Trail Ride in California’s GOLD Country

Here’s another ride in GOLD Country. It’s to a small waterfall on Tyler Foote Crossing Road. The road was built in 1913 as a “fast way” to bring gold from the mine(s) in the Aleganey area to Nevada City, Ca… and goods back to the miners.

Before 1913 when the road was constructed, there was no way to/from Alleghaney in the winter and it took five days to get to Nevada City by wagon in the summer. After the road was built, the trip was shortened to 3 days year round. On this trip I cover about 20% of the road in less than an hour… and I was taking it easy.

I hope you enjoy the video:


Ride to N. Fork of Deer Creek in California’s GOLD country.

Here’s another off road ride in California’s GOLD country near Nevada City. This was my first off-road ride an about two years. I rode from the “Western Headquarters” to Valentia Rd. Valentia Rd is a dirt road that goes down to Deer Creek.

Besides being a nice “first off-road ride back,” I wanted to check out the N. Fork of Deer Creek for GOLD!!! Dear Creek was the first place close to Nevada City, California where GOLD was discovered.

I didn’t check for GOLD on this ride, but you can be sure… my next time down there, I’ll have a gold pan with me.

I hope you enjoy the video.

Exploring California’s Gold Country

I know I haven’t posted in a while, but it’s time to fix that. I’m on a great adventure to California’s Gold Country. Here’s a Youtube video I posted of a dual sport (dirt bike) ride I made in the Nevada City, Ca. area.

The ride was 1/2 on paved roads and 1/2 on very UN-improved dirt roads. This is the first of videos of my time in Gold Country so stay tuned.

Sea Day 2

Just across the walk-way from the Pig & Anchor is the American Heroes lounge. Walking in there brought tears to my eyes. Yes, really tears. There’s a big sign, “WELCOME HOME.” There’s a whole generation of heroes out there who never got that “welcome home.” So, it is to them that I dedicate the rest of today’s post.


Perhaps now it is “Welcome Home Brothers & Sisters.” And I’m glad it is that way today. But there was a time when those who went off to war zones were virtually 100% men. And it is to the “Band of Brothers” to whom I’m speaking now… no mater their gender.

In particular, I’m speaking to those who never got the welcome home. You know who you are. Perhaps it was best said in Shakespeare’s historical play, Henry V:

We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition:
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.

William Shakespeare, Henry V, speech given by King Henry V

I’ll say it again… WELCOME HOME BROTHERS

Here at Carnival they have taken tributes to our Military Heroes seriously. They have a Military Tribiute in the main theater. It is well done and everyone should go… not just my Brothers & sisters.

The tribute opened with words of thanks and unity.
It even included our newest brothers & sisters, the Space Cadets
And before closing… a fitting tribute to those who never came home.

The American Heroes lounge has comfortable overstuffed chairs and couches. All around the lounge are walls with memorabilia.

The American Heroes lounge is also the closest thing to a sports bar on the ship. Except it really isn’t a bar and they only show ESPN and ESPN2 on the two big-screen TVs. Except… ESPN is really not the U.S. version of ESPN. Rather, it is the international version. So, this afternoon I’m really looking forward to watching a most important cricket match between two “West Indies League” teams. Who really wants to see Baseball and the like anyway?

Hummmm… the game of Cricket. Few Americans understand the game. So let me relay to you what I learned from a friend when I lived in England a few years back:

“ The object of the game is for two guys, the batsmen, to stand out by the wickets and try to stay out there as long as they can so their mates can drink beer in the pavilion. The object for the opposing team is to get the batsmen out as soon as possible so they can go the pavilion and drink beer. The winning team is the one that drinks the most beers.”

Paul Lathem-Jackon, Oxfordshire, England

Seems today I’m diverging from the cruise stuff, so I’ll get back to it.

I’ve promised to report “the good, the bad, and the ugly” while doing my “live froms.” I’ll get to those later, but today I’m adding a category… “The Weird”.

The first weird is the way the floors are laid out on this ship. I’m sure this is to amaze, confuse, and bamboozle everyone. You see, the lowest passenger accessible deck is deck 3. And that is the deck you use to get on/off the ship when going ashore in port. This is the equivalent to deck 0 on every other carnival ship. On the Party Grass, Deck 4 is really the first passenger deck and has cabins only. The same for deck 5. Finally, you get to deck 6 which is where the promenade deck is located.

Now… if you were to apply Carnival’s conventional numbering system… starting at deck 0 for the on/off deck, the Prominade deck would be deck 5 on this ship. With the existing numbering system starting at 3, it appears there are 18 decks. I’m sure this is to amaze you. Are you amazed? However, you’re really bamboozled because there are three fewer decks than that. Actually, there are 4 fewer because they skip 13.

The next weirdness is the floors themselves… they aren’t level in a lot of places. Instead, there are little ramps between different sections of the ship. These little ramps seem to connect different sections of the ship. The ramps go up or down maybe six or 8 inches in some places, and as much as s foot or two in others. It’s almost as if the engineers who designed the sections of the ship didn’t talk to each other until the pieces were brought together. Then it was, OH S^&*T!!!. So they welded the pieces together as best they could and then built the little ramps to make up for it. I suspect there were some jobs lost over this.

Ordinarily, the little ramps aren’t a big deal. Except after a few frozen concoctions to help you hang on, these little ramps surprise you. As you stumble up/down the ramp, you grab the closest thing to get your balance back. My apologies to the buxom woman with the low-cut top. I’m sure none of those pics will appear on any of the social media places.

The last weirdness for now is all the doors to the outside of the ship and especially doors to the bathrooms. In stead of overhead “people sensors” to open the doors to the outside areas of the ship, they have installed no-touch sensors (about 3 inches in diameter). You wave your hand in front of to get the door to open. Alternately, there are smaller ¾ inch diameter buttons you do touch on the sliding door. In the early days of the cruise, the hoards going in/out were backed up down the isles trying to figure out how to open the doors.

The no-touch sensors present another couple of problems when it comes to the public bathrooms. When you wave your hand over the sensor the door opens… and stays open for about three hours. Ok… it only seems like 3 hours. If you’ve really got to go, several of the doors open to expose the urinals where the men are standing. I’ve seen men dancing with tears in their eyes waiting for the door to close…  or exposing everything because they can’t wait to get to the urinal. I sure am glad I don’t drink beer.

The other problem with the no-touch bathroom sensors is that passing closely by them will accidentally open the door. Again, the open door exposes everything in the bathroom. I’ve heard the shriek of more than one woman when someone accidentally opened the door. EEEEEK! And I’ve heard numerous choruses of “Ocupado.”

That’s all for today. Next up, as promised… the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Stay tuned…

Kokomo Man

P.S. As usual, this post with high resolution pics is posted on

Day 1 – Sea Day

Today’s post is dedicated to Peanut. No… not Jeff Dunham’s Peanut… my Peanut. You see, today is Peanut’s birthday. And this is her birthday cruise. Happy Birthday Peanut!!!

She booked this cruise to be here on her birthday. She got a real good deal… I mean R.E.A.L   G.O.O.D  D.E.A.L !!!! And she was excited to explore this new ship. So, I booked it to be with her. Except… with the price of airline tickets from California to Florida going crazy… and the uncertainty because of cancellations, she had to cancel the cruise *sad face*.

So Peanut, I miss you and really do wish you were here.

Now… on to the cruise stuff.

This morning started off with the usual stuff… sleeping in late (of course) and then to the sea-day brunch. A little while back, Carnival introduced my favorite sea day brunch item… 12-hour French toast. It’s really a small loaf of bread that is fixed up sorta like regular French toast, but without slicing it up. There are a few spices added in too… maybe a little cinnamon.

I make a little hole in the “loaf” and pour in one of the two little dishes of maple syrup. Mmmmmm-mmmmmm good. After eating the center of the loaf, I pour the remaining syrup over the outsides and eat that. It all tastes so good that I’m sure there are lots of eggs and other bad things in it… and a couple million calories. So, this is the only one I’m allowing for myself this cruise.

After breakfast it was off to get a Bloody Mary. That has become a little bit of a tradition for me. And especially on ships where there’s a Pig & Anchor. Today didn’t disappoint. The “Pig & Anchor puts many of the daily essentials and something from all the food groups in the ones they make… tomato juice (of course) for vitamin C, stuffed olives from the vegetable group, a stalk of the celery from the ruffage group, Tito’s finest from the make you mellow group, and of course a few pieces of bacon from the clogged arteries food group. This is another thing I’m allowing myself to have just once this cruise.

With full tummy, and a little “tomato juice” in me it was time to go off exploring the ship. The first thing that struck me is that there is a bar everywhere. I have yet to visit them all, but it seems like this ship is truly devoted to bars and lounges for the bars. A quick check of the Carnival Hub shows that there are 13 places where you can get a frozen concoction to help you hang on.

Hummmm…The Carnival Hub. A smart cell phone and the Carnival Hub app have become almost essential on-board Carnival ships these days. Gone are the paper copies of the “Fun Times” that listed all the events of the day. Yes… it is possible to hunt down paper copies of the daily events if you must have one, but you really do have to work at it.

Add to that… any time you want to eat in almost anything but fixed time dinner, or the buffet, you must use your smartphone to request a table. AND… once you get to the restaurant, you use the cell phone to pull up the menu. Gone are the days where you can turn off your cell phone and put in the drawer as soon as you board the ship.

Yes, the ship is large, but in the end, there is little new or different on board. All the stuff previous ships had on two decks (mostly 4 &5), are now spread out on three decks. Two of the decks have all the familiar shops… Cherry on Top, Effy jewelry (yeowwww $$$$), “Fun Shops (Carnival Store, Fragrance store, and overprices stuff store) … and let’s not forget the Liquor and Tobacco store.

One deck is nearly entirely devoted to the casino. There has been a clear attempt to separate the smoking and non-smoking sections on opposite sides of the ship. It works fairly well except around the cross over in the middle where the “aromas” waft between the two sides of the ship.

There are two things missing from this ship. Gone is the Red Frog Pub… farewell old friend. The Red Frog Pub was a place I spent time on sea days writing stuff. Not to worry, have laptop-will travel. Also gone are the Park West Auctions… most would say “good riddance” and others would say, “thank you for saving me a small fortune on my sail & sign card.”

Also gone are two of my favorite events: the Hairy Chest Contest and the Master Mixologist normally held on the Lido deck. A few months ago, I was told these events were eliminated to prevent mass gatherings as part of the Cootie Bug protocol. However, if you could see the Lido deck today, it is already back to mass gathering. I suspect a lot of people would say good riddance to both of these too… especially the Hairy Chest.

No Cootie Bug protocols in progress
Pools and hot tubs in full operation.

The most obvious new thing is the Roaster Coaster. Yes, I meant “Roaster.” Peanut used to say that when she was little and since today is her birthday, I defer to her. If you are a fan of roaster coasters, then the novelty of this one makes it a must do. But as roaster coasters go, this one isn’t much. It’s just two quick laps around a little part of deck 18. It only lasts about 48 seconds. If it was free, then maybe it would be fun, but it costs way more than a frozen concoction to help me hang on, so I’ll pass on this one.

There’s a big change to the Atrium. On all previous ships the Atrium had a bar on a lower/bottom floor, a little seating area and a small stage. On the Party Grass it’s a whole new ballgame. There is a big stage and seating on three levels to watch the shows and productions that go on there. While it hasn’t replaced the main showroom, there seem to be many similar type productions in the Atrium Theater (Atrium Theater is my naming, not Carnivals. I think it’s really called, “Center Stage”. My name is better.)

This is the Atrium Theatre. (Center Stage) They reconfigure it for various performances adding or removing chairs from the floor.

One more thing before I find a hot tub and a frozen concoction to help me hang on. Contrary to popular legend, it doesn’t take a week to explore this ship. Between Day O (had to get that one in one more time) and this morning I checked out all the venues of consequence. Having said that, drinking a little liquid libation in all the bars is another thing entirely. So that is my quest for the rest of this cruise. Have one drink in all the bars. Perhaps I’ll do a write up on each one in the days to follow.

For now, I’m starting with the Blue Iguana and a visit to my friends, Sr. Patron and Don Julio.

Kokomo Man