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Old 06-23-2006, 11:45 AM   #16
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I am home. . . .

Not only am I home from two weeks at Disney as of June 7th, but I had a second vacation 10 days later. I just moments aga returned from my huband's family's week long reunion. Only one week between trips did not leave much time to write! I will post the first segment of my trip report today! I can not wait to share my Disney trip with all of you we had so much fun!
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Old 06-24-2006, 11:57 PM   #17
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Still Too Excited Too Sleep Part II DisDay Has Finally Arrived. Reshoeing, Rebagging

Cast Reminder:

Rhonda—That is me! The lover of all that is Disney. I go as often as possible but usually go without my Not So Disney Loving Hubby.

Drew (Disney Son 11) — He also loves all things Disney. Loves to read and has read every book that he can about Disney. Loves thrill rides and Star Wars.

Steven (Disney Son 10)—14 months junior to his older brother he is always trying to keep up with his brother. Also loves Disney and Star Wars.

Rachel D. (Disney Daughter 4)—Rachel is not a Disney princess, not because she is not girly, that description just does not fit her as well as Disney Diva. She has always gone to Disney multiple times a year and thinks that is just normal.

DisDay Has Finally Arrived

Bags are packed, reservations have been checked, important papers are accounted for and we are ready to go. Because we are leaving on the last day of school it makes things a little tricky. The itinerary includes dropping my two sons off at their school, taking my daughter in her swimsuit to her preschool for swim day and then returning to my son’s school for their awards ceremony. The plan is to leave there and return to my daughter’s school, dry her off and be at the airport by 11:15 for our 1:00 flight. Everything went as planned (almost)!

My son’s awards were supposed to end by 10 and that would give us plenty of time to get to the airport. At 10:00 it appeared that they were about half finished! That would mean that the awards would end just as we were to arrive at the airport. When I was convinced that my son had received all of his awards I sent him to his classroom to retrieve all of his stuff. About the time he got out of sight, they called his name to receive the President’s Award for Academic Accomplishment. The teacher gave the award to my husband, but I was crushed that he did not get to go to the stage for himself. I dashed off to retrieve my other son from his classroom.

As we made our way toward the door my fifth grader suffered a moment of drama! He realized that this was the last day that he would spend as an elementary student. The agony involved with knowing that your whole life is about to change took over him. The emotion when you discover that the kids that are your best friends this year may not even be in the same classes as you next year. The tears came to his eyes and my heart went out to him. Only for a second though, suck it up kid, our plane awaits!

Okay it is 10:30 and we are headed to the preschool. I arrive just as the class is leaving the splash pool and headed to their classroom. Quick dry off and change into flight clothes. Strap into the booster seat and we are on our way! I am so excited now that I am having trouble hiding it from my not so Disney Hubby. I want to cry out with glee but instead just do a mini happy dance from the waist up when he is not looking. I do not, after all, want him to think that I will not miss him while we are gone to the happiest place on earth for two whole weeks.

The airport is visible in our distance. The eight large suitcases are given to the porter and claim checks are taken in receipt. A sidebar about the luggage. I take lots of things with me on vacation. The kids bring a few toys and I do not like to shop for necessities while on a trip. The kids do not tend to buy lots of t-shirts while we are there so I can not count on that as a back up. However, I do not like to pay for my luggage being overweight so I tend to weigh and reweigh the luggage before I leave. This is always a hilarious event and I know that if ever needed it could be used as grounds for divorce. The method that I use to weigh the luggage is that my husband weighs himself then picks up the bags one at a time and weighs himself holding the bags. It is not a job that my husband enjoys but he usually goes along with it. It is when I start adding things I forgot to pack and have him go through the entire exercise again that starts the problems!

So we have kissed hubby and Daddy and are off to start our adventure. We carry very little on (hah!), and it is usually an event to get three kids through the security scanners. I do carry my laptop on and we have to remove all of our shoes. My dd(4) also opted to bring a bag full of her priceless junk on in case it was to get lost in the luggage. So two Gameboys, one laptop, a backpack, a booster seat, an umbrella stroller, a pull bag full of Build a Bear clothes, and two Build a Bears later, it takes a while to get through those scanners! Inevitably we have a single person heading to a business trip behind us in line. We get through it though and stop to reshoe, rebag the laptop and retrieve the bear that got left behind. I leave feeling triumphant. The first challenge of traveling alone with kids has successfully been achieved.

While waiting the hour to board the boys are occupied playing their games while Rachel packs and repacks all of her bear clothing. I find a few minutes to think about our trip. I am so excited that it has finally arrived. There is however, the pressing issue of reservations for our September trip. I called Central Reservations and booked our package for my birthday trip. Timing was perfect. Just as I hung up the phone they began boarding. Now, let me tell you about these grumpsters getting in a plane headed to Orlando. Chances are if you are going to Orlando there are going to be children on the plane. One man mumbled as he saw me boarding I hope I do not sit by them. Well, guess what I hope I do not sit by you either! Besides, my kids are good on airplanes. My oldest son is addicted to reading and spends the whole time doing just that. My middle son plays his Gameboy and my daughter is convinced if she is not on her best behavior they really will turn the plane around! We buckled in and had our last reminder to not kick the seats in front of us.

After we landed we headed towards baggage claim. As we headed toward luggage claim, my daughter was carrying her bear dressed in Mickey Mouse gear. From head to toe the bear had Mickey clothes on including ears and gloves. We looked for the Magical Express Cast Member and waved our bears gloves back at her! She got a kick out of it as well. I love Magical Express because I do not have to mess with the luggage. I love having the ability to drive myself around even more. So I grabbed a porter and went to retrieve the baggage. This is always the second biggest challenge of traveling alone with three children. As we approached the rental car area my daughter realized that she had forgotten her case full of bear clothes at the baggage carousel. The young man helping us with our luggage was so kind to run back and get it. That was the beginning of the magic for us and a big tip for him!

I pulled out the Tour Guide Mike driving instructions and headed towards the World. Our Chevy Trailblazer had ample room for all of us, our carry-ons and our eight suitcases. When we were getting out of our rental car, a nice family stopped us and asked if we were checking in. When we told them yes they asked if we wanted a case of water that they had left over. More magic. I love the pay it back method. I always try to do something nice for others and felt I was getting a little back!

Check in at the hotel was the first snag in the trip. Emma started out by telling me that she does not normally work at the Pop and that she is more comfortable working at The Wilderness Lodge. I just smiled and gave her my confirmation information. The real snag came the next morning. I had three reservation numbers because I was doing the meal plan in the middle of my stay. I was to check in for one night, and then check in for ten nights then finally check in a third time for the final two nights. I had prepaid for the entire trip. In fact, you MUST prepay for the trip. The option of paying for a package upon arrival is not allowed. However, the next morning Phyllis informed me that Emma had charged the first night’s room charge on the Visa that I had given to be able to charge TO the room not charge the room. I started to feel Zzub’s pain and a battle for my wallet!. Phyllis was not much more helpful than Emma had been the previous day. She did not tell me where she would rather be but I did not get the feeling she wanted to be there either. She said that when reservations opened she would contact me. She did not contact me, instead the lead cast member Nicky called me. When I finally got it straightened it out it meant calling my bank and having them fax proof that the room had been paid for with my debit card! That still did not convince them, however. So finally Nicky said that she was unable to straighten it out with Central Reservations, so she would just comp the room. I appreciated that but it still felt like I was trying to get away with something sneaky. Nicky was very nice, but it was a hassle I did not expect. I wish I could say that was the final reservations glitch of the trip.

The first night after checking in we headed to MGM Studios. I needed to get to a park ASAP! Typically we head to the Magic Kingdom on our first night but I had decided to follow the advice of Tour Guide Mike after reading Jamal’s trip report. After turning in our Annual Pass Vouchers for actual Annual Passes, we headed straight to Tower of Terror where there was no wait!

It was during the first showing of Fantasmic so the crowd was headed to the theater for the LONG wait. Since I had the Fantasmic Dinner Package booked for Saturday, I wanted to ride the rides. We all headed up the line and reached the top in mere minutes. I was so excited. I was anticipating the drops. Would there be three, four or would we be lucky enough to get a five dropper? My heart was racing. We briefly stopped to look at the fallen letters that spell out “U R DOOMED” in the sign. Okay, we made it to the preview room. Here we go. We were on our first ride of the trip. I was starting to feel secure in my decision to go to MGM first. I absolutely love the Tower of Terror. As we left the preview room, I moved my bag to the front so that it would be floating in the ride photo. We walked down the aisle heading toward the door of the elevator and my ds10 looked back at me and said “I don’t want to ride, my stomach hurts.” Now my son is not a big scary movie type kid. He does roller coasters fine but he does not like science fiction, horror or big drops. Now MY stomach hurt! I wanted to ride so badly but he had not quite built up to the tower on the first day. I could not leave a ten year old by him self so I would have to take the service elevator down and wait at the ride exit with him. My ds11 and dd4 excitedly rushed into the elevator while I really felt doomed. I sucked it up and told myself there were 14 full days ahead of us and I would make up for this.

After my two brave children ran off the Tower and my dd4 stated that she would not ride that again. Hmmm, did that mean I would not get to ride it at all?!!! I would have to figure that out later. We headed to the Rock N Roller Coaster. Now I was a teen in the eighties, but I was listening to Arrowsmith from the crib. My older brother made sure that I was acclimated to the finer things in music early on. My heart starts racing when I just thinking about that coaster with the music blaring in my ears and the upside down track. As we walked under the upside down car it hit me. DD4 is not tall enough to ride! I would have to wait with her. Okay, I love my kids but I had to sit out the first two rides on our trip to the world. I wanted to jump up and down and shout it is not fair. I know I am supposed to go to Disney for my kids, but in reality I go to Disney and let my kids go with me. I sucked it up AGAIN and got a lot of satisfaction just seeing my sons come off the ride pumped and ready for the next two weeks. It was a great way to start the trip.

We shopped a little and walked through the park but decided to head out a little early. If you can call 10:00 early! It had been a long day and Epcot awaited us the next day.

Last edited by tictoc; 07-02-2006 at 11:16 AM.
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Old 06-25-2006, 09:44 AM   #18

The Original 'Free Spirit'
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Enjoying reading ~ Can't wait for more.
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Old 06-25-2006, 08:21 PM   #19
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enjoying the magic

Rhonda, Told ya I'd read the report and so far I'm really enjoying it.
I hope you were able to ride TT and RRC at some point. Anxiously
awaiting the rest of the magic! Your are so lucky to be going again
in sept. Just knowing your going back soon makes returning to reality
all that much easier!
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Old 06-26-2006, 01:07 AM   #20
...and the greatest of these is Love
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It never ceases to amaze me when parents try to force an anxious or crying child onto a ride! It was hard for you to do, but you put your child's needs first!

You are the coolest mom in the 5th grade (now 6th!).


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Old 06-26-2006, 02:05 AM   #21
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Hats off to you for travelling with 3 kids on your own!! I only have one and there are times I know I'd be in real trouble if it was just him and I. I fully suspect I will be in that boat one day though as dh is getting tired of going to the world. I managed to twist his arm into a trip in October, and our pre-planned 2010 trip for our 10th anniversary, but otherwise I know he will balk at the idea of going again. However, Connor and I are true Disney fanatics and so is grandma, so I can see future trips with a different group of 3.

Loving your trip so far...can't wait for more!
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Old 06-26-2006, 06:06 AM   #22
Scotty and Ray at Jellyrolls RULE!!! *poke* *poke*
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I'm glad your reservation mess was straightened out. That is so frustrating, especially when you already paid for it.

Oh, and I can relate to needing to go to a park ASAP. As soon as I step on property, I get all hyper and ready to go

Thanks for posting!


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Old 06-26-2006, 06:49 AM   #23
Dreams about being stuck on Space Mountain

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Wow, I felt your pain not being able to ride right away Great report, your writing is so full of enthusiasm it makes me excited for you,
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Old 06-26-2006, 10:28 AM   #24
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Enjoying reading!

Did they comp your first night entirely? Meaning, credit you for the incorrect 1 nights visa charge plus your prepayment? OR just credit you for the incorrect 1 nights visa charge and call that a "comp"? Since they couldn't be convinced you prepaid with your debit card proof.

I can't believe how patient your husband is, with you leaving for a two weeks vacation and also going thru the bag weighing ritual. Mine doesn't even involve himself in the packing when it's a business trip for just him!

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Old 06-26-2006, 12:48 PM   #25
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[QUOTE=DisneyWorld Delight]Enjoying reading!

Did they comp your first night entirely? Meaning, credit you for the incorrect 1 nights visa charge plus your prepayment? OR just credit you for the incorrect 1 nights visa charge and call that a "comp"? Since they couldn't be convinced you prepaid with your debit card proof.

They just called it a comp because they could not find proof of the payment.
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Old 06-28-2006, 11:46 PM   #26
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Still Too Excited Too Sleep Part III Soarin’ Over Epcot

Stitch wakes me up at 6:00a.m. I can hear all of your groans from here. I am an early
riser so this is no big deal to me. After my shower and primping I go to the front desk to recheck in for the second leg of this three legged trip. That is when I worked with Phyllis. I ran into the food court to purchase breakfast and went back to my room to review the dining plan brochure. I did not use it for breakfast because I wanted to study it first. My kids are light eaters and one adult breakfast fed the entire group. I went back to the room and woke up the boys. I dressed my daughter and put her in her stroller. My daughter is a very heavy sleeper and we usually dress her, put her in the car and go in the park before she ever wakes up.

It was quite a deep sleep. We dressed her, moved her to the car, put her in her car seat, drove to the park, got her out of her car seat, put her in her stroller and got into the entrance line without her ever waking up!

One tip that I can share is that when you take your own car to the parks, take a digital photo of your parking spot. You do not have to try and remember where you parked and unless you lose your camera you are safe.

Another photo that you need to take is one of the number on your Photo Pass. Should you lose it, they can retrieve it from the number on the back of it. I saw three different families that had lost their card and were therefore unable to retrieve any of the photos that had been taken during the trip.

Epcot has never been my favorite park and I used to be happy skipping it all together but as my kids get older they enjoy the educational rides much more and they have made some invaluable additions to the park in the last few years. We had a schedule to follow and we entered and headed immediately to the right. While waiting for the real opening, we checked out some of the incredible features of the Garden Festival. My favorite two were Lady and the Tramp and the rotating Cinderella dancing with Prince Charming.

As soon as they lowered the ropes we soared of to the Land. We walked right to the front of the line, woke up Rachel and got onto Soarin’. Now 6 may seem early to wake up on your vacation but walking on to a ride that will build up to a forty minute wait during the time you ride is well worth it. It was Memorial Day weekend and the crowd was arriving.

We left Soarin’ and headed to Test Track and Mission Space. I was afraid my dd4 would not love Test track but it turned out to be one of the rides she wanted to ride most. She is anything if inconsistent. Test Track was not one of her favorites on the previous trip but Tower of Terror was. Now she was still vowing to never get in that elevator again, but she wanted to ride the fast car over and over. So, of course we did! We rode four times because there still was not much of a wait. I took this picture of Drew with the fancy car at the exit. he is getting so grown up!

We then realized that we had forgotten to go see Crush after we had ridden Soarin’. We had two more days at Epcot so we would see Crush another day. Next on the list was Mission Space. My dd4 was still too short so we sent some of those crazy free postcards to everyone we know while the guys rode. We even sent one to my boss to say thank you for the time off.

The guys opted to ride on the green side because they wanted to see what it was like. They got off and reported that it was much milder. So much so they felt cheated! We were holding fastpasses to Soarin’ so we headed there next. On the way we went and checked out the wait for Crush. We were ‘crushed’ to find an hour wait! So we opted to save that for another time. After Soarin’ we headed back to the hotel, because the kids had noticed a swimming pool that they couldn’t wait to check out!

Now we raced into our swimwear not paying any attention to the fact that we had not even had lunch. We grabbed all of the towels out of the room and headed to the pool. We sunscreened up and dived in. It was time for another magical moment. There was a family that was leaving with a child about Rachel’s age. The mother gave Rachel a float that did a great job holding her up in the water. It was less restrictive than the vests but kept her up really well. I never leave her side while she is in the water so this gave her a lot of freedom to play.

After what I consider a long swim (the kids did not think it was long) we headed the few feet back to our room. That room was so conveniently located. It was just feet from the parking and feet from the pool. It was not on the side facing the pool so the noise was never a factor. I am a bit of an over protective mother and never let my kids out of my sight. Those kids needed food. They were all snuggled in watching cartoons and so I pondered leaving them in the room while I went to get lunch for everyone. I have two cell phones so I decided I could carry one and leave one with my son. He locked the safety bar and I headed off to get the food at warp speed.

I really like the food at Pop. It is quick service, the people are always nice and the food is good. I grabbed pizza for my middle child, a burger for my oldest, chicken strips for Rachel and a wrap for me. Of course you have to have a drink and dessert on the meal plan so four Mickey bars and four bottles of water. I put the food on a tray and the drinks in one bag and the bars in another. I headed back and was back to the room in about 10 minutes.

On the route back to the room I noticed a shirt and two socks just off the sidewalk by our room. I assumed someone dropped something and knocked on our door. No one answered. I felt a panic in my heart and knocked more loudly. Where are they? Finally my son came running to the door and said “Mom, Rachel flooded the bathroom!” What on earth. . .I ran to the scene of the crime to see my daughter standing in ankle deep water still in her swim suit with that float around her waist. When I asked what happened, she explained that she filled the bathtub all the way to the top so she could swim. When she jumped in with that float all the water went over the side on to the floor. After that happened she was did not have enough water to swim in so she filled the tub up some more! We had left all of our towels in the towel return at the pool. I had nothing to even begin cleaning this up with. I tried using one of the plastic cups to scoop the water up but that effort was fruitless.

The water was staying in the bathroom and not getting on the carpet. I took a second to reflect on the genius of the design. I guess someone figured that tub may become a pool one day and flood the floor. I called housekeeping and spoke with Bryan. I explained the seriousness of the situation. The fear I had that the water may eventually leak onto the carpet and what a mess that would be. He said that he would send someone over to clean it up.

I set the lunch up and the kids ate while we waited and waited and waited. After forty minutes two women knocked on the door holding three towels. Hmmm, I had envisioned a wet dry vac with a team of clean up crew. They took one look at the pond that had once been my bathroom and said they would be right back. They returned with a LOT more towels and had the mess cleaned up in minutes. With swimming both in the pool and in the tub behind us we needed theme park action.

That evening we headed to Magic Kingdom. I could not believe I had been in the World for more than twenty four hours and had yet to see that castle.

It was extra magic evening hours and we had reservations for Liberty Tree Tavern. We love that restaurant and we especially like being the last table seated. The characters came to the table in groups and even dance with the kids. We had an outstanding waiter that night and with full tummies we were ready to ride a few rides.

First Magic Kingdom ride would have to be a good one. We headed over to Frontierland and got in line for what my daughter calls the fast choo choo train. There was a short line for Big Thunder Mountain Rail Road and we got on very excited. Half way through I noticed my daughter did not have on her happy face. And as you can guess when we exited the ride she made another vow to never get on that train again. WHAT??? No train and no elevator. What happened to this Disney Diva in the past few months? Yes to really fast cars that treat you like a crash dummy but NO to choo choo trains and elevators? We walk over to Splash Mountain and I am dreading her refusal to ride in that log. She got on without question. Throughout the entire ride she dug her nails in my arm. “Is this the big drop Mommy?” “No Rachel.” “Is this one it?” No Rachel, it is just Slippin’ Falls.” I advised hr to look out when she saw the buzzards and that seemed to satisfy her. My oldest son has memorized all of the secrets from the Disboard thread and pointed out the FSU and hidden Mickeys to the people behind him. The drop came and I was waiting to hear the vow of refusal to ride ever again. No refusal! Instead she was begging to do it again! Whew! So we rushed over to Country Bear Jamboree and then headed to the land of the future.

On the way to Tomorrowland we stopped for a spin on the teacups. Faster, faster they yelled as we all pulled on that wheel. When we thought we were at maximum speed, we leaned our heads backward so we could really feel the Disney dizzies!

Now, off to Tomorrowland. We walked on to Buzz Lightyear where I scored 693,000 points. That is quite a feat considering my daughter was in charge of the spinner. Two volcano eruptions and one adorable photo in the Zurg Jail

and we were off to Space Mountain expecting the wait to be too long. Now magic followed us throughout this entire trip. As we approached the line I noticed it seemed there was no one in it. The wait time sign read 5 minutes. I could not believe it. I asked the CM if that was right and he told us that it had been down and had just been repaired. In my excitement of the no line thing, I sent my two tall enough children rushing into the ride. Once they got outa sight Rachel and I went to the exit to wait. Now it dawned on me! The ride was broken!!! What was wrong with it??? I just sent my two kids rushing on to a fast moving, height reaching contraption that was newly repaired. I said I was the coolest mother in the fifth grade, not the smartest!

Okay in a few minutes their smiling faces came off the moving sidewalk. They were plumb giddy. I love that feeling you get when you exit that roller coaster. Even though I did not get to ride it this time, I shared my sons’ joy.

The last ride of the night was the Jungle Cruise. Due to refurbishment it would not be a pirate's life for me so I would not have been able to sleep without seeing the back side of water.

I have ridden this boat so many times that I have literally memorized all of it. I love riding it though. They were already boarding the boat when we arrived but we still took time to point out the tarantula that jumps at you and the sign for free kittens that is in shreds. The people behind us informed us that we needed to keep moving and I kind of giggled to myself. My oldest son got a little offended and I smugly reminded him that they probably did not have 14 days like we did. Hee hee. I think even at WDW you have to stop and notice the details. We had the best guide ever. Her name was Kathryn. She had the best timing and even though I knew the jokes she put such a spin on them that I was still cracking up.

We took our time getting to the front and stopped to window shop all of the beautiful dolls in the windows on Main Street. As we neared the front of Main Street, my oldest son said that he would like to visit the cinema soon to check out VMK. I offered to go now, but he said that he was tired and could wait until we came another day. Remember this because it is very significant later!

When we got to the hotel, my daughter was fast asleep but my sons asked if they could watch a little television. Power Rangers was on Toon Disney and That’s So Raven was on Disney. My sons hate That’s so Raven so even though they would die if their friends ever found out, they opted to watch Power Rangers. I went to sleep with Disney Dreams of over acting martial arts experts. This was day two and I will catch up with you the next time Stitch calls.

Last edited by tictoc; 07-02-2006 at 11:51 AM.
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Old 06-29-2006, 12:19 PM   #27
Can't help it~there is something about Ed...kinda like the Gary Sinise thing...
Well I have laughed my posterior region until it almost removed itself from my body
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Wow- now I know why I was looking forward to more. You are off to a great start!
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Old 06-29-2006, 11:12 PM   #28
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thanks for reading everyone. Tomorrow's goal is to figure out the photo thing!
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Old 06-30-2006, 12:12 AM   #29
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Great trip report. I'm sorry you keep missing the rides, tell us it gets better as dd gets used to being there.

Oh- Remind me tomorrow night and I'll tell you all you need to know to post the photos. What's a trip report without photos?

Plus how will I know it's you when we finally get to meet unless you put your photo on here.

I'll be back in 10 days with pics of my own to post! Yea!

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Old 07-02-2006, 11:54 AM   #30
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Pictures and updates

Okay, i figured out how to add pictures. When I was editting my photos I remembered some things that I had left out of the report. I have updated those happening sna added a few photos. Some of the photos are out of date order. We were there for two weeks and did everything several times so you will get the idea! I hope you are enjoying reading as much as I am enjoying writing! My husband is starting to feel ignored so I am writing at night or while he is working out. I should have the next day posted today and with photos!
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