Friday, September 19, 2014

Funny

I live in a small incorporated city outside Houston.  Most folks would like to say we are a suburban subdivision, but we are a city.  We used to hold the dubious title of "speed trap."  Our police force was deligent about enforcing traffic laws.  Then the "freeway" was put in, and (as one of the previous officers who was a good friend of ours - used to say ) our police all wanted to sit out there and catch a major criminal.

We have a high school and an elementary school within our city limits.  The elementary school really doesn't present major traffic problems - just a few parents like to speed and run stop signs.  The high schoolers on the other hand...

Now we have major construction going on with the original "freeway" and on our side a toll road was build since we have lived here.  (and that's 39 years in two months)  So we have an additional problem.  Those who want to "cut through" to get from one to the other without getting snarled with all the traffic heading into Houston (which has expanded to almost engulf us - but they can't get us). 

There is a web site set up called Next Door and it is specific to neighborhoods.  Topics get started on there that go on and on and on and on.  This one in particular is speeding down one specific street.  Those folks are asking for another stop sign.  Then others are pointing out the "cut through" traffic. 

If our police would just stay within the original boundaries and ticket EVERYONE who speeds and runs stop signs, and all the other infractions, we would get out reputation back, and we all would be a lot safer. 

I notice reading that page the police have stepped up patrolling that particular street.  That's good.  When we called them because one of our neighbors saw a car load of high schoolers throw something at our car (which is usually NOT parked in the street) we called the police to let them know vandalism was happening.  The policeman replied to us that "it's shift change time, and we really can't be out to patrol."  So I say it's time they get off their a**es and get out and do their jobs.  They have a lot of catching up to do!!

Enough of that.  Now it's vacation picture time - so if you don't want to see - thanks for stopping by, and hopefully I will see you tomorrow (or next post).  Otherwise - here I go.  And it won't be many.  I am going to stretch this out!

This is the second day on the train.  This is going from New Orleans to Chicago, and this is Lake Pontchartrain.  Really pretty, and really huge!

Going over the lake and seeing these high voltage lines traversing it made me a bit uneasy.  With the storms that hit (i.e. Katrina), and being a bit of a pessimist, I thought of the disaster if they went down in the water.

This is the third leg of the trip.  Chicago to Whitefish.  We had to eat late this night because the train was so full  This is at dusk, so it is a bit difficult to see well.  This is the Super Moon over the Mississippi.
More tomorrow.  I just KNOW you simply cannot wait!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

What a welcome home

As we neared Houston, the weather deteriorated.  Completely.

We thought we would be home by 5:15.  That was important because we had to pick Shadow up from the vet.  There was no way we could get Clyde, but we really wanted to get that cat.  Things were going well, but there were storm clouds on the horizon.  And not just trouble cloud, really big cumulonimbus clouds loaded with water.

As we progressed closer and closer to Houston, the rain began and it got darker and darker.  By the time we were in Huntsville (home to the prison and Sam Houston University) the rain began.  As we traveled further, the rain got harder - and harder - and harder.  We finally were completely stopped.  Seattle all over again.

I was worried about returning to town in the 4:30 to 6:30 time slot, but this was traffic to the max.

As it was we pulled in our driveway at 5:25!  Of course, I had one destination in mind.  I didn't visit the "facility" when we (finally) stopped for lunch.  When you travel with G - plan on eating a verrrrrrry late lunch. 

We got the cat.  He was thrilled to see me, and hasn't left my side since. 

So today we went to get Clyde.  Guess what!  The rains are back.  We have flooding rains that are the left over from the Pacific Hurricane.  We drove through flooding rains - again.

Marti - I would have loved to have stopped at the Caprock area.  I have never been there, and I would love to go.  But getting home at this point was number one on my list.  But the road was still boring!!!  You certainly do see all the way to the horizons with no ugly mountains or even trees to block your view.  The Coastal Plain is just as bad.  And I see that a lot.

I am reveling in the fact life will be normal around here (whatever that is) for a while.  The only thing left is to pick G up at the car rental place, and I can pretty much close the travel for this trip.  As I type this, I am downloading the pictures.  Since there are something like 400 of them, it will take me a while to delete the ones that aren't good.  And there are several I am sure.  That's what I love about digital cameras.  You can take and take pictures, and you don't have to develop the roll, pay that, and then throw pictures of poles, etc away!!!


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Almost home

Last night away!  Today was through the (yawn) Texas panhandle.  Talk about flat.

The rental car has been great. We would get about 33 to 34 mpg in the mountains.  Today we got almost 40 on the flat land.Of course with its 4 cylinder motor we always had to hope we didn't have to go from a stop before a steep grade.

So it's beddy-bye time

Sent via my phone!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Boring

Sorry Wyoming, but part of your state is so boring.  And guess where we traveled today - yep the boring part.  I know all states must have boring parts, I know we do in Texas.  Not to be too hard on Wyoming, it also has my (now) second favorite National Park - Teton. 

The drive was only about eight hours.  We came from Sheridan to Colorado Springs, Colorado.  Tomorrow back to Texas - and the boring part.  We will be in Childress.

Our hotel here is an older one.  It doesn't have the corridors the rooms open onto, but it is still nice.  At least it doesn't have a bus full of "old farts" on tour.  I know, I don't have much room to talk - me at 69. 

They had just gotten there when we arrived last night.  For some reason - I guess because that hotel was far out of town with no eating places around, those folks were hitting the vending machines like they were going to die if they didn't.  As we were trying to get on the elevator, one old coot nearly knocked my suitcase (the one marker "heavy - 45 pounds") out of my hand while trying to knock the luggage dolly away from the poor bell boy who was trying to get off the elevator.  I told G I was about to hurt that old coot!

This morning they had already been to the breakfast bar.  It looked like a hoard of locusts had been there.  The only fruit left were the hard to peel oranges.  All the coffee cups were gone.  The poor little attendant looked so frazzled.  I noticed the little display of sweets was completely empty - only bits of sugar left. 

I shouldn't be so critical, but I know good and well they never will consume all that food. 

We had three tours on the train to Glacier.  They were quite demanding there also.  The dining car usually takes reservations for meals.  They didn't for lunches and breakfasts.  As soon as the car was filled at those meals, they began a waiting list.  They would call for ONE person from each party to come up.  One lunch when G went - the people behind him demanded a "certain" time for lunch.  They had to eat at that time.  I heard another say something about them not getting a tip because they had to wait.

We took the late dinner the night we were getting into Whitefish.  We asked the staff if they were looking forward to us de-training.  The manager said they had the mirror balls ready and it would be party time.  Those poor folks worked three times harder than usual. 

Oh - and if you are in a sleeper, you are a first class passenger, and your meals are all included in your ticket.  So that meant that you ate in the diner.  Lots of pressure on those people.  Our train had two sleepers rather than the usual one.  And if anyone in coach wanted to eat in the diner, they had to be worked in as well.

But we are homeward bound.  And I am glad.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Trains, planes and automobiles

Oops, that was the trip to Nova Scotia, which added boats as well.  In Seattle, we added boats to cars and train.  We took the Washington Ferry System to go across the Sound to Olympic National Park.  It really was a beautiful trip.  We spent all day (driving) and saw a part of the park.  I was amazed how the Pacific Northwest reminded me of Alaska.  The big lake there was Crescent Lake that was HUGE!  We both remarked that it was much like Turnagen Arm in Alaska.

Then yesterday was the "death march" day.  We traveled to Missoula, but along the way we stopped at the "Dry Falls" that used to be on the Columbia River.  That was a sight.  I will download pictures when we get home and I cull them.  I have something like 385 as of today on the camera.  That's what I love about a digital camera.  You can just shoot several and take the best ones.  I just don't want to  begin that tonight. 

While in Cooley City (and I don't think that is spelled correctly but I don't have a map) we stumbled across a quite unique restaurant for lunch.  I probably wouldn't have stopped there, but G did!  It was really quite something.  A real mom and pop place, and it was so clean they could have served my sandwich off the floor.  And such nice people!!  Only problem - they only took cash, and we had to be frugal because we were beginning to run a little low.

When we got to Missoula, we found that ALL the hotels there were booked.  Fortunately we have reserved our room six months ago!  There was a football game in town.  When we finally went to get dinner at 9 (and at IHOP ?????) the waiter said they were rabid football fans there!

Tonight we are in Sheridan, Wyoming.  My least favorite state with the exception of Jackson and Teton National Park!  Hopefully we will be out quickly.  I think tomorrow is supposed to be Denver.

Once again - I am seeing things I would like to stop and see, but I really want to get home too.  If you recall, I wanted to retrace the way we had come home from Portland/Seattle a couple of years ago.  there were things I wanted to see then too.  Oh, well.

It should be another "short" day tomorrow.  I doubt there will be anything earthshaking from the drive.  I will be glad to get out of that Corolla, but it seems to be averaging 33 mpg, so I will crunch.  I figured out this morning how to get ALL the luggage in the trunk.  But then I am a mighty packer!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Seattle

Yep.  We FINALLY made it.  We took US 2 out of Whitefish headed to Seattle.  We love to suffer, you see.  We KNOW that Montana has lots and lots of road work in the summer.  We have been fools for it several times before, and this was no different.

But the new trick they played on us was to put a 25mph limit all the way through towns.  All. The. Way.  At every little wide spot in the road.  25 miles per hour.

I really don't remember what time we actually left.  I keep my watch on good old Texas time.  The car clock has Mountain time, and we were headed into Pacific time.  I think we were on the road at least 10 hours though.

THEN.  We got to Seattle.  Houston and Los Angeles move like it was 4a.m. on a Saturday morning compared with Seattle.  It was 7p.m. and the traffic was bumper to bumper, stop and go.  Of course, having a four lane freeway funnel down to a two lane one didn't help the situation, but OMG!!

I had said that I wanted to do two things here.  I wanted to go to the Pike Market.  After last night, I really didn't.  We fight enough without throwing that into the mix.  G wanted to see Underground Seattle.  Both DOWNTOWN.  Both back in the IH5!  Oh no!

But we went this morning.  When I got there I assured him that I really didn't want to stop.  And he assured me that he was fine not seeing the underground.  So we drove back out here.  Oh BTW, here is Lynnwood, Washington.  It's claim to fame is having the largest mall in Shohomish County.  So there, by golly!

We did drive over to Edmonds,Washington where we plan to take the ferry tomorrow.  We had the best lunches!  His was a mixed seafood plate - scallops, shrimp, clams, squid (you can tell I don't like it!), and fish.  I had the clams.  I love, love, love some clams.  It was a cute little bar and grill with an outside deck where we could watch the ferry - and trains.  It is right at the Amtrak depot.

I am still sleep deprived.  I still don't have land legs yet.  Between the train and the car, I still feel like the floor is going to move.  I think we have planned just a tad too much to do, but alas, (hand to forehead) I shall survive.

I should have internet from here on.  That's good and bad.  Four of the six grandchildren's schools are doing fundraisining things.  Those companies that do this have gotten smart - really smart.  You can now order on line.  Not even home and still get hit up!

OH - almost forgot.  When we got to Whitefish, G's credit card was declined.  This is the second time it has been hit.  Last time almost a year ago.  Some fool caught the number.  Tried to spend $450 at Walgreens (really??? on WHAT!!!), and (this will really get you) $15 at Walmart. 

Anyway, he called.  Got that straightened out and another card is coming.  But we are using others (mine included), and when we get home he gets to change all the payments that are on that card.

So caught up!

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Greetings from Whitefish, Montana

Where a cold front has come through, and it is cold.  Houston winter cold.  And I realized that I have packed for Texas fall.  But - I will survive.  It's not that cold. 

We arrived last night after midnight.  The train was over four hours late.  That meant we missed probably the most beautiful part of that trip, but at least we are here.

This is a really beautiful city - although everything is for the tourist.  Just the way it is set up.  Tourists like pretty.

Today we were able to get through most of Glacier.  What a fantastic park.  We didn't get to complete the Highway to the Sun (I think that's right).  The pass was closed.  It has snowed.  All the trees were still holding snow.  When we got to the "weeping wall" it had formed icicles!  It was so beautiful.

We came back here to the hotel to rest a bit, and I could get on here.  Then we went to dinner.  G chose a place that was really close.  Easy in and back here, right?

Wrong. 

It was a bowling alley/pool place.  The restaurant was in front with about 20 tables.  And one waitress who wasn't really into the job to begin with.  It took ten minutes for her to take our order.  It took 20 to get water.  We were to get salads. G asked for his, mine came with the meal.  His order was wrong.  All in all we were there for over an hour.  One couple left without ever even having their order taken.  It really was a mess. 

Oh  well.  What else did we have to do.  I do think I could find other venues that I might enjoy more!

Tomorrow - Seattle!