The Grand Trip, Part One.

After leaving work early on Tuesday, November 25, I boarded my flight and headed toward the great city of St. Louis. I had an hour layover there, allowing me to meet the Midwest’s best as they prepared for the holiday. Nothing much happened there except I observed that everyone in the airport knew each other! I always knew that hicks inbreeded. After leaving St. Louis, I got onboard my flight to LAX. I was sandwiched between two very large men who each should have gotten two seats to accommodate their large statures. Fortunately the flight wasn’t full (Yay for the recession!) and I moved out of that seat quickly thereafter. I curled up in the back row and was asleep as soon as we took off. LAX was nothing short of miserable while I waited for Rachel to pick me up. It took over an hour. She blamed the weather, but ever since she got her brand new car (a white Jetta—we call her Pearl) she’s been an extra cautious driver. Quite a departure from the girl we used to call Crash. We hit the road and proceeded to experience the famous LA gridlock. It was awful out, which didn’t help the traffic. I overheard someone say that it hadn’t rained like this since September. I bring the rain, bitches!

The next day we headed off for the city of dreams, mullets and dysfunction, Las Vegas. Fittingly, we stopped at McDonald's to fuel up on grease before hitting the town. Five hours in the car (desert traffic) led to a lot of picture taking as I was quite bored in the passenger seat. We finally arrived, delayed since I gave Rachel the wrong directions. I seem to trust my GPS on my BlackBerry more than common sense or human intelligence. I paid so much money for the damn thing; I’ve forced myself to trust it more than I really should.

Our little setback only cost us an hour of miserable bumper-to-bumper traffic but we finally arrived at the glorious Tropicana hotel, brushing crumbs off our laps as we exited Pearl and checked in. I had looked at pictures of the room online, so I was prepared for a lovely garden view room. In Vegas I guess they count a parking lot and Hooters casino as a garden. That town really needs some horticulture. The lovely ground floor room looked like Carol Brady had decorated it (on a budget), and the TV was probably new in 1991. But we weren’t there to hang around the room! So after mixing multiple drinks in our room (Vegas on a dime, people) we set out to the town’s greatest hotspots.

We crossed the wet and damp footbridge in the pouring rain into the MGM Grand where I promptly won 20 bucks at my old favorite, the Wheel of Fortune slots! I swear Vanna White and Pat Sejack must have a thing for me, because I am awesome at those bad boys. I also wasn’t aware that you get free drinks when you playing the slots and it’s possible I may have taken a little bit too much advantage of the service. Damn margaritas kill me every time! But I was on a hot streak thanks to Pat and Vanna and feeling good. After awhile, the MGM was getting a little bit too pricey so I had the brilliant idea to head to downtown Las Vegas, dragging Rachel alongside me in protest.

I flagged a cab, NY style, and told the driver to “take us to the Casino Royale, Vegas’ premier gambling destination!” Casino Royale is located downtown, which is not so nice. The area looks like a ghost town of strippers, drunks, and whores. Apparently prostitution is legal out there, so I know where to go if my advertising career fails (KIDDING!). He looked at me with a face full of fright and disgust, but away we went. We entered the casino, which looked and smelled like my grandmother’s basement, complete with stained shag carpet and faded posters on the wall. I headed to the blackjack table, where a lovely brunette with a mullet cut dealt me my cards. The old men in Harley Davidson jackets seated at the table looked at me skeptically as I took my place, but the $1 margaritas I found there made me brave enough to show ‘em I could handle ol’ blackityjack. The dealer dealt and it was at that point I realized it was some variation on the game called switch blackjack. I looked like a teenaged fool (I got carded four times) asking questions but soon waiters were soon bringing me free margaritas and mojitos (don’t try that mix at home, kids) while I went on to win mad bills! Harley and Davidson claimed I had beginners’ luck but I didn’t care; my winnings paid for our hotel!

While I was winning, Rachel was beginning to feel a bit iffy. Several people asked her if she was a. on drugs or b. dying. Since she was a lot closer to dying then drugs (though I’m sure we could have found some there), we decided to go to back to the hotel and grabbed a cab. Our driver was very nice, but his mettle was about to be tested as Rachel, the best drinker I know (puke free since ’03), started to look a little green. “Rach…are you okay?” I asked with concern. “Uh no…I’m going to puke.” I scooted away from her as she rolled down the window and threw up all over the side of the cab and the Las Vegas Strip. The cab driver hollered, and pulled up hastily to the Tropicana. Eager to get out of the vomitcab, I threw him a ten (which was sadly a meager 70 cent tip). As I left the cab, he screamed at me and called me a bitch due to my lack of generosity. To further embarrass myself in front of Vegas’ finest, I slipped on the rain puddles on the marble steps and fell up the stairs of the Tropicana, resulting in various cuts and bruises. Whoops. I got into bed at 12:30, and uttered what would ultimately prove to be true about Las Vegas:

We tried to own Vegas, but Vegas owned us.

ALSO: We had Thanksgiving at a Hooters. Whose more classy than us?


  1. I officially love your writing.

    Also, I officially want to see you in Vegas sometime. It sounds like you did the hell out of it

  2. People in the midwest don't all know each other. They are just freakishly nice. It freaks me out. I'm like who are you and why did you wish me a safe flight? I'm trying to dry my hands. Its hard to fight the urge to call Danger Stranger! at first. But then the longer I live away from the Northeast/Tri State Area the more used to it I get.

    Also I am excited that you ate hooters for thanksgiving, you are a classy pair of ladies.

  3. You're a classy one Kelly Bergin

  4. I assume you went to Hooters "for the wings," right?

  5. HEY. What are you insinuating? I wanted to go to a buffet! I could sooo work at a Hooters though.

  6. The rain slows everything down in L.A.!! and also you forgot to mention that you had me take 2 of your Cymbaltas in Vegas, hence why I puked outside the taxi!

    Good description of the hotel room...and that was hilarious when you fell in front of all those people.

  7. Amazing information form website that compares hotels!! We spent 5 nights with lovely Champ and her welcoming family. We felt a part of the family when they invited us to join their family hike to Ella rock, and helped us planning our trip around… The thing I enjoy the most was the spontaneous cooking class we had one evening...it's a great and quiet place, 7 minutes with took to business center ..

  8. I’m trampled by your contents carry on the wonderful work.