Thursday, May 31, 2012

I have arrived

 It was a much shorter trip today. Beautiful country without as much switchback curvy and NO TUNNELS,  I had thought of going to the Biltmore Estate but I am cheap and the $60 price tag to wander around on my own and the fact that I am tired and very achey with all the driving I came on into Charlotte.  I have a very nice suite with two rooms and a handicap accessible shower.  The cord on the shower is a little short but it will have to do.  In the meantime I am here.
 It wasn't interstate all the way. I drove through a lot of this but it didn't bother me.
 This is the center court of the hotel.  The folks are very nice and even though I had to move from one room to another I got help and the man who helped was very nice.  When we discovered that it did not have a handicapped accessible shower he went down and found me a new room.  It is closer to the elevator also.
 I am going to watch TV and wait for my phone to recharge. (hopefully)  it crapped out on me on the way into town. Fortunately I had good maps from AAA and they got me here fine.
 There is a managers reception and dinner tonight, informal and the meetings start tomorrow.

Road Trip Day II

 This was the view as I left the Motel in Columbus this morning at 7:00 AM (Iowa Time)  I did not sleep well as the bed was too soft.

I got on the road and this is what I saw.  Not going to write much tonight as I am really tired.
 Saw lots of this.
 Louisville from the Bridge  - Ohip River Bridge
 Got off the road and had to drive through a part of downtown to get back on the Freeway.  This building says 1887 on it,  That is the part on the right.
 More road
 Interesting rock exposure

 Nice Horse country but I didn't get a good picture.

 A few nice clouds

 Coming up on a tunnel!!!
 I did not like driving through these.  There were two of them. Lots of fu^&*ng semi's
I put the camera away as the road was very curvy and there was a lot of traffic.  I am in Asheville tonight.  Will drive to Charlotte tomorrow. Had a nice piece of Prime Rib for super. Too much to eat. And the hotel gave me 10% off coupon.  And they gave me a AAA discount.  Nice!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Hovering over Manhattan - Photos by Bob Kelly

On the way home from a recent trip to Bermuda, my flight schedule was such that I had to wait four hours at JFK Airport in New York.  Rather that sit in the airport all those hours, I chose to take a fast taxi ride down to Manhattan along Pier 6 on the East River, where I boarded a helicopter flight that spent 15 minutes exploring lower Manhattan.  It was WONDERFUL, incredibly smooth, big windows to shoot through, and it ended far too soon!

Here we are about to enter the Midtown Tunnel and go under the East River, coming out on the other side.  That is the Empire State Building 

The Midtown Tunnel was fun and colorful as it curved along the bottom of the East River.

 One of the first sights we passed by was this flagship store for Macy's, which is the site that usually hosts the annual Thanksgiving Day Parade in November of each year.
 Once out of the tunnel the Empire State Building loomed in the distance.
 The giant mast at the top of the building has been in several movies.  It also serves as a very good lightning rod
 Before too long I would be seeing this view of the Empire State Building as I hovered along at 1500 feet.
 Those not lucky enough to fly,or those who chose not to do so…..enjoyed seeing lower manhattan from the water.
 Those not lucky enough to fly,or those who chose not to do so…..enjoyed seeing lower manhattan from the water.

Shortly after take off we were approaching the Statue of Liberty.

Viewed from 500 feet she looked beautiful!

Turning to look behind me, I could see the East River, the orange Staten Island Ferry boat that goes back and forth across the river several times each day.   The first pier behind the Staten Island Ferry is Pier 6 where we met our helicopter and then rose up above the river.                                                                                               

 To my left I could see more of the buildings of lower Manhattan.  Behind some of these clustered buildings is Wall Street and the New York Stock Exchange.                                                                           

One World Trade Center is rising up in the form of two buildings, to replace the twin towers that were destroyed horrifically on September, 11, 2001.

This is  now the tallest structure in New York city, even though it is not finished yet.

The 843 acres that make up Central Park create one of the largest urban parks in the USA.

 Central Park even has a large lake!
During the last week in May New York city is host to Fleet Week, whereby various ships from the USA Navy and other countries of the world, provide an interesting collection of ship tours for the visitors.
This photo shows the "Norwegian Star" on the left, and the Holland America, "Veedam" on the left.  Both of the ships were in Bermuda while I was there, and they are very large!
 The Intrepid is a floating sea, air, and space museum permanently docked along the east side of the Hudson River.  It is the home to a collection of war planes, as well as the French super sonic Concorde in the lower left.  It is soon going to be come the permanent home to the Space Shuttle "Enterprise" which is currently resting in a special hangar at JFK Airport in New York, until it can be permanently installed on the Intrepid.  In the movie, "National Treasure," actor Nicholas Cage jumped off the Intrepid near the Concorde jet to escape from the FBI that was chasing him.

Across the Hudson River, and opposite Manhattan is Hoboken, New Jersey, and this city park is built on pylons and sits out in the Hudson River!

This old rain station, still showing its tracks behind the building is a portion of Liberty State Park, and currently is the point where passengers get on and off the Circle Line Ferry boats that go back and forth across the Hudson to Manhattan. 

When most immigrants came to the USA, they stopped first for several days at Ellis Island to be processed, and to be certain they were not carrying serious diseases.  Nearly every adult in the United States has a Grand Parent, or Great Grand Parent who came through Ellis Island.  It is a National Monument now, and one can go there and search records for family history projects.

As the helicopter return to Pier 6 for landing I could see the massive stone towers of the famous Brooklyn Bridge

It was a wonderful experience and a fantastic ride!  Go to to see more about the helicopter ride options, as well a some very good videos of the helicopters in flight.  I took another "very fast" cab back to JFK airport, and easily made my connection for my return trip back home to Ames.  It was an exciting time for sure!!

Road Trip Day I

 Above and Below - The sky as I left Ames.
 Crossing the Mississippi into Illinois

 Not bad for "drive-by" shootings
 Illinois is flat.
 Most of the traffic was light.
 A wind farm for Dave.
 Made it to Indiana.
 Traffic picked up a little around Indianapolis.  More on the other side than on mine.

 A really nice rest area.  I loved the trees so I took two pictures. Now in Eastern time.
 My Motel
 A nice Restaurant

A man came over to talk to me.  He was reading the same book I was reading.  We discussed it.  He had read the three previous biographies in the series.

 Nice steak, if a little over done.  Very nice waitress.