On the Road: Looking at America Through a Layer of Filth, Grime and Bug Guts

Welcome to Vegas

Slot Machine We found parking at Bally's Casino and decided to head inside. I'm not much of a gambler, just the quarter video poker machines for me. I don't like wasting money on the slots machines, it's completely a game of chance. You're at the mercy of the mechanics of the machine, and I don't find it worth a quarter to watch "bars", "cherries", "bells", and "plums" roll in front of me. Video poker is my kind of game, because I see it as just a video game that cost 75 cents less than most video games these days. I rationalize it as, "I didn't bet a quarter, I spent a quarter to play a game". But unlike the video games you play in the mall arcade, these games give you money if you win. Thus, it's called gambling. I only lost 5 bucks while I was in town, and I got to keep the change bucket the casinos gave me to carry my winnings...or rather my losings in.

If you're the type who can live vicariously through others, then you can have lots of fun at the craps and roulette tables. All you do is stand back and watch other folks lose their shirts. I saw one man throw down 2 thousand dollars worth of chips on red 22 and I saw another man swipe those chips away when the wheel came up black 36. The gambler didn't even bat an eye. I batted my eye for him. I followed him around for awhile, and sort of became his rooting section. Gambling became a spectator's sport for me. All of the excitement of losing or winning the big game, without the worry of living out the rest of my days working off debt in the Nevada salt mines.

Caesars PalaceWendell and I walked to a few more casinos. We crossed the street to Caesars Palace. We walked in and gambled a little and then tried to explore the rest of the hotel. We walked out of the main casino area and up a flight of spiral stairs which led to a locked door. When we turned around there was a suspicious character wearing a Caesars Palace sport jacket watching us. He was talking into his lapel and giving us a strange look. I took that as a "you don't belong over here, go back in the casino like good little tourist" look. Wendell and I grabbed a money bucket stamped with the "Caesars Palace" logo and headed out. We hit one more casino and took a souvenir winnings/losings cup from that place, by then it was about 4:30 AM and we had another choice to make.

We were getting kind of tired, but the electricity coming off the lights of the "strip" were keeping us charged. Should we pay for a room to get 5 hours sleep or should we head on to LA? Somehow heading on to LA won the coin toss. Which made some drunk from Topeka very happy, he bet a hundred bucks the coin would come up tails. You can bet on anything in Vegas.

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