Posted by: jinniver | August 20, 2008

Pippin’s Visit: Traveling Teddy #6

Hi!  I’m Pippin!  I’m from California, and I’m visiting Jen and her family for part of Ravelry’s Traveling Teddy #6!

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8/11/08 – I made it!  My journey was a little hairy though–the mailman misread the address on the envelope and put me in the wrong mailbox!  I was there for a few days before the mistake was rectified, but Jen tried to make it up to me by providing me with some Lexie cuddles.  They’re quite refreshing!

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8/13/08 – This was kind of a sad day, because I had to say good-bye to my new friend, Texie.  Texie’s older brother, Tex, is traveling in the same round robin that I am; Texie’s in Traveling Teddy #8.  But at the same time it was pretty cool, ’cause Texie was headed to my house!  Yep–my family’s in TT#8 too, and my fellow bear Gallifrey is also traveling the U.S.  By chance, the rotation worked out so I headed to Texie’s home first, and she’s headed to mine.  So I let her know all about California, and she’s really excited!

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8/14/08 – I am so excited–I’m going on my first flight!  My host family is traveling to Indiana, and they’ve invited me along.  My new friends Lexie and her big brother Jeffrey have a cousin who’s turning a year old, and we’re going to her birthday party.  There’s also a trip to Chicago planned, so I get a bonus city to visit!

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8/16/08 – Happy birthday, Stella!  Isn’t that a pretty cake?  I really wanted to take a quick taste, but Jen caught me right before I managed to dip a paw in to the pink icing.  She did share her piece with me later, and it was as tasty as it looked!  I also got to watch the presents being opened and all of the little kids playing–the party was so much fun!

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8/17/08Helllllloooooo, Windy City!  Who says city traffic is that tough?

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Wow!  They make ’em tall in Chicago, don’t they?  I loved getting to walk around and look up at all the skyscrapers.  I couldn’t see Sears Tower from where we parked, but I got a good luck at it driving in.  It’s really a cool looking building!  It wasn’t too windy in the Windy City today, but we got a nice breeze that kept it from being too hot as we went sight seeing.

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We weren’t there just to see the sights, though–we were there for lunch!  The ladies (my hostess Jen and buddy Lexie, Lexie’s cousin Stella and Stella’s mom Meghan, and Lexie’s and Stella’s Dain (grandma)) went to the American Girl Place for a luncheon and I got to go too.  For a place that serves lunch to little girls with dolls, I was surprised at how sophisticated the food was.  Jen and I debated a bit but finally decided on the cranberry quiche.  It was so tasty!  I also got a cool new black-and-white headband that matches my fur perfectly–it was a gift to go with the lunch.

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After lunch we walked around the American Girl Place.  Wow, are there a lot of dolls there!  The dolls that you can get that look just like the little girl are cool, but my favorites were the historic dolls.  Jen’s favorite was Kirstin, the frontier doll, but I preferred Samantha, the colonial doll.  The coolest, though, was when I met my first Olympian.  She’s a gold medal winner!

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Hey, check it out–I’m a tavern owner (apparently).  We just happened to see Pippin’s Tavern as we were driving past, so we had to come back to get a quick picture.

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8/19/08 – Meet Billy T-Bear Blake!  He’s traveling for TT#8 like Texie, and get this–he’s from Chicago!  We bonded immediately over stories of his hometown.

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We were all set to head out into Corpus Christi to see the sights…but the weather wasn’t cooperating.  At best, it was a steady light rain, but at various intervals there were downpours so loud it was hard to have a conversation in the house!  Billy and I were pretty bummed, but we found something to do.

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I surprised Jen, who didn’t know that I knit lace.  But I’m a panda bear from China, after all, so what else would I work on but her silk yarn on the bamboo needles?  She did make me promise not to munch on the needles, and she added a lifeline.  No fear–she got her scarf back with the same number of mistakes it had when she gave it to me!

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8/20/08 – Woohoo!  Despite some threatening skies, Jen packed up Billy and I in her knitting bag and Lexie in her backpack carrier to do Corpus Christi!  We did drive through a bit of rain, but it was gone before we got to Corpus Christi, and the sun was even shining by the end of trip.

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Our first stop was USS Lexington (CV-16).  In Corpus Christi they call her Lady Lex; when she fought in World War II, Tokyo Rose called her “the Blue Ghost” because the Japanese reported they’d sunk her four different times and yet she kept coming back for more.  She’s the longest serving carrier in U.S. Navy history.

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Before we got up the carrier, there were a few cool things to look at.  That propeller was huge…and it’s smaller than the one actually on USS Lexington!  Billy and I were tiny in comparison.

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I actually got to sit on one of the guns that the onboard gunners would have used to fight off kamikaze pilots!  I bet I would have been a really good one, too…if I could have reached any of the controls.  Jen told Billy and I about her grandfather, who was a fire controlman in the U.S. Navy in WWII (he was a destroyerman), and would have worked on guns like this.

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We had to choose what we wanted to see on the carrier because it’s just so huge, so Billy and I had a quick discussion.  It was no contest–we wanted to see the planes!  So Jen headed up to the flight deck, which was three decks (floors) above the hanger deck that we entered on.  They call the stairs on ships “ladders,” and we could see why–they’re really steep!  No wonder Jen insisted on the backpack carrier instead of the stroller we suggested to make toting Lexie easier.  After all, she was the Sailor, not us.

Naturally, we wanted to start with the Blue Angels plane.  It’s Jen’s favorite too.  She’s seen them fly before, and they’re just so cool.  Billy and I really wanted to get in, but of course we couldn’t.  So Jen took our picture in front of it…and then surprised us with a photoshopped picture of Billy and I in the cockpit!  I’m just not sure how I ended up in the back seat…especially since the F/A-18 the Blue Angels use doesn’t have a back seat!

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There were all sorts of signs everywhere, and Jen told us that they were very important to read.  This one must have been super important, since the letters were actually bigger than me.

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These signs were added, but they were really cool.  All the way down the (non-working) escalator that took us back to the hanger deck were signs about USS Lexington.  I could see that the flight deck was big, but I didn’t realize it was that big!

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Before we left, Billy and I posed for pictures with the ship’s bell.  Jen told us about the tradition of christening in the ship’s bell–Sailors who are stationed on board a ship can have their children christened onboard, using the ship’s bell as a baptismal font.  The names are then engraved inside the bell.  Lexie was christened on her daddy’s ship…although that bell was a lot smaller!  (We were hoping to get to visit her daddy’s ship, but it’s in the shipyard right now so we can’t.)

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After we left Lady Lex, we headed to the Texas State Aquarium.  Jen had a feeling I’d love it, since my backpack has a fish button on it–and she was right!  We got to see all sorts of fish located in the water off the coast of Corpus Christi.  I think my favorite were these colorful fishes, since they set off my black-and-white coloring so well.

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The big fish tank was awesome!  It had pylons like you’d see around oil rigs, and it was full of really big fish.  Jen told us that some of them were new, like the pretty silver and copper colored fish in the picture.  Billy and I could have sat there for hours watching the huge fish go ’round and ’round…until the shark came around the corner.  After we fell off the bar, we suggested we move on to the next area.

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Our last stop in the aquarium was the jellies section.  They were all really neat, but Billy and I agreed that our favorite were the comb jellies.  They have twinkling lights that run down their sides in several lines.  Jen apologized for the picture–she had to take it without the flash so the jellies showed up–but we thought it was cool to have one.

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Before we headed back home, Jen climbed up to the observation platform on the top of the aquarium.  The view from there was outstanding, especially since the skies had cleared.  I loved getting to look over downtown Corpus Christi and out over the water.

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That’s going to be all for my visit to Texas.  I’ll be leaving tomorrow, and I’m a little sad to go.  But I’m also really excited for my next adventure!  I’m headed to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and Jen told me all about it (she grew up nearby and loves Gettysburg).  She also said I’m heading to visit a really nice person–Tex was there already and had a great time.  I think by tomorrow I’ll be just excited, since that’s when I’ll be heading out on my new adventure!


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