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Ryan Attwood: Vegas 2002 - Double Down - Part I
January 21, 2002

"It's a new year. You're unemployed and down on your luck. Where do you go? Viva Las Vegas baby.

Now, Chris and I had attempted to plan this trip for about a year and some. Finally, we had the basis for a concrete plan. As always, I had faith in Chris' ability to sniff out the cheapest deal. And like always, he came through with style. A bus trip. ***** yeah, it'll be a good time. I just got layed off, so any means necessary worked for me. Better still, our good friends Victor and Mike were joining us. Riiiiiiggghhttt. About two days after Christmas and a week before we depart, we finally got word from Mike. He's not coming. I can't say I was surprised. Trying to tear him away from his boy-toy Gavin, would be like trying to split up Siegfried and Roy. But, then I hear that Victor dropped out too. Well shit. Me and Chris went to Woodstock 99 together, so Vegas wouldn't exactly be a stretch. A 30 hour bus ride would be a piece of cake, right?

Sitting in that bus depot at 6:45am, dead tired and a little hung over, I realized that this trip would be a test of endurance. It felt more like a prison sentence (only without all the sex). Confined to a seat, with only Matt Good and a handheld Trivial Pursuit game to keep me company. For about the first 4 hours, I basically passed out. What did I wake up to? Our first transfer point. Coutts, Alberta. Never before in my life, had I ever known such a place existed. Once you see the place, you'll understand why. It doesn't even deserve to be on a map. The bus dumps us at a deserted coffee shop to wait for our next ride. A pick-up truck drove by, sporting two Coutts locals, giving me unpleasant visions of the infamous Deliverance scene. "Yeah, I know I have pretty mouth, what the *****?!"

As the time draaaags on, the bus becomes a little more congested with each stop. Once we hit Butte, Montana I realized we hit the lowest point on the evolutionary scale. We drove by a carefully worded sign for a store called "Taxidermy and Fine Art". I thought I was on an episode of the Simpsons. But, like one of my friends told me, "At least it wasn't called Taxidermy and Fine Dining".

By the time we reached Salt Lake City, we no longer had the luxury of two seats to ourself. Not only that! But, I had the absolute brilliant stroke of genius to sit in front of a woman with a screaming infant (brat). That was some sharp thinking. Lucky for me, Chris came prepared. Out came the Nyquil (actually, it was a Nyquil knock off called "Nite Time"). We went shot for shot until the bottle was drained. Before I knew it, my hostility melted into delerium and I was just a warm corpse along for the ride. The next 8 hours were a blur. Before I knew it, we were in Nevada and only an hour outside of Vegas. At that point, Chris and I locked hands, re-enacting the scene from Thelma and Louise (ok, maybe that didn't happen, but I'm just trying to be colorful).

Part II will detail the actual experience of Vegas.