The Red-Eye to Las Vegas

The Red-Eye to Las Vegas | One More Silver Dollar

This is how we came to catch the red-eye flight to Las Vegas.

I got a call from a real estate salesman promoting a housing development in Las Vegas. He said that if I could answer his question correctly, and then attend a sales pitch seminar, I would get a ticket for two to Las Vegas. If I then attended another seminar at the hotel in Vegas, I would get the one-night accommodations and the return trip ticket voucher back to L.A.  

I wondered how my number was chosen to call. Just a random cold call? I said - “Okay, let’s give it a go.” His question was - “What country gave the Statue of Liberty to the United States?” I answered - “France.” “Correct!” he replied. What an easy question!  

The developers must have had a large budget. Like, what difference would it have made if I answered the question wrong? I certainly had no money to invest in real estate, I was saving up for a new guitar. But the trip to Vegas sounded good. A free trip and a chance to increase my guitar fund?? I felt Lady Luck was with me. 

The seminar was at a hotel in Beverly Hills and I attended it three days later. I got the plane vouchers. Step one, done. Step two, get to Vegas for the second sales pitch. 

Bill and I thought we would get an early start. We had a little over two hundred dollars between us. We could get to Vegas, gamble, attend the 2 o’clock seminar, get our accommodations for the night and voucher tickets for the flight home, gamble some more, sleep over, and return home the next morning.  

Just after midnight on the Saturday of the event, we caught a red-eye flight to Las Vegas. Perhaps a sign of what our trip would be, the jet made a rough landing. It bounced and swayed like a see-saw. I thought the left-wing tip would scrape the tarmac. People were shook up. We were bug-eyed and slack-jawed! We deplaned, happy to do so. 

With the assistance of the one-armed bandits that lined the interior of the airport, we were too soon contributing to the gaming industry of the State of Nevada. With a bite out of our bankroll, we caught the shuttle to the casinos on the Strip. We could run this gauntlet of slot machines again in the morning when we caught our flight home. 


Bill wanted to play Blackjack tables. Poker was my game. We hit the tables and I was thinking about the guitar I would buy. 

I was getting dealt only junk hands so all I could do was bluff, and none of my bluffs worked out. By 5:30 am, I was broke, but for one more silver dollar, a Circus Circus Casino gaming token. Bill had no luck either. Much to our chagrin, we cashed out, so to speak. So much for my new guitar. 

What to do now?? We had no money for even a meal between us at the inexpensive casino buffet. And it was hours before the seminar and the rest of the day, and night.  

We bought a pack of cigarettes and a couple of candy bars. (A dollar went further back then.) With dawn breaking over the desert, we made our way to the Interstate, and stuck out our thumbs for Hollywood. 

It was a very long day. We got home tired, and hungry, and thirsty.  

I’m reminded of this trip when I hear the Allman Brothers song Midnight Rider - “I’ve got one more silver dollar...” Our trip was actually before the song came out. 

And looking back, I see how most of the adventures Bill and I had, resulted in far more than we anticipated. Always something to talk about and remember, and a lot more fun.

Circus Circus Gaming Token
One More Silver Dollar
Circus Circus Gaming Token