Category Archives: Fun Casino Trips

Merry Christmas – Make a Child Happy

Happy Holidays! We’ve been busy, but not that busy, which is a way of saying I’m not sure why we didn’t get anything posted after our November Gobble-Gobble trip. We did get the pictures posted out there on Facebook, including a turkey suit, a turkey tiara, and a turkey hat. We did our mini fund raiser on the bus for Oma’s Heart, and I’m please to say that we raised $115.00 for them to help needy Lee County families to have a better Christmas.

Our Merry Christmas – Make a Child Happy trip this week was great! Then again, the sound system on the bus wasn’t working quite right. Other than that the trip was great, and they’re working on getting that issue taken care of. We raised $122.50 for Oma’s Heart, and it got even better when half of the 50-50 winnings were donated back to boost that to $167.50!

Nearly everyone on the November trip donated toys to the Calder Toy Drive. Some brought their own, but most took advantage of Debbie’s good deals. You might have noticed several of our toys on display behind the Player’s Club Desk on the day of our November trip. Not too surprising as the toy drive had just begun. But on our December trip we saw that many of our November donations were still being prominently displayed – thanks to Debbie’s nose for great clearance deals and your generosity some kids will be getting a really nice present this year! And we added even more great toys to the cause on our trip this week.

BTW, when you take a look at the November pictures in Facebook you might wonder where the December pictures are. They’re still in the camera. They’re just about to the top of my to-do list so they should be out there soon. That’s assuming that Debbie was able to keep the camera on auto. It got bumped to another setting in November, so some of the pictures were too fuzzy (including all the birthday pictures). She put a piece of tape on the auto switch this time, but when she dropped the camera the batteries popped out. Oh well, we never claimed to be professional photographers…

Can you keep a secret? We’ve had several winners in the Magic Carpet Hot Seat game, and before that we had several winners in the Roundup Slot Tournament. It’s not on the Calder website yet, but we hear that the Hot Seat game is being retired for now and they will be adding BINGO sessions on Wednesday afternoons. BINGO cards are free, you get them for points earned that day. As you may know, we plan our personal trips to Calder around the Wednesday & Friday evening BINGO sessions. All of us Nelsons enjoy the evening BINGO sessions, and two out of three of us have won several times (I think Debbie won once or twice…). Anyways, we’re really looking forward to the Wednesday afternoon BINGO sessions!

Our Oktoberfest Trip

Our Oktoberfest trip was yesterday, and I think it’s fair to say that it was another great trip! The Harry Chapin Food Bank was once again our nonprofit-for-the-day, and I’m pleased to report that we raised $127.50 for them. As Debbie likes to say, that’s not bad for a day on the bus! Add that to the $126 that we raised last month and it definitely adds up to a nice chunk of change.

For those of you that weren’t with us the middle of the casino was a mess as they are installing new carpet. The new carpet looks nice, and there’s some additional padding too. I was able to get to two of my favorite machines, but another one of my favorites was sitting there, with the screen turned on, just inside of one of the roped off areas, calling my name all day long! Oh well, maybe next time…

We do have one piece of sad news to pass along. Joanne Chapman was supposed to join us yesterday, but she passed away on Tuesday. We’ll miss having her on our trips, and our condolences to her family and friends.

Our next trip is Wednesday November 15. The theme is Gobble-Gobble. Debbie’s already got 15 or 20 names on her list, so if you want to go you’d better contact her soon (239-247-0869). Don’t tell anyone, but Debbie will be on the birthday list for our November trip.

Goodbye Roundup Slot Tournament, Hello Magic Carpet Hot Seat

The Roundup Slot Tournament on Wednesdays at Calder has been one of our favorites. But all good things must come to an end, and with any luck be replaced by something that’s even better!

As you may have noticed in the Calder Casino October Calendar, they now have the Magic Carpet Hot Seat on Wednesdays from noon-2pm where you can win up to $500 in Free Play. We’ll find out for sure when we get there, but they tell us there will be machine drawings every 15 minutes, and all you have to do is have your card in a machine to qualify. Hopefully we’ll have some winners on our next trip (Wednesday October 18). BTW, there are only a few seats left for that trip – now is the time to contact us (239-247-0869) if you don’t have a seat yet!

The Naughty Bus

We had another great trip this week. This was the long awaited naughty bus – not all that naughty, just a bit naughtier than our “regular” trips. Everyone was ready for a day away from the storm cleanup, ready for a day off. Don’t know if everyone heard about it, but Carol was dressed for the naughty bus and security at the rest area told her she would have to leave!

The 50-50 and extra BINGO cards for this trip benefited the Harry Chapin Food Bank. They feed those in need, including Hurricane Irma victims. I’m pleased to report that we raised $126.00 for the cause.

Looking ahead our next trip will be on Wednesday October 18. The theme will be Oktoberfest. The trip is already filling up, so give Debbie a call (239-247-0869) to reserve your seat. Wednesdays are when Calder holds their Roundup Slot Tournament. We’ve had a couple of big winners, let’s see if we can do it again!

BTW, our October trip will be during Calder’s Free Play Food Drive. Bring in $5 worth of food & supplies and get $5 in free play. This drive ends on November 11, so it will be over before out November trip (Wed November 15). Check out Calder’s web site for a list of items they can and cannot accept.

Irma Update / Tuesday Sept 19’s Naughty Bus Should Be A Go

Here’s hoping that everyone fared as well as can be hoped for during Hurricane Irma. We had about 30 feet of seawall buckle, other than that it’s mostly cleaning up branches around the yard. We evacuated twice – once from Zone A to Zone B, then from Zone B up to some friends in Englewood. All we saw from there was a lot of wind and rain.

It sounds kind of funny to talk about a casino trip during the hurricane cleanup but if you’re like us you probably need a day away from all this, something of a return to normalcy. We’ve heard from several of you that you would still like to go, and we’ve heard from a couple that won’t be able to go.

We are currently planning on going. The bus company is good to go, and according to I-75 is be good to go too. Calder Casino, however, is still closed. They plan on reopening as soon as travel in the Miami/Lauderdale area is deemed to be safe. Their 9/13 1pm update says that over 50% of the traffic lights in the surrounding area are still out (visit for the latest info).

This weekend Debbie will be trying to check with everyone that she hasn’t heard from. We will be very liberal with refunds and transfers to another trip, so if you’ve evacuated up north and can’t return yet, or just too busy with rebuilding & relief efforts just let us know. Keep in mind that this is a Tuesday trip – Tuesday September 19th.

Summer Fun (and then some…)

We had another great trip to Calder Casino, with a couple of firsts. BJ Odom came along and did a set from his Comedy Magic act ( None of us were sure how it would work out – BJ has done his act in a lot of different venues but never before on a moving bus. He couldn’t use the bus sound system (imagine trying to do a magic act while holding a microphone in one hand), but he tried to make it loud enough for everyone to hear and he definitely had everyone laughing. He told us to introduce him as “he’s no David Copperfield…” – that’s true, but it’s also true that David Copperfield is no BJ Odom!

We had another first by having another winner of the grand prize of $500 free play in the Roundup Slot Tournament. We’ve had 5 Wednesday trips, and twice now someone on the bus has taken first place in the tournament. I’d like to see us do that again and again!

Our other first is one that we would rather have not had – the bus broke down on the way home. That’s got to happen to somebody some time, it’s just too bad it had to happen to us this time. Debbie tries to be prepared for everything, so we had an extra water along, extra drawing tickets, & extra prizes. It took a little over an hour to get another bus to us and we passed the time playing games. We would like to thank everyone once again for their patience and understanding, and for helping us to make the best of the situation.

Looking ahead, our “Naughty Bus” on Tuesday September 19 is filling up fast. That’s Over 55 day at Calder – everyone 55 and older get an additional $10 in free play after earning 20 points that day. If you want to go with us you need to make your reservations soon! [239-247-0869]

Summer Fun Special Olympics of Lee County Fundraiser

If you missed out on yesterday’s Special Olympics Fundraiser then you really missed the bus! We had a great time with lots of great gifts from some great sponsors. Everybody on the bus won something, and the grand prize was a pair of tickets to the Broadway Palm Dinner Theater. Many thanks to all of our sponsors.

I just wrote a check for $1042 to Special Olympics of Florida – Lee County. Thanks to our sponsors, but also thanks to everyone who came on the trip – without your generosity we wouldn’t have had a fundraiser.

This is a quick turnaround for us this time as our “regular” trip is next Wednesday (8/23). We’re trying something new on that trip – BJ Odom will be doing a set from his magic & comedy act on the way to the casino. That’s a first for us, and also the first time that BJ will be doing his act on a moving bus. Hopefully all will go well, but if we hit a bump and the magic doesn’t go quite right it will most likely add to the comedy side of the show!

Back to the Special Olympics trip, thanks again to all of our sponsors. And kudos to Debbie for getting out there and lining them all up.

Grand Prize: Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre Tickets
All About Bagels
Anthony’s on the Boulevard
Boston Market
Café You
Calder Casino
Dairy Queen
Domino’s Pizza
Downtowner Car Wash
Duffy’s Sports Grill
Englund’s Subs
First Round Draft
Five Guys
Golden Corral
Il Primo Pizza & Wings
Lenny’s Grill & Subs
Mangia Bene
Maria’s Italian Restaurant
Marquee Cinemas, Coralwood 10
Mel’s Diner
The Moorings
Nathan’s Famous
Office Depot / OfficeMax
Outback Steakhouse
Paradise Pizza
Pizza Hut
Super Cuts
Taco Bell
Teriyaki Madness
Thirsty’s Restaurant

Christmas in July

We had another great trip to Calder Casino yesterday, our Christmas in July trip. Several people were decked out in their Christmas finest, at least the July-in-Florida version of their Christmas finest. Lots of fun and some great prizes, including an electric fireplace as the grand prize and two room heaters as the baby grand prizes – I know, it’s July, but the fireplace looks great year round and the heaters will probably come in handy this winter.

This was our fourth monthly trip, and everything is starting to run pretty smoothly. I guess that means that it’s time to start changing things up a bit. We’ve got two new games to try out on our upcoming August trips, and we’re thinking about trying something different with the drawings too.

Speaking of different, we’ve got two trips in August. We have a Special Olympics Fund Raising trip on Wednesday August 16, and our “regular” trip a week later on Wednesday August 23. The Special Olympics trip costs a bit more, $50 rather than our usual $36. We think you’ll find that it’s well worth the additional money. We’ve got more bigger & better prizes for the bus, local businesses are really coming through. Here’s our current list of sponsors: All About Bagels, Anthony’s on the Boulevard, Boston Market, Café You, Domino’s Pizza. Downtowner Car Wash, Englund’s Subs, Fin’s, First Round Draft, Golden Corral, Il Primo Pizza & Wings, Lenny’s Grill & Subs, Mangia Bene, Maria’s Italian Restaurant, Mel’s Diner, The Moorings, Nathan’s Famous, Pizza Hut, Super Cuts, Taco Bell, and Teriyaki Madness. And as we say on our fliers, it’s not too late to become a sponsor! As for what’s really important, all of the extra ticket price plus more goes to Special Olympics. We’ll also be selling additional BINGO cards for $1, and the 50-50 will of course be for Special Olympics – we’re hoping to raise $1000 for a great cause.

Speaking of 50-50’s and great causes, yesterday’s 50-50 was for Special Olympics, as was the June trip. That’s another $293 that we’ll be presenting on the Special Olympics trip, and that’s in addition to the money we’ll be raising that day!

As you probably know, Debbie has been after me to get a website started. I’ve been hesitant to do so, but only because I wanted to have some idea of what I was doing before getting started with it. Yes, I worked in IT and computer education for the last 40 years, but none of that was developing websites.

After a little research and a couple of recommendations, I went with WordPress. I don’t want to sound like I regret that decision, but let’s just say that the signup and setup process didn’t go as smoothly as I think it should have. I will fess up some responsibility – I’m not a blogger and I’m not a blog follower, and the default site is built around blogging.

I don’t plan on becoming an avid blogger, but maybe a few posts from time to time about our trips will add to the site. For now though, I’m trying to figure out the rest of it so that I can add the basic info, trip schedule, and things like that.