Archive | May, 2010

Dear So and So

29 May

Dear Hoteliers across the country,

Would you be interested in perhaps upgrading your toilet paper just a smidge. Two weeks of travelling and there’s some rawness going on.

Yours,

Thinking that you all should be sentenced to a lifetime of useless toilet paper.

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Dear Arizona,

I think I may have overlooked you before. I actually hadn’t given you much thought. But you are beautiful. Awe-inspiring. Amazing. If a little bit desolate.

Yours,

In awe.

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Dear Interstate,

Now that I have travelled along Route 66 (if only a little) I hate you even more. It’s the monotony. And the repetitiveness.

Yours,

Plotting ways to avoid you in the future, while quietly resigned.

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Dear “Grandma”,

You are my son’s Grandmother. Not his mother. He will not be calling you “Mama” or any other variation of the word “Mother”. Those words are all mine.

Yours,

Angry (whether petty or not).

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Dear Mooncup,

Where are you????

Yours,

Wondering if my mind is lost, with you.

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Check out 3bedroombungalow for more Dear So and So letters.

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New Mexico

27 May

I’m having a bit of bother remembering what day it is, never mind what day of the trip it is. Time zones have us all confuddled. And I’m having to look at hotel stationery to figure out where it is we are. Let’s not mention the blind panic when I’m outside of the hotel room by myself, trying to remember today’s room number.

Oh well.

Yesterday we were in New Mexico. In Albuquerque. There was a little more outdoor activity than we’re used to, what with visiting Santa Rosa State park, the Sandia peak tramway and historic downtown Albuquerque. To be honest, I’m not entirely sure that we went to Santa Rosa park yesterday, I think it was the day before, on the way to Albuquerque. But I can’t be sure. See? No idea what day it is. I distinctly remember the tramway though. I’m not great with heights you see. And that’s the longest “unsupported” tram in the world. I mean, of course it is supported, but it has the longest distance between the towers or something. The engineering is a marvel. Apparently. It was marvellous to get up and down safely, that’s for sure. And the views were spectacular. The turtle certainly enjoyed it. “Up high sky.” It was like being a superhero on a train. His two favourite things at the moment.

THe historic downtown part of Albuquerque was very pretty and quaint. And all of the little shops prompted me to search for a tangible reminder of our trip. So all of the pottery stores had to be examined. Thoroughly. Until I found THE pot. It’s white with turtles carved into it. Two of which are turquoise. It’s lovely. I have no pictures, because it’s wrapped in the paper equivalent of a small tree. But here are some pictures of our New Mexico adventure:

(I can’t get the photos in the right order. Arrgghhhhh!!! Maybe later.)

Bye Bye Texas!

26 May

It was nice to have met you. Honestly though, I thought you would be hotter. And more desert-y. I didn’t think about all the cows and how they would need grass. What they say is true though, everything is bigger in Texas. At least it seemed so to me. Cows bigger than people. Fields stretching as far as the eye could see. Walmarts as big as a medium-sized town. Trucks galore. Giant ones. And enough steak to feed a small family served on one plate. (Shhh, but I’m a bit sick of steak.)

Maybe we’ll be back. I think you have a lot more to offer.

Days 6, 7, 8, 9 & 10

24 May

So, having done a few too many activities on the morning before we left New Orleans we had a tetchy ride to Alexandria, about two hours away. About half as far as we had “planned”, but we just couldn’t do anymore. An early night for everyone.

The next morning we got up and drove to Shreveport to go to Sci-port. It was great. All museums should be like that. It would have been nicer if it hadn’t been so crowded, but ’tis the season and all that. The Sci-port wore us all out, so we decided to motor on to our next spot. Dallas! In Texas! Another state! Hurrah.

We arrived too late that night to do much, except eat steak and sleep. The next morning we got up early and had to go to Dealey Plaza. It was a bit eerie. The turtle slept through it, until we got to the museum, when he insisted on running around playing trains and tunnels (much to the chagrin of the other museum goers, intent on reading all of the words on all of the walls…). So if there are any big “Aha!” moments to be found in the museum, I completely missed them. I was playing trains. Quietly.

That afternoon we intended to go to Six Flags, but it was just too hot and we were a bit worn out. We left it until the next morning.  Saturday morning. Field trip season. Madness. Sheer and utter madness. First of all, we couldn’t print out our tickets because the hotel computer didn’t have the right acrobat reader or something, so we had to wait in line at the “Will Call” booth for over half an hour. Lines were looong everywhere. The turtle couldn’t go on half the kids rides, even if we accompanied him. What he did get to go on – the Batplane, some cars, the train – he loved. And he liked looking at all of the people too. He didn’t know that most of the rides were old and decrepit looking. Or run by pubescent teens. We lasted two hours. The turtle would still be there if we let him.

The next stop was Wichita Falls. We had great plans to go to the Museum of Art and a couple of parks but the turtle had a fever. So we spent the evening and most of the next morning in the hotel. We decided to press on to Amarillo, because, for once, we had reservations for that night already made. And the turtle had spent most of the morning dozing anyway. He slept almost the entire way. And went to bed early.

He was fine today though. We managed to go to Amarillo Zoo and Palo Duro Canyon, the second largest in the U.S. If we had planned a little better we could have stayed in a little cabin in the State park. Still, all the planning in the world wouldn’t have made the turtle feel well just because we had rented a cabin somewhere scenic.

Days 3, 4, 5 & 6…..

20 May

… I think. I’m not sure what day we’re on seeing as I was stranded in “the big easy” with no internet access. The horror! I shall get to that. In all likelihood.

We got to Alabama safe and sound. And on schedule. Bloody schedules. We had to stop 4 times on the way. Isn’t it always the way that when you are trying to get somewhere to meet someone your child plays up and you have to stop and stop and stop. Not that I’m adverse to stopping, my bum gets numb too, it’s just that when people are waiting on you and calling (what seems like) every five minutes to see where you are, you can get a bit stressed. Still, we got there in one piece. That’s the main thing, surely.

And the turtle got to meet his great-granny for the first time. They took to each other pretty well. Apparently, his great-granny doesn’t usually “take to” children, but she took to our fella. She even got up off the chair to go out and play with him.

He had a great time being the centre of attention and everyone else had a great time admiring him. Not only that we were out of the car for at least 36 hours (ahem, except for small journeys).

We went from there to New Orleans. Stopping once on the way. We did think we would have to spend the night somewhere on the way, but there was a technological glitch with the GPS, which didn’t change time when we got to Alabama. So the journey was an hour shorter than we originally thought. (Hurrrah for journeys  being shorter than you thought! Hurrah!) That did mean though that we didn’t have any reservations and there was a mad scramble to the nearest Holiday Inn, to see if they had a room. They didn’t, but they (helpfully or not) dirested us to the Intercontinental. Which did have rooms. $7,000,000 for a room with no Wi-Fi!(I should say no free Wi-Fi, there was a $7 an hour charge for it). And no breakfast. And another $100 (or thereabouts) to park the car. What did we get for the extra $6,999,900 we paid for the room? A turn down service. Two 75 cent newspapers. A malfunctioning toilet and a remote that didn’t work. And what felt like an obligation to tip everyone who looked at you!  Aaah, expensive hotels. Got to love them. At least we were in the middle of the down town area.

We all loved New Orleans. The turtle was overawed. There were streetcars, buses, and trucks all over the place. He didn’t know what to look at. And when we rode on the streetcar? Well that was the bee’s knees. We did a lot of rambling all over the Quarter. And no stroller. IT was on holidays in the luggage yoke on top of the car. We managed pretty well without it. The turtle loves to walk and even if we had gotten it down he probably wouldn’t have sat in it. The contrary article. We went to the French Market, had beignets at Cafe du Monde, visited the aquarium, had a nap while the hubby went to the World War II museum, then got up and went for a ride on a horse and buggy. Unfortunately, the driver of the buggy mentioned that one of the museums housed Napoleon’s death mask so a visit there had to be penciled in for the next day. The most important thing on the following day’s itinerary though, was a visit to the Childrens Museum, where we all had a great time (but now is not the right time of year to be visiting these places as every school in the country is doing field trips). Crowded, but fun. The place with Napoleon’s death mask on the other hand, had three or four people in it and plenty of room for a small boy to run around (shouting). There were other things in there, detailing Louisiana’s history but I didn’t really get a chance to look at them as I was on wrangling duty. To be honest though, I wasn’t that bothered. I find museums over here to be more verbose than informative. Honestly, if I wanted to read that much about anything I would buy a book or a pamphlet and sit down in comfort to read it, not stand there reading things off of a wall that have very little to do with the actual displays.

That was it for us and New Orleans. We were sad to leave. Even if it was madly expensive. Everyone was friendly. It was easy to get around. And the food was delicious. Not only that, it was a real city. Not just a carbon copy of all of the other “cities” I’ve visited. It felt like there were more choices. It wasn’t just all MacDonalds or Applebees or Bed Bath& Beyond or Walmart or Target. It felt like there was a real choice there. We didn’t eat in one chain restaurant.

It was worth every cent. (Nearly).

Day 2…….

15 May

Oh so much better than day 1. Still not ideal, but definitely better. Although, if I hear that Weesings CD again I may have to smash the CD player. And the sticker book didn’t live up to its superstar potential. Maybe magnets are the way to go?

We spent the morning at Moody, as there was a park right outside our window. The turtle got up at 7:00. He was in the park (with Daddy) at 7:04. Dressed and everything. He pottered around there for a couple of hours and conked out when we left at around 11 – we had to stop and buy socks for the turtle, I forgot them despite packing everything under the sun. Everything except socks. Featherheaded Mammy.

With the turtle sleeping we were able to make it a couple of hours. To Dawson, where we had something to eat. Then to Benning, the screaming in the backseat necessitated a park stop. We stopped somewhere else an hour later, at a fast food joint with a play place. There was wailing from the back seat. We finally got here (Oxford, Alabama) at around 8.

It was tough being on a schedule. From Tuesday we won’t have to worry about that anymore. We’ll have “loads of time”. That’s what the hubby says anyway. He’s actually worried about getting there too early!

So far, we have learned

  • four hours in the car is enough or we all get a bit crazy
  • activities/touristy things should be done in the morning so that the turtle can nap in the car
  • if it’s too hot to be outside in the afternoon in Georgia or Alabama, it will definitely be too hot in New Mexico and Texas
  • some loose planning will have to be done, so that there are actually things to do/see everyday (or every second day, at the very least)
  • fast food gets old quickly

We’re back on the road on Monday. Can you hear the enthusiasm in my voice? Good. I’m sure it’ll be back as soon as the numbness wears off my bum.

Here’s hoping………

Day 1…….

15 May

And yes, the car was too full of stuff. And by car, I mean mahoosive American SUV type thing. And may I just say (in a whisper) “I told you so!” I won’t mention any kind of spatial awareness deficit. Ahem.

Filling the car up with stuff meant that we were behind “schedule”.  (Note to self: stop making schedules. Timelines. Expectations. All will be useless on this journey. And you just get yourself worked up. Stop! Right! Now!) So our “plan” to spend the morning at the Kennedy Space center before the launch was scuppered a bit. We decided to go to the Astronaut Hall of Fame instead as we had never been there and we already had the tickets. It was a madhouse. A madhouse. We lasted about an hour. It was almost too crowded to breathe. So we went out to the Cape (we had a placard for the Air Force side) even though we had already “decided” we would leave from Kennedy so we wouldn’t have to backtrack. But an hour in an air conditioned car will always be better than an hour in a place too crowded to breathe.

The shuttle launch was cool. Cooler than the other ones I’ve seen, mainly, I think because I knew it would be the last one we’d see. Still though, the shuttle launch hoopla meant we were stuck in traffic for over an hour. Not the most auspicious start. Tempers got frayed. There was an emergency stop and a leap from the front seat into the back. Followed by much singing of songs and rhymes and whatever myself and the hubby could dredge up from our collective childhood memories. We made it to Jacksonville before we HAD to stop. And we HAD to stop at a bookstore so that the turtle could play (most large bookstores have train tables). So we all relaxed, and managed to have some horrendous Chinese food before we continued on. Emergency supplies, in the form of a Weesongs CD and a sticker book had been purchased. So things were much calmer. The turtle fell asleep within 20 minutes and we were able to make it to Moody AFB in Georgia.

Today we WILL make it to Alabama to see the in-laws.

Say a prayer…………

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