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Cream Cheese Sausage Balls

 

 
Cream Cheese Sausage Balls

Ingredients:

1 lb. hot sausage, uncooked
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 1/4 cups Bisquick…
4 oz cheddar cheese, shredded

Directions: 

Preheat oven to 400F.

Mix all ingredients until well combined. Roll into 1 – inch balls. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until brown.

Sausage balls may be frozen uncooked. If baking frozen, add a few minutes to the baking time.

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Next Up, The Cheesecake Factory . . .

First off, A Happy Birthday to our son, Chris. Really look forward to seeing him in a couple of weeks over in Gulf Shores.

We met up with our Alvin Opry group at 2pm at the Webster Saltgrass Steakhouse, for the second time. Very popular with this bunch.

Alvin Opry Group Saltgrass 20220519

Some of them, Bob and Maria, on the left, we’ve known since the mid-80’s, and the rest since the late-90’s.

A great group!

And next month It’s the Cheesecake Factory on the schedule.

Holy Jumping Crocodiles


May 19, 2009

Birthday Wishes and Key Largo Dream . . .

First off, Jan and I want to wish our son Christopher a Happy Birthday today.

Jan and I decided to explore back up the Keys today.  We went all the way up to Key Largo and then back down to Key West.  There were several places that we drove by on the way down that we wanted to take a closer look at.

Strangely enough, most of them seemed to be gift shops.

Lunch was at a small but very good Chinese buffet restaurant in Marathon called Panda Café.  Really good!

We drove in and out of several rainstorms both up and down the Keys. But it did produce some very pretty pictures.  And the ‘Glades and Keys can certainly use the rain.

Storm Clouds over the Keys

One thing we got see on our trip today was ‘Fat Albert’  floating over Cudjoe Key.

'Fat Albert' floating over Cudjoe Key

‘Fat Albert’ is a 175 foot long helium-filled blimp floating at 10,000 ft.  It is tethered to a pickup truck at the small blimp base on Cudjoe Key.

It is used mainly by NORAD, and the radar  it carries monitors suspected drug smuggling flights, fast boats smuggling Cubans, weather, any low flying plane and other potentially harmful activity.

It is also sometimes used to broadcast ‘TV Marti’, which consists of anti-Castro TV programs beamed toward Cuba.

After we got back we headed down into Key West for another dinner at Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville.  Just as good as last time.

And of course, a few more gift shops had to be visited.

Tomorrow will be our last full day in the Keys before we head north to West Palm Beach on Thursday. We’ve really enjoyed all the sights we’ve seen here in Southern Florida and the Keys.

Here’s a few pics…

Flowers 1

Flowers 2

Flowers 3

Flowers 4

A Traveler’s Palm

Traveler's Palm

Interesting Hanging Plant

We also saw this interesting lizard while we were at Coral Castle.

Red-headed Agama

This one was about a foot long and I had never seen one like it.

A quick Google told me that it is a Red-headed Agama, native to Africa. It seems that some agamas being kept as pets had escaped and there are now a number of colonies thriving here in South Florida.

When they are in courting mode, the males are even more colorful.

Red-headed Agama in mating garb

We’ve also seen a number of interesting signs.

Sign 1

Looks like this guy has his business plan mapped out.

CrocCossing

Yes there are crocodiles in the Keys. The really scary part about this sign is that there is a 6 ft. fence on both sides of the highway for the entire 6 miles.  I’m not sure I want to think about crocodiles that can jump 6 ft. fences.

Prevent Scurvy

And finally, like I needed another reason to eat more Key Lime Pie!

End Of The Trail


May 19, 2010

Pig N Pancake . . .

We spent last night at Circle Creek RV Park just south of Seaside, OR.

CircleCreekRV

It rained pretty much all day yesterday, but when we first got up this morning it was clear. But that didn’t last long.

Since we had a short 105 mile trip today, we decided to have breakfast in Seaside before we left, so about 9:15 am we headed over  to the Pig N Pancake.

PigNPancake

Jan had the Blueberry Pancakes with Bacon, and I had the Banana Pancakes with Orange/Pineapple sauce, and both were really good.

After breakfast we drove down to the end of Broadway on the beachfront.  Seaside is a very popular tourist destination on the Oregon Coast and the town shows it.

Seaside 1

Even the streetlights reflect the Seaside theme.

SeasideStar

Seaside’s other claim to fame is that it was the end of the trail for Lewis and Clark in 1805. They stayed for almost a year before heading back east.

LewisNClark 1

LewisNClark 2

We left Circle Creek RV Park about 11:30 and headed north on US 101, and of course by then it was pouring down rain again.

But lucky for us it stopped right before we got to American Sunset RV Park in Westport, WA about 3 pm.

AmericanSunset

We were glad to find our good friends, Al and Adrianne Cox parked right across from us. We first met them two years ago in Fairbanks, AK and then got to see them again this past February in Tucson. They are workamping here this summer and it’ll be good to spend a few days with them.

AlamdA

They came over as soon as we got parked and we talked for about two hours. We also watched a crow trying to steal suet out of one of their bird feeders. Hey, crows gotta eat too.

Crow Suet

They already had a park get-together scheduled for tonight so about 5:30 we went to down to the marina area to eat at The One-Eyed Crab, a recommended seafood place. Jan had the Wild Mexican Prawns and I had the Fish (Cod). The platters came with twice-baked potatoes which was also good.

After dinner we drove over to the seawall to watch the waves come over it. There is a storm off the coast which is causing all the rain and bringing a lot of really high winds with it. When I got out to take these pictures, I told Jan the winds were about 60-70 mph.

There was a TV camera crew there taping the storm, and when we watched them later on TV, they confirmed winds in excess of 60 mph. And on Mt Rainer, they recorded a wind gust of 118 mph.

Seawall 1

Seawall 2

By the time we got back to the park, the rain had slacked off and left us this.

Rainbow

But the wind hasn’t let up. I didn’t even try to put out the Satellite dish. It would have been hopeless. But the park cable works pretty good, so we have some TV.

BridalVeil Fall, Not Falls


May 19, 2011

Yosemite Redux . . .

First off, I want to wish a Big Happy Birthday to our son, Chris. Enjoy your dinner at Ichibon’s.

Today was our day to visit Yosemite National Park. It was a second visit for us, since we were here last year, and we were looking forward to more of the fantastic views we had seen last year.

We left the park about 9, heading first into Oakhurst to pick up some things, like gas, breakfast, and lunch,

Gas, because there are no gas stations in the park proper, breakfast because everyone was hungry, so we stopped off at Jack in the Box, and lunch sandwiches from Subway, because we found out last year how bad the food is at the dining hall at Yosemite Lodge.

So we decided that with chips and drinks from home, sandwiches from Subway, and some of Jan’s delicious lemon bars for dessert, we were all set.

On our way into Oakhurst our daughter Brandi called with the latest Landon update. He had his 9 months checkup today, and Brandi wanted to let us know that he’s doing fine with no problems.

Finally, about 10 we left Oakhurst to make the 16 mile trip into the park itself. But the 16 mile trip takes almost an hour because the road is very curvy and we were climbing from about 2300 ft. to over 6000 ft. before dropping back down to about 2000 ft. on the valley floor.

After you enter the park, it’s about 35 more miles to the Lodge area. At about 4500 ft. we started encountering more and more snow as we climbed, But not near as much as last year. But then we were three weeks earlier last year.

Last Year.

SnowDrive 2

This Year.

Yosemite Snow Drive 1

Yosemite Snow Drive 2

One of the most spectacular views in the Park comes as you exit the Wawona Tunnel and get your first view of the Yosemite Valley.

Tunnel

That’s the 3000 ft. El Capitan on the left and the 4700 ft.

Half Dome in the middle of the shot. Half Dome just looks shorter because it’s a lot further away.

TunnelView 1

And this shot shows El Capitan, Half Dome, and BridalVeil Fall (Yes, Fall, not Falls. Don’t know why). Just a fantastic view.

TunnelView 2

Here’s a little closer shot of BridalVeil. Note all the mist at the bottom. We’ll see more of this later.

Yosemite Valley View 2

And here’s my Sweetie outshining it all.

Yosemite Valley Vew 3

This is Yosemite Falls, as seen from Yosemite Lodge. At about 2400 ft. it’s the highest waterfall in North America. BridalVeil is only a little over 600 ft..

Yosemite Falls 4

That is a lot of water going over that cliff.

Yosemite Falls 5

Last week, one of two people killed in the park was killed near these Falls.

After getting our National Park Passport stamped at the Visitor’s Center, we started on the loop that would take us back out of the park.

About 1:30 we stopped for lunch at a beautiful spot along the road.

We even had a helpful raven to clean up any crumbs we dropped. And of course Jan made sure we dropped a lot. At one point she even tore off a large chunk of my sandwich to give him.

Yosemite Raven

Leaving the picnic area, we spotted two does right along the roadside, just walking around grazing.

Yosemite Deer

Nearing BridalVeil Fall I found this Swallowtail Butterfly, although I’m not exactly sure which one it is.

Yosemite Butterfly

This is a shot of BridalVeil Fall taken from the path leading up to Vista Point near the base of the Fall.

BridalVeil Fall 1

And this photo was taken from Vista Point. You can only get about one shot before the mist obscures your lens.

BridalVeil Vista Point

All that water coming down translates into some really strong rapids at the base.

BridalVeil Fall 2

BridalVeil Fall 3

Leaving BridalVeil and heading on, we notice the fog starting to move in along the mountain ridges, and it started to get colder quick.

Yosemite Fog

Getting back to the Park entrance area we decided to make the 2 mile trip out to Mariposa Grove, home of Yosemite’s largest Sequoias, some of them over 300 ft. high. We didn’t get to do this last year as the road was snowed in.

Yosemite Mariposa

Although there are over 500 giant Sequoias here, they really don’t measure up to the ones in Sequoia National Park where we plan to go next week.

We finally got back to Oakhurst a little after 5, and deciding no one was really hungry for supper after our late lunch, we just stopped off and got cappuccinos.

Later, around 8 Jan fixed us a light supper of Cheese Toast. Really good.

That’s about it for today.

Eek-Eek!


May 19, 2012

All Landon, All the Time . . .

Well, it finally happened.

Landon’s first haircut.

And as much as Brandi probably hated to do it, it was just about time since he turned 21 months on this Sunday the 20th.

Landon First Haircut 1 

It was getting a little long and curly there.

They never had barber chairs like this when I was a kid.

Landon First Haircut 4

Landon First Haircut 8

Not too sure about those clippers buzzing around his ears.

Landon First Haircut 9

Ahh! That’s better.

Landon First Haircut 10

Monkey see, monkey do. The monkey’s name is Eek-Eek! because that’s what Landon said his name was.  A while back he had learned to say a bunch of animal sounds, and Eek-Eek! was the sound he said a monkey makes.

So when Lowell brought the toy home from a business trip, Landon immediately named him Eek-Eek! and takes him everywhere.

Landon First Haircut 12

Finally headed home.

Landon First Haircut 13

It looks like Landon first haircut went a lot better than our son’s first one.

Chris, who just turned 44 on Saturday, acted like they were cutting fingers and not just hair. in fact, he pitched such a fit, that after it was all over, we were politely asked to never bring him back.

Sunday morning at Starbucks.

Sunday Morning at Starbucks

Landon and Daddy Lowell

They started drilling yesterday (Saturday) and seem to be making good progress. They were at 800 feet by midnight and were at 2800 feet by midnight Sunday.

It looks like we might be here a little longer than the normal 2 to 3 weeks this time. They apparently will be doing a lot of sampling on this well so it’s scheduled for 40 days, which will take us to around the end of June. But of course, as always, things could slip.

So far this gate seems to be a little busier than our last gate, but that may just be because we are here for the startup.

No More Zip-lining


May 19, 2013

Electric Sheep . . .

(We’ll see if anyone gets this one.)

Well, we did pretty much nothing today. And it was really, really nice.

It made it all the way up to 62 degrees with plenty of sun, so we had the windows and the door open all day. Really nice. And the smell of pine trees just makes it better.

We’ve gotten a few more neighbors in the last couple of days, but nobody on either side of us. Hopefully that will hold. But with the Memorial Day weekend coming up, it might be touch and go.

When Jan did her zip line ride in Las Vegas last week, we purchased a photo of her, but I forgot about posting it until now. So here it is.

Jan's Zip Line Photo

They have a zip line ride here in South Lake Tahoe, but Jan says she’s checked off Zip Lining from her Bucket List, so it’s Been There, Done That now.

About 11:30 we called our son Chris to wish him a Happy Birthday. Now being 45, that makes him officially old. Of course I don’t know what that makes us.

Jan says she’s still 39, but I’m not quite sure how that works.

Brandi sent over a picture of the kitchen area of their new house with the backsplash installed.

Brandi New House Backsplash

Apparently things have really sped up on the construction front, and they may be moving in in just a couple of weeks. We know they’re really excited.

Wednesday we plan on making a big loop around Lake Tahoe, first heading up the west side of the lake to the Donner Pass area, then over to Reno for a Wal-Mart/Sam’s Club visit. After that. we’ll probably swing down through Virginia City, before heading home.

Tomorrow’s still kind of up in the air, though. We’ll see how it goes.

Great Views


May 19, 2014

TILT . . .

On another note, there’s a couple of new high-flying attractions on the scene now. The first one, called TILT, is on the 94th floor of the John Hancock Building in Chicago.

Guests stand in individual glass cubicles which then ‘tilt’ out 30° from the side of the building.

TILT 1

giving you a 1000ft straight down view of the city,

TILT 2

and a spectacular view of the Chicago skyline.

TILT 3

Makes me almost willing to journey into Chicago to check it out.

For another 1000ft down view, check out the Glacier Skywalk. Located in Jasper National Park in Alberta, Canada, it looks out over (and down on) a fantastic view of the Canadian Rockies.

Glacier Skywalk 1

Glacier Skywalk 2

Hope it’s not as big a tourist trap as the Grand Canyon Skywalk on the Indian Reservation in Arizona.

On a final note, I saw today that due to a shortage of gate guards, Gate Guard Services, the company we’ve worked for the last two years, has bumped the pay rate from $125 to $150 a day.

Hope it holds until we’re back there in August.

Stan Was Wrong


May 19, 2015

Still No Move . . .

Well, we still didn’t move today, so it’s going to be up to them to take care of things. Of course they pretty much do anyway since only company employees are allowed to drive the coach back here in the lot. But that way, if they dent it, they pay for it.

So we’ll just leave it all ready for them to move, with the levelers up and the slide in. All they’ll have to is unplug shore power and go.

But the good news is that Stan, the service manager, thinks that the rig will be ready when we get back. We’ll see. The only thing I’m really worried about is the torn up and shredded wiring. But Stan doesn’t seem to think it will be any big problem.

Again, we’ll see.

One thing I told them to do is to dump our tanks before they park us in the new spot. As of tomorrow, we’ve gone 18 days since we dumped our black tank the Saturday night before we left Las Vegas. I think that’s a new record for us.

After we got word that we weren’t moving this morning, we headed over to the Cowgirl in the Kitchen to have breakfast again. And it was just as good as last time.

Jan did a repeat with her omelet, while I did a changeup, and went with the Huevos Rancheros, with Bacon, Black Beans, and Jalapeno Cornbread. Really great!

Cowgirl 3

And of course their great Dark Roast coffee. After we got back from breakfast, I dropped Jan off and headed out for some pre-trip chores. First up was a new right front tire.

I walked into the Big O Tire store and told the guy I needed a new tire, and then said, “Anything but Goodyear”. And he didn’t seem surprised when I told him this was the second Goodyear tire in 6 months that started coming apart on the me.

The first one twisted and warped so the front end wobbled. Then this one split open along a sidewall seam so you could the cords, AND warp and wobbled. And Nick had two of his Goodyear RV tires start to come apart on him too. And we’ve both heard stories from other people about Goodyear problems. So I don’t know what’s happened to them, but they’re off my ‘buy’ list for now.

Finishing up with a car wash, a fill-up, and Jack in the Box breakfast sandwiches for tomorrow morning, I headed home and started packing stuff away for the trip.

A 4:30 wakeup for a 6am departure is going to come awfully early.

More tomorrow from Amarillo.

Gulf Shores, Now And Then


May 19, 2016

Dredging Up Memories . . .

Today was just nice and dreary, very overcast with a light rain most of the day. In fact the AC never came on until almost 7pm. So, nice.

Miss Karma is still doing great, and is pretty much back to normal. She’s jumping up and down on things with no problems, and is still eating good, though it will be awhile until her belly hair grows back.She’s not had any trouble with licking her incision, even though I wasn’t able to get her to wear a cone.

I cut one out of piece of plastic sheeting and then tried to get in on her. And after a few puncture wounds, and only one deep laceration, I finally got it in place. And then the fun started.

She thrashed and rolled around the sofa, crying and meowing. Finally she rolled off onto the floor with a thump and began to run around the rig, bumping into things, howling as she went. And it only took me a couple of more scratches to get it off her.

But her incision still looks good, so I guess she hasn’t been bothering it too much.

After I posted some old photos yesterday, a number of blog readers commented on how much Landon and I look alike.

So I thought I post some where our ages are closer.

Me 1949 Landon in Mickey Mouse Jammies 400

While I was going through Facebook today, I came across these old photos of Gulf Shores, where I grew up in the 50’s and 60’s. And these brought back some real memories.

This is the main beach intersection about the time we moved to Gulf Shores in the winter of 1950.

Gulf Shores Intersection 1950's

And this what the beach looked like in probably the 1970’s. The middle of the 3 piers in this shot is the remains of my parent’s pier. At over 600 feet when it was built in the 1950’s, it was the longest private pier anywhere on the Gulf Coast. When this photo was taken, more than half of it had been destroyed in a hurricane.

The main intersection is at the crook in the road in the photo below.

Gulf Shores Aerial

And this is what it looks like today.

Gulf Shores Intersection 2015's

And unlike the photo above this one, it’s pretty much multiple story hotels and condos as far as the eye can see it down the beach.

But of all the photos I found today this one was the one I was happiest to see.

Young's By The Sea

This was my parent’s motel after we built the bigger house, and after my parents sold it to Mr. Young around 1957. We lived in a small cottage at first, but built this larger place around it in 1955.

And here’s the way the Young’s By The Sea sign looked when we owned the motel. Yep, that’s me in my favorite cowboy suit.

White's By The Sea Sign

Several years ago Jan and I were eating at the Sea N Suds restaurant and I discovered this aerial photo on the wall. This is what the motel looked like, probably around 1956.

whitesbythesea

The Sea N Suds is built around what was the ‘Tackle Shack’ in the above photo.

The motel itself is long gone now and has been replaced by another condo.

Sea and Suds Front

Tomorrow we’ll do some shopping to get ready for Saturday’s get-together for our son Chris’ birthday at Brandi’s down in Katy.

Really looking forward to it.

Tomato Street


May 19, 2017

No Moose . . .

After a nice quiet morning and early afternoon, we headed out for the rest of the afternoon to drive around Coeur d’Alene and then have dinner.

Our first stop was at the Wal-Mart a mile or so back up US95 to drop off a prescription that we’ll pick up later this afternoon on our way home. Then it was on to the downtown area.

Jan was looking for some new moose socks and a couple of moose stickers. We found a couple of nice souvenir shops right downtown, and right across the street she finally saw a moose

Coeur d'Alene Moose

Then we headed out to make the drive around Fernan Lake, again looking for moose. We had some great scenic views,

Coeur d'Alene Lake Drive 1

Coeur d'Alene Lake Drive 2

and even some prime moose feeding areas,

Coeur d'Alene Lake Drive 3

Coeur d'Alene Lake Drive 4

but no actual moose.

Later, after driving down south of town we headed back over to Tomato Street, a really good Italian restaurant where we’ve eaten in the past.

Tomato Street

We started off with soup, Jan getting the Clam Chowder,

Tomato Street Clam Chowder

while I got the Tomato Basil Soup

Tomato Street Tomato Basil Soup

For our entrees. Jan got the Baked Mostaccioli with Roasted Chicken

Tomato Street Baked

while I got the Mamma Meatza Pizza with pepperoni, Italian sausage links, meatballs and prosciutto ham.

Tomato Street.Mama Meetza Pizza

Everything was delicious as in our last visit. One thing I noticed was that the Parmesan Cheese I asked for to sprinkle on my pizza was freshly grated and kept cold, not drying out on some shelf.

And of  course we have plenty of leftovers.

While we were eating dinner, I got a text from Wal-Mart saying our prescription was ready, so we picked it up on our way home.

When we were coming up through Washington yesterday we noticed Cannabis stores everywhere, including right along the Interstate.

Cannabis

And this ad was on the Spokane newspaper’s website.

Joints for Sale

I guess this is for people too lazy to roll their own.

Tomorrow we’ve got a 239 mile trip over to Garrison, MT for one night before moving on to Billings. We’ll try to get off a little earlier than usual tomorrow since we’ll be losing an hour as we go back into Mountain Time Zone.

Stalking?


May 19, 2018

Tag! You’re It!

After yesterday’s festivities, Jan and I just stayed at the rig today, never even going outside. We had kind of planning to take another load over to the storage room, but it just didn’t happen.

One of our blog readers commented, wanting to know how you train porpoises?

Turns out it’s pretty much like training any animal, except easier.  You start with something that the animal already knows how to do, and then try to get them to do it slightly different. Then you reward that behavior. Then it’s more modify and reward.

With porpoises it can be even easier.

They love to play and to mimic you. In one case I taught Lori to do a flip in mid-air when she jumped by doing one myself a few times from from the high platform.

It only took three times before she was doing flips in the air, copying me. In fact she was happy to just have me scratch her head as a reward, since she knew she’d get a bunch of fish when we were done. I also taught here to swim on her back with her head out of the water, again by doing the same thing until she started copying me.

And you only have to train one porpoise to do a trick. Then put her through her paces with another porpoise nearby. Thor wasn’t near as directly trainable as Lori, but that’s how I got both of them to jump together, as shown in yesterday’s photo.

Another thing that made Lori easy to train was that she love to play, especially tag. She would come up behind me, poke me with her nose, and then swim away. But she would always swim slow (well, slow for her), staying just inches out of my reach, as I chased her.

Finally she would let me touch her fin, and then give me a head start before she chased me. But even then she would circle around me and dive under me for a while before she would poke me again, and it would start all over.

But I think the most amazing thing she ever did was the time she gave me a fish, rather than the other way around. The pools that Lori and Thor were in were both open to the Indian River with underwater bars and above-water fences keeping them in.

One time an unwary fish came into Lori’s pool and she quickly caught it. I was sitting on the side of her pool, dangling my feet in the water, and  not paying much attention to her. I was mulling over in my mind what I could do to get that beautiful redhead who worked at the Miss Kitty’s Saloon across the street to finally go out with me.

Suddenly Lori poked her head out of the water holding a wiggling fish in her jaws. When I didn’t immediately take it from her, she tossed it up on the bank beside me. Thinking she wanted to play Fetch, another of her favorite games, I threw it further out into the pool. So she took out after it and brought it back, again throwing it up on the bank.

But when I raised my arm to throw it again, she chattered at me, her upset sound. So I put my arm down, and when I did she stopped. I raised my arm again, with more chattering and thrashing around in the water. Finally it dawned on me that she was giving the fish to me as a present because I always gave fish to her.

Lori gave me a present.

Since it was just about closing time, I headed out and cleaned the fish and cooked it up on a small charcoal grill I had. Later she was perfectly happy to eat the head and the tail that I threw in to her.

BTW it took me over two weeks and five or six tries to get the redhead to go out with me. Today it would probably be called ‘stalking’.

But lucky for me, I’m persistent.

WITE, Gregory?


May 19, 2019

Paris To London in 90 Minutes . . .

It’s become pretty obvious to me, and probably everyone else, that there’s no way I’m going to be able to catch up with the cruise blogs before we get home next Sunday.

For instance, the last four days in Paris, we were out the door by 8am and didn’t get back to the hotel until 10-11pm. So no time to even do a regular blog, much less process all the photos.

So I’m going to get back to doing a daily blog of our time here in London and then started catching up on the older blogs when I can.

This morning we were up at 6am, at the hotel restaurant for breakfast when it opened at 7, and out the door when our ride to the train station showed up at 8am.

We were taking the Eurostar High Speed Train, from Paris Nord, the same station we came into on the Thalys High Speed Train from Amsterdam last week.

London EuroStar

Our train is the one on the left.

These stations are huge with no porters or luggage carts to be found. So Jan and I, and everyone else, were dragging our suitcases hundreds of yards, and then up an escalator, no elevators to be found either.

So I would send Jan up with her small carry-on, and then send her big suitcase up behind her. Then I came up manhandling my two bags. Luckily someone at the top helped her get the big one off and to the side.

Then it was another couple of hundred yards to our check-in point where they actually scanned our tickets. Next we all queued up and went through two sets of Customs, French Border Exit Control, and then 10 feet away, British Customs. The French just checked and stamped our passports, but the British bunch x-rayed our luggage, checked our purses and bags, and wanded us.

What was kind of funny was that we were not checked for anything when we got on the train from Amsterdam to Paris, since it’s all part of the EU. The last time we went through any type of customs inspection was after we landed in Frankfurt before we left for Budapest on April 26th.

Then while we were waiting to board I found a Currency Exchange to get rid of the last of my Euros. So far we’ve cycled through four currencies, US Dollars, Hungarian Forints, EU Euros, and now British Pounds. And somehow I seem to get poorer every swap.

Actually we pretty much only have the cash for tips and the occasional place that doesn’t take credit cards. I’ve never had a problem with using any of our three cards over here.

When we finally boarded it was back down the escalator to the platform, but we found an elevator this time so it was a lot easier. But then it was another couple of hundred yards to our assigned car, which was #5. And when the train stopped, we were standing next to car #25. This is a long train.

Astonishingly these trains are over 2500 feet long, almost half a mile.

After dragging our luggage up the steps, we stowed it away, large bags in the area between the cars and the small carry-ons in the overhead racks. On both this train and the one from Amsterdam to Paris, we were warned not to leave our small bags with the big ones due to luggage thieves.

The trip actually takes about two and a half hours, but you gain an hour from France to England, so effectively 90 minutes.

But this ride wasn’t as nice as the Thalys train from Amsterdam. Not only was it not as smooth, the well-advertised Wi-Fi didn’t work either. And I don’t know what the roof was made of, but I was never able get a GPS signal for the Speedometer app on my phone. And I’m not talking under the English Channel either, but out in the countryside.

But it worked just fine on the train from Amsterdam, clocking speeds up to 311 kph, or about 194 mph. The Eurostar is supposed to be just about as fast, but is only allowed to go 160 kph, or 100 mph in the Chunnel.

We got into London’s station about 11:30, and again dragged our suitcases another couple of hundred yards to the end of the platform where we found our driver waiting for us, holding up a sign that said, WITE, Gregory. Well, at least the suitcases were his problem now.

I’m beginning to think that it would be easier to just throw everything away except the clothes on your back when you travel, and just buy new stuff when you get to your destination.

An hour later we were checked in and in our room.

London Lancaster Gate Room

And after doing a little unpacking and catching our breath, we headed down to the hotel restaurant for lunch. And what’s the first meal any new visitor to England should have?

London Lancaster Gate Lunch Fish and Chips

Fish and Chips, of course.

Really good, and a really nice restaurant,

London Lancaster Gate Lunch

with a very nice view out the window.

London Lancaster Gate Lunch View

But they don’t have Coke Zero, and don’t even think about asking for Iced Tea. They get a horrified look on their face liked you have bad-mouthed the Queen, and then they start stuttering.

And I don’t know what the problem is with even getting ice in your water or soft drink, but they must be rationing it or something. When they brought my Coke, I got a glass with three small cubes at the bottom. Then when we asked for some ice to add to the lukecold glasses of water we were given, our waitress came over with a glass with six cubes in it, and then spooned out three to each of us.

Back in our room, we unpacked some more, looked over our tour for the next day, The Total London Tour, and then since we’d been up since 5:30, we took a nice long nap, waking up just in time for, what else but dinner.

We decided to dress up a bit for this, but Jan really outdid herself.

London Lancaster Gate Dinner Jan

It’s hard to believe she’s kept me around for almost 52 years.

Jan had the Lasagna, which she said was OK, but wasn’t seasoned very well.

London Lancaster Gate Dinner Lasagna

We’ve noticed that a lot over here, that most foods aren’t seasoned as much as we’re used to.

But my Chicken Curry was delicious, and had a multitude of flavors.

London Lancaster Gate Dinner Curry

For dessert I had the Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting and Whipped Cream,

London Lancaster Gate Dinner Red Velvet

while Jan went old-school with Chocolate Ice Cream.

London Lancaster Gate Dinner Ice Cream

Tomorrow it’s up early again for Buckingham Palace, the Changing of the Guard, the Tower of London, and more.


Thought for the Day:

“No but I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe.
Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion.
I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser gate.
All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.
Time to die.”  – Roy Batty

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