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Monthly Archives: March 2011

Demolition day 1

Today was a day of demolition, but luckily not by us.  An excavating crew was right outside making a huge mess of our parking lot and sidewalk in the first step towards redoing the entire public square.  It was a noisy day, but it looks like they got a lot accomplished.

 

 
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Posted by on March 30, 2011 in Justin

 

The Car Threw a Hissy Fit.

On Friday we arrived in Chicago after two smooth flights from Miami to Atlanta, and Atlanta to Chicago.  Jenn’s generous mom picked the six of us up and drove us back to their home, where our vehicles had been parked in their driveway all week (Thank you again, Nancy!).  Justin and I were pretty wiped out, so we gave hugs and said our good byes rather quickly.  We were ready to be home.  Our car, apparently, was not.

This looks like our car, but it is not. Our car was too naughty to get its picture on the blog.

We had been on I-90 less than 10 minutes when the stereo started spazzing out and blinking on and off, and all of a sudden all of the gauges quit.  Almost immediately we knew the alternator was giving out, as it had happened on our last Honda Civic.  We drove about 7 more miles to an exit with a gas station and travel plaza, and as we were pulling in front of the pump, the car breathed its last and gave up completely.  Seriously?!  Seriously.

This pesky part, the alternator, tends to go out on Honda Civics around 130,000 miles. We know.

We were officially stranded.  We called the Kings, who were about 15 minutes behind us, to ask for a jump to help us move the car to the only motel nearby, a Super 8, where we planned to stay the night until a mechanic could fix the car in the morning.  We let the car charge for a bit off of the Kings’ battery, then made a break for the motel, just barely making it into the parking lot.  We were thankful to have a place to stay for the night, called the tow truck and talked to the mechanic, and all seemed set for heading home the next afternoon.  And then the next adventure began.

blech.

See that?  Yep.  That was the hot water in our Super 8 motel room.  Apparently their hot water decided to throw a hissy fit too.  Specifically, there was a bacterial growth in it.  And rather than the management shutting off the hot water, or even telling any of the guests that there was an issue, they just left it running for us to enjoy.  When we complained in the morning about not having clean water, we were only told “Sorry, it is a main line problem and is being fixed” and were walked away from.  When we called Super 8 corporate the next day, we were only told that each Super 8 is individually owned and operated and it is up to the management to remedy issues like this.  Please beware of Super 8 motels!  I think I understand why you only see Super 8’s in areas where there are no other hotel options – you are stuck with them.  And again, we are very thankful we had SOMEPLACE to sleep, it just would have been nice to have water at the same time!

Super 8 in Hamshire, IL... for emergency stays ONLY!

So, to wrap up, our car obviously heard us talking about purchasing a new vehicle in the near future, and simply threw a temper tantrum.  The next day it was fixed by a kind mechanic who went through 1 incorrect and 2 bad alternators before putting in a working part for us.  We were very relieved to drive out of Hampshire, IL Saturday afternoon and arrived safely at home that evening.  We’re both ready for a vacation. 🙂

Was this only 4 days ago?!

 

 
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Posted by on March 28, 2011 in Julie, Travel

 

Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas

The final stop of the cruise was at Great Stirrup Cay, Norwegian Cruise Line’s private island.  It was a fantastic, relaxing way to finish the cruise.

There were tons of beach chairs, and as we took the tender boat over around 9 am we had our pick of chairs and were among the first people in the water.  We spent a few hours swimming, relaxing in the sun, and exploring the little island a bit.  At lunch time, a very nice buffet was set up with plenty of fruit and salads, grilled hamburgers and chicken and hot dogs, plus some sweets.  We also took some time for some pictures.

The afternoon delivered an awful lot more people coming over from the ship, and we decided to head back and spend the rest of the day at the (now empty) pool onboard the ship.

 
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Posted by on March 27, 2011 in Bahamas Cruise, Julie

 

Nassau, Bahamas

On Wednesday morning we arrived in Nassau.

We were docked along with 3 other cruise ships, the Norwegian Gem and two Royal Caribbean ships.  With 4 large cruise ships in port, the town was a bit of a mad house.  We took some time to walk around Nassau in the morning, met back for lunch on the ship, and then headed out for our shore excursion in the afternoon – a 4X4 Jeep tour of the island.

There were about 22 people in our group, and we piled into the jeeps in teams of four.  The Kings took one of the jeeps in front of us, and Justin and I paired up with a couple vacationing from New Jersey.  We were happy to let them take turns driving, and we sat back and enjoyed the scenery.

Our tour guide was in the front jeep and each jeep had a radio in it that he was able to talk through and guide us around the island with a fun mix of facts and humor.  We were really glad we chose this tour.  We were able to see so much more of the island than if we had stayed on foot.

Plus, we learned some history and current events, some things about people that visit the island, as well as about all the International banks that are in Nassau.  Add some beach time in, and it was a fantastic afternoon.

As we were heading back to our starting spot, we passed a tour group on Segways.  This was actually the tour we had originally signed up for, but it had been overbooked and we got bumped off the tour.  After seeing the protective gear they all had to wear, we were not overly disappointed with missing it!

Overall, it was a great day in Nassau!

 

 
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Posted by on March 27, 2011 in Bahamas Cruise, Julie

 

Freeport/Port Lucaya, Grand Bahama Island

The first port we visited was Freeport, Grand Bahama Island.

Freeport itself was in a pretty industrial area with a few buildings containing a touristy straw market right off the dock.  For the most part, everyone gets in lines for taxis to be taken to other spots on the island.  We were looking forward to a beach day, so we piled into the taxi we were directed to (which turned out to be a limousine!) and drove for about 15-20 minutes to Port Lucaya.

The beach wasn’t too crowded yet, so we dropped our towels and bags on the sand and waded into the beautifully clear, though a bit cool, ocean waters.  It didn’t take Justin and I long to dive in, and we had to tease the King family a bit as they stayed in the shallow water longer. 🙂

It was a perfect day.  Warm and sunny, gorgeous and soft white sand.  Madie worked at creating a sandcastle that wouldn’t keep getting washed away by waves…

and Maureen took some time to get her hair braided by a Bahamian woman.

The beach got more and more crowded as the afternoon approached, so after a couple of hours we chose to pack up and find a spot for lunch.  There was also a development of shops and restaurants near the beach, so we found a local restaurant where we were able to enjoy some fried conch and conch fritters, and walked around a bit before getting a ride back to the ship.

 
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Posted by on March 27, 2011 in Bahamas Cruise, Julie

 

Sun and Fun in the Bahamas

We are currently relaxing in the atrium while docked in Nassau (the Bahamas).  Everyone is sufficiently tan / sun burned and very happy we are missing the snowstorm back in Stevens Point.

While docked in Miami, through a porthole

The King family, and a straggler

Our ship until Friday

 
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Posted by on March 23, 2011 in Bahamas Cruise, Justin

 

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Welcome to Miami

We are currently in Miami, awaiting our bus to the cruise terminal.  We are here with Jim, Jenn, Maureen, and Madie King and are headed to the Bahamas for 4 days.  We got in very late last night due to delays from thunderstorms in Chicago.  Everyone is tired, but looking forward to a a nice, relaxing time!  It’s nice to be hot outside for the first time in 4 or 5 months.

View from the room last night

View from the room this morning

View from the room last night

 
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Posted by on March 21, 2011 in Bahamas Cruise, Justin