Moving

In just a few weeks we will be moving into our home on wheels. The picture above was taken when we last had our coach out back in September of 2017. It has been just about a year of waiting since then.

The coach becomes home for us late September. We’ll be in Canada for about six weeks or so and then we will head south for the winter months, from November to April, travelling down to Florida and across to California. We will cover roughly 7,000 miles or more during that time.

Really looking forward to this adventure.

After years of planning, we are almost ready to go.

You can follow us on that journey at our travel blog: rvcastaways.com

Norway’s $47BN Coastal Highway

This was one of the last photos I took of Norway, just as we were leaving Flam.

I would have to say that Norway was one of the most stunning places I have ever visited. The landscapes were truly amazing.

I came across this video highlighting a very large scale infrastructure project to connect the coastal communities of Norway.

If implemented successfully, this would be an impressive achievement.

 

A Bus In Hamburg

When we were wandering around Hamburg, Germany a few weeks back, I came across a number of tour buses operated by Hansa Rundfahrt. I took this shot just outside one of the churches in Hamburg.

This is what they have to say about themselves on their website:

Die Hansa Rundfahrt GmbH ist ein erfahrenes und modernes Busunternehmen in Hamburg. Wir bieten seit über hundert Jahren die Anmietung von Omnibussen inklusive Fahrer an. In der schönen Hansestadt Hamburg haben wir uns auf Bustransfers für Gruppen, Schulen, Firmen und Vereine spezialisiert. Buchen Sie uns für Flughafentransfers, Incoming Transfers und Shuttle Transfers.

I’m not sure what it means but I do like the design of the bus. Very sharp.

Super-yachts Come and Super-yachts Go

Lurking just beyond the harbourfront? Top Five.

Kingston doesn’t usually see that many super-yachts. Top Five is the second one in harbour in as many days. Blue Moon came by a few days earlier.

These super-yachts range in price from a low of say roughly fifty million to several hundred million dollars to build. Top Five had at least 12 crew that I could see and operating costs must be significant for a vessel of this size.

If more of these yachts plan to drop by, Kingston will need to redesign its harbour. Top Five had to dock alongside the Holiday Inn. Guests of the hotel could look out directly into the ship. I suspect that some of the guests might have been able to touch the side of the ship from their balcony.

Not ideal for either group.

Norwegian Cruise Lines

116 days until retirement.

And 123 days until our retirement celebration cruise. We are making our way over to Europe and we will be spending time visiting Hamburg for a few days as well as Norway for a nine-day cruise on the Norwegian Jade.

We have booked a stateroom that you can make out on the front of the ship, just below the bridgeline. There are six large balconies and our stateroom balcony is the second one in from the starboard (right) side of the ship. We will always know where the ship is heading and, more importantly, we should have some wonderful views of the fjords.

Our cruise itinerary looks like this:

First time visiting Hamburg and first time visiting Norway. Lorraine and I are very excited about the upcoming trip.

As we have been making our bookings for our flights, shore hotels, shore excursions and ship dining, it is finally beginning to dawn on me that retirement is only about four months from now.

KA by Cirque du Soleil

It was our last day in Vegas and we really did not have anything planned. I was a bit restless. I get that way towards the end of a vacation. Not really looking forward to getting back to the cold of a Canadian winter. And, now that retirement is only 18 weeks away, I found that I was quite enjoying the unstructured time and not really looking forward to getting back to a busy calendar.

We had a wonderful morning walking around a number of the resort properties on the strip. We decided to stop at the House of Blues at Mandalay Bay for brunch.

Did I mention I was a bit restless? When I get restless I get impulsive. We walked by the Titanic exhibition and, on impulse, purchased two tickets and enjoyed a walkthrough of various artifacts taken from the ship.

We made our way over to the MGM property and I was taking a few shots including this one at the exit gate for KA.

As I was taking the shot, an employee raced over to us. At first I thought I had broken some rule about taking pictures but no. “Hurry!” she said, “You can join us for a behind the scenes look at Ka but the doors are closing right now.”

There we were. Inside the incredible theater hall for KA.

There were only a handful of people for the demonstration but the presenter was great and walked us through many of the remarkable sets for the show.

As we left the presentation, I took this picture of the dragon. And, being restless, which meant being impulsive, I jumped online with my iPhone and purchased two tickets for the evening performance. Great seats and, sadly, a great price to go along with the great seats.

What a show! We were so close to the front that we felt like we were in the show. We loved every minute of it.

Here is a trailer that shows some of the highlights from the show. What a terrific way to end the week.

Hoover Dam

Somehow we had managed to avoid it. Touring the Hoover Dam. Until this year.

Why this time? Not sure. I suppose it felt like a bit of an obligation. Visit Vegas, visit the Hoover Dam.

So we did.

We booked a Pink Jeep tour with a great travel guide, Dennis.

As of August 2017, Lake Mead was at approximately 40% of full capacity and we could clearly see the drop in water level in the basin that feeds into the Hoover Dam by the difference in the colours of the canyon.

Dennis called the white markings etched into the canyon rock a bathtub ring.

It is also obvious that the water is low when you look at this view of the dam. The intake towers draw water into the tunnels to drive the hydro-electric generators. Good thing that they draw the water in from a high water level as well as a low water level.

Lorraine ignoring the warning sign.

Two time zones at the Hoover Dam. This was the Nevada side which is opposite the Arizona side, one hour later.

Here are the turbines that generate electricity.

A shot of the face of the dam.

We walked to both ends of the Hoover Dam. This perspective offers a good view of the new bridge that was constructed to alleviate the traffic that was forced to use the Hoover Dam roadway. The dam is now classified as critical infrastructure and there was a visible armed presence complete with semi-automatic rifles.

Fremont Street Experience

And what an experience it was. Such a dramatic contrast between the strip and Fremont street.

Here is one of the main roads into Fremont:

And on the strip:

The covered walking mall experience on Fremont:

The indoor mall experience at the Venetian:

The shops at Fremont:

The shops on the strip:

Specialty retailers on Fremont:

And on the strip:

Wonderful eateries on Fremont — meal is free if you weigh over 350 pounds:

Dining is a touch different on the strip:

Our uber driver described the Fremont Street experience as “working class” compared to the “upper class” experience on the strip. There are some tacky spots on the strip as well however the differences are quite stark between the two environments.

First time we had gone to Fremont. It was interesting to spend a few hours walking around the place.

Not sure I would book a vacation there.