2018-12-29 Travel to India (Post 2 of 2)

This webpost 2 of 2. To see webpost 1, view the previous page. (Scroll down to the bottom of this page to see the top of webpost 1 of 2 – the Gate 1 Tour of the India triangle, Delhi-Jaipur-Agra.)

This is the post about my trip to (1) Kathmandu, Nepal to visit UNESCO sites and see the sunset in Nagarkot, and (2) visit Ludhiana, India to see “B”‘s family. While there, I went to a wedding of a family friend, shopping in a local store and in a couple of malls. We also drove about 2 hours away one day for a tour of “B”‘s family new living-quarters and tour the local rose garden, rock garden and manmade lake. A few days later, we took a one-day trip drive about 2 hours away to Amritsar and saw the Golden Temple. We also saw  a hospital and school. The stay that I had with her family was incredible. I lack the words to express my gratitude to both “B” and her family for the trip. 

I had such a great time, it was hard to leave, but – unfortunately, the day came when we had to return to Delhi for our flight back to Atlanta. The trip was fabulous and I’m still amazed that “I-saw-all-that-I-saw”, and “did-all-that-I-did”.  Thank you to “B” and all of her family and friends for such a wonderful trip!

<Left-Mouse-Click on a picture to enlarge it. Navigate forward and backward through the picture gallery using the left and right arrows in the middle of the picture. To end the gallery view and to return to the web-page, hit the “X” button on the top right of the picture, or the “Esc” (Escape) key on the top right of the keyboard. >

 

<<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). <Note: I sold the car in September.> The url address is : http://www.PuddinInTheMGB.wordpress.com
Additional note: Because the pictures take a long time to load, it is best to view these webpages using a desktop (in my opinion. Because the size of the pictures will be larger.) >>

2018-12-17 Travel to India (Post 1 of 2)

This is a LONG post because I was away for a month and I traveled to what I call “Exotic” places. It is a very HARD post to make because I went to so many wonderful places and met so many new friends. Condensing the pictures and thoughts on this trip is extremely difficult for me. I’ve decided to break the post into two-pages.

The short-story of the trip is that I flew to Delhi and met my friend, “B”. We toured the city by a private driver for four hours one day. A day later, we joined a Gate-1 Tour Company group and toured Delhi, Jaipur and Agra for a week. Then, “B” and I flew to Kathmandu in Nepal for 4 days and saw several UNESCO sites, took an early-morning flight to see the top of Mt. Everest, and got to see a wonderful sunset at Nagarkot. We returned to Delhi and then visited “B”‘s family for a couple of weeks. Her family lives six hours drive north of Delhi in Ludhiana. While there, we visited Chandigarh for a day. It is a two-hour drive and we saw “B”‘s family house, the rose-garden, the rock-garden and a manmade lake. A few days later, we spent the day at the Golden Temple, in Amritsar – also, a two-hour drive.
WebPost 1 of 2: Gate1 tour of Delhi, Jaipur and Agra
WebPost 2 of 2: Kathmandu, the Mt. Everest flight, and the visit to Ludhiana, India – one day in Chandigarh and one day at the Golden Temple in Amritsar.

Now for the long-story:
About twenty years ago, I worked in an office with many people and I met “B” from India while working there. We have kept in-touch with each other and occasionally meet for lunch. Well, last August, we had lunch together and she told me that she was going to visit her family in India in November and wanted to know if I was interested in going. I hesitated because I knew that I had signed-up for a trip with Seniors-On-The-Go-Travel to go to Myrtle Beach in December. I told her that I would like to go but had committed to the other trip. She said that she would be there for 2 months and asked when the other trip ended. I replied “December 13”. She asked, “Why don’t you come after it?” S-o-o-o, she said that I could come after my trip. I said “OK” and we began making plans. (I would never consider going on a trip like this alone.) She said that she had a travel agent and would contact them about getting me a ticket for the flight. I didn’t understand at that time that many people travel to India during the holidays and securing a flight ‘early’ was critical. She also told me that I needed to get a visa and should contact the Indian consulate. Soon after the lunch, I looked on the internet about getting a visa and went to the consulate to apply. It turns out that the consulate is near my house. Actually, I went to the consulate address on the internet and was told after getting there that there is a ‘remote’ office nearby with the computers, photo-booth, and staff to help with visa applications. I found the office and applied. I had taken my U.S. passport with me, filled in the form using their computer, and had my picture taken in a photo-booth in the office. The assistant took my credit card for payment, put my application and passport in a pouch and sent it to a processing center. In a few days, I had a Fed-Ex envelope containing my passport and the visa attached to one of the pages.

My friend, “B”, and I continued to make plans for the trip and I told all of my friends of my plans. I received advice from them about what they experienced and what they recommended that I pack. I made lists of items that I needed and purchased new items I thought I needed. One friend talked about getting “Delly Belly” and told me to pack immodium, a medicine for treatment of diarrhea. Another friend made a suggestion of several things to pack and included “Pepto Bismol” in their list. As the time neared for the trip, I decided that I was going to try and pack all that I needed in one airline-check-in suitcase. Also, I would carry a backpack with items that I would need in the case that my luggage was lost.

In mid-November, “B” left on her trip. She planned to meet me in New Delhi when I arrived in mid-December. In early December, I had a case of ‘travel-anxiety’ and thought of how chaotic the Atlanta airport can be. Once passengers retrieve their luggage from a trip, there are many exit doors from the area and I thought that when I arrived in India, if there were many doors to exit from the airport, I would most probably find the wrong one. I sent “B” an email asking about the exit doors from the airport and was surprised when she called me the next day and told me that there is only one exit-door in India. I replied that I didn’t know that and had experienced some ‘travel-anxiety’. We talked briefly about her having the cellphone of her brother while there and that she would email me the phone number. I had never called long-distance overseas and didn’t know if I could get it to work. Also, I wasn’t sure how to make a local phone call when there. She assured me that she would meet me when I arrived.

The day finally arrived when I was to leave. I had spent the previous day packing and thought that I had everything that I would need. On the day of the flight, I turned off the electricity in my house using the fuse-switches in the circuit-breaker box and I left ‘on’ the refrigerator. Also, I used a “T” bar and turned off the water to the house. (Note: I had a neighbor who left their house in the winter, the pipes froze and one of them broke. They returned to find a lot of water under the house and many of their floor-boards had warped.) I put the keys to my house in a secure spot outside because I didn’t want to carry them for a month. I pulled my wheeled-suitcase into the driveway and wore my backpack. I locked the backdoor and scheduled a ride with Lyft. Upon arriving at the Marta station (the Atlanta rapid-transit system), I realized that I had meant to wear my jacket on the airplane and had forgotten to put-it-on it because it was a warm and sunny day. I considered returning to retrieve it, but decided to just buy a jacket after arrival. (Upon reflection, I probably should have returned home to get the jacket or made sure that I wore it when I put the suitcase outside.) At any rate, the trip to India was ‘smooth’. I was able to not incur any major problems. While waiting on my connection flight in Paris, I was able to get a wi-fi connection and send “B” a message. As soon as the airplane landed in New Delhi, I turned on my cellphone and shortly afterward, “B” called and let me know that she was waiting for me near the luggage area. I was amazed to find her fairly easily.

After our greeting, “B” introduced me to her sister-in-law, “Baby”. They had arranged both a hotel and transportation, so we left. We spent the night and “Baby” left the following day to return to her family. (When I told “Baby” about leaving my jacket home, she had an extra sweater that she gave me. I am eternally thankful to her for the gift. Also, before she left, we shopped at a local bazaar and I bought a fleece jacket.) “B” and I stayed in Delhi and went to the hotel where the Gate 1 Travel group started the tour. The tour started on December 22.

Here is a copy of the Gate 1 Website information for the day: Old & New Delhi City Tour
Begin in the walled city of Old Delhi, founded by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. Travel along the winding streets to Jama Masjid, the largest and best known mosque in India. On a cycle rickshaw, continue along the lanes of Chandi Chowk in the old city, once the imperial avenue of Mughal royalty. After lunch, on to New Delhi, a city of airy boulevards, lush parks and gardens. Visit a Sikh Temple and drive past the imposing India Gate War Memorial to Indian and British soldiers, Parliament House and the Presidential Palace. Enjoy a visit to the Gandhi Smriti, the official residence of Mahatma Gandhi, where he spent the last 144 days of his life, that is now a museum. The tour continues with a visit to Humayun’s Tomb set in stunning gardens, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This evening, meet with your fellow travelers and Tour Manager for an orientation meeting on the incredible journey in India that awaits you, followed by a Welcome Dinner at the hotel.

Next day (a copy from the Gate1 website): Travel to Jaipur
Depart New Delhi to Jaipur, gateway to the desert state of Rajasthan. En route, stop for some photos at the graceful sandstone Qutab Minar Victory Tower, the world’s tallest brick minaret, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Arrive in glorious Jaipur, with its stucco buildings lining the wide streets and you’ll understand why it is nicknamed the “Pink City.” The city was painted its unique color in 1876 to celebrate the visit of the Prince of Wales. Drive past stunning hilltop forts and glorious palaces on the way to a bargain filled bazaar. Dinner is at the hotel.

Next day (a copy from the Gate1 website): Amber Fort, Jaipur
Excursion to the spectacular Amber Fort, a stunning fusion of Mughal and Hindu styles with its gorgeous Palace of Mirrors. Ascend the hill to the ramparts by jeep. From here, see the panoramic views of Jaipur’s original city walls and the lake below. Stop for refreshments before shopping the vast collection of local handicrafts at Jaipur Handicrafts, offering premium quality handmade carpets, textiles, pashminas, pottery and paintings. Fabrics in all colors and textures are available for loose purchase as well as custom design work. Spend the afternoon at leisure strolling through the city’s delightful gardens, or, join the optional tour to view the well-preserved 18th century Jantar Mantar Observatory and drive past Hawa Mahal, the “Palace of Winds” with its lacy ornamental façade. Later, the tour continues to the opulent City Palace, former royal residence, now a grand museum with an extraordinary collection of miniature paintings, costumes and armory. Tonight’s optional evening is highlighted by the exotic flavors of Indian cuisine at a local neighborhood restaurant, while you’re entertained by performers in traditional attire as they execute various dance moves to the rhythm of the accompanying musical instruments.

Next day (a copy from the Gate1 website): Travel to Agra via Abhaneri
Depart Jaipur to the small ancient village of Abhaneri in northern Rajasthan. Begin at Chand Baori, one of the largest step wells in India, fortified on all sides. This unique idea was conceived by the early natives to work as a water reservoir, located adjacent to the temple dedicated to Harshat Mata, goddess of joy and happiness – an architectural jewel. Then after lunch, continue on to Agra, with its celebrated past, rich heritage and architectural delights. The rest of the day is yours to enjoy the delights of this splendid city. Dinner is at the hotel.

Next day (a copy from the Gate1 website): Taj Mahal
A memorable day as you visit the astonishing Taj Mahal, built by Emperor Shah Jahan as a mausoleum for his beloved Queen. Perhaps, this is the most perfect architectural monument in the world, built of white marble and precious stones over a 22 year period – considered the finest example of Mughal architecture. Afterwards, stop at Kalakriti Marble. The Taj Mahal inspired the Kalakriti family to become the manufacturer of fine inlaid marble work. Marvel at the museum quality workmanship as you watch a demonstration of the timely process of marble carvings, filigree and stone inlay. Then browse Kalakriti’s home furnishings and decorative items. In the afternoon, participate in the not to be missed optional tour to the red sandstone Agra Fort, with its incredible maze of walled courtyards, mosques and lavish private chambers reflecting the grandeur of the Mughal Empire; this monument has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Next, to the Tomb of Itmad-ud-Daulah built of the finest Indian marble embellished with mosaics and inlay of semiprecious stones. Enjoy the evening at leisure.

Final day (a copy from the Gate1 website): New Delhi
Depart Agra this morning and return to New Delhi on your last day in India. Upon arrival, time to freshen up before tonight’s festivities. Bid farewell to your newfound friends and Tour Manager at a festive Farewell Dinner at the hotel.

<Left-Mouse-Click on a picture to enlarge it. Navigate forward and backward through the picture gallery using the left and right arrows in the middle of the picture. To end the gallery view and to return to the web-page, hit the “X” button on the top right of the picture, or the “Esc” (Escape) key on the top right of the keyboard. >

I recommend that readers of this blog also visit YouTube and search for India. Many other travelers have placed video there about their trips.

<<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). <Note: I sold the car in September.> The url address is : http://www.PuddinInTheMGB.wordpress.com
Additional note: Because the pictures take a long time to load, it is best to view these webpages using a desktop (in my opinion. Because the size of the pictures will be larger.) >>

2018-12-10 Trip from Atlanta,GA to Myrtle Beach,SC (for 3 nights)

I rode in a motorcoach bus to Myrtle Beach with Seniors-On-The-Go-Travel. We stayed at the Bay Watch Resort.

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After the day of travel, we enjoyed a wonderful meal at Benjamin’s Seafood. They had an outstanding selection of food and great service. 

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2018-12-10_SCMyrtleBeachBenjaminesRestaurantSeniorsOnTheGoTravel-31

The next day, we went to Brookgreen Gardens and toured the art. They had impressive statues, fountains and a luminary show at night on the week-end. We enjoyed the tour and the chilly weather.

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2018-12-13_SCBrookgreenGardensSeniorsOnTheGo-StatueOfManAndAlligator
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2018-12-10_SCBrookgreenGardensSeniorsOnTheGoTravel-211

We attended a Carolina Opry Christmas show which was very entertaining.

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2018-12-13_SCMyrtleBeachCarolinaOpryChristmasShowSeniorsOnTheGoTours

We also enjoyed the Alabama Theater Christmas Show and the Pirate Theater show.

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2018-12-10_SCMyrtleBeach(SeniorsOnTheGoTravel) (225)

Several of us shopped at the outdoor mall. Great trip with great people, food and places to go. What could be better?  Hope that you enjoy the pictures.

<<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). <Note: I sold the car in September.> The url address is : http://www.PuddinInTheMGB.wordpress.com
Additional note: Because the pictures take a long time to load, it is best to view these webpages using a desktop (in my opinion. Because the size of the pictures will be larger.) >>

2018-11-27 Trip to Nashville, TN. Stayed at Opryland Hotel 2 nights

From Atlanta to Opryland is about 250 miles and 3 hours and 45 minutes drive. Of course, with a full bus, we have frequent breaks.

I traveled with a motorcoach bus group called Seniors On the Go Travel. The owner is Cathy Stokes and the website is named “Seniors On the Go Tours”. NOTE: I “always” have a great time with this group! (AND, I somehow manage to EAT-TOO-MUCH.)

It was really cold in Atlanta (about 25 Farenheit) when we left. This trip was not as ‘flawless’ as others that I have been on. (See the last paragraph at the end.) A short description of the tour was :

Tuesday lunch = Bell Buckle Cafe in Bell Buckle, TN; dinner = Opryland Hotel Showroom, Trace Adkins Christmas show (and it was VERY GOOD)!;

Wednesday = hotel buffet breakfast, Gen Jackson Showboat lunch and show, ICE Exhibit at Opryland (indoor temperature is 9 degrees F), night = Ryman Auditorium Christmas show with Amy Grant and Vince Gill;

Thursday = hotel buffet breakfast, guided-bus-tour of the city (stop at Parthenon), and return to Atlanta. We learned a lot about the city and I was impressed with all of the new buildings and the growth. Also, the replica-sized Parthenon was interesting.

<Left-Mouse-Click on a picture to enlarge it. Navigate forward and backward through the picture gallery using the left and right arrows in the middle of the picture. To end the gallery view and to return to the web-page, hit the “X” button on the top right of the picture, or the “Esc” (Escape) key on the top right of the keyboard.>

The shows were WONDERFUL! 2-Christmas-shows with 3 well-known stars! Our visit was the week after Thanksgiving and the Opryland Hotel schedules a lot of tour-groups for this period. The hotel was comfortable and had designated the “Magnolia” area for tour-groups. The room where Trace Adkins had a show at night was transformed to a buffet breakfast area for the tour-groups each morning. Breakfast was well-organized, well-attended and the food was good.
The hotel has 4000 rooms and it is easy to get ‘lost’ frequently.  Fortunately, there are many signs and maps.   I was fortunate to attend a convention there about 20 years ago and was aware of the ‘old’ area before the new construction and the water-park. The conservatory is impressive and the water-fountain light-show is shown several times a night. We had an included ticket for the water-barge ride in the conservatory and enjoyed the Christmas decorations. Extra-impressive was the outdoor lighting and nativity scene. I walked around many of the paths and saw many of the shops and restaurants, but there were sections that I did not cover. (There was not enough time on the trip, we could see the water-park as we drove past the outside, but – I never walked to it.)

On the return trip to Atlanta, the bus-driver stopped at an exit in the mountains because an engine ‘red-check-light’ came on. He called his company mechanical advisors and performed many tests to try and resolve the issue. The light persisted and, after a while, the bus-company headquarters decided to dispatch another bus for our return. Before the relief-bus arrived, the driver was advised to continue with the trip and plan to intercept the dispatched-bus. I wasn’t told the problem and solution, but – I believe that the red-check-light was due to something in the gas-line and with high-engine-revolutions, the clog in the gas-line dissipated. The phone-mechanic cleared the bus to travel – but it took about 3 hours to have the issue resolved enough to continue the trip. I returned home about midnight.

<<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). <Note: I sold the car in September.> The url address is : http://www.PuddinInTheMGB.wordpress.com
Additional note: Because the pictures take a long time to load, it is best to view these webpages using a desktop (in my opinion. Because the size of the pictures will be larger.) >>

2018-10-31 Trip to Biloxi to Beau Rivage Casino – (Ending date 11-02)

Using Google-Maps, the trip from Atlanta, GA to Biloxi,MS is 387 miles.

I travelled with a motorcoach bus group called Seniors On the Go Travel. The owner is Cathy Stokes and the company website is named “Seniors On the Go Tours”.

Note: About a year ago, I went to Biloxi with this group and posted pictures of the trip on this website.

This is called a “Gambling Trip” since it was to a casino. BUT – I really don’t gamble. I just enjoy trips and the food is always awesome. My roommate is a gambler and I received some ‘house credit’ from Golden Nugget that I used in about 45 minutes at a machine. By the way, I really don’t consider myself a gambler (even though I ‘thought’ that I won some money at Keeneland Racetrack – see previous webpost). In a college “Probability and Statistics” math class, my professor told us that “SOMEONE had to pay for the machines, salaries, electricity, building, etc.” and cautioned the class that there is a large probability that you will lose. So, I decided that I would not tempt the probability odds. However, I REALLY LIKE the atmosphere and enjoy casinos. I had hoped to use my ‘house-credit’ at a video-poker machine. I couldn’t get one to work and asked for assistance. The employee told me that the ‘house credit’ would not work with video-poker. <Bummer!> I have a real affinity for wanting to learn more about winning video-poker. Years ago, the tv-show “60 Minutes” interviewed a video-poker expert. Her name was Jean Scott and I have the paperback book that she wrote. (It is called “The Frugal Gambler”.) She has strategies for winning and has gambled all over the world. She bought a condo in Las Vegas so that she could be nearer the action. She was a math teacher from the New England area and has good advice for winning. Specifically, I remember some high-level tips from the tv-show and her interview and book. (I plan to re-read the book soon.) The two top ones are (in my humble opinion):

(1) Watch someone at a machine and if they don’t win while playing after a while, then the machine has a higher probability of being near a payout. Play that machine.

(2) Always be alert when playing and don’t drink alcohol. The odds are slim for winning and alcohol will induce mistakes, which can be costly.

<Of course, NEVER gamble more than you can afford to loose.> 
We stayed 2 nights at the Beau Rivage, visited an aquarium on Thursday morning and the Golden Nugget Casino on Thursday afternoon. (As part of our trip, we received 2 breakfast vouchers at Beau Rivage and 1 buffet one. Also, we received $15 house-credit at the Golden Nugget. On “gambling trips” we had several bingo games on the bus and the winners receive lottery tickets. )

Hope that you enjoy the pictures: (A long time ago, I was told to not take pictures inside a casino. I didn’t take any pictures of the machines or people sitting at them.) 

<Click on a picture to enlarge it. Navigate forward and backward through the picture gallery using the left and right arrows in the middle of the picture. To end the gallery view and to return to the web-page, hit the “X” button on the top right of the picture, or the “Esc” (Escape) key on the top left of the keyboard.>

We had some bad-weather while on the trip. During the night of our arrival, a storm hit the area. The storm was predicted and our group had been scheduled to go on a boat ride. However, the boat captain called our tour-director and cancelled it. She had a “Plan B” activity for us. We visited the Ocean Adventures Aquarium in Gulfport. The website for it is: https://www.gulfcoast.org/listings/ocean-adventures-park-%26-center/4020/
It turned out that four school groups were scheduled for the day that we visited, however, the storm caused the groups to cancel and we had the place to ourselves (with a few other visitors). We enjoyed the dolphin show, petting the sting-rays, the trained seal and the parrot.

I have to add one last comment about my personality trait: “I HATE LOSING!” (especially hard-earned MONEY).  A member of our group won $1600 on the “Butterfly” machine next to the buffet restaurant. My roommate, liked and played the “Mustang” machine on the right of it for a while the night before the win. 

<<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). <Note: I sold the car in September.> The url address is : http://www.PuddinInTheMGB.wordpress.com
Additional note: Because the pictures take a long time to load, it is best to view these webpages using a desktop (in my opinion. Because the size of the pictures will be larger.) >>

2018-10-16 Trip to Lexington,KY to see Keeneland Race Track – (Ending date 10-19)

Using Google-Maps, the trip from Atlanta to Lexington is 387 miles.

I travelled with a motorcoach bus group called Seniors On the Go Travel. The owner is Cathy Stokes and the website is named “Seniors On the Go Tours”.  —- Be sure to read to the bottom! —- 

I have to be honest and say that my roommate wanted to sign up for this trip. I enjoy **ALL** of the bus trips and — I signed-up for this trip because my roommate on many past trips said that she wanted to go. I had never been to a horse-race before and I had never heard of Keeneland before this trip. I HAVE heard of the major horse races in the news, but I had -NO IDEA- of how involved the racing of horses can be. On this trip, we toured the Racetrack before race-day, went to a ‘stud-farm’ (Darby Dan’s) and learned how thoroughbred horses are kept pure-in-their-breed, and saw the beauty of the area. We also visited a large ‘training’ camp and saw where over 1000 horses have nearby stables in many barns. We were told about the jockeys who train them and heard about the jockeys who race them. We learned about how horse-manure is managed and sold to mushroom growing farmers. We visited a retirement-farm and saw beautiful horses and the love shown to them by the organizers. –AND– most-of-all, we went to the race and experienced the wonderful buffet in the clubhouse! The whole trip was very interesting and educational! (And, of course, we had many wonderful meals. I’m trying to include less food in these posts, but – if you, the reader, would like more about the food that we eat, please let me know.) I stayed in the Phoenix Room during the races as it was chilly outside and I was very comfortable inside. We were encouraged to go outside to the track area, but I had toured the track viewing area on the previous day and I was comfortable watching the races in the room. In particular, I was interested in the statistics and other information on the screen/monitors. I was especially interested in the ‘pro-picks’ shown minutes before a new race began. I took a picture of the group, but wanted to ‘blur’ faces because I didn’t want anyone in the group to be upset with me for showing their faces in the blog. This is my first experience with editing photos and I don’t often show faces of people, if possible.

<Click on a picture to enlarge it. Navigate forward and backward through the picture gallery using the left and right arrows in the middle of the picture. To end the gallery view and to return to the web-page, hit the “X” button on the top right of the picture, or the “Esc” (Escape) key on the top right of the keyboard.>

 

By the way, I ‘think’ that I won some money. The group ate the buffet in the Phoenix Room before the race. We studied the program and talked with a ‘betting-coach’ (called a ‘betologist’ in the brochure). Just before the first race started, I went to the betting-window and told the man-with-the-computer that I was ‘new’. He nodded and I told him that I wanted to bet $5 for win/place/show on a horse. (Cost of the bet was $15 since I was placing $5 on each choice = “win”=1st place or “place”=2nd or “show”=3rd.) After the race, I saw the monitor of the winners and was surprised that I was ‘in-the-money’. There are 30 minutes between races. I studied the program and when the betting-window was clear of other people, I returned for a bet on the second race. I chose another horse and placed a $5 bet for win/place/show and gave him the ticket from race number one. He processed the ticket from race-number-one and said that I owed $1.50. I gave him the money and returned to the table to watch the monitors for the race. Luckily, again, the horse that I picked was ‘in-the-money’. And, again, I studied the program and returned to bet when the window was clear. Again, he processed the ticket from race-number-two and said that I owed $3.50 for my bet. This time, I chose a ticket for ‘win’ only. Mistake! My horse did NOT win and my ticket was WORTHLESS! Well, the rest happened fast and the other races were quick to complete. I’m writing this web-post a couple of weeks after the trip and my memory has faded. Our bus was scheduled to leave before the last race so that we wouldn’t have the maximum traffic to negiotiate. On the last race that the group attended, I had picked another horse for win/place/show and saw in the results, where the horse was in the top three. I went to the window and collected $12.50 for the final race. I’m normally not much of a gambler, but – I think that I ended up positive in the cash-flow for the day. As I indicated previously, the middle races happened quickly, and my memory has faded, so – I DO remember putting money in my pocketbook in the end. I’m at the stage-of-life where I need to write everything down or I don’t remember the details. That is one of the reasons why I continue to create blog posts. “That’s My Story and I’m Sticking To It” = the title of a Jimmy Buffet song. (Note: For each race, I bet on only one horse. Others in the group were betting on several horses per race. If I couldn’t keep-up with my one bet, I wondered how they kept up with many?) By the way, the buffet was absolutely wonderful. I only gained five pounds on this trip.

 

This was another ‘FABULOUS’ trip planned by Cathy. On the bus-ride, we played games and had a wonderful trip! Note: I refrained from showing pictures both of the Univ of Kentucky bus-tour and the food that we ate. If you, the reader, would like to see pictures of our driving-tour and/or food, please let me know in the comments.

2018-10-16_KYLexingtonKeeneland_OurFearlessLeader-and herFascinator
2018-10-16_KYLexingtonKeeneland_OurFearlessLeader-and herFascinator

<<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). <Note: I sold the car in September.> The url address is : http://www.PuddinInTheMGB.wordpress.com
Additional note: Because the pictures take a long time to load, it is best to view these webpages using a desktop (in my opinion. Because the size of the pictures will be larger.) >>

2018-09-28 Trip to New England – on a motorcoach bus. (Ending date 10-07)

Using Google-Maps, the trip from Atlanta to Bar Harbor is 1340 miles.

I travelled with the motorcoach bus tour-group called Seniors On the Go Travel. The owner of the company is Cathy Stokes, tour-director.  The website is “SeniorsOnTheGoTours”. 

A -VERY- short description of our tour was to see Block Island, RI; Nubble Lighthouse and shop in Kennebunkport,ME; tour Acadia National Park (Cadillac Mountain) <weather was too bad to see Thunder Hole> & Lobster meal; shop in Bar Harbor <weather was too bad for a planned nature cruise>; Castle in the Clouds, Moultonborough,NH; Quechee Gorge and Woodstock, VT; Green Mountain Sugar Maple Syrup tour, Apple House and Battle Monument in Bennington,VT and Vermont Country Store in Weston. The route was to travel North on I-85 (most of the way) and to return South on I-81.

<Click on a picture to enlarge it. Navigate forward and backward through the picture gallery using the left and right arrows in the middle of the picture. To end the gallery view and to return to the web-page, hit the “X” button on the top right of the picture, or the “Esc” (Escape) key on the top right of the keyboard. >

I took over 600 pictures, but – due to the nature of posting pictures on this website, I’ve reduced the number of pictures for this post to thirty-one! (A very difficult decision).  Also, I took -WAY- too many pictures of the mansion at Castle in the Clouds.  I’ve NOT posted many of the wonderful meals that we ate.  I admit to experiencing web problems and intend to make the information on my posts shorter.  The group had several travel-guides and there is too much that we enjoyed for me to put here.

This trip involved a lot of travel and sightseeing out of the bus window. I think that everyone had a wonderful time and liked seeing the changing colors of the trees. Hope that you enjoy the pictures!

<<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). <Note: I sold the car in September.> The url address is : http://www.PuddinInTheMGB.wordpress.com
Additional note: Because the pictures take a long time to load, it is best to view these webpages using a desktop (in my opinion. Because the size of the pictures will be larger.) >>

2018-09-22 GA, Atlanta – Delta Flight Museum

A -new- ‘thing’ for Americans has occurred. It’s called “Smithsonian Museum” day!  YEAH!
I received an email that on the fourth Saturday in September, the Smithsonian Museum and its members, have ‘FREE’ entrance in museums. The email that I received had information on registering and printing your ‘ticket’ for the event. (I suppose that the registration and ticket allows for the ‘first-to-accept’ the offer to get-into-the-museum and there is crowd-control in that not too many free tickets are not allowed.)

My GPS address was not the correct address for the museum, but it was the address for Delta Headquarters, which was close to the museum. A guard at the gate gave me the diretions to the next road which contained the museum entrance. (Parking is free.) On the day that I attended, there were two airplanes for the museum, but the largest was ‘open’ and available to be toured.  There was a long line and I had to wait about 30 minutes before entering.  The Boeing 747 which has stairs and an elevator for entrance was the tour of the day. Participants enter the door and view the airplane that has had seats removed. Each person who enters is able to see what they want and to go upstairs to see the cockpit. (I.E. ‘no’ tourguide.) The pictures tell-the-story. Hope that you enjoy 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
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.) >>

2017-09-17 to Cleveland, TN from Atl,GA on “Mystery Trip” (~120 miles, 2 hours drive)

2018-09-17_TNCleveland,MuseumCntr5Points-outside
2018-09-17_TNCleveland,MuseumCntr5Points-outside

2017-09-17 to Cleveland, TN from Atl,GA on “Mystery Trip” (~120 miles, 2 hours drive)
I signed up with Seniors-On-The-Go-Tours (tour-guide=Cathy Stokes) to go ‘somewhere’ on a “Mystery Trip”. A trip where you don’t know where you’re going until you get there == Why sign-up and not know where you’re going?  Well, the short-answer is: You always have a good time, no matter where you go!  This is my third mystery-trip. And again, I really enjoyed it. A great trip and a great time.
My first picture is the group at the parking lot when I arrived. I got there about 7:15, the bus gets the luggage packed about 7:30 and we leave at 8AM. Well, the line is because the first ones in line, get their pick of the seat that they want for the trip. There is no switching seats on a trip. S-o-o-o, I ended up sitting in the rear of the bus, just one seat from the very back. That means, when you get to an unloading spot, you are almost the last to get off the bus. It takes a while for everyone to get up and get down the stairs and out of the bus. So-o-o-o the tour-director, i.e. Cathy, lets the front of the bus start unloading first one-day, and the next day switches unloading first to the back-of-the-bus. YEAH! (The final day, the unloading schedule is half-day front, and half-day back unloading first.) It doesn’t matter to me where I sit on the bus. My roommate said the same thing – It is what it is. I allow an hour of time to drive from my house and I get there when I can. The bus was ‘full’ and Cathy has said that mystery-trips usually sell-out quickly.

2018-09-17_GASnell2424WebbHouseGinRd_CannonMethChurch-busLine
2018-09-17_GASnell2424WebbHouseGinRd_CannonMethChurch-busLine

We left Atlanta and talked about where we were going – we follow the signs along the road and have wi-fi connected to maps to know our location. Cathy told us that we were NOT going to a beach area, and we guess where we are going with each turn. The choice of location for this trip caught everyone by surprise – we had a couple of people guess Chattanooga which is close to Cleveland – a 30-minute drive. We first stopped at the Museum and had a step-on guide tell us about the area as we drove around. We had a ‘big picture’ view of downtown and Lee University and the nearby residental area. We unloaded the bus across from the county courthouse and were given maps of restaurants downtown and told what time to return to the bus. Several of us ate at the Stack-bistro and I’ve included the pictures that I took. Had a very nice lunch – hamburger steak with mushrooms, fried fresh-okra sticks, and tater tots. We had a great time talking and a great lunch. We returned to the museum and looked at the displays – I took a picture explaining what ‘shape-notes’ are. Then, we went into an attached room that was a general-purpose meeting room that had a piano and chairs. We were introduced to Jack Clark, and he told us about shape-notes and how to write songs. He travels around the country teaching classes on songwriting. In the end, Cathy ‘created’ a song to the tune of “I’ll Fly Away” and we had a large flip-top sheet where she wrote her ‘idea’. Jack played the song and there were attempts to sing the new ‘creation’. Her song was “I’m on a bus today, I’m on a bus. Don’t know where I’m going to stay – but, I’m on a bus”. We went to a Staybridge Suite in the Cleveland side-of-Chattanooga for a short rest and returned to the bus. We had dinner at Jenkins Restaurant and Deli, a well-known eating establishment in the community. Back to our ‘suite’ for the night, my roommate and I had our own bedrooms with bathrooms. The suite had a tv in each bedroom and one in the sitting-area between the bedrooms. We watched the last of the HBO movie “Wonder Woman”.

The next morning, we ate breakfast at the hotel – there were many options for food. Then, back on the bus with the step-on guide to Red Clay State Park. In the park, we saw exhibits of Cherokee Indian culture and saw a short-video about how the Indians were forced from their land. We walked to the perpetual-flame memorial and the ranger of the park told us about how the Indian government met and decided the best customs for their tribes. It was all very interesting and a beautiful day to learn about the Cherokee being forced to leave and resettle in Oklahoma. Back-on-the bus, we went to Adele’s Granfalloon for crepe’s and lunch. The crepe’s had different fillings, ham, etc. for lunch and strawberries, etc. for dessert and they were delicious! After eating, there was a local entertainer who told us his ‘bear’ story and a singer-guitarist who played original songs. Both were great. We had a rain-cloud pass over the restaurant when we were inside, but the weather had cleared by the time we left – so all is good. Afterward, we went to Adventist Univ and saw the archeological museum. We were not allowed to take pictures inside, but – I was amazed to see artifacts from Israel from pre-Biblical times. We returned to the hotel for a break and wondered what exciting things were scheduled for the rest-of-the-day. We had an outstanding dinner at Aubrey’s – where we had pre-ordered our choice of food. My roommate chose, “Thunderburger” and someone at the front of the bus had researched on the internet for “Thunderburger” and discovered that Aubrey’s Restaurant in Cleveland had that item on the menu. Thus, the ‘surprise’ for dinner had been uncovered and the restaurant choice was not a mystery to some of the people on the bus – which was a disappointment to Cathy because she tries really hard to keep all of our events a true ‘mystery’. Anyway, it was a great meal. I had grilled salmon, sweet-potato fries and cooked apples. Dessert was exceptional = peach cobbler with vanilla ice cream. As usual, I ate too much and had to plan on eating less when I returned home. Afterward, we went to Lee University Chapel and sang ‘shape-note’ hymns with some of the locals. The hymn-leader told us that for 8 years, he lived in Lawrenceville and knew the area where we were from. He told us that his two daughters were born while he lived there. Our pianist for the hymns was Jack Clark, our previous song-writing teacher. As we left, I heard a lady tell someone that her grandson loves singing and she enjoys bringing her to the hymn-night. The hymn leader came onto the bus and told us how much he enjoyed us coming. We felt very welcome.

The next morning, we ate breakfast at the hotel and had packed our bags to return home. We knew that our day would contain some riding, lunch and rest-stops before we returned, but – we didn’t know WHERE! We first stopped for the rest-area only a few minutes after leaving the hotel. We were told that we could expect a lot of riding before the next stop and to prepare for a ride. The bus took us on many backroads, I looked out of the window at the houses and how they were scattered along the roads. We went through Ellijay without stopping and continued on to a dirt road. We had NO IDEA where we were – somewhere in North Georgia near a pasture with black cows. Finally, we stopped at a house and large parking lot for a wine tasting room. We went inside tasted the wine from Chateau Meichtry. (The winery was started a few years ago by a family who told the story of their ancestors having a winery in Italy and bringing the ‘vine-stock’ with them to the USA. They told how family members help with all of the business elements associated with the winery.) Then, we went to the deck containing round tables with umbrellas for shade. It was cool inside and with-the-sunshine, got hot on the deck. But, we had a cool breeze every once in a while and it was just beautiful – looking out to the hills around us and the grapevines planted in the driveway. We had a wonderful catered lunch on the deck. I knew that it would take a while for everyone to get on the bus and I enjoyed being on the deck in the breeze, so I was the last to leave. 

Our last stop of the trip was at an apple barn – somewhere outside Dahlonega. It is not on a wide highway, but it was large and known to a lot of people in the area. It was only about 5 miles from the winery. We were treated to cold cups of apple cider and it was really sweet and good. Before getting off the bus, I had decided to buy some apple cider – but after realizing that I would have to store it and carry it home, I changed my mind because I just didn’t want to ‘deal with it’. However, it was great seeing all of the items-for-sale in the apple house and would like to return sometime. The bus returned to our parking lot with rush-hour traffic ending a great “Mystery 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
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.) >>

2018-08-26 (Monday) AK, Denali – McKinley Chalet Resort – about 1AM Northern Lights (Page 3 of 3)

2018-08-26 (Monday) AK, Denali – McKinley Chalet Resort – about 1AM (Page 3 of 3) <only 4 pictures below>

– In Page 1, I described the trip to Alaska with pictures from Anchorage and Denali (minus the two untouched pictures of the Northern Lights that I will share here, and two software ‘enhanced’ pictures that I added).
— In Page 2, I described the trip to Alaska with pictures from the Cruise of the inside passage.
— Now, Page 3, will show the pictures that I took of the Northern Lights.

Living in Atlanta, I have never seen the northern lights. To many people who live in the northern sections of the United States, this is not a ‘Big Deal‘. However, somewhere in my mind, I decided that it was a “Big Deal” to me and I’ve always wanted to see them. I’ve seen many pictures of them and knew what to expect when they are available – I just really want to see them myself.
The McKinley Chalet Resort has a guest service that they will call your room when the northern lights are showing, if you want them to. I asked to be put on a list at the guest services desk and I received a call about 1AM. I had read that the northern lights are more often seen around the fall and spring depending on the solar wind and, of course – the weather (no cloud cover).
I’ve investigated websites that explain when there is higher probability of northern light activity and I had decided that it was ‘not worth it’ for me to make a separate trip to see them. However, I was in Alaska and the possibility of seeing them was available, so – I joined about 20 other people in the resort parking area looking up to the sky in the early morning. The room area of the resort had street lighting and someone in the group suggested that we move to the side of the rooms to get away from the street lights. I moved with the group and continued to look into the dark sky and have to admit that I didn’t see anything. Someone pointed to the horizon and I looked, but saw nothing. I carry my camera almost everywhere and had heard from someone that you can often see on a picture the light that is hard for your eyes to detect. So-o-o, I took a picture of the horizon. I slowly returned to my room and continued to look at the sky. I thought that I saw a sliver of green light above the horizon similar to what I had seen in pictures. It only appeared a few seconds. I had my camera in my hand and decided to take another picture. I returned to the room and looked at the pictures that I had taken and saw nothing but black exposure. I had wanted the experience of seeing the northern lights and now I had had the experience. I guess that I was somewhat satisfied at my glimpse of the light that I had seen.

When I returned home, I downloaded all of my Alaska pictures to my desktop computer in preparation for updating the ‘travel-blog’ that you are reading.  Much to my amazement, when I looked at the black pictures using the desktop, in the first picture, a green haze appeared on top of the visible mountains. I was really surprised.
Next, I looked at the second picture and realized that I was able to see the green sliver-of-light in the sky from the opposite horizon of the first picture. I was amazed again. I had seen only a few seconds of the light while viewing, but I had captured 2 pictures of what my eye didn’t clearly view.
Hope that you enjoy the pictures .. Look closely at the horizon for the dim-green aura – (I only took two pictures of the horizon, but am really happy that I was able to see something from them. Also, I am glad that I didn’t delete the pictures before viewing them on a desktop. There are two computer-enhanced pictures below the two ones that I added here. )

2018-08-25_AKDenali,McKinleyLodge_NorthernLights-PhotoShowsBetterThanMyView1
2018-08-25_AKDenali,McKinleyLodge_NorthernLights-PhotoShowsBetterThanMyView1
2018-08-25_AKDenali,McKinleyLodge_NorthernLights-PhotoShowsBetterThanMyView
2018-08-25_AKDenali,McKinleyLodge_NorthernLights-PhotoShowsBetterThanMyView

I use irfanview software with many of my pictures. (And Windows 10 software for the others.) Here is what the images look like after they have been ‘color enhanced’ using irfanview.  I would like to know which picture you like the best – i.e.  original or color-enhanced. (I used an Apple iPhone 6 for the original pictures.) 

2018-08-25_AKDenaliMcKinleyLodge_NorthernLights-PhotoShowsBetterThanMyView-adjusted
2018-08-25_AKDenaliMcKinleyLodge_NorthernLights-PhotoShowsBetterThanMyView-adjusted
2018-08-25_AKDenaliMcKinleyLodge_NorthernLights-PhotoShowsBetterThanMyView1-adjusted
2018-08-25_AKDenaliMcKinleyLodge_NorthernLights-PhotoShowsBetterThanMyView1-adjusted

 

  I really like pictures and I bought some postcards from a giftshop, so I decided to add them here —> Postcards that I bought (Picture Front)

Travel-Blog Webpost Conclusion:  I want to thank everyone for their part in making this trip wonderful for us. (1) The tour-guide and group that I traveled with, and the associated travel company who arranged our tickets and helped us check-in at the airport. (2) Holland America and their employees for a wonderful time on the dome-train, chalet lodge, drivers and cruise. Especially, thanks to our dining room servers Dadang and Mark; and our cruise room staff, Hengki and Agung. (3) To all of the excursion guides from all of the tourists along this trail, you have shared a wealth-of-information about your life and customs and we thank you. (4) Our group attended many talks, demonstrations, and shows  that we visited and we had too many people to remember their names, but we’ll always remember the great information that you shared with us and the great time that we had.  (5) Also, we thank many of the people who worked behind-the-scenes who helped make this trip memorable.  

<<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 
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.) >>