Hello from not-so-sunny Orlando. It’s been hot, humid, partly sunny and partly rainy down here since we arrived on Friday. Feels like Florida to me. No worries, I for one, don’t mind living in a sauna. It loosens up these old bones to a perfect suppleness. We took our time driving down this time, with two overnights in Louisville, KY and one in Macon, GA, and here’s a new one, we brought the cat.
Sydney the cat is 16 years old, and as it turns out, is an excellent traveler and really digs stopping at waysides. Instead of paying a cat sitter $30 per day we brought our fuzzy daughter with us. $30 x 35 days =$1050; that could buy a boat load of Fancy Feast savory salmon. We even have a companion animal letter from our doctor, so all hotels must let her stay with us. Purrrrfect! Sorry.
While in Louisville, we toured the Jim Beam distillery in nearby Claremont. It was fascinating to learn about the history and how the distilling process works, not to mention the free samples in the tasting room, urp. Did you know that some bourbons could be sold in drug stores during prohibition? Yep, for medicinal purposes only.
We’ll be in Orlando for 4 weeks and visiting relatives in Naples and Tampa. Sheraton Vistana has been our home timeshare resort for about 25 years and feels like home away from home. I know that time-sharing does not appeal to everyone, but, for us, it has been a great way to travel with the kids over the years, and fits nicely into our retirement plans.
Yes, we will be doing Disney. It should be quite interesting getting around the parks this time. My wife and I are both getting brand spanking new left hips when we get back to Wisconsin, so we will be one of those pain-in-the-butt old couples running into everyone with our electric scooters. Sounds like fun to me. Beep Beep!
I’ll keep you updated about every seven to ten days, so please look for my posts. Did you enjoy “The Empire Builder”? I hope so, because there is more to come. The next several posts will include the continuing travel escapades of Dar and Woody. It feels a bit odd referring to myself in the third person, but it’s fun to imagine yours truly intrenched in the adventures.
Before diving into the next travel leg, I’ve found some corny, Wisconsin Humor. Wisconsin is loaded with towns that have weird names. If you use a bit of imagination, you can use them in riddles.
1.What would you say if Caitlyn Jenner transitioned back to a man?
2.There are 2 outs with runners on 2nd and 3rd and Esha is at bat. What do you do?
3.How do you weigh your apple harvest?
By the “Appleton”
4.How do you summon a large deer?
With an “Elkhorn”
5.What do you nickname Kenneth who cares about workplace safety?
Sorry about that. Let me make it up to you with the next leg of my retirement trip.
The Emerald City
Dar and I rode the Empire Builder into Seattle’s King Street Station. It was a magnificent structure. The marble floors, ornate ceiling and pillars, welcomed all its travelers with stunning elegance. As we stepped outside, the robust, red brick structure, with its tall clock tower, was a strong reminder of how well our ancestors built things at the turn of the 19th century.
Our hotel was just a short cab ride from the station. Dar had reserved a king suite at the Edgewater. The lobby of the Edgewater Hotel was a rustic, yet eloquent expanse. There was a large sitting area with a stone fireplace, antler adorned lighting fixtures, and large windows that offered breathtaking views of Elliott Bay and Mt. Olympus. We checked in and went right to our room.
The accommodations were perfect. I believe all hotel rooms should have a comfy chair, so you can kick your shoes off and relax. This one had two leather recliners facing a gas fireplace, and the same fabulous view as the sitting area in the lobby.
“This will do quite nicely,” I said as I plopped down in the overstuffed leather chair.
“I’m glad you approve, oh pampered one. Is there anything you require my Liege?” said Dar as she bowed respectfully.
“Just my Scepter, orb and a snifter of Napoleon Brandy, my dear.” I said haughtily.
“I’m afraid the best I can do is an airplane sized shot of Corbel and a bag of cashews,” she said as she perused the mini bar.
“Sounds perfect. Please join me in the throne room. You may sit at my feet and swoon at my magnificence.” I said.
The cashews and brandy landed in my lap, just missing my head. I dutifully got up, grabbed the ice bucket and scampered down the hall to the concession area. When I returned, Dar was reclined in her chair, holding her glass out to the side.
”I’ll have the scotch with cheese and crackers, bozo, and make it snappy before I sic the hounds on you.” she commanded in her high English accent.
I iced our glasses, and poured the drinks, as we both had a good chuckle.
I had made dinner reservations at the Pink Door restaurant. I had read about it online, during my train trip, and Joseph, my waiter in the dining car, highly recommended it. We only had an hour, so we unpacked a few things and freshened up a bit. I threw on my blue blazer, khaki slacks and a window-paned button down collared shirt. Dar wore her black flowy slacks and a shiny gold and black top with gold jewelry. We looked good.
There was a bar in the hotel lobby, and we wanted to check it out before going to dinner. After all, one can’t survive on a single shot of booze and a snack.
The hotel lounge was quite large. It had round tables with chairs and several curved booths done in white and brown leather. The room was flanked with six large beams made of trees with branches touching the ceiling, and the twenty-seat bar stood mid-room against the wall. It was packed with thirsty patrons.
Luckily, a young couple was just getting up as we approached the bar, so we hopped up onto the empty high back chairs. I signaled to the closest bartender several times before I finally caught his eye. They were extremely busy, so, I quickly ordered two Johnnie Walker Blacks on the rocks. We were in a hurry, and I felt a bit lucky to get served at all.
There must have been a wedding reception in one of the ballrooms. I spotted three young ladies dressed alike sitting around a table drinking shots with the groomsmen. I couldn’t tell if they were just getting started or winding down, but they sure were having a blast. I nudged Dar to take a look.
“Those were the days,” she said raising her glass in recognition.
“And I’m damn glad they are over,” I countered.
We only had time for one cocktail, which turned out to be a blessing. The drinks were small, just a single shot over a full glass of ice. I should have ordered mine neat. At $12 a pop it was hardly worth it. We tried to savor it with slow sips, but after a short ten minutes we finished up and left for dinner. I begrudgingly left a couple bucks on the bar, and off we went.
The evening was warm, but there was a nice breeze off Elliott Bay that cooled us nicely. The Pink restaurant was just several blocks from the hotel, but we didn’t feel like walking, so, I asked the hotel doorman to hail a cab for us. We were pleasantly surprised when a shiny black limo pulled up. I didn’t realize that, as a guest, we had free shuttle service to nearby restaurants and attractions.
The Pink Door was quite different. If I hadn’t read the reviews I probably would have passed on it. The outside of the building was a cinder block structure with a heavy steel pink door. It must have been an old warehouse back in the day. As we entered through the door we descended the stairs into a large candlelit dining room. The walls were adorned with framed artistic portraits, French clowns, and a large canvas of a dog dinning out.
Weird stuff, right. But, not as weird as the wooden rope swing, halfway down the staircase, holding a scantily clothed, lovely young lady hanging upside down. This was our kind of place.
Our hostess led us to a cozy back bar with another large dining area, which had the same candlelit tables and booths, with starched white linen table clothes, and large black napkins sticking out of wine goblets. We were seated in a curved booth for two, against a shadowy stone wall, facing out into the dining room. It was perfect. I could tell by Dar’s facial expressions, that she really liked his place. I just hoped the food was as good as the ambience.
The bar was off to our left, and across the room was a small 10×10 foot stage, with a curtain drawn in front of it. I knew that they had live entertainment. I told Dar that I hoped they would have a band or something tonight. She had no idea that I knew exactly what was in store for us later. It was payback time for that little, got ya, thing she did to me on the train.
The Italian cuisine on the menu was infinite. We ordered a calamari starter with our cocktails. It was cooked to perfection. The pieces were not battered, and served with a delectable tomato and spinach base. I decided to order a Chianti with dinner. What the hell, we’re being picked up by a limo.
We sat for a while enjoying our drinks. We love to play a little game where we pick out different patrons, nearby, and make up stories about them. I was sure that the older gentleman, with the attractive young companion, was a catholic priest on the lamb from his chosen order, attempting to recruit the gal to join his demonic cult. Dar pinpointed a scruffy rock star sitting with his entourage. They were, Issus terrorists, planning to blow up the Space Needle. Who knew what treachery was afoot. We snickered, as we toasted to our cleaver detective work.
Dar ordered the Cioppino Pink Door. It was a combination of prawns, mussels, clams and calamari, in a spicy tomato sauce and wine broth, served with basil flavored toast points. I had the Linguine Alle Vongola. The noodles were served with baby clams, pancetta, garlic and pepperoncini covered in a magical white wine sauce. It was all exquisite. Our server presented the wine with our entrees. It was a very good, dry, but not too bold vintage. We both enjoyed our selections, Dar said everything was just the right texture and temperature, and the sauce was fantastic. I felt the same about my dish.
We were having a great time, as we ate and enjoyed, the unique dining room. Dar pointed out a young couple at a table near the stage. She said they were just back from their Alaskan, honeymoon cruise, but I told her that I saw them on the news. They were a brother and sister wanted for a string of Quickie Mart robberies. I poured some more wine, and Dar toasted me for coming up with a good one.
We finished our entrees, and were trying to decide on a dessert. Was it going to be Crème Brule or Tiramisu? The choices of Italian delicacies were also endless. I glanced up at Dar to ask if she was close to deciding, but, something was wrong. Her eyes were wide open, and her mouth way agape.
“Woody! Woody!” Dar looked at me in astonishment as she tried to get my attention. She was talking in an excited whisper discretely pointing at the bar with her fork.
“What is it?” I whispered back.
“Oh my God I think it’s him, over there, standing at the bar. Oh my god, Oh my God, what should we do?” said Dar.
“About what, I mean who, or whom?” I said
“It’s Drew Carey. I didn’t recognize him at first, but I think it’s him.” Said Dar.
The bar was over my left shoulder, so I turned to take a look. It sure looked like Drew Carey. He was leaning against the pillar at the end of the bar chatting with a black man. There was also a rather tall fellow facing him and a stocky bald guy sitting next to the black man. I turned back to Dar.
“Yikes! I whispered. I think that’s Wayne Brady, Brian Skiles, and Colin Mockery with him!” I thought she was either going to faint, or stroke out, right on the floor.
I knew exactly what was going on. It was time to reel her in. The Pink Door was featuring a mock, whose line is it anyway, show. Drew Carey and the others were impersonators, but Dar wasn’t wearing her glasses, so I let her go on a little longer.
“You know, Drew Carey owns a part of the Seattle Sounders soccer team. Maybe he’s here for a game, and invited his pals to join him. Should we try to get an autograph?” I said excitedly.
God I’m going to pay for that. I was loving every minute of this. Dar’s reaction was priceless. She fumbled through her purse looking for a pen and something to write on.
“I can’t find my goddam pen. Quick, get our server, she has one. Where the hell is she? Crap there leaving. This table has me trapped. C’mon, help me get out of this booth!” She was really starting to lose it.
The four men at the bar walked through a side door next to the bar. It must have led around the outside of the room, and onto the stage. Suddenly, before Dar could get out of the booth, the stage lite up and the curtain opened, as an announcement blasted over the speaker.
“Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to “Who’s Line is next”.
Dar freaked out at first. Then she put her glasses on.
“Wait a minute. It’s ‘Who’s Line is it anyway’. This isn’t real.” She said.
“No, but I’ve heard it’s really fun.” I said.
“What? You knew all along? You rat” she shouted.
“Got ya back!”