Category Archives: Travels

2012 ABQ Two

Saturday morning July 21stwe jumped into Hi Ho Silver

Hi Ho and away we go

and our chauffeur Steve Klem took us to the airport where got on a Delta A319 Airbus

Leaving SEA

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

They make great SEADOOS also

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),

Full Size???

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

Welcome Banner

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.

And she makes the cut

Who says you can’t work up a sweat in an air conditioned arena

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.

Waiting for the Blind Judge

After Brooklyn rode she went up to see grandma and made some friends for her from some PURPLE exam gloves

Very pretty

filled with water and faces drawn on them.

Monday evening the group from Melville stables

Rich keeps the place looking great

invited me to go to dinner with them to a local “hot spot” the “Le Pinto” in NW ABQ.

Nice looking place

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.

Waiting area

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

Doing well now

and then once again we had the blind judges.

“And halt your horse”

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

Modern travel center

Not so modern travel center

Bad news for baddies

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

This is an old road

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!!!

First Class tickets for a first class trip

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 at the bulk head

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

Gotta love the local aircraft

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.

The End

 

Scottsdale Year 5

On February 8thwe jumped into Hi Ho Silver

Hi Ho Ouch !!!

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

Thanks to Alamo

and headed for parts East & South.  We had brunch with my sister Jill in Sand Hollow Idaho

Interesting place as it is the only building in "town"

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”

Love on Broadway

a musical review of favorite Broadway songs about love.  Our granddaughter Brooklyn was part of the cast.

Notice Brooklyn

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.

New background every year

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)

5th place today (out of 27)

we headed off to my brothers home. In the following days we did more shows,

"Slick" stands proud

more ribbons

Top 10 out of a VERY big class

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

Top notch place

.  A couple of more relaxed driving days and we stopped to visit an old missionary companion of mine Justin

My first "Greenie" (44 years later)

(had not seen him in 42 years) He was actually my first “greenie”.

44 Years ago

They are in Folsom, not the prison the town.  He works at the Sacramento Temple one day a week.

Very pretty

Got to meet his wife Lori

Justin has great taste in ladies

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.

TITANIC The Musical

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”

The Program

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.

Mr Frank Oliver Evans

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.

AHA-ABQ

On Saturday July 23rdwe again jumped in to HI Ho Silver

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

Delta 767

to MSP (Minneapolis/St Paul) where we had a 2 hour layover then onto an A320

A 320

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

Can't loose me red

, and we became honorary Texans

Go Longhorns

for a week.

The reason for the trip was the “19thAnnual Youth National Arabian & Half-Arabian Championship Horse Show”

Program cover

Wellcome Banner

Our granddaughter Brooklyn

Brooklyn on City Slicker (Slick)

had qualified for the event and so we went to support her. Kay dawn made sure we had good parking.

Nice pass

Waiting for her number to be called

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

Looking good

More waiting

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

Getting ribbon and plaque

Top 10 ribbon

Sydney and Grandma love this part

but not one of the final two.  She claims she was number 3

Brooklyn & others

but that is not official.  She did not make the championship round for the other class.

Cooling off after ride

Hanging out at the stables

Syd looking at the horse

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

Very nice and old

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.

Get your kicks on Route 66

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.

Entrance

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

Notice "Tip" jar

Sings and dances

Wife has a great voice also

put on a great show. Barbara and I had Popeye’s chicken

Good 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

Good Bank

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

Main entrance

Rode a couple of neat trains,

Train pass

African Express

Girls waiting for train

Barbara meeting new friends

saw many animals,

Baby ducks

performing bird

Lots of fish

Beep Beep

White Rhino

Baby camel

Giraffe

Peacock

Peahen & chick

Monkeys (oops wrong photo this is Brooklyn & Sydney)

Pink things

Girls on dragon

the girls played in the water,

Watch the water

& Aquarium.

Syd & Seals

Brooklyn & Seals

Syd and baby seal

Barbara waiting at Aquarium station

Girls at same station

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”

Plaque

monument then to the heart of Santa Fe

Market place

More Route 66

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

There is a First also

Thunder storms and lots of water over the road.

Look hard and you can see the road covered

Drove up to the top of Sandia ski resort

10400 Feet high

and back down.  Dinner at Lin’s Chinese buffet.

Good selection. great staff

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,

Great book

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”,

Great views

Red car waiting

Cannon rock

Bye, bye bottom

Other tram

Make you feel safe

had lunch at the bottom of the ride in a New Mexico food restaurant.

If you look hard you can see the ABQ Temple

Again very good and great service.

Saturday we decided to ride their “Rail Runner” train system.

Here it comes

Rail Runner

So we drove to the south end of the line, Belen,

Go this way

Drop off

boarded the train

Neat head rests

Very friendly staff

for Santa Fe,

Santa Fe train station

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

Coming home

to MSP, another 2 hour layover then on to a 757

From London to MSP to SEA

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.

BS trip (Eastern Washington University Bachelor of Science Graduation)

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.

Program cover

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.

Early and very gray and gloomy Friday morning we checked out and got into traffic heading to EWU.  Got parked, great service from the staff there, met Melissa 

She is happy

and found a seat.

EWU stadium and very gray clouds

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,

Important people

lots of students, one was especially ready for the rain,

Check the boots

and here comes Dan.

Ready in line

Still in line

Getting closer

Real close to us that is

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.

Nice banner

They took their seats

Lots of seats

Now he gets to his seat

One of the last ones to sit

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,

Getting in line

and lined up,

Still in line

and lined up (about 1500 of them)

Getting closer

to march across the platform

Video of Dan getting diploma    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ckq5OCNS-s

Finally there

and receive their diploma,

GOT IT!!!

then off the platform to the receiving line to shake hands with the dignitaries,

They were there someplace

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”.

Here comes the graduate

A few pictures more

Soon to be Dr and Mrs Dan McAffee

All of us

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.

Up high in the antenna area

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.

Road trip: AKA cars, horses, cousins, long time friends, piano, and choir.

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.

Brooklyn & Sydney at play

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

Rachel has yellow car

but red lighted on the second.

Same car but redlighted

Brooklyn & Sydney had never been to drag races before and they learned much, we ate BBQ, and saw many of the native ground squirrels.

Look closely and you can see the locals

More locals

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).

Brooklyn on City Slicker

She took second place in the first event while her stable mate took first place.

City Slicker in action

She took first place in the second event while her stable mate took third.

And first place goes to number 215 (Brooklyn)

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.

My selection is "It's a small world"

Twenty students,

She is doing great

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.

Safe since 1955

Then on to Challis, Salmon,

Even the signage is rustic

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.

The Horse show Saga

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.

"Where's Mater?"

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.

That is when we found out for sure that Brooklyn’s horse had been playing up and she was not going to ride in the competition. (We had been warned earlier in the trip)

Great visit with my brother and his wife, Albert and Donna Jean (very long time friends), Brooklyn , Sydney, Kay dawn and others.

Jerry (my brother) let us host a BBQ at his place on Friday.  Great weather, mid to high 70’s, by the pool and overlooking the golf course.

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.

Just outside of Jerry’s place is a tree full of Blue Heron’s nests.

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.

The END

SLC Temple Square

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.

Trax

Trax

Happy riders

Happy riders

Snow and Horse drawn carriages

Snow and Horse drawn carriages

Lights

Lights

Snow and lights

Snow and lights

More of the same

More of the same

Group photo

Group photo

More lights

More lights

And still more

And still more

Lots of snow too

Lots of snow too

Another view

Another view

Inside famous Mormon Tabernacle

Inside famous Mormon Tabernacle

Warning sign

Warning sign

And still more

And still more

Lots of lights

Lots of lights

You get the idea

You get the idea

Bare tree still looks good

Bare tree still looks good

Looking south

Looking south

View from restaurant

View from restaurant

Another view

Another view

The gang

The gang

More of the gang

More of the gang

Reegan's favorite tree

A very red tree

Heading home

Heading home

Panama Canal Cruise Days 1 – 6

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

MS Westerdam

MS Westerdam

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)

Appetizers, Soup, and Salad

Appetizers, Soup, and Salad

Entrees

Entrees

The good stuff

The good stuff

Day 1. Monday September 28, 2009. Weather at noon overcast skies 59 F

Position: 36.20.5 N/122.42.2 W

At sea.

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.

Barbara watching me exercise

Barbara watching me exercise

Day 2. Tuesday September 29, 2009. Weather at noon partly cloudy skies 58 F

Position 36.20.5 N/122.42.2 W

At sea

(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.

San Diego LDS Temple

San Diego LDS Temple

Willy "Hello Sailor"

Willy “Hello Sailor”

Hotel del Coronado

Hotel del Coronado

Liquor store takes food stamps

Liquor store takes food stamps

Day 4. Thursday October 1, 2009. Weather at noon partly cloudy 70 F

Position 27.32.3 N/115.10.0 W

At sea

(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.

Cabo harbor and tender

Cabo harbor and tender

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.

Lining up

Lining up

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.

Almost ready for desert

Almost ready for desert

Barbara and Rundi ready to move out

Barbara and Rundi ready to move out

This way to the desert

This way to the desert

On the road

On the road

The "trail"

The “trail”

More "trail"

More “trail”

Rest stop

Rest stop

Beach views

Beach views

Hey, you are supposed to be behind me !!

Hey, you are supposed to be behind me !!

Great beaches and beautiful ocean

Great beaches and beautiful ocean

Back to the harbor and back to the ship

Back to the harbor and back to the ship

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

At sea

(See day 2)

Panama Canal Cruise Days 7 – 13

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.

Tender from MS Westerdam

Tender from MS Westerdam

We felt very safe here as people with automatic weapons were everywhere.

We feel safe

We feel safe

The "Cat"

The “Cat”

Once aboard the “Cat” we made ourselves home and saw many beautiful homes and hotels.

Tourist Willy

Tourist Willy

More tourist stuff

More tourist stuff

“Dr. Phil”, our tour guide pointed out where all the celebrities lived or are now living (at least vacationed).

Hotel

Hotel

Homes

Homes

More homes

More homes

More tourist things

More tourist things

We backed into the bay where the divers dive.

The small cove on the left

The small cove on the left

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.

If you look very close you can see one just leaving the cliff

If you look very close you can see one just leaving the cliff

Once all five dived, 3 of them swam out to our boat and came on board for picture taking and answering questions.

Barbara and her "guys"

Barbara and her “guys”

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.

Willy and her "posse"

Willy and her “posse”

On the way back to the ship we had a great Mexican buffet with an open bar.  It was very clean and well presented.

Another hotel

Another hotel

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.

Check the Golden Arches

Check the Golden Arches

One last hotel

One last hotel

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.

A flag in case you did not know where you were

A flag in case you did not know where you were

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”

Local wild life

Local wild life

This was the only place we went to that it rained and it really rained, flooding the town.

Lots of water

Lots of water

There were signs warning tourist not to hire unofficial tourist guides.

Warning

Warning

Local road side markets had lots of fresh good looking produce.

Local Supermarket

Local Supermarket

The country is very lush and has active volcanoes with rivers of flowing lava.

This was HOT HOT HOT

This was HOT HOT HOT

Old churches

One of many

One of many

and typical schools, loved the school uniforms.

Off to learn

Off to learn

Here we saw the local Laundromat.

Dirty clothes anyone

Dirty clothes anyone

It is an open air pool with many “tubs” for the women to wash their clothes.

Wash wash wash

Wash wash wash

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.

Heading home

Heading home

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.

Jade

Jade

Very interesting with some VERY old stuff.

Very old

Very old

Back to the boat

Coming home

Coming home

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

Pilot coming aboard

Pilot coming aboard

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.

Very green

Very green

The ox cart is the “national symbol” and we saw this one

Cute kid

Cute kid

and a farmer very proud of his prize bull.

He is very proud of this bull

He is very proud of this bull

They have some nice beaches

Long clean beaches

Long clean beaches

but the resorts and still not 5 stars.

Hotel resort

Hotel resort

Of course the Texaco Star is everywhere.

Texaco Star of the Guaemalan Road

Texaco Star of the Guaemalan Road

The local shops were like others in Central America only a little bit better shape.

Local shops

Local shops

Very colorful shop

Very colorful shop

Some of the gardens are very colorful.

"Gated community"

“Gated community”

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.

Road workers

Road workers

There are animals all over the place with many wandering down the road looking for something to eat. Animals have the right of way.

Lots of livestock

Lots of livestock

We went to a very old church.

This was nice once

This was nice once

The baptismal font has been there since 1562.

Baptismal font

Baptismal font

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.

Inside

Inside

More inside

More inside

This place is huge

This place is huge

The main door is huge.

Front doors

Front doors

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”.

Beggers

Beggers

We went to another church which was in much better shape.

Welcome sign

Welcome sign

Here the locals put on a show for the tourists.

Locals dancing

Locals dancing

More dancers

More dancers

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.

Automatic weapons

Automatic weapons

Here there were children selling things.  One young man was selling packets of water for $1.00 (locals pay an equivalent of 5 cents).

Street vendor

Street vendor

One young girl was selling gum for $1.00 per pack.  Because Rundi bought 2 packs she got her picture taken for free.

Gum anyone?

Gum anyone?

The streets are narrow,

Not much room

Not much room

made of cobble stone and not well maintained.

Major road problems

Major road problems

Local cabs were everywhere and gave no thought to the big bus behind them.

Pedal cabs

Pedal cabs

We saw a local bus and of course the Texaco Star again.

Local bus

Local bus

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.

Tender

Tender

This photo shows one that did not make it :)

Run aground

Run aground

.  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.

Neat Guide

Neat Guide

Many colorful birds

Birds you can check the guide

Birds you can check the guide

More to check

More to check

One last one

One last one

and of course crocodiles.

Big ones

Big ones

Lots of big ones

Lots of big ones

We stayed in the boat,

Barbara in the boat

Barbara in the boat

although not everyone did.  They did warn us.

In English

In English

Feeding them

Feeding them

Live bait

Live bait

After the safari we headed back to the terminal

Passenger terminal

Passenger terminal

and the tender back to the ship.  There were pelicans right by the tender dock.

Near by

Near by

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

At Sea

(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.

Waiting ships

Waiting ships

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.

We are here

We are here

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

Panama City

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.

Last bridge headed north or south

Last bridge headed north or south

As we approached the first lock we saw the LDS Panama City Panama Temple.

LDS Temple

LDS Temple

7:40 AM at Miraflores Locks. They are a two chamber lock with two lanes.

Approach to the locks

Approach to the locks

Miraflores Locks

Miraflores Locks

Arrow telling pilot which side to go on

Arrow telling pilot which side to go on

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.

Double gates to protect the lake

Double gates to protect the lake

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.

Engine wake

Engine wake

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.

Mule

Mule

We had 8 mules attached to our ship, 2 on each of the 4 corners.

Mules on each corner of this tanker

Mules on each corner of this tanker

They travel along a track up and down the locks.

The tracks down the locks

The tracks down the locks

Steps down to the gate machinery

Steps down to the gate machinery

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.

Control tower

Control tower

We rise nearly 9 meters in a single step.

Big gates

Big gates

Single chamber locks

Single chamber locks

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.

Navigational lights

Navigational lights

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.

Gold Mountain

Gold Mountain

We pass under the last bridge over the Canal.

We passed Gamboa

Welcome to Gamboa

Welcome to Gamboa

Boys "School"

Boys “School”

where the only Railroad crosses the bridge as it heads towards the other ocean.

Train

Train

We then entered Gatun Lake which at one time was the largest man-made lake in the world.

Lake

Lake

More lake

More lake

Barbara Cruising the lake

Barbara Cruising the lake

Very large lake

Very large lake

The damming of the river and the forming of this lake made the whole Canal thing work.

Dam

Dam

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.

Control tower

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)

Water is rising

Water is rising

 

3:50PM ship clears last lock.

Last of the locks

Very well presented

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”

Construction workers

Construction workers

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.