Orlando with Michael, Floor and Kate October 24 – 28, 2016

13 Nov

October 2016 was the month of three great adventures that were all different, exciting happenings. I’d like to tell you about the third one and then come back to Sister Trip 7.

Michael, one of my Dutch nephews, wrote and asked if I would like to meet him, Floor and Kate while they were on vacation in Orlando, Florida. Wow! How much fun this would be as I hadn’t seen them since 2012 when Michael played in the World Baseball Classic in the Phoenix/Scottsdale, AZ area.  (Please remember to click on the photos you want to enlarge)

 Kate was about 6 months old and she just liked my finger to gnaw on.

Kate was about 6 months old and she just liked my finger to gnaw on.

Floor and Kate waiting to greet me. I felt just like a celebrity,

Floor and Kate waiting to greet me. I felt just like a celebrity

Our first Orlando dinner together at the Texas Roadhouse.

Our first Orlando dinner together at the Texas Roadhouse.

Michael and Floor had rented a really nice apartment in a resort outside of Orlando. That is where Kate and I became roommates. She was a bit shy at the beginning as she is learning English and I don’t speak much Dutch. Michael and Floor helped us out a bit (especially me) to understand each other. The next morning we created a bond. She was playing with her iPad being very quiet when I woke up. So I began to play with mine and soon she and I were playing some games together. Of course she knew more than me and had to explain what was going on. (It’s hard to be technically outdone by a 4 year old, but that’s life these days) Kate was speaking Dutch and I in English and somehow we understood each other. She told her dad that I knew how to speak Dutch and she was happy. I wish I had pictures of these episodes as I cherished those moments with her.

The next day found us heading to the Magic Kingdom (aka Disneyland for those of us who have been only to the Anaheim site). I was amazed at the land Disney owns in Orlando (43 square miles and employs 78,000 people). The parking lots are huge and are not multi-story. Obviously, they have a lot of land on which to expand. We had to ride a tram just to get to the ferry or monorail to get into the park.

We had tickets to attend Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, a special event from 4 PM to midnight. Kate had a very becoming witch’s costume that she wore throughout the party.

We had tickets to attend Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, a special event from 4 PM to midnight. Kate had a very becoming witch’s costume that she wore throughout the party.

Upon entry, everyone was given a trick or treat bag and a handful of treats. Later, we lined up at various locations to get a ton of treats. We just walked by and they literally gave us handfuls of good stuff! Kate had never experienced this before but she caught on quickly.

Our first ride was The Barnstormer, a just right size (for me) roller coaster that Kate loved. We went on that twice in a row.

Our first ride was The Barnstormer, a just right size (for me) roller coaster that Kate loved. We went on that twice in a row.

It turns out that Kate LOVES roller coasters or rides that take big drops…Splash Mountain for one. The kid goes nuts over them. They had gone to the Magic Kingdom before I got there and with our trip, Kate rode Splash Mountain 6 times and was begging for more! Amazing!!!

Taking a spin in the Mad Hatter's tea cups

Taking a spin in the Mad Hatter’s tea cups

We had a terrific time at the Magic Kingdom riding all our favorite rides, eating chili dogs, watching the Halloween Parade and the fireworks. Kate only saw maybe a few of them and then conked out. That was a long day for her, but she can surely hang in there.

We took it easy the next day and went to the pool to play. Kate loves to be in the water and shoot her water pistol at us. I loved it too.

We took it easy the next day and went to the pool to play. Kate loves to be in the water and shoot her water pistol at us. I loved it too.

Later that afternoon that we went to play miniature golf at the Pirate’s Cove. It was a fun course as you can see by our picture. This was Kate’s first time and she did pretty well. It was threatening rain during the round and opened up just as we got back into the car. Nice timing, eh?

Later that afternoon that we went to play miniature golf at the Pirate’s Cove. It was a fun course as you can see by our picture. This was Kate’s first time and she did pretty well. It was threatening rain during the round and opened up just as we got back into the car. Nice timing, eh?

The next day, we drove about an hour and a half to the Blue Spring State Park that borders the St. Johns River, Florida’s longest river (310 miles). This river is one of the few U.S. rivers that flows north. We took a two-hour tour on the St. Johns and saw many birds, turtles, some alligators and some interesting flora.  Thanks to Floor for these St. Johns River photos.  My camera was on the fritz because I had dropped it that day.

Checking out the river that is a very dark tea color due to tannic acids from certain trees and other foliage

Checking out the river that is a very dark tea color due to tannic acids from certain trees and other foliage

A little turtle catching some rays

A little turtle catching some rays

A black ibis? Boats need to go slowly in the manatee zone becausee they like to sort of float near the surface and are easily hurt by propellers.

A black ibis? Boats need to go slowly in the manatee zone becausee they like to sort of float near the surface and are easily hurt by propellers.

A big 'gator resting by the side of the river

A big ‘gator resting by the side of the river

Blue Spring

One of the cool things about Blue Spring is that manatees go to spend the winter there. More than 100 go there to escape the colder waters of the St. Johns for the safety and comfort of the 72-degree spring. The spring was very clear and we could see some very large fish where the manatee would have been had we not been too early to see them.

One thing I have not mentioned is the multitude of ponds/lakes in the Orlando area. It’s no wonder there are many bugs and mosquitoes in the area. All porches are screened in for that reason. Just outside our apartment was a small lake and signs were posted to be alert for ‘gators. Needless to say, people were swimming only in the pool.  Only brave birds walked in the water.

Great blue heron

A great blue heron watching for fish

Ibis foraging for food near our apartment

Ibis foraging for food near our apartment

All too soon, the day came to depart to our respective homes. Such a bummer because we were having a really good time enjoying the Florida sunshine. Since our planes didn’t leave until evening, we decided to go to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. This was really fun because Michael had played baseball there in 2006 during the inaugural World Baseball Classic. It’s another huge Disney-owned place with many fields and buildings that accommodate many, many teams and many sports. While we were touring the site, a 400-team softball tournament and an athletic conference cross-country championship were being held.espnbestBob and I went to see Michael play in 2006 and royally enjoyed ourselves. It was our first time in Orlando. As I remember, it was fairly easy to find our way (no GPS for us), but it surely has grown and changed in 10 years.

Disney has so much influence in the area…as well can be expected. But I thought it was amazing to see some power lines in the shape of mouse ears!

Disney has so much influence in the area…as can well be expected. But I thought it was amazing to see some power lines in the shape of mouse ears!

Kate loved to raise her arms on roller coasters, so we did it going on an on-ramp. What a kick!

Kate loved to raise her arms on roller coasters, so we did it going on an on-ramp. What a kick!

I feel particularly blessed to have good relations with all my nieces and nephews and so enjoy being together with them. For that reason, it was so awesome to be able to reconnect with Michael and Floor and get to know Kate a lot better. I hope to be able to continue this kind of relationship with all the nieces and nephews for many years to come.

Michael, Floor, Kate and I bid our adieus at the Orlando Airport and soon we each left the Disney magic and flew home to reality, i.e., regular routines

Michael, Floor, Kate and I bid our adieus at the Orlando Airport and soon we each left the Disney magic and flew home to reality, i.e., regular routines

For me, I finally got home to my own bed about 1 AM Minden time and was up again early to go to help with the celebration of Nevada Day (our admission to the USA that is celebrated in style in northern Nevada). It is a huge celebration with a three to four hour parade, contests, free admission to the museum, open house at the Governor’s Mansion, a carnival and many other events. For many, it is a time to come home to reconnect with old friends and family.  It might be hokey to some, but most of us think it’s a ton of fun and look forward to Nevada Day weekend.

The Friends of the Nevada State Museum (of which I am chair) holds its annual bake sale during the parade to raise money for the museum.

The Friends of the Nevada State Museum holds its annual bake sale during the parade to raise money for the museum.

After the bake sale, I made my way over to the Governor’s Mansion where Jerri and several other ladies dressed in vintage costumes and told people about each room in the mansion. Hundreds of people attended this open house, met the governor and his wife and partook of treats in the mansion back yard. I might note that all these people had their picture taken with Governor Sandoval and his wife.

Nevada Day with the Guv

Nevada Day with the Guv

Jolee, Darcy (in front), Mrs. Sandoval, Governor Sandoval, Scott and Jason. Scott had just won a blue ribbon in the Nevada Day beard contest. The gray streak is natural!

Jolee, Darcy (in front), Mrs. Sandoval, Governor Sandoval, Scott and Jason. Scott had just won a blue ribbon in the Nevada Day beard contest.

Jolee, Jerri and Scott in the mansion formal dining room

Jolee, Jerri and Scott in the mansion formal dining room

Riding the purple dino to another beer. Never a dull moment with these two nephews!

Ride that purple dino! Never a dull moment with these two nephews!

I loved every minute of this adventure but I was glad to get home and sleep in my own bed.

2 Responses to “Orlando with Michael, Floor and Kate October 24 – 28, 2016”

  1. plumjess November 13, 2016 at 11:34 am #

    You must know but I will remind you of all the admirers out there who are lucky enough to read Buzzard Notes. I love your ‘Notes!’ You have a life that makes me excited to get going too. Thank you for being out there and sharing it the way you do.

    –LOVE, from your
    cousin Anne’s daughter,
    Jessie

  2. Jan Haag November 13, 2016 at 1:38 pm #

    You ARE a celebrity, Ms. Cora! Love those photos, and how much fun you must have had with your dear peeps in Florida! Kate is adorable (as are Michael and Floor, too, of course). And look at you… flying home to Nevada Day and the celebration of your adopted state. You are amazing!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: