Thursday, September 14, 2017

Nashville Zoo September 2017

Me Crossing the Rope Bridge at the Spider Monkey Treetops Exhibit


Nashville Zoo September 2017

Since I have not traveled during last half of August and all of September while getting cataract surgery, I decided to take my "new eyes" out for a visit to the Nashville Zoo of which I am a member. The zoo continues to grow and have added a new spider monkey treetops exhibit and added rhinos to the Savannah area which use to be home to the elephants. The elephant were sent to the elephant retirement place in Southern Middle Tennessee while the elephant housing was being renovated. Since one of the elephant died while away, the zoo has decided to replace the elephants with rhinos for now. Additional new homes for the tigers and other jungle type animals are still under construction so did miss seeing them. 

Check out the photos I took while visiting the zoo in the gallery listed below. The photos are a mixture of new and old including some of my favorites including the kangaroos. Just click the title below the photo.


Nashville Zoo September 2017 Photo Gallery

Only three weeks until I travel to Albuquerque, NM, to visit with my friend Tom Anderson during the annual Balloon Fest. Just found out this week that Tom's wife Nancy has been offered a six month nursing education opportunity back in Honolulu beginning October 1 so she will not be in Albuquerque when I visit. Tom has thoroughly planned a great and busy time while I am there.  

Cataract Surgery Update - The cataract surgeries to remove the cataracts from both eyes and replace with new lens implants to correct distance and astigmatism were successfully performed by Dr. Bernard Chang and my eyes have healed and recovered nicely. My vision is much improved. 


Remaining 2017 Travel Plans

I am looking forward to my October visit to Albuquerque and have now added a new Amtrak December trip on my favorite train - the California Zephyr. I have enough Amtrak guest reward points, Southwest Rapid Reward points, and American Airlines Advantage miles to do most of the rail fare and all of the airline flights for free. 

October 4-14 Albuquerque Balloon Fest and Las Vegas -- Will fly American Airlines to Chicago October 4 in the morning and board Amtrak's Southwest Chief that afternoon 3 PM.  The Southwest Chief will arrive afternoon of October 5. My friends, the Andersons, will pick me up and deliver me to my hotel for five nights. While in Albuquerque, the Andersons will be my host and together we will take in all the balloon fest activities and experience my first time staying in Albuquerque.  One of the must do activities will be to ride the commuter train the Railrunner from downtown Albuquerque to Santa Fe and return.  By the way, I met the Andersons while riding the Durango and Silverton Railroad on my 2012 Colorado Road Trip.  At the time they were living in their RV but now have a one bedroom apartment in Albuquerque. 

After five nights in Albuquerque, I will fly Southwest Airlines to Las Vegas and four nights at Caesar's Palace. It's been a while since I last visited so I have already purchased my front row seat to see Cirque Du Soleil's  "O' at the Bellagio. I'll fly American Airlines home to Nashville Saturday October 14.



December 4-17 Amtrak California Zephyr Trip -- Will fly Southwest Airlines to New Orleans for four days and then ride Amtrak's City of New Orleans and California Zephyr from New Orleans through Chicago to Reno, Nevada. After three days in Reno, I'll return on Amtrak California Zephyr to Chicago for one night and then fly home on American Airlines. Best thing is not much money required and good amount of train time(five nights).


2018 Travel Plans

I have done some "day dreaming" about 2018 but have not made any decisions about 2018 travel pending completion of the cataract surgeries and allowing my budget to catch up. 


You can click on any of the small photos in this blog to open a full size photo. 

All my photos are available to view on Reagan's Photo Galleries website.


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Friday, August 25, 2017

August 2017 - Great Niece Kellie Abbott's Pharmacy College White Coat Ceremony at ETSU Johnson City, TN

Kellie and I at ETSU after her White Coat Ceremony

Great Niece Kellie Abbott's Pharmacy College White Coat Ceremony at ETSU Johnson City, TN
This is another personal family activity post instead of my normal travel blog updates. I decided to share these photos as I am proud and supportive of my great niece Kellie's beginning four years of graduate study at the Bill Gatton College of Pharmacy at East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, TN. I was honored to be able to be with family at her White Coat Ceremony August 11. After the ceremony my family and I spent a day together in Pigeon Forge, TN, before I drove home to Nashville. Click on the photo below to see all the photos in the gallery.


Kellie's White Coat Ceremony Gallery

Cataract Surgery Update - I am half way through my cataract surgeries. My left eye cataract surgery was successfully performed by my doctor Dr. Bernard Chang at the Eye Surgery Center of Nashville Wednesday morning August 16. I've been faithfully maintaining my eye drop routine and recovering well. Although Dr. Chang has said it will take about 30 days for my eyes to fully heal and for my eyes and brain to adjust to the new lens implant, I am seeing noticeably better with the left eye and excitedly ready for the right eye surgery. The right eye surgery is this coming Wednesday morning August 30. Hopefully, with successful surgery and healing, I should be adjusted to my new lens implants and returning to normal routines by the end of September and ready to depart on my next Amtrak trip to visit my friends, the Andersons, in Albuquerque, NM, for the Balloon Fest in October.



Remaining 2017 Travel Plans

My last planned 2017 travel includes a visit with friends in Albuquerque in October to experience the balloon fest. 

October 4-14 Albuquerque Balloon Fest and Las Vegas -- Will fly American Airlines to Chicago October 4 in the morning and board Amtrak's Southwest Chief that afternoon 3 PM.  The Southwest Chief will arrive afternoon of October 5. My friends, the Andersons, will pick me up and deliver me to my hotel for five nights. While in Albuquerque, the Andersons will be my host and together we will take in all the balloon fest activities and experience my first time staying in Albuquerque.  One of the must do activities will be to ride the commuter train the Railrunner from downtown Albuquerque to Santa Fe and return.  By the way, I met the Andersons while riding the Durango and Silverton Railroad on my 2012 Colorado Road Trip.  At the time they were living in their RV but now have a one bedroom apartment in Albuquerque. 

After five nights in Albuquerque, I will fly Southwest Airlines to Las Vegas and four nights at Caesar's Palace. It's been a while since I last visited so I have already purchased my front row seat to see Cirque Du Soleil's  "O' at the Bellagio. I'll fly American Airlines home to Nashville Saturday October 14.


2018 Travel Plans

I have done some "day dreaming" about 2018 but have not really made any decisions about 2018 travel pending completion of the cataract surgeries and allowing my budget to catch up. 


You can click on any of the small photos in this blog to open a full size photo. 

All my photos are available to view on Reagan's Photo Galleries website.


************************************


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Monday, July 31, 2017

July 2017 - Family Wedding in Louisiana and Visiting Friends in Plano, Texas

Newly Weds Cheri Hall and Mathew Malec

Family Times in Louisiana and Texas

I did not plan to do a travel blog to cover these more personal family times but this travel blog is a good way to share with family and others the photos I took while attending the wedding festivities around my great niece Cheri's marriage to Mathew Malec in Benton/Bossier City, LA, and also visiting my long time Nashville friends Bill and Mary Todd Young in Plano(Dallas), Texas, on the way to the wedding.  Check the photo galleries linked below:


Cheri and Matt's Wedding July 15, 2017


Visiting Bill and Mary T. Young in Plano, TX, July 2017

Future 2017 Travel Plans

My future 2017 travel plans includes a visit with friends in Albuquerque in October to experience the balloon fest and some family activities in July and August.

October 4-14 Albuquerque Balloon Fest and Las Vegas -- Will fly American Airlines to Chicago October 4 in the morning and board Amtrak's Southwest Chief that afternoon 3 PM.  The Southwest Chief will arrive afternoon of October 5. My friends, the Andersons, will pick me up and deliver me to my hotel for five nights. While in Albuquerque, the Andersons will be my host and together we will take in all the balloon fest activities and experience my first time staying in Albuquerque.  One of the must do activities will be to ride the commuter train the Railrunner from downtown Albuquerque to Santa Fe and return.  By the way, I met the Andersons while riding the Durango and Silverton Railroad on my 2012 Colorado Road Trip.  At the time they were living in their RV but now have a one bedroom apartment in Albuquerque. 

After five nights in Albuquerque, I will fly Southwest Airlines to Las Vegas and four nights at Caesar's Palace. It's been a while since I last visited so I have already purchased my front row seat to see Cirque Du Soleil's  "O' at the Bellagio. I'll fly American Airlines home to Nashville Saturday October 14.


Cataract Surgery - Since I am undergoing cataract surgery August 16(left eye) and August 30(right eye), August and September are take it easy recovery time.  Also, I will not plan any additional 2017 travel or 2018 travel until I have financially recovered from the cataract surgery expenses since the lens implants I am getting are consider premium not covered by Medicare lenses. I am getting two corrections - distance and astigmatism. Only one correction is covered. I will still have to wear glasses for closeups.




You can click on any of the small photos in this blog to open a full size photo. 

All my photos are available to view on Reagan's Photo Galleries website.


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Monday, June 26, 2017

June 4-20 Amtrak Summer 2017 Adventure - New Orleans and Portland, OR - Photo Galleries are Uploaded

Amtrak Adventure Began on Sunset Limited

June 2017 Amtrak New Orleans to Portland Adventure Galleries


Another great Amtrak Adventure is completed and Reagan's Photo Galleries have been updated with ten galleries of photos and three videos.  I flew to New Orleans June 4 to begin the trip staying three nights before boarding Amtrak's Sunset Limited to Los Angeles CA Wednesday June 7 connecting to Amtrak's Coast Starlight traveling on to Portland, OR. Portland is one my favorite public transportation cities. While in Portland, I did two day tours from Portland visiting Multnomah Falls and other falls along the Columbia River and also visiting the Oregon Coast. Following my stay in Portland, I traveled June 14 on Amtrak's Cascades train to Seattle. After about three hours in Seattle I boarded the Empire Builder for a two night trip to Chicago connecting to Amtrak's City of New Orleans to return to New Orleans for three more nights before flying home to Nashville June 20.  Thanks to Southwest Airlines for two safe on time flights from Nashville to New Orleans and return. 

The ten photo albums are available for your viewing at:


Rather than link all ten photo galleries separately, I recommended accessing all ten photo galleries from the link above.  In the meantime here are some of my favorite photos.






And to close here is one of the videos I took.  That's my sleeping car attendant yelling out from the car as it passed.  I was able to take this video because they were just re positioning the train on the station ramp after letting us off.

video




Future 2017 Travel Plans

My future 2017 travel plans includes a visit with friends in Albuquerque in October to experience the balloon fest and some family activities in July and August.

October 4-14 Albuquerque Balloon Fest and Las Vegas -- Will fly American Airlines to Chicago October 4 in the morning and board Amtrak's Southwest Chief that afternoon 3 PM.  The Southwest Chief will arrive afternoon of October 5. My friends, the Andersons, will pick me up and deliver me to my hotel for five nights. While in Albuquerque, the Andersons will be my host and together we will take in all the balloon fest activities and experience my first time staying in Albuquerque.  One of the must do activities will be to ride the commuter train the Railrunner from downtown Albuquerque to Santa Fe and return.  By the way, I met the Andersons while riding the Durango and Silverton Railroad on my 2012 Colorado Road Trip.  At the time they were living in their RV but now have a one bedroom apartment in Albuquerque. 

After five nights in Albuquerque, I will fly Southwest Airlines to Las Vegas and four nights at Caesar's Palace. It's been a while since I last visited so I have already purchased my front row seat to see Cirque Du Soleil's  "O' at the Bellagio. I'll fly American Airlines home to Nashville Saturday October 14.

Family Time - In July and August I will be traveling some to be with family for great niece Cheri's Louisiana wedding and then to east Tennessee to attend my great niece Kellie's "white coat" ceremony as she begins pharmacy school at East Tennessee State University. I'll also use that travel to visit with family and friends in North Louisiana and the Dallas, TX, area. I'm not planning to do blog updates during those trips.

Cataract Surgery - After I return home from the family event mid August, I will be dedicating the remainder of August and all of September to having cataract surgery and recovery.  Since the new lens and related doctor cost are not covered by insurance, I'll be directing my travel money toward this expenditure. That means no new travel plans remainder of 2017 and into 2018.


You can click on any of the small photos in this blog to open a full size photo. 

All my photos are available to view on Reagan's Photo Galleries website.


************************************



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to receive each new blog post to in your email inbox.




Tuesday, June 20, 2017

June 20 - Home is Where the Heart Is -- And That's Where I Am

Just a very short update to let you know I left rainy New Orleans this afternoon and arrive home around 6 PM Central Time today.  Thanks to Southwest Airlines for getting me here.

No pictures but here is my near term life events.  First, my 2006 Sony Vaio has official died or at least refuses to power on since I think the battery is officially dead and the USB ports other than one no longer provide a valid connection.  Good thing I ordered a new second generation Notebook Lenova Thinkpad 13 inch and it will hopefully arrive before I leave for Texas and Louisiana to visit long time friends " the Young's"  in Dallas(Plano) and then back to Shreveport/Bossier City, LA, to attend my great niece Cheri's wedding on July 15.

Second, I go the my eye doctor Monday, June 26, for measurements and discussion of lens implants and possible scheduling of my cataract removal surgery after I return from my July trip to Texas and Louisiana.

And most important, I look forward to getting back to worship at my church Forest Hills Baptist and working with the 5th grade guys in Sunday morning Bible study.

My Dell desktop computer is working well so I shall also be optimizing, organizing, and uploading my trip photos to  my photo galleries.  I let you know with a blog update when they are ready for you to view.

Before leaving New Orleans today, I did go to the Cafe Du Monde for cafe au lait and beignets.  Here are IPhone photos I took there.




Monday, June 19, 2017

June 18-19 New Orleans

For two days in New Orleans I've not done much tourist things and left my camera in the room. Actually, I spent a lot of time in my hotel room researching and ordering a new Lenova Thinkpad 13 Inch Laptop. Traveling with my 2006 Sony laptop had finally led to me needing to replace.  For sometime now I have known the battery was probably ineffective as I could only use it while plugged into power.  A while ago two of my USB ports stopped working and I discovered that while traveling with me, a third USB port had stopped working leaving only one USB port still working. I need two - one for my portable external hard drive which I backup documents, etc and so that I can bring the files, etc. from my desktop to keep up on my laptop and then use the external drive to update my desktop. I use both Quicken and Microsoft Excel on both desktop and laptop.  The second need for a USB port is for my wireless mouse. Yes, the touchpad still works but I don't like using the touchpad. So, hopefully, the new laptop will arrive before I leave for Texas to visit friends and to Louisiana for my great niece's wedding in July.

The photos today were taken Saturday as we arrived in New Orleans and a view of Mississippi River from my hotel room and also a painting in my room.






One of the joys of traveling especially on Amtrak is meeting people from all over the world.  I met one such family from Oregon on the Empire Builder and they send me the photo below of us sitting and visiting in the sightseer lounge card.  The young teenager Russell in the photo invited me to join with him and mom and dad to play "spades" after dinner one night. That was a lot of fun.



Tomorrow I fly home to Nashville on Southwest Airlines arriving around 5 PM. I have ridden on five Amtrak trains and all five arrived at the final destination on time and usually a few minutes early. I will organize, optimize and update my photos to my photo galleries while at home and my next blog update will let you know when the photo galleries are ready for you to view.

My next "big" travel trip will be in October when I visit my friends, the Andersons, in Albuquerque for the hot air balloon festival. I will travel on Amtrak's Southwest Chief from Chicago to Albuquerque. 

In July and August I am driving to Texas, Louisiana, and East Tennessee for family activities and to visit long time friends who use to live in Nashville. I will not be posting travel updates during these family and friends travel.


Saturday, June 17, 2017

June 17 - Last Day on Train- New Orleans

Today is my last train day for this trip. We arrived 
Memphis TN on time and will travel through scenic Mississippi north to south today. 

 
  


We stopped in Greenwood MS for fresh air break. 

 
 

Last fresh air break in Jackson. 

 

  


Almost to New Orleans 

 



 


What's is it with New Orleans' hotels. Arrived 4 PM and room not ready. Have waited 30 minutes and they are still cleaning room. Last picture of the day. 

 

Plan to take Sunday off for rest and worship. So no Sunday update. Weather permitting Monday I plan to visit WW II Museum and post an update.