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Planning, Packing and Leaving Home

Scheules


View 2015 Grenada (and 2013) & 2018-Christmas and New Years Cruise on greatgrandmaR's travel map.

A lot of planning has been done up to this point. For one thing, the camera that I got for the trip to Africa just stopped working on the cruise I took to Bermuda in October with my sister. So I sent it off to Canon and they said the shutter mechanism was loose. Since I got the camera on eBay, I had to pay for the repairs

For the cruise, we submitted a copy of Bob's discharge papers for an OBC (On board credit). We made lists and revised the lists. And I communicated with other people who are going on this cruise to find out what kinds of things we would want to do at each port. I also made the hotel reservations going up and down the coast because while Bob likes to drive, he does not like to fly.

I managed to finish the travelogue of our journey in 2004-2005 this afternoon. 59 Segments going down the east coast OBX,Going down the East Coast flying to NOLA and then Touring around Florida (Titusville, Everglades, Key West) and then coming back north.

We are mostly packed. Bob got his suitcase and the scooter and all the miscellaneous bags in the trunk and just my suitcase for the cruise is in the back seat. The last thing I had to do today was print out the ticket for our tour in Martinique.

My goal for this trip is to visit four new island countries (Guadaloupe, Martinique, Tobago and Bequia), and document some cemeteries along the way. This is our schedule.
Driving down I-95 Dec 18-20 stopping in NC, SC and northern FL
Arriving Dec 21 - Quality Inn Miami South Dinner at our daughters
Saturday, December 22 Fort Lauderdale, FL -grandson to drop us at the ship - our car to be left at our daughters place. Ship leaves at 4:00pm
She is the Pacific Princess - length 594 feet, 9 passenger accessible decks, 688 passengers 373 crew We have a handicapped room.
Sunday, December 23 At Sea
Monday, December 24 At Sea
Tuesday, December 25 TENDER St. Barts 8:00am -6:00pm (Princess tour is full but maybe they will open a second one.) & taxi
Wednesday, December 26 Antigua 8:00am -6:00pm Taxi and do cemeteries
Thursday, December 27 TENDER ILES DES SAINTES- Terre de Haut Guadeloupe 8:00am -6:00pm - small island - go to visitor's center and get taxi.
Friday, December 28 Fort-de-France, Martinique 7:00am-5:00pm Best of Martinique tour 5 hours 8:30-1:30
Saturday, December 29 Tobago 8:00am -6:00pm 9-5 Island tour $80 each
Sunday, December 30 Barbados 8:00am -6:00pm - Taxi - visit St Nicholas Abbey if it is open-cemeteries
Monday, December 31 TENDER Bequia, Grenadines 8:00am -6:00pm taxi tour
Tuesday, January 1 Dominica 7:00am -4:00pm
Wednesday, January 2 TENDER Virgin Gorda, tender British Virgin Islands 9:00am 5:00pm I'd like to revisit the Baths but Bob does not think I can
Thursday, January 3 At Sea
Friday, January 4 At Sea
Saturday, January 5 Fort Lauderdale, FL - at our daughters
Sunday, Jan 6 St Augustine
Monday Jan 7 Summerville - Son's house
Tuesday Jan 8 - Rocky Mount
Weds Jan 9 - home

Deceber 18, 2018
We got off pretty early this morning - left about 9. I think that is earlier than we left when we left to go down to our granddaughter's wedding last year. I took photos of three of the cats - Gertie was worried in the hall.
Gravel Gertie

Gravel Gertie


Orange came over to have his back scratched,
Orange Crush

Orange Crush


and Crunch was behind the couch. Bob said Crunch was very upset as he knew something was up
Crunch

Crunch


Heidi was up in the donut. These are Bob's feral cats. Gertie is the only one that is still truly feral. We can pet and brush the others, and Orange will actually sit in Bob's lap. Bob said he thought the peacock was in the back yard. (He isn't our peacock really, but he hangs out in our yard sometimes.)
The peacock

The peacock


I couldn't get the car GPS to recognize a location out of Maryland right away, but eventually I got it to recognize Selma in NC. When I use my phone with Google maps, sometimes it wants to do Apple play (which I do not have any songs on the phone but it cuts off the CD that Bob is playing) and sometimes it behaves and just lets me use the internet without interfering.

We got to the Nice bridge about 5 after 10 (It has been renamed so that it is now the Governor Harry W Nice Memorial/Senator Thomas "Mac" Middleton Bridge-Our oldest daughter said that the current governor did it as a political move. I think it was fine with just one name.)
large_IMG_0010.JPGlarge_IMG_0012.JPG
and used our EZ-Pass for the first time. But when we got up on the bridge, we stopped (right by a sign that said "NO STOPPING on bridge")
No Stopping on Bridge

No Stopping on Bridge


Since they were working on the bridge, we could only use only one lane because of construction. It was the turn of the northbound traffic. Every time a big truck went by going the other direction the bridge bounced noticeably. It made both of us a little nervous.
The sullen Potomac

The sullen Potomac


But after five minutes they let our side go.
Five minutes later

Five minutes later


Construction truck

Construction truck

Guy up on the lift

Guy up on the lift

When we came to Richmond, the car GPS said to go around it and the phone GPS and the AAA triptik said to go through. So we went around.
going around Richmond

going around Richmond


As soon as we got back to I-95, we stopped and had lunch at a Wendy's. They had what I assume was a video fireplace although I did not touch it to see if it was really warm.
Glass front 'fireplace'?

Glass front 'fireplace'?


Bob got a Dave single and I got a Son of Baconator, and we both drank water. He would usually have a Frosty, but he didn't have his lactaid pills with him.

We got to the Selma Smithfield Hampton Inn about 2:30 which was too early to check in as the room I had picked was not ready. I picked the room closest to the lobby. So we waited a bit in the lobby and I got email on my phone.
Christmas decorations

Christmas decorations

Finally they said that the room next to the one I picked was ready, so we took that one. About 5 we went out to get gas. Bob said I would not need the scooter but it was a long way to walk from the room to the car. Bob was annoyed by the gas prices near I-95 ($2.50/gal) so I looked it up on my phone and found a couple of stations over on 301 with prices about $2.04 to $2.06 (Marathon, Murphy, Speed and even BP). We got gas at Murphy -The car got 41 mpg. Bob thought it would be better.

Then we wanted to find a place to eat and I tried to get the directions to the Mexican restaurant (the phone kept giving me the time to walk to it (9 minutes) and then when I tried to pick a vehicle, I got a bus and it had a lot of trouble getting a schedule). But it involved too many turns so I decided that we should eat at the Pizza Inn which was just a half block up the street from the gas station. This is a southern chain that I have seen but we had not eaten there before.
Pizza Inn

Pizza Inn


This was a buffet, but they also had a menu. The senior price for the buffet was about $5.99 but I just couldn't do the buffet. Bob ordered his usual meatball sub, I had a beef and cheese calzone and they had Pizzerts (pizza desserts) and I wanted just one slice of a pineapple upsidedown cake Pizzert. But they didn't do just one slice. I had to have a small pie with four pieces pizzert. Well the Pizzert came out first (lots of pineapple, but not very upside-down-cakey - more of a pineapple pizza with cream cheese and some brown sugar sprinkled on top),
Pineapple upside down cake Pizzert

Pineapple upside down cake Pizzert


and then after a wait of another 15 minutes I got my calzone.
Beef and cheese calzone

Beef and cheese calzone


Bob didn't get his sub for another 10 minutes.
Bob's meatball sub

Bob's meatball sub


It was "Kids night" Children could get the buffet for $1.99. which is a pretty good deal. So there were a lot of them there including a cute pair of boys am am sure were twins.
Total bill

Total bill


We brought some of it back with us but this Hampton Inn doesn't have a fridge in the room. So Bob put the box back in the car where it will be cold.

Posted by greatgrandmaR 19:48 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Cemetery Photos

December 19-20, 2018

rain 45 °F
View 2015 Grenada (and 2013) & 2018-Christmas and New Years Cruise on greatgrandmaR's travel map.

December 19th Selma NC to Walterboro SC

Whether it is because the speed limits are 70 mph on the interstates of some other reason, we are continually getting to places too early to check in. Yesterday, we had to wait to check in. I figured out the mileage each day to be 4 or 5 hours of driving and was thinking that 250 miles would be 5 hours. But it isn't anymore. So today I tried to figure out how we could get to the next place after 2:30 in the afternoon. The trip was 243 miles and Google maps said it was going to be 3.5 hours. I decided not to check out early, but even if we checked out at 10 (which is much later than Bob likes) we would still be there at 13:30. Way too early. And I really couldn't keep Bob in the hotel much past 9. So I defaulted to something that I had researched

We do cemetery documentation which was one of the goals of the trip, although initially I thought this would mostly be on the cruise. Cemetery documentation involves taking photos of each grave in a cemetery and entering them into an on-line database called FindAGrave. The names, dates and inscriptions have to be typed into the section for each grave which is called a memorial. And if we can find out the parents or spouse of the person on the gravestone, they need to be entered also.

There is also an option for people to enter a memorial for a family member and ask for a photo of the gravestone. This option is called a Request.

I knew there was a fairly large town cemetery in Selma which had 75 requests. I figured we might be able to find a couple of them (to "Fill" the Requests) and also it was only about 50% photographed. So we checked out and drove over to the cemetery, went in and parked. I took the scooter around the outsides of the plots
5640bc40-121f-11e9-8f8a-ed015e85f3c0.JPGSelma cemetery

Selma cemetery

IMG_0157.JPG
and Bob went into the middle and between the two of us we took 362 photos in about 45 minutes. Bob said his hands had gotten numb as it was quite chilly.
Photo I took at the end of the cows on the Chik-Fil-A sign

Photo I took at the end of the cows on the Chik-Fil-A sign


Even so, we were on the road again before 10. We drove until 12:20 and stopped at a Rest Area.
Rest Area

Rest Area


Bob went to the bathroom and we got a root beer and a sprite from the vending machines (cost $1.80 because one machine did not give change)
Vending machines

Vending machines


and finished up the food from the Pizza Inn last night. We got underway again around 12:50.
Pizza Inn box

Pizza Inn box


We looked for trucks from our son's company but didn't see any - there was one that I thought I saw with some kind of earth moving equipment on it when we were eating lunch but it was disappearing over the horizon before I could positively identify it. There were lots of people speeding.

Then we were slowed down by what I think was a fire in the wheels or tires or brakes of a truck ahead of us just before we crossed Lake Marion. There was smoke, sometimes denser over I-95 and it sort of got denser and then blew away. Everyone bunched up together going slowly.
Fire ahead?

Fire ahead?


And then we passed a truck on the shoulder and the smoke disappeared. After we passed, I saw in the side mirror that someone was beside the right-hand front tire but couldn't see exactly what was smoking.

Then there was a little truck with flashing lights that said it was a wide load but there was no wide load in sight. Eventually Bob decided that it was really a too tall load and that the advance truck had a pole on the front so that if the bridge was too low he could stop the Oversize Load truck in back of him - that Oversize Load truck was keeping a distances so they could stop in time.

We still got to the Hampton Inn too early, so we got gas first instead of waiting, and this time the mileage was 48 mph. The gas is cheaper here even around the interstate - about $2.11 to $2.14. And this time, even though it was 2:30, they had the room ready. It is a handicapped room which is really big.
Scooter on the left of the handicap-room

Scooter on the left of the handicap-room


They have a big window which looks out on a wall that's about two feet from the window and a window shade that is raised and lowered electronically. And this room has a fridge and microwave. We put the scooter on to charge and I put my leftover root beer in the fridge and got to work on the photos. We filled 7 requests, and I found an additional 8 requests which had photos because the person that took the photos did not know that the procedure had changed and you have to claim a request before it is filled. We've already gotten one "Thank you". I've processed 50 of the photos and added 10 new memorials, plus putting photos on a lot of memorials without them.

Because I was working on these photos, I had Bob go out to McDonalds to get dinner. He brought me some kind of BBQ sandwich and two cookies and I finished up my root beer. He had a hamburger and a milkshake.

December 20th Walterboro SC to Palm Coast FL
I was involved with the photos this morning so we didn't leave until 9:40. Bob said the breakfast area was a zoo with all the kids there. It was, as I thought it would be, raining.
Rain

Rain


It rained off and on. We stopped at Burger King about 11:30
Burger King

Burger King


and Bob got a Whopper and a shake and I got a Bacon King and drank water. I couldn't eat all of it.
Half eatten Bacon King

Half eatten Bacon King


Bob was having a problem swallowing so he took part of the Whopper and a cup of water and the rest of the shake with him. As I left the restaurant the wind tore the door out of my hand.
Leaving restaurant

Leaving restaurant


Some of the big trucks were having a problem with the wind and I could feel it hit us periodically.

We crossed into Florida a little before 1:00,
Sunny Florida

Sunny Florida


I found out later that there was severe weather across Florida and there were some tornados in the Tampa area. We saw one of our son's trucks coming out of the first truck stop. They were hauling a drilling rig from NJ. I didn't get a photo, but they were right behind another oversize load - a big ass boat with four big outboards on the back.
Big Boat with 4 outboards

Big Boat with 4 outboards


The phone said that there was some big accident in Jax and we should take I-295, so we did that. But there were a couple of accidents that way too. We got to Palm Coast about 2:40 and got gas (41 mpg) and then checked into the hotel. We have the same room as last night but this one has a seat in the shower, so I will try that out.
Room at the Hampton Inn

Room at the Hampton Inn


Had a long discussion with the man at the hotel (maybe manager) about a scooter for his wife. The restaurants around here are pizza and BBQ and I am not interested in either of those things and I don't particularly want hamburger either. So we didn't go out to dinner. Bob ate his burger from lunch

I've done 90 of the photos ad added 22 new memorials. This brought the percent photographed (for 3830 memorials that were there when we started) from 54 to 56% photographed.

Posted by greatgrandmaR 17:29 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Anticipating Embarkation in Windy Miami

21 December 2018


View 2015 Grenada (and 2013) & 2018-Christmas and New Years Cruise on greatgrandmaR's travel map.

Last night I took advantage of the seat in the shower and washed my hair (after getting a couple of cold water dousings while figuring out how to get the hand-held shower to work).
Hotel room window

Hotel room window


I try to drink at least one glass of cranberry juice a day. I rarely drink anything else other than water (tap water). Bob goes down and gets me breakfast while I work on photos and brings me whatever there is for breakfast which is usually quite adequate at the Hampton Inn. The Selma-Smithfield Hampton Inn where we stayed the first night had cranberry juice at breakfast. The one in Walterboro had some kind of red juice that was a combination. This one in Palm Coast had an even stranger one - a combo of peach and kiwi which was very sweet.

The right side of my neck has sore muscles - I think I must keep tension there.

We got underway fairly early. It was sunny today. Much nicer than yesterday. But it is still extremely windy. We stopped at a rest stop about 11:30 for Bob to go to the bathroom, and then got on the Florida Turnpike. Bob wanted to know where we would have lunch, so I asked the phone and it gave me a couple of places so I picked Cracker Barrel. There was a Cracker Barrel next to the Selma Hampton Inn and we didn't go to it, so I thought it would be a good place for lunch where maybe I could have soup and something other than pizza or hamburger. But unbeknownst to me, the Cracker Barrel was not an easy off of the Turnpike. We had to get off the Florida Turnpike, get on I-95 for one exit and then find our way into a shopping center.
Getting on I-95

Getting on I-95


Bob parked on the short side of the restaurant so he gave me my cane and I managed to walk the long side to the door, only sitting down on a bench once for a short stop. Of course the desk with the person to seat you is buried in the back of all tchotchkes that you can buy. A man and his wife entered about the same time we did and the man went to the bathroom and the wife and I arrived at the desk together. The boy seating people thought we were together of course and asked her if she wanted to be near the entrance. She said it didn't matter so I spoke up and said we were not together.

They gave us the menu and Bob complained that there was nothing on it except the children's menu that was appealing.
Typical Cracker Barrel decor

Typical Cracker Barrel decor


So when the waitress came back she asked whether we were ready to order, and I said I wanted a grilled cheese sandwich and soup, and what were the soups. They had clam chowder and that was what I picked. And Bob just said he would have the same.
The clam chowder

The clam chowder


was standard clam chowder, very hot and good.
The three cheese grilled sandwich

The three cheese grilled sandwich


was kind of greasy and the bread distributed multiple crumbs everywhere but it was good too. It was raining again, and Bob paid and then got the car to come and get me. There was a man with an umbrella helping people to their cars and he held the umbrella for me. We got back underway, and made our way back to the Florida turnpike, but missed the turn at 852. There was quite a bit of traffic.

I heard from our daughter that she was in Antigua because the plane that they were supposed to fly out this morning had not gotten there last night. On the way to Antigua, she had to divert the flight she was flying (she is a pilot for AA) to Bermuda because a lady with diabetes had not eaten, had no medicine and was in a coma. Our son-in-law was having an office party, and she was going to be late to it.

We got down to the place to get off the turnpike and Bob wanted to get gas before going to the motel. So we did that (45mpg), but then it took us probably 40 minutes to drive less than 2 miles on US1. We found out later that they closed a section of US1 because the wind was making the light poles sway and they were afraid that they would crash down on someone. I would think that of all places in the world that should have sturdy light poles, Miami should be number one.
Traffic on US 1 at a standstill

Traffic on US 1 at a standstill


We got to the motel and checked in. There's a handicapped parking space right in front of the door. Bob left his stuff in the room but I wanted to repack some things so I wanted to take my stuff to our daughters and do that. Our daughter and son-in-law were still at his office party, so we got there way before them. She told us where to find the hid-a-key. Pepper hid under the bed and barked herself hoarse. I did manage to rearrange my luggage.

After our daughter, son-in-law, granddaughter, grandson and his fiancee got to their house,
Daughter and son-in-law on the right and others in the kitchen

Daughter and son-in-law on the right and others in the kitchen

Granddaughter in purple on the left and grandson on the right

Granddaughter in purple on the left and grandson on the right


we had a dinner of stone crabs (which were delivered already cooked), Caesar salad and mac and cheese, plus our son-in-law had a Spanish ham
Spanish ham

Spanish ham


and he sliced some of that with some nice cheese. There were also some friends there and also our grandsons fiancee's dog a very young golden named Cooper.
Cooper with a dog toy

Cooper with a dog toy


Our son-in-law is going to drive us to the port tomorrow because our daughter has a flight and has to be at the airport earlier than we want to be at the ship in Ft Lauderdale. Also she drives a Versa and there would not be enough room in it for us and our luggage and the scooter.

Posted by greatgrandmaR 17:41 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Checking in and Checking Out the Pacific Princess

The Love Boat


View 2015 Grenada (and 2013) & 2018-Christmas and New Years Cruise on greatgrandmaR's travel map.

We left the motel around 8:50 - I called our daughter first and she said everyone was up (out of bed so it would not be too early to come over). The traffic was not nearly as bad this morning. When we got to there, she was packing for her trip deadheading to pick up a flight which was to Raleigh (I think). We talked to our granddaughter until she left to have her nails done. She is going to spend her winter break in Japan. Bob consolidated his suitcases and he did not leave his coat in the car like I did - he kept it. I did not think I would need a coat in the Caribbean. Our daughter got packed and we got to talk to her in a relatively quiet place.
Our daughter's neighborhood

Our daughter's neighborhood


Our son-in-law took us to the ship - we left at the same time our daughter did - about 10. We got to Port Everglades with no problem and they were checking IDs (of drivers) and tickets at the gate - they gave him a drop-off tag to put on the windshield so they would know that we weren't parking at the port. We knew that Pacific Princess was at dock #19 and we could see that there were 9 cruise ships in port total. We had a little diversion when we missed the turn to Dock #19, but we backtracked and gave the checked bags to the porters, and then Bob got the the scooter unfolded, and I sat on it with my pocketbook and carry-on, and he took his carry-on. We said goodby to our son-in-law and headed into the terminal.

We didn't really have to wait anywhere. The hard part was going through security - I had to get all the stuff off the scooter to go through the scanner, and then they patted me down. We went up the elevator and got on the ship and we were even able to go right to our room.

This is a handicapped room, in that it is a little bigger than most cabins, but the cabin door does not stay open the way the door did on Grandeur of the Seas - we have to use a chock or Bob has to hold it. There is a shower with a seat
shower seat

shower seat


and an emergency cord at the toilet, but very little in the way of space to put stuff in the bathroom.
Small sink

Small sink


We eventually hung a bag on the bars next to the toilet so we would have access to wipes etc.

In the cabin there is a window with a big shelf
Our window (which was washed later)

Our window (which was washed later)


and the beds were separated with a night table with light on each one.
Beds - mine had my cane on it

Beds - mine had my cane on it


But the night table next to the bed by the bathroom had a phone on it, and the phone did not fit because the light was fixed in the middle of the night table and it did not leave space for the phone. So we unhooked that phone and gave it to our cabin steward Mychele. She put it in a cupboard. In each night table was 2 shelves. Later, I had a problem with dropping stuff (like a separate hard drive or my phone) between the bed and the wall. So we figured out that if we took the little table that was next to the chair and put it between the wall and my bed, we could put the phone on that table and it would fit there and also if I dropped stuff off that side of the bed it would be easier to get.
Blue princess bag hanging from the closet handle, Safe cabinet under the TV and fridge under that

Blue princess bag hanging from the closet handle, Safe cabinet under the TV and fridge under that


There is a big unit in the corner with a tiny narrow closet close to the wall, with drawers at the bottom and the catty corner to that there is a TV with a shelf over it, a cabinet with the safe in it, and under that the refrigerator. Then a huge mirror over a desk with some plugs over the desk and on one end four little drawers. There's a chair under the desk and next to it a big arm chair which originally had a side table. There is also a small closet back of the door on the bathroom wall.

There is really very little storage. Bob has the narrow closet and the drawers under it. I have the four drawers at the end of the desk - underwear, tops, formal night tops and bathing suits. I have no drawer to put miscellaneous stuff in.

I made Bob leave and go to the dining room for lunch.
Mirrors on the dining room wall

Mirrors on the dining room wall


It was good but the service was very slow. We both had the
Avocado and Bay Shrimp with lemoncello aioli

Avocado and Bay Shrimp with lemoncello aioli


This was a bunch of baby shrimp in kind of an avocado ring with a half a cherry tomato on top Then Bob had the broiled salmon and I had the
Beef tenderloin

Beef tenderloin


which was three or four slices of beef with gravy (it was suppose to be natural jus, but it was gravy - not that I didn't like it - I did. But it wasn't just au jus). Then we each had
Nutella ice cream for dessert

Nutella ice cream for dessert

When we got back the room the suitcases were there and we put the scooter to charge and Bob unpacked his suitcase. Then we went up to the lifeboat drill which was in the main dining room (Station B) which on this ship they call the Club Restaurant. They had everyone go back into the main dining room and not stop at the tables along the way which for the drill were for just people like me who had a problem walking. After the drill which was at 3:30, we went out on deck for a little bit thinking we would see the sail-away which was scheduled to be at 4.

First to leave was Carnival Conquest - she backed out and turned around to go out the inlet starting at 4,
Carnival Conquest

Carnival Conquest


and then the Royal Princess which was out by the bridge left at 4:15.
Royal Princess

Royal Princess


I think both those ships were out on the container ship docks. Majesty of the Seas which was on one side of us left next at 4:25
Majesty of the Seas

Majesty of the Seas


and then the Captain came on the loudspeaker and said that the Coral Princess (on the other side of us) would leave next and then we would go. But it was cold on deck and so we didn't wait

We finished unpacking, and I finally signed on to the internet. Bob was very impatient and wanted me to leave as we would be late. The other two couples were at our table when we got there, but no one had ordered yet. One couple was Ann and George from Houston (near Katy). He has been working in Tanzania on vaccines for stuff like hemorrhagic fever. The other couple was John and Joann from Florida - well they were from Massachusetts but they live in Florida now.

We both had the Pina Colada soup which was served in one of those glasses that Princess uses, but there were no straws - they gave us spoons. And it is difficult to eat the soup in a glass with a spoon and also difficult to drink it. Bob also had the shrimp cocktail. He had the
Prime rib with corn on the cob

Prime rib with corn on the cob


and I had
Steamed mussels

Steamed mussels


which for some reason came with separate fries. Then Bob had the make your own sundae, and I had the
Princess Love Boat Dream

Princess Love Boat Dream


which was chocolate mousse on a very thin flat thing that they called a brownie - it was more like a cookie. The mousse was good. Then they brought my scooter to me and I think they wanted us to leave as the late dinner people would be coming in.

Posted by greatgrandmaR 18:24 Archived in USA Comments (0)

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