low air pressure in a tire and needed to get it filled.  There went my extra time and now I'm running late.  The tournaments never get started on time anyway.

We got into Cody right at 9:00 am, it didn't take me long to find the school, it is easy to find.  All my students were there before me.  I had five students competing and it was a short tournament.  Jennifer and I both work the tournament, helps make the time go fast.  Three of my students were high enough in rank to help too and we get a free lunch.  We were done with the tournament by 3:30 pm, my students did well.  Had 5 students compete in 12 events and they all medaled in all their events, coming home with 4 gold, 5 silver and 3 bronze medals.

After the tournament Jennifer and I went to get a drink, then we looked over paperwork and brochures on the next trip that Grand Master Park is hosting.  This trip will be going to Las Vegas in June.  It's a 5 day trip and we would be touring the National Parks (Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, Bryce & Zion).  We both want to go on this trip.  The price is $1068 per person and that includes air, hotels, transportation, meals and entrance into the National Parks.

I told Mom that I would buy her some new bedding for her house, so we bought two new bedding sets for her beds in the new house.  She had some bedding but I wanted to get her a gift for her new house.  We got to Meeteetse around 5:00, visited for a bit then went out for dinner at The Elk Horn.

Before dinner, we stopped at the new house and got a tour.  It is a very beautiful home and Mom will have fun with it.  I am amazed at the size of the garage, she could easily get 4 cars inside, it is huge.  She has plenty of storage space.  After dinner went back to the house for more visiting, then Jennifer and I went back to town.

I was amazed that the old owners left the two bedroom furniture sets, it is very nice.  In the queen/antique room they left a queen sized bed, two dressers and two night stands.  In the king/western room they left the king sized bed, dresser and table at the foot of the bed.  The man made this furniture.  Jennifer and I already call dibs on the antique dresser with the mirror.  Mom already has set rules to the new house, mainly I have to leave that dresser in Meeteetse.  It wouldn't fit in my car anyway.

Mom doesn't have furniture in the house yet and no internet or tv yet, that will come later.  I packed a couple camping chairs for us to sit on, but we were so tired that we just got ready for bed. The beds are very comfortable and we got a good nights sleep.  I got better sleep than I would have if we stayed in the trailer.  We are going to have so much fun staying at Helen's Hotel.

Sunday morning I woke up early, walked to the Wee Market to get a cup of coffee and some little donuts for a quick bite to eat before church.  We had to be at church by 8:30.  After church we went back to the new house to pack up our stuff and I was told to take some zucchini, squash, cucumbers and tomatoes.  I only took some zucchini (4 huge ones) and one tomato (the rest are tiny).  We don't eat squash, but I do make zucchini bread.

More visiting with the Grandma's, they fed us lunch then we had to get back to Hardin.  I told Gary that we would be home for supper.  Besides I had received a weather alert for high winds in the Cody area later in the afternoon.  I got home before the winds.

Had a good time visiting, came home with 4 huge zucchini and a bottle of white wine.  What more could I ask for.