Travel

Self-Isolation Blues

Well, that’s not entirely true.  While we are staying home as much as possible, we do have a family to feed. So that means trips to the grocery store every few days.  I would prefer not to have to go as often as we are, but the lack of goods on the shelves, and the fact that we are not hoarders, requires multiple trips.  Our local grocer has absolutely no paper goods for the last week.  No paper towels, napkins, nor toilet paper.  I know this is, sadly, becoming very common.  The meat counter has been rather empty as well. But we will survive.

Just in case you missed this post, the reason we are self-isolating is we did go on a cruise about 10 days ago.  It was just a short three day to the Bahamas and back. The ship is set for 4000 guests. I doubt there were 1400 people aboard. My high school had more people. Hell, my graduating class was almost 1000 people!

Our view upon boarding the ship, The Mariner Of The Seas.

We almost didn’t get far on the cruise. They were discussing making the ship dock in Miami and everyone would have had to get off. In the end they let all the ships that left that day go anyway.  They did announce that we would be the last cruise for a month. The major cruise lines all canceled scheduled cruises until about 15 April.

The main reason we took the cruise was to take the girls to another country. It was their spring break, which made it a great time to go. But then this virus hit.  We did take a gamble, but it seems to be fine. I have been taking everyone’s temperature twice a day since we returned. No fevers, no (unusual) coughing or sneezing. I also have not heard of any of the ship’s crew testing positive either.  But I did call and postpone all doctor appointments and such.

The cruise itself was very nice. The girls made friends with other kids. They did not want to do any of the kid’s activities that were offered. They had much more fun just hanging at the pools and snacking just about all day.  I have to say they were very cognizant of washing their hands and using the hand sanitizer stations. I don’t think they passed a hand sanitizer without using it. I was very happy.

Virus? What virus?

Here’s a video that may actually be relevant for once!

Peace,
B

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What Is He Thinking?

Here I am just two months or so removed from a wonderful ten-day ICU stay (you can read about that here) and what are we doing? Taking Son-The-Younger and his two girls on a short cruise!  Just what the hell am I thinking??? COVID-19 is running rampant across the globe and I’m just waltzing right in.  Plus, we now have a confirmed case of the virus locally.

It may seem that the virus is targeting cruise ships. But I think it’s more of a “captive audience” type of thing. Let’s face it, you have thousands of folks miles from land all stuck together like sardines. It’s a petri dish blissfully floating out on the water.

Now, this is a short three-day cruise. Just out to the Bahamas and back. Nothing spectacular. Since it is a short cruise I don’t think it will attract the “jet set” travelers. I just don’t see anyone that’s been in any of the hot zones around the world joining us on this little adventure. My main concern is the crew. This will be Wifey and my fifth cruise (the first for the kids) and we love the international flavor of the crews. But that does pose a greater risk of having someone that has been in a hot zone being on board.

We must trust that the cruise line (Royal Caribbean in this case) will live up to their promises of greater sanitation for most areas on the ship, more hand sanitation stations, and better screening of crew and passengers prior to boarding. They have also stated that the fees for medical screening/care of anyone complaining of most “flu like” symptoms will be waived for the duration of the trip. They appear to have an expanded quarantine area ready, just in case.

Naturally the CDC has called for the elderly and those with compromised respiratory systems (and I fit at least one of those categories, maybe both depending on who you ask), to avoid travel “especially cruises”.  Yeah… right.  I never was one to listen to authority. There is a chance that I could be denied boarding. If I have a fever (which I haven’t since that hospital stay), or if my constant coughing is deemed to be a problem. 

We are leaving on that most auspicious of days, Friday the 13th! So what could go wrong? It is spring break for the girls as well.

They say the virus can be killed with a greater than 60% alcohol solution. I’m sure one of the bars on board will have something that’s 120 proof or higher. Plus, we can use this as a warm-up for “Amateur Drinking Day #2” St. Patrick’s Day.

So, watch this space. Wifey may be handling a post soon while I’m in quarantine, or worse. I’m confident that all will turn out well and I will have pictures to post next week. Now please excuse me, as I must prepare for this trip. By which I mean the single malt is calling my name!

Here is today’s almost related video.

Enjoy!

Peace,
B

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A Very Delayed Post

I have to apologize to ya’ll. We took our Campbell Christmas Vacation as planned, leaving here on December 26th. While the vacation was a joy, I became very ill, and was hospitalized on our return. That will be the subject of my next post, as I am still sorting out details of the whole vacation/illness. So this will be a quick post with some pictures of the vacation aspect.

The plan was to leave here on the morning of the 26th, and we actually made it work. We piled Wifey, Son-The-Younger, both granddaughters and myself into the car and headed north. Our destination was Maggie Valley, NC. We rented a larger cabin than the one Wifey and I rented two years ago for a five night stay. The weather was good, and for once, traffic not an issue at all. We all got our suitcases unpacked and stuff put away in our rooms and away we went!

The cabin’s living room.

Friday was Son-The-Younger’s birthday and we promised him we would take him the Sierra Nevada Brewery just outside of Asheville, NC. Wifey and I visited the brewery and took the tour two years ago. Son-The-Younger was looking forward to this trip. We took the Blue Ridge Parkway over the mountains to Asheville. We stopped at many of the scenic overlooks and the girls took many pictures.

We arrived at the Brewery just in time for our scheduled tour (you have to make reservations), and Wifey and the girls went to “The Back Porch”, an open area that has food, a garden and even – get this – beer! Although there wasn’t any live music that day, they do have an outdoor stage, as well as an indoor area in case of bad weather. And is very dog friendly.

We drove home and had a great BBQ dinner, which was another “requirement” for this trip.

Saturday was a planned “quiet” day. In the morning we took the girls to do some “gem” mining. Then Son-The-Younger and I visited Elevated Mountain Distillery, while Wifey took the girls to a little store we enjoyed on our last visit.

It was a good thing that we didn’t have much planned for Saturday. I woke up about 3AM with fever and chills. So after the short morning excursions, I went back to bed for the afternoon. I think I sweated through my clothes twice that afternoon. The rest of the family went tubing (man made snow, sadly) while I basically sweated every ounce of liquid out of my body. Son-The-Younger tried to get a fire going in one of the outside fire pits, but it was rained out.

I awoke Sunday morning feeling better, but not great. I knew I was still fighting whatever bug I had picked up, I just didn’t realize how badly I was losing that fight.

But not giving up, we again went over the mountains, but this time from Cherokee, NC to Gatlinburg, TN. We went right through the Great Smokey Mountains National Park, and we hadn’t even gone half a mile into the park when we came across a herd of Elk. The girls were so happy.

We made it to Gatlinburg with no issues. We even found a Mexican restaurant that Wifey and I had tried almost 20 years ago! And it was right next to the Ripley’s Aquarium which was our first scheduled stop (after tacos of course). Then the real fun began.

The plan all along was to get me a wheelchair while at the aquarium. My legs were still heavily impacted by the back injury, so I figured I would not be able to walk the entire distance required. Turns out I couldn’t even make it into the aquarium!

Going up the steps to get to the wheelchair I passed out. I was so lucky that there was a guy right behind me who saw it coming, probably before I realized what was happening. He was a strong enough guy that he grabbed me and set me down so I only ended up with was a scrape on one knee where it hit the pillar I has holding on to. Luckily it passed somewhat quickly and by the time the kids met us with the wheelchair I was coherent, and some of my strength returned. It was nice have everyone push my wheelchair so I could see the major parts of the aquarium, and there were plenty of places that I could be parked while everyone else went to see something that would have been a tight fit. We got in a few other attractions that afternoon, then head back to our cabin in Maggie Valley.

I will leave the health issues for the next post. I knew I was sick, but I really didn’t feel any worse or better for the rest of the trip.

Monday found us in Cherokee, NC. I really didn’t expect the girls to enjoy the museum as much as they did. They were asking questions about the displays and had good comments when their questions were answered. it’s really nice to see them getting inquisitive about things that aren’t covered very well in school. The Cherokee people have an absolutely beautiful creation story. Personally, I find it every bit as relevant as any other creation story. It is no more, nor any less credible the one most of us have been force feed all these years.

Outside of the museum in Cherokee.

Every time I visit a museum of this sort, I am saddened beyond words how native peoples have been treated by we white people. On every continent we have hurt if not straight out destroyed entire cultures. They had a veteran’s display in the museum. It told of a Cherokee medical doctor that was on a landing craft on D-Day. I didn’t know they had any doctors on the landing craft. But it makes me wonder were there any “white” doctors on any other landing craft? Then there was a display of Cherokee Medal of Honor Recipient. I’m sorry I don’t have names for these, and the other Cherokee’s enshrined in this part of the museum. I was so overcome, and still am, with emotion I had to leave the area and just sit down in the lobby. Knowing that chances are that these gentlemen had already been forcibly removed from their ancestral homes to the squalid desperation of a reservation, but still answered the call to serve this nation (not the Cherokee Nation, but the “white man nation”) amazes me. Sadly, most of the town of Cherokee was closed for the season, so shopping was limited.

However, Son-The-Younger conquered the elements and got the fire pit going. I am told the s’mores were wonderful!

The next morning we loaded everything back up in the car and headed home. We only stopped long enough to visit with Lil-Big-Sis at lunch. There are so many more stories to tell of this trip, but I just don’t have the energy to keep this going, nor a voice to dictate to Wifey, so dear reader this will have to suffice.

But I leave you with What’s Stuck In Wifey’s Head this morning. Enjoy!

Peace,
B

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