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A Classic Vegas Trip from 1972 ....

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by GamblingGolfer, Jul 6, 2016.

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  1. GamblingGolfer

    GamblingGolfer Low-Roller

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    My Trip Report

    After reading several Trip Reports lately, I thought I would harken back some 45 years to my first trip to Las Vegas. Yes, the memories are seared into the cranium as if with a branding iron ....

    Prelude – three guys, D, R and me. Ages 22, 21 and almost 21 (me – I had to borrow ID; more on that later). R has been working a few years straight of high school, so consequently has some disposable income. D and I, on the other hand, are poor, struggling students with a short time between university and summer jobs. R’s bankroll is approaching $1k; D and I plan to survive on about $250 income tax refunds.

    No set plan. We head south from Vancouver in late May, 1972 driving R’s newish Plymouth Barracuda (sadly, no hemi engine). It barely holds the three of us and our gear. As soon as we clear the border, R announces he’s not driving, moves to the back seat with his feet out a window and promptly consumes a wineskin of red wine ... and so the adventures begin.

    We mainly camp down the Oregon and California coasts. The only rule is that each of us had to be sober every third day to drive. Many stories I won’t bore you with as this is supposed to have a Vegas focus (I won’t go on about the girl who picked us up at Lake Mendocino and took us home to meet her gun happy, Vietnam vet husband ...).

    Deciding to spend a day in Disneyland, another girl spots R’s pack of “Players” cigarettes (well known Canadian brand). One thing leads to another and we all decide to head to Vegas – on a Friday afternoon, no less. Yes, even in 1972 LA traffic is horrendous. D accompanies her while R and I head out in his car.
    Arriving about 10:00 pm (somehow, we found each other on the road), we stop at the first casino we see. I’m guessing it was the Hacienda, but really have no idea. She promptly asks which one us can ‘look after her’; after we all look incapable, she disappears into the washrooms. When she reappears in a rather short dress, it takes all of 30 seconds to be picked up by some guy. Last we saw of her.

    As we had been camping, we head to the State Park at Lake Mead ... not realizing it was more than a 30 minute drive. I think we lasted there one night (and a cop stopped us about 2:30 am; luckily we were following our ‘driving every third day’ rule.

    Getting savvier by the minute, we discover a KOA (or equivalent) on S. Boulder Hwy (I’m guessing just south of where Sam’s Town is now). No shade but for a lone tree over the pool but, hey, we could almost stumble back to there from nearby casinos. Sadly, without shade our canvas 3 man tent was about 100F a minute after the sun came up, severely limiting sleep. Our remedy was to lounge in the pool under the only tree, beers close by.

    We seemed to be the only people stupid enough to camp in the hot sun until one day, playing penny ante poker at our table (“Jacks or better, Trips to win” which took several cases of beer to finish the game), a car trailing a cloud of dust approaches. With approximately 1000 available sites, three girls from Montana pull in beside us and pronounce, “.. does anyone know how to set up a tent?” Yes, there is a Supreme Being! We spend a couple of days/nights hanging out with them but, alas, they announce they are on the way to SoCal to meet their boyfriends.

    Remember the borrowed ID? I had borrowed some from a friend (he crops up later). In those days, only a vague likeness was necessary so I never had any trouble. Our routine was to hit Shakey’s “Bunch O Lunch” (conveniently next door) for their $1.49 all you can eat lunch. Fueled up for the day, we would then head to ‘Danny’s Bar’, somewhere close by.

    Its main attraction was the cheap beer and food (35 cents for a beer; 35 cents for a burger) and the gorgeous waitresses. Little did we know that most of them had jobs ‘on the side’ (they soon discovered we did not have sufficient funds to accommodate them, if you get my drift). Our regular server was ‘Wanda’, who seemed to take a particular liking to us. As well, they all seemed to be superior pool players as we soon found out.

    K, the friend from whom I had borrowed ID, worked for a major Canadian airline (now defunct) so was able to get free/cheap airfare to Vegas. We met him at the airport as he stumbled off the plane, studiously being avoided by the FA’s who obviously had over served him and wanted nothing to do with him.
    Of course, the first thing we did was hit Danny’s Bar ... not thinking that he had the other half of the ID. To this day, we figure that Wanda saw through it all but said nothing.

    We knew nothing about Memorial Day weekend, so were quite surprised when we were stopped by two of LV’s finest as we walked on LV Blvd (apparently, lots of LA underage kids partied in LV that weekend). Asking for ID, R proceeded to open his ever expanding wallet (D and I basically had a DL and cash). As the slinky-like mass of credit cards hit the sidewalk, the cops figured us out and let us go with a stern warning (which, of course, we didn’t listen to).

    After a few days we had either not spent much and/or won some money as we were able to move into a motel. I’m guessing it was somewhere on South Strip as it took us forever to walk to the Stardust (more later). One morning, I was the first awake. Heading to the pool to shake off the previous night’s ablutions, I was pleasantly surprised by a rather lithe female figure in a skimpy bikini. Striking up a conversation, I found she was 18 and from California (visiting with her parents). Boldly, I asked her if she liked Canadian beer. To my surprise, she said, “I’d like to try one”.

    Now, here’s a significant part of the story. We had brought a case of “Labatt’s Blue” with us, each having access to 4 bottles. R and D had quaffed theirs much earlier in the trip; I, on the other hand, had been saving mine for just this occasion. Quickly getting my stash from the room, ‘Jaylene’ and I proceeded to lounge by the pool drinking them (I’m not sure what her parents thought, if they even knew). When R and D got up, they were greeted by the sight of the two us happily finishing off the last beers .... needless to say, there were quite jealous.

    One last (and the best) story from the LV escapade. We had acquired tickets to Jack Benny (remember the Stardust? I think that’s where he played). Each ticket came with 3 free drinks. At this point, K was with us. We proceeded to casino from the motel to the venue, popping into every casino on the way. At some point, R and I grabbed the tickets and headed to the show (as we would have been late). At the door we explained our friends would be joining us. Surprisingly, he seated us in a horseshoe banquette near the stage. When the waitress arrived, we ordered 12 Singapore Slings.

    Just as the show was starting, there was a commotion at the door. D and K had arrived. Spotting us, they stumbled down .... by which point all the drinks but two were stashed on the floor by our feet. I don’t think they ever figured out that R and I had a seemingly endless supply of Singapore Slings.
    K, being more than three sheets to the wind, started interrupting Jack Benny (btw, the show was great). It was really ‘heckling’, more like ‘cheering’. As you can imagine, Jack gave back better than he received (and somehow, we didn’t get thrown out).

    After 8 days of LV frivolity, at 9:00 on a Saturday night, we decided to bail and drove 22 hours straight back to Vancouver (ham and eggs in both Reno and Eugene). Memories for a lifetime.
    Epilogue – we were all married within 12 weeks of each other in the summer of1974. Our SO’s quickly learned to shut us down when we stared on these (and other) stories.
    At a party at D’s house one night, after numerous cocktails we decided to call “Danny’s Bar” and ask for ‘Wanda Hooker’. Needless to say, we didn’t connect ....

    Twenty five years later, the six of us celebrated anniversaries by heading to Vegas. Surprisingly (at least to the guys),our SOs insisted we find “Danny’s Bar”. It took awhile as there were now freeways and other, assorted buildings in the area – but we did and had a drink ‘for old times’ .... which lasted for about 20 minutes before they quickly told us, “... that was it”.

    Ah, the Vegas memories.
     
    Visiting en route to Palm Springs
    • Like Like x 5
  2. bjpcyclone

    bjpcyclone High-Roller

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    Awesome story, thanks for taking us back. Cool that you guys all made it back 25 years later, I bet the Strip looked a little different!
     
  3. Irishkicker23

    Irishkicker23 Low-Roller

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    Really enjoyed reading that. I wish I could have experienced "Old Vegas". By the way, I can't remember what I ate for dinner last night. Good job.
     
  4. calway55

    calway55 Low-Roller

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    Nice trip report.
     
  5. Char1

    Char1 High-Roller

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    Thanks for sharing that TR.
    Very entertaining.
     
    May 28-June 2
  6. hammie

    hammie VIP Whale

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    Please, go on about the chick from Lake Mendocino......those who are not inclined can avert their eyes.

    Wine bota bag.....those were the days.

    Thanks for a great throwback trip report.
     
  7. Sonya

    Sonya Queen of VMB

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    I love "vintage" TR's. Thanks for sharing.
     
  8. Richard Alpert

    Richard Alpert LOST

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    Awesome report! Thank you, GamblingGolfer!
    RICHARD
     
  9. GamblingGolfer

    GamblingGolfer Low-Roller

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    Since you asked for more details about the Lake Mendocino part .... the back story is that we met another BC guy who maniacally drove a Mustang. As it emitted a large cloud of grey smoke, it was basically "fill the oil, check the gas". He also drove insanely fast (actually, quite scary but we were early 20s so didn't seem to care).

    Anyway, the four of us were throwing a football around in the shallows at Lake Mendocino. This rather buxom girl (and friend/s, I think) kept intercepting and joined in. We were in awe of the bikini so were glad to accommodate. At some point, she said, "... come back to my place for a beer". We gladly accepted and off we went. On arrival, we were greeted by her (unknown to us at the time) husband ... as I said, a Vietnam vet with a large store of guns. Needless to say, we were somewhat taken aback and bailed as quick as we could (after some polite conversation). So, nothing happened (unfortunately, as I remember), although I do remember her saying something about him 'understanding' ....

    GG
     
    Visiting en route to Palm Springs
  10. Geogran

    Geogran OTD Tea Sipper

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    That was some trip down memory lane - great story - thanks for taking us along!
     
  11. tringlomane

    tringlomane STP Addicted Beer Snob

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    Very nice read! Thanks for sharing!
     
  12. Joe Strummer

    Joe Strummer VIP Whale

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    Amazing !
    Brought back alot of similar memories to me !
    Driving everywhere ......lack of money....running into women, somehow ?
    and best of all ?
    You saw JACK BENNY !!!!..... in VEGAS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!?????
    *
    Great stuff !
     
  13. Royal Flusher

    Royal Flusher Savvy Gambler

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    Fantastic story! Thanks!
     
  14. tonysb8

    tonysb8 Low-Roller

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    I really enjoyed that! Thank you for sharing!!
     
  15. bshowell

    bshowell VIP Whale

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    What a great story!
     
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