“B” is for Blimp-Our Los Angeles, California Adventure

Blimps, they are the most fascinating feats of air travel! In its most simplistic explanation, blimps are helium filled balloons, with a basket attached to the bottom.  They carry over 100 gallons of water to weigh them down since helium is literally lighter than air! They are navigated by a pilot.

As the Goodyear blimp hovered over our heads while visiting Los Angeles, we were racing against the clock to catch a photo.  We had to find a parking place near Redondo beach and hope that the sun wouldn’t cast the last rays of light before I could spring from the car all while while whipping out my camera.  No my photo isn’t perfect but that isn’t the entire purpose of playing the alphabet game is it?  We were having an adventure!

Knowing there are only about 10 blimps remaining in the world, I knew we were very lucky to be seeing this one so close to us!  To put it in perspective, there are more astronauts than blimp pilots!  The ones flying this craft tonight seem to be toying with me as they hovered overhead, then looking out to the Pacific ocean, that we would soon be embarking on for our upcoming cruise.

With such a fascination for the blimps, it is a wonder we don’t see more of them but then the most notable blimp in history was the Hindenburg and most of us still remember that tragedy which happened in 1937.  After about 60 flights that one eventually caught fire, killing 35 people and dooming the entire industry for future development.

Today the most iconic blimp remains the Goodyear blimps.  Originally developed over 100 years ago, the blimps continue to be one of the most interesting branding mediums for the company.  Goodyear has cornered the market with their blimps.  Mostly they are brought out to hover over major sporting events and offer the spectators a birds eye view as the event is broadcast from overhead.

Seating only 10 people at a time, riding in a Goodyear blimp is by invitation only and is usually reserved for charities.  Seats are auctioned off for a cost of $14,000 for 2 people!  With a 10 year waiting list, It is the rare person who will ever have an opportunity to ride in one.

The last true blimp to fly was decommissioned in 2017,  Goodyear has replaced their fleet with semi-rigid dirigible though they still refer to them as blimps since they are powered in much the same way and the term is much easier to say.

The new blimps are quieter and more easily navigated meaning they can be more readily used at major sporting events such as golf championships ensuring the Goodyear legacy will continue;

On this cool winter evening, I will revel in keeping my feet on the ground while still being close enough to this icon to see the pilots!

“B” is for Bucket List Goals-ABC Words & Phrases

What is a Bucket List?  It is a list of all the things you hope to do in your lifetime.   Since we are starting our Pacific Island Adventure in a few days, I thought I would make a list of the things we hope to do while we travel around the the Southern Hemisphere.

Of course we used the alphabet to design our Bucket List,  because we love exploring “one letter at a time”!  Be sure to check back to see if we fulfilled our mission. This is just a small sampling of what we plan to explore on our Pacific Island Adventure.  Here are our goals so far:

A-Admire the ARCHITECTURE of the Sydney Oprah-house

B-Photograph the colorful BUSES of American Samoa

C-Complete a CIRCLE ISLAND TOUR of Papeete, Tahiti

D-DARE TO DRIVE the streets of Los Angeles

E-Cross the EQUATOR

F-Feel the freshness of a FERN GROTTO in Kauai, Hawaii

G-Gaze at GLOWWORMS in Bay of Islands, New Zealand

H- Play at HOBBINGTON & HOT SPRINGS in Tauranga, New Zealand

I-Experience the ceremony of crossing the INTERNATIONAL DATE LINE


K-Kiss the KIWIS, KANGAROOS & KOALAS in Sydnee, Australia


M- Marvel at the MOSSMAN GORGE & the Daintree Rainforest in Australia

N-Capture the NATURAL BEAUTY of New Plymouth, Australia

O-Get OFF THE BEATEN PATH in Moorea, Tahiti

P-Play all day at the POLYNESIAN CULTURAL CENTER of Honolulu, Hawaii

Q- Sail on the QUEEN CHARLOTTE SOUND in Picton, New Zealand

R-Marvel at the ROAD TO HANA in Maui, Hawaii

S-Take in as many SUNRISES and SUNSETS as possible.

T-Travel by TRAIN in Cairnes, Australia

U-Get UP in the air in Kauai, Hawaii

V-View the sunrise over a VOLCANO in Maui, Hawaii

W-Witness one of the WONDERS OF THE WORLD (Great Barrier Reef) in Port Douglas, Australia

X the International Dateline

Y-Say YES again, as we renew our vows

Z-ZIPLINE above a forest in Auckland, New Zealand

“B” is for “Beautiful Boyne City”, Michigan

BWhen Alan and I take on an ABC Adventure, we don’t limit ourselves to doing the letters in any particular order.  By the time we got to the letter B, on our 48 hour mini trip, we had already visited Kalkaska, Grayling and Gaylord!  We had explored many new places, tasted several fun foods and immersed ourselves in nature.  The letter B might have also been utilized at the “bakery” as we filled up for donuts at “breakfast”.  We might have used the letter when we went to the “beach” to eat that breakfast, or as we explored many of the “buildings” we had already seen along our journey.  Instead, we had safely guarded our letter “B”, knowing that we would soon arrive in “Boyne City” where there are only a few specialty stores, a couple of amazing restaurants and a number of condominiums.  In this seemingly tiny town, which appears to spring up from nowhere, the beautiful Lake Charlevoix takes center stage.   This area has been attracting people to its shores for many years.  From skiing in the winter, to the Morel Festival in the spring, sailing in the summer and enjoying the colors of fall, there is something to explore here year round.  In fact, 3500 people call this place their permanent home.  The population swells in the warmer months as people flock to the natural beauty of the area.

B-Boyne flowers B-Boyne Fish

I don’t know what intrigues me the most, the waterfront, or the flowers. The old and the new   combines seamlessly.  Everywhere I look radiates a personal pride in the area.  Even the little log cabin, which has served as the visitor center since the 1940’s, is awash in carefully tended flowers.


Sadly, I am unable to find out anything about this little building but the careful preservation has ensured its safety  as industry develops around it.

B-Boyne-my baby

More flowers are planted along the riverfront.  These are carefully tended by volunteers, providing me a fun place to play with my photography.

B-Boyne riverfront B-Boyne-flowers













As we make our way down Main Street, which is really no more than a few businesses, we are pleased to see that it is enough to attract plenty of shoppers and people looking for a great waterside meal.

B-Boyne downtown B-Boyne development









The Sunset Park was a great place to end our adventures for this day.  We purchased an ice cream, then sat upon a “bench” to enjoy the “beauty” of “Boyne City”.  It had been a “busy” day of exploration!

“B” is for “Brown Bear, Black Bear, Big Bear and Babies”-Alaska

             Brown Bear, Black Bear, Big Bear and Babies

Copy (1) ofDSC_0779While on our vacation in Alaska, I didn’t expect to see the bears. All the reading that I had done said that the bears usually don’t appear until July and August, when the salmon begin to run.  It was early June when we saw the first bear, a Grizzly or brown bear.  They are actually one and the same. She appeared on our first day in Alaska, during a flight seeing tour of the Misty Fjord.  She was large, weighing in around 300 pounds. She had three cubs, which is somewhat unusual for this species.  Although they have been noted to birth as many as six, it is most common that they will have just two cubs at a time. The cubs seemed a good size, so I think they were about a year old.

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“B” Is For Balcony-Cruising

B is For Balcony

On our first cruise, in 1994, we had an interior room.  At the time, we didn’t know any better and we couldn’t afford more.  Like many first time cruisers, we started and ended our day with activities, using our room for little more than falling into bed, exhausted.  This is the number one reason we hear for not upgrading the room and if you have nothing to compare it to, then price alone can be a compelling argument.  After twenty years of cruising, and a few lessons, we have come to understand the difference that this little extension of the room makes.

Copy (1) ofDSC_0899I remember the first time we had a balcony, there were things to learn.  Lulled by the soft breeze and setting sun, we fell asleep with the curtains open.  Forgetting that it is a continually changing landscape outside that window,  we woke the next morning in port,  docked next to another ship, looking directly onto their balcony rooms…and they into ours!    Still, that ever changing, floor to ceiling view is just one of several reasons to have a balcony room.  This is especially true when cruising very scenic locations such as Alaska.  While most passengers are on deck fighting for that perfect picture of the glaciers, you can simply return to your room and enjoy the passing scenery in quiet serenity.

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ABC Lists-Exploring With The Letter B

This is an ever expanding list for the letter B. Here you will find; activities, cities, countries, emotions, events, festivals, individual states, phrases and words. Basically, this is a long list that might be helpful when planning any adventure using the letter B. This list will be updated regularly, as more suggestions are offered. Eventually it will be broken down into categories. Remember, a word may have more than one meaning. For example, the word “bath”  could be used when describing a location like Bath, England or it could mean a container, used for cleaning the body, which holds a large volume of water.  Words can become actions, emotions or lead you to discover new destinations. They won’t necessarily be the same as the dictionary definition. Be creative and use this list in any way that inspires you to try something new! It will be impossible to list every B themed word here, so remember to look for restaurants, stores, road names etc., that may begin with the letter B. Think beyond locations. Consider new foods to try, animals to see , experiences to have, song titles that inspire you, or anything else that gets you thinking out of the box. Let your own individual experiences reflect a personal journey of discovery and have fun with the wordplay! As always, we value your contributions, so please leave a comment when you think of other ways to explore, using the letter B. (Please remember to keep your comments G-rated!)

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