“Let’s blow this Popsicle stand” means “let’s leave this no-longer-interesting place.” I don’t know why this came to mind, but we’ve certainly ready for a break from the Portland weather. I also feel cramped in our two-bedroom apartment even though our Vegas hotel room will undoubtedly be smaller. However, the change of pace will be welcome and the chances of rain are now out of the forecast. Our bags are packed and we’ll be on a plane this evening. It’s a relatively short flight, considering that most of our previous visits were based out of the Midwest.  

My first glimpse of Las Vegas was 50 years ago. We only stopped for gas and orange juice on a quest to see the ocean. (See Post #295). My first time in a casino was in Reno on our way back from this epic adventure. My first stay in Vegas was 10 years later at the not so glamorous Westward Ho (See Post #350), a sales team prize our staff earned through an incentive contest. Each and every visit has been unforgettable, including multiple TV and Radio conventions, a silly Elvis exchange of vows, and our much classier Bellagio wedding plus honeymoon. If memory serves me correctly, I’ve also stayed at the Stardust, Circus-Circus, Lexor, Aria, Hilton, Treasure Island, Rio, Mandalay Bay, MGM Grand, New York-New York, and Excalibur (“Have a Royal Day”). This time it will be the Westgate Resort and Casino, formerly the Hilton. I’ve left thousands and thousands of dollars in slot machine deposits along The Strip through the years, with the faint hope of someday getting it back. About as much chance as a Popsicle in a microwave!

Tonight we’ll be our first return to Vegas in nearly nine years, when we appropriately celebrated our 10th Anniversary. Although with delays, we ended up arriving about 3:30 in the morning. We’ll need to go back again next year for our 20th, in addition to the China trip (suggested 20 year gift is China) that will soon be planned. This trip was the result of mistakenly failing to bank expiring points from our Marriott Vacation Club timeshare. Once the error was finally noticed, they did reluctantly allow me to transfer them to an Interval International exchange program. Las Vegas was the only option of interest, so we arranged for this week-long stay. It was certainly preferable to losing thousands of dollars in points, but a week in Vegas is a lot longer than I’ve ever stayed. It could turn out to be an expensive proposition, considering gambling, dining, and shows. Maybe we can eat at a Popsicle stand?