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

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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.

Flowers in Southern CA

We had hoped that the flowers would be prolific this year due to Winder rains, and they are.  Especially the CA poppies on the hills around us, south of Corona, CA.  The hills are the greenest we have ever seen with the beautiful golden orange colors very visible.  The purple lupines came a little later and there are many yellow, white and blue flowers.  One particularly pretty, blue/purple flowering plant has a funny name:  blue dick.  I think it is because the scientific  name starts with dich…, so I guess that got simplified.  We have been going to see the local flowers at least 3 days per week.  The word has spread by mouth (we talked about it a lot), Facebook (I posted) and the local and national news.  So, now the local hills are crowded with flower lovers.  Just wish they all treasured them like we do.  We have seen people sitting in the fields (smashing blossoms) and picking them.  Most are on State owned land, so that is illegal.  There are plenty of signs.  Also saw a mother letting her daughter pick a big handful.  Teaching them the wrong lesson.  Anyway, we love them!!

Sorry, we’ve been busy!

Wow, can’t believe it’s been so long.

First of all, we had a great  Star Princess cruise from LA to Hawaii (four islands/ports) and back.  Cheryl kept busy on sea days with a Ukulele class (10 lessons) and Pop Choir.  There were over 50 in Ukulele, some seasoned and others total beginners.  The instructor (also a great performer), Tiki Dave was really good and got us all together with 3 songs for a performance in the big theater.  His wife, Leialoha taught another group to dance the Hula.  It was a lot of fun.  Pop Choir sang 5 songs and we had a group of 33, with 15 males (really unusual).  We sang fun pop songs, such as “Under the Boardwalk” and “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing.”  We also had a performance, in the Piazza with a packed, appreciative crowd.

On this cruise, we to 4 islands.  On the Big Island, we docked at Hilo and rented a car to drive to the Volcanoes National Park, ‘Akaka Falls and Rainbow Falls.

On Oahu, we utilized the city buses and went to Waikiki for a nice walk along Kalakaua Blvd and then bus to The Elks’ Club for lunch.  The bus system is quite good and only $1.00 with transfer for seniors.  The Elks’ Club is one of the nicest in USA with fantastic view.

 

On Kauai, we rented a car again; docked at Nawiliwili near airport.  Enjoyed drive north to Kapaa, Anahola and Kilauea Lighthouse.  Then back to Poipu Beach.  Beautiful Garden Island.

Then, our final stop was anchoring off Lahaina, Maui.  The tender ride to and from was a little rough, but doable.  Good friends, Dan and Kelley who have a home in Kihei met us there and we all went to lunch to one our favorite local places, Aloha Mixed Plate.  We had good food, service and Mai Tais.  Always fun to spend time with them.

Since getting back home we have had quite a bit of medical stuff, Ukulele and other activities.  Also, we have enjoyed the rain, over the normal, for sure.  But no flooding, leaks or damage near us.  Central and Northern California had much more!  Take care.

Home in SO CA

After Sedona, we have been home.  We hosted a group of 17 friends for Christmas; it was a potluck and really went well.  There has been more rain; only another 2 inches, but this weekend we are supposed to really get it.  In the last 24 hours, we have already had an inch.  And this is the La Nina year!!

We’ve been busy with catching up on medical tests, etc.  Jim had his post procedure 3 month PSA test and it was better than expected.  The medical staff at Loma Linda had predicted that it would be half of his previous score, but it was down to less than 1/4 at 2.36.  Wow, we are so happy!!  I, Cheryl had the dreaded colonoscopy this week, and the endoscopy of esophagus at same time.  What a rough 2 days!  There are some minor issues to deal with, but all should be good.

Today, we decided to go for it and booked a big cruise.  Jim had wanted to do the Regal Princess, Transatlantic again.  But I don’t have as fond of memories as he, since I was quite sick.  In addition, we wouldn’t have our good friends with us.  He did some more research and found a Seabourn cruise that includes Japan (I’ve never been) and for a decent price.  We had decided that we want to splurge to celebrate Jim’s successful fight against cancer.  So we discussed and looked at it further and went for it.  It starts May 11 and goes to Alaska, ending in Seattle, WA.

Monday, we leave on our 15 day Star Princess Cruise RT from LA to Hawaii with port days on four islands.  We have been to the islands many times, but always love going there.  Plus on Maui, we will see our good friends, Dan and Kelley.  We have a lot to do, before then.  Hope that everyone is staying warm and healthy.

 

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.

Merry Christmas AND Happy Holidays

Feeling for all of you who are experiencing the cold and snow, ice, etc.  We have colder weather, for us and maybe rain this weekend, but as you know, not so severe.  We are headed to Sedona, AZ for a week, 12/16-23, so will experience some cold and maybe snow!

Attaching my Christmas Letter and Fun Video.  Enjoy the Season, we hope!

keys-holiday-letter-for-2016-cheryl

We enjoyed a fun party last Saturday night at friends’ house in Huntington Harbor; about 50 of us.  The occasion was to enjoy the Boat Parade and a fundraiser for our Pickleball group.  It was great, and all had a good time.

 

Jim is still doing well, so we feel so lucky.  Hope that everyone is feeling healthy and happy.

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Enjoying November

Today is a cooler day, more like fall, but we have been having summer like weather most of November.  We only had a a few drops of rain, so still very dry; wish our snowbird Canadian friends could have piped some of their water down here!!

Jim is now 4 weeks 3 days post Proton Treatment and doing very  well.  He added spicy food to his diet this week and has not suffered any consequences.   Do to the treatment, eating a little less at each meal, Metamucil and/or no diet coke, not sure which or all, he has lost some weight.  We are both happy about that.

He’s gotten back into the groove and planning travel.  We have the Ruby Princess cruise starting November 26 (7 days in Mexican Riviera) and an LA to Hawaiian Islands on Star Princess in January for 15 days.  Also we have reserved a condo in Sedona, AZ for a week, December 16-23.  Back to normal, almost.  In between we both have some medical tests and procedures.  Holding off on travel after January to see the results from those.

We are having a very quiet Thanksgiving; only about 5 of us getting together to share the meal.  Looks like Jim will be the only male.  Hope every one has a good time with family and friends.  Jim is talking about decorating for Christmas, including a small tree, for the first time in years.  I’m glad to see him get into the spirit.

Peace and love to all.

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.

No more Balloons!

Jim has completed his Proton Beam therapy and doctor is sure (95%+) that the cancer is gone.  Followup will continue every 3 months for 2 years and then every 6 months for 4 more years.  We are so relieved and glad that he had minimal side effects.  We said goodbye to our little apartment and our lovely landlords, yesterday.  It was a very comfortable place to be while going through the treatments.

 

We still have his skipped heart beats to deal with and more tests and appointments.  The cardiac specialist has said that it is not an urgent problem and his heart is healthy.  So, no rush and we may get a second opinion to be sure.

Meanwhile, Jim has booked a cruise!!  We leave on November 26, out of Los Angeles on the Ruby Princess.  It is a 7 day cruise and we booked a balcony at a very good price.  Since Jim’s birthday is the 30th, we will also celebrate that!  Come join us!!

We wish good health to everyone and thank you for your support.