October 7-10, 2005
"Fly With Me"
Ready to kick off the 2005 Trek season, the Cardozas set out to join the rest of the the list crew in ATL for an early season tilt against the Falcons. As usual we hit the TGIFridays for a few cocktails and lunch before departing on the first leg of our trip. Sam Adams Octoberfest and Captain & Cokes sealed the deal nicely. Arriving in Detroit with under an hour to spare until catching our connecting flight, we booked it in the concourse only to arrive at the gate and find that the flight was delayed due to back-ups in ATL. Naturally, we holed up in a Mexican restaurant for dinner, Margaritas and playoff Red Sox viewing. Unfortunately, the Sox's season came to an end too early, but the lay-over didn't. We finally departed 3 hours late and arrived at our destination after midnight rather than at 9:00. Monty and Dave were delayed as well so we hooked up in the airport and shared a shuttle ride to the hotel.
Waiting up for us was Bama, Cecil and Jacob. The rest of the crew had either retired early or were due in the following day. Joyce and Willie Sr. hung around waiting as well but passed their hellos on and said that they'd see us in the morning. Naturally, Monty and Al were dying for a cigar after their long trip so we headed outside for a bit.
Saturday morning dawned early and true to form, Big Al and I hit the gym. Towards the end of our workout, Willie Sr. came in and gave us huge bear hugs. He had already done his early morning workout but was headed in for a whirlpool and swim. We caught up and then headed up for breakfast. During the meal with Bama and Judy, we girls decided to head out for some pampering and headed out for manicures and pedicures. I got an awesome French treatment on both, and almost passed out when I paid less for both together (including $10 tip!) than I pay for just a pedicure at home!
Saturday afternoon proved to consist of the usual list activities... watching college football and drinking at the sports bar accompanied by great conversation, inside banter and companionship with fellow listniks. I finally got to hook up with Joyce and her crew in the lobby and talked for a bit while waiting for the team to arrive. Dana, Lisa, and Robin headed up for a quick nap, Monty, Big Al, Cecil, Bama, and Jacob headed in and out smoking Stogies and Laureen ragged on Vincent our Yankee fan bartender. Steve, Dave, Dave, Deb, Kim, Sam and Bob ("Cruise Brothers"), John, Bernie, and our neighbors Bobby, Diana and their friends hung out as well.
When it was getting time for the team to arrive, everyone joined in either the sports bar or the lobby. Also present were numerous "ebay sharks" whom were actually treated better than the hotel guests by security (Grrrrr!) They set up ropes for them to stand behind to get autographs yet, guests themselves were not allowed in certain areas and were told that they couldn't stand "on the rug". (In most hotels, the autograph seekers are forced to stand outside and must show a hotel key to hang in the lobby.)
The team arrived, I was lambasted for taking a picture of Mr. Kraft through the window (?!) and most guys headed up to their rooms. Players with family in town hung out for awhile but most were not seen at all. Willie met with his extended family and Robin entertained them all with a shot of my fave... Hpnotiq! Jarvis's crew ate together and Rosey Colvin dined at the table behind us when we went to dinner. Ashworth and Gorin grabbed a bite too. Laureen and Larry, Al and I ate in the hotel restaurant but he service was slower than slow. Thankfully we were just planning on hanging out in the lobby anyway so it wasn't a big deal. We had a nice perch to view the comings and goings from the open space. Some of the list crew headed out for dinner off site and reportedly had a great time. We introduced Bama to Patrick Pass and he was also lucky enough to get John's Gino jersey signed for him. I wished TBC well and gave his dad my number for Foxboro tailgating. Falling asleep in the lobby by 11:30, I was ready to head up to the room to hit the hay early.
On Sunday morning, we headed up to the Executive Level lounge and grabbed some light breakfast before heading outside to watch the team board the busses. Adam, Lonie, Josh and Vrabel headed out early and I got to speak to 66 for a bit. Vrabel signed Robin's game day jersey and she flipped out! I told Big Willie that it was a "double shot" Hpnotiq day and that I put my order in for a sack and an INT/TD! He said sure and gave me a thumbs up. We didn't get to see the team file out though because we needed to grab our shuttle to head back to the airport to grab the MARTA.
Fortunately, the public transportation system runs door to door from the airport to the stadium and for a whopping $1.75 we made our way there without a hitch! We headed in to our private tailgate tent called The Bama Group and John wasted no time in improving the sign by slapping a Patriots sticker right over the Falcon. The food was very good, and we all ate and drank to our hearts' content before heading in to the game. Naturally, no game would be complete without our Hpnotiq ritualistic toast! We gathered for our Bama Group (Pats Babe) pic then our group shot, thanks to wait staff who juggled many cameras! Our seats were excellent, right in the corner second level. Sight lines were great and Falcon fans were quite cordial and LOUD! Granted the game is in a dome but ATL knows how to get and keep the crowd up and even provided a live band between plays.
As for the game, the team came out fighting, and quickly took a 2 TD lead only to be reduced to a nailbiter by the end. Once again, thank God for Adam! It's a great feeling to have confidence that if/when Brady has the ball at the end, he'll orchestrate the game winning drive and Adam will seal the deal. Pats win 31-28 and we enjoyed a victorious MARTA ride home to the hotel. Post game banter, Dave Levine's off-the-cuff The Good, Bad, and the Ugly recording for my podcast and clouds of cigar smoke were rampant back at the hotel.
After hanging in the Sports Bar and grabbing a bite, many of us headed up to the Executive Lounge together to watch BTK in which Cecil played the judge. Others stayed downstairs to watch the Yankees game. Those of us upstairs shared a low key night and congrats cake for our resident thespian and bid goodbye to each other as everyone had different flight times in the morning. We headed home early and our flights went off without a hitch. Big Al and I arrived in RI met by rainy, cold weather, and concluded that it was yet another successful trek!
Cecil....AKA The Judge!
Check out the Complete Atlanta Album for more pics...