Gambling my way south

With Willie Nelson’s “On The Road Again” playing on my speakers, Cooper and I left the San Luis Valley a few weeks ago to hunt and fish in warmer climes. We got as far as Walsenburg before Mafia Marvin, the king of all RV dealers, called.

He had a new 2014 fifth wheel with my name on it and made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. Cooper and I made a left hand turn onto I-25 and soon found ourselves driving a larger rig on our journey eastward. At 37’, it pulls like a dream and offers all the modern comforts of home.

So, from the falling snows of Colorado I traveled with my destination being deer hunting in Western Kansas, then a family wedding in Eastern Kansas with Cooper and Trixie as my faithful companions. With both of those events behind me, it was then time to head South to spend time with my son near Dallas.

If you have not traversed the roads of Eastern Oklahoma lately, then don't. They are winding, small and full of potholes large enough to swallow small cars. I saw one with a 1940 Buick in it so I know they don't work on the roads too often.

The only great benefit from traveling these bad roads is that you also encounter many Native American-owned casinos along the way. This is their answer to the white man stealing their land. They are getting it back one dollar at a time in the various slot machines and tables and I say, “Good for them!”

These casinos are not without some compassion for the new pioneers, however, as they offer free RV camping for the modern day Conestoga RV wagons that traverse the prairies. The parking lots are well lit and with free electric, water and security making for an excellent stop along the way. With campsites approaching $40 a night, free casino parking really speaks to a Scotsman like me! If you were to look up the definition of TIGHT, you would see my picture for sure.

We had just settled in at our first casino stop when Trixie announced another perk of staying at the casinos. It seems that in a display of goodwill to newly registered gamblers, the casino gives each person $5 to $10 to gamble with. I could not believe my good fortune that anyone would show such compassion and fairness as I was sure they just wanted me to win.

Now, my gambling experience is pretty limited. Being the son of a pastor, we didn't go for gambling, dancing or about anything else fun so this was exciting and I just knew I was destined to solve all my problems then and there at the casino. Well, they couldn’t make me thin and any more handsome, but at least my financial problems at the least. I quickly made a deal with God to give a share of my winnings to the poor, quit sinning if possible and give up drinking as I don’t drink anyway.

I knew I had to get warmed up before moving on to clean out the bank so I started at the penny slots. Quickly I learned that the casino’s generosity was not extending to me in winnings and I saw my new found money quickly go down the proverbial toilet. Trixie on the other hand was winning on about every roll which only egged me on to greater and greater losses.

Have you ever noticed that slot machines are simple particle board boxes that people put real money into? I wonder if we erect a black box on main street with a sign that says "Insert Money Here," if people would be as generous with their hard earned cash as that is about the end result anyway?

For me, I escaped without too much damage and we found another casino the next night and got the same deal there.

I soon discovered Trixie’s secret to success. Whichever slot machine I picked, Trixie took the one two seats to my right and won. The key here is to pick a machine and let HER gamble while I drink the free cokes and flirt with the cute waitresses. I know they were actually “cute” as my discernment was not hampered by alcohol.

Trixie came away from both nights with a net gain of $35 and, as you can see, we are high rollers and soon will be banned from even entering gambling venues. But we plan on living the good life while we can and stay for free during our travels this winter.

Regardless of your religious flavor, or opinion about gambling in general, staying at the casinos does offer a lot of amenities if you need a safe place between destinations. They offer discounted food deals, free beverages and even coffee in the morning to help clear out the cobwebs for the trip ahead. If you like to gamble, they offer a relaxing atmosphere and a break from the camper for the evening. Or you can just go in and watch people insert money into black boxes. It is an amazing phenomenon.