M E C Live Long and Prosper

mecllap

M E C Live Long and Prosper

My first blog is at the beginning -- a month-long trip to Europe, about two weeks in 6-7 countries on the continent, and two more in England/Scotland. Wasn't able to add photos as I was going along (and have been dreadfully slow about going back and adding them in. Then Grand Cayman, and some trips to Florida.

In my blogs, DD refers to my daughter, and DGS refers to my grandson (those are conventions used on disney forums -- the first D is "dear"). I don't know what the capacity is here for pages, but I couldn't figure out how to start a completely new separate blog, without registering under another name (I've been "mecllap" since my first Web days on Prodigy in the mid 90's). I tried the "Trips" button up top but couldn't figure out how to actually get it to work, so guess readers are stuck with all the entries I manage to plug in here.




January 2012 Report on Grand Caymanian Resort. Had another enjoyable stay in a nicely-equipped one-bedroom at the GCR. The resort is reportedly moving out of the Wyndham family and losing the Ramada connection; management is looking at other branding/marketing options, possibly switching to become a Holiday Inn Resort. It is moving away from a timeshare model, more toward hotel and condo rentals. They are no longer actively involved in timeshare sales, just fractional and whole ownership in the new building, but I was assured that our timeshare contract is good for its long-term duration. They are offering assistance with resales of units. My unit this time was 1209A, which worked out well for me for the most part, although it was not among my list of choices in my request. It was kind of midway, without ... read more


Tuesday, July 13: We rode in the front of the Metro train again to Capitol South, a long ride. Went to LOC, Capitol, Nat’l Gallery of Art, and Natural History before coming back from Archives Metro again in the front (very crowded afternoon rush hour; got back a little after 6, later than usual). Big thunderstorm about 8 or so -- glad we weren’t out and about. Stayed in room; we were pretty tired after a lot of walking and looking today. We went up and into the Library of Congress first, looked out the overlook into the Reading Room (can’t just go in there anymore of course) and saw some of the exhibits; DGS wanted to check out a book. Tried to go thru the tunnel to the Capitol, but no food, bottles, cans allowed, ... read more
DGS and Grandma at the Pentagon
DGS -- first lobster dinner
Two of us at Marine Corps Memorial


Saturday, July 10: Driving back to DC (Alexandria) today. Got leisurely start and finished packing car before it started raining. It poured most of the way into town, which slowed things down. Took about 4 hours to get to the Wyndham Old Town Alexandria (did a timeshare rental with someone I found on the TUG site: http://tugbbs.com/forums/ ). We stopped at McD’s for lunch near the west side of the Bay Bridge; traffic heading east was really backed up -- a dismal day to be heading to the beach for them, but just a one-day storm for us to drive back through. Check-in went smoothly and the parking is by hangtag and using a key card to go in and out -- works well. Nice to be in a one-bedroom. Kitchen is quite small, but functional ... read more
Metro station
Passing by the White House
Smokey Bear and DGS


Tuesday, July 6th: We went back to Nat Geo, spent a fair amount of time checking out the DaVinci models (watched a family of four -- two teens -- not be able to figure out one of them that DGS worked right away). Ransomed out the car ($45 for the 4 nights -- I think he charged for 3 days; had paid $5.00 upon parking on Friday -- much cheaper than the hotel charges). Repacked and tried to drive to Lincoln Memorial -- not easy, took wrong turns, etc. but eventually we got to Constitution Ave. and got rock star parking again right next to the Vietnam Memorial, fairly easy walk to Lincoln. The rows of porta-potties, from the 4th, were all locked up -- a bit aggravating. There are restrooms in the lower level of ... read more
Busy Delaware Beach
Boogie boarding


Saturday, July 3rd: Had breakfast in room then headed out to Farragut North and Metro Center to see about getting a Metro senior pass, but the Sales office was closed until Tuesday. Just got farecards for planned trips for this day. Needed to change trains anyway to go to the Int’l Spy Museum. It’s kind of spendy and we weren’t overly impressed with it. Had a longish wait to go up in the elevator to start. It was unpleasantly crowded already and there was an even longer line when we came out. Went across the street to the Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Protrait gallery. Looked at some exhibits and had lunch there ($24.00 for the two of us); the Airmen of Note were doing a concert in the courtyard that was on while ... read more
The three of us by hotel
Our second non-shady spot for watching the fireworks
Fireworks and fuzzy Washington Monument


After years as a writer, you'd think I be more entertaining on my travel blogs, especially capturing the "sturm und drang' that always happens with travel -- too lazy these days, apparently. (Sorry). Thursday, July 1, 2010 We got a bit of a late start leaving the bank (payday) at quarter to 11. Beginning odometer, 2786 miles. We went up 26 via Johnson City to Bristol and up 81. Lots of trucks on the highway, pretty high traffic level. We discovered at a rest stop that there is now a drive-through “Safari” near Natural Bridge, so we did that ($26.00 for one senior, one kid and one food bucket) -- haven’t ever had food for the animals at one of these before -- it creates some interesting large herd animal roadblocks along the drive -- I ... read more
Bucket stealing camel
DGS in Luray Caverns

North America » United States » California » Los Angeles » Anaheim February 20th 2010

After the delightful whale-watching I motated back toward the LA area on the 101 (instead of the more scenic Hwy 1 I used on the way north), to the 405. I'm surprised after all this time away from Calif, I still feel comfortable driving there, even tho it can be annoying. Sometimes it's less annoying to use one of the long, straight surface streets. My destination was the Villas at the Grand Californian (VGC) at Disneyland Resort; it's between the "California Adventure" park (CA) and "Downtown Disney" (DTD) and an easy walk to Disneyland (DL). VGC is part of the Disney Vacation Club timeshare system (I bought some points there last year), and is very lovely. It is part of the GC hotel. It has a very well-done Arts and Crafts era theme (which one of ... read more
Finally, the FG
Monorail on the Golden Gate
Played the game right!

North America » United States » California » Ventura February 20th 2010

Well, really only a long distance view of a really big one, but hundreds of dolphins (which are also whales). My senior ticket for the whale-watching cruise was $28.00 -- the best bargain of the trip. It was an excellent trip with Island Packers. I had been disappointed that there wasn't an island-visiting trip available, but it turned out that our w-w trip was also used to drop off some island visitors (a very large group), so I got to see a little of the CINP up close, besides just the visitor center, which claims that it's the only NP VC that is not actually in the Park. It was foggy when we started, but cleared up as we rounded the Anacapa island after the drop-off, so we had great views. Mostly saw common dolphins (literally ... read more
Landing dock at Anacapa
Anacapa Island
Sea lions on the shore

North America » United States » California » Oxnard January 7th 2010

Wednesday, Jan 6, 2009 - side trip to Oxnard/Ventura Taking a break from the metro area. Drove up the PCH (Pacific Coast Highway) through Malibu (which covers 27 miles of coast) to Oxnard. I made motel reservations ahead of time, but not boat rez, because hard to plan on the weather, etc. I thought when I checked online, that the company had a trip likely on Thursday this time of year, but they don't, so I won't get out to the actual Channel Islands NP. I did go to the visitor center in Ventura, and made a rez for a whale watching trip on Friday, which gives me a day of unscheduled leisure for tomorrow. It took about three hours to get to Oxnard from Anaheim on surface streets and PCH (Hwy 1). Checked out the ... read more
Carnegie Museum
Oxnard central square

North America » United States » California » Los Angeles » Anaheim January 7th 2010

Monday Jan 4, 2010 Warner Bros Studio and Forest Lawn No alarm, had bkfst in room, then set out for “north” Hollywood (Burbank) - straight up I-5, not too much congestion. Got to WSB fairly easily and made the 11:40 tour ($45.00); guide was Tetris (yes, like the game). It's a “cart” tour, mostly riding, with some walking around inside (TV show - Chuck) and outside sets - lots of “this was filmed here, and that was filmed there.” A lot of it was about current TV shows that I don't watch, but enough other stuff thrown in that was fun (some Friends stuff that my daughter would enjoy)- went by the soundstage for The Mentalist (my favorite new show), alas no Simon Baker. Saw some props, some nifty movie vehicles, heard lots of interesting stories ... read more
Friends Central Perks set
Forest Lawn view
It's a Small World -- spectacular holiday overlay




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