Saturday, March 11, 2017

Well, the road trip is over! In the 14 days since we left Ocean City, we have driven over 3600 miles, traveled through 12 states, gone weatherize from spring, to summer, and back to winter, had great times in Walt Disney World, New Orleans, and Bossier City, Louisiana with our twins and their significant others, spotted license plates from 36 states, 3 Canadian Provinces, the District of Columbia and the US Government, and stayed in 9 hotels. We left the Hilton Garden Inn this morning a little after 8AM, traveled into Maryland and then into Delaware. We left early because we both couldn’t sleep this morning, and since the Hilton Garden Inn didn’t supply a free breakfast, we got up, got dressed, and hit the road!

Thank God it was a Saturday, because as crowded as I-95 was this morning going around Washington, DC and Baltimore, I can’t even begin to imagine what we’d have gone through had it been a weekday! At about 10 AM, we stopped at the Maryland House rest area, looking to get something for breakfast. Turns out that Dunkin’ Donuts was the only place that had any kind of breakfast items on their menu, and the line was about 30 people long. Not looking to spend 30 minutes waiting to order a microwaved egg sandwich, we had Chicken Clubs and Cokes at Wendy’s…exactly like we did day one of this trip on the way south on 95!


We made a small detour on the way back to Ocean City, opting to stop at Total Wines in Claymont, Delaware to pick up a few bottles (or cases) of wine, including an interesting shaped bottle of Italian white and another of Chianti. Not only are the prices great, but there is no tax in Delaware, a definite win/win. We both agreed that this is the last time we will venture there on a Saturday, because between Total Wines and the Home Depot next door, it took us about 10 minutes to get out of the parking lot! Live and learn.

So then it was time for us to follow our friend Ginger Peach Scott, our GPS (Sorry for the typo in yesterday’s blog. Her first name is Ginger, not Georgia!), home to Ocean City! We briefly touched the great state of Pennsylvania and then it was into New Jersey and the Atlantic City Expressway. We got here about 2:10 this afternoon. The sky is clear, the sun is shining, and it’s 33 degrees…what is wrong with that picture!!

As I write this, Susie has already gotten 3 loads of laundry done, and we have done some of the necessary work in anticipation of a sleeper sofa we ordered being delivered next week, allowing us to turn our twin bedroom into a den. That entailed moving a bureau out of the back bedroom and putting it down in the garage in preparation for putting it on the curb; moving a dresser from the former “Lighthouse” room to the back bedroom (the Ocean City room); re-hooking up the TV in the back room, and packing up the lighthouse pictures and statues from the room. Tomorrow we will get the two twin beds down to the garage in preparation for disposal, and Susie will give the room a good cleaning. Then it will only be a matter of waiting for a call that the couch and coffee table we ordered are ready.

Now, as to this coming week. Wednesday is a dentist appointment and Nail Night, and Thursday at 10:30 AM we need to be in NYC to have our taxes done. Originally we talked about heading home early on Wednesday, but that was until Mother Nature got involved! In addition to the ridiculously cold temperatures the North East is experiencing for mid March, the predictions are also for a snowfall of anywhere from 12-24 inches for Monday night into Tuesday, continuing all day Tuesday! Monday looks like the only clear day for the next 3, so we’ve decided that we will have to head to Long Island Monday morning, if for no other reason than that we can make our tax preparation appointment. Trust me, if we didn’t have that appointment, we would hunker down right here at 854 Pennlyn Place, in Ocean City! The dentist and nails can wait!

So that’s a wrap on our road trip that started when we left Ocean City, NJ on the morning of Sunday, February 26th, and ended when we returned to Ocean City early this afternoon. It was a fun, but very busy trip, and it’s good to be home. We may re-visit the trip in coming days, but tonight we’re going to be lazy, have a dinner of leftovers (thanks for packing them up on Feb 25th Kenny), and perhaps catch up on some TV.


As good as road trips are, it’s always nice to be HOME! Next road trip…Raleigh, NC in April for our granddaughter’s 3rd birthday, and again for Easter…praying for spring weather!!!

Friday, March 10, 2017


Tonight finds us in our last hotel of the trip, as tomorrow we will be home in Ocean City, and our road trip will be over. Today was a traveling day, with us covering 436 Interstate miles between our morning in Spartanburg, South Carolina, and our day end in Fredericksburg, Virginia. During the course of the day, we were on I-40, I-85, I-585, I-77, and ultimately I-95. Earlier this week, when we made our plans sitting in our room in Bossier City, Louisiana, our plan for tonight was to stay at a Hampton Inn in Emporia, Virginia. We did that so we had options on how we wanted to head back to Ocean City. At that location, we could head up I-95, or we could take the Chesapeake Bay Bridge/Tunnel and small roads up through Maryland and Delaware, or we could catch the ferry in Lewes, Delaware, and use that to get to Cape May. Mother Nature, however, decided that the winter of 2017 wasn’t over yet, so this morning we re-evaluated our plans, discounting the ferry and the Chesapeake Bay Bridge/Tunnel, and opting for the more direct route up I-95. That being the case, we decided to head a bit farther north tonight, and are in a Hilton Garden Inn, about 100 miles farther north than Emporia. Tomorrow, the GPS says we could be in Ocean City in a little over 4 hours, but we’re going to make a slight detour to Total Wines in Claymont, Delaware to pick up some tax free wine!

As I said, the road trip is almost over, and today the Interstate Highways were our home. We started in South Carolina and then crossed into North Carolina, but no South of the Border this time.

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Our next state was Virginia (it’s for Lovers, in case you didn’t know), and when we stopped at the Welcome Center, about a mile into the state, we discovered that we were returning to winter! From the 70s earlier in the day, to the low 50s, and that doesn’t even factor in the winds which were blowing to beat the band!


As I’m typing this blog, Susie has the Weather Channel on the TV, and they just said that the local temperature was 35 degrees!! It’s 7:50 PM, it’s March 10th, and we’re in Virginia! WTF???

Thought we’d share with you today some of the things we saw along the road today, and some of the observations we’ve made during the past 2 weeks and 3500 miles on the road.

Our first thoughts have to do with the signs you see along the side of the roads, I know, that a long time ago, Lady Bird Johnson tried to stop the sides of the Interstates looking like a never ending ad fest, and perhaps what we see today does benefit from her efforts, but boy are there a lot of billboards. From the classical South of the Border type billboards (100 miles ahead, at Exit 23, 12 miles ahead, etc.), to billboards advertising national and local restaurants (I now know that breakfasts at Cracker Barrel start at $4.99, lunches at $5.99, and they have 7 dinners for only $7.99), to the price of Unleaded and Diesel fuel at hundreds of Interstate exits across the 11 states we’ve traveled. However, it seems to us, that the largest number of billboards seem to be for Fireworks and Adult Stores (called that, and so many other cute variations).




Then there are things you see along the side of the road…like this giant peach! I know you probably would associate it with Georgia, but no, we saw this today along the side of the Interstate in South Carolina!

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While the vast majority of cars traveling the roads with us, have been newish SUVs, sedans, and trucks, there has been the occasional older vehicle. Today we saw this older Cadillac sedan and a very nice Buick Riviera. See the Cadillac below, I was driving when we passed the Riviera so decided that multi tasking wasn’t called for at 80 MPH!


Then there are the bumper stickers you see on cars…


And the trucks that serve as rolling billboards for their brands

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And that’s how the road went today!

Tonight we had our last Road Trip Meal at a local Cracker Barrel restaurant. Sorry, but we like them, and we will not see one again, till our next road trip, so we unapologetically enjoyed our dinner tonight!


Then it was time to feed the car. The Sonata is an incredible road trip car, today averaging 34.3 miles to a gallon, while still driving 70 to 80 miles per hour. A full tank of gas, will allow us to travel at least 465 miles according to the car, and the only time we buy gas twice a day, is when we want to fill up at the end of the day, after filling first thing in the morning. Tonight guess where we filled up….


So that’s how today went for us….Oh, and by the way, Kenny and Chris told us that we had to name our GPS, so we’d like to introduce you to Georgia Peach Scott, our smart map reader!


PS – Tonights Hilton Garden Inn has one of the worst Wi-Fi we have experienced on this trip.  I’d expect this at a lesser hotel, but at a Hilton…NO!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Before I start today’s blog, let me acknowledge that today, March 9, 2017 would have been my Mom’s 101st birthday. Hard to believe she has been gone almost 6 years, having died just a month after her 95th birthday. She was a great lady, a great Mom and Grandma, and I’m sure her love of travel was passed on to her only child, and is part of the reason Susie and I have traveled so much since my retirement in January, 2016. Thanks Mom for the life lessons, and indeed for life!

So, this was a road day, as we covered 355 miles from Tuscaloosa, Alabama to Spartanburg, South Carolina! We pulled out of the driveway of the Hampton Inn a little before 10 this morning (after having a very nice breakfast…well done Hampton Inn East Tuscaloosa), filled the Sonata with $1.97 a gallon gas, and headed back to eastbound Interstate 20. During the course of the day we drove through a lot of road construction areas, looped around Birmingham, enjoyed our fellow travelers, crossed into Georgia, and as we crossed into Georgia, we also crossed back into the Eastern Time Zone.

We were supposed to loop around Atlanta too, but our GPS friend (the boys said we need to name her so we have somebody to bitch at when the directions go wrong) was a bit off! She told us to avoid the upcoming exit for I-285 and to continue on I-20, but then as soon as we passed the I-285 exit, she told us to take the ramp for exit 52B and I-285 North…unfortunately, exit 52 A and B were one exit, and once we passed A, we could not get to B, so we had an unexpected tour of Atlanta, Georgia!

In Atlanta, we bid farewell to our friend Interstate 20, and transferred to Interstate 85, which heads in a more North/Easterly direction. We were still in the throws of Atlanta for about the first 20 minutes on the road, so traffic was heavy and slow. Soon, however, we’d made it to the outskirts of Atlanta, and the traffic opened up and speeds increased, until it stopped dead for 25 minutes because of an accident ahead! Unlike yesterday, we were 2 and a half miles away from the nearest exit, and basically sat for 25 minutes as the road was effectively closed! See my rant below for more about that!


                                                    Our View for the 25 minutes we sat still


Eventually the road did re-open and we were off, but now our nice 4:30 arrival at our hotel was delayed till after 5 because of the time we’d lost and the fact that once we got to South Carolina, we were in early rush hour traffic!


We continued on I-85, crossed into South Carolina, passed Greenville and eventually reached Spartanburg and our Comfort Suites hotel. Interestingly, we are still reaping the benefits of our 9 week trip last fall, and for the second time on this trip stayed in a Choice Hotel for absolutely nothing. If you travel, and you do not belong to one of the many (or many of the many) Hotel Clubs, then you are cheating yourself out of some great perks. Belonging to the clubs, plus having the hotel app on your smart phone or tablet, makes traveling so easy these days. No more looking through the AAA Tour Book, and hoping the listing is accurate. Now you just input where you want to stay, and you’re presented with a number of options, where you can see the price, see what other travelers say about the accommodations, and make a reservation be it weeks or hours before you arrive. In addition to the Choice App, we utilize the Hilton, Marriott, Best Western, Wyndham and the Holiday Inn App! A traveler tool that nobody should be without!

As has become our routine on road trips, after checking in, I procured ice, and made Susie and I our usual Sailor Jerry and Diet Coke. Then, while enjoying our drink, Susie started dinner research, and I started working on the blog. We both felt like Italian tonight, and we found a place just down the street, that was recommended in everything we read. It was called Olive Garden, and it was nothing special, but exactly what we felt like tonight.

After dinner, it was time for a field trip. Where else do you go in South Carolina after dinner? Why, where else but Walmart!


Susie said she saw a couple of “Walmart People”, but I didn’t…but we did see lots of locals…’nuff said.

And that’s how our Thursday went. How was yours?

Okay…here is my rant I mentioned earlier!

In the past 2 weeks, we have traveled over 3000 miles, most on the Interstate Highway System. The one conclusion Susie and I have come to is that as Americans, we have become shitty drivers. I don’t care if the car has New York or New Jersey plates or is from Louisiana or Georgia, people can no longer drive! Is it a matter of the way driving is taught, is it the influence of video games and smart phones, is it that folks just don’t give a damn anymore, or is it just that the citizens of these United States have collectively turned into assholes?? The things we have seen in these 3000 miles are incredible. From changing lanes without the use of a directional signal (remember those), to driving close to 100 when the speed limit is 75, to passing on the right, to cutting off drivers because you want to be where they are, to running so close behind that you can’t see their headlights, to actually driving into the entrance lane to pass someone in the right lane….we have seen it all! I mentioned that today we sat absolutely still for 25 minutes on I-85 because of an accident ahead of us. If you read yesterday’s blog, you’ll remember that we sat yesterday on I-20 for close to 20 minutes, again because of an accident in front of us. We have seen these shitty drivers many times weave in and out of traffic, cut off other drivers, and only through the good grace (and driving skills) of other drivers, NOT cause an accident. One night last year on the LIE, we were passed by a couple of Japanese imports with loud mufflers, doing exactly that. About a mile after they’d buzzed us, the road stopped, and as we came over a hill, we discovered one of these bastards and 5 other poor souls who’d done nothing but be in the wrong place at the wrong time spattered across the Expressway, and I’m sure the accident was caused by the actions of these jerks. Between the last 2 days, we have lost almost an hour in travel time due to the actions of folks who have no concern about their fellow drivers. As are so many people in today’s world, all they care about is themselves, and frankly couldn’t give a damn about who they hurt or inconvenience. My Dad used to say when I was a kid, that he’d love to drive around with an old banged up truck, and not bother stopping for the jerks on the road that cut you off, turned in front of you, or changed lanes without signaling. Perhaps not much has changed, but I for one am tired of these jerks taking the lives of myself, my family, and friends for granted. I am tired of the selfish assholes the world seems to be populated by, and I am especially tired of the jerks who think they can drive, and who create accidents for which the rest of us have to pay!!!

Okay…rant done!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Tonight finds us in a Hampton Inn in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, having driven 392 miles since leaving Bossier City, Louisiana. We pulled out of the Horseshoe garage a little after 10 this morning, and found our way to Interstate 20 East, the first time since leaving Florida that we have been traveling east. The day was sunny, temperatures were in the high 60s, and the road was clear and level….for a bit.

After being on the road for less than 30 minutes, suddenly we came over a rise and found Interstate 20 stopped dead. We knew we were in a construction area because there were signs advising that the left lane was closed ahead, but stopped dead? We sat there for 5 minutes, and then 10, when Susie finally discovered on her iPhone that there was an accident before the next exit. After we were there for 15 minutes, several people in front of us turned, or backed up to the exit. We looked at the map and it looked like there might be a side road we could detour on to, so after having sat absolutely still for 18 minutes, we backed up a bit, made a hard right turn, and took the exit we were next to. At least we were moving!


We were driving south rather than east, but at least we were moving…oh, and we were driving the GPS nuts! “Make a U Turn in 1000 feet, Make a U Turn in .2 miles”…that was her routine for about the first 10 minutes of the detour. Finally she got with the program, and started directing us in the direction we intended to go! Everything looked good till Susie looking at Google Maps on her iPhone declared, “I think I-20 East is closed where we will intersect with it.” Oh well. As we got to our intersection with I-20, and saw the Louisiana State Police cars, and the line of traffic coming off I-20, we knew that Susie was correct. All we could do was fall in behind a double FedEx truck, and follow the crowd.


Eventually we got on US 80, which appeared to be the original route, before I-20 was built, and we were going 55 MPH, so it wasn’t bad. As we passed by farms and rural houses, the line of traffic seemed to be the main entertainment for the residents. Well, at least somebody was enjoying our detour! Turned out that the next time US 80 intersected with Interstate 20, I-20 was open, and our double detour (first an accident, then construction) was over, but it had cost us over an hour in our travels.

We’d hoped to be further along before we stopped for gas and lunch, but hadn’t counted on the detours, so we rolled with the punches, stopped and fed the car and ourselves!


After lunch, it was clear sailing, as we moved quickly through the rest of Louisiana, on a nice clear road under a sunny sky. Soon we reached the end of Louisiana and entered Mississippi for the second time in a week.


We decided to stop at the Mississippi Welcome Center for a bathroom break, and to switch drivers, and as soon as we crossed the Mississippi River again, we exited into the Welcome Center. Here are some pictures from the Welcome Center, which was right on the Mississippi River….

Then it was time to get back on Interstate-20, and head into “Sweet Home” Alabama, and our stop for the night in Tuscaloosa.

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Tonight was probably the latest we’ve been on the road this trip, and we were fortunate to be driving east, with the sun at our backs, and not in our eyes. By the time we pulled into the Hampton Inn, it was close to 6:30 and fully dark. We took opportunity of a Ruby Tuesday that was just across the drive from our hotel, walked over, had a quick dinner, and now we’re back in the room, watching TV, blogging, and enjoying tonight’s vodka!

Another day brought to us thanks to the Eisenhower Interstate System, a road system that was imagined in the1950s with the desire to link the 48 states via a road system!


See you tomorrow!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017



                                                               The Kings of Hollywood!

Well, really it’s Monday, March 6th and Tuesday, March 7th!

For anyone who looked for yesterday’s blog and found nothing, I sincerely apologize. It’s just that the events of the day did not lend itself to the time needed to write, edit and post the blog. In an effort to make up for my lack of effort, I’m going to attempt to recap yesterday and today in this one blog. So here goes….

Susie and I left the Loews New Orleans Hotel yesterday morning, and made our way across the street to the Harrahs Casino garage. By 10:30 AM the car was packed, and we were heading out of the garage. If anyone is keeping track, hotel for two nights and New Orleans parking for 2 nights total cost = ZERO! Comped hotel, comped parking…thank you Caesar’s Total Rewards!

Looking at the map, we were expecting to head west out of New Orleans on I-10 and join up with northbound I-49 and head to our Monday destination, Bossier City, Louisiana, the GPS had other ideas! Just after Baton Rouge, it had us exit I-10 and head west on US 190, and looking at a map, Susie understood it’s intent. I-10 dipped south before meeting I-49, while US 190 went right across in a straight line….kind of like a high school geometry problem! Let’s just say that it was an interesting detour off the Interstate System! First, it was an area that looked like it was still coming back from Katrina damage. Second, it was definitely an area where you’d expect to see folks with few teeth, chewing on a toothpick, wearing bib overalls, and driving an ancient Chevy pickup truck. Every food place we saw until we got back on the Interstate seemed to be attached to a gas station! Needless to say, we didn’t eat!

Weather was iffy, and several times we had to drive through rain. Luckily, the trip wasn’t a total wash out, but there was enough weather to remind us that it’s not fun to drive the interstates in the rain. We arrived at the Horseshoe Hotel and Casino in Bossier City (across the river from Shreveport) about 4:30 and checked into our two rooms. Susie and I both had a free room for two nights (Total Rewards again), and we’d be using one and Kenny and Chris the other. The boys had left NOLA after us, but we’d diverted earlier to find a Walgreens to pick up some supplies, so the boys showed up shortly after we did. After having a drink, we headed down to the casino for a little bit before getting ready for our 7 PM reservation downstairs at Jack Binion’s Steakhouse!

Susie and I stayed in this hotel at the end of our 9 week trip last fall, and ate at the steakhouse, and haven’t stopped talking about the great meal we had there. Once we knew we were following the boys this far, I made a reservation for the four of us as our farewell dinner. While I was a little worried I might have oversold how great it was, the boys assured me that it was an incredible dinner and they loved it! Take a look….

                                          Sorry, no Shrimp Cocktail pictures…it came, we ate it all!


After dinner, we again headed to the casino and tried our luck at slots. While not as lucky as we’d been in Atlantic City or New Orleans, we managed to hold our own till Susie and I decided to hit our bed at about 11:30 PM.

We both had a great night’s sleep, waking up about 8:30 this morning, and after checking email and the like on our iPads, headed down for some breakfast. The boys were sleeping in and we agreed last night we’d hook up later in the morning. An uneventful breakfast except for a couple of items. We had tea and I asked for some creamers and the young waitress brought us exactly two…one each! As it was National Pancake Day, Susie ordered pancakes and when they came, she asked for a glass of skim milk. The girl first said they’d been out of milk for a week and Susie said that she’d have cranberry juice instead. Yep…out of cranberry juice too! Then the waitress came back and said they had whole milk, would Susie “like me to mix it with some water?” Ah, no, just bring a glass of whole milk!

About 11:30, we met up with the boys, and since they were heading to Tulsa, Oklahoma to visit with Chris’ family, they had a couple of hours to kill with us, and we decided to check out a couple of other area casinos. First it was El Dorado in Shreveport, which is owned by the same company that owns the casino Chris’ Dad works for in Reno, Nevada. A nice looking place that both Susie and the boys had some really good luck in playing very similar slot machines!

Then we came back to the Bossier City side of the ride, and visited the Margaritaville Hotel and Casino and see what it had to offer. It’s rated one of the best in the area, and we can see why. Great sleek design, the latest slots, and lots and lots of Jimmy Buffett inspired decor! A nice place that was also nice to my wife!!

Then it was back to the Horseshoe so the boys could grab their stuff and head out. We were in the last minutes of the “Kenny and Chris head off to LA, D’Elia Family Trek” as we waited for the valet to bring Kenny’s Santa Fe out. It started two weeks ago tomorrow at Nail Night in Mineola, followed by the weekend in Ocean City and Atlantic City, then 3 days on the road, followed by 3 nights in Walt Disney World, then 3 nights in New Orleans, and it ended about 2 hours ago, in the garage at the Horseshoe Hotel in Bossier City, Louisiana! Twin sister Krissi and her boyfriend Mike joined the group in OC and AC, and then again last weekend in New Orleans, so it was indeed a family affair all the way! As I said, the boys are staying three days with family in Tulsa, then heading on to Albequerque, Monument Valley, Las Vegas, and in 8 days they expect to arrive in their new home in LA. A great new chapter of their life starts, and we couldn’t be happier for them. We will miss our youngest, but he’s only a phone call away (unlike on the cruise ship), and we expect them in OC this summer. A lot of big changes for the D’Elia Family!

Susie and I came up to the room, opened maps, and planned our route back towards the East Coast. By Friday we will be in Virginia with 3 multiple options on how we’ll get back home. I think we’re probably going to head back to Ocean City for the weekend and then head back to Long Island on Tuesday, but perhaps we will change our minds. Either way, sometime this Saturday, this road trip will be over and put in the history books. It’s been a very active trip and we have had a wonderful time with our twins and their significant others. Kenny came up with the idea of this trip last year, and although I wasn’t 100% convinced it was a good idea, as with so many things in my life, I am so happy that I listened to my youngest child and my favorite wife and we participated, because it was a great way to spend these last two weeks. Thanks Kenny for coming up with the idea and Susie, as always for kicking me in the ass! Love you both!!

After plotting our next 3 days, Susie and I went down to the casino to play a little. We had so so success, and I won some money on a 3D Alladin machine. The following pictures are of that machine. Can you see the 3D effects?

I left Alladin with a voucher for $150, and we tried to duplicate the luck we had in New Orleans, playing partners with the boys on this machine.


We could not duplicate the luck, and rather than winning $1000, we spent the $150 ticket and decided it was time to get something to eat.

On the way out, we both swiped our cards in the Promotional Kiosk and found that we both had won a free buffet dinner. Free is always good, so it was the buffet for dinner!

Back we went to the casino for one last time and won some but lost more, so it’s 8:30 and we are calling it a night! The money that we won a week ago Friday in Harrahs Atlantic City, sustained us through New Orleans and now Bossier City and Shreveport. We left with nothing, but we’d intended to spend it, and spend it we did. We’re happy, Caesars is happy, and we’ve enjoyed our perks of 7 free hotel nights, free parking, free drinks, and free meals.

And that’s the way it was…Monday and Tuesday, March 6th and 7th, 2017!

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Good morning from New Orleans!


Last night was a fun night, as we headed to one of the kids’ favorite dive bars, Turtle Bay, down on Decatur Street, right across from the French Market. We started with Hurricanes for all, and then launched into some yummy food, which was good, cause we were all hungry! From pizza, to burgers, to what Kenny and I had, a Cochon de Lait PoBoy, which in English translates to a pulled pork sandwich with coleslaw and horseradish sauce! Yummy! Fortified, we started heading back, but the kids thought Mom and Dad had walked enough, and called us an Uber!

I will admit that Susie and I are obviously behind the times, because this was our very first Uber ride! The driver was a great guy, who we talked with all the way back to our destination, Harrah’s Casino. The car was a brand new Hyundai SantaFe, and Kenny said the ride cost $4.98! It was both easy and enjoyable, and perhaps something we old folks should look into. I guess it might be time to “get with it”.

Shortly after we got to Harrahs, the kids arrived, so if you can walk it, walking is probably a faster method. The casino was very busy, as was most of NOLA…it was a Saturday night after all. Having never been to Harrahs New Orleans, we took a couple of minutes to get acclimated, and then Susie and I sat down at a couple of machines. They were 1 cent machines we’d never seen before, and for those of you who aren’t familiar with slot machines, one cent is but the denomination you start with. In reality, you can bet up to 5 or 6 dollars a “pull” on these machines and multiply your bet. For some reason, Susie and I always seem to have good luck on machines we’ve never seen before, and perhaps even casinos we’ve never set foot in. All I can tell you is that the lucky streak we started with in Atlantic City last week continued, and we left with much more money than we came with! The rest of the gang wasn’t as fortunate.

Susie and I found the walking and the drinking and the driving had caught up with us, and we decided about 10:45 to head back to the hotel. Krissi and Mike had an early morning flight Sunday back to NYC, and they too were dragging, so they decided to hit the hay too. Kenny and Chris however ventured to Bourbon Street! Ah to be young…..

Well, young also means sleeping in!

Krissi and Mike had an early morning flight back to NYC, so today it would just be the 4 of us again.   They got up early, and were at the airport by 8, while the boys slept on.  After being up for over 3 hours, Susie and I decided to head across the street to Harrahs Casino, and pick up where we left off last night! What do you know, it turns out that we were able to do just that!!

We were joined shortly by the boys, who took us to an area they playing at last night, and introduced us to an incredible Cocktail Waitress named Diva! What an incredible young lady, who knew our names within minutes and kept the drinks coming. Like our friend Ralph at Harrahs AC, Diva has been here since the place opened, and it shows! She put the “mojo” on a dollar machine the 4 of us were playing partners on, and it must have worked. The boys put $42 dollars into it, Susie and I put $100 in, and we split $1000.50 after playing for about an hour! Thank you Diva!!

Then it was off to the Acme Oyster house for some lunch! We were all starved, and ordered about everything on the menu! From oysters to shrimp poboys, to jambalaya and red beans and rice, it was all delicious, and we were so full!

Then it was time to wander through the French Quarter. Words do not exist to describe the French Quarter of New Orleans, so here is a picture essay of our afternoon on the streets of NOLA!

Of course, a trip to the French Quarter of New Orleans would not be complete with a visit to Pat O’Brien’s and a Hurricane or two…or three…or four!

When it was time to leave, the “old folks” were pooped, so Kenny and Chris had Susie and I load the Uber app to our phone. Then they walked me through ordering an Uber ride back to our hotel, and now Susie and I have taken our second Uber ride, but the first that I ordered!!


Thanks Chris and Kenny for exposing your old folks to the 21st Century!!

Relaxing in the room now at 6 PM with a drink, seeing what the boys may have in mind for tonight! Its good to sit down and the AC is nice also!

Tomorrow we’re on the road again to another Louisiana city named Bossier City and the Horseshoe Casino and Hotel, and a wonderful dinner for the 4 of us at Jack Binion’s Steakhouse. It will be happy and bitter sweet, as tomorrow will be our last day with the boys. They will continue their trek to LA on Tuesday, while Susie and I hang around for another day, and then head back east.


Saturday, March 4, 2017


First of all, we are in NOLA! It was a fairly easy trip across I-10 from Pensacola, and right now we are in an 11th floor suite at Lowes New Orleans. Because we are in New Orleans, this is going to be a blog big on pictures, short on text. So here goes!

We left Florida this morning, driving west on Interstate 10 through the Panhandle of the state, which looks totally different than the rest of the state. The only Palm Trees we saw were at the Welcome Station for folks heading east on I-10 into Florida!

So, the first of our new states today was Alabama. Susie definitely says she’s never been, I’m thinking I haven’t, but who knows. We saw lots of familiar names on the road signs, but we were headed to NOLA, so there wasn’t time to stop and visit! One neat thing was a tunnel in Mobile, Alabama that I-10 goes through. Here’s interesting picture that Susie took!


Mississippi was our next state and the road signs say, “Birthplace of America’s Music”


The only music we were interested in was Sirius Channel 24 – Radio Margaritaville. That’s because we passed through the birthplace of one, James William Buffett, Pascagoula!


fullsizerenderAs we crossed the border into Louisiana, we were near our destination, New Orleans, and today’s rendezvous with Twins and Company!! We had tickets for the Steamer Natchez at 2:30, so we had to be sure to be there for that! The GPS took us off Interstate 10, and dumped us directly into the French Quarter. Can you say traffic? Well, we got to the hotel a little after 1, parked the car in the Harrah’s Garage across the street, and checked in at Lowes. Our room wasn’t ready but they took our luggage and off we went to meet the kids! Kenny found us as we walked down the street, and escorted us into the bar they were in, and we FINALLY had our first drink in New Orleans! Then it was off to the Natchez, where a good time was had by all!!

Then it was time to get our room, get our luggage delivered, and have a GDD…..


We’re meeting the 2 younger D’Elias and company in a little bit, and God only knows what tonight will bring!! Perhaps I’ll provide some details later, perhaps what happens in NOLA, stays in NOLA.

Here’s the view from our room…


See you tomorrow…maybe?


Friday, March 3, 2017


Well, after 3 quick nights in Walt Disney World, it was time for our happy band to depart and continue our western trek. The boys were driving all the way to New Orleans today, so they were up and out by about 7:30 this morning. Susie and I were just going to Pensacola, Florida, so we left later. About 10 AM we said goodbye to rooms 7115 and 7116 and Port Orleans, The French Quarter, loaded up the car, and drove down to the main building to check out. I don’t know what elicited a sadder feeling…leaving WDW, or the 3 page bill I was handed by the hotel!


I’m just kidding. What with the free park admissions we got for 3 days, we saved well over $1400 that we’d have had to pay were I not a Disney Retiree. Then there were the discounts on the rooms, some of our meals, and stuff we bought and probably the entire stay cost us 50% of what anyone else doing it would pay, so no reason to complain! Yesterday when I was checking out at the Sassagoula Food Factory, I passed my retiree card to the cashier, and the lady behind me said, “Oh, how can I get one of those?”. I replied, “work for the company for 40 years like I did”, at which the cashier made a face and said, “No way!” Oh well, thanks for buying ABC Disney!

This time we were heading north/west out of WDW, and unlike when we came in via Interstate 4, we exited to surface streets. We quickly knew why Walt Disney wanted a huge area in Florida unlike what he had in California, so that he could protect his visitors from road side clutter. Here are just a few examples….

Funny how few cars were lining up for $5 “Disney” T-shirts!

We made a slight detour to our route today, which added less than 15 minutes to our estimated arrival time, but we think it was worth it. A slight side trip to Minneola, Florida. Okay, so they can’t spell in Florida, and it’s a city not a village, but as we get to the last months of being Mineola, NY residents, we couldn’t help but check out Florida’s version. I think we’ve got nothing to fear at home, unless our village wants a digital sign, which looks very much like the sign at the new Walgreens on Jericho Turnpike and Roslyn Road!

Susie says that she doubts if the Minneola Grill can top the old Jericho Diner, but we didn’t take time to stop and compare!

Tonight we are in what looks like a brand new Hampton Inn and Suites on the side of Interstate 10 in Pensacola. Having driven 450 miles today, and crossing into the Central Time Zone for the first time since last October, we were happy when we pulled in to see a Cracker Barrel Restaurant right across the street. The couple of times we ate at them during our trip last fall, we enjoyed the meal and the value, and we loved this one’s close location. After our customary after driving drink (a ADD), we decided to head over and have an early dinner. We then had to gas up the car, pick up a couple of things at a Walgreens, and then find a Wells Fargo bank and get some money. Just after 6:30, we headed across the street, parked the car, and entered the restaurant to find complete pandemonium!! A tour bus full of high school kids had just descended on the restaurant, and we couldn’t even get to the counter!

Despondent, we decided to do our chores and thought perhaps we might find some place else to eat during our travels. Well, we got everything done (no thanks to Susie’s phone’s GPS that led us about 3 miles in the wrong direction before telling us to “Make a U Turn”), but unfortunately found nothing but fast food that wasn’t a zoo, as it was now after 7 on a Friday night! We decided to try Cracker Barrel again and I dropped Susie off and parked the car. When I got inside, she said they said about 20 minutes, and in less than 5 they called her name, so we did eat at CB, only somewhat later than expected!


So that pretty much gets you up-to-date on today’s travels. Tomorrow morning we will leave about 9:30 and travel what the GPS says is 3 hours to NOLA, and the reunion with our twins and company. I’d like to tell you I’ll be back with an update tomorrow night, but it is Saturday in New Orleans, and we will be with Krissi, Kenny, Mike and Chris, so anything can happen!

Pray for us!!

Thursday, March 2nd, 2017

Thursday, our last full day in Walt Disney World was dedicated to what Susie and I consider our favorite part of this wonderful place, The Magic Kingdom!! Back when Susie and I first visited WDW, the Magic Kingdom was all it was, and I guess for that, and for a visit I made to Disneyland when I was 10, walking into the Magic Kingdom is, for us, the real Disney experience! So a quick breakfast was eaten, then we were off in the car and did our last traveling by the monorail (another real Disney experience for us) to the entrance of the Magic Kingdom!

Of course, it was required that Chris get a picture of the four of us on Main Street with the castle in the background (I’m still 6 watching the Wonderful World of Disney in my living room every time I see that castle), and this time he lucked out. At Epcot on Tuesday, and Animal Kingdom yesterday, as soon as we got into the park and got to the perfect “photo spot”, Chris asked someone to take our picture. Tuesday he asked someone who spoke broken English, yesterday someone who spoke no English at all! Today he lucked out and asked a lady from North Carolina!! He finally found an English speaking tourist to help!!


She did good I think!

We used today’s Fast Passes for the boys on rides like Space Mountain and Splash Mountain, figuring we’d get in the park in the morning and head right to the older rides and get on when they had shorter wait times. No such luck! Our first ride was again one of Susie and my favorites, the Jungle Cruise. We waited 45 minutes to get on, but honestly it was worth it!

Then it was off to the Pirates of the Caribbean. I was making noises about not standing on line and letting Susie and the boys go, but as with so much that comes out of my mouth, that was BS. It said a 40 minute wait, but in reality, it was more like 30 or less. Don’t we look happy while we’re waiting?


Then we were off to the Haunted Mansion! I can remember when I first went on that ride here with my friend David Cohen. We were in our 20s, so it was in the 70s, and boy did that ride seem High Tech! Still one of our favorites!!


Then we took the boys into a great 3D movie that we enjoyed last year, Mickey’s Phiharmagic! It was fun again, and the boys liked it too! On the way out, we watched the Sword and the Stone presentation by the Carousel in Fantasyland…always fun!

Then it was time to make our way to Tomorrowland. It was time for the boys to use their first Fastness for Space Mountain, Susie and I found a bench and waited for them, and she allegedly took this picture of me!


If there ever was Fake News, that’s it! Like I could fall asleep in Disney World’s Magic Kingdom!!

Then it was time for one of our favorites, and a ride that Chris has never been on…Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress!


Narrated by the one and only Jean Shepherd, I have loved this ride since I first saw it at the 1964/65 New York World’s Fair when I was 14 years old. In case figuring out how long that’s been is higher math for you, I have loved this ride for 53 years! It’s never really crowded, and I fear that one day it’s real estate will be given over to some new adventure, but we do love it and it has to be a part of every Disney visit for the D’Elia Family! Oh, BTW, Chris liked it!!

After we’d traveled through the 20th Century, we headed over to Monsters Inc.’s Laugh Factory. It’s a very cleverly done live animation integrated show, and if that doesn’t make sense to you, all I can say is that you’d have to see it to understand!

When we came out, the boys headed over to Splash Mountain to use their next FastPass and Susie and I headed to see about getting some ice cream. We nixed that Idea because the line was out the door of the Ice Cream Parlor! The park seemed to be incredibly crowded today. Oh, we found out that the Louisiana schools are on vacation this week, so perhaps that explains all the kids we’ve seen the last 3 days! Before heading home, we figured we’d hit the Disney People Movers, a cute ride that was the basis of the Ford Magic Skyway at the New York World’s Fair. Every year we’ve been here, this is a walk on ride, where you just walk through the entrance, go up the ramp, and get in a car. Today it had a 20 minute line!! WTF???? We nixed that, just like the ice cream!

So we headed back to Main Street, bought two sweat shirts in the Emporium (God, I do love the Disney Retiree Cast Member Discount of 35%), hit the bathroom, and took the Monorail back to the Ticket and Transportation Center’s parking lot and the Sonata.

We walked over 10,000 steps today, covering 3.3 miles, so we were happy to return to our room, make and enjoy a couple of drinks in the air conditioning, and when the boys return tonight, we are going to go to the Scat Cat Club, drink some drinks, enjoy some nice food, and have a relaxing evening! Tomorrow morning, the boys will leave early, and drive to New Orleans. Susie and I will leisurely leave Port Orleans, the French Quarter and we will head to our overnight in Pensacola, Florida. Krissi and Mike will fly in from NYC tomorrow and spend the night with Kenny and Chris. Mom and Dad will arrive in NOLA on Saturday, and the family will once again reunite one last time before Kenny and Chris continue their trip to their new home, Los Angeles!

So before I leave you this evening, I have one question. Why if Walt Disney World is the Happiest Place on Earth, are there so many crying kids everywhere you venture??? Just asking!

Have a great night…see you in Pensacola tomorrow!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Happy March and Happy Ash Wednesday! As an aside, we saw absolutely nobody in any part of Disney we’ve been in today with ashes! Seems strange to see absolutely no ashes anywhere!

So, this morning we awoke at 7:30….well, we really awoke at 6 AM, because somehow the cheap little digital alarm that Susie bought for the trip went off, and not knowing how to shut it off, she had to take the batteries out of the clock. Of course, that wasn’t easy, and the clock has a really really annoying alarm tone! First it beeps once for 10 seconds, then twice for 10 second, then 3 times. Luckily, the batteries came out at about the 30 second mark, so we didn’t have to find out what came next!! What a wonderful thing to happen 90 minutes before you have to get up, especially after a night of walking EPCOT and getting to bed about 2 AM!! Yikes!


So we headed to the Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory (The French Quarter’s food court) for some breakfast this morning about 8:30. Lots of choices, and some good looking breakfasts were had. When the bill was tallied and it was close to $50, I think the young girl working the cash register was even more thrilled than I was when I handed her my ABC Retiree ID card and said, “Cast Member Discount, Please”!


Then after we came back to the room to grab our “stuff”, it was off to Animal Kingdom! Free parking is another of the perks that Retiree ID gets me, and after securing a nice parking place it was time to enter the park. Not one of the parks we’ve spent a lot of time in, but if you are an animal lover, it’s a great place! While the boys headed off to a thrill ride (Expedition Everest), Susie and I enjoyed the 4D movie, It’s Tough to be a Bug. Not only are there 3D glasses and some great effects, there is the 4th D which includes being sprayed, poked, hit with air, and noxious odors! A lot of fun!


Then it was off to Finding Nemo, The Musical, a 40 minute Broadway style stage show, which was very well done. As we were waiting on the FastPass line, Kenny reminded us that he’d auditioned for the part of Nemo’s Father in this production, and been called back numerous times, but never got the part. He’s really just as glad!

One thing we’ve noticed is that the Parks are filled with kids! Why aren’t they in school, and why do they have to start crying in shows all the time? We seemed to be surrounded in Finding Nemo by young people , who really didn’t want to be there! Not always the most pleasant way to pass your time.

After the show, Kenny and Chris went on the ride Dinosaur (another thrill ride that Susie and I passed on), and then decided to walk around the Tree of Life and look at the animals. Susie and I found a shady place to sit, and watched and commented about the many interesting and indeed strangely dressed people you see. Honestly, we may have had a better time than the boys!

Having walked the better part of 3 miles, we were all ready to head back to the resort and relax a little bit. The boys headed to the pool, Susie and I grabbed a late lunch, and then enjoyed a drink in the cool air-conditioning of our room! A wonderful afternoon!

This evening the boys are off to the Hollywood Studios and then to meet up with a Liberty of the Seas friend at Disney Springs, while Susie and I are going to get together with my cousin Jeanne and her husband Walt!

Time to get ready for our evenings….will update and post this blog later tonight!

So..we left a bit before 6, dropped Kenny and Chris off at Disney Studios, and headed out to one of the many Miller’s Ale Houses in Orlando. Ran into a little construction in Disney, and traffic on the I-4, but made it about 6:30 and rendezvoused with Jeanne and Walt! A great time was had by all, and as usual, we talked well into the night. No, when I say we talked well into the night, I mean we talked wellllllllll into the night! We sat down at the table at 6:30, and got up from the table at 11:30! We had a great waitress ,Tina, who had no problem letting us sit and talk, especially when it was discovered that she and my cousin Jeanne grew up blocks away from each other in Chicago…just decades apart!

Jeanne and Walt are going on a huge road trip starting in May, and we talked about that, about genealogy (which they are both into in a huge way), about family, and just about anything and everything! We reconnected with them just a couple of years ago, and are so glad we did before it was too late!! We will next see them in Ocean City in late August or September, and look forward to many more nights of too much talking in our future!

Safe trip Jeanne and Walt…see you in September!


And that’s it…day two at WDW comes to a close! It’s already after midnight, and 7:30 AM comes early, so goodnight from the D’Elia’s in Florida…see you all tomorrow!!