Monday, April 7, 2014

Staying Aboard The RMS Queen Mary

On Saturday, Hubby and I celebrated our 39th anniversary.  Unfortunately, Hubby celebrated in Pennsylvania while I am at home in Arizona.  But before we left for the wilds of Pennsylvania we had the wonderful opportunity of spending two nights in the opulent splendor of the Queen Mary.
The ship is now a tourist attraction and hotel in Long Beach, California - a mere 6 hour drive from the Phoenix area.
My enthusiastic friend Ceekay, from ThinkinofHome, and her hubby joined us on this adventure.
The Queen Mary's maiden voyage began May 27, 1936.  She was the first Cunard ship named after a living queen.
Winston Churchill was a frequent guest aboard the ship in peacetime and during World War II.
The Duke and Duchess of Windsor were also frequent guests and typically traveled with more than 120 pieces of luggage.  Mary Pickford, Marlene Dietrich, Fred Astaire, David Niven, Bob Hope, Clark Gable, Johnny Weissmuller, Loretta Young, Robert Montgomery, and Leslie Howard were just a few of the famous people who walked her decks.
The long corridors beckoned travelers to their accommodations aboard.
Naturally, we had to try the luxury of a first class cabin.
The polished wood hid lots and lots of storage.  Hubby said he could sail quite comfortably in this cabin on a transatlantic voyage.
Who else might have soaked in this tub?  The knobs on the right are for hot and cold water - both fresh and salt.  They still work!
After a little unpacking we went exploring!
The Queen Mary wasn't just a luxury cruise ship though.  During World War II she served as a troop ship.  Plotting a zigzag course and traveling without an escort, the Queen Mary eluded all torpedoes.
Soldiers were bunked all over the ship - even the first class lounge.
Hitler offered a prize to anyone who could sink her, but no U-boat commander was able to claim it.
Remembering her British heritage, we enjoyed a wonderful tea for lunch one day.
We tried all the wonderful restaurants on board but our favorite was Sir Winston's.
There was even time to pose for a pic before heading up the stairs.
The room was beautiful and the food was delicious!
All too soon it was time to leave this beautiful ship.  We truly felt like we had taken a little trip to a bygone era.
Tomorrow, my sister arrives from Iowa for a visit and after that Hubby returns to Arizona to take Maggie, the traveling dog, a car and myself back to Pennsylvania where our adventures will continue!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Pennsylvania or Bust!

Hubby got a new contracting job at the Susquehanna Nuclear Power Plant, so on Saturday, March 22nd we loaded up the 5th wheel, said "good-bye" to family and friends and headed for eastern Pennsylvania.
We had over 2,000 miles to travel to our destination in Stillwater, Pennsylvania.  (For you NCIS fans, the birthplace of Leroy Jethro Gibbs.)
The first day of travel was uneventful covering ground we driven many times before.  The temps were cool but we had our pick of campgrounds to choose from.
By the time we made it to Eureka, Missouri (just west of St. Louis) it was getting harder to find an open campground and it was raining when we pulled into this KOA.
Then, that rain started turning to something frozen........
and by the next morning the landscape had changed.
The next night found us in Indiana and staying at the only campground open for miles.  However, since the temp was getting down to 16 degrees that night all the water to the camping sites were shut off.  Our two electric heaters and our propane furnace ran all night to keep us warm - unwashed - but warm.
Our last night on the road was in Ohio and had to give up finding an open campground.  Truck and trailer ended up parked next to a hotel for the night while I enjoyed a hot bath at night - and a hot shower the next morning!
On the sixth day of traveling we arrived in Pennsylvania - and less snow.
Whispering Pines RV Park is still preparing for their seasonal visitors but they have some spots available year round.
There are only five long-term sites located across the road from the regular campground.
I know Maggie will appreciate this sign.
I think she'll also like our neighbors.  The second morning we were there, 12 deer contentedly grazed just behind our trailer.  I watched them for several hours before they disappeared back into the woods.  We were also warned to keep all garbage contained because the bears would be coming out of hibernation.
And if wildlife sightings aren't enough to keep you busy, there is a large pond the RV park keeps stocked with fish for the taking.
I was only there a couple of days before flying back to the Valley of the Sun for a few weeks.  Hubby will be flying back in a few weeks himself so we can take a car and Maggie the Traveling Dog to our temporary home.  We did have time for a little sightseeing before I left, but I'll save that for another day.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Out of Africa Wildlife Park

The weekend after we visited Knott's Berry Farm with our oldest grandson, we headed north to Out of Africa Wildlife Park with the remaining two grandsons.
The park is located about an hour's north of Phoenix, away from any homes.  Who wants to hear lions roar in the middle of the night?!
Five year old Joshua was ready for photo ops.
One year old Caleb was eager to see the animals.  Hubby obliged with a closer look.
First up was an open-air bus ride where everyone got to feed a giraffe.
"Get back here giraffe!  I want to feed you!"
Joshua loved feeding him.
This baby zebra was quite entertaining too.
The park specializes in big cats.  They even had a show where some of the zoo keepers swam with tigers.

They have a lot of other animals from Africa too.
Naturally, Hubby had to make sure Joshua got to pet the giant albino python.
Joshua enjoyed the prairie dog village too.
For the more adventurous there is a zip line traveling over the animal enclosures.
At the end of the day, parents and grandparents were dragging but these two were still going strong.
In a couple of weeks we'll be heading the 5th wheel to Pennsylvania for a new job at Susquehanna Nuclear Power Plant.  What new adventures await?!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Knott's Berry Farm

Over the long President's day weekend we made a little trip over to California and visited Knott's Berry Farm.  It was originally an actual berry farm in Buena Park that started a chicken restaurant.  The restaurant became so popular that they started a little amusement park to keep customers entertained while they were waiting to be seated.  Today it is a large amusement park with a distinctly family atmosphere - and the same fabulous chicken restaurant.
Until April, Knott's is offering tickets at half price with a portion of the proceeds going to the Susan G. Komen Foundation.  That's a deal we had to take advantage off!
The Peanuts comic strip is the cartoon of choice around here.
Our grandson, Jacob, loves his cartoon characters.
However, his favorite was Snoopy.
The exciting rides are another big draw.
A lot of them had to be ridden more than once.
And there are a lot to choose from!
Jacob and Mike (our son-in-law) even made new friends at the park.
Waiting in line for a ride isn't so bad when you have someone to snuggle with.
The roller coaster riders rested on some of the slower rides with Hubby and me.  Those included the train and .....
.....the stagecoach (a personal favorite).
Hubby and I also went to some of the excellent shows in the park.  This one was the stunt show.
This was a musical comedy show.  It was hilarious.  We saw it twice!
These were four brothers and, boy, could they sing!  They did everything from hillbilly music to the Beatles.
We didn't quite close the park but we went as long as we could.  A great time was had by all!