Saturday, May 18, 2013

May 7 through 14th Yosemite, Sequoia, Kings Canyon National Parks, Manzanar National Monument

May 7 – we left CA and headed back to Pahrump where our motorhome was parked at the Moose club. We had made arrangements to have Cinder groomed after 3 weeks boarding at Animal House in Pahrump. I will tell you that what they considered groomed was NOT what we wanted. I got my money back, and after a very stinky night got Cinder into Lovable Pups, where they had to shave a lot of matts out of her, but when we got her back, she looked and smelled like our Cinder!

We enjoyed a Mexican dinner with Jim and Sharon Gutherie at El Jefe’s, and the food was excellent, as was the company on Thursday night, May 8th. On the 9th, the Moose club had a Fish N Shrimp Fry – it was excellent and two dinners for $12…what a deal!

On May 10th, we left Pahrump, drove a couple hundred miles and stopped for the night at Joy Land RV Resort in Tonopah. Do NOT ever stop there – first off they no longer accept Passport America, so it cost us $25 instead of $10, and it was the dirtiest, most unfriendly spot we’ve ever stayed at.

Sunday, May 11th, we headed on up the road, and stopped at the fairgrounds in Bishop, CA which is a place we highly recommend! The grounds are spotless, there are lots of places to walk, they are pet friendly and full hook ups for $25 a night. What a deal for CA!!! Mother’s Day dinner was at the Imperial Chinese restaurant.

We did get bad news this morning, our dear friend Ron Bernard passed away. Ron, no more pain, no more invasive anything – be at peace our friend, and know that you will forever be in our memories and thoughts.

We had several calls from Evelyn and Walker Lane telling us to come visit them…so, after some phone calls to determine that route 120 from Lee Vining across to Oakhurst/Coarsegold we took off Monday morning. It took us 7 hours to drive through Yosemite National Park. OMG – We’ve been through many national parks, however Yosemite knocked our socks off! Around every twisty turny curve, there were new exciting vistas to look at. I’ll post some pictures, but they simply do NOT do it justice!

We checked into a hotel in Oakhurst and took off to visit Walker and Evelyn. We were happy to find them very well and got a good tour of Coarsegold, an Escapee park. They took us to the Chucksani Casino for dinner, and it was excellent!

Monday, May 12th We drove up to Bass Lake where Cinder had a great time dancing around and sniffing all the pee mail :) Walker picked us up at 4 and we went to DiCicco’s for a simply amazing Italian meal! David and I shared an antipasto salad and a calzone – marvelous!

Tuesday, May 13th, We hit the road at 8 am, and drove down the San Joaquin valley to Sequoia National Park and Kings Canyon National Park. WOW – scenery overload again! We did get to see and touch many huge sequoia trees, including Sherman and the parade of generals. In the valley we stopped and got a 10 # bag of oranges for $2. We finally pulled into a La Quinta in Bakersfield CA at 6:30 pm, after an extremely awesome day. Again, pictures follow.

Wednesday, May 14th, We traveled up 395 back to Bishop to get the motorhome…and on our way, we passed a sign that said Manzanar National Monument…Of course we had to stop. It is an internment camp for Japanese Americans from Dec 7, 1941 through Oct 1945. It was a very emotional stop – got to talk to a man who was 79 years old and was imprisoned there from the time he was 7 until he was 11. WOW – how great that we happened to be there when he was, and he told us all about his family, what happened to them, and how it shaped their future. WE arrived back at the MH about 4, unpacked, and rested from an awesome week!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Hawaii Cruise

The time finally arrived – it was April 23rd.  We had a wonderful 3 days/nights with cousin Jill and her husband Jeff Swedo.  They took care of our every need and we visited some wonderful CA spots – one that was on my list was La Brea Tar Pits and museum – they were fantastic!  We also went to Knotts Berry Farm, and had a wonderful driving tour day all along the coast.  David and I went to San Diego and toured the USS Midway, an aircraft carrier.  Three incredibly busy fun filled days! 

Day 1 – Jill took us to the pier where we boarded the Star Princess.  The boarding process went smoothly, and since we were there by 11:30 am and our luggage was taken aboard we had it by 2, unpacked and put away by 2:30 and up on the promenade deck to watch us head to sea at 4 pm.  While we were sitting in the terminal waiting to board, we struck up a conversation with a man who had been on 8 cruises.  He told us when we got aboard to go immediately to the buffet and have lunch since our luggage would not be in our rooms until late.  We followed his advice and got our first look at the BUFFET…holy cow – the first of many wonderful meals!  We left on time and enjoyed our time on deck.  We had dinner at the buffet too since we were too tired to get dressed up for dinner!

Day 2 – Woke up and felt very queasy – we had breakfast delivered to our room at 8 am – pot of coffee, dish of melon/fruit, yogurt.  That was our usual early morning breakfast.  I felt a bit better after breakfast, so we went up on deck, only to find that the weather had turned nasty, cold and wet!  We stayed out as long as we could stand it, but finally gave up and went to the buffet…it was still breakfast (10:30) so we had  variety of breakfast foods and more great fresh fruit.  Went to Lido deck and watched the outdoor movie, Blue Hawaii, went to Brunch time Trivia, stopped at the Casino and made our donation (only time of the cruise).    David went to a Veteran’s get together in the afternoon and I napped.  Afternoon movie was Devil Wears Prada – had a light dinner and went to the stateroom early – still feeling a bit off.

Day 3 – Highlights – Onboard outlet sale – up to 75% off on apparel, accessories, souvenirs…spent an hour there and bought nothing!  Good Peggy!  Lunch was the Italian Trattoria Buffet – wonderful!  Wet, Wild & Wacky Pool games – Neptune’s Reef, Comedy Juggling in the Piazza, saw the movie Skyfall under the stars – magnificent!  Saw dolphins cavorting alongside the ship!  Had dinner for the first time at our ‘early dining table’.  Great experience, extremely attentive staff, intense food experience!  Sat with 3 other couple who turned out to be a real fun group!  They all had cruised many times so had lots of stories to tell!

Day 4 – lost my notes!!!  I know we were busy – and we went to the first ‘FORMAL NIGHT’…fantastic!

Day 5 – Arrived at the island of Kona.  Tendered to the island after breakfast – it was wonderful to walk around and see the amazing flowers and plants on this island!  We took a shuttle to Hilo Hatties a really cool island chain of all things Hawaiian.  Once again, I bought nothing!
We had pizza for dinner while we watched ‘Trouble with the Curve’ under the stars.  Cocktail of the day was Molokini Mai Tai – Bacardi Oakheart Rum, Amaretto, Pineapple Juice, Sweet & Sour, OJ and Grenadine…WOW!

Day 6 – Island of Kauai – port of Nawiliwili – this was a port stop, so no tender (boat).  We got off and caught a free shuttle to some shopping and beaching.  Gorgeous beach – water temp 78 and air temp 79…what can I say, it was amazing.

Day 7 – Island of Honolulu – we had signed up for a tour of the USS Arizona Memorial and driving tour of the island.  Our expectations were so high for the Memorial so of course we were disappointed.  I won’t go into it here, but if you ever go, do NOT book a tour.  Buy your tickets on-line and spend as much time as you want on the memorial.  The city tour was wonderful, we got to see the ‘Punch Bowl’ with all the history surrounding it – unfortunately we were not allowed off the bus for pictures. 

Day 8 – Island of Maui, port of Lahaina – once again a tender ride to the dock.  Beautiful island – please note that every single island is different – culture, flora, fauna, tourist traps…lol.  FINALLY bought some shirts…yaaay!  Movies under the stars:  Jack Reacher.

Day 9 -   Back at sea – much to do!  Every day there are lots of things – like:  Scholarship@Sea where they teach Hawaiian Culture, lei making, etc.  Bad Hair Days (seminar), Zumba Fitness, Knitters and Natters, Sudoku Challenge, Bible Study, Slot Tournaments, Relieve Pain through Acupuncture, Jackpot Bingo, Ladies Pamper Hour, Advance Photography Seminar, Cruise Cult Classics – Country & Western Night, The Beatles Hour, Lots of Fun Band, and too many others to list.  You go do what you want to do…there is always something going on if you want to join!

Day 10 – More of the same!  Saw a whale – watched The Hobbit under the stars – line dancing, attended Grapevine Wine Tasting – 5 wines with munchies – YUM! 

Day 11 – Afternoon movie O’Dark Thirty – excellent!  Dinner was cheeseburgers in Paradise – with great fries!  Cocktail of the day:  Hawaiian Tropics – Coconut Rum, Banana Liqueur, Melon Liqueur, Pineapple Juice, sweet N sour – once again WOW!

Day 12 – Afternoon tea – what a blast!  Lots of dainty little sandwiches and the pastries…wow, glad I didn’t do this one sooner! 

Day 13 – woke up with fever and sore throat…dang it!!!  achy all over – started antibiotics…had our last room service breakfast, got our stuff all packed (it had to be outside our stateroom door by 8 pm), we did go to dinner – early to bed

Day 14 – Disembark – went smoothly!  We were off the boat by 10:15 and back at Jill’s house by 11:30 – off loaded out of her van into our car and was on the road by noon – made it back to Pahrump by 4.  Wonderful trip!  Last day David got up with the stomach bug…I had a terrible head cold but no more fever…now we need to get well! 
We had a marvelous time and here are some pictures in no particular order!