...and that was the first morning. Oh man this was definitely a trip worthy of a Hollywood script. It's got action. It's got suspense. It's got brawling hookers. It's got liquor. (Lots of liquor by the way.) And its got...dare I say...romance. Yeah, I said it. Romance. Hopefully that last one has more to follow...for you guys and myself for a long time! This venture has me riding shotgun with my cousins and their band of cohorts. 17 to be exact. And if you have to ask why the odd number just look to me. Eight married couples and me going stag. Yeah, guess what everybody was trying to do the entire trip. Getting paraded around like I was some sort of piece of meat at the beef auction. I couldn't go anywhere at Midway without getting some sort of attention directed towards me. The ladies basically told me that we were going out single and coming home married. Yeah this is just what I wanted to deal with as I was slugging beers at Illinois Bar and Grill after 2 days of sh*t at work, and finally getting the green light to escape. I almost felt like that guy in The Running Man where he tried to make the break from the slave yard and I was just waiting for my head to explode. So I pounded about 4 beers and boarded the plane and went to sleep because I had to pick up a rental car and drive to In-n-Out, er, I mean Imperial Palace that night. So I get off the plane and grab my bag and board a shuttle to the new car rental facility, which is new to me because I haven't been out here in almost 3 years, and then try to weasel a Mercedes out of the garage because I told the attendant that I didn't know that a compact and luxury car were any different, but he caught me on that, there's no attendant, the lady upstairs told me to pick a car. So I picked a car that I thought was worth $20 a day. Needless to say I was driving a Ford Fusion the rest of the weekend. But it had a CD player and I came prepared. What with the remasted Cd Mothership being released with Zeps finest, Kashmir never sounded better when I was cruising the Strip. I valet the Ford. Check-in with little hassle at now 1:15 LV time. Thought about doing the $20 trick, (and afterwards I wish I did,) hustle my tired ass up to room 1166 at the IP. I got the illustrious view of the IP pool which came accompanied with a slight view of the Mirage and the tower of Harrahs. And if I was to turn in early enough, musical entertainment from your favorite Carnival Court. But for what I was looking for it got the job done. I was looking forward to a few brews at the end of a long night of Vegas, sitting on the blacony and enjoying a Cohiba at the end of the night. The balcony had me sold. So after settling in, I amble downstairs and trip across the pass line at the craps table. I manage to kill about 30 mins while throwing back a few Cap'n and cokes and then make haste towards Harrahs. I make my way thru the door and find 5 of my new crew playing $25 BJ and making a literal killing. There was so much money on the table I couldn't even watch. So I made the rounds, (got drinks), and scoped the tables for some play. Now it was friday night and I was in Harrahs, on the strip so I knew I wasn't going to find any flea tables...which is what I was looking for at the time, because I needed some entertainment. So I headed north to the Casino Royal-e. Oh yeah what's not to love about this dump. The smell. The long line of beer drinkers looking for that $1 Michelob, the young couple having sex at the WoF machine...yeah that's right I said it. Young couple having sex at the WoF machine. I walked by and not giving it a second glance that this young hottie was straddling her boyfriend, but when I saw his pants were lower than, lets say normal and she was moving her skirt up to her neckline, well, the security guard obviously knew WTF was going on. In as many words he basically told the couple to A) Get decent. And B) Get a f***ing room, they're not that expensive here. It made for great conversation at the craps table for the next hour where I managed to walk away with an extra $80. One thing I did notice as well. Seeing as usually I'm 3 sheets on any Friday night in Vegas. Experiencing things at a somewhat more sober level at these hours gives you a whole new perspective on the nightlife in Vegas. Don't get me wrong. I was throwing down the cocktails at a champions pace, but I started at like 1-2 AM. There were many other people ahead of me and they paved the way with entertainment once 5 AM rolled around. All I can is ... WOW! So I wake up about 9AM on Saturady and not being really hungry I decided to go downstairs and grab a coffee from Starbucks and hit a BJ table at the IP. I found a single deck table for $10 bucks and tried to grind out some dinero for a an hour or so. My effort proved futile though as just when I went in for the kill, I got shot down. However, when I told myself I was gonna walk and try to enjoy the LV morning air I decided to throw in another $50. It turned into one of my very few instances of chasing money turned out to be good. I walked off with $350 an hour later. And I wasn't even drinking. I figured by 11AM I needed to go see what the rest of the gang was up to. A couple of them went to play in the daily poker tourney at Harrahs at 11AM. I found myself in the sportsbook at Harrahs betting on Stewart and JR. for the Bud Shootout. Oh yeah I also took Smoke for the 500 which was so close but yet so far, and the Championship. The latter is to be decided in November. So when a couple other crewmembers wandered up with an invitation to Margaritaville for lunch, I knew that this trip was looking up. We sit down and the waitresstalks us into getting this 100 oz margarita since we all want to get margs. It turned out to be a monetary blessing. The 4 of us drank this giraffe, had a sandwich apiece and an order of nachos, and the bill came to $105 plus tip. With all the eat and drink that happened, it was definitely worth it here, where the tabs can go north very rapidly. So after stuffing our faces with burgers and nachos and margaritas I decide to split up fromthe group and head towards the Sahara and to NASCAR cafe where I can guarantee this is the only place where I can watch the ARCA race at Daytona. Now for those who don't know what ARCA is, it is the division right below NASCAR. So all the young guys and older guys trying to make a name for themselves and trying to get to NASCAR, this is where they race. Seeing as how I was in Vegas, I knew that I would have to go to the Sahara.