TR - The Door Into Summer - 2 humans, a cat, and coasters

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Re: TR - The Door Into Summer - 2 humans, a cat, and coaster

Postby LiftThrill » Thu Jun 28, 2018 8:55 pm

Living in San Antonio is pretty awesome - we have 4 amusement parks within a 45 minute radius, a very historical downtown, and some really cool stuff to do up in the New Braunfels/Gruene area, not to mention a decent live music scene and a great food scene (not as good as Austin for music but fantastic for food). Basically anything you like to do that's not beach-related or snow-related we have it no further than an hour away.
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Re: TR - The Door Into Summer - 2 humans, a cat, and coaster

Postby bert425 » Fri Jun 29, 2018 7:15 am

^ Austin's only an hour away.

anyone visiting S.A. should always make a swing thru Austin (preferably in the evening, so you can experience all the music).. there are lots of great food places here too :)

as a College Town (3 College campuses (including the HUGE University of Texas) to tour), AND the State Capitol, there are lots of things to do here to occupy an afternoon.
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Re: TR - The Door Into Summer - 2 humans, a cat, and coaster

Postby LiftThrill » Fri Jun 29, 2018 7:25 am

Lived in Austin for 4 years, still go pretty often. If I want music I go to Austin, if I want food I'll go somewhere in SA or New Braunfels (tho the food scene in Austin is pretty good too).

With I-35 traffic it's probably more like an hour and a half, but yeah I love the whole area. In 15-20 years it'll be one giant metro akin to DFW, and it'll be awesome.
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Re: TR - The Door Into Summer - 2 humans, a cat, and coaster

Postby boldikus » Fri Jun 29, 2018 7:58 am

Great stuff so far!

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New Orleans - 2 tours, 2 daiquiris, a cat & some dead people

Postby pfalcioni » Fri Jun 29, 2018 9:14 pm

Welcome to Louisiana!
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We’re here for 4 nights and two days and Tajah gives NOLA a huge thumbs up...or she would if she had thumbs.
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Why? Because she's got 2 full days of rest with no car time! Plus she got this bitchin’ necklace (but isn't admitting to flashing bewbs to get it).
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Although we drink (often), we’re not exactly bar-hopping fiends, in fact prior to this trip the last mixed drink I had in a bar was at least a year prior. We’re also not late night party animals, I’m a night owl but my partying tendencies were curtailed when I married a guy who is snoring after a few drinks or after the clock strikes 10. So I was a little concerned about visiting New Orleans, especially just a week before they really start rolling out the Mardi Gras crazy. I shouldn’t have worried, this place is so much more than just alcohol, revelry, beads and boobies.
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But yeah, they do have a few bars here.

Because we have senorita gato along for the ride, our hotel options are limited, especially when we’re trying to book in larger cities. I know we’ll need on-site parking and a place that’s not going to be crazy loud at night OR during the day, and nothing I found in the heart of things really fit the bill, so we ended up at a LaQuinta in Metarie. The place was cheap as heck and it was in a good part of town, but was more motel than hotel. I won’t dwell on details, but let’s just say we found the night clerk at the front desk with her head on a pillow sound asleep at 9pm and again the next morning at 7am, all three days! Needless to say there wasn’t any fresh morning coffee brewed to go with our beignets.
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We planned two full days in New Orleans, our first would be spent wandering from the French Quarter to the Garden District, the second day is reserved for the WWII museum.

Mike is militantly an early morning person, so I’ve been forced into this weird lifestyle where we’re usually up way before normal humans, which means that we get to see a side of party towns like New Orleans, Las Vegas, and Key West that most people miss out on. Of course we also miss out on a lot of sleep, but I think it’s worth it (most of the time, just don’t talk to me during that first hour or two).

We made it into the city and found cheap parking right on the waterfront in front of Jackson Square and there was no line for beignets at Cafe du Monde, so of course Mike got to crow about how the early bird blah blah blah, whatever, I needed more coffee.
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We spent the next few hours wandering the streets as the city woke up. What an amazing place! I took entirely too many photos, most of which looked like 99% of every other tourist’s photos of the French Quarter, well, except mine were sans boobs. Sorry. Oh, I do have a pic of an A$$ though.
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On the advice of a friend who lived in New Orleans for years I booked two walking tours, both through Free Tours by Foot. If you’re not familiar with this company they offer tours where you decide how much you think the tour is worth after it’s completed. It seemed a smart bet that the tour guides would be pretty good if they trusted a bunch of idiot tourists to not stiff them on a daily basis.

Our first tour started at the base of Mr. Jackson’s fine statue.
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Our tour guide Sean was a native of the city whose family had lived here for generations. And he didn’t have an accent. Whaaaaa??? So yeah the first thing we learned is that not everyone here sounds like they’re extras in The Big Easy, in fact most locals don’t have an accent, but Hollywood thought they should, so that’s how they’re portrayed. Mind...blown.

We spent two hours walking the streets, gawking at beautiful buildings and learning the ugly, amazing, crazy and awesome stories behind them.
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Sean also pointed out his favorite places to eat so we had some ideas for lunch. After the tour we headed to the farmer’s market on Poydras to see if we could find anything remotely vegetarian for Mike - yep, he’s one of those non-meat-eating weirdos, but I can’t tease him about it too much because he’s skinny and healthy and I’m fat, so yeah. Anywhoo, if you’re a vegetarian in New Orleans you’d better take up drinking because that’s about all you’re going to find to eat. So we did, and had an incredible (and incredibly huge) daiquiri made with fresh fruit from one of the market stands. With a nice afternoon buzz well in hand I opened the NOLA transportation app and attempted to navigate their bus system to get us to our 1:30pm tour that would begin at Lafayette Cemetery. After standing at the wrong bus stop for about 10 minutes some kind drunk told us we were obviously country mice and pointed us to the correct stop across the street. I’ll admit, he’s right, we’re from the country and I never learned to comfortably navigate city public transportation. I’d rather be lost in the middle of nowhere on motorcycles with no cell phone signal and only a paper map and compass than have to figure out a transfer on a city bus system. Pathetic, I know. On the plus side, Mike did find a cat.
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Fortunately, our bus drivers were ever so kind to the idiots from Oregon and we got where we needed to be with time to spare.

Our second tour included Lafayette Cemetery and the Garden District. I can’t remember our guide’s name, but he was cool and we learned a lot about architecture, history, why dead people aren’t put in the ground around here, and where John Goodman lives.
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Here (John Goodman, that is).

The cemetery was artistically gorgeous, but touristicly overcrowded. I would have killed to have a few hours of quiet time here in the early morning or evening to shoot photos, as it was I had to time shots carefully to avoid the unwashed masses, which is frustrating and sort of wrecks the ethereal and sombre mood that should surround a place like this. Still, if you’re in NO, do NOT miss seeing this cemetery.
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This picture was an oops as I was doing some long shutter work and moved the camera too quickly, but I sort of liked the effect.

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The Garden District is made up of impeccably maintained historic homes. Our tour guide filled our brains with history, building facts and details about details, it was fascinating and I’ve sadly forgotten it all! I’m blaming the Lethe effect on lack of food and sufficiency of alcohol in my system. Still, we had a wonderful time.
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Luckily my “local” friend had given me the names of a few vegetarian places in town that she recommended, one was this tiny hole-in-the-wall Vietnamese place called Lilly’s Cafe. The food was plentiful and absolutely wonderful. Ahhhhh.
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We spent the another few hours after our early dinner racing around to the antique stores in the French Quarter. Mike is a crazy collector of all things moto, so typically while I’m riding coasters, he’s buying crap at antique stores. There weren’t any coasters around so I was stuck wandering these tiny stores crammed full of everything from antebellum oddities to modern knick-knacks. He did find a few cool things, and I had some fun just wandering, shooting pictures and soaking up atmosphere.
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We were both happy and tired as we walked back to the car that night.
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It's impossible to be unhappy when you spy a horse with wings on the way to your car.

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Re: TR - The Door Into Summer - 2 humans, a cat, and coaster

Postby DoinItForTheFame » Fri Jun 29, 2018 9:41 pm

OMG! I think this is quickly becoming the BEST EVER thread on TPR! Loving it so far, and can't wait for more! :lover:
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Re: TR - The Door Into Summer - 2 humans, a cat, and coaster

Postby michaellynn4 » Sat Jun 30, 2018 7:43 am

This thread combines three of my favorite things in like - history, cats, and coasters. Very entertaining and well-written, to boot! Tajah is adorable! Can't wait to read more!!
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National WWII Museum

Postby pfalcioni » Sat Jun 30, 2018 7:06 pm

National WWII Museum

We are definitely museum people, when we find a good one we’ll be there when the doors open and stay until security ushers us out after the lights have been turned off. Needless to say, when I’d read that New Orleans was home to the #2 Museum In The WORLD*, I knew we’d have to visit. My only frustration was that I felt one day in the city just wouldn’t be enough (I was right), and would we feel like we were wasting our second day looking at planes and other militaria that we’d seen at other excellent WWII museums elsewhere? But…#2 in the world? How could we pass that up?
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'Murica!

(*if you’re like me and didn’t know it already, I’ll bet you just went to look up what the #1 museum in the world is, right?)

Tajah also makes us do all the WWII museums because she was a fighter pilot in the war.
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So, what makes this museum so much better than the dozens of other similar venues around the country? After spending a day there I’d say the differences are perspective and scope. Many museums make you feel like you're reading history from a book, this museum makes you walk in the footsteps of your forefathers and almost feel like you're a part of this war. First off, your day starts with a virtual train ride similar to that taken by plenty of young men embarking on their wartime journey. This beautifully done entrance really gets your mind focused on what the beginning of the war felt like for many Americans.

Once you’re through the main gate, unless you have a tour scheduled, you’re pretty much on your own to decide how you want to proceed. I would definitely recommend starting with the 4D movie, it’s produced and narrated by Tom Hanks, so you know you’re in for Hollywood-level production values along with a heartfelt and honest look at America at war.

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After we saw the movie we really weren’t sure where to go next. The museum is currently made up of 6 buildings, but that number will grow by three more next year and by 2020 they’ll have an even 10. Just like anything else, once you’ve been to a place you have a better idea of what to spend the most time on, unfortunately we didn’t know what we didn’t know and we ended up spending too much time in areas that weren’t as interesting to us and rushing through some really amazing parts at the end of our day. I’ll tell you what I wish we’d done, but I think the best advice I can give you is to carefully study the website and plan out your day if you’ll only be spending a day here - or schedule two days and have the luxury of time (I wish we’d been able to do this!)

If we knew better I would have started with the movie, then the D-Day exhibit in the entrance building, then gone on to The Home Front in the Louisiana Memorial Pavilion, next moved to the Campaigns of Courage pavilion which is broken up into two sections, Europe and the Pacific. From there I’d spend whatever remaining time in the other pavilions - if you want to see planes from every angle visit the impressive and vertigo-inducing Boeing Center (skip the submarine upcharge), if you’re a detail person check out the Restoration Pavilion and read about how STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) helped win the war, and of course by next year there will be three new pavilions to add even more choices to your already-too-busy museum day. Whew!

But I really think the core displays that stay with you the most are those housed in the Campaigns of Courage pavilion. The way they integrated artifacts, movies, oral histories, written reports and thousands of pieces of ephemera collected from hundreds of veterans made everything seem very immediate and real.

You walk through a German bunker wall in Berlin...
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...then sweat as you see planes swoop low through a war-torn city...
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...or creep through steamy jungle terrain surrounded by the sights and sounds of fighting all around you.
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The theming is as immersive as anything you will experience at a Disney park, but instead of being surrounded by fantasy, what you are touching here is real history.

I don’t want to be all melodramatic, but as the final remaining living legends of this war will be gone in a few short years, museums like this need to be able to tell the story of their sacrifices, tragedies, and triumphs in a way that resonates with modern society. The National WWII Museum has found a way to do that, it offers a truly a singular experience. If you have any interest at all in history and America’s place in it, you need to see this museum.

Pictures do not do this place justice, but hopefully a few will whet your appetite to visit!

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One of the first displays in the D-Day exhibit is this depiction of how many service members from each country died during the war. It was a humbling start to our day.

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The Home Front literally walks you through a typical wartime Middle America living room.

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Air raid on Pearl Harbor x This Is Not A Drill. Original telegram from the US Atlantic Fleet.

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Original Enigma machine

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Suitcase Radio, given to resistance forces in occupied Europe to contact US and British intelligence.

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This restored British courier bike is the model seen in action on the wall behind.

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The Boeing collection is a vertical display, travel as high as your legs or fear of heights will allow and see these big birds from a different perspective.

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Gun displays are naturally a part of war museums, these are different because they are separated by campaigns and the weapons used by each side are shown next to each other to compare and contrast the quality available to the different countries.

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Used until they were used up, these flags spent the entire war on the same ship with the same gunnery officer, who packed them away and brought them home after the war.

But hey, enough gravitas, tomorrow we coaster!

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Re: TR - The Door Into Summer - 2 humans, a cat, and coaster

Postby Nrthwnd » Sat Jun 30, 2018 7:12 pm

It's very sobering stuff that reminds us of the Country's past,
the good and the not so good. Thanks for sharing this part of your trip.
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Re: TR - The Door Into Summer - 2 humans, a cat, and coaster

Postby pfalcioni » Sat Jun 30, 2018 7:19 pm

Thankfully Canada was so much stronger about their resolve to help Europe stop the Axis powers while America tried to hide their head in the sand until almost too late.

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