Another Year in Review – and The Road Ahead

HAPPY NEW YEAR! Welcome to 2017!happy-new-year-sparkler-gold-animated-gif.gif

Last year was a real doozy for everyone, everywhere. There were some great things that happened; Giant Pandas, Humpback Whales, Manatees and Sea Turtles are no longer endangered! Leo FINALLY won an Oscar! The Ice Bucket Challenge helped fund the scientists who found the gene for ALS! Woohoo!!

Your favorite adventurers had some pretty epic awesome this last year, too! Let’s not forget our incredible trip to Nerd Mecca, our personal guided tour of Jet Propulsion Labs, and our trips to  various beaches! We even took our mews Matilda Pants to the beach!

Along the way we made some pretty incredible new friends, and we certainly learned a lot. Some of the nicest people we encountered on our adventures were (but certainly not limited to)…..

Harvest Hosts – Kim and Don are incredible people. We were gifted a membership with them, but were unable to use it. They not only refunded the gift to the buyer, but they also gave us “Does Not Expire” membership status! If you are on the road, and looking for a unique and awesome adventure, be sure to check out what Harvest Hosts has to offer!

Royal Prestige – Before we hit the road, we bought a full set of these amazing pots and pans! This set was going to last us the rest of our lives, if we took proper care of them. They have a great layaway program, and we were able to make payments until we were finally able to purchase the set. Granted, the set was expensive, but worth it. Of course the thieves new the set was nice, too, and they took every last piece. Even the salad shooter. Over $3000 worth of cooking items. After some convincing from the Head of our Fan Club, we emailed Royal Prestige to see what could be done. They were VERY generous and offered to sell us another set for 50% off. While we are not financially able to take them up on this offer, it was very kind of them. If you are looking for the best set of pots, pans, and cooktops in the world (and worth their weight for RVing), please check these guys out!

Geeks Who Drink – Our Brother from Another Mother works as a QuizMaster, and is a Quiz God with GWD. When our RV was first stolen, he started a GoFundMe for us that literally saved our lives. He sent it out to everyone he knew at GWD, which is a lot of folks, and through their donations we were able to find places to stay, eat, and keep the Mews healthy. We also made a couple life long friends in the process! We can’t wait to see everyone at the annual GeekBowl in Seattle, and give HUGE hugs to our Brother From Another Mother, as well as our new favorite Quiz Mistress, and our favorite Wedding Crashers from Texas!

There was, of course, the whole business of our RV, and everything we owned, being stolen or destroyed. Then dealing with “Outdoor Planet” (We aren’t allowed to say who they are, but you know who they are), then Outdoor Plant “losing” our trailer…not to mention that it took them OVER SIX MONTHS to repair damages from the theft. That is a long time to be homeless. So, while we waited, and waited, and waited some more, we set up an AwesomeSauce Headquarters in sunny California!

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During the course of the RVpocolypse, we drained all our resources. From hotel rooms and Air BnB’s, to traveling up and down California a few times – and back and forth to Vegas a few times, to eating, taking Mews to the vet a few times (turns out stress can really do a number on pets), to the adventurers getting sick (stress can also really do a number on people)…then getting a “Brick and Mortar” HQ. When you have no job, and no real rental history for a few months, getting a rental can be very difficult. We had first and last months rent, and a security deposit, which helped A LOT. That, and a very understanding and cool landlord, got us into a very cool house. A nice fenced yard for a Mews to meander, filled with hummingbirds, oranges, and a few bugs we have never seen before. After that we set up gas, electric, and internet. All with down payments.

Then there was the task of getting some furniture. We needed a bed for sleeping, chairs for sitting, and a table for eating (not to eat the table..but to eat at! Silly). Our table doubles as desk, our chairs function as chairs, stepladders, and cat bed holders. We also needed to get some clothes! After a few trips to all the thrift stores, and one trip to a new mattress place, we were able to function in our house.

To make a long story short (too late), we went through all of our monies dealing with the RV, the legal stuff, and getting back on our feet.

Fear not! Some other highlights of 2016 was that Awesome K was able to get a couple of interesting jobs! He was a food inspector for items going to the South Pole, he served a new culture of people in “Little Saigon,” finally landing a regular gig doing what he loves, dealing cards! He is now a dealer at a Four Diamond Triple A rated casino resort! Fancy-schmancy! Saucy G FINALLY started really working on her novel writing, and has gotten a great start on a few stories. Even the Mews are back to work, with Archer head of Agriculture, Matilda is Head of the Neighborhood Watch, and Lana continues to work in Security while dabbling in being a Cat Food Critic. We also welcomed a new Mews to our Team! The incredible and marvelous Castielanova Bagginsess Pants, or Cass for short. He is working closely with his idol and mentor, Archer, and learning all there is to know about being an Adventure Cat.

Our final bit of excitement in 2016 was FINALLY bringing the RV back home! We were able to drive her from Vegas in late December, and she was home in time for Christmas! 2673.jpg

So, 2016 had it’s ups and downs, like a roller-coaster at Circus Circus, but we ended the year healthy, safe, and together. What more could we ask for?

Thanks for helping us through 2016, we honestly and truly could not have done it without you and your never ending support! You are beyond Awesome, and we love you to pieces! you-are-seriously-awesome

We aren’t sure what 2017 has to offer us, but we have a few ideas as to where we would like to go with it. What about you? How was your 2016? What are you looking forward to in 2017?

 

 

Lost in Las Vegas

Adventures hardly ever go according to plan. That is easily an understatement when it comes to ours, but lets not get into that here.

Due to circumstances (STILL looking at you, Thief. May you step in cat barf every morning…) beyond our control, we found new ways to adventure in Vegas! We found ourselves in a Casino Hotel on the Strip, which is fancy, AND expensive.

Adventure Pro Tip: If you are thinking of going to Vegas, and will have access to a car (which is a good idea and a bad idea), then it is best to stay OFF the strip. There are a plethora of other options, and some even have a shuttle service to the Strip.

When we go to Vegas, we usually stay in a Caesar’s Entertainment Property. We have had decent luck with comps, and they are familiar territory. What are comps, you ask? WELL! What a wonderful and weird world you are about to embark on! First off, whenever you go to a casino, make sure you get a Players Card. You can get one at any Customer Service Desk, or they can tell you where to go to get one. You will need a photo ID, so they know you are you. They will ask for a mailing address – you are welcome to decline – or you can give them one. We always give them a mailing address, because they will send fancy coupons in the mail! As far as we know they don’t sell your address to anyone, but don’t quote us. These fancy mail coupons will offer COMPS! Comp is a lingo way of saying complimentary, or comepleaseplayhere. Sorta. The fancy mail coupons usually have comps for free buffet, some free “slot play” where they give you fake money on slot machines that you can turn into real money, or table play, which works the same. Fake money to possibly earn real money. The best comps are when they offer you a free stay! These are becoming more and more scarce, but they do still happen.Total_Rewards_2.35162852_std

To earn these magic comp points, you use your players card at EVERY SINGLE THING in the casinos. Buying an overpriced coffee? Make sure to ask for points and give them your card. Eating dinner? Grab those points! Of course, the easiest way is to use your card whenever you play. You can put the card in all the slot machines, and leave it in during your play. You can also earn points (maybe?) playing table games and poker. Be sure to hand them your shiny new card so you get credit for your play. The card itself can also be used to redeem points at buffets, gift shops, and sometimes on your hotel stay.

WHEW! SO, after your not-so-brief comp tutorial, now you are ready to find a place to stay! As we mentioned, we usually stay at a Caesar’s Property, because of the magic comps, and what nottery. However, this year we had a CAR! Traffic can be mildly terrifying on the Strip, but the rest of Vegas is pretty easy to navigate, and opens up a whole new realm of places to go, places to stay, and ways to adventure. After we left the Strip, we went to our very first Air BnB, just a ways off the Strip. It was amazing! Well, it was different, and cheaper, and amazing in that we had never stayed at an Air BnB before.

Air BnB is a fancy new way to stay places. You can rent almost anything from a person, from a couch to crash on all the way to a penthouse suite. If a person has a space available for you to stay, they advertise on Air BnB. We found some interesting listings, to say the least. Luckily we found a place that allowed our Mews, was less expensive than a Casino Hotel, was a private space (not crashing on a couch or a spare bedroom), and was inside a gated community. It wasn’t perfect, but it was good for a week. (A coupon for you! A coupon for me! Hooray! www.airbnb.com/c/genevieves161)

With the freedom of our little tiny car, and the Air BnB all set up, we set out to adventure a wee bit! We were still a bit shaken, not stirred, about our recent defilination (Saucy G decrees that this is now a word. Defilination – When something has been defiled recently, in the past tense, to an extreme. You’re welcome), so we kept to places we were somewhat familiar with, or that seemed safe. We also stuck pretty close together, and not just because our car is the size of a Matchbox.

 

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Brand New From the Dealership

One of the things we were able to do was to check out Casinos NOT on the Strip! The Orleans is probably the closest to the Strip, and the nicest that we found. If you like slot machines, this place has A TON. There is also a decent sized poker room, LOTS of table games, and a who slew of other things to do! They have a bowling alley, movie theater, kids areas, and lots of different food options. We heard from a reliable source that their laundry service is also very reasonable. They DO NOT, however, allow pets. So, keep that in mind when traveling with your own pet crew. With the re-introduction of UBER to Las Vegas, you can also grab a quick ride from there to the Strip, if you were feeling so inclined. This really is a nice one-stop-shop if you are planning on a stay. Clean, nice, we give it a solid Flush (rating based on the fact that we did not actually stay there, and cannot speak for the rooms. Also, the whole No Mews for Yous policy is a bummer). (Here is an Uber Coupon for you, and one for me! Hooray!! https://www.uber.com/invite/genevieves489ue)

Another place we checked out was Arizona Charlies. This is a local favorite, so we had to see what there was to see. If you are a smoker, this is the place for you! Also, if you prefer low lighting, this will also be high on your list. The slot machines were ok, and the people were VERY nice. The poker area was…well…it left a lot to be desired. Poker, however, is not their main focus. If you want Bingo, then look no further! Charlies has the biggest, brightest, and wildest Bingo Hall Saucy G has seen in a while. It is very clean, well lit, seems to be smoke free, and there is a game every odd hour, so you never have to wait long to get into the action. The Bingo Hall is located on the second floor, next to the 24 Hour Buffet. If Bingo is your Bag, then Charlies is for you. The dining there also surprisingly spectacular! At Ron’s Steakhouse they have (or had, hopefully it is still there when you go), an incredible three course steak dinner deal for $27.99. You get an appetizer, then you get a starter of salad or soup of the day, then you can choose from a few different steak options. Sides can be added for an extra fee, that might be $2? THIS is a hidden steak gem, and is not to be missed. Reservations not necessary, however they are closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, opening for dinner at 4pm to 9pm the rest of the week. Ron’s Steakhouse gets a Flush with a Straight Flush Draw. Arizona Charlies (without rating Bingo, and Ron’s is a separate rating) gets a high Pair. The smoking, poker area, slots, and lighting left a lot to be desired. Like we said, though, the people are SUPER NICE, so they get the higher rating.

Finally, we decided to go to a place that was literally calling our name…the ADVENTUREDOME! The Adventure Dome is located inside Circus Circus,  which is a whole different world of entertainment. If you have kids, and don’t mind crazy crowds, Circus Circus might be worth a look. Above the main slots area is a whole area dedicated to kids. It is JAM PACKED with carnival games, arcades, a McDonalds, and everything a kid could want. It is very camping (camping = Where do you sleep, when you go camping? In Tents. Intense. Camping is the AwesomeSauce way of saying something is intense. Again, you’re welcome), and very loud. The arcade was pretty sweet, with a lot of different games. Most games were $1 to play, so keep that in mind. We didn’t play any carnival games, so we don’t know their prices. The most notable thing at Circus Circus, however, is the live circus acts that go on above the gaming area. They have high flying acrobats, jugglers, a hula hoop lady, and they all perform above your head as you play. Shows are generally every half hour, but worry not. They will announce when they next show will begin, so you won’t miss a thing. Now, lets get to the meat and taties part of this adventure, The. Adventure. Dome.

This place is AMAZING! Granted, it is not the largest theme park in the world, but what it lacks in size it makes up for in awesome. We highly recommend you get the All Day Pass. The All Day Pass covers most of the rides there, and if you plan on riding rides, it is the best deal. It pays for itself after three rides, basically. It does not cover mini golf, but we got a coupon for a substantial discount when we got our passes. It also does not cover the Sponge Bob experience, which we were ok with. Probably the best part about the Adventure Dome was that there were virtually no lines. At all. We went on a weekday, so that probably had something to do with it, but it even with school being out the lines were almost non existent.

The rides. Oh the rides. Turns out AwesomeK is a bit of a rollercoaster junkie, which is awesome. If you want to see a grown man light up like it’s Christmas and you just gave him a puppy, take AwesomeK to rollercoasters. The first ride we dared was the Canyon Blaster (spoiler video HERE). It is a wee whip-lashy for Saucy G tastes, but it was AWESOME! It took two late 30s somethings, and turned them into giggling, screaming kids again. That right there is worth the price of admission! The second coaster, which is conveniently located at the exit of the Canyon Blaster, was the EL LOCO! There are no words, really. It was, well, Loco. This is probably one of the best coasters Saucy G has been on! Not at all whip-lashy, and it has all the things you could want in a ride. Upsidedowns, corkscrews, screams, all the things. It was AMAZING!!! THREE EXCLAMATION POINTS! LOUD NOISES! *ahem* Anyway, El Loco is not to be missed. If you go, and only pay for one coaster, make it this one. Adventure Dome also has the “take you straight up in the air, then drop you like a silly” ride, which is always a favorite. The going up was scarier than the coming down, and the up is VERY high in the dome, which is pretty sweet. They have other standards, such as the swingy boat thingy, the ride that takes you up then flips you upside down a few times, the one that is all the spinny, on a spinny, which has more spinny (too much spinny for Saucy G), and a few others. There is also a great kid area, with less camping rides for smaller folks.

They have a couple of theater style adventure rides, which (we think) are also covered in the All Day Pass. One of which was the “Pacific Rim” attraction. Rarely will we ever give a very negative review. To each is own, and everyone likes different things. We don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade, so unless something is so awful and should be avoided at all costs, we do our best not to be negative. The Pacific Rim attraction is one of those rare exceptions. Please, please do not do this. Learn from our adventure. The “ride” is the only real wait we encountered at the Dome, which had us a little excited. Saucy G really enjoyed the film, so this was going to be, hopefully, a highlight of the day. No. NO! First you wait in line, and watch a clip from the movie. Cool. Gets you excited. Right on. When it is your turn, you get filed into a small dark room. OOOH! EXCITING! THEN! WITHOUT WARNING! Nothing. Nothing happens. One small TV, which is awkwardly placed so that only two people can really see it, plays the same clip of the movie you just watched while waiting in line. After the clip is over, you wait in awkward silence, in this closed off black room, for what feels like an eternity. Finally, when you are almost done contemplating all of life’s mistakes that got you to this point, you are ushered into another small room with seats. You buckle yourself in and wait. Finally a projector that is in much need of repair begins to play a scene from the movie. You are supposed to feel like you are in the giant machine, fighting a beast from the depths of the ocean – possibly another dimension – but instead you are assaulted on all angles. You view is not that of the cockpit, but rather you are just watching the movie. The platform you strapped yourself to starts to move and jerk in what, we can only assume, is supposed to be in time with the good guy’s machine. Instead it just jerks you around sort of willy nilly. The hectic jerking could make anyone nauseous, which is the only thrill of the ride. Will I barf everywhere? Will I get a migraine? Who knows!

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NO. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Turn back now!

After being tossed around like a rag doll, while a broken projector plays a scene from the movie, and the speakers crackle with the familiar sound of brokeness, the ride stops. You are then ushered out, and back into the world. You didn’t even save humanity from the beast! At all cost, please please please avoid the Pacific Rim attraction.

Other than the complete assault on the senses from Pacific WhyGodDidIRideThat, the Adventure Dome gets a SOLID Full House. SOLID. Almost Quads. Absolutely worth it. Great family fun, and not TOO pricey. They might even have a Groupon available, or other such coupon, so keep a keen eye out.

There you have it. Our Post RV Apocalypse Adventures in Las Vegas! Overall it was a lot of fun, and we didn’t die! We will, of course, be back to Vegas. Next time probably without the Mews, and hopefully with less loss up front. Hope you enjoyed! If we missed something, if you have adventure tips for fellow travelers, or want to let us know what you think – please comment!

Stay tuned for more posts from your favorite Duo!

Cripple Creek, Colorado

Our very first Official Full Timing Stop was the Cripple Creek KOA in Cripple Creek, Colorado.

I don’t think there is a way to convey just how much we loved it! We ended up added a day to our stay, because the park was so nice. Now granted, we had literally nothing to compare it too, but still. It was lovely. The views from the “Worlds Highest KOA” are incredible to say the least. Coming from Denver/Lakewood we had some pretty great views, but nothing really compares to being at 10,000 feet. The lack of “light pollution” was incredible! It was the first time anyone on the team had seen stars in ages! The evenings were cool, almost chilly, which was a delight for the middle of June, and the temperature during the day was very pleasant.

In addition to having not seen stars in ages, it had also been ages since Saucy G was up a mountain, so to speak. She grew up at 7,000 feet, but had been in the city for too long. Luckily no one got sick, but it definitely winded us whenever we did anything active.

*Adventure Tip: When heading to higher elevations, remember to drink LOTS of water! It is very easy to get dehydrated when the air is thin, and dehydration can lead to nausea, dizziness, and worse. Please remember to also take it easy on yourself when out and about! Your body is being starved for oxygen, so don’t feel bad about taking breaks to catch your breath. If you DO get sick (such as headache, exhaustion, sick to your stomach, etc.) be sure to keep warm, try some Tylenol for a headache, hydrate, rest, relax, and you should be ok. If you still feel gross (like a bad hangover) see a doctor, get some oxygen, or go to a lower altitude. Altitude Sickness sucks. Dying from it sucks worse, so keep an eye on yourself and your adventure mates.

Being our first ever stop, we had really no idea what we were doing. Sure, we had read all the forums, and watched all the videos, but having never done any of it ourselves, we were a little (a lot) nervous. Luckily, we happened to meet Tom from KOA! He was AMAZING! Not only did he answer a barrage of questions, he also took the time to come to our site and show us a few things. He also introduced us to a couple of other full timers (who, conveniently, were parked behind us, and next to us), just in case we had more questions. In hindsight, they MIGHT have placed us there on purpose, closer to other full-timers, so we wouldn’t be adrift in a sea of unknowing. If that was the case, we have Tom to thank for that, too. Everyone was SO NICE! Our neighbors across the way checked in on us, without making it look like they were checking in on us, a couple of times throughout each day. It was really comforting to know we weren’t alone, and it was nice to meet other full timers so quickly! Little did we know that you sneaky RVers are EVERYWHERE! Which is awesome.

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What else was there than the amazing KOA you ask? Did we do anything other than revel in our awesomeness of being on the road? Why yes, yes we did.

Cripple Creek was the site of a great “salting” hoax (adding gold to soil to make it look rich), and was primarily used as a pasture after that. Then BAM! Actual wonderful gold was found, and the town became a mining town, as so many were once upon a time. It was a rough and tumble mountain town, with taverns, a brothel, and gold in them thar hills. So much gold, in fact, that the mountains near Cripple Creek are still being mined for gold today! Cripple Creek was the location of the famous “independence load,” one of the largest gold strikes in history!

Saucy G wanted to try panning for gold, but since we didn’t know the laws, and if it was restricted or not, we decided against panning. Instead we hunted down riches in a way we are familiar with, POKER!

In addition to being a town filled with history, mining tours, and a super sweet train ride, Cripple Creek is also one of two gambling towns in Colorado. On the main street through the city, you can find casinos on either side, boasting slots, table games, and our favorite – poker. If you are looking for a poker game, we highly recommend the Midnight Rose. There is a current high hand promotion, a bad beat, and they offer tournaments on a regular basis. Once in a while they will have a promotion where if you play a certain amount of hours (three? It might be three. You should check for yourself just in case) you get comped a room for the night That’s a sweet deal, if you ask us.

Awesome K and Saucy G both sat at the tables, and got some action. We found that it was like stepping into a house game, everyone knew everyone, and everyone played basically the same hands. If you can figure out what the hands are, you are in good shape to make a decent amount of money. What hands are they? That is something you get to find out for yourself! No need to give away ALL the secrets here! The slots are a lot of fun, too. There are pretty much all the games you could want (Saucy G is partial to Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings, and Wonka (surprise surprise, she’s a nerd)), and the table games are all available. Awesome K loves nothing more than finding an empty craps table, and he was lucky enough to find one. A couple monies ahead later, and we were feeling pretty good about our trip.

On our last night in Cripple Creek, we headed down to the “Down Under” buffet, which Saucy G thought was clever because it is literally down under one of the casinos (the Midnight Rose). It was a nice spread, lots of fresh and good looking choices. In addition to the normal buffet fare, there were crab legs, a prime rib station, and a fresh pasta station! The pasta station was a wee busy, which is to be expected if you ask us. Pasta = delicious. (Pasta also = carbs = fat = sad face. Little known fact, though, when you eat pasta at a casino, the carbs don’t count. THEY. DON’T. COUNT), so Saucy G wandered off When she came back, the poor lady running the station was still overwhelmed, but was nice enough to talk Saucy G through the pasta process. Becoming overwhelmed herself, G asked the Pasta Lady to “make her favorite.” Happy that pasta was in the meal forecast, G went back to the table to nom some prime rib. After a while (who knows how long, one does not count time when waiting for fresh foodstuffs in a casino), the pasta was delivered. A tip was given (of course, because anyone who makes your food and/or delivers your food deserves a tip. They make pennies, so you should give them dollars), the Pasta Lady was thanked profusely for the food, and the pasta was admired. For a brief moment. Then it was devoured. DEVOURED. It was SO GOOD! Fresh spinach, delicious bacon, green peas, onions, white sauce, what isn’t there to love?

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Little did we know, poor Pasta Lady had had a heck of an evening. People were rude to her, some were down right mean. She was working as fast as she could with her two little skillets, but deliciousness takes time. Something some people forgot, apparently. Kindness was non-existent in her evening. Which is unfortunate.

Saucy Rant: Though you are the center of your universe, you are not the center of everyone else’s. Sometimes things take time and patience. I know you are hungry. You had a bad beat at the poker table. The slots took all your money. Your sweetheart nagged you, and work sucks. Or perhaps it is the opposite. Perhaps the world is the mollusk of your choice, and you are very important! Very busy, much to do. NOTHING excuses nasty behavior to others. Perhaps the food is too salty, then you kindly, and preferably without making a scene, mention that the food might be a bit salty. I bet the person cooking it would make you something more to your liking. Perhaps your food took a while to get to you. What you might not have noticed is that there were four or five people who ordered ahead of you, and even though the station looks empty of customers now, there is actually a backlog of orders. You do not need to berate the person cooking the food. The world can be a hard place to handle. Please don’t make it harder by taking your frustrations out on another life. A little patience, and kindness, can go a LONG way. “Be Excellent to Each Other.” /end rant

We made it a point to let our server know just how much we enjoyed our dinner, especially the pasta, in hopes that maybe he would relay it to her, and boost her evening a bit. Awesome K has many years of experience in the food industry, and he understands just how rough it can get, so we wanted to let her know she was appreciated. Luckily our server happened to be the manager! He let the Pasta Lady know how we felt, and he relayed to us that it “made her night.” Which, in turn, made ours.

So, if you happen to head to the Midnight Rose, and you go to the Down Under Buffet, tell the Pasta Lady we said hello, and be sure to try her incredible dishes. Even though it might take a bit, it is well worth the wait. Say hi to Jon for us, too! He is a pretty darned good manager, and a heck of a server (he will recommend the cheesecake to you. DO NOT TURN IT DOWN! SOOOoooooooOOOOoooo Good! Remember, also, a little kindness can go a long way, especially for the people who prepare and serve your food.

All in all, it was a pretty epic way to start our RV adventures!

AwesomeSauce Ratings:

Cripple Creek KOA: QUADS – Tom and everyone there was absolutely wonderful. The site was level, the views were amazing, the price was right, and it is close to adventure while still giving you enough distance for a quiet, star filled night.

Midnight Rose Poker Room and Casino: Full House. Sally is probably one of the best dealers around. She is knowledgeable, keeps the game going, and is fun. There is usually some action, and decent tournaments. Table side food and drink service.

Down Under Buffet: Full House. The food was good. The buffet was fresh. The Pasta Lady is awesome – her creations are worth the wait. There can be a bit of a wait, but such is life. We went on a Friday night, so the prices were weekend prices. Service was excellent, and the cheesecake was marvelous.

Cripple Creek Adventure: Quads. We will definitely be back, next time we cruise through Colorado, and we HIGHLY recommend that you check it out. Whether you enjoy gambling, hiking (which there is a TON OF), history (there are a couple of cool little museums, a train ride tour, and an underground mining tour), a not-to-be-missed playhouse, or just getting away from it all, Cripple Creek is an excellent choice. Of course we love the KOA, but if you are not RVing, or want a break from your house on wheels, we also highly recommend the Midnight Rose hotel. We have stayed there in the past, and were pleasantly surprised – AND you might be able to get your room for free if you play enough poker! Be sure to check with the poker desk for details and current promotions.

*- We are not at all licensed medical people. DO NOT take what we say as official medical advice. We speak from experience, and a Google search of WebMD. If you feel ill, or have questions, please consult a licensed physician. We cannot be held liable for any medical, mental, financial, or otherwise unnoted…um…stuff. So. You’ve been warned. Seek a professional.

(None of the pictures in this post were the work of the AwesomeSauce Team)

AwesomeSauce Rating System

In our posts you will see us use a rating system that has terms like “Royal Flush,” or “High Card.” We are using the 10 kinds of winning hands of poker to help us rate experiences, places, foods, and everything else.

Here are the 10 hands of poker, and what they mean to us (as far as rating, not necessarily in playing);

High Card – 1 out of 10. This is abysmal, and literally (almost) anything beats this. This is bad, and you should feel bad. There are no kittens. Anywhere. Ever.

One Pair – 2 out of 10. Not great. Probably not going to be worth it, but if everything else sucks it might seem ok. There was a kitten here at one time. No longer. You missed it.

Two Pair –  3 out of 10. Meh.

Three of a Kind –  4 out of 10. Not bad, could be a winner. Maybe this is free coffee with decent creamer, or a coupon for tacos. Someone mentioned that there might be a kitten around.

Straight – 5 out of 10. A coupon for better tacos. A pleasant surprise, often a good hand. You saw a kitten when you got it, you were told that you could hang out with the kitten later if you played your cards right. Heh.

Flush – 6 out of 10. Not only is the coffee free, but they have the fancy creamer you like, which is awesome. Water pressure could be how you like it. Usually a win. Most often a good choice.

Full House – 7 out of 10. BAM! The free coffee is delicious! There might even be some free breakfast with real eggs – not weird powdered…… eggs. This is a win for sure. You got to play with the kittens, and give them kisses.

Quads (four of a kind) – 8 out of 10. OH SNAP! Things are getting serious now. The water pressures is perfect. Temperature is how you like it. The tacos are free and maybe some of the best tacos you’ve had in a while. There are kittens around, playing and being super cute. Sometimes they run over and give you love.

Straight Flush – 9 out of 10. It’s the best coffee you’ve ever had, and it’s free. There are kittens frolicking around, AND you can squeeze them. Tacos are all you can eat and they are amazing. Temperature? Perfect. Water pressure? Perfect. You don’t think it can get better!

Royal Flush – 10 out of 10. Impossible to beat. There is no better rating/hand, which makes it so rare. The rarest and highest of these would be the Royal Flush of Spades. Nothing in the world will ever beat this. Ever. This is like snuggling kittens while eating ice cream, drinking the most delicious of beverages, while also eating pasta and all the things, while not getting fat. There is a handsome/gorgeous person ready to cater to your every need. Perhaps with a fan. The temperature is a perfect 72 degrees. You don’t have to work tomorrow, your bills are paid, and you have all the money in the bank. The bed is the perfect firmness, the pillow is cool on both sides, and did I mention kittens?

Better safe than smelly

First off, the AwesomeSauce Team would like to congratulate Saucy G and Awesome K on their upcoming wedding! We couldn’t be happier (even our Mews Matilda seems OK with it!), and we look forward to many more adventures, and posts, from the happy couple.

Second…off….The AwesomeSauce Team is a pretty positive group (we like to think). Hardly ever shall we write a negative review, or blog, because negativity takes a lot of time and energy. Energy that could be used on more awesomeness! However, once in a while a negative review might pop in here and there – not because we are trying to be nasty – but because we feel you should know before you go.

WHEW! OK, now lets get to the blog post, shall we?

Recently the AwesomeSauce Duo took a quick trip to Las Vegas, you know, like they do. The two day trip was for a couple of batteries that needed some recharging, some smallish poker tournaments, and, most importantly, to do some recon on wedding chapels!

Awesome K has been working as a poker dealer in Blackhawk, Colorado, for about six months now. He LOVES his new job, getting to do exactly what he loves. Not only does he get to interact with people everyday, he is learning more and more about poker. The only downside of his job is that he can’t play any tournaments now – as his casino is basically the only one with any tournament action. He never gets to put his new tournament knowledge to use! His main goal of the mini adventure was to stretch his poker legs, and try out his “new game.” Saucy G was, of course, along for the tournaments and the action. She was fully ready to be K’s cheerleader as he “shipped” all the tournaments he could cram in to two days. G was ready for a few of her own, though, having studied all the material she could get her hands on. Well…she read a couple magazines, and part of a book…

The first stop was the Aria Poker Room, for the daily 1pm tournament. Both G and K entered, but only one made it to the final table…IT WAS SAUCY G! With over 120 entries, the tournament was one of the largest that Saucy G has participated in, and the second tournament she has cashed in! She played a solid game, made smart decisions, and was able to stay patient and wait for the cards when she needed to. Awesome K was an excellent cheerleader, and coach, keeping an eye on the game as best as he could from a safe distance away. Saucy G ended up coming in 9th! Congratulations on a great tournament G!

Later that evening, after eating the best burger in the world (part victory, part amazing food!) in the Paris casino, the duo headed over to the Flamingo for a midnight tournament. With a $50 buy in, the duo both entered. A much smaller tournament, with only two tables, but the competition was still fierce! The duo was on fire, with another final table and cash win! The 3rd place midnight tournament winner was…SAUCY G! That’s right, two tournament final tables/cashes in ONE DAY! YAY! Awesome K was, again, a wonderful coach and cheerleader, beaming with pride as his “protege” shipped it in Vegas. Nice work team!

Day 2 was all about wedding recon. Not surprisingly, the duo plan to wed in Las Vegas!

Earlier this year, with the help of Mama AwesomeSauce, the duo thought they had found the perfect little chapel for an intimate ceremony. The pictures on the website were stunning, and the whole team felt like it was going to be a perfect fit. A deposit was paid, and everyone thought they were ready to go! All from the amazing website!

Saucy G needed to see the space in person, just to be sure it was perfect. Boy is she glad they checked it out ahead of time! Whoever took the pictures for the website should get an award, because the reality of the space was VERY different in person. The chapel was not in a very nice part of town (wedding row, as the team lovingly calls it, really isn’t a safe neighborhood), with it being sketchy in daylight – there is no way you would catch G walking that sidewalk after dark. Next to the chapel is an abandoned lot, filled with trash and who knows whats. Inside, the space was very tight, uncomfortable, and uninviting. The space offered two options for a ceremony, the indoor hall, and the outdoor gazebo, both of which are stunning online. In person, the indoor chapel looked very neglected. The “silk” flowers were covered with dust and dirt, the “candles” looked like dollar store rejects, and there was a distinct odor to the space that did not invoke feelings of everlasting love. The “bridal suite” was nothing more than an electrical closet, painted to look like an outdoor garden – that looked as though it had also been neglected. The paint was peeling, and the odor was getting stronger.

Once outside, headed to the gazebo area (that the duo had reserved), our guide showed us the route the bride would take. The route backed to an alley, complete with homeless men, trash, and the strongest odor of cat urine G has ever smelled (and she has had cats her whole life). It was all G could do to not start crying – and not tears of joy. The guide must have taken as joy, because she pressed on. After winding her way over the cobbles, passing the dumpster and homeless man, the bride walks into the gazebo area. Rickety benches, full of splinters and sadness, adorn either side of the aisle – leading to the gazebo. Words escape us. The gazebo looked as though it was about to topple over, taking its fake dirt plants with it. Surrounded by the sounds of traffic, the smells of pee, underneath power lines and a fire hazard, the duo decided that this was NOT the place for them to start their lives together. The left as quickly as they could, canceling their reservation as soon as possible, happily fore-fitting their deposit if it meant never setting foot in there again.

The moral of this story? ALWAYS tour the venue first, no matter what the reviews say or the pictures look like. If you are getting married, renting or buying a house, or really any reason, please please PLEASE check it out in advance. You don’t want to be out $100, cause yourself undo stress, and potentially get married in an alley. Better safe than smelly, I say!

The Duo Does Deadwood

Awesome K and I were looking for something to watch. It was one of the rare nights we were home with nothing to do, and thought that loafing on the couch sounded like the best idea. So, we perused the usual places, Netflix, our DVR, and our extensive movie shelf. Nothing. Nada. Zilcho. What were we to do? Just then, A.K remembered a show he had seen, and loved. HBO’s Deadwood! I was skeptical, Westerns have never been a favorite of mine, but he was so enthusiastic, I couldn’t say no!

After a couple of episodes, I was hooked. Even though the show was not filmed on location, it was still filled with snippits of history. The death of Wild Bill Hickok! Calamity Jane! And, of course, Seth Bullock. Seth happens to be my favorite, by the way. Not just the character on the show, but the man himself. Mr. Bullock has such an interesting story! Last, but not least, the infamous Al Swearengen! Mr. Swearengen is particularly interesting, because there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot known about him, and we all know how much I love a mystery! So, after watching the show for a little bit, I started to research the real Deadwood, South Dakota.

One thing led to another, and we decided we needed to see this piece of the wild west for ourselves. It just so happens that they have some casinos there, so not only could we get a rich lesson in history, we could also play some poker! A perfect combination! We were also able to find a brewery the A.K had heard about, so we knew this was the next adventure for us. We left for Deadwood on a Saturday morning, with me behind the wheel. We stopped for our (my) obligatory road Starbucks, then we were off!

We made a couple of minor pit-stops on our way to our first real stop in Rapid City, S.D. We stopped to see if we could see the Oregon Trail – as all the signs said we could – but we were unsuccessful. We drove around a little bit trying to find some of it, but quickly gave up. While it would have been neat to see, it was not our main focus. We had a brewery to get to! Onward!

Firehouse Brewing Co Hose Our first stop on our Deadwood Adventure was in Rapid City, S.D. To some this may not seem like a very exciting destination, but we couldn’t wait to get there. A.K had heard of a brewery there that had some pretty amazing food and brews, and I couldn’t wait to see it because of the growlers they sell! I had been saving my pennies in order to buy one of these magnificent beer vessels, and I was not disappointed. The Firehouse Brewing Company in Rapid City was everything we hoped it would be, and more!

A must have for any beer enthusiast.
A must have for any beer enthusiast

After filling up on food, beer, and hilarity, we hit the road. Rumor had it that it was going to snow, and snow a lot, so we had to hustle to Deadwood. An ominous sky hung over us while we scurried through Sturgis, and we made it to our hotel just as the first flakes began to fall. We arrived at Cadillac Jack’s Hotel and Casino just in time! Situated just outside of the main stretch, Cadillac Jack’s is a great place to stay. Comfortable, great gaming options, nice rooms, and you have two different hotels to choose from! Both are connected to the casino, so no matter what side of the house you stay on, you are still close to the games. We stayed in in the Cadillac Jack’s rooms, as opposed to the Marriott, and were very impressed. The room was very large, comfortable, and VERY affordable. If you are looking for a reasonable place to stay, I would check them out. If you are in it for the history, though, I might look at staying on Main Street. ((A handy tip when looking for a room, try Hotels.com. We have found incredible rates on a number of our adventures, but especially to Deadwood. If you have a specific hotel in mind, check their website, and especially their Facebook page. Often hotels will advertise special rates and deals on Facebook. If all else fails, call them and ask for a discount, especially if it during their “off season.”)) We settled into our room after a painless check in, then hit the casino! I have spent a fair amount of time in casinos, especially lately, and I have to say that I really enjoyed Cadillac Jack’s. Everything was spaced out nicely so that nothing felt cramped or scary, there was a good variety of games, and there were two separate areas dedicated to table games, one for poker only, and the other for Black Jack and what-not. The poker room seemed a little small, but I am used to the Ameristar that has a TON of tables, it seems, so seeing only a couple of tables seemed small to me. There was at least one table open for a cash game, though, and there was a rumor of some decent daily tournaments. We headed off to check out the slot machines and other table games, and to just relax after our drive.

Snow-pocalypse
Snow-pocalypse

The next morning we stepped outside to a mini Snow-pocalypse. The dreaded blizzard was in full force, and there was no going anywhere. While we were a little bummed, we made the best of it by checking out the previously mentioned poker tournament. A.K has played in tournaments before, and has even played at the World Series of Poker (a couple of times), I, however, had no tournament experience (other than video games). Needless to say I was a little nervous, and A.K was calm, cool, and ready to kick Deadwood booty! For my first ever live tournament, it was pretty stress free. The buy-in was only $13, with a $5 re-buy, so I didn’t need to worry that I was going to lose all our money in my first “big game.” Even with the blizzard, there ended up being a decent turn-out, with two full tables of players. Everyone playing seemed really nice (and obviously everyone knew one another, small town and all), and the game itself was pretty low key and fun. I didn’t do all that well, but I can say I was not the first knocked out, which is nice. A.K was a different story, however. He was ON FIRE! That little poker room didn’t know what hit it! Well, maybe not quite that dramatic…First he was doing well, then he made it to the final table, he made it “to the money”, then he ended up winning the tournament, winning $177! I was pretty impressed (although I know he is a phenomenal poker player), and I think everyone else was pretty impressed, too. Way to kick butt A.K!

Luck was definitely on our side that afternoon. After A.K won the tournament, we checked the weather outside and it had let up! There was even a little trolley running! We would get to see some of Deadwood after all! YAY! We bundled up and headed out.

Deadwood TrolleyWe decided to take the super cool trolley to upper Main Street, and walk back down. Deadwood is not a very big town, and when the weather is nice it would be easy to walk pretty much the whole place. If you wanted to, you could ride the trolley in a large loop around the town, and pick and choose where to get off at. There are multiple stops on the route, and the trolley runs into the wee hours of the night, so if you change your mind about all the walking, you can hop on the trolley to get you where you wanted to go. On our trip, we almost didn’t make it up the street, the roads were slick and the snow was pretty deep in some places. Luckily our trolley was pretty tough, and we made it to our stop.

We started meandering down Main Street, looking in at all the cool little shops and what-nots. There is so much history crammed into such a small town, I was afraid we would miss something! Luckily there are placards all over the place letting you know who was here, how something happened, and where you were standing. It was nice to see all the information was readily available. Despite some places were closed due to weather, or it being the wrong day of the week (turns out Monday’s are pretty dead, so bare that in mind. It’s always good to find out in advance what days most places are closed, if Monday’s are their off days, or Wednesdays. Be sure to plan ahead!), we were still able to see a lot of the things we had hoped for. One of our first stops was to check out the Historic Bullock Hotel. Built by Seth Bullock, it was originally a warehouse and (I think) hardware store. After a fire burnt down the warehouse, Seth built his hotel on the same site. While we were checking out the gorgeous hotel, we learned that Bullock was the father of two daughters and a son (nothing like the show said of his family), longtime friends with Teddy Roosevelt, and was appointed the first forest supervisor by Roosevelt, in addition to being Sheriff, and entrepreneur. We learned that Seth may even haunt his hotel, and that one of his favorite spots is the grand fireplace on the first level. It was said to be a favorite of his in life, and apparently still loves it after his death.

The GemAfter checking out some more of the buildings around town, we headed toward the infamous Gem Saloon! The Gem Steakhouse and Saloon is now part of the Mineral Palace Hotel and Gaming, with the Gem as a restaurant on the second floor. On the site of the original Gem, built and run by the notorious Al Swearengen, the Gem Steakhouse and Saloon is a great place to stop and get a bite to eat. The prices are reasonable, with the menu following the Deadwood (show) theme. You can order the (Dan) Dority Black and Bleu Steak, Mr. Woo’s Pork Ribs, or Merrick’s Ribeye. They also offer Calamity Jane’s chicken and Joanie Stubbs Grilled Swordfish. I had the black and bleu, and A.K tried the garlic ribeye. Both were delicious, and well worth the stop.

One of the places we were really hoping to see, and didn’t get to because of the weather, was Mount Moriah Cemetery, the final resting place for Wild Bill Hickok, Calamity Jane, Seth Bullock, and a few other famous Deadwood residents. The snow was too nasty, unfortunately. If you are planning on going, make sure you wear good walking shoes, and plan for at least half an hour of looking around. We heard it is a bit of a hike to see Seth Bullock’s grave, so keep that in mind when planning your visit to the cemetery. Wild Bill and Calamity Jane are pretty easy to check out, we heard.

We walked back to our hotel and reveled in the little bit of history we were able to take in on that snowy Monday afternoon. While we didn’t get to see and do everything we had planned on, it was still a lot of fun to traipse through a snowy Deadwood.

Two-Headed Calf!
Two-Headed Calf!

The next morning, before heading back to AwesomeSauce Headquarters, we decided to try and check out the Adams Museum. It was closed the day before, which was a bummer, and we wanted to try to see it before we left. We were in luck as they were open and ready for visitors, so on our way out of town we made one last Deadwood stop. When you go to Deadwood, this is a must see location! While it looks small from the outside, the three level museum is packed to the gills with Deadwood history and items, as well as some rare and unusual items from all over! There was a whole section dedicated to Wild Bill and Calamity Jane, which was really neat to see. It contained Hickok’s last letter to his wife (that they read on the HBO show), memorabilia from his show days, clothes, and so much more! We learned a lot more about Calamity Jane’s past, the woman who claimed to be her daughter (which turned out to be untrue), and were able to get a better idea of who the wild woman was. There was also a neat section in the museum dedicated to the Jewish founders, and the Chinese population of Deadwood. One of my favorite sections was the oddities section, with the not-to-be-missed two headed calf!

Stunning
Stunning

On the upper floor you can learn about the town’s history. Fires! Gambling! Brothels! Read the headlines from original newspapers, and learn all there is to know of Deadwood’s beginnings, and almost ends. There is also an area with some of the most intricate and beautifully wooden furniture! In the basement you find out more about the first schools, and how it was to be a learning child in a lawless town.

After a wonderful morning spent in a great little museum, we had to head home. Driving out we noticed a lot of land for sale, and “joked” about when we win the World Series of Poker, maybe we would buy some land and build a house in the Black Hills. It is a gorgeous area, and it would be easy to move in and relax. Maybe pan for gold in the streams while enjoying quiet nights with the stars, trees, and wildlife for company. Sounds pretty nice, when you think about it.

All in all it was a very fun adventure! I highly recommend going to Deadwood, via Rapid City. We are going to go back sometime when the weather is nice, and hopefully see more of what Deadwood has to offer. We might even try to make it to the town of Wall, and check out the Wall Drug store we saw so many signs for!

Thank you for joining us on our adventure! Is there someplace we missed that you think we should go? Want more information about one of our stops? Got a spot we should go on our next adventure? Tell us about it!

This post brought to you by G-Sauce. G-Sauce is a member of the AwesomeSauce Duo, and author in the Are You Ready? blog series. She works closely with the AwesomeSauce Duo P.R Manager – and Mews – Sir Archer Funnyfoot, with the Trip Coordinator – and Mews – Miss Matilda Pants, and with the Head of Logistics – and Mews – Secret Agent Sam. She loves a good cup of coffee, enjoys reading, and has a soft spot for all things nerdy.