29 March 2010

Trip Report: Savannah Trip Day Three

18 March 2010 -- Going for Broke

For Thursday, we decided to do a little recon on the Diamond Casino Cruise that Dad heard about from co-workers.  We asked about it at the Savannah Info Center on River ST the day before, but the lady there, who was a little irritated by all the revelers seeking shelter from the rain, said the only casino cruise she knew was in Brunswick.

I knew that was wrong from an internet search before we left, but beyond confirming it existed we didn't know much else.  I did a search that morning and confirmed it only cost $5 to board and that they had food.  The website made it look like it would be a modern casino with slot machines, gaming tables, and a restaurant.  I plugged the address into the GPS and after breakfast and a visit to the Yamaha shop to look at bikes and accessories, we set out to discover more about the cruise.

The day's route:

The GPS got us in the vicinity but not to the door.  I use the iGo8 software as GPS on my pda and I'd noticed the addresses were wrong.  It had never been a problem up until this trip.  I don't know if it was because I dropped the pda a week or so before the ride, or the fancy new skin I uploaded the week before, but the GPS has not been right.  I hate to admit it, but it might be time to upgrade the pda.  After asking a lawn maintenance guy at a self serve car wash, we learned we were only a mile or so away.

The worker manning the dock told us the ship was only 7 months old and to arrive about an hour before launch at 7 that evening.  He said we could buy our boarding passes then.  I took a couple of pics of Dad on Midnight and Baby underneath a tree as we left:

Since my bike wash on departure day was unsuccessful and the rain and parking in the grass on SPD, our bikes needed a bath.  We went back to the Self Serve Car Wash and washed our bikes before heading back to the hotel for a little rest.

We decided to leave Baby at the hotel so we could save our parking spot and take Midnight.  Dad drove on the way to the cruise and I got to drive on the way back.  We arrived at the dock around a quarter after six and were allowed aboard as soon as we went through security (!) and paid our fee.

The boat we boarded was not 7 months old.  It was much older and reeked of stale cigarette smoke as soon as we stepped aboard.  There were three decks.  The first had slot machines and a little bar with televisions, the second deck was the gaming floor with a few slot machines, and the top deck was open with a serving area, tables and chairs.  The cruise didn't allow photography so I didn't get any pictures.  The sign said the capacity was 500 people but I wouldn't want to be on that cruise with that many people.

After walking around trying to find the restaurant I read about online, we discovered they were serving food on the same deck we entered.  We saw people eating wings, sandwiches, and burgers but nothing like was pictured online.  When I saw the posted menu I understood why.  Who would want to pay $15 for a pasta meal in these surroundings?  If I had not been so hungry, I don't think I would have wanted anything.

We decided to split an order of wings and eat at the Denny's near the hotel since the cruise wouldn't return to dock until near midnight.  I've had better wings at Wing Street, but they were edible.  We washed it down with the nastiest draft beer I have ever tasted.  It was so bad, I didn't drink another beer for the rest of the trip!!

We had a great time but ran out of money about 30 minutes before they turned the machines off.  The bad thing about a casino cruise is you can't leave when you're broke.  We had the pleasure of watching and listening to others gamble until the captain announced we'd reached the no gambling zone then it seemed to take forever for us to reach the dock.  The ship was very smooth.  If you didn't hear the engines, you wouldn't even know the boat was moving.

Riding Midnight in the dark with Dad on the back was an experience.  I hadn't been on a v-twin since I took Sam (my 1993 Suzuki VX800) to the shop and had forgotten how big the difference between the two types of engines could be.  At one point, Dad had to tell me to shift because V-Twins don't need to be revved like 4 cyls.  Not only that, Midnight doesn't have an RPM gauge, just the speedo mounted on the tank.  I couldn't even feel Dad back there and it was nice to be able to flat foot a bike for a change.

I did not like the riding position.  I have never liked the feet forward controls on a bike and this ride just confirmed my motorcycle prejudices.  The bike is smooth rolling along on a straight, but turns with it's long rake and massive weight are interesting.  It reminded me of Sam's floppy steering and made me realize no springs would fix that.  I could get used to a cruiser if I had to, but I know I'd scrape just about every time I entered a curve.

We ate at Denny's and got their new meat lover's breakfast.  Apparently Denny's has revamped their food so it tastes better.  I haven't eaten at Denny's since I moved home from California so I don't know how improved the food was but the meat lover's breakfast was good and the staff was very friendly.

We couldn't have ended the day better.

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