The California Trip — Part 3
We continued on our travels to San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas, where I got kicked out of a casino.
In San Francisco we stayed at the Sir Francis Drake Hotel. We took a tour bus, but the only things I remember are the ridiculously steep hills, the cable cars, and the signs in every bar advertising topless go-go dancers. Sadly, we didn’t go into any of those.
On to L.A. where for some reason I can’t explain, we did not take any tours. In Hollywood the entertainment capital of the world? How odd. We checked into a hotel, and the following morning caught a train to Las Vegas.
Yeah, Vegas, baby!
We stayed at the Flamingo Hotel, and when I say we stayed there, I mean we stayed there. It was so hot no mortal could function outdoors for more than a few minutes. I don’t know what the temperature was, but it was oppressive. There was a pool at the hotel, and there were people outside seemingly enjoying it, but I took two steps outside, and hightailed it right back indoors.
That evening the four of us went to the casino. Now as I recall there was no firm demarcation between the lobby and the casino, just walk a few steps this way and you found yourself surrounded by slot machines. And slot machines were the only form of gambling that the others were interested in trying. I just stood and watched as they plugged the coins into the machines and pulled the arms of the one-armed bandits.
It didn’t take long before a security guard approached me and said I couldn’t be there. I had to move the dozen or so steps back into the area of the lobby where there were no bandits of the one-armed kind. Only after I did so did he ask me my age. Ever since then, I’ve liked to say that I was kicked out of a casino.
The next day we grabbed a cab back to the train station, once again minimizing the amount of time that we had to spend in the outdoors in that sweltering heat.
How anyone can exist in that climate or in neighboring Arizona is beyond me, but I have relatives and former classmates of all sorts who live in those places. And I have one question for them: How the hell do you do it? Are you crazy? All right, two questions.
Back to L.A. where I think we took a train to Anaheim. We visited some relatives for a few hours, and I thought I remembered that they lived in L.A., but the photo shows them at the Anaheim station, and who am I to argue with photographic evidence? I remember next to nothing about those relatives, no names or anything, except that one man, a very nice man, could only speak by holding some sort of vibrator contraption up to his throat. I believe he had had an operation that damaged or removed his vocal cords, but I don’t remember.
Oh, yes, there’s one other thing. I recall Mary explaining to them that her last name was pronounced “Hoffee” even though it was spelled “Hoffa”. I had known how it was pronounced but don’t think I had never seen it written, so that was news to me.
We took a cab to Disneyland and I remember the cab driver. She was a very nice woman who gave us some detailed directions on how to see the maximum number of sights at Disneyland in the the day we would be there. We ignored her directions.
And again, I recall next to nothing about our time at Disneyland. Except I wanted to ride the Matterhorn ride and nobody else did.
Next stop San Diego, which was the real destination and raison d’etre for the trip. That’s where we would stay with George and Kay Troutman, and they are the reason that many years later I started digging into the long hidden family secrets.