Tuesday, April 3
Sunday, April 1
Giraffes heading home
Saturday, March 31
Bird of paradise
Tuesday, March 27
Monday, March 26
Saturday, March 24
The Cat in the Hat and Grinch greet visitors at Universal Orlando's Islands of Adventure. I visited with my family last week. My son and I loved the Hulk roller coaster and Seuss Landing was very cute. Hulk may be the best roller coaster I've been on. At the start it accelerates from 0 to 40 mph in 2 seconds and hits a top speed of 67 mph. There are a total of 7 inversions. We give it 4 thumbs up.
Saturday, January 6
North Carolina skiing
The first day we went to Ski Beech and put our children into a one-hour lesson. After that my wife and I walked up a short slope with the kids and gave them our own private lessons, getting them to make snowplow turns.
The conditions were actually better than we expected in the morning and Ski Beech had two slopes open. But as the day progressed temperatures in the 40s created some thin coverage across the mountain.
The next day we figured there would have been too much melt at Ski Beech to make it pleasant. We looked at the web cam at Sugar Mountain and headed over there instead. We were glad we made that decision, as they obviously had more snow on the ground. But by the end of that day the Easy Street run we had our children on was turning into a mud hole. Luckily we got to ski it most of the day. The other run they had open, Flying Mile, looked like it might survive for another day of skiing. More photos from the trip can be seen in this gallery.
We're glad we made our reservations at the last minute. We were able to get a discount on lodging. I don't think I'd ever plan a trip in advance to any of the North Carolina slopes. It's just too hard to predict in advance what the conditions will be like. We certainly had a lot of fun teaching our kids to ski and the mountains were good for that.
Monday, January 1
Photos of Bisbee
Friday, December 29
Thursday, December 14
Over Thanksgiving this year our family took a cruise that stopped in Labadee, Haiti. You can see the Royal Caribbean Mariner of the Seas above next to the cruise line's private beach. We heard crew calling it their private island, but that's not true. It's actually on a peninsula as the satellite images show. If you click on the image and zoom in you can clearly see the pools, putt-putt course and inline skating track on the ship. On the beaches you can make out the cabanas spread along the shore.
Labadee was certainly an exotic stop. They had a couple of nice beaches for swimming, though the north shore was a little treacherous because of higher waves, a rocky bottom and sea urchins literally everywhere.
There were a few old plantation ruins on the peninsula and an old church bell still stood on a scenic hilltop location.
There were a number of vendors selling local artwork, jewelry and wood bowls. We bought a little of each, hoping to put some cash into the Haitian economy. Unfortunately the vendors were extremely aggressive in their tactics and I imagine they scared a lot of people away. The strong-armed hawking grew weary rather quickly.
With Haiti's history of civil unrest it seems an unlikely stop for a cruise ship. There did seem to be ample security and a wall seemed to surround the perimeter of the property. It was an altogether pleasant stop and I'm glad Royal Caribbean is making this effort to help the Haitian economy.