Atlantic City
July 13-14, 2006

It's been a couple of years since my last trip to Las Vegas and the Wilds of Nevada but a recent Trip Report regarding Atlantic City by another poster gives me the impetus to offer the following regarding a trip to AC made in July.

A little background: I'm the CmdrMark ( that used to enjoy traipsing solo around the wilds of Nevada until MSO (Most Significant Other) decided to see what kind of shenanigans I was up to on my "out west" trips and joined me. Well, time moved on and MSO has become Mrs and LtCmdrCassandra's arrival has put a temporary pause on out west trips for a while.

I was going to be near AC in midJuly and being a cheap scoundrel, thought I'd check various casinos'  Rates & Availability. It's been a couple of years since I've had the opportunity to visit Las Vegas so even AC had a certain allure.  I can rationalize one night in AC with the Mrs and LtCmdrCassandra if the price is right! After all, with all the family attractions Atlantic City has to offer; AC has an ocean and the Miss America Pageant (ummm no, that's not right, that bailed out to Las Vegas)...uh, AC has an ocean and...ummm... Well anyway....Since I'm the one that always gets to write the Trip Reports, this time my dayghter, LtCmdrCassandra, volunteered to help write this one from her perspective. (Daddy's Gambling/Hotel info is italicized.)

The helm is yours, LtCmdr. - Take it away, Cassandra!

Thursday - July 13th

There was no traffic as we cruised the final miles of the Atlantic City Expressway into AC which is a good thing because I sometimes get quite cranky in traffic jams. I'm sure being early in the morning midweek combined with the mild temperatures but overcast skies kept Shoobies and vacationers away from the beach. We were so early arriving that daddy scored a parking spot steps away from the Boardwalk. Out of the car came the 6'x6' cabana with the twenty-four interlocking supports, beach chairs, towels, beach blankets, cooler, shovels & pails and beach toys. If it weren't for two-wheel dollies, daddy would STILL be dragging things back to the car!

Mommy and I ran down to the water's edge, then scurried back as the water was c-o-l-d! Daddy said a week-long off shore breeze blew all the warm water out to sea leaving me to enjoy the 58° water. I guess I got daddy's cold-water genes because mommy's ankles went numb! Daddy said it wasn't any worse than New England water north of Cape Cod - But I noticed that he didn't go too far into the water, either. 

While Daddy went off to try to get an early check-in, mommy and I played on the beach. The beach and sand in Atlantic City are yucky. Really yucky!  Lots of broken shells (but no syringes) was tough on this tenderfoot. Daddy adds: Tried for a 10:00 AM check-in at the Sands for my $79 room (which was around $100 including all taxes and fees) but was told 12:00 was the earliest. The helpful desk staff completed all my paperwork and with a smile said "When you comeback, stand over there and just wave this folder and you won't have to wait in line." When daddy returned, we spent some time chasing sea gulls, much to the amusement of the two lifeguards who were enjoying a rare "easy day." When the birds didn't want to play anymore, daddy and I made a sand alligator complete with sharp white teeth of broken shells. I knew that tonight's  high tide will clean away all trace of my alligator and I'll have a new canvas tomorrow.

The skies darkened as sprinkles of rain splattered the cabana. Since I missed my customary morning nap, we headed to the hotel. Daddy waved something at the desk clerk and voila, no waiting in line -- we had our keys and were headed to the room. Daddy reports: 10th floor, southwest view. Clean & comfortable room. Two double beds, easy chair, desk, chairs and a coffeemaker featuring a 5oz American cup or 3 1/2oz European style. Bathroom was overstocked with towels. Whether with the girls or by myself, whenever a member of the hotel staff passed in the hallway or was met in the elevator, they always offered a greeting, eye contact and a brief "Everything ok? Need anything in the room?" Or simple "How are you today/this evening/morning?" This hotel has daddy's seal of approval for friendly, attentive service!

I took a bath and mommy washed pounds of sand out of my hair - Glad we had extra towels! Then, I looked out the window at the ants way down on the ground until daddy told me they were people. I looked at the Giant Windmills north of the expressway. Emission-free energy for 2000 homes a year, daddy said.  I yawned and rubbed my eyes. While mommy and I lay down, daddy disappeared!

Yep, I headed down to the casino! Was looking for some $5 craps action and actually FOUND some at the Sands. TWO tables, not cold but sure not hot. Got the "30 minute table will increase" announcement.....Then played for the next hour and a half as the minimum increase either wasn't being enforced or I and the other players were grandfathered in at $5. Made a little, gave it back but had a fun time just tossin' dice. Saw lots of available low minimum blackjack tables along with some Pai Gow and other tablegames. Wanted to pick up a roll of quarters in anticipation of feeding the parking meters the next day but was shocked to learn that "change girls" are a thing of the past here. All the slots and VP are coinless - I found I actually MISSED hearing the clink of coins paying off. Heard the age-old complaint from people waiting in line to cash in chips or paper vouchers...."SIX windows and they have TWO cashiers! Can ya believe it?"

I had just dozed off when I heard the door quietly open....It was daddy! Mommy wasn't pleased. I can be quite an independent 27month old when I don't have a nap! We watched some TV but I couldn't BELIEVE that there was no Nickelodeon, Disney and only ONE PBS channel. Don't the guests watch Blue's Clues, Arthur or Clifford the Big Red Dog? No Wiggles and Bear in the Big Blue House? Well, THAT knocks a star off the Sand's LtCmdrCassandra rating! Now we always travel with a VCR and my favoritest tapes!

Knowing a nap was out of the question, we went exploring something called a "boardwalk." I was spellbound with all the little shops, arcades,  restaurants, fortune tellers and the occasional big-name entertainment venue like Guinness World Records and the Hard Rock Cafe. There was so much to see. I saw something that looked kinda like a rickshaw but instead of pulling the passengers, a person pushed them. Daddy called them "Rolling Chairs" and said the wicker Rolling Chair's history goes back to the 1800's when Atlantic City was called "America's Playground"!

We walked out onto the Steel Pier. Built in 1898, Daddy said that this is where the famous diving horse would perform to roaring crowds and WC Fields would fake his drowning, only to be rescued and escorted to a nearby tavern to let folks buy him beers to "help him revive" but those are the stories of yesteryear. Tonight, there were lots of games like where you can win a prize - Shoot a clown in the mouth with a watergun and win a stuffed dog! And the RIDES! Rollercoasters, a two-story carousel, something daddy called the "Himalaya." The Steel Pier is one big, colorful, noisy place. I had a blast! (Little did I realize that my "Steel Pier Experience" will soon join the Diving Horse in Memoryville. On August 21st, Donald Trump announced his plan of turning the historic pier into high-end shopping, hotel rooms and an entertainment location. Goodbye Steel Pier)

Dinnertime found us passing the Hard Rock Cafe. Since they have umbrella-covered outdoor tables, they got our business. I'd much prefer watching people stroll by on the boardwalk than sit inside some boring restaurant. Tanya from Russia was our waitress. She brought me chocolate milk but my eyes widened as she put a crushed-ice, strawberry concoction with a strawberry on the rim of the glass in front of daddy! He caught my look and cryptically commented, "You're the evidence of my masculinity" or something like that. Since we weren't really hungry, we got an appetizer sampler with chicken wings and tenders and spring rolls and ribs and baked potato quarters dripping with cheese, chives and bacon bits. Seagulls would dart close trying to mooch a morsel but I didn't give them any; Even when one would whoosh by flying really, really fast!

All day long, mommy kept promising me a Boardwalk Ice cream Cone so as we slowly meandered back to the Sands hotel, I got my strawberry ice cream cone. It was y-u-m-m-y! Coasting on a sugar-high, we made our way back to the hotel and as the sky darkened, sleep claimed me......And mommy.....And daddy, too!
Ahhh, Atlantic City Nightlife.

Friday - July 14

We all fell asleep last night as the sky was getting really black - I know I was sure tired and sleep came easily! Then something happened...It was early in the morning. the clock was all 3's. I thought I heard something....Maybe

It was 3:33 when I quietly slipped out the door. The girls were asleep and I was in search of some dice-throwin' action. I figured at this time of the morning, There'd have to be some $5 action close by. Wrong-o! $10 minimums from the Sands south to the Claridge, Bally's and their Wild West-themed casino. I stopped looking when I reached Ceasar's realizing early morning hours isn't synonymous with low table minimums. I rationalized that a  $10 table isn't THAT different from a $5 table. -- Come to find out, that rationalization allows you to lose your money twice as fast! Things would just get going and BANG, out popped the seven. I fled with my tail between my legs out to the famed Boardwalk where there is a fascinating assortment of humanity in the pre-dawn. One guy simply wanted to know the date and when told seemed content. A couple wondered what time it was. No one asked for "spare change". Maybe the vacuum that Ceasar's rammed into my pockets left tell-tale marks on my clothing! Back at the Sands and still too early in the morning, I decided to have a try at Video Poker. A short while later: VP had its way with me so as the sky showed the barest of lightening in the east, I visited the Dunkin Donut franchise at the Sands and picked up an extra large cup of coffee for MSO (I mean Mrs!), milk and donuts for the rest of us. Whoops, why am I telling you this? This is LtCmdrCassandra's Trip Report!

Mommy was flipping channels looking for TV shows which are part of my morning routine - Like doing the "Morning Mambo" with Bear. No luck, but in walked daddy with DONUTS! That started MY day off right! Donuts and milk watching things out the window as the sun rose. After our less than nutritious breakfast, I wanted o-u-t! Let's go watch the sunrise and with a little coaxing, mommy and daddy agreed! The Boardwalk was kinda spooky. It was very quiet. Only the occasional bicycle rider whizzing past us made me sure we weren't the only people around. And it was foggy. Real foggy. When you turned around, the fog swallowed where you'd been. We walked and walked and when I got tired, daddy makes a great conveyance!

The fog slowly broke and I saw the ocean. I quivered with excitement. I knew where we'd be later on after I had some real breakfast and my usual morning nap!

Nap? Like a man in search of an oasis, I knew that was my cue to search for the elusive $5 craps table. And where did I find it? The good old Sands. Guess they run $5 action from mid-morning to early afternoon. Didn't fare a lot better but at least had some playing time for my money.

I figured my nap would be short as we still had to pack and the Sands has a noon checkout, but daddy pulled a fast one; He got late checkout. I really needed the extra sleep! Check out was on the slow side so next time, I'm telling daddy to use the hotel's self-checkout. Yes, dear.

Brought all the hotel luggage to the car. In it went; And out came all the beach stuff....You remember...the 6'x6' cabana with the twenty-four interlocking supports, beach chairs, towels, beach blankets, cooler, shovels & pails and beach toys. And thanks to the two-wheel dolly, daddy lugged it down the block and all the way to the beach. Oh, and daddy seems to have a new name for that 6'x6' cabana with the twenty-four interlocking supports.

As empty as the beach was yesterday, bright sunshine, warm/hot temperatures and it being Friday ensured we'd have plenty of company. The water seems a lot warmer and the surf
not as rough as yesterday. I splashed into the ocean all the way up to my waist....Which is about mid-calf for mommy!


And for the next few hours, I frolicked in the water, searched for pretty shells, made a sand castle, rolled in the water, rolled in the sand - in that order. Daddy made me go back in the water and frolic some of the sand off me! Around midafternoon, Daddy
treated us to another Boardwalk staple - the hotdog. Frankly, mine was "ehhh" but Daddy ate his with relish. (Sorry, it must be genetic). But the hotdog roll slathered in ketchup was delicious.

And as the sun slowly sunk behind the massive casinos lining the other side of the boardwalk, our mini beach vacation was ending. Traffic was heavy, coming IN to town but going out moved right along. It was so smooth that I had time to make one comment before drifting off to sleep -- "Again! Do AGAIN!"

Maybe in September, Cassandra.....
That way you can enjoy one last visit to the Steel Pier before it closes forever in October. Lemme check Rates & Availability!