Nevada - Las Vegas - and thereabouts
Yes, another trip to Las Vegas. This time I went with Andre in November 2004. We stayed at the Las Vegas Hilton, it's down a ways from where Jimmy and Crannif were staying, but heck we could take the monorail right to them.... or so we thought. oh yeah, this one's from "Circus Circus Adventuredome"
"Circus Circus" So we thought we could take the new monorail from where we were staying at the Hilton to where the others were staying up the Strip, but it turned out that the monorail was closed because after one of the wheels fell off it and bounced in the street while it was running.
Oh man, I forgot to write anything about this penny. If you want, you can write a story about this penny and I'll put it right here with your name as guest author. (provided it meets my stringent editorial requirements.)
"Las Vegas - Circus Circus" I might be wrong, but I think this penny is another example of the Pennymen recycling images. The rollercoaster looks just like the rollercoaster on one of the New York, New York Casino pennies I have.
"My Lucky Penny - Las Vegas" Circus Circus November 2004. I walked from the LV Hilton over to Circus Circus. It's not far, but it always strange to walk anywhere in Las Vegas, there's just nobody else doing it. When I did it, it was pouring rain. That may have had something to do with it, but I can't be sure.
Never trust people working in a casino, they don't know what they're talking about! I found one 4-die machine in the Arcade at Circus Circus and the attendant sold me a roll of quarters to use. I asked him if there were any more machines and he said there weren't. Just the same I made the 5 MINUTE walk around the entire Arcade and found 2 more machines. Sheesh!
Circus Circus - Las Vegas - Hotel Casino - Theme Park" I don't know... Is it really a theme park? Maybe so. Let me digress a bit, I always try to find something else to do when I go to Las Vegas, otherwise I'd play blackjack for 72 hours straight. This time we rented a car for a day and drove out to Red Rock Canyon. (about 15 miles east of west of town) It's unbelievable. Absolutely worth it, you should go.
So these 3 4-die machines in the Arcade at Circus Circus have 10 different designs, including a couple generic ones like this one. (I also left out the new version of the one I got at the Alemany Flea market.) This info is what I remember from my trip in November 2004.
"Stratosphere - Las Vegas, NV" Another gift from another Well person. I guess Christine picked this one and another one up for me sometime in early 2004, then she gave it to me on my birthday. She's nice! (Frankly, I was surprised I didn't have it already.)
"Las Vegas, Nevada" - Why a dinosaur? I suppose that dinosaurs were all over the Great Basin, which I guess Las Vegas is a part of... but it seems like it stretching things to say that the dinosaur is emblematic or representative of the area... I don't know. What I do know is that Cristine gave me this one too. Thanks a lot, it's provoked much discussion. (well, with myself anyway)
Let's see, Las Vegas in May. That was for Byron and Aerin's wedding. The 3rd wedding we'd attended in May 2003. Nothing personal, but I'd had just about enough of love by the time we spent that 110 degree weekend there.
"Las Vegas Nevada" You know how it is, you go to Las Vegas and you get totally disoriented and you're at the mercy of the "hospitality" industry. Here's a tip, when taking a cab from the airport, always say "Don't take the tunnel." The airport is a couple of blocks from the Strip and it should cost about 7 bucks.
"Race for Atlantis - Las Vegas" This is the "reality" ride in Caesar's Palace. Do not ride it. It stinks. It's worse than the (very similar) Star Trek ride at the Las Vegas Hilton. What I do recommend is the goofy animatronic show outside the entrance to it, where the statues come to life and tell some incomprehensible story with fire and steam and other expulsions.
"Race For Atlantis - Las Vegas" When I go to Las Vegas, I always try to find something to do that's a little different, to get away from the casinos and try to find something remotely real. This time I noticed a little restaurant right behind the Flamingo, called Battista's Hole in the Wall. What it lacked in food quality it made up for in atmosphere. It's great little family-style italian place that I'd recommend if you want to get out of plastic-land for a bit.
"New York New York Hotel & Casino - Las Vegas, Nevada" Brady loves rollercoasters, so when we were there in May 2003, with Jimmy and Jessica for a wedding, we rode the rollercoaster at New York New York. It was NOT fun. Well, if you like getting your head slammed from side to side and back and forth, you might find it fun.
"New York New York Hotel & Casino" Why is there a car on this penny? I've driven in New York City and while it's not that bad, you can get around a lot easier without one. On closer inspection, it turns out that this is a taxicab, which of course is representative of NYC.
"Rainforest Cafe - Las Vegas" So, here I am, looking at 12 pennies from the Rainforest Cafe in the MGM Casino and I'm wondering how I'm going to say anything interesting about them. I guess we'll see. This one has the RFC treefrog mascot.
"Rainforest Cafe - Las Vegas" Is it a macaw, a conure, a parrot? Who knows?
"Rainforest Cafe - Las Vegas" These coins from the 3 machines are slightly better than some I've seen from the Rainforest Cafe (the Pennymen make the machines) they have a 3D quality and are not just etched line drawings.
"Rainforest Cafe - Las Vegas" I know I've seen this gorilla before.
"Rainforest Cafe - Las Vegas" I will tell you that 2 of the machines are outside the restaurant which is near the front of the casino, and the other one is alllllll the way in the back, downstairs just outside the entrance to the self parking lot.
"Rainforest Cafe - Las Vegas" The morning I looked for these machines, I had walked there from the Flamingo (a little more than a mile) then I walked all over searching for the darned machines. The note I had said "rfc" and I didn't realize what it meant until I finally found the first machine all the way in the back basement shopping level. Then I went on to the Tropicana and Excalibur. Man, I was wiped out, all this walking before breakfast.
So when you go to the MGM, walk in the front (from the Strip, go down to the Casino floor, turn left, and there's the "Rainforest Cafe" right there. And watch out for low-hanging snakes.
"Rainforest Cafe - Las Vegas" There's that treefrog again.
I'm unclear on what a rainforest is. I mean, I kind of associate a rainforest with South America, but there are Rainforest coins with gorillas, and I know gorillas aren't in South America, are they? Anyway, this one looks like a beaver, so I guess I should just stop arguing.
But come on! A goat in the rainforest? Maybe Patagonia, but not in the rainforest. Then again, I'm not motivated to look it up. If you feel like looking it up, let me know what you find out.
Hey, this one's got some actual information! "Mountain Bluebird - Nevada State Bird - Rainforest Cafe"
This one from the Rainforest Cafe at the MGM shows the old "Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas " sign. Which you can still see way down on the south end of the Strip. This is the last of 12 from the Rainforest Cafe; Drive Carefully, Come Back Soon
"Circus Circus - Hotel Casino Theme Park Las Vegas" I got this one for a quarter at the Alemany Flea market, near my house. But, let me tell you, I've been to Circus Circus in Las Vegas and the penny machines they have there are not accessible 24 hours a day. So, if you go there, be sure to get there at a reasonable hour or you'll be disappointed and have to rely on the flea market like I did.
"I Love You - Las Vegas" I'm looking at this penny and I'm thinking, "I must have this penny already on my web site, why am I wasting my time on this?" I got this one at the flea market too.
"Primm Valley Resort and Casino - Nevada" Much sturm and drang has gone into figuring out just where Primm, Nevada is. Well, now having driven there with Jimmy and Byron in November 2001, I can tell you that it is just over the state line on highway 15. There are 3 casinos there and one big roller coaster. It's worth stopping there, absolutely.
Joan brought this one back from Laughlin, Nevada for me. I guess she got it from the "Ramada Express", Thanks Joan!
My good friend, Joan Carter, who's normally very effusive and quite articulate, gave me this penny from "Laughlin, Nevada" without a word. Not a peep, just handed them over and walked away. I can't tell you anything more about this penny than that.
Did Joan pull a royal flush in Laughlin, Nevada? Maybe, but I'll never know, because she didn't say anything about her trip there, she just gave me these pennies and that was it.
I don't think Joan Carter took the train to "Laughlin, Nevada" but I don't know for sure. All I know is that she gave me this penny, yup, that's all I know about this.
Maybe Joan was trying to tell me something by giving me this penny she got on her trip to Laughlin. I'm not sure. If you don't mind, why don't you ask her?
"New York New York Hotel and Casino" Stephen Moore sent me this one stuck to a note pad from the Bellagio. He was there sometime in early 2001. It shows the roller coaster and a view of the Chrysler Building... or I guess it's the replica Chrysler Building.
"Guardian Angel" Crannif, Jimmy, and I went to Las Vegas in January 1999. This one shows a benevolent winged figure benevolently beaming some rays of goodness down to some misguided miscreant. It sure wasn't me, it didn't seem like anyone looked after me on this trip.
"Las Vegas Nevada" with a picture of the happiest Nevada family. I got this one, the one above and the next one at a souvenir shop out on the strip. It was across from the Mirage, I think.
"Las Vegas - Nevada" I don't really remember seeing any palm trees in Las Vegas, another memorable scene. When you go to this machine, be sure you have the necessary change. The guy wouldn't open the register if I didn't make a purchase, so I had to buy one of those nudie pens. Looking back, that wasn't so bad after all.
"Las Vegas Nevada" Depicts a Nevada image I saw rarely during the 40 hours we spent there. Did I mention that our flight out of San Francisco was cancelled and we had to wait 6 hours for another one? (I'm just stalling here because I can't remeber where I got this one...or the next one.
"Viva Las Vegas" with a map of Nevada. I've seen this same map before, usually it's on the back of a two sided penny. I was going to get some of the new Star Trek quarters at the LV Hilton, but, just so you know, section of the Hilton with the machines doesn't open until 11am.
"Stratospere Hotel Casino - Las Vegas Nevada" The stratospere is Las Vagas' answer to the Space Needle It's about 1000 feet tall, and has a restaurant, bar, observation deck, and what's billed as the "World's Tallest Thrill Ride", the Big Shot!
The Big Shot is this 4 story freefall ride mounted on the very top of the Stratosphere. We were the last people to ride it the night we went. We bought tickets in advance and we went to get on they said, "Uh, we just closed the ride due to high winds....but, if you've already got tickets, just go ahead." Jimmy was right to have picked up a bolster right before we went up.
"Stratosphere - I Love You - Las Vegas, NV" I'm pretty amazed how often elongated coins can have "I love you" printed on them. I mean, c'mon penny designers, think of something new!
"Feeling Lucky Stratosphere" - Shows the triple sevens of slot machine lore. I like this one although I wasn't terribly lucky at the Stratosphere. They have three machines in the observation deck each with 4 designs (9 different), the night we went one machine was out of order. So, I only got the 5 pennies you see.
"Top of the World - Las Vegas, NV" I like this one, it shows a stylized version of the Stratosphere. I think they use this same version as their logo.
When Byron, Crannif, Jimmy, and I went to Las Vegas in April 98, it was 36 hours of non stop searching for penny smashers...ok, we did a few other things too.
Our first stop was the Camelot-themed crenelated-towered Excalibur Casino! the front of this one reads "Excalibur Las Vegas Hotel Casino" and shows a jousting knight. The back (run your mouse over the picture) has a picture of the casino itself and reads "Las Vegas Magic."
The last time I was at Hoover Dam was December 29, 1993. Brady and I had driven all day, stopping off at the Arizona Meteor Crater and the Grand Canyon. By the time we reached the dam we were ready for a place to relax, so we didn't have time for the penny smashers.
This time the guys and I made a special trip, just for the penny smashers (and to take the tour). Both this penny and the one above have some of the more salient details we learned during the dam tour: "Hoover Dam - 726.4 feet high - 660 feet thick at base - contain 6,600,00 tons of concrete" It really says "6,600,00", a typo! Omigosh!, as Crannif would say.
The gift shop at the dam has two handcranked machines each one has four dies. The machines are exactly the same as the ones at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. This one shows a picture a paddle wheel riverboat and reads "Lake Mead, Nevada - Desert Princess"
"I Love You - Las Vegas,NV" Now that's what Vegas is all about, isn't it?
This one reads "Lake Mead Nevada" though it seems to show some snow capped mountains... you figure it out.
"My Lucky Penny - Las Vegas NV" This one probably would've come in handy if only I'd had it a little earlier in the trip...
"Big Horn Sheep - Lake Mead Nevada" I guess they're out there, but I didn't see one.
"Hoover Dam" with a picture of a big ol' rattlesnake. We didn't see any of these either, but we did see a ton of great big brown carp swimming in the lake right outside the gift shop. Those are some ugly fish.
Our next stop, ok actually it was the night before we went to the dam but the pictures are too big and would've messed up my layout if I had put them on this page, was at the Las Vegas Hilton and Star Trek The Experience ride. Included in the experience, at a nominal fee, was a whole bunch of smashed quarters!
"Las Vegas" Brady and I were going to the Stratospere to ride the roller coaster on the top when we happened upon a 4 die machine in a gift shop on the way there. If you want to go to the top of the Stratosphere, they force you to run a gauntlet of souvenir and snack shops. One particular place specializes in hideous multicolored candles featuring Warner Bros cartoon characters. I think I'll stick to pennies.
"Best Friends - Las Vegas" On our way up to the to the roller coaster at the Stratospere we came across this machine made by Holden Manufacturing. I think the designs are pretty uninspiring, hopefully they'll come up woth something better over time.
When Brady and I found this machine, I hadn't even expected to get any new pennies, I pretty much had all the ones available at the Stratosphere, so I didn't even have any copper ones with me. Oh well, live and learn. I never leave the house without a few copper pennies with me now. Am I crazy?
"I love you - Las Vegas" Another winner from Holden Manufacturing. Gee, I hope they get a little more creative with the next bunch I see from them.