Saturday, April 20, 2019

Traveling without wheels--Central America

Everyone has asked for photos and details of our recent 15 day trip to Central America and the Panama Canal.  I hadn't planned to blog about it, so didn't take many photos.

The trip began on April 3rd and George and Linda picked us up in the rental van at 4:45 AM.  We made a stop in Gila Bend for breakfast and continued the drive to San Diego.  I must say the traffic was not bad at all.  George dropped the 3 of us at the pier while he returned the rental car.  He said it was less than a mile and walked back.    

We planned to use this trip as a vacation, not our usual exploring and discovery adventures that we enjoy so much.  We've done the Panama Canal full transit three times.

Everyone knows that we prefer the small river cruises and do not like crowds, but the 1400 passengers didn't bother us on this cruise.  There were no lines and waiting like some other ships we're been on.  

Even though we travelled together, we didn't see George and Linda much during the day.  They did what they wanted and we did too, but we always had dinner together in the dining room in the evening.

Our first stop after spending 2 fabulous days at sea was Puerta Vallarta, Mexico.  It is much cleaner and nicer than our last time here.  I never want to have a stop the first day on a cruise as you don't have a chance to relax before you're in a port.

Our next stop was Huatulco, Mexico.  These local residents were dressed to greet the tourists.  This small village is my favorite port in Mexico.  It hasn't changed much from the last time we visited it.  

The day was perfect and I believe Bill was pointing at the beach saying we should go back and get the bathing suits.

This was the only welcome sign I remember from our last trip here. 

Our next port and country that we've never been to was Puerto Quetzal,

I always try and find a Christmas tree ornament from all the different countries we have visited and found one right away.

Bill can find a museum anywhere!

When we arrived in Corinto, Nicaragua, another new country for us, the local children were dancing wearing native clothing.  Bill and I took a three wheeled bicycle tour of the town, but my battery died on the phone so I didn't get any photos. 

Later when we returned to the ship the children who were dancing on the dock were invited on the ship for lunch.  You could tell they enjoyed it as well as the passengers. 

Our next port was Puntarenas, Costa Rica.  I had no idea that Costa Rica had no Army and also had one of the best education systems in the world.

A German 500 passenger ship was in port at the same time as we were but this was the only time during the entire voyage that we berthed with another ship.

The following morning, everyone was up early as the ship had an early appointment to go through the canal.  The weather couldn't have been any better.

The tug came alongside and three pilots came onboard to take the ship through the canal.

It was overcast with a nice breeze.  

Here's a natural gas ship going through the other way as we were in one of the locks.

Here's a container ship that was in a lock and you can tell how far it needs to be raised to go through.  It takes nearly the entire day to transit the canal.

Bill didn't want to get off the ship in Cartagena so George and I walked ashore.  I wanted to get another Christmas ornament from Columbia.  

One of the Toucan's tried to bite my toes. My battery died before I could get a photo of the monkey's.

This was our last Gala night dinner.  Notice that Linda is skinnier than when she got on the ship.  

Not a great photo but Bill had a chance to wear his bolo tie.

The dining room crew were awesome.  

The housekeeping staff had so much extra time on their hands that they made extra towel animals.

There were more than 50 towel animals around the pool area.

We always seem to add some adventure even to sedate travels like a cruise.  When we anchored in Half Moon Cay we had to take a tender (small boat) to shore.  The tender was really bouncing and you had to walk across the plank from the ship to the tender.  The plank was tied off but when I stepped on the plank the tender bobbed and the plank became detached.  Bill was directly behind me and they yelled at us to move.  I jumped over onto the tender.  Nothing like looking down and seeing nothing but water.

We will never forget this place in the Bahamas.

This beach is even prettier than the one in South Africa.

The water was gorgeous and this is what a beach should look like.

Yes, we got wet and yes, I know I gained weight!

The water was so clear, I could tell the color of my toenail polish when I was up to my shoulders in the water.

The following morning we docked in Fort Lauderdale.  We were off the ship by 8:15 and walked directly through passport control thanks to our global entry card.  We took the transfer bus to Miami airport for our non-stop flight to Phoenix.  As in the past, it didn't go quite as smoothly as predicted.  We ended up stopping in Oklahoma City for more fuel due to the fact that the winds were so strong, they needed to add more fuel.  It meant we arrived back in Phoenix two hours late and we felt bad for Sherry and Dave having to wait for us.

It was truly a vacation and we enjoyed it immensely.  Now that we're back home, I'll be spending some time checking out where we'll go next.  If anyone wants to join us on the next trip, let us know.

Turtle Safely.........

Friday, March 22, 2019

End of the Trail For Us

Yes, we did it!  The truck and fifth wheel now belong to a new happy owner.

We were all packed and ready to go to the Montana Circling of the Wagons in January.  The day before we left Bill had a bad cough and heart rate issues, so we didn't go.

In February we did get to attend the Winter Blast in Lake Havasu City, Arizona.  Bill was having some problems with chest pains and a high heart rate during the week.  On that Saturday night, I had to call 911 because Bill's heart rate went up to 197 and he couldn't talk, felt nauseous and said he felt like an elephant was standing on his chest.  The EMT's came and he started feeling better, but off to the hospital he went.  Carolyn and Craig Mills drove me to the hospital and George, Linda, Carlena and Harry followed behind.  They were so much support for me.  I must say I was a basket case.  

I drove Bill and the rig back to Casa Grande the next morning.  One last time let me preach this.  "Ladies, you need to be able to hitch, unhitch and drive that rig.  You never know when you'll have to do it." 

Bill had a pacemaker implanted six days before the Escapade.  He isn't allowed to raise his left arm or lift anything heavier than 10 pounds for the next six weeks.

I was concerned about backing the rig into the site at the Escapade, but the great parking crew told me not to worry and they were so helpful.  Kudos to all of them.

Our Montana Owners friends, Jim and Vickie Fischer were there.  Jim was teaching some boot camp classes.  I told him we had decided we were going to hang up the keys and the truck and fifth wheel were for sale.  

A little while later, Jim knocked at the door and introduced us to Judy Miller who wanted to buy a truck and fiver.  That was on Friday evening.  Judy wanted the coach as soon as possible so we agreed to turn it over to her at the end of the Escapade on Friday and ride back to Casa Grande with my sister and brother in law.   

Bill had a follow up appointment on Monday with his doctor so we had to drive up to Casa Grande.  We picked up the title for the truck and trailer.  We also brought back some other RV stuff for Judy.  

We stopped and picked up Bill's Pradaxa heart medication.  It now costs $399.37 for a 30 day supply.  We are now ordering the medication out of Canada for $264 for a 90 day supply.  Bill told me he heard that Florida is trying to pass legislation to stop people from ordering medication out of the country.  I wonder how many senior citizens just don't take something they need because of the cost.  If you want to know any details of where and how to order just PM me.

Bill's doctor wanted Bill to have a stress test on Thursday which would mean another trip back up to Casa Grande.  We decided to either rent a car, or call Uber and just turn over the coach to Judy a day early on Thursday.  The more I thought about it, it made better sense to come back on Wednesday night instead.  John Beckman called and said he could drive us home.

Tuesday morning I went over to find the two other couples that were working the volunteer booth and let them know we were leaving on Wednesday evening.  Doug Tatterson was there and I told him we were leaving Wednesday.  I also mentioned that Bill said he was ready to go anytime.  Doug just said I'll take you today.  Call me when you are ready.  

We rode with Judy over to the DMV and transferred the ownership and applied for our license tag refund.  We stopped for a Subway and came back to the rig.  I spent a lot of time explaining the truck and coach to Judy.  

George took a couple of boxes and our clothes and everything else we carried out to Doug's truck.  

I thought I would be very emotional about handing over the keys, but I must say it's a relief.  There comes a time, and we both knew it.  Bill mentioned that we spent half of our married life RVing.  

I'm not sure how long it will take me to stop looking at the diesel prices when we pass a station.  

As for us, we're excited because we plan to travel without the worry of where we will eat, sleep or what to see.  The adventures will continue.

Turtle Safely...........

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Blast Off 2019

Lake Havasu City, Arizona

Yesterday we left Casa Grande at 8 am.  Somehow the other seven RV's that left town too all managed to hook up together by the time we arrived at the Vicksburg exit.  Three other rigs we already at the Casino waiting for us to arrive for lunch.  

That made 22 people for lunch.  In no time at all the waitress had a table for all of us. We told George whoever sat at the head of the table had to pay, but he ducked out before we knew it.

The weather was great for the drive and everyone was checked into the Rodeo Grounds in record time and parked.  Our escort parker didn't really understand when I said I wanted to park backwards, but he said since we've been here before just do it.  We like to have our rear living room window pointing to the area where the fireworks will go off so we can go inside when it gets late and still enjoy the show.  

Everyone was introduced at happy hour and it wasn't long before you couldn't tell the new people from the ones that have attended before.

Ron Ames told the story of his medical issues and how a new healthy way of life saved his.

This morning we checked our propane tanks and discovered they were very low on propane so we made a trip to Tractor Supply for propane.  While we were out, we also stopped at Walmart.  

Next thing we know it's time for happy hour.  

Carlena and Harry Schoolcraft

George, Linda and Chloe are laughing about something funny.

Donna, Lloyd and WC are first timers to the Pyrotechnic Show. 

Leslie made some great sliders for Happy Hour.  I look like I'm cold in that photo.  

It looks like Barb told Paisley she couldn't go past the white line.

Dave and Barb Burtrum gave me a gift they made.  It didn't show up in this photo well but it says, "enjoy the journey".  It has lights inside it.  I'll take a closeup photo for the next blog.

Turtle Safely.........

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Snowbird Season

Casa Grande, AZ

It's a very busy time of year in Arizona.  High season, with lots going on in and around Casa Grande.

George and Linda invited us to a party at their home.  We finally had the chance to meet some of the Bell Ringers.  It's not what I pictured when I heard this RV group was called Bell Ringers but they sure are a lot of fun.  Sorry I was having too much fun to take photos.  From left to right, me, Linda, George and Jackie.  

George is showing off his present from Harry and Carlena.  Do you know what it is he's wearing?

Here's a photo with a his food on the lid of the toilet seat.  It's a perfect bib for any senior.  I can tell by his smile, he's enjoying it.  Don't be surprised if it's seen in Lake Havasu City.

Craig was under the weather without a nurse but Carolyn drove down to Casa Grande by herself.

Later on in the week, George drove up to Sam's Club and the guys did shopping for new duds for the upcoming cruise.  There was a lot of looking but not much buying.  Linda found some really nice sunglasses that hopefully she'll get to wear next week.

Bill had a good report from his follow up visit from surgery in December.  The doctor took him off some medicine that was making him dizzy.

Leslie and WC Ernst invited us for lunch at Eva's.  Lloyd and Donna Fitzgerald were there too.   We ended up making it a very long lunch as we had a lot of catching up to do.  I had the camera with me, but never remembered to take any photos.  

Nancy Kissack and Lynn Cross drove up on Saturday to go to the Gourd Festival.  They were in the Fine Arts Building when we arrived.  They were just finishing up and we chatted for just a few minutes.  When we left  that building we never saw them again.  I guess Nancy called twice but I never heard the phone ring.   We saw George, Linda, Jackie and Doug there.  Jackie is quite talented and needless to say, this was right up her alley.

I bought raffle tickets for this gourd.  

There's no way any photo can capture the details of these gourds.

Can you imagine lamps made out of gourds.  The nice thing is the are very light weight.

I did read in Nancy's blog that she bought some equipment to try and do some gourds.  I'm anxious to see the finished product.  Maybe she'll have something completed and can show us at the Escapade.  

Mark Nemeth contacted us earlier in the week and said he'd be stopping by.  We visited with him for a while and then went out to eat.  

Jan and Paul Kelpe just called to say they arrived in town so we're headed over to the park to see them.

Turtle Safely.......

Monday, January 28, 2019

An Evening at the Circus

Casa Grande, AZ

Linda and George and Craig and Carolyn came to the house on Saturday.  We were all going to see the Shanghai Circus and decided to meet early for dinner.

Our favorite Mexican restaurant was booked when I called for reservations earlier in the week.  No problem, we went to Manuel's instead.  It was a little out of the way from the community college, but still doable.  

Even though they had the two for one special on the margaritas it wasn't overly crowded and we were seated immediately.  We always think of the time we went here with the Kelpe's. 

The last time we attended a performance at Central Arizona College, the doors didn't open until 30 minutes prior to the show.  At the Southern Fried Funeral performance the auditorium only had  maybe 25% of the seats occupied.

We arrived at 6:45 and I think we were the last ones to enter Pence Center.  There were signs that said the show was sold out.  The usher told us the only seats left were in the very front row.  I was surprised to see that there were six seats.

Bill and I had attended a show when we were in China and I was hoping this would be at least half as good.  I knew that the small theater wouldn't be the same as a place that held large elaborate performances, but I must say I was surprised how well it was done.

Because we were seated so close in the front, we could see how high they were jumping.  I don't know how they avoided hitting the ceiling.
These were Jeri Williams photos.  I had no idea she was there until I saw these on Facebook this next morning.  

I think we all enjoyed the performance.  I was glad Bill drove home in the dark as my night vision is terrible anymore.  In fact, my eye doctor has called in a specialist as she said medication isn't working for me.  The only thing good is my eyelashes have grown but my  red eyes and red eyelids looked like I had been partying a lot.  

We finally stopped at the Chamber of Commerce to pick up the prize Bill won at the recent home show.  It was a pair of work gloves.  Okay, quit laughing!

Turtle Safely.........