Category Archives: Travels
Saturday morning July 21stwe jumped into Hi Ho Silver
and our chauffeur Steve Klem took us to the airport where got on a Delta A319 Airbus
and headed to SLC. While we were waiting to board Barbara got us breakfast. She wanted me to think we were headed to Hawaii to she got the Hawaii McDonald’s breakfast, white rice, fried Spam and scrambled eggs. Quite tasty. Since I was slow in getting our seat assignment we did not get two seats together nor did we get an aisle like Barbara likes. Here is where Delta scores the first of many good deeds. When we got to the gate, the agent call our name and when I went up there she gave us new boarding passes together and upgraded us to Economy Comfort seats including as aisle at no charge. (they are normally $29.00 each)
We had a 2.5 hour lay over before we got on the Delta Connection RCJ 200
headed for ABQ. While we were waiting a very nice gate agent told us they were overbooked (surprise, surprise, surprise) and if we wanted to give up our two seats we would get $200 Delta credit each and meal vouchers and confirmed on the next flight only 1.5 hours away. Since we did not have to be in ABQ at any particular time, we said yes. But when they were ready to board they only needed one so we did not get the offer. It does not take long to board 50 passengers so off we went to ABQ, traded our “baby jet” for a Mazda 6 (they call this a full size car),
had diner at a local truck stop and then on to our motel for a quick check-in.
The purpose of our trip was to watch Brooklyn ride in the Youth National Championship Horse Show
Next morning we were up at o’dark thirty (who rides at 8AM on a Sunday morning) so we could meet Brooklyn for breakfast at 7AM. We got exhibitor’s parking passes so into the show grounds we went. Then on to a side road with a lady guarding the way in. I asked if there was handicap parking down there and she says she did not know but we could go look. We drove straight to the Horse arena front door and parked. Brooklyn rode at 8AM and did well and went through to the next round.
We watched a couple more events then on to find church. On the way Barbara got VERY bad stomach cramps, so bad in fact that I took her to the University of New Mexico Medical Center ER. Readers Digest version. Checked in at 11AM, sat in the waiting room until 6PM (they did keep checking on her and the pain had eased), went into an exam room at 6PM and the Dr. saw her at 9PM and admitted her to the hospital at 5AM. They are very through there and they ran many tests and she was discharged about 5PM Tuesday. Love those beds that keep airing up and changing the support spots. Barbara is fine and all they could figure after MANY exams and at least 6 quarts of blood (well maybe not quite 6) was that she has some sort of intestinal virus that the antibiotics fixed in the 2+ days she was there.
On Monday while Barbara was being well looked after I went to watch Brooklyn ride again. Did not do well but that is only because the judges were BLIND.
After Brooklyn rode she went up to see grandma and made some friends for her from some PURPLE exam gloves
filled with water and faces drawn on them.
Monday evening the group from Melville stables
invited me to go to dinner with them to a local “hot spot” the “Le Pinto” in NW ABQ.
Nice looking place and though we had thunder storms and it was a Monday evening they were busy. I requested a table for 12 and in a timely manner we got to sit out in the covered patio. Nice old Spanish style building and the wait staff were great.
This is the end of the good story. When we go to our table they only had settings for 11 not the 12 we had requested. It took ages for the drinks to arrive. 2 of the 12 meals were sent back as they were not as ordered, we asked for extra salsa twice and none arrived. I had the “House Specialty” Chile con Carne Enchiladas and not only was it not tasty, it had set under the heat lamp way too long and the cheese was hard and crusted. The final decision is that none of us would probably go back.
On now to Tuesday and Barbara coming out of the hospital, we left about 5PM and went straight to get her something to eat as she had not eaten since 7AM Sunday. Back to the motel and she went to sleep at 7:30 PM and got up at 9:30 (AM) Wednesday.
We went to watch Brooklyn ride twice that afternoon. Once the horse played up
and then once again we had the blind judges.
We picked Brooklyn up from their hotel and we went to dinner, although she had found the in house bakery and some very good cake before we got there so she did not each much. Dropped her off and we went back to get some more sleep.
Thursday Brooklyn left for home and Barbara and I went exploring. We found more of the old Route 66
and found a Sonics and happy hour and a couple of HUGE LDS chapels. Back to the motel and some TV and laundry.
Friday we did some more exploring (that is code for garage saleing, flea markets and trading posts). More sightseeing enjoying more of the 95 degree very dry weather. And more of Route 66
We found a new and interesting High School in SW ABQ. The Atrisco Heritage High School. Ahahighschool.com Check it out.
When I went to check in with Delta on Friday evening they again became heroes. In the middle of the things you need to click on to get checked in was a banner that asked if we wanted to upgrade to First Class from SLC to SEA as there are no first class on the RCJ 200’s. The cost was $75.00 per person. Now it cost us $25.00 per bag to check the two bags coming down and we bought another bag there to bring home the extra goodies (See Friday activity) So that was $150.00 – $85.00 for checking 3 bags in economy and then if we upgraded to Economy Comfort for another $58.00 for two that makes it $3.50 each to go to first class. This was a no brain er and when you figure the cost of the free booze in first class (oh wait we don’t drink). Anyway it was a very nice upgrade. Delta rules!!!
Saturday was filled with last minute details. While I went to check in the car, Barbara checked the bags. As we had not been assigned seats together (because of my slow actions before we left) the very nice agent changed our seats and gave us 1 A & B,
leg room on the bulkhead. Delta strikes again!!!
As we went through security the gloves the TSA agents were using was a brand named “Better Feel”. I don’t care who you are that is funny.
The only thing that would have made this flight any better was if our friend and Captain for Sky West had been our pilot.
SLC was a quick connection and we got from terminal E last gate to C 07 just as they called first class. Great seats and comfort home on a local built 757
When we got to SEA our son Stephen and his family met us and hauled us home. Stephen even carried the VERY heavy bags up stairs so we could unpack in the morning.
On February 8thwe jumped into Hi Ho Silver
but only took a short trip to the body shop to have the repairs done on the car while we were away. Came home and jumped into Black Beauty
and headed for parts East & South. We had brunch with my sister Jill in Sand Hollow Idaho
on the 9th and headed for Utah. Barbara got an ear infection that night and we found a new BFF in “Instacare” in North Ogden, UT.
27 minutes after walking into the office, seeing a doctor, getting a prescription filled we walked out all ready to continue the trip. A stop by Deseret Industries in West Jordon to meet up with our niece to get some canning supplies, and finished products, to take to AZ for my brother and his wife.
We stayed in Provo at our son’s house and off on Saturday night to “Love on Broadway”
a musical review of favorite Broadway songs about love. Our granddaughter Brooklyn was part of the cast.
Another day of rest and lots of snow and we headed south again. Those stretches if I-15 that are 80 MPH are great. If anyone ever asks, buy your gas in St George UT not Mesquite NV. 40 cents a gallon more in NV. More driving and we arrived in Scottsdale for the Arabian horse show.
Our main reason for the trip. This is Brooklyn’s 5th year showing there and we have been each year.
Then after the first show (in which Brooklyn won a ribbon)
we headed off to my brothers home. In the following days we did more shows,
and visits with Albert and DJ Wilson, dinner with the Manginos and church with Dan and Melissa McAfee.
Jerry picked fresh oranges, tangelos, and grapefruit from his back yard and we took them to the stables with us for the crowd there.
Monday the 20thwe headed west on I-10 and stopped to visit Norville and Leoyce Broadbent at their “winter” home in Palm Desert. We went to dinner at a posh Southern CA restaurant
. A couple of more relaxed driving days and we stopped to visit an old missionary companion of mine Justin
(had not seen him in 42 years) He was actually my first “greenie”.
They are in Folsom, not the prison the town. He works at the Sacramento Temple one day a week.
Got to meet his wife Lori
and their youngest son Andrew. Great visit then we hit the road again and went north on I-5.
Last stop before home was our daughter Rundi’s home (and of course we saw Frankie the cat).
Home late Sunday evening after driving through sleet, snow, hail, and some sunshine. Great trip now we just need time to recover from vacation.
Thursday morning we jump into HHS (Hi Ho Silver)Programed Earl and headed south for Rundi’s. We went to Portland where I ordered a new suit and then had dinner with a friend.
Friday morning the 3 of us again jumped in to HHS and with the aid of Earl headed towards the Oregon Coast and the town of Newport. Our goal was to watch the Coastal Act Production of “TITANIC The Musical”
Each year the local community theater group put on a musical in January (See last year’s “Wonderland! The Musical Misadventures of a Girl Named Alice”) at the Performing Arts Center (the PAC as our granddaughters informed us)
Again our son Harlyn was the musical director of the live orchestra and Reegan played a 3rd class passenger. Ella was also involved as the aux percussion. She played the ship’s bell, the wooden blocks, and the cymbal.
It was a great performance although Reegan died again this year. Last year she played a clam that was eaten by a walrus. I told her she need a better agent.
One of the neat things they did was to hand each theater goer a “boarding pass” with the name of a real passenger or crew member.
Then they had a list of all the names and whether they lived or died, 711 lived and over 1500 died. Barbara and Rundi died, I was a crew member and lived as he rowed one of the lifeboats. It was neat when we got home for me to go online and read about this crew member and how he testified at the Senate hearing. I got to read the whole transcript of his testimony.
Saturday morning we got up and met the kids at the Pig N Pancake (this was a request of both the granddaughters).
Newport’s historic city hall was renovated and reopened in January of 2009 as the newest Pig ‘N Pancake restaurant. The city hall was originally built in the 1920’s and is now part of Newport’s Deco District with Pig ‘N Pancake carrying on the tradition. Come check it out for yourself and see our Deco Pig – “The Professor.”
After breakfast we headed to Rundi’s for a short break then Barbara and I headed home through a snow storm. Good ole HHS made the trip fine.
Can’t wait until next year to see what play they are doing.
On Saturday July 23rdwe again jumped in to HI Ho Silver
but just a short trip to SeaTac Airport with our neighbor Steve being our chauffeur. We traded our car for a Delta 767
to MSP (Minneapolis/St Paul) where we had a 2 hour layover then onto an A320
to ABQ (Albuquerque, NM). The only nice thing I can say about the A320 is we got a live crew safety presentation as the A320 does not have video or audio for the passengers.
Once on the ground we traded the Airbus for a Camry
, and we became honorary Texans
for a week.
The reason for the trip was the “19thAnnual Youth National Arabian & Half-Arabian Championship Horse Show”
Our granddaughter Brooklyn
had qualified for the event and so we went to support her. Kay dawn made sure we had good parking.
She rode in two events. Class 740 “Half Arabian/Anglo Arabian Hunter Pleasure JOTR (junior owner to ride) 13 & Under Championship” and class 745 “Half Arabian/Anglo Arabian Hunter Pleasure JTR (junior to ride) 13 & Under Championship”. They were both BIG classes so they divided them into sections. In the 740 class she made it to the championship round
where they pick the final top 10 then choose a Reserve Grand Champion and then a Grand Champion. She was chosen in the top 10
but not one of the final two. She claims she was number 3
but that is not official. She did not make the championship round for the other class.
We got to do lots of tourist things also. On Sunday after Brooklyn’s ride we met her, her mother, and her sister Sydney in Old Townhad a great Mexican lunch, then while the 4 ladies wandered through the shops, I visited with a couple of the locals in the town square across from the local church
Monday morning we were at the arena very early (before 9 AM) to watch Brooklyn ride. Not successful in going on (even though we all felt the ride was as good as, if not better, than the one the day before where she advanced) Barbara and I toured ABQ (The Flying J truck stop there does NOT have gizzards) while the girls swam and rested. We picked them up for dinner at the Route 66 Diner.
Very noisy, did not get all our food, some was wrong and some wrongly charged for. Talked to the manger and she was gracious enough to take 2/3 the cost off the bill. After we dropped them off Barbara and I went to see the ABQ Temple.
Very lovely at night, and not far from our hotel.
Tuesday morning Brooklyn rode in the championship round and got her “Top Ten” ribbon (this is top 10 in the nation, and this was her first year there, we were very proud of her.) Then off to Old Town again where the ladies went to the Rattle Snake museum (I have seen enough of them growing up in Idaho) and I watched a Native American and his wife
put on a great show. Barbara and I had Popeye’s chicken
and watched some beach valley ball. When we got back to the hotel I checked for messages on our home machine. B of A
had called and said they noticed some strange activity on our debit card. A charge in Kent, WA on Friday, another charge in Minneapolis on Saturday and another in ABQ on Sunday. So they had put a hold on our card until I talked to them. Good service and thanks B of A
Wednesday we went to the Rio Grande Zoo
Rode a couple of neat trains,
saw many animals,
the girls played in the water,
Then goodbyes and hugs as we left them. We had dinner at the “Texas Land and Cattle Company”. Very good and highly recommended.
Thursday we drove to Santa Fe along the way we saw a “Mormon Battalion”
monument then to the heart of Santa Fe
lunch at a local chain of Lotsaburger, you can skip this one. On the way home we took a back road through some neat little places and we found Waldo
Thunder storms and lots of water over the road.
Drove up to the top of Sandia ski resort
and back down. Dinner at Lin’s Chinese buffet.
Very good and good pricing.
Friday we tried to ride the trolly in Old Town again, but it was not running again. The second best part of the trip took place instead though. There was a book signing by a group of Navajo Code Talkers. We bought one of the multi-signed books,
and talked to Kee Etsicitty one of the “code talkers”. He loved what he did and loved to talk about it.
Then we rode the Sandia Peak aerial tramway, “The World’s Longest Tramway”,
had lunch at the bottom of the ride in a New Mexico food restaurant.
Again very good and great service.
Saturday we decided to ride their “Rail Runner” train system.
So we drove to the south end of the line, Belen,
boarded the train
for Santa Fe,
almost 100 miles away rode up there with about 900 other people. We stayed on the train for the return as more than 1000 people got on in Santa Fe to go back to ABQ. They were having their annual Spanish Market and it is a well attended activity. Neat train lots of good scenery and the best part was it was only $7.00 each (for us seniors) round trip.
Sunday was get up, take the car back then to the airport for another A320
to MSP, another 2 hour layover then on to a 757
for the trip home where our good neighbor Dee was waiting to bring us home. Great trip but great to be home in our own beds again.
On Thursday Barbara and I jumped into our trusty Tribeca and headed for Spokane, WA (it was actually Medical Lake) to attend the graduation of our long time friend Daniel O McAffee, pronounced Mac a fee.
He received his BS in biology and graduated Magna Cum Laude. Now he is off to Glendale AZ to attend Podiatry school to become Doctor Dan.
When we called a couple of weeks ago to book a room, the price was 50% higher than the same room from the same chain we had used two weeks before. The lady making the reservations said, this is graduation and we have one room left. You’ve got to love capitalism.
It rained all the way over and most of the night. We picked up Dan from their home and he showed us around EWU campus, where the graduation was to be held, the football field, where to park, and the science building where most of his classes were. Then we went to meet Melissa after her work and went to dinner. They went home and we went to the motel to bed.
and found a seat.
The sky was dark, very overcast and very threatening when we got there at 8:15 for a 9AM start. End of that story is not a drop of rain during the whole thing which lasted until noon.
We got to watch the faculty march in,
lots of students, one was especially ready for the rain,
and here comes Dan.
He is the BIG kid with the robe on. They arrived according to the College they were in. Dan’s was College of Science, Health, & Engineering.
They took their seats
and listen to the speakers. Governor Christine Gregoire was the commencement speaker and I hate to say this but she did a great job. Fairly short, humorous, inspiring, but not too political. She listed many contributions former graduates have made to society and listed some of the unique aspects of industry in the state.
Then they lined up,
and lined up,
and lined up (about 1500 of them)
to march across the platform
Video of Dan getting diploma http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ckq5OCNS-s
and receive their diploma,
then off the platform to the receiving line to shake hands with the dignitaries,
then back to their seats to wait until all had received their diploma. After all had received them, a short talk, the moving of the tassels, then the mortar boards into the air. And as Dan put it “It is finally over”.
A few pictures more
and we were off headed for home. On the way we discovered my latest birthday present. A rock had come up and cracked our windshield.
It goes in on Monday for a new one. Windshield that is not rock.
Home safe and we had a great time. Thanks again for Dan and Melissa inviting us to share this special time with them.
Friday May 14th we loaded up the Tribeca and hit the road at 0 dark 30 headed for Boise Idaho, (Meridian really). We arrived in time to check into our favorite motel and met two of our granddaughters, Brooklyn & Sydney.
Then to Firebird raceway in Eagle to watch my brother, his wife and their daughter race in the Friday night high school drags. Parents and alumni have their own races. Rachel (our niece) races for Middleton high and after two races they lead 459 points to the next closest of 172 points. Rachel won her first round
but red lighted on the second.
Brooklyn & Sydney had never been to drag races before and they learned much, we ate BBQ, and saw many of the native ground squirrels.
After taking to girls back to Nampa, Barbara and I got some needed sleep.
Saturday morning I went to the Boise airport to pick up our daughter Rundi and her friend Sandy. Then back to visit my uncle and his wife, and then visit a cousin and her husband. We had not seen my cousin Sandy (different from Rundi’s friend) for over 20 years.
Saturday evening we went to the Idaho Horse Park to watch Brooklyn ride her Arabian horse (this is the real reason for the trip).
She took second place in the first event while her stable mate took first place.
She took first place in the second event while her stable mate took third.
My brother, sister in law, niece, and my sister, Jill, joined us. After the show we went to dinner with the family.
Sunday afternoon we met Jill and she took Rundi and Sandy to the airport while Barbara and I took off for Utah. We stopped in Mtn. Home and scoped out the park for our Jenkins family reunion in August. We had a car load of bridal shower gifts for a friend so we dropped them off in Salt Lake City and then on to Provo before dark.
Monday early afternoon we visited with some cousins we had never met and discussed family history and the family reunion. Then visited with some friends who moved back to Utah from Kent. Monday evening we got to go to Brooklyn’s piano recital.
all did well and the program was just over an hour with goodies to follow.
Tuesday we dropped by uninvited to visit a long time friend, Denise, and their new baby boy. We got two twofers. Not only did we get to see the new baby Austin, but Denise’s sister was there with her 12 day old baby and as an extra bonus we saw another long time friend Hilary. Then to top it all off we went to Brooklyn’s end of the year choir concert. It was held in the same great facility as the one we attended the end of last year.
Wednesday we packed up and decided to “wander” home. As we were wandering towards Logan Utah we came upon Wellsville Utah. Barbara said “The missionary who baptized me 50 years ago came from this town”. We stopped at City Hall and asked if they knew Boyd Cooper. The lady behind the counter said “He is my brother in law” and gave us his address and phone number. You gotta love small town USA. A quick phone call and we were invited to his home. They did not recognize each other right away. But a lot has happened in 50 years. We got to meet his wife and after sharing about each other’s families we headed down the road. Spent the night in Blackfoot Idaho so we could wander through the rugged Idaho Mountains the next day. By this time we have developed a liking for “Flying J’s” wings and gizzards so that was dinner.
Thursday we drove through Arco Idaho, the first town powered by Atomic Energy.
Then on to Challis, Salmon,
Lolo and finally stopped in Missoula MT. Snow, hail, rain and lots of wind. It is “spring time in the Rockies”.
Friday morning we took off and headed west on I-90. As we were passing Alberton MT we saw a billboard advertising “100,000” used books so we stopped. Great shop called Montana Valley Book Store. We spent some time there and visited with the lady owner but she did not have the book we were looking for. It is a privately published book on family history. But you never know. Then on into Idaho again and we stopped in Rathdrum to see a cousin we had not seen for over 25 years. We had just recently reconnected. Nice visit but too short then we headed for home. It is always great to get away but greater to get back to your own bed.
We left home about 9AM Saturday morning heading for Rundi’s. Got there swapped cars and headed south in I-5. After a brief stop at the Wilsonville Sonics Drive Inn we continued south on I-5 through green rolling hills and lush country side. We waved at Colleen as we pasted Salem. We stopped in Ashland for the night. Stayed in a quaint “English style” motel. (Quaint means small, neat and tidy and not cheap). It was very clean, had WIFI and a good shower and no bed bugs.
Up in the morning and over the mountains in to California where we were made welcomed by an inspection station. Then past “the lake”, mountains, and valleys. Stopped in Corning to get fresh olives. Past many rice paddies, lots of other crops and then on to Hwy 99 at Stockton. Made Merced in time to watch the last half of the Super Bowl.
Monday morning on to Bakersfield then Hwy 58 through Mojave stopped at the Airplane “bone Yard” Also called the Mojave Spaceport saw the “Stargazer” a modified Lockheed L-1011 used to launch rockets. Into the desert and past where the Borax comes from. Then on to Barstow. Some neat murals there. Then we found route 66. Spent the night in Barstow so we could “get our kicks on route 66” the next day. It was a nice detour and many interesting sites and lots of road.
Although “Arine” could do a better job of keeping the road maintained. After meeting up with I-40 again, had lunch in Needles, then turned south on Hwy 95. GREAT roller coaster road. Got on I-10 at Blyte and headed towards Phoenix. I-10 is a great road and fast. Arrived at Jerry’s home after dark.
Great visit with my brother and his wife, Albert and Donna Jean (very long time friends), Brooklyn , Sydney, Kay dawn and others.
On Saturday after the ladies went garage selling, we drove into the country to visit and open cut copper mine. Since the next day was Valentines’ day Jerry and I ordered a Barbershop quartet to come and sing to the ladies, complete with card and red rose. We had a mix up and so instead of arriving at 8:30PM they got there a little past 10PM. Still they were there and it was a good thing as Jerry and I did not have a plan “B”.
Put Rundi and Willy on the plane Sunday night and we left Monday morning for Utah.
Crossed over Hoover dam. They are building a new bridge that will be great when they get it done. Past Las Vegas into Utah and spent the night in Cedar City. IHOP has a senior special, buy one entrée and get the second one free.
On to Mapleton to drop off stuff for Brooklyn and Sydney (they could not carry their entire Valentines’ day loot on the plane). Ran other errands, saw another long time friend Beth, ordered the Roses to be delivered for Stephen’s birthday. We were planning on staying at Stephen’s in Provo but got done early and since I had to be home a couple of days earlier than we had planned, off we drove towards Idaho.
Visited my uncle Lee and his wife Chris. I had a bunch of old photos from my grandmother’s home that I did not know who they were. (make sure you label and date the back of ALL photos). Chris and Lee were a great help. Visited Jill and she looked at the photos also. Spent the night in Meridian. I still have a bunch that we have no idea who they are. Maybe people at the family reunion can help.
On to Vancouver, WA, spent the night and changed cars with Rundi again. Barbara stayed with Rundi and I drove home.
We went to Temple Square in Salt Lake City to see the Christmas lights and the nativity.
We met Gloria and Barry Johnson at the Trax station near their home, paid $1.00 (old people’s pricing) and rode it for 30 minutes into downtown SLC. Nice system and pleasant ride looking at the decorations along the way.
We then met my brother Jerry, his wife Jane and their daughter Stephanie (her husband Roger had to work, glad he is paying into SS) at the South Visitor’s center. We listen to a high school choir then went outside to see the lights. It was COLD. We went into the Assembly Hall to hear another choir, then into the Tabernacle. No choir here just a great building.
After we were all frozen we went up to “The Roof” gourmet buffet. Great view, great food and great service.
After a pleasant meal (Cream Brule dessert each trip to the buffet table) and more pleasant conversation we parted ways with family, paid another $1.00 each and jumped on Trax to head home.
Temperature was, well let’s just say the first number was a 1. Got into the car and headed back to Provo. When we got up this morning the first number was 0.
Leaving Sunday September 27, 2009. Weather at noon. Clear skies 62 F.
Position: Seattle Washington
Tyler picked us up in the “Limo” at 12:30 PM. (This is the same vehicle Glen Beck used when he was in Seattle last December). We toured some properties he is looking at until about 1:45 when we picked up Willy and Rundi at the airport. Off to the cruise ship where we boarded the ship in a very quick manner about 2:30 PM. We went to our staterooms, unpacked wandered around the ship to get familiar with the Holland America Line MS Westerdam. This ship is a “Vista” class ship 935 ft in length, width 106 ft, gross tonnage 82,000 tons, holds 1869 guests and a crew of 796. We left port about 3:45PM. Passenger life boat drill at 4:15PM
At 8PM we went to our dinner seating. Window seat table for 4. This is a 4 star dining experience. See sample menu. Diner was about 1 ½ hours then off to the show (or bed for some of us)
Day 1. Monday September 28, 2009. Weather at noon overcast skies 59 F
Position: 36.20.5 N/122.42.2 W
A typical day at sea went something like this: Up at about 7:30 for breakfast, off to the hot tub and then floating in the pool to meet many people and find out where they call home. (The ship is equipped with a sliding roof so you can see the beautiful skies). About noon off to lunch after sitting in a deck chair watching the world go by. After lunch more watching the world go by and talking to people. Then of course it is time for a nap because of all the energy spent in the morning. More of doing very little, snack time and then get ready for our 8PM dining. After diner again the choice of a show or bed.
Day 2. Tuesday September 29, 2009. Weather at noon partly cloudy skies 58 F
Position 36.20.5 N/122.42.2 W
(See day 2)
Day 3. Wednesday September 30, 2009. Weather at noon clear skies 75 F
Docked at San Diego 8:10 AM 1250 NM from Seattle
Here we rented a car to tour around. Went to the San Diego LDS temple and then visited Coronado where we had lunch and toured more. Back to the ship about 4 PM with the ship leaving port at 5:14 PM. Got ready for diner with again the show or bed after.
Day 4. Thursday October 1, 2009. Weather at noon partly cloudy 70 F
Position 27.32.3 N/115.10.0 W
(See day 2)
Day 5. Friday October 2. 2009. Weather at noon partly cloudy 86 F
Dropped anchor 9AM at Cabo San Lucas, Mexico 736 NM from San Diego
We took the tender ashore and went to ride the Rhinos.
It was about a 35 minute air-conditioned bus ride north into Baja country (each way). On the bus were people doing horseback riding, ATV’s and the Rhinos. After we got our assigned Rhino, helmet, goggles, if you did not have glasses, and our bandit style neckerchiefs, we lined up with an ATV in front and one in the rear (these were our guides) away we went on our own version of the Baja 20K.
It had rained a little the day before and I was able to find a mud puddle and hit it square on, splashing mud all over me and the Rhino and also the one following me (Barbara and Rundi). We continued through the desert, up steep hills, down rutted roads, down more steep hills, along narrow trails at speeds of up to 45 MPH. As I rounded one blind corner I saw a flash on my right side, a long horned bull was standing about 2 feet from the trail, any closer and we would have had fresh beef for diner. Through beautiful cactus fields, some in bloom, down onto a dry river bed and then along the beach with great look outs. The wide river bed and beach lead to some racing by a few of us and the “jumps” over the small sand hills added to the excitement. I’m just glad they were not my Rhinos.
This was probably the most fun of any of the excursions we have been on.
Then on the bus and back to the tenders for the trip back to the ship where we were anchors aweigh at 5:30 PM.
The day ended with another great diner and then you guessed it, a show or bed.
Day 6. Saturday October 3, 2009 Weather at noon partly cloudy skies 86 F
Position 19.40.1 N/105.36.6 W
(See day 2)
Day 7, Sunday October 4, 2009 Weather at noon partly cloudy skies 90F
First line ashore 7:45 AM at Acapulco Mexico 684 NM from Cabo San Lucas
We had an Acapulco Highlights & Cliff Divers tour. We did not have far to go to get on the tender which took us to the catamaran for the tour.
We felt very safe here as people with automatic weapons were everywhere.
Once aboard the “Cat” we made ourselves home and saw many beautiful homes and hotels.
“Dr. Phil”, our tour guide pointed out where all the celebrities lived or are now living (at least vacationed).
We backed into the bay where the divers dive.
They have a divers union, the youngest member being 9 years old. His dad is a diver also. They had 5 divers dive for us. They claim they have never had a fatality but at least one injury a week. Anything from broken fingers to sprained backs where they over rotated. The water various from 4 feet to 12 feet deep where they dive depending on the incoming waves and the tides.
Once all five dived, 3 of them swam out to our boat and came on board for picture taking and answering questions.
If your Spanish was good you could ask, if not good luck. Two of the divers were 17 and one was 24. They did not ask for money to take your picture with them but they ended up with a good sized wad of good Ole American green backs.
On the way back to the ship we had a great Mexican buffet with an open bar. It was very clean and well presented.
Once back at the ship we could either go to the ship or continue into town, to the town square for some more site seeing and of course shopping. Acapulco is very tourist friendly.
If you are in town for 3 days or less, you do not have to pay sales tax (17.5%). We just showed the venders or shipboard ID and no tax. Also public transportation is free to boat visitors.
They also have a Mariachi union and the contract says they must perform at least one free concert each week for the locals who cannot afford the concerts. They were playing in the city square as this was Sunday and a very casual day.
Let go all lines 4:58 PM
The day ended with another great diner and then you guessed it, a show or bed.
Day 8, Monday October 5, 2009 Weather at noon party cloudy skies 91F
Docked 7:48 AM at Huatulco Mexico 255 NM from Acapulco.
There have been people in this area since at least 1522. This is the resort area “locals’ went to when the rest of the world was going to Acapulco. The steel and glass high rises that line Acapulco are absent here and there are more than 30 perfect beaches with natural boulders and protective shallow coral reefs. Huatulco is heralded as the Western Hemisphere’s “first eco-tourism resort”
This was the only place we went to that it rained and it really rained, flooding the town.
There were signs warning tourist not to hire unofficial tourist guides.
Local road side markets had lots of fresh good looking produce.
The country is very lush and has active volcanoes with rivers of flowing lava.
and typical schools, loved the school uniforms.
Here we saw the local Laundromat.
It is an open air pool with many “tubs” for the women to wash their clothes.
They used a wash board, rinse them out and then into a basket, put it on their heads and head home for the solar clothes dryer.
There is a grass playing area for the kids and the tour guide said this is the local social gathering place for the women of the village. Jade is the local precious stone and we went to the Jade Museum.
Very interesting with some VERY old stuff.
Back to the boat
into the pool for awhile and then got ready for our evening routine.
Let go all lines 1:10 PM
Day 9, Tuesday October 6, 2009 Weather at noon party cloudy skies 91F
Docked 7:54 AM at Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala 342 NM from Huatulco
We had no tours book here so we grabbed a local cab with some others from the ship. This is a very lush country also.
The ox cart is the “national symbol” and we saw this one
and a farmer very proud of his prize bull.
They have some nice beaches
but the resorts and still not 5 stars.
Of course the Texaco Star is everywhere.
The local shops were like others in Central America only a little bit better shape.
Some of the gardens are very colorful.
Then back to the ship to get a good shower (it was hot and humid) ready for diner and you can figure out the rest.
Let go all lines 6:34 PM.
Day 10, Wednesday October 7, 2009 Weather at noon party cloudy skies 88F
Docked 8:57 at Corinto, Nicaragua 230 NM from Puerto Quetzal
We had booked a tour Nicaragua Traditions and More. We got on to an air-conditioned bus and headed into town. This is a very poor country and the people have no trust in the government as they have been ripped off so many times. The average monthly wage is about $100.00 US. We saw young people (10 – 12 years old) patching pot holes in the road in front of their homes. They would shovel dirt and sod into the hole and then flag the bus to run over it and pack it down very clever.
There are animals all over the place with many wandering down the road looking for something to eat. Animals have the right of way.
We went to a very old church.
The baptismal font has been there since 1562.
The outside is in great disrepair as they have no money to fix it up, but the inside was done in beautiful wood work and is very nice.
The main door is huge.
There were children all around to help you up the stairs, into the door and begging in the church. They would ask for $1.00. There was one young man who was deaf and dumb and he would sign “please give me $1.00”.
We went to another church which was in much better shape.
Here the locals put on a show for the tourists.
Very colorful and very nice and for a small fee you could dance with them. Again we felt safe as “ladies” with automatic weapons were on guard.
Here there were children selling things. One young man was selling packets of water for $1.00 (locals pay an equivalent of 5 cents).
One young girl was selling gum for $1.00 per pack. Because Rundi bought 2 packs she got her picture taken for free.
The streets are narrow,
made of cobble stone and not well maintained.
Local cabs were everywhere and gave no thought to the big bus behind them.
We saw a local bus and of course the Texaco Star again.
Back to the boat really appreciating the good things we have and feeling sorry for the poor children of this very poor country.
Let go all lines 4:38 PM.
The evening went much like others.
Day 11, Thursday October 8, 2009 Weather at noon overcast skies 86F
Let go Starboard anchor 6:40AM at Puerto Caldera, Costa Rica 266 NM from Corinto
We took the tender to shore.
This photo shows one that did not make it
. We had no tours booked as we had hoped to meet my sister Jamie there. She has a bed and breakfast on the northwest part of the country http://www.casitacorcovado.com/. She was not able to meet us.
The port is not near a town so we grabbed a tour on the Jungle Crocodile Safari and bird watching paradise. About a 30 minute ride in a small air conditioned bus to and from. They gave is a neat bird identification guide.
Many colorful birds
and of course crocodiles.
We stayed in the boat,
although not everyone did. They did warn us.
After the safari we headed back to the terminal
and the tender back to the ship. There were pelicans right by the tender dock.
Anchor aweigh 5:25 PM
Another great diner and then off to bed for me as it was a long hot day.
Day 12, Friday October 9, 2009 Weather at noon Cloudy skies 84F
Position 08.01.5N/082.58.3 W
(See day 2)
Day 13, Saturday October 10, 2009 Weather at noon overcast skies 86F
Pilot boarded 5:25 AM for Panama Canal Transit. It was still very dark and me and about 300 of my closest friends were up on the bow watching this all happen and we could see many ships waiting to go through.
It is on a first come first served basis with a couple of exemptions, cruise ships have priority over cargo ships, size does matter when it comes to the time you can go through and for $75,000 you can make a reservation. Up until May 12, 1963 the transit was only during daylight hours. New lights were installed in Gaillard Cut then.
Going through the Panama Canal was indeed the high light of the trip. We approached it from the Pacific Ocean side, which they call the north side and the canal actually runs more north and south than east and west.
The canal opened officially August 15, 1914 when the SS Ancon made the transit. The maximum dimensions allowed are: beam 106 feet (this leaves 2 feet clearance on each side) (our ship was 106 feet), Length 965 feet (our ship was 935 feet), draft of 39.5 feet.
The top countries using it are: USA, People’s Republic of China, Japan, Chile, South Korea, Ecuador, Peru, Mexico, Colombia, and Canada.
We first saw Panama City
and we went under the final bridge on the road (not really a highway) that runs from North America to South America. The road ends here and you cannot drive any further south on this highway.
As we approached the first lock we saw the LDS Panama City Panama Temple.
7:40 AM at Miraflores Locks. They are a two chamber lock with two lanes.
There are no pumps on any of the locks; all water is moved by gravity. The really amazing thing is that the engineering knowledge and skills used 100 years ago work perfectly today.
These locks have the tallest gates on the canal system due to the pronounced tides in the Pacific Ocean. Ships move through the locks under their own power.
There are “mules” (small engines made by Mitsubishi) with lines on each side of the ship to hold it in the middle of the lock.
We had 8 mules attached to our ship, 2 on each of the 4 corners.
They travel along a track up and down the locks.
They throw a line from the dock to the ship and then use this line to pull the cables up to the ship. They have contests between the dock workers and they have a “practice” area they use when not working.
10:32 AM at Pedro Miguel Locks. These are a single chamber lock with two lanes.
We rise nearly 9 meters in a single step.
When we leave these locks we are now 26.5 meters (remember we are now in Central America and measurements are in metric) above sea level and we are in the “ditch” or Gaillard Cut.
This is approx 13.7 KM long and was cut through rock and hard rock clay of the Continental Divide. This is the narrowest stretch in the canal.
We pass under the last bridge over the Canal.
We passed Gamboa
where the only Railroad crosses the bridge as it heads towards the other ocean.
We then entered Gatun Lake which at one time was the largest man-made lake in the world.
The damming of the river and the forming of this lake made the whole Canal thing work.
This is where the water comes from to gravity feed the locks on both ends. Approx 197 million liters of fresh water is used for each lockage and ultimately is flushed into the sea. We travel 37.8 KM to the Gatun Locks.
2:12 PM at Gatun Locks.
These are three chamber locks with two lanes. Here we drop the 26.5 meters in 3 steps to the Atlantic Ocean (Caribbean Sea to be exact)
3:50PM ship clears last lock.
As we leave we see Dolphins playing around the ship. The whole transit has been 8+ hours. By international law the canal can neither make money nor lose money. The approx cost for our ship to transit was $325,000 USD. This did include the reservation fee.
We then proceeded to anchorage to receive fuel oil.
They are constantly dredging the canal to make sure it is deep enough for the ships to get through. They are also widening the “cut”
and are building another set of locks to take larger ships.
11:00PM we sailed past Cristobal breakwaters headed to the San Blas Islands
This ends week 2 of the trip.