Showing posts with label POST. Show all posts
Showing posts with label POST. Show all posts


Gatlinburg Sky Lift

The Parkway in Gatlinburg has many attractions to choose from. I highly recommend the Gatlinburg Sky Lift. Tickets are $15 per person but here is a tip: If you buy an all day pass, it is only $20 dollars. This option allows you to see the top of the mountain in the day time and also at night when the lights are on.

The ride is a standard ski lift set up. You step onto the platform, (There are feet painted to show you where to stand.) The carousel slowly brings your lift chair around and the attendant raises the bar and you step on and sit down. You then lower the bar and you are on your way. (They will also stop the chairlift momentarily to allow people that need more time to get in their chair.)

The ride is mostly smooth with just a tad of swaying up and down. The view is spectacular and the ride very relaxing. Just befor you reach the top there is an opportunity to have your picture taken. (Cost is $11 for small photo but cost goes up with the package deals they present to you)

At the top you raise the bar on the chair and step to the right when the attendant tells you. There is a little shop where your sky lift picture is posted for you to view before buying plus soft drinks and ice cream and assorted snacls and trinkets.

The view is outstanding as you look down upon the city and out to the great Smoky Mountains. Plenty of photo ops available.

The ride down is as simple as the ride up.
Again, I highly recommend buying the all day pass. You will want to ride it many times.

***The 2016 arson fires damaged a portion of the Gatlinburg Sky Lift but most was not lost. I am sure plans are in place to rebuild the attraction in the very near future. 



Harrahs Las Vegas Hotel

Harrah's Las Vegas
As my job would have it, I visit Las Vegas several times per year spending 5-7 days per visit. Usually it is to attend trade shows and conventions in my line of work. I always look for convenience to my work location when I travel. Harrah's hotel is a very good location when I work at the Las Vegas Convention center. 

I have not stayed at Harrah's since 2010 for my room was outdated and honestly, downright shabby. But with a surprise in my schedule I had to be back in short notice. Calling my regular hotels that I stay at in Vegas, The Mirage, MGM Grand, and TI, (Treasure Island) the prices were very steep. I reluctantly called Harrah's.

Harrah's price for my 5 night stay was $575.00 with taxes and resort fee. I was impressed with the cost but still asked the reservation employee about the rooms and if they were ever updated.

She was happy to inform me that yes, Harrah's was in the middle of updating many of the rooms and in fact, the Valley Tower rooms on the 7th floor were just renevated. I took her word and advice and booked the room.

My plane landed and the taxi line was very short and I arrived at Harrah's Las Vegas.

Some perks that Harrah's supposedly offer is online check-in. I opted into that hoping not to have to stand in long check-in lines. The way it is supposed to work is I would inform Harrah's through email the approximate time of my arrival and they would have my room ready. I would then proceed to the check-in desk with the sign stating KEY PICKUP.

The check-in line was over 30 deep and only two employee's were handling the process. I felt sorry for those people waiting. I found the KEY PICKUP area and waited for an employee to come out. And I waited. And waited. Ten minutes and finally an employee walks over and asks what he could do for me. I showed him my online check-in confirmation and wanted my keys to my room. He looked at me, then over at the long check-in line and said, "I'm sorry sir, but we are having difficulties at this time with our online check-in process. You will have to get in line and check in over there." (As he pointed to the rather large line of people waiting)

So, that didn't work well. I was now a bit worried about the reservation employee who promised me the rooms were updated.

Forty minutes later it was my turn to check in. I verified my identity with my drivers license and was given my keys. I was given a quick lesson on where the elevators were and where the casino was. I thanked her and went to my room.

For me, one of the key signs for a good hotel are their elevators. Harrah's would not dissapoint. I pushed the up button and in mere seconds, the door opened and up I went. Not just the initial time, but every time I used the elevator. They were very prompt.

As I walked to my room on the 7th floor I spied a clean carpeted floor and walls. So far so good. I arrived at my room and waved the key card over the reader and I opened the door and switched on the light.

I let out a huge sign of relief. The room was updated. And clean. And spacious. I could forgive the online check-in debacle.

The room was large, with a king size bed, two large closets for my clothes, a chair, table, plus desk chair and work station area. Also on the wall was a 47 inch flat screen TV. To the right was a vanity area, with a stool and lighted mirror. Below the TV was a dresser for clothes. There were no handles on the doors. Supposedly they were touch activated. But they are not, I had to dig with my fingers to get them open.

The bathroom was nice, clean, all new fixtures. It had a walk in shower with non slip flooring. The water pressure was good. The sink vanity was large enough to hold my toiletries and there were plenty of clean fluffy towels.

This would do nicely.

I was tired. To me, it was 3am in the morning with the time change. I went to sleep. The bed was comfortable. The four pillows were big and began as fluffy, but slowly deflated as the night went on. By morning, I needed three pillows to keep my head up.

I showered and dressed the next morning and made my way to the convention center. From the elevators a quick right turn and another right up the stairs led me to the Monorail. The walk was about five minutes in total. Very manageable carrying my work essentials.

Hotel Tip: If you stay in Vegas, book a hotel attached to the Monorail system. You can buy a three, four, or five day pass for a cost of about $9 dollars per day for unlimited access. The Monorial is usually on time and gets you where you want to go with no taxi or traffic hassle.

I returned each night after the trade show after 6:30pm. My room was never made up. I would change clothes and go out to dinner and when I arrived back, usually after 9pm, the room was made up. Except for one day, when they forgot.

After five days it was time to leave. I attempted to check-out using the television check out services but guess what, those services were temperarily not available.

Nor were bellman. I called the bell desk for my lugguge to be picked up but the phone just rang. After five minutes I called the front desk and told them the belldesk is not answering. I was put on hold for five minutes and the front desk clerk said they must be busy.

I took my luggage down to the bell room myself. No one was inside the room. I spoke out if anyone was there. Several minutes went by until a bellman came through the door. He asked me what I needed. He gave me a ticket and I gave him money and told him I would be back around 4pm to pickup my bag.

When I arrived back, again no bellman. I waited until one appeared. He went and retrieved my bag and I asked him to get me a taxi. We went outside and of course there were no taxi's waiting. None. Zero. A ten minute wait produced one taxi.

Room Tip: if you need taxi service in Vegas, do not stay at Harrah's

All in all, the room was nice, clean, quiet, and spacious. The dining choices were sparse but a quick walk outside and you are a five to ten minute walk to may choices.

The price was right, and I will stay at Harrah's again.
Room Tip: Room 7024 is updated with a view of the High Roller.

One More Hotel Tip - WIFI: in todays travel many people want to stay connected with family and friends and of course the office. Harrah's WIFI service was excellent. It connected and performed above expectations. Even better than the above mentioned hotels I stayed at previously. 



One Hell Of A Happy Meal At McDonalds

On my way to work this morning, (Yes readers, I do work sometimes) I drove past the local McDonald's on Market Street and spied their billboard advertising "Cone" for 50 cents.

Now that is one Hell of a Happy Meal...



Mountain Heritage Inn - Gatlinburg - Honeymoon Suite

The Mountain Heritage Inn located on River Road in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, is a quaint Inn with standard rooms, deluxe rooms, cottages, Roundettes, and suites. When I'm on business, I usually stay at the Cottage, Room 127 but when Patty (My wife) and I go to Gatlinburg, we move around a bit. Last time, we stayed in the Honeymoon Suite, room 201.

The cost was $124.00, just $25.00 more per night than the deluxe rooms. It was a bargain. The suite has a nice size bedroom, king size bed, TV, window, a good size bathroom, a ready room, large living room, with fireplace, a heart-shaped jacuzzi, kitchen with stove, frig, sink, dishes, etc, and a wrap around second story balcony. There is even an elevator so you do not have to lug your luggage up stairs. It did come in handy.

The room was clean, roomy, felt very secure, (Door locks were tight with no wiggle) and the area well-lit. A great place to stay when visiting Gatlinburg as the Inn is just a several minute walk to the Parkway.



St. Elizabeth Hospital Youngstown Ohio

Place: Hallway inside St. Elizabeth Hospital, Youngstown, Ohio

Take a few seconds to study the photo above. Go ahead, I'll wait while you do.
OK, what is wrong with this picture?




When The Humans Are Away - Storm Cat Parties

I often wondered what my pet cat does all day while Patty and I are hard at work making money so we could buy him even more cat toys and treats. Every morning as Patty and I backed the car out of the drive way, we would see Storm (Our 20 plus pound male cat) looking out the kitchen window at us. It was almost like he was waving goodbye to us. Or so we thought.

One day, on a whim, I turned on the living room computer web cam and set the camera for motion detection. I positioned the lens to display the entire living room area. I wanted to track his movement during the day to see exactly what he did, or didn't do. Every time he would walk into the living room, the webcam would snap a shot. Below is the startling photographic evidence that Storm had invited guests over after we left. The damn cat was hosting parties all day.

No wonder the damn cat sleeps all night.



San Francisco Fog - Something Lurks Inside

Patty and I were in San Francisco recently and we stayed at the Holiday Inn on Van Ness Avenue. (BTW, the hotel restaurant was never open the entire 5 days we were there) Now I have heard tall tales about how thick and how fast the fog rolls in from the ocean. The three photographs below were taken from our hotel window, (What a view huh?) in the span of an hour. Now I believe.

Photo one: An almost clear view to the ocean and the city including the San Francisco cable cars can be easily seen. (Click the thumbnail for a much larger version)
Photo two: The fog rolls in quickly engulfing the city.
Photo three: Total immersion of the fog.

I told Patty we should hurry down to the street so we could meet Adrienne Barbeau, Jamie Lee Curtis and Janet Leigh. She looked at me puzzled like I had gone mad. I explained that San Francisco used to be an old fishing town built over an old leper colony and when the fog rolls in the former inhabitants (Zombies) come back and exact revenge.

That evening we had a hauntingly good time. The Fog is the true San Francisco treat.



Oldest Milky Way Candy Bar Discovered

Every now and again I get that "Chocolate" urge and venture down the hallway to the Las Vegas vending machine. I call it Las Vegas for it's a gamble if you receive something after you feed it money. I inserted my money and I selected the Milky Way candy bar. As the candy bar fell into the slot at the bottom I mumbled under my breath, "Winner, winner, chicken dinner." The above photo is what I received. WTF!

Where the Hell did this candy bar come from? Had I somehow awoken in the future in a post apocalyptic zombie outbreak. If so, I'm lucky to have found a treasure such as this. I could now live to fight zombies another day.

Dejected, I went back to my office, placed the candy bar on my desk, took out my cell phone, and snapped this photo. I then sent it to the printer, 8X11 size in color. I then went back to the Las Vegas vending machine and taped the photo of the Milky Way candy bar on the glass where everyone can see.

It was on...

Winner, winner, chicken dinner.



Reading While Driving

It was raining hard in Frisco. (Youngstown) On my way home from work today I spied a woman driving a pickup truck and unbelievably she was reading a Barnes And Noble Nook. Cell phone chatter is the norm these days but reading a FN book? Intrigued, I switched to the left lane and followed her a little ways in hopes of getting a photo. In less than a half mile I took my shot and snapped the above photo.

She was oblivious, holding her Nook and glancing up at the road as we drove on. A moment after I snapped the picture, I chuckled to myself of the absurdity of the event. I realized that, there I was, cell phone in hand, driving in the rain, hoping to get in position to snap this woman driving while reading a Nook.

A perfect ending would have been Harry Chapin's Taxi playing on the radio. Alas, Aerosmith was playing.


Mountain Heritage Inn - Gatlinburg - Cottage

For well over 20 years I have been traveling to Gatlinburg, Tennessee to attend the Smoky Mountain Gift Show located at the entrance of the great Smoky Mountains. I have stayed in just about every hotel, motel, cottage, Inn, bungalow, and room in town. About 10 years ago, we were told about the Mountain Heritage Inn, located at 575 River Road, Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

The proprietors are real nice folks, (Hello Louise) who understand a traveler and are ready to help when something comes up. The Inn is located in the heart of Gatlinburg making everything within walking distance. The room rates are very affordable. This exact cottage, room 127, is $74.99 per night. Before you say that other establishments offer lower rates, take a look at what you get for this price.

First, the cottage is a stand alone structure. It does not share any walls with other rooms. This offers enormous privacy. It has a nice little front porch with old fashioned rocking chairs and a grill for cooking burgers or hot dogs. A quick right turn from the room and you find the pathway to the Parkway, the main road of Gatlinburg and the convention center.

Inside the cabin, there is a spacious kitchen with round table and chairs, a mini stove, full sized refrigerator, microwave, kitchen sink, counter, cupboards, toaster, dishes and utensils. Everything needed to have a cooked meal in your room.

Moving along, the bathroom was large and clean with all lights working. (I absolutely hate when lights are burned out) The sink counter was large to hold all my toiletries and a large mirror to help in shaving. The shower and tub surround was sturdy and the water pressure strong.

As you enter the main living area, the heater and air conditioner is located on the right side of the wall. Amazingly, it was very quiet compared to other floor units. A comfortable recliner to watch TV in and a work desk with lamp plus several drawers for your clothes.

On the far right side of the room, a gas fireplace sits. It's very easy to use, merely turn the switch, set the timer and sit back and prepare to get toasty. To the left of the fireplace is the 25 inch TV set with a good channel lineup. Below the TV is a dresser for clothes.

But wait, there's more. There's a hot tub in the room. After a long day of work at the show, a nice relaxing soak does the body good.

Lastly, a king sized bed with a firm comfortable mattress with clean sheets and covers. Plenty of fluffy pillows to sleep soundly.

Before we get to the photo gallery of the cottage, let me tell you one quick story about one of my trips to Gatlinburg. We had gotten a late start and with the drive time roughly 10 hours, we were going to get in town quite late. I called ahead to Louise and explained the situation, that we would not be there by 6pm, but more likely around 11pm. With the office closing at 6pm, Louise said that she would tape our keys to our doors and in the morning come in and register.

Sure enough, our keys were on our room doors. Try that at another hotel. Now onto the gallery.

There you have it, the cottage at the Mountain Heritage Inn. At $74.99 it's a pretty good bargain for what you get.
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