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Friday, March 28, 2014

Newport Beach, California: Hidden Treasures in the Bay


I've been here my entire life, over half a century. Just when I think I've seen it all, I marvel when I find a piece of Southern California I never knew existed.



That happened to me last week as I took Letty and Tim out to dinner in Newport Beach. I've been to Newport hundreds of times in my life and thought I had pretty much explored all of it but the beach had a new surprise for me.


Newport Bay stretches for a few miles from it's connection to the Pacific at Corona Del Mar inland almost all the way to John Wayne Airport. Most of the back bay is set aside for nature as wetlands but the outer bay is host to busy marinas, a small amusement park, an historic ferry, a few manmade islands and has been home to such luminaries as John Wayne, Dean Koontz, Humphrey Bogart, and Chuck Jones.

Watch the Video!


A boat tour leaving from the Balboa Pavilion is a nice, relaxing way to see some of the homes of the rich and famous.


We're here tonight because Tim hasn't had a good lobster roll since we visited Boston a few years ago. I've heard that the Bluewater Grill has them on their lunch menu at a not-too-unreasonable-for-California price of $18.95.

It's getting to Bluewater Grill that I find a piece of Newport Beach that has been missing from my puzzle...Lido Peninsula.  Now I know Lido Isle and the little block of shops and cafes that surround its classic movie theater.  I used to hang with a friend who lived on the little island but this part is new to me...I'd never even thought there was another neighborhood a block behind the theater.

At the end of a canal lined with multimillion dollar homes on one side, half-million dollar mobile homes on the other, and big yachts docked all along, there are a few restaurants lining the small turning basin here.

After finding a good parking spot in the lot (valet after 4pm), we head in and are given an outdoor table overlooking the water.


Bluewater charges no corking fee and I had some good wine at home. Some warm bread goes nicely with our Amador County souvenir.  Tim orders his roll, Letty the cioppino, while this non-seafood lover gets the thyme/garlic roasted chicken.


The dinner is delicious. Tim and Letty devour their dishes and I'm glad to report the chicken was outstanding...usually the non-seafood dishes at a seafood restaurant are at most an afterthought. Here, they are prepared with as much care as the ocean dwelling creatures.

It's also helpful to note the good food at a restaurant with a view, which breaks another stereotype.


Completing the meal with some sweet desserts, we take a stroll through the neighborhood watching the locals have little wine and cheese parties on their electric boats.

I'll have to remember this place. The traffic was a nightmare, coming and going, today but the destination is fantastic plus the beach is just yards away.



Darryl
Copyright 2014 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

TEXAS - Galveston Island – A Great Place for Wheelchair Travelers




NOTE: Kelley Van Auken passed away Sunday, March 23, 2014. In tribute, we are re-running this story she did for us three years ago...

Today, we have a guest post by Kelley Van Auken about Galveston Island, located about 50 miles southeast of Houston...

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For most people in a wheelchair who travel to a beach, the sand is something to be admired from a balcony or a boardwalk.  The idea of easily being on the beach or taking a roll along the water’s edge is usually not a part of the vacation plan.  Galveston Island, however, has gone to great lengths to try to make their beaches an exception. 

Throughout the island there are five beaches (sometimes called “parks”) that have manual beach wheelchairs available for free.  It does cost $8/car to enter the beach, but for an enjoyable day on the beach it is well worth it.  The beaches that currently have wheelchairs are: Stewart Beach, East Beach/Apffel Park, Dellanera Park, Pocket Park #2, and Pocket Park #3.  In addition to these beaches, along the Seawall there are places that have ramps down to the sand at no cost.  There is parallel parking along the street on the beach side (easy for a van with a ramp), with disabled parking spaces here and there. 

The island even has beaches where you can drive your car onto the sand.  And, if you are more interested in the ocean, the 61st Street fishing pier is one of many that are accessible and it also has wheelchair accessible bathrooms. 

If you can drag yourself away from the relaxing beach, Galveston also offers some great tourist attractions for persons in wheelchairs.  One of the most popular tourist attractions, Moody Gardens, is a 242 acre facility that has vans with ramps to transport disabled travelers throughout the complex.  All of the buildings have ramps leading to the entrances and wheelchair accessible bathrooms.  Their theatres have accessible seats with removable arms, the man made lagoons have ramps to get into the water, and the paddlewheel boat is accessible. 

In addition to Moody Gardens, there is a free ferry to Bolivar Island that offers great opportunities to watch dolphins in the wild.  Unless you want to drive around Bolivar, rather than driving your car on, park in the parking lot and walk/roll onto the ferry.  (If you drive on it might be impossible to let a ramp out of a vehicle.) 

While The Strand and Postoffice Arts District have the same problems as other downtowns with some places not being wheelchair accessible, it’s my opinion that there are enough accessible quaint shops, galleries, and restaurants to make it a great area to visit.  If a place looks inaccessible be sure to ask because some of the not-to-be-missed places are accessible through a side door.  Fortunately there are good ramps at each corner and plenty of parking lots with disabled parking spaces.

These are the main attractions I have enjoyed on Galveston Island.  I am sure there are many more that are great for wheelchair users, but it is hard for me to give a firsthand account of them.  I am addicted to the sand and the surf, and it is hard to pry me away from the beach! 

By Kelley Van Auken

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Saturday, March 8, 2014

Presenting the Musick Channel Family of Blogs


You may have noticed the change in banners at the top of the pages and maybe even our new Twitter feed.

Tim Musick has joined me as a partner in blogging and we've put together five blogs for your enjoyment.  This conglomeration of blogs is going under the umbrella banner of The Musick Channel.

In addition to The World on Wheels becoming part of The Musick Channel, we've also got four more channels for you to check out...



Tim's Sports World - where Tim Musick muses on the world of sports...it's triumphs, controversies, and news.


The Cheapskate Urban Gardener - I take square foot gardening and penny pinching to the extreme to create an urban oasis in the shadow of Los Angeles and show you tips on how to turn your yard into a green paradise too.

Tinseltown, USA! - An entertainment blog featuring the best of Hollywood in movies, TV, and more.


Musick's Music - How can we have a name like that and not be into music? Come here for our observations on the world of music, videos, and criticism.

You can find links to all of our blogs at our main web page, www.musickchannel.com, or follow our Twitter feed (www.twitter.con/musickchannel) where you'll get notices of all of our channel's posts. Please add to your favorites so you never miss news from our sites.

As always, our content is always free (but it is copyrighted, so ask before you use it).  You'll never be charged a penny to read our reports, see our pictures, or watch our videos.  We do appreciate it if you notice our Amazon links and do your shopping through them as we make a small commission on each purchase at no extra cost to you.



Thank you for you support, as we head towards our 5th anniversary of blogging, we hope to have a whole new world of information and entertainment for you.

Darryl Musick
Publisher, Writer, Editor, and Co-Owner of The Musick Channel

Tim Musick
Writer, Editor, Social Media Manager, and Co-Owner of The Musick Channel