Ron and Hazel's 'Travels with Nuggie' travel blog

35 of the 350 RV pads are maintained during the winter.

Over a foot of snow on the ground, temperatures dropping.

The water connection is heated, but my hose is not.

Minus 17° is predicted for late tonight.

A space heater helps a lot, the furnace doesn't kick in so...

Before we do this again in the winter, I'm getting one of...

Earlier this week, Hazel and I headed to Grand Casino in Hinckley, Minnesota to celebrate my 70th birthday and play blackjack. Great planning, right in the middle of a winter storm warning, but we headed off anyway, towing our Chevy Tracker. Wind, snow, and a slight freezing on the highway made the trip a little tricky at times, especially when we'd get hit with a side wind, gusting at times to about 15 mph.

In an hour or so we pulled in to the RV park at the casino and registered. I disconnected the tow vehicle, and a few minutes and a few failed attempts of backing into the assigned spot in the dark, and we were home for the night.

Because of the storm, the casino had closed the restaurants, sending much of the staff home, and they would stay closed for two days. But, that wasn't a problem, Hazel and I had plenty of food onboard, including some nice steaks from the "road-kill bin" at our local grocery store. With the cable television cable hooked up, Hazel explored the 100 channels. When you eliminate the cooking, home shopping, and others you'll never watch, we got down to about 20 usable ones, including Turner Classic Movies, the networks, the news channels, weather, and a couple of ones showing old television shows.

Dinner over, I flagged-down the shuttle bus as it drove by, taking me to the casino a couple of blocks away, and played blackjack. I left an hour later, with a little less money, but with a plan to go back the next day and get it back, which I did, or at least some of it.

Tonight, Hazel and took the shuttle over and had the buffet. Every trip up here, which is a couple of times a year, I always seem to miss the $8.95 special, it was always "last night" or "tomorrow night", and this time was no exception, with "International Night" priced up about $6 bucks a person. But, it was good, and we held it down to a single plate, while the "all you can eat" folks waddled by. The young waitress who brought us our drinks has a new friend in Hazel, who insisted I leave a $5 tip, while I watched others leaving a couple of bucks, or no tip at all. When it comes to waiters and waitresses, Hazel is a firm believer in "trickle-down economics".

With the NBC live production of "Sound of Music" on the telly tonight, I could only spend a few minutes at the blackjack table, buying $20 worth of chips, leaving with $24, making almost enough to cover that waitress tip.

The temperature tonight is predicted to get down to minus 17 degrees, we'll see. In the morning, we'll be heading back to Princeton, with stops along the way to fill LP tanks and to spend a couple of hours at the Laundromat, with high hopes for warmer temperatures next week.

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