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We spent the December holidays visiting our family in Florida. It wasn't kayaking and sunbathing weather this time, but there wasn't a blizzard either, which is always a relief when Mike's visiting Florida.
We spent the first half of our trip in Tallahassee, then drove down to Merritt Island and Cocoa Beach for a few days. Enjoyed a little boating, a little shopping, a lot of visiting, and lot of seafood. It's always good to catch up with the people, places, and varieties of shellfish we don't see nearly often enough.
We were determined to enjoy our only sunny October weekend afternoon even if it killed us. Sure wore us out!
A couple of months of nice weather did not completely salvage our gardening year, but hardly anyone we know got ripe tomatoes so we were thankful we did. The farmer stand folks all seemed to agree that summer was mostly a rumor this year.
Kathi was slammed at work and hardly ventured outdoors for a few months. Once in a while, we did manage a little visiting, took a few walks, went to a couple of concerts, and finished up our projects, not pushing ourselves too hard.
We checked out the State Trail for Kathi's birthday weekend.
The garden is running late this year due to the un(s/r)easonably cool and wet "spring," but miraculously the tomatoes are thriving! And now that the days have finally warmed up, everything is growing fast, fast, fast. We've got zucchini, broccoli, carrots, beets, chard, and cucumbers ready to eat. Tomatoes are taking their sweet time....
Kathi is focusing on projects for the garden area this year because we can enjoy looking at our handiwork from the deck. Kathi tries to find projects that don't require Mike's assistance, since she will need it for the big one that remains.
What we've done so far:
In the queue:
...cue Elton John
Kathi's dear friend of many years, Nancy, passed away recently. She was also Sierra's honorary godmother. Most of her family members were in town at the time for a big reunion camping trip, and the rest of them headed up as soon as they heard the news. During a bittersweet and poignant week we reminisced about the many joyous, crazy, wonderful times we had with Nancy and the smiles she brought our way. We hosted a reception at our house after the memorial service. Summer heat finally arrived then, too.
We found these while looking through old photos recently. Nancy and her daughter Heather visited us shortly after we moved to Oregon in 1990. We went on one of our traveling adventures through the Gorge, to Mt. Hood, and to the coast. They had absolutely no idea at the time that they would both be living in Oregon one day.
They brought the heat with them, too. What is it with the Arizona folks bringing the triple-digit heat up this way when they visit? Could I talk one of you into staying at our house next spring so we can have a warm one???
Sandy, Robbie, Tyler, and Tanner Bell joined us in making history with our record-breaking spring deluges. The original plan was that Tyler, who just graduated from high school, wanted to snowboard on Mt. Hood as one of his graduation gifts. So Kathi obligingly arranged for a little fresh snow to make up for our warm, fairly dry winter. Things quickly got out of hand, though, making for very soggy travels and two months of Kathi whining about the weather.
Highlights of the trip were snowboarding at Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood and lounging around Pacific City on the coast, with sightseeing along the way. We planned for Mike to drive down with the boat and go crabbing and salmon fishing one day, but a big storm was forecast with gale-force winds and small-craft advisories. So Mike stayed home and we ended up having the nicest, sunniest day of the entire trip at the coast. Go figure.
Here are some photos from the Gorge (Multnomah Falls and Starvation Creek Falls), Mt. Hood, and the coast (Cape Kiwanda, Munson Falls, the Cape Meares lighthouse, and Cape Lookout State Park).
Kathi took a quick trip back to see her parents and friends and try to get a little head start on spring weather. The timing was perfect for enjoying spring flowers, and the sunshine could not have been more glorious.
Mike and Kathi traveled to the Mexican Riviera during February 7-14 on Royal Caribbean's Mariner of the Seas floating palace, which masquerades as an ordinary cruise ship. The boat departed from San Pedro, CA with three full days at sea and three ports of call.
Turns out that we missed seeing Mike's parents, Don and Marilyn, in our last port of call by only a couple of days, as they had been seeking relief from Montana snow (which returned as soon as we left after Christmas) with a little sunshine and beach time.
Highlights of the trip:
Photos are organized by activity or port:
The best weather of the trip was in Long Beach when we returned from our cruise. We basked in the 80 degree sunshine and enjoyed the marina, where the Queen Mary is docked. We can't be sure, but we sorta doubt the Queen Mary could match the amenities offered on Mariner of the Seas.
This boat seemed to have it all: a multi-story promenade where the party never stopped, shops, restaurants, library, ice rink, theaters, casino, art gallery, clubs, spa, fitness area, multi-level pool decks, hot tubs, track, video parlor, rock climbing wall, basketball court, mini golf course, roller blading track, Internet cafe, and complimentary printed entertainment directories featuring photos of Titanic stars Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio (for their calming effect?!?).
Pancho (and his pelican friend "Pollo," which means chicken, perhaps as in "tastes like...") ferried us over to the beach that straddles two seas: the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Cortez. With the calm side known as Lovers Beach and the turbulent side as Divorce Beach, we got two very different experiences on one beach. We preferred Divorce Beach because the surf was more interesting, whatever that says about our relationship.
We were not terribly impressed with this large city, but our taxi driver gave us a nice tour of the waterfront area, with its parks, vendors, and cliff divers. And yet another Pancho cooked up a batch of our favorite culinary oxymoron, jumbo shrimp! Pancho is turning out to be our lucky charm on this trip.
Morning rain dampened our arrival in this lovely town and kept us from our morning sightseeing, but in the afternoon we ascended to the forest canopy to try our hand at zip lines, suspension bridges, rapelling, and very unstable ladders. This was the highlight of our experiences in Mexico, and we look forward to spending more time in Puerto Vallarta in the future.
Looking for photos that used to be here? They've moved to the Archived Photos page.
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