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Best of Star Brooks

Gaming Guru

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I'll Take Tahoe

19 January 2001

I spent part of the first night en route to Las Vegas on the fringe of Area 51. Having been up since 2 am the previous morning to collect the progressive jackpot amounts for the TahoeGamingGuide.com's 343rd straight day, the clock and the distance on Highway 95 had taken a toll on both my husband and me. We stayed in Indian Springs on the edge of the famous Area 51 for exactly 3.5 hours. It was all I could stand in a motel room that had no heater, and it was 26 degrees outside. The whole drive we never left the snow behind us. The phrase "It'll be the day Hell freezes over..." came to mind when I saw that Death Valley had also been painted white.

Eight in the morning found me standing at the front desk of the Four Queens taking a room on the eighteenth floor overlooking the center of the Fremont Street Experience light show. Hurray for a heater and the great staff there... When you have been on top of a mountain for the better part of the last fifteen years, Las Vegas is almost overwhelming. It was 28 degrees in Las Vegas that morning, leaving me grateful that we brought warm leather coats with us.

Having spent what seemed like forever in Las Vegas traffic, trying to run a parallel street to Las Vegas Boulevard to skirt a Martin Luther King Day parade, Bellagio loomed ahead, as grand a palace as owned by any king. Parking was a breeze, but negotiating the sheer size of Bellagio proved to be a formidable task. I followed miles of signs before loping into the hotel lobby. My husband set off to have a look around while I did business. He wound up paying someone to show him to the car, after trying to follow the walls out three times, and failing.

The man I had come all this way to meet had been upgraded to a penthouse at Bellagio. He arrived in the lobby sleep-starved, due to a crashed laptop. His emails were stacking up at an alarming rate. We couldn't get lunch right away, so whisked off in a cab to go purchase a new laptop for him before his emails buried him alive. Business was short and mostly in the cab or in the store. When we made our way back to Bellagio, the restaurants were closing to make the switch from lunch to dinner. The rest of the discussion was in the bar, and lunch was off the limited bar menu. While the staff eating nearby had a whole bird under silver covers, we had a choice of mostly pastas. Give me a Tahoe buffet any day! Not that it wasn't good, it was fantastic, and it was presented extremely well... it's just that, maybe I would have liked to see if that bird was in fact Mandarin duck! Our meeting was short, but it ended like it began, with a hug. I think you will be seeing much much more of the TahoeGamingGuide.com and, if life is still pointed the right way, it won't be long before you have a complete Nevada information source. The birth of the LasVegasGamingGuide.com and the RenoGamingGuide.com will hopefully be in the near future. Thanks to all who kept their fingers crossed for me.

I did not see much of Las Vegas, but did catch the Fremont Street Experience, walk through Binion's, Golden Nugget, and win a little at the Four Queens. There is little doubt that it will take a little prodding to get me to go anywhere other than the Four Queens next trip to Vegas... Everyone there was extremely nice, and very friendly. It didn't hurt that I won a little, either. As for Las Vegas itself.... for me... TOO BIG.... TOO CROWDED....TOO FAST!

There will be times when I will have to go on business, but give me Lake Tahoe any day. Driving through the vast wastelands of Nevada gave me an appreciation for pine trees like I have never experienced before.

The lack of water in the scenery had me drinking up the view of Lake Tahoe upon my return like someone dying of thirst. I drove through Area 51, and skirted the great Death Valley. It was one heck of an adventure, but if you happen to see me, and I am still kissing pine cones, you will know why. Give me the slow times in Tahoe, the lack of elbow to elbow crowds, give me the familiar choices in slot machines, and most of all, give me the scenery. I have been staring at the mountains and the lake much more since returning. Come see for yourself!