Seattle-Las Vegas-Utah-Grand Junction

Last couple of days I’ve been on a “vacation.”

My brother Steve is moving to Lawrence, Kansas from Ridgecrest, California (for grad school). I flew to Las Vegas yesterday afternoon to drive a car for him, wife, and almost six-month old baby Victoria.

Got off to a rough start. Semi-rough, I sat next to two women on my flight who were both very pleasant to sit next to. Probably the best flight company I’ve ever had. When I arrived Las Vegas around 3pm on Saturday, called Steve, no answer, called again in 30 minutes and found out that they hadn’t even left Ridgecrest yet. Everything takes longer with a wife and kid. After I got over the sticker shock of my cab fare to the strip from the McCarran Airport and ate my first In-N-Out Burger (good but not great i.e. overrated) I managed to entertain myself for a few hours while I waited.

After In-N-Out, I caught another cab to MGM Grand, checked my luggage, charged my phone for a few minutes to keep a minimal charge. After a long day of travelling, listening to music, checking in on Facebook etc. my phone was pretty low.

Being a Washington resident in the Nevada heat I needed malted refreshment. Blackjack can get you beer and liquor, you just need to stay at the table long enough.

Las Vegas is cheap city if you know how to work the game. Find a cheap table low roller. $3 Blackjack is about as cheap as it gets for the new end of the strip, unless you feel like going downtown for dollar action on craps.

The MGM is a nice Casino, not my scene for gambling. $10 minimum bets, beer is cheaper than that. Plus, what you really need is to be able to play a couple of hands, odds only catch up with you if you stay in the game.

Across the street from MGM Grand is Hooters.

$3 Blackjack, $2.50 beers, 80s night, and yeah no one goes to Hooters for wings, thighs, or chicken. Weak dealers with tight tank tops.

$20 dollars worth of Blackjack playing earned several Bud Lights & a couple shots of Jameson. I wound up losing my initial stake, but that is acceptable, it’s gambling afterall.

Brother Steve showed up around 10, lost track of time at the Blackjack table, but did get my phone charged nominally enough to stroll the strip with a couple of Heinekens. Open containers just feel right in that kind of heat.

I showed a couple of buskers how to play Neil Young’s “Rockin’ in the Free World,” tipped a Mexican guy playing accordian (nice act), and made my way back to the MGM when Steve finally showed up.

After my initial annoyance with the tardiness of my brother for my perceived favor, Vegas turned out pretty wel for me.

Got a voicemail from Mom checking in on me, don’t drink they need you to drive. Whoops. Don’t leave anyone with a penchant for beer or alcohol in Vegas for 5 hours, I mean 7 hours. Duh.

Got that message a day later somewhere in Utah. Going to Breckenridge tomorrow, short drive from Grand Junction, the biggest truck stop on Earth. Catching up with the college roommate you wish you had, Derek Jones. Taught me how to gamble, drink, and taught me all wrong. See you tomorrow, jerk.

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