Continuing an account of our casino and sightseeing visit to Southern California with the Frugal Princess Angela and her husband Steve and a friend who, like us, was doing a Harrah’s 7* Retreat.
We spent the part of one day at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, which is not to be confused with the main zoo which is closer to downtown. The Safari Park is a shorter drive from the Southern California Harrah’s Resort (Rincon) where we were staying. We liked seeing the animals in a more natural habitat rather than in the pens and cages of a traditional zoo. This park covers a very large area and we had the energy to cover only a small part of it. I had found a Groupon offer for ½ off an entrance/tram ride package and that saved our group of five not only a lot of money but also our legs! The tram gave us a nice view around the African Plains. But the high point for all of us was the Gorilla Forest, where one Mama was taking such good care of her newborn baby.
We did have a fairly close-up view of the gorillas, but a photo-shop trick
Ang, Brad, and I were content to be in a more ordinary nature setting.
Although we planned to make this a major sight-seeing and relaxation vacation, of course we did not ignore the casino. That is where you could find us most evenings. Brad and I and our friend had checked out the video poker inventory on vpFREE2 so we knew right where to look for the best games.
One Double Super Times Pay machine gave me a memorable jackpot for $6000. Not that this was an unusually high amount – Brad and I often play $2 machines where a royal pays $8000 and on multi-lines we occasionally hit much higher jackpots. But we have never hit a royal jackpot as a result of a multiplier, a frustration factor that keeps us from playing these sorts of games regularly. However, at this casino DSTP was by far the best game we could find so we tackled the 50-cent Five Play and hoped the volatility wouldn’t bite us too hard.
In the first session, Brad did get one royal but, as usual, it wasn’t with a multiplier. I remarked then that we probably would be more likely to be hit by lightning on a sunny day on the Vegas Strip than get a royal with a multiplier. And then I was dealt four to a royal with a 3x multiplier and lightning struck on the top line. Not our biggest hit by any means – but way up there on the Surprise Jackpot list!
We could not find a convenient time for an organized Frugalite get-together, but most of the individuals who were interested managed to find us at some point, either at the pool or in the casino. It was nice to meet with some friends whom we hadn’t seen for a long time and to become acquainted with some new video poker aficionados. And as an added bonus, most of these were locals and could give us additional information for our future reference about this casino and others in the area.
The fun did not stop when we finally had to leave the casino and the San Diego area, because we had made plans to stop in Palm Springs on our way back to Las Vegas. Just outside of town we enjoyed spectacular views as we rode the Aerial Tramway, traveling over two and one half miles up to the wilderness of the Mt. San Jacinto State Park aboard the world’s largest rotating tram cars. Our time was limited so we had just a short walk around at the top, but it was a welcome relief from the heat in the valley below.
Then it was into the center of town where we took a “Rich and Famous Tour” with a knowledgeable local who kept us entertained for the 2 hours as he drove us around in his open-air yellow jeep, relating the colorful history of the town and showing us all the homes where the stars used to live, an amazing collection of fascinating mid-century modern architecture.
It was an interesting stop-over in Palm Springs, but we were glad to get back into our air-conditioned van and head back to Las Vegas. There is no place like home!