|The Metropolis Arch|
Well with Shari in Washington for the week taking care of her mother, it left me alone for the weekend with not a lot on the agenda. I had had thoughts of doing another marathon and going for my maniac status, but truth be told, I had run dead-legged most of the week and I knew that if I did dare to do a marathon that it wouldn't be the best experience. Also with a lot of other big racing goals this season, I didn't want to jeopardize things with an overuse injury or even burnout.
With Shari not being a super big fan of Elko and me wanting to hit the open road -- plus having received a bunch of coupons for free "stuff" in Nevada I made some calls, set up my trip and after a hard day of work on Friday, at about 4:30pm I took off on the I-80 and headed due west.
My trip there was pretty uneventful. Traffic died way down after I got out of Salt Lake proper and was reduced to a trickle once I got past Wendover -- it seemed like just me and a handful of semis. I almost stopped in Wendover for the seafood spectacular buffet, but the whole goal of this trip was to try and do some new things. Midway between Elko and Wendover however, I was nibbling on a few snacks I had brought.
The three hour trip went by fast and I am always stunned with the natural beauty west of West Wendover. This was only the third trip I've made that far and it went by quickly. I truly just enjoyed driving on the open road in a straight line with the cruise control enabled.
I arrived at 6:30 Pacific time (I gained an hour) and ran over to the Player's Club area at the Red Lion Hotel and Casino. To activate my free room I had to present my player's club card and my coupon. A few minutes later I went and checked in and got my absolutely free Friday night room. In addition, they gave me a free breakfast pass (up to an $11 value) for being a Red Lion member.
If you haven't stayed at the Red Lion, it is well worth it. Also the rooms are almost like a suite, with nice furnishings and very comfortable beds. The place is well kept up and everyone working there is super friendly and helpful. It is my go to place when I am in Elko.
I quickly cleaned up and decided I'd give the buffet a chance. Last time I had their buffet I thought it was so-so. It was definitely a far cry from Wendover's but I was curious to try their seafood buffet. I got in for $27 minus an $8 coupon I had as being a player's club member. They have a huge selection of seafood, but the crab legs are crack your own. They are still meaty and worth the effort:
I went in for plate after plate of crab legs. In fact, I filled that silver pail to the brim once and they had to replace it. They also had the best coconut shrimp I've had in a long long time.
I think I caught some stares from the people next to me at the counter because they asked me if I was from the coast. I replied, "No, why?" and they said they saw how expertly I was ripping into the crab legs and figured that I was a pro. I said no -- just someone with a lot of buffet practice.
I sat there for 90 minutes filling my pie hole. Truth be told, it was sort of embarrassing because I am a total glutton. If you like seafood this is a good buffet -- if you don't, then you will be disappointed (so don't do it on a Friday night).
I scoped the casino and decided to play my old favorite: Fu Dao Le. They had a pair of these machines that I rotated between. For a while I was up about $20 but as the night wore on the bonus rounds became far and few between and were paying only minimal amounts. One of the highlights on the night was this $40 hit:
I did try my luck with a Planet Moolah and that ate my twenty faster than I could blink. By the time midnight rolled around, I was down about $100. I guess I was paying for my room after all.
Dejected, I turned in and hit the sheets.
In the morning, I started my day off with a morning run. You can read about it here. After cleaning up and packing my stuff in my car I decided to hit the buffet. The buffet was about $15 and with my coupon, I wound up eating for about $5. Score another one for me.
There buffet is definitely a lot smaller than Wendover's but I liked what they had and definitely made a killing eating plate after plate and sucking down Arnold Palmer's (Iced tea with Lemonade).
|My perch at the counter|
I decided to do a little gambling before heading out. I wanted to let the food settle and use the bathroom if needed. I had a full day ahead of me and it is always good after a big meal to let it digest a bit.
I jumped on my Fu Dao Le machine and figured I'd toss in a few more bucks. What the hell, I figured, the Red Lion had been good to me, if I won great, and if I lost, I'd consider it a tip for the treatment they had given me.
Luckily I had some good fortune. I got a nice pick'em bonus and once again found myself with 2 picks for the mini (about $20), the minor (about $120) and the major $1000. I was scared to death of picking the mini and my heart began to pound like crazy with the thought of scoring another major. I did get the minor and I wound up leaving the Red Lion with a total loss of about $60. Well within my budget.
After collecting my winnings, I headed to my car and went to the South Fork Reservoir State Park. You can read about it here.
After spending a good 2 - 3 hours there, I gassed up the car and headed east. I had booked a room at the Rainbow and I took a break midway through the trip to visit Metropolis, Nevada -- a ghost town just outside of Wells. You can see the pictures I took here.
Just before 7pm I rolled in West Wendover and checked in. I also had a free room coming my way for Sunday, so I opted to keep the room until Monday morning -- at least I'd have a room to spend all day in if I so chose to.
I cleaned up and made the trip over to Montego Bay. The line-up for the buffet was insanely long and I wound up killing time in the casino checking out the sports book and watching people gamble. Luckily they processed people really quickly and about 30 minutes after arriving I got into their Saturday Night Spectacular. The Saturday night buffet isn't cheap and while I could've used comps to pay for it, I decided to bank those and just pay the $24. I made a killing there, although I felt like I filled up quick enough. Their freshly made tuna steaks are the best though.
After eating, I realized that Montego Bay was insanely busy and I couldn't really find a free Fu Dao Le to play. Usually the Peppermill is a lot quieter so I went there. It too was fairly busy, but not as bad. I wound up finding an unoccupied Fu Dao Le and stuck a $100 bill into it. Unfortunately I got virtually nothing for it. It was very frustrating and I wound up playing a good 20-30 minutes. The woman next to me was winning like crazy and had tripled her money since sitting down near me, while I continued to feed the kitty so to speak.
|Peppermill got a face lift -- new carpeting and more airy feel|
Disgusted, I went over to the Rainbow and played some low rent video blackjack and just circled the area. I had basically allotted myself about $100 to play and I had reached my limit. Dejected, I went to bed.
At first I thought I had been stuck with some noisy neighbors as I could hear typical 20-something hi-jinks coming from somewhere. Luckily just after I hit the sheets they disappeared and I never heard from them again.
I had brought a ton of running gear with me and I had had hopes of going for a desert run and hoping to hit Pilot Peak. But I was exhausted and I just didn't have it in me. I flipped back over and slept for a bit longer. Around 9AM I showered and headed over to Montego Bay for their breakfast.
I had printed my 50% off coupon for the buffet and I think the lady didn't understand it -- as she let me in for free. I tried to explain it to her but she was like, no go on... Score for me... I ate for free!
I was wearing a SoJo Marathon shirt that had the words "Marathon" in big letters on it. I think it caught a lot of attention and I was inhaling food like it was my last meal. As I was eating a piece of chocolate cake another couple came up to me and were like "Oh it is so good to see you eating some junk food. We saw you eating all the healthy stuff and you are so thin and we couldn't believe how much you were putting down". Celebrity status -- attained! Now, I just need to get kicked out of a buffet for eating too much and my life will be complete (sarcasm off).
I killed some time in the casino and won and lost a few bucks playing blackjack. I got a decent bonus round on a Fu Dao Le that I saw hemorrhaging money the day before:
After my food had settled, I went to the third floor and got in the outdoor sauna. I got a nice sun tan and unfortunately I felt the sauna was too warm. I did meet a couple and we swapped gambling stories. I think I was there for about 90 minutes.
I headed back to the Rainbow and cleaned up a final time and cased the casino one last time. I think again I made a very small profit playing another Fu Dao Le and decided I wanted to leave on a high note.
The trip home was pretty uneventful but relaxing as I just listened to a Tom Leykis podcast (I am a P1) and coasted home.
I did a lot of things on my 2015 bucket list. I got a chance to do the South Fork Reservoir and I found a ghost town that has always intrigued me. I always enjoy going to Elko and got a chance to explore some new areas there as well. There is still so much more I want to see and do there.
I also ate -- for the entire weekend -- for about $50 excluding tips. We are talking premium food here boys. I also got to stay in a really nice hotel -- for free.
From a gambling standpoint, it wasn't the best of trips. I figure I was down about $140, give or take $20. Considering the entertainment I received, I guess not a bad trip, but I certainly would've liked to have come home in the black, not in the red.
I still think Fu Dao Le is "my" game and while at times I feel I've been there and done that in terms of playing it, it still offers, in my opinion, the best value for a low rent gambler like me. It can be as cold as an ice queen but can explore with money if you catch it at the right time.
I am not sure when the next Wendover trip is, but the Brett Michaels show is on my radar. As a long-time Poison fan and having seen him in 2010 at the Vegas Marathon, he puts on a great show and I want to see him again.