Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Captain Bob's Mis-Guided Tours - Finding the Meaning of It All

Denise & Amanda on Lake Granby, Colorado
As we boarded the pontoon boat on Lake Granby, CO to distribute my father’s ashes on the island he requested in the Rocky Mountains at the headwaters of the Colorado River it started to become clear to us why we were really here.  I truly believe my father’s decision to place his ashes here were not as much about being there himself, as it was about getting his two daughters back to the Rocky Mountain one more time. 

 You see, our family lives in the Rockies and as children, we visited every year and it was always a huge part of our life.  As adults, however,  my sister and I just didn’t go as much.  Even without his daughters, my dad always made time to visit and Aunt Jeannette and cousins Robert and Lisa, always loved his visits.  The last trip he took was with them to Yellowstone National Park.  I truly believe that was why we were there and why he chose this spot for his ashes…….so Denise and I could remember how much we loved to visit our family and the Colorado Rockies.

One of Captain Bob's Final Resting Places

So, as we cruised across the placid lake, landed on the island while being stalked by a pair of osprey that had made their home on the island, and laid my father to rest by his parents at the top of the island by the rock, shaped like a headstone, we committed to return to this amazing place.  A place where the headwaters of the Colorado River begin, a  place that we explored as children and learned about the world and a place that my dad will forever call home.

Of course the remainder of our trip was not without lots of mishaps, reminiscing and cheesy sightseeing stops.  While traveling, we made sure to visit Rocky Mountain National Park, so we could balance on top of the Continental Divide.  Hours of game viewing, even though the biggest game we saw was a chipmonk and a field mouse.  A stop for a geocache  at the Kauffman House Museum and of course, a stop at Buffalo Bill’s Grave Site because who can resist a highway sign advertising what is sure to be amazing!

Dividing myself up at The Divide
A visit to Buffalo Bill's Grave Site

My last thought is this…….as I lay on the top bunk of our bunk beds and joked about how I was laying in bed with my hands on the ceiling, I couldn't help but feel how much my dad would have loved this. The crisp mountain air, the laugh of his girls as we joked about our childhood and lots and lots of stops at ALL of the tourist hot spots.  

For now we will journey home with lots of new tales and memories for our loved ones and maybe even a fish tale or two. Then two weeks from now, we will be departing again on the last Mis-Guided Tour to the Florida Keys. I’m sure having Tristan, Courtney and Suzanne along on this next journey will only add to the adventure.

We love you dad and will continue the journies of Captain Bob’s Mis-Guided Tours

Friday, September 12, 2014

The Arrival of Captain Bob's Mis-Guided Tours

When my sister, Denise, and I realized that our dad had set us up for the ultimate Thelma and Louise adventure, we were already in too deep.  We were sitting on the plane on our way to Colorado to place his ashes on an island in a lake in the middle of the Rocky Mountains.   We were reminiscing about the crazy times of our nomadic childhood.  It wasn't the stories themselves that were all too funny, it was the varying perspective that each of us had as we remembered those times.

I would like to share some of the stories that truly stood out for the both of us.  I'm not sure if you will find them as amusing as we did but I hope you will be entertained non the less.

There was the time we enjoyed a week at the Hidden Valley Dude Ranch near Lake George.  We tried every activity, as it was imperative that we tried everything just once.  We were having a blast until it was time for archery, when my dad picked up a cracked arrow and proceeded to shot it directly threw his hand.  He didn't scream or cry like most normal, rational human beings might but advised us calmly that we needed to take a trip to the hospital to remove the arrow.  When we went to the lobby to ask them to call for an ambulance and my dad stood with the wood of the arrow out one end of his hand and feathers out the other and an attorney standing nearby us said, "I'll drive you to the hospital" and proceeded to hand him a business card.  Of course my father wouldn't dream of suing anyone, as that just wasn't the right thing to do in his mind but instead wrapped his heavily bandaged hand in plastic bags with duct tape so he could still participate in the greased watermelon contest in the swimming pool the next day.  Nothing would stop Captain Bob from making sure his family had a good time.

Another time that we were all body surfing at the beach in Wild Wood, New Jersey and my mom gets hit by an enormous wave which proceeds to take the top to her bikini bathing suite out to sea.  Of course my mom has no idea she was flashing the world and stood up to look for her family.  My dad spots this from about 200 feet away and is trying to wave her down to tell her what has happened  but the noise of the waves were just too loud, so she proceeds to wave back joyously as everyone from the beach applauded.

One of our favorite stories was the time that my sister Denise had received a brand new beautiful coat for Easter.  Captain Bob decides it would be great to take a unplanned spin to the Trexler Game Park to enjoy the animals.  It' wasn't until my sister started to screech when we noticed that she was pinned up to the fence of the camel area because the camel had began to eat her new coat while she was wearing it.  Fortunately or unfortunately her arms didn't come out of the sleeves so we didn't loose the whole coat, however, when we pulled it out of the camels mouth and it was covered in green slime, she vowed never to where the coat again.

There were many more great stories that I'm sure we will choose to share but the greatest joke of all was on us as we checked into our great hotel.  It wasn't the fact that the room was the size of a postage stamp with bunk beds,

the fact that we could hear the band playing in town about a mile away because the walls were so thin in our cabin or the fact that the neighbors were so close that we felt like we were in summer camp.  It was the fact that someone built a cabin on the side of a mountain with an amazing view and didn't have the brains to put a window in the room so you could see it.

What's wrong with this picture.

Tonight we had a great dinner at my dad's favorite restaurant, The Rapids
and tomorrow we will take our pontoon boat out onto the lake to put half of my dad's ashes to rest.  We will see what the day brings us but either way we know, that it will contain lots of laughs and lots of good memories.

Have a great night and here is the quote of the day.
"I'm gonna call the front desk and ask if they have horseback riding..........oh wait........there's no freakin phone in this walk in closet.  What the heck?"

Captain Bob's Mis-Guided Tours....The Final Chapter

Today, my sister Denise and I will depart on a journey affectionately known as, "Captain Bob's Mis-Guided Tour, The Final Chapter".  This is a trip like no other, for it's not a business trip, it's not a vacation, it's an adventure where Denise and I will distribute my father's ashes in his final resting place on an island on Lake Granby in the Colorado Rockies where my grandparents are buried and on a flat in the Florida Keys where my dad fished on a regular basis.  These were his requests, his special places and this is what we will do.

My father, Bob Quier, also know as Captain Bob, passed away suddenly last October of a massive heart attack at the age of 70.  He died in the fashion in which he lived; with a smile on his face, surrounded by friends and doing something he loved.  He was at a Giants / Eagles game in Philadelphia with his best friends Jim and Jane Joyce and their son Christopher, which he attended every year with them.  It was a game of taunting and fun and although he passed away before the game began, his beloved Giants won the game as he watched from heaven.  I can still hear him now cheering Giants, Giants, Giants for Jim's enjoyment. :-P It was a fitting passing for my father, as he never wanted to be sick or be cared for or "have his diaper by his daughters" when he got old, which he often told us.  We were devastated by the loss, but felt fortunate that he lived 70 healthy years and was fishing on his boat just the day before.  We felt lucky he made it to 70, for at age 56, he had become the longest living male in recorded history in our family due to a history of heart disease.  It's taken almost a year for my sister and I to arrange this trip and coordinate our schedules, but today we depart on what is sure to be one of Captain Bob's BEST Mis-Guided Tours.

Now you may be wondering how the name "Mis-Guided Tours" came about.  Well, growing up with Captain Bob was never dull.  It was a well deserved name for the adventures he planned and journeys we took as a family.  You see, we were a family of adventurers, but not to destinations like the plains of Africa or the tundra of the Arctic.  We were adventurers of Americana and the world of the "tourist trap".  The Chevy Chase movie "Vacation" had nothing on our family and a trip to see the World's Largest Ball of Twine was no stranger to us.  We often piled into our car to take last minute trips to Wildwood in New Jersey, Lake George in the Adirondacks and Mount Washington in Vermont to ride the Cog Railroad.  Distance and the length of the car ride were never a problem, as long as you went pee before entering the car because two rules always existed....... you NEVER asked for directions, no matter how lost you are, and you NEVER EVER stopped to use the bathroom.  We often referred to longer journeys to Florida and Colorado as "The Death March", since my dad insisted on driving through the night and only stopping once we begged for hours, unless of course a billboard told us of the largest snake in the world or a sea lion show was being offered.

There was always a mishap and a story to be told of , a hotel that should have been condemned by the health department twenty years prior and a diner for gourmet grub to be savored.  Every journey included two things;  the adventure of an unplanned stop and lots and lots of laughs.  Whether it was a llama eating my sisters brand new coat at the game preserve or my mom flipping a boat trailer in the middle of the interstate, we had the time of our lives from the inside of our car.

So today, my sister and I will depart on our journey of two.  We will reminisce of a simpler time and I will write down the memories for my kids to enjoy.  We will visit with relatives and boat out to the island where my grandparents lay and say goodbye to half of my fathers remains.  We will sleep in bunk beds because the five star hotel was sold out and only a lodge was available and we will remember the simpler days of our childhood.  I hope you join us on our adventure, as we travel across America to take the last Captain Bob's Mis-Guided Tour.

by Amanda Klimak

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

How Disney Does New York City Right! The Disney Difference

Adventures by Disney sure knows how to show people around New York City! As a woman who grew up in the Tri-State area, I visited New York City, on my birthday, since I was 8 years old. I've spent countless days and nights visiting friends and exploring the largest collection of villages in the world and I have to say that, I think, I've seen it all in New York. Well, you can never see it ALL in NYC but I've seen most of the "touristy" stuff. 
You have to expect the best when it comes to anything with the Disney brand on it but yesterday I really experienced the "Disney Difference." Here are my "Only in New York moments" with Adventures by Disney in New York City yesterday! 

My experience started with The Ride. One of the coolest ways to see New York is this ultimate viewing motor coach with stadium seating! THE RIDE uses New York City and its renowned landmarks as the backdrop for a theatrical event that blurs the boundary between tour and performance. The city becomes a stage, and soon you can’t tell where the street ends and the show begins!

THE RIDE gives you a front-row seat to the streets of New York City in a multi-million dollar motor coach that comes equipped with state-of-the-art audio/visual technology, including 40 plasma screen TVs and over 3000 LED lights. Enjoy the performance from the comfort of one-of-a-kind stadium seating and huge panoramic windows. While navigating a 4.2-mile midtown path, our performers and native New Yorkers alike become performers for THE RIDE, showing guests an entirely new side of New York City they can’t see anywhere else.

Next, I was lucky enough to experience another very special tour of the New Amsterdam Theater.  The Walt Disney Company purchased the theater in 1998 with a 99 year lease during the revival of Time Square. We learned about the theater's history along with the amazing efforts that were taken in the 1990's to revive this infamous neighborhood and its "Only in New York" Broadway Theaters. 
My favorite part of this tour was being able to view and try-on costumes and props from Disney Theater Musicals. 
Tropical Fish Fins from The Little Mermaid
From Beauty and the Beast to the Little Mermaid and The Loin King, all access to their theater's prop room was just magical! I could live in this room...