Dealer Wins

Misadventures in the New Las Vegas

By Jon Konrath


I decided to write a book about Las Vegas after creating many trip reports containing stories and photos from my vacations. I collected these together, did a lot of editing, and wrote some new short pieces to mix up things a bit. The final result includes the following chapters.

Catching the Bug - In the introduction to the book, I explain why I like to visit Vegas so much. I describe my first time there (really only a layover on a flight home) and talk about how I got hooked on the mystical city of lights in the desert.

Turning Thirty - I turned 30 on January 20th, 2001, and decided to celebrate with my first solo journey to Las Vegas. I stayed at the Circus Circus (probably because I saw Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas too many times), rented a brand-new topless Corvette (see above), got front-row tickets to George Carlin, and actually won more money than I lost. This is my first trip with a new laptop and a camera, and a lot of it is more about the deep introspection involved with leaving your twenties and thinking about life being a bitch, but it's also got a lot of the story behind my comical stay at the run-down Circus Circus, with many photos.

Gambling with Celluloid - Las Vegas has become the second Hollywood, and it seems like every TV show out there these days makes a pop-in to Sin City for a change of scenery. There's a long history of movies and Vegas, from Elvis to Rain Man. In this essay, I talk about the genesis and growth of the film industry in Clark County, and give a list of reviews for my favorite top ten movies that take place in Las Vegas.

Halloween in Vegas - On 9/10/01, I bought tickets for a nice, quiet vacation to New Orleans. What happened the next day threw a wrench in that, as I wondered if I'd ever fly again. But by the next month, I got my flight changed, booked a reservation at the Luxor, and decided to do my part in supporting the travel industry by flying West, renting a ridiculously fast car, and dropping a few dollars at the tables.

This story also covers my first stay at the Luxor, which was a one-night layover in 1999 during my trip East, moving from Seattle to New York. There are also lots of photos from both trips, along with my first experiences with both the Audi TT roadster and a helicopter ride over the Hoover Dam.

For (Mostly) Lawful Carnal Knowledge - How did they put the Sin in Sin City? It used to be quickie divorces, even faster marriages, and the shameful act of gambling, when those things were actually shameful. Now that there's an Indian gaming casino a few miles from pretty much everywhere and no-fault divorce is pretty much standard, the Sin has been bumped up a notch. In this chapter, I talk about the good stuff: prostitutes, gentlemen's clubs, adult entertainment conventions, porn stores, and those guys passing out fliers on the Strip. Of course, I didn't do any of my research firsthand. I mean, not that there's anything wrong with that...

One Trip, Four Hotels - Over the 4th of July holiday weekend of 2002, I wanted to visit the 40 acres of land I bought in Southern Colorado. But instead of just flying there directly, I had the wise idea that I'd go to Vegas, rent a car, drive the twelve hours, see it, and then come back for some more Vegas. This week involved four hotels, about 2500 miles in a rental car, and the hottest temperatures imaginable. Plenty of photos show my stay(s) and my place in the San Luis Valley.

The Longest Flight Home - It only takes a few hours to get back to New York from Las Vegas, and usually the worst that happens is your airline makes you go through Dallas/Fort Worth. But I found out during my 2003 birthday trip that you can make this journey seem far, far worse if you drink about a gallon of tequila the night before. Here is a short tale that is not for the squeamish about why I am not allowed to eat at Smith and Wollensky anymore.

Third Time - I made three journeys to Vegas in 2002, and this end of October trip report covers my third trek. It's a pretty subdued tale of my stay at the Stardust, but has some great photos and more of the backstory as to why I hate my landlord.

Jon's Do's and Don'ts of Vegas - I didn't want to write some kind of Lonely Planet book of travel tips that would become obsolete about five minutes after it was printed, but I've been to Vegas enough to at least give you a few pointers on what to do and not do, so here's my quick list. Oh, and don't eat the fish on Monday.

Birthday at 15,000 Feet - Each year I go to Las Vegas in January with my old friend Bill Perry, who shares the same exact birthday with me. We usually manage to pull in a handful of other people and do some exciting stuff. For this journey, I took the plunge into my 33rd year, literally, by tandem skydiving from about three miles up. We also got to see a great Comedy Central show at the House of Blues with Mitch Hedberg, Dave Attell and Lewis Black, and we ate lots of good food. The first half of the trip, we bunked at the Boardwalk, but after the others had to split, I got the rock star suite at the Stardust and kicked back in style. In addition to my own photos, this chapter includes screen capture photos from my skydiving DVD, as taped by the instructor from his wrist-cam at 15,000 feet.

Last updated Saturday, 07-Nov-2015
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