Part 9: Saying Good-bye

Day Four (Sunday)

You guessed it--today started just like the others with breakfast down at the cafe. The big difference today is that we had to pack and be out of the rooms by 11. There wasn't much time to hang out before a bunch of us had to leave so we got our rooms packed up for the most part and headed down to the pool one last time. Not only would we ensure we'd make the most of our last few hours there, this would also ensure our untimely deaths due to melanoma.

The Bossman was among the first of the remaining members to leave, catching a flight back to his beloved Coloradoan mountains, accompanied only by his squirrel, Rusty. I heard--and this is only a rumor--that Rusty was detained at a Vegas security checkpoint after being identified as a Chechnyan terrorist. Andy and Courtney left soon after, whittling our numbers to six.

The little stowaway caught in the act

Andy and I, determined to lose every last bit of our remaining money, left Steve and company at the pool while we went off in search of the elusive $5 blackjack tables. I think we did okay for the first few hands and promptly lost all the ground we'd made up when we chose to stay at the table after the dealers were switched. DAMMIT!

We're gambling experts, so we left the table about 3 hands too late and went back to the roulette tables. Andy made out like a bandit while I was all over the map, eventually losing it all, save my souvenir chip that I stashed away. Dusel wisely cashed in his chips after nearly doubling his money and it was now time to say good-bye to the casino.

We made our way out of the hotel after meeting up with the rest of the guys and gals and packed up Steve's and Jill's cars to head to the airport for our flights. This is where the depression starts to kick in as the high from the previous few days began dissipating. We snapped a few last desperate shots of the Strip with our cameras on the way to the airport, holding on to the aura as long as possible. We said our last good-byes to Jill, Steve and Lindsey at the terminal as they headed back home via car. Andy, Dan and I headed into the airport for our flight.

Those depressed faces I had seen in the terminal not 3 days earlier now mirrored my own as I settled into the chairs near our gate. I looked at some of the excited faces now arriving and cursed my luck. You see, I planned to make $50,000 at blackjack and stay there another month. The three of us eventually boarded our flight and ascended out of the mountain-bordered valley, the glow of the Strip quickly fading into the twilight. My prose is straight-up magical, yo! Yeeeeh!

As the sun fades, so too does this report...