Monday, December 31, 2012

HAPPY-NEW-YEAR!!!! and best wishes on your next trip around the sun. =)

     The title of this post is usually how I wish well to people who celebrate any annual event that they celebrate. Weddings, birthdays etc... And since the Mayans predicted a new beginning we may as well celebrate that since the world didn't end. YAY!!!
     The previous post had me and Johnny going south. I had taken photos and intended to share them here but when I loaded them to Blogger, I seemed to exceed my allotted 1G of free uploads (bummer). So now I'm forced to make a choice to continue this blog. To the best of my knowledge I have a few options, a) pay an annual premium for more upload capacity(not likely as money is tight), b) start  another account to get more free uploads (I love free stuff) or c) discontinue this project as Johnny has aged out of the bicycling phase for now and is a licensed driver heading off to college soon.
      My wife noticed I do have several duplicated photos not posted and if I delete them I should be able to free up some space. So I will have to figure that one out before moving on and hope it works. If anyone out there has any suggestions feel free to post them below.
     So in closing for now, I bid you all a very happy new year and may we all enjoy many more trips around the sun together. =)

Saturday, November 24, 2012

South Bound and Down -Part 1

     Welcome to another installment of Bumping Along. This post is about a recent trip my son and I took to visit family in Florida. Actually it's more like a prologue to our trip. We didn't get to see and do as much, and visit with everybody as we would have liked to - but we had a nice, full visit just the same.
     We planned on leaving Mom (Peg) behind, as our schedule is a little more open than hers; but all during the trip we kept thinking of how nice it would be if she could have joined us and what she would be thinking or saying about different stuff. She was with us in spirit, for sure. (And thanks again for the rides to and from the train station!)
Heading to 30th Street Station. Philly AM skyline. 
     During the planning phase of this adventure, we knew we had a good deal of lead time to arrange travel. Right out of the gate Johnny wanted to take the train. I'm not sure why, I thought he had outgrown that phase. He had his reasons I guess, and I was not opposed since flying is my least favorite form of travel. Surprisingly, the train cost was very similar to driving and would be less stressful than a road trip with a newly licensed driver as my back up. He will get plenty of behind-the-wheel time as he grows older.
       Between the time of purchasing the train tickets (two round trip tickets from 30th Street Station Phila. to Deland Fla.) and actually leaving, we had a series of micro-adventures. First, Amtrak said we would need to catch a shuttle bus from Winter Park to Jacksonville on our return trip (due to scheduled track maintenance).  We balked at this, as Winter Park is a 1 hour drive in the wrong direction, just to catch a bus for a 2 plus hour ride to Jacksonville... to catch the 11:00pm departing train. No thanks! But Amtrak customer service, very nice and understanding, said they would amend the ticket and refund me $1.98 for not taking the shuttle and finding  my own way to Jacksonville. 
Hurricane Sandy bearing down on US east coast. (courtesy; the weather channel)
      Then Hurricane Sandy hit the East coast. All travel along the Atlantic seaboard was snarled and our trip was looking like it would be canceled all together. Last minute airfares, where possible, were ridiculously expensive. Having already made changes to our itinerary made refunds and rescheduling go against Amtrak policies. With fingers crossed, we contemplated the possibilities and waited as Amtrak came through again(YAY). The trains started running on modified schedules as soon as the weather broke and the tracks were inspected. The Governor and President were touring the devastation and even put politics aside for a while. There was hope after all, and the post storm weather was steadily improving...

      And so the trip was a "go". We traveled south on the Silver Star.  It sounds pretty cool when you say it like that! And it was nice not driving and all, but it was coach class - and not knowing what "that" was, we were thrilled with the adventure we had discovered . However, on the return trip we decided that coach was a bit too adventurous for us, so we decided to immediately upgrade to a "roomette" as soon as humanly possible. This was a bit of a jump in price, but the ability to lay down and sleep and have a private toilet was well worth the cost. As side benefits, we avoided the sick guy who was hacking and coughing, and the creepy dude sitting across the aisle offering us food from his grocery bag. And as an added bonus our breakfasts and lunches were included in the upgrade. =)

     In my next post I hope to share the wonderful bike/geocaching we did with my sister and her husband.


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Hurricane Sandy Update. =)

     I know I haven't been posting much lately, so let me apologize for that now. This blog started as a way for me to share a phase of my son's childhood with distant family members. As Johnny has grown and reached the magical age of driving, I have been posting less. He has successfully achieved that youthful goal and is now fully capable of driving a manual transmission vehicle. 

     This past month we have also experienced the passing of several  distant family members who will be deeply missed. We have fond memories of good times past with them, may they never be forgotten. At this time we are choosing to keep these thoughts and memories private and personal. Thank you for respecting this decision.

     The past week has also been interesting. but not in a bikey sort of way. We experienced the much-hyped Hurricane Sandy, head-on. The news coverage of this storm was nothing less than amazing. From the New Jersey Governor and Mayor of Atlantic City smack-down, to the crazy weather-people trying to stand and talk in gale-force winds (never really successful). There was also the news anchor Cecily Tynans' comment of her co-anchor being a moron for not having his mic turned on.!

     Then there was the news that didn't get reported, like the Canadian earthquakes and tsunamis. I'm not sure what level of damage they did but I can say I only hope it was similar to what we experienced. =)

The massive damage and one slightly flooded garage...
       I do think we got lucky since this storm did come right at us, but it was only a level 1 hurricane and I'm truly thankful that the 6 inches of rain that we received, wasn't snow!