We left the house at 5:20 am and drove out to John and Teddi's house to pick them up. By the time we got there and repacked the SUV ( one we rented) it was 6:00 am when we got on the road. John sits up front with Tom to help navigate ( really, to work all the panel buttons, Tom doesn't know where anything is since we got the SUV the night before and it was dark, he always manages to push all the wrong buttons and it drives John crazy!). Teddi sits behind John and I sit behind Tom. Our first stop was a block up the street from their house to get some coffee and we were on our way.
Even though we are all looking forward to the trip, Teddi is the most exhuburant.
She has been counting down the days since Christmas.
We had a debate on which trip this was, the 4th or 5th. Teddi believes it's the 4th and the rest of us say the 5th. The more I think about it though, I wonder if Teddi isn't right, but it really doesn't matter. There will be many more annual February jaunts to Atlantic City.
The scenery is pretty. There is some light snow on the sides of the roads and in the grass, more like a dusting. I love the scenery as we travel through the mountains from Western PA to Eastern PA. I wish we could stop so I can take some photos but it's too dangerous. The best views are on the turnpike hills and it's not safe to stop on the side and get out if there is no emergency. Those trucks come down the hills pretty fast and the roads are full of sharp curves.
Teddi and I put our heads back and eventually fell asleep for about a hundred miles. It wasn't a deep sleep for me, as I could hear John and Tom talking and the radio was on low. I knew at one point that we had hit some fog and some sleet but I was too tired to open my eyes and look out the window. That's the guys' job.
Three hours after leaving home, we stopped in Carlisle, PA at the Petrol gas station for breakfast. We like eating at the Iron Skillet restaurant inside the building. Lot's of truckers stop here to refuel, eat, shower and whatnot.
The Iron Skillet has a nice buffet but John hates buffets so he orders off the menu. It's practically the same stuff on the buffet but he has this 'thing' about people sneezing, coughing, touching the food. If I thought about it long enough it might turn me off too, but who's to say that the chef hasn't sneezed or coughed in the vicinity of John's food in the kitchen?
Forty five minutes later, after a stop in the restrooms we were on our way again.
Teddi and I are wide awake now, so she brings out the card game we always play to keep the guys alert. It's a trivia game. John always does really well. He's very knowledgeable and Tom isn't bad either. I stink. If the question is related to politics or sports, count me out. If the question is related to celebrities or common knowledge, I do better. Teddi and I take turns reading the cards. After an hour of this my eyes ache and I start getting a headache so we put the cards away.
We talk about what's new with all of us, how last year at this time I was anticipating my heart surgery when we got back from Atlantic City ( surgery was Feb. 20th 2007). We make a few more 'pit stops' along the way. We're all over 55 and our bladders aren't as strong as they were when we were in our 40's.
Teddi and I both end up falling asleep again. I know she's up before me as I can hear her talking to the guys, but I can't seem to open my eyes for awhile.
Finally we get to the Philadelphia area and the guys are debating which way to go to get on the Atlantic City Expressway. We usually hit some heavy traffic and this day is no different.
The closer we get the more excited Teddi gets. Her enthusiam rubs off on me. It isn't just the slots, as I'm not a big gambler, it's the look of the casinos, the bells and noises that the slot machines make, the people, the whole atmosphere. It's like being in a world all it's own.
We arrive at the Tropicana and as usual, the guys, and I do blame this on them since they are the driver and co-pilot, go down the wrong street to turn into the parking garage. As many times as we've been there, they continue to do this.
We finally get on the right street and find a nice parking spot next to the elevators.
Teddi is about to jump out of her skin. She is so giddy. It rubs off.
The first thing we do is check in. We learned the second year not to go to the lobby where the lines are usually very long. There are other places you can go to check in which are much faster. You have to know where to look. Wink wink.
The first year we all stayed in the West Tower, which had been newly renovated.
The rooms were very nice, done in black and white and gray. John however complained that it was too far of a walk to the casino. This is from a guy who walks 6 hours a day for a living. The second year he and Teddi decided to stay in the Havana Tower. They had a beautiful room but it was further from the parking lot and the casino. They stayed there for two or three years. This year John wanted to try the newly renovated South Towers and they made their reservations for there. Ours was for the West Towers but at the last minute Tom asked if it was possible if we could have a room in the South Tower too. No problem!
We got our keys and walked through the casino to the South Tower elevators. John and Teddi were staying on the 8th floor and we were on the 15th floor.
Our room was gorgeous. It was a suite with a big bathroom and glass enclosed showerstall with a huge shower head!
The guys gave us some spending money to play the slots while they went to the SUV to start bringing in our bags. My $20 was gone within 5 minutes. So I just walked around and enjoyed watching others play until I saw Tom and then helped him take some bags up to our room. He told me he had a little mishap walking down the Havana Towers where he tripped over my duffel bag and fell into a store's sidewalk sign. I had offered to go to the car to help him but he refused.
It appeared that Teddi was doing well, she was still playing. I went up to our room and unpacked and freshened up and Tom and I went back down to the casino floor. He gave me another $20 and he went down too Firewaters to find John and have a few beers. I played Deal Or No Deal and lost my $20 in a heartbeat. Tom and I aren't big gamblers and I get between $100 and $150 a day for the casinos. Doesn't sound like much for someone who does gamble alot but that adds up in 5 days and it's at least an amount we know we can 'afford' to lose. If you go to the casinos thinking you're going to win 'big' you are in for disappointment.
We have dinner at Hooters. The Tropicana has a large variety of restaurants to choose from but Hooters is always our first night's dinner fare. Tom and I split some hot wings and a Philly cheese steak.
The guys head back to Firewaters and Teddi and I go back upstairs to the casino floor. This time I have $40 and I play for a short time winning enough credits to allow me to play for a while. Teddi is really doing good, but she can afford to put more into the machines than I can. She and John both have good paying jobs, no children and their home and cars are paid off. I'm thrilled for her because I know how much she enjoys playing the machines. I watch her play for a while and then head back up to our room to watch some TV. I call it a night.