Pomona College Magazine
Volume 41. No. 1.
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 Vegas travel
 Grand Canyon
 Mexico travel
 Escape for a road trip to the Grand Canyon, Baja Mexico, or Las Vegas.

The Great American Road Trip is alive and well, and spring break is still the classic time to take one. So here are three destinations that, we’re told, make for great trips.

Las Vegas: Seeing the bright lights and endless excess of America’s theme park for adults can make for a fun break, though it’s more accessible for students 21 and older. Hotels such as the Excalibur or ones that are older or off the main Strip offer reasonably cheap rates. And if you’re making the three-and-one-half-hour drive from Claremont to Las Vegas along Interstate 15, be sure to stop at the Mad Greek Café in Baker. The reasonably priced Greek food is surprisingly good for an eatery located in a tiny roadside town in the middle of the Mojave Desert.

Rosarito Beach: Another popular Spring Break destination for students is Rosarito Beach, in Baja Mexico. It’s about a half hour south of Tijuana and is marketed toward college kids on vacation. The town offers a variety of reasonably priced hotels and condos, especially if you split one with a big group. However, this experience is neither authentically Mexican nor generally sober if you are looking for a vacation with either of those elements. Think of Rosarito Beach as a smaller, West Coast version of Cancun or the Florida Keys during Spring Break: Clubbing and hangovers abound.

The Grand Canyon: The famous chasm carved in the Colorado Plateau over millions of years is an eight-hour drive from campus. The guidebook for the On the Loose outdoors club notes that the southern rim gets more people and warmer weather, but the views from the north rim are just as amazing. Spring snow is not unusual, so prepare for all kinds of weather. Also be aware that the weather can change dramatically as you descend into the canyon.

WARNING: Results may not be typical…

This story comes with a warning label for a good reason. For most people, victory in Las Vegas means breaking even. The stories of real winners are few and far between. So don’t say we didn’t warn you...

The story begins last year when Sam Glick ’04 went to Las Vegas one weekend on a whim, intending to get his parents playing cards from their favorite casinos. After checking into his hotel, he thought he’d have a look at the Texas Station Casino before bed. While he was there, he decided to try a few hands of blackjack. The plan was to quit as soon as he’d lost three hands in a row. Eight hours later, however, that still hadn’t happened. In fact, Glick played blackjack through the night and slowly earned more than $30,000. “You realize the chips are money,” he says, “but you don’t really think of it that way. When it really hit me is when the cashier pushed the money across the table when I cashed out.”

By no means a frequent gambler, Glick had no intention of gaming away what he knew to be a rare windfall, so he returned to Claremont and used the money to pay off his student loans. Happy ending. Story over. Right? Well, not quite.

The powers that be in Las Vegas had a different vision of where Glick should use his winnings. The Texas Station Casino tried to woo him back to its tables by giving him and 18 friends a free weekend’s stay in its suites and as many complimentary amenities as they could think of. “The joke of the weekend was that we were celebrating the release of my rap CD,” Glick says.

Most people never experience this brand of Vegas VIP treatment, but for Glick it was a twice-in-a-lifetime experience. Come spring break, Glick returned for another dose, this time at the Texas Station’s sister hotel, the posh Green Valley Ranch. For Glick, the most memorable part was a spontaneous helicopter ride. “My friend Verity Decker had never been to the Grand Canyon, and she was hoping to go before she graduated. I called my contact at the hotel to see if he could arrange anything.” The next thing Glick and his friends knew, they were boarding a private helicopter to be whisked away for a day at the Grand Canyon.

“Rarely with parents or friends do you have a trip where you get to do the things we did,” says Glick. “I’m really happy that it happened during my senior year.”
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