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Vacation Adventures Part Two

The next morning we got up and were headed towards Salvation Mountain. We were taking the southern route back home since Emily and I took the northern route two years ago when she moved to California.

We were driving along in the desert for miles. Emily and I were in one car and Micheal and Brian in the other. They were ahead of us by about thirty minutes because we stopped to eat at In and Out burger.

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We had come upon the Salton Sea and I was reading up on it and sharing with Emily. It was created by irrigation canals from the Colorado river in the early nineteen hundreds. It was a recreational area in the fifties and then due to pollution and increasing saltiness it started dying off. It is now almost a wasteland and smells from the amount of dead fish that wash up to the shore. It was very interesting, and Emily had just texted Micheal that she was getting nervous about the desert when this happened.

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We were driving along when we heard banging in the wheel well. We were like what was that? I said to Emily, you have a tire pressure light so if it doesn’t come on you know we are good. The words were barely out of my mouth when the tire pressure light came on. Luckily we were at a place in the road that had a huge place to pull off. It would be easy to change the tire. And then I had to make the fatal phone call to Brian to tell him we had a flat. Micheal swears he has no idea what Brian said after he hung up with me. I am sure it involved cursing. They had just gone through border patrol (we were super close to the real border) so coming back they were asked what they were doing. It was at this point I jumped out of the car and said I’m going to check out the Salton Sea. It looked super close. Please keep in mind I have never seen The Hills Have Eyes but the other three had. So Emilys anxiety is through the roof. She is texting me every two minutes to make sure I was ok. It was 107 degrees this day and I barely even sweated walking the one mile round trip. I didn’t get super close because it started smelling like mud and death.

 

By the time I walked back Brian and Micheal arrived and were changing the tire. It was around five in the evening so we had to attempt to find a tire place that was open. The first place I called did not have the tire and then the fun began. I could not keep straight what two towns we were between and Emily was ready to shoot me. I finally called AAA to see if they could locate a place when Emily found one. Of course it was thirty minutes back the way we had just came but they said they would stay open past six as long as we weren’t too much later than that. We arrived at five minutes until six and there were at least three families there that were still being helped. By the time they finished looking at our tire, putting a plug in it for free, airing up the spare (it had lost a lot of air on the ride over), and putting it back on it was after seven. I made the decision to stay where we were and go eat and have a couple of drinks and turn in early. We went to a restaurant that had just opened and their service and food were ok. However I had two gin and tonics and wasn’t feeling anything. The next day would be another adventure.

Mole Moral ~ Smart people do not watch scary movies!

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Vacation Adventures Part One

I am not sure why I ever attempt vacation because it rarely is a vacation but more of an adventure in the most crazy stuff that can happen.

This vacation started with Brian and flying into SanFrancisco. Emily was in New York at pelvic floor physical therapy course. The plan was for Brian and I to arrive around noon and she and Michael would fly in around eight thirty that evening. We would get up in the morning and drive up to Chico to meet Michael’s parents. Emily had the entire trip cross country back home planned out well. This was probably the first mistake.

Brian and I landed in SanFrancisco on time and then hopped onto the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transport) to head down to the wharf. We both just love not knowing where we are going and how things work but we managed to survive. Now I had arranged luggage storage the day before so imagine my surprise when the GPS took us here.

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Brian was convinced that I had lost my mind but the girl insisted yes, we were in the right place and took our luggage. We then had an awesome meal on the wharf and saw the sea otters and walked around quite a bit. We then had to take the BART back to a different stop and order an Uber. Well, of course at the location there was another transport system and we went there instead. Luckily a really nice worker said go to the other side. This little mishap took money off of our BART card so when we finally arrived at our station we had to add even more money. Oh and I forgot to mention we decided to jump on it right at rush hour. I have never seen so many people in my life.

By the time it was time to summons the Uber I had less than ten percent battery life. I was convinced my phone was going to die. Emily had been texting us and it was official they were not leaving New York as the weather was horrible. Not only that but they were put on a different flight out of Newark and were on their own to get over there. So three subway transfers, a ferry and an Uber and seventy bucks later they made it to their hotel in the pouring rain. I was reading this to our Uber driver and he was cracking up. We made it safely to our hotel and settled in for the night.

Emily’s flight did not leave until five the next evening so Brian and I had another free day in SanFrancisco. Our hotel was one mile from where Emily and Micheal had been staying so we walked over there to use her car for the day. We were not about to deal with the BART again. Of course someone had not finished packing up her car because she planned on doing it when she got home. Her father and I attempted it and made it all wrong but it fit in there. I then said lets drive over to Oakland and see what we can find to do. I then remembered my mother in law telling me about how you can take a ferry over and not pay for parking in SanFrancisco. This sounded like a wonderful idea and a lot of fun…

Of course we arrived and parked five minutes after the last ferry left for lunch break. So we then had almost an hour and a half to kill before the next one came. So we just goofed off and walked around. At least there were a couple Pokemon Go stops.

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We had a nice day in the bay and then we went and picked up Emily and Micheal at the airport and went and fetched Micheal’s car as well. We were now twenty-four hours behind schedule and had to forgo meeting Micheal’s parents. Emily wanted to drive to Los Angeles but Brian vetoed driving until three in the morning. This was only the beginning of our cross country adventures.

 

Mole Moral ~ One risks their life taking Schleprock (me) on vacation!

 

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Epcot and American Adventure

Every time I have visited Disney, I felt that Epcot was by far the lamest of all four parks. The rides are mostly educational and nothing at all in the thrill category. After the Backstage Magic Tour, I have a brand new appreciation for Epcot.
For starters Epcot and The World Showcase were suppose to be two separate parks. I believe it was a financial decision to make them one. The World Showcase was Walt Disney’s idea of how to show people not to be afraid of other cultures. In the original park design America was supposed to be between Canada and Mexico and a five-story building. However where the showcase joins Epcot is where America should have been so they had to move it across to the opposite side of the showcase. However a five-story colonial building would look like a huge eye sore between Japan and Italy. Here is a picture of it and it is indeed five stories.IMG_4839.jpgI will share the Disney Magic with you. First of all the first floor is underground. If you pay attention when you are walking towards the building, the ground goes uphill. More magic of how four floors look like three. It’s call forced perspective. From a distance and if you aren’t paying attention the doors on the outside look normal size. Now look at Emily standing next to the door. They are huge.IMG_4840On the inside it looks like there is a cathedral ceiling.IMG_4841However the ceiling is actually flat and it’s painted that way. Above this is the theater that presents a show about the history of America. There are no windows in the next level because it’s actually between the third and forth floor but the outside makes it look like the second floor.IMG_4842When we had our tour Epcot was not open but they were doing a test run on the show. The show has a movie in the background with animatronics that pop up. George Washington and Ben Franklin are the hosts. There was a cast member watching to make sure all the animatronics were working and all the clothes and things were in the right place. We then got to go back behind the screen and the stage and see how it all runs. It is still run by a computer from the 1980’s. Those huge ones that are as tall as people. It runs the scene changer which starts completely under the seats and moves back one scene at a time. The animatronics pop up in time with the movie. It is huge and yet you cannot feel or hear it moving when watching the show. Someone asked why they didn’t update the computer. If they updated computer they would have to update the scenes, the animatronics and on and on. It works just fine so there is no reason fixing something that is not broken.
If you ever wondered why Epcot had sponsors for the rides and things we learned the  answer. When they first built Epcot the way to save their money was to offer up cooperate sponsorships and get part of it paid that way. Why pay for something, if you can find someone else to do it.                                                                                                       We also learned that in the nighttime show Illuminations Reflection of Earth there are two people in the earth that floats across the water.  The earth eventually opens up into a flower with a torch in the center. Emily and I had to watch the show after hearing the back story. Somewhere there is a lead-lined sitting area that two people are in during the entire show. This is how they drive it across the lake. They do not come out until everything is cooled down and they get the ok. That alone would send me into a claustrophobic panic attack.

 

Our tour girl was totally into pyrotechnics so we learned a lot. No, Disney does not make their own fireworks but it is heavily regulated and they must have all sorts of permits. If it is raining they can get the entire firework show set up in two hours, otherwise they normally take their time. It was interesting during the day to watch the lake and see as the fireworks had been added. We even got to see where the flower is kept during the day.

Mole Moral ~ It only took five trips to Disney for me to appreciate Epcot which stands for Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow.

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Textile Services

Eight years ago when I went to Disney with the family, I took a four hour walking tour called Keys to the Kingdom. I was able to see a lot of behind the scenes at Disney and it was just fantastic. I then read about Backstage Magic which was seven hours long and I knew one day I had to do it. This was the year and I made Emily go with me. It was super expensive but worth every penny to me. We visited five different areas so this blog is about the laundry at Disney.
Disney currently has thirty-six resorts and I have no idea how many restaurants that use linen, tablecloths etc. They have four different laundry facilities on site all of which operate sixteen hours a day every day. The other eight hours are maintenance for the machines. Each facility services specific resorts because you cannot mix the high thread count linens with the low count. We visited the one that is in charge of the value resorts as we stayed in Toy Story at All Star Movies.
The laundry is trucked into one side of the building where it is then hand sorted by employees so that each type is washed by itself. Meaning towels with towels, pillowcases with pillowcases etc. They drop into these huge laundry bags that then run along a track hanging from the ceiling.

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Does this remind you of anything? The doors in Monsters Inc. came from this set up. Although the Disney artists never visited textile services it was based on industrial laundry facilities.  They then flow over to the washing machines. The linen has a chip in them which tells the washing machine what item it is and then sets the cycle for that type. It then goes to the dryer and they have automatic folders for sheets, towels etc.
The employees then put them back in the same bins they arrived in. But the bins go through their own wash and dry machine as well. The bins are loaded back onto the trucks that dropped the dirty stuff off and back to the resorts it goes.
If you are looking at the laundry facility, the dirty arrives on the right and the clean leaves on the left. There is no cross contamination. No photos were allowed but our tour girl could take some which I downloaded off of a special website.

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Here’s the kicker. At just one facility if you did the amount of laundry they do in sixteen hours one load at a time, twenty-four hours a day, how long do you think it would take you? SEVENTY-TWO years. Now that’s a lot of laundry!

Mole Moral ~ There should be no more complaining on Sunday’s about six loads of laundry that the Mole house does.

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Meet the Flintstones

Growing up Brian’s favorite show was The Flintstones. I’m pretty sure he’s seen every episode. One of his favorite expressions is “that Barney Rubble, what an actor.” Sometime after I had picked out my new fifty mile marathon, I was scrolling through Facebook when someone posted that the Flintstones RV park in Arizona was for sale. I clicked on it and started reading about it. I discovered the owners also owned one in South Dakota that has been sold about a year ago. They are now in their seventies and ready to retire. So I looked up the one in South Dakota and discovered it was located in Custer. I was so excited and decided I would surprise Brian when we arrived.
About a week before we left I was looking up the address to the place. Someone posted that it has been torn down and there was nothing to see. I was so disappointed and told Brian what had happened. It was another Schleprock strikes again. Schleprock is a character from Pebbles and Bam-Bam show. (Pebbles was Fred’s daughter and Bam-Bam was Barney’s). Schleprock always had a dark cloud hanging over him and everywhere he went so did bad luck. During our twenty-five year anniversary trip is when I was given the nickname Schleprock by Brian.
As we were driving into Custer the billboard for the Flintstones RV park was still up so we decided we were checking it out. The park was about a quarter-mile from our first hotel.

This is what we saw when we first walked up.

IMG_5182I texted my friend Meg and said we were going in. She volunteered to pay our bail. The place was so cool for kids. It’s a shame it’s been bought and left to fall apart. We enjoyed visiting Fred and Barney’s house and all the play areas they had for kids. Even the bathroom was cute. Brian and I both enjoyed it and worth the risk.

 

Mole Moral ~ Just because it’s on the Internet, doesn’t mean it’s true.

 

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The Journey Home

Yesterday was an extremely long day. I woke up at 5:30 am Denmark time which was 9:30 pm Missouri time. For the last time i had bacon and fresh-cut pineapples for breakfast. The pineapple was the best. Mom and I were off the boat by 7:45. We were herded onto busses to take us back to the airport. There were four buses total to take us to a tent where our luggage was located. Of course we ended up being the very last people in line to go in the tent. This made it easy to find our suitcases and the fact that they are orange helped a lot too. We then walked twenty miles into the airport. During the time we were waiting to get our luggage people were sneaking into the tent through a different entrance. We were scheduled to fly home Air Canada and guess what their desk did not even open until 9:15 to check luggage. So all those jerks that were in such a hurry had to wait anyway. We could not check in via the little machines because US passports do not have a bar code. So we stood in line forever to check our bags. I had done online check in but couldn’t print boarding passes because no telling what the cruise would charge to print. (haha) We then came across 7-11 and stopped for drinks and snacks. I found it so funny there is a 7-11 in Copenhagen airport. We then walked forever to our terminal. The flight was seven hours long. We left at 12:15 and arrived in Toronto at 7:15 (Copenhagen time) but it was now 2:15 in the afternoon. I watched three movies. My favorite all time cheerleading movie Bring it On, Despicable me 2, and Wild. Now I had read the book Wild, it’s about a girl who went hiking on the Pacific Trail Coast with zero experience and used it as therapy to get over her divorce and the death of her mother. The book was so much better but I enjoyed watching it. I didn’t sleep at all. After we landed in Toronto the adventure really began.

We got off the airplane and walked a really long way before we reached the area for going to the united states. We walked up to computers where you had to scan your passport and answer if you were bringing wildlife into the country. That took forever to get it to read our passports. We then entered the line for security which  was huge and the folks were crabby and made everyone take off their shoes. Of course I had to pull my computer out and everyone had to take off jackets. We finally managed to get through that to another line to go through customs. By this time it’s 3:30 and our flight was due out at 4:15. We got moved to an even longer line because we had an X on the paper that printed after the passport scanning. Finally mom went and complained we were going to miss our flight so we got moved to a priority line. I am not sure what was wrong with our passports but it was fixed within five minutes. So we go to find our gate and it now says our flight is cancelled. I’m thinking if I’m stuck in Canada until tomorrow I’m going to kill someone. I just wanted to get home and see Brian and Allyson. So we go to the desk and find we’ve been put on another flight that will be a half an hour later and had new boarding passes printed.

The flight to St. Louis was uneventful. I think I may have slept 45 minutes but it was that time where I was dreaming I was awake. Mom was convinced our suitcases would be lost but they showed right up on the carousal. Brian waited until right before we landed to leave so we only had to wait about five minutes till he picked us up. This worked out nicely since mom hadn’t smoked a cigarette since the suitcase line in Denmark. He forgets he is taking her home and takes 55 instead of 270 so we had the scenic tour. We dropped her off and headed home. I was so glad to be home and fell asleep around 8:30 after being up for about 22 hours. I haven’t done that in at least 16 years when I use to do an occasional overnight shift in the burn unit.

 

Mole Moral~ It’s always an adventure to go on vacation with me. Any crazy thing that can happen probably will. This trip was no exception and left us with many fun memories.

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Deck Chair Guy

I arrived on the ship on a Wednesday and the very next day was a sea day. Since I am still training for the 50k, I decided to waste no time and do my ten-mile run. I was happy to discover the ship track was a quarter-mile so four laps was a mile. That was the day I used GPS and the crazy thing said I did 38 miles with a 3:45 pace. No worries as I adjusted that. It was that first run that I noticed a guy stacking up the deck chairs for the night. He was easy on the eyes as well so it made the time pass nicely.
I didn’t do all the runs I was supposed to because there were days when it was so windy the track was closed. But every time I ran I would see deck chair guy. The day I did the marathon after the second mile it was raining and so windy the deck was closed so I ran on deck twelve under cover around the tables. I actually walked because the deck was wet and I wasn’t falling. Deck chair guy did not disappoint as he was in the towel exchange booth for an hour or so. Every time I rounded the corner there he was. I swear every time I looked over he was looking at me. He was probably thinking what is wrong with this woman running around in circles and in all orange.
So today I decided to be brave and go up and talk to him. His English wasn’t the best and I don’t think many crazy ladies talk to him. I asked if his only job was the chairs and he said no he can serve drinks, and he was a deck server. This cruise was not warm at all so there was not a lot of people out by the pool. So I am sure he didn’t have a lot to do. Plus I swear I’m one of the youngest people on the cruise. I asked to take his picture and I got his name tag because I want to mention him in the email survey about the cruise. His job is one that is not front and center but important and he probably never gets recognition. (It’s kind of like being the nurse that takes care of patients right after surgery, they are too drugged up to remember that nurse.) I did thank him for helping me pass the time while running and told him I was training for a 50k.
I will post his picture but keep in mind two things. One he had a hat on which hid his awesome hair and two he is probably 6/6 and weighed 150 pounds. His pants were always high waters.

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And those of you that know me, know how I like tall and super thin. Hee hee.

Mole moral ~ Take the time to recognize and appreciate the people behind the scenes who are often overlooked.