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Day 16
June 26th, 2002
Las Vegas, Nevada


I slept late today.  Only getting up to dial the air conditioning down.  

This hotel was the coldest place I've ever been in.  The lobby, hallways, shops, and restaurants were like meat coolers.  I had bumps on my arms and legs.  Several times I walked out to warm up, and to knock the chill bumps off
.
"why y'all reckon ya keep it so cold in here?"

"we like it that way" the hostess responds.

"these folks must have bear blood"

I firmly believe climate does something to a guys blood.  If you come from a cold place you have thick platelets, and your blood moves slow in your veins, like a bear.  If you come from a hot place, your blood is thin, to move fast in your body to cool it from constant exposure to heat.  When was the last time you saw a bear in Florida?

I milled around the room till lunch time, then went to the buffet for lunch.  I ate waaaaaaaay too much.

I walked around the casino watching the haggard faces of people of pulling slots.  All hoping to hit it big.  I stopped and played video blackjack and pulled in 20 bucks for the hour I played.  I loved it when someone scored.  They would sing out "ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh" You could hear it from anywhere in the casino.

Gambling halls are becoming common all over our country, as towns look for ways to become prosperous.  I think I like Alabama's outlook.  Gamble all you want, but not here.  I think its fun, but I don't want it in my backyard.  When I stop in the Pak-a-Sak, I don't want to make my way through a dark room, filled with smoke and tired eyes looking at screens, to get my Mountain Dew and Moon Pie.

I am perplexed at the sheer number of families in Vegas, with their children.  They were everywhere in the Excalibur, most of them unsupervised.  Mama and Daddy are at the Blackjack tables losing a couple of hundred, while the kids run around the hotel.  I would have never thought about bringing my 8 year son to Vegas to watch me gamble, no more then I would taking him to a X rated movie.  I just think it sends the wrong message.  Bringing the kids on a "family vacation" to Vegas is just out of whack to me.  Take them to the beach, 6 Flags, Disney World, to Grandma's, but Vegas?  

Go to Vegas, have some fun, don't take it seriously, but leave the kids at home.  Let them learn about such things by the natural course of things.  Coming down of soapbox now.

I walked across the street to the New York hotel to see the FDNY tribute.  Firefighters from all over the country have been leaving their T shirts along the fence of the hotel in front of the Statue of Liberty, and the FDNY fireboat.  Thousands of them.

I take a solemn walk down what I call the "Fence of Honor".   From big cities and small hamlets they have come to pay homage to the 343 firefighters lost at the WTC.  I see pictures of the fallen, with a few words of love, left by their families.  They were fathers, sons and husbands to someone.  Pictures of them at birthday parties, Christmas and around the firehouse, with faded messages of love lost.  It was very poignant.
I have no shirt to leave, I am disappointed.  I will have to return and make it right.

I went back to the hotel and found the poker room.  Not as much fun as the night before.  My luck was not good, and I wanted to keep the little money I won the night before, so I got up and left after a hour.

I walked the casino with long sleeves on to ward off the chilly air.  It was especially cold in the long hall to my room.  Huge vents blowing massive amounts of artic air, at 25 mph.  Never seen anything like it.

To avoid giving any more of the money back to the casino, I went shopping in the numerous gift shops.  I found a small handheld RCA color TV, with a active matrix screen.  I have been wanting one for a long time.  I miss TV when  camping, and this is just what I am looking for.  I understand I may camp in places where I can't get a signal, but for the times I do, I will be tuned in.  It has a excellent picture, and I can't wait to try it out.
I still have enough poker money left over to pay for my gas back to Alabama.

I amble around the casino, and marvel at how much it must take to run a place like this.  A city in its self.

I was back at the room by mid afternoon. 

I took a dip in the pool, and the scenery was much better there then in the casino if you know what I mean brothers.  "Shoulda got out here sooner" I say to myself.

I came in and took a hot bath.  I was bored and was ready to get on the road.  I can't wait for the morning to come.

Supper was in the hotel's steakhouse.  I had the grilled chicken.  When I was finished I walked down to check on the ST.  He was sleeping quietly getting ready for the Utah Canyons the next day.

Upon returning to the room I called home, and updated my wife.  I told Debbie I was bored and ready to ride out.

"yeah, right"

"I am baby, I didn't get to ride today"

I clicked channels and shut the TV off about 10.  I have a big day the next day and needed the rest.
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