LV, NV -- After 13 days in the steamy Southwest, I am returning home. Any long trip will have its highs and lows and here are mine. Of course, I am at an extreme low right now, it is 2:42 a.m. Pacific Time and I am stranded in the Vegas airport waiting for my plane to arrive to I can go to Cleveland. Estimated departure is 3:40 a.m., like four hours behind schedule.
--On my second night in Vegas at a mid-range off-Strip hotel, my phone rings at about 3 a.m. and the following exchange occurs:
Front desk: "Yes sir, um, your entertainment is here."
Front desk: "Yes, um, you have a visitor who says they've been invited to provide entertainment, sir."
Me: "Oh, um, wrong room."
--On my third day here, I am talked into playing in a poker tournament by a friend, my first ever in a casino. After walking away from the table two hours in thinking I'm out before the dealer handed me back a few lousy chips, I stage an incredible rally. When it hits the final table, I start getting some cards and push people around. On a huge hand I bluff a guy that I had an ace and got him to lay down two Kings. I win it and take home a handsome purse.
--On the fifth day or something, my good friend from Washington came into town and we headed out to play blackjack. In a dirty, smelly, old fashioned downtown casino the foreign dealer at our table says she doesn't want to hear any cussing, saying she was "tired of it." No cussing? In a casino? In Vegas? "You know what I'm tired of?" someone at the table said. "Immigration." (NOTE: This is not a political statement, just a funny line, OK?)
--With a few off days, I drive to Phoenix. The car computer thingy says it hits 119 degrees outside at one point. Then a nasty storm blows it, creating the awesome sight of lightning in the desert. The temp drops no less than 50 degrees, down to 70, before climbing back to 107 when the storm passes. Weird.
--Attend a Diamondbacks game at Chase Field. Where the give-away is wool blankets. Umm, blankets in Phoenix...in July...you're kidding, right?
--Make my first visit to the Grand Canyon, which wasn't as cool as dinner at Doc Holliday's in Williams, Ariz. We're seated by a guy in a beard down to his belt, circa 85 years old, wearing a holster and gun.
--Dent my rental car by backing it into a post. That was sure fun.
--Get put in a headlock my LeBron James when I ask him why he's using five ice bags after practice all of a sudden. He says he's trying to keep up with Eric Snow.
--Turn an corner at UNLV during Team USA practice and run into Maunte Bol talking to Mark Eaton. No lie. That's 15 feet of men right there.
--Have breakfast at Denny's with Bob Finnan (you knew he was making an appearance in here) and we hear a cook vomiting in the kitchen. And, no, our food hadn't arrived yet. Finnan got the "Moons over my Hammy." Again, no lie.
That's all I can remember this late, er, early. It looks like I'm going to miss the British Open final round and I'm pissed about it. Good night now...