Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Tangier Island Day Trip

Last Saturday, a group of us went to Tangier Island for the day. Well, not for the whole day, really, but for a visit. This is a place I've always wanted to visit, and I'm so glad I did!

Here's the day in pictures...

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Tangier Island is literally in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay. The only way to get there is by boat or plane. There are several ferries that go, and that's the way we opted for the day.

We caught the ferry in Reedville. Of course, it took us 2+ hours to get there. But once there, the ferry ride promised to be about 1.5 hours to the island.

This is our friend Larry. He told us he gets motion sickness, and was looking a little green. We hadn't left the dock yet!

On the way out, we passed a lot of ruins in the creek of previous fishing companies. This one had an Osprey nest on top, and we could see the babies sticking their heads up.

You could tell this area was a thriving fishing area. The captain said these boats were full of fish waiting to be unloaded.

One of the many fishing vessels we passed during the day.

This sign is at the mouth of the creek.

From the bay, our first glimpse of Tangier.

This sign is one of the first you see when you get off the ferry and onto the main road.

This is the majority of the group that we were with today.

While on the beach, we saw half a dozen planes landing on the island.

And that half a dozen all landed in the frame of about 15 minutes. Definitely a busy airport!

At one of our stops, a local woman came out and chatted with us about the island. She was so sweet and pleasant, and actually seemed glad that we were visiting. Thanks Ms. Pruitt!

While riding through town, we passed the library. The Muddy Toes Library.

Yes, it was a shed. It wasn't open, so we didn't venture in to see the selection.

Then we had lunch at Hilda Crockett's Chesapeake house. Family style, with all you can eat crabcakes and TONS of side dishes.

We definitely put a hurting on the food. And everything was delicious. Especially the crabcakes AND the corn pudding! Some of the best I've ever had!

We had only a short time to wander around before the ferry left again, but I did see this neat mural on the west side of town. Definitely depicts their way of life here.

Then, the ferry was waiting to take us back.

We figured that we were in the car for 4+ hours, on the ferry for 3+ hours, and only on the island for 2+ hours. May have to go back and visit one of the Inn's or B&B's for an overnight stay.

And what did we learn about the island? There are about 650 permanent residents. Their main way of life is fishing, crabbing, and tourism. They are the soft-shelled crab capitol of the world. They only have a couple of vehicles on the island and the main modes of transportation are golf cart and bikes. They have a bit of an accent that's hard to place, but it's definitely their own.

Their island is sinking AND the bay is rising. So the island is disappearing. How long will it be around???

I'm so glad I finally got out there. Having heard about this place my entire life. It's certainly worth a visit!


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Omaha - Day 4, Part Two

And so the ugly begins....

We're sitting in the Omaha airport waiting for our plane that will take us to our connection in Detroit. The flight is scheduled to leave at 5:45, so we figured we'd be boarding about 5:15.

5:00 rolls around, and there's no plane there.

5:15 rolls around, and still no plane.

5:20 the plane comes to the gate, and folks are hurriedly departing.

We see folks doing inspections, and getting the plane cleaned up. But it's taking a while.......

Meanwhile, my mom calls, and tells me what I've been dreading. My grandmother had passed away that afternoon. I knew it was coming, but it was still really sad.

Somewhere around 6:00ish, they make an announcement that they were waiting on maintenance, since the plane took a bird in the engine on landing, and they need to check it out.

Sucked a bird in the engine!

So, out comes maintenance. Let me just paint the picture for you... This man was easily in his 70's and walked with a limp. He struggled to get the ladder out of his van alone. But he managed to get it out and set up to evaluate the engine. He climbed up. Looked. Climbed down. Went to get paper towels, climbed back up and removed the bird. Climbed back down, got a squirt bottle of some sort, and climbed back up. Squirted the stuff inside, then climbed back down. Got his scrub brush, and climbed back up. Scrubbed. Climbed back down to get paper towels again, and climbed back up to wipe everything down. Honestly. Certainly not the most efficient, but we were hoping for the best...

All this is happening as all the passengers are watching out the window. I even took some video, and if I could figure out how to rotate it, so you wouldn't have to turn your monitor sideways, I would post it.

They made an announcement that they didn't "think" there was any damage, and they would board shortly. Didn't "think". I guess they were waiting to see when we took off???? I kept hoping and praying that Captain Sully was going to show up in the Omaha airport to make sure we got to Detroit ok. No such luck.

By now, we are over an hour late leaving, knowing we only had a 50 minute layover. We were assured in Omaha that since this was a mechanical issue, if we missed our connection, we'd be put up in a hotel for the night, and given food vouchers.

So, we finally take off, and are flying without too much incident. Some turbulence, but at least the plane works. The pilot assures us that he's going to make up time in the air, and we should only be landing about 20 minutes late at 9:15pm. Our connection is at 9:45, so there's hope!

We actually land about 9:20. Still holding out hope.

We pull within 10 feet of the gate at 9:25. And sit there. And sit there. And sit there.

Until 9:35.

A plane with 54 people on it, and 45 have connecting flights within a half hour. And they sit there.

And we were at the BACK!

Needless to say, we got off of the plane, and RAN to our gate. I did mention that we came in at the opposite end of the terminal that we were departing from, didn't I? Oh, yeah, we did.

It was about 1/2 a mile. We ran, walked, ran, walked. And missed our plane by about 5 minutes.

We found a representative. She scanned our stuff, and we had been re-booked on a flight at 10:15 the next morning. A voucher printed out for a hotel room, but it was a $59.00 rate that we had to pay. We asked her why we had to pay, since we were told otherwise in Omaha, and she just said that's what printed out.

So off we go to catch a shuttle bus filled with other angry Delta passengers to try to get a couple hours of sleep at a hotel that we now have to pay for. Without our luggage, without toiletries, without clean clothes. UGH! We get there about 11:00pm. Good thing we ate something at 4:30! So, we had ice cream....

We were able to catch our flight the next morning without incident, and got home early afternoon on Saturday. Tired, hot and stinky, but home! And really glad this happened at the end of vacation instead of the beginning....

And, in case you are wondering, I DID call Delta to complain about the fact that we had to pay for a hotel that should have been taken care of. They said it was coded at weather related (last I checked, birds had as much control over the weather as I do), and said they aren't required to pay for weather related issues. When I mentioned the bird issue, and the video I had, they managed to find out that it was in fact a maintenance issue, and issued us both $75 vouchers for future flights. Not too bad, since we had only paid $59 for our room.

And that concludes our Good, Bad, and Ugly series of vacation...


Monday, May 10, 2010

Omaha - Day 4, Part One

Today was our last day in Omaha.

Our flight didn't leave until 5:45 p.m., so we got up early, and already had plans to drive about 2.5 hours and visit Kansas and Missouri. I have a goal to find a geocache in every state, and this trip afforded us an opportunity to add 4 new states to the list.

The drive down was pretty monotonous. The roads are straight, and flat. Nothing but farmland around.

We made it to Elwood, Kansas, and then drove over to St. Joseph, Missouri. There was a beautiful riverwalk trail in St, Joseph, and I'm just sorry that we didn't get to spend more time there.

But while we were there, the Navy's Blue Angels were practicing over head. Apparently, St. Joseph was hosting an air show that weekend, and we were in the direct path of practice. It was a great (although a bit unnerving) experience. I swear they were flying so low that our hair was getting messed up from the breeze they were producing, and they were leaving wake in the Missouri River!

We grabbed a bite for lunch, then headed back up the monotonous highway, so we would be on time for our flight.

We arrived back in Omaha a bit early, so can you guess where we went?

You got! Harrah's!

Now, let me just take a minute to share a funny story with you.......

Each prior visit to Harrah's was done at night, in the dark. We had parked in the front of the hotel, and walked down a long corridor to the casino. We knew there were Riverboat Casino's as well, and had seen signs for parking toward the Riverboat. We also knew, that while we were in the casino, there were signs over several doors that said "BOATS" with an arrow. We assumed that meant that was the way to the Riverboat. Naturally.

So this day, it was daylight, and we thought we'd drive around to the Riverboats to check it out.

We drove around back, and there it was. We parked in the that parking lot, and went in to the attached building to pass through security. (Yep, security at all entrances...)

Got through security just fine (with yet another guard gawking at my new VA license), and opened the door to check out the Riverboat.

And we walked into the casino we'd been playing in for the last 3 days.

Yes, we'd been on the Riverboat the entire time, and not known it.

Boy, did we feel silly!!!!!!!!!

We spent about an hour there, before heading back to the airport.

We got to the airport with plenty of time to spare, got checked in at our gate, and grabbed a bite to eat at about 4:30p.m.

That was the end of the good.
The UGLY will come in another post. Probably tomorrow...


Saturday, May 8, 2010

Omaha - Day 3 Cont.

When we last left off, I did an entire post about the zoo. It was fun!! But now on to the rest of day 3.

D finished the day early from the conference, so we had time to do some sight-seeing together. We went back to the Pedestrian Bridge, took our time, and walked all the way to Iowa!

We wandered around the riverfront area for a bit longer, taking in some of the other sites.

Then, we decided to go out for STEAK!

We had tons of good suggestions, but had to narrow it down to one place. We ended up back at Upstream Brewing Company, where I had eaten the night before, because someone said the steaks there were good. And they were right! Delicious! Probably one of the most tender steaks I've had.

After dinner, we headed out to a small event that we had heard about at a local diner, and there we met some great folks, and had pie a-la-mode for dessert.

And to top off the night, I should come as no surprise that we swung by our now regular hangout - Harrah's Casino.

And just in case you were wondering, no, we didn't win big. Again. But we did have a ton of fun. We took D's co-worker this time, and battled the raging weather to make it out there and back.

Just a warning... Day 4 is coming in two parts. The good, and the bad/ugly.

Stay tuned...

Friday, May 7, 2010

Omaha - Day 3

Yep, even more good!

This morning was my morning for the zoo! And boy was I excited! I could hardly wait until they opened to get there. I get to see PENGUINS!

Oh, you didn't know I have this fascination with the flightless bird? I didn't mention that I have an extensive collection of penguins, or that I have one tattoo'd on my body??? Ooops.

Anyhow.... Moving on.
Apparently, I wasn't the only one excited about getting to the zoo early! It was FIELD TRIP DAY! I'm not sure for how many schools, but there were a LOT of children there. And on a Thursday, to boot.

No problem....

I made it to the penguin exhibit first thing, and hung out there for a while. I took mostly video there, but did get a couple of pictures. It totally made my morning!

I then just wandered around the entire zoo.

For some reason, I really like this picture. It was of the gorilla above it, and he was sleeping with his foot against the glass. A very big foot!

This sea lion was full, and started sunning himself on a full belly!

The zoo was educational, too. I learned how butterflies reproduce!

And learned that wild turkeys sometimes roam around zoo grounds.

I got back to the hotel early afternoon, and soon learned that D would have the rest of the afternoon off too.

Today's post was taken up entirely by zoo pictures, so I'll leave the afternoon adventures for tomorrow.

So more on Day 3 tomorrow!


Thursday, May 6, 2010

Omaha - Day 2

More good....

Today, I had plans to drive to Lincoln, NE and visit the International Quilt Study Center and Museum.

I must admit, that it was a smaller building than I was expecting. But that surprise only lasted momentarily. As I entered, I was greeted warmly and told of the tour that started in less than an hour. The tour was THE main reason I went on Wednesday morning, and was soooooo worth it. If you visit this museum, make sure you visit during one of the times when a tour is going on.

Before the tour started, I wandered up to the third floor to see a one-woman exhibit. Beautiful! This woman had taken up quilting in her 60's, and enjoyed applique so much, that she decided to reproduce some of the most important/historical applique quilts. They were stunning. I was greeted by a volunteer while I was up there, who also gave some additional insight into the museum and exhibit.

The actual guided tour consisted of two exhibits. Perspectives: Art, Craft, Design, & the Studio Quilt and Quilts Under the Microscope. While they were both at opposite ends of the spectrum, they were both absolutely fascinating! I'm so glad I waited and attended during a tour. To wander and see these exhibits alone, I would have missed great information!

Unfortunately, there were no pictures allowed anywhere in the museum, so I have none to share, but it was definitely worth the drive out there.

On the drive back, I saw a sign for a "Wildlife Safari". I knew this was something I needed to check out as well, so I did!

It was a leisurely 5 mile drive through the 440-acre sanctuary, and there were animals all around you. A nice break of the interstate drive between Lincoln and Omaha.

Arriving back at Omaha, I decided to check out the Pedestrian Bridge that I had heard so much about. Just a quick visit, as more time was planned there on Thursday.

The bridge was beautiful, just as I suspected. On the way back to the car, however, was quite an unexpected site. Keep in mind, it was VERY windy, with sustained winds between 20-30 mph, with gusts higher.

This poor guy was trying to hula-hoop across the bridge in the wind. It wasn't working out so well for him, but I was thoroughly entertained!

I was on my own for dinner today, so I wandered down to the Old Market area (another VERY cool spot in the city) and ended up at Upstream Brewing Company. I love visiting breweries, and trying something made there. This time I had the American Wheat, as I love a good wheat beer. Dinner was pot roast, because I was waiting for D to go out for steaks in Omaha!

Later that night, another quick trip over to Harrah's Casino! Nope, didn't win big again, but still had fun!!

Tomorrow - The Zoo!!