Tour Update 5

by Swingset Showdown on 2013/07/01

I know it’s been a little longer between updates this time, but I really needed to catch up on some sleep, so that is where my free time has gone. Also, this is the first internet I’ve had access to in a few days. Also, I only have a few minutes to post this before we have to hit the road again, so I will have to add photos later.

It’s hard to come up with new things to say about Las Vegas. As we said in our last post, we passed through Death Valley at night, so we didn’t suffer the ultra heat until the next morning.

Days 5-7- Shut up and Take My Money

The first order of business was to get the van looked at. The brakes had been acting up on all of the steep down grades as we left Death Valley. Raymond, our host in Las Vegas, recommended a shop called Professional Brake Service to us. They checked it out, then told us that while the brake pads were okay, the rotors were worn down below minimum. Also, the rear brake drums were warped and not really doing anything. Therefore, the burden of stopping was entirely on the very worn front end. They hooked us up with a deal since we are on tour, and shaved off a lot of the labor. In return, I gave them CDs. Still, the repairs were a big cut into our road costs. Still, we didn’t let it get us down. After all, we were in Vegas. We’d surely earn back that money in a couple hands of Blackjack anyway.

I had a good time checking out the people that were on the streets. Guidos were everywhere. Eric told us that his friend used to play the game, “Working Girl or Jersey Girl,” When he would go to Vegas. It was not an easy game. Eric and I were both propositioned by prostitutes at one point.

A dude was handing out calling cards for prostitutes that you could get delivered to your door. He held out a card to me and shouted in passing, “Get your dick rubbed for $20! Horny sluts with no morals!” I laughed out loud because it reminded me of banner ads for porn sites. I never thought I would actually hear somebody say that shit out loud, let alone shout it at me on the public thoroughfare. Maybe my mind was in the wrong place because I did not get laid in Vegas. I also left with a lot of the money that I had brought for gambling.

The only game that I played was Blackjack. I figured that with Basic Strategy on my side, I would lose at a slow enough pace to enjoy the whole Vegas 3-day break. I played at most of the casinos on the strip, and suckered Eric and Jason into playing a little as well. We did okay. All of us left with less money in our pockets, but it was a reasonable loss for the amount of fun we had.

I’d say that for romp through the Adult Disneyland that is The Strip, we did it pretty cheap. Eric would occasionally throw his money in the garba-I mean slot machines. I got a picture of him playing a Godzilla one. Julene, Jason and I all rode the roller coaster at New York, New York. We ate at a buffet that was both really impressive in it’s size and diversity, and really disappointing in its quality. Still, we left bloated. Late one evening, we were drinking back at the house and marveling at Julene’s novelty tall Vegas cup. We decided to invent a new cocktail that we call a Brainate. It’s a mixture of Budweiser, Rainier and Tecate, poured into a Vegas glass as quickly as possible for maximum head. We were doing Vegas right.

The last casino we played at, which I believe was Mandalay Bay, we lost the most. I had to buy in a couple of times and when I was down to my last $80, I decided to “channel the spirit of Craig.” A little background here; Craig is Eric’s friend from Davis who would gamble by putting large sums of money on the table and either winning a lot or losing it all in the first few minutes. I figured that I had set a budget aside, so I was going to either lose it all or win some of it back. I pulled a Craig and tipped the dealer with the expectation of losing it all. The dealer used his tip to play with me. We crossed our fingers and sure enough, we won. Then, on a lesser Craig bet, I won again, which pretty much put me back up to near where I had started when we arrived. I figured a little loss was okay, thinking of it as the amusement fee, and we walked away. I bought a fancy cigar, which I smoked as we walked through the lobbies, and we got Jagger-bombs as we made our way back to the car.

The entire time we were there, it was insanely hot. So hot that it was hard to see straight. I dreaded walking outside between casinos and was happy to find that most casinos had covered, air-conditioned walkways that ran between them. It really felt like we were in a theme park that had no admission fee. Instead, each ride cost an individual fee. The casinos were the different-themed locations on the park map. Everything was overpriced.

Overall, it was a really fun detour. I’m glad to have made the ride out there, rather than bumming our way through the places between San Francisco and LA. As we left Las Vegas and got close to LA, the heat started to let up, and I started to snap out of my heat lethargy with a feeling of relief. Last night, a Los Angeles resident apologized to me on behalf of her city, saying it was unfortunate that we had to show up in the middle of their heat wave. I laughed because it was 10X more tolerable than Death Valley. I didn’t even feel it. Anyway, I can tell you more about our experience in LA in our next tour update.

That’s all for now.

-Ike

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