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June 09, 2003

Searchlight, Nevada is a small town on US 95 south of Las Vegas that is tucked into a small range of mountains in the desert of southern Nevada. It has a few touristy things and gas stations. It was the boyhood home of Senator Harry Reid. who wrote a book about the town. Searchlight inspired a ragtime song by Scott Joplin. Searchlight has a lot speed limit signs that say 25 MPH. I have never ever seen anyone go faster than 25 MPH, yet I have never seen any police cruisers either. There a lots of places they could easily hide though and maybe I missed them. I always go through the town riding my brake pedal.

Searchlight road

We always stop in Searchlight to get one of our $10 cans of pop. One of the main buildings in town is the little itty bitty wornout casino/restaurant called the Golden Nugget(no business relationship to the beautitul Golden Nugget in downtown Las Vegas, I'm sure). The Nugget has 2 blackjack tables, about 50 slot machines, a restaurant, a bar with dance floor and lots of room in its parking lot. We have never seen anyone dancing there and we have never seen that second blackjack table being used and I doubt anyone has won a nickle playing those slot machines. The restaurant is supposed to be quite good. A lot of local people eat there.

Our routine, when we stop there, is to go to the bathroom then go over and play a few hands of blackjack with the guys. The two blackjack dealers at this place, when you compare them to dealers in a luxurious casino/palace like the Caesar's in LV, are somewhat grungy in appearance and lackadaisical in their official duties. They were not wearing costumes - just what they did chores in that morning. One of them once paused during a game, leaned over and took at drag off of his cigarette. As a former pit boss in a real bigtime casino, my wife was appalled. One guy served as a dealer and other could have been the pit boss or a second dealer for the second table if the first table ever got full or may be a relief dealer for the first one if he happened to have a medical or bathroom emergency. Since only one table is ever open the pit boss/2nd dealer always either watches the game with intense interest or reads the newspaper. This morning he was eating breakfast at the 2nd blackjack table when we got there. The pit boss/relief dealer then watched the action at the table like he had never seen a blackjack game in his life.

Once we sit down at the table we always order a free pop from the ancient cocktail waitress. The pop is served ice cold in a can. We also always play blackjack until we lose $10.00 each. That's why we call them $10 cans of pop. This time we only lost $8.00 between the two of us. We think that we are personally supporting that town by losing $20.00 at the casino everytime we pass through it. Maybe we are paying for those 25 MPH speed limit signs.

Our tablemates were 3 happy young sunburned guys in faded swimwear. They were pulling a boat from California down to Cottonwood Cove on the Colorado River for a day of skiing. One pulled out $300 and lost it in about 5 minutes. His two buddies gamely kept playing on with some success. They were placing bets for the dealer which made the dealer's day and maybe his month. Every once in a while one of young men would do something silly and the other would say in a deep voice "we'd better get security over here". I said that I bet that they don't have any security in here. So one of guys asked the dealer who was working security today. He said it was the cocktail waitress. She was a frail 65 years old at least. We fell out of our chairs laughing. She probably could swing a mean serving tray if someone got out of line.

We drove on to Las Vegas with a smile on our face and eight dollars poorer.

- posted by Mad Jayhawk and Seven @ 6/09/2003 10:04:00 AM    |

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