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Archive for the ‘travel’ Category

Travel Limbo

Today I’m over at Confessions Of A Broccoli Addict with a guest post. Come see.

We are finishing up our Omaha trip. We have the day to run around and enjoy a few things (beer tasting!) before we get on the plane to go back home this evening. We are traveling to Seattle and spending the night at my daughter’s in-laws and picking up the boys!  I’ve missed them so much on this trip! Then Tuesday we’ll drive home to Portland so I’m still living out of the suitcase for a couple more days.

I’ll be taking pictures to share with you later on in the week. I hope. Because it’s not “my trip” some of what I want to do doesn’t get done. So hopefully pictures will happen.

Enjoy your Monday and the new week. I’m still coming around to read blogs because I’m so far behind but a lot will have to wait til I’m home as I’ve put a huge dent into my data plan and I have to go til the 16th before it resets for the month!

See you on the flip side!

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Pedestrian bridge, links Omaha, Nebraska to Council Bluffs, Iowa.

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weekendcoffeeshareIf we were having coffee, I would tell you that I am still in Omaha. It has been an interesting trip ranging from really wonderful to I-wanna-go-home-right-this-minute. And it doesn’t reflect on the city but on my travel mates. One minute we are all getting along fine and the next the other two are bickering and shouting at each other. That’s not fun.

Oh well, I really need coffee right now. We were out until after one this morning and the others are still asleep and it is almost noon. There is no in-room coffee because my daughter used the packets from her room and my room yesterday and then she wouldn’t let me put out the maid service sign when we left he room because she hadn’t put her stuff away. We have a two room suite so that meant that my room didn’t get maid up either and the coffee didn’t get replenished.  Yup. I need coffee. I have snacks so I’m not starving but no coffee!

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that although I haven’t seen much more than a few of the neighborhoods here and the downtown area, I like it. I would be happy here if I came here with my daughter and the boys. I imagine that we would need to get used to a lot of things but we could make it work. Today we’re supposed to go on the interstate and circle the area to see what is outside of the metro area. Of course, by the time they get up and get dressed it may be dinner time and we won’t see much because it will be dark!  Tomorrow we go to Lincoln for the afternoon and so that my daughter can meet up with one of her internet friends.

Well, I don’t have much more to say right now. I want to work on making some noise so they can get up. I’ve already texted her but she hasn’t answered. Wish me luck!

What are you like before your coffee? Have you ever been on a trip with others who are fighting and bickering constantly? How did you handle it?

See you next time!

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Weekend Coffee Share is a weekly blog hop hosted by Diana at Part Time Monster. Go check it out!

 

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If we were having coffee, it would have to be decaf for most of us as it’s after 7:30 pm. We’ve just stopped for the night on our way home from a week of traveling. This will be the last night before we get home as we are half way home.  Yay!

If we were having coffee, I would probably bore you with a lot of stuff you don’t want to hear about the grand kids.  I’ll try not to.

It has been tough with the two little ones. Spencer has trouble being in the car for more than about two hours so a two day trip home becomes three! If we can get him to nap then we hustle and get as far as we can before he wakes up. Anderson, on the contrary is and always has been a good traveler. No stops for him although he is in the “How many more minutes?” phase…every two minutes he asks!

Tough as it has been, I’m glad we made the trip. I needed to be at the funeral for me as much as for them. As I sat in that church, in the last pew by the exit (that’s where I put myself even though there was lots of room), I realized that some of what I was feeling was because there was no religious kind of observance of my father’s passing last May. I felt like the mass was as much for Abuela as for my dad. And no, she wasn’t my grandmother but she was grandmother to everyone that came her way. Everyone at the mass knew her as Abuela! I’m glad it’s over and we’re almost home…and I’m glad we got to go.

I’ll cut it short. I’m way behind on NaNoWriMo and even though I may not make it to 50k this year, I’m not giving up. I’m going to try. If I can get a little time tonight after everyone goes to sleep, I can write a couple of thousand words which is not much in the scheme of things but it keeps me from getting one more day behind. Then I should be able to write at least 5k Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday I head for Seattle but might try to get some words in before I leave. With luck I can get maybe another 3 to 5 thousand done in Seattle. That still leaves me behind but I’ll be in catch up range.  It might get right down to midnight this year!

I hope everyone has a great weekend, a wonderful week, and for those who celebrate Thanksgiving, a very peaceful and inspiring holiday. I should be home late Sunday and with luck, I’ll get back to normal posting.

#WeekendCoffeeShare is a weekly blog hop hosted by Diana at Part Time Monster. Go take a peek and maybe join us!

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Well…

( I wrote this on Tuesday night and tried to post it but I haven’t had a good internet connection that lasts long enough for it to upload from my phone to the blog. I’m home now.)

If you haven’t guessed by now, I’m traveling.  I have spent the last couple of days driving between Portland and Seaside.  It’s a 2 hour trip in each direction. It was a spur of the moment thing. My daughter and company decided to go overnight and invited me. I had a doctor’s appointment so I declined.  But I really, really wanted to go, for a number of reasons.  So I  went with them.  Then I drove back to Portland for my appointment (which went fine btw) and then I got a text from my daughter saying they decided to stay another night and I was included. So right after my appointment I drove right back to Seaside. 

This is important for a number of reasons.  The most important of those reasons is that my daughter has made the trip prohibitive for me. She keeps saying I can’t make the trip because it’s a hard drive.  It is but I’ve done it now.  Over. Back. Over. And today, I’ll do it back again.  It’s not that bad. I CAN do it.

In the meantime, I’ve been able to experience and enjoy a magnificent sunset.  And today, an amazingly quiet moment at the mouth of the Columbia River.  I won’t forget either.  And I’ve enjoyed my grandsons.  They are amazing.  I wouldn’t trade the time for anything.  Anything.   

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While reading blogs yesterday, I came across this one in which the blogger wrote about how she always felt she was unlucky when she traveled by air until the one day her luck changed. It’s a nice post. You should go read it.

It reminded me of my air travel story. Well, I have a lot of them but there is one in particular that I will share today. In 2009, my son gifted me with a trip to Australia for Mother’s Day. He had planned on going by himself then on Mother’s Day, he surprised me with a travel guide to Australia, a Cheshire cat smile, and the words “you’re coming with me, Mom”! I was humbled by his thoughtfulness. And I was excited. Australia was one of those places I had always dreamed of visiting but never thought I would get there.

Our flight from San Francisco took us to Los Angeles where we then boarded Qantas headed to Melbourne. It was a 15 hour flight. The seating was better than on a domestic flight but for that long of a flight, not a lot can be comfortable. My son and I had hoped that we would have empty seats next to us or somehow be able to spread out a little bit. I’m short (only 5′) but my son is tall (he’s 6’2″) and needs more leg room. We ended up next to a 70ish couple and we were in the last row of that section so no one behind us. I let my son have the aisle seat that was assigned to me and I sat next to the woman who was teeny tiny. I don’t think they spoke English and if they did, they didn’t say a word to us during the entire flight (they spoke Japanese to each other). About an hour into the flight, the woman took a nap. That was great except for one thing. She had stretched out putting her head in her husband’s lap and her feet in my lap! No matter how much I nudged her feet off of me, she would put them back on my lap. We got through the flight without any problems other than the fact that her feet were on me. I couldn’t sleep but it was a great excuse to have some of Qantas’ complimentary Bundaberg rum…and I did as rum is my favorite boozy drink!

We had a wonderful two week adventure. At the end of the week we flew from Melbourne to Cairns with a stop in Brisbane then a few days later we flew from Cairns to Sydney. I’ve written about the trip on this blog and I think if you search it for “Australia” you will find the posts and lots of pictures. But I’ll get on with the return flight which proved to be different from the flight to Australia.

My son had tried to get us seats together on the way back but had not been able to. This made me nervous because I really don’t like sitting next to strangers and because I often need help when I travel (due to a back injury and to being so short!). I suggested that he ask at check in if there were any way we could switch seats with someone so we could sit together. However, my son has not been raised to rock the boat. He tends to (not as much anymore) accept things as they are given to him. So he didn’t ask. The flight was delayed so we sat waiting and waiting then when the check in crew arrived, I took Tony’s boarding pass along with mine and went up to the desk. Tony said don’t do it. There wasn’t anyway to change the seating, he said. But I told him that it wouldn’t hurt to ask and reminded him of what a long flight it was. Our seats were about three rows away from each other, not even close enough for me to get his attention to help me if I had needed help. So I explained to the agent at the desk that my son and I were traveling together but our seats were three rows apart and asked if there were any seats next to each other, or even aisle seats across from each other. She took the tickets and said in her Aussie accent, “Oh my lord! They didn’t put you together? We can’t have that! I’ll take care of it!” So we waited about five minutes; my son was very nervous. I don’t know what he thought would happen just for asking. Finally, she called me back to the desk and handed me new boarding passes, saying she had changed our seats. When they began to call the rows to board, I noticed that we had been put in a different section of the plane because our section was the first to be called to board. We hurried to board and when we got to our seats, we were amazed! We had been moved to a window row with only two seats. Two big, wide, roomy, comfy, leather seats! We were in business class! Along with the better seats with a lot more legroom came a better meal, more variety in the complimentary drinks, a lavatory for just a few rows, and better service. Tony’s eyes got big! He couldn’t believe it! He enjoyed the flight so much and was even able to sleep for a good portion of it. He looked at me and said, “I guess it never hurts to ask!”

So that was a good lesson for him to learn. He saw that I asked nicely. I wasn’t demanding, at all. I just asked. And they responded with courtesy, understanding, and efficiency!

And I think it might have been our reward for not being rude to the lady with her feet on my lap!

Waiting for our plane to come home

Waiting for our plane to come home

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Taronga Zoo 2–Australia

After breakfast at the zoo, we were taken on a behind the scenes tour of many of the exhibits where we were able to listen to the caretakers for each area.  One of the most interesting was visiting the place where they prepare all of the food that is given to the pets throughout the zoo.  One of the zoo keepers was chopping up mixtures of fruits and vegetables and it was very interesting to see the variety of sizes into which the fruits and veggies were chopped.  They ranged from almost whole to the tiniest of diced cubes, all depending on which animal was going to eat it!  We were also shown the food for reptiles, like snakes and lizards, that eat rats and other rodents.  We were shown everything from frozen pinky mice (really, really tiny) to frozen huge mice.

We also went behind the scenes into the giraffe enclosure where we were able to line up to feed them carrots!  Giraffes are my all time favorite animals so this was a really big deal for me!  I couldn’t believe that we were so close to them and could touch them and feed them!  I did get a picture of Tony as he turned from feeding them but unfortunately, he wasn’t fast enough to get my picture as I fed the giraffes.  I really would have loved to have that but it all happens very quickly and he was working with a digital SLR and had to focus and just didn’t get it in time!

They also held back the monkeys (chimpanzees) in the primate enclosure until we were there because that’s when they are most active so they didn’t release them until we were there.  Then after all that, we got to go back into the education area where we were shown some other animals, up close and personal.

Below you’ll find some pictures.  I will also be making a few more Australia posts with pictures that didn’t make it into these posts the first time around.

Emu and kangaroo

Tony and giraffes

Fruit bat

Echidna

Lions

Old elephant house

Above is the old elephant house.  We were told that when the new elephant house was built, all the elephants were moved down to that enclosure, which is huge!  However, the one male elephant was soon removed and taken back up the hill to the old elephant house because he “bothered” the female elephants too much!

Tents at Taronga Zoo

I found a picture of the tents we slept in at the Taronga Zoo for our sleepover (from yesterday’s post).  This is our neighboring tent taken from the “porch” of our tent.  Each tent has a queen sized bed and two nightstands in it, as well as a chair and lamps.

The Taronga Zoo is one of the nicest zoos I have visited.  It’s huge, too!  I’ve gone to many zoos but this one will remain a favorite.

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Our second day in Sydney was spent touring the city by double decker bus until the afternoon when we boarded a ferry to take us across Sydney Harbor to the Taronga Zoo.  We had reserved a slot at the Zoo’s program where you can spend the night at the zoo, in tents.  We were excited to be doing that.  The itinerary for the evening was to meet and greet the evening’s staff and then we were shown to our tents.  The zoo is situated in a very scenic spot, overlooking Sydney Harbor and downtown Sydney.  The setting for the overnight program was the most beautiful one can imagine.  In fact, when they designed the area, they built the bathrooms with windows in the showers so that you can look out at the view as you shower.  (There are also other showers with no peek-a-boo view!)  Then we had a delicious dinner and then headed for an afterhours tour of the zoo.  We were able to see tigers, zebras, giraffes, mountain goats, and other animals that were out and about at night time.

On the ferry to the Taronga Zoo.

This is the view from the back of the ferry that took us across the harbor to the Taronga Zoo.

View from tent area at Taronga Zoo.

When we were shown to our tents, this was where everyone stopped before even going in to their tent.  From here, the tents are immediately behind.  Ours was to the right and behind this overlook.

View from our tent!

This is the view we had from our tent.  It was such a gorgeous view that Tony didn’t want to close the tent.  We ended up sleeping with the screen closed and zipped (we were warned not to leave it unzipped because critters would definitely find their way into the tent) so we could see this view all night long.

Dawn over Sydney

This was the view when the sun began to come up the next morning.  I did take night time pictures but because I had only a point and shoot and it was extremely windy (and freezing cold), they are too blurry to share.  But the view from our tent was absolutely gorgeous!

This overnight at the zoo thing was something my kids and I, especially Tony, had wanted to do at other zoos over the years but we weren’t ever able to do it.  On this trip, Tony made sure we got to do all the things on our list.  This one was a big hit, even with a sleepless night and the heavy winds that night.

Interestingly enough, when 6 AM arrived, the kids on the overnight at the zoo were up and ready to go to our private tour before the zoo opened.  All the grown up were exhausted.  It turns out that we were not the only ones that couldn’t sleep the night before.  None of the adults got any sleep!  The zoo staff member that was our leader, Todd, said when he leads the group he is never able to sleep and he does it several times a month!  I figured in the end that it may have something to do with the adults being fully aware that we are in a vulnerable spot and if any animals were to escape their enclosure (think lions and tigers and bears) it could be catastrophic.

It was a wonderful activity!  Tomorrow daytime pictures of the zoo and our behind the scenes adventure!

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