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Monday, February 23, 2009

Unpack, I'm doing the laundry! Hurry up.

Laundry, a necessary evil of pre and post vacation. Quick, my next load will be darks, got something? I'll throw it in.

Seriously, isn't that the worst part of traveling?

A few general travel tips:
Don't travel when you're sick, I don't want to sit next to you on the plane and hear you cough, clear your troat and blow your noise every 5 minutes. Stay home! I don't want whatever you've got.

Leave your shoes on! I don't want to smell your feet. Whats with this? The last 2 trips I've taken people seem to think it's fine and dandy to take their shoes off, put their smelling feet on the seats....hello, how many people need to sit there?

Has everyone completely forgotten what size carry on's are suppose to be? For every person who brings on too much, or too big of item, the airlines slow down; thus causing delays. No wonder many airlines are now charging people who bring extra stuff on. I've seen backpacks that require 2 strong men to lift them and aren't even close to the carry on size they're suppose to be lately. If they're too wide to go down the isle of the plane, they're not a carry on item.

If you have children and you're flying Southwest, PLEASE make the opportunity to check in and get boarding passes ahead of time. Even if you can't print them from your laptop, you can check in and get your A or even B, so you have the opportunity to sit together. Don't expect half the plane to rearrange after they've settled in, and you can't sit with your kids and your kids friends. It's your responsibility to get things taken care of. You put the flight attendants in a bad spot, and take up lots of extra time when you arrive late and there are no longer seats together. Have more consideration for your children, and the 200 other passengers. Most hotel's have a business center with computers where you can check in and or print your boarding passes. Make use of them.

Dress before you fly, really no one wants to see your pj's. You're really not that cute in them. Should there be a problem on the plane, do you really want to be seen on national TV in your pj's and slippers?

The plane is still boarding and you want to squeeze between people to go to the bathroom? Get serious. Doesn't anyone think? My last couple of trips have been less pleasant then they could have been because people don't take care of business in a logical way BEFORE boarding. Don't sit in the waiting area, or the bar then expect to go to the bathroom on board while everyone is boarding.

Travel involves planning, forethought and consideration of your fellow travelors, you're not the only one involved or the only one with wants and needs.

Ok...last call, I'm throwing in the load of darks.

Traveling next to Alcatraz, so to remember to come on back for a visit.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Lake Erie, Put in Bay

Brutus Buckeye, you're bound to see him almost anywhere. Here he is spreading Buckeye Love on a boat anchored off at Put in Bay. A fun summer time destination in Ohio at Lake Erie. No doubt Brutus was left to guard the ship, as his mates headed to perhaps The Round Bar or Frosty's. For those who don't know, Brutus is The Ohio State University Mascot. Here's the famous Frosty's. I remember the place when I was a kid and vacationed on the Island with my parents....and that was YYYYYYYYYYYYYears ago. Good pizza, loud music, an awesome wooden bar, and yes fabulously good rootbeer.......however adult beverages are plentiful too.

A pretty sunset coming back on the ferry after a long day having fun on the Island. We often are on the last ferry out. You can rent golf carts, bikes or walk around the Island. Lots of shopping, eatting, drinking for those of any age. For the young ones an historic merry go round. Somewhere....I know I have a picture. One in a book, you know, not digital. I must find and scan it sometime. A great playground in the park, people walking up and down the docks to see all the boats, ships, a yacht club. So much to see and do.

"I have met the enemy and they are ours." Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry is famous for that quote. The battle of Lake Erie during The War of 1812, something every Ohio school child learns about; comes alive with a visit to this beautiful memorial. Once you reach the top of this memorial the view rewards you for the time it took to get there. I can't count the number of times I've been to this memorial; but I enjoy each and every time.

Hard to see in this picture, but look closely. Click to enlarge it. This house is made from a ship. Everyone who visits the Island, stops to photograph this house. Sometimes it's hard to find though with the trees completely filling in and providing camoflauge.

We didn't make it last summer to Put in Bay; so it's definately on the list of things to do next summer.
Get there early if you want a golf card, otherwise they're gone and you'll need to rent bikes.
Leave cool beverages in your car when you park for the ride on the ferry; so you'll have something when you get back.
SunScreen is a must!
Have fun

Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Presidio

The Spanish arrived in 1776, post fell to Mexian rule in 1822, became a US Army Base in 1846. Really, The Presidio is sooooooooo much more than a movie. The US Army closed it's base in 1989.

1,491 acres, with many miles of both hiking and biking trails. Of the 870 structures 470 have historic signficance. It's a refuge for endangered species, home to a National Cemetery (in a National Park), and operated by The US Park Service.

Listen.....through the fog you can hear the sounds of the bay, look up and down the meticulously maintained rows of graves and touch history. Enter here with reverence.

Buried here in military straight rows are men and their families from World War I and II, The Spanish American War, The Civil War, The Indian Wars, and Vietnam.

Unusual and interesting stones memoralizing those that rest here under the blanket of the fog.

This was home to many families, barracks and officers homes, some in need of restoration, some restored.

2nd Lt. William Allen one of the Medal of Honor Receipants I spotted while touring this facinating place.

I would have enjoyed spending more time here exploring, but many parts of the base/park were off limits the day we were there. There was construction going on, there was a ceremony taking place as well.

Seems fitting I think, we saw The Spanish Riders as they made their way from the field.

Highly recommend touring and taking ones time here.
Wear a jacket, even on warm days this location is chilly.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Williamsburg, Virginia

Is it possible to travel to Williamsburg and not have one of these pictures?

With snow on the ground, thought we could all enjoy seeing a beautiful flower from one of the many gardens there. This is just one of the many benefits of traveling.

Tips/facts for traveling to Williamsburg
Food is scarce and expensive, take your own (pack a picnic and leave in your car). Water is a must (bring the small bottles, though less than standard 8 or 9 oz.
You are unable to take any water bottle into the buildings with you when your tour, thus the small bottle that can be put in your purse/travel bag, and or consumed and pitched prior to entering is a must. The food being scarce is a bit of a timing issue. The few eateries in the historic area close up shop EARLY...some as early as 2, so our thought of touring while others ate, eatting later didn't work. One can't even find a place inside to cool off with a cool drink in the historic area. Many places require reservations, and even then people wait in lines. The down side to food in your car means extra walking on your part to get back to it. And by all means, if your traveling with a pet, make other arrangements for the cat or dog; as it's not wise to leave them unattended in the heat.

You must be organized, scheduled and know well ahead of time what you want to do and see, and where things are located.
I personally dislike being scheduled on vacation, I go on vacation to relax and like to do things spontaneously. That mode at Williamsburg simply will not work. I purchased our tickets ahead of time on line...great idea, right? Well, not really. Though you can decide what type of a ticket you want and pay ahead it does not mean you don't wait in line for your ticket. Having purchased tickets on line for several other vacation areas as we were traveling, this was a big surprise. Most encourage you to print your ticket ahead. Williamsburg doesn't permit that. You must pick up your ticket in a will call arrangment; however will call is the same line as those buying the tickets who've not yet decided what type of ticket they want. Futher complication, there are only 3 locations through Williamsburg where the one person maned booth's exist, to pick up your tickets.........AND thats where you get the maps to show you were the booths are located. We lucked out in that we walked down a street where one such booth was. But, the person ahead of us had many questions and we waited in line 20 minutes to pick up the tickets we had already purchased. The only way to avoid this is to lodge right in the Williamsburg vacinity, a few of those hotels provide the tickets in house. We were traveling Marriott facilities due to points earned off site.

My last major tip for traveling to Williamsburg is, you MUST go early. We purposely took our time arriving, feeling those with the young children would go early and leave early and we'd be able to tour more leisurely. The flaw in that plan is, Williamsburg shuts down early, and there are many events and happenings that only take place once a day, in the morning. So, you must join the herd and fight the crowds if you want to experience these events.
*I don't think it's a place well suited for small children in stroolers or babies, seems everyone is miserable in those situations. Parents have to lug kids in and out of the strollers as they can't go in the buildings in them, that makes the kids irritable and while they're being irritable the rest of tour group are unable to hear the guides. Kids 3rd grade and up probably actually get something out of it.
**Comparing this last trip to one hubby and I took there years ago, I don't believe it's a nice as it used to be. You must wait everywhere for a guided tour now, previously you could tour some of the areas on your own. The tours are very robotish and you're not really given time to look, and enjoy.

I probably would not go again, nor do I recommend it as relaxed vacation destination. I believe it is well suited for large school groups who get special considerations when traveling as an educational-school trip.
However, if at the end of the day you want a quiet, peaceful adult atompshere to enjoy a nice drink, I highly recommend The Williamsburg Hotel. Be sure and take your traveling visa though, it's pricey!


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