Godaddy’s Working On it . . .

The problem that some people are seeing is because of a DDOS attack on the shared server where my blog also resides. They’re working on it.

Just keep trying it over and over and it seems it will eventually work.

Well, it looks like at least part of this weekend will be taken up by my having to pull the driver’s door inside panel to figure out why the window won’t go all the way up. The glass itself is not jammed because I can lift it by hand. It will go down but only half way up, so I know the motor is working. So I’ll pull it apart and see what I find.

 

A tour of our first visit to Yosemite National Park


April 29, 2010

Oh WOW !!!!

We left the rig about 9:15 am heading out to see Yosemite National Park. As we got closer to Oakhurst, the 2nd town over, we started to see a lot of snow on the mountains that wasn’t there yesterday.

After stopping for gas in Oakhurst, we headed north about 5 miles and entered the Sierra National Forest, which borders Yosemite. Along the way we encountered more and more snow, which gave us some incredible views.

SnowDrive 2

 SnowDrive 1

Another 10 miles later we entered Yosemite National Park at the Ranger Station. Because of the heavy snow last night (between 6 and 12 inches) we were told we that we needed either chains or a 4 wheel drive vehicle with snow tires to enter the Park.  We had the 4 wheel drive, but no snow tires, but lucky for us they didn’t really check, so we got in. As it turned out, the roads were pretty clear and we never needed it.

SnowDrive 4

SnowDrive 3

We did see several snow plows during our drive so I guess they did a good job. But the higher we climbed the more snow we saw. We finally topped out about 6500 feet, with snow covering everything but the road. And the views were spectacular.

SnowDrive 6

SnowDrive 5

SnowDrive 7

After a lot of hairpin turns we came to the area known as Tunnel View, which of course involves a tunnel.

Tunnel

Coming out of the tunnel there was a large viewing area looking out over the valley, including BridalVeil Fall. Yes, for some reason it’s called Fall, not Falls.

TunnelVista

As we got closer, the Fall got more and more impressive.

BridalVeilFall

BridalVeilFall2

We stopped at the Fall viewing area and walked up the 1000 foot trail to the base of the fall. With all the spray in the air, it was almost like it was raining.

BridalVeilFall3

SnowPeak 2

Then it was on to Yosemite Village, which is the turnaround point for the trip, with more great scenery along the way.

SnowPeak

SnowPeak 3

As we got close to the Village, we saw the other big waterfall in the park, Yosemite Falls. Yes, this one is called Falls, not Fall. Don’t asked me why.

Yosemite Falls 2

Yosemite Falls 3

After buying some souvenirs at the Yosemite Store, we stopped and had a bad lunch at the Lodge. The best part was the cookie we had for dessert.

We also saw a lot of Sequoias in the Park. For some reason I always thought that Sequoias and Redwoods were the same tree, but they’re not. It turns out that Redwoods are only found in northern coastal California up near the Oregon border.

Sequoias

Coming home, we started seeing first rain, then sleet, and finally, sleet, hail,and snow, all mixed together.

We got home about 3:30 pm, glad to be back where it was warm and dry.

Tomorrow we plan on heading south about 75 miles to Sequoia National Park where we’ll see a lot more, bigger Sequoias.

More tomorrow . . .

Late Update:

Tonight  on CSI they investigated a murder they thought was done at a shooting range. Although the name was different, the store they used was the one where Jan did her machine gun shooting when we were in Las Vega.

Gun 3

 

Riding the High Roller in Vegas.


April 29, 2015

Open the Pod Bay Doors, HAL . . .

Jan and I headed out about 4:15 for our evening’s festivities, with our first stop the parking garage at the back of the Flamingo Casino. Our destination was Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville out on the Strip side of the Flamingo. We’ve made this walk from the parking garage to the restaurant  a number of times, which is good, because it’s kind of like walking a maze.

We came this early knowing that we would probably have a pretty long wait, based on previous visits. But perhaps because of the restaurant’s expansion since we were last here two years ago, we had no wait whatsoever, and were seated immediately.

Margaritavile 1

This area where we were seated tonight was a storeroom for the Flamingo Hotel when we were here before.

Margaritaville 6

I didn’t plan on having a drink tonight, but when I saw a Habanero Margarita on the menu, I had to try it. And it was really good. And hot.

Margaritaville 3

I did take the jalapenos out of the drink and put them on my Cheddar BBQ Burger that I had below, along with an order of their delicious Cilantro-Lime Coleslaw that we shared. Plus the Roasted Jalapeno was really good.

Margaritaville 4

Jan went with the eponymous Cheeseburger in Paradise, which despite being based on the song, is not prepared correctly.

According to the menu, Jan’s burger had American Cheese, lettuce, tomato, Paradise Island Sauce, and a big Kosher Pickle.

But according to the song, it should have Muenster cheese, lettuce, tomato, sliced onion, and Heinz 57 sauce. But the big Kosher pickle was right, at least.

Now a lot of people, including some Internet sites,  think the lyrics are “medium rare with mustard’d be nice.” But Jimmy Buffett has confirmed that the lyrics are “medium rare with Muenster’d be nice.”, as in Muenster Cheese.

As Jimmy Buffett says, “Who in the hell puts mustard on a hamburger.?”

Get it right, people!

For dessert we shared an order of their Chocolate Banana Pudding, which is actually Bread Pudding with sliced bananas, ice cream, whipped cream, and chocolate sauce.

Margaritaville 5

It was a great meal, as the big smile on my beautiful wife shows.

Jan at Margaritaville

Because I had allowed extra time figuring we’d have a wait at the restaurant, we were finished up by 6:30, but our High Roller ride wasn’t until about 8pm.

While we were deciding how to kill an hour or so, we walked outside on the Strip and saw these two Adirondack chairs just waiting for us. So we spent about an hour sitting out on the Strip watching the world go by.

Well, watching the world, and a lot of strangely dressed people go by. But it was fun.

Margaritavile 2

We got out to the Wheel a little before 8pm, and took the escalator up to the boarding platform.

High Roller Visit 1

The Wheel doesn’t normally stop for loading and unloading people. It’s moving slow enough that you can step right in as the pod travels down the platform. But apparently not spilling the liquor is more important than the passengers, because the Wheel does stop so they can move the booze carts on and off the pods that offer drink service.

I didn’t see it as we were loading, but Jan said she saw some extra cleanup going on in one pod after they wheeled the drink carts off. Possibly combined with the alcohol, someone got a little queasy during the ride. I did noticed that they skipped loading any passengers on that pod as it came around.

High Roller Visit 2

Now supposedly 40 people can be crammed into one of these pods, but if so, they’re going to be standing shoulder to shoulder.

High Roller Visit 3

For some reason these pods remind me of the ships in 2001 A Space Odyssey.

space-odyssey-discovery-one

“I’m sorry, Dave. I’m afraid I can’t do that.”

High Roller Visit 4

Luckily for us we only had 8 people on our pod, so there was plenty of room to move around.

High Roller Visit 5

As we moved around our 550 foot arc, the views were fantastic.

High Roller Visit 6

High Roller Visit 7

High Roller Visit 8

High Roller Visit 9

High Roller Visit 10

High Roller Visit 11

One thing I found interesting during the ride, were the Las Vegas-based trivia questions shown on the overhead TV screens, and one of them brought back memories of my father.

The question was “What Casino did mobster Bugsy Segal name after his long-legged girlfriend, Virginia Hill?” The answer of course is the Flamingo. But the reason the question brought back memories of my father was that one time he mentioned he knew Virginia Hill.

Virginia was born in a suburb of Birmingham, AL, and somewhere along the line my father encountered her in a “professional” manner, as he said. The reason for this was that for many years my father was a detective on the Birmingham Police force, and apparently Virginia Hill was already on the wrong side of the law before she met up with Bugsy and the rest of the Vegas mob.

It’s really strange the things that can trigger a memory.

One thing funny was that after the Flamingo question, there was a Bonus Hint. It said to remember that most women don’t like to be compared to flamingos. Word to the wise. But I guess if you’re a mobster, you can get away with it.

Finishing up, and due to the three booze stops, our Wheel ride ran about 35 minutes, giving us plenty of time to enjoy the fantastic views. Then leaving our pod, we made our exit out through the obligatory Gift Shop. There’s always a Gift Shop.

We got home about 9pm after a really great time, with more fun on tap for tomorrow,

More then.

More from Budapest, and boarding the Skirnir


April 29, 2019

Home Sweet Skirnir . . .

The Viking Longship Skirnir is our home for the next two weeks, right here in cabin 110P (P for Port, apparently), though you would think they would know which side of the ship it’s on. And we don’t care since we just look at the cabin number on the wall.

Skirnir 110-1

Skirnir 110-2

Skirnir 110-3

Cabin 110 is down in the basement, the bilge, steerage, or the cheap seats, whatever you want to call it. We learned from our Holland-American Alaska cruise a while back that the only time we spent in the cabin was to shower and sleep. The rest of the time we were out and about. So why pay extra for more room, bigger windows, etc. when we could spend that money on extras.

This morning started off early at the Hilton Budapest hotel, hitting the breakfast buffet about 7:30 because we had a lot going on, since we had to be both checked out and packed with our luggage out in the hallway for Viking to pick up and take to our ship, all by 10am.

As I mentioned yesterday this is probably the best hotel breakfast buffet we’ve ever had.

Hilton Budapest Breakfast Buffet

Pretty much anything you’ve ever thought about having for breakfast, and a lot of things you probably never thought about having, because you don’t recognize what it is. But it was all delicious.

Especially the coffee. We haven’t had a bad cup, or even a so-so cup of coffee since we got here. Really good.

After breakfast, check out, and luggage out, we were free until about 1:30 when we would be transported to the ship, so we decided to do some more walking around, taking in the great views.

We started out by walking out in a direction we hadn’t been before, thinking we would make a big circle back around to the hotel, and we did. But unfortunately, our circle left us a couple of hundred feet before where we started,

Fisherman's Bastion Steps

and about six BIG flights of stairs back up to where we should be.

But we made it with no major heart attacks or strokes, which does bode well for all the walking tours we have scheduled.

About 1:30 they herded us all into a small van, which took us a big bus, which took us to the Skirnir. And by the time we got welcomed in and were taken to our cabin, all our bags were there waiting for us. NICE!

It took Jan and I about 30 minutes to put everything away. Despite the small size, there’s really a lot of storage space, especially since our 4 suitcases all fit under the bed. Of course it helps that we already live in a small space anyway.

We had an orientation in the Lounge at 6:15, and ended up setting next to Mike and Melissa, a couple from Memphis. Turns out we both like and dislike pretty much the same BBQ places there. They obviously have good taste.

So we ended up having dinner with them too. As well as a couple from Queensland, Australia. And we all had a really good time getting to know each other.

Skirnir Dinner Group

And the food turned out to be as delicious as promised. Jan and I both started off with the Baby Shrimp Cocktail,

Baby Shrimp Cocktail

but she got the Thai Red Curry Chicken, while I got the Angus Ribeye with double steamed veggies instead of the Steak Fries.

Angus Ribeye

Then for dessert Jan got the fresh Peach Sorbet, while I got the Fruit Plate.

Fruit Plate

While we were eating the ship pulled away from the dock and headed upstream, where it turned around and took us on a night time scenic cruise of the Danube.

What was interesting was how they turned the ship around. Not by making a big turn, but instead by using the bow and stern side thrusters to just pivot in place.

And the scenery was fantastic.

Budapest Chain Bridge

Skirnir Dinner Cruise 2

Skirnir Dinner Cruise Parliament

Skirnir Dinner Cruise

Budapest is a really beautiful city. And very old, over 2000 years old.

It was first settled by a group of Celts, but by 49 A.D. it was a thriving Roman Legion outpost with as many as 40,000 inhabitants.

Tomorrow in the morning after breakfast, we got a free Panoramic Budapest tour, and then in the afternoon, we’ve got an optional one, The Grand Market – A Taste of Budapest. Sounds like our kind of tour.

It’s got ‘Taste’ right there in the title.

 


April 29, 2020

Oops . . .

We had a very heavy thunderstorm come through early this morning that really rocked things. But besides a few limbs down on the road, all I saw locally was a porta-potty blown over at a nearby home construction site.

But our daughter Brandi did lose one of their backyard palm trees.

Brandi Palm Tree Down

These have really shallow roots so it doesn’t take a lot to dislodge one of them. But they may just be able to have it replanted. Luckily the fence it hit was already in the process of being replaced anyway, so no problem.

And when I checked our new Rubbermaid storage room this morning, it was also nice and dry inside.

On the humor side of the work from home situation, Will Reeve (son of Superman actor Christopher Reeve), a reporter for ABC’s Good Morning America got caught going a little too casual, at least below the waist, while on the air from his home,

No Pants

Oops!

Of course it could be worse.

Here’s a Spanish reporter whose mostly-nude girlfriend dashes by in the background. Unfortunately for the reporter, it was quickly obvious to many viewers that this girlfriend was not his other ‘very famous’ real girlfriend.

Naked Lady on Spanish News

Oops!

On a personal note, back in the day I did a lot of TV Broadcasting, both local and some network. And I can you tell that if the news anchor never leaves the security of the desk it’s more than likely he/she is just wearing blue jeans or shorts. And sometimes even less than that.

I’ve seen female anchors who have a dozen or so suit tops in different colors, with the blouses built in. They come into the studio in shorts and a t-shirt, put the jacket/blouse combo on and sit behind the desk. When they’re done they just unbutton the jacket, hand it to a floor person and walk out the door. And sometimes it’s even more casual than that.

As I’ve mentioned before, I was with NASA when the STS-3 Space Shuttle landed at the White Sands Northrup Strip backup landing site in March 1982. And since it was only the 3rd Shuttle flight, the news media mobbed the landing site.

The anchor desks were placed on top of semi-trailers so that the scene behind the desk looked out over the landing strip. One female network reporter, who’s name you would recognize, that is, if I could remember it, had a reclined chaise lounge right behind her desk.

When she was done with her segment, she would stand up, remove her jacket/blouse combo and leave it on the desk. Then she would slather the sun-screen onto her very curvy, very skimpily bikini-clad body, and then catch some more rays behind her desk until her next report. So you can never tell what they’re really wearing behind there.

 

Don’t know where this came from. But it’s been hiding somewhere since we moved from Alabama out here to Texas in December 1978.

It’s my beautiful Sweetie, back when she was 29. Really hasn’t changed since then.

Jan Driver's License 1976
 

And finally on a very sad note, on this date in 2013, our long-time close friend, Gina (Regina) Ellis died this afternoon. Her daughter Sharelle called about 7:30 to tell us the news.

It was not unexpected, since Gina had been diagnosed with Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer even before we left Houston in February, so we knew it was just a matter of time.

We met Gina and her husband George in 1980 and quickly became fast friends. George, who died in 2004, worked at NASA at the same time I did. In fact, he was head of Crew Systems for Rockwell Aerospace for years, and worked directly on the Space Shuttle design in both California and Houston.

Gina had a varied career of her own, starting as an executive assistant at NASA which is when she met George. Later on she was an EMT, and a police sergeant. And when she retired she was an investigator for American National Insurance in Galveston, investigating insurance fraud.

She will be greatly missed by everyone who knew her.


Thought For The Day:


If each day is a gift, can we get a refund on the crappy ones?

  

   .

%d bloggers like this: