Saturday, September 29, 2018

Betty's RV Park 20th Anniversary Celebration on the Carnival Dream

When we learned Betty was going on a cruise to celebrate twenty years of Betty's RV Park, we knew we had to be there to celebrate with her. We were not disappointed.  We had a great time with great friends.
We have flown out of many airports in the last ten years but this is the first time we have done so out of Pittsburgh. This was the first time we got to see Fraley's Robot Repair.
The shop that used to be in downtown Pittsburgh is the work of Washington High School grad Toby Atticus Fraley. Here is a link to the several works of public art Toby has around the country. If you 
want to seeing some interesting art, check out his work.
We boarded the Carnival Dream and had a couple hours before our cabins were ready so we started celebrating.
My great friend Betty who is the owner of Betty's  RV, the only RV park we knew we had to go to when we started our full timing lifestyle.
The ship departed New Orleans shortly after four and started a several hour trip down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico. This is our view from our balcony.
The first two days were at sea so we took advantage and kicked back with a couple toddies.
The second night we had a formal dinner. We had a great table looking out from the stern of the ship.
The Betty's Crew; Pearl, Betty, Priscilla, David, Jim and Nanc.........
...... J.C., Bev, Denis, Fawn, Cordell and Monica. a couple others had to cancel including my brother, Rick and his wife Denise.
While a cruise is not our favorite vacation, we must say there is always great entertainment. Each evening there is a live show in the theater.
The atrium, which was several decks high with a glass ceiling, was the center of a lot of activity.  
There was all kinds of entertainment in the atrium.
Looks like the Carnival Dream is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
Our steward had a neat little towel creature awaiting us each day.
The music with Tarra and Cole was our favorite. Maybe that was because she is a Pittsburgh gal. 
Another favorite was Bob's Piano Bar. He could play about any song anyone requested.Whenever anyone walked by the bar he would say, "Hey look whose here" and everyone would respond, "Oh Ship, Come on in".
Mary Ann was the bartender at this bar. Here are Nanc, Jim, Betty and Monica having a fun time.
Our first port was Montego Bay where we took the Top 10 Best of Montego Bay bus tour of the city. We first traveled through historic Old Town. This is the Cage where escaped slaves were placed. 
This is Sam Sharpe Square. Sam Sharpe was an African slave who led the widespread 1832 Baptist War slave rebellion. He was proclaimed a national hero in 1975 and his image is on the $50 Jamaican banknote. 
Pictured in the background is St. James Parish Church.  Its foundation is 250 years old. We loved seeing all the street vendors selling their wares. Several had local fresh fruit.
Nothing quite like the power grid in these old cities.
Another stop was Scotchies where I got to try some jerk pork straight off the pit. This is the jerk chicken pit.
Red Stripe pale lager is the local beer. At the shopping stop one of the jewelry stores was giving free Red Stripe to husbands while their wives shopped. Sure made me a happy person.
Jamaican native and track star Usain Bolt's business, Track and Records, Taste Real Jamaica Vibe. Bolt is a modern national hero.
Carrying a basket of fruit on one's head is beyond the balance I have.
Sure glad the ship did not hit this iceberg in the Montego Bay harbor.
Had to have at least one rum drink in Jamaica. Betty, Nanc and I at Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville. The restaurant's Caribbean headquarters is in Montego Bay. While we got a look at Old Town and some up scale neighborhoods, these types of tours are interesting but really just give one a kind of flyover look at the places.
The next stop was Georgetown, Grand Cayman where we almost came under attack from pirates. As usual, this is a stop for shopping for those inclined.
The Dream anchored just off shore and we were tendered to the Royal Watler Pier. This gave us an up close look at the beautiful blue Caribbean waters. 
The Cayman Islands are famous for their Blue Iguanas. This big guy was in the middle of the traffic circle.
The Georgetown KFC has the freshest chicken of any of their worldwide restaurants.
Betty, Nanc and I in front of the Dream. At 1004 feet long with 15 stories it is not even in the top fifteen in size of modern cruise ships. The Dream can carry 3,646 people and a crew of 1,369. These big ships are floating cities.
Our last stop was Cozumel, Mexico. This stop was all about shopping with a couple restaurants. Here are Nanc, Betty, Pearl and Priscilla taking a short rest before hitting the shops.  
No real cultural sites here, only replicas of native sites. They do offer many excursions where you can see the real thing, but since we have been in this area several times we opted not to go.
Iguanas enjoying the tropical sun.
Dave, Jim, Nanc, Priscilla, Betty and Pearl did go to Poncho's for margaritas.
There are all kinds of ship board activities going on all day. We did a 50's-60's songs trivia contest and came away winners. Betty will have a Ship on a Stick to display in her Louisiana Room. 
The winning group.
On our last day at sea we celebrated a fun week with mimosas for breakfast. Unfortunately, I was enjoying the drinks and failed to get last pictures of the whole group.
One thing we can say about any of the cruises we have been on, the service has always been great. Our wait staff was fantastic. They provided the best service even though we were always the last table out of the dining room.
Bev and JC provided a special Betty's 20th anniversary cheese cake for our last evening at dinner. 
Heading back to New Orleans the last night they had a big Mardi Gras party in the atrium. A perfect ending to a wonderful trip with great friends.
Before we went to bed the last night the ship was already in the Mississippi River. We were up real early on Sunday morning and while we could see New Orleans just up the river, we were still not at the dock.

We sure are happy we decided to go on the Betty's anniversary cruise. It was a fun filled week with friends new and old. It was Betty's first cruise and we think there will be more in the future.  


Saturday, September 15, 2018

Friends, Music and Pizza

The weather here continues to be very crazy. We had several days with temps in the 90's and then on Friday the remnants of Hurricane Gordon arrived with expected rainfall of three to five inches. It fell nonstop until Monday afternoon with a total rainfall of almost ten inches. Many local streams were over their banks closing several area roads. We did not venture out all weekend. 
On the Sunday prior to the rain storm we went to the Washington Jazz Society Jazz Brunch at the President's Pub. This Sunday had a great trio led by drummer David Throckmorton who has played with several bands around the world.
David is another Washington High School alumni. While I had nothing to do with the music department, we sure are proud of the many great musicians that came out of the district.
Always at the top of our to do list when we are in WashPA is having John's wonderful wood fired pizza. He has mastered his back yard oven and invited the teachers' lunch bunch for pizza.
Look what John bought me, some Sweet-n-Hot Jag Off Sauce. It's a Burgh thing and I can't wait to try it.
Phil, Linda, Nanc and Ed waiting for the pizza.
Gail, Karen and Georgie.
Bill and Chuck with Phil in the background.
Ron, Donna and John. He does get to take a break.
Carmella and Joey.
Charlie and Ed.
Joy and Kim.
The lunch bunch looks very satisfied.
After the pizza John had another special treat, huge marshmallows done in the 700 degree oven.
They were a big hit with Becky........
.....and Gail. 
Also always high on our to do list is to visit our old neighbor, Dorothy. We always called her our second mom since she "tried" to keep us in line. She just turned 95 and is still going strong and is sharp as a tack.  
More music at Al' an Rubens with the Dan Baker Group. If you want great food and music check them out some time.
Georgie, Jim and Nanc after a great meal and an evening of great music.
Evidence that the recent rain caused many problems. They needed to reinforce the bank here at Pine Cove where it washed out last week.

Tomorrow we are flying to New Orleans for the Betty's RV Park 20th anniversary cruise. We are looking forward to a fun time while hoping we avoid all the tropical storms in the Caribbean.  Here's to calm seas and blue skies!