Disneyland 2016

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Wizzard419
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Re: Disneyland 2016

Post by Wizzard419 » Sep Sun 18, 2016 12:07 pm

It's a western, everyone loves westerns. :D

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Re: Disneyland 2016

Post by Amy » Sep Sun 18, 2016 1:41 pm

Wizzard419 wrote:It's a western, everyone loves westerns. :D
Actually not everyone ~ one of the genres I really don't care for :P

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Re: Disneyland 2016

Post by Amy » Sep Mon 19, 2016 2:30 pm

Ugh, check-thru suitcase packed. All I have to do tonight when I get home will be to chuck a book and a few other things into my carry-on and pack up the camera and laptop. Phew. I always forget how much I really dislike packing until I actually do it. And I never do it until the last minute. Glad I will be teaching for the next 4 hours so I can concentrate on something else for a bit.
Leaving in the morning ~ yay! Hoping for no fog delay too. The last few mornings have been a bit on the foggy side, and that is what derailed us on our last trip to Florida. Fingers crossed!

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Re: Disneyland 2016

Post by Amy » Oct Fri 14, 2016 7:03 pm

California ~ Day 1 ~ September 20

We had a little later flight out than we normally have with our Florida trips. With the time difference in California, we could leave a little later and still get in relatively early. So we started out for the airport around 8 a.m. Very little traffic, through the longest security line we've ever had there, well, we were in the front of it, but there were about 6 very impatient folks behind us. I let whoever through that wanted to go, and then we saw them all at the gate just a few minutes later :roll:

South Bend added on to their airport about 5 years ago, and became an "international" airport just a few years ago. But it's never very busy when we are there. This is the new and main terminal. Quite open and airy.
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We live in the Midwest so the first bit of the flight was pretty much a patchwork quilt of farmland. Love to see it from the air though.
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The terminal in Detroit where we made our connection was very pretty ~ love all the changing colors. And it had really nice soothing music as well.
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Much to Figment's dismay, we had an aisle and center seat on this longer flight. The lady sitting near the window was pretty nice though and let us both look over and out whenever we wanted. It also made it a little easier for Mom to get up and out to stretch her legs once on the almost 5 hour flight. I'm not gonna lie, I enjoyed the aisle seat as she normally has the window and I'm the one stuck in the middle. Ah, the first few glimpses of the mountains ~ always fun to see.
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We made it to San Francisco safely around 2:15 in the afternoon their time. :D And it was around 70-something degrees with no humidity. At this moment I was plotting how to afford to move out here permanently! Mom loved my bright orange shirt as she said it helped her keep track of me in the airport :lol:
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Can you tell the real pine tree from the cell tower tree? I like that they actually make an effort out here to have them blend in.
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Love, love, love, the wind turbines out here. Always so cool to see them peeking out over the horizon and turning with the power of the wind. I would love to be able to see one up close one day as my brother says they are absolutely massive right up close.
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That was the extent of the first day. We took a little tour around my brother's house admiring all the recent renovations they have done both inside and out. I don't believe I ever took any photos though ~ basically new hardwood flooring and some new appliances in the kitchen, and a lot of newly poured concrete in the side yard. With it being so pleasant out there, he stores a lot of his tools and heavier equipment (he's an engineer and has lots of functional "toys") outside. And since they are in a drought almost all the time, having more grass isn't a plus out there.

Join me for Day 2 when we travel to Monterey for the next few days.

Packing count ~ one pack at home, one unpack/repack into one suitcase for Monterey. (Also one unpack/repack courtesy of TSA on my check through bag, but I guess that one is on them and not me ~ at least they put things back relatively tidily ;) )

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Re: Disneyland 2016

Post by cy1229 » Oct Sun 16, 2016 7:28 am

Nice first day! I love it when they go smoothly. SB airport looks nice and bright.

I usually try to get an aisle seat on a shorter flight, but on a longer one, a window so that no one is climbing over me to use the teeny tiny closet lavatory.

I, too, love wind turbines. Bet you guessed that! There is a training facility in Alsip, IL (just outside Chicago) that trains electricians to install solar panels and connect maintain wind turbines. The climbing tower would fit my entire kitchen table inside! My work materials have some pictures showing the scale if you want to check it out. Plus, wind is clean and no one has figured out a way to tax the wind (yet).

Next long trip you make, use packing sleeves and bags to organize. Makes the unpack-repack sequence go more smoothly. I can make some recommendations if you'd like. You and Figment travel often enough to make it worthwhile.

Looking forward to more!!
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Re: Disneyland 2016

Post by Amy » Oct Sun 16, 2016 8:41 am

I'd love to see some pictures of the turbines up close. I'm sure if and when wind collection becomes more viable, they will figure out how to tax it, but it still seems like a good source of energy.

We have different packing cubes/sleeves. Mom actually had several of mine though because she couldn't find hers. With the weird amount of days we were gone on each segment, that made it difficult as well.

Hoping for at least day 2 today. It's very rainy out this morning so I shouldn't have to work too hard to find an excuse to sit at the computer for a little extra time sorting and uploading photos :)

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Re: Disneyland 2016

Post by Wizzard419 » Oct Sun 16, 2016 2:24 pm

Why would they need to tax it beyond normal? They have to pay property tax on the location and energy probably is subject to normal taxes as well. Plus, it being part of the various big producers, they have to pay taxes on the sale of it.

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Re: Disneyland 2016

Post by Amy » Oct Sun 16, 2016 3:22 pm

California ~ Day 2 ~ September 21
Today was a leisurely morning as my brother had to work in the morning before coming home to pick us up on the way to his conference in Monterey. I had actually been looking forward to spending a few days around their town and possibly running into San Francisco for a day, but this side trip ended up being quite enjoyable. It only took a couple hours to drive there as we had left at a good time in the day. If I should ever be lucky enough to live in California, I will have to live near where I want to work and play. These hours long drives are nuts!

Figment does not function without her morning coffee. My brother has a Nespresso which makes very different coffee than she is used to. She was not a fan and was quite suspicious of the more orange color of a pressed coffee over her familiar brewed variety.
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Remember my comment on day one about the low humidity. Yeah, not so much when I woke up at their house :shock: Business as usual for my hair ~ even on vacation :D
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More windmills! Sadly there are also several windmills in disrepair :( earlier versions from the sounds of things and no longer working due to many different reasons according to my brother.
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We passed several of these truck during our time out in California. Tomato transporters. And apparently it is nothing to have a tomato bounce out and splush all over the road, your car. Luckily we didn't have to dodge any. My family told me the ones at the bottom are used to make ketchup. Not sure if they are joking or not, but I could see it happening as they would be a bit more smushed at the bottom I would imagine.
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This was at the visitor center. I found the very unfamiliar to me, but quite specific time to be amusing. And they had one of those photo op board thingies. Figment is always a good sport about taking a photo.
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We got Ward checked in to his very, very fancy hotel right on the bay. And then we all went to find our more affordable accommodations a few miles down the road. By that point it was time to get him back for the start of his conference so back to Cannery Row we went. Admired the view of the bay from his hotel patio and said our goodbyes as his conference would keep him busy from very early to very late for the next few days. I approached the front desk to ask for a recommendation of a good pizza place and the bellhop told me about Gianni's. He said all the locals went there so that sounded like a good plan to Figment and me. She was stuck on the meatball sandwich as soon as she saw it on the menu. I was intrigued but not enough to trade off the pizza I was craving, so we decided on the smallest pizza and sharing the sandwich. It was good, but not great. And the pizza was by far the winner in both of our opinions. We got back to the hotel just before 8 and watched a little tv, which was pretty much the only tv we saw on the whole vacation. I can see how it really is just a time filler when you are home in your daily routine as I really don't miss it much while we are on vacation.

The view down Cannery Row from the front of Ward's hotel ~ and the view from the hotel's patio. It had some very interesting decor in the lobbies as well, including this rather large decoration with live, and huge!, air plants :D
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The meatball sandwich was not as good as our local favorite, but it was fairly tasty. The pizza was the clear winner, and yes, this was the smallest I could order. It had to still have been a good 12"! Two guys sitting near us ordered the largest or next to largest pizza and inflicted more damage on it than we thought they would. We ended up taking the leftovers to our hotel and giving them to the front desk employees who were thrilled as it is one of their favorite eateries I gues.
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Unpack ~ once, but we would be transferring rooms in the morning so Figment could have the safety features she needed to be safe in the bathroom so we didn't settle in much.

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Re: Disneyland 2016

Post by cy1229 » Oct Mon 17, 2016 9:19 am

Sarcasm rarely gets translated online. I was being snarky when I said no one has figured out how to tax wind yet. :lol:

The older wind turbines you saw, with the cross-braced towers, are probably 25-30 years old. California has been a leader in renewable energy. If you ever drive out I-10 from LA and head east, you get to a valley that reads like a timeline of wind energy development, west to east. The older turbines didn't have any regulators to keep them from spinning too fast in high winds, and they would burn out due to high friction in those cases. </end nerdfest >

I've always wanted to go to Monterey. Your photo of Cannery Row reminded me of DCA. Seems like it should be the other way around.
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Re: Disneyland 2016

Post by Amy » Oct Mon 17, 2016 10:59 am

cy1229 wrote:Sarcasm rarely gets translated online. I was being snarky when I said no one has figured out how to tax wind yet. :lol:

The older wind turbines you saw, with the cross-braced towers, are probably 25-30 years old. California has been a leader in renewable energy. If you ever drive out I-10 from LA and head east, you get to a valley that reads like a timeline of wind energy development, west to east. The older turbines didn't have any regulators to keep them from spinning too fast in high winds, and they would burn out due to high friction in those cases. </end nerdfest >

I've always wanted to go to Monterey. Your photo of Cannery Row reminded me of DCA. Seems like it should be the other way around.
I wouldn't be surprised if they tax wind power though at some point. I'll have to remember that drive ~ that would be interesting to see.
I was reminded of DCA as well. Just shows how much attention to detail Disney has :D

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Re: Disneyland 2016

Post by Wizzard419 » Oct Mon 17, 2016 2:40 pm

Right now they get tax credits, considering they want to drive the industry. Once it gets saturated enough the credits will go away.

People getting solar panels they own outright (there are other setups where you pay rent on the cells and buy the power they produce) had the option of being able to sell their excess back for a price. There are some decent catches though, such as you having to be connected to the grid (obviously) which means if the power goes out you go dark as well. Additionally, it means you cannot bank power to sell back later. The main reason for this that in the past people could only use lead-acid batteries, which are not eco-friendly, and therefore break the rules for the green energy tax credit.

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Re: Disneyland 2016

Post by cy1229 » Oct Tue 18, 2016 8:02 am

Wizzard419 wrote:...
People getting solar panels they own outright (there are other setups where you pay rent on the cells and buy the power they produce) had the option of being able to sell their excess back for a price. There are some decent catches though, such as you having to be connected to the grid (obviously) which means if the power goes out you go dark as well. Additionally, it means you cannot bank power to sell back later. The main reason for this that in the past people could only use lead-acid batteries, which are not eco-friendly, and therefore break the rules for the green energy tax credit.
I'm assuming you're talking about California, as in many states the utilities have successfully fought against having to give a credit to customers who produce more power than they use. Which, IMHO is ridiculous. Shouldn't buy at the rate they charge, but should have to provide a credit.
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Re: Disneyland 2016

Post by Wizzard419 » Oct Tue 18, 2016 5:13 pm

The companies (if I recall) are not buying at the rate they charge consumers, it is a "wholesale" price.

The hardest part, at least in a state with a large size and large volume of homes with solar panels on the grid, is that you can have the panels installed for months before you can actually use them since inspections and approvals need to take place. If you are trying to get on the buyback program it can take over a year before you will actually get approval, but all that excess energy will not be accounted for.

I think there must have also been a state program that encouraged schools to add them to their parking lots at district offices and high schools (lower levels would have tiny lots since only the teachers drive) because everywhere is just covered in them.

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Re: Disneyland 2016

Post by cy1229 » Oct Tue 18, 2016 8:45 pm

I think utilities were offering incentives when the renewable portfolio goals were brought in about five years ago. It just makes sense to cover parking lots with solar panels if the sunlight is consistent and intense enough. They're otherwise just wasted space. Besides, it keeps car interiors cool.
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Re: Disneyland 2016

Post by Amy » Oct Tue 18, 2016 9:27 pm

We were able to switch rooms this morning so Figment could have a little more stability in the room.
Good morning Monterey! This is as good as it gets. :lol:
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Breakfast was in a big common room at the hotel. It was pretty nice with a few varieties of cereal, oatmeal packets, bagels, sliced muffins, apple and orange juice, apples and bananas, and hard boiled eggs.
The room was almost full of mostly German tourists and most of them weren’t nice at all! Mom even got elbowed by one when she wasn’t moving fast enough picking up an egg :(
We stored our luggage before we left for the Monetery Bay Aquarium at 9:20. I realized I had forgotten my camera a few miles down the road so we circled back to collect that. Not sure that counts as a full unpack as I only had to dig through my computer bag. ;)

We really lucked out with street parking just a block or so away from the aquarium. That might as well have been a marathon for the poor Momma though so we took our time getting there. Fortunately the aquarium has wheelchairs for guests to use on a first come/first serve basis so we were able to get one so she could fully enjoy the entire aquarium.
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We got the map and were told the penguin feeding would be starting soon so we went right to that area and saw the penguins swimming and enjoying their meal at 10:30. I thought we would get back to the penguin area to get some better photos but sadly we ran out of time :(
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Next we took in the open sea feeding at 11. So amazing to see the smaller fish school together and move away from the bigger fish as they approached. I kept thinking of Finding Nemo as I was watching their mesmerizing motions and patterns. To give perspective, if the figures I’m finding online are correct, the Monterey Bay Aquarium Open Sea tank is 28 feet tall, and contains 333,000 gallons of water. The Living Seas at EPCOT is 27 feet deep, 203 feet in diameter, and contains 5.7 million gallons of water. The size of the aquarium tank was no less impressive as it is contained all in one massive room while the Living Sea is more spread out over the whole building. But I digress. We saw a sting ray get run over by a big tuna which sent the poor little ray cartwheeling over. Saw a collision between the same two (?) again a little later and the ray held his ground much better that time around.
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I wouldn’t mess with him! But I would pet him :D
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I had a really hard time getting a good picture of the hammerhead sharks. I would wait and wait, and as soon as I would put the camera down, along they would swim.
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Northern anchovy ~ it tickled me that there was one little guy doing his own thing. Bless his little heart for swimming against the stream.
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We hit the cafe right at noon. We shared a grilled chicken sandwich, fries and tomato basil soup. The food was pretty tasty and not overly pricey considering they have a fairly captive clientele there with only one other option inside the aquarium. And they ask that you don’t eat outside food and drink, so I thought it was rather decent of them to provide good food at a fairly reasonable price.
This may or may not have been right before she spilled a good spoonful of the soup on her shirt. One of the cafe workers came over and offered to get us some club soda on a cloth which I thought was really nice as well.
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The area outside the cafe ~ a nice courtyard where you can overlook the bay. This is looking over to the other side of the aquarium so you can get some idea of how big this place really is.
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We caught a program in the Kelp Forest area at 1:30. Makana is a Laysan albatross who was injured and is now an ambassador for the aquarium. I’ve got to admit, she wasn’t what I was picturing an albatross to be at all! It was pretty neat to be able to get within about 4 feet of such an unusual bird though.
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Kelp forest
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Mom was excited to see the divers in the kelp forest the one time we went past.
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I didn’t record the name of these fish, but they cracked me up as they just sort of suspended themselves and stared into space.
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The ray petting pool where we both got to touch the ray once. They were pretty much petted out by this time of day I think.
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And they had a few other touch pools as well. We didn’t spend a lot of time here as Figment is allergic to shellfish and it was too hard for her to try to get up close enough to see the various critters they had. I did touch Mr. Starfish as it has been awhile since I have held one. He was very rough to the touch.
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Around the other side of the touch pool, they had an representation of the bay area with different animals that are found there. These weren’t for petting, but they sure were pretty. And camouflaged very well!
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Next we went and watched a presentation called Journey to Baja which was interesting. The roughly 15 minute presentation was given by a researcher who worked on the Baja peninsula studying the migration patterns and habits of brown pelicans, elephant seals, and whales from Alaska to the remote and rugged region.

We were able to see the otter feeding at 3:30. That was a super small upstairs area which became packed rather quickly. I really have a hard time holding any kind of space when it comes to international tourists who have no sense of personal space. Luckily there was a British couple who allowed Mom to roll right up to the glass so she had a really good view. And I sort of stood awkwardly in the 8” of space the other people allowed me as they crowded right in between the handles of the wheelchair with me :shock:

We found out that otters keep their paws up on their bellies to help keep them warm as they have poor circulation in their paws and the water is very cold. The more you know...
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Next we went off in search of the octopus. Octopuses? I think we only found one so I guess octopus!
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Then we were in the jellyfish zone. This area was so interesting that I would love to live closer and just be able to sit and enjoy the jellyfish swimming about. They have very calm oceany music and it was just so peaceful...other than the other tourists. But there weren’t a ton of other people there as it was getting close to closing time.

Purple-striped jelly
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Moon jelly
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The aptly named Egg-yolk jelly ~ they looked like a tangled sticky mess
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Lobed comb jelly ~ these jellies were awesome with what looked like little flickering multicolored lights running up and down their sides!
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Sea nettle
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Cross jelly ~ these were fairly tiny, only a few inches across, and interesting in that they are almost completely transparent. You could push a button that turned off the display lights so you could see how easily they blended in to the water.
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Now you see it
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Now you don’t ~ well, almost
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I think these are more moon jellies
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And these are...more jellyfish. I think they're moon jellies. Some of the pictures got a little jumbled up between my phone and camera :oops:
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In trying to see the special Tentacles exhibit I made two full circles across the upstairs bridge, up and down two elevators. When we saw the same volunteer the second time around I stopped and asked for better directions than we had received from the first volunteer! :lol:

We made it ~ ta-da!!!
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These little squid were so colorful and cute!
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Hello Pepe
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Garden eel ~ these were just cool!
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Striped pyjama squid
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Striped pyjama squid hatchlings ~ hatched 6/1/16, lifespan 9 months, found in temperate waters of Australia
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Giant pacific octopus eggs ~ laid 7/4/16 ~ 5-7 month incubation, found in Japan to Alaska to Baja California
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Two-spot Octopus hatchlings ~ hatched 1/18/16 ~ lifespan 2 years ~ central California to Baja
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With our slight detour finding the Tentacles exhibit, as well as taking in all the shows we had, we had just a few minutes to see the Viva Baja exhibit.

Not a real tarantula, but Figment still remembers fondly being able to pet the rose footed tarantula at the Conservation Station in Animal Kingdom. Pretty sure she would not be so fond of one if she found it loose in the house though :shock: :lol:
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Tortoise
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There is no grace period at the aquarium like there is at Disney. They made announcements 15 minutes before closing, 10 minutes and 5 minutes. And then they closed promptly at 5. Of course we both wanted to stop at the restroom which was right by the last place we were so in we went. When I came out there was Robert from security waiting for me. I told him Mom was still in the restroom but would be out shortly. He was quite pleasant and other than having to answer on his radio several times that he was with guests, he seemed happy to chat and try to come up with good dinner recommendations. He escorted us out a side door, saving us a lot of extra mileage, and stayed with Mom while I went and retrieved the car. He even helped her to the car and then took the wheelchair back inside. Can’t say enough about how nice he was.
Mom was hungry for BBQ, and since Robert hadn’t thought of any places, we inquired at the hotel. They recommended a place a little further away from the tourist area but on the drive there Mom said she was tired and would be happy with Arby’s. No joy with that on Google Maps but we passed a Subway so that became the new plan. We actually even lucked out and the sandwich we both enjoy there (read, I will actually eat that sandwich and pretty much only that sandwich if pressed to eat at Subway :roll:), the Italian BMT (Genoa salami, spicy pepperoni, and Black Forest Ham for those who aren’t familiar) was the sub of the day so we each had a half sandwich for the low, low price of $6...plus tax ;) The people there were really nice about putting what we each wanted on our half, and even wrapped the two halves separately so we each had our own “plate”. I wandered around outside a bit while Figment finished eating and lamented we weren’t closer to the ocean for the sunset.
We got back to the hotel at 7:30, where Figment realized she had forgotten to pack enough insulin needles for the trip. After a quick call to CVS, who told her that insurance wouldn’t cover it because she wasn’t due for a refill, and telling them that we would have to pay out of pocket as it really wasn’t an option to go without, I was off to the area we had just left to pick up the prescription. Again, it was lucky that the prescription was much less expensive than they had told me over the phone and they said that her local CVS was billing incorrectly. Wonderful. Anyhow...
The room only had a queen size bed but they had provided a rollaway and waived the extra charge as they had not gotten the reservation correct in the first place, so I was taken back to my childhood. Being the youngest and third child, I always got the rollaway bed the rare times we went to a hotel. Actually I would have really loved the rollaway when I was little as it was super springy. As an adult, yes, sometimes I adult, it was tolerable, and better than sharing a bed with someone who has a lot of aches and pains and isn’t still for more than a few minutes at a time due to those aches and pains.
Sometime through the night, I got up and turned on heat because it became downright chilly in there.
And so ends day 3. Up tomorrow, the 17 mile scenic drive.

Pack/unpack ~ one more time.
Last edited by Amy on Oct Wed 19, 2016 8:07 am, edited 1 time in total.

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