Today we went with our friends Mary and Clair to another of the Florida arcades which seem so popular round these parts. It had been just under a month since we went to one for the first time and I was more than ready to go again.
We again went south and east from Buttonwood Bay for the hour long drive to Okeechobee. This time there was slightly more to see along the route, but not much. We passed the Sebring Race Track where the "12 Hours of Sebring" is held every year. It's not exactly up there with the 24 hr Le Mans race but it's probably a few steps up from the lawn mower races I mentioned in a previous post.
We also passed the place where I'll soon be having my first ever airboat ride. I can't wait.
The Triple Sevens Arcade is one of three in the town of Okeechobee, on the edge of the huge lake of the same name. The name Okeechobee literally means 'big water' and this is appropriate as it's the 2nd largest freshwater lake in America, second only to Lake Michigan. For comparison purposes, Lake Windermere in England covers an area of 5.7 sq miles.
Lake Okeechobee covers an area of 730 sq miles.
Unlike The Great Wall Of China and Simon Cowell's head, it CAN be seen from space. Well with a good pair of binoculars anyway.
The town has a population of around 6,000 but as with most towns here in the US of A, even sparsely populated ones can take up a large area and take some time to pass through. So it was with Okeechobee and it took us several minutes to get through it to the arcade.
As with the 'barn arcade' we went to last time, this one didn't look very appealing. It was part of an almost derelict strip mall and we managed to get there 40 minutes before it was due to open.
We stood around like desperate gamblers awaiting our 'fix' and thankfully the owners arrived and opened up 15 minutes early. I wonder who has the keys for The MGM Grand in Vegas ??
It was much the same inside as the other arcade with about 50 or 60 machines. Once again to get around the gambling laws, no cash money can be won. The machines all use cards and if you end up with $10 on the card, you can exchange it for a $10 card for The Golden Coral - a regional buffet style restaurant chain. If you win $20, you get a $20 WalMart card. And so on.
Desperate not to 'win' a card for The Golden Coral (well have you ever eaten there ??), I played with a total lack of financial responsibility not seen since I hit the gift shop at The Kennedy Space Centre in 1989. Any time I got down to only $10 in winnings, I'd add more money to my card. Towards the end of our stay, I dipped below $10 and was prepared to lose the lot when I suddenly hit a winning streak and won 725 credits twice in about 5 plays. 725 credits = $7.25 and so I'd won $14.50. Hurrah.
After 3 hours of enjoyable fun, I left $10 down. I'd also had 2 hot dogs, 2 cans of Dr.Pepper and assorted crisps and cookies - all free.
Technically the house won.
In the ways that matter to me, I think I just came out on top.