Providence!

I finally made it to Rhode Island! My Aunt Jo will be presenting at a conference this week so a second aunt, Cindy, and I decided to tag along.

  (Above: Sunrise as we take off from Memphis)

It meant today involved an early, but quick flight, shopping at the mall attached to our hotel to avoid the heavy rainfall once we arrived, and lunch at P.F. Chang’s.

 (Above: My new shoes) 

We won’t be here long but Aunt Cindy and I still adecided to take the day easy. The best part was hands down picking up Aunt Jo and heading to dinner. 

  (Above: Sightseeing while heading to dinner)

We ate at Kabob and Curry, Fine Indian Cuisine. I’ll admit I would never have ate there if my aunts hadn’t been with me. I would have missed out.
We had Nimboo Soda, a tradional Indian lemonade with mint and roasted cumin, and I ordered a sampler plate that allowed me to try a variety of dishes including vegetable samosa – a crispy turnover, seasoned potato and pea filling, a mango and mint chicken curry bowl, dal makhni – black lentils, red beans, ginger and tomato, and rice pudding for dessert.

   (Above: starter dish)

  
We all ended up getting a second helping of the rice pudding to take to the hotel for later.

 

Night prowl

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I’m finally back from vacation. I’m exhausted, but I had a great time. We basically took it semi-easy — slept in and then got going until we would arrive home just in time to pass out again.

One thing that kept us out late early in the week was a walk on the beach to find crabs. Yep, I said crabs. My brother-in-law decided he wanted to crab for part of the week and we spent one night walking the beach to see what we could find. Below’s our find, plus deer we saw on the way home. Enjoy!

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We were trying to let this crab go, but he didn’t seem to want to let go of our bag. Eventually, we won.

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My sister and her husband were able to save this jellyfish. Unfortunately, two days later I was slightly stung by one on the opposite side of the island.

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We weren’t in time to save this little shark.

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Marshes and autoliners

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It has rained every day.

The rain comes typically in the afternoon giving us plenty of time to do all we want to. So far, we’ve mainly wanted to look around, reacquainting ourselves with the island. We last visited more than 10 years ago.

Jekyll Island was originally an exclusive winter retreat, The Jekyll Island Club, for U.S. elite. It was purchased in 1886 and hosted families such as the Rockefellers, Morgans and Pulitzers.

It became a Georgia state park in 1950 – unique to me since it is a “barrier island” off Georgia’s southeastern coast. It has tons of marshes, hotels and tourist-minded businesses.

We spent part of Saturday and some Sunday just looking around. The views are great, and Dad was fascinated with the huge ships carrying cars (Hoegh Autoliners). My only complaint? As the sole birder, I am unable to get pictures of some of the birds we pass in the marshes bordering the road. One such bird – a Roseate Spoonbill.

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Our home away from home

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We’ve finally arrived at our Jekyll Island rental. After 15 hours in a car (we stopped and napped along the way), my first priority was a shower.

We’re now about to unpack and head out to reacquaint ourselves with the place until it’s time to pick my sister and her husband up at the Jacksonville airport.

Here’s some pictures so far:

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Georgia bound

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I’m on the road, just five hours late. My sister, her husband and I loaded up my car with our gear, two boogie boards and tons of food and drinks.

Next? The task of fitting my carload into my parents already half-full impala.

It was a close fit but we did it. We’ve also managed to kill most of the mosquitoes that were in the car.

Now, we’re finally on our way to Jekyll Island. Only 11 hours and 13 minutes to go.

Canadians and Mallards

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Canadian Geese and Mallards were the main birds we saw Sunday and this morning. They basically had the run of our hotel and restaurant parking lots (which surrounded a small pond).

Most of our time was spent with family. My great-aunt lived a full life, and I was surprised to learn that she moved to France with her husband and small son in the late 1940s.

Her husband was stationed near a small village, and her son said the French did not like Americans even at the end of WW2. When his father worked nights, people would come bang on their windows throughout the night to scare them.

My great-aunt would also keep a pistol under her pillow just in case. Still, they weren’t too afraid. Her son said he could remember fetching fresh bread for his mother.

This is the same lady who happened to be in town when I was born. She was my “grandmother” so she could visit my mother and hold me.

We ended up having three hours of free time after the visitation so we visited Fort Harrison State Park.

It was a nice break and the park was fantastic. I could definitely see me using it as often as possible if I lived here.

It also had family history since my great aunt and her family were stationed at Fort Harrison before it became a state park.

On Sunday, the birds and a super fat squirrel greeted us at the cemetery. It was funny to see the geese surround us. I mean literally surround our car while we were leaving. There were even three geese on the roofs watching us.

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We’re now heading back to Arkansas. Just counting the hours until I can pick up my dog and be home out of the rain.

Locked out

So, we were locked out of our hotel room when we got back to Hotel Tucson tonight. Our keys refused to work, and finally maintenance had to come help us out. The guy ended up visiting us a second time after we learned the hotel staff had failed to replace our non working hair dryer that actually would smoke if turned on. Needless to say we know have a working hairdryer. Yay!

We headed to Saguaro National Park once we got back to Tucson. It was still raining but the sights were amazing! I’m used to parks with hundreds of trees as far as the eye can see. If you replace the forests with cactus, then you have this park. It was neat, but different.

Catus as far as the eye could see.

I knew there were different types of cactus and that they grew pretty high, however, it really never registered until this trip. By the way, I have never traveled this far to the west before.

We found the perfect for sunrise tomorrow while leaving the park. Our waitress on Friday night had told us to get on Speedway and follow it on out, and we should have taken her advise. We left the park and followed Speedway roughly 15 miles into town and we plan to go back in the morning to watch the sun come up.

Today wore us out. We ended up eating left overs along with deserts from Whole Foods. I ended the day packing, during which I fell asleep. My aunt had to wake me up to finish clearing off my bed. I can say I was able to pack my all my new items into the already full luggage. I am only leaving behind a post card for my aunt to mail to me (a tradition when I go someplace new) as well as some jelly and sauce that I bought as gifts since it was all made in Arizona. Not bad at all.