Saturday, June 27, 2015

Final Preparations, Part 2

As I look forward to leaving on vacation, I also think about general housekeeping. One thing that require a bit of planning, is to clean out the fridge. I don't mean that in the housekeeping sense. It is a bit disconcerting to return and open the fridge and the aroma of spoiled milk or something else, comes out. We need to time our food usage  as not to leave perishables to spoil. Milk sours and bread molds. It is not pleasant return to find mold in the coffee maker. So the best to do, is to use up everything, or carry some with you. You can make sandwiches for a couple of days to use old lunch meat and bread. If you have more lunch meat than you want to use, it can be put in the freezer for when you return. They warn not to freeze coffee or bread. I use to do that all the time, buying a couple loaves of bread. I would buy 2 or more pounds of coffee and freeze it until I perked another pot of coffee.

All this takes some planning. On my recent trip the Wilmington, NC. I took one left over banana. It stayed in the car until I got and mushy. The best Laid plans, .....

One other thing to plan ahead for is to clean out the DVR. You will be gone for a while and have a lot of TV to record so you need to clear a lot of space on the machine. You might have an app to operate your dvr from your phone. My cable provider has such app. You cannot delete, I don't think, but you can remove a show that you have schedule to record. And I cannot stream already recorded shows. OH well!!

Of course you have your table and laptop with you, and could stream TV and movies to your room, though the hotels WiFi or your personal hotspot. And you can head for the coffee shop and use their free WiFi to stream TV, should you want to.

All this last minute planning thoughts bring to memory, all that our family would do duing vacation. Dad your head out early and come back to the room with those individual boxes of cereal (they never had enough for me to get what I wanted). Of course he would get milk for that cereal. Of course that was before hotels provided a simple breakfast bar. We never left for breakfast, either. Now I look at the breakfast bar and decide at the time. Too often, there is just too much carbohydrate and not enough protein, in the format I want. I have my favorite places to go for breakfast, not McDonalds or their kind.

Final Preparations, Part 1

Preparations have been under way even though it is a month to departure. I usually wait until that last week to make reservations. And only for the first night or two. I can reserve rooms as I go, using my Internet. That gives me the flexibility as to the next stop.

As things get closer, I need to make sure cloths are ready. That is are they clean and do I carry enough with me. Do I have the right style and forms. I might want to go to a movie or to a play or to the beach and swim. Of course they need to be clean.

Speaking of cleaning, I try to leave the house in order. I remember while in high school, going away for vacation. My mom was am immaculate house keeper and was known to leave the house perfect. We would even make sure all lights were out. On this one vacation, my brother, than 4, was playing with a box of play money, on the floor under the dining room table. He had dumped it and spread it around somewhat. Mom, didn't even notice it as we left. My sister was too old to go with the family on vacation. She attended a church retreat over the weekend and was to spend the week with friends. She got home from the retreat to change and pack for the week. Like most teenagers, she left her room a shambles, drawers open an cloths hanging out, etc. And, she left the dining room light on.

Our next door neighbor took the job of keeping an eye on things. And, that night, she noticed the dining room light on, contrary to what Mom would do. She came over and looked in the window to see that box of play money on the flour. She suspected something and called the police. The police came and the neighbor let them in and as they got to My sister's room and the shambles, you might understand what the police thought. You don't have to, it is in the police report. "robbers broke in, searched to house, left on room a shambles, looking for valuables. Than they found what they thouth was a box of money, brought in down stairs and in the light realized that it was not real. They dropped the box in the dining room and left." Lesson was not to leave the house in any other shape than you would otherwise. I leave the same lights on as I have normally.

Taking some time is to make sure batteries for all devices are charged and ready. Of course I take my chargers with me for the phone, tablet, cameras, scanner, and whatever else. The camcorder has four batteries, the one it came with and carries charge for two hours the other three have 4 hours each. This was calculated by a 12 hour day. however My current camcorder needs less, when off it does not use power, if you have the viewer closed. My phone and pad can be charged in the car, plus, I have a rechargeable charger that can charge the phone twice, before needing to be recharged itself. My SLR takes four AA as does my scanner. These I will just take with me.

Monday, June 22, 2015


It is still a month before I leave. There are things to take care of before I leave. My smart phone is acting dumb. I got a text tonight and it took me 15 minutes to answer. Both text apps crashed before they came up good. Or it would crash when I began to type. The smart phone will be my navigator for the most part. I usually only reserve hotels rooms only a day in advance. And the app for that is on the phone. Of course, if I am watching Amtrak, the app tells me if the trains are on time.

After getting the phone, I need to learn the differences between the present and the new. I would like to get a new tablet, which is older than the phone. It is suffering from the same problems. I occasionally get a memory getting low, notification and I have to delete some things.

I will check out the car and fine tune the plans.

As I get my new phone and tablet, I have more to do. I will add my movies to Blockbuster, Amazon, Netflix and other apps, what I might want to watch, while away from home. I recently downloaded the CBS app and began paying for their service. There are some old TV series that I want to catch up on.

My schedule or plan is rather flexible. There are some stops that I will not absolutely plan on but would be something to see if I had time. I lived north of Boston, at Lynn. I visited Lynn, four or five years ago, and it was the vacation where I began this blog. One place that I thought about visiting but did not, was Lynn Wood Reservation. I visited there a couple of time, while living in Lynn. But, I would not visit it unless I had extra time. That is a real possibility.

I could make other changes but I am still thinking about it. We will see.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Vacation Planned and Scheduled

My next vacation, the primary part, is planned, the visit to Massachusetts and Connecticut. They  are set, within the normal parameters. Remembering that some changes can and might be made even after the trip begins. I am still tweaking the plans. First, I looked at alternatives coming home and realized that a side trip would work. On my way home I planned to watch and take in the Staten Island RR and Ferry and visit southern Manhattan.

The first change that I am considering might be a side trip to Lynchburg, VA. Lynchburg is a family hometown. My parents are from there and we go back to the middle 19th century in Lynchburg. When my mother died, two years ago, she was buried there. I have haven't been back since, so I would love to go by, an visit her grave site. I don't have any other family there, at present but I can drive by the grandparents old homes. A look a the maps, allowing for an overnight, this change route is only an hour and half side trip.

Another variation that I am thinking about is to leave a half day early and spend some time watching the streetcars in Philadelphia. The break in the northbound trip makes that a good option. I worked out the feasibility and I can even see SEPTA at the Airport.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015


Cameras are the railfan's best friend. They have change a bit over my lifetime, not to mention all time. I remember playing with mom's old box Brownie. My first real camera was not much different, just a little more modern looking, a white plastic Brownie. I was still a grade schooler and made the mistake of leaving it in the rear window of the car on a hot day and.... you got it, it melted.

I made another foray into pictures with the Polaroid swinger. But it was not so good, first you took the picture and waited for it to develop to see what you got. besides, it was only black and white. When I was in college I got my first SLR. That was when I got into railfaning and into photography, generally. Than there came the digital revolution. My first digital was relatively inexpensive. It was the digital equivalent to the Instamatic. I finally got around to my first digital SLR, and now my second.

I am on my third level of camcorder for video. My first was a 8 track video tape camera because the beta and the VHS were too heavy. My next was  mini DVD and now a lighter and basic SD card. Add to this, cameras with cell phones.

I am selective when it comes to cameras. My cell is used for family and church occasions. Any time I want to have pictures but not carry a camera. For most occasions when I want good pictures or more control I turn to the SLR. All my Railroad pictures are with the SLR and camcorder. Same of all the dedicated vacation pictures.

I was out a couple of weeks ago and came upon railfans. Most had their SLRs and one used only his cell. I am no to that point, yet.

Wilmington, NC part 2

What is left? Of course there is the Wilmington waterfront. It very much like old waterfronts now redeveloped.

Finally there are a couple of examples of Public Art in Wilmington

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Wilmington, NC, Conference side trip

It is not something that I try to do, mixing business with pleasure. I would never get a souvenir from a business location. Sometimes there is a side trip that requires a souvenir, such as a convention I took to southwest Virginia. A part of that convention was a side trip to the Barter Theater, thus a mug for the theater.

Wilmington was the most recent convention. The convention center was in what was the part of Wilmington where the dock were and the ACL yards. The yards moved to south of the River and all that is left is the old office and one warehouse. One has been converted to one part of a general convention center and the other is now the Wilmington RR Museum. It is basically like most small railroad museums, with a caboose and engine. Inside there are good displays including an old ticket window. The highlights are the model railroads, inside.

The most noted landmark in Wilmington, is the USS North Carolina. I remember visiting it while in school. I have several postcards in my collection of the ship. I had an afternoon so I took a drive by to look at it.