Trip diaries: Las Vegas
In chronological order. For the complete list of all trips taken, see Jim's Chronology.
See separate files for trips to:
Link to more fotos on
Some descriptors for Las Vegas: excessive, indulgent, themed, stimulating, authentic fantasy, fake reality, attention to detail, thoroughness, illusion.
1956 • Family trip to California
1977 • May • TGI Friday's: Mike McClure; CircusCircus; Folies Bergere?
1977 • September • Friends at TGI Friday's; Folies Bergere?
1993 • May 22-30 • Utah, Las Vegas, Riviera, Circus Circus; Grand Canyon Laird
• Saturday: Dallas to vet, Laird arrives, leave at 1p; 66: Weatherford, Sayre; Amarillo: Aunt Sis dinner; Tucumcari: Motel 6.
• Sunday: Tucum to Las Vegas: downtown, walk plaza, Armand Hammer World College; Ft. Union: walk; mountain pass to Taos, McD, Gorge Bridge; Farmington NM: Motel 6; shop.
• Monday: Car oil change, wash; bkfst; Shiprock, Four Corners, Mexican Hat, Bluff; Monument Valley: Vst Ctr, drive loop; Page: Walmart, McD, Glen Canyon dam, Pariah movie set, Kanab, Zion: lodge check in, walk, sleep.
• Tuesday: Hike Emerald Pools, bkfst: lodge, rest, check out; hike Narrows gateway; lunch: lodge terrace, nap on lawn; Weeping Rock: hike Hidden Canyon, lodge, vst ctr, wash car; St. George: Brigham Young home, temple; Virgin River Gorge, Las Vegas: strip, Riviera: check in, walk strip, Stardust, beer: Riviera lounge.
• Wensday: Bkfst: buffet, walk strip Mirage, Caesars, Forum Shops, Bally's: get tkt, taxi hotel; move to Circus Circus, lunch: buffet, rest, pool, trolley to Excalibur: rollercoaster motion ride, Trop, bus Circus, rest; dinner: buffet, drive Bally's: Jubilee, downtown.
• Thursday: Drive Mirage bkfst: buffet, gamble, Forum Shops, art galleries, La Piazza: dessert & coffee; downtown, UNLV: library pix of old Vegas, Stardust: gamble, Enter the Night, Mirage volcano, walk, sleep.
• Friday: Check out, drive strip, bkfst: Sahara; drive Hoover Dam: tour; Kingman: Arby's; Rt 66 to Seligman, Ash Fork, Williams: Westerner Motel, walk shops, laundry, McD, motel.
• Saturday: Drive Grand Canyon, bkfst: El Tovar, walk rim, Bright Angel Trail, Vst Ctr; drive Desert View: snack, Watchtower, store; Painted Desert, Tuba City, Hopi mesa, Gallup 66, Grants: Motel 6.
• Sunday: Drive Alb: bkfst Old Town, drive Central; Shamrock, Clinton, Edmond 9:30p; dinner: Outback.
1994 • May 30 - June 3 • MGM Grand, Treasure Island
• Monday: Dave Harris ride to airport, flite: Houston Hobby, San Antonio, McCarran; van to MGM Grand, Studio Cafe, casino, pool, drink at bar, room, rest; Tropicana, Excalibur, Luxor: Nile boat ride, atrium, dinner: buffet, Search of Obelisk motion ride, drink at Millennium, ride inclinators, hotel, sleep.
• Tuesday: Bkfst: Oz buffet, Caesars, Mirage, Treasure Island, tkt to Mystere, reserve room, casino, Fashion Mall, bus to Polo Towers, MGM, lunch: Coyote Cafe, room, pool, hot tub, drinks, room, casino, taxi to TI: watch Buccaneer Battle, drink; Mystere, dinner: Mexican, bus hotel, rode Obelisk Search again.
• Wensday: Bkfst: Benninger's, Tropicana, MGM gamble, lunch: Wolfgang Puck's, room: pack, Trop: backstage tour, MGM gamble, drinks, pizza, theme park; taxi to TI, check in, rest; Mirage, Caesars Forum Shops, dinner: Spago, casino, Mirage volcano, TI.
• Thursday: Bkfst: TI buffet, Stardust, Circus Circus, shuttle train to tower, Grand Slam Canyon rides; Riviera, McD, Frontier, TI, room, pool: saw Jim, drinks, room; got rental car: drove Boulder City: plaza, Hoover Dam: new visitors center, Lake Shore Drive by Lake Mead, back to Henderson, I-15 to Jean NV: Boomtown, downtown LV: old fort, Golden Nugget, room ,rest, casino, dinner: TI buffet.
• Friday: Bkfst: buffet, casino, pack, drove Red Rock Canyon: visitors center, scenic loop, hikes, vistas, drive strip, Hard Rock, lunch, Hilton: Starlight Theater, turn in car, airport, Phoenix airport, OKC.
1994 • December 18-26 • Las Vegas, Treasure Island; Dallas, Christmas
• Sunday: Drive, Orchid: arrange furniture; drive airport, flite, McCarran, van to rental car, drive to TI, room, casino, dinner: buffet, room.
• Monday: Bkfst drinks, drive, drug store, Sam's Town: coffee, atrium, State Line: Buffalo Bill's: roller coaster, log flume, roller coaster, lunch: buffet; drive TI, room, Gold's Gym, shops, return car, van to TI, bar, Cowboy game, room.
• Tuesday: Coffee shop, room, bus to MGM, Theme Park: lunch: Kenny Rogers; bus to TI, room, Mirage pool, hot tub, Cal Pizza Kitchen, walk, Sand's, TI, room rest, Stardust, Hilton: Starlight Express, TI.
• Wensday: Buffet, room rest, Mirage pool, room, casino, spa: work out, whirlpool, casino; Mirage volcano, Caesars Forum: 3D motion rides, Planet Hollywood, TI.
• Thursday: Fashion Mall, coffee, Virtual World: 'Tex', hotel check out, Mirage, Flamingo: lunch, pool; Imperial Palace Auto Collection, TI, taxi to airport, flite.
• Friday: Dallas: shopping, dinner: Macaroni Grill.
• Saturday: Gym, Wanda's, dinner, presents.
• Sunday: Leameadow bkfst, presents, Orchid rest, Leameadow dinner.
• Monday: drive to OK, get girls.
1995 • March 20-24 • Hard Rock
• Monday: Flite, Phoenix, Hard Rock hotel: store bag, walk to Holiday Inn pool; lunch, check in, room, pool, hot tub; walk Bally's, Caesars, Mirage, TI, taxi hotel.
• Tuesday: Read, bkfst: hotel, walk UNLV, gym, hot tub, club.
• Wensday: Read, bkfst: market, pool; walk MGM: coffee, get tkt, Excalibur, Trop, MGM: see Doug & Damita, dinner: Coyote Cafe; EFX, walk home.
• Thursday: Read, bkfst: market; gym, massage, lunch: hotel; walk Flamingo: drinks, bagel, Harrah's, TI: Mystere, dinner: TI salad, taxi home, gamble.
• Friday: Bkfst: market, read, hot tub, massage, lunch: (comped), walk mall, TI: pirate battle, Forum Shops, Magic Museum, hotel, taxi to airport, flites with Doug & Damita.
1996 • March 18-22 • Mirage
• Monday: Girls to kennel; airport: front row legroom, read Grisham; LV: get rental car, Texas Casino lunch: buffet, Rio, Mirage: check in, buy tkts; pool: drink; drive NYNY, Fremont Experience, Stratosphere, 7-11 snax, Mirage: gamble, rest; Siegfried & Roy, room.
• Tuesday: Spring Mountain Road, bkfst: McD, airport: return car; Mirage: rest, gamble, spa, swim pool, gamble, room; TI: pirate battle, dinner: Dive, Fashion Show Mall, gamble, room.
• Wensday: Gamble, spa, massage, rest, gamble; lunch: comped buffet, gamble, room; walk Monte Carlo, NYNY, Luxor: lose wallet, retrieve; MGM Grand: monorail, shops, Bally's, Mirage, room.
• Thursday: Comped bkfst: Caribe Cafe, gamble; Forum Shops, Mirage, rest, spa, pool, room, haircut; Flamingo, Harrah's Mirage, dinner: cafe, room; TI: Mystere, gamble, room.
• Friday: Comped bkfst: buffet, gamble, spa, massage, room, check out; taxi airport, flite; get girls, home.
1996 • August 4-8 • Luxor
• Sunday: Flite: front row leg room, next to "Do you see her?" megabitch with weeny boyfriend; LV: luggage, Alamo car; drive Strip, lunch: Stratosphere buffet, tower views, rode Hot Shot, waited on sunset: views, bar, down to lounge show; drive, check-in: room, unpack, read.
• Monday: 5:42 construction noise, bkfst: buffet; Hoover Dam: new vst ctr, movie, exhibits; Kingman: trace old old 66 to Oatman exit, loop to Yucca, to Lake Havasu City: London Bridge, snacks; Colorado River: trace old 66 to Needles, drive; Laughlin: strip, Flamingo, walk river, dinner: buffet, gamble; Boulder City, LV; tour Michael Graves new library, Luxor: gamble, room.
• Tuesday: Bkfst: casino; low on gas, old 91 into Mesquite: Player's Island, buffet; Mesquite, Virgin River Gorge canyons; St. George past Motel 6 (earlier Brice trip) and Taco Bell (earlier Zion Laird trip) to old 91: Santa Clara; tour Jacob Hamblin Pioneer Mormon house; Ivins: old 91 valleys and views; I-15 to Ethel M Chocolate Factory (awful); turn in car, taxi Hacienda, Luxor buffet, room, pool margarita, rest, casino, room.
• Wensday: Read, walk, gamble; Excalibur, NYNY, Monte Carlo bkfst: buffet, room. spa/gym, room, gamble; taxi Caesars, La Piazza, Forum Shops, Country Star Grill: relax, write, ice tea; Luxor room, gamble: almost a Royal Flush K Q A (didn't hold A, got 10 & J), room: read.
• Thursday: Pack, taxi airport: exit row, WRA, drive, get girls, unpack.
1998 • January 11-14 • New York New York
• Sunday: Pack, walk dogs, drive airport, rest, whole exit row; LV: get bag, car, drive Strip, Sahara: buffet, Hilton: Star Trek Experience, Hard Rock: beers, drive, NYNY: check-in, MGM, room read.
• Monday: Bkfst: NYNY America; drive Desert Inn, UNLV, Rio: coffee muffin, gamble, sky parade; Circus Circus; Caesars, turn in car; MGM RainForest Cafe, NYNY: coffee, room rest; Luxor: Imagine, deli, room.
• Tuesday: Monte Carlo bkfst: buffet, Bellagio, Caesars: magician took my watch, Forum Shops: Atlantis show; Mirage: Dolphin & Animal Garden, Venetian Preview Center, Harrah's: buffet; room rest, rollercoaster, Madhattan, visit Jason, walk Showcase, gamble, room.
• Wensday: Luxor bkfst: buffet, room, check out, MGM, lunch: NY deli, taxi airport, explore C & D gates, nice flite; got girls, home.
1999 • January 3-6 • Mirage
• Sunday: Bkfst: Braum's, airport, flite: good seat, view Grand Canyon; get rental car, Hard Rock, Mirage: check-in, room; drive Rio: Voodoo Terrace views; downtown: Glitter Gulch light show; Mirage: massage, dinner: Caribe Cafe, gamble, room.
• Monday: Bkfst: buffet; drive walk desert, LVS&SR: watch & sit, Pahrump, sandwich, Terrible's Town, Red Rock; Whitney Library, Sam's coffee; Mirage: rest, Bellagio shops, tram Monte Carlo, conservatory, O show, dinner: Bellagio cafe, Fountain show, hotel, room.
• Tuesday: Bkfst: buffet; drive Reserve, tour Ocean Spray, drive town, Strbx, Summerlin, Mandalay, NYNY lunch: deli, MGM, return car; Ceasars Empire tour, coffee, Forum Shops, room: rest, spa, workout, hot tub, room, bellagio Fountains with Adam, shops, 3rd fountain show (Sinatra, Chorus Line, classical), Forum dinner: Planet Hollywood, shops, Mirage: Adam gamble, me to room, TI, room.
• Wensday: Bkfst: snack bar, Paris, Aladdin, Starbucks, MGM shops, pool, monorail, Mirage: pack, check out, Forum Shops: 3D Race for Atlantis, coffee: Virgin Cafe, venetian, TI: pirate battle, eat Lookout Cafe, Bellagio Fountains, Mirage: taxi airport, wait delay, easy flite, luggage, drive, home.
1999 • May 31 - June 4 • New York New York
• Monday: Dogs in, gym, laundry; airport: lunch, read Grisham; flite, taxi: NYNY, rest, MGM, dinner: NY America, gamble, views, read.
• Tuesday: Tram Mandalay bkfst: buffet, explore Mandalay, Luxor: coffee, ride simulator, room, pool, read; Trop: get tkt, Gambling Museum, NY deli: lunch, room; strip, Bellagio, strip; room, Trop: Follies, room.
• Wensday: Bkfst: America, strip, tour Venetian, TI: Strbx,; Rio bus: Rio 51st floor, lunch: Beach Cafe, bus; room, Mandalay, room; Lord of the Dance, strip, room.
• Thursday: Rent car, Hard Rock bkfst; Valley of Fire: vst ctr, petroglyphs, Moulin Rouge, Downtown: Neon Museum; Fashion Show Mall lunch, Mandalay, Yesco graveyard, LV volleyball center, Stratosphere Tower: observation, scotch, Bellagio fountains, park, room, gamble, sleep.
• Friday: Check-in airport, read, flite, get girls.
1999 • September 29 - October 3 • Treasure Island
• Wensday: Pack, girls in, airport: bkfst, flite, DFW, ride traain, LV: taxi to Treasure Island: check-in, Venetian, pizza, TI: room, Ven: Penn & Teller, drink, eat, pool deck; TI: read, sleep.
• Thursday: Bkfst: cafe, Ven: coffee, Program, lunch: Star Canyon with Ruthanne, canal shops, Program; TI: unpack strip, Bellagio Fountains, Mirage, room.
• Friday: Ven: bkfst, Program, lunch: Star Canyon with girls, Program, iced coffee, Canal shops, dinner: Mexican Tussaud's Wax Museum, Mirage volcano, TI: room.
• Saturday: Gamble, Ven: bkfst: deli, bus to Yesco sign factory tour; gamble, Paris: lithograph studio, Bally's, monorail, MGM, Elvis auction, Lion habitat, NYNY: snacks, gamble, Fountains, Eiffel Tower: views, fountains; TI: dinner: cafe, room.
• Sunday: Pack, bkfst: Cafe, gamble, pool, read, spa, Strbx, lunch, room: pack, taxi with girls, airport check-in, drive girls home, home.
2000 • May 2000 • Monte Carlo, Mitch
• Friday: drive: lost glasses? Hospital: talk with mom, dinner in hospital, Orchid.
• Saturday: Strbx, Northpark; hospital: visit, talk with doctor; Container Store, Orchid; drive Love Field, dinner: takeout Luby's.
• Sunday: Orchid; lunch: Petroleum Club, S&S, B&D; Orchid; Galleria, Imax: Siegfried & Roy; Orchid, dinner, pack.
• Monday: DFW , flite: Las Vegas: taxi Monte Carlo: check in, gamble, lunch NYNY deli, coffee; MC: pool, rest; food court: coffee; Mitch: drive Strip, Sahara coaster, MC, Luxor: Blue Man Group, dinner: Luxor buffet, Bellagio Fountains, MC: sleep.
• Tuesday: Gamble win $250, coffee, gamble win $130, room, bkfst: MC cafe, bye to Mitch, room rest, gamble lose $100, tram Bellagio, Mirage coffee, Forum Shops: shoes (leave old pair in mall), Paris, room; tram Bellagio, Paris: Notre Dame, gift shop; Bellagio Art Gallery, tram, room.
• Wensday: tram Bellagio, Paris: gamble win $640, bkfst: Paris buffet; room, pack, win $60, MGM: coffee bagel, MC: taxi airport: win $162,; flite: front row leg room; DFW baggage: no car keys in suitcase pocket (unzipped), baggage handler called: he found keys; drive Orchid.
• Thursday: Visits, pack; Strbx, Dart Park Lane, Knox Strbx, Rest Hdwr; Central, Woodall, 35, drive home, get girls.
2000 • December 18-21 • Aladdin
• Monday: Pack, girls in, airport check-in, LV: get car, Aladdin check-in, shops, drive Strip, Reserve: gamble, dinner: Congo Jack's; Alad, rearrange room, read, sleep.
• Tuesday: Strbx, gamble, gym; Suncoast: gamble, lunch, coffee; turn in car, shuttle to Aladdin room, Paris, Bellagio fountains, dinner: Alad cafe, room, read; taxi Rio: gamble, De La Guarda, taxi hotel, room.
• Wensday: Bkfst: buffet, gamble, room read, Caesars: coffee, shops, Venetian shops: mime, singers, lunch: Chinese, Grand Canyon store, MGM, deli to go, room: eat, tv, sleep.
• Thursday: Bkfst: cafe, Bellagio, Desert Passage shops, coffee, gamble: free buffet, room: pack, taxi airport.
2001 • July 27-30 • Flamingo, nSync
• Monday: Aisle seat, prep Typography; taxi hotel: check-in, room, gamble, snax; taxi to Boulder Hwy C-store, get snax, walk to stadium, desert heat, crowds, nSync concert, great set, watch strike, hail taxi, share to Barbary Coast, dinner: Lindy's, room.
• Saturday: Bkfst: buffet, gamble, room, pool, room, Aladdin shops, Strbx, NYNY, Mandalay, Shark Reef, lunch: rock lobster, Luxor iMax: nSync movie, shop, Excalibur, NYNY, MGM: monorail, Bally's, Flamingo: sleep.
• Sunday: Bkfst: buffet, room, Caesars, La Piazza coffee, Forum Shops, lunch: Cafe Lago, Bellagio, Desert Passage, room, Venetian: shops, coffee, pretzel, Guggenheim Hermitage, TI: scotch, Mystere front row, volcano, Flamingo: dinner: Lindy's, room.
• Monday: Bkfst: room pastries, coffee, pack, check-out, taxi airport; roam airport, flite; buy nSync CD, get dogs, home.
2002 • May 26-30 • Caesars Palace
• Sunday: B&N: Mitch Baker, Doug Getzoff, drive airport, flite: aisle exit row, get rental car, give ride to OK woman to Mirage, drive to Stratosphere, dinner: Lucky's, shops, observation, bar, shops, drive Caesar's: check in, unpack, rearrange furniture, read, sleep.
• Monday: Drive strip, old airport, Mandalay, Palms: bkfst, Red Rock Visitor's Center, scenic drives, overlook, spring, pictograph, hikes; drive Liberace Museum; Caesars, La Piazza coffee, gamble, room, drive Gold's Gym, smoothie, return car, shuttle to hotel, gamble, room rest, Forum Shops, Atlantis, dinner: La Piazza, gamble, sleep.
• Tuesday: Bkfst: Cafe Lago, gamble, Bellagio Conservatory, walk NYNY, MGM, Aladdin, Desert Passage: buy mobile for 424, Starbucks, Paris, Bellagio, Gallery: Calder exhibit, Caesars room, pool, iPod music, hot tub; dinner: La Piazza, gamble, shops, sleep.
• Wensday: Bkfst: Cafe Lago buffet, gamble, fitness center, room, Forum Shops, Venetian: Guggenheim Museums - Masterpieces & Art of Motorcycle, lunch: food court, Canal Shops; room, pool, iPod music, room, Cafe Lago, gamble, bellagio: Fountains, shops, snak, room.
• Thursday: Gamble, Cafe Lago, room, pack, photo room arrangement, check out, taxi to airport, exit row, flite, car, drive, dinner, home.
2003 • August 5-8 • Treasure Island
I hadn't had a good getaway for a long time; I wanted to be available for my dad in the nursing home. I took a chance and booked a trip to one of my favorite cities. I sat by the Treasure Island pool, wrote, and read. I didn't see any shows, didn't gamble much, or walk much - just took it easy. It was good.
Dallas: Spent time with dad, worked while in his room, took walks with dad and Bill.
2005 • January • Stardust
Went to The Amazing Meeting - a conference of and for freethinkers. It was fabulous. Great presentations including Julia Sweeney of SNL and Penn & Teller plus numerous other illusionists, scientists, and religious scholars: Richard Wiseman, Jamy Ian Swiss, Michael Shermer, Banachek, Richard Dawkins, James Randi, and Christopher Hitchens.
The most impressive aspect, however, was the goodness of the people there. You know how Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, and Bush have a negative bitter tone about them - these free thinkers were very positive and supportive - not an unkind word about anyone. How refreshing. Just enlightened and intelligent talks about reason, science, and evidenced phenomena. After the 4 day conference, I spent a day just enjoying Vegas. Rented a compact car (but they were out so they gave me the use of a Cadillac Escalade). Saw the new Cirque du Soleil show, KA, at MGM Grand, drove downtown to see the Neon Museum, the new wing of shops at the Forum at Caesars Palace, and the new outdoor show at Treasure Island. Vegas is such a great visit. I've yet to tire of going there. The design, architecture, and attention to detail are outstanding. It is easy to get around, fun to see new sights, and wander the strip and ogle outstanding architecture, exhibits, and people. It is a real hoot.
2007 • January • Riviera
Highlights: LOVE The Beatles by Cirque du Soleil, Phantom of the Opera with more effects and grander sets, The Amazing Meeting conference of freethinkers and skeptics: Richard Wiseman, Penn & Teller, Michael Shermer, Banachek, Adam Savage, James Randi, Julia Sweeney, Phil Plait, Jamy Ian Swiss, and Trey Parker & Matt Stone. Afternoon with Mitch Baker, stayed at the older Riviera Hotel and explored the new Wynn Resort.
2009 • November 19-22 • Flamingo
• Thursday: Flight, Houston, back of plane, car rental, check in Flamingo; coffee shop lunch - good sketch notes; walk Caesars, Forum shops; Bellagio Fountains, Salad and yogurt in room, TV.
• Friday: Brkfst buffet; drive Boulder City, Hoover Dam, Visitors Center, drive Lake Mead, Strip, hotel; Serendipity lunch; Mandalay shops, Luxor; Criss Angel.
• Saturday: Brkfst Margaritaville outside - work on NY trip, room; Venetian, Palazzo, First lunch, TI, tram, Mirage, room; City Center, NYNY, MGM, Planet Hollywood shops, drink, Paris, shops, Bally’s, Bellagio fountains, room.
• Sunday: Brkfst: Caesars, walk Caesars, gamble, room dump, pack check out, gamble; drive Flamingo Rd: Red Rock park, walk brdwalk, drive car return, check in, shuttle, check in - get exit rows, Chili’s lunch, flite home.