Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Birthday Trips....Trip #2

Warning: Short Rant ::As you know I left Ft. Myers, Florida on Wednesday, Oct 8, and flew into Roanoke, VA.  Let me just say, it has been a long time since I flew, and it will be an even longer time before I fly again!! The seats were so tight, my normal sized carry on wouldn't even fit between my seat front and under the seat in front of me, had to beat it in with my feet and fly with my feet on it. Then of course there is always a delay in Atlanta....2 extra hours extra for me. {{Sigh}} Flying is no longer a convenience or even fun!! :Rant over!

Jess picked me up at the airport in Roanoke, and we proceeded to go shopping for road snacks for our Trip #2.  A road trip in one day, to Mandeville, Louisiana (just across lake Pontchartrain from New Orleans starting Thursday Morning). 

Friends of Jess' college roommate Amanda (Nicknamed 'Pie') were having a baby shower for her in Mandeville, just up the road from her family's home in Mandeville. Pie's baby is due December 30, just 2 months before Jess.  Hubby and I had gotten close with her and her family and tailgated with them a few times for Hokie games when the girls were in Undergrad.  We all kind of lost touch with each other when the girls went to Grad and Vet school... Jess and I decided we were gonna get reacquainted with these wonderful people again during this trip of.... 800 miles, 13 hours and 6 way.

 We started out in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia just before sun-up...

 ...then Tennessee....
...Chattanooga, Tennessee, on the Tennessee River...
Then through the corner of Georgia.....

 ...then Alabama... (didn't quite get this pic!)

...then finally Louisiana!! (Missed this pic because the sign is about 3 miles inside the border, and I wasn't ready!!! )  

The evening thunderstorms over the lake (or the gulf) were catching the beautiful colors of the sunset when we arrived in Mandeville...
 At the recommendation of the desk clerk at the hotel, we headed down the road a little over a mile to Camellia's Cafe, as we turned in, Jess realized she had been to the cafe on her last (and only) trip over 8 years ago!! We had the best grilled shrimp ever, it was awesome!

 This awesome flag was out front of Camellia's..

After a much needed restful nights sleep, we decided to get up first thing and see the sights in New Orleans before we were to meet with Pie and her family Friday evening. Again the desk clerk at the hotel was our 'guide' with a suggestion to go to the French Quarter.  We did just that, and I took A LOT of pics, so I will just post a 'few'...

The first adventure was to cross Lake Pontchartrain, a 23 mile causeway/draw bridge.  When you first get onto it, you cannot see any land on the other side, you keep watching and it slowly comes into view.  What a city it is, it looks like New York City. I had no idea!

They opened the draw for a sailboat as we went across.

New Orleans! Notice the Super Dome (White building on the right side)
 Like New York there is a lot going on, lots of traffic shared with street cars.  We parked close to the French Quarter and decided that parking and walking would be a good plan...we parked in front of the famous Harrah's Casino, the price was incredible to park!
 First thing we saw when we arrived at the French Quarter was Landry's Seafood Restaurant, and I am all about food....gotta try the 'hometown' foods wherever I go!  We both had a cup of Gumbo, Jess had Shrimp and Andouille, I had the seafood and we shared the Crawfish Bread!! AWESOME food!!! It really was wonderful! I recommend this on restaurant on your next trip to 'Nawlins'!
 This is the famous Jackson Square...
We had many choices of pralines, and decided on Aunt Sally's, I had never had pralines, and these creamy ones were awesome, and very popular, we both left there with shopping bags full to take home.

 We spent most of the day at the French Market, they had crafters, flea and farmer's markets throughout, it was very interesting. It would take the entire day to see it all.
 It was amazing to me to see the 'old time city' against the sky scrapers of New Orleans.
 I just loved the buildings....
 One of these three once belonged to Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, not sure which...

 This is Jax Brewery, such an amazing building....Notice the Palm trees growing on the roof!

The rest of the day was spent at the aquarium....More next post!



Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Birthday Week Day #4--My Final Day!...and Trip #2

The shelling this trip has been MUCH better than our last trip. We have gotten quite a bit more, and of course the 'winter' time is always good shelling down here so our next trip promises to be even better.  I did finally get the alphabet cone I have been looking for! Actually I got 2!! One is a little rough, and the other is not perfect either, but finally can say I found them!! It seems to me it has been a long time!!
Alphabet cones, Olive, sharks eye and gaudy nauticas (cats eye)
All our finds! 
Pretty Scallop Hubby found
Sharks eye and Gaudy Nautica
I was so excited to switch to the morning tides and I would only have one chance because this will be my last full day here! (More about Trip #2 in a minute!)

We got up way early, with plans on hitting the beach at 6:00, which was still dark and of course I forgot our flashlights!! As we were crossing the causeway, it began to rain...which meant i would be dark even longer! We sat in the car until we felt we could see okay and headed to the beach in the light sprinkling of rain.  When we got there, there were lots of people....with flashlights and the gulf was really rolling! The tide wasn't as low as it had been the night before! ...and there were dinner plate size jelly fish everywhere!!!!We picked up a few small things, but decided after 45 minutes or so that this wasn't going to work so we headed to the car with hopes of a nice breakfast at Jerry's.  When we got to Jerry's the restaurant was closed for cleaning!! Would reopen tomorrow (10/8). Today just wasn't our day!! So we grabbed some of our favorite Apple fritters and headed home. I can't complain, a bad day at the beach is still MUCH better than a good day....anywhere else!! :D

 So now on to Trip #2!  I am flying out of Ft. Myer's to Roanoke Virginia, and my daughter will pick me up at the airport.  Tomorrow (Thursday) we are taking a road trip to Mandeville, LA to go to a baby shower for her college roommate who is expecting a little girl the end of December!  Jess really wanted to go to her shower, and I wouldn't let her drive alone, so we are gonna make a fun trip out of it and spend an extra day there to check out New Orleans!  How about that for a fun trip!! It will be a 12 hour car trip each way, but we plan on making it fun!! 

Jess is at 20 weeks now, half way through her pregnancy, next week they will find out if it is a boy or a girl!! 

So stay tuned for Trip #2 of this 3 trip whirlwind of a Birthday for me!!!!!


Monday, October 6, 2014

Birthday Trip Week Day #3

It has been another BEAUTIFUL day in paradise.  First, let me show you the 'cleaned up' shell finds from yesterday....already this trip has shown us many more shells than last time!
My Finds
Hubby's Finds
The Beautimus Lighting Whelk I dug up!
My Favorite...Horse Conchs
Hubby found this Beautiful Shark's Eye (some call it a Moon Snail) This was also my Dad's favorite Shell....we thank him every time we find one!!
Hubby also found this beautifully colored Apple Murex
We took two walks today around our neighborhood, I sure could live down here and take that walk everyday! :)

Hubby had to do some more work, how about this for an office view!!?!
Today was another evening low tide so we headed out well before the low tide, starting again at Gulfside has consistently been the go to place for shelling! 

The gooey balls were there, but not nearly as much as yesterday.  Pam Rambo from says they are dead sea squirts....another strange phenomenon that happens with nature.  Sanibel has had many of these type of things happen.  Today, along with the gooey balls....we had millions of bubble shells along the shore! I have never seen so many!

The shells were rolling up with the slow chop of the waves, and you had to move fast to catch them....what fun it was!
I also did some digging today and that paid off pretty well. Will post pics tomorrow, was dark by the time we got home and had dinner. Which by the way was takout from one of our favorite restaurants on the island, Sanibel fish house...Hubby had the oyster basket and I had the shrimp basket, sitting at the same table as Hubby's office...dinner with a view!! :D

Lowest tides tomorrow are at sun-up so will shift gears tomorrow, and have double shells to clean and show pics of...wish us luck!!

On our way back to the car, I couldn't resist taking this video of this little guy in a tidal pool a new definition to the term sun bathing .....sorry about the shakiness....enjoy!!