A Travellerspoint blog

Field of Dreams?

Yesterday afternoon started off with a stop at Riverside Casino in Iowa City. It was about 25 minutes off the main interstate but I’m glad I stopped, big winner taking home a whole buck! Although small it was very nice and the floor layout was in a circle with a bar in the middle and the casino was surrounded by a golf course. I didn’t play long just dabbled a bit with Roulette and Craps and then headed out. I must say it was my first Men room / Tornado shelter sign I’ve seen, “quick tornado everyone get into the bathroom” but I suppose that is reality out here in the mid-west. Next stop was off to Des Moines at another casino Praire Meadows. This place was decent size with a casino, race track and a hotel and from the looks of the outside I was excited to enter but then again when am I not excited to go gamble. The actual gaming area could have used a bit more structure and had potential but was not thrilled with the layout or the DJ doing trivia but he seemed pretty happy. The wheel was up and down and didn’t make much progress so went over to crap put 5 down on a very busy table and first roll crapped out, lol. I always find it funny if a new player enters the game and then it craps out but perhaps that is because I can at times be a bit superstitious. After losing 20 and 20 I decided to check out the poker room which was a bit off the grid up on the third floor. The room was rather blah but since they had two tables going I decided to sit for a bit but soon realized I didn’t have the patience. I perhaps would have played slower but I thought I was going to be traveling to Omaha but again stayed in Des Moines for the night. The best hand I saw was kings which added a few chips to my stacks but the room was blah and so was the table, speaking of the table here is my run down…

Seat 1 – We will call him “Angry at life” he just didn’t seem happy at all although he didn’t say much it looked like he was angry at someone.
Seat 2 – “Cherry Martini” This was everyone’s friend at the table and the typical poker player commenting on every hand trying to justify his losses all while he sipped a martini.
Seat 3, 4 – Not worth even mentioning.
Seat 5 – “wsop kid” young guy with a huge stack and played big stack poker.
Seat 6 – “Hawaiin Shirt” he seemed like he was craving a conversation from anyone, relatively tight player and kept commenting on how much he like thin mints.
Seat 7 – “Zubie” The best player in the room
Seat 8 – “Pecan Ice Cream” a lot of dumb jokes and really first time I’ve seen someone order Ice cream at the poker table, he actually asked for a list of flavors!
Seat 9 – “Happy Joe” Win lose this guy just put on that big grin that made me chuckle.

So after dropping 100 in the casino I decided to grab some food and find a place to hold up for the night. I started off at the Pilot stop as they allow and welcome overnight parker’s but one area was full and the other I was basically sleeping on the hood of a Semi. So it was off to Mcd’s but when I found out that it wasn’t open 24-7 I decided to go back to the casino parking lot, all these were in close proximity. The casino parking lot was huge and very well lit which wasn’t the best thing for getting some sleep but I was in range of several semi’s and with the constant traffic it was a decent spot. I have to make a stop at walmart today as my air mattress pump decided to stop working which was fun but oh well the best of it. At the moment I’m sitting at a rest stop a few miles East of Omaha in the shade soaking of the free WIFI. My plan is to stop at the casino drive around Omaha a bit then head through Nebraska. I plan on getting off the Interstate for a bit and hitting some back roads hopefully finding a fishing hole. I’d also at some point like to try out my coleman single burner I bought and attempt to fire up a meal. I know it seems like I’m racing through my trip but my goal was to get to Denver sooner rather than later as I figure the West has a lot more to offer as far as sightseeing and the Mid-West is a bit flat and filled with farm, speaking of which do we really eat that much corn??


Posted by zubie831 09:19 Comments (0)

Winning is good medication

After a good rest in Lebanon, Indiana (lil north of Indy) my next destination was Chicago. I stopped a few times as I always due to stretch the legs but made two stops to do some exercise and get my oil changed. I usually go to a Valvoline but ventured over to a Jiffy Lube and they were extremely nice, I assume it was a mid-west thing. I was very eager to see Lake Michigan which probably got the best of me as I went through Gary, Indiana rather then goes straight up to lake shore drive. I quickly realized this was a mistake when I saw a number of dilapidated businesses that had gone out. I had checked out the reviews on this park but I’m not sure who is making them perhaps people trying to entice tourists for an easy mark. I headed out of there to go towards Chicago and I must say after you pass the south part which is a little rough it is a beautiful city with a spectacular skyline. I made my way up to Lake shore drive and the water had an interesting greenish tint to it but finally parked at Northernly Island Park (best move of the day and will be one of the highlights of the trip). It was a great stop and parking was only a buck an hour. I sat at marina’s edge for about 2 hours and admired the skyline while sipping on a Heineken. I know they called it the windy city and but it is an understatement. My best analogy is standing 2 feet from a leaf blower as someone just passes it by you over and over and over, bare in mind I was on the water but it’s intense. The wind is unforgiving as a few people soon found out as a bag and soccer ball went into the water lucky enough I was able to dive for my hat. So I had the marina with beautiful boats with the skyline of the city and behind me lake Michigan. I decided to take a stroll over to the lake and to my surprise there was a beach at the water’s edge so of course I had to take my shot at swimming in LM. I would say there was about 30 or so people on the beach but that was some of the coldest water I have ever felt. Now I have been in some cold water whether be early season in the Hudson, Lake George or down in wollyworld but this was like needles on your skin at times, it really does “bite” you. However as cold as it was it was super refreshing splashing that cold water on my face and going for a dunk, besides let’s face it’s a chance to rinse off. I would love to be in it now rather than and this rest area baking but its free wifi.

I walked back to the car got changed and my new friend the wind came back to say hello or better yet start beating up on me oh and by the way leaving the beach was fun the sand would blow so hard at times I felt like a dart board! I did use the wind to my advantage by stringing up my boxer and my bathing suit to my door to fly in the wind. After taking some time to go online, ehhh technology was the enemy yesterday don’t get me started, I made my way into the city. Being a frequent visitor of the cities in the East I was pretty impressed just wish the cubs were home rather than away. Downtown was a bit too hectic for me as far as parking seems like it was mostly garage so I decided to go lil more north and settled in at the bird’s nest. I was surprised how nice the tree lined streets and welcoming porches soon became just outside the main part of the city and eventually landed at the Bird’s Nest. Not a bad bar, I went for the wings reviews and they were decent but nothing matches hot&honey bbq in wildwood. As I was at the bar I began to take a turn and my mood turned blah and my earlier frustration of my navigation and finding a chase bank was just the start. I really questioned what I was doing and I think the full weight of flying solo was weighing on me. Besides sleeping arrangements it is by far the hardest thing to deal with and last night it was beginning to crack me. I wanted to hit a casino but even this decision was making me nuts so the only option I chose was to go to Aurora which was west of Chicago to hit a casino there. As I drove away from Chicago I was really in a funk and needed to snap out of it and I think again it was mostly due to the solitude and being away from everything I’ve come to know. As I was sitting in my car planning my next move I decided to cut out going any further north and head west. I mean I didn’t think it was worth it to drive 400 miles north to see the Paps brewery and the mall of America, I’m not a big shopper and I already drink enough beer, lol. I really liked Chicago but I think my funk had a lot to do with the day coming to a close and normally I go home but I was going back to the solitude of my car.

So I decide gambling will put me in a better mood and since I want to head west rather than north Aurora it is. As I approach the Hollywood Casino the only thing “Hollywood” about it is the neon lights in the front, it was scarce, dark and not very welcoming. The first entrance I went to was locked and took this as a sign to get out of dodge but I persevered. I soon found the right parking lot and parked very close to the stairs making my way to the casino realizing this was going to be a very short stop, 20 on roulette all inside 1 spin and I’m out. Lucky for me I went 5 for 5 on my numbers and scooped a 2 bet but when she cleaned me once than hit 0 I colored up. I played craps for a little and was in and out in about 30 minutes but cashed 200. I made a few circles around the casino was surprised they didn’t have “pick a number” or “guess what hand” but I thought it be a better idea rather than V lining for the door. I caught up with an older company to provide me with a sense of security and was out. It was about 12 at that point and I usually try and be in a spot to sleep at that point but out here it’s not as congested. I drove for about 40 minutes and much like the night before my first option didn’t feel right so I pressed on to Dixon. I parked at a truck/gas stop and saw two other cars doing the same as I was so I was there for the night.

Arriving at the dismal casino I figure ehhh great way to end the night but It proved to be a turning point for me. Either way I look at it I don’t stop there or stop and lose it’s an awful especially when I’m already feeling down. Moving forward the fact that I won gave me a sense of relief and more importantly made me realize that hey if I lose the 20 who care's have fun because you make your luck. I realize at times I let things bother me far too much and have to do my best to not let let things clutter my mind. Winning helps and the fact that I cut a bit off the trip gave me a sense of relief and when I woke up this morning I was in a very good mood! I will try and ease my thoughts and go with the flow, perhaps start meditating again. Now I will continue on out west rather than north and hopefully make quick time to Denver where I will be spending some time with a friend from back home.

I'll post pictures and video's later

Giddy UP!!!

Posted by zubie831 14:56 Comments (0)


1 am at a random Love/Mcd's spot outside of Indianapolis. The trip started off a bit late as I officiated 3 hockey games and then said some goodbye's eventually leaving around 3:30 Saturday afternoon. Of course I only made it about a mile up the street before realizing I had forgotten my fly fishing jacket but more importantly my laptop stand. I must say my stand is money it works perfect I am almost afraid to post a picture because I may pitch this to Shark Tank. I did my best to get across the state of PA eventually winding up in the city of bridges and rivers - Pittsburgh around 11 pm last night. I was debating grabbing a beer but after being up since 7am decided to stop at Primanti's sandwich and find a place to park for the night. The place wasn't too bad it's got an "old school" feel when real workers needed a good quick sandwich. Got the sandwich to go and then tried to figure out where to sleep which has been the biggest challenge, where to sleep at night??

I drove around for a bit and there seemed to be some hot spots but I thought it was a bit empty for a big city. However I did stumble across a random furry tiger I mean this guy rounded the corner and was wearing a full "Tony the Tiger" suit walking down the street like it was the norm, wish I got a pic of that. I eventually stumbled across the Riverside Casino which was packed but was able to find a spot in the parking garage and slept pretty comfortably till about 7:30 this morning. Funny thing isn't some how I missed the casino in my planning but as I gazed across the river I saw SINO hmmmmmm. After realizing my office was so close I decided that would be the best spot to hold up for the night. In the morning I ventured into the casino around 8am and I must say not to shabby but it was dead at that point but I threw some money at Roulette and Craps neither that exciting. They have a very big open poker room with a number of tables which was great however at that time there was only a 6 handed game going. I sat down to AQ but of course folded my first hand and about 30 minutes later after the table went down to 4 I decided my stack was going to be hard to build against 600 and 1k, lol. I actually tried to over power the big stack (bs) when the board paired A's and J's with a big 5 dollar chip but I figured it wasn't going to scare him and it didn't. I left the casino and drove around the unique city of Pittsburgh, seems your either at a high point or in the valley that is of course when your not going over a bridge. Damn it's already 1:20 I was going to stop at 11am but with a long ride to Chicago tomorrow I decided to grab some coffee and press on. I seem to be having no luck when I go into these random gas station, today for instance at the BP I run into guy, I think of him as diet coke guy. I mean who goes to gas station because beverages are on sales?? Moving forward he is the only one getting gas and in the store but decided to proceed and tell the attendant that he thinks the pump may be broken and explained every minor detail before he retreated to go beat a bag of ice. Of course I had to engage him in a conversation as I pumped my gas and he mentioned how fond he was of my NY plates. My blog sucks tonight oh well maybe because I'm tired but I feel like my writing skills are slipping. I really have to do my best to write more often because then it just leaves me with to much catching up. So we covered Pitts and yea basically ehhhh. I think it's time for sleep and hopefully I wont get hassled here but it looks better than the Flying J spot I was just at.

Quick Summary:
1. The fridge I got is great probably the best thing in my car for keeping my food and drinks cold, great time saver.
2. I have to remember to blow up the air mattress a bit firmer, wow my blog sucks I'm talking about blowing up air mattresses.
3. My 12 volt DC to AC broke but it has since been replaced.
4. I've heard the replay of Howard Stern 4 times already.
5. I get annoyed by all the wires around in my car and always take my laptop bag when I leave my car.
6. I'm enjoying the free Ice from the drive thru's
6.5 After I left Pitts on my way to Columbus I passed a Caleba's and it being father's day I figured why not so I turned around and spent about an hour in that massive store. They basically have everything and anything you would ever need, it's their whole catalog.
7. Jaime's GPS would randomly pull up fire and police stations yesterday out of nowhere but has since calmed down. I think we have grown a lot in the last 24 hours.
8. The state of PA went very fast.
9. I get the sense people think I'm from NY

"I can drink as many Cafe Latte's as I want"


Posted by zubie831 22:00 Comments (0)

Too much Planning


So here I am a a few days away from my trip still putting the finishing touches on my map and the ford focus RV (feel free to throw out a name). I have 8 weeks but I find the pressure mounting to plan a trip around the country and back in 8 weeks but again I'm fortunate to have the means to take this trip so I wont complain. Basically that is my rough itinerary and again I emphasize rough but I will have to play it by ear and see where the roads take me. However leaving NY on the 16th I hope to be in the Omaha area on the 22nd leaving Denver on the 26th driving through Utah and spending 4 - 5 days in the Yellow Stone and looks like the 4th will be spend in Pendleton, Oregon. I suppose I should check to see if Oregon is a legal state to buy fireworks because I think I have a 22 year record of lighting off on the 4th. Good part of early July will be heading down the West Coast to San Diego where I will hopefully pick up a friend for the trip into VEGAS. Upon leaving Vegas it will be a midlate point in the trip however I feel like I may use up a few extra day to get to that point.

Basically I can pick up or drop as much time as I want but I just have to realize that it may or may not call for a quicker trip up the east coast. I do feel most of my time should be spent out west because I'm sure the east coast will be seen again. I'm wondering if my writing will improve by the end of this trip but since I will mostly be traveling alone something tells me i'll get a lot of time to polish up, Wilson? I almost feel like its impossible to plan a trip like this out to the tee because who knows how long I will want to stay in Des Moines Iowa or watch the seals in California. Besides the map planning I have everything I need for the trip perhaps minus the kayak but hmm figured that would be cool even if it was an inflatable. I am losing motivation to write anymore so yea its lousy weather tonight and hopefully tomorrow will go a bit smoother.

Posted by zubie831 21:11 Comments (0)

32 going on 71

So my dad celebrated his 71st birthday today man its crazy to think about what it will be like to hit that age but perhaps with out the 5 kids ha. So obviously taking a trip of this magnitude is a big step, I mean I'm spending a good part of the summer away from everything I have come to known. I just moved out of a great apartment that I loved and have taken a step back from a girl that I've spent the last 4 years with. Its going to be an interesting transition this summer trekking across the USA. My summers are usually spent close to home with my family and friends as the summer goes by and I enjoy the simple pleasure's it brings with it. Whether it be a small bbq, trips to the beach, a drink on the patio or a water fight in the back yard or just hanging out with friends...it's the summer. As I mentioned in one of my previous posts this is a bit outside of the norm for anyone in my family and me being the youngest I guess I have always ventured out the most. I think out of everyone in my life at this point my fathers opinion carries the most weight in my life so I was curious to get his response to this trip.

The first time I mentioned it to him he was sitting on the patio and I went out to my car and opened up my back seat rolled up a hoody and laid there for a few minutes, "Brian what are you doing"!. A short conversation then took place as my father is a man of few words. I told him of my plans and his reaction was like "come on, don't be crazy" but a few conversations followed asking me my plans and where I was going but I think one of his main concern was work. My father is one of the hardest working men I have ever known, he had a old time factory job and did his best to get things done all while keeping everything together which he did a dam good job doing! I think I get my work ethic from him coming from a kid who started a paper route when he was 14 and never looking back. My job security was a concern so I did have to assure him that I had a job waiting for me when I got home, to come to think of it my employers seemed a bit startled that I was possibly leaving forever. This past weekend after giving him the run down on my striper river fishing expedition (did't catch much but weather was beautiful) he again shared a few words but I almost think It was what I was waiting for.

For me I see people that are a bit seasoned in life and I look at them and wonder if they have any regrets, should I have done that or maybe I should have done that and wonder how much that plays on them. I've always wanted to travel and hit the open road which is why within the last few weeks I have become so focused on taking this trip and making it happen. So back to this past weekend talking to my dad on the patio he said "you should check out the Sequoia tree's" and of course I jumped at the opportunity to tell him that was on my list. After that he simply looked at me and said "I'm 71 years old and if you don't take this trip now you will get married and then what, you may lose your chance? You can watch it on TV or read about it but never actually see it, I would like to see it"

It was rather encouraging hearing those words from my Father and I honestly think that was the last push I needed. We are just about two weeks away and hopefully after this weekend I will be all ready to go but if not i'll just to have to wing the rest.

Happy Birthday to the most influential man in my life! 71 71 71


Posted by zubie831 17:43 Comments (0)

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