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jenseib

I LOVE Comedians with Guitars......You didn't tell me that part...

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Hello and welcome to my latest trip report. I had the wonderful opportunity to sail the Magic out of Galveston for her inaugural sailing Sept 22.

Who am I? Well I am Jennifer….jenseib here on the boards. I love writing Trip Reports and sometimes I am a little Whacky.

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I am a Mom of 3 children, Michael, who is 23, Paige, who is 20, and Claire who is 7. I am married to Skip. If you have read any of my past TR’s and/or PTR’s you will know he is a fun loving guy, but a vacation resistor. This trip was no different.

This past May I started planning a trip I had earned from my job. It was NOT a Disney cruise…..but one on another very nice line. The thing is, I had to wait for dates to be released for the time of year I wanted to go….Sept. Since this was kind of a promotional type cruise, I couldn’t just pick anything; I had to go with what was offered.

From the start, I knew Skip would not go on this trip. I wanted Sept. for several reasons. Well actually I would’ve loved to have gone over the summer, but all of the summer dates released were during other scheduled events here at home that could not be changed. I would’ve lie to have brought along Claire, but she will be missing almost 2 weeks of school in Nov for a family trip on the Dream and to WDW, so there was just no way I could let her miss that much more school.

I asked Skip if he would mind if I asked my friend Lisa to join me and he was fine with that.

I texted Lisa and she responded with a yes.

Lisa has been my friend for years. Back in our single days we used to hit the local bar scene every weekend. We have traveled together a few times and I knew we were compatible that way. We have no problems going off on our own if we want to.

Sadly over the years we have drifted apart. We both got married, and I had my 3rd child, Claire. We only see each a few times a year at most. We usually have no troubles picking up right where we left off, but this could be different. We hadn’t spent a long time together in over 10 years. Secretly, I did wonder if we would hate each other by the end of the trip. LOL…OK, not hate each other, but be annoyed with each other.

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Well no worries. We had a blast together and it was just like we have seen each other every week since we got married.

All summer long I waited for the dates to be released and it just wasn’t happening. Finally the next batch was released…and they totally skipped the month of Sept. WHAT? I was crushed. How could this be? Fate stepped in and crushed my dreams….or so I thought. I told Lisa right away. I felt so awful. She had even applied for a passport just for this trip.

But Fate had other plans for us. Later that day, another promotion was released through my job. This one was for the Disney Magic. It gave select dates in Sept and Oct. Sept 22 worked best for me, so I quickly called Lisa and she said yes.

We booked immediately.

Long story short, my DH, who had known about this since May decided to be a big baby about it and we spent a few days not talking. I will not back down and if he doesn’t want to talk to me, I sure can handle that. Sometimes he talks way too much, so a few days of peace and quiet is fine. LOL. Eventually he got over it and I just chose not to talk to him about the trip. He really has no interest in where I was going, he only asked when about 2 weeks before I left.

I booked this trip in early Aug. I believe around Aug 9th. That meant not much time for planning. Soon I learned that 2 of the girls I had gone to an Agent Education program last year at WDW were going. It would be exciting to see Mary and Carolyn again. Not long after that, one of my co-workers, Brook….brookelizabeth on Dis…decided she wanted to go as well. She booked a cabin for herself, while Carolyn had 2 friends coming and Mary had 3. Brook and I were roommates last year, and it was going to be really nice to see her again.

The planning got started as much as we could and for the most part we were going to do a lot of “winging” it. We only pre-booked a couple of things.

We did make matching t-shirts though…we are geeky that way.

How I came up with the name of this TR will be revealed later. Lisa and I always seem to have some sort of funny saying at some point in a trip together that makes us laugh and then we repeat it over and over…and this happened to be one of those lines.

Please join me as I relive one of the greatest vacations I have ever had. It was very different than ones with my family, but in a good way. I still love traveling with my family, don’t get me wrong, but it was really nice to do a girls only trip this time around.

I will forewarn you now. I have a very busy month ahead of me as well as a long trip (Nov. 2- 14) to WDW and on the Disney Dream. This TR will be slow going, but I will finish it. It will just take some time.

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So many trip reports, so little time. I'm still waiting for the end of your family cruise. But that's OK...I gots time! Keep em' comin. :D

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So many trip reports, so little time. I'm still waiting for the end of your family cruise. But that's OK...I gots time! Keep em' comin. :D

 

Do you mean the one I posted last year? I did finish that one. And then we have the big family one in Nov...and I will be writing about that too. ;)

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This post will not have pictures…but I promise there will be MANY coming up soon.

The week prior to sailing, Lisa and I started phoning each other a bit more. She was very nervous and not sure what to pack. I went over some of the list of things she should have and things I was bringing that she wouldn’t need to have, like a blow dryer and bonine, etc.

Sept 20 (Thursday) rolls around. The night before our departure day.…..It was a busy one for me. I had to be sure I had things packed for Claire. She was going to be going back and forth between her Grandmas’s, so I had to have 2 suitcases packed for her. 1 Grandma lives right next door, so if anything was forgotten, she could run over and get it (and evidently that means toys…as many seemed to make their way over to MIL’s while I was gone). My Mom doesn’t live too far away and it’s an easy stop here to pick up anything if it was forgotten as well.

After school we took everything over to MIL’s house and gave her Claire’s planning itinerary. Yes, I made one for Claire’s grandmas and a friend who would be picking up Claire a couple of the days after school. I wanted to try and make it go smoothly and to give everyone each other’s phone numbers, etc.

It was also Family Fun night at Claire’s school. I made an early dinner, since Claire rarely eats at events like this, and I wanted to be sure she got something in her stomach that wasn’t junk, and then we headed off for a night of fun activities at the school.

They had a DJ and all the kids had such a great time. Normally I would take pictures, but with all the rushing and getting ready, I didn’t even think about bringing a camera this night.

Towards the end of the night, Lisa called one last time. She was on her way to Meijer and picking up the last things she needed. We chatted a bit and I told her my goal would be to be at her house around 5:30 AM. YIKES…that sounded so early! I was going to get up at 4:30, but she was getting up at 3:30. She wanted to get up and have her body adjust to the early hour.

The dance ended and Claire and I headed off to my Moms. Claire was dropped off and we gave big hugs and kisses, but she was practically kicking me out the door. Her cousin was going to be arriving soon to spend the night as well, (neither had school on Friday and my Mom took the day off of work to keep them both) and she had no interest in me hanging around. PLUS, my Mom had made a treasure hunt, so as soon as Cousin Alexis (Who will be sailing with us in Nov.) arrived, they could get started on that fun.

I went home, finished packing the last minute things items and loaded suitcases in the car.

Skip was in the house…and of course bothering me. He thinks it’s funny to ask many questions while I am busy. He did, however give me some cash to take. He gave me his wallet and told me to take what I needed…Um…not a wise thing to do. I told him to give me what he wanted to give me. I didn’t want to hear later that I took too much. He gave me $200. I was good with that.

Then he continued to tell me to take more because we would be “laying” in the bars all the time. That is so not us. And he knows it, but it was funny. I did end up taking $20 more just to make him happy.

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Do you mean the one I posted last year? I did finish that one. And then we have the big family one in Nov...and I will be writing about that too. ;)

 

Sorry...my mistake. Wrong trip report.

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Sept.21 (Friday)

I had a nice night’s sleep and woke up right at 4:30 and got myself ready.

I gave Skip a final kiss good bye and let him know I would call him later in the day, and tomorrow as well, but once on the ship, I had no clue when I could call again. We have Nextel and they are phasing it out, so there was a good chance that I might not get another signal again till back on US soil.

Lisa only lives about 5 minutes from my house and she walked out as I pulled in. We loaded her bags in the car, one last bathroom trip, she said good bye to extremely fat cats…yes they need a diet….and I think we were on the road by 5:40.

I handed her the directions to my Aunts house. My sister , Amanda, was going to take us to the airport…in Columbus, which is about 2 ½ hours from my house….and she was house sitting at my Aunts, so we were driving there and leaving my car there for the week.

It was so dark out still and we actually goofed…not far from home. We were chatting away and I kept following the signs for 23 south, but we needed to turn off on 75 south and meet up with 23 south later on. This was the faster way. We laughed at how we already got lost and we hadn’t yet left Toledo.

It only took about 15 minutes to get ourselves turned around and back in the right direction.

At one point Lisa told me my driving was giving her motion sickness…. OOPS I was letting off the gas a lot because the guy in front of me wasn’t going as fast as I wanted to go. I fixed that by setting the cruise control. I had an “OH NO!” feeling though. We were going to be on a MOVING ship for 7 days….this might not be good.

The time flew by. We talked the whole way down and not far from my Aunt’s we decided to stop and get a drink and bathroom stop at McDonalds. We pulled in and immediately pulled back out. It was PACKED! The drive through was circling the building and we couldn’t even get into a parking spot…..we could wait. We weren’t far now.

We made it to my Aunts in just over 2 ½ hours, so even with our flub up, we made very good time.

We made a pit stop, and Amanda gave Lisa a tour of my Aunts house. Lisa made friends with my Aunts cat, Gwenny, and I swore she was going to try and smuggle him out.

I took a few pictures of my Aunts house…They are kind of blurry, but she has a very beautiful home.

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We got Amanda’s car loaded and off to the airport we went. I think it was about another 15 – 20 minutes from there. Of course with 3 girls in a car…the talking never stopped.

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As we drove up the airport Lisa was telling us how she was trying to be more spiritual and trying to make life better. She said how she tried to meditate and write down each day things she is grateful for or things she is hopeful for.

I forget the exact thing she said, but it was kind of freaky…the day that I had texted her about going on a trip with me, she said she had wrote down something about being thankful for the things she has been able to do and any future trips she may take….or something along those lines…..Freaky right?

Amanda dropped us off at the Southwest gate and we handed off our bags and checked in right outside. We were informed that out flight was delayed 15 minutes. I asked if it would cause any troubles for our connecting flight and they reassured us all would be fine. And I let him know I was taking note of his name. LOL

We breezed right through security and I made a note to myself that in Nov I do NOT need to be there 2 hours early, as we sat and waited a LONG time.

We picked up some snacks. I got a turkey sandwich, which I was not impressed with. It needed mayo or something. I ate half and saved the other half for later. For anyone who knows me, I do need to eat or I turn into a nasty creature. Wasted $7.50 on a crappy sandwich.

We pulled out our kindles and I connected online and did some facebooking and catching up on emails.

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We saw the plane arrive and it really didn’t seem to be too late.

I think one is not our plan and the other is….can’t remember for sure now.

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The flight was oversold. Why they do this, I have no clue, and they asked for 2 volunteers to wait. If this was going home, I probably would’ve, but going to our destination….NOPE. I heard from Brook later that day whose flight was also over booked that they were offering free flights plus $300. I assume round trip, but it might’ve been 1 way flights. She volunteered, but they didn’t need her to.

This was our first time flying with Southwest, and I really didn’t have much to complain about…except. Why bother giving boarding numbers. No one lines up right. I tried to stay in my area, but it was obvious no one else cared if your number was before or after them. In fact on our last leg home, there was a lady who firmly planted herself in our number area. I KNEW Lisa had the 1st number for that section and I had the 2nd, but this lady was not going to move….and she was single, so not sure how important it was for her to board before 2 others. When we scanned our tickets I saw she was actually supposed to be 2 sections of numbers back. OH well…..never saw her again.

So that’s my only complaint. I paid the extra $10 for early bird online check in, but others didn’t seem to care about the numbers, nor was it enforced.

We found seats together about half way back or so. Lisa sat near the window. She asked if I wanted to and I didn’t care. I told her it had been years since I got to sit by one, so I was OK. (Claire is a window hog)

I still kept looking out the window over her though. And look at this cute Shamu plane.

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We ended up pulling away from the gate only about 10 minutes later than the original scheduled time.

I would randomly lean over and take pictures out the window as we flew.

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We both dozed off and on, but would wake ourselves with a jerk of falling forward or the nasty drool that likes to escape your mouth in public places. Don’t lie…you know it’s all happened to you at some point too!

And coming into Chicago.

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Our next gate was in the B area and we landed in the A. We had a bit of a walk, but not too bad, as it went fast and we utilized the moving walkways. Note…moving walkways are NOT rides…..please keep walking. So many people step on and ride it to the end…..not the purpose folks! Or at least move to one side so the walkers can pass.

We had actually landed a few minutes early, so the worry of not making the connection was null. We used the bathrooms (Lisa has a phobia of plane bathrooms, and I honestly don’t blame her there) and waited.

I took a couple of shots of the area.

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As the time got closer we took turns using the bathroom one last time. As I came out, I heard they were starting to call us to line up and Lisa had a look of hurry up. I ran back and we squished our way to our little post with our boarding number and again it was a bit of chaos.

We boarded and went back to about the same area and sat next to the window again…this time Lisa insisted I take the window seat since I took pictures.

While we waited to take off I took a few shots.

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I took a couple of self-portraits…none of which looked very good….Here is one…notice my lazy eye. I hate that.

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And one of us together.

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This flight was longer. A bit over 2 hours…scheduled at 2 ½ from gate to gate. I get ansty sitting for long periods like that. And sometimes start to feel those panic attacks coming on. I kept trying to get my mind off of it. I did sleep off and on for an hour. But after that, I had that need to move…restless leg syndrome. Lisa said she was having the same issues. We are quite the pair, aren’t we?

I took a few random shots on this flight as well.

I think this is as we were taking off from Chicago Midway.

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And now we were coming into Houston….YAY!!!!!

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We actually landed and were off the plane about 10 minutes earlier than scheduled. I love that!

 

We headed outside to check out the weather. VERY humid. After a few minutes we headed back inside to baggage claim and the bags were coming out. We grabbed those and plopped them near a bench where Lisa sat. I was off to get check in for the car rental.

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Love the way you write! Can't wait for more of your review.:)

 

I'm reading your review - please continue! :)

 

Thanks for joining in!!!!

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Originally we had made reservations to take the Disney transportation to the port the next day. The only down side was we were to shuttle back and forth to the Marriott. It’s not the worst thing, but we would be schlepping suitcases all over then.

Carolyn pointed me to Enterprise one evening and told me there was a very cheap rate and I should jump on it, so I did. It was slightly less than our Disney transfers, but not much. But the freedom of a car is really nice. Then we found out that we could park at the port for free because of our job. This made the car really worth it then, as we didn’t have the added expense of port parking.

Once I left Lisa on a bench with the luggage, I made my way to the Enterprise counter, which was basically about 15 steps from the baggage claim carousel. I only had 1 person in front of me.

At my turn, I handed my paperwork with the reservation number. The guy typed away and then tried my name as well. He didn’t say much, but I could tell he couldn’t find it. So I asked, and he finally said it appears this reservation has been used already…..What? Not sure what happened…and still don’t, but I do know we JUST got there.

He said he would try to price match it ad came up with a price $4 more…and my reply is, why can’t I have it for the price I booked it at….so he typed some more and actually got it 10 cents less than what I booked it at. OK, I can live with that.

He told me to head over on the shuttle to the car claim area and they had my paper work printed out there.

So we hauled the bags out and a shuttle had just pulled up. The lady helped us load them and she was really nice. She loved my hair and kept asking about it. In the mean time I heard the “beep”. Those who have Nextel know the beep and you frantically look for your phone when you hear it. It becomes part of your nature to do so. It’s a direct connect beep. I pulled my phone out thinking Skip was calling once again…he had beeped me several times that day already at each airport…and nope, he hadn’t called in several hours now. I hear it again and realized the shuttle drivers used Nextel as well and it was her phone beeping. If you have Nextel…you know what I mean…it’s just so weird hearing the beep and not having it for you. LOL.

We only had one other lady on the shuttle and she talked with us as we drove along. She asked where we were going and told us to leave early as traffic could be bad, etc. She had no bags, which we found odd.

Once we got to Enterprise …a very short drive…we got in line, while Lisa sat with the suitcases once again. The lady then told me that she always rents a car when she goes to football games. I have no clue what that meant, but I smiled in response and figured she was local and rented a car for far away games…or something…who knows. LOL.

We got our vehicle and it was small, but manageable. I believe it was a Dodge Caliber. It had a hatch back and the guy had no clue how to load luggage in it. Seriously…he should be a pro at this; I had to rearrange it to make it fit. He slammed the hatchback down and it seemed like it just barely shut.

He had me sign paperwork and of course tried to sell me insurance, etc. I am always so leery on what they will charge me, and I doubled checked when I got home to be sure I wasn’t charged more than I signed for.

I go in, adjust controls and took off. Lisa said this was a car she had looked at and it would be nice to see if she liked it. The car was fine, but not much room in the trunk, and by the end of the trip she was glad she went with the car she had gotten.

As we take off I hear a little beep. About a mile down the road I realize the dash says gate. I tell Lisa that I think the hatch isn’t latched properly, but I think we should be fine. She on the other hand didn’t. Her bag was the one that would fall out if the hatch opened….Like I said…..”I” am fine…just not her. LOL! We were on a very bumpy road too, so we pulled off in the 1st parking lot we found and rearranged the luggage and got it shut properly.

The Marriott was easy to find and not far at all. But it was on a one way street, not a major problem, and I had maps, but it’s something to remember if you ever go there.

We pulled in and I ran in to check us in. The lobby was beautiful, check in was easy and we had a room key in just mere minutes.

One thing to keep in mind is that this area is not nice. Nothing was pretty on the outside as we drove. I was told ahead of time that this area was not good and to not hang outside at night for the most part.

I guess in years past this hotel had experienced crime, but they now had a security gate to go through that took a picture of each coming and going car and the crime has gone way down since then.

We parked near a lamp post and made 2 trips to carry our bags up. The room was nice as well.

I believe on the 2nd trip down, I stopped outside the doors and beeped Skip…and I had to be a bit sarcastic and greeted him by saying “Houston, we have a problem”…..I mean how could I resist. I love being corny that way. And if Skip had thought of it first, he would’ve said it.

I took pictures of the room before we messed it up too much.

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We kind of lazed around and decided that we really needed a snack. We were going to pick Brook up from the airport later and go eat, but that was several hours away yet. So we headed down to the lobby and of course I took pictures there as well.

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And we headed into this bar and grill to see if we could find an appetizer to share.

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We each ordered a soft drink and chicken Quesadillas to share. The bar tender guy was very nice and we talked to him a bit and then chatted between us some more.

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It did seem to take a long time for the food to come and at one point someone came out and asked us what we ordered. Not sure if it was forgotten or what, but minutes after that the food came.

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It wasn’t very big, but good and filling. It hit the spot that needed filled. After we ate and paid, we headed out to take some more pictures.

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This is where they serve breakfast, but it’s not free. I think I read it was $15 a person, which I thought was kind of high. We did not eat here the next day. We wanted something lighter.

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We didn’t get too far and 2 guys walked by us and stopped to talk…I know it’s because we are two hot and sexy women…why else would it be….right?....OK, it was my camera. The guy asked about my camera, etc. and then offered to take our picture. He said he was really into photography. But the pictures were blurry, so he needs some work. LOL

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We chatted some more and he asked if we were there for the Chess tournament. I almost laughed in his face. Not that there is anything wrong with chess, but I do associate it more with geeky, techy type people, and I am pretty sure we don’t look like chess players. We finally said goodbye, though I think he wanted us to go in the bar and have a drink with him and his buddy, and off to take more pictures.

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I thought I would share a video I found online. It shows the Magic coming into port the morning I sailed her. I think she came in just after 8 AM.

 

 

Look how she turns around. It's amazing. She did that when we came into port as well, but we did it right next to the dock. I was amazed this could be down with so little space. I watched a Carnival ship do it as well, and though there is plenty of space to turn, it still is not that much for a ship that size. AMAZING!!!

Edited by jenseib

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I'm so glad I opened this board today to find another review by you!

 

I love your reviews :)

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I'm so glad I opened this board today to find another review by you!

 

I love your reviews :)

 

Thanks for joining in with me again. :D

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After leaving our 2 new “friends”, we walked around the hotel lobby and I shot some pictures.

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This was the little hallway that was on the side of the hotel and led to where we had parked.

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We decided to take an outdoor tour.

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I then realized that Texas has Palm trees. I guess I never realized that they would and I was excited.

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It was very pretty around the sides and front of the Marriott….but then we came to the backside. It was a little bit scary. This alley didn’t look so pretty or inviting. We debated turning around…..but we had seen video monitor cameras ALL over the parking lot and could spot them in the alley, so we proceeded on.

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As soon as we started walking we saw a guy fishing through a dumpster. I have no clue if he worked there or what, but I did see him a couple more times that night. We walked quickly by him and he never looked up, and I just stayed clear of him when I saw him other times.

As we came to the end of the spooky alley…and I will NEVER do that again….we saw a police car right around the corner. We laughed to ourselves about worrying about being safe, and then there was a police car right at the end.

WELL……there was a reason he was there. There was a car parked in the last spot against the building and in fact it had a special parking place with a plaque that said employee of the year on it. 2 employees were talking to the police man, one being our bartender friend. We kept walking, but I came back later and took a picture of what we saw.

And this is it.

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Yep, it’s a car with no tires on it at ALL! ……..And was sitting on 2 bricks. Oh my word. We did talk to our bartender friend as he started walking to the building as we were. We asked what happened, and he wasn’t sure, but it had to happen sometime today. I told him we were shocked that someone could get away with this with all the video cameras around and the security gate. He told us yes, they had several cameras and it was likely the person would be caught and he too was amazed.

We headed back inside. The gym and pool door was right near where we entered in the side parking lot so we slipped in there for pictures………..you didn’t actually think I was gonna work out did you?

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While in there I got that childhood memory feeling of being on vacation. You probably know what I mean…..you enter a hotel with a pool and it has that small hint of chlorine in the air. Every time I smell that I feel like a kid again and that excitement of being at a hotel….with a pool. That was major excitement as a kid. As an adult, I don’t swim much, and when I do, it’s more of a stand and talk in the pool thing. But still I love that feeling of knowing we are on vacation.

I got a couple of shots of the pool.

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It had a little enclosed outdoor area off of it too. It was nice looking. There were a few people out there and they had 2 boys at the pool. I really tried to avoid getting the boys in my pictures, because one had major plumbers butt going. LOL. I swear he kept moving into my frame as I took the picture each time.

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After our little tour we headed back towards the room.

We found out that 1 elevator of the 2 was not working so we ventured up the stairs. Well that totally sucks. We were on the 5th floor. I think we went up 2 floors and took the elevator up the rest of the way.

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This ballroom is where was saw the chess players going to.

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Edited by jenseib

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