We made it last Sunday to the annual Daytona 500 Nascar race in Daytona Beach, Florida. Our first time there – we are not exactly Nascar fans, but while we were in Florida decided to see what all the hoopla was about. Pretty exciting, but not without a little drama.
We are usually “spur of the moment” people. So, you guessed it – no tickets – no hotel reservation – that’s usually how we roll. However, as you will soon find out, we might have to rethink our “Que sera, sera, whatever will be, will be” lifestyle for future events.
Saturday morning we are on our way, and I am pretending to listen to My Sport Guy’s lengthy explanation of Indy Car racing vs. Nascar. All I know is that Danica Patrick is racing in the Daytona and I am wearing a Danica Patrick cap and it looks good.
Ultimately at some point during our drive, My Guy suggests (matter-of factly) that I go on the I-Pad and look for a hotel room.
We are extremely naive optimists, because within minutes of surfing various websites, I announce, “OK, there are still some rooms available but we might have to sell a kidney to afford one.”
With an expected influx of a zillion fans hitting the town for the race, SUPPLY and DEMAND dictated the “we’ve got you by the you know what” prices.
Finally, we somehow manage to book a room by going a little further out – at a “splurge” price – but we knew we had to bite the bullet.
Relieved that we had our room, we drove past the Daytona International Speedway to get our bearings. It was about 6:PM Saturday night and there were plenty of street guys hawking tickets. Perfect.
My Guy pulled up to a tent with a big sign that read “Buy Your Race Tickets Here” right across from the speedway. The set-up of a pretty professional ticket broker, right?
So, “Nick” the ticket seller, who proudly stated that he had been selling tickets in that exact spot for 30 years – gave us a great deal. Great seats and under face value. He gave us his card and said to call him for any ticket needs. We thanked him profusely. Nice guy.
Hotel room – Check. Tickets – Check. Bada Bing.
Shortly after our fortunate purchase, we arrived at the front desk of our hotel where this interesting lesson was learned:
Apparently, just because you give your CREDIT CARD information and receive a CONFIRMATION NUMBER, that doesn’t mean that you have a CONFIRMED room.
Front Desk Guy: “Sorry, mam, we are all booked.”
Me: We HAVE a room, I have a CONFIRMATION NUMBER.
Front Desk Guy: Sorry, mam, that was a mistake.
My Guy: WTF &^%$*$%&)+^%$#*&#$#!!!!!!!!!!
Fast Forward: After umpteen more calls to no avail, I hear some hotel clerk say, “Actually, we have ONE room left.”
“How much?” I was afraid to ask.
The room rate was LOWER than our “splurge rate”. (This should have been a red flag.)
“OK, we’ll take it.” Sight unseen and not refundable. Beggars can’t be choosers.
We arrive at the locale of what we determined was the last room available within 100 miles of Daytona Beach with our fingers crossed.
Walking into the lobby, we looked at each other and said, “It’s not too bad,” in unison. We were both lying.
Once in the yukky death trap of an elevator, with room key in hand, the lying ended. This was going to be bad.
In summary, we had booked a room at the Bates Motel where nothing had been upgraded or repaired for maybe 60 or 70 years.
The Good News: We were right on the ocean, and from our very rusty balcony we had a MILLION DOLLAR VIEW.
Our mantra became, “Look at the ocean, don’t look at the room.” And all for the price of a suite at the Four Seasons in Mid-town Manhattan. Choke.
Saturday night, we were in our best “red-neck” attire, hootin’ and hollerin’ – hanging out with the racing crowd.
My Guy was talking to an avid Nascar guy, telling him about what great seats we had and about the “deal” we got on our tickets. He told us that because of the “holograms” on the tickets they would probably be collector’s items. Something to add to the grandkids inheritance? Who knew?
Sunday Race Day:
We got to the gate in plenty of time, all enthused, only to encounter one little problem.
At the gate, the Ticket Taker announced:
“Sorry, sir. These tickets were for YESTERDAY, SATURDAY the 20th.
My Guy: WTF (*^%$#%%^&**(((*&^^%$#!!!!!!!!!!
Sure enough, there it was – right on the front side of the ticket. I guess we were so mesmerized by the hologram, we didn’t look at the date.
So, Nick the S.O.B. ticket scalper had bamboozled us and sold Saturday tickets (for some “preliminary” race) to us at 6P.M. – after that race was long over. No misunderstanding there. Needless to say, Nick didn’t return our calls.
NICK IS GOING STRAIGHT TO HELL.
After the initial ranting, we calmed down and My Guy went into full Challenge Mode. His mission at hand was to hit the streets, score two legitimate tickets before the race started in ½ hour.
No doubt in my mind – he would definitely succeed. But would he blow the Nest Egg!?!
And, then just in time, I see him running toward me with 2 tickets held high in the air – jubilant in victory.
Me: “WOOHOO! How much?”
And then he gave me The Look that meant, “You don’t want to know.”
All in all…a fun time was had – we saw all 200 laps and a thrilling close finish. (Sadly Danica didn’t win.) The Daytona 500 is officially off the Bucket List. Ta daaaaaa.
Hey, in the interest of off-setting our expenditures, does anyone want to buy some soon to be priceless Collectable tickets? With Daytona 500 holograms never to be seen again? (We have four.) All reasonable offers considered.
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