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Vacation Cruise

We have returned (my wife and I) to land after nine days at sea, on the Grandeur of the Seas, with stops in Bermuda, Nassau (Bahamas) and Coco Cay (Bahamas), over twenty four hundred nautical miles, round trip. I loved it but I did not love what we returned to, the aftermath of a terrible storm. Trees down, roads blocked because trees were across the roads and power lines and no electrical power anywhere. I have been through and seen worst but that is something a person can’t get used to. It’s an inconvenience, to say the least, but I’ll get to that later.

First let me write about the cruise. We traveled from Imperial Plaza by bus with twenty six other people and checking in/boarding was a breeze. It was better than what I anticipated plus the weather was perfect. In fact, the only day we ran into rain was at the last stop, Coco Cay, Bahamas, and that was an off and on rain. In fact, when I took the picture of the sailboat with the lightning strike behind it, it was a sunny morning. When the off and on rain hit, I was reclining in a beach chair on the beach, letting the warm rain wash over me along with a gentle, warm breeze. What a relaxing day.

The first stop was at Heritage Wharf in Bermuda. We took a tour of the entire island with frequent stops included. That night we cruised the waters in a glass bottom boat, looking at the fish and the old ship wreck that was sticking out of the water which have been there a couple hundred years. This is proof that Bermuda is surrounded by a reef and there are only two ways past the reef. It was quite warm but a nice breeze gave relief from the humidity. Lovely place but it would be expensive to live there. Michael Douglas and a couple other stars have property there but they can afford it. While we were on the tour, we stopped in the capitol, Hamilton, and did a short tour downtown. We also did the same thing at the far end of the island, St. Georges.

The next stop was Nassau, Bahamas and it was a little hotter (I don’t mean that in a bad way. I love the heat.). We toured a cigar making factory, a chocolate factory and the Natural History Museum. Of course I had to get some nice, fresh, hand rolled cigars. Love a good cigar (I know smoking is bad for you but to each his own, I say). From what I could see, Nassau is small and densely populated. My wife and I concluded that the reason people there moved and worked slowly was because of the heat, humidity and the closeness of everything. The more (faster) you moved, the hotter you become.

The last stop was Coco Cay, Bahamas (owned by Royal Caribbean). As we were entering the port I took the picture of the sailboat and never saw a lightning strike. Later that night, when I reviewed my pictures, I was startled to see the lightning in the photo. Now it is one of my favorite photos. It was sunny as we were coming into port but it later turned into on and off showers. The weather was warm with a nice breeze. I lazed under an umbrella and, as the showers came and went, I only got wet from the knees down but was never cold. The cruise line had nice food (hamburgers, hot dogs, BBQ, fruit, and beverages). Then the seagulls started flying all around us and occasionally stole food. They were very aggressive and would get as close as a couple feet (can anyone say aggressively hungry?).

On board the ship was fantastic. I could write a book about the things that went on, the fine service, the wonderful shows and, of course, the duty free shopping. The food was greater than great and there was a different menu each day. The on-board casino kept me and my wife occupied (she won the slot machine contest. I came in thirteen out of the many people that entered) and the drinks flowed freely (not free). I love being retired and on a constant vacation. It was so wonderful that we signed up for a cruise in December 2017, but all good things must come to an end and it did.

Getting back to Imperial Plaza, via Imperial Plaza’s bus, was easy, especially with the traffic (only a couple slow downs). Then the bottom fell out. We knew there was a wind storm but we didn’t expect the power outage or the destruction the wind caused. Trees were down everywhere and electricity was out. Oh well, can’t fight Mother Nature, just cope with it. We returned on Saturday afternoon and Imperial Plaza’s power came back at four thirty Sunday afternoon and then the fun began. Saturday night we stayed in a hotel and returned Sunday afternoon. Then, forgoing unpacking, we began emptying the chest freezer and refrigerator/freezer plus cleaning both. Now we will restock with the insurance payout. The company we are with is making a fast payout for the lost food.

Monday, we walked the area taking pictures of all the devastation and carnage that had occurred. It looked like a war zone with so many trees down, broken trees, trees on cars, trees on houses, and traffic lights not working. There were many vehicle accidents because where the traffic lights were out vehicles had to come to a stop. Some didn’t and, of course, there was an accident (one death that I am aware of). There was even damage to one of the buildings of Imperial Plaza. The wind was a “straight line” wind, not a tornado, as I’ve heard some people saying.

Well, I’ll close this and say “stay tuned because it’s not over yet”. This year’s traveling is not over yet. This weekend we’ll go to Maryland Live (casino) for my wife’s birthday, then the following weekend is to Colorado for my grandson’s wedding. Then to Pa. for a family reunion and I don’t remember the rest. I’m retired and I love this traveling. I’ve worked many years to have and enjoy this time in my life. You all should do the same. I wish all a good summer and safe travels. Enjoy life!

Lightning Strike

Lightning Strike

Coco Cay, Bahamas

Coco Cay, Bahamas

Grandeur of the Seas showtime

Grandeur of the Seas showtime

A resident of Coco Cay

A resident of Coco Cay

A small piece of the wind damage

A small piece of the wind damage

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MPP and Casinos

You should have been there. The third class of the Mighty Pen Project had their graduation ceremony, of which I was a part of, on the 6th of April. There were at least eighty five people in attendance and food in abundance (after the ceremony, of course). And, to top it all off, there were six or seven readings of some of the pieces written during the ten weeks of intense university level instruction. This was my second class and I loved this one most of all. The next class will be starting in a week or two (I forget which) and Mighty Pen Project (MPP) will begin to take applications for the fall class that will start in September. Those of you that can make it should sign-up for this ten week course. You’ll be surprised in what you can accomplish. Registration is taken through the Virginia War Memorial (our partner in this endeavor) on their web site, www.virginiawarmemorial.org I am still working on our web site (I finally made a break through in getting it started) and it’s located at www.themightypenproject.org I finally have a few photos from the graduation and a couple from NPR when they were at the second class (I’m in both of the photos which ended up in the papers also). Keep looking at both sites because information change often.

I love going to the casinos but I am out with Charlestown Casinos in Charlestown, West Virginia. The horse racing was good (they can’t rig that) but the slot machines are brand new and set to not pay. Maryland Live and Horseshoe (Baltimore) is much, much better. You may not get a jackpot but you will make and lose a little with the occasional jackpot or near jackpot. West Virginia must want us to pay for the new machines. Not on my dime. But, on the other side of the coin, my wife love to play Roulette and does pretty good on the table. It’s hard to rig the table but the machines are another matter. Therefore, we’ll go to Maryland Live for a week, starting Monday, and my religious blog will be late if at all (it’s not like I’m getting paid for this blog).

I see we have the typical Virginia weather…wait five minutes and it’ll change. Seem as though we are getting March in April, therefore, we may get April in May. Either way, our Virginia weather, in my opinion, is the best in the USA. A little of this and a little of that with not too much of any one thing. Here in the Richmond, tri-cities area, the very bad weather either go around us or skip over us. I love it and try to enjoy it. It’s never too hot nor too cold (three bears?) and I don’t like the cold although I spent most of my military career in cold places. Oh well, there is nothing that can be done about it even if you don’t like it. We all have to suck up the bad weather and hope we are never in it.

Take care, be good and I’ll see all of you when I get back.