Thursday, September 24, 2009

Land & Air Travel, Louisiana & Florida Part 1

Life is flying by and we have been all over the place and have crammed in so much lately that our heads are spinning. Early August found us in Natchitoches Louisiana, the city I was raised in visiting friends and family that I have not seen in many years. A week was spent there catching up on old times and laying out our cruising plans for those that would listen. What can I say, we are excited and want to tell everyone. We then made our way to Baton Rouge where we attended a friends wedding. It looked like a convention of lots of us that use to work in the photo industry together. Good times was had but we had to head south after 2 days. We then ended up an hour away in the Big Easy. (New Orleans) I have a sister that now lives there so it was nice to visit her as we did what one always has to do when you go to New Orleans. I call it the Bourbon Street walk. Simply cruising up & down the street timing your bathroom breaks with the next cocktail as you don't just go in for the bathroom. No wonder Bourbon smells like it does....Anyone else notice it has the distinct aroma of yesterdays garbage with an undertone of someones puke and a nasty men's bathroom stall? Hummm, pretty much sums the smell up quiet nicely I think. But, that's New Orleans.....Anyway we spent two days with my baby sister playing catch up as we haven't seen each other in two years. Wow, time does fly....
My sis and I

Dirk and I in front of the Funky Pirate

Becca, Dirk, and myself as the evening progressed.

We drove back to Panama City and spent one and a half days trying to prep the boat for any hurricanes or storms that may come through in the next 3 weeks. This meant removing the canvas, tying things down and stowing gear. We ended up taking the dinghy off the davits and putting in on the bow of the boat upside down. We did leave the sails on but wrapped them tightly in hopes that they stay that way. At the time Bill was out in the Atlantic and there is where we hoped he would stay. The next morning found us heading to my sisters home close to Tampa where we had been just a few short weeks ago to drop off or cat Butters. My sisters family agreed to take him in for about 6 weeks while we did all of our traveling. That was a major load off our minds and we knew he would be in good hands. We got there on a Thursday and we had Friday to get everything washed, packed and ready for our 3 week trip to Germany. Saturday found us at the Tampa airport flying into Philidelphia and then onto London and finally into Hamburg. We took off out of Tampa with no problems and we had a one and a half hour lay over in Philly so we took advantage of the USO there. I had never used the services of the USO before but I have to give these people cuddos. They treated every service member active and retired like royalty and I felt truly pampered there. They had a room to stretch out in if you had a long lay over. Another room for eating with a nice little buffet of fresh fruits, yogurts, bagels and home baked sweets. Too bad we didn't have a longer layover, one that we had control over anyway. We were at our gate awaiting take off but there was another plane using our platform so we had to wait until they departed. Well of course the weather was raining buckets which led to that plane not leaving and us having to wait. Finally we boarded about 1 hour late and then had to sit on the tarmac as we had a line ahead of us waiting to take off. Not a problem but we only had a two hour layover in London and that window was closing in on us. Because of the bad storms along the east coast we were able to get a very nice tail wind but it wasn't enough to get us to London in time.

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