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Best of Star Brooks

Gaming Guru

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Lake Tahoe Laundry Room

29 June 2002

Well, it's back to the laundry room for an office again. As the weather got hotter and hotter down in Verdi, and the wind kept blowing and blowing, we drove the RV out on Monday morning and came up to Lake Tahoe. No convenient phone hook-ups and the most basic of cable, but it's under $20 a day with my AAA discount. Of course, it comes at a time when I need TNN on the cable... By Monday night. Our oldest son is going to wrestling school and has a bit part on WWE Monday Night Raw... I not only HAVE to see it, I HAVE to tape it! Looks like we are going motel room hunting for that night! Also, even though my cell phone company is almost across the street from the campground, the reception really sucks. People calling aren't getting through, and my voice mail is getting a work-out. To place a call, I have to get away from 400 some odd campsites and the pines, and get out on Lake Tahoe Boulevard. I'm losing patience with inconveniences.

It seems strange to be back in Tahoe.... Where it all once already began and ended for me. I took a walk through the casinos like days of old... a ragged notebook in one hand, a pen in the other. Surveying the progressive jackpots for the first time since September 30th of last year. A walk I made for 644 straight days in what now seems like a past life. Not too much had changed.

The layout of Harveys gambling area had changed... I sailed around a corner headed for the path down the California side of the casino... only to run into newly installed doors and a mirrored wall. Retracing my steps, I cut down past the poker room and around the main cashier... past the pits... and lo and behold, met another identical wall on the other side... the casino area now stops at about the point where you go into the Seafood Grotto. Obviously, the idea of the moving wall has traveled across the street. Now that Harrah's Tahoe has completed the remodel of their casino and table games areas... I can only say wow... it's classic, it's elegant, and the pits have some really ornate columns in place of the old "rear-view-mirror" columns.

Bill's Casino was still the same friendly little casino... at least at 6:30 AM... and little had changed there. The faces were still smiling and familiar... always a good sign, and one worth looking for when you are looking to gamble.

Horizon Casino is putting on a new face.... They've added planters and done a lot of remodeling to the front of the casino, where the overhang is. It has displaced some of the outdoor events, but it's the Horizon... they will be coming.

Harveys is going to do an outdoor concert series again, starting July 26th with celebrities like Tim McGraw and Robin Williams. I'm going to be begging on the doorstep for press passes to these.... And will have more details next time.

Caesars Tahoe is still pretty much the same, though it looks to me like they might have LESS slots than they had when I left Tahoe the first of February. They used to provide me with a lot to say about new slots... but then again... management changed last fall... at least I think it was last fall... which might explain the lack of new slots... especially if the budgets got the axe. It's happened before and there's nothing to say it can't happen again.

The only place I haven't been through since getting back up here is the Lakeside Inn.... And that's because the place is always packed when I try! The parking lot is evidence enough of the popularity of the smallest independently owned casino in Stateline....

Oh, and I brought myself to drive past the house I had to leave behind in February, my home of 16 years at the Lake. Without the trees, naked, and bearing signs of intended changes... it brought tears. The only thing I could think about was, "At least it looks like they left the Golden Chain tree and the Purple Robe Black Locust tree that we had proudly planted when it was our home..." And it looks like we may not be moving to a house at the lake... as the owner also had a friend that wanted to move up and rent it. So I guess we sit... and wait... and hope.