If your idea of a good weekend is a car show in Las Vegas, read on.
Here is a brief tale of two older guys — me and my buddy, Ron — without our wives and unsupervised. This adventure is mostly true but there has been some editing in case there are some younger readers out there.
Mopars On the Strip is a weekend event in Las Vegas. There are show cars, street cars, parts galore, and drag racing at the Las Vegas Speedway. Add to this killer food and ice cold beer served at the drag strip. It's a good time.
Day One: for the first time in a long time, my buddy Ron not only shows up on time but is early! This is a really good omen for the trip.
Another good sign: we leave early enough so there is no traffic to Vegas. Our progress was slowed down at the Barstow Outlet Center where we stopped to go to the Black and Decker outlet. The problem was that the store was gone — and it appeared that half the mall is also empty.
We have a beer and a sandwich and moved on.
The conversation moves to tools and finding an open Black and Decker outlet store in Stateline, Nevada. The mall at Stateline is huge with the Bonnie and Clyde "death car" on display. Many men were taking in the whole presentation while their significant others were shopping.
Another thing we noticed was the new fashion trend that neither of us had seen before: women wearing short blouses with hip-hugger jeans low enough to allow the top of their thong underwear to show from behind. We had never seen anything like this before. We were soon to learn that this is normal Las Vegas-style fashion.
There was more weirdness at the mall at Stateline. They have these little rolling carts that sell things in the aisles. One seller promised to make our jewelry look new and offered a free cleaning. My ring and watch cleaned up very well and looked good. The price of $37.50 for a very small bottle of cleaner, $82 for a larger bottle, and $99.50 for the cleaning system scared us away.
Further down in another part of the mall we saw the same type of stand for cleaning jewelry. They had the same prices: $37.50 for a very small bottle of cleaner, $82 for a larger bottle, and $99.50. This salesman looked at my watch and ring and asked if we wanted a demonstration. Again, my jewelry was cleaned and he showed me that they hadn't been cleaned in a while from the residue on the cleaning towel. Keep in mind that not 10 minutes before the same thing was told to me by another salesman selling the same stuff.
Both Ron and I were amazed that two jewelry stands in the mall had the same pitch with the same products. Both did a good job convincing that we both needed the $99.50 system. However, when I pointed out to Ron that at Las Vegas Margaritaville we could enjoy 100 beers for the same price, we decided to pass on the cleaner.
Finally back on the road, our next stop was our deluxe hotel, the Wild Wild West, on Tropicana west of the freeway. It is owned by one of the bigger hotels and someday will be rebuilt. For now it has a $29.95 room special on weekdays and $49.95 rate for Friday and Saturday.
This is your basic motel like a Motel 6, EZ-8 or the King's 8 in Bakersfield. Two beds, a shower, a TV, "air conditioning," and an entertaining clientele of travelers, truckers, and families who all seem to end up at the Wild Wild West. I have never been in the pool as it looks really quite green, like something is growing in it.
The Wild Wild West has a small casino, free drinks for players, and a restaurant which is very reasonable.The check-in line was long so the cocktail waitress brought us beer for our wait. As we were tipping her every trip she was quite attentive. Two beers later and we had room keys.
On to Margaritaville in the Flamingo Hotel for a 99 cent tankard of brew before dinner. The trouble was everyone else had the same idea. We weren't in the mood for lines for dinner or drinks. We strolled down the strip. The Imperial Palace was packed with people and yet more lines at the restaurants and bars.
We gave up on the Strip and went to Jerry's Nugget in North Las Vegas. They are famous for big beef and ice cold beer. Their location is off the Strip and almost exactly across the street from the Palomino Club.
Back to the Wild Wild West casino. While carrying the bags to our room my buddy misjudged a curb and took a spill in the parking lot…right when Las Vegas Metro was driving by. They didn't get out of their car — but they did suggest that it was time for Ron to call it a night. Yes, officer. We were in bed by 9:30 p.m.
Day Two: We were up at 6:00 a.m. to get the famous breakfast at the Wild Wild West restaurant: two eggs, sausage, hash browns, and coffee for $1.99. Add on a Rolling Rock draft for 99 cents and a slice of apple pie for 99 cents and the total for breakfast, including tax and tip, was under $11 for two people.
Ron was impressed with this deal and has spoken of it many times since.
Off to the Las Vegas Speedway for the Mopar fest. The trouble was that they moved the Las Vegas Speedway from where I remembered it. Actually, we had missed the exit talking and were heading for Salt Lake City.
Finally, we got the Speedway and saw plenty of Plymouths, Dodges, and Chryslers. There were a lot of people we knew from Southern California. Joe Jill from Superior Automotive and Rick Walker of Walker Automotive in Long Beach were there running their cars. Some of my friends from the Mopar Knights of Southern California were there.
We checked out the cars, watched the drags, and breathed in plenty of exhaust. I have plenty of stories to tell and will be sharing some of them in a future column. But all in all it was a good day.
Ron and I decided on our way back from the Speedway to cruise through EZ Pawn, the world's largest pawn shop, located in north Las Vegas quite close to Nellis Air Force Base. My buddy was back looking for tools. Somehow, I figured that equipment that is marked Southern Nevada Paving or Nevada Redi-Mix just might be stolen.
The salespeople were from the Middle East and their communication, unfortunately, was never fully understood.
By now it was time for dinner. Instead of suffering through waiting in line we went back to Jerry's Nugget (did I mention it's directly across the street from the Palomino Club?) and had about the same dinner as the night before: big beef and cold beer.
We were back to the Wild Wild West by 9:00 p.m., a little earlier than the night before and without incident.
Day Three: As it was our last day, we decided to step up for breakfast. We went to Mr. Lucky's at the Hard Rock Hotel. We have a great breakfast but instead of the $11 for two the cost — without beers — was $24 plus tip. We were paying for the atmosphere.
It was at the Hard Rock where we saw more thong women than anywhere else. One woman was showing so much of her thong underwear that it even surprised our waitress.
Our waitress told us that she almost never wears her thongs because they are uncomfortable. My buddy Ron said, "Kind of a pain in the ass," and she agreed. She also told us that she got her underwear at the outlet mall in Las Vegas. We asked her if there was a Black and Decker store there, too. She said there was because that's where her husband liked to go.
We wandered around the Hard Rock for awhile and then went to the Imperial Palace Auto Collection to check out the cars for sale. Ron liked Howard Hughes' Chrysler. I liked the beautiful orange 1968 Plymouth Road Runner. Neither of us made any automotive purchases, however.
My old friend Carl, who lives in Las Vegas and runs a business right off the Strip, was going to meet us for lunch at In & Out Burger, one of his favorite places. Again, like everywhere else in Las Vegas, there was a huge line and we had no intention of waiting in line.
Carl's second choice? The Wild Wild West for the cowboy burger and the 99 cent apple pie. This goes to show that even the locals know the value of the Wild Wild West.
The last stop on our journey was the Black and Decker store at the Las Vegas outlet mall. As there was little gambling, no strip club expenses, and very low food and lodging costs, we had enough money to buy new tools, shoes, and clothing.
For the younger reader, go ahead and wait in line, hit on the girls in thongs, get drunk, and remember what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. We older guys will be in the car show or at the Black and Decker store. Everyone knows that you should never go out for a sandwich when you have a meal at home.
Originally published in the June/July Automotive Booster Magazine.
Copyright 2005 by KAL Publications Inc.
Covering the California auto parts aftermarket since 1928.