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LAUGHLIN, NEVADA

The town of Laughlin, Nevada is a small cluster of gambling casinos and that’s about all. It’s just across the Colorado River from us. Yesterday, after an afternoon of being cloistered in the trailer by a hellacious desert wind, we were looking for some diversion so we thought, what the hell, and drove over the bridge to have a look at the casinos there.

Our report: We weren’t expecting Casino Royale and we weren’t disappointed. There were no baccarat tables with tuxedoed James Bond types. No beautiful, bejeweled women at their sides. No, the clientele at Laughlin is more like what you’d see in a check-out line at Walmart – which was fine with me because I was dressed in wrinkled hiking pants, t-shirt, and lime-green Crocs.

We wandered through several establishments taking in the sights and sounds but didn’t even bother to play our customary five dollars of “mad money.” That’s because the mechanical “one-arm bandits” of old, the slot machines that had a lever you pull, have all been replaced by electronic, card-reading devices. It was the feel of pulling that lever that I enjoyed (and, of course, the clink of all those coins dropping into the tray.)

Looking around at the hundreds of gamblers, each intently focused on his or her game of chance, it occurred to me that I was witnessing a distinct segment of our population. Whatever else they were (“wrinkled, overweight, cigarette-smoking” come to mind) they were all optimists. Who else would willingly engage in such risk taking, knowing that the odds are stacked against them from the start? Of course they know The House has the advantage but in the recesses of their brains I imagine they’re all saying “Today I’m going to be lucky!” That’s the very definition of optimism.

While I didn’t win big at the poker table, all in all my evening was a success. I met this little hottie at the penny slots. She came home with me and we had a real good time.

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PENNY SLOT PULCHRITUDE

We’re getting restless again and expect to be moving on tomorrow. We’ll probably relocate to another campground on the other side of the lake called Cottonwood Cove. It’s isolated so we may not have cell service which will mean no updates to Chelan Traveler for the duration of our stay. “Try, try, try to understand.”

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