Carnival Caribbean 4 Day Cruise w/ Nassau Port

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Visit to NASA Johnson Space Center

Stopped at the Johnson Space Center on the way back from Galveston. It was cool but not that cool LOL, for $30+$5 parking, it was not that exciting. I think it’s great to take the kids to, and lots to see and do for them. I did get a shirt and a few stickers LOL. There were so many people I think that was my major turn-off. I don’t like crowds and this place was packed.

The Main Event

Walking in you start to see everything thing all sectioned out. The shops and food court, the different areas and topics. The displays and info were fun to walk around and see as I shuffled through people.

Saturn V was awesome

Ok the highlight for me was seeing the Saturn V rocket system. The magnitude of it was great. Learning the function and deployment of each section and seeing them puts it into perspective.

Contact me if you have any questions on our contact page

Galveston Naval Museum USS Cavalla Submarine & USS Stewart Destroyer Escort

Starting Sunday at the Galveston Naval Museum, they have two World War 2 era Navy ships an Escort and a submarine. Getting there at 10am and still like 100 degrees, made it a little warm. Its a little bit of a drive around to the island, actually very remote in a way. Parking cost like $5 and admission was $13 per person. They offer discounts for seniors, first responders and military.

USS Cavalla Submarine

I had a blast walking through the USS Cavalla Submarine and seeing it all. I love touring the old WW2 crafts and seeing how they lived and fought in the war.

From the GNM Website – Cavalla was a Gato class fleet sub, designed and built in the summer of 1943 by the Electric Boat Company and launched on November 14, 1943. She was commissioned on Feb. 29, 1944, the first “leap year” boat built by E.B.

From 1944-1946, Cavalla was an attack submarine, sinking over 34,000 tons of enemy shipping including the Imperial Japanese Navy’s carrier, Shokaku during the Battle of the Philippine Seas. After the war, she was decommissioned and placed in the Navy Reserve Fleet, New London CT. Decommissioned again after a tour with Submarine Squadron 8, the Electric Boat Company converted her into a hunter-killer submarine (SSK-244) on September 3, 1952. Cavalla was recommissioned and served with Submarine Squadron 10/Submarine Development group 2 to experiment with new sonar equipment.

USS Cavalla (SS-244) was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation for actions on her first patrol near the Philippines from May 31 to Aug 3, 1944 under the command of Lt. Cdr. Herman J. Kossler (1911-1988). She was also awarded four Battle Stars for operations in the Pacific. The USS Cavalla is best know as the “Avenger of Pearl Harbor” and earned the prestigious Presidential Unit Citation for sinking the Japanese Aircraft Carrier, Shokaku, a vessel which attacked Pearl Harbor.

The Cavalla was decommissioned in 1946, but was brought back to service in 1951 and assigned to Submarine Squadron 10 in New London, CT. To meet the Cold War Soviet threat, she underwent conversion in 1952 to a new class of American sub–the SSK (hunter/killer) with a new bow and sonar. In 1963, she was again reclassified. This time to AGSS-244 as an Auxiliary Submarine with a continued experimentation mission. On 30 December, 1969, Cavalla was decommissioned for the final time and struck from the Naval Register List.

On 21 Jan 1971, USS Cavalla became a museum ship at Seawolf Park, in Galveston, Texas. In 1971, the U.S. Navy transferred possession of Cavalla to the Texas Submarine Veterans of WWII as a memorial to the lost submarine USS Seawolf.

Berthed at Seawolf Park, many visitors refer to her as the “Seawolf”, mistaking the name of the memorial park for that of the submarine on exhibit there. Saved from the scrap yard, Cavalla continues to be a “Lucky Lady.”

The USS Cavalla is on the National Register of Historic Places.

USS Stewart Destroyer Escort

From the GNM Website – USS Stewart is one of only two remaining Destroyer Escorts, and the only Edsall-class DE in the United States. She was built in 1942 by Brown Shipping Company in Houston and commissioned in May of 1943.

USS Stewart began her patrols out of Miami, then as a “school ship” training student officers out of Norfolk, VA. She escorted President Roosevelt in the presidential yacht down the Potomac River to rendezvous with USS Iowa for his mission to Casablanca and Tehran. In 1944, she commenced North Atlantic convoy operations, making 30 crossings with occasional enemy submarine and aircraft encounters. On April 9th, 1945, Stewart rescued the surviving members of the SS Saint Mihiel-SS Nashbulk collision and helped put out fires and salvage the ships. During her many convoys, heavy seas and icing conditions were frequent.

USS Stewart is named after Admiral Charles Stewart who was the first Admiral of the US Navy, and commanded the USS Constitution during the War of 1812. In addition to DE-238, two earlier U.S. Navy destroyers, DD-13 and DD-224, were named in Stewart’s honor. One of her special duties as an escort ship, in October of 1943, USS Stewart transported flag officers and their staffs while escorting and protecting the Presidential Yacht of President Franklin D.

Roosevelt as he made his way to the Battleship USS Iowa and on to Tehran, Iran for an historic meeting with Prime Minister Winston Churchill and General Secretary Joseph Stalin. There, they decided that in May of 1944, the Allies would conduct Operation Overlord, the landing at Normandy Beach. USS Stewart led the way to history! On April 10, 1945, USS Stewart assisted the SS St Mihiel after it collided with another ship off the coast of New York. Stewart fought the fire, reestablished power, and helped escort the ships back to port.

Stewart moved to the Pacific theater in mid 1945, and conducted training exercises out of Pearl Harbor until the end of the war. She was decommissioned in late 1945 and changed berths 3 times before arriving at Seawolf Park In 1974. She is the only ship of her class in the US and the third ship (DD-13, DD-224, and DE-238) named for Rear Admiral Charles Stewart who commanded another ship in the historic naval fleet, USS Constitution, from 1813 to 1815.

USS Stewart was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2007.

Contact me if you have any questions on our contact page

Touring the 1877 Tall Ship ELISSA Galveston, Tx

I love these old ships and getting on one has been a goal of mine, hope another time to sail on one. The Galveston Historical Foundation keeps this ship in sailing condition and it still goes out twice a year. For the $10 admission fee to get in, its well worth it.

From GalvestonHistory.org website :

“Galveston Historical Foundation brought ELISSA, an 1877 square-rigged iron barque, from a scrapyard in Piraeus Harbor, Greece to Galveston to begin restoration work in 1978. By 1982, GHF staff and volunteers completed restoration and transformed this rare, historic vessel into a floating museum that would actively sail. Today, the 1877 Tall Ship ELISSA is one of only three ships of her kind in the world to still actively sail and welcomes over 40,000 visitors annually. She also serves as the Official Tall Ship of Texas, a National Historic Landmark, and a symbol of the Gulf Coast’s historic beginnings as a seaport and active waterfront. The 1877 ELISSA, a Tall Ship for Texas, welcomes visitors at the Galveston Historic Seaport. Experience Galveston’s maritime history daily.”

travaddic

Galveston Island Tx Bound for a Quick Getaway

Leaving early Friday morning for Galveston, Texas. Kelly wanted salt water so we are heading out for the weekend, and getting back Monday. Gonna be the first road trip with the Crosstrek, I’m excited to see how it does.

Prepped and Ready

I got the hotel reserved on the beach, so we can just walk to it. Got the cooler packed with snacks and drinks ready for a fun road trip. We have 780 miles 12 hours 36 minutes, by googles directions. We are going for a straight shot, I like the drive so should be easy. Just got my car cleaned, licensed and oil change done.

The Plan

Take off time 3am Friday, ETA 5pm – 6pm, with planned stops at any available Buc-ee’s. Arrive Friday evening at Clarion Pointe Galveston Seawall, stay Friday and Saturday nights. We will leave for Lees Summit, Sunday afternoon, and drive back straight back.

Contact me if you have any questions on our contact page

B-17G Flying Fortress Texas Raiders – Commemorative Air Force St Joseph, MO

After 30 years of wanting the fly on a B-17. I checked it off my bucket list today it was amazing and well worth the money to keep these awesome planes in the air. The crew is amazing and the plane is better than expected.

Deciding to do it

So I bought my ticket the week before and checked the weather report to make sure it was good, was scheduled to be a nice day. We left the house around 7:30 am on Sat, the flight was at 10:00 am and had an hour and a half drive. They wanted people there at 9 am and got in at about 845. Kansas City International Airport reported planes circling due to the low cloud ceiling. So I was a little worried and hoped the sun would pop out soon.

When I got into St Joe, and it was still very foggy. After the crew got in and we briefed about the weather and did the safety briefing. And now the wait……….

I took time, lots of time to see the other planes the Commemorative Air Force had on display, the AT-5, B-25, B-29, and B-17. It’s always cool seeing them. The time the guy put into them to keep them up in the air. HOURS later I worried about canceling the flight and after about 1 or 2 they got the go-ahead. WOOT.

Was it worth it?

Well was it worth the wait and $495…? YES. I regret nothing and hope to do it again. B-25 and some fighters will be next. The Commemorative Air Force is a voluntary organization and always needs support to keep these planes flying. It helps people to see and learn the history behind them. If you have them coming to a town near you. Go pay an entrance fee buy some gear, and take a ride. I had my 2 kids watch Memphis Bell the night before and they like the movie. It gave them a better idea of the plane and what it did. I think that will stay with them better.

Check out The Commemorative Air Force to help support them and learn about what they do.

Contact me if you have any questions on our contact page

Grand Bahia Principe, Mexico Beach & Snorkeling

Spent the day at the beach for my birthday, just swimming around and sitting in the sun. Took my dive gear for snorkeling with me and did some filming of all the fish. It was a good relaxing day sitting on the beach, drinking Jack and Cokes, and swimming around.

I had my new Zeagle Recon fins and love them. I also used my RollUp snorkel I always have it but not hooked up when I scuba dive. The seaweed is pretty bad this year they had crews on the beach every day to keep it clean.

I booked my trip with Kelly at Vitamin Sea Travel she took care of everything, plane tickets, resort and excursions. It was super easy, ad didn’t cost me anything for the service and saved money.

The rest of the day got a good seafood dinner and a Cuban cigar but the pool under the moon was a good day. This trip was a birthday trip for my girlfriend and me as our birthdays are 10 days apart. So we made the most of it. Had a great time and hope to get back to dive Cozumel soon. Next time will be a dedicated dive trip, cant wait should be some great diving and want to get some wreck dives in too.

The water was warm this resort is great for kids as the water is all pretty enclosed, and lots of barriers. I prefer to be able to swim out more but was good enough for a little fun in the water.

Contact me if you have any questions on our contact page

Tulum Ruins Archaeological Zone, Mexico

While at Grand Bahia Principe Coba, we scheduled an excursion to the Tulum Ruins Archaeological Zone to see the site and markets. It is just down the road a bit and didn’t want to go all day to go to the larger one, can do that next time.

I hate doing the tourist tour of a place, following a guide and such so after we were in the park we ditched the tour and looked around. The views are nice from the cliff looking over the ocean, and other than the people was a nice place.

So after about 40 minutes made our way to the market out front and looked around and bought some trinkets. Then sat around waiting for the tour to meet back up at 11:45 am. After that, we stopped at a brewery and we just sat outside and waited neither cared about beer LOL. For a quick day trip, it worked well, we left at 9 am and got back at 1 pm. But next time I think I’ll just cab it and do my own thing. I don’t like the resort life, makes me feel like cattle LOL. I’m not a Spanish speaker but my partner is so the trip has been easy on me.

What next….

Tomorrow I’m heading back to the beach, I need some more salt before I head home. I would have liked to get more diving in but it was a great time. Traveling with my current gear has been very easy, and love not having to rent gear. The next trip up here will be all Cancun, and all diving. I do more of an inland trip later to see the pyramid and ruins. I’m looking forward to Peru soon as well.

Contact Nate if you have any questions on our contact page

travaddic

Travel Agent.. Yes or No?

Let’s be honest, we have all at some point done this. We decide in the middle of the night to go on a trip someplace. We grab our phone and go to Expedia or some other similar sight. You see that the price is less than you thought so you grab your card and book it. Hurray, you are going on vacation.

Now we get to the issues. You are on your trip, and you find that the hotel did not get your reservation or that your reservation was canceled for some unknown reason. Now you have to find a hotel that can accommodate you for that night, and at a budget that you can afford because you already paid someone for a hotel room that you are not getting.

You dial the 800 number. After three hours you finally get a person on the phone. You spend two hours trying to straighten everything out and get into a new place. Finally, you are sent to a hotel in a part of town you didn’t want to stay in, in a hotel that isn’t as nice as the first one you selected, and you are still paying the original rate.

Don’t Waste Time

Now you have wasted an afternoon that you could have spent at the beach or out shopping. All because of some computer issue, having to get a real person to talk to on the phone, having to argue with them about the issue based on the limited information you were given, and finally being sent across town.

This is one example of having a travel agent comes in handy. To start with, most TA’s can match if not find your trip cheaper. Secondly, you can contact them directly and they can get to the bottom of the issue and get it fixed much faster than the 800 number. Often times, we are able to get into the systems and fix the error directly or at least able to get a reasonable remedy much quicker.

Saving Money, & Better Service

Let’s talk about another benefit… personalization. If you are going to a new location, which I hope you do, you may spend several hours reading blogs, guidebooks, watching travel videos, etc. trying to figure out key things to not miss, what area to stay in that is convenient and affordable as well as little secret spots. A good travel agent will have already been to that location or will know someone who has that they can get information.

An even better travel agent will have already studied the location themselves. Your travel advisor will save you hours and hours of research on little important details so you can focus on deciding what to do.
Hesitant about the cost? Travel agents don’t cost more in general. Yes, some will charge a little more than if you were to do all the work yourself, but some of us, like me, do not charge our clients for anything. We have formed great relationships with our vendors to where they have agreed to pay our costs and fees for you. So more often than not, we can match if not beat the price you could find on your own.

We can gain access to deals, coupons, and packages that the general public will not have access to. We can pass the savings to our clients. A really good travel agent will tell you directly that if they can not match the price, to go ahead and book it with wherever you found it.

So….

I will spend hours negotiating with a particular vendor for the ability to price match. I have done it several times. For example, I now am on a first-name basis with a certain person at the Carnival Cruise line due to my insistence on price matching. And I still was able to give my services to my clients for free.

Travel can be a very exciting but anxiety-inducing activity. Those of us who love it and have made it a main priority know the differences between a good trip and a great trip hanging in the minor details that can be an inconvenience. By agreeing to work with a travel advisor, you have a much greater chance of having a seamless and smooth vacation.

Your travel advisor over time will become a good friend who will always have a great idea of where to go and what is the best deal at that time. The next time you head out, give a TA a call and see what they can do for you.

Kelly Grace – Travel Advisor
Kellygracetravels.com
Kelly@kellygracetravels.com

Contact Nate if you have any questions on our contact page