Transatlantic Cruise, Italy, Spain, and the Azores

The Crown Princess

The Crown Princess

Setting sail into the sunset on this beautiful ship.  The first thing we did was explore all the decks, finding some favorite spots.  There were five swimming pools.  My favorite was the Sanctuary Pool.  They had the cushiest lounges.

The Sanctuary Pool

The Sanctuary Pool

Our first port-of-call was Livorno.  There had been severe storms in northern Italy, so this port was substituted for Genoa.  Our tour of the Cinque Terre was canceled.  A mudslide had divided one of the towns in two up there!  We took a lovely tour to the center of Tuscany.

The Tuscan Hills

The Tuscan Hills

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We explored San Gimignano, and walked through the village up to an old fort, where the views of the countryside were spectacular.  It was drizzling just a little, so I bought an umbrella (cost three euros).

 

In the market at San Gimignano

In the market at San Gimignano

Lovely display.  One of their specialties is artisanal Parma ham.

Lovely display.            One of their specialties is artisanal Parma ham.

Enjoying creme brulee gelato

Enjoying creme brulee gelato

"Do not pet the pig"

“Do not pet the pig”

It gets my vote for the best ice cream!

It gets my vote for the best ice cream!

We spent some euros here!

We spent some euros here!

Samples - delicious!

Samples – delicious!

Walking the narrow streets in San Gimignano

Walking the narrow streets in San Gimignano

We had lunch at a winery where the owner’s niece told of their history and explained wine-making over the centuries.

Grapess at a 300 year old vineyard.

Grapes at a 300-year-old vineyard.

Our tour took us to Pisa and Livorno.

The Leaning Tower of Pisa

The Leaning Tower of Pisa

Livorno, Italy

Livorno, Italy

The following day, we were scheduled for Toulon, France (Provence), but the storms were too bad to put into port, so we got an additional day at sea.  I loved our sea days!

Enjoying a peaceful place on the cruise ship.

Enjoying a peaceful place on the cruise ship.

The setting sun, showing stormclouds near France.

The setting sun, showing stormclouds near France.

There were nice teak chairs with cushions on the Promenade deck.  We enjoyed being outside even when it was a bit chilly!

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Sunshine and warm in Barcelona!

We took a hop-on-hop-off bus tour of Barcelona.

We took a hop-on-hop-off bus tour of Barcelona.

Beautiful and interesting architecture

Beautiful and interesting architecture

Our tour took us up the hillside where the Olympics took place, then down through avenues in town, past historical and beautiful buildings.

Sights along our tour

Sights along our tour

Getting off at the top of Las Ramblas, we learned we had to find a place to eat in order to take advantage of the water closets.  We bypassed Starbucks and McDonalds and found a fantastic little restaurant serving tapas.

Tapas, yum!

Tapas, yum!
The menu was on the table, with pictures!

The menu was on the table, with pictures!

We rambled down Las Ramblas, admiring the flower stalls and shops.

We got off at the top of Las Ramblas and walked down to the Columbus Statue.

We got off at the top of Las Ramblas and walked down to the Columbus Statue.

There were people dressed up like statues.  And the best find of all:

We got a cup with mixed olives, and continued our walk, munching away!

We got a cup with mixed olives, and continued our walk, munching away!

La Boqueria, a huge market along Las Ramblas.

La Boqueria, a huge market along Las Ramblas.

We bought a delicious coconut strawberry smoothie in the market for one euro!

We met our bus, to get to our cruise shuttle, at the bottom of Las Ramblas.

Columbus Statue in Barcelona

Columbus Statue in Barcelona

Passing by the Rock of Gibraltar, we enjoyed three lovely sea days before arriving at the Azores.

Formal Night

Formal Night

We were served canapes in our stateroom as we prepared for our first formal night.

We were served canapes in our stateroom as we prepared for our first formal night.

The first day was a bit rocky.  Denis wore his sea bands and was just fine.  I love to be rocked to sleep, so I liked it.  At dinner, you couldn’t even tell it was rough (no sloshing in the water glasses!); there are such good stabilizing systems on these cruise ships.

Relaxing at the aft pool.

Relaxing at the aft pool.

Because it was a bit rough, the pool and hot tubs were covered with netting.

View of Ponta Delgada, Azores, from the cruise ship.

View of Ponta Delgada, Azores, from the cruise ship.

Furnas Lake

Furnas Lake

The beautiful Azores!  Instead of crossing these lovely islands off my bucket list, I’ve added “I want to go back!”

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The first village we visited, right on the ocean.

The first village we visited, right on the ocean.

We wound up the hills to an overlook of the Furnas Valley.

Hydrangeas bloom prolifically around the island.

Hydrangeas bloom prolifically around the island.

One of the many geothermal areas beside the lake in the Furnas Valley

One of the many geothermal areas beside the lake in the Furnas Valley

Then we drove to the bottom of the valley, where we walked through a botanical garden and then went to a geothermal area, with bubbling pots and steaming hot springs.

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Botanical Gardens

Botanical Gardens

Hot Springs with iron and minerals

Hot Springs with iron and minerals

Geothermal areas in the Furnas Valley

Geothermal areas in the Furnas Valley

The water was fizzy, and tasted a bit strange, but not bad.

The water was fizzy and tasted a bit strange, but not bad.

Goodbye….. or should we say “until we return?!”

Goodbye to the Azores from our ship.

Goodbye to the Azores from our ship.

Six fantastic sea days.  Wonderful to settle into shipboard life!

The first day, the captain announced we would be experiencing some ‘rocking and pitching’.  Again, it was not bad (in my opinion), but they emptied the pools!  Oh well, only a day, then we headed directly southwest, with the weather warming up day by day.  The pools and hot tubs were refilled, and I’d love to do this again!

We enjoyed the entertainment in the evening, in the theater and movies-under-the-stars.  Sometimes, we just relaxed in our stateroom too!

The entertainment was spectacular.  This was a musical.

The entertainment was spectacular. This was a musical.

Our last day at sea, we decided to treat each other to a half day in this special place.  So we were there, bright and early at 8 a.m. and enjoyed the chaise lounges, lemon water, sauna, hot tub, and pool until noon.

My view from the Sanctuary

My view from the Sanctuary

Denis in the Crown Princess Sanctuary

Denis in the Crown Princess Sanctuary

Celebrating our anniversary early!

Celebrating our anniversary early!

Now, this is what I love!

Now, this is what I like!

Our fourteen-day crossing came to an end in Fort Lauderdale, where we had the day to enjoy before flying to Orlando, getting our van, and driving home.

Enjoyed a water tour of Fort Lauderdale while we waited for our flight.

Enjoyed a water tour of Fort Lauderdale while we waited for our flight.

Friends were boarding the Royal Princess as we disembarked from our cruise, docked right next to them!

Friends were boarding the Royal Princess as we disembarked from our cruise, docked right next to them!

As always, we love our return home too!

Antelope welcome us home!

Antelope welcome us home!

And we had to get home by Thanksgiving, where we enjoyed family time with Denis’ cousins in Denver.

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Iceland, England, and Rome

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After enjoying some Florida sunshine, we boarded our overnight flight from Orlando to Iceland.  We took a few naps, I watched a movie or two, but the absolute highlight of this flight was flying over Greenland.  There was a full moon, and it was shining on the beautiful rivers of ice and mountains.  At one place, all the mountains looked like they were slanting at an angle.  It was surreal.  My camera couldn’t capture the beauty!

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We headed out in the dark at 8 a.m., hauling our luggage, to the Blue Lagoon.

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A huge warm pool, and very blue in color. There was a bar at one end, lots of different pools, and bridges to swim or walk under.  It rained a little, so Denis sheltered under a bridge for a while.  I didn’t care about getting my hair wet, as it was already.  They recommended putting conditioner in your hair before getting in the pool, so I had a wet head full of conditioner!

Nice recliners for napping!

Nice recliners for napping!

There was a nice Sauna too, but you couldn’t take your towel, because the only way to get there was up and down some stairs, in and out of pools. Our luggage went into storage, and we had a wristband that locked our lockers and charged whatever we wanted (like coffee for Denis!).  We each got a free fruit smoothie from the pool bar.

going through a cave on our way to the sauna

going through a cave on our way to the sauna

We took advantage of being able to stay as long as we wanted and found the ‘relaxation room’.  These were lounge chairs that only had two positions.  All the way laying back or sitting up.  We took a good nap there. Afterward, we took the bus back to the airport, then the shuttle to our hotel.  There was a good restaurant right across the parking lot, and I had fish (haddock) and chips.  Denis had a different baked fish (haddock) dish.  Tasty (but not as good as the fish and chips we had later in England!)

 

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The next day, we took a Golden Circle tour on a small mini-bus.  Only seven of us, so we had a couple of extra stops.  First, we pulled into a black sand beach.  Haven’t walked on one of those since Hawaii!

Denis had to put his foot into the North Atlantic ocean.

Denis had to put his foot into the North Atlantic ocean.

We saw waterfalls and waterfalls.  Snowy mountains.

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Not too many trees.  The Icelandic horses are short, stocky and according to the tour guide “thick skinned” (he meant thick hair!).

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The sheep have very long thick hair.

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We saw a geyser shoot up a couple of times in a Yellowstone-like area, and then stopped for ice cream at a dairy farm.  Very creamy, and first we got to see the little calves and milking parlor.

ice cream flavors

ice cream flavors

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About 40% of electric and heat are from geothermal plants.

About 40% of electric and heat are from geothermal plants.

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Walked up a trail to get to this last waterfall.  Gorgeous!  And the water splashing on the rocks was forming ice.  Won’t be long until it’s frozen solid, I’d imagine!

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We got to crawl down a ladder into a lava tube cave.  Iceland is covered with lava!

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Up early for our flight to London. Snow!!!

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Denis was hot to the touch (running a high fever), so anxious to get to England.  Tossed Tylenol his way, and off we went!  WOW airlines is nothing to rave about (that’s all I’ll say!) We caught our train from Gatwick, with two changes on our way north to Telford.  Denis was feeling better, and able to haul our luggage from train to train.  Coffee helped!

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The first cattle we saw were banded Galloways!

Just leaving the second station (north end of London), I was at the window, and very close to me, I saw a cougar (puma, mountain lion) posing right on the hillside!  I googled it later, and it is very rare to see one in England, although there had been reported sightings, including pictures, in the past couple of years.

 

Judy & Lyle's house in Telford, England

Judy & Lyle’s house in Telford, England

Lyle and Judy picked us up at the train station and took us to supper.  We ate out several times and enjoyed tasty English food.  Found out I love ginger beer!

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The next day, we experienced National Health Care.  Called a number and the nurse called back.  Told how we were visiting friends here and needed to get antibiotics (per Denis’ cardiologist – a fever needs antibiotics). Described symptoms, they made an appointment.  We arrived at the Saturday clinic, buzzed the door, announced our name, and they let us in.  Met us in the hall, asking us to have a seat.  All the information they wanted they had gotten over the phone and there was NO paperwork!!!  Had a bit of a wait, but not longer than in the U.S. most of the time. The Urgent Care provider spent quite a bit of time examining and talking with Denis (seemed quite more thorough than in the U.S.).  His temperature was back to normal, so advised to only take antibiotics if his fever came back, got a prescription, went to a pharmacy.  No waiting line, checked a box, stating he was 60 years or over (free prescriptions), had his antibiotics in 15 minutes.  Smooth, quality health care.  We were impressed!  Now we could go on with our adventures!  Denis was feeling better already!

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View of their backyard, and from our window early the next morning.

 

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Lyle and Judy have a lovely house, converted with a lift from the living room to their bedroom on the second floor.

Lyle had a stroke 5 years ago and is pretty much paralyzed on his left side.  He is the most entertaining Irish man, can tell stories, and quote poems, and sing too!  He is from Belfast, so one day we got Google earth on our computer, and found the Ellis Island records for my grandfather, and got his address in Belfast.  Then we looked at the street.  The street was there, and the old original flats, but the end one was gone, which would have been my grandfather’s home.  Lyle said it was probably destroyed in “the blitz”.

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Example of an English cottage, along our drive.  Beautiful country to drive through.

IMG_1243Us in Judy’s kitchen.

We had such special days with them. Sunday, we went to his daughter’s for meeting, and right afterward, she brought out a beautiful tea service and served us tea and biscuits.  Then we had lunch there, home to rest a bit, then drove about an hour westward for a mission meeting.  It was on the border of Wales.  I was sitting in the left front seat, with Judy in the driver’s seat on the right, and driving on the left side of the road.  Lots of roundabouts, and borderline heart failure on my part. Denis was in the back seat right side, left seat removed, and Lyle in his electric chair that rolls in on a ramp and locks in.  He was the navigator!

our menu Sunday evening

our menu on Sunday evening

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We visited Mandy, one of their caregivers, in her cottage built in 1460!  Inside was quite small, with cross-beams.  The yard in the back went up a hillside with a picnic area.  So unique and ancient!

Judy and Mandy and tea

Judy and Mandy and tea

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Backyard of Mandy's cottage, built in 1460.

Backyard of Mandy’s cottage, built in 1460.

She said goodbye to us with “Just pop in the next time you are here!”  That’s English.  They do a lot of popping in!

The countryside became quite rural, pastured hills with sheep, fall colors, and narrow roads through quaint villages.

Afterward, we had supper (chicken, ham and leek pot pie – very English!) at a lovely country inn.  Brick with ivy growing up the sides.  Inside tables around an open fire, and a few friendly fellows up at the bar chatting with all of us (one had his little dog with him).

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We were treated royally.  One of their caregivers served us lovely suppers, we were on our own for breakfast, which Denis made for us.  Lyle and Judy have so much energy!  They took us to museums, and along the River Severn, the old Iron Bridge, and historical industrial area.  The Coalport museum was where they made china.  The kilns were huge, and we learned all about the process, including seeing the materials that went into china.  I didn’t know bone china had bone in it!

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We also explored Wroxeter, an old Roman City.

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IMG_1411Sheep grazing next to the old Roman city.

 

Toured Attingham Park, and 18th-century mansion:

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We visited the first cast iron bridge in the world, over the River Severn.

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So many beautiful sights, old homes, and scenes.  The Shropshire area is absolutely breath-taking (especially when traffic is coming at you on the wrong side of the street!)  Just joking.  I got used to it, and felt quite comfortable with Judy’s driving and Lyle’s navigating!  We stopped for tea at historical old inns and drove beautiful country roads.

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Five days later, off on the trains again – this time four trains.  What an adventure!

Having fun on the trains!

Having fun on the trains!

We got our ticket from the machine with our reservation number and credit card and felt quite confident when there were only two platforms, and we could read the time of the next train.  We only had 6 minutes to switch at the second stop, so some young folks told us we could catch an earlier train.  That was nice, and we did that, so we had about a half hour (time to use the toilet ((as it’s called in England))… not restroom).  The second train no problem.

Next transfer we had to go from platform one all the way to 15, and no signs we saw, so asked an employee.  The train was sitting there so we hopped on and it took off.  Looked at the reader board, and it did not say the next station we were supposed to be going to!

Off at the next station and figured out how to get back to where we were supposed to be.  Got back there, and of course, had missed our connection.  Asked around.  That station did not have very good reader boards!  We did get on the next train and knew what time we had to catch the following connection.  Well, there was a delay on the tracks, and we arrived at the same minute that train was leaving, so then we had to find the next train.  We got it.  Good thing we allowed LOTS of time.  Did I mention this was midnight on Halloween???!!!

Gatwick airport had a nice couch area for us to sit at, and even lay down, because our flight wasn’t for hours.  Then our flight kept having gate changes, and finally, we found the right gate and took off only an hour late.  Which made us almost late for our train reservation from the Rome airport into downtown Rome, but we make it!

Arrived at our hotel, a very short walk from the train terminal, only to find out they had closed the upper levels due to leaking – there had been really bad storms – but they’d booked us at a nicer boutique hotel – only it was about 5 blocks away – and by now, it had started to rain torrents!  Luckily, Denis had gotten a new suitcase when we went shopping in Telford and discarded his old carryon that had a broken handle, and not very good wheels.  His was the only non-cloth luggage, and all our other luggage got wet as we were escorted with an umbrella through the pouring rain!

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The hotel room was two floors (like an open loft), so all the railings had damp clothes strung out to dry!

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The rain had let up so found a very nice restaurant and had pizza and pasta.  The next day, we took a hop-on-hop-off tour and saw Rome from the top deck, and toured the Forum, Palatine Hill, walked up Capitoline Hill, and the Coliseum.

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The Roman Forum was our favorite of all we saw in Rome, and we walked and walked!

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We stumbled across a little restaurant near our hotel and had a fabulous dinner, bread with several toppings, and the best rib steak served with lemon.

Weather:  5 degrees Centigrade in Iceland was the warmest.  We bundled up in two layers of jackets, earmuffs, and mittens.  Up to 8 degrees in England, still dressed warm, and I wore leggings under my skirt.  Rome was the upper 60’s  F!  Down to one light jacket, which we occasionally removed.

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Walked to the train station and had a lovely ride up to Cevittechia (sp), the Rome cruise terminal.  So nice, we took off our jackets and strolled along the harbor to the shuttle stop, where we got on a bus to the ship.  Sunny and 71 degrees!

Next, sailing off into the sunset on our 14-day transatlantic cruise on the Crown Princess!

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Gettysburg, Washington DC and Mt. Vernon….then south!

We enjoyed a free night at the Comfort Inn in Mt. Pocono.  The pool and hot tub were enjoyable, and we were ready to leave after our free breakfast (I call it free, but we earned points over a few years!)

Leaving the foggy mountain area, the first mistake we made was entering the Pennsylvania Turnpike at an E-ZPass only entrance.  Suffice it to say that I worked for the next week on the phone and the internet before getting it settled!

Scrapple and local eggs for breakfast - yum yum!

Scrapple and local eggs for breakfast – yum yum!

Our first stop was at Heintzelman’s Meat Market in Leighton, Pennsylvania.  Denis was looking for scrapple, and they make their own.  We were given lots of samples, and came out with fresh local brown eggs, Lebanon Bologna (pronounced  “Leb’-non ba-lo-na” per friends we met from that area), which is so tasty (kind of a bit like salami, but sweet and oh so good!), scrapple (of course), their own bologna ring, and fabulous Smoked Cooper Muenster cheese.  Ready to pull out a $30 bill, we were so surprised we got it all for just over $8!

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After sampling shoofly pie and chicken corn soup, found a nice RV park and enjoyed a quiet evening before heading out to explore the Pennsylvania Dutch country and took a Farm Tour.

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Street scene near Bird-In-Hand

Street scene near Bird-In-Hand

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Portable chicken coop!  What a unique idea, pull it around with the tractor, spreading your chicken manure automatically around the fields!

Portable chicken coop. What a unique idea, pull it around with the tractor, spreading your chicken manure automatically around the fields!

Lancaster Pennsylvania Amish Farm

Lancaster Pennsylvania Amish Farm

Amish School House: typically about 30 children attend these schools scattered throughout the countryside. They only attend through eighth grade, then a girl at 16 can become an assistant, then teach at age 18.

Amish School House: typically about 30 children attend these schools scattered throughout the countryside. They only attend through eighth grade, then a girl at 16 can become an assistant, then teach at age 18.

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38,000 Amish in the area, so saw plenty of buggies, and teams or horses working in the fields.  On the farm tour, we stopped at a store, where I got a doll and homemade root beer.

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We went to a beautiful farm and got ice cream.  Best and creamiest ever – from Jerseys.

Lapp family dairy farm milk bottling operation

Lapp family dairy farm milk bottling operation

We learned that when the Amish buy a tractor, they have one year to change out the rubber tires for metal tires. We learned lots of things.  Our tour guide talked non-stop for a couple of hours!

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After stuffing ourselves at a Smorgasbord, we headed south for Gettysburg.  After getting information at the Visitor’s center, we drove through the National Historical Park.

Gettysburg National Military Park

Gettysburg National Military Park

On to Greenbelt Park in Maryland, our home while we explored the DC area.

Our home for eight nights in Greenbelt Park (National Park Campground near Washington DC)

Our home for eight nights in Greenbelt Park (National Park Campground near Washington DC)

Our first task was to get our Senior Metro card.  A nice employee gave us a free pass to the Metro Central station in DC where we got our pass and explored the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.  We hit most of the memorials and walked our socks off the first two days.

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Walked from the Jefferson Monument around the Tidal Basin past the FDR Monument.

Smithsonian Natural History Museum

Smithsonian Natural History Museum

The Hope Diamond

The Hope Diamond

The Viet Nam Veterans' Memorial Wall

The Viet Nam Veterans’ Memorial Wall

Walking back to the metro Saturday, we noticed the street in front of us was closed off by police, and the whole block patrolled by bicycle officers.  Walking a little further, noticed a helicopter on the south lawn of the White House.
President Trump is in the helicopter heading right for us!

President Trump is in the helicopter heading right for us!

Sunday was a special day heading north for our morning church meeting, then across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and down to the Maritime Museum.  When we arrived a boat tour on the Patriot was heading out so we grabbed our coats and hopped on.

Beautiful homes along the river on our boat tour

Beautiful homes along the river on our boat tour

Denis checks a crab pot

Denis checks a crab pot

 

Soft-shelled crabs at the Crab Claw Restaurant

Soft-shelled crabs at the Crab Claw Restaurant

Monday, thinking this was our day for our White House tour, we got up at 5 am, drove (about 2 miles) to the metro station, and were outside the White House visitors center before they opened.  We had the date wrong, so walked to Ford’s theater and got a tour there, the highlight being a park ranger presenting a one-man story of President Lincoln’s assassination.

Upper right was where President Lincoln was assassinated. The original picture of President Washington was where Lincoln had placed it.

Upper right was where President Lincoln was assassinated.
The original portrait of President Washington was where Lincoln had placed it.

We found a fabulous French bakery and enjoyed a break munching on a baguette.

The museum of the Bible was recommended by a friend, and so glad we visited!

I couldn't read it, but enjoyed seeing the old Bible scrolls.

I couldn’t read it but enjoyed seeing the old Bible scrolls.
The Museum of the Bible.

The Museum of the Bible.

Such an interesting display of old bibles.

Such an interesting display of old bibles.

5 am the next morning, we were ready with our invitation, ID, and not much else in our pockets (no purses or bags allowed).  Interesting process to get into the White House.  Our names were on an invitation list, and that was shown to get into the line, and twice after that with our ID.  After that, two security areas (like TSA), and finally, we could walk through the public area at our own pace.  Security people were everywhere and acted as guides and experts to ask questions.

Deanne and Denis in the White House!

Deanne and Denis in the White House!

Back to the French bakery for a baguette break, and the DC Circulator bus to the Capital for our tour there.  That security took the last of our baguette (thankfully we’d already scarfed most of it!).  T0ured there, which was so interesting, then took the tunnel to the Library of Congress which was beautiful.  Also saw Thomas Jefferson’s library.

Capital Building Washington DC

Capital Building Washington DC

Thomas Jefferson's Library

Thomas Jefferson’s Library

People working in the Library of Congress

People working in the Library of Congress

Beautiful ceiling and pillars in the Library of Congress

Beautiful ceiling and pillars in the Library of Congress

The following day we took the Metro to Arlington Cemetery, then a bus tour, where we arrived at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier two minutes before the changing of the guard, so got to see that.  We got off at the Kennedy memorial and walked to section 60, where we visited the grave site of Annette’ s brother-in-law.

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Arlington National Cemetery

Arlington National Cemetery

President Kennedy's memorial, the eternal flame, and Robert E Lee's home

President Kennedy’s memorial, the eternal flame, and Robert E Lee’s home

Weather was fantastic.  A little drizzle on Monday, but other than that some clouds in the morning a couple of days, but cleared off so nicely every day.

Our last day, we were done with all the museums and monuments we could take in.  We did laundry, I went to a gym, we filled with propane, visited the Post Office, had lunch out, and were back to our campsite ready to enjoy the afternoon in our gravity recliners, topping it off with a walk through the woods.

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A leisurely morning, waiting for the peak traffic to let up, and we were southward bound!  Arrived at Mt. Vernon when they opened and enjoyed a very well-done movie about George Washington.  We walked the grounds, down to the wharf, through the old gardens, barn, and then went on a tour through the Mansion.  Fascinating and a beautiful view of the Potomac River.

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In the garden at Mt. Vernon

In the garden at Mt. Vernon

View of the Potomac River from the front porch of the Mansion at Mt. Vernon

View of the Potomac River from the front porch of the Mansion at Mt. Vernon

South, south, and more southing……… saw some damage from the hurricanes along the freeway in North Carolina and South Carolina, and were happy to get back into sandals as the temperature climbed.  After 87 degrees, we were happy to arrive at Denis’ cousin in Ormond Beach Florida and hook up to Air Conditioning!  This morning dawned beautiful and sunny and with a cooler forecast.

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We will enjoy a couple days of 75 degrees before heading for Iceland, England, and Rome!

 

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Thousand Islands, Acadia National Park and to the Poconos

Leaving beautiful Niagara Falls, we traveled east along the south shore of Lake Ontario, crossing the Thousand Island bridge into Canada.

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Feeling this is our best campsite ever, we enjoyed Ivy Lea campground, one of the Parks of the St. Lawrence.

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On a small peninsula, our view from our campsite of the bridge at sunrise, and a short walk behind us was a view of the sunset.

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Just as we were enjoying the sunrise from our gravity recliners on the shore, a little otter popped up to say ‘good morning’!

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On to Montreal, and explorations of several ancestral areas on Denis’ side.  Les Cedres, then a ferry to Oka and tour of the cemetery was interesting, as well as a stop at the bibliotheque (library) in Vaudreuil where we found marriage records.  When we arrived at the river in front of St. Denis, there was a single car ferry sitting.  We thought there’d be a bridge!  But we just drove on and they took us right over, where there was a cemetery at a church where the battle took place. We spent the night on a quiet street in Marieville before driving to Chambry for the bus to Montreal.

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Next day after we arrived at the main terminal in town, we took the subway to the Hop on Hop off tour of the city, after a scrumptious breakfast that included a caramel apple crepe.

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Heading south across the border, we crossed Lake Champlain to an island, and drove down the island, across New York, Vermont (gas, oil change, post office, and propane),

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and New Hampshire on the backroads, enjoying the fall colors, and getting a little tired of the twisty windy roads!

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Into Maine and Acadia National Park, where we had two nights at Blackwood Campground.  We arrived in pouring rain and went right for our first lobster dinner!

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Then thought we got lost.  So many one way roads, and confusing signs.  But we made it and were glad to hunker down in our van.  The rain quit the next day, but it stayed overcast and cool during our visit. We took a short hike to the shoreline, then parked in town and walked along the waterfront at Bar Harbor.  We had a luscious crabcake with caesar salad at a waterfront restaurant. Denis found blueberry donuts (a couple of times!)

On Cadillac Mountain

On Cadillac Mountain

 

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This picture was taken on the shoreline, just a short walk from our camp.

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Our second day dawned nice enough we decided to take a ferry to the Schoodic Peninsula.  A free shuttle drove us around, and there were a couple locals on the bus discussing the leaves.  Seems we are at about 50% color.  I think I heard a comment like “and at 100% color, they are all on the ground!” We had lunch in a nice cafe, then walked back to the ferry landing.  We stayed below on the way back for the first part of the trip, then saw harbor seals! We came back to a dead battery because we’d left our lights on, and Denis jumped us with our house battery!

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On the top deck of the ferry.

On the top deck of the ferry.

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Harbor Seals

Harbor Seals

Staying along the coast on Highway 1, we meandered on down to Camden State Park. We were parked registering when a giant motorhome came in on the wrong side of the entry booth.  They asked him to park over where we were, and he couldn’t do it, so they said just to pull forward.  He scraped the top of the building.  The lady who was helping me said “Holy Cripes”, and the other guy went out and looked and said “not too much damage”, then looked over at the motorhome, and the poor guy had gotten out and tripped over a big rock and was on the ground.  Denis went to see if he needed help and he didn’t.  He was not having a good day!  I am so happy to have our little 19-foot Roadtrek!

Early morning walk from our campsite at Camden State Park

Early morning walk from our campsite at Camden State Park

We drove to the top of Mt. Battie, where there were 360 degree views.  Beautiful; and looked down on the little town of Camden.

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On to Boothbay Harbor, and first a stop at the Fish Market.  We bought fresh picked lobster meat (for a couple yummy meals) and a stuffed haddock rolled up around shrimp, scallop and crab.  I cooked that in butter, and oh, was that yummy.  We had lobster for lunch and supper for several days.  Fresh steamed whole lobster, lobster bisque, lobster rolls, lobster and cheese sandwich, and lobster casserole.  We also enjoyed a delicious crab cake in Bar Harbor, and clam chowder a couple of times.  We had a blueberry crepe and blueberry pie and Maine blueberry homemade ice cream.  Yum yum.

On top of Mt. Battie, Camden State Park

On top of Mt. Battie, Camden State Park

Waiting for our lobster sandwich and clam chowder.

Waiting for our lobster sandwich and clam chowder at the Blue Moon Cafe.

 

Sunshine means an ice cream sundae bar!

Sunshine means an ice cream sundae bar!

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Our spot for the night was at Sagahadoc Bay.  Very quiet, and the tide goes way out, so it’s a clamming place, not a deepwater port.

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Camping at Sagahadoc Campground, Maine

Camping at Sagahadoc Campground, Maine

On to Wells.  Imagine our surprise, when the Historical Society front door was locked, but we went around to the back, and they let us in when we said Denis’ ancestor was Edmund Littlefield.  The lady said “Our Town Father”!  He was one of the founding people of the town, putting up some mills, after arriving from England in 1637.  She was excited to meet Denis, and they exchanged cards.  Wants him to write an article for their newspaper about the book he is writing centered on this ancestral line. She gave us a tour, and informational lecture, then led us upstairs to the library and pulled out several books about the family.  There are lots of Littlefields still there and have large books from reunions, but not from the boy who was captured by the Indians and taken to Canada, who is Denis’ ancestor.

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Scenes along the roads:

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On to Lexington, where we saw the Battle Green, the cemetery with lots of old markers.  Then we found the visitor’s center, and enjoyed a movie, with special effects.  Kind of like a mix of live theater and movie.  We learned about the background and buildup to the battle and Paul Revere’s ride after two candles were lit in the church tower.

Original burial spot of the Minute Men killed at Lexington

Original burial spot of the Minute Men killed at Lexington

Battle Green:  where the Minute Men were killed

Battle Green: where the Minute Men were killed

Leaving the coast of Maine, and what a beautiful place that is!  We crossed through New Jersey and New York and on into Pennsylvania.  We drove down the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, stopping to hike into Raymondskill Falls.

Raymondskill Falls

Raymondskill Falls

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The Delaware River from the overlook.

The Delaware River from the overlook.

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Finding a trailhead (back on the New Jersey side) for the Appalachian Trail, we hiked up to a lookout.  That trail was NOT easy!

 

At Tobyhanna State Park in the Poconos

At Tobyhanna State Park in the Poconos

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Tobyhanna Lake

Tobyhanna Lake

Now we are poking our noses around the Pokonos!

Tobyhanna Lake  Picnic Area

Tobyhanna Lake Picnic Area
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From Mackinaw to Niagara Falls

After four special days at Hunter, North Dakota with friends and family, we began our trek eastward.  New shocks all around smoothed our journey considerably!  Found our Walmart overnight spot easily just past Duluth into Superior.  Shopped there (we like to reward those who welcome us for the night!), then enjoyed the scenery along the south shore of Lake Superior.

Dipping a toe into Lake Superior

Dipping a toe into Lake Superior

Tasty Pasties on the Upper Penninsula.  Dropping down to the north shore of Lake Michigan, which was just as spectacular, and drove through sand dunes!

Pasties!

Pasties!

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What a lovely view from our home for the night, Straits State Park at St. Ignace, Michigan!

Our Campsite at Straits State Park at St. Ignace

Our Campsite at Straits State Park at St. Ignace

Took the Star Line fast ferry (18 minutes) to Mackinac Island.  The French, north of the bridge, kept the spelling Mackinac, pronounced Mackinaw.  South of the bridge it’s both pronounced and spelled Mackinaw.

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On the carriage ride, we trotted through town, past old houses and museums, and up the hill to the Grand Hotel.

The Grand Hotel

The Grand Hotel

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We explored a bit at Surrey Hill, especially enjoying the carriage museum.

 

Belgian draft horses are so tall!

Belgian draft horses are so tall!

On our way back to town, we passed old cemeteries and the governor’s summer home.

The Governor's Summer Home

The Governor’s Summer Home

What a beautiful experience and the sun broke through and shined on us!

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North for the night at a casino at Sault Ste Marie.  Our first try at camping at casinos.  We liked it!  There were a free washer and dryer in the shower house (three loads of laundry), and I got to use the hotel pool and hot tub, which were magnificent!

Inside waterfall in the casino on my hike to the pool

Inside waterfall in the casino on my hike to the pool

Had the pool and hot tub to myself at the casino hotel!

Had the pool and hot tub to myself at the casino hotel!

The rain misted, then cleared off to sunny skies again during our Soo Locks Boat Tour.

Going through the American Locks

Going through the American Locks

Large Steel Factory

Large Steel Factory

The Canadian Locks

The Canadian Locks

And over the international toll bridge to Canada!  Reminder to self:  be prepared with Canadian cash!

Another beautiful drive along the north shore of another Great Lake, Lake Huron.  We found French River Trading Post, where Denis has his ancestor, Pierre (in The Voyager) canoeing down the river to the lake.

The closest free overnight Walmart was at Perry Sound, a nice quiet spot for our night, then off to the Barrie South metro station for our day in Toronto!

South Barrie Metro Station

South Barrie Metro Station

After exploring near Union Station, we asked for directions for the Hop On Hop Off bus stop, hiked back and hopped on.

 

This tour comes with a boat tour of the inner harbor.  Crossed the pedestrian Amsterdam Bridge (Toronto’s sister city gifted them with the bridge), we boarded and took off around the lake, to a private island and yacht club, passed the airport and along the shoreline.

Walked to a shop for Beaver Tails.  The sun came out and we munched our treat sitting on Adirondack chairs at the edge of the water. Many toppings to choose from, and we picked one with hazelnut spread, Reese’s pieces, and peanut butter.

Next stop, St. Lawrence Market, voted the best in the world by National Geographic. Terrific sandwich they specialize in, Peameal bacon sandwich.  Yum yum.

Onto the HOHO bus and off to explore the Cork and Distillery area, where the Irish worked at making whiskey, which was preferred over water since their water in the old days was unclean and they’d had cholera there.

Up to the castle, and through the University and Art district.  I was impressed with Discovery Avenue in the medical district.  They have research there, in fact, discovered insulin.  One of the largest children’s hospitals too.

 

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Departure Day

We plan to leave Canon City Sunday afternoon, September 16, arriving at Hunter Wednesday, Sept. 19.  After four wonderful days, we expect to begin our trek eastward after lunch, Sunday Sept. 23, our first destination Mackinac Island.  We will lay in wait for the early ferry Tuesday morning and spend the day taking a carriage ride and exploring this car-less island.

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About us: Your Cruise Specialists!

About Denis

About Denis

 

At the helm of his own sailboat, Denis found his passion.  During the 1980’s he spent every spare moment sailing from his home on Whidbey Island, Washington around the Seattle and Victoria area.  Today, Denis still loves the feel of the ocean breezes and the sound of the waves as he pursues adventures aboard cruise ships sailing from port to port.

Dipping his feet into the Pacific Ocean in Kona, to wading in the Arctic Ocean, the seas have had a pull on his heart.  Snorkeling at the Dry Tortugas, driving from Key West, Florida to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, and fishing on Kodiak Island are examples of Denis’ love of nature and the water.

Denis is happy to share his knowledge about cruising with you, by helping you plan your next cruise vacation!

About Deanne

About Deanne

Deanne’s love for travel took off early.  At the age of eighteen, her father taught her how to change a tire, and she drove alone up the Alaska Highway.  Living and traveling throughout Alaska, Hawaii, and the Pacific Northwest whet her appetite for adventure and exploration.  Backpacking in the Cascades, Olympics and Rocky Mountains became a favorite pastime.  Every vacation was an opportunity to discover new wonders.

In 1988, Deanne experienced her first cruise.  She sailed from San Juan, Puerto Rico to the Eastern Caribbean on one of the original Love Boats, the Island Princess. Deanne was hooked on cruising.  Cruising has become her favorite mode of travel, with the best of historical, cultural, and scenic wonders available around the world.  Choices abound, and it’s thrilling to enjoy a relaxing, luxurious, onboard life, in addition to experiencing the varied adventures in ports of call.

As your Travel Consultant, Deanne is enthusiastically looking forward to helping plan the vacation of your dreams.

 

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Travel Consultants, specializing in cruises

We are now able to assist you with planning and booking cruises! Our association with a premier full-service host travel agency provides the most advantageous resources, so you will receive competitive or better pricing, plus often additional amenities.  We promise to work very hard to earn your business.  Please give us a call when you feel the travel bug!

Deanne business card Denis business card

 

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Southeast Alaska and Home!

 SOUTHEAST ALASKA BY MARINE HIGHWAY!

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Sailing the Inside Passage from Haines to Juneau. We were on the “Fast Ferry”IMG_0109

Spectacular Mendenhall Glacier!

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We arrived Sunday afternoon, and were invited up to Danny and Becky’s, where we also met some of the local folks and visitors.

Inside the brother's cabin at the top of the trail

Inside the brother’s cabin at the top of the trail

Cabin view at the top of the hill on the convention grounds

Cabin view at the top of the hill on the convention grounds

Danny demonstrating the portable buildings

Danny demonstrating the portable buildings

View uphill where the convention buildings stand

View uphill where the portable buildings stand during convention.

Canadian cruise ship visitors in Juneau

Canadian cruise ship visitors in Juneau

We were invited to camp in the Sperl’s yard.  No one uses house addresses.  It was “turn in at the Snoopy mailbox”.  They have a lovely home on the water, and we had a wonderful visit as well as getting firsthand information on where to catch silvers.

Salmon in Juneau

Salmon in Juneau

We hiked from the visitor center for views of the Glacier and Nugget FallsIMG_0077

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Deanne at Nugget Falls

Deanne at Nugget Falls

Wildlife along the road:IMG_0073

Nice to have our tent up again at the Mendenhall Campground

Nice to have our tent up again at the Mendenhall Campground

Mendenhall Glacier and Nugget Falls from the west side hike

Mendenhall Glacier and Nugget Falls from the west side hike

We had a fabulous camping spot not far from town.

Columbine at the Shrine of St. Therese:IMG_0098IMG_0099

The tram to the top of Mount Roberts was spectacular, and so were the sights along the trail at the top.  It was very windy the higher the elevation along the trail.

Tree totem

Tree totem

Juneau from Mount Roberts tramway

Juneau from Mount Roberts tramway

Dall sheep on the hills

Dall sheep on the hills

Goodbye beautiful Juneau!IMG_0815

On to Sitka, where we toured the town, the totem park, and boat harbors.IMG_0169 IMG_0150 IMG_0148 IMG_0146

We met Tanner and Amy in Sitka, and were invited to their home in Wrangell.  They were there fishing.  He has a beautiful boat and fishes for salmon, halibut and spot shrimp.

Next stop Petersburg!

Sunrise view from the ferry

Sunrise view from the ferry

We drove from one end on the road to the other, and fished both places, too!

Larry at his cabin in Petersburg

Larry at his cabin in Petersburg

Our fishing spot in Petersburg, at the end of the road.

Our fishing spot at the end of the road.

Falls Creek fish ladder near Petersburg on Mitkoff Island

Falls Creek fish ladder near Petersburg on Mitkoff Island

Petersburg Boat Harbor at low tide

Petersburg Boat Harbor at low tide

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On the ferry again…….. We found comfy couches and floors for our sleeping arrangements.  The food on the ferry was scrumptious too.

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On to Wrangell!

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View from trail at Whale Park

View from trail at Whale Park

Kirsten and Cara were there, and we had special visits and mealtimes with Dawn and Todd.  We camped at Tanner and Amy’s cabin near the end of the road, as well as a beautiful spot at the very end of the road.

Sunday lunch with Kirsten and Amy and her children

Sunday lunch with Kirsten and Amy and her children

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That’s the road into the cabin, where we camped overnight, and picked huckleberries (enough for a nice batch of jelly!)

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Beautiful picnic spot overlooking the water heading up to the Stikine River

Beautiful picnic spot overlooking the water heading up to the Stikine River

Walkway from our camp to picnic area

Walkway from our camp to picnic area

We explored the boat harbors, thinking of possibly living aboard our own boat in the future!

Now THAT'S a houseboat!

Now THAT’S a houseboat!

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Overlooking Wrangell from the Mt. Dewey Trail

Overlooking Wrangell from the Mt. Dewey Trail

At the top overlook on the Mt. Dewey Trail

At the top overlook on the Mt. Dewey Trail

Trails, exploring the island and beaches.  What a beautiful spot!  I even got to go to the senior aerobics class at the pool.  We found good Wifi in town, so Denis got lots of work done too.

Fish petroglyph on the beach

Fish petroglyph on the beach

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Denis at Petroglyph Beach State Historic Park

Denis at Petroglyph Beach State Historic Park

It’s hard to describe our feelings as we come to the end of our “Retirement Trip to the North”.

Through the mist and the rainbow, the ferry is the mode of transportation in Southeast Alaska

Through the mist and the rainbow, the ferry is the mode of transportation in Southeast Alaska.

Perhaps best described as “Old Friends and New”, and “Adventures and Exploring the Beauties of God’s Creation”.

Dawn on our walk on the nature trail

Dawn on our walk on the nature trail

Thank you for following along on this trip of a lifetime!

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August Adventures in Alaska

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On the ferry Tustemena, on our way to Kodiak Island, a journey of 13 1/2 hours.

Cars drove onto the side of the ferry onto an elevator, which then lowered us into the bowels of the ship.  We were on a turntable, and it aimed us so we drove backwards into our row, over steel tie downs.  We were accompanied by a ferry employee who guided us into our spot and secured our vehicle.

The car elevator

The car elevator

We left in the evening, and arrived the next day.  I took up my bed pad, sleeping bag, and pillow, and made a nice cozy sleeping spot in the front corner of the passenger lounge.  Denis worked at a table, then stretched out on the bench.  Upon arrival in Kodiak, we drove forward onto the turntable, and were lifted up to drive off.IMG_0046

Constance met us at the ferry, and led us to her house.  We enjoyed the evening with her and a bible study at Theresa’s, with Amanda and Simon.  Waiting for a call that fishing would open, we took a day to ourselves and discovered Monashka Bay.

Beautiful salt water pink salmon; they are huge this year!

Beautiful salt water pink salmon; they are huge this year!

Denis is looking for salmon on a misty morning.

Denis is looking for salmon on a misty morning.

Fishing was fantastic, and the spot at the end of the road was great for overnighting.

On his way to White Sands Beach

Denis, on his way to White Sands Beach

Constance got the call that fishing was opening, so I went with her to shop.  We were going to cook, so I’d prepared a list from our meal plans.  We were going to have lots of meals and baking, and planned to be out at the fish site for a couple of weeks.

Alaska stole my heart.  I loved this part of our trip!

Hiking through the forest on the island

Hiking through the forest on the island

When the crew went out to fish, we went for a walk across the island, so Denis could use the internet at a friend’s house.  Bella (the dog) went with us, and we had a great time finding our way, passing some interesting cottages and beaches.IMG_0097

At the house, we cooked lots of scrumptious food.  Some sample menus were:  For breakfast we had roast beef hash, cheesy Mexican eggs, eggs with bacon, corned beef hash with eggs, biscuits with sausage gravy, and lots of hot cereal.  And we baked cinnamon rolls, pies, cookies and bars.  White bread, whole wheat bread, and oat bread.  I went through 25 lbs of flour in 2 weeks!

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Oat bread- boy that oven baked wonders!

Oat bread- boy that oven baked wonders!

Did I mention Eskimo donuts?!

Eskimo donuts!

Eskimo donuts!

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We had such fun.  Annika appreciated the baked goods, and she took us out to fish.  One day it was just us ladies.  We were out at one of their fish sites, and the other guys on the crew were near by when I hooked into a BIG ONE!  They noticed.  Annika hollered “Stay away!”  We were going to bring this one in all by ourselves!

Well, I was working away at this huge halibut, and after maybe fifteen minutes, brought it up within seeing distance.  Annika said “Oh my, we can’t get this one in the boat!”  So we decided to go slowly backwards, letting out line, and dragging the fish up to the beach.  Well, the guys were getting pretty interested by this time, and didn’t pay any attention to us telling them to go away.  They got up on the beach and grabbed the boat as we put in.  Annika held my pole while I awkwardly, oops, gracefully, made my way over the side of the boat and into about a foot of water.

I got the pole and halibut back, and started to reel it in, planting my feet firmly on the rocks.  The rocks were slippery.  The fish was huge.  It was tugging and I was reeling, and my feet were going out from under me.  Nels grabbed at me, saving me from a most spectacular butt landing in the water.  I got my feet back under me and Nels asked me if I wanted him to take the pole.  I pondered a minute.  I really didn’t want to hand it over, but it was getting a bit much for me so I consented.  It wasn’t a minute later until that ole halibut decided he’d had enough and said goodbye.

Annika estimated it was 5 feet long, and 100 to 150 lbs.  We didn’t want to go home skunked, so we went back out and she caught a beaut:

Look at Annika's halibut!

Look at Annika’s halibut!

We ate lots of salmon and halibut.  We deep fried halibut, had salmon baked with citrus and herbs   IMG_0082

and we had some fantastic smoked sockeye salmon, just to eat, and in a cream cheese dip, and in alfredo!

Sockeye salmon cut up for the brine to smoke!

Sockeye salmon cut up for the brine to smoke!

The Jensen home at their fish site on Anton Larson Island (and Bella)

The Jensen home at their fish site on Anton Larson Island (and Bella)

Constance had a greenhouse with several kinds of kale, spinanch, tomatoes, and cucumbers.  We had great salads, and picked raspberries and currants.

Making raspberry ice cream!

Making raspberry ice cream!

Gordon and Denis picking currants.

Gordon and Denis picking currants.

I made jam too!IMG_0172

Apple pie, pumpkin pies, bumbleberry pie, saskatoon and blueberry pie.  And our meals were lucious.  Besides seafood, we cooked enchiladas, meat loaf, roast chicken, pork stir fry, chili rice casserole, and more seafood, including a delicious halibut soup!

Haliut soup!

Haliut soup!

They couldn’t fish (commercially) for several days, so we went sightseeing by boat.  We saw whales every day we were out.  Lots of birds (gulls and puffins mostly):

A cormorant is well hidden in the rocks.

A cormorant is well hidden in the rocks.

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Puffins perched in the rocks.

Puffins perched in the rocks.

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We dropped the 5 young people off at a beach so they could hike to the top of the hill and maybe hunt too.

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Gordon took us bass fishing, while we waited for them to get to the top of the mountain and back down.

We each got our limit of sea bass!

We each got our limit of sea bass!

Caught these beauties with flies.

Caught these beauties with flies.

Going by another bird rookery, we still had time before picking up the kids, so we fished for halibut.IMG_0138I got two halibut.  Denis got lots of rockfish, but we didn’t keep any.  He also caught more bass, but we already had our limit, so we didn’t keep those either.

We looked for our hikers, and they didn’t come out on the beach.

We couldn't find them until Nels fired off a shot.

We couldn’t find them until Nels fired off a shot.

The hikers were sheltering in these rocks along the shore.

The hikers were sheltering in these rocks along the shore.

They went a different direction from the lakes up on top, and were quite a distance down the shore from where we expected them to appear.

After we got back to the house, we had work to do:20160815_163849

There were lots and lots of raspberries, which I just loved to wander by and eat by the handfuls on my way to the outhouse.IMG_0165

While they weren’t fishing, there were other projects:

Denis helped Gordon with a new roof for the shop.

Denis helped Gordon with a new roof for the shop.

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Nels and Ryan went hunting:

Nels first deer of the season, a young spike.  A perfect shot!

Nels first deer of the season, a young spike. A perfect shot!

Nels and Ryan processing venison.

Nels and Ryan processing venison.

And of course all this hard work, meant we all needed a banya.  Now I’m not sure how to spell that.  It’s pronounced “Bawn-ya”, but it’s kind of like a bath and sauna:IMG_0062Wood is hauled in for the fire, and a big garbage can and wash tub filled with water.  The fire is surrounded by rocks, and you can put water on the rocks.  It gets very hot in there.  There are benches and wash bowls, soap, shampoo, and it is a most cleansing experience!

Fishing opened again, and they were back to work.  We kept on cooking (more culinary delights):

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Gordon’s specialty: Barbecued sockeye salmon fish heads

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And they were yummy!

And they were yummy!

and exploring the island on it’s many trails.

Beautiful forest to hike through on Anton Larsen Island.

Beautiful forest to hike through on Anton Larsen Island.

It didn’t rain much, but that didn’t keep us in!20160814_122715

Denis' working corner.

Denis’ working corner.

We fished some more too, and I got another halibut!IMG_0131

Denis and I both got to go out with the fishing crew on one of their picks at their gill net sites.  So interesting!

Gordon at work, and red, pink, silver, and chum salmon in the skiff.

Gordon at work, and red, pink, silver, and chum salmon in the skiff.

Annika, at work.

Annika, at work.

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(that’s Denis waving)  We watched them pitch their fish into their holding skiff,

IMG_0059then later load onto the tender.IMG_0069Watching them race around in circles, we wondered what they were doing:IMG_0067I actually guessed correctly; this is how they flush the fish blood and yuck out of the floor of the skiff.

Nels, Ryan, Annika, and Morgan, the fishing crew.  (Kyle and Gordon too!)

Nels, Ryan, Annika, and Morgan, the fishing crew. (Kyle and Gordon too!)

We grew very attached to this terrific group of young folks!

All too soon, it was time to leave.  Kyle and Nels took us and Constance back to the end of the road to the truck so we could go back to their house in Kodiak.20160816_213827 20160816_213814

 

We had two more days to explore the island, so we went to the Alutiq Museum, and the Baranov Museum.

Fun to see a fish site in the museum, and it looked very similar to the Jensens!

Fun to see a fish site in the museum, and it looked very similar to the Jensens!

In the Baronov Museum

In the Baronov Museum

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The Baronov Museum, (on the right) is the oldest building in Alaska. It used to be the fur warehouse and is still standing because the Russian builders used the Scandinavian method of log construction. It has been used for just about every purpose since Baronov moved the Company Headquarters to Sitka.

Then we drove all  the way to the end of the road at Pasagshak Bay, first lunching at an overlook of the town of Kodiak.IMG_0296We drove past salmon streams and beautiful bays on our way south.IMG_0284

Some of the terrain reminded us of the Big Island of Hawaii!

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Kalsin Bay

Kalsin Bay

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Crossing over to the west side of the island, we discovered surf!

Pasagshak Bay, with sea lions fishing for salmon.

Pasagshak Bay, with sea lions fishing for salmon.

And a few other interesting things:

Bison roaming at the end of the road.

Bison roaming at the end of the road.

A space center building disappearing into the cloud.

A space center building disappearing into the clouds.

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We finished our explorations back at the north end, and caught two more salmon for the road,

Beautiful salt water pink salmon

Beautiful salt water pink salmon

then walked around Fort Abercrombie.

Bald Eagle at Fort Abercrombie

Bald Eagle at Fort Abercrombie

Old military radios, just like Dad's!

Old military radios, just like Dad’s!

Fort Abercrombie Museum communication equipment.

Fort Abercrombie Museum communication equipment.

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Spectacular scenery driving south from Kodiak.

Spectacular scenery from the fort.

Enjoying the fruit of our labors:

Denis was thrilled to cook up his salmon!

Denis was thrilled to cook up his salmon!

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And we are on our way again…… it was hard to say goodbye to Kodiak….. we loved every minute of it!

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On the ferry, I slept on a nice padded children’s play area cubby……. Denis at a table on a bench.  I slept very well!  The trip back was 14 hours, as we also went to Port Lyons and Ouzinkie.

Morning sunrise greets us upon our return to Homer

Morning sunrise greets us upon our return to Homer

What gorgeous weather upon our arrival!

Looking out towards the Homer Spit, and Kachemak Bay

Looking out towards the Homer Spit, and Kachemak Bay

We drove up to Anchorage,

Mount Iliamna, viewed along the road north near Ninilchik

Mount Iliamna, viewed along the road north near Ninilchik

Lucky Wishbone:  a favorite for Beth & Oty's family for decades.  A MUST stop and eat in Anchorage!

Lucky Wishbone: a favorite for Beth & Oty’s family for decades. A MUST stop and eat in Anchorage!

spent the night at our usual abode, Cabella’s parking lot, then after meeting at Wendy and Gordon’s, followed by a gospel meeting in Wasilla, we took a little side trip to Sunshine.

The road into Sunshine

The road into Sunshine

Fishing in a drizzle, and Matt cleaning a silver salmon.

Fishing in a drizzle, and Matt cleaning a silver salmon.

This was a favorite old fishing spot, and there were lots of fish in the stream, but the silvers were about done.  Denis caught a chum salmon and let it go.  We drove on up to Eureka,

There's Denis taking my picture!  (Another traditional food stop for our family and the Kings!)

There’s Denis taking my picture! (Another traditional food stop for our family and the Kings!)

where we had supper at the lodge, then found a great camping spot by several other RV’s and rigs pulling hunting ATV’s.

We scored blueberries!

We scored blueberries!

We walked in a ways on the trails and picked blueberries, and what we thought were low-bush cranberries, but think now they are lingonberries!  IMG_0424

Matanuska Glacier, autumn just beginning.

Matanuska Glacier, autumn just beginning.

IMG_0459Oh, it is beautiful up here!

Soon we were turning south at Haines Junction, driving on into the Yukon and British Columbia, along the Haines Highway.

Kluane Lake

Kluane Lake

Walking a trail in Kluane National Park

Walking a trail in Kluane National Park

We found a lovely camping spot at a state recreation area:

Camped beside the river, with a campfire.

Camped beside the river, with a campfire.

Million Dollar Falls

Million Dollar Falls

On into Haines through low clouds and fog:

Glaciers peeking out of the clouds.

Glaciers peeking out of the clouds.

Trumpeter swans resting and reflecting.

Trumpeter swans resting and reflecting.

There weren’t many eagles yet at the Bald Eagle Preserve, but we saw some interesting fishing on the river, and met Cheryl and Mike.

Morning drift netting on the Chilkat River

Morning drift netting on the Chilkat River

Mike's set net, subsistence fishing on the Chilkat.

Mike’s set net, subsistence fishing on the Chilkat.

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A working fish wheel

A working fish wheel

Hearing there were bear on the Chilkoot River, fishing for salmon (first we saw a mother bear with two cubs, probably last year’s)IMG_0671 IMG_0661

we made our way to the end of the road, camping at Lake Chilkoot.IMG_0582IMG_0572

IMG_0686We saw a mother bear and this year’s cub.

Clouds were lifting, and glaciers were appearing out of the mists around Haines the next day: IMG_0584

There was a small French ship in Portage Cove.

There was a small French ship in Portage Cove.

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Clouds lifting from Haines, and Fort Seward.

Clouds lifting from Haines, and Fort Seward.

We walked around Fort Seward.

A totem pole carving in process in the arts center.

A totem pole carving in process in the arts center.

Totems at the tribal house.

Totems at the tribal house.

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Denis admiring a Model T

Denis admiring a Model T

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And discovered lots of caterpillars on the sidewalks:

The banded woolly bear caterpillar turns into the Isabella Tiger Moth.

The banded woolly bear caterpillar turns into the Isabella Tiger Moth.

Enough small animals, so we went in search of big ones.  Myrna told us they went out to the river about 7:30 p.m., so we did the same and met her and Melissa and the family they were staying with.  IMG_0696

Okay, this is just too close!

Okay, this is just too close!

We encouraged them to leave the area.

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Denis is urging our friends to RETREAT!

Denis is urging our friends to RETREAT!

Mr. Curious says "Goodbye"!

Mr. Curious says “Goodbye”!

And we say “goodbye” to Haines, the beginning of our journey south through Southeast Alaska.

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