The Grand Staircase, Part Five
- Numbers 27, 47, 93, 111, 130, and 131 on my life list.

Monday Night
Click Here for Part One

We got back to the car, pulled onto Route 66, and headed to Las Vegas. We aren’t Vegas-type people, as anyone that knows us would assume, but we were this close to it. I’ve wanted to see what it was like and it was on my list. Besides, it was a nice way to split up our week with showers and real beds.

We drove down the strip. I stared up at all the familiar buildings and lights like a 6-month old staring at a ceiling fan. We got to the Luxor and checked in.

“To get to your room make a left at that Starbucks right down there and go straight until you get to the next Starbucks and make a right and you’ll see the elevators,” said the girl at the front desk. I am not making that up.

We dropped off our stuff and started down the 4-mile Las Vegas strip, the world capital of gambling, chapels and cheap buffets. We didn’t have a lot in mind to do. We just walked. I wanted to see all the famous casinos and maybe a few chemically imbalanced people.

I found slot machines extraordinarily boring, but I could say gambling in Vegas was officially off my list (number 111). I wanted to play a few just to get the feel of pulling down the handle and hearing the jingling change pouring out. To my disappointment, they got rid of the handle, in place of a monotonous little button. I quickly turned ten dollars into fifteen, but my winnings printed out on a little receipt. Where’s the excitement in that? Can I get some jiggling change over here please?

Neither of us felt our gambling skills were sufficient to sit at the $15 or higher per bet tables, and the cheaper tables were always full. When playing the Caesar’s Palace Nintendo game I cleaned up, but when faced with the real Caesar’s Palace, suddenly I couldn’t even remember how to play craps anymore. Nor did I have confidence in my Texas Hold ‘Em skills. It was probably for the best. I only lost enough money to buy dinner for two from a fast food value menu. I think I’ll recover.

I had more solicitations for prostitution than dollars lost to gambling actually. Randy warned me of this before getting to Vegas. I always knew about it, but there was more of it than I imagined. Everywhere we went someone is there flipping a card at us with some woman’s image. I didn’t take any, but I assumed they were something like prostitute trading cards. (Collect them all! Trade them with friends!) I wondered if they would have stats on the back, but I didn’t want to know enough to acknowledge their existence.

“Eh, just look forward and pretend they’re not there,” Randy reminded me. I wanted to bring a few souvenirs home with me but I didn’t want one to be an STD. If I’m looking for a souvenir that will last a lifetime, I’d just assume have one of those pressed pennies inscribed with “Viva Las Vegas” than herpes.

We stopped for drinks and a great meal, and continued down the strip, going into every casino whose name I recognized. All of them, on the inside, looked the same to me, like fancy Chuck E. Cheese’s for adults. If only they had adult-sized ball pits and skee ball. If I could gamble on skee ball, I’d be a rich man.

We took a few photos, hung out in a few more casinos, decided I would be ok if I never went to Vegas again, and made it back to the hotel around 4:00 am. We flipped on the TV, but I crashed and fell asleep in no time.

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