2017-12-05 to Winston-Salem,NC from Atlanta, GA (about 4 hours and a half driving – according to Google maps)

 

#2017-12-05_NCLexington,MainStChristmasTree-(SingingPigs)_SeniorsOnTheGoTours
#2017-12-05_NCLexington,MainStChristmasTree-(SingingPigs)_SeniorsOnTheGoTours

2017-12-05 to Winston-Salem,NC from Atlanta, GA (about 4 hours and a half driving – according to Google maps)
Seniors On the Go Travel tour director Cathy Stokes offered a “Mystery Trip” to the group. I had never been on a mystery trip before and on the Greenbrier trip, a friend said that they knew someone who was looking for a roommate on the upcoing mystery trip. When I arrived home from the Greenbrier trip, I checked my calendar and I didn’t have any conflicts with the mystery trip, so – I contacted the person who wanted a roommate and we called Cathy and I signed-up. This trip, as many others that I had joined left about 8am from Lawrenceville, GA. I had to wash clothes and pack the previous day and arrived for the trip without any problems. My roommate happened to sit near the front of the bus, and since I boarded near the end of the people attending, I sat near the back of the bus. I learned after the trip started that Cathy doesn’t tell you where you are going until you get there. I was under the impression from a meeting with the group, that when you got onto the bus, you were told where you were going. We were told at the meeting that the destination would not be a beach and would not be south. (In other words, pack heavier coats for going north.) After a lunch stop at Jackson’s Cafeteria in Gastonia, NC, we rode a couple of hours and arrived in Lexington,NC. We went to the visitors center and were told about BBQ starting in that area with ‘dipping sauce’. We went to the location of the first BBQ cooking pit and saw it inside of a new building. When the old building was being torn down, the BBQ pit was found and plans for the new building had to be altered to include a showing area for it. The town now has a BBQ contest and displays the winners.
We walked from the visitors center through town and boarded the bus at the back of the hardware store. Everyone had a great time shopping in the area and learning about the town.

Here some pictures of Lexington. (Mouse click on a picture to make it larger.) —

Then, it was on to where??? We didn’t know, Cathy wouldn’t tell us until we got there! We stopped at a Hampton Inn outside Winston-Salem and Cathy told us that we would stay there for 2 nights and explore the area. We didn’t know where we were to go the next day, until we got there.
After breakfast at the hotel, we boarded the bus and Cathy introduced us to “Kay, our tourguide”. She gave each of us a hot, fresh Krispy Kreme doughnut and the tourguide told us about Krispy Kreme being in that area and the story of the company. It has recently been sold to a German company and she said that the area is concerned about headquarters and jobs being changed. We rode the bus around the town of Winston, old Salem and the Reynolsa area. We had lunch at a local restaurant and the tourguide left us to explore the area.

We went to Mrs. Hanes Moravian Cookies Bakery and Cathy told us that we had a tour there. It was very interesting hearing about the company. A farmer started the business and his daughter continued with it and expanded it. Many years ago on the Oprah tv show, she had a special show called her “Favorite Things” and Mrs. Hanes Moravian ginger cookies was included in the show. After that, the company had an explosion of orders and struggled to fill them. The company does a lot of mail order and we saw many tins and boxes filled. The front of the bakery has a local store for the cookies and family made pottery. The back area has viewing to more operations and packing. Mrs. Hanes grandchildren now run the business and her daughter still works packing them. Travis, Mrs. Hanes daughters husband, gave us the tour and said that he was 85 years old. He certainly didn’t look that old and he knew everything there was to know about the business. After the tour, we both tasted and bought the cookies before boarding the bus for our next unknown destination.

Pictures from Mrs. Hanes Morovian Cookies Bakery ====

We had supper at a local restaurant. All of the food that we have with Cathy is good. After eating, we boarded the bus again and we were treated to a drive-through Christmas light display in Clemmons,NC. My pictures did not turn out well and I posted 3 in the top gallery as an example of how bad they were. The flash tried to brighten the subjects and reflected from the bus window.  (Note: in one of the galleries of pictures, there are some other pictures of us eating in Jackson’s Cafeteria and some random pictures at the hotel breakfast.) 

The next morning we had breakfast, again, at the hotel. We boarded the bus about 9:15 and went to the Salem Welcome Center. We were not told where we were going until we arrived. We saw a short video about the old Salem restoration. Then, we went into a nearby auditorium and listened to a Moravian built organ that was played for a couple of songs. We were told how Moravians were ‘peaceful’ and did not want to participate in the Civil War. Also, that music was an important part of their everyday life. We walked across a wooden bridge over a 4-lane road and entered the Historic Museum. We viewed the handmade fine furniture, swords, rifles, etc. It was cool, but a nice day outside and we were advised to visit the baker’s house in the village. One lady showed me the house on the map. She tried to tell me to go past the park then look for the house, but – then she saw that I had a map from the visitors center and showed me the house on the map. I walked up the hill and stopped for a few minutes in the gun shop. It was a small wooden house with a man building a flintrock rifle in the front. He had a fire going and it was warm. In the back of the house was a blacksmith hearth and it was not warm. We talked a few minutes and I continued to the baker’s house. Inside, a man and a woman were making sugar cake. I took many pictures and enjoyed being there. Upstairs was a tea room, but the stairs were steep and I had already walked up a hill, so I didn’t visit it. I returned back to the visitors center and thought that I would be getting back on the bus soon. It turned out that I had the wrong time for returning to the bus in my mind, so I sat and talked with others who were at the visitors center. Many students were touring the area and there were picnic tables outside for packed lunches, but – the leaders thought that it was too cool outside for them and they sat on the floor. When we drove away, I noticed about 7 school busses in the parking lot. The students seemed to enjoy visiting the village very much. I thought that they were about 10 years old and in the fifth grade.

Pictures of Old Salem ===

We drove from Salem village to a local restaurant for lunch. Cathy had called them and we had a back-room for the group. The restaurant had an excellent salad selection and the salads were large. After eating, we rode to the Reynoldsa museum and toured. We had heard about R.J. Reynolds wife finding the location and hiring an architect for the building. On the tour, we were told that Harry Truman lay on the couch in R.J. Reynold’s office. I forgot the story, maybe that he was to give a speech and lay down to rest a few minutes before it. The swimming pool is still used in the summer by some local children.

More pictures ===

After the tour, we returned to the bus. Our next stops were Camel City BBQ (named Camel  City because Camel cigarettes were produced in Winston-Salem). 

After lunch, we shopped at Mast General Store. It was nearby. 

Cathy gave us a break and we returned to the hotel. My roommate and I took short naps.

We returned to the bus about 6 and rode about an hour. We turned into a street and Cathy told us that we were attending the “Barn Dinner Theater”. After getting out and being seated, we had a program that told us the “Barn Dinner Theater” is the longest-running dinner theater in the US. The announcer asked us to not take pictures of the show. We had a buffet in the middle of the room and each person served themselves. Waiters brought drinks and took away used plates. The buffett middle was removed and a wooden platform lowered from the ceiling. The band included a drummer, a bass and regular electric guitar, and a keyboardist. The cast included 4 women and 3 men. There was a large variety of Christmas songs that were entertaining. All of the songs were quick-paced and the time of the performance flew by. The food was good and the entertainment very enjoyable. We noted from the show notes that tomorrow would be the last night of this show. The entrance included a picture of Patsy Cline being there, as well as many other famous people.

The next morning, we ate breakfast at the hotel and stopped at the Childress Vineyards for a wine-tasting and sandwich/wrap lunch. 

The drive back to Atlanta included some snow on the road, and we viewed some accidents. Many people on the bus had reports of bad weather and there was snow in Rock Hill at the Visitors Center when we stopped. Barry, our bus driver, was able to return us safely to the parking lot about 7:30PM. We were happy to see that the parking lot had no standing snow and that we could return to our cars without slipping on ice. I had a pole scraper and pulled the slushy snow off of my windshield. I had decided to drive on main roads home and hoped that traffic would not be bad. The interstate was surprisingly clear. (I saw a couple of abandoned cars on the interstate.) Schools and many businesses had let everyone go in the middle of the day and traffic jams resulted. By the time we got home and unloaded, the snow was slushy and was not freezing on the ground. We were lucky. It could have gotten colder and the roads would be icy. I do not have experience driving in snow and went slow. Near my house, the streets were deep with snow, but it wasn’t frozen so I didn’t slide. I was thankful to return home safely from a wonderful trip.
<<As always, any comments that you have about the website would be appreciated. I have another website. It is about my 1971 MGB (old English 2-seater convertible-top car). The url address is : http://www.PuddinInTheMGB.wordpress.com Note: When I go camping, I am often without internet service. I try to use my cellphone data plan sparingly as charges may be increased with usage. Therefore, I often let emails collect in my box and try to catch-up reading them when I return home.
Additional note: Since my posts have many pictures, it may take some time to load. Because of the pictures, it is best to view these webpages using a desktop (in my opinion. Because the size of the pictures will be larger.) >>

2017-11-29 to White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia from Atlanta, GA (about 7 hours and 15 minute drive – from Google maps)

#2017-11-30_WVWhiteSulphurSpr,GreenbrierResort-DiningHallOutsideView1
#2017-11-30_WVWhiteSulphurSpr,GreenbrierResort-DiningHallOutsideView1

2017-11-29 to White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia from Atlanta, GA (about 7 hours and 15 minute drive – from Google maps)
The trip was for 3 nights and 2 of those nights would be at the Greenbrier Resort Hotel. The last night was at a Hampton Inn near Wytheville, Va. I traveled on a motorcoach with Seniors On the Go Tours.  (This was an OUTSTANDING trip and I took a LOT of pictures.). We drove all day and arrived at the Greenbrier Resort  after the nightly Christmas lights were shining. It was stunning. We arrived hungry and in time for a 7pm dinner. I particularly enjoyed the dining room and great food and service. I had lobster over grits with peaches for dessert. The food was fantastic and the service was wonderful. I was especially impressed with the decor of the hotel and the chandeliers. First, some pictures of the arrival. (Mouse click on any picture to make it larger…) 

On Thursday, I went on a Bunker Tour and was not able to take pictures of the bunker. However, they did allow pictures of the entrance and exhibit area. (Again, mouse click on any picture to enlarge it.) 

I wandered around the hotel looking at the pictures, the wedding planning area, and the shops and swimming pool on the north end. It was pretty cool (not freezing) outside and very comfortable inside, so I stayed inside most of the day. They serve ‘high tea’ everyday at 4. Some workers rolled in a cart with hot water and cups for the serving. A line quickly formed and was quickly dispatched. Each person received their hot-water and went to a nearby table for different varities of tea. Then, the tea-sugar-cookies and goodies were at the main lobby round table. There must have been 80 people in the lobby after the hot-water serving cart arrived. There was also a woman and man dancing to provide entertainment. Someone told me that in the casino each night at 10pm, there is champagne served and that the woman and man also dance some. 

At night, we enjoyed another wonderful meal and the company of the group. Ice skaters were on the rink and I watched others in the group who play a game similar to rummy. The hotel was not very busy and, at times, it seemed as if we had the place to ourselves. Just before we left on Friday, others began arriving. My first night, I had to really walk around to find my room. In short, I got lost because the place is very large. On my second night, I had walked the areas several times to the dining room and knew the path well. Others who had just arrived and who were staying in the north wing asked me about the direction to the dining room.

There was a decorator who loved floral patterns and had special carpet with the flower-of-the-state installed for the hotel floors. Also, my room had a large flower pattern wall paper. It is very ornate and seems gawdy at first. However, after leaving and seeing a more modern decoration, I missed the ‘busy’ patterns.

My Room pictures —

It was sad leaving because both the accommadations and service were so good. However, the trip was over and the departure inevitable. Frank, the doorman who has served there many years, was there to see us off.
We rode to Wytheville for our next adventure. Cathy had dinner theater tickets for us at the Wohlfahrt Haus. The food was served to us individually and was good. The Christmas show involved a large cast and many scene and costume changes. The house was full. I enjoyed it a lot. (They requested no pictures be taken during the show.) 

Here are my favorite pictures === The Chandeliers at Greenbrier … 

Here are some pictures from Tamarak, VA — a place that we stopped and shopped …

A few years ago, White Sulphur Springs area suffered a bad flood. I was told that the casino in the Greenbrier was damaged as well as some of the golf courses. There were 14 deaths and many people in the area were displaced. The hotel ‘put-up’ many people during the crisis and has recovered. (We saw some equipment on the golf course and I think that they may be still working on it.) 

 

<<As always, any comments that you have about the website would be appreciated. I have another website. It is about my 1971 MGB (old English 2-seater convertible-top car). The url address is : http://www.PuddinInTheMGB.wordpress.com Note: When I go camping, I am often without internet service. I try to use my cellphone data plan sparingly as charges may be increased with usage. Therefore, I often let emails collect in my box and try to catch-up reading them when I return home.
Additional note: Since my posts have many pictures, it may take some time to load. Because of the pictures, it is best to view these webpages using a desktop (in my opinion. Because the size of the pictures will be larger.) >>

2017-11-01 to Biloxi,MS from Atlanta, GA (about a 5 hour drive)

2017-11-01 to Biloxi,MS from Atlanta, GA (about a 5 hour drive)

I went with Seniors On the Go Travel/Tours (see previous posts about the “bus group”) to Biloxi for 2 nights. We stayed at the Scarlet Pearl Casino and I ate too much good food at the buffet (and a wonderful breakfast). The Scarlet Pearl Casino/Hotel is a fairly new hotel and it is 3 miles inland from the beach.
We went to the nearby Beau Rivage Casino for a ‘day’. We left the Scarlet Pearl in the morning, spent from about 11 AMto 4PM at the Beau Rivage. My roommate and I walked on the beach for a while. There was a boardwalk that allowed access to the beach from the casino garage. The weather was grey sky and there was a slight breeze. Once we walked some, we had a little ‘glistening’ (southern slang for ‘sweat’) meaning that the temperature was moderate for winter. We had a wonderful lunch buffet at the ‘Beau’. There was a large selection and the casino/hotel was beautiful.
I played the casino machines for the amount of the voucher that we were given at both locations. It is accurate to say that “I’m not really a gambler”. I went on the trip to see the new casino and to just get-away for a while.

First, pictures of Beau Rivage … (click on a picture to make it larger)

 

Second, pictures of  Scarlet Pearl … (again, mouse click on a picture to make it larger.) 

On the return drive to Atlanta, our tour director had the bus driver stop at Priesters Pecans. It is a family-owned business with a well-stocked store. I bought a large bag of pecans that I shared with a family member. Also, I couldn’t resist buying a small ‘pecan-logroll’ like the ones that Stuckey’s used to sell. It was delicious.

 

More pictures … (again, mouse click on a picture to make it larger.) 

<<As always, any comments that you have about the website would be appreciated. I have another website. It is about my 1971 MGB (old English 2-seater convertible-top car). The url address is : http://www.PuddinInTheMGB.wordpress.com Note: When I go camping, I am often without internet service. I try to use my cellphone data plan sparingly as charges may be increased with usage. Therefore, I often let emails collect in my box and try to catch-up reading them when I return home.>>

2017-10-24 From Atl,GA to Highlands,NC (Daytrip on motorcoach)

2017-10-24 From Atl,GA to Highlands,NC (Daytrip on motorcoach)
I went with Seniors-On-The-Go-Travel on a motorcoach “day” trip. It is about 3 hours drive from my house, but since I was going with a group, I drove to Lawrenceville and the bus left about 8am.
Our first stop was in Dillard where we had a delicious brunch at the famous Dillard House Restaurant. As we neared the restaurant, the tour-director, Cathy, told us of the many people who had dined there. The food was superb – and, since they were expecting a bus loaded with hungry people, they were prepared for us. When we entered, the tables for the group were set with condiments and water. Our glasses were pint, canning jars. We immediately were served coffee and biscuits. Later, came gravy, eggs, bacon, sausage and juice. The biscuits were extra-hot and fluffy. (See ” DillardHouse.com ” website for more information.)

We boarded the bus and next departed for Highlands,NC after swaying along many mountain roads. It was a beautiful day, and was cooler in the higher elevation. We shopped in the many boutique stores and enjoyed the day. The time that we had there was wonderful. Many of the local residents brought their dogs shopping with them and we enjoyed both the scenery and ‘change-of-pace’ from the city. I bought a white, quartz, angel-shaped necklace ornament that I purchased from a rock-shop. I had to include the picture with this blog-entry.

We left about 2pm and stopped again at the Jaemor Farm Market. It is large, and filled with farm products and unique items-for-sale. I bought a quart of local honey. We arrived back in Lawrenceville a little ahead of time, but in the middle of heavy traffic. (Note: most everyone knows that heavy traffic is normal in Atlanta.) (See ” JaemorFarms.com ” website for more information.)

<<As always, any comments that you have about the website would be appreciated. I have another website. It is about my 1971 MGB (old English 2-seater convertible-top car). The url address is : http://www.PuddinInTheMGB.wordpress.com Note: When I go camping, I am often without internet service. I try to use my cellphone data plan sparingly as charges may be increased with usage. Therefore, I often let emails collect in my box and try to catch-up reading them when I return home.>>

2017-10-17 from Atlanta,GA to Copperhill,TN – (camping in Vanna White)

2017-10-17 from Atl,GA to Copperhill,TN (camping in Vanna White)
Copperhill is about a 2 hour drive and is north of Atlanta. The gathering is called SE (for Southeast), GTG (for Get-To-Gether) and there were about 23 people there for the week-end. I had previously camped with many of the people who attended. There were several new campers and one camper was on a ‘maiden voyage’. (There is always a discussion of ridding oneself of material possessions and going “on-the-road”. The van-lifestyle is one that several attendees have adopted. Anyone who would like to learn more about the ‘van-lifestyle’, please look at the website: CheapRVLiving.com.)

In previous blog entries, I have camped in this area and have posted pictures of camping. On this trip, I was very uncomfortable the first night. The temperature dropped into the high 30’s-degreesF. I was COLD! And I hated it. However, I had packed a lot of winter clothes and pulled them out to be warmer. After my first cold night, the weather gradually warmed and it was beautiful and sunny each day. The day after I returned home, there was rain in the area. (Note: the theory of living in a van is to “follow-the-weather”. I.E., when the weather gets either too hot or too cold, go somewhere with a moderate temperature.)

Our host, Cuz Dick, had plenty of wood and was generous to start a fire and keep us warm. (Cuz Dick picks the date and place of the gathering.) We had one attendee who had asked our ‘fix-it handyman’ to install a solar system for her. Another project involved making ‘barn doors’ for a wooden trailer and painting some of boards. Several of us walked down the gravel-roads and enjoyed the woods.

In the past, I’ve seen many butterflies in the area, but – on this trip, I only saw one butterfly. I thought that maybe it was warmer on previous trips and that the butterflies had died because of the colder weather, but – I’ve also heard that the butterfly population is declining due of the extensive use of pesticides.

Another camper has worked with 4-H groups and gave us each of us a bar-of-homemade-soap as well as a solid-hand-lotion-bar. She not only gave us samples, she demonstrated how to make each item. It took a long time for the melting of the ingredients and the knowledge of how to handle ‘lye’ for the soap, as well as knowledge of how the soap/lotion hardens quickly. After mixing the soap/lotion ingredients, she had to quickly pour it into molds. Fascinating. She explained the oils and ingredients used. She told me that to make lye, you take ashes from a fire and place them in a sieve. Then you slowly pour water over the ashes and collect it to make lye. I had never heard that before, but – I knew that ashes were somehow involved with the making of soap.

Around the campfire, we talk of many things. One of the campers said that they had studied the ’cause of cancer’. The thing that stuck with me was his statement that there are three “P’s” that you need to watch-out for: (1) Pesticides, (2) Preservatives, and (3) Plastic. I’ve read in the newspaper where biologists are finding micro-plastic in ocean water and are trying to trace the sources.

I ate lunch just before packing to leave. In my effort to gather all my items into the van, I forgot to pack my eating bowl, cup, and spoon. I hope to meet up with it at sometime “down the road”.  I wasn’t the only camper to forget to pack a personal item. David forgot his chair and flannel shirt. Linda sent us an unforgettable photo of our transgression. 

I hope that the readers of this blog enjoy the travels and will let me know their opinion of my sharing experiences with them.

<<As always, any comments that you have about the website would be appreciated. I have another website. It is about my 1971 MGB (old English 2-seater convertible-top car). The url address is : http://www.PuddinInTheMGB.wordpress.com
Note: When I go camping, I am often without internet service. I try to use my cellphone data plan sparingly as charges may be increased with usage. Therefore, I often let emails collect in my box and try to catch-up reading them when I return home.>>

2017-10-10 – From Atl,GA to Lynchburg,TN (on motorcoach tour bus, one overnight stay)

The “Taste of Tennessee” trip planned by Cathy Stokes of Seniors-On-The-Go-Travel was a blast! The bus wasn’t full, it was easier to learn new fellow-travelers and the conversations were lively. We left Lawrenceville,GA about 8AM. We typically ride for 2 hours and make a stop at a Visitors Center.

2017-10-11_TNLynchburg,Downtown(SrOnTheGoTours) (12)
2017-10-11_TNLynchburg,Downtown(SrOnTheGoTours) (12)

Our first tour stop was in Bell Buckle, TN for lunch at the Bell Buckle Cafe. It was a VERY GOOD lunch with the group in a small back-room and the wait-staff very attentive to our wants. Afterward, we were able to shop in the stores. A friend who loves antiques was able to find an artistic design on a World War I artillery shell that she can use as a candle-holder. 

Our second tour stop was in Shelbyville,TN at Clearview Horse Farm. The owner had prepared a ‘show’ for us in a large arena. We saw her prized Arabian horse, two shetland ponies, an Appaloosa, and many other horses. It was an incredible show!!  After the show, we were able to tour the stables and pet the horses. It didn’t matter to us that there was a little rain outside. We were inside and comfortable. 

< http://ClearviewHorseFarm.com >

Next, we went to Falls Mill Falls. It is a beautiful area hidden from any main roads. We saw the falls which made the area famous and the owner of the mill gave us a great guided tour. Our first stop was at the blacksmith shop. Previously, I have seen blacksmith shops, but never had a demonstration of how the blacksmith worked the tools and fire. The heat of the fire and sweat required to make implements, was amazing. We had to walk in light rain to the nearby mill. This was the first time that
I’ve seen a waterwheel provide energy for machines to operate. In the past, I’ve seen waterwheels, but I’ve never knew how the belts for harnessing the energy from the wheel worked. In the mill, there were many leather belts overhead that the owner/operator started and they would each operate a different machine that she showed us. It was fascinating!  She told us how the stones were used to grind corn into meal. In addition, she explained how cotton had to be carded, and demonstrated the manual technique. Then, she turned on a carding machine and showed us how the machine carded-the-cotton.  She also demonstrated a single spinning wheel for making yarn and then demonstrated how a spinning maching worked.  Upstairs in the mill, there was a player piano, a prized waterwheel quilt, and several other machines used in mills and operated by the power of a waterwheel. I was fascinated. < http://FallsMill.com >

We spent the night in a very comfortable Hampton Inn near Fayeteville,TN.  The next day, we had breakfast in the hotel and went to Lynchburg,TN.

2017-10-11_TNFayetteville,HamptonInn(SrOnTheGoTours) (2)
2017-10-11_TNFayetteville,HamptonInn(SrOnTheGoTours) (2)

We went to the Jack Daniels Distillery Visitors Center.
We didn’t have a tour of the distillery because it is over an hour and a half of walking and the information from the tour is available in the visitors center.

Afterwards, several of us walked the short distance to the downtown area. We shopped and looked in the store windows. Just past the courthouse, we ate a wonderful lunch at Miss Mary Bobo’s. The restaurant began operation as a boarding house, then it evolved into a famous restaurant. The previous bedrooms are now dining rooms and we had a ‘hostess’ who ate with us and told us about life in the area. (An irony of the area is that the county is ‘dry’ – meaning that distilled spirit alcohol cannot be sold there. I.E. – no bars.) <Since we were unable to ‘sample the wares’ of the visit, Cathy gave each of us a ‘sample bottle’ near the end of our trip.> Miss Mary Bobo’s was going to be closed as the owner had passed away and the Jack Daniels company bought it to continue the tradition of great food and southern hospitality. We had a great meal and learned a lot at the same time.

We returned home, with stomachs still full of a great meal and great memories!

<<As always, any comments that you have about the website would be appreciated. I have another website. It is about my 1971 MGB (old English 2-seater convertible-top car). The url address is : http://www.PuddinInTheMGB.wordpress.com
Note: When I go camping, I am often without internet service. I try to use my cellphone data plan sparingly as charges may be increased with usage. Therefore, I often let emails collect in my box and try to catch-up reading them when I return home.>>

2017-10-02 trip from Atl,GA to Cherokee,NC (Harrah’s casino, by motorcoach)

2017-10-02_GALawrenceville(SrOnTheGoTours) (58)
2017-10-02_GALawrenceville(SrOnTheGoTours) (58)

I went with Seniors-On-The-Go-Travel on a motorcoach “day” trip. It is about 3 hours drive from my house, but since I was going with a group, I drove to Lawrenceville and the bus left about 8am. We stopped in Cornelia,GA for a McDonald’s breakfast and arrived at Harrah’s casino about 11:30. This was the first time that I had been with the group on a casino trip, and was amazed at how much the casino had changed since I last visited there about 15 years ago. I didn’t take many pictures because the windows of the motorcoach would distort the pictures. Also, in a previous casino, there was a strict rule of not taking pictures.

The size of the Cherokee hotel/casino/entertainment complex was much larger than I had previously seen. If the reader would like to see the casino area, then use Google.com and search for Harrah’s Cherokee Casino.
The bus entered the parking garage by the road shown on the fifth picture of the Google.com photos. We were both dropped-off and picked-up from the motorcoach entrance door. When we drove up, a Harrah’s employee had a mobile workstation and greeted us. One-by-one, he saw our drivers-license photo id with proof-of-age. (You needed to be 18, or maybe 21, to enter). After verifying our age, the employee scanned our ‘players-card’ and gave us a $20 voucher. I followed my seat-mate, Linda, to her favorite area. She told me about going with Cathy and the group for many years and that there are usually 3 trips a year. She searched for a particular machine and gave me a 3-minute lesson on inserting the players-card and using the voucher. She told me that when she first played,  she forgot to ‘cash-out’ when moving machines and essentially left money in the machine for the next player. After she showed me her favorite machine and technique, I sought my own machine. I found one where you can spend $.01 per spin and bet only $.01. (I’m a ‘big-time’ player!) I had expected to ‘loose money’, and I watched the counter decrease for quite a while. I noticed that I won more in the beginning, and near the end there was a lot fewer increases in my total. I knew to ‘cash-out’ when I wanted to take a break and wander around to find the food court. After getting something to eat, I tried to find the area that I had previously played in – I got LOST! The casino is really large and all
of the areas look the same. Before we got off the bus, the tour director told us to ask for the ‘motorcoach’ area if we got lost. Employees were serving beverages and I saw one and asked her. She told me the direction and I looked for signs.  I walked around a little, but never went outside. We were to return to Atlanta at 4pm, and I found a ‘waiting area’ near the
door. There were several tv-monitors near the door of the waiting area that displayed the motorcoach groups both arriving and leaving. I counted that 12 motorcoaches were on the displays and wondered if this was an good, bad, or average day for the casino?
We stopped on the return trip at a Racetrac gas station. They sold frozen yogurt and everybody enjoyed a break. Most people purchased some yogurt.
The bus ride back to Atlanta was easy for us who did not have to drive. Our tour-director has games that are interesting to play and that help pass-the-time.

<<As always, any comments that you have about the website would be appreciated. I have another website. It is about my 1971 MGB (old English 2-seater convertible-top car). The url address is : http://www.PuddinInTheMGB.wordpress.com
Note: When I go camping, I am often without internet service. I try to use my cellphone data plan sparingly as charges may be increased with usage. Therefore, I often let emails collect in my box and try to catch-up reading them when I return home.>>

2017-09-14_From Nashville,TN to Memphis,TN – to see Graceland

2017-09-12 Wednesday and Thursday. From Nashville,TN to Memphis, TN (day 2 and 3 of the trip)
See the previous post for information of the start of the trip.
After seeing the Grand Ole Opry, the bus took us to Cool Springs, TN in order to avoid morning traffic in Nashville. The bus ride to Memphis was about 3 hours. After arriving, our tour director took us to Beale Street for lunch. I ate with a couple of other people at “The Pig”. There were many neon signs and it was evident that the night-life in the area was popular.

There are 4 Galleries of pictures in this post. To view the picture in a larger size, click on it. The larger size also gives a detailed description of each picture.  (Click on the right-side top-page “X” to quit the gallery view.) 

After lunch, we boarded the bus and we had a local, tour-guide show us the city from the bus. We were able to enter the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital gates and tour from the bus. Also, the guide showed us, the area of low-income housing available to Elvis and his family when they moved from Tupelo. We also visited Sun Studios where Elvis cut his first record. 

 

We went to the Peabody Hotel and saw the ducks walk from the fountain to the elevator. They retire each day to their palace on the roof at 5PM. 

We stayed at The Guest House at Graceland. It opened in April of this year and is considered a 4-star hotel by Triple-A. On Thursday morning, after breakfast, we rode from the hotel to the parking lot of the Elvis Tourist Complex. It was a short-distance for younger, able-bodied people, but – our senior-group needed to reserve our energy for the tour. We were given tickets by our tour director and she recommended that we view the Graceland mansion first, and the displays in the complex afterward. We also had a ticket for lunch at Vernon’s – one of several food choices available in the complex. After seeing a short movie about Elvis, we went to the ‘shuttle-bus’ area and were given Apple iPads and headphones. The shuttle bus took us across Elvis Presley Boulevard to the mansion. At the entrance, we were asked to not use any pictures that we took commercially, and to start the iPad tour audio. I thought that the mansion was very nice and I liked the audio tour. After touring the first floor and downstairs of the house, we went on an exit to the back – i.e., Vernon’s office, the racquetball courts/house, and the memorial garden. (Note: the upstairs is considered a private-space.)

We had a short line to the return shuttle back to the tourist-complex. I will share more pictures of the exhibits there, but think that this is a “place that you should visit” to enjoy them.

(I have NOT mastered the gallery feature of wordpress, the software that I use to create the blog. I regret to say that I have attempted MANY times to change the picture orientation of several pictures and have not been successful. In fact, in several attempts to change the orientation, the whole blog post was deleted and I had to re-create it. (OK – at least 5 times without success.)  There is a technique or timing-algorithm that I’m missing – and I now give up trying. )

<<As always, any comments that you have about the website would be appreciated. I have another website. It is about my 1971 MGB (old English 2-seater convertible-top car). The url address is : http://www.PuddinInTheMGB.wordpress.com
Note: When I go camping, I am often without internet service. I try to use my cellphone data plan sparingly as charges may be increased with usage. Therefore, I often let emails collect in my box and try to catch-up reading them when I return home.>>

2017-09-12 Tuesday. From Atlanta to Nashville,TN (day 1 of a 3-day trip)

2017-09-12 Tuesday. From Atlanta to Nashville,TN (day 1 of a 3-day trip)
Hurricane Irma had an impact on Atlanta on Monday, 9/11. Our “Seniors On the Go Tours” by motorcoach-bus had been planned and scheduled for months. Our trip director had received ‘non-refundable’ tickets to the Grand Ole Opry for Tuesday night and the trip was in peril due to the storm. Instead of leaving at 7:45AM from Lawrenceville, she decided to leave at 11AM. That would give many the opportunity to see if the roads that they needed to use were passable. About 45 people went on the trip and 5 had to cancel due to storm-related aftermath. Fortunately, I didn’t have electricity fail or any trees fall in my yard. My roommate had to stay because of ‘issues’, i.e. many trees fell on her property and she was without electricity.
We were told to be ‘in-our-seats’ for the Opry at 7:00PM. There was a ‘special’ telethon planned to help raise money for the hurricane victims and the Opry location was part of the event. Other locations were New York and Los Angelas. After arriving in Nashville, we ate supper across the street from the Opryland Hotel and the Grand Ole Opry was behind the hotel. I’ve included many pictures (as usual), and hope that you, the reader, enjoy them.

This post 1 of 2. For the information and pictures of the trip in Memphis, see the next post = 2017-09-13. 

Grand Ole Opry program notes: Blake Shelton, Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers, Jon Parti, Henry Cho (comedian), Margo Price, Lukas Nelson, Trace Adkins.  Opry shows are broadcast live on the Opry’s mobile app, 650 AM WSM and on opry.com and wsmonline.com. 

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<<As always, any comments that you have about the website would be appreciated. I have another website. It is about my 1971 MGB (old English 2-seater convertible-top car). The url address is : http://www.PuddinInTheMGB.wordpress.com
Note: When I go camping, I am often without internet service. I try to use my cellphone data plan sparingly as charges may be increased with usage. Therefore, I often let emails collect in my box and try to catch-up reading them when I return home.>>

2017-08-01 ILChicago (for 2 weeks)

This is a blog about my travel. I like to take pictures and show others where I have visited. Because of the many pictures, it is best to use a desktop computer (rather than a mobile device) to view these posts. Note that because of the many pictures, it takes a long time for a page to load. I have ‘slow’ internet at home and when creating these pages, it also takes a long time for the pictures to upload to the server. I use wordpress software.  
Another note about the name of my blog. My Dad used to call me “Puddin” and I usually travel in a white, cargo van that I named “Vanna White”. I’ve been told that people are confused about my blog name and didn’t understand the background. (In my opinion, pudding is something that you eat. I spell my nickname “Puddin” to denote the southern slang of the word.)

I went to Chicago for 2 weeks to visit my younger son. I had a really good trip – but, alas, there was an ‘incident’ which I will explain after the pictures. The last time I visited him, Vanna White was impounded. Of course, I created a blog post about the details. (2014-10-07 post) For this trip, I decided to fly because of 2 reasons : (1) Since the van was impounded on the last trip and I didn’t pay the parking tickets that they mailed me, my license tag is probably on file with the police. Most cities now have car-tag scanners that link to information about you and I fear that they may want the money that they claim I owe. (2) I looked at the flights available and it only takes 2 hours to fly there. In addition, the gas that I would use would be more than the cost to fly. Using google maps, I can easily see that the trip is over 700 miles and will take over 11 hours driving. Consider the danger of driving that distance versus the risk of flying, I took the flight option. Note: In the future when Georgia changes the numbers on the car-license-tags, I may drive again. (My son often flies to Atlanta on Southwest Airlines and recommended that I use that airline. I left my house at 6:15AM in a taxi to get to the Dunwoody MARTA station. The flight left about 9:30AM and landed at Midway Airport. My return flight was at 6:30PM and I arrived home in a taxi from MARTA about 11:30PM.)

The blog pictures are in sections: (1) Downtown buildings that were near the West Wacker area, (2) Wisconsin State Fair, (3) Graceland Cemetary, and (4) food that we ate.

Downtown buildings —->

Wisconsin State Fair —> 

Graceland Cemetary —–>

Restaurants that we visited (and other food that we ate) —>

The ‘incident’ = We went to the Wisconsin State Fair on Saturday. My sons house is 3 stories high with a back, enclosed staircase. Before going to bed that night, I put some items that I often use on bedroom window-sill. About $14 in one-dollar bills, a few coins, my ladies handbag, and my waist-pouch containing my cellphone and credit cards. The bedroom was on the second floor and if you were to look through the window, you would see an outdoor storage room that was part of the back stairs. After getting out of the shower on Sunday morning, it was quite evident to me that the bedroom window into the storage closet had been opened. As my son and his wife lived on the third floor and I was the only one on the second floor, my first thought was “Why would my son open the bedroom window?” I looked closer and realized that the coin change that I had placed on the window-sill was there, but the dollar-bills that I had taken out of my pocket was NOT. I looked in my handbag and it seemed to have the billfold that was normally inside and I picked up my waist-pouch. It was not as heavy as I expected and I realized that my cell phone was missing. I went down the hall and loudly called my sons name. His wife was upstairs and called back to me that he had gone to get some breakfast. I yelled back that my cellphone was missing. She came downstairs and I told her that I had put it on the window-sill and the window was open after I returned to the room from taking a shower. She looked around the bed to make sure that I had not misplaced it and she went upstairs to get her cellphone. She used the app = “Find Friends” and on my name the indication that the ‘location was not available’ was displayed. She said, “Yep, it’s gone.” She had a friend who lost her cellphone and she knew that when phones are lost or stolen, the first thing that the thief may do is turn it off to not have location-services find it. She recommended that I use the app = “Lost Phone” to lock it. After the time of the detected theft and before my son returned home with breakfast, we heard the front door slam in the house. My son often opens the back door in the mornings and leaves it open for the fresh air. If you open the front door to let air flow faster, it will often slam shut with a wind shift. After the door slammed, there were many dogs in the neighborhood barking loudly and for a long time. We often heard one or two dogs bark, but there were more of them barking than I had previously heard. We suspect that the thief heard me talk with her about the missing cellphone and ran through the front-door and left it open. 
We went downstairs and I used my laptop to lock the phone (using iCloud.com app = “Find iPhone”, my appleid and password). My son returned and we talked about ‘the incident’ for a while. We believe that there was a thief who came into the house from the open back door. He/she came up the spiral staircase and looked for something to steal. When I was in the shower, they got my money and cellphone and was unable to get out of the backdoor. (It had a new deadbolt-type lock without a doorknob.) The thief was able to open the window and crawl into the storage room to escape detection inside of the house. The thief had moved his golf clubs in the storage room from the right of the window to the left of the window. I don’t know the other items stored there, but there were 2 items in large cases that were also moved slightly.
We had ‘activities’ planned for the day and proceeded with the them. While at an outdoor market, my son received a phone call. He answered and the person who called asked about my cellphone. I was not there for the conversation, but, I presume, he told them that it was stolen this morning and I put his cellphone for the number-to-call if it was found. The person said that my stolen cellphone had been found and was available for pick-up at the District 14 police station. I was VERY HAPPY! However, my son cautioned me that the person who called and claimed that they were the police may be a scammer. (Oh-No!) Well, we went to the police station and my cellphone was, in fact, recovered by the police! The officer who talked with us would not give us any information about the recovery – only that there were other items missing in the neighborhood and, someone had called, and they had a suspect in the interrogation room. (My cellphone was found in his/her pocket.) The officer said that my cellphone would have to be inventoried by the property office before it could be released. We waited about an hour and a half, and the police filled in the paperwork for me about it being lost – but, we were happy to have it recovered. (I had planned to use the Chicago Police website to file a report about a stolen cellphone, but – they found it before I had time to complete the report. Another comment: I should have called the police after discovering that the cellphone had been stolen, but my son and his wife thought that, probably, the police were more involved in serious crime and recommended using the website for the report at a later time.)

<<As always, any comments that you have about the website would be appreciated. I have another website. It is about my 1971 MGB (old English 2-seater convertible-top car). The url address is : http://www.PuddinInTheMGB.wordpress.com
Note: When I go camping, I am often without internet service. I try to use my cellphone data plan sparingly as charges may be increased with usage. Therefore, I often let emails collect in my box and try to catch-up reading them when I return home.>>