Tuesday, September 13, 2011

lightning36's One-day Adventure

The weather was nice and the circumstances were right, so I did decide to make a one-day road trip to southern Illinois and St. Louis to visit two Harrah's casinos just to spend a relaxing day on the road and to take part in Harrah's Great Race to Rewards.

Anyone who knows me well knows that mornings are not my key time of day, so despite efforts to leave early, I did not begin the trip until somewhere around 9:30 am. I had not been on the road very long before I got a call from jamyhawk. I had been hoping to meet up with him in St. Louis, but things were just not going to work out today. Bummer.

I lived for three years in Effingham, IL. Effingham bills itself as the "Crossroads of Opportunity,"  a play on its status of being the intersection of Interstates 57 and 70, along with other state highways and railroads. If you have ever been past Effingham on I-57, you know that you will drive past the huge cross which is billed as the largest free-standing cross in the world (disputed).

After driving through tons of construction areas, I finally got into the beautiful southern tip of Illinois, famous for the Shawnee National Forest. Soon I was at destination number one -- Metropolis, IL, home of Harrah's Metropolis riverboat.

Harrah's Metropolis is an older riverboat, opening in 1994. The original owner was Merv Griffin, who had a number of "interesting" casino interests and purchases around that time -- including one in which Donald Trump fleeced him.

The casino sits on the Ohio river, right across from Paducah, KY.

The casino itself is not really big. It does have four floors, although it appears that the top floor has no gambling. The poker room is small, and as expected, was empty on an early Monday afternoon. I am still not sure whether or not it only operates Thursday-Sunday, but I believe this to be the case. For the slot junkies: no luck on Goldfish, but excellent luck on Silk Kimonos. I was actually tempted to stay for a little longer on Silk Kimonos, but I thought it wise to leave while still ahead.

Of course, you may also know that Metropolis is the home of ... Superman! Well at least this small own is the self-proclaimed home of Superman and holds an official festival every year. And if you didn't believe that this is the real home of Superman ...

... the giant statue on Superman Square!

And ... it was back on the road again to now double back the previous 90 miles to then head west toward St. Louis.

One always gets a good feeling when seeing that familiar St Louis landmark, The Arch.

As I learned this trip, taking pictures out of windows while driving through construction areas is definitely a challenge I do not recommend.

I finally arrived at Harrah's St. Louis, which is really in Maryland Heights, just outside St Louis to the west.

The poker room had two $1/2 NL tables going, one Limit table, and a wild Omaha table that saw some massive pots being shipped all-in preflop. Nah -- I'll stick with Hold Em.

I was not particularly impressed with the casual manner in which the room was run. I had heard that there are a lot of locals who play here, and I felt a little out of place. I did get seated after waiting about 30-45 minutes. Management seemed hesitant to open another table with a tournament on tap for the evening.

Unfortunately, I received virtually no cards and only got a little action on the two times I got pocket Kings. Other than that -- zilch. This was too bad as the table was beatable, as evidence by three guys who made poor calls/bets for their stacks. The overall play was good, but I was surprised it was not busier. The next time I am in St. Louis I will check out some of the other poker rooms in town.

The trip home would seem long after a long day, but the roads were empty and the radio music was good, making the final leg better than expected. Unfortunately, I decided to not attempt a final photo while driving in the darkness. If so, I would have snapped a picture of one of my favorite signs which warns one of the exit for Pontoon Beach. Why this? Well, for years and years my wife and I have had a private joke that whenever we passed the sign, I would say "Hey -- Poontang Beach. Let's go there!" So, even though it was a tad late at night, I had to call home to inform my wife. I am sure she appreciated it! And yes -- I may get older, but I will never grow up.

I pulled into my driveway in the early morning hours. Nothing like a little 650 mile day trip to remind you that life exists outside the little routines and ruts we sometimes let ourselves get into.


Blogger Memphis MOJO said...

Photos! Thanks.

12:48 PM  
Blogger Josie said...

Very enjoyable reading. Btw only YOU would have the world's biggest free standing cross photo!

12:52 PM  
Blogger Wolfshead said...

Race to Rewards huh? You really need to stop in AC then

2:34 PM  
Blogger lightning36 said...

The cost/benefit of going to AC just does not work for those of us in Illinois.

2:49 PM  
Blogger Wolfshead said...

Yea, but you would get to see Joe

5:34 PM  
Blogger lightning36 said...

Despite the richness that would bring to my life, I will have to respectfully decline.

Actually, I have only been to Philly once. We headed over to AC one night to play blackjack at the Playboy Casino -- obviously a long time ago.

I have headed west and south so many times in my life that trips those directions are second nature. I have only been northeast twice -- the Philly/AC trip and once to Boston. The east coast is sort of like the great urban wilderness to me.

9:54 PM  
Blogger Wolfshead said...

Hell, how hard is it? You hop on 80 and go east until you hit 476. South on 476 until you either hit Lansdale, I'm 10 min away, or to get to AC, until you hit 76, then east on 76, which turns in to 42 and then the AC xpressway which goes straight in to AC. Feeble exc use

7:47 AM  
Blogger lightning36 said...

13-hour drive to your place, Wolfie -- almost 800 miles just to get there.

Wife, three kids, job ...

8:18 AM  
Blogger Wolfshead said...

And your point is?

2:41 PM  
Blogger Josie said...

Come on Lightning! I'll make it worth your while! *wink* besides you fly for free anyway! Hop on a bird for goodness sakes!

2:43 PM  

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