Archive for the ‘Family Vacations’ Category

Hurricane Gustav has its perks! You could wind up in San Antonio!

Monday, September 1st, 2008

Mission San Jose by Sheree Zielke

(An early morning view of the beautiful Mission San Jose in San Antonio’s Missions National Park.)

Thank you, Hurricane Gustav.  We are sitting high and dry in one of the loveliest cities in North America, San Antonio. We are supposed to be in New Orleans. But thanks to a little convincing by Gustav and American officials, we changed our plans.

On the day we were set to arrive in NOLA, evacuation orders forced nearly two million folks to leave the southern seaboard.  We had planned a holiday riding the rails, the Amtrak rails, but the trains were needed to take people out of New Orleans, so Amtrak cancelled our reservations.

We were in Houston (another area slated to be hit by Gustav) so we had no choice but to rent a car and head north to San Antonio.  In fact, on our way, we passed a convoy of 2 dozen buses that were heading south on a rescue mission.  Later, on TV, we watched as an endless line of buses, filled with those folks escaping the storm, headed away to safer zones like Dallas and Houston.

Now we are watching as the eye of Gustav makes landfall — the good news, maybe, for New Orleans, is that the eye will be passing farther to the west than expected.

But in the meantime, we are in San Antonio, where we have rented a comfortable house, we have walked the famous Riverwalk, we have ridden the canal boats, we have paid homage to the Alamo, and we have made an early morning trek to the old Spanish missions.  What a joy!

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Our Disappearing Heritage along Western Canada Roadways!

Friday, August 22nd, 2008

Old Building in Alberta

I felt a pang, no, a pain, that swept through me in an instant as I beheld the old decrepit building with its weathered facade and its old-fashioned architectural detals.  The pain was one of nostalgia, a yearning of things long gone, things that made my childhood magical, things that most children will never understand in today’s fast food world.

Except for my grandkids.

As long as I can walk and talk, as long as I can get into a car, and pack them along with me, my grandchildren will be introduced to my past, my heritage – a heritage in danger of disappearing altogether under the pressures of weather, urban sprawl, industry, and . . . time.

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Get off the Strip – Visit Old Downtown Las Vegas For a Really Good Time!

Friday, August 1st, 2008

Plaza in Las Vegas at Night by Sheree Zielke

My husband and I celebrated our 21st wedding anniversary yesterday.  Our formal plans had us dining at a very cool eatery called “The Bootlegger Italian Bistro,”  in South Las Vegas. We had eaten there when we first arrived in Vegas and thought it would be a nice place, with its classic old gangster ambience, to have our anniversary dinner.

But our plans changed.  Vegas has a way of doing that to plans.  So, we cancelled our reservations in favor of another place.  And we are so glad we did.  We had one of our best times yet in Las Vegas.

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Take a Trip Back to Yesterday: Travel the Historic Route 66 for a Magical Adventure!

Wednesday, July 30th, 2008

Blue Car in Seligman Arizona by Sheree Zielke

There are almost no words to describe traveling an authentic portion of Route 66.  If time machines exist, then this is one of the finest. 

There is an ambience of days gone by, the good old days, when Mom and Dad packed up the old Chevy with 3.5 kids, a dog, a cooler, Dad in his best driving hat, and Mom in her finest traveling clothes, and hit the road in search of adventures, or maybe a new life on the other side of Amercia.

The atmosphere, the sense of nostalgia along “The Mother Road” is so poignant, so acute, that it will bring tears to your eyes.  At least, it did, to mine. 

My husband and I set out yesterday in search of Americana history.  We left Vegas about 7 AM and reached Kingman, Arizona about 3 hours later.  With a few stops in the desert along the way, we had set up the perfect photo safari.  But we had no idea just how perfect our day was going to be.  Because the adventure that is Route 66 still lay ahead of us.

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Las Vegas Neon Museum – A Photographer’s Dream Location!

Tuesday, July 29th, 2008

Golden Sign by Sheree Zielke

There is a place in Las Vegas that very few visitors know about.  Even fewer will ever see it. It is a place called, “The Boneyard,” and it is a photographer’s dream, even if all you can get is a glimpse through the thick mesh and wire fence surrounding the compound.

The Boneyard is aptly named as it is a sanctuary for old Las Vegas neon signs – the bones of historic Vegas, if you will.

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The Best Show to See in Las Vegas? The “V” Show!

Monday, July 28th, 2008

 

I’m jaded when it comes to variety acts.  I have owned an entertainment company for more than a quarter century, and there really isn’t much out there that turns my crank. I have had my fill of jugglers, magicians and comedians.  I am married to a magician, and I still teach interactive comedy theatre, so, it is with great pleasure that I can say I have found a really good variety show in Vegas that’s not only fresh and exciting — it’s actually fun.

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Rexall Edmonton IndyCar — Great weather, great time, great race!

Monday, July 28th, 2008

Rexall Edmonton IndyCar Gate Sign by Sheree Zielke

It’s all over for another year in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.  The race has been run – the IndyCar race, that is, since Champ Car merged with the Indy League earlier this year.  It was the debut IRL race for Edmonton, and by all accounts, it was a success.  Especially for at least one driver.

The big winner?  Scott Dixon, of New Zealand (It was Scott Dixon’s 5th win for 2008.)  He was followed by “Dancing With the Stars” champ, Helio Castroneves, then Justin Wilson, and finally, Canadian Champ Car driver, Paul Tracy, who had fought his way up from  his 16th  starting position.

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New York City’s Central Park Zoo – Terrific? Or Just Too Tiny?

Monday, July 14th, 2008

Emerald Boa at Central Park Zoo by Sheree Zielke

Harry Smith, from the CBS Early Show, referred to this zoo as a “zoolet.”  And he’s right.  New York’s Central Park zoo is a very tiny animal sanctuary, but it does prove the old adage that “Good things come in small packages.”

The Central Park zoo is the perfect destination if your time and your cash are a little short.  The admission price is tiny, and it’ll take only a couple of hours to look around, but the animals are very exotic, and the little haven has a very inviting ambience.

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Riding the Rails – Take a day trip on the Amtrak! Affordable and fun!

Thursday, July 10th, 2008

Philadelphia Amtrak Train Station by Sheree Zielke

If you have never taken the train, or you haven’t ridden the rails in some time, then check out the nearest Amtrak station.  Especially when exploring a new city. That’s the Philadelphia Amtrak station showing above.

With the high cost of rental cars, gasoline, insurance, and with the irritation of battling traffic in a strange city, travel by Amtrak train is like a gift from heaven.

My husband and I have just decided to include at least one Amtrak day trip while traveling, and we are very glad we did.  We took the Amtrak between New York City and Philadelphia, and loved the trip.

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Spend a day in Philadelphia – take the train from New York City – it’s a GREAT idea!

Sunday, July 6th, 2008
Click to play A Day in Philly 08
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Cheers,
Sheree Zielke