Parker's E-Mag

December 2012 - A visit to the Georgia Aquarium.

(Atlanta Aquarium - December 2012)
Looking across Lake Ontario at from Hamilton, at the Toronto Skyline.
The aquarium in Atlanta, Georgia is huge. They opened in 2005 as the worlds largest aquarium with over 10 million gallons of water and over 120,000 animals according to their site and wikipedia. The funds to make the aquarium a reality were a gift from Bernard Marcus, Mr. Marcus was the founder of Home Depot which started and head quartered in Atlanta, Georgia. The new S.E.A. Aquarium in Singapore, opened this year actually holds more water so I believe the Atlanta Aquarium will lose the distinction as the world's largest since that opening in November 2012.

Largest or not it's an incredible sight as you walk through a tunnel and see the sharks and sting rays swimming peacefully over you head and beside you.Walking through tunnel as people take photos at the Atlanta, GA, Aquarium. Everyone is taking photos and looking in awe as the different spices of aquatic life surround you. I have never seen this many in one spot when I've had the chance to snorkel.

Don't spend all your time in the tunnel, tempting as it is, just ahead is another huge viewing area where you can watch the aquarium staff feed the whales, if you time it right, and see the massive creatures swim up against the thick aquarium walls. Whales swim up against the large viewing wall at the Georgia Aquarium. You think they don't look very large in the photo?
Children standing at the viewing wall in the Georgia Aquarium as a large fish swims past.The fish look tiny in photos until you see a child standing at the wall with them and have something to gauge them against, and I don't have them beside the whales to see that.

For a cost you can plan a dive or swim right in the aquarium and get up close to the 500 plus species in one place. Try to see that many on an ocean dive. If that's not to your liking there's so many other things you can do like sleep over, meet the Beluga's, or a behind the scenes tour.

The many exhibits and halls of the aquarium kept me thoroughly entertained for several hours and I didn't take the time to go see the Dolphin Tales show or do any of the extra tours. I'll be sure to return in the future for more fun.

From the roses growing outside in December to the black aquariums of the jellyfish inside, my morning at the aquarium was filled with beauty. Don't miss any of the exhibits, they are all worth the walk around. What a great way to spend a day. See the rest of the photos in the Georgia Aquarium album and below.

Canadian Thanksgiving on Vancouver Island - Some of my Favourite Places
September/October 2012 - (Scenic lookout from Victoria, BC - click photos for larger versions)Scenic overlook of the Strait of Juan de Fuca from the Scenic Ocean drive in Victoria, British Columbia.

Fish and Chips at Barb's Fish and Chips, downtown Victoria, BC.Downtown Victoria, Red Fish Blue Fish on the Dock - I've said it before here and it's just one of the reasons I look forward to heading to visit my brother, but it's one I hate to miss. Red Fish Blue Fish, fish and chips on the dock are worth the trip from anywhere. Best fish and chips in the world (well they are definitely up there). Sitting and eating them on the dock, watching the seaplanes, taxis and boats come and go just makes it all authentic. Mom agreed they were great, and found Vancouver Island reminded her of areas in her homeland in Scotland. Dad and mom both seemed to really enjoy the whole trip. With all the City of Victoria has to offer it's hard to believe a city is there when you check out the scenery and go for a drive on it's out skirts and scenic routes viewing the birds, wildlife and sea life. They have certainly managed to share the space in a way much of the world could learn from.

Clouds touch the water. Island View Beach - For a little exercise I headed out for a walk at a near by beach with my brother. Island View Beach is a natural looking beach which collects lots of driftwood, reminding me of the beaches that I watched as a kid on the old Canadian show the Beach Combers. It could easily have been one of the beaches that Nick and Relic were out walking along and though you won't find Molly's Diner just up the road, you will find something similar. The west winds spread the clouds in lines across the deep blue sky making those beautiful photo opportunities with the clouds leading to infinity into the photo. Island life seems so relaxed compared to the hustle and bustle of Vancouver across the straits.

Apples picked fresh from the back yard tree.The Islanders have learned their space is limited, environment precious and easily destroyed, so most things are left natural and undisturbed. Every few houses will sell baked goods, bread, eggs, etc, out front of their house in home made stands where you drop in your money on your honour and take the goodies with you. The black berry bushes were everywhere along the road side where Ronnie and I would stop and pick handfuls of sweet berries, unlike any you can buy and in his back yard I could grab a great tasting apple off his tree for the time I was visiting. You get to know your favorite stands and when my brother's neighbour a few houses down had their cinnamon raisin loaf out we grabbed it. The free run eggs he picks up had the largest yellowest yokes compared to the store bought version we had to pick up and dad couldn't get enough of the home made black berry jam we had grabbed from the corner store, where the lady who owns it puts out her own jams and baked goods each day also.

Provincial Parks on Vancouver Island - The beauty of the parks on Vancouver Island is hard to beat. The Durrance Lake Park sunset.smallest nature trails offer a natural beauty that can be difficult to find, if nature isn't left to just be nature. At Gowland Todd Provincial Park, on the Durrance Lake trail loop, near by Sidney, BC where my brother lives I have photographed eagles and wildlife in past. I went one evening hoping to catch a nice eagle shot but only got the sunset and some of the old man's beard beginning to grown and hang off the limbs of the branches as we circled the lake. Both shots show the beauty of the area, and I guess when I'm back in the spring, nesting season, the eagles will be more plentiful again. There was a swimmer using the cold lake water to prep for a triathlon (he was wearing a wet suit), and a couple other people out walking their dogs. In the parking lot we ran into a group enjoying another set of trails off the lake for some cross country cycling on the Gowland Provincial Park Durrance Lake XC trail, and it's all done among the tall trees and natural, untouched landscape. I sure would like to bring my bicycle and head out here. The trail system, both on and off road, is extensive, whether hiking or cycling.Old man's beard beinging to grow on the damp branches around the Durrance Lake Trail in Saanich, BC, Vancouver Island.

The accessible trail at Strathcona Provincial Park, accessed from the Mount Washington Parking Lot area.Strathcona Provincial Park - Along with the provincial parks near by my brothers we all decided to head up to Mount Washington for a few days for thanksgiving. We stayed in a lovely 3 bedroom condo at the Mount Washington Ski Resort, which borders the very large, Strathcona Provincial Park. Locals run the volunteer information center just across from the Mount Washington Parking lots with lots of information, brochures and guided hikes if arranged. Strathcona Park is massive and quite the undertaking. From the Mount Washington access parking lot there is even a wheel chair accessible trail with a wooden boardwalk around the meadows trail so everyone can come out and enjoy a little nature. Ronnie and I did the Lake MacKenzie Battleship Lake Loop with the 1.2 km add on and all totaled was a hike of 8.6 km's. It was a nice hike with about 1000m grade gradual grade change. The scenery and weather couldn't have been better. It was very dry this year though, with lots of dust coming up off the trail and a high fire risk, so no fires. The reflections in the lakes were incredible, the Whiskey Jacks (gray jays) all along the route land on your hand looking for food, and the sun shine was just warm enough to make for a nice hike. One Whiskey Jack flew up and landed right on my camera lens as I was trying to take a shot of him in the branches, as if to say, "now what are you going to do". See more of the scenery in my Autumn 2012 Photo Album, worth a look if you've an interest in Vancouver Island or just beautiful scenery and photos.View of Mt. Washington across Battle Ship Lake in Strathcona Provincial Park.

Skutz Falls area of the Cowichan River Provincial Park.On the way back down through Duncan we stopped at the Cowichan River Provincial Park, to have a look at the Skutz Falls area. There's several trails for hiking in this area also and don't forget cycling on the Trans canada trail which runs along and through this area. The parks and trails I could pick to go to every day seemed endless. There is just such an effort put in to preserving the wildlife and natural habitat it feels like my choices will never run out. How wonderful that so many volunteers and government officials have learned to work together to keep the island a beautiful and viable place to live without destroying their limited resources. This year the big issue on the Island in this area is getting the salmon up the Cowichan as the water levels are so low this year they can't make it up on their own. I can't wait to come back and hike some more of this trail area.

Ganges Port breakfast on Salt Spring IslandOther points of interest when you're on Vancouver Island could be a ferry trip to Salt Spring Island. My brother (almost a local) calls this the hippy settlement. There is lots of people that settled on Salt Spring Island on the artsy side and are there to live off the land to some extent or make money on the tourism selling their art. We did take the extended route up to Mount Washington when we went via Salt Lake Island. I stopped for breakfast at a quaint little bakery diner on the way. The apple cinnamon scone was good but I have to say it didn't impress me enough to pay the money for the ferry on the way back again. If I was cycling and heading over for a ride the ferry price might be worth it but for a car load and people, the $60.00 it cost for the stop for breakfast and a 15 minute ride from one ferry terminal to the next just wasn't worth the scenery, not that it isn't beautiful, but it's beautiful everywhere on Vancouver Island, so the cost of the trip wasn't worth it for me. I included a few photos of the Salt Spring Island visit in the Autumn album on the photo page also.

Lunch overlooking Nanaimo at Asteras, Vancouver Island, BC.My favourite greek restaurant of all time has got to be Asteras, which you have seen me mention here on previous visits. It was a pleasure to stop and take my mom and dad to Asteras on our way up to the Mount Washington, and let them enjoy the culinary experience there along with meeting Peter the owner, who is always careful to come out and say hello to his guests. He also tossed in some of his wonderful dessert to try when we were all too full to eat any! Don't miss your chance to eat here, and make sure you order the pita bread with humus, both made on site and have it with a traditional greek beer, Mythos, also served. My mom enjoyed the restaurant so much she went home and figured out how to read the online reviews and wants to be sure to post one. I wouldn't consider visiting my brother without a stop off at Asteras while I'm on the Island. If you are visiting the Island for anything be sure to make time for a great lunch or dinner here. Stop by 347 Wesley St, Nanaimo, and look for Asteras below.Asteras restaurant in Nanaimo, BC, not to be missed, grab the address, 347 Wesley St, Nanaimo, BC.

So that's a bunch of my favourite things about Vancouver Island, check out the Autumn photo album for more great scenery, it should be up with in a week.

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Aviation Museums and Airshows...Fun Pass Times
August, 2012 Carolinas Aviation Museum, life size model of Orville Wrigt on his first plane.

First US Drone used in the Korean War.Charlotte, North Carolina's Aviation Museum - At the Charlotte, NC airport you'll find a large hangar reserved for special exhibits at the North Carolina Aviation Museum. What's more fitting for the state where air flight was born.

In the hangar you'll find tons of exhibits from the birth of air flight to information on today's newest aircraft and you'll even find the remains (almost fully intact as seen below) of the fateful flight 1549, the downed Airbus A320-214 that Captain Sully miraculously landed on the Hudson River, after taking off from Newark on route to Charlotte, NC when he encountered a flock of Canadian Geese on take off. We like to the call geese Canada's Air force but had no idea they could be so deadly. In this case, with the expertise of Captain Sully, the plane was safely landed on the Hudson River and all survived. Charlotte Aviation Museum invites the crew, passengers The Concord model at the Carolinas Aviation Museum in Charlotte, NC, with information insert.and families, once a year to an open house in their honour. I'm not sure if I'd want to come see the plane every year or just forget it happened, but it's a nice gesture. Along with the Airbus there is many military jets, helicopters, a large (apx 10 ft) model of the Concord, one of the first drones used in the Korean war and shown on the left above, some now defunct commercial airline planes and a mix of other planes through the ages. Worth the cost of admission for the informative walk through and the volunteers were all up on their knowledge and very friendly. I've included photos of a few of the exhibits in the Aviation Album on the photos page.Captain Sully's down Airbus as it sits in the Charlotte, NC, Carolinas Aviation Museum.

The snowbirds do a fly by showing the tops of their air planes. Labour Day Weekend Air Show - So I had a week's holiday with the grandchildren at the cottage as mentioned on Snowbirds fly past showing plane bottoms, 2012 CNE Air Show.the front cover, but the week ended with my favorite summer time fun; made it to they Canadian National Exhibition for the Labour day weekend Air Show. Awesome to see Canada's Snow Birds in flight. I learned a bit more about taking photos at air Shows too.. definitely use manual exposure settings so the sky doesn't fool the camera into just taking dark colourless shadows for the planes. I can't wait for the next one to play with what I learned. I didn't get as many shots as I would have liked and faired much better when I did the photos at the Warrior's and Warbirds air show in North Carolina but I did get the all important entrance of the snow birds, and a few others that were very difficult to grab with the high speed jets on the sunny but cloudy day.

The couple Melissa & Rex Pemberton that perform together with Rex in a wing suit and Melissa in her Edge 540 were fun to watch and very difficult to photograph with Rex being so tiny but I have a couple of them. Amazing act. I got the C-130 Hercules (In Air Refueling Demo) trying to refuel mid air (they never connected), and a couple of T-33 "Mako Shark" Demonstration. I have a few other shots also, I'll put them all on the photo album page, see Aviation 2012. To see more about any of the acts at the CNE here's the roster of what went on for the day, CNE 2012 Air Show Schedule. There was one disappointment in the Air Show this year. I found it very slow moving. Most years it is one act after another but this year they wanted to stretch it out from 1pm to 4pm when the snowbirds arrived and there was far too much talking and going over the history of 1812 or the aircraft between flight acts. I didn't actually sit and watch the full show but left and went back for the Snow Birds arriving so I could enjoy more of what the CNE had to offer between acts. Check for more Snowbirds photos in the albums on the photo page if you're interested in the air shots.Melissa and Rex Pemberton duo, Rex in the wing suit and Melissa flying the stunt plane.

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Summer Vacation Fun - Harness Racing, Fireworks, Festivals, Safaris.
July 3 to 10, 2012 July 3, 2012 at the races, Barrie, Ontario.

Watching the races from trackside at Georgian Downs, Barrie, ON.Barrie Raceway Harness Racing (Georgian Downs) - Is there anything more exciting then seeing your three horses rushing for the finish line with little separation. Come on 5,3, 2, exactor. It wasn't to be this time but for 2 showing it was a $15.00+ payout on a $2.00 bet to show (the bet I had made on this one). This was one of my favorites nights of my just completed vacation to see friends, kids and grand kids all over southern Ontario. We did Orillia, Midland, Barrie, Innisfil, Toronto, Oakville, Guelph, Elora and Hamilton in a 1 week working vacation. Great time of year to do it all as there was festivals and events in each of the towns, celebrating Canada Day and summer. The night at the races is something everyone should invest in while while away.

Skip the Buffet at Georgian Downs - What a fun night. I recommend the races, but at least in Barrie, not the buffet. It was expensive and very disappointing with few options on the menu. If I had taken time to read the on line reviews I would have known this ahead of time. It does not rate very high in reviews on line so I would avoid the buffet at the track next time and instead go to dinner before going to the track, in Barrie at the Mandarin. If you are not familiar with Ontario, the Mandarin is a small chain of Oriental Buffet style restaurants that in my travels over all the world I have never seen done as well. Service and food quality are equal to the best of restaurants, way above buffet standard and the price is far less then the $28.00 to $32.00 the Barrie Raceway charged for a much smaller and poorer quality buffet. Overlooking the track while eating is fun and when I have done this at the Mohawk Raceway and Barrie Raceway in past, the meal has been excellent but this does not appear to be the general consensus at the Downs now. The price has greatly increased in the past 8 years. Many of the people I over heard talking about it actually told me they had quit doing dinner at the track as the price had gotten higher, food poorer quality, service non existent (this i found too) and the raceway has even eliminated the huge plus to dining in the restaurant of having your own betting windows. To place bets we had to leave our food and the buffet restaurant to line up at one of only 3 open general public betting windows outside the restaurant, and go back to cold food after placing bets. I did the betting for the table so not everyone had to head out. Amber came along to learn how to place bets after learning how to read the program and choosing a bet.

The buffet had limited food choices and the quality was not what I would expect for the price. There was a fresh pasta station where I lined up and did enjoy some fresh vegetables grilled and added to a marinara sauce and then poured over my choice of coloured spiral pasta or plain white shells. No whole wheat pasta option that I am used to from a fresh pasta station. I was the only of the 4 of us at our table to enjoy the fresh pasta, which I did consider the best part of the meal, as each time one of the others went up the young lady running the station was either very lined up and they didn't want to wait or absent from the station. The carved roast beef was mediocre, no choice on doneness. I had a few of the home made nachos and did not finish them, they were deep fried and over cooked. I didn't like the salsa sauce being served with the nachos either. I did enjoy the fresh peeled shrimp. They get kudos from me for having peeled shrimp on the menu and the seafood sauce was fine. No one at my table of 4 enjoyed their meal and desert was really no better so I didn't even bother to indulge in it. I tried a couple baked items and found them dry and tasteless. Shame, it was a wonderful in past. In future I will just have to head outside and enjoy the races for the night. Nothing like watching it track side and skip the indoor view from the buffet.Chasing the start gate, feel the excitement at the harness racing.

Where to Stay in Midland, ON - Kings Inn in King St, Midland is where to stay. I really wanted to mention where I stay when I go to Midland as it is a very clean well serviced privately owned inn style hotel. This is not a brand name hotel and you still use a regular key (no electronic keys here) to unlock your door but the rooms are kept amazingly clean with all the basics you could want for a super price. It is $45.00 to $55.00 for a single queen bed room and $55.00 to $65.00 for a two queen bed room depending on the time of year. The room has soap, shampoo and blow dryer. It has a kettle and instant coffee or tea bags with cups to make it in, a microwave and a fridge for this price. Everything else in town is $120.00 to $200.00 for basic room while the service here is better and it's cleaner then most. I could stay with my children but for this price I can afford to not annoy them and get some peace myself. The hotel owner keeps BBQ grills along the property and picnic tables where you can grill up your own dinner along with great quality wireless internet in all the rooms. I NEVER stay at non name brand hotels but this one had such good reviews on line I went over and asked to see a room last winter. After thoroughly checking the room I took it and I haven't looked back. I stay here every time I go to Midland, it's a great value if you just need a nights sleep with all the basics. This time I needed an iron and the owners wife grabbed me her own, that's small town service. Book early for busy times, there is not a lot of rooms and they fill up fast.

A world champion in the making.. better saves these pictures, she could be the Tiger Woods of Disc Golf.Fun Around Town, Midland, ON - Staying in Midland we get time to spend with the children and grandchildren. Little Audrey here is a regular at the Little Lake DGC, local disc golf course as mom and dad are avid players. You will find them most days having a round or two and Audrey has it down. If there's a disc on the ground or you give her one, she knows where to put it. Midland Parks offers at Little Lake Park, a challenging Disc Golf Course free in the park and you can download the map and score card here. While at the park don't forget to have the town's favorite french fries. Right in the center of the park you will find fresh cut french fries that have been sold there under one name or another for many generations now. Enjoy them while you're here.

Midland parks ran a great fireworks display for Canada Day, and an all day event, but I had spent the earlier day in Barrie with Len and Phi. Barrie had on Promenade days. Friends from Guelph also met us in Barrie for lunch and a stroll through the promenade day vendors. It was a pleasant afternoon topped by a great fireworks show. There is lots to do in the Midland area with beaches, Marinas, Parks. While in the area we went out to Balm Beach, did some walks down around the town dock, watching the fountain boats return from a rally that day, and saying hello to area friends and relatives. I popped in on my Aunt who manages the Starport Severn Marina, in nearby Severn, Ontario, and went to look at boats for sale at our the Wye Heritage Marina where my dad kept his boat when I was a kid and we kept our boat when our kids were growing up. I would sure love another boat now to take the grandchildren out on. Going to the home town is always fun.

Having fun on the train at the African Lion Safari.After leaving Midland I went to stay with friends in Elora and spent a day at the African Lion Safari (beware the site has very loud obnoxious music on the home page link) with my other grandchildren from Oakville. A day at Lion Safari is always fun and still reasonable at $30.00 each adult and $25.00 for children 3 to 12. The drive around the park on the bus is an extra $5.00 each but I have decided next time I will take my vehicle through and just skip the monkey area, which is notorious for damaging vehicles driving through. The bus is nice enough but if I drive around my own vehicle I won't have to fight to see out windows for photos or take them over people's heads etc. There is not a big concern of vehicle damage if you skip the monkey area, so I would recommend that way. At the end of the safari drive through the grounds there is a small water park, free train ride and boat ride, all included in your price. Don't miss the bird show either. We didn't see it this time but it is a great show, I've seen it many times in past and it's well worth your time.

It was a fun working vacation. I took lots of photos and have a few of the new one's in my I-Stock portfolio. I will get three new photos albums up on the the photos page this week with all the fun times we had in put in pictures. Check out the Lion Safari's animals, the grandchildren, more great shots from the races, and scenes from all the areas we visited.

Fireworks go off with a bang!

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Cruising Bahamas with Mom and Dad: Exit Port Canaveral
April 22 - April 26, 2012Views from Vail near the top of the chair, still good spring snow coverage.

Robin brings a little of Canada to Vail's slopes.Leaving Port Canaveral - There is definite advantages for us to leave from Port Canaveral instead of Miami. Number one being it was only a 7 hour drive to the cruise dock. We chose to book an ocean front room for the night before leaving and take a relatively leisurely drive down. There was time in the evening to go for a walk, pick up a couple bottles of wine, now allowed to board with you on Carnival Cruises, and get a good nights rest before heading to the cruise dock in the morning. It was very unrushed. I highly recommend arriving the night before a cruise if you can swing it to make cruise day just a little less hectic.

In comparison to Miami as a spot to stay, I can't say that Port Canaveral holds out the same charm as Miami did for us. It is not added to my list of places to spend more time at on it's own but for a port to cruise out of...It was close and easy access, making for a relaxing day before the cruise in the form of the shorter drive. The port is very industrial and not as scenic as Miami Beach but as you can see the beach itself is fine, taken as the boat pulled out of port to the Atlantic Ocean. My parents loved the beach front balcony view from the hotel and their night's stay.

Day 1 -Port Canaveral view of some cruise ships.Arriving at the cruise dock we all have to go through the Port Authority and security to board. We are allowed a bottle of wine each and a case of bottled water. This is something new, you used to have buy all your water on board and all alcohol. My mother purchased 4 little singles of wine but then was carrying on a bottle also which was my fathers. The TSSA man was not very pleasant and was quite confrontational when boarding. This is not the cruise ships fault but it doesn't make for a nice entry. The Port Canaveral Port Authority both boarding and exiting were quite abrupt and confrontational. I don't know if this is standard here, but we found them much friendlier in other ports we have left from, being Charleston, SC, Miami, FL and Tampa. This coupled with how often Robin travels (21 flights so far this year), and being used to courteous professional service from the TSSA, Customs etc, the abruptness at this port seems uncalled for and for that reason we may avoid it in future. The Customs person on arrival back to Port Canaveral was very brutal and it seemed to us the ship was bending over backwards to soften him up withSmall bird perches beside us while we enjoy a snack on and breakfast before he had to deal with the people. I felt they were used to the brutality of these authorities and tried to prepare us for it making sure we had all documents ready in line, and were all organized, etc. It shouldn't be necessary for the staff and customers to be afraid of the customs officials and they should treat you with courtesy and professionalism as their declaration states on their forms and most do, in our experience, in other areas.

An older female supervisor did help greatly on boarding when the security man yelled at my father accusingly after the metal detector went off with a "What do you have?" He had done the same with Robin when he set it off but Robin being familiar with traveling realized quickly he had forgotten to take off his watch but my father's didn't go smoothly and I thought after a bit of a confrontation they weren't going to let him on board, but the supervisor came out and diffused the situation. I bet she has to do that often for this particular agent.

Once on board things were smooth enough, the buffet was open, the slide ride running and we could sit and relax on deck. We were also able to get to our room immediately on boarding, though, some wouldn't be able to. They let you know what time your room will be ready. Our room was ready for 1:30pm and it was 1:25pm as we boarded. The cruise ship had no assistance or wheel chairs available to my mother when she realized how far the room was on board so do be careful. If you might need assistance of any nature make sure you arrange to rent a chair or bring one with you, or walkers you might need. I understand from speaking with a few other seniors that if you are smart you can prearrange to rent assistive scooters and devices in each port. My mom walks everywhere but has Rheumatoid Arthritis that can cause her pain and tries to be careful how much she does in a day. On the cruise she tends to over do it wanting to see everything and letting her desire to shop and see it all override her common sense about what she can handle pain free. All in all boarding was fine and we made it up to the deck for a snack after unpacking our luggage in what was a very nice double port hole room, which we were given as a no fee upgrade from an inside room. As a comparison to Day 1 in Miami leaving on Norwegian Cruise Lines in December, I give Norwegians departure a higher mark. It went smoother, authorities were nicer and the the NCL staff were actually present to give information and just seemed friendlier as we boarded more so then boarding this cruise. There was also bands playing and a few organized activities set up for departure day and some services open on NCL that were not on Carnival until we pulled out of dock.

Cruise Food - Breakfast with a view.Food aboard Carnival's Sensation was adequate but again, not the quality that was present on the Norwegian Sky in December. This is kind of huge for me as I had previously felt Carnival Cruise service and food was above Norwegian and as much as Norwegian surprised me with the quality upgrade on the last cruise Carnival just wasn't meeting the NCL standard shown on the Sky out of Miami, on this boat. I will let you know if I find the same standard on my cruise booked in November out of Tampa on Carnival.

Breakfast - We had breakfast in the dining room the first two days as I prefer sitting down over having to fight for a space at the buffet and the crowds at the counters. The service was adequate the food was adequate but nothing spectacular. Eggs Benedict was made their way, not quite what my father, a chef by trade, would have served. He found it a bit messy, the english muffin a bit stale, and egg not quite cooked to standard. My mother wanted a mug but as is standard, bring your own mug if you don't like the tiny cups. I gave her my Timmie's mug the first day but took it back after the first day. If you recall on an earlier cruise when I hadn't brought a mug I did go buy my own to fill with coffee and walk around with. I also brought a water bottle to fill with Orange Juice in the morning and keep in my fridge so I'd have something to drink later in the day but as I was allowed to bring on bottled water on this cruise that wasn't so important to me and I only actually filled it one day. But if you like your OJ with lunch instead of breakfast, do bring something to take it with you as it is only served in the morning and lunch just has coffee, tea or water available at not cost. Orange Juice would have to be purchased in a small overpriced glass from the bar.

The one day we went to the breakfast buffet I went simply to see if they had any better quality food up top at the buffet then in the dining room. I had loved fresh omelet stations on NCL but Carnival's omelet station on this boat did not live up to Norwegian's. There was what appeared to be a form of assembly line to make an omelet unlike the chef's that made NCL's. The quality control and pride in work didn't seem to be there. One guy threw in a bunch of oil, passed the pan to the next guy who stuck it to heat up, and asked what you wanted in it. There was only about 6 items to choose from where NCL had 20 or so. Then your pan was moved down to the next guy who added the egg mixture and then passed it down again and the last guy finished it up, put it on your plate and no fancy flipping or friendly banter. This ship did seem to lack in staff knowledge and banter. Our room steward was great, as usual but his boss came and told him to move along one morning when were asking him some questions. My mother LOVED the casino staff from India and had tea with them one evening after closing and she believes many on the ship are being trained and only on this ship for 2 months. This could explain the staff issues we found. Possibly this ship is used to train the staff and give them their first taste of working for a cruise line. If this is the case many will serve only once and not come back when it's not what they expected. Others will move on trained and be far better then the learning curve we saw.

Lunch - Each day I had lunch at the buffet. It was just easier to come back from our shore excursion when we felt hungry, eat and then go do what we wanted for the rest of the day. There is a fresh deli spot where you can get a sandwich made. The fellow working here when I went was in training and seemed to have a difficulty understanding what I wanted, then had the most annoyed look when I asked him to correct the sandwich. I understand there is language barriers for the staff when training and understanding the clientele when they are not english as a first language or the language being spoken, but I hope the first thing they are taught is to be gracious and empathetic when mistakes are made. Lunch over all did not have as many choices as NCL had or the fresh options found on NCL.

The carving station served a different roast each day. Beef one day, lamb (my favorite) another, turkey one. All of the food from the carving station tasted fine. The Lamb was good, surprisingly, the beef was sometimes a little grizzled but good for the most part. I did note that each day the same fellow had to serve me, was NEVER standing at the carving station and someone would call to him (this was at standard lunch times, between 12 and 2pm), and he would slice the thinnest pieces. I'm not a huge eater and each day I would have to ask for more please and he would slice a second very very small thin piece and I would say, I'm a HUGE eater or this is for my dad, he's a big man, more please. Slowly I would get what I considered enough lol. I did this for each plate I was getting in a day and every day I was on board. I felt he should remember me just for that but never.. I always had to ask for more twice. If you wanted burgers and fries there was a steady line there and lots of happy customers.

Dinner wait staff doing their evening song for entertainment.Dinner - Our dinner wait staff was good and the young lady (Lola she said) that looked after our table was not new. She did have wry sense of humour that occasionally caught my mother off guard but I appreciated the sense of humour. She was over worked at times and had to stay organized to keep up. It was very difficult to get a planned seating. We could not get it when booked and had to ask when we got to the ship if they could give us a planned seating. I really don't like the come when you want system as, especially on sea days, it can be busy and lined up at the time you want to be seated and I have twice seen them turn people away with an apology and ask them to come back later. This, I am told, should never happen, but as I said, I have seen in and experienced it myself and just want to know when I'm being served and where I'm sitting. It turns out, everyone I spoke to on board had wanted a planned seating and been disappointed they couldn't get it. I did not see a problem on this particular cruise with people being turned away at dinner though the dining room was very busy on the one sea night. I do not know who the people are that desired the dine on your own time so much they implemented on many cruise lines now, but my own unscientific survey, says, some people want it but the majority did not.

Food itself was again okay, but not fabulous. The diet Key Lime pie was just scary but I did indulge most nights in the sugar free desserts to see what they were like and the rest were good. I also chose the health fare picks on the menu each night and I found all tasty and edible but not spectacular. The grilled salmon was my favorite and I had my dinners with steamed broccoli each night. My review of the food includes the opinions of how other people I spoke with my family reviewed their own dinners. The steak was a better quality then I was served on NCL. I was pleased with that. It was an inch thick sirloin, about 6 ounces and juicy enough though maybe not the most tender. It is always nice to know that your food is going to be cooked, be decent and included. For that I enjoy the food served. If I was heading to a gourmet meal these would not be high rated but they are good. Dinner was on par with the NCL dinners. My family were not overly impressed with their dinners, they did not oooo and aaaah about them but still enjoyed then well enough. I suggest asking the server what dinner and dessert they recommend for the evening as each night one did stand out as better then the rest. On my next cruise, in November, I'm going to take some photos of the dinners and give a better idea of what is served.

Port of Lucaya lighthouse.Freeport, Bahamas - Well the cruise, out of Port Canaveral runs to Freeport and Nassau. I've been to Nassau enough times but Freeport is somewhere I hadn't been. Freeport is an industrial port. I quite enjoyed looking at the ocean liners coming in and out and the industrial activities in the port, but to get to any shopping or activities it was necessary to take a taxi from the dock to town. I went to a small tourist spot, Port of Lucaya, with some shops and a marina, but had really wanted to go to the main town to check out the shops but the Taxi driver we asked for information from didn't seem to understand our request and that's where we ended up. It was fine, we shopped and looked around it for a couple hours and found a taxi home.Freeport industrial overview from the Cruise Ship. Be careful what taxi you take. We took a taxi on our own and it was the $4.00 the cruise people had said it would be but when we wanted to come home he had us waiting 45 minutes hoping more people would show up and trying to see if more would come when asked. It was early, we had come out at 10am and it was just coming up for noon when we were heading back while most were still just arriving for the day. The fellow offered to take us back with just us if we could pay more, like $27.00 and we just said, don't worry we'll come back later. We walked around the corner, along a few shops and there was another taxi spot taking tons of people home no problem, right away. We paid our $4.00, went back to the boat and didn't bother going back in to Freeport that day. We played mini golf on board, used the slide I'd been dying to try, had one of those icy sweet drinks (strawberry margarita), and took a nap. It was a great afternoon. See photos of the mini golf and water slide in the photo Cruise 2012 album.

Nothing says Nassau like a couple of Bobby's, Mom shopping and a Rolex sign behind her head.
Nassau, Bahamas - Day two was a stop at Nassau. I've been to Nassau so many times now I had a pretty good idea of where I wanted to go and what I wanted to do. The hope was for Robin and I to take off to Atlantis for a day of fun but again, as in December, the weather wasn't warm enough for our liking. It hung in the 70's for the day. Great walking weather but not what we consider great swimming weather. This just gives us one more reason to take one of these mini cruises again. We will get inside the gates of Atlantis and ride some slides other then the one on the ship next time we hope.

Shopping with my mom and dad was a lot of fun in the morning. My mother had to get her shopping fix and pretended she didn't hurt, but she has agreed to let us see if we can rent her scooters for the next cruise or at least bring her walker. I think she'd love being able to go from store to store on a scooter and have no worries of pain accept from getting off it to run round the shop. We probably walked 2 miles over all with her and she hurt for it later but had a fabulous time. You can see above that two nice bobbies couldn't resist the red headed Scottish accent and posed with her for a shot. That was so nice of them. We all returned to the ship for lunch and after lunch.

Junkaroo Beach right of the cruise dock in Nassau, BahamasAfter lunch Robin and I went out to explore the areas we hadn't gone in past. We went right off the ship and found a wonderful beach (Junkeroo Beach) just past the shopping area along with a Fisherman's Wharf area full of great smelling seafood restaurants, and we went through an old fort, Fort Charlotte also. Fort Charlotte offers guidedFort Charlotte from the outside, in Nassau, Bahamastours and was an easy enough walk for us. It was a fabulous afternoon just exploring the port and there is so much to see and do in Nassau. Next time we think we will head to the beach and hang out for the day with a pitcher of icy drinks! The beach drinks were much cheaper then the cruise ship.

Go explore Nassau next time you're there or lay on a public beach where you'll see the local school children stop by on their way home from school in uniform. The flavours and smells of the Bahamas are many and even after you think you've seen and done it all I'm sure you can find something new. Give it a try.

Sunset in the Carribean
With a full day done and a day at sea to go still for the ride home we ended with a typical beautiful sunset the night before we were done and arrived in dock as planned on Thursday morning at 8am. The departure process for non US citizens meant we had to go to get stamped from Customs for our non existent purchases prior to the boat being free for disembarking and we had to be there at 7:00am so it was a very early breakfast, show up to the customs meeting and then we were able to head off the boat as part of the self disembarkation process. As we were on floor 7 (the floor that disembarks) our floor was called first and we were off the ship and on our way home by 10 am. It was, as usual, a great and inexpensive way to get a mini vacation. Cruises are a terrific way to get a taste of a lot of different ports for a very reasonable price. Comparing the food to what I might eat in a strange country and port at an unknown restaurant would very likely move it up a few notches. Don't be worried, take a cruise, there's lots to do, you're sure to enjoy it but knowing the surprises and little hidden costs and annoyances (drinks, daily 10.00 each in tips, on board account instead of cash), will make the first one all the more enjoyable.

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Vail and Denver - Visit in the Spring.
March 24 - April 1, 2012 Views from Vail near the top of the chair, still good spring snow coverage.

Robin brings a little of Canada to Vail's slopes.Vail in Spring - Robin had to head to the Denver Mint to work for the week so I tagged along to catch some late season spring skiing and just be a tourist in Denver for a week. To get some ski time in we flew out on the Friday before the work week and arranged to stay at the Vail Holiday Inn for the weekend. My plan was to pick up an A-Basin pass that I would use again on Mothers Day to fly out and visit all the Bears from Epic Ski, who make A-Basin a mothers day tradition. When I saw the lack of snow this year, I decided the A-Basin pass could wait until next season (buying now it would be good for both seasons) and just ski at Vail for the full weekend and check out Copper through the week as I always miss Copper when I'm out this way..Spring skiing in dresses and shorts. It didn't hurt that I had been unaware that Vail offered a professional courtesy pass price to all instructors, including those from another country and that made my weekend of skiing at Vail very reasonable so I decided just to ski Vail both Saturday and Sunday. As you can see the snow at Vail on Saturday was holding up quite well even though we did hit close to 60 F on both days of the weekend.

Bikinis on the ski slopes... Wonder if she's old enough to dress like this without mom's permission.The warm spring sunshine is always fun to ski in, the soft afternoon snow makes it perfect for mogul skiing and it brings out all sorts of costumes too. Skiing in dresses and shorts is the norm this time of year and the occasional silly youngster in a bikini can be spotted. Might make it easier to talk someone into a spring ski tip!.

A-Basin snow left on 03/24/2012, beginning to thin.We took a drive down to check out the snow conditions at A-Basin on Saturday night before making the final decision on where to ski Sunday. After having a look we stuck with the plan to ski Vail.You can see in the photo that coming down the bottom front of A-Basin was already turning pretty brown from the mud mixing in with the snow and there is quite a few bare spots. I decided to save my skis and ski Vail the next day also. Vail was suffering quite a bit from a lack of snow by Sunday afternoon also. The ski rack area that had full coverage on Saturday was now very wet and we couldn't ski right to the village sidewalk at Lion's Head area by the time we skied down in the afternoon. Where the skiers had been standing around the racks the day before had no snow left. I didn't bring my camera along to show the photos, but the one day difference was quite dramatic. We still had a great day skiing Sunday and enjoyed the sunshine.

Denver Downtown - Staying at the 16th Street MallThe 16th St. Mall

We arrived in Denver on Sunday afternoon after skiing for most of the day. Our first stop was at Colorado Mills. AnColorado Mills sign welcomes you to the mall. appropriate welcome banner to the mills for Colorado and then it was downtown to check in to a room at the Crown Plaza downtown Denver just off the 16th Street Mall and around the corner from the Denver Mint. Walking distance to everywhere. I spent my week days relaxing, enjoying superb dinners, taking photos of what I thought made Denver downtown special and I got one more day skiing at Copper Mountain on Thursday to cap off my year somewhere new.

Crown Plaza Review - The Crown Plaza was pleasant enoughWhat makes Denver unique? and a great location to stay but I had nothing but frustration with the internet and due to the internet connection will stay at one of the other near by hotels next time I'm in Denver. With my I-stock portfolio and travel, trying to keep up with family, work and web sites, without a good high speed connection is just too frustrating these days to put up with an internet connection that doesn't include enough bandwidth to go around to all the customers on a week that the hotel was not even half full. That information came from the hotel manager about the it not being half full and the their internet tech service informed me that during the day when I called there was only enough bandwidth purchased by the hotel that with the current people logged on it would give each person under 1mb/s and that was what I was measuring, about 2 times dial up. Management did offer to move my room in hopes of a better connection (my signal showed 5 bars though) and also said they felt their ISP had done something wrong as they had purchased and upped their plan in February (over a month earlier) and had heard no issues since that time. Well if that meant they weren't going to fix it then I just would deal with it for the week and make sure it's not an issue next time I go by staying elsewhere.

Breakfast at the in hotel restaurant, Off Sixteenth, was your typical very expensive downtown city prices for an average quality breakfast. They had a buffet for $14.75 plus leave a tip which I refuse to do for a buffet and I rarely have the buffet anyhow, preferring to order fresh food no one has sneezed in and have it delivered to my table. My favorite breakfast is Oatmeal (not instant) and berries. I found on the menu, oatmeal and fresh fruit would cost me over $11.00 and didn't include coffle but the buffet did include coffee and orange juice plus had my oatmeal and berries. The first day I had the buffet to get my oatmeal as it was cheaper that way then off the many with the coffee but for the rest of the week I went around the corner to the Corner Bakery to enjoy a fresh bowl of oatmeal and berries each day for only $6.00. The hotel did not even supply a coffee in the morning for free, which is pretty standard these days so those of staying at the hotel, there was 4 separate parties used to traveling for a living, all felt they could do a better job for very little effort. Over all I guess none of us were overly impressed with the hotel but it's location made it worth the stay and they did upgrade everyone's rooms to suites as all were platinum priority members and the suites were very nice. Proximity to the 16th Street Mall did make the Crown Plaza a very convenient spot and worth it's issues accept the internet for me.

The 16th Street Mall, Denver Downtown, looking toward the mountains.
The Sixteenth Street Mall
makes downtown Denver one of the most unique cities I've visited. That's pretty impressive that a new city can still excite me and convince me to drag my camera out each day for a week to get photos and views. There was lots in the area mountains I would love to see also but this week was about the downtown, another trip I'll go see the near by parks. I wanted to make it to Red Rocks Park and natural amphitheater but it didn't happen this Unique answer to funding for the homelesstime and is on the top of my list for next time. The one day I had access to a rental car I chose to go skiing again. Next trip I'll have Red Rocks Park and Pikes Peak to go see, as they were both places it was suggested I not miss.

Denver also had a big share homeless people for a city not in a particularly warm climate which surprised me. I'm not sure which came first the homeless or all the unique programs for the homeless found around Denver downtown; whichOne of many mall cafe's on the street. ever it was there is a lot of homeless playing chess, sleeping on the street at night across from the hotel and wandering during the day. None really bothered me and there was less pan handling then I would have expected for the number of homeless.

The good restaurants along 16th Street were too numerous to mention all. I loved the sidewalk cafes, eating out doors for lunch and the ambience of the downtown in the evenings. The many chain eating venues, like the Cheese Cake Factory, Maggiano's, and even Subway, take on a new feeling when you add a sidewalk cafe to them. It was all about the atmosphere. There was always a concert, game, sports run or something going on in the evening for the week I was here. I've included a photo album of many of the downtown photos I took to try and give a feel for just what made Denver downtown so special. The bulls, the street cafes, the street vendors and street performers give Denver downtown it's own vibe and well worth a trip to come and enjoy. Go see it.. but see if first here, in my photos.

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Thanksgiving 2011, Does it Get Any Better? Whistler and Victoria, British Columbia
November 25, 2011 - First Day of Whistler's Ski SeasonA little bit of fresh snow gets plowed in the morning, just what we want to see out first day of the year!

Blackcomb is open and we're ready to go.A Couple Days in Whistler - Nothing I can think of excites me more then the prospect of fresh snow and a day to ski in it. What could be better to give thanks for then that. Thanksgiving weekend 2012 found me waking at Whistler Village, British Columbia with my favorite people on earth and a foot of fresh snow to head out in to. Ron bought a Go Pro camera to take some video while he The new Go Pro camera.skied this season which he put on his head before we headed out for the morning hoping his second day of skiing (he got out a week before me) would give him some serious face shots. Points saved up and used at the Holiday Inn Whistler made it a relatively inexpensive way to spend 4 days also. At 35000 points a night we secured a nice condo style room with all the kitchen amenities to make our on steak dinner and have it in the relaxation of our unit after a day on slopes. Can't be beat. The airline coupon saved and used to fly out didn't hurt either.

Ron coming down the side finding some untracked snow for first run.Fresh tracks weren't hard to find this morning as the ski crowds wouldn't arrive until tomorrow when Canada would have it's weekend. Friday was not a holiday in Canada. We skied fresh snow for the morning then took a break to try and adjust my new Fisher 110 Vacuum boots. They were just a bit snug yet but adjusting my socks did the trick and I headed back out after lunch, with no pain, to ski moguls for the afternoon. It was a fabulous ski day, I just wish I had been in mid season shape to fully enjoy it.

While I was in having lunch and fixing my sore feet in my new boots, Ronnie stayed out in search of the ever elusive fresh tracks. I had told him that very morning about tree wells and their dangers and my falling in one in Utah a few years ago. Surprisingly he'd never heard of them, even though he's skied west for years also. I had only read about them the year before I found my first one. I guess we ski a lot more in trees then 20 years ago, with most resorts having open tree runs now. Well Ron went looking for a run he could see from the lift and cut through a small swatch of trees, while running his Go Pro and landed in a well for his first time. At least being the beginning of the year it hadn't developed to an over the head well but it was already chest deep as his video shows when he sticks his pole in to try and climb out of it. People drown every year in tree wells. Be sure know how to get safely out of a tree well. Most people flip in backwards, or sideways like Ron did but with deeper ones their head falls in and they are upside down in a hole at the base of a tree which quickly fills with snow. One should never ski alone in the trees, especially after a fresh snow fall and a water whistle is a good idea too as it won't clog with snow and will be louder then your yell to a buddy. If you leave your buddy to get help instead of digging him out he'll likely die, you have to be there to help right away.

The rain keeps us inside the ferry for the first half of the misty crossing.Horseshoe Bay Ferry -The next morning I knew what sore was. I hadn't been able to bikeEnjoying the fresh misty November air on the Horseshoe Bay Ferry to Nanaimo. this year in my off season due to a shoulder injury I received last ski season that kept re-injuring if i jostled it with my bike. My legs were never so tired as when I woke the second day. I'm glad my shoulder is fully healed now and i'll be cycling no worries to help keep in ski shape this year. The daily trampoline aerobics workout wasn't quite enough for keeping me in top shape. We were planning on skiing Saturday also but woke to some very heavy wet snow with the promise of it turning to rain, even at the mountain top by early afternoon. With the sore legs and misty base mountain already we decided to save the $300.00 to ski in the rain and instead packed up and headed down to the Horse Show Bay Ferry to head over to Nanaimo and do the scenic drive to Ronnie's place near Victoria. The misty morning kept the travelers inside the ferry for the ride across and I can't say there was a lot to be seen from outside. I'll have to take the Nanaimo Ferry on a clearer day. We did go outside and enjoy the misty ocean air though and the hazy view of other ships as they passed in the fog.

Asteras Greek Taverna in Nanaimo, BC.Lunch in Nanaimo - I was looking forward to enjoying a greek dinner from Asteras Greek Taverna in Nanaimo. Ronnie had told us how great it was and there's nothing I like more the real Souvlakis with greek potato's and salad. When we reached Nanaimo all Ron could remember was it was a little greek restaurant he had stopped at with friends a couple of times and he didn't think it would be difficult to find but had to Inside Asteras Greek Taverna, 347 Wesley St., Nanaimo, BCdrive around a little. We stopped at a bank for Ron and the teller knew where we were looking for and gave us the address. We headed right there. The house here is the restaurant and there's a sign at the street. It was nicely renovated and quaint inside. The food was fabulous. My brother got the gourmet taste in the family and worked with my dad for a while (dad was a chef). The owner popped out to say hello and be sure we were enjoying the meal (always a nice touch). Stop in if you are near, you won't be sorry. I highly recommend the Lamb Souvlakis

Scenery Downtown Victoria and Blaine, Washington

Ron and Robin on the dock at the floating house community.Sunday took us down Victoria in the rain to see the harbour. Ron showed us some of the floating house communities that are springing up in various Vancouver area locations. They give a whole new meaning to house boats. Waves crashing on to shore soak Ronnie.The fish and chip place on the dock, Red Fish Blue Fish, isn't open this time of year so I'll have to go back for fish and chips another time. Still the best fish and chips I've ever tasted I tasted is Red Fish Blue Fish, right on the dock. Hope I get time to go visit Ronnie in the summer this year.

Black Tailed Deer on a front lawn in Victoria, BCThe floating house com-munity is where the harbour seals kept coming right up to the dock and waiting to see if people would feed them fish, as I mentioned earlier on the front page. It's such an incredible place where you can just go for a walk and have wildlife coming up to meet you at the dock.The scenic view, even in the rain from various harbour front lookouts is still incredible.Ron gave us a little fun when we stopped to admire the view as the rollers were crashing over the guardrails. (Deer photo can be purchased on I-Stock)

We took care of the rest of Sunday with a scenic ride back to Ron's and a Ferry ride over to the mainland. We passed deer right in someone's front yard on our way back. What a fun place to live. That would take care of Sunday for us. With only a 4 days weekend and a day off, we would need to head back across the border today so we were ready for flight home on Monday evening.

To Blaine, Washington
Seagul being hand fed from the deck of the Ferry crossing from Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen.Active Pass Light House, taken from BC Ferry, Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen.We were to stay with friends in Blaine, WA on Sunday evening so we would be in the states and not have to worry about getting caught in a long border line up and missing our flight Monday. The sun finally decided to pop out for the early evening sail and give us spectacular views on the ferry ride across to Tsawwassen from Swartz Bay. The drive down to Blaine was uneventful and our friends house was a lovely spot for a nights stay. Very near the Ocean, a Monday morning walk would show us just why they choose to live in such an out of the way spot as Blaine, Washington. The coaseline at Blaine, Washington, USA.
(Above photo available on I-Stock, credit Elizabeth Parker)

The beautiful rocky coast above is just down the path from where we staying on Sunday night and our Monday morning walk took us to see this and much more of the natural beauty that can be found in the area. The back drop across the Bay also reveals the distant Mount Baker, beautiful sun sets, and a sailing and boating mecca. I certainly understand why they want to live here. The sailboats in the sun at Blaine, Washington.

The photos above and more can be found on the photo page under Thanksgiving 2011.

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Archived News Stories Here: 2011 2010 2009 2004 to 2008

Update: August 2020 - Crazy covid world. I think I mostly guessed right back in March.

Features and Headlines:

August 21, 2020- Photos are up but articles and details still to come - Hunting Island, St. Phillips Island and Hilton Head Island photos are up now, articles with details to come, check next week.

August 12, 2020- State Parks a safe diversion from Covid 19. - Wonderful time for quiet hikes in State parks and taking photos.

March 4, 2020 - Covid-19 fears; Are we a sitting duck waiting for it to happen in a global Canadian resort? - Dealing with possibilities.

Recent Photos:

Hilton Head and St. Phillips Island - Another Coastal Expeditions tour from Hunting Island to St. Phillips, purchased by Hunting Island State Park and be preserved along with a few Hilton Head Island photos. Check for details in the News.

Hungting Island Dolphin Tour - Wonderful tour with Coastal Expeditions and walk about the state park.

Windsor Waterfront Trail - Pictures from the parks along the trail.


Movie Reviews - Three Stooges, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Book Reviews - The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played With Fire

Past Headlines

September 25, 2019 - Cycling at Anne Springs Close Greenway - Review of the trail system in the news.

2017 Eclipse at 99% - My take on the eclipse at 99.2% magnitude. Under whelming but photos and story in the news.

Festival of Lights - Niagara Falls is waiting, November 19, 2016 to January 31, 2017.

Windsor Waterfront Trail ride - See what fun you can find in Windsor, Ontario, right outside the Casino.

The Henry Ford Review - The Henry Ford - A must visit, for more than a day.

The 2014 C7 reveal - October 2017 Two Years Ago - City Chevy - Unveiling Rick Hendrick's Second Charity Corvette C7 2014 Vin # 2

Sugar Mountain put in the Chondola 2015- My last article on Digital Journal

Charlotte Motor Speedway - Fall auto fair 2015 on Digital Journal

Thin Blue Line 2013 - Re-posted from my article at Digital Journal.

Carnival Cruise Western Caribbean 2012 - Full detailed write up of this cruise on the Legend out of Tampa, FL.

December 2012 - A visit to the Georgia Aquarium - Amazing what you can see and do at the aquarium.

Vancouver Island Favorites - Check out Vancouver Island parks and trails in the News, then go find the ones I haven't.

Aviation News- Museums and Air show, August must be Aviation month!

Summer Vacation 2012- Lets all go to the races!

Summer Vacation 2012 Photos - The kids, grand kids, races, and Lion Safari (what I could fit in 50 photos).

Cruising with Mom and Dad- Port Canaveral to Bahamas, a nice diversion.

Photos Cruise 2012 - Bahamas Cruise, 2012 with mom and dad

Vail and Denver, March 2012- Nothing like Colorado, Vail and Denver.

Whistler, Victoria, Blaine, 2011 - Don't miss this write up and the beautiful photos! Everyone should do this for Thanksgiving.

Miami and Bahamas, December 2011 - A fun 4 day cruise and a night in Miami, what fun.

October 2011 - A recap of October in photos, no big news update until next month, then look for Victoria, BC information and a mini Bahamas cruise.

Fall Fun - A Fall Hike and Fall Fairs

Winthrop Lakeview Disc Golf Course- An overview of the course.

Winthrop Lakeview Disc Golf Course - An album of the course, may add more photos later.

Summer 2011- Weddings, Disney, parks etc. All the fun in the news.

Midland First Annual Ace Race- Who won, how did it play, when's the next? Come read the details.

Midland Ace Race- Link for next years updates.

Mississippi - Tupelo, Memphis, Elvis Presley, Beale Street, Tunica, - Just fun, check it out.

Mississippi Photos- Beale St., Memphis, Graceland, Elvis Presley Park, Tupelo.

Tunica Photos- Tunica Riverpark airboat ride, and the evil Sam's Town employee.

Chattanooga -- Great Food, Waterfront Festivals and Fun - A fun place to visit.

Chattanooga, TN- A few water front photos in Chattanooga.

New Orleans and Biloxi Bound. - First Long weekend of the season, getaway. News and photos.

New Orleans and Biloxi Photos- Sites around New Orleans and Biloxi.

Fun at Maxton, NC - Land Speed Trials - ECTA - Details from the May 2011 meet.

Maxton Photos on Flicker - Find yourself or car from Maxton, NC, May ECTA meet up. Email for prints or high quality digitals.

Pink Slips Women's Car Club Photo Shoots - Car buffs check this story and VOTE for Sally...

Pink Slips LMC Photo Album- Photos from the day at Legendary Motorcar Company

Riverbanks Zoo Photos - An afternoon at the zoo.

Summit County, CO. - Quick update, on the Summit county Bears gathering..

Castle Mountain Photo Album - Lots of ski, scenery and friend shots. Find yourself.

Castle Mountain Winter - Friends, fun and work. - All the details, slide show and photo album.

Warning, HHGregg Return? - Read and be wary; features update.

Houston and Area - Houston, Galveston and the Gulf coast, what to do with 4 days in the area.

October in the Carolinas - Myrtle Beach new, Fort Fisher Ferry fun, York Fall Festival.-------Slide Show here too.

Fall Colours- Blue Ridge Parkway fall colours on Flicker

Victoria, Whistler, Whale Watching, - Finally added the details on a terrific spring vacation to go with the photo album I uploaded in the spring.

Port Dover, Friday 13th Ride In - Photos of the Port Dover Ride in.

Victoria, Whale Watching, Whistler - Complete pictures from my whale watching excursion in Victoria, BC, and the rest.

7 Days 4 Resorts, Utah, Big Mountain Fun - Salt Lake city Utah, a great place for skiers. Check it out.

It's Better in the Bahamas - 4 day, 3 night mini cruise to the Bahamas; get all the details.

A Wedding! November 7, 2009, Leonard and Jenny Parker - The big day.

What about the Norfolk Area-Favorite places to eat in Virginia Beach, Chesapeake area and what to see.

Atlantic City, Long Weekend -Why we keep going back. Where to eat, sleep and play

Washington with Grant and Donna -Great time. So awesome to meet up with old friends, and Shelby, you're not 2 any more!

4 Days in New Orleans - What a great get away. We escaped for 4 days and 3 nights to New Orleans.

Atlantic City Weekend -Caesar's invited me for the weekend, free flight for two, free rooms and most meals free. Well it's never really free, but it was nice.

March Break, 2009 - Katrina and the family come to Myrtle Beach.

Wintergreen, VA , Closing Day, 2009 - A day at Wintergreen Ski hill, and we thought ski season was over.

Summer 2007, wow - Catch all the up to date news on who did what, and the latest pics.

New York City New Year - Happy New Year 2007!

Wow Vegas, A Modern Wonder -What a birthday.

Richmond & Portsmouth, VA - What a weekend it turned out to be.

Len and Jo-anne Graduate- Definitely the highlight of my year was these two making it to graduation!

S.N.A.R.T. Group of Racers -Fun weekend, details in the news.

Natalie and Jay at Disney - A surprise visit to Florida for my niece and nephew, details here.

Holiday July 2005 - Rockford and Chicago highlights from 2005,click to go right to the story.

Skiing In North Carolina - Yes, there really is skiing here! See pictures, links to hill sites and more. Click to read.

Cruising the Caribbean - Nice cruise pictures and details.

Fit and Forty - How I did it!

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