Monthly Archives: November 2009

Road Trip Update – The Home Stretch

Posted by on November 20, 2009

After two and a half months, I’m entering the last leg of the road trip. Today I’m just outside of Knoxville, Tennessee where I’ll be visiting the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and taking photos. Tonight I hope to be in Nashville, then on Saturday I’ll be visiting Mammoth Cave in Kentucky and driving up to Indianapolis. From there I go to Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site in Illinois, up to Chicago and back to Wisconsin for Thanksgiving.

Since I got back from the cruise on Monday I drove from Dallas through Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and a sliver of Georgia to get to Tennessee. It was my first time ever in the deep south and I found the drive to be pleasant. Given my schedule I didn’t have any time to explore the area, but I did leave me with the desire to go back.

All of my long haul driving (entire day behind the wheel) should now be behind me. Everything should be shorter trips of now more than a few hours with more stops. I’m ready to stop driving for a while. I’ve made up for all the driving I didn’t do when I was outside of the US.

If you are in Nashville or Chicago and would like to meet up, let me know.

Aboard the Crown Princess – Day 5, Roatan, Honduras

Posted by on November 19, 2009

Girl in Roatan School

Girl in Roatan School

My original plan for Roatan was to go diving, but after Grand Cayman I didn’t really feel like diving anymore. Moreover it was raining hard and despite the fact you are going underwater, diving in the rain really isn’t that fun. It makes visibility poor and you can never dry off once you get on the boat. Instead I decided to join Kim Mance and the girls from who where going to deliver school supplies to a local grade school. I figured I’d crash their party and act as photographer for the day. It also gave me an excuse to test out my new flash for my camera as well as see parts of the island I’d otherwise not get to see.

The three Galavanting girls, Brett (aka Amtrekker) and myself all got off the ship, piled into a van in the pouring rain and set out for the school…..which was empty because all the public schools in Honduras were out of session. Evidently, the schools were let out because of all the political problems they were having in the country. The teacher, Darla, was there to meet us and she talked to Kim and the other Galavanting girls. I just sort of hung out in the background and took photos and Brett did video.

The Galavanting Girls and Darla the teacher

The Galavanting Girls and Darla the teacher

Eventually some kids started to show up just as we were about to leave so we stayed a bit longer so Kim and the girls could give them their supplies in person. They did some songs and we found out that some of the kids have to walk 90 minutes to school each day…and it had been raining all day long. We took two of the kids that had the longest walk back with us in the van to drop them off closer to home. We then spent the rest of the day driving around part of the island, looking at sights and soaking in as much as we could in a few hours of pouring rain.

I should also add that I found roadside stands selling rambutan, which is my favorite fruit in the world. It is almost impossible to find in the US, but they had mounds of it you could buy for cheap.

Me getting a facial treatment

Me getting a facial treatment

Back on board the ship I had my spa treatment. I’m not really a spa guy, so I just a shave and a haircut as my spa session. It was the first and only time in my life that another person has shaved my face. I was sort of anxious about it. I assumed that it would be a shave with a straight edge razor, but the woman doing the shave just used a Mach 3, which sort of disappointed me. Once the ship started moving, however, the logic of not using a straight edge razor became obvious. Ultra sharp object near someone’s throat on a moving ship is just an accident waiting to happen. In the end, the shave really wasn’t worth it. It wasn’t any better than what I could have done myself and in a few days it was totally undone.

We had another great meal that evening, but I honestly can’t remember what it was because the two previous evenings totally dominate my food memories of the cruise.