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Old 01-28-2014, 09:47 AM   #706
ColoradoDisneyFreaks
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Originally Posted by mmeb144 View Post
Please write a trip report. Be sure to post the link back here so that we can find it. You could help your DD13 write it. Be a bonding experience.
Actually, she writes better than I do. She's got an amazing imagination and vocabulary, I'm the one reigning her in telling her that she doesn't really need 2 paragraphs to explain the color of the grass, but she should probably put in some backstory!

OK, you guys convinced me, I think I'll do it! Of course, mine starts with Venice, and I need to get a photobucket or flikr account. Maybe I'll do that today...
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Old 01-28-2014, 12:58 PM   #707
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Hmmm…Man, in fancy sports car, with no speed limit…This can’t be good.

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that this may be every young boy’s fantasy…although, I’m pretty sure in said fantasy there would be a Barbie-esque looking girl in the passenger seat along with him as he goes 125 mph.

I can picture almost any car in my head except for a mini van or a station wagon going 95 mph on the autobahn. That just doesn’t seem right to me, or plausible for that matter. Wonder if Mythbusters can do something on that.
Well I don't know about Mythbusters, but Top Gear did this, with a German (female) driver on the Nurburgring. Richard Hammond in the passenger seat is NOT Barbie-esque nor Ken-ish for that matter...

Sabine Schmitz's Nurburgring Van Challenge Part 2 - Top Gear - BBC
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Old 01-28-2014, 01:46 PM   #708
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Well I don't know about Mythbusters, but Top Gear did this, with a German (female) driver on the Nurburgring. Richard Hammond in the passenger seat is NOT Barbie-esque nor Ken-ish for that matter...

Sabine Schmitz's Nurburgring Van Challenge Part 2 - Top Gear - BBC
That was some insane driving. Couple of times there, I was wondering if she was going to flip. You could see the wheels lifting off the ground on some of the turns.
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Old 01-28-2014, 02:03 PM   #709
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Originally Posted by ColoradoDisneyFreaks View Post
Actually, she writes better than I do. She's got an amazing imagination and vocabulary, I'm the one reigning her in telling her that she doesn't really need 2 paragraphs to explain the color of the grass, but she should probably put in some backstory!

OK, you guys convinced me, I think I'll do it! Of course, mine starts with Venice, and I need to get a photobucket or flikr account. Maybe I'll do that today...




Yes, you should get a photobucket or flikr account. I use photobucket for pics I post here, but I have used flikr. Both work well.
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Old 01-28-2014, 04:10 PM   #710
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Because you have (had?) an incredibly intense crush for them?
Nah…I’ve never been a big fan of Tom Cruise…Anthony Edwards on the other hand, he isn’t too shabby. Don't even get me started on Val Kilmer...


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Nope. I was speaking in the third person.

Ruby still had to roll me.
I was way too full to wheel myself!
I laugh, only because any time I over indulge at a restaurant or buffet, The first thing I mention is that we need to start some sort of business venture that offers “wheel out service” to patrons who are in this same boat. I’m pretty sure it would be a big seller.


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Well, actually.
The whine was me, having to leave that breakfast... forever

I am immune to Kay whining about having to get up.
Again…

As for Kay…I’m pretty sure that was what my parents said when I would sleep until after noon on some days. Now I’m up before my mom at times. Darn adult hood!!!!


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Or whine....

Trust me, you DO NOT want whine!
I get enough whine at work, thank you.



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I'm so glad someone understands...

Hi. My name is pkondz and I'm addicted to that particular breakfast in Bavaria.

<Hi pkondz!>
Admitting it is the first step…



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Originally Posted by pkondz View Post
The rest of the car was pretty sweet, too!
Oh, you mean there was more? Some weird guy was standing in front of it, and I got distracted.



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Originally Posted by pkondz View Post
Yup.
That's pretty much it.

Although to be fair, the car should have known that it was going to experience the backwoods as soon as I got behind the wheel.
Do you always give your rental cars a warning in advance?



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So that was you!
And here we just thought the place was haunted.




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I'll buy that.
Great! How much you willing to give? Would you like it gift wrapped? That’s a little extra.



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Nah. You know me. Very closed mouth.




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Originally Posted by pkondz View Post
Probably my second biggest pet peeve (driving peeve, at any rate).
My biggest driving peeve is when people know full well a lane is closed up ahead, far in advance, because of construction or an accident, and yet they still think they can speed up and cut off everyone just to get 2 or 3 cars ahead of you.

Oh…sorry…um…carry on…

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You laugh....
But it seems that the vast majority of Winnipegers have NO FREAKING IDEA how to use them.
Neither do New Mexicans.


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Originally Posted by pkondz View Post
I will not have to go out on a limb to say that every young boy's fantasy does involve a Barbie-esque looking girl...

But it doesn't have anything to do with cars.
Good point.



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Nope. It's as if the car wanted to go that fast.

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Originally Posted by pkondz View Post
Christine.



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Originally Posted by pkondz View Post
Or possibly, "Dumbwife! Dumbwife!"????

Man.

That would so make my day.
I’m waiting for the day that T-Man records me saying that…Then we will all be in trouble.



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Originally Posted by pkondz View Post
Uh, huh.
Did you see what Nebo wrote about this?
I was the person, during my college years, who would drive, while putting make-up on. I mastered the art of driving with my knee. Of course I wasn’t going anywhere near the speeds you were reaching.


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Originally Posted by pkondz View Post
So.... What you're saying is... at 250mph, you want me to turn my head, take my eyes off the road... for a picture...

I never knew you had such a cruel streak, Heather.
Being that you took your eyes off the road in order to look at the speedometer in order to know that it was something of significance that needed to be recorded with a picture…I’m not sure I’m the one with the cruel streak…

However, I figured we would be able to see the unmistakable Cheshire grin even in profile.



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Ya got that right, baby!
I figured.


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No.
That's wrong.
So wrong.
Right?
Wrong.


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Originally Posted by pkondz View Post
How about, "Whoopsie doodle”?
Yah…that’s much better…



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Originally Posted by pkondz View Post
Speaking of....
I hope to get to yours tomorrow.
But I wanted to get my shout-outs in first.


So looking forward to reading the latest update!
Hope we don’t disappoint.


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Originally Posted by pkondz View Post
It was really bizarre. She'd never ask us.

So better... she at least asked people.
or worse... she never asked us!

Nope…Still worse in my eyes. But again, that is coming from someone who used to be a waitress.



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I gotta admit... I was really impressed at just how incompetent this girl really was!
She was amazing in her ineptitude!
Everyone has a talent.

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Dunno. Never seen it.
I refuse to wait for three... count 'em three movies about a short book.
OK…How about Lord of the Rings? Same concept of The Shire.



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Aw. Heather's looking out for me!
I got your back buddy!



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Originally Posted by pkondz View Post
Yeah, that'd probably happen.
But... can you imagine?
"How was your first ride on a gondola?"
"Oh, awesome... I had four suitcases piled on me... it was just great. Really."
I said it would be interesting…I said nothing about being comfortable…


Quote:
Originally Posted by pkondz View Post
Oh, sure.
But getting them to reverse is next to impossible.



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Originally Posted by pkondz View Post
Probably from your mental image from Inferno.

Or you and Mike are psychotic, like me.
I don’t know if we are THAT psychotic…


Quote:
Originally Posted by pkondz View Post
I know. I've failed miserably.
I won't fault you if you decide to stop reading.
Nah. I think I’ll continue your punishment with my breakdowns and posts. That should teach you a lesson!



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So you will keep reading, then?
Sorry to disappoint you…



Quote:
Originally Posted by nebo View Post
You can do what?
Is that legal? But more importantly,,,,, will I like it? Sounds like there are proselytize and conselytize involved. Ok, I'll shut up now. Nice to meet kyou Sprietsy. By the way, Ponzi can also be found making a fool out of himself over on Thumper Man's trip report on Disneyland,,, so if you like him her, you'll just adore him over by dere.
No, not him, her; him here. Him, is not a Her. He, is not a Her. He, is Him, well, he was till they took his man-card away by saying he bought his daughters "Toesies". This is his word for Sandals, or "Flip Flops"

Um ,,,, what was the question again?
You know…this whole time I’m thinking…Yay! Nebo’s back…and I’m trying to think of something witty to say, and the only thing that comes to me is the fact that he was able to spell “proselytize” correctly, and in the same paragraph says, “dere” as a reference to “there.” Only our Nebo could do that and get away with it!

BTW – Thanks for the plug for our TR

Now how much was it that I owed you?


Quote:
Originally Posted by pkondz View Post
Dirt?
You have dirt?

I haven't seen dirt since early October.

I'm betting you never thought someone would be jealous of you having dirt.

And if you mention grass.... I seriously don't know what would happen.
We have dirt. Lots and lots of dirt. Oh and Tumbleweeds…Does that count as grass? The other day, the wind was so bad in the eastern portion of the state, they had a tumbleweed attack that left some houses having to dig themselves out.


Quote:
Originally Posted by pkondz View Post
Ha. Ha. Ha. Of course that's not possible this time of year.
Everyone in North America has snow! Nobody has grass now!
Snow? What’s snow? If you are talking about that slushy white stuff that comes from the sky, I haven’t seen any of that in my state since probably November, maybe even October. At this point I’d settle for rain!

Quote:
Originally Posted by pkondz View Post


Grass!!!!


I crack myself up.

I'm cracking up.

Cabin fever.

We've had snow 11 of the last 12 days..........................

You are more than welcome to send some our way if you like. Although, our luck, it wouldn’t get past Colorado before just vanishing into thin air.
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Old 01-28-2014, 04:45 PM   #711
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Originally Posted by ColoradoDisneyFreaks View Post
Actually, she writes better than I do. She's got an amazing imagination and vocabulary, I'm the one reigning her in telling her that she doesn't really need 2 paragraphs to explain the color of the grass, but she should probably put in some backstory!

OK, you guys convinced me, I think I'll do it! Of course, mine starts with Venice, and I need to get a photobucket or flikr account. Maybe I'll do that today...
Yeah. Wonderful news.
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Old 01-29-2014, 12:58 PM   #712
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My biggest driving peeve is when people know full well a lane is closed up ahead, far in advance, because of construction or an accident, and yet they still think they can speed up and cut off everyone just to get 2 or 3 cars ahead of you.
Which is funny to me because my pet peeve is the people who try to merge long before the obstruction, which causes way too much traffic turbulence. The engineer in me screams out "don't you all know that the most efficient way to handle a lane obstruction is to proceed until the lane narrows, and then everyone "basketweaves"? Ah the utopian roads in my mind...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thumper_Man's Wife View Post
Snow? Whats snow? If you are talking about that slushy white stuff that comes from the sky, I havent seen any of that in my state since probably November, maybe even October. At this point Id settle for rain!


You are more than welcome to send some our way if you like. Although, our luck, it wouldnt get past Colorado before just vanishing into thin air.
Careful what you ask for. We Canooks are working as hard as we can to get that Polar Vortex down your way. We're managing to blanket a big swath of the Southeast in snow this week; we'll keep working on your order...
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Old 01-29-2014, 04:09 PM   #713
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Which is funny to me because my pet peeve is the people who try to merge long before the obstruction, which causes way too much traffic turbulence. The engineer in me screams out "don't you all know that the most efficient way to handle a lane obstruction is to proceed until the lane narrows, and then everyone "basketweaves"? Ah the utopian roads in my mind...
To each their own I guess. In my mind, it just never fails to cause an accident or be the cause of a potential accident. Now if people could actually merge around here without causing havoc, then I would probably be OK with it. But they wait until the very last moment, with an inch of space in the other lane, to squeeze in. I'm one that usually allows one or two in depending on my mood, but some don't even bother to wait for the you to allow them the space. Plus, when there is a HUGE sign stating, LEFT LANE ENDS IN 100 FT...and they keep going without care, that's what begins my frustration.



Quote:
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Careful what you ask for. We Canooks are working as hard as we can to get that Polar Vortex down your way. We're managing to blanket a big swath of the Southeast in snow this week; we'll keep working on your order...
We've been in a drought for years. Every year it's the same thing. Our precipitation levels are scarce. Now I realize we live in the desert but come on. There was a time when we used to get snow. I remember a couple years ago we got about 7 or 8 inches in one day and we were ecstatic. The next day it all melted and we were back to dry land again, but for a day we were happy. I don't think it's even rained in Albuquerque since probably the beginning of fall last year, if that. We get all the attributes that come along with snow or rain. Clouds, low temps, but in the end all we get is wind. So bring it on. We need it desperately.
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Old 01-29-2014, 07:20 PM   #714
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ColoradoDisneyFreaks View Post
Actually, she writes better than I do. She's got an amazing imagination and vocabulary, I'm the one reigning her in telling her that she doesn't really need 2 paragraphs to explain the color of the grass, but she should probably put in some backstory!

OK, you guys convinced me, I think I'll do it! Of course, mine starts with Venice, and I need to get a photobucket or flikr account. Maybe I'll do that today...
Great!

Quote:
Originally Posted by bankr63 View Post
Well I don't know about Mythbusters, but Top Gear did this, with a German (female) driver on the Nurburgring. Richard Hammond in the passenger seat is NOT Barbie-esque nor Ken-ish for that matter...

Sabine Schmitz's Nurburgring Van Challenge Part 2 - Top Gear - BBC
That was awesome!

I especially liked the parts where they passed the bikes.

Although it's probably a good thing I didn't know you could drive on the Nurburgring...



Quote:
Originally Posted by Thumper_Man's Wife View Post
Nah…I’ve never been a big fan of Tom Cruise…Anthony Edwards on the other hand, he isn’t too shabby. Don't even get me started on Val Kilmer...
Oh? Does T_Man know about this?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thumper_Man's Wife View Post
I laugh, only because any time I over indulge at a restaurant or buffet, The first thing I mention is that we need to start some sort of business venture that offers “wheel out service” to patrons who are in this same boat. I’m pretty sure it would be a big seller.
Holy cow! You're right!
Can you imagine?
Valet service for your car and for you!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Thumper_Man's Wife View Post
I get enough whine at work, thank you.
You too, hunh?
Oh, to win the lottery and not have to listen (or say) to whining...


Quote:
Originally Posted by Thumper_Man's Wife View Post
Oh, you mean there was more? Some weird guy was standing in front of it, and I got distracted.
I know. How rude, right?
Dude would NOT get out of the way!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Thumper_Man's Wife View Post
Do you always give your rental cars a warning in advance?
Nope. I like to surprise 'em.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thumper_Man's Wife View Post
Great! How much you willing to give? Would you like it gift wrapped? That’s a little extra.
Yes, please. Gift wrapped would be nice.
Send it up COD, okay?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Thumper_Man's Wife View Post
My biggest driving peeve is when people know full well a lane is closed up ahead, far in advance, because of construction or an accident, and yet they still think they can speed up and cut off everyone just to get 2 or 3 cars ahead of you.
Maybe it's a Canadian thing...
I agree with bankr.
Although I call it zipper method.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Thumper_Man's Wife View Post
I’m waiting for the day that T-Man records me saying that…Then we will all be in trouble.
Oh, but I would so love to hear it!

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Originally Posted by Thumper_Man's Wife View Post
I was the person, during my college years, who would drive, while putting make-up on. I mastered the art of driving with my knee. Of course I wasn’t going anywhere near the speeds you were reaching.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Thumper_Man's Wife View Post
Being that you took your eyes off the road in order to look at the speedometer in order to know that it was something of significance that needed to be recorded with a picture…I’m not sure I’m the one with the cruel streak…
Gotcha!
Remember that the car had a head's up display?
I could see the speed without taking my eyes off the road.

I had no idea what the analog speedometer looked like when I asked Ruby to take the picture.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Thumper_Man's Wife View Post
However, I figured we would be able to see the unmistakable Cheshire grin even in profile.
Technically, if you could see my knuckles, then I wouldn't be the Cheshire cat.
All you could see was it's grin, right?


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Yah…that’s much better…
Glad you approve.

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Hope we don’t disappoint.
You didn't!

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Originally Posted by Thumper_Man's Wife View Post
Nope…Still worse in my eyes. But again, that is coming from someone who used to be a waitress.
Yeah, she really, really, needed some schoolin'.

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Originally Posted by Thumper_Man's Wife View Post
OK…How about Lord of the Rings? Same concept of The Shire.
Oh, yeah. Forgot about those.

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I got your back buddy!
Thanks, Heather!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thumper_Man's Wife View Post
I said it would be interesting…I said nothing about being comfortable…
That's true. You didn't.

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Originally Posted by Thumper_Man's Wife View Post
Nah. I think I’ll continue your punishment with my breakdowns and posts. That should teach you a lesson!
Oh! The humanity!!!

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Originally Posted by Thumper_Man's Wife View Post
We have dirt. Lots and lots of dirt. Oh and Tumbleweeds…Does that count as grass? The other day, the wind was so bad in the eastern portion of the state, they had a tumbleweed attack that left some houses having to dig themselves out.
Funny. When we have wind, we have to dig ourselves out, too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thumper_Man's Wife View Post
Snow? What’s snow? If you are talking about that slushy white stuff that comes from the sky, I haven’t seen any of that in my state since probably November, maybe even October. At this point I’d settle for rain!
Rain? What's rain? If you are talking about that liquid stuff that comes from the sky, I haven't seen any of that in my province since probably September, maybe even August. At this point I'd settle for warmth!

Quote:
Originally Posted by bankr63 View Post
Which is funny to me because my pet peeve is the people who try to merge long before the obstruction, which causes way too much traffic turbulence. The engineer in me screams out "don't you all know that the most efficient way to handle a lane obstruction is to proceed until the lane narrows, and then everyone "basketweaves"? Ah the utopian roads in my mind...
What he said.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bankr63 View Post
Careful what you ask for. We Canooks are working as hard as we can to get that Polar Vortex down your way. We're managing to blanket a big swath of the Southeast in snow this week; we'll keep working on your order...
We try to please everyone, don't we?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thumper_Man's Wife View Post
We've been in a drought for years. Every year it's the same thing. Our precipitation levels are scarce. Now I realize we live in the desert but come on. There was a time when we used to get snow. I remember a couple years ago we got about 7 or 8 inches in one day and we were ecstatic.
ecstatic...

for snow....




Quote:
Originally Posted by Thumper_Man's Wife View Post
The next day it all melted and we were back to dry land again, but for a day we were happy.
melted....

next day....



Quote:
Originally Posted by Thumper_Man's Wife View Post
I don't think it's even rained in Albuquerque since probably the beginning of fall last year, if that. We get all the attributes that come along with snow or rain. Clouds, low temps, but in the end all we get is wind. So bring it on. We need it desperately.
Come on up here and take as much as you want!
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Old 01-30-2014, 12:59 PM   #715
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Rain? What's rain? If you are talking about that liquid stuff that comes from the sky, I haven't seen any of that in my province since probably September, maybe even August. At this point I'd settle for warmth!
If you want warmth, feel free to come by. The high today will be 65 degrees in Albuquerque. A little windy at times, but we are used to it. In the southern part of the state it's in the 80's today.

The weekend will be in the 40's but we will be back up to the mid 50's by next week. Welcome to Winter in NM!
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Old 01-30-2014, 01:32 PM   #716
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If you want warmth, feel free to come by. The high today will be 65 degrees in Albuquerque. A little windy at times, but we are used to it. In the southern part of the state it's in the 80's today.

The weekend will be in the 40's but we will be back up to the mid 50's by next week. Welcome to Winter in NM!
Or come up our way...

A quick check of the stats where I am; the mean January temperature was 10F, with a low of -18F. Top wind speed for the month was 46MPH which adds a bone chilling wind chill factor. But wait there's more. I live in balmy Ottawa; where PKondz lives, the mean temp was -4F with a low of -36F and winds up to 50MPH. Portage and Main really must be the windiest intersection!

I really got to move to NM, I think I could handle a few months of warm without precipitation...
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Old 01-30-2014, 01:34 PM   #717
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Originally Posted by bankr63 View Post
Which is funny to me because my pet peeve is the people who try to merge long before the obstruction, which causes way too much traffic turbulence. The engineer in me screams out "don't you all know that the most efficient way to handle a lane obstruction is to proceed until the lane narrows, and then everyone "basketweaves"? Ah the utopian roads in my mind...
Quote:
Originally Posted by pkondz View Post
Maybe it's a Canadian thing...
I agree with bankr.
Although I call it zipper method.
I have to agree with Lady H, and no it's not because she's my wife that I'm agreeing with her.

Technically the zipper method would work great if people knew how to do it and used it properly. In this day and age of "It's all about me and I need to be first" type of attitude, no one is courteous enough to allow others in. You try to merge and people will make sure to cut you off and not let you in. Or if you merge ahead of time and at the point you merge, someone will suddenly merge causing you to slam on your brakes. Then after you slam on your brakes, another 2 or 3 drivers will try to sneak in. Drivers here in the US are inconsiderate, so simple things like this tend to become a pet peeve for us.
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Old 01-30-2014, 02:41 PM   #718
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thumper_Man's Wife View Post
If you want warmth, feel free to come by. The high today will be 65 degrees in Albuquerque. A little windy at times, but we are used to it. In the southern part of the state it's in the 80's today.

The weekend will be in the 40's but we will be back up to the mid 50's by next week. Welcome to Winter in NM!
<whimper> 80? As in... not freezing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bankr63 View Post
Or come up our way...

A quick check of the stats where I am; the mean January temperature was 10F, with a low of -18F. Top wind speed for the month was 46MPH which adds a bone chilling wind chill factor. But wait there's more. I live in balmy Ottawa; where PKondz lives, the mean temp was -4F with a low of -36F and winds up to 50MPH. Portage and Main really must be the windiest intersection!

I really got to move to NM, I think I could handle a few months of warm without precipitation...
Yeah. I want to be retired and become a snowbird.
Instead, I'm tired and snow bound.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Thumper_Man View Post
I have to agree with Lady H, and no it's not because she's my wife that I'm agreeing with her.

Technically the zipper method would work great if people knew how to do it and used it properly. In this day and age of "It's all about me and I need to be first" type of attitude, no one is courteous enough to allow others in. You try to merge and people will make sure to cut you off and not let you in. Or if you merge ahead of time and at the point you merge, someone will suddenly merge causing you to slam on your brakes. Then after you slam on your brakes, another 2 or 3 drivers will try to sneak in. Drivers here in the US are inconsiderate, so simple things like this tend to become a pet peeve for us.
Oh, drivers up here are just as inconsiderate as down there.
Canadians have a reputation for being nice... but not when they're behind the wheel!
Then all their repressed aggressions come out.

So, yes, the zipper or basket weave work great in theory... but you'd need a cop standing there pointing to each car, one by one, for it to work.

I myself handle these situations differently.
I'll almost always take the shorter, blocked lane then wait patiently (that means no cutting) for someone to let me in.
I do the same, if I'm in the through lane, I'll let someone in.
But!
If I see some yahoo charge out of the through lane, cutting off other drivers, then try to force him (or her) self back into my lane?
Yeah, you can just wait there.


Hmmm? What's that?
Stop yacking about winter and driving methods and post a chapter?

Fine.
Here.

Sheesh.
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Old 01-30-2014, 02:43 PM   #719
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Lost in Venice

Venice is a city.

<shock!>

I know! Isn't that amazing??


Okay, so I'm being facetious.
I know it's a city.
You know it's a city.

So what gives?

There's lots to see and do in Venice.
Churches
Museums
Palaces
Not to mention that quintessential of all Venice activities...

Riding in a Gondola.

We've got two days and a bit in Venice.
(and I've already covered the 'bit' part in the last chapter)


Let's put it this way.
If someone was to come up to you and say,
"Listen. I'm going to DisneyWorld. I've got two days.
I want to go on the all the best rides and I want to see everything.
Can you give me any hints?"

Would you laugh?
Or cringe?

"Disney's huge!" You'd exclaim. "You can't see it all in just two days!"

Some of you might even know that the World encompasses an area of forty seven square miles.

Two days?
Pishaw, I say!
You can do two parks... three at the outside.
And don't even get me started on DTD, the resorts, mini-golf, boardwalk or...
water parks.


So have I painted a clear enough picture for you?
Forty seven square miles? In two days?
Ha!


Venice is a city.

Venice encompasses one hundred and sixty square miles (415 km2).


Okay.
I lied.

The Venice area is that big.
The main city itself is quite small by city standards.
You can walk from one end to the other in about forty five minutes.
Putting that into perspective, you can walk from the MK monorail platform to the farthest point in the new Fantasyland area...
in about ten minutes.

It's still a city, and doing everything in two days is not possible.

Or at least, not practical.

Oh, don't panic.
We did manage a few things, here and there.

Enough, hopefully, that I can keep you, if not entertained, at least semi-interested.

And if you're really good students, class... I'll even throw in some pictures and maybe a video or three.


You can scour the internet for "Things to do in Venice".
Or you can rent, buy, steal or borrow some guide books.
And most of them will tell you that the number one attraction in Venice is St. Marks square.
Some might refine that and pick the Doge's Palace or St. Mark's Basilica as their number one.

All right, we'll go..
But we'll start by visiting something else within the square.

And we'll also do something that came highly recommended by several sources.
Indeed this was the number one thing to do on at least one travel website.
Wanna know what it is?

Get lost.

No, no, no! Not you guys!
Stick around! And for the love of Pete, keep reading!

Venice is on a series of islands crisscrossed by maze like narrow streets and bridges over narrow (and not so narrow) zigzagging canals.
One of the best things you can do is just wander around, far from the madding crowd and just soak up some atmosphere.
In other words... go get lost in Venice.

It's an island.
Eventually you hit water and can't go any farther.
How lost can you get?

Well... Like I said, Venice is a maze of narrow winding streets, bridges and canals.
There is a way to orient yourself however.
I already mentioned two well known attractions.
The Rialto bridge and St. Mark's Square (Piazza San Marco).

There are signs everywhere that point in the direction of these (and a few other) landmarks.
So when you're done with being lost, just follow the arrows.


(picture from whyGo Italy - http://www.italylogue.com/featured-a...in-venice.html)


Everybody still with me?

I know what you're thinking.
"Yeah, yeah. Enough with the preamble... get on with it!"


Okay, okay.


We woke up semi-early, refreshed and (at least on my part)
very pleased that I wouldn't have to lug around the suitcase from Heck for a couple of days.

We headed down stairs to the dining room for our complimentary continental breakfast.
What can I say about breakfast.
It was... okay.
Maybe even pretty good.
There were some cold cuts and some cheese and some bread.
Maybe a few breakfast cereals.

I'm pretty sure I'm spoiled now after that spread we had in Bavaria.

After breakfast, we got ready to go.
We had a very full day ahead of us.
And yet... we didn't.

There were a few things I wanted to see and do,
but we didn't have a set schedule that we needed to stick to.
We'd see what we could and not sweat what we couldn't.

It was kind of nice, actually.

But I did know that we wanted to get to St. Mark's Square before it got too crazy crowded in the afternoon.

We headed out and started following signs directing us to the square.
It probably took only five or ten minutes.
But every now and then, you have to stop and smell the roses...
Or in this case, take a picture



Eventually though, we arrive at Piazza San Marco...
Napolean supposedly referred to the square as "the drawing room of Europe".
The square itself isn't square.
There's an extension that juts off towards the lagoon.
Technically, the extension (piazzetta or small piazza) isn't part of Piazza San Marco,
but the two spaces are generally referred to together.

Entering Piazza San Marco is like getting the wind knocked out of you.
You snake through narrow, claustrophobic inducing streets
to suddenly enter into this enormous open space surrounded on all sides by beautiful, soaring architecture.

You know the standard tourist look?
That slack jawed yokel who stands right in the middle of the way with a shocked expression on his face?

That was me.



A row of sixteenth century buildings stretch to the left and right both behind and in front of me.
The square is closed off on the right by the Correr Museum.
To the left, the tall domes of St. Mark's Basilica rise gracefully skyward.



The basilica is named for its most famous resident.
(If you've ever read a Christian bible, you've read some of his letters.
The Gospel of Mark is the second book of the New Testament.)
The body of St. Mark lies within the walls of the church.
In 828, Venetian merchants stole the body of St. Mark from Alexandria.
They covered the body with pork and cabbage leaves,
since Muslims are not permitted to touch pork.

Off to the right of the church, you can just make out a hint of the Doge's Palace.
And soaring over the square is the Campanile, or St. Mark's bell tower.
You've seen it in a smaller scale at epcot in the Italy pavilion.



And that is our target for this morning.
We're going to ascend to the top for the best panoramic view of Venice.

Approaching the tower, I noticed this sign by the exit:



I found it interesting that there would be a sign in no less than four languages.

The line to take the elevator up was around the corner on the piazetta.
This afforded us with our first unobstructed view of the Doge's palace.



The word 'Doge' translates to 'Duke', but the Doge was the highest authority of the Venetian Republic.
The Doge was more of a King than a Duke.

At the end of the piazetta lies the lagoon and the entrance to the Grand Canal that winds through the City.



The columns represent the two patron saints of venice and together have a somewhat checkered past.
Gambling was allowed in the space between the two columns...
at least when public executions weren't being held there.

The column on the left is topped by a winged lion. The Lion of Venice is the symbol of St. Mark.

The column on the right is topped by Saint Theodore, who was the first patron saint of Venice.
If you look closely, you can see he's holding a spear and standing over a crocodile.
St. Theodore was said to have slain a 'dragon'.
Dragon... crocodile... close enough, right?

Hey! You take on a crocodile armed only with a pointy stick! Crikey!




It was hot out and standing in the sun,
between white, stone faced buildings,
while standing on a white stone walkway,
waiting to get inside, was not much fun.
We were out in the sun for probably no more than five or ten minutes,
but I honestly think that if we'd waited much longer, we would've had to skip it.

Did I mention that it was really, really hot?
I don't know what the exact temperature was, but it was around 90F (32C).

Well.... for this northern lad... it was hot, okay!
(Stop laughing, Thumpers)

Once we got to the top, the views did not disappoint.

Another look at the columns on the piazetta (notice the gondolas, bobbing in the lagoon)



An overhead view of Piazza San Marco



An overview of the city facing northeast.



Another view to the east-northeast, overlooking St. Mark's Basilica.



At the bottom left of the above photo, find the clock.
The blue on grey circle.
Found it?
If you look at the roof of the building it sits on, you can just make out a bell.
On either side of the bell are two large bronze statues.
The bell and statues date from the mid fifteenth century.
The statues move and strike the bell with their hammers every hour.
Apparently, a worker, either unaware or forgetful of this fact was struck by one of the bronze figures and knocked off the building.
The world's first robot murder!

I had to see this in action, so we stuck around until the top of the hour.
That and I wanted to see/hear the campanile's bells pealing out the hour as well.



One of the five bells.

I'd also read that if you were up at the top when the bells rang,
when you were back on the ground, if someone were to ask you,
"So? How were the bells?"
Your answer would be, "What???"

So of course I wanted to experience temporary deafness.

I was very lucky that day.
I got to experience two disappointments at the same time!

1. The bells did not ring. I've read that they're supposed to ring every hour, but....
2. The 'robots'.
Only one moved.
And it was so ridiculously slow, that I can only assume that the killed worker must've been hopelessly slow or bodily restrained.

Ah, well. The view was still magnificent.

The view across the lagoon to San Giorgio Maggiore from where you could get a great view back to the Piazza.



And St. Maria of Salute Basilica and the start of the Grand Canal in the foreground.



One more view before we descend back to terra... well, not really 'firma' since Venice is sinking.
Click the picture for a video of the lagoon, the Doge's Palace and the Basilica.



After getting to experience the awesomeness of slow motion robots (or in this case robot)
and the wonders of silent bells, we got back into the elevator for the trip down.

I think it was only when we were safely trapped in the confines of the elevator
that I remembered that in 1902, the campanile collapsed.
It was rebuilt in 1912 exactly as it was before.

uh..... How exact, exactly?
As in it should collapse again, exact?

It was only after the elevator doors opened and disgorged its captives that I remembered...
Oh, that's right, it was rebuilt with internal reinforcements.
Plus it's currently getting a titanium sub terrain ring installed to help prevent the fact that...

It's cracking again and starting to lean!!!!
Let me out! Let me out! Let me out!!!!!

I ran out of the tower screaming and waving my arms in the air,
"The sky is falling! The sky is falling!"
It's okay, because all the Italians did was look at me and say, "Cosa?" (What?)

The campanile is still standing, so I guess maybe I overreacted a bit.

But just a bit.


After calming down, it was time to get lost... sort of.
I had two destinations and an activity in mind.
The first stop was for glass.
Those of you who followed my last TR might remember I purchased a glass sculpture.
I love glass art and had researched the best place in Venice.
We would make our way to this shop and explore as we went.
The second stop was for the best Carnival mask shop.

And the activity would be for a kitschy, touristy gondola ride.

The girls really wanted to do this, so I said we'd do it.

I got this from the website What Not To Do In Venice: The Top 5 Tourist Mistakes

1. (note how it’s #1?) DON'T take a gondola ride in summer, or at all

It's the typical image of a vacation in Venice: two lovers, snuggling into a gondola and whispering
sweet nothings to each other and sipping prosecco as they pass beneath the famous bridges. But these
days, you're more likely to find six fanny pack-sporting tourists crammed into a gondola, riding even
lower in the water than normal. Taking a gondola is one of the most disappointing, money wasting
excursions in all of European travel.

A 40-minute ride, which goes slowly remember so it's not like you'll see much of the city, starts at 80
Euro plus tip (after 7pm, it's 100 Euro plus tip). Luckily that's not per person, but per boatful—the
reason most gondolas are packed. Now think of the summertime; Venice is very hot, very humid, and
very smelly in the summer, and being that close to the canal is not recommended.


I'll address this when the time comes.
For now, just keep that oh-so-lovely image firmly planted in your noggin'.

I mentioned that we didn't have a set schedule.
It was nice to just stroll along (all right... they strolled... I sashayed) and stop whenever we wanted.



Every few minutes, we'd come to another bridge crossing a canal.
It really was an amazing place!



>>>>CONTINUED NEXT POST>>>>
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Old 01-30-2014, 02:46 PM   #720
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Lost in Venice (cont)

>>>>CONTINUED FROM LAST POST>>>>


After a while, we got to the area where the glass shop was located...
only I couldn't find it!
I asked a gentleman who was doing a painting, if he spoke English.
He did and when I asked him if he knew where the shop was, he told me that it had recently moved.
He was kind enough to point out on my map where it had moved to.
Luckily, it wasn't much farther away.

In this same area, we saw a line up for gondola rides.

Remember the gondolas bobbing in the lagoon back at San Marco's?
Why didn't we take one of those?

Two reasons:
I didn't want to take a gondola ride on the lagoon, I wanted to take a ride through the winding canals!
I also didn't want to have to fight my way through the long line of tourists who also wanted to go for a ride.
Tourists! Who needs 'em! Always wandering around, getting in the way....
uh....
Skip that last part.

While this area had fewer tourists queued up, there were still around a hundred people waiting.

And the line didn't seem to be moving very quickly.

Too bad they don't have fastpasses for gondola rides!
Or do they???

I asked Ruby if she wanted to wait.
She suggested we keep going and see if there was another place where there might be fewer people.

Wise, my wife is.

Just another block over we came to another bridge over another canal.
There were a couple of gondoliers relaxing beside their gondolas.
I approached one and he assured me that he could take us.

There wasn't a single other person around.
(At least, none who were trying to go on a gondola ride... there were always tourists everywhere.)
Everyone else who had the same idea that we'd had, had stopped at the first canal they found.

The gondolier explained that for increasing amounts of money, he could take us on a forty, sixty or seventy five minute ride.
Knowing how my kids are easily bored, when it comes to slow boat (to China) rides, Ruby and I agreed that a forty minute ride would be plenty.
Actually, we would've preferred a twenty minute ride... but the shortest was forty minutes.

We climbed into our gondola with Ruby and I nestled at the back in the loveseat
and the girls perched comfortably on either side a little ahead of us.



So... what can I say about our gondola ride?
Remember that web article?
Smelly?
Hot?
Slow?
Disappointing?

Our gondola ride was disappointing... but only because it was over so quickly!
It was easily the highlight of our stay in Venice.
It was romantic.
It was enchanting.
It was informative.
It was.... it was great.

If we'd known how we were going to react to it (all four of us!) we would've picked the longest ride.
When we were done, all four of us wanted to go again!

None of us detected any noticeable smells.
We were mostly in the shade, so it wasn't hot.
In fact, when we did come out into the sun (on the Grand Canal), the sunshine and heat were welcome.

It's a great way to just sit back, relax and enjoy the city (although, to be fair, you don't see a lot of the city this way).
If Ruby and I do go back (and we both want to) we'll do this again,
except we'll pick the long ride.

Here are some pictures of our tour.







Before I show some videos, I'd like to touch on something I've mentioned before.
(And since it's my TR, what I'd like is what I get. )

That sound you just heard was all my readers saying, "Oh, yeah?" and turning off their computers.


Last chapter, I mentioned that the phrase that keeps popping up in my head about Venice is "elegant decay".
Everywhere you look in Venice (with a very few exceptions) you'll see large, elaborate buildings and mansions that are slowly falling into ruin.
Most of the buildings you see in the above pictures and below videos have uninhabitable main floors.
They're underwater. At least, sometimes.
It's really quite striking to sail past a home with a beautiful chandelier shining through a second story window,
while the water laps at, and sometimes past, the front door.

Most buildings have noticeable paint or masonry missing.
Several list from one side or the other.

And yet... and yet...


I didn't feel a sense of sadness, or worse, disdain.
On the contrary, I felt a sense of awe, for what once was.
Perhaps, I even felt like I was traveling through a Tragedy.
A play that was slowly unfolding before my eyes and had been doing so, for centuries.
It felt like a Magician had cast a spell over the city, hundreds of years ago, and the Venetians were merely asleep.
And soon they would rise up from their slumber and once again, Venice would be the powerful, vibrant city that it once was.

I'm trying to convey how I felt, what I saw.
But I feel like I'm failing miserably.

Go.
Visit Venice.
Go with open eyes and hearts and see for yourself.
I only hope you'll have the same epiphany that I did.

I desperately want to go back.


Okay, okay. Enough with the mush.

You may have an image in your mind of a gondolier.
Maybe you saw one on TV, or on a movie, or maybe you read about them in books.
Yes, gondoliers do row standing up.
And they do wear black pants and striped shirts.
But...
Most gondoliers do not sing.
You can find some that do, I suppose. But it would cost extra.
Our gondolier would tell us what some of the more important sights were as we passed.

In this ten second clip, our gondolier is pointing out the opera house.
He then has to tell the silly tourists just where to look.
That cracks me up.



In this next minute long video, something happens that I totally can relate to.
As we approached a bridge, a young couple with a stroller appear...



Notice how the husband has to pick up and carry the stroller?
I wonder how often he had to do that, that day?
Oh, I feel for ya, buddy!

One last video. A short one. Ten seconds.
While the gondoliers typically do not sing, you can hire someone to accompany you who does.
You can even pay to have an accordion player join you.
Hey! Maybe that could be a job for Nebo!
This video was shot just as we were exiting the Grand Canal to return to our starting point.
The entire ride mostly wove through narrow canals, but did include a short stint on the Grand Canal.




When our ride was over... I'm sorry to say that I just cannot remember if I tipped our gondolier.
I mean... I hope I did. You're supposed to.
But I just don't remember.
I think I did. I hope I did. But...

After our morning of climbing towers and rowing though canals, we were starting to get a little hungry.
We continued to stroll along the narrow passageways and passed a little bistro that had some tasty looking sandwiches displayed in the window.
We each pointed out what we wanted, and the young man at the counter asked if we were getting it to go or to stay.
The shop had a few tables that looked pretty inviting, so I told him we would stay.
"Okay." He replied. "But it costs more to sit."
I had actually read that, in my research, but had forgotten.
"To go is fine." I said.

The sandwiches turned out to not be sandwiches, but Panini.
For those who don't know, a Panini is basically a sandwich that's pressed and toasted.
We also had some pizza rolls.
We walked with our warm handmeals a little farther on and found a piazza (square).
We sat down with a building serving as a back rest and had our lunch.
I think that was our best meal in Venice.
Not because the food was so much better (it was very good, but not necessarily the best), but because we had a picnic.
We also fed the pigeons pieces of bread and laughed as they got more and more bold.

Finally the pigeons attacked and we ran screaming as they tried to peck us to death....

Or maybe that was a movie I once saw.

Whatever.


We never did find the glass shop that we had set out to find.
No matter, the day was plenty of fun anyway.

We did, however find a different glass shop.
We popped in to look around and I immediately was drawn to a black striped vase.
It was gorgeous.
Breathtaking, actually.

I asked how much it was and the proprietor told me, "1090 Euros."

!!!!!

Does it show you how much I liked it when even after hearing that, I was still interested?
I figured that with a little finagling, he would come down in price.
But I wasn't going to buy it today.
Tomorrow's plan just might make me change my mind.

More on that later, of course.

By now, we were helplessly lost.
Great! We managed to do what we set out to do!

We consulted our map and followed arrows to take us back to our hotel.

Along the way, we crossed a couple of bridges with views of some of the leaning bell towers that dot the Venetian skyline.





We eventually found our hotel and staggered back up to our room for a mid-day break.

Yup.

All that, and it's only mid afternoon.

I'll pick up the rest of our day (and evening!) in Venice in the next chapter.
Sorry for making this one such a long one, but I did warn you that we had a full day!

Thanks for reading!
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Ladies and gentlemen, take my advice, pull down your pants and slide on the ice. - Allan Arbus as Dr. Sidney Freedman - RIP


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