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Vegas Road Trip

The Vegas Road Trip

I had been working at the Radisson in Rochester for about 5 years and one of my banquet superiors discovered the hotel was stealing from us. They had been skimming off the employee tip pool for years, and my supervisor had caught them red-handed. He followed the money until he realized we had been skimmed. After the blow-up and meeting I was moved to restaurant supervisor because my heart wasn’t in banquets anymore.

With work life and an intertwined social life starting to cave in on itself, I decided I needed a change of venue. I thought it would be a nice time for a fresh start and I could move to Vegas, live with my mother until I got settled and could get my own apartment. I was going to pack everything up and move to Vegas!

My friend KalenBorg was a great guy to hang out and drink coupious amounts to beer with. He was a frequent butt of drinking jokes amongst friends, nevertheless he was fun to party with. It took a few times for him to learn not to fall asleep while drinking with the group. We threw an impromptu party one day, picked up a keg, invited a whole bunch of people over, but KalenBorg fell asleep. When he woke he had a tampon (new and clean) hanging from his mouth and tic-tac–toe had been played on his calves with a Sharpie. He stormed off and walked about 6 miles to get home, in a drunken stupor. The next time he fell asleep while drinking, we collectively drew pictures on him and I shaved an eyebrow clean off.

He didn't talk to me for two weeks after the eyebrow incident. I used to see his dad around town, so I talked to him about it. He said KalenBorg was about to come around, he just needed to cool down. I told his dad I just wanted to apologize for the Sharpie incident, and for shaving his eyebrow off. Well, his dad did pass the apology to him, while starring at his head. Turns out KalenBorg hadn't noticed his eyebrow was missing yet (he did have light colored brows). He had a job interview a few days after he found out about the eyebrow, and all my apology did was further infuriate him. He got the job, and a couple more weeks went by and he did forgive my roommate and I.

Despite constant torture we remained friends. I asked KalenBorg if he wanted to drive to Vegas and hang out for a few days. He’d never been there, so he jumped at the idea. We made plans, and I rented a car, since I was without one at the time, and I sure as hell didn’t want to take the bus. I wasn’t a bum; Rochester, MN was just an easy town to get around without a car. Plus, I lived very close to downtown. Living close to downtown made it very convenient to drink and stumble home.

The Drive was going to be long, so I made plans to cure some of the boredom. I created a special mix-tape of powerful punk-rock and hard-rock specifically for driving through Nebraska – the most boring state I’ve driven through. After that I had some special music for the Colorado Rocky Mountains, stuff like Joe Walsh. I had also saved a couple Don Lino Churchill sized cigars for high mountains in Colorado. The rental agreement said I couldn’t smoke in the car, so we rolled the windows down. Those were some fine cigars, and they lasted over an hour each.

As I type this, I think it’s been a years since I’ve had a really good cigar!

On the second day we arrived in Vegas and headed to my mother’s condo. Later we switched for a cheaper rental car, they have a special rate for driving cross-country and a cheaper rate for local driving. On our first day in Vegas I showed KalenBorg around The Strip. My mom must have told us a dozen times not to drink and drive, so we parked the car and walked The Strip to do some heavy drinking. First stop, Holy Cow Brewery - KalenBorg still has the shirt. After a quick lunch, brewery tour, and sample of every beer they had on tap we headed out to The Strip.

We worked our way up The Strip on one side and back the other side, trying to get at least one free drink per casino. If you at least pretended to play slots you’d get a free drink. I think most of the casinos on the strip have locked the free booze down more to the real gamblers today.

One of our stops was the Imperial Palace. The Imperial Palace had a recluse owner with the giant Nazi memorabilia collection! We weren't interested in his Nazi crap, we just wanted free beer. We made our way to the back bar for to sit our tired legs. We sat at the bar and learned the free drink game. Each time you bought a roll of quarters, you’d get a token for a watered down drink or beer. After an hour of buying quarters from the bartender, pouring them into the change dish, then lugging them to the change window for a fresh ten dollar bill to start the cycle over again. we were drunk. The circle of free beer. It's a beautiful thing!

The semi-fresh air and taxi exhaust on The Strip sobered us up. KalenBorg wanted to move to Vegas and become one of the guys that passed out porno business card sized flyers on the street. We stopped in an Irish themed casino that served Guinness. Hhmmmm Guinness! We had a few and stumbled back to where we started, back to The Holy Cow.

My mother wanted us to sleep indoors on the couch and spare bed. KalenBorg and I had other ideas and slept on the deck overlooking the condo. She was afraid we’d violate some HOA rules. I like to break rules. We finished the night drinking more beer, and whizzing off the deck. The constant whiz actually stained the asphalt over the course of a few nights. We also like to be outside in the nice warm breeze to drink more Lite Ice and it being Vegas we could sneak over to the 7-11 for more beer at any hour of the day.

KalenBorg's all-time favorite beers...

  1. Lite Ice - he's fighting with the Beer Advocate people for giving it a D-
  2. Old Milwaukee - taste as great as it's name
  3. Red Stripe - It's BEER. Hooray beer!
  4. Corona - Miles Away From Ordinary
  5. Keystone Light - bottled beer taste in a can... Mmmmmmmm
  6. Pabst Blue Ribbon - PBR me ASAP
  7. Labatt Blue - A whole lot can happen, Out of the Blue
  8. Pig's Eye Pilsner - Pig's Eye was the original name for Saint Paul, MN, yummmy
  9. Red Dog - a finely crafted beer from the Plank Road Brewery
  10. Old English - most underrated beer ever

Minnesota had some pretty conservative (puritanical) liquor laws. Only 3.2 beer was available for off-sale on Sundays, and ALL the private liquor stores were closed Sundays. We were in Vegas, it was Sunday 3:00am, and there we were buying more full-strength beer. KalenBorg was in heaven.

My mother got upset after walking up in the morning to check for her morning paper only to find it spread around the deck amongst a plethora of Lite Ice cans. The next night she made us sleep indoors, against our will. She was upset with us for everything we did. Somehow changing channels on the TV/VCR messed up my mom’s tape schedule and she missed getting the Golden Girls recorded on her VHS. Does anybody really miss an episode of Golden Girls? By night three we were sleeping, drinking, and whizzing off the deck again!

The next day was more of the same activities, just different bars, brew pubs, and a strip club. We capped the night off downtown at the Glitter Gulch. There was no cover because of construction, and there were only a few patrons. I think this was when they had first started construction in earnest on the giant domed thing over Freemont Street. These were the second-tier strippers working a club that should have been closed due to the outside construction. We talked to the only hot stripper for about an hour. She asked us to watch her dance, and then she would return to talk to us. We gave her a couple bucks for her dancing, and she told us what it was like to be a stripper in Vegas.

We made it back to our deck for another evening of whizzing off the deck and drinking. Again, about 3:00am, we ran out of beer headed back to 7-11. Fortunately it was about 200 yards from the condo. We made it back to the condo. Half-way into the first beer of the fresh case, we thought it was would be a wise idea to drive to Phoenix.

"We're going to Phoenix!"

It was like Bizarro World, being in Vegas yelling out loud about driving to Phoenix.

We made it a few miles and had to stop for omelets and some sobering up. We made it to Phoenix late that morning. We saw Jawbreaker play Boston’s nightclub. We spent the night in Phoenix at a cheap Motel 6, and drove back to Vegas the next day. I left my damn tape deck at the Motel 6 and never saw it again. Boy was my mom pissed when we got home. We didn’t even leave her a note.

The last day was horrible as we had to stay sober, so KalenBorg could make his return flight. My mother decided to unload on us for her missing Golden Girls, messing up her newspaper, and KalenBorg plugging her toilet.

KalenBorg still claims,

“I didn't even poop in her toilet!”

When KalenBorg left, I had a long talk with my mom. She had all kinds of advice for me living with her. I ignored it, and announced I was driving back to Rochester, that very day. I swapped rental cars, again, and drove back. I’m not sure she ever got over my sudden change of heart.

I went right back to my rented house, and surprised my roommate by telling him I moved back. He didn’t need to search for another roommate. He got me a new job at another at the Kahler, where I had to join the union and pay union dues to work.

I returned to Vegas about 2 years later, and I saw the asphalt stain remained right where we whizzed. I think it might have been an oil stain, but It’s more fun to believe our whiz did it! My mother still complains about KalenBorg, and KalenBorg still complains about my mom not liking him – fifteen years later.