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Des Moines, Iowa
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Vegas Baby, Vegas! Part One

Geoff Wood

Last weekend Hope and I took the big 30th Birthday trip to Vegas. I had never been, and she had only been once for fun (several times for work), so we used the excuse of me entering a new decade of life and the fact that the Cyclones were taking on UNLV to make the trip.

We booked the trip several weeks earlier after finding a good packaged deal with a direct flight on NWA and a room the New York, New York Casino Hotel. One drawback was that our flight left Indy at 6:45 AM (Eastern time) and landed at 7:45 AM (Pacific time). It was a little odd to take a four hour flight and walk out the airport before the beginning of the workday. Unfortunately, our early arrival meant that we were not able to check into our room, either. We decided to take the morning and explore the hotel. We didn’t get very far before we were caught by the timeshare peddlers. 


Our immediate answer was no, we weren’t interested but after reflecting for a few minutes we decided to take them up on the offer. We knew we wanted to see a show and this would get us free tickets. 

We knew that we wanted to do a show, we couldn’t get into our rooms and we were pretty early in the day to do or see much, so we took them up on it. We listened to the pitch, and despite the fact that the dad from Growing Pains and the kid from Married…with Children endorsed the place we turned them down.

Back at the hotel is was time for an early lunch and since we’re always up for a stop at an Irish pub, we decided on the hotel’s version, Nine Fine Irishmen. We wound up with a lot of Guinness and a bunch of fried food including a “Sausage Pail” which turned out to be a literarily a pail of sausage (1).

We only knew of a couple folks coming to town but figured if the estimates of Iowa State travelers (2) were anywhere near accurate we’d surely run into some friends. Luckily, we received an unexpected text from Tony telling us that he and bunch of fratters were also in town for the game.

After lunch we were finally able to check into our room (it was all of 2:00 PM but we’d been up since about midnight local time) and about as far from the elevator as possible (3). We grabbed our swim wear (since we actually remembered to bring it unlike most other vacations) and headed to the pool.

The pool was a lot of fun and we met some good people. The first were two families from the Lake City, IA area who were sporting some I-State logowear.

This picture is not from our pool nor is it the folks we met, but it’s bouncing around the internet after last weekend and I think it illustrates rather well.

We also met a nice couple from Bristol, UK who were in town for a wedding. There were Brits all about Vegas, how can you not travel across the pond when the exchange rate makes everything nearly half price?

After the pool we made the long trek from the hallway to our room only to be surprised by a bottle of champagne in our room. Our good friend Eric had arranged for that in celebration of the trip and my birthday.

Next up was the much anticipated Iowa State party at the Hooters Casino. Ed Droste, a Waverly, IA native, Iowa State alumnus, and founder of Hooters restaurants put on a party for all the Cyclones in town featuring free beer for anyone wearing the Cardinal and Gold.


We ended the evening meeting up with the Phi Delts in the casinos further up the strip. It was a bachelor party for Bill, my first roommate at the PDT house back in 1997, and a pseudo-bachelor party for Tony who’s getting married next weekend. We hung out for awhile at a piano bar at the Planet Hollywood casino and found out that they had two extra seats on their transport out to the stadium the next day. We decided we’d meet up the following afternoon.

(1)It was fantastic. (2) Anywhere from 8,000-16,000. (3) Seems to always be the case.