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By Mel White
contributing writer 

The Tachi Palace in Lemoore

Day Trippin' with Mel


March 5, 2022

Mel White

Willie at a slot machine.

The old adage suggests that you have to spend money to make money, and that may be true in business scenarios. But – warning! – that adage does not necessarily hold up when it comes to gambling. I ought to know as over the years I've spent way more money than I've ever made at the slot machines.

However, I call it money spent on entertainment as I enjoy a visit to Laughlin or Las Vegas a few times each year. My traveling and gambling pal, Willie Ray, and I consider time in the casinos as a vacation, not as a money-making scheme. And so, just for a change of scenery and doing something a little different, Willie and I took a day trip up to Lemoore to check out the Tachi Palace, which I've seen advertised so many times on television that I was quite curious.

It was a fun day. We left Tehachapi around 9 a.m. and ended up on the 99 freeway heading north with our eyes peeled for a place to eat breakfast. We both prefer local eateries as opposed to the larger chains or fast food places, and we were rewarded with a billboard on the outskirts of Tulare telling us about Apple Annie's Restaurant. We made a beeline for that place and had a most delicious breakfast. If you're ever up that way for any reason, I highly recommend it.

Then a short drive on up to Visalia where we turned west toward Lemoore. Tachi Palace was easy to find once we paid attention to the signs, and we were ready for a fun time in a new casino. We didn't seem to be the only ones, either, as the parking lot was packed on that particular Friday morning.

I admit, I didn't really have high hopes as I had talked to some friends about Tachi Palace before we went and they were not impressed, to say the least (one suggested I not go there, but I've never been one to take advice like that). I also looked up reviews online and found them to be less than encouraging. I decided to take this trip anyway because I was up for something a little different than the usual touristy things and I wanted to find out about it for myself.

Imagine my happy surprise, then, at entering the Palace casino and finding it clean and smoke-free and masks required. There were lots of people inside but the place is huge and it did not feel crowded at all. There were clusters and banks of machines providing lots of color and soft casino noises, plenty of room to walk around, many employees cheerfully answering questions and giving the directions we needed to find the player's club desk and later a place to enjoy some ice cream sundaes.

The only thing that was mildly distracting to me was that the place was under construction for remodeling and many of the food stands were closed. Other than that, there were three floors of slot machines and an active area with tables, and lots of people enjoying a weekday outing.

Willie and I tried a number of different penny machines and had a fun afternoon playing, winning enough to keep playing but certainly not enough to actually pay for the trip, and of course eating our ice cream. Reminder: don't spend more than you can afford to lose at any casino!

This particular day trip I would suggest is not for families but for responsible adults, and I can't vouch for the hotel part as we made it a day trip, not an over nighter. I can say that there are many other attractions in Lemoore that are suitable for youngsters and I will probably be exploring those in upcoming months (any excuse to drive by Apple Annie's for another meal!).

Mel White

Lots of penny slot machines to play, placed at intervals so you're not elbow-to-elbow with other players.

Directions: You can go to Bakersfield on the 58 and then up the 99 to Visalia; then go west on 198 to Lemoore. Follow the signs to the Tachi Palace. The 99 is a four-lane freeway with many opportunities to stop for food and gas and restrooms.

OR you can go through Bakersfield to Shafter (on Lerdo Highway exit) and then get on the 43 North. That takes you to a junction with 198, where you turn west and go to Lemoore. The 43 is a two-lane highway with fewer opportunities for stops.

Either way takes about 2.5 hours to get to Lemoore (a little longer if you stop at Apple Annie's, or anywhere else for eats). We went up one way and came home the other way just for grins. Drive carefully and play responsibly, and above all, have a fun trip if you go!

© 2022 Marilda Mel White. Mel White, local writer and photographer and avid day-tripper, welcomes your comments, questions and suggestions at


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