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A visit to Quechan Casino

Quechan Casino

Quechan Casino

It was time to check out Quechan Casino Resort, which is just north of the Los Algodones border crossing. Most people get there by driving on Highway 8 which goes from Yuma to San Diego. Coming from Mexicali, we decided to drive to Los Algodones and cross the border there.

Matthew, Jim and I jumped in the truck and headed out for Los Algodones.

Los Algodones House

Los Algodones House

At Los Algodones, there was the usual line of cars waiting to be checked in by the U.S. Border Patrol. While we waited in line, we snapped this photo of a nice house in Los Algodones – not all Mexicans are poor.

When we reached the border, the Border Patrol guy took our passports, and stared into his computer for the longest time. The Border Patrol guy finally handed us back our passports and waved us on.

Once we crossed the border we were right on the road in the Quechan reservation where the casino is located. You don’t need any address, as you can’t miss the place – it is huge.

They had valet parking, but we didn’t want to spend for that. Jim said, “No way I’m gonna give some guy my car keys.”

On entering the casino we were in a huge room with a lot of ding ding gambling noises going on. “That racket is made so folks can’t concentrate – makes ’em lose,” laughed Jim.

The casino has slot machines, a dimly lit poker room for the high rollers. There was a guy playing there with a huge pile of chips. The main floor was full of tables featuring Blackjack, Mini-Baccarat, Pai Gow, and Three Card Poker.  Unfortunately they don’t have Roulette, the only gambling game that Jim understands. Usually he heads straight for the Roulette table and places a single bet on his secret favorite number. Win or lose, that’s it for Jim. “What in darnation is Pai Gow?” Jim asked as we walked through the casino.

The purpose of our trip was not to gamble, but to eat. The last time we passed the casino, we saw a big sign that advertised roast beef for $5.99 – well worth the trip for us.

We were hungry, and immediately headed towards the Octotillo Cafe, which offered a buffet menu for $6.99 a person – more than the $5.99 we had expected to pay. “What’ed they do, raise the price when they saw us?” said Jim.

The buffet offered salads, ham, chicken, vegetables, and pork. There was also pasta.  The dessert was fresh fruits, and pies.  But no roast beef!

In compensation, we could eat as much as we wanted. Most of the people we saw were retirees, guys in short pants, tee-shirts and stuff. They were piling the food onto their plates.

We sat down at a booth and a nice waitress showed up. We could have whatever we wanted to drink, soft drinks, coffee, iced tea and stuff like that.  It was very nice, and the surroundings were quite swank.

The waitress was a very nice lady, and said she enjoyed working at the casino – said they are still hiring. So here is the casino’s link for jobs, which might interest some of the ex-bankers out there. Work at the casino, and live in a house that you can rent for a couple hundred bucks a month in Los Algodones – it’s a thought.

While we ate, one old guy must have made 4 trips to the buffet. “Do you think I can go for seconds?” Matthew asked. Jim answered, “That old fat geezer with the butt crack is on his fourth trip, so go for it Matthew.”

No sooner had we finished stuffing ourselves and tipping the waitress, Matthew saw the chefs bringing out roast beef!

The waitress said that the buffet menu changed at 5:00pm. Oh what a shame!

“Well, we just gotta come back,” said Jim.

On the way out, Matthew decided to play the slots. The machines are completely electronic. Matthew inserted a dollar bill, and won a hundred bucks.

“I get fifty of that,” Jim said.

“Why?” asked Matthew.

“I paid for the lunch and the gas, Matthew.” Jim hesitated, “and the eggs.”

“Eggs,” said Matthew, “what eggs?”

“The Easter eggs,” answered Jim.

Matthew got real excited. “Are we going to have an Easter egg hunt?”

“Yup,” answered Jim.

“For who?” asked Matthew.

“Why for you – who else,” said Jim.

Matthew got real excited. He is a bit childish about things like the Easter Bunny, Santa and all that.

The casino has a fancy restaurant called the Ironwood Steakhouse. The prices were sky high there, like thirty bucks. It was closed until dinner time. “Thank God,” said Jim.

On the way out, Matthew asked, “When will I have the Easter egg hunt?”

“Sunday – Easter,” answered Jim.

We decided to return to Mexicali by going west on Highway 8 which runs just north of Calexico.  That was a mistake. It was very windy, and we found ourselves in a sand storm. We should have gone back to Los Algodones and taken the Mexican road back. The land is green there and very little sand to contend with.

“What if the sand gets into the engine,” asked a worried Matthew.

Jim answered, “Matthew, if just a single grain of sand gets into the engine, and then into a cylinder, it can lodge itself into one of the piston rings.”

“And then what?” I asked, getting a bit worried, myself.

Jim continued, “Well it can jam the piston ring into the side of the cylinder. Then the engine can throw a rod, blowing the damn thing right out of the engine block and shooting it out through the hood.”

We waited for Jim to continue.

“Then the engine block cracks, and blows the hot oil right through the dashboard onto us.”

“We would be covered with oil?” asked Matthew.

“Hot burning oil, which would take the skin right off of your face.”

“No, you’re kidding,” I said.

After a long pause, Jim finally smiled, “Yup”

We decided to take the Calexico east entrance back into Mexico. This entrance is used primarily for trucks, but cars can use it too. We could see a long line of cars on the Mexican side waiting to be checked out by the Border Patrol as we re-entered Mexico, with no check for us.



Just the week before, the a Border Patrol dog got real excited about a Ford Mustang coming in from Mexico. The Border Patrol began to take the car apart and found 26 packages of methamphetamine concealed inside its front panels. The stuff was worth $409,000.

There’s a lot going on in Mexico, and that’s what makes life interesting.

Stuff we use:

Jim’s favorite site for betting info is

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1 comment to A visit to Quechan Casino

  • […] Rent a car at the airport, go west on Highway 8 into California. When you see the Los Algodones turnoff several miles into California, go south to Los Algodones. It’s only a 12 mile journey, and you will pass the beautiful Quechan Casino Resort, where you can stay for the night, with gambling, entertainment—and a lot of other things. (See my post on Quechan Casino Resort). […]

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