Thursday, April 28, 2016

One More Off The Bucket List

I don't remember how many years I have been wanting to visit this site.

The Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri.

We gotter done!!!

We chose the perfect day.

We are staying at Carlyle Lake, another COE park (more on this later), just west of the big city.

It was easy to get to off I 64...the first photo taken upon first glimpse of the arch.

Found a parking space and followed the signs on the sidewalk to get if you needed guidance.

 You are given a number for this tiny container, and cram five people in it for your ride to the top...630 feet up.

It is kind of like riding an elevator and ferris wheel...only four minutes to the top.

Wallace got to sit in the middle which is better for people his size, more head room.

The view is limited and you don't see much.

Once at the top, there are these little windows to look out for picture taking and viewing.

What a spectacular view.

There was hardly a sway, not bothersome at all.

In the top photo, you  will notice the Budweiser Stadium, home of the St. Louis Cardinals. In the bottom photo, in front of the green, the building with the green dome is the Old Courthouse which I will talk about later.


This beautiful Old Cathedral is so close, we just had to stop and take a peek inside. Built in 1834, it is still an active parish.


Now on to the Old Courthouse where the Dred Scott case was held. The lawsuit that gained worldwide notoriety. A little later, the Civil War took place.

Walking through this building, you would think you were in a State House.

A view of the dome from inside.

This was built in the early 1800, a site you should not pass up.

This beautiful winding stairway has no middle vertical  support.
It is embedded in the walls.

The banister was so low...for all those short people back in those days. Put in in 1854.

So many frescos and murals adorn the walls of this beautiful building.

This one depicts the meeting of Lewis and Clark on their journey through the area.

This building is a must see when you visit here.

There is a lot of history that took place in this building...Ulysses S. Grant came here to free his only slave. A public reception for President Grover Cleveland took place in 1887.

We walked in the footsteps of so many famous people.

St. Louis, the "Gateway to the West."

We certainly enjoyed our visit and hope you enjoyed the tour a little too.

When walking the streets, I happened to notice this site. What is that figure supposed to be? I asked a local gentleman who did not even have a clue as to what it was, even though he has served on the jury there!!!!

Upon googling it..."it was designed to resemble the Mausoleum of Maussaollos which was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The sphinx-like structure has the fleur-de-lis of St. Louis adorned on the chests." The building is the Civil Courts Building. That probably would have been worth a visit as well!!!

Until next time... 



Monday, April 11, 2016

One Week to Go

This is Richard. He offered to make us pancakes Saturday morning before our work/play day. 7:00 am we were eating pancakes...thanks Richard, then met up with David to pick up our crew for the event.

We don't usually work on Saturday, but David really needed us. We had had a pretty full week already, but we can't say no, and I really like working in our HUGE 110 acre garden here at headquarters. I just wish people would not prune azaleas!!!

Again, we had a really great crew.

The girls enjoyed pulling vines...girl power!!!

We had a couple of guys who were wonderful, and we got a lot accomplished to improve the looks. The person who was picking up the debris said we had the most!!!

For all their hard work, they are provided with lunch and a canoe ride up the bayou.

We are here for the Christmas tree drop this year.

This is Shelly, Bayou Sauvage refuge manager, giving us instructions before we hit the water.

We had three airboats and were divided up accordingly. The media was there doing their thing for the news.
We all left the dock and waited
for the action.

Here comes the first helicopter.
Everybody made a mad dash to get out there for our part in this job.

Brian, our airboat driver backs off. He will just wait for the next
available drop.

We eventually close the gap with each drop.

After the drop, we close in to quickly unstrap the sling. There are two helicopters from the Army who fly the copters with precision.

They flew in 65 bundles, four bundles to the load that hold 55 trees each.

No pictures of our crew, but I was able to get this to show you what we do after the drop.

There are four yellow cables with chains around the load, and we quickly remove them for the next copter is on the way to drop the next load. We actually walk on the trees to remove them...some of us anyway. I walked on trees, not water!!!

Wallace hopped off to let one of the interns take a turn...we are ready to go out again after unloading five of the slings on shore, to collect more. Even that is a chore as those cables and chains weigh quite a bit.

Sue, a fire fighter just sits down to do the job. She is short but mighty.

Why, you might ask, are we doing this?

The trees are collected by the city of New Orleans and brought out to store until time for this.
The Army has a land crew at the dump (trees) to strap them up for the helicopters. Then they are brought out and dropped to create a barrier in the water which helps with erosion, kinda like a dam. They also build up the wetland habitat for migrating waterfowl and wildlife. Today, they were dropped at Bayou Sauvage. This is an annual event, and we were so happy to do our part.

These two people were on shore to help pull in the slings.

They are the new volunteers who got broke in good.

They had a tough job too just maneuvering over those rocks!!!

We were all treated to lunch at the pavilion at Ridge Trail.

This is just part of the Army crew. They landed on the grounds there where we had a group picture taken. 

We had perfect weather for this.
We were supposed to be on our cruise when this took place, but there was bad weather while we were gone. It got rescheduled, and were we glad!!!

We trained the new volunteers this past week as how to do the brochure run and the route. All Dale would say is, "this sure is a lot of walking."

We will be heading north next Monday...making our way to Wisconsin for our next gig...Horicon NWR near Lake Oshkosh.

Until next time...

Friday, April 8, 2016

This is Where We Went

Does this help? Our first cruise together.

Wallace's brother Louis and his wife Deanna joined us. It was good to have someone show us how to "cruise."

The Norwegian Dawn...what a gorgeous ship.

We are boarding in New Orleans on the Mississippi River. I think it  was 124 miles before we got out to the gulf.

Let the fun begin!!!

We really enjoyed the hot tubs. There were five, four by the pool and an adult only one in the front of the ship.

This was a seven day cruise...just right. We found out we did not need to take Dramamine...we did just fine. The rocking of the ship was like being in a nice rocking chair. We did not spend much time in our room, there was so much to see and do. AND, of course all the food, anytime you wanted to partake.

Our first stop was Cozumel, Mexico. We did not have an excursion planned here, but we got off and walked around, got our charm to put on our bracelet...thanks to Diamonds International, and we found a Mega grocery store where we bought some Dr. Pepper for me and Pepsi for Wallace. I was not about to pay $2.50 for a soda on ship...these were .45 cents made with real sugar!!!

Was not aware you could bring sodas and water when you board. Call me cheap!!!

In the above photo, we are being tendered in to our next port.

Belize City, Belize. Again, no excursion here, but we take the tender to the pier and walk the town, collect our free charm and see the sites.

I have always wanted to go here to bird, maybe next time.

Excursions are pretty expensive and we only have one planned for this cruise...I really enjoyed just seeing the town and getting back on the ship to enjoy that.

You can  have it quiet in the library or in the adult hot tub, or you can sit by the pool and people watch as you listen to good Caribbean music...just enjoy!!!

Okay, here we are on the Jolly Roger, our one and only excursion. We wanted to try snorkeling.

This is in Roatan, Honduras, the place was a favorite with me...there are hills!!!

I tried two times with two different masks before I gave up!!! However, Wallace, Louis and Deanna had a fun time seeing all the colorful fish and coral (no underwater camera)!!! AND I was on board to take pictures of the event.

There they are.

The water is so beautiful.

I will try again after getting a few suggestions from someone sitting in the hot tub with me. I don't give up easily.

Going back for the ride back to the city to board the ship for our next stop. Costa Maya, Mexico.

This is my sister-in-law, Deanna, chit chatting with the family next to us as we make our way to land.

I have many pictures of the ship, but I will end with this one.

Deanna and Louis have taken many cruises, but never with Norwegian. They were impressed!!!

This is the cruise line for us.

We were not able to disembark at Costa Maya as we had swells of eight to twelve feet...we just slowly cruised on back to New Orleans. We did not get to see the Myan Ruin there, which was a little disappointing...there is always next time.

Now back to the real world.

Until next time...