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  • So after we left the Queen Mary, we went to Berth 55, a dive that Yelp had highly rated. It was pretty heavy on the dive. I wasn't impressed, and my friend (who hails from a state that actually has coastline) was downright disappointed.

    Even the little toy machine didn't dispense a good prize! It was like a fake box of birthday candles, nothing inside, but it was an eraser, I think. (Not sure what I expected for a quarter, in fairness.)


    We had some time to kill so we went to the El Dorado Nature Center, a nice little preserve near the Long Beach airport.

    They had signs warning squirrels not to eat human food. What clever squirrels they must have!

    "Oh! This reminds me of Japan!"

    Then we picked up my mom from the airport. She was famished too, even though it wasn't quite dinner time, so In-N-Out Burger! I got my first Animal Style burger. Shellie May thinks they should make bear-style burgers...

    Then off to our next room! This was a lovely place with an obstructed ocean view (it's right past those buildings).

    An easy walk to the beach!

    Then my friend and I went on a grocery/dessert run and snagged some cupcakes. Mmmmm cupcakes.
    Daily Duffy Archive! Adventures with Duffy, ShellieMay, or Gelatoni, updated regularly!

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    • Eeee-va, what do you think of In-n-Out burger? I have never eaten there. My sister has and she says it's decent but nothing she'd drive out of the way for. Maybe I would need to be a native Californian to get the fascination. I'd try it if I was near one, though. Five Guys is big in Tennessee. They're good (very generous with the ingredients and huge fries, but verrry limited drink selection and I don't like carbonation (they don't have shakes)).

      How long were you on vacation or is this multiple trips all to the same location (like long weekends)?

      My bears love cupcakes, too, although ice cream is Shellie May's favorite dessert and Duffy is a donut maniac.



      • I like In-N-Out Burger OK, but I'm not a huge fan. We went there because my friend from Florida had never been, and my mom always likes to eat there when she's in California. They do make good burgers but they're pretty darned greasy. They make their fries fresh (I've seen them cut the potatoes right there!) and you can order them well-done, which is really good. Their menu is extremely limited but they do have shakes. (You can even get a "Neapolitan" shake with all 3 flavors if you ask them!)

        My friend was out on my side of the country for about 10 days. We made it a part "stay-cation" and part trip to California. I saved for months for the trip! I should do some more local day trips, but it's getting to the hot time of year, so I'm not sure those are in the cards for a while.

        We went to Newport Beach the next day. We had booked a nicely priced whale watching tour!

        We had lunch at a barbecue restaurant before our cruise.

        The special, a steak sandwich!

        "It is important to keep hydrated, even when the weather is cool."

        Near the waiting area for the tour.

        "We are on a boat! How fun!!!"

        Whale watching is one of those, you kind of had to be there things, but it really was fun.

        I know it was called "whale watching" but I liked the dolphins best!

        "The day started out gray but it got very nice!"

        "And then the human's mom was nice enough to buy us ice cream! YAY!"

        Looking out at the pier at Newport Beach, I think.

        Daily Duffy Archive! Adventures with Duffy, ShellieMay, or Gelatoni, updated regularly!

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        • Hi, Eeee-va, great minds think alike. I have been whale watching and i just went on a 90 minute dolphin cruise in Orange Beach, AL (pictures coming soon), for only $12.50. We did see the dolphins but OMG, the water in that part of the gulf is HORRIBLE.

          I've heard that Biloxi, MS is worse; I know two people who went for gambling and the beaches were closed due to sewage from a plant 5 miles away that sometimes makes too many bacteria depending on the current and people throw trash all over the beach.

          Okay, Gulf Shores, AL, and Mobile Bay (which is 45 miles north to south and 11 miles east to west) doesn't have sewage problems, but even with the water lapping up you can't even see 6 inches into it; it is TOTALLY murky! That part of the gulf is known as the Redneck Riviera. There is a country song about it. I must agree. Even when I came home and told Hillbilly Clyde about it he said, "at least Arkansas, hillbilly and redneck as it might be, with country bumpkins galore, is clean!" He doesn't feel like he missed anything by not going.

          Pictures coming soon but um, yeah, your water looked WAY better. The Alabama coast is GRAYISH water, EW! No kidding!


          • I took Duffy, Shellie May, and Adelaide on a Redneck Riviera mini vacation.

            I took Duffy, Shellie May, and Adelaide on a Redneck Riviera mini vacation.

            Alabama’s gulf shores and Mobile Bay, along with Dauphin Island, are referred to as the Redneck Riviera in a country song and by people at my job. They have not vacationed in Mobile or on Dauphin Island but several people like Gulf Shores and Orange Beach.

            First we arrived in Mobile and went to get biscuits at Hardee’s but the women’s bathroom did not have a working toilet, PASS!
            Then the gas station did not have any toilet paper or paper towels.

            Pass on that as we all hurried back to the car.

            Not a good first impression.

            Our first actual sight was GulfQuest, a museum that opened in November 2015 but then closed due to losing money, and now is just open 4 days a week (Wednesday-Saturday). We got some views of the ships in Mobile Bay, which is 45 miles north to south and 10 miles east to west. Duffy and Shellie May came with me to a Mobile and southwestern Alabama trip over Labor Day weekend in 2013. I tried to go back two other times but it was going to be a complete washout, so this time I scheduled 5 days figuring we could work around any weather issues. After this trip I am DONE with Alabama (and I’m also done with Mississippi, Maryland, Ohio, and Kentucky), not that I think I even have a chance of seeing my whole country in my lifetime.

            Once inside GulfQuest, Duffy was especially excited to be able to pilot a simulated ship.

            Adelaide liked the two uniquely shaped skyscrapers that made up the Mobile, AL skyline.

            Well, since that didn’t take too long we decided that with the sun out now we would go to Dauphin Island. Da bears got their picture taken when we entered the island, which is driveable from the western end, but if you come from the east you must take a small ferry which only runs every hour for $15.

            First we went to the estuarium. “Don’t worry, we won’t eat YOU,” said Shellie May to the lobster in the tank.

            When we were done with that we went to the east beach, with Adelaide squealing, “the BEEEEACH” and all of us covering our ears.

            Well, the BEEEEEACH had such murky gray water that even when it lapped over the sand with the current, you couldn’t see through even a few inches. Also, there were oil derricks all over the horizon, and I’m not a good judge of how far away they were. You could definitely see their platform and details, but it’s not like they were only 50 feet off shore. You could see them with your naked eyes. “Oh, THIS IS THE BEACH?” asked Adelaide, totally disappointed. All of us refused to enter the water.

            “Let’s just get our picture on the sand to prove we were here,” said Shellie May, and everyone agreed.

            We went to the west side beach but lifted trucks were roaring around us and everyone had to park on the sand, sometimes on the small drifts. Oil derricks were visible from this end of the island, too. Since that seemed like a recipe for getting my passenger vehicle stuck, we declined. Shellie May had spotted a shaved ice place so we went there instead. However, the machine looked like something for personal use, and the lady was licking her fingers in between flavors. “Oh, UGH, redneck Riviera is RIGHT!” said Shellie May as we exited quickly!

            Total time spent on the island 90 minutes.

            We then went to Battleship Park in Spanish Fort, AL, at the part where Mobile Bay meets the delta (rivers emptying into salt water). We toured the USS Alabama, and a submarine, and there was a large airplane hangar.

            “This could kill a lot of tenders,” said Shellie May sadly of the missile head.

            “All I am saying….is give peace a chance,” sang Adelaide, as all da bears climbed back in their bag and told me to let them know when we were back in the car.

            Next we still had some time in the day so we went to the Bayfront park in Daphne. "No hiking for me today, even if you carry me and there's a donut at the end of the trail!" said Duffy when he saw the beware sign.

            Then we walked the pier in Fairhope, AL. Shellie May saw a New Orleans snowball truck and asked what that was. When the man told her it was a single scoop of vanilla ice cream surrounded by shaved ice, and she saw that one person was taking the money and the other person was fixing it and not licking their fingers, we decided to try one. “Best part of the day yet,” she said as she ate it.

            We checked into our hotel back in Daphne, which was super nice, and then we went to the mall across the street and got the pawsport stamped. Adelaide picked out a romper.

            "I can see it, I can see where she stamped!" said Adelaide.

            Last edited by JillT; 06-03-2017, 05:10 AM.


            • Hi guys!! I love all the beach photos!!! JillT, you have such a cute crew!! I loved the photos on the sand the most!!

              Eeee-va, I actually live in Newport Beach, and had IN-N-OUT for dinner the night I saw you guys were chatting about it!! I was trying to post something too, but sometimes have trouble on this site when I'm trying to post from my phone!!

              All of the happy sunny pictures are a nice way to kick off the summer!!


              • Oh, and i don't think Lilo from Lilo and Stitch is probably considered a princess, but i always appreciated that she and the other humans in that movie were animated like everyday people instead of supermodels.


                • Another day looked stormy but we didn't have any problems.

                  We went to Gulf State Pier Beach. Adelaide wore her new romper.

                  "No swimming, no problem, I wouldn't go in this water anyway," said a dejected Adelaide.

                  "Hey, it beats sitting home on the shelf!" encouraged Duffy and Shellie May.

                  "Well, that's sure true!" she said, brightening up at the reminder.

                  Duffy is not a bird whisperer but he wanted his picture constantly on the pier.

                  We saw Ron Jon's custom surf shop.

                  Turns out the custom surf boards aren't made for stuffie sized bears so Adelaide is keeping her Vermont Teddy Bear Company surfboard.

                  I heard this restaurant is good.

                  It was only 10:47 a.m. but they were open so we ate there. It WAS good. I'm picky about hushpuppies but that and the cole slaw were super flavorful and the cole slaw was REALLY fresh!

                  Duffy wanted the pawsport stamped at the Wharf in Orange Beach. They have the new stamp which we don't like as much because it doesn't have the state on it and it's generic plus takes up half a page.

                  "Yup, I can see it through there!"

                  "Uh, okay, thanks," he said.

                  "At least they should be able to get it right side up," said Shellie May of the new style.

                  We went on a dolphin cruise in Orange Beach on perdido bay.

                  Making waves.

                  On the way back to the hotel we saw the side of Lambert's restaurant and pulled over.

                  "Who throws the rolls?" asked Shellie May.

                  "I think they throw them at us and we catch and eat them," I replied.

                  "Let's DO it!" said Duffy.

                  The person throwing the rolls would whip them across the room either overhand or underhand. He must play baseball as he was quick and accurate. You order off a menu and then they throw the rolls at you and walk around with molasses (ew) and apple butter (yum). They also walk around with black fried peas, fried okra, fried potatoes and onions (hey, it's the south "fried" is the big thing here), and macaroni and tomatoes and you can have some of that, too.

                  Last edited by JillT; 06-07-2017, 02:18 AM.


                  • On the way back from vacation we got up really early and headed to Birmingham. First we visited their botanical gardens. Duffy doesn't know when he will have a chance to wear his swimwear again so he's wearing it today. Shellie May and Adelaide are in palm tree apparel.

                    Next we went to the Birmingham Zoo, only 0.6 miles away.

                    Shellie May thought fondly of Eeee-va as we toured the butterfly house.

                    "I don't know what a pirate is doing in the zoo but I'd like my photo here, please," requested Duffy.

                    Now we are safely home.


                    • JillT, what bad luck you had on your vacation! Those unsanitary restaurants are unbelievable! :o GulfQuest sounds pretty fun, at least...and at least you managed some cute photos! Weirdly, I've never been on a battleship as an adult, but I'd like to someday….even if they aren't all so happy.

                      The New Orleans Snowball looks pretty good, though.

                      Adelaide's romper suits her, and what great bird photos! Shrimp Basket looks delicious. I like your dolphin shot! And Throwed Rolls….goodness! I think I have your Shellie May's palm tree outfit; wow! How sweet about the butterfly house. <3 And Duffy and a PIRATE! Love it!

                      Shellie May, I've heard people say David from Lilo and Stitch is the best Disney Prince, and the way he treats Nani, they may be on to something.

                      Here we go! Just a few photos before the Alabama of our trip. LOL

                      This has got to be Huntington Beach.

                      "What a lovely day!"

                      We spent a long time trying to figure out where to get some delicious seafood. We finally found a well-rated place just a block or two from our hotel. Fish Camp! It was very, very, very good. Finally!

                      Back in the room! I got a dress for my BFF's tiny plushie at Daiso, the Japanese dollar ($1.50) store.

                      Last edited by Eeee-va; 06-14-2017, 07:16 PM.
                      Daily Duffy Archive! Adventures with Duffy, ShellieMay, or Gelatoni, updated regularly!

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                      • I wanted to go to Litlte Tokyo! I had been probably 10-15 years ago and it was so much fun, and I also loved Japantown in San Francisco. So I assumed Little Tokyo would be wonderful.

                        Almost nothing was open when we arrived!

                        But the scenery was nice. Well, kind of. OK, not really. There were people begging for money and we passed an area that from the smell, my mom whispered that she thinks they had cats there. Given how hard restrooms are to come by in the area (a problem we faced later), I do not think it was cats. (It was NOTHING like ANYTHING I saw in Tokyo, by the way. The closest would be under the bridge by the train station where we happened to see one homeless person, but I don't remember that being dirty.)

                        The grocery store was very nice, though.

                        I really wanted a boba drink (aka bubble tea) and we ended up crossing the street to get one.

                        The lid was ill-fitting, but it was a pretty good drink. (I was also able to pick up a Pocari Sweat sports drink for another friend who had always wanted to try one.)

                        "There may not be restrooms, but at least there are a few places to sit."

                        My friend got treated poorly in several shops (she's so unlucky!). One shopkeep did think Shellie May was adorable, but she thought she was a sheep!

                        The Sanrio store did have Hello Kitty pressed pennies, so that was nice for me.

                        So yeah, we did not really enjoy Little Tokyo. We weren't sure what else to do, but my best friend had always wanted to see/get her picture taken by the office building from Remington Steele, and we had nothing better to do, so one exorbitant parking fee later....


                        Traffic was GHASTLY going back to our room. We ended up eating at a Panera Bread where I got a decent but overpriced sandwich and my mom got a salad that she enjoyed quite a bit until she found a hair near the bottom. Kind of capped off our day.

                        "At least sunset from our room was pretty!"

                        This was one of those vacations that I was almost ready to just go home, which is good because we headed back the next day. But we still had a little fun left.

                        Daily Duffy Archive! Adventures with Duffy, ShellieMay, or Gelatoni, updated regularly!

                        Daily updates on Facebook!


                        • Hi, Eeee-va, that shrimp breading looks like tempura instead of the crumbly breading, and I love grilled vegetables.

                          Lovely view from your room.

                          Downtown Nashville has areas that smell like pee, also, and not from cats! EW!


                          • Steam is having their summer sale and it's a good one! We got 11 games for $14.31 but as it turns out we only liked 6 of them. That's still a good deal, though. Then Duffy just went online because the sale is running through July 5 and he saw that he can get digital stickers for completing quests!

                            "Uh, I guess I like the truck," said Duffy of the selection he saw when he opened his sticker pack.

                            "Hey, Bearami, come see if you get anything better."

                            "Nope, we'll just stick to playing the real video games and not doing these quests," said Bearami, as he convinced me to buy another bundle of 9 games for $3.99.


                            • Well, that is the end of that (momism). My sister and I adopted some of our parents' phrases.

                              Apparently, Photobucket will no longer allow me to copy and paste my images on a 3rd party site like this unless I upgrade to a Plus 500 plan. I'm like hmm, what is that? How much does that cost? Okay, I'll bite. So I followed the link and guess how much they want?

                              $399 per year! Yes, that is almost four hundred dollars; it is not a mistake where I forgot the decimal place.

                              Does anyone have any other suggestions?

                              I'm not on facebook by the way.


                              • How infuriating about Photobucket! Not cool at all. I'd almost call it extortion!

                                I use Google Photos and Blogger together to get photos here. But it is a bit of a pain to get the photos up here from there. Basically, I make posts on Blogger and then just copy them over here, tweak the formatting a bit, and they work. (Annoying!) If you think you want to try it, I'll try to figure out how. Or you could just post adventures on Blogger and link here....
                                Daily Duffy Archive! Adventures with Duffy, ShellieMay, or Gelatoni, updated regularly!

                                Daily updates on Facebook!


                                • Hi, Eeee-va, for some reason I had some photos of da bears on google photos so that must have not worked for me. Yeah, Photobucket got pretty much overrun by ads that would keep popping up to the point that it was barely functional (close one, another pops up, even though I have protection). I'll have to hunt around for another solution. I can't upload them directly from here because no matter how small I reformat them, they're still over the tiny allowance for file size.


                                  • Let's see if this works.


                                    • nope


                                      • DING DING DING we have a winner! Just right click and copy the image from the postimage website.

                                        we'll see how long THAT works. Unfortunately, photobucket just like you said, Eeee-va, decided to unexpectedly extort me and none of my pictures will show up anymore so hopefully everyone already read what they wanted LOL.

                                        But for now, I can do it this way.


                                        • Here y'all go:

                                          Hopefully everyone else can see them.


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