Category Archives: Travel in USA

Visiting places in USA

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Anacortes, WA with Joe and Sheri

Joe and Sheri Rowe picked us up at the Cruise Terminal in Seattle on May 31.  They live part time in Corona, CA (our neighbors) and the rest in Anacortes, WA.   Their home is on a hill overlooking the Puget Sound and the house and views are beautiful.  We spent 3 days with them and, despite cold and some rain, had some fun touring Anacortes, the surrounding area, and Friday Harbor on San Juan Island, via ferry.  June was a little early for good weather, but one day we did get some sunshine and a pretty sunset!  Thanks to them for a great end to our travels; flew home June 3.

Alaska and B.C. Canada on the Sojourn

Our first port after crossing the Bering Sea was Kodiak, Alaska; our first time there.  The only Kodiak brown bear that we saw was in the National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center.  We did see many bald eagles, but didn’t see close enough to photograph.  We walked around the town and enjoyed being on terra ferma.

After a day at Sea, we docked in Juneau; our 3rd time to visit this city.  Again, it was cloudy and cold with some rain.  We were 1 of 3 cruise ships in port with Carnival Legend, HOL Vaandam.  We decided to visit the famous Red Dog Saloon; and were pleasantly surprised.  The interior is a throwback to the gold rush days with lots of memorabilia, saw dust on the floor, a piano player doing old songs and ladies in saloon girl costumes.  We tried their clam chowder which has smoked salmon in it and it was some of the best we have had.

Our last land day in Alaska was Skagway.  It was beautiful, sunny, but cold and windy.  Our plan was to take the tram to the top for views, but it was too foggy up there and didn’t like the wind; so just walked around.  I think the wind is what set off my cold, which started that night.  We also heard some sad news from home, one of our best and longest known friends was dying.  We thought about her, family and friends, all day and made many phone calls.  Wish we could have been in 2 places.

One of our favorite parts of our cruise in Alaska, in 2016 was Glacier Bay National park and it did not disappoint us this time.  The weather stayed clear and the Margerie Glacier calved for us.  We love the scenery, but were sad because we heard that JoAnn Brown had died.  Just as we learned that, we arrived at Margerie and champagne was handed out.  We toasted to her and dedicated that beautiful scene to her.

The next day was warm and sunny for our cruise through the Canadian Inside Passage.  In the afternoon, we were able to be on deck without coats and there was a fun Deck Party.  Good timing!  The next day, in Victoria, B.C., the cold and rain came back, but we had a nice visit with our snowbird friends, Don and Wanda.

The next day, the cruise ended in Seattle, Washington.  A fun 21 days!

Cheryl’s BD, Morro Bay and more Flowers

For my birthday, we decided to take a short road trip to visit the Central CA coast at Morro Bay and Pismo Beach and then continue east to see the “Super Bloom” in the central valley.  We saw some lovely scenery, ate some good seafood, and enjoyed more of the fantastic wildflower display that happened in 2017.

We spent the first night, April 5 in Morro Bay.  On the 6th, my birthday we toured that area.  Montana del Oro State Park was new to us and worth the drive.  We also found a cultivated bush with purple cone shaped flowers, that we really loved.  Had to stop at a nursery to get the name, “Pride of Madera” (knew they looked familiar, we’ve been there) or Echium.

One of our favorite spots in Morro Bay is Giovanni’s Cafe.  It’s right by the bay and close to the Morro Rock.  We ate outside with a quart of fantastic clam chowder and a bottle of some decent white wine.  Very nice Birthday lunch!!  Then we drove to San Luis Obispo and enjoyed a driving tour of Cal Poly.  We stayed that night in Pismo Beach and went to another place that we knew, Scotty’s Bar and Grill.  Good food and drink.

Scotty's Bar and Grill

Birthday dinner at Scotty’s in Pismo Beach

On Friday, the 7th, we headed east on CA 58 to find the Central Valley “Super Blooms”.  They were definitely that.  Hills and fields full of flowers in many shades.  Botanists say that the seeds for all these plants had been laying dormant throughout all the drought years.  Then, since 2017 was very rainy, they all burst forth at once.  The recommended spot was Carrizo Plain National Monument, also new to us.  Really awesome.

After an overnight in Bakersfield, on April 8th we went further east to Tehachapi and then south on Willow Springs Road; on the way to the Poppy Preserve near Lancaster.  We saw many Joshua trees and more Wind Turbines than the I-10 corridor near Palm Springs.  They also had many solar panels; great to see natural power being harvested.  As we got closer to Lancaster, we started seeing many Poppy fields around Ave. I and 110th St.  Golden California Poppies mixed with blue/purple phacelia along with goldfield were all around us.  So glad that we were able to see this display on our way home!

We arrived home to find one of my most beautiful Iris’s had bloomed!

Beautiful Iris

Lavender and pink with orange, Iris

Visit with Aussie Friends

Some good friends from Australia, who we met cruising came to visit March 3 -6.  Marty and Janine had been traveling in USA, Canada and Europe for over a year.  They mostly toured on a motorbike (the bumblebee, because it was yellow) with a very cute camper trailer.  However, they also took 4 cruises and flew to a few of their destinations.  So adventuresome!

We picked them up at LAX, Friday night and they spent 3 nights with us.  Before hand, we had discussed what to see in So California.  Since we have had winter rains and lots of warm weather, we knew the wildflowers should be good.  So, the first day, we headed to Anza Borrega State Park, where there are many varieties.  We were a little early, but able to see quite a few.  However, the traffic, being a Saturday, was horrendous; took double the time to get there.  We enjoyed the scenery and visited the metal sculpture’s open-air shop that we had found with granddaughters, last summer.  Ricardo Breceda is really a very talented artist and has hundreds of animals, western motifs and more.  Check him out at http://www.ricardobreceda.com.  It turned out that the best wildflowers were near our home, I posted the pictures of poppies a few days ago.

National Park display

Cacti in bloom at Visitor’s Center

On Sunday, we went to Joshua Tree National Park.  They had requested this visit and we love going there.  We took our daughter there many times and later she and husband, and then grandson lived nearby in Twenty-Nine Palms.  It was very windy, so we didn’t do the whole loop of the Park road, but got to see the Jumbo Rocks, which are amazing.

On our last day with them, we visited Huntington Beach and walked the Pier.  This is one of our favorite things to do and they were glad to experience it on their last day in the USA.

Sedona and Rain in So CA

From December 16 to 22, we stayed in Sedona, AZ at Sedona Pines Resort.  It was really nice; actually had a Park Model trailer.  The weather was cool, but sunny, once we got there.  We drove around several days and took lots of pictures of the fantastic scenery.  One day, our friends, John and Suzanne came to visit with their daughter, Sophia.  We arrived in the rain and drove home in the rain, on the 22nd; bad traffic and visibility.  Since we have been home, we have had more rain.  Our rain gauge says we have had over 6 inches in 2 weeks.  It’s good, since we need it, but our snowbird friends are hating it.

Happy New Year to everyone.  Our best wishes for happiness, health and good times with friends and family.

Short trip to the Desert

This week we spent 3 days and 2 nights in Laughlin, NV with side trips to Oatman, AZ and Joshua Tree National Park.  We stayed at the Edgewater Hotel and Casino and Jim did some gambling; not successfully.  Wednesday we drove the 35 miles to Oatman, AZ, an historic mining town with a population of burros, roaming the downtown.  It is very quaint and fun to visit, but filled with tourists, of course.

 

Then, on our way home from Nevada, we did a longer route in order to drive through Joshua Tree.  We have visited there many times and our daughter, Jina, loved climbing on the Jumbo Rocks.  Then for a couple of years, she and her husband lived nearby at Twenty-nine Palms, while he was stationed at the Marine Base.  Our grandson, now 22 years old was born at the base.  We visited with them at the Park, many times.  It is a beautiful desert park.  We recommend taking the time to leave the freeway and visit.

July Trip

I’ve decided to do a slide show with captions on the photos.  Our trip began June 30 and included a day in Colorado on way to Nebraska.  After visit there we stopped in Eastern Oklahoma with granddaughters, then Texas and Louisiana.  The Cruise was on the Carnival Triumph, then trip home to So CA.  The girls flew home on August 6.

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Quick update, more to come

We had a great trip with granddaughters, sister and brother in-law. Saw daughter, son-in-law and grandson in Nebraska. Included 5500 miles of driving and a 5 day cruise on the Carnival Triumph out of New Orleans. We also saw one niece and her 2 daughters in Louisiana. Jerica and Lauren came back with us to So CA for 1 1/2 weeks, they flew home Saturday, August 6, starting school next week. It was a fun visit with all and especially love being with the granddaughters.

I will post more details and photos soon, I promise. We have also been busy with setting up treatment for Jim’s prostate cancer. The preliminary tests went well, waiting for last PSA results and then requesting coverage with insurance. That is the big “IF”. Hope to know more soon. Our best to all.

Cheryl’s 65th Birthday in Yosemite

When Jim asked me what I wanted to do for my birthday, I immediately answered, see the waterfalls in Yosemite.  We had been hearing about how since the snow pack was deep, the falls should be spectacular this spring.  Also, we love Yosemite, have been there many times, in all seasons.  We have camped there, and hike many of the trails.  Our daughter was brought up going there and all three grandchildren have been there, at least once.

So, we took 3 days to drive up and visit.  The first day, we took a longer route in order to retrace and drive we did a few years ago via CA 178 by Lake Isabella and on CA 155 over the rolling hills.  It was as beautiful as we remembered, with green hills and lovely wildflowers.  We had missed seeing the lupines this year, near home, but found them there, along with golden California poppies and snow white tiny flowers (couldn’t find their name).

Rather than stay in Yosemite NP, itself, we found a very nice old ranch hotel in Oakhurst, 50 miles south of the park.  Sierra Sky Ranch was very quaint and nicely decorated.  Our room was small, but opened onto a large porch area and was very comfortable.  We would definitely stay there again and recommend it to others.

On my (Cheryl) birthday, April 6, we went to Yosemite and spent several hours enjoying the views, waterfalls and serenity (despite the other tourists).  The waterfalls were full, as we had hoped.  The park was not as crowded as in the summer and everyone was very respectful of the grandeur of it all.  You could see from some expressions, that some were experiencing  for the first time.  As usual, many languages were heard.  Bridalveil Falls lived up to its name with the wind blowing the spray to resemble a very long veil.  Upper, middle and lower Yosemite Falls were visible, especially from the picnic area at the beginning of the trail to lower falls.  At the end of our visit, we found a nice shady spot by the rushing Merced River with great view of Bridalveil.  One of my best birthday experiences!

We took a different route from Yosemite Valley to Oakhurst, #140 along the Merced river, in order to look for the Red buds.  Thirty-seven years ago, with my (Cheryl) parents, Ben and Gerri and daughter, Jina, we saw a wonderful display of Red bud foliage.  It was the same week, but this year, they peaked earlier; we just found few beautiful ones!  We also saw purple sage and many wildflowers.

That night we had a wonderful dinner at Crab Cakes in Oakhurst.

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My birthday dinner at Crab Cakes

And then, we celebrated our 40th anniversary on April 9!  We can’t even believe it!  It started with joining our ukulele Jam Session group.  We wore our matching Hawaiian shirts to accent it and the leader posted this photo on Face Book!!

Ukulele.anniversary

Ukulele Jam Session