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R&R Travel News® Report 247 • Jan-Feb 2013 • Volume 43, No. 1 An all-ranks, worldwide military travel newsletter published by Military Living® Publications © 2013 www.militaryliving.com

Studdards use new legal way to visit Page 6

The Schiels & Redls take their first Space-A air flight Page 19

The Slagles go to France Page 16

The Wares RV from Mississippi to Alaska Page 10 PLUS: The Feldmans hop to Spain, Norway and Sweden—page 12 The Crawfords spend Christmas at the Mayo Clinic—page 8


rates are much lower than those charged at privatized hotels to military ID card holders—active, retired, Guard or Reserve—who are not on TDY or PCS orders and who are By Ann Crawford and R.J. Crawford reimbursed for their lodging costs. We have received a considerable Fort Lee opening new 1,000number of questions about the room hotel higher rates charged to retirees and Exciting things are happening at others not on a permanent change of Fort Lee, VA, near historic Petersburg. station or temporary duty at privaToday, Fort Lee is a much larger post tized Army hotels. with many missions. It is now a major training center for different Armed Services. This new hotel which is close to the Logistics University on post will really be convenient for their students and visitors. The huge new Army hotel is not a privatized hotel at this time. Who knows what the future will be? It’s

COPYRIGHT 2013 ISSN 07405073 Military Marketing Services, Inc. Ann, Roy and R.J. Crawford, Publishers. All rights of reproduction and translation in any form are strictly reserved. Military Living’s® R&R Travel News® is confidential to its subscribers. Published six times yearly. Please visit us online at www.militaryliving.com for pricing or call 877363-4677 ext. 1. No part of this publication may be reproduced in whole or in part by any means including electronic transmission without the express written permission of the publisher and the copyright holders. The publisher reserves the right to edit all submissions for content, length and grammar. No warranty, guarantee or representation is made as to the certain correctness or sufficiency of any of the content. Opinions expressed by the publishers and the writers are their own and are not to be considered an expression of the DoD or any other government agency. For more information, write to: Military Living® Publications 333 Maple Ave East, # 3130 Vienna, VA 22180-4717 Tel: 877-363-4677 ext 1 Fax: 888-486-1281 Email: militaryliving@gmail.com Web site: www.militaryliving.com

A first peek at one of the new rooms in the recently opened lodging at Fort Lee, VA. Check out more photos of the lodging on page 4. (Photo provided by Armed Forces Recreation Center)

This one is different. At our press time, rates will range between $55 and $60 according to an official. Of course, this is not written in stone so call 804-733-4100 and click the front desk button to confirm this information. There are 500 other rooms also available besides the new ones. We understand that some rooms are available in January and early February until the grand opening currently scheduled on 19 Feburary 2013.

In This Issue... Studdards explore Cuba Crawfords at the Mayo Clinic Wares RV across America Feldmans hop across Europe Slagles discover France Schliels and Redls take their first Space-A flight

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Thanks to the post’s welcome letter, the following information is included: “Fort Lee has witnessed a massive population increase. Much of that is due to the realignment of military organizations from other parts of the nation. In addition to the Combined Arms Support Command, Team Lee now consists of the Army Logistics University, the U.S. Army Ordnance School, the U.S. Army Quartermaster School and the U.S. Army Transportation School. Its tenants include headquarters elements of the Defense Commissary Agency, Kenner Army Health Clinic, a Military Entrance Processing Station and the Defense Contract Management Agency.” Crawford family memories of our first stay at Fort Lee, VA temporary military lodging, 1965 In late 1962 until near the end 1964, our family was able to accompany my husband on a tour in South Vietnam. At the end of that exciting tour, Roy, Sr. received orders to Fort Lee, VA, as an instructor at what was then called The Army Logistics Management Center. Fort Lee also had a 24 hour a day training program going on for troops on their way to Vietnam. Troops trained and slept in shifts. I can remember our first night at Fort Lee's temporary military lodging very near the American Flag pole. We were ever so tired and sound asleep when suddenly a bugle loudly sounded off near our bedroom. To us, it sounded like a cannon firing. It was Reveille, the beginning of a new day. Our three children yelled and tried to jump under a bed, and Roy and I were not far behind! There were two coup d'etats and another change in government while Roy served in Vietnam. The first one, 2 November 1963, the coup against President Diem was, indeed loud, with firing going on from the air, from the streets and the Saigon River, Continued on page 4

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all near our off-base home. Tanks rolled in front of our home from outof-town locations. The target was President Diem's palace just a few blocks from our home! This event has stayed with us in our minds since that fateful day in 1963. At the time, I thought our house might be caught in the crossfire, and I scooted the kids under a big bed and put a thick brass table top across the middle. No wonder we were all frightened by loud noises after arriving at Fort Lee the day before! Today, almost 50 years later, this remembrance brings us laughter.

Also in Virginia Beach, the Headquarters of the Navy Lodge program has announced an expansion at their current Navy Lodge at Little CreekFort Story Joint Base, VA. Little Creek-Fort Story, held a

Navy Exchange Command and Director, Navy Lodge Program. “Navy Lodges are an important benefit to our military members, retirees and their families. We’re excited to be able to bring more rooms and the nice amenities our guests have come to expect from us. I think our guests will like what they see.” Once completed, the Navy Lodge will feature one- and twobedroom suites, each with a kitchen and a bathroom for every bedroom. It will offer amenities such as free Internet access, flat screen televisions, a concierge style front desk, large social meeting space, exercise room, self service laundry and a Navy Getaways! playground. “Navy Getaways” Every Navy Lodge is now the theme for guest room offers many types of Navy queen-sized beds, highrecreation and fun. speed Internet access, Most include either and a kitchenette comlodging or RV parkplete with microwave ing, and some have and refrigerator. Guest campsites for the laundry facilities are on folks to want to get site. Breakfast is close to Mother offered daily in the Nature. lobby where free Wi-Fi Pictures of the new Fort Lee Lodging: clock wise from top left: the We have spent access and free newsmany a night at the welcoming fireplace in the Fort Lee Lodging lobby; down the scenic papers are available. Dam Neck Sea Mist hallways with a view and the elevator lobby; and the long view of the new Navy Lodges also RV Park in Virginia 1,000 room facility. For more information, see page 2. (Photos provided offer convenient onby Armed Forces Recreation Center.) Beach when we had base parking and handour RV at the NAS icapped accessible and ground breaking ceremony on 19 Oceana/Dam Neck. It now has new non-smoking rooms. As an added November for its 11,000 sq. ft., 26cottages, too. This is a lovely spot convenience, many Navy Lodges room expansion. Currently, the Navy allow dogs and cats up to 50 pounds right on the Atlantic Ocean. Lodge has 100 rooms available for Other new beach lodging is also in weight to stay when traveling with available near the Navy Getaways. We guests. The expansion project is their owners. Check with the Navy expected to be completed by the end think you’ll like these new facilities. I Lodge for more details. of 2013. am planning to visit them by the To make reservations at any Navy “Our investment of more than $7 Spring 2013. By that time, they should lodging facilities or to receive a Navy million in this project will increase have 29 cottages. Lodge directory, call 1-800-NAVYthe room availability here at Navy If you got much closer, you would INN, 24 hours a day, seven days a Lodge Little Creek-Fort Story,” said be in the Atlantic! week or go online at www.navyMichael Bockelman, Vice President, Navy Lodge Program lodge.com. R&R Travel News® Report 247 • Jan-Feb 2013 • Volume 43, No. 1

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Reservations are accepted on an as-received basis without regard to rank. Editor's Note: Fort Story's Cape Henry beach hotel (which was an Armed Forces Recreation Center) is now closed and is scheduled to be torn down to make space for a Navy unit. It still has some cottages and an RV Park at Fort Story. According to their website: For other vacation opportunities in the area, including cabins and bungalows on Ft. Story, please visit Navy Getaways Destinations at dodlodging.net or call (757) 4227601 or (877) Navy-Bed. The information on the future of Fort Story could change. Fort Story is the site of the First Landing of the first settlers who came to America before they moved on to Jamestown. There is a monument on post for this historical fact. It also has two lighthouses. On the Little Creek Navy Amphibious Base, there is a campground. See the following link from their website http://get.dodlodging.net/property s/Little-Creek-JEB-Campground.

providing the commissary benefit. Our recycling efforts directly benefit our customers through the surcharge funds generated that go to maintain commissaries around the world.” The process used by commissaries in fiscal 2012 was 70 percent efficient, meaning that 70 percent of all recyclable material brought into stores got recycled, according to Mark Leeper, a DeCA environmental engineer. It surpassed the agency’s recycling goal of 55 percent and its stretch goal of 60,000 tons. Leeper said the increase in the amount recycled is the result of the overall awareness of the program among commissary employees and the benefit it provides. Also, the agency is using an improved reporting system, which allows DeCA to capture more data of recycling efforts at all commissaries worldwide. “This reflects the culture in which DeCA operates, one that takes into consideration the big picture of benefits gained through environmentally friendly actions,” Leeper said. “The stores, and the diligent efforts of their employees who have caught the vision, make the program work.”

Commissary recycling nets $5.3 million for surcharge By Jessica Newby DeCA mass communications specialist FORT LEE, VA—Recycling cardboard to the tune of 63,000 tons a year helps save the environment and build new commissaries. Here’s how. Cardboard used to ship products to commissaries is not thrown away but is collected by storeworkers and sold to recycling companies. Money generated from those sales—$5.33 million in fiscal 2012—goes to DeCA’s surcharge fund, which goes directly to build and renovate commissaries. “It’s a great ecosystem!” said Joseph H. Jeu, DeCA director and CEO. “As a Department of Defense agency, good environmental stewardship is a big part of our mission of

Space-A schedule on Facebook The following passenger terminals post their SpaceA air travel schedules on Facebook. * Denotes newly added locations Andersen AB, Guam JB Andrews, MD Aviano AB, Italy NSA Bahrain, Bahrain Baltimore-Washington Int’l, MD JB Charleston, SC Diego Garcia, UK Dover AFB, DE JB Elmendorf-Richardson, AK Guantanamo Bay, Cuba Incirlik AB, Turkey NAS Jacksonville, FL Kadena AB, Republic of Korea Lajes AB, Azores (Portugal) JB Lewis-McChord, WA Little Rock AFB, AR MacDill AFB, FL

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McConnell AFB, KS JB McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, NJ RAF Mildenhall, England Misawa AB, Japan NSA Naples, Italy NS Norfolk, VA Osan AB, Republic of Korea JB Pearl Harbor-Hickham, HI Pope Army Airfield, NC Ramstein AB, Germany *RAAF Base Richmond, Australia NS Rota, Spain Scott AFB, IL SeaTac (Seattle Tacoma IAP), WA NAS Sigonella, Italy NSA Souda Bay, Crete, Greece Spangdahlem AB, Germany Travis AFB, CA Yokota AB, Japan For the latest full list and each PAX terminal’s Web link, visit: http://www.amc.af.mil/amctravel/ Looking for military son/ quarterback, Robert Griffin III On page 8, you'll see a feature about our (Roy, Sr. & Ann) visit to Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. I must confess, I am addicted to watching the Washington Redskins football games. While at Mayo, we could not find a TV channel which carried their games. I have read everything I could find about Robert Griffin III, the wonderful new quarterback on our team. Born in Okinawa to two Army Sergeants, he excelled in school, graduating high school in three years at DoD schools & Baylor University. He is also a great runner and a great God-loving man. Last Sunday, we learned about Dooley's Pub which can be reached by elevator from the Skyway in the hotel. It is located at 255 1st Ave, phone 507-208-4085. Guess what! They have 35 big screen TVs and just by asking Tory Runkle, the manager, the Redskins appeared. We've gone two Sunday afternoons thus far—and they won both times! Can't wait to see the next game; food is good there, too! I told you I was addicted!! Thanks Tory!

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Walt & Everette Studdard Walt and I have just returned from a fascinating trip to Cuba. We have wanted to go to Cuba for years but didn't want to chance a heavy fine. We recently heard that 10 U.S. travel companies had been granted special licenses by both the United States and Cuba to conduct People-to-People programs. The travel company takes care of the visa, authorization letter, and specific license that is required. The program is rather strict and demands that participants follow a full educational exchange curriculum. The trip is not meant to be a vacation or leisure trip. It included very little free time—only a few hours in the evenings. We learned a lot about the history of Cuba, the Revolution, life in Cuba under Castro, changes that have taken place in the last few years, etc. We visited organic vegetable farms, a tobacco farm, community cultural centers, museums, Top: Everette and Walt Studdard stop for a photo in Havana; Bottom left: Stilt dancers churches, concerts, dance studios, art studios, historical dis- brighten the Havana streets; Right: A woman looks on from her balcony in Havana. tricts, city plazas, national parks, (Photos provided by Walt and Everette Studdard.) cemeteries, beach resorts, several cities and towns, several neighborhood reclamation can faith. In order for African slaves to practice their religion projects, and much more. during the time of Spanish rule, they had to merge their We found Cuba to be a peaceful country. Citizens are gods’ identities with certain Catholic saints. Over the years, not allowed to own guns. We expected to see soldiers the two religions have almost blended. I did not see any protand policemen in public areas with guns but we did not. estant churches in Cuba, but Walt did see one Presbyterian The people are not allowed to celebrate but one holiChurch. day a year. After Castro took power in 1959, he canceled There is little private enterprise in Cuba. Most citizens all holidays. He allowed the celebration of Christmas work for government-owned farms, restaurants, hotels, cononly after Pope John Paul's visit in 1988. struction groups, schools, etc. The average income for proAfter taking power, Castro closed all churches. Cufessionals such as doctors, lawyers, architects, or dentists is bans were not allowed to wear any religious symbols or less than $50 per month. The average salary in Cuba is display any religious items in their homes. around $12 a month. When applying for a job or entry into college, the It appeared to me the best jobs were the ones that related first question asked of the applicant would be, “Are you to tourism. Our tour bus driver was a former dentist and now religious?” If the person answered, “Yes,” they would makes more in tips in one week than he would make in a not be considered. year as a dentist. I expected Catholicism to be the national religion, Cubans have little expendable income. For those who wish but I don't think it is as widespread as Santeria, an Afrito buy a car or some property, they have to depend on relaR&R Travel News® Report 247 • Jan-Feb 2013 • Volume 43, No. 1

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visit CUBA—legally! (Cuban National Pesos) and one for tourists (Cuban Convertible Pesos.) The exchange rate was 26 national pesos for $1 U.S. and one convertible peso for $1. The currency exchange booths and banks are owned by the government. They charge 13 percent to change your money to pesos and 13 percent to change it back to U.S. dollars. We were not allowed to use the national peso or our dollars, except for tips. I thought it was interesting that our tour guide collected tips from our group before every stop. It usually was just $1 U.S. or one convertible peso per person. She would then give these tips to a band, artist, restaurant for employees, guide, museum employees, etc. Before going to Cuba, we were told that we would not be able to exchange U.S. dollars there, but that was incorrect. It is true that you cannot use a U.S. credit card, ATM card, or cell phone there. Cubans are not allowed to Left: The owner of the tobacco farm shows how to hand roll a cigar; Top: A cart and horse have Internet in their homes. in rural Cuba; Bottom right: Children sit for art lessons in the pedestrian boulevard. (Photos The only exception is for docprovided by Walt and Everette Studdard.) tors. I don't think they have phones either. The only TV statives in other countries to help them out. Only since tions are state owned. Raul Castro took control have citizens been allowed to The average Cuban has no idea what is happening in the sell residential property. world. They are starving for news. Some hotels have Internet Cubans are given free housing, medical services, edconnections for guests, but it is expensive and slow. The only ucation (even college), funerals, and some food. They people that I saw use cell phones were tour guides. receive ration books and can purchase staples for very Many Cubans in cities live in Soviet style apartments that little money. Any extra food costs them more. Things are very run down. Often four generations of one family will are rather inexpensive for locals. For example, a local live together. In small towns and rural areas, Cubans live in bus ride costs five cents. squalid, small, one- or two-room homes. Few Cubans own cars and most walk the majority of Cuba produces two beers: Cristal and Buccaneer. The the time. Large trucks with bench seats and old school government also produces the soft drinks and wine. The buses travel between towns and are usually packed with choices are simple—red or white. In our state owned hotels, people. We even saw a couple of dump trucks loaded beautiful buffets awaited us at every meal. The only problem with standing passengers. Many Cubans hitchhike bewas that the food was tasteless, because of a lack of tween towns. They hold up a fistful of money to entice seasoning, and often cold. drivers to stop for them. Music was everywhere. Cubans are very talented even if Cuba is the only country in the world that we have they are just banging two sticks together. visited with two currencies. One is for the local people

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Ann Crawford writes. . . 12/12/12—It looks like Roy, Sr. and I will be at Mayo Clinic in Rochester for a month or more. The long stay is necessary because of a special eye surgery that Roy, Sr. is having; it needs to be checked weekly. Also, he cannot fly home until he is released by his superb doctor. I will be working from here at least two weeks before you receive this issue of R&R Travel News®. We are having a good time here—it is beautiful with snow and Christmas lights. Without our car, we stay on the Mayo area almost all the time. On arrival, we had a big snow with as low as zero degrees temperature, so we did not get out of the famous fully renovated 80-year-old hotel, the Kahler Grand. There is a skyway and “subway” underground to go from one place to another within the Mayo and downtown area. There are also some some good dining spots where you can walk to on the subway or skyway without a warm coat. The first time we came here I envisioned a real subway train below the hotel, but it is really a way to travel underground by foot and enjoy the shops and restaurants along the way. There is also a “skyway” with all kinds of places one can visit such as the office center or just spend some quiet time in very pleasant surroundings in the hotel. The modernized, old hotel is wonderful, and we are meeting lots of interesting people. I have met at least ten other military retiree couples as well as people from around the world. What a place!! I saw Elvis day before yesterday—he was adorable in a beautiful showplace costume. “Elvis” was young and handsome, and he had a similar voice to the one I remember in the fifties. The lobby of the main Gonda Building,

directly across from our hotel, was full of people singing Christmas carols, and Elvis sang quite well, indeed. For a few moments it seemed like he was still with us when he was about 20 years old! I laughed to myself as I thought that perhaps I was already in Heaven and just did not realize it! The last time I saw the real Elvis, he was a soldier stationed in Germany and was not doing any performances. Last night,we went to the Grand Kahler Lord Essex Dining Room here at Mayo Clinic to have a historical, old-time Christmas feast. The Lord Essex dining room was all decked out in the spirit of Christmas, except from an earlier era. The dinner was called “A parodied a la carte menu referencing Ebenezer's adventures”. This Dickens’ Christmas story was first published in 1835 and has remained famous all these years. The waiters were all dressed in authentically correct service staff costumes. We even had young ladies singing carols. The food was excellent. It helped us take our minds off Roy's upcoming surgery. You should see the huge Mayo Clinic. To me, it appears that all Mayo folks have been to charm school. It is known as the very best place for superior medical care, perhaps in the world. The doctors are paid a salary and take their time with each patient. Really some of the “cures” I have heard about here are miraculous. Many people travel here from around the world bringing a staff or relatives with them. Mayo's Kahler Grand even allows visitors to bring their pet dogs for a fee. Top: We dined at the special Grand Lord Essex Dining Room which was open for a Dickens-type Christmas dinner, complete with the staff Have you told a military friend dressed in the costumes of that time; (Middle) about Military Living® lately? The table service was beautiful; food very spePlease help us spread the word on cial, indeed; Bottom: The popular Kahler Grand Hotel across from the huge Gonda medical build- how to “travel on less per day … the military way!!™” ing at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN.

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The Wares RV across the U.S. Bill & Cynthia drive from Mississippi to Alaska! In this report I will discuss some aspects of our The 148 miles down the Haines Highway can be described RV trip to Alaska in the Summer of 2012. We in many ways. It is the most awesome, the most desolate, visited 10 different military RV parks. My wife and the most rugged, the most uninhabited, and the most I are solo travelers and exciting road we have ever been wanted to repeat our 2005 trip. on. The Icefield Parkway between We pulled our 29-foot travel Banff and Jasper, Alberta, is trailer with a Ford F-250 Diesel special and wonderful but it does pickup from Mississippi to Alaska. not compare to the remoteness of It was an 84-day, 13,000-mile trip. the Haines Hwy. We highly recWe did not do many one-night ommend it. We had truck probstops but we figured we camped in lems in Haines and got to really 45 different spots. We primarily enjoy the town, it's people, the camped in state, federal and probears and the eagles. After staying vincial parks and military campfor five days, we took the Alaska grounds. State Ferry to Skagway, AK. We Our route included Mississippi; enjoyed the 12-mile boat ride to Louisiana; Nebraska; South the Skagway we visited in 2005. Dakota; Montana; Alberta, Now back to the main purpose Canada; the Alaska Highway; Tok, Above: Bill and Cynthia Ware pose in for a photo of this report in R&R Travel on the Alaska border; Below:The Wares take in the News©. I will review the RV parks Anchorage, Girdwood, Soldotna, fresh mountain air after setting up their camp. Seward, Anchorage, Fairbanks, on military bases we visited. I will (Photos provided by the Wares.) Chitina, Haines, and Skagway, not go into great detail. They all Alaska; followed by the Alaska have full hookups except ElemHwy, Alberta, and Saskatchewan, dorf AFB, AK, and Ft. WainCanada; then Minnesota, Tenneswright, AK. More information can see, Mississipi and home. be found in the small military What most people ask about listing section in the back of the such a trip is damage to an RV on Good Sam Trailer Life Directory. Alaska Highway (the new name for Editor’s Note: Also, Military the Alcan Hwy). We had none in Living® has recently published a 2005 and none this time. The roads new edition of its popular book, are all paved although there are Military RV, Camping and occasional short gravel patches Outdoor Recreation Around the where the frost heave has broken World™. For more information , the pavement. This is primarily in visit militaryliving.com and click Yukon Province and between Tok the RV/Camping symbol. and Palmer, AK. The highway Barksdale AFB, LA (Shreverepair folks quickly remove broken patches, flag the spot and port): Their Famcamp is on base but about five miles east temporarily fill it with gravel. Along these spots you should of the gate and the runway. You should enter the base at use caution to drive slower and avoid meeting another vehicle the commercial gate on the north side of the base from Iwhich might sling rocks on you. Most years, there are several 20. There is a nice new office with a full-time attendant. miles of the aforementioned highway being rebuilt where you The roads are gravel with concrete pads. It is surrounded have to drive over rough gravel. Also you must contend with by tall trees and can accommodate any size RV like all of where the frost heave has made the roadway wave-like but these camps. may not brake the pavement. Here you must drive slower to Offutt AFB, NE (Omaha): Their off-base park is south avoid heavy bouncing. of the base off the end of the runway on a large lake. The All in all, it is still the RVer’s ultimate big trip. The sights terrain is flat with a few small trees. You drive around the and sounds are awesome. The weather is cool, but occasionbase on the north side. After passing several blocks of busially damp. The wildlife viewing (and almost hitting) is truly nesses and residential sections, you finally see a little sign unique. The main thing is to enjoy the journey as well as the to turn right to reach the end of the runway. You will think destination. Canada can be as beautiful and exciting as Alaska. the GPS is lost. When you come to the end of the runway, This year after leaving Tok on the way out of Alaska, we it is to the left, across the railroad tracks. There is an attenturned south at Haines Junction, Yukon, to visit Haines, AK. dant who runs a small store and snack bar. Some of the R&R Travel News® Report 247 • Jan-Feb 2013 • Volume 43, No. 1

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modate all sizes of RVs. It is located on the back side of the turns are tight. There is the Strategic Air & Space Museum post between the post and the airbase. about 35 miles southwest of Omaha in Ashland. It is like Seward Military Recreational Resort, (Seward) new, large and really worth seeing. There are aircraft, Fort Richardson, AK: It is off-base in Seward. This is a mockups and exhibits there you will rarely see even in first class military resort with a small RV park located in Dayton. Ellsworth AFB, SD: (Rapid City): The park is on base the must see seaside town of Seward. The resort is open year-round and enjoyed by military families in Alaska. It and has a volunteer host. It is small and tight but should accommodate any size RV. All the trees are small as it is on has rooms, cabins, a gift shop and a restaurant. They can sell you discounted tickets for the high plain. It is surrounded by activities in Seward. You need to grassy lawn. RVs are directed to make reservations for RV sites or enter by the commercial gate of rooms especially in July. the old highway. However, we had Eielson AFB, AK, (Fairno trouble leaving by the main banks): The camp is on base , but gate for easy access to the inter26 miles south of Fairbanks. We state. stayed there in 2005. There are no The aviation museum there is sewer hookups and the sites are outstanding inside and out. It is rustic and located in tight gravel located just right of the main gate streets between low trees. and accessible to the general Fort Wainwright, AK, (Fairpublic. There are many aircraft banks): We camped here but I outside including a B-1 and a Bcannot recommend it. It is very 52D. This B-52D bomber has its convenient, just to the left of the Vietnam war black paint scheme. main gate which is in town. In the Since I flew this model, I was espe- Above: The Alaska Highway beckons RV travelers; Below: Its a moose! The great beast past it may have been nice but cially interested to see it had the takes a moment to pose for the camera. (Photos rustic. Now its gone to ruin. There bomb shackles mounted on the provided by the Wares.) is a new MWR rental facility where pylons. I think it is one of only a you can check in. When the post few B-52s on static display with expanded the new family housing, the shackles. I saw bombs lying they took much of the RV park. beside the building without their What was left has leaky water contail fins, so I expect eventually they nections and broken electrical will be hanging on the shackles. hookups. It seems the base has not That will be really special. kept it in good repair. We stayed Malstrorm AFB, MT (Grand there one night, shared electrics Rapids): This park is off-base but with the site beside us and turned just beside the fence. It has a voloff the city water as it leaked so unteer host, paved streets and the badly. I hope at some point the spaced-out concrete pads are surpark will be improved. rounded by grassy lawn. It is very Chena River State RV Park, neat and clean. The rapids and the AK, (Fairbanks): We parked in Lewis and Clark National Museum Fairbanks for three days. It is also are worth seeing there. Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson (JBER) (Anchor- in town and close to Pioneer Park. It is a very nice compact park set in trees. At only $10 a night, we highly recomage): The old RV park is on Elmendorf and is rustic with mend it. gravel streets and pads. We like it best even though there We had a wonderful time this trip and would like to go are no sewer hookups. It is otherwise well appointed with two wash houses. There are full-time volunteer hosts. There back someday. We went to some different places and saw are trees all around, but not a jungle. It is so convenient. It is more animals than we saw in 2005. We enjoyed the wild places, the snowy mountains, the eagles, the bears, the near the main gate at the Muldoon exit off the Glenn Hwy moose and especially the cooler summer weather. If you heading from Anchorage to Palmer. The new huge have any questions at all, email me. There are a lot of Exchange, gas/diesel station and indoor car wash is a few hundred yards away. Just off base is a new strip mall with a details I left out but would like to tell someone. Happy travels, Lowe’s. Some of the sites will accommodate large RVs. Lt. Col. Bill Ware USAF/ANG, (Ret.) Fort Richardson (Anchorage) Black Spruce Army and Cynthia Ware Travel Camp: It is also off the Glenn Hwy Muldoon exit. It Brandon, MS has good gravel streets, mostly sewer sites and can accombiware@bellsouth.net Travel on less per day…the military way™ with R&R Travel News®

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LET THE FUN BEGIN!! How should we celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary and what special present should we give to each other? Carole had always wanted to go to Norway (Marvin had been there in the early 70's), so we decided to look for a military flight to bring us there (or as close as possible). This time, luck was with us—we made a five-hour drive (through heavy Southern thunderstorms) to Carole all bundled up for their ride in a KC-135. (Photo Charleston AFB, NC, from by Marv Feldman.) Jacksonville, FL, enjoyed a comfortable night's sleep on

have been in Spain many times, we enjoyed our comfortable accommodation at Naval Station Rota. Marv is not known for sitting still and relaxing so before we knew it, we found ourselves drinking Spanish wine in local bodegas and dining at 2300 like the locals! A one-hour ferry trip from Rota across Cadiz Bay on a gorgeous sunny day (we had done this before and loved it) and a stroll along the beach promenade in Rota, joining the beach throngs, were delightful before we headed to vibrant Malaga, (Spain's third largest city) on the Mediterranean coast.

Marv & Carole cross Spain, Norway and Sweden on military Space-A and discount airlines base, then next afternoon Our travels by bus from boarded a C-17 for the eightRota to Seville and train hour flight—to Spain. Our from there to Malaga were fellow passengers were very enjoyable indeed. (For opening their Air Force box those over the age of 60, ask lunches of ham and cheese for the Tarjeta Dorada, sandwiches but, not us—Car“golden age” pass which cuts ole had prepared gourmet the cost of a train by nearly smoked salmon bagels! Our half!) Weather continued “fellow passengers” included scorching (100+ degrees F) four brand new Toyota but cooling drinks at a waterTacoma trucks, chained to the side bar with panoramic floor as cargo. views and the sea breeze on a We had done quite a bit of short cruise around the port Internet research prior to this of Malaga after our arrival trip, so our plan now included were a great finale to our first a flight from Spain to day in this attractive palm Norway by commercial airtree lined, flower-filled city. Carole poses by a sign at Rota Beach, Spain. (Photo by line. Our first week in Europe Now fully recovered from Marv Feldman) would be in Andalucia, our our jetlag, we hit the tourist favorite part of Spain. This sights/sites of Malaga with Andalucia would also give us time to recover exuberance. A week in sunny Andalucia from jet lag and avoid the heavy high Our favorite was massive Malaga season (and super expensive) tourist (southern Spain) after our long flight Cathedral, built in the 16th Century period of Scandinavia. We would see from the USA gave us time to relax, on the site of a former Moorish get over the “jet lag haze” and orgaas this Great Adventure continued. mosque. Having seen dozens of nize our trip to Norway. Although we cathedrals all over the world, we R&R Travel News® Report 247 • Jan-Feb 2013 • Volume 43, No. 1

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found this to be the one we liked most because of its unusual architecture and interior design, interesting use of wood and gold, and many splendid chapels. Malaga's Alcazaba (Muslim palace fortress), with its Moorish arches and ceilings, and cool honeysuckle and orange tree filled patios, did not quite measure up to Granada's impressive Alhambra, but gave us spectacular views over the city below. No visit to Malaga would be complete without seeing the Museum dedicated to her native son, Pablo Picasso. This multi-million dollar edifice displays his paintings and sculptures, many never before seen in public, but we really did not care for much of it. We were, on the other hand, very impressed with Malaga, a sparkling city. Now on to the main event—

Oslo's transportation system is excellent, extensive and very efficient. So, armed with our seniors Oslopass, allowing us unlimited travel on user-friendly buses, trains, ferries and subway/metro, we could go anywhere we wanted. We checked into a very nice hotel in a quiet, parkland setting about 30 minutes from the city center—but right on a bus

Norway!! Oslo Carole on board a sight-seeing tour boat near Before sunrise, we were Stockholm, Sweden. (Photo by Marv Feldman) winging our way on a comfortline—and headed to Frogner Park able four-hour and very inexpensive with its famous monolith of Ryanair flight from Malaga, on entwined human figures and numerSpain's Costa del Sol, to Norway's capital of Oslo (which until 1925 was ous surrounding statues by Norway's best-loved sculptor, Vigeland. named Christiania). The weather Norway is a seafaring nation, forecast for our arrival was dismal beginning with the Vikings more but it was wrong. We descended in than 1,000 years ago, so it was sparkling skies over bright countryappropriate for us to begin our first side, tiny islands and lovely Osloffull day here with visits to three jord, landing at a small airport museums devoted to her extraordisouth of the city. nary maritime history: 1) Viking We knew that Norway would be Museum with well-preserved ships super expensive but the “sticker which crossed vast oceans in the 9th shock” of actually seeing the high prices was something else. Neverthe- Century, 2) Kon Tiki Museum with Thor Heyerdahl's original 1947 less, we accepted this and knew we reed boat which travelled over 4,000 could work to mitigate some of cost. miles from Peru to Tahiti, and 3) The Norwegian Government is kind Fram Museum, the polar ship to seniors and gave us a 50 percent which took Norwegian Arctic reduction on transportation and explorer Roald Amundsen, the first entrance to attractions. Our first experience with this was on the one- man to the South Pole, in 1911. We took in the fascinating Norhour, high speed, smooth train from wegian Folk Museum, with its the airport to Oslo Central Station, outdoor display of grass-roofed passing right next to the waters of Oslofjord, the first of other fjords we houses and centuries-old traditional churches, representative of the difhoped to see in Norway. ferent regions of Norway. After such Travel on less per day…the military way™ with R&R Travel News®

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a full day or museum-hopping, it was relaxing to enjoy ferry trips to different parts of Oslofjord. On our second and final full day here, our visits included the National Gallery to see Edvard Munch's works (including his most famous painting, “The Scream”) and the Norwegian Resistance Museum, with telling displays of Norway's struggle against the five-year occupation by the Nazis during World War II. Carole even walked up onto the roof of the ultramodern, stunning Oslo Opera House (designed to look like glacier). This concluded our whirlwind but wonderful stay in this magnificent European capital. Now on to Norway's west coast... Norway in a Nutshell The Norwegian Tourism Office offers a popular tour called "Norway in a Nutshell". We put together our own version, saving a substantial amount by using our “seniors” status rather than purchasing the package tour. We began with a wonderful train trip west from Oslo, through Norway’s magnificent, everchanging countryside, and over snow-capped mountains to Myrdal. We changed to the famous Flam Railway, dropping us from dizzying heights, past waterfalls, to sea level at the tiny village of Flam, on the Sognefjord. Here, thousands of tourists greeted us (Flam welcomes half a million of them every year!), many having just disembarked from a huge cruise ship. From there, we boarded a highspeed catamaran for the six hour, spectacular trip through Norway's longest fjord, stopping at little villages en route, and finally wending our way through narrow, twisting coastal straits (this reminded us of our Southeast Alaska ferry journeys) to Norway's second largest city of Bergen. What a tiring, but memorable experience! Our "Nutshell" day had begun in brilliant sunshine which con-

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Feldman continued from page 11 tinued through most of our journey but as we turned onto the coast, from the Sognefjord, the weather deteriorated rapidly with rain, cold and wind. This set the tone for our Bergen stay, with some breaks for comfortable (although chilly) sightseeing. Nowegians told us they had experienced a very bad summer however, this did not deter the many tourists (like us) from coming!

“free” refills, so this turned into our “no dinner lunch.”

for relaxing coffees and pastries at cafes.

Stockholm In Oslo, we heard a lot of jokes about the “dumb Swedes” and in Stockholm we heard similar jokes about Norwegians! This humorous rivalry reminded us of the one between Australia and New Zealand! Our experience here made us realize the huge impact Scandinavians have on the world with its language full of English-sounding (but difBergen ferently spelled) works like Arriving in Bergen by boat “kaffe” for coffee and “hej” gave us a breathtaking and magfor hello. nificent view of her harbor, filled This was our first visit to with an old square rigged sailing Stockholm (often called “The ship, huge modern cargo vesVenice of the North”) which, sels, luxury cruise ships and with two million people, has kiosks. What a beautiful blend twice the population of Oslo. of traditional seafaring Norway Like Sydney, ferries connect and modern 21st Century! her many islands and coastal We trundelled up the hill communities, so we bought a through chilly evening drizzle “hop-on hop-off” ferry ticket (Norwegians tell us they have no Marv meets a new troll friend in Bergen, Norway. to explore this beautiful city. bad weather—just some days We enjoyed this experience (Photo by Carole Feldman) people dress differently!) to our so much that we repeated it little guesthouse. Our hostess twice! (prearranged by email) left us an With many wonderful museums predicted worsening weather on envelope with a note and keys to our Norway's west coast, we decided to from which to choose (including the room, so we made ourselves at Spirit Museum about Sweden's change our next destination from home, just blocks from the harbor. approach to drinking), we focused on Stavanger, Norway, to StockOver the next few days we just one. The Vasa Museum, a holm, Sweden. With surprisingly explored Bergen, looking just around low cost, last minute, air tickets, we “must see”, was tops and did not disthe corner, and were delighted to appoint. Inside is the massive, wellflew this 450-mile journey in find interesting bars, ethnic cafes preserved, elaborately decorated, comfort on Finnair (we had traveled (including lunch at an Ethiopian Swedish warship which sank with them previously), with its fullone), art studios, museums (one on minutes after it began its maiden service and no extra charges for leprosy/Hansen's Disease), resivoyage in 1628. The warship lay on luggage or on-board refreshments; dences perched on the sides of steep the bottom of the bay for over 300 one hour, non-stop flight from cliffs, and the Fish Market near Bryg- Bergen to Sweden's capital. years until it was raised in 1961. It gen, Bergen's UNESCO World Heriwas also awesome to see shoes, canLike in Oslo, we headed to our tage listed old warehouse area. While hotel in Stockholm's suburbs by effi- nons, skulls and personal artifacts we enjoyed the Norwegian salmon, taken from the ship. Today, with cient subway and settled in for the we declined offerings of whale meat! night. Our decision to come here was modern computer technology, faces We ascended 1,000 feet on the the right one as the next day, in glori- were added to skulls to bring the Floibanen funicular to the top of crew's remains to life. ous sunny and warm weather (for the mountain to enjoy both panGamla Stan (or Old Town) proStockholm), we hit the ground runoramic views of the city and harbor vided a wonderful opportunity for us ning. First impressions of this beau(the weather cooperated long enough tiful Scandinavian capital were to explore narrow cobblestone for this) and to lunch on welcome, streets with fascinating shops, positive and while small Oslo was tasty hot soup—warming our Florida sedate and slow-paced, much larger including the oldest and most prestibodies in this 50 degree weather! gious fishing tackle shop in Sweden Stockholm had a “big city” vibe with While we still suffer from sticker (“By appointment to H.M. The everyone in a rush, yet taking time shock ($25 for soup), they did allow King”). The Royal Palace, ParliaOn to … Sweden! It is not unusual for our Great Adventures, with their random travels, to take unexpected twists and turns. This one was no exception! Our focus on this trip was Norway, but with deteriorating and

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spoken than in other countries we have visited. The Scandinavian stereotype of the tall, blue-eyed, blonde hair is fading into history. Scandinavia has become very multicultural with many Norwegians and Swedes Concluding Thoughts from the Middle East, Africa and This was a wonderful, fulfilling Asia. and happy trip to a part of Europe 5. Prosperity: Locals appear proswhere we had not previously been. Here are some of our impressions: perous with no evidence of the economic crisis that is hitting the rest of Europe. Perhaps this is because both countries decided to keep their own currencies and are happy they are not on the Euro. Norway's North Sea oil success certainly is a factor! 6. Cost: Prices were hyperexpensive (we knew this before our trip) with Norway being slightly more costly than Sweden and both being nearly three times the cost of other European countries. We mitiGoing Home gated some of this by flying to Getting home by Space-A and from Europe by “Travelon these adventures is often an ing on less per day … the miliadventure in itself—and so was Marv takes in the sights outside the Oslo Opera House tary way™,” and, in this one! in Norway. (Photo by Carole Feldman) Scandinavia, self-catering and We left Stockholm before staying in the suburbs. Senior the sun rose and caught an prices for transportation and 1. Homework and luck: We did early morning Ryanair flight to entrance fees at attractions helped. lots of research before and during Stansted Airport, north of Sweden and Norway are not “budget our trip, allowing us to adjust our London, very conveniently located destinations!” plans and be flexible, seizing opporfor our return to the US by military 7. Quality and efficiency: everyair. Surprisingly, we were greeted by tunities. We found discount fares on thing works like a well-oiled machine flights within Europe (thanks to the glorious sunshine and hot weather, with an efficient, comfortable and Internet) and had incredibly good quite unusual for England, but most clean infrastructure. We appreciate luck catching US military flights to appreciated after our rather chilly Scandinavian quality. Food is deliand from Europe. and, at times, rainy Scandinavian cious, of high standards and one can 2. Spain: We are glad we spent experience. After just an hour on a safely drink the water! Norway and nearly a week in Spain, getting over most enjoyable bus ride through the Sweden are unique. Oslo is smaller jet lag so that we could hit the pretty English countryside, we were and more relaxed while Stockholm is ground running as soon as we at Royal Air Force (RAF) a fast-paced European capital. arrived in Norway. Station Mildenhall (near Cam8. Scenery: Nothing short of stun3. History: The Vikings were bridge) where we spent a comfortning everywhere! The fjords, the common to both Norway and able evening. By the way, this short mountains, the cities ... Sweden and so it is not surprising stopover in England gave Carole the If any R&R Travel News© readers chance to enjoy a traditional English that both Oslo and Stockholm have wish to see the Shutterfly slide show roast dinner with Yorkshire Pudding fabulous museums devoted to their of this trip, please email us and we (a throwback to her childhood mem- country's maritime history. will be happy to share this with you. 4. People: Norwegians and ories in Australia) at a village cafe! Happy traveling! Luck was with us (again!) as early Swedes have the reputation of being next morning we were on a non-stop cool and reserved. We found the Col. Marvin Feldman, USAF (Ret.) opposite—kind, helpful and very KC-135 flight to Seymour and Carole Feldman Johnson AFB in Goldsboro, NC. anxious to please. They are fashionJacksonville, FL ably dressed, well-educated, culBefore the day was over, we were marvfeldman@yahoo.com tured, and English is more widely back in the USA! After a short stay ment House, and numerous churches were a great backdrop for us to enjoy a picnic lunch on a sunny day, as massive cruise ships glided in and out of port. For something different, we visited the world's largest IKEA, Sweden's impressive global chain of contemporary stores, focusing on modern Scandinavian home accessories. And what more appropriate way could we conclude our holiday in gorgeous Stockholm (and in Scandinavia) than to enjoy a delicious farewell smorgasbord buffet lunch at a restaurant overlooking Stockholm's premier Ostermalms Food Hall, with its dazzling and seemingly endless display of visual and edible gourmet taste sensations— yum!

on base to rest, then renting a car, we drove to Charleston (where we began three weeks ago) and picked up our own car for the drive to Jacksonville.

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The Slagles take on Europe! Mike & Sinda travel Space-A to see Spain, France We signed up online on the Take a Hop website in mid July hoping for a flight back east in September. Our plan was to fly Space-A to Ramstein AB, Germany, and begin our journey from there. We had picked out a few French cities to see, bought a train pass (Rick Steves website) and thought to take a tour from RTT at Ramstein. However, you all know how it goes with Space-A–best laid plans ... some trips go off without a proverbial hitch and some only have hitches. Space-A can be both adventurous and grueling. Here is our story:

Sept 8: BaltimoreWashington International Airport (BWI), MD: There was a flight out of McGuire AFB, NJ, with 19 T-seats and a huge flight from BWI with 145 F-seats. We decided to try for the BWI flight and rented John again to take us to BWI. There was a 0900 flight to Ramstein. Optimistically, I called Ramstein Central Reservations and reserved a room for the next night. BWI has a great USO on the first floor where you can store your luggage. There was no way we could get on that flight— too many people PCSing. I canceled the Ramstein reservation. We waited until midnight and then called Ft. Meade, MD, for lodging for the night.

Sept 3: Facebook: We started looking for flights to get back east or to Ramstein from Travis AFB. Many flight schedules are posted on Facebook now.

Sept 9: Dover AFB, DE: At Ft. Meade in the Sept 6: Travis: We arrived morning, we strategized at Travis AFB, CA, and put with three other couples, our car in long-term parking also wondering what to across the base from the Pax do next. Two couples Terminal. After checking in, decided to rent a car Sinda and Mike Slagle take a moment from touring Paris to pose we learned there is a new together, go back to for a photo in front of the Eiffel Tower (top photo) and the the and closer parking lot for Charleston, SC, and try Tuileries (bottom photo). (Photos provided by the Slagles) travelers who will only be again another day. Howgone 30 days or less. We ever, Felix and Debra caught a flight to Andrews AFB, MD, Relax Transportation, 301 203from San Antonio wanted to continue on a C17. Our flight was listed at 2235 6819). John, the driver, suggested we trying now. We decided to rent a car at go to the Presidential Inn anyway and we took off at 0100. BWI together and drive to Dover AFB since they have a list of nearby hotels where we could possibly catch a flight Sept 7: Andrews AFB: We arrived in the lobby. We did and lucked out! to Rota NAS, Spain. It isn't RamSomeone canceled their reservation at Andrews after the terminal had stein, but it sure is Europe! closed, so I called the Presidential Inn while we were standing there. From We had checked in at the Eagles' for a room. They were full but gave me Andrews, it did not look promising to Nest Inn at Dover, but discovered a get to Ramstein. What to do? the name of a shuttle service (Just 0100 flight to Rota. We signed up for R&R Travel News® Report 247 • Jan-Feb 2013 • Volume 43, No. 1

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from our balcony! It was old world elegance with a nice staff and good breakfast (extra). We had a small room but it faced the front with a great view. Besides, we didn't come to Paris for the hotel room.

it. By this time, our signup numbers were getting pretty high and we were all able to get on the flight. We took off with a full plane at 0400. Sept 10: Rota NAS, Spain: The flight to Rota stopped after an hour to refuel in Bangor, ME. We didn't even know there was a base there. We all went into the Pax Terminal during refueling for a brief rest and snacks. We landed in Rota at 2200, Rota-time. Once in the Pax Terminal, we called for rooms at the Navy Lodge and got two. When we arrived at the Navy Lodge and checked in however, we found our door missing its door knob and lock hardware since the door had been painted that day. Felix and Mike fixed the door since there were no more rooms available that night. We had a little SpaceA party outside our door for fellow travelers and told each other our tales of woe.

Sept 13: Paris: Great day! We spent most of the day at the Louvre! We saw wonderful works of art including the Mona Lisa. The building itself is an architectural marvel. We left in late afternoon and strolled through the Tuileries located across the street from the Louvre. The end of the Tuileries opens up to the Place de la Concord, the center of Paris! On an historical note, a guillotine was located at the entrance of the Tuileries. We also went to the Musee de L'Orangerie located on the Place de la Concord and saw many many Impressionist paintings. There were two large, circular rooms of paintings by Monet. Three painting were 60- to 100-feet long each. After the Musee, we Sept 11: Rota: We needed walked to the Hotel Crillon an extra day to recharge our (located in the Concord by batteries after going to four the American Embassy) for a bases to get here. We rented glass of very fine French a car, changed some dollars to Euros (Banco Popular on Sinda and Mike enjoy the tranquility of the artist Monet’s wine. We caught a taxi in front of the hotel and base) and strategized about gardens. (Photos provided by the Slagles) returned to our hotel. our next move. Mike and I wanted to get to Paris since Sept 14: Paris: Today we took a city tour from a browe had reservations at the French Officers' Club. With chure found in our hotel lobby. We saw all the sites one our trouble getting to Europe, I had had to move the wants to in Paris: Champs-Elysees, Eiffel Tower, reservation back twice. They were very nice about Moulin Rouge, Montmartre, Notre Dame, etc. accommodating us, but we needed to get there soon. Felix and Debra wanted to go on to Italy. We all decided We were dropped off by the Eiffel Tower for a river cruise of the Seine. We also had a nice lunch at a restauto take the bus to the airport in Sevilla and then take rant by the river. Afterwards, we walked to the Musee commercial planes to our destinations. We booked d’Orsay and saw 20 Vincent Van Goghs! There were flights online and then went out for a great dinner at a many incredible works of art, but I love Van Gogh. We lovely hotel called Duque de Najera Hotel located on took a taxi back to the hotel. the beach. Sept 15: Paris: Today we took a tour of the Palace at Versailles and Giverny, where Claude Monet lived and painted. Versaille was immense, opulent and ornate. It had once been 20,000 acres but was reduced to 2,000 after the Revolution. Monet had bought land outside of Paris, built a farmhouse and then planted several immense gardens and a Japanese pond. His most famous paintings of water lilies were painted at his pond.

Sept 12: Paris: We took a local bus from Rota to Seville. It was very nice and only cost 11 Euros per person. Once in Seville, we took a taxi to the airport. The driver spoke as much English as we do Spanish. We had booked seats on Vueling Airlines, operated by Iberia. It was a nice flight to Paris Orly. We got a taxi at the airport to drive to Cerce Nationale des Armies (French Officers' Club) at the Hotel St. Augustin. A word about the hotel: It is in a prime Paris location for 122 Euros per night. We could see the Eiffel Tower Travel on less per day…the military way™ with R&R Travel News®

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Sept 16: Nancy: After many wonderful days in Paris, we took a train to Nancy, France. we stayed at a charming hotel on the Stanislaus Square. We walked to a nearby park that had a zoo and wonderful brasserie (local French restaurant). Everything was lit up at night and people enjoyed socializing there. Sept 17: Nancy: We took a city tour but it was in French! I know a little French but apparently not enough. A nice restful day.

Amsterdam for breakfast. There was also a cheese-making demonstration and a wooden shoe demonstration. Once in Amsterdam, we took a city tour on a cruise of the Amster River. Great city! Everyone rides bicycles. We wandered around the town, saw the Anne Frank exhibit and the Heineken Experience. We met a nice couple, Garvin and Caroline, with whom we had a great lunch by a canal. We arrived back on the base at 0200. Sept 24: Ramstein: There were no flights going out that we could use, so we took a taxi to Landstuhl to see a movie.

Sept 18: Ramstein AB: We figured we had about 12 days Sept 25-27 Ramstein Pax Terminal: Every day for left on our signup, so we decided to head for Ramstein and three days, we checked out of the do a few things from there. We Cannon Hotel, took the shuttle took four different trains to Kaito the terminal and hung around serslautern. We don't speak trying to get a flight out. Every German, however, we were familafternoon we called the Cannon iar with the German train timetaand got another room for the bles available online night. Many flights were can(reiseauskunft.bahn.de) which celed. We tracked a flight to told us which train and platform. Dover–Travis that was delayed We had called the day before to four times over two days. There central reservations for a room at was also a large number of the base. They only had one in catagories 3 to 5 trying for Vogelweh. When we arrived in flights. With all the cancellaKaiserslautern, we took a taxi to tions, everyone wanted Dover to Vogelweh, checked in and then get to the States. taxied to the base. At the KMCC, central reservations told us we Sept 27 Dover–Travis: We were to call protocol now for finally got on a flight to Dover– lodging for O-6 and above. protoSinda and Mike settle in for their Space-A flight across Travis on day 59 of our signup. col put us in the Gen. John the Atlantic Ocean. (Photo provided by the Slagles.) To say we were getting pretty Cannon Hotel on base. Officers nervous is correct. We took off at can't get in the Ramstein Inn, we 1825 to Dover and landed at were told, unless the Cannon was full. So we had to go back to Vogelweh, retrieve our luggage, 0300. We got on a plane immediately for Travis, but we sat check out and go to the Cannon Hotel. It is a wonderful hotel in it for 1.5 hours while maintenance checked something out. The Airman with us told us to think good thoughts about whose rooms are suites for $54 a night. Fred, the C-5 plane, of course. Sept 19: Trier: We took the train to Trier, Germany. It is a Sept 28 Travis: We arrived at Travis about noon, Califorbeautiful German city close to the Luxembourg border. It was established during the time of Constantine, so the city is nia time. We got our car and drove home to Reno, NV. over 2,000 years old. Our trip wasn't quite the trip we had planned, but they never are. We visited five countries in three weeks. Probably Sept 20: Ramstein: A recharging batteries day. We also the best parts of Space-A travel are the people you meet. started checking the flight schedules to see what would be Many thanks go to these people who shared some time with flying to the States and west coast. us along the way: Felix and Debra from San Antonio, TX; Garvin and CaroSept 21: Luxembourg: We took a train to Saarbruchen line from Spokane, WA; Art and Julia from Seattle, WA; and and then an express bus to Luxembourg City, LuxemKathy and John from Ocala, FL. bourg. We took a city tour that concentrated on banks, Voila!! schools and European Union buildings, since Luxembourg is instrumental in the EU. CAPT Michael Slagle, USNR, (Ret.) and Sinda Slagle Sept 22-23: Amsterdam, Holland: We booked a tour Reno, NV with RTT on base to take a bus tour of Amsterdam. We left Sindaslagle@gmail.com the base at 0230 and drove to a farmhouse outside of R&R Travel News® Report 247 • Jan-Feb 2013 • Volume 43, No. 1

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Two retired Marines and their wives take their first Space-A flight David & Pam Schiel and David & Sharon Redl storm Germany! Planning the next day to Seville, started in Spain, an early evening May 2011 flight to Paris on Iberia Air when I and the subway to the train decided to call station so we could catch an various Space-A ICE train to Kaiserslauten departure points to (K-town), Germany. get a rough schedule on weekly We just missed a train to flights. We chose Air Mobility K-town and the next one was Command points at Baltimorein the AM the next day. We Washington International, roamed around the train MD; Dover AFB, DE; and station until it closed at 0100 McGuire AFB, NJ. We signed to reopen at 0600. The up at all locations at the start of Holiday Inn across the street the 60-day window giving us was $210 a night and we said, some priority. no, it was not in our plans so Due to the possibility we we walked around for awhile. could fly Space-A back to any When we were still inside location, we decided to rent a the station we met a couple car and drive to the east coast. that were also waiting for a On Sept. 3, we headed for train. She was from Wright-Patterson AFB, Romania and he was from OH, for the first night at $39 Hungary. We found an allfor a double. night café across the street Next we drove to Ft Meade, and went in. Cost to sit was MD, and stayed at $64 per to order something every night. Initially we went to BWI two hours, so we each had a because of the Patriot Flights to small Coke ($8 per Coke). Ramstein AB, Germany, but no Overall, it would have been flights were going for three days. almost as cheap to get one The next choice for Sept. 5 room for all of us and sleep was McGuire AFB where we on the floor. At least it would stayed a night for $39 at the All have been warm and dry. American Inn. We tried the Sept 9, 0704: We boarded next day for Space-A but there the train for K-town. We was no Cat VI space available. Top: David and Pam Schiel, and David and Sharon Redl tried to sleep but it did not Our last choice was to try work. We were so tired we share a tall German beer and (bottom) enjoy a Rhine Dover AFB. The flights to River cruise. (Photos provided by David & Pam Schiel.) did not even enjoy the scenGermany were filled with higher ery. We arrived at 1130 and priorities categories. There were picked up our rental flights to Rota NAS, Spain; Aviano No windows and the two ladies have Chrysler minivan with automatic AB, Italy; and Royal Air Force claustrophobic issues. We flew all transmission and a diesel engine— Mildenhall, England. night (not much sleep)and arrived at great on both counts. We stayed the There was one flight with 71 seats 1130. When the hatch opened, all I night in K-town at Hotel Pirsch for for Moron AB, Spain, so we could see was desert all around. $110 including breakfast. That night decided, what the heck, at least we Moron is a fly-through base and we had our first German meal comwill get to Europe. quite small. We stayed on base at plete with bier (beer). We each got a On Sept. 7, we flew to Moron AB, Hotel Frontera for $35 per night, half order but it was so much a on a KC-10 with 24 seats, the rest early to sleep. There were no flights quarter order would have been was cargo. Seats were airline style so leaving Moron and car rentals must plenty. not too bad for the seven-hour flight. be returned to base so we took a bus Travel on less per day…the military way™ with R&R Travel News®

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The next leg of our trip was to Bastogne, Belguim, with the intent to see the museum and battlegrounds areas of the Battle of the Bulge but the museum was closed for renovation. (It reopened in 2012.) The only battle area we had time to see was the monument dedicated to the 501st Parachute Regiment immortalized by the movie “The Band of Brothers”. Then we drove to Bacharach, Germany, and spent Sept. 10 and 11 at Inn Malerwinkle for $83 per night (cash only). We enjoyed walking around the cobblestone streets and exploring the open shops. Sept. 11: We took a boat ride to tour the famous Rhine River and all the castles along the river. Many castles were converted to restaurants and/or hotels. This was the only day we had RAIN and lots of it. Sept. 12 and 13: We stayed at Spangdahlem AB for $39 per night. Sept. 14: We drove to Trier the oldest city in Germany. We rode the trolley car around to see the sites. Then, as usual walked around looking at the shops. We decided to drive to Neunkirchen where we had lunch and a beer at the Hooters restaurant. We spent the night of Sept. 14 in the Kristall Inn at Vilseck Army Base for $74. Sept. 15 we drove south stopping in Regensburg. Next was a stop at Dachau, a Nazi concentration camp. Very humbling. Then we drove to Munich to enjoy Oktoberfest where I finally got the chance to use my German by ordering beer and food.

On Sept 16 we drove to the Eagles Nest at Bertchgarden in southeast Germany where Adolf Hitler had his retreat perched on a hilltop overlooking some of the most scenic valleys in Germany and Austria. When we returned to Munich, we drove to the city center. Due to Oktoberfest it was so crowded we had trouble getting around in our minivan. We did manage to find a parking place close to Hard Rock Café and bought a few shirts. The line was too long to wait to get into the dining room for a beer. We found a very German and colorful restaurant a few blocks away and ate there. Not much of the English language spoken here. We spent three nights at Holiday Inn in southeast Munich. Breakfast each morning was at McDonalds, three blocks away. Sept. 17 was Oktoberfest day. No area parking so we took a train. Very easy to figure it out. Oktoberfest was highlighted by a parade of floats sponsored by all the breweries that had beer halls set up at Oktoberfest. It was very colorful. We tried to get into one of the beer halls but it was so crowded and smoky. We left and walked the midway trying food and beer vendors. After a few hours we went across the street to a local beer hall and drank a good share of German Bitzburg beer. On Sept 18 we decided to head south to Italy via Austria. Earlier we had left the Top: a German Oktoberfest parade; Middle and bottom: key in the car by mistake and Two of the of many German hotels that also serve great we had no spare. I called the car rental company and they traditional German food in their restaurants. (Photos contacted the local German provided by David & Pam Schiel.) auto club to unlock the car. It

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was no cost as they have an agreement with the club. On the way south we stop ped at the Armed Forces Recreation Center in Garmisch, Germany. We did not stay at the Rec because of the cost. We did have lunch and a few beers. Beautiful facility. We ran into another retiree that we met at McGuire AFB and had flown with to Spain. We spent a few hours looking around the town of Garmisch, it’s near Oberamergau where they have the Passion Play every 10 years. The building was closed but we looked in the windows and saw some of the costumes. We stayed at the Hotel Schone Aussicht Garni in Garmisch for $108 including breakfast. Sept 19: We stayed at the Ederle Inn at the US Army base in Vincenza, Italy, for $78, including breakfast. One of our “experiences” on the trip was to get stuck in the elevator at the Inn. The base fire department had to be called to get us out. We shopped at the PX for a few shirts. (Editor's note: Italy allows access for retired military and US military stationed in other countries on leave, access to their US military exchanges and commissaries to purchased non-rationed items. This makes Italy a very popular vacation spot for our military and can save a lot of money on travel. Italy also has quite a few attractive military lodging facilities as well as a couple of military MWR camping areas.) Sept 20: We stayed at La Meridina in Maria Roma for $ 89 per night, with breakfast. It is a nice hotel with private beach 300 meters away but the beach season was over and there was not much activity in the town. Pam stuck her feet in

the water, it was cold. Only one restaurant was open on the beach, no food but cold beer. Restaurants in town closed at 1500 and reopened at 1900. We found a place heavy on pizza and beer so we stayed. Sept 21: We stayed at the Sea Pines Recreation Facility at Camp Darby, Italy for $65 per night. Its a small base and hard to find. You have to go past the joint US Army/Italian storage facility and take the first left at the fence. We shopped at the PX. Sept 22: We stayed at the Wall Art Hotel in Prato, Italy, for $101, including breakfast. Nothing exciting to do. Another city where restaurants were closed until 1900. We did manage to find a local bar that offered a small buffet if you drink so we did and ate for no cost. Then we headed to Pisa to see the Tower and the rest of the Field of Miracles. Sept 23: We drove into Switzerland and stayed at Hotel Tellsplatte on Lake Lucerne in Axenstrasse for $161, including breakfast. Our friend Dave ordered American coffee and the waitress said all they had was Swiss coffee. It became one of our travel jokes. Sept 24: We drove to Stuttgart, Germany, and stayed at the Panzer Inn at the US Army base Panzer Kaserne for $127; a bit high but it is brand new and not yet subsidized by the Army. We went to the city center and found a festival of some kind and spent a few hours there. Sept 25: We drove to Lautenbach, Germany, which is now a section of Gernsbach. It Top: One of the boats that tour the Rhine River; Middle: was special for me because my great-grand parents were born One of many castle structures still standing; Bottom: there. We had made prior David Schiel poses at the entrance to the city of Lautenbach, Germany. (Photos provided by David and arrangements to stay at the Pam Schiel.) Badischer Landgasthof in the center of town, two blocks

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Marines continued from page 21 south of the original church location were my great-grand parents were married. Our host Gerd Meyer and Dagmar Beilfuss tried to contact some townsfolk with the same last name so we could see how we were related but no one was available. Due to the timing, they promised that next time I come they will plan a get-together hoping I can make connections with distant relatives. The town is very German and quite beautiful. It was a real honorable feeling to walk the same streets (I hope) my great-grand parents walked. The cost for the hotel was $91, with breakfast. Dinner was a fantastic six-course served by the host. I really think we were treated special because of the kinship. Sept. 26: We drove to Ramstein AB to check on our departure date. We stayed at the new Ramstein Inn for $39 per night. We had a Sept. Top: David and Sharon Redl and (bottom) David and Pam 28 latest date so we took a Sept. 27 flight to Dover AFB Schiel pose for a photo in front of a German sunset. (Photos provided by David and Pam Schiel.) on a chartered 757 Patriot Flight. The cost was $58 per

CWO-4 David Schiel, USMCR, (Ret.) and Pam Schiel Cedar Rapids, IA dapasc@imonmail.com MST David Redl, USMCR, (Ret.) and Sharon Redl Oelwein, IA Hopefully, Americans will continue to be allowed to travel there.

Studdard continued from page 7 One night, Walt went to hear members of the Buena Vista Social Club at the National Hotel with some other members of our group. One of Walt's favorite artists, Ry Cooder, has recorded with this group. This has to be one of our favorite trips. We encourage any of you who like to travel to put Cuba on your list. This door for travel in Cuba has The green hills and valleys of Vinales, just a 2 1/2 hour drive only been open since January from Havana. (Photo provided by the Walt and Everette Studdard.) 2012. R&R Travel News® Report 247 • Jan-Feb 2013 • Volume 43, No. 1

couple. Plenty of seats for all. We arrived at Dover and rented a car to drive home. Sept 27: We stopped at the Air Force Reserve base at the Pittsburgh Airport to spend the night. All the billeting was under re-construction so we ended up staying at Marriott Inn at $170 per night, with breakfast. On Sept. 28, the next stop was Peoria, IL, where we stopped to gamble a bit and spend the night. We stayed at the Stoney Creek Inn in East Peoria. The next morning we drove home to Cedar Rapids, IA. Our first Space-A trip was quite interesting and what I expected. You do have to be flexible and ready to make quick decisions. The enjoyment was worth any problems and the scenery was breathtaking. I am ready to go again.

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Everette Studdard and LTC Walt Studdard, USA, (Ret.) Anniston, AL http://www.travelblog.org/ Bloggers/Everette/ Editor’s note: One agency that handles these People-to-People expeditions can be found at http://www.ietravel.com. Their phone number is 1-800-234-9620. Their office is located in our original home state, ALABAMA!

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R&R Travel News® 2013 Jan/Feb