TRAVELING IN OUR FABULOUS GAY WORLD: Meeting Old and New Friends

Alexis RayOn our last driving trip to California we enjoyed seeing old friends and meeting new ones. We have known the Countess Alexis Del Lago for 18 years. Unfortunately time has taken it’s toll with her and she has had some health issues including a stroke, but she is still going.

In the past she has entertained in New York City years ago.  A great video on her is:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_rSnHG_htY4    Another wonderful video was made by Craig Calman:  http://worldofwonder.net/meet-the-legendary-and-reclusive-alexis-del-lago/.

She invited us to her apartment in West Hollywood this time where we reminisced about old times and a glorious past. At least she has had a glorious past which is more than we can say about a lot of people. Live well Countess !

The next day we had breakfast with the noted Hollywood Agent, Budd Burton Moss.   Among his many entertainers that we agent for was Rita Hayworth plus many more !   He and his wife have lived in Beverly Hill, California forever.  We had breakfast at the famous La Conversation Bakery/Cafe, which has been around for more than 30 years there.

You can either enjoy your meal inside or sit on their front patio and watch the people walk by.   http://www.laconversationbakery.com/   Last year Budd Burton Moss came out with his biography which we wrote up,
https://www.purpleroofs.com/gay-travel-blog/2017/06/summer-reads-traveling-fabulous-gay-world-hollywood-sometimes-reality-better-dream.html   He is in his 80’s and knows all the good stories and tales about ‘Old Hollywood’.

Ray and JewelerOn to Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills with all of it’s glitz and glamour.   We walked by one store, looked in and knew we had to enter. Peter Marco ‘Extraordinary Jewels’ is the place and located at 252 North Rodeo Drive.  Peter is the owner and he dresses the part!   When you are one of the finest jewelry stores in California why not dress the part ?  Who wants to buy a diamond ring or jewelry from someone wearing bluejeans ? Peter has a flawless reputation for selling the finest diamonds.  No trip to Beverly Hills and Rodeo Drive would be complete without visiting his shop.  His website is:  www.petermarco.com

ariz paulDriving home thru Arizona we always stop and see our friend, Paul Winer who owns the Reader’s Oasis Used Book Store in Quartzsite, Arizona located on Interstate 10.  One does not need an address to find the store, however it is located at 690 East Main St.  Quartzsite is just a very small town, population around 3,500 however in the months of January and February, RV’ers  descend on the town.

Paul and his wife have owned the bookstore for many years.  He offers a huge selection of used books in every subject matter.  Thousands of tourists a year stop to see him and his store. Paul is a VERY interesting guy and he is also a “NUDIST”.  The only thing he wears is his cowboy hat, a Turquoise blossom necklace and a ‘penis’  sock. Yep,  you read that correctly.  His wife is always fully dressed.

So when you go in, forget about the world and visit with Paul.  He also sings and plays the piano.  Here are a couple of videos to check out on him:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K_ZvmTCBn4M    and also
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4X9Ob7Y88sQ

Don and RayAlways remember to have fun when traveling, meet new people and talk to everyone!

TRAVELING IN OUR FABULOUS GAY WORLD is written by Donald Pile and Ray Williams, Award-winning, Celebrity travel columnists who write for gay publications from coast to coast (And now legally married).

Proud members of the IGLTA. You can email them at [email protected] and visit their website at http://gaytravelersataol.blogspot.com/

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TRAVELING IN OUR FABULOUS GAY WORLD: Omaha, Nebraska

Omaha Sign

There are a lot of cities in the country that for some reason or another, travelers just don’t think about. Omaha, Nebraska might be one of those cities however it is a very vibrant and live city where the arts and culture as well as many other things of full of places to visit.

Omaha - Joslyn Art MuseumOne is the Joslyn Art Museum. It is located just south of downtown at 5200 Dodge Street. The galleries begin with the Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque artists, and continues with 18th and 19th Century works by British and French painters and concludes with Impressionism and Modernism. You will also fine sculptures, photography as well as a large variety of art at the Museum. One of our favorites is a wonderful oil painting by the British born Artist, J. G. Brown who later moved to New York City and became famous for his depictions of street urchins found on the streets (bootblacks, street musicians, posy sellers, newsboys, etc).

Omaha - Joslyn Art MuseumThey are open everyday but Mondays.  In keeping with the tradition of a lot of other art museums around the country there is no admission fee.  Check out their website at http://www.joslyn.org/visit/

While there be sure and visit the Museum’s Peter Kiewit Foundation Sculpture Garden which is open all year from 7 AM to 11 PM and again that admission is also free.

Omaha  - Henry Doorly Zoo and AquariumOmaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium is certainly something that you do not want to miss. It is ranked one of the world’s finest zoos with over 130 acres. It is the home to the world’s largest indoor desert and the largest indoor rainforest in North American. You can explore exotic locations and underground caves to see thousands of animals from around the world in their natural habitant with more than 7 acres of indoor exhibits! The Zoo is located at 3701 South 10th St. and their website is: http://www.omahazoo.com. Plan on spending the entire day there.

Omaha sits right on the Missouri so simply drive over the bridge into Council Bluffs, Iowa and visit Casinos if you are into that.

Downtown Omaha is alive and well and unlike so many other cities, It is all happening right downtown. They do have a very vibrant nightlife there. The MAX, 1417 Jackson St, in the Old Market District has been around for years. They have different levels and rooms and there is always something for everyone. Flixx Video Bar, 1019 South 10th Street is a music video bar. Omaha Mining Company, 1715 Leavenworth St. is more of a neighborhood bar and we have been going there for years. As in most cities in today’s world, Gays and Lesbians are welcomed anywhere and that is certainly so in Omaha.

Don and RayAlways remember to have fun when traveling, meet new people and talk to everyone!

TRAVELING IN OUR FABULOUS GAY WORLD is written by Donald Pile and Ray Williams, Award-winning, Celebrity travel columnists who write for gay publications from coast to coast (And now legally married).

Proud members of the IGLTA. You can email them at [email protected] and visit their website at http://gaytravelersataol.blogspot.com/

Las Vegas Gay Travel Resources

TRAVELING IN OUR FABULOUS GAY WORLD: Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Denver

Red Rocks Amphitheatre

Red Rocks AmphitheatreWhen we were in Denver last month we visited the fabulous Red Rocks Amphitheatre which is just about 10 miles west of Denver and located in the Red Rock Park.. The outdoor venue is remarkable as it is nestled right into the red rocks.

It hosts over 9,500 attendees per concert. The stage is at the bottom and the people look down at them and can also see the skyline of Denver 10 miles away. There is a 100 foot difference between the top row of seats and the stage below. The altitude is 6,400 feet so be careful, An estimated 750,000 non-concertgoers visit Red Rocks every year.

Red Rocks AmphitheatreThey have been having musical concerts there for over 100 years. In 2016 they had 73 concerts. Artists perform on a stage nestled in the perfect acoustical surroundings of Red Rocks.

They are booked up year round and some of the entertainers who have performed at Red Rocks are the Beatles, opera singer Mary Garden, Jimmy Hendrix, Vanilla Fudge and Soft Machine. Others includes Jethro Tull, John Denver, Sonny and Cher, Seals & Crofts, Carole King, U2, Ray Charles and Peter, Paul & Mary. The Grateful Dead Widespread Panic holds the record for the most sold-out performances and has performed there 51 times! The beloved Dolly Parton performed to a sold out audience and the crowd roared and roared simply because she is such a FABULOUS ENTERTAINER!

The Amphitheatre is located in Red Rocks Park and free to everyone. At the Amphitheatre they have a Visitor’s Center which is also free and features interactive educational displays, a short film on it’s geologic and musical history and a “Performer Hall of Fame”.

In the park they have a Trading Post which has been open since the 1930’s. In front of the Trading Post they have a larger than life-size bronze of singer John Denver. This is a place where you can spend a few hours or all day. Take a picnic lunch with you and dine “al fresco”. Except for the concerts, everything is free at Red Rocks. Check out http://redrocksonline.com/ before you arrive in Denver. This is certainly one of the ‘wonders of the country”.

Denver Hamburger Mary'sWhile in Denver one needs to dine at the MILE HIGH HAMBURGER MARYS. It is a great place to go for casual dining. They have Hamburger Mary restaurants in several cities around the country however this is one of the best ones. Located just a few blocks east of downtown Denver at 1336 East 17th Avenue. Call 303.993.5812 for reservations.

Denver Hamburger Mary'sThey are open 7 days a week and their Sunday brunches are to die for! This is a FUN place and always plenty of action going on. They have a large selection on their menu. We dined there twice and both times the service was great and so was the meals. They also have a full service bar.

This is always a great place to meet old friends and make new friends. Before going to Denver be sure and check out their website: http://www.hamburgermarys.com/denver/ and you can keep up with all their specials and daily activities that they have at
https://www.facebook.com/MarysDenver/ They have new owners who know how to run a restaurant and we know that they will be around for a long time because they take good care of all of their guests. Service and food is what it is all about in the restaurant business and MILE HIGH HAMBURGR MARYS has them both. We wish them the very best of success. They certainly deserve it!

We want to say a VERY SPECIAL thanks to Tony Smith in Denver for assisting us on finding interesting and fun things to do and see while visiting Denver.

Don and Ray

Always remember to have fun when traveling, meet new people and talk to everyone!

TRAVELING IN OUR FABULOUS GAY WORLD is written by Donald Pile and Ray Williams, Award-winning, Celebrity travel columnists who write for gay publications from coast to coast (And now legally married).

Proud members of the IGLTA. You can email them at [email protected] and visit their website at http://gaytravelersataol.blogspot.com/

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TRAVELING IN OUR FABULOUS GAY WORLD: Meeting Interesting People

Douglas Alexander and Erik Alexander Douglas Alexander and Erik Alexander with their precious baby girl[/caption]

It is so hard to wrap my head around at what this past year has been like. This time last year Douglas and I continued our dialogue about adopting a baby. Although we had talked about it many times in the past, this is when the conversations really became much more in depth.
October of 2015 started the serious discussions about whether or not we were ready and when we realized we were… just how the heck we were going to make it happen.
I’ll first of all say this… EVERY SINGLE PERSON you know in life, you have met for a purpose.
There is a reason for everything, you just may not know it now. And in time, the reasons reveal themselves. We reached out to everyone that we knew of that have adopted, which was not a lot of people. And most of them did not get back to us. So we were left full of unanswered questions and a path we wanted to go down, but absolutely no idea how to go down it.
Douglas & ErikSo I suppose we started like any other couple would that wanted to adopt. GOOGLE. We found 2 agencies that were located on the west coast that seemed like our type of route. We would have to fly there and begin orientation. The wait time for gay couples usually ranges between 3 to 5 years. But we were ready and eager to wait. We made the call and requested our starter packet. And we waited…
The very next day we received an email from one of the original parents we had reached out to months prior. This person was actually co workers with our neighbor at the time. She had given us his email and we reached out to him. As life would have it, a few months later, he responded. He knew of an adoption attorney that was in need of a family, particularly a gay family that was ready to adopt. So he gave us the attorney ‘s contact and we immediately reached out to her.
It was the first week of November and I remember exactly where we were, what we were doing and how we felt. When she said that she had a birth mother in our city… Our hearts jumped. But when she said that the birth mother was particularly looking for a same sex couple… our hearts nearly jumped out of our chests. We both looked at each other in our kitchen with our eyes as big as saucers and with cautious optimism asked what we needed to do. We frantically composed a bio with a few pictures to send the birth parents to hopefully, maybe match. We sent it over and all we could do was wait.
That night we left a restaurant and were in the neighborhood of where the hospital where the baby we were hoping to match with was. As soon as we passed it a huge shooting star shot across the sky. In New Orleans you really don’t see shooting stars.
We were amazed and just hoped that could just be a devinely planned sign.
We found out the next day that she wanted to meet us in person. As much as we wanted to shout from the rooftops and tell everyone we knew… we knew it needed to be kept secret. We heard so many heart breaking stories about how some adoptions fall through, and we didn’t want to jinx anything. As hard as it was to keep quiet, that is what we did.
Douglas & ErikWe met with the birth parents multiple times, and each time got to know them and their families a little bit better. ​
We soon found out that we indeed matched. They picked us! As soon as that became clear, we scrambled to get the nursery in order! It was quickly transformed into a peaceful wonderland. It was exactly how I envisioned it.
We knew that ad potion has high points and low points. We also knew that the baby was born at 32 weeks. That is a little premature. She needed to stay in the NICU until she was healthy enough to be discharged. We had a few close calls on finalizing. We knew the birth mother started to get attached to the baby as she was in the hospital. It even was told to us that she had changed her mind in the 11th hour. It was being labled as a “failed adoption”.
All I could do was cry. It felt like there was a death in the family. Everything had been done on our end. We did everything we needed to do. We even had a brand new nursery. I just prayed that I could get my heart in a place to accept it and be happy for the mother. To just allow myself to know how difficult it must have been for her. To put myself in her place. As hard as it was, I did.
And then, the phone rang.
It was about the birth mother. She again, changed her mind and said the papers would be signed on Friday. Of everything that we went through… this was the hardest to wrap my mind around. I was just in 2 days of mourning and then all of a sudden I am to be completely over joyed? How could I be? I was more scared than anything, just because I was terrified It could fall through again. However, Friday came… and we adopted our baby. Our beautiful
Roberta Allison Mae Alexander… “Alli Mae.”
We were told at first we would wait between 3-5 years. We ended up waiting 3 and half weeks.
No one we have talked to, the agency, social worker, attorney, no one has heard of an adoption that fast. But it happened. As hard as some of the days were to get through… we made it. And we wouldn’t have changed anything that happened. It all made us stronger in the end. We are so grateful for both the birth mother and birth father. They both have such supporting and special families. We are honored that they chose us and this wonderful life brought us all together at this very important time. We will always be eternally grateful to all of them.If you and your partner are searching in hopes to find a baby just know… it will come in its right time. You will know in your heart. Talk to each other. Lean on each other. And if you need to, cry with each other. Sometimes, adoptions do fail. And when they do, have faith that you will pick up the pieces and march forward. Stay strong. Think positive. What will be, will be. You are here for a purpose. You meet everyone in your life for a reason. And everything that happens in your life is destined. Always remember that.
You can contact them at nolapapa.com and on facebook/nolapala.
CONGRATULATIONS GENTLEMEN  ON YOUR LIVES TOGETHER AND NOW WITH YOUR OWN FAMILY!
Don and RayAlways remember to have fun when traveling, meet new people and talk to everyone! TRAVELING IN OUR FABULOUS GAY WORLD is written by Donald Pile and Ray Williams, Award-winning, Celebrity travel columnists who write for gay publications from coast to coast (And now legally married). Proud members of the IGLTA. You can email them at [email protected]aol.com and visit their website at http://gaytravelersataol.blogspot.com/
Las Vegas Gay Travel Resources
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