Sunday, May 21, 2006

Back Home Again

Hi everyone.

I just wanted to send a quick note to let you know that I am back home in Iowa after my trip to Detroit, New York City, and Atlantic City.

Man...I am REALLY tired but I did help Kristin unpack some of my things from her suitcase.

I want to thank Keith, Kristin, Amy and all of their friends for another great trip. I learned SO much and I got to see lots of new things.

Until next time.....

Saturday in Atlantic City

Hi everyone! Sorry it has taken so long to give you an update but I have been VERY busy this weekend!

Yesterday, Kristin woke me up early and told me we were headed for Atlantic City, New Jersey. See if you can find it on the map.

I was shocked we were going to ANOTHER city. I’ve already been to 4 in the past three days (Chicago, Detroit, Charlotte, and New York)!

Kristin told me this was a very special trip. She and Keith were going to Atlantic City to get their big award for their radio program. Do you remember Kristin found out about winning the National Headliner Award while I was with her in Los Angeles? I was hoping Kristin would take me along for the event.

I thought we would fly to Atlantic City but Kristin told me it was going to be easier to drive. Kristin had reserved a rental car at a place just around the corner from our hotel in Manhattan but there were NO cars! Keith and Kristin were NOT happy about this. Luckily, there was another car rental place next door that had only one car available for us. It was a white mini-van. I thought it was cool because I got to ride in the back of the van all by myself! But Keith and Kristin didn’t seem all that excited about the van.

But, I was starting to question the plan to drive to Atlantic City when Keith actually started driving. Traffic is VERY BAD in New York City. Kristin had a map she printed from her computer to help guide us out of the city but it was VERY HARD. Keith had to drive like a taxi driver to get us through traffic. It took 40 minutes to go 15 blocks! I am NOT kidding.

To leave Manhattan, we had to take something called the “Lincoln Tunnel.” It’s a long, dark tube that reminded me of the Metro in Washington, DC. But Keith told me this was a special tunnel. This one is UNDER the Hudson River. How cool is that?! We drove UNDER water!

Once we made it safely out of the tunnel under the river, it was a fairly easy drive to Atlantic City. We had to take several toll roads. These are like the toll roads Kristin drives on to take us to Chicago. But one section was very different. At the start Keith had to get a special ticket. When we reached the end of the road, he had to hand-in the ticket with money. Very strange!

The highway goes past Newark, New Jersey. See if you can find it on the map. I thought this was cool because there is an airport right next to the highway. I got to see BIG planes take off and land as we drove by. Here you can see a BIG plane landing. How COOL!

Not long after I saw the big planes, Keith stopped at a place along the side of the road so he and Kristin could get something to eat. There were several mini-restaurants in one building. It is similar to the food court at the mall in Davenport. I think this is really neat to have this on the side of the road for drivers. And guess what? Keith says the place is called an oasis! I had no idea! I bet my camel from Dubai (named Oasis) would like to visit the oasis I did.

Once we arrived in Atlantic City, Keith and Kristin checked into their rooms at the Sheraton. The hotel is very nice and Keith and Kristin both got a gift bag when they checked-in. I thought this was strange. They’ve never gotten a gift bag at a hotel before. But Kristin told me the bags are a gift from the Headliners Awards. Wow…they won an award AND they get a gift bag! Kristin told me if I was really good, she might let me have some of the items in her gift bag. I promised I was going to be REALLY, REALLY good!

Keith had a really COOL room. Here I am looking at the view from Keith’s room.

If you look closely, you can see water behind the tall buildings. Keith told me that was the Atlantic Ocean. Cool! I got to see the Atlantic Ocean while visiting Atlantic City! I’ve flown over this ocean with Keith and Kristin but I have never seen it from land!

I think Keith knew I wanted to get a closer look at the ocean, so he and Kristin walked down the street to something called the “Boardwalk.” It is a LONG sidewalk made out of wood. It looks like a really long deck! Anyway, there are shops along one side of the “Boardwalk” and the ocean is on the other side.

Kristin kindly took off her shoes and walked through the sand so I could get a closer view of the ocean. Here I am with Kristin.

And here I am searching for seashells (although I didn’t find any good ones).

Do these photos remind you of something? They look very similar to the ones Kristin took of me at the Pacific Ocean in California. I thought the oceans would look different but this one looks the same to me!

After my visit to the beach, Keith and Kristin walked along the “Boardwalk” for awhile. Suddenly Kristin stopped and said I needed my photo taken with the street sign. I said OK but I had no idea why. The street was called Park Place. I think there is a street with the same name in Muscatine. But Kristin said this is a special Park Place. THIS is the Park Place listed on the game “Monopoly.” Wow! I had no idea!

Kristin later told me that the person who started Monopoly liked the names of the streets in Atlantic City and put them on his game. Cool! I am going to have to pay more attention to Monopoly the next time I see the game!

Before we left the Boardwalk, Kristin stopped at a small candy store to buy some salt-water taffy. Kristin told me Atlantic City is famous for salt-water taffy. Wow…another thing I didn’t know! I guess I must have been behaving because Kristin bought me a small box of taffy. BUT…she made me promise to share it with Aunt Lynn. So I guess I am going to have to wait until I get back to Muscatine to eat my candy.

Keith and Kristin’s hotel is on a street named “Miss America Way.” And, the hotel lobby has LOTS of photos, dresses, and jeweled crowns on display. I was starting to think we were staying at a special “girls” hotel. So I decided to ask Kristin why there were so many dresses on display in the hotel lobby. She told me that the Miss America pageant started in Atlantic City. She says this is a very famous beauty pageant and it is shown on TV every year. I had no idea! I really wasn’t interested in seeing all of the Miss America stuff. That’s for girls. But, at least now I know why there are so many Miss America items in and around the hotel.

The award ceremony was held in the convention center that is connected to Keith and Kristin’s hotel. We arrived just after 6:30pm. Our first stop was a room where several photos and large notebooks were on display. Kristin told me the photos were the pictures that won awards in the photography category. The notebooks were from the newspaper and magazine winners. There was also a TV in one corner of the room that played small parts of the winning radio entries.

After awhile, someone arrived that I knew. It was Mr. B! I met him on my first trip to New York. He is the host of Keith and Kristin’s radio program. He was also the host for the winning program. I like Mr. B…so it was nice to see him again.

Soon we walked into another room to sit down for a fancy dinner including salad and steak. While we were eating, people who helped pick the winners of this year’s National Headliner Awards talked about the program. One said there were over 1700 entries this year! WOW….Keith and Kristin’s radio program must have been REALLY AWESOME to beat that many other photos, newspapers, magazines, TV stations and radio programs!

The awards were handed out after dinner. I started to get worried because almost all of the awards had been handed out and Keith and Kristin still hadn’t walked up to the front of the room to get their award. Kristin told me not to worry.

I soon learned this is because the radio program won the BIG radio award and so it was presented near the end of the program. It was very cool to see how the awards are handed out. First, they put up pictures of Mr. B, Keith, Kristin and their friend Simon on the screen.

Then, one of the judges talked about the show and played some of the show for the people in the room. And there were LOTS of people in the room. I didn’t understand everything the judge talked about but I think it was all GOOD things.

Soon, Mr. B, Keith and Kristin walked up to the stage to get a special wood plaque. All three then told the people in the room about the program. I was too afraid to go up on stage with Kristin and Keith so I stayed at the table with Mrs. B. Afterwards, Mrs. B took my picture with Keith, Kristin and Mr. B holding their award. Thanks Mrs. B!

Whew! It was WAY past my bedtime when the award ceremony ended and I fell asleep in Kristin’s purse as she walked back to the hotel.

Until next time….