Unexpected Vegas and down to the Mexican Border

After a couple thousand miles across the country, I landed in Vegas unexpectedly. The guy who picked me up was off to LA after dropping me off at the New York New York hotel and casino where I had some room comps to share with Kelly (my friend I'm going to Mexico with) and her friend Alex.

I crossed the bridge to the MGM, I had to wait for the girls to get there to check-in, I didn't have a debit card for the room deposit. I caught up on some messages and writing hidden in the business center until I got a call that the girls were arriving.

I met them at hotel check-in at NYNY, we headed for the elevator to our room and aired out some excitement, over Vegas, and over our impending Mexico trip. We didn't take long in the room, we headed first for the penny slots to get the free drinks that come with it, a couple martinis later and we were headed down the strip.

I'd seen earlier online that my friend Shana that I'd couchsurfed with in town was having a party, we decided to hop on the Deuce bus and go downtown. I picked up a six pack on the way and we were soon amongst the house party of good times, "Kenny Flannery!", Shana shouted with a pinch of an Irish accent as she saw me.

We drank the night away, beers, mixed drinks, shots and jello shots. The original intention was to go and enjoy a bit, then I would show the girls Freemont Street, it was their first time in Vegas. That never happened though, the fun never died down at the party, but we eventually found ourselves stumbling back to the Deuce bus and headed back to the hotel. We got into a lively conversation with some other drunk folk on the bus, the girls left the conversation and went to the bottom floor of the double decker bus. I soon realized I only had one shoe on, and was holding another that didn't match, I followed them down.

I found the girls and my shoe, I had one of theirs, it worked out nicely. We wandered into the casino and got split up almost immediately one way or another. I decided to go to the cashier and pick up my $75 in promotional chips that were part of the comp package, I took those to the craps table to make some field bets. I turned around at just the moment Kelly was walking by looking confused, I got her attention and she stood with for a bit while I turned the promo chips into $75 of regular chips and walked away.

We stood nearby contemplating the next move, it was either penny slots or back to the craps table, in either case the reasoning was to wait for the drink lady to come around. She put two hands behind her back and I picked the one that represented the craps table and back we went. My chips went way up and then down to nothing, the lady never came during this, we headed for the room. Alex was pretty much passed out, soon we were too.

We woke up in the early afternoon with heavy heads, but ready for more. Alex made us up some sandwiches we munched on then we headed out to the strip to see what we could find. Kelly spotted an ad on a passing bus, "$1 margaritas at Sahara". Our passes were still good, we hopped on the bus and took the ride down to the other end of the strip.

We got to the bar to discover they no longer had the margaritas, but they did have dollar beers and kamikaze shots. I stuck a few bucks in the video poker machine while we had a beer and about 5 shots a piece. We saw something about a 6 pound burrito and went looking for it.

We found another bar first where we got some hotdogs and another shot. We were about to leave, but caught the beginning of a burrito eating contest, two guys given 45 minutes to eat as much of the 6 pounder as they could. They started slow and stayed that way, I laughed at the thought of them trying to compete with mustard-belt-holder Joey Chestnut I'd just seen in Coney Island earlier that month down 68 hotdogs in 10 minutes.

We hopped on the bus back to our hotel, but another $1 margarita sign caught our attention at Bills Casino, and they actually had them. We had a few of those and then got back to NYNY shortly after.

Another part of my comp package was $50 in resort credit, so we used some of that to get a meal of our own. Feeling slowed down from the food and the bout of drinking followed by a longish bus ride, we headed to the room and caught an hour or so of sleep to be ready for the night.

We woke up to a Friday night in Vegas. To use up some of the rest of the credit, we headed to a beer bar in the hotel, the girls got Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA while I got a cup of Stone Ruination. We wandered a magic shop for a moment and then made our way to the penny slots where we waited a while for the drink lady to come around, she finally did and it was vodka martinis for me again.

We walked down the strip with one intention or another, but wound up in a market buying an 18 pack of beer. I rested against a cop car whose lights were flashing while we waited for Alex who was inside talking with a guy who worked there, we cracked into the beer.

Shortly we were back in the hotel room with the beer and a deck of playing cards, I suppose we were playing a game, but we were pretty much just throwing cards around and drinking. One of the cards sent me out in the hallway to strip, but I instead disappeared down the elevator to the casino floor. I found myself a big slice of pizza and munched away in drunken fashion, making my way back up to the room.

We got fairly routy when I returned, Alex went to go meet a guy downstairs from the store, I got into a bit of a wrestling match with Kelly. Alex came back with her new friend and we had to vacate the room for a while, we headed to the Monte Carolo not too far away, drinking our own beers at the bar there.

Not too much later we headed back, having a beer fight along the strip, I doused her pretty good with cheap beer and I got the same treatment. We kept up some typical drunken behavior back in the room for a while until we found ourselves turning out the lights and going to sleep.

We got on the road in the morning, Phoenix bound. We drove down the 93, through the slow traffic at the hoover dam, the desert beyond that, and the stretch of joshua trees closer to Phoenix. The girls dropped me off at Larry's place, no one seemed to be home. I set my backpack in the backyard and walked to taco bell for some food.

On the walk over I talked to my dad on the phone, we was trying to convince me not to go to Mexico because of some perceived danger. I talked to my mom next, I could hear the same thing in her voice even though she didn't come out and say not to go. Mexico was the go though.

I got a message from Trish saying she was home, so I walked back and came into the house and relaxed, catching up with her a bit. I hopped on a bike and went to the store for some beer, a New Belgium mixer pack. I relaxed the night away with a few beers, eventually Larry came home with his kids. We caught up a bit, he passed out soon and I did shortly after that.

More relaxing in the morning, we had some breakfast and watched a movie in the cooler room in the house, Phoenix was smoking hot outside. I got a shower in and we were out the door headed to Kelly's place. Before Larry and Trish dropped me off, we went out for a good meal and a couple big glasses of Guinness, then some Cold Stone ice cream to seal the deal.

We waited a few minutes at Kelly's until she arrived, the three of us talked for a bit. I said goodbyes to Larry and Trish, and then watched Kelly get to packing for the trip, I went through some of my thing contemplating leaving things behind or shuffling things, but just tossed a couple things instead.

We got on the road headed for Arivaca, a small town just north of the border where her sister and some family lived. We hit the freeway just as the sunset was peaking, and Arizona has some of the best. I knew we'd be passing through Tucson too, I had a flask buried there. It was the flask my friend Aaron had gotten me and the other guys in his wedding last fall, but I'd left it in Berkeley. Charish and Mandie took it to Tucson with them, filled it up and buried it, then gave me directions to find it.

Kelly and I veered off the freeway and went to the Mission San Xavier del Bac and parked. In the light of a nearly full moon, I climbed a hill, went past a gate and found the altar. To the right of that there was a pillar with dirt and rocks to the side of it, I was instructed that far and then to dig. After a little digging I hit it, the silver flask with my name engraved and all. I brushed the dirt off and took a shot, then passed it to Kelly with a smile on my face.

In less than an hour we arrived in Arivaca, a small spread out place in the middle of the desert. I met some of Kelly's family and we talked for a little while. Later, Kelly and I sat in some chairs outside staring up at the stars for a bit, the yard was extensive and well landscaped with little sitting areas all over.

In the morning we had some breakfast and then Kelly took off to Tucson with her sister for an appointment, I hung back with some others and relaxed getting some writing done. The day continued like this, I hadn't typed up anything in a while and had to catch up. Between this I peeked at maps of Mexico in anticipation.

Tomorrow we head over the border and into something new. Our plans are loose, our destinations within the country are still undetermined. We have a road to start heading down and some suggestions, but we'll see what happens. If I had to guess, I'd say it's gonna be good times.