Trip Hopping Brew And Vegas Celebration 2011

A quick road trip with my sister landed me in Phoenix for the 2011 Trip Hopping Brew. Trip Hopping came about after meeting Larry, I’d been playing around with some pieces of code I’d put together to aggregate rideshare sites to find ways to get places as well as keeping track of my own and friends’ travels. We gave the idea a name and ran with it.

Overall we spent a month there. Along with Larry, my new friend Kasey flew in from Belgium. I’d met him a while back through mutual friends, then finally met him in person while traveling through Belgium. Even over there we’d spent many a day locked into code and tasty beers.

Beer is important of course, which is why we called this thing a brew. We were brewing up ideas, but also brewed up some beer. It was an excellent addition.

Along with Kasey, we also had Lindsey on board. I met Lindsey up in Alaska during a CouchSurfing collective, which was similar to what we were doing now. While Kasey’s expertise was in coding, Lindsey’s was in writing, research and organization. Well, her main expertise was certainly in film making. She’d spent a lot of her time working on her documentary, and we were lucky enough to have her in between screenings she was doing around the country.

We pecked away everyday, getting more and more done. Half way through we moved houses which went fairly smooth besides some hiccups in internet connectivity. We also had some breaks for hikes, Halloween festivities, parties and zombie walks and the like.

After the month we were able to push the latest version of the site live. To celebrate, it would be off to Vegas. Lindsey had left us for her next screening and Larry’s schedule was busy, so in the end it would just be Kasey and I hitchhiking our way to the familiar Vegas.

Larry dropped us off in a good place that I’d hitchhiked from many times, late in the day. A pickup truck got us to a familiar gas station, one I’d been gotten a beer or two at before on trips to and from Vegas.

It was there that we waited a while. I tried on my own, Kasey tried on his own, eventually I started walking way ahead and this eventually worked. A pickup truck snagged him up and a mile or three later when they caught up to me they through me in as well. Kasey rode up front and I rode with the wind in the back clear to Vegas.

They dropped us off about seven miles from the strip and we walked the whole way. We checked into the Luxor where I’d gotten the last of my free rooms. Ever since the first time I’d come to Vegas I’d since been put on an email comp list with offers for free nights, but I’d clearly abused it. While booking the room over the phone the lady told me, “Says here you haven’t gambled the last six times you’ve been here. Unless you gamble with your players club card, this will be your last comped stay”. That’s how it goes.

Kasey was beat. We tried the slot machine free drink trick, but the waitress wasn’t coming around and net net we won 20 cents and walked away. At the bar, opting for a a beer the old fashioned way, Kasey decided he wanted nothing more than juice and sleep. He soon headed back up to the room. I was still on fire, a month locked behind a computer and then a full day on the road rolling into the lights of Vegas, I needed anything but sleep.

The Burger Bar came to mind, one of my favorite places in Vegas to go for a good selection of beer, I headed up, but they were closed. So, I decided to go cash in my promotional trips, part of the free room package. I took the promo chips to the craps table, where the waitress comes much more frequently than penny slots, and proceeded to turn the “fake money” into just over two hundred real dollars. With a buzz and a win under my belt, I was satisfied for the night, wandering up to the room and passing out until morning.

The next day was relatively chilled out. Kasey was on a mission to get a mac book, something much more expensive in Europe apparently. It was a good enough excuse to take the walk down the strip for people watching and the rest of it. On the march back after his successful mission, we got our share of cheap drinks here and there.

The Burger Bar was open, so we sat there for some beers while he played with the brand new computer. Later roulette played nice, as did a craps table spitting out some more free money. Another attempt at the Burger Bar was made, closed at that point, so only sleep remained.

The next day would bring movement, Kasey and I would be parting ways. He was heading north while I was bound for southern California for Thanksgiving at my brother’s. It felt good to have made the progress we did during the brew and to have had the brief celebration, but I was looking forward to seeing some family and for many travels ahead shortly after that.