The Long and Winding Road

Time to Gamble

The Chambers Brothers sang Time Has Come Today, and whenever it is on the radio I want to go gamble. It’s like a reminder to find time to do what makes me happy, and playing a little blackjack or craps is always in my top five things to do.

On the other hand, I get seriously stressed if I’m pressed for time, especially in a casino. I always try and plan my time for gambling carefully, but sometimes things get schrunched up on my schedule and that throws me off. I can’t get comfortable when I know I’ll have to quit playing very soon.

At those times I would rather skip the gaming and go straight to the buffet, because waiting for the waitress or waiter also stresses me out – I want to eat now! I may have issues.

In other news, important stuff is going on in Washington with regard to the Federal Budget and Health Care. Mostly I want them to start talking about legalizing online poker again. Is that just selfish of me?

The Long and Winding Road

With all due respect to Paul McCartney and the Beatles, the real Long and Winding Road is the one that drags from Reno to Las Vegas. If you haven’t had the pleasure of the mind-numbing sameness that US Route 95 provides for 440 miles then you just haven’t lived, or died, from the true definition of driving monotony.

I love Reno and Lake Tahoe, and I even love tiny little Hawthorne and the El Capitan casino in the town of 3,000 misguided or misassigned souls stuck in Nowhereville USA, but I almost went blind my last trip. I’m sure it had nothing to do with playing poker late into the night (er, morning), or the chlorine in the pool where I almost drowned, or what might have been in the free drinks at the tables (because I rarely drink). I think it was the hundreds of miles of desert, all painted a beautiful smear of gray.

For you newbies that are contemplating this trip along the veritable road to Hades, let me help. It’s 135 miles to Hawthorne from Reno. You will pass a couple tiny towns, so rejoice when you do, but pack snacks before you leave. When you get to Hawthorne you can get gas at about 30-cents more per gallon than anywhere else in the US, and you can eat at the El Capitan, and you can hit the road again on the way to Tonopah, 100 miles away. Fortunately you can drive pretty fast, it’s posted at 75 mph, and the last building in Tonopah is a McDonald’s, so you can refuel your body while you contemplate the next best town on the landscape (Beaty) another 100 miles away. If you are a vegetarian, bummer.

If you survive the next leg to Beaty, you can hit the Death Valley Fruit and Nut Company to restock your snack supply, but don’t expect any real fruit here. There’s a Subway sandwich shop inside and more candy than you’ve seen since your once beautiful 7-year old dreams. When you leave you’ll be comforted knowing it’s just another 90 minutes (about 120 miles) to Vegas, where you’ll be back in the real world, kind of.

I estimate that I have made this trip eleven-jillion times, so I know my stuff, but I don’t know if I’m going to get my perfect vision back. If not, I’ll be the guy sitting at the middle seat on the poker table instead of an end seat who still has to bend down to read the flop. That may make me look like a doof, but I’ll still be trying to scoop your chips. If you do survive the road trip, I hope to see you winning at the tables and slots!

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