2017 Cruise #2 - Set Sail Day

by Steve, Kat, & Gus

We packed up our things on Sunday morning and walked over to the Hertz rental car building in the hotel parking lot. David had already returned the car while I was getting ready. Hertz is a little more expensive than some other rental car companies, but for getting from Orlando to a cruise ship, it was great. Their shuttle was free and we didn't have to wait in line.

Once we got to the cruise terminal, the onboarding process was really smooth. This time we were Crown and Anchor gold members (the lowest membership level), but we still got to go through a quicker line and were on board the ship probably less than 20 minutes after we walked into the building. The lady at the desk who checked us in at the port said that Oasis was completely sold out -- 6500 guests.


Once on board, we started exploring the ship. We boarded on Deck 5, the Royal Promenade level. Balloons were hung in big groups along the ceiling.


Then we went up to Deck 6. Our room was on Deck 6, but we couldn't get into our room until 1:00 pm. We checked out the boardwalk and carousel. Lakyn should have been with us so she could ride the carousel.


Next we went up to Deck 8 and walked through Central Park. We stopped at Park Cafe and had lunch. We enjoyed our lunch but didn't end up going back to Park Cafe the rest of the cruise. I'm not sure why.


After lunch, we went up to Deck 15 to check out the pools. We also took some pictures of the surrounding area.


In this picture, you can see the VAB in the distance. There were also some dolphins swimming near the small boat, but I didn't end up getting a picture of them.


We set sail around 3:30. A Carnival ship left about the same time (visible in the distance of this picture.)


That night, we ate at the main dining room. We did My Time Dining this time and we liked it. It gave us a lot more flexibility of when we ate. After dinner, we went to the Frozen in Time show at the ice rink. The skaters did a good job, but I didn't really follow the story. The coolest thing was this lady who drew in sand. Her drawings were projected onto a big screen. I can't really describe it, but it was amazing.

The night ended with a balloon drop at midnight to start the Eclipse Day celebration. I've always wanted to participate in a balloon drop, so it was fun.


2017 Cruise #2 - Kennedy Space Center

by Steve, Kat, & Gus

I want to blog about the cruise went on in August so that I can remember everything we did. I love how I blogged so much when Steve and Kat were younger. It helps jog my memory!

David and I took a 7 night cruise on Oasis of the Seas in August. The ship left out of Port Canaveral on Sunday, August 20. We flew to Orlando on Saturday morning and rented a car. As soon as we got the rental car, we headed straight over to Kennedy Space Center. It had been 20 years since I had been there. (Note: I can't believe I'm old enough to say that something has been 20 years ago and it's something I remember well.)

Most of Kennedy Space Center is the same as I remembered, except they have added the Space Shuttle Atlantis exhibit. It is really awesome. I saw Discovery at the Smithsonian, but it's just sitting on it's landing gear. The way that NASA has Atlantis displayed is really cool. You can get really close to it and the cargo bay doors are open, so you can see inside. They also have the Canada arm extended. It really allows you to get a good idea of the size of the shuttle. There is a bottom floor as well where you can look up at the bottom of the shuttle. I was really impressed with the exhibit.


We also took the bus tour around the space center. I didn't realize that so much activity was going on to prepare for the SLS - space launch system. NASA is renovating the Vehicle Assembly Building and the crawlers to accommodate the new system. There is also a large private presence at the center with SpaceX, Boeing, and Blue Origin leasing facilities.


On the bus tour, we stopped at the Saturn V center. I remember this center being the highlight of the trip when we went in 1997. It had just opened and I was in peak Apollo interest mode. I enjoyed it this time as well, but we were running out of time and were not able to watch any of the films. It is still amazing how big the Saturn V rocket is.


One thing we noticed was how many international visitors were at KSC. It made us think about how the space program and the accessibility of seeing the facilities is pretty unique to the US.

After Kennedy Space Center, we checked into our hotel. I was able to use points from work travel to get the room for free. We stayed at the Residence Inn and the Hertz rental car return is right in the parking lot. It turned out to be really convenient for returning the car and getting to the port, but I'll save that for the next post.

Gus goes on an adventure

by Steve, Kat, & Gus

Editor's note: We are going to attempt to start blogging again, but from Valerie's perspective. Our blog will still be dog focused because our family is dog focused, but we are also going to include posts about things that we do without Steve, Kat, and Gus.

On Saturday, we took Gus to an ice cream social at a local dog store, Phydeaux and Friends. I have been feeling guilty about not taking Gus on adventures. We have done so much with Steve and Kat over the years, but it is much harder to take three dogs places than it was to take two. This time, we decided to take Gus solo. He loves other dogs, so he is much better to take to dog events anyway. With Steve and especially Kat, we have to steer clear of the other dogs.

Gus got some peanut butter, bacon, and banana ice cream. Before our adventure, I hadn't seen dog ice cream in the sleeves before. It took Gus a while to catch on to eating it. It was really cute. At first he was just licking the ice cream so gently. Eventually Gus figured it out and started biting off big chunks. The ice cream didn't last long after that!


Phydeaux and Friends is a really nice store. I don't have any pictures from inside the store because Gus was all over the place smelling things. A cat rescue had some kittens in the store and Gus was really intrigued. Since he didn't overlap at all with Wilbur, he's really never seen cats much. We bought him some treats, including some puff treats that are like Cheetos puffs, but sausage flavored.

After the ice cream social, we went to The Domain. Dogs are allowed all around the shopping area. David wanted to take a look at the Tesla shop to see if they had a Model 3 or knew when they would get one. (They didn't and don't.) Gus and I found a shady spot to wait and he got lots of pets and attention. One person commented on how soft he is, which is totally true. Gus is much softer than we remember Steve and Kat ever being.


One funny thing about The Domain - We had to park one floor up in the parking garage and Gus did NOT want to go down the stairs. I had to be in front of him and David basically had to push him down the stairs. It's a mystery what was bothering him about the stairs. He doesn't have problems with the stairs from the patio to the yard or the stairs at David's parents' house.

We had a good time out and about with Gus. He was really well behaved, so we need to do a better job at taking him places so he can continue to be a good boy.

Swimmin' in Lake Travis

by Steve, Kat, & Gus

On Saturday afternoon, Mom and Dad loaded us up and took us over to Lake Travis. We just got a long leash for Gus this week so it was time to try it out. Kat and I love swimming but we didn't know how Gus would feel about the water.

We found a good spot where there weren't too many people and walked down to the edge of the water. Gus and I couldn't wait to get it. It was over 100 degrees out!


Mom was super fast and Kat got on her long leash first. Kat wasted no time getting in the water which really made it hard for Gus and especially me to wait while Dad put our leashes on.


Soon enough we all three were able to get in the water. It felt so refreshing! 


Gus seemed to really like it. We even did some wrestling and managed to make this happen to the leashes. 



Eventually we were tired of swimming and took a break on the shore. 



Gus always finds something to chew! 

It was a nice, relaxing outing. Gus seemed to like the water, but he didn't go as far out as Kat or me, but that's okay for a little guy!