Yes We Are Healthy And On Our Way Home!

HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY!

I was thrilled to come across this field of “shamrocks” when we drove down Avenue of the Giants a few years ago! Did you know that there is no such thing as a “Shamrock Plant”? The word shamrock comes from the Irish word seamrog meaning “little clover”.

I know all our family and friends are worried about us and don’t understand why we are not already back home and believe me we wish we were … but here is the wrinkle … trailers do not tow well in snow or on icy roads 😦 And while we both want to be home we also want to be home alive.

If the roads had allowed we would have left last week when our son’s planned visit was cancelled, but there were several storm fronts coming through and there was no safe route to take. As hubby always does, he has been monitoring our options and we planned on leaving this morning and fortunately things are still looking reasonably good so we are on our way home 🙂

Our hope is to be back in Canada by March 23rd, if not earlier, but we have a few days of possible snow coming up so it will be what it will be.

Our site looks so empty and lonely. Hubby planted my two bougainvillea along the fence so it will be interesting to see how they look next winter … I’m told many people don’t water them during the summer so we will see.

It always makes me feel loved when we leave the park and all our friends are outside to wave goodbye to us. It is sad to leave but I am always anxious to get home this time of year and see all our family and friends but never more than this year. Even hubby feels the same way because he is breaking his no more than three hours of driving in a day and we are going to put on some miles each day. We will just feel much better when we are home … albeit all alone, with maybe no food or toilet paper, for two weeks of self isolation … but hey at least we are home and I need to loose the cruise weight!

We have had so much rain this year so I expected to see lots of green and flowers along the way.

And I wasn’t disappointed the Ocotillo, which are one of my favorite cactus, are all in bloom.

We noticed along our drive today that almost all of the vehicles on the roads were Canadians heading home … just a long line of RV’s with Canadian plates. Even the poor fellow at the Border Patrol station was looking bored and waving everyone through with a “have a safe travel home” comment, a smile and a wave.

We did get stopped for construction and ended up shut down with some time to get out of the truck and stretch our legs.

Looking forward

Looking back

Nice to have the opportunity to stretch but not so nice to have a delay on a long driving day 😦 I think it added another half hour to our day.

But I got a few close-up flower pics 🙂

I don’t think we will have cell service where we are stopping tonight so I am posting this as we are leaving the Las Vegas around 3:00 p.m.  As of midnight all the casinos in Vegas closed down and if it wasn’t such a long travel day we might have towed the trailer down the strip just for $@#$ and giggles 😁

Of course there is a toilet paper shortage so we can’t afford the @#$ portion of that event!

But I will leave you with my thought of the day … Yesterday I ran into Walmart to pick up some milk before we headed out today and I noticed they were out of toilet paper, but also crackers, cereal, laundry soap, and milk. Now of course I was disappointed because I really wanted milk but what occurred to me on my drive home is that people are preparing to hunker down. While they are hunkered down they must plan on eating fibrous cereal which explains the need for all the milk, and crackers which also have fibre. Of course we all know what fibre does to a body so they will be spending lots of time on the toilet thus the need for so much toilet paper. Now most houses only have one or two bathrooms so some of the household members will have to wait for the bathroom and will have accidents and that explains why they need all the laundry soap. Of course this is just my theory 🙂

Until next time …

Top Ten Pictures of 2019

Here are our choices for the top pictures of 2019, and once again it was a tough choice. We started off with twenty-five real contenders and in the end we sadly had to delete some great pictures of Joshua Tree National Park 😦

We would love your votes, on the poll at the end of the blog, to help us choose the best picture of 2019.

And just in case you haven’t voted for previous years and would like to, here are the links.

Top Ten Pictures of 2018

Top Ten Pictures of 2017

Top Ten Pictures of 2016

Top Ten Pictures Of 2015

Top Ten Pictures Of 2014

Top Ten Pictures Of 2013

Now off to 2019 …

Beach View from our villa in Rarotonga, Cook Islands. Picture taken 13 January 2019.

Sunset from the deck of our villa in Aitutaki, Cook Islands. Picture taken 23 January 2019

Bike ride from Kelowna, British Columbia to Vernon, British Columbia along the Okanagan Rail Trail. Picture taken 9 August 2019.

Sunrise at Bear Creek Provincial Park, Kelowna, British Columbia. Picture taken 7 September 2019.

Flowers along the dyke in Richmond, British Columbia.   Picture taken 16 September 2019.

My sister’s sunflowers, Kelowna, British Columbia. Picture taken 21 September 2019

Vaseux Lake Provincial Park, near Oliver, British Columbia. Picture taken 21 October 2019.

Barker Dam Trail, Joshua Tree National Park, California. Picture taken 4 November 2019

Hibiscus in my planter at Cocopah RV and Golf Resort … the first and last time that plant bloomed all winter! Picture taken 17 November 2019

The sky is on fire over Cocopah RV and Golf Resort, Yuma, Arizona. Picture taken 23 November 2019.

This poll uses Java Script. If you do not see a poll below that means your browser does not support Java Script, either switch to another browser or leave us a comment and we will add your vote manually. We appreciate your votes.

Until next time

A Good Day For A Bike Ride

Yesterday there was a classic car show along the streets of Old Town Yuma so it sounded like a good place to go for a bike ride.

The weather was sunny and warm and there was a slight breeze so the conditions were perfect! 

We rode from the RV Park to downtown, a half hour ride (7.8m, 12.6km). After lunch we wandered around and looked at some of the cars.

A Willy’s Jeep with a Cummins Turbo diesel in it. That info is courtesy of hubby.

To be honest I was done about five minutes after we started looking but I hung out a while longer while hubby looked … he hangs out while I shop, I hang out while he looks at cars or wanders the aisles of home improvement stores 🙂 Honestly he hangs out more for me than I do for him!

I loved the colours of this vehicle.

Hubby says that this is a very rare car. It is a 1930 Durant built in Oakland California.

Once he had seen all the cars we made the (7.8m, 12.6km) ride back.

We stopped at our friends place in the park to get change for a Canadian $50.00 bill, cause where else are we going to get change for a Canadian bill down here! We need the money to send our youngest grandson a birthday card since his dad isn’t coming for a visit.

This truck, a 1955 Chevy with 350 CID, 4 Barrel Carb,  Headers and a 700R tranny with an overdrive is for sale for $29,500 … honestly none of that stuff means anything to me but I did think it was a pretty truck so I will show you more pics of it!

All in all another great bike ride!

Until next time …

Bad News 😦

We have been hit by the Coronavirus 😦 Well I am being very melodramatic and unfair to all those who are actually sick from the virus but I am feeling very sorry for myself. Our youngest son had a meeting in Phoenix next Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday and then he was going to come visit us for four nights. I was so excited that it was actually going to happen, it has almost happened a few times in previous years but then his meetings where changed or we had already headed home, so this was it! And then it wasn’t! Because of the Coronavirus his employer has cancelled all travel. Now I am happy that they are keeping my baby safe and to be fair I was concerned about airline travel with this virus but I really was looking forward to seeing him and showing him around our winter home.

A few days ago we had an intense half hour storm that came with hail! We have never seen hail in Yuma before and it was funny to see the green white!

So instead we will look forward to a visit with our oldest son who gave us good news last week, he and his wife are moving from Edmonton, Alberta to the lower mainland of British Columbia, a three hour drive from our home! In fact on Monday he started his new job, as the British Columbia Manager for the company he has worked for for many years, so he will be there when we stop to visit hubby’s mother at the end of the month.

We rode by this broccoli field the other day. At the end of the season they let the broccoli go to seed and then they harvest the seed for next year. It may look pretty but it does stink!

And the change to our youngest sons travel plans works out well for them because it looks like they sold their home in Edmonton on Wednesday, so since he is no longer coming down here they can now make a house hunting trip to Calgary next week. He also got a new job before Christmas as the District Manager for the Prairie Region for the company he has worked for for a long time and is being relocated to Calgary … three hours closer to us 🙂

And we came across a few white ducks. I have never seen them in the park before; actually I have never seen white ducks before.

So our children are all doing well and we can’t complain but I’m still disappointed about not having a visit in Yuma with our son. On the other side of the coin we can now start heading home next week like we had originally planned… NOPE, I’m still unhappy but I will get over it and we will get to see our older son sooner 🙂

And there was one white and black duck, never seen one of those before either.

Until next time …

And Back To Reality

I know from my posts it seems like we just got off the ship yesterday but we have been home for two weeks. I wasn’t able to post my cruise blog entries until we arrived home and had WiFi. So here we are two weeks later and we have finally accepted that we don’t need to eat every two hours, we have to cook, make our own bed, and do our own laundry … yes it was a bit of a let down 😦

Mrs. M sent me this picture of one of their towel animals, he is pretty funny!

I guess he was tired of hanging around and had to lie down the next day.

I have a question for those of you that use Blogger and hope you will comment with your answer. When you leave a comment on my blog and I answer you, do you get an email advising you of that?

When I comment on a post on Blogger I have no way of knowing if the author responded other than continually going in and checking on their blog. If I comment on a WordPress blog I get an email if the author responds, which I am guessing is because I have a WordPress account but maybe Blogger works differently. Anyway let me know if you can shed any light on my question.

And here is one last towel animal picture that Mr. L sent me. This is one he saw on the internet, but it sure would have got a laugh from all of us if we had to come to our room to see this guy in our bathroom 🙂

So that’s it for the daily blogs, I will go back to posting once a week or whenever something blog worthy happens.

Until next time …

Panama Canal Cruise – Day Fourteen

I woke up at my usual 4:00 a.m., peeked out the window and sure enough we were coming into Miami. I quietly grabbed my camera and slipped out onto the deck to watch our approach.

An hour later hubby joined me and we watched the sun come up as we docked.

We had to be out of our cabin by 8:30 so we did most of our packing the night before. Mrs. M called to see if we wanted to join them for breakfast but somehow we had a miscommunication and they went to the buffet and we went to the dining room. Oh well, we enjoyed breakfast at a window with a view out the back of the ship were we watched two cruise ships behind us drop lifeboats and play with mooring lines.

After breakfast we were able to connect with the rest of our group up in the buffet and chit chatted for awhile before our number was called to disembark. It was a fairly quick process to disembark although we did have to stand on a balcony for a half hour while they closed customs to catch up.

We took the shuttle to Miami International and enjoyed a few hours’ people watching before catching our flight to Phoenix. In Phoenix we had two hours which was perfect because if gave us enough time to eat dinner and watch the sun set across the airport … sorry no pictures.

It was a quick 40-minute flight from Phoenix to Yuma and our wonderful neighbours were at the Yuma airport to pick us up.

The women’s washroom at the Yuma Airport is pretty cool … it’s hard to see but there is a red flower above each sink.

Cute little mirrors outside each stall.

And nice quotes on the inside of each stall.

We had a great two week cruise but we were happy to be home and crawl into our own bed 🙂

Until next time …

Panama Canal Cruise – Day Thirteen

Our last full day at sea arrived with calmer water and warm sunny skies.

I love the colour of the Caribbean sea

We thought about spending the day around the pool but it was hard to get a chair and we weren’t really feeling a pool day.

There was a brief thought that we had to enjoy the sun and tanning time as it was our last chance but then it dawned on me that, unlike the others, we were heading back to warm sunny weather.

With the pressure off we sat on our deck and did some more reading. Hubby and some of the others watched the flying fish. I tried hard to get pictures of them but they were to fast for me.

I never did get picture of the flying fish but I did spend a fair amount of quiet reflection time watching the wake from the ship.

When we came back to our cabin after a morning walkabout we were greeted by today’s towel animal.

Mr. & Mrs. M joined us for happy hour on our deck so Mrs. M and I spent some time lining up all the towel animals, which I had saved along the back of our couch, and took some pictures.

We had a good time posing them 🙂

The highlight of our last dinner at sea was the Mango Soup … it was very tasty.

The entertainment for the last night of the cruise was a lip sync battle between a male passenger and a female passenger, and guess what? The female passenger was our friend Mrs. Cruise. She had competed against other female passengers earlier in the cruise and won so tonight was her night to compete in the final battle.

She did an awesome job but in the end the audience, who were the judges, couldn’t decide between the two and it ended in a tie.

Until next time …

Panama Canal Cruise – Day Twelve

Shortly after we departed from Cartagena we hit rough seas again and they were very rough! A few of our group were down for the count 😦 

Both hubby and I were okay but we did spend most of our day relaxing in our cabin, which means I have no pictures to show you. Today’s blog is filled with flower pictures I took along the way … you must have known there would be some flower pictures coming 🙂

Some of our group sat out on the deck and read but I found I couldn’t do that without my stomach starting to turn. I was fine sitting up on the bed so that’s were I read and snoozed off and on because the rolling ship was making me sleepy.

Hubby and I along with Mrs. M had dinner in the dining room, which is at the back of the ship on deck two and three. It was pretty quiet in the dinning room because you could really feel the movement but we did enjoy our dinner.

And our day came to an end with the ship lulling us into sleep and dreams that tomorrow the seas would be kinder.

Until next time …

Panama Canal Cruise – Day Eleven

We came out of the canal yesterday evening and the ship was rocking a fair amount. That rocking and rolling continued all night and this morning until we docked in Cartagena, Columbia at 9:00 a.m. This was the first really rough ride we have had since boarding the ship but fortunately none of our group felt any ill effects and I had one of my best sleeps ever 🙂

From what we saw as we docked it appears Cartagena is a very busy cargo port.

This is our last port on the cruise and the eight of us booked a three hour excursion on the Cartagena Party Bus. We boarded a Chiva, a hand painted old wooden artisan bus that was formally used in rural areas for public transportation.

We listen to live music and drank watered down rum and cokes as we toured the sights of old Cartagena.

Most of our tour was of the Old Walled City but we did see glimpses of the new city know as Bocagrande.

You can see the wall of the old city on the other side of the water.

At the end of the 16th century, the city of Cartagena decided to build a seven-mile wall around the city to protect it from pirates and invaders. At that time Cartagena was the largest and most important port in the Americas.

The Old City, which lies within the wall, contains colorful buildings with Spanish-style architecture.

There are also small boutique hotels, plazas with unique shops and live music, and lots of street venders selling fruits and vegetables.

In 1536 the Spanish, who were afraid of being attacked, built San Felipe Castle to protect their city and country. The San Felipe Castle is located on top of a small hill in the middle of the city and we made our first stop here.

Unfortunately we were not given enough time to walk around the castle 😦 I think this stop was for the sole purpose of providing a group of captive tourist to the vendors and they were relentless! Many in our group took a bathroom break, which provided more money to the locals, as I was told you weren’t leaving the bathroom without giving them money.

Cartagena has two very different contrasting neighbourhoods and from our tour of the Old Walled city we could see glimpses of the Bocagrande, which is filled with hotel chains, apartment blocks, shopping malls, and restaurant chains. The wall, or Las Murallas, was also used to separate the city’s rich and poor population and it appears that hasn’t changed much.

The heart of Old Walled city is filled with colourful buildings and a lot, and I mean New York style, traffic! There is no way I could handle driving every day in this traffic.

We drove through a business area with electrical, plumbing, hardware, and all other kinds of construction material stores. There were also a lot of stores with colourful fabrics that would have been interesting to browse through but I think it was a good thing we didn’t get off the chiva here or I would have lost hubby in the electrical stores!

With a last look at pretty views and heavy traffic it was time to head back to the cruise ship port.

The Cartagena cruise ship port is really nice. Once the chiva dropped us off we walked through a beautiful sanctuary filled with birds, monkeys, and even an anteater! I really could overload you on pictures here but I did my best to pare them down 🙂

Just to break up these pictures I will give you a weather fact … over the course of the year, the temperature in Cartagena varies from 25C (76F) to 31C (88F) and is rarely below 23C (73F) or above 33C (91F) … yup that’s my idea of perfect weather.

After a long day we arrived back on the ship and thank goodness because we hadn’t eaten in forever 😀

Until next time …

Panama Canal Cruise – Day Ten

Well today is the day … I was going to say the whole point of the cruise, but I realized that wasn’t really right as the whole point was to have fun with all our friends and each other … and we have sure done that! But since the name of the cruise is Panama Canal Cruise, and today is the day we traverse the canal, I’m going to go ahead and go with “today is the day” 🙂

Mrs. M and I were out for our walk at 5:00 a.m. and ran into hubby on deck ten around 5:30. He, and a few other people, were up watching for our arrival at the Panama Canal. It was a beautiful morning with a full moon so we were able to see even though the sun hadn’t come up yet.

 We spent the next six hours on deck nine and ten watching the sunrise and the shoreline of Panama City as we approached.

Just as I thought the sun was done rising it put on another show.

We then passed under the 5,007 foot long arched Bridge of the Americas, which spans the Pacific entrance to the Panama Canal. The bridge was completed in 1962 at a cost of $20 million USD and connects North and South America.

There wasn’t a lot of room!

Once we crossed under the bridge we could see the ship in front of us bearing left for the entrance to the new locks. The new locks, known as The Third Set of Locks was built to allow for a larger number of ships and increased width and depth. The new ships, called New Panamax, are about one and a half time the size of the ship we are on and can carry over twice as much cargo. The new locks were opened on 26 June 2016.

Our ship is a Panamax ship, which is built to just fit into the old locks, and it did look like a pretty tight fit as we watch the ship in front of go through the first lock.

And then it was our turn, I swear I could hear our ship squeaking along the edges as it entered the lock.

Because of the delicate nature of the original lock mechanisms, only small craft are allowed to pass through the locks unassisted. Larger craft are guided by electric towing locomotives, which operate on cog tracks on the lock walls and serve to keep the ships centered in the lock.

The locomotives go up the hill as the lock fills with water. The large building on the right is a viewing station for people to watch ships go through the locks.

Six hours later we finally arrived back at our deck and continued to enjoy the sights.

The Canal Authority has tried many methods to pass the mooring lines from the ship to the locomotives but finally came to the realization that a rowboat was the best method.

I didn’t get a lot of sleep last night so I figured once we passed the first three locks it would be a good time for a nap. Hubby took these pictures while I was sleeping.

The Atlantic Bridge

I woke in time to see the prison on the side of the canal. It was laundry day and there were lots of inmates outside watching our ship go by.

And then we entered Gatun Lake. Gatun Lake is a large artificial lake and carries ships for 33 km of their transit between the two sets of locks.
Ships require a pilot to guide them through the canals and because it’s such a long passage the pilots switch off half way through the trip.

I think it was around 2:30 p.m. when we arrived at the second set of locks, which lowered us down to the Caribbean Sea.

While we were in the second lock we watched this freighter, heading to the Pacific Ocean, enter their second lock. 

This freighter wasn’t that long so two tugboats also joined it in the lock.

But wait there is still some room … enter this sailboat!

Hurry up little boat!

Phew it made it. It really wasn’t that small of a sailboat but it sure looks small with the other boats in the lock.

Around 5:00 p.m. we cleared our last lock and it was time for the pilot, and all the staff selling Panama souvenirs, to disembark the ship. We counted twenty-four people leaving our ship and getting onto a small boat.

As we approached the Centennial Bridge the Third Set of Locks joined back up, but this time on the right! I guess the passage switched from the left of the old locks to the right of the old locks in Gatun Lake.

And then we were entering the Caribbean Sea and it was time to head off to dinner.

Today’s towel animal is a swan just in case you can’t tell from the picture.

Until next time …