Sunday, July 14, 2013


... gets posted on the blog two weeks later.

So, getting back to our trip down to SoCal to see my sister and her family.

After ending the night at Disneyland, we woke up (somewhat) early on Saturday morning and hopped in the car to drive to Las Vegas. Since we grew up down there, and we had family that made this same trip all the time, we knew it was doable. What we didn't count on was the 117 degree temperatures that would greet us when we arrived. It was so hot, in fact, that we decided to skip the pool altogether.

We tried to get a room from Expedia's new blind auction service, but while it was cheap they were a bit misleading about the hotel's location (ie, it wasn't on the strip). We instead booked two rooms at the Paris Las Vegas because Alan and I have stayed there before and we like the casino and its proximity to everything else. While Sean and Alan rested, Jenny and I went shoe shopping and then we we met up to walk over to Caesar's for the Bacchanal Buffet. We waited in line for about an hour, and it was pretty damn expensive, so I made sure to eat only the most expensive foods they had. This of course, meant lots of crab, shrimp, and oysters. Sean and Alan report that the prime rib was pretty darn good too. I don't know that it was necessarily heads above any of the other buffets, but the sure size was damn impressive (even if the service wasn't).

From there we gambled for awhile where I quickly lost all of my money. Jenny and Ange were much better at the slots than I was. Alan and Sean watched some crazy lady win $2800 (she was feeding $100 bills into the machine, spending at least $2000 along the way).

After Caesar's, we went over to the Rio for the Penn & Teller show. It was interesting, and our tickets were cheap from a deal I found on Travelzoo, but I'm not sure I'd recommend it. Especially since we had to stand in line for over 30 minutes in 99 degree weather (it was nearly midnight) for a cab back to the Paris.

Once we got back to the Paris we settled in for some more gambling. Alan settled into the martini bars for some $$$ drinks. While playing the slots, Jenny was up again, while I had nearly gone through my allotted gambling money. What I love about the casino at the Paris is that when they bring you drinks, they bring you drinks. My dirty martini was a full size martini in a martini glass with three olives. And our waitress did NOT cheap out on the liquor. After a few more martinis Alan came over to me to ask if I was done. I had $0.25 left on my machine. And from there, using max bet, the money just kept growing. I went from that quarter to $120. I know it's not much for real gamblers but I only ever lose in Las Vegas. I have never won, at all. This was very exciting for me.

We finally went back to the room around 1:30 a.m. where Alan promptly passed out. We had to get on the road fairly early so we woke up, ate breakfast at the buffet at the hotel (crepes!) and then got on the road. There was a lot of traffic along the way, especially outside of Barstow. We stopped in Hesperia to show Sean and Alan the house we grew up in. I was ... sad. First of all, Hesperia isn't exactly gorgeous. In fact, it's ugly as hell. Our house hadn't been nice, but it was well kept. Now? It was a shit show. The fence itself was a joke, and while it sits on a one acre patch of dirt, the new owners painted it brown. We drove around the side, and our old barn was ready to fall down. You can tell it hadn't been painted in years. And our old chicken coop and garden? Yeah, the coop was literally a pile of debris, and our garden was filled with oil barrels. It made me want to cry.

After meeting up with my dad & step mom to drop Jenny & Sean off and to say goodbye to the kids, Alan and I drove straight down to John Wayne Airport in Orange County where we boarded a plane back to OAK. All in all, it was an amazing - and exhausting - weekend. I'm so glad we got to do it.