I first got a taste of the bright light city that was gonna set my soul, gonna set my soul on fire back in 1995. I was 21 years old and we headed out in August to celebrate Jim’s 21st. The guys (Mitch, GPC, Chad, Eric and Jim) were all flying, I was a last minute decision so I had to drive. I ended up driving by myself 12 hours (prior to the 75mph speed limit) through the night to get there. The trip was short and tough for me as I was only in Vegas for about an hour (arrived around 5:30 am) got a call around 6:30 am that my Grandmother had passed away. I had about 32 hours left to spend in Vegas so I went nuts while I could.
I don’t have a lot of memories from that trip because I had to take in as much as I could in such a quick amount of time. We stayed at the OLD OLD Aladdin prior to it being torn down and rebuilt. Of course it is now Planet Hollywood. Anyway, it wasn’t a bad place to stay I guess, but I only spent a handful of hours in the room. Justin who was there as well wasn’t 21 yet so we had to do some side stepping to find places he wouldn’t get carded. Harp’s Dad flew out to join us and in my remaining few hours he and I drove down to old downtown (before they covered it) and I saw my first penny slots and where welfare checks went in Las Vegas. If you’ve ever seen Vegas Vacation and Clark heads into old downtown, they really did have those hokie games…really they did!
Anyway, it really was a good time, but a tragic one at the same time. Here is a link to all the pictures, take note of the ones in front of Barbary Coast (now Big Bill’s), the one of Bally’s and the one of the Aladdin. The strip looks very different today. This was before all the walkovers.
My second trip to Vegas was in 1996, we drove in Harp’s Volvo. It was Eric, Jim, Mitch, Chad and myself. Again, we hadn’t got to 75mph speed limits yet, plus that old Volvo with the five of us wasn’t going to go very fast as is. This time we were going to stay at the Imperial Palace. It was like $50 a night and we all shared a room. One of our Delta Chi Fraternity brothers Squirrel was going to meet us out there as well.
This trip was very memorable, I was drunk the moment I stepped out of the car I swear. 22 years old, flat broke. I think I brought $200 for room, food, booze, gambling and gas. We brought a lot of booze too, of course I was a micro brew snot in those days so it was all local micros, boy was I stupid. When we got there we were too early to check in. So we needed to kill some time, we were all beat from driving all night. As we were walking along roughly where O’Sheas is a man confronted us and asked us if we had a few hours to spare to watch a movie and rate it. We jumped on it, air conditioned and a place to sit. Unfortunately it was to view a very very bad made for TV movie. Now of course we were all loopy so we kept pushing the green button (which meant we liked the scene) at all the absolute worst parts pf the movie. About 8 months later the movie was aired on CBS or something like that.
After killing time and getting checked in it was party time! Chad’s Dad flew out this time to meet us for a day or so. There are lots of embarrassing but memorable experiences from this trip, from me falling over in the room drink and cutting my head open and bleeding profusely, to me walking down the strip and tripping over a chain and falling on my head. I think quite possibly all the embarrassing stories involve me and me being drunk. Surprise surprise. We were standing in line for Tucan Harry’s (I think that’s what it was called) waiting fro the buffer and I staggered, turned to Chad ad said…”So Chad, you gonna suck my %^&$ later or what!” Fortunately Chad is much smarter than me and just said no and distanced himself from me.
Sometime during our last night there we were at the old faced Treasure Island, I went to the bathroom to never return as it seems. I passed out on the pot. A banging on the stall door woke me up. As I staggered out into the casino all my blurry eyes could pick out was cleaning crews and really drunk all nighters trying to gamble. I wandered around aimlessly then worked my way back to the IP and out room. Went out on the patio and passed out Next thing I know it’s time to get it together and leave, I was still wasted and Mitch was missing. So I said “I’ll find him!” Again, me being an idiot. Fortunately I didn’t try very hard. I did however load up my pockets with beer and head back towards Treasure Island, the last place I saw him and Chad prior to my visit to my lavatory nap time.
I polished off a beer just before I was to cross Las Vegas Blvd, yeah, the dangerous way, no walkovers yet. I ditched my empty in the trash and as I was crossing the street I opened a beer saw a nice looking couple and dropped my beer almost immediately for absolutely no reason. They looked at me and gasped. I only replied “No worries” as I pulled another from my pocket and opened it up. Ahhh Vegas.
My greatest memories are Eric walking us what seemed like all over the damned planet, doing the Luxor ride thing (the obelisk deal), seeing the old Treasure Island show, Chad’s Dad and us lined up against the wall outside Barbary Coast, the heat and a hangover that lasted about a month.
Well without further ado, the picture from the 1996 trip:
I know the pictures suck, crappy camera, the mid 90’s so no digi cams. Hell I paid $25 to have two pictures scanned from this trip in 1996.