2022 · Days of The Week · Florida · My Travel Journal · Travel Tuesday · USA

Epcot® International Flower & Garden Festival & Akershus Royal Banquet Hall ~ Walt Disney World, Florida 2011

The following day, we made a trip to EPCOT to enjoy lunch with the Disney Princesses in Norway. There I wanted to see if Sara likes some fish. She dug into the fish and vegetables like her life depends on them. When the Disney Princesses came to our table, Katelynn and Rylee were ready for photos. Sara on the other hand rather enjoyed her meal.

After lunch, we walked around in the park. At that time of the year, Disney has the Epcot® International Flower & Garden Festival. A lot of Disney characters with wonderful flowers are on Display. Sara was tired; Katelynn and Rylee wanted to go into the Resort’s pool. So, we made our way back to the room to rest and change into bathing suites. The girls had a blast at the pool.

… to be continued …

2022 · Days of The Week · Florida · My Travel Journal · Travel Tuesday · USA

“Disney’s Electrical” Parade & “Wishes: A Magical Gathering of Disney Dreams” Firework In Disney’s Magic Kingdom, Florida 2011

In the late evening, we stayed in the park to see Disney’s Electrical Parade. The Electrical Parade is a nighttime parade, created by Robert Jani and project director Ron Miziker. It features floats and live performers covered in over 600,000 electronically controlled LED lights, and uses a synchronized soundtrack triggered by radio control along key areas of the parade route.

The show was hosted by Jiminy Cricket, the Blue Fairy, and revolved around the wishes of famous Disney characters – good and bad. The lights on Cinderella Castle changed colors throughout the show, reflecting the different stages of Wishes’ narrative. During different parts of the show, a “wishing star” firework was shot, cresting approximately 100 feet above the castle’s bright spires. While most of the characters in the show are only heard as part of the show’s music track, Wishes also featured an appearance from Tinker Bell as she flew from the tallest spire of Cinderella Castle. Wishes included 683 fireworks, that fired during the 557 cues.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wishes:_A_Magical_Gathering_of_Disney_Dreams

After the fireworks, we called it a day. It was a long day in Disney’s Magic Kingdom. We still had to wait for our turn to get to the bus which took us to the resort. The kids had a long day and almost fell asleep on the way. Kevin, Kristine, and I were tired as well. It was time to rest for another eventful day at Walt Disney World.

… to be continued …

2022 · USA · New York · Special Events · My Travel Journal · Wedding

Travel Journal, Day 2 (Part II): Paul’s & Jackie’s Wedding

💍 Paul & Jackie ~ September 10, 2022 💍

Paul and Jackie had a beautiful wedding last week. Family, friends, and former schoolmates met to celebrate with Paul and Jackie. There was plenty of food and alcohol with an open bar. And they also had a karaoke setup. Sara and Neveah sang Adele’s song “Easy On Me”. Sara enjoyed it.

The following morning, we had breakfast with Lisa before we left to return home to Connecticut.

~ THE END ~

2022 · Canada · My Travel Journal · Ontario · Texas · USA

Travel Journal, Day 2 (Part I): Niagara Falls State Park, Niagara Falls, New York (2)

September 10, 2022

Since Kevin parked on Goat Island, we walked from the Canadian Falls over to Luna Island. And from there we hiked the trail along Hell’s Half Acre, crossing the Goat Island pedestrian bridge to get to Prospect Point/Observation Point. Kevin, Sara, and I spent a little while there before we walked back to the parking lot on Goat Island. We had lunch in Wheatfield before we got ready for the wedding and the reception.

… to be continued …

2022 · Canada · My Travel Journal · New York · Ontario · USA

Travel Journal, Day 2 (Part I): Niagara Falls State Park, Niagara Falls, New York (1)

September 10, 2022

On Day Two, Kevin, Sara, and I went to Niagara Falls State Park in the morning. Five years ago, we were at Niagara Falls. But we never made it to Goat Island on that trip back then. This time, we planned to stay in the United States and go see the falls from the American side. On Goat Island, we’ve got a wonderful different view of the Horseshoe Falls. While we were standing at the rim, we saw Maid-of-the-Mist boats inching as close to the falls as possible. They wanted to give these tourists the experience of a lifetime. All the tourists wore ponchos. But some still came drenched out of the boats. Since we had a beautiful day and warm weather, their clothes dried up quickly. Due to the mist, Kevin, Sara, and I saw a very colorful rainbow that stretched from the Horseshoe Falls to the Bridal Veil Falls and American Falls in the Niagara Gorge.

… to be continued …

2022 · Days of The Week · My Travel Journal · Texas · Throwback Thursday · USA

Hiking In Isle Du Bois State Park At Lake Ray Roberts ~ Texas 2013

In September 2013, Sara and I took a little trip to Isle Du Bois State Park at Lake Ray Roberts, which is just north of Lake Lewisville in North Texas. Sara and I watched the fisherman on the boats and the maintenance crew at the beach. Since it usually is still very warm in early September, we also observed some wildflowers and wildlife in the State Park. There were all kinds of bees, butterflies, lizards, and a roadrunner. It was Sara’s first roadrunner; she had seen in the wild. By noon, we left the park. It got too warm to stay any longer.

2022 · Canada · My Travel Journal · New York · Ontario · USA

Travel Journal, Day 1 (Part III): Fort Niagara State Park At Lake Ontario, Youngstown, New York

September 9, 2022

Before sunset, Kevin, Sara, and I drove to Fort Niagara State Park, at the corner of the lower Niagara River and Lake Ontario in Youngstown, New York. While Kevin and Sara spent some time at the playground, I went down to Fort Niagara State Park Beach. There I’ve got a good shot of Toronto across the lake. Due to our planet’s curve and some mist on Lake Ontario, the lower part of the skyline wasn’t visible from where my viewpoint in the US. Shortly, Kevin and Sara joined me to watch the sunset, which gave the lake a golden hue.

… to be continued …

2022 · My Travel Journal · New York · USA

Travel Journal, Day 1 (Part II): Whirlpool State Park, Niagara Falls, New York

A major change took place there about 7,000 years ago when water volume was low. The connection between Lake Huron and Lake Erie was cut off and the Upper Great Lakes drained through the Ottawa River and St. Lawrence Valley. Only the flow from Lake Erie went over Niagara Falls, and a narrow gorge and shallow Riverbed were formed.

Today, the flow of water coming from the wider upper Great Gorge is channeled into the narrow section, thus creating the turbulent Whirlpool Rapids. The violent waters of the Whirlpool Rapids flow into the Eddy Basin before entering the Whirlpool.

September 9, 2022

Kevin, Sara, and I arrived in Niagara Falls in the late afternoon. We drove to our hotel, ate something, rested for a moment and went from there to the Whirlpool State Park. We didn’t want to deal with the big tourist crowds that evening. So, we were tourists away from the tourists. We saw the falls at night five years ago. I could wait until the following day. Kevin was in Wheatfield High School in the late 80s and early 90s. He knows this area like his back pocket.

At Whirlpool State Park Kevin, Sara, and I took a little hike on the Whirlpool Scenic Trail. It was very interesting to witness how the rushing waters of the rapids flow from the Eddy Basin into the Whirlpool, where the water is forced to circle around, hence the name “whirlpool”. Kevin also discovered a groundhog on the side of the river wall. That groundhog was so used to humans that it didn’t care, we were only a foot and a half away from its burrow. The chipmunks and squirrels came much closer. We think they are being fed by visitors.

The sun hadn’t set yet. So, we chose to go to a second destination, before we called it a day.

… to be continued …

2022 · My Travel Journal · New York · USA

Travel Journal, Day 1 (Part I): Mohawk River Valley/Erie Canal, New York

September 9, 2022

On Friday, we began our journey to Niagara Falls. One of Kevin’s best friends from Highschool got married on Saturday. And we were all invited to the wedding and reception. Katelynn couldn’t make it. She’s stuck in Dallas. But Kevin, Sara, and I went for a weekend trip to Western New York, again. Along the way, we saw some cool historic and natural places. One of them is the Erie Canal, which runs from the Hudson River all the way to Lake Erie. A part of the canal was built along the Mohawk River. When we made a stop at the Mohawk Valley Welcome Center near Fultonville, we saw what looked like a bridge, but is actually a moveable dam to control the flooding of the Mohawk River Valley. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erie_Canal

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The Erie Canal is a historic canal in upstate New York that runs east-west between the Hudson River and Lake Erie. Completed in 1825, the canal was the first navigable waterway connecting the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes, vastly reducing the costs of transporting people and goods across the Appalachians. In effect, the canal accelerated the settlement of the Great Lakes region, the westward expansion of the United States, and the economic ascendancy of New York State. It has been called “The Nation’s First Superhighway.”

A canal from the Hudson to the Great Lakes was first proposed in the 1780s, but a formal survey was not conducted until 1808. The New York State Legislature authorized construction in 1817. Political opponents of the canal, and of its lead supporter New York Governor DeWitt Clinton, denigrated the project as “Clinton’s Folly” and “Clinton’s Big Ditch”. Nonetheless, the canal saw quick success upon opening on October 26, 1825, with toll revenue covering the state’s construction debt within the first year of operation. The westward connection gave New York City a strong advantage over all other U.S. ports and brought major growth to canal cities such as Albany, Utica, Syracuse, Rochester, and Buffalo.

The construction of the Erie Canal was a landmark civil engineering achievement in the early history of the United States. When built, the 363-mile (584 kilometer) canal was the second-longest in the world (after the Grand Canal in China). Initially 40 feet (12 meters) wide and 4 feet (1.2 meters) deep, the canal was expanded several times, most notably from 1905 to 1918 when the “Barge Canal” was built and over half the original route was abandoned. The modern Barge Canal measures 351 miles (565 kilometers) long, 120 feet (37 meters) wide, and 12 feet (3.7 meters) deep. It has 34 locks, including the Waterford Flight, the steepest locks in the United States. When leaving the canal, boats must also traverse the Black Rock Lock to reach Lake Erie or the Troy Federal Lock to reach the tidal Hudson. The overall elevation difference is about 565 feet (172 meters).

The Erie’s peak year was 1855, when 33,000 commercial shipments took place. It continued to be competitive with railroads until about 1902, when tolls were abolished. Commercial traffic declined heavily in the latter half of the 20th century due to competition from trucking and the 1959 opening of the larger St. Lawrence Seaway. The canal’s last regularly-scheduled hauler, the Day Peckinpaugh, ended service in 1994.

Today, the Erie Canal is mainly used by recreational watercraft. It connects the three other canals in the New York State Canal System: the Champlain, Oswego, and Cayuga–Seneca. Some long-distance boaters take the Erie as part of the Great Loop. The canal has also become a tourist attraction in its own right—a number of parks and museums are dedicated to its history. The Erie Canalway Trail is a popular cycling path that follows the canal across the state. In 2000, Congress designated the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor to protect and promote the system.

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… to be continued …

2022 · My Travel Journal · New York

Back Home From Attending A Wedding

Guess where we were this weekend. If you listen really closely to this Great Black-backed Gull, it might tell you at what edge it stands and watches the water rushing past its legs and feet. The gull gives you a few hints: “I’m at a river between two lakes. The river separates two vast countries. It gets very cold there in Winter. And the Summers can be warm and humid.”

… to be continued …

2022 · Days of The Week · Florida · My Travel Journal · Travel Tuesday · USA

At Cinderella’s Royal Table In Disney’s Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Florida 2011

🏰👑🏰👑🏰👑🏰👑🏰👑🏰👑🏰👑🏰👑🏰👑🏰👑🏰👑🏰👑🏰👑🏰👑🏰👑🏰👑🏰👑🏰👑

In the late afternoon, we had dinner with the Princesses at Cinderella’s Royal Table in the castle. Reservations are hard to come by. And we were lucky, Kevin started booking six to eight months before our trip to Walt Disney World. The girls dressed up as Tinkerbell, Minnie Mouse, and Cinderella, before the royal visit. They met Cinderella, Snow White, Princess Aurora, Ariel, and Belle. Sara loved her buttered pasta. At that age, this was Sara’s favorite finger food. When Katelynn and Rylee were done with their dinner, they got dessert, which they could decorate themselves. So much sugar! But it was something they don’t have every day. Later on, the girls could take their energy off in the park. I’ll post more about it in the next “Travel Tuesday” blog.

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… to be continued …

2022 · Days of The Week · My Travel Journal · Texas · Throwback Thursday · USA

Visit At The Arbor Hills Nature Preserve ~ 2013

Nine years ago, Sara and I visited the Arbor Hills Nature Preserve for the first time. It is only seven miles away from our house. But I had no idea it existed until I looked at a park map on Google one morning. Katelynn was in school. And Sara was bored because she had no one to play with in the house. So, I decided I would take her for a hike in the park. The weather was nice and not too warm. It was perfect to see what the Arbor Hills Nature Preserve has to offer. On the way, I said to Sara: “Maybe we will see some wildlife in the park.” When we arrived at the Arbor Hills Nature Preserve, we saw a lot of hikers, sprinters and runners. I told Sara to stay with me on the right side of the trail, for people who work out can pass us on the left. She did very well. We walked into the forested area. And Sara noticed a couple of squirrels chasing each other. One had a couple of pecans in its mouth. And the other squirrel wanted the first one to share at least one of the pecans. Sara and I made it all the way to the Observation Tower, where we had a nice view over a big portion of the park. After a little rest, we hiked back to the parking lot. Sara was counting the bridges, we crossed along the way. She said: “There were three bridges in total. And the squirrels were funny.” I’m glad she got entertained on this little trip to the Arbor Hills Nature Preserve. 😉

2022 · My Travel Journal · North Carolina · Oklahoma · USA

National & World Days (2) 🏖🍬

🏖🍬🏖🍬🏖🍬🏖🍬🏖🍬🏖🍬🏖🍬🏖🍬🏖🍬🏖🍬🏖🍬🏖🍬🏖🍬🏖🍬🏖🍬🏖🍬🏖🍬🏖🍬

Happy National Beach Day &
National Toasted Marshmallow Day!

🏖🍬🏖🍬🏖🍬🏖🍬🏖🍬🏖🍬🏖🍬🏖🍬🏖🍬🏖🍬🏖🍬🏖🍬🏖🍬🏖🍬🏖🍬🏖🍬🏖🍬🏖🍬

2022 · Days of The Week · Florida · My Travel Journal · Travel Tuesday · USA

A Morning Stroll Through Disney’s Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Florida 2011

After breakfast at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, we made our way over to Disney’s Magic Kingdom for a couple of hours. Sara seemed much happier with a full tummy. And so, it didn’t take long, until she fell asleep on Kevin’s shoulder. While the rest of the family waited in line for a ride, I let Sara nap in the stroller. Meanwhile, I watched Mickey and Minnie taking photos with other families. By the time, everyone came back Sara awoke from her nap. This was perfect timing for taking a photo with Mickey and Minnie before we went back to change into change clothes and rest for a little bit in Disney’s Pop Century Resort. Because the afternoon and evening were busy.

… to be continued …

2022 · Days of The Week · My Travel Journal · Texas · Throwback Thursday · USA

A Day At The Dallas Arboretum & Botanical Garden ~ August 2013 (1)

Dallas Arboretum & Botanical Garden

The Dallas Arboretum & Botanical Garden has August Dollar Days during the whole month of August. Back in 2013, we had a day that was not too hot. And I decided to take Katelynn and Sara to the Arboretum. It was a fun day. We have seen so many different flowers, water features, butterflies, dragonflies, and little mammals. Since I have so many flower photos, I have to break the visit down into several blogs. These are images from the All-America Selections Trial Garden.

… to be continued …

2022 · Days of The Week · Florida · My Travel Journal · Travel Tuesday · USA

Breakfast @ Chef Mickey’s In Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Walt Disney World, Florida 2011

The following morning, we took the bus to Disney’s Contemporary Resort near Disney’s Magic Kingdom. There we went to Chef Mickey’s to have breakfast. First Sous Chef Goofy came to our table. He told us there was a little accident in the kitchen. And he might have had a part in it. Head Chef Mickey came over and asked if we enjoy our breakfast. Minnie makes sure all the guests have food and drinks at their tables. Donald baked breakfast rolls since 3 am. And Sara had to watch Pluto closely, not eating her breakfast from the plate. “No Pluto, those fruits will give you a tummy ache. And you will stay outside all day.”

… to be continued …

2022 · Days of The Week · Florida · My Travel Journal · Travel Tuesday · USA

Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Florida 2011 (1)

After meeting with our family and having breakfast in Ocala, we drove toward Orlando to get to Walt Disney World in Buena Vista. We had rooms next to each other in the Pop Century Resort. Once settled in, we spent the afternoon in Disney’s Animal Kingdom to meet several Disney characters, take photos with them, and get their autographs, before we watched “Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade”. We went on the Kali River Rapids ride, where I got completely soaked. Therefore, I had to get some clothes to change. It was March. And the evenings were cool. I didn’t want to catch a cold while we were on vacation. In the evening, we’ve noticed the ibises getting a spot on the trees to spend the night there. That was the sign that it was time to leave the park.