Beating the Odds to Vegas

Our Vegas Vacation

My wife and I aren’t gamblers; at least that’s what we thought before we went to Las Vegas. Turns out, we rolled the dice the moment we booked our flight.

Red Rock Canyon

It’s interesting, perhaps revealing, that when I told people about our trip, I immediately felt (and acted on) the urge to add a qualifying statement: “We’re going to Las Vegas … (pregnant pause) … but neither of us drink nor gamble.” Part of the reason I pointed out that we don’t drink or gamble was that I didn’t want people think I was going to Sin City for the purpose of … you know … sinning. It was my pride speaking, and, frankly, it was a lie to imply I never drink or gamble. But it was accurate to say those weren’t the reasons we were going to Las Vegas. We had a great deal on a condo for a week, and someone who lives there convinced us there was plenty to do that didn’t involve drinking or gambling.

So why do I say we rolled the dice? Because our biggest gamble of the trip came when we bet on a low-fare airline. Our original Sunday afternoon flight was cancelled, so we drove two hours the next day to catch a flight in Tulsa. It, too, was cancelled. So we were re-booked on a Tuesday flight and spent Monday night in a Tulsa hotel. On Tuesday, the inbound plane from Las Vegas arrived on schedule, but a maintenance crew nixed the return flight. This time, however, the airline sent a “rescue” plane (which took three hours to get to Tulsa). We finally arrived at our condo in Vegas late Tuesday night, roughly 55 hours behind schedule. (The airline gave us vouchers for future flight, which felt a little like paying for a bad rib eye and being told the next bad steak will be free.)

Hoover Dam

Despite the delays, we squeezed in everything we had planned – except for some of the “do nothing” time. We rescheduled a couple of shows, visited Red Rock Canyon, Hoover Dam, and even added in a visit to Casa de Shenandoah, the estate and mansion owned by singer Wayne Newton. We saw a mentalist, acrobats, a hologram of Michael Jackson, and Elvis (or at least a decent impersonation of the King). And, as a confession, I drank one beer and we combined to wager (and lose) $15 on Wheel of Fortune Slots and Video Poker (our contributions to help pay for the fountains at the Bellagio.)

We enjoyed the food and the shows and most of the natural scenery, but we won’t go back, and not because of the airline ordeal. There’s no way to avoid the glitz and the casinos, which, despite their bright lights and bells and whistles, are nothing short of depressing. As we walked through three different casinos en route to shows or restaurants, we literally saw hundreds of people playing the games. We saw one who looked like he was having a good time gambling, and we suspect the odds caught up with him later.

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