Friday, June 10, 2016

Getting Up to Date


We wrapped up 2015 and now we're moving on to 2016.  Hopefully you found something interesting in the "gee we decided it was important to update you with all of our travels since the last posting in June 2014" edition of See Ya When We Get There.  So it's a new year and I'm going to continue the saga and bring you up to something that resembles today.

My father moved from assisted living in Florida to assisted living in Ohio October, 2015.  My brother Danny and sister-in-law Lorraine, their children and their children's children all live in northeastern Ohio and it made great sense for my father to be there. In February Debbie and I went there for a visit. Had a great time with Danny and Lorraine and a wonderful visit with my father.  Proved to be a mighty important trip.  My father fell, cracked his skull and died April 12, 2016.  He was 87.

The following week Debbie and I went to Carlsbad, CA for a previously planned timeshare week to enjoy the greater San Diego area.  Debbie had never been there and I had been only related to work  We had a very nice time.  No surprise the weather was great (I think it always is).  A real bonus was hooking up with my cousin Anita who I hadn't seen since 1999.   We spent a wonderful evening with her and Diane.  This included lots of talk, laughter and hugs.

The rest of the week we did tourist stuff.  We took a train, The Coaster, from Carlsbad to San Diego and spent the day doing a hop-on hop-off bus tour. We went to the San Diego Zoo as well as the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.  Both were great  We saw Giant Pandas as well as many other wonderful animals at the zoo,

but the Safari offered us something a little special.  While at the Big Horn Sheep "coral", we watched a mother sheep introduce her 1 hour old calf to the world.  But it gets better.  Another mother decided to deliver her own new calf while we watched.  Pretty cool!

If you look closely you may be able to see the new baby to the left of the mother's head.  Sorry we didn't get a better photo.

On the more sedate side of activities we picked fresh strawberries one day,

and visited acres of blooming flowers that were being raised to harvest the bulbs

Most nights we took long walks along the beach and watched the sun set.

Another day we visited the affluent seaside community of La Jolla. It's Cove is famous for it's natural beauty,


Brandt's Comorant
 and cute sea lions. They were a delight and highly entertaining.

We're not "foodies" so even when we travel we don't eat out much. We did organic burgers (it's California) one night,  pizza another and scored a great Chinese buffet. We went out several mornings for breakfast and one afternoon Debbie got her all time favorite Hawaiian  Shave (no "d") Ice.  Think snow cone only much much better! So it was a week of transition for me.  Adjusting to my father being gone (my mother died years ago) warranted a great deal of personal reflection. I'm an emotional guy but a realist.  It's life.  All is well.

The first several days of May we were back in Ohio.  We had previously set this time aside to go visit my father and the rest of the family so we kept it on the schedule.  Another nice visit which included seeing my father's sister, Aunt Betty, who is 93 and looks wonderful!  We put my father's ashes where they belong, in the ground next to my mother's.  Thank you for listening about my father.

17 May the camper is loaded and moving down the highway.  Just a little about the camper.  "Little" being the operative word.  It's a 24 foot box with a 3 foot tongue so it's classified as a 27 foot camper. It has one slide which houses the dinette.  The spaces are  compact but quite functional.

It's Debbie and I plus 3 dogs.  That's not a typo, we are traveling with 18, 28 and 72 pounds of mostly very well behaved dogs.  They're also on the old side (of course we are not).  Thirteen, 12 and almost 9 years of age. Some folks have asked if the dogs will be a bother, inhibit some of our activities and physically be in the way in a small camper.  The answer is emphatically, YES!  But lord knows we love our dogs so we will be patient (mostly) and make it work.

Back seat of the truck has been converted to the mobile dog house

Found taped on our truck window the morning we left.  We suspect our good friends The Reids 
If all goes well (a huge question) we'll be on the road until at least mid-October. The itinerary includes a week at the Grand Canyon, a week in Las Vegas, June in California, July Oregon, August Washington, September into Canada then back to the states and parts beyond.

As previously stated, 17 May we hit the road.  Our adventure starts with a one week stay at the Grand Canyon.  The primary purpose  of this is so that I, with my good friend Bill, can hike rim to rim of the canyon.  I did this last September.  Bill and I completed our hike 20 May.  Rim to rim presents some logistical challenges. The trick is how to be on one side of the canyon, hike to the other side and have transportation and lodging.  Often hikers have someone drive around to pick them up.  But it's about a 4-5 hour drive and we didn't want Debbie or Rena (Bill's wife) to have to make the drive.  So Bill and I put together plan B.  The 4 of us set up our travel trailers at Trailer Village on the south rim of the Grand Canyon National Park.

We were welcomed by numerous elk in the campground

We stayed there Tuesday and Wednesday.  Thursday, Bill and I took a shuttle to the North Rim. It was $90 each but was a very pleasant ride.  Thursday night we shared a great cabin that was positioned nearly on the edge of the North Rim.

View from the porch of our cabin

It was pricey, about $125 each but that was the only thing available when we made the reservations. We enjoyed (with some moderation) a great buffet that night then worried a bit a about the weather. It was working on being colder then we expected and the wind HOWLED!  It seemed like hurricane strength winds. We were up about 4 am and took a 5:30 am free shuttle from the North Rim Lodge to the trail head.  Almost immediately the weather settled down and was pleasant the rest of the day. We successfully completed the traditional hike with a brief side trip to Ribbon Falls.

Total hike was about 24.5 miles. It was a great event with a great hiking partner!

Debbie and I then spent 8 days in Las Vegas because it's there and we always enjoy ourselves. Remember, we're now in the camper. We set up at Nellis Air Force Base.  Very nicely maintained and oh so spacious!

Probably the largest campsite we've ever been in

En route to Nellis our truck started to misfire.  We also had a check engine light that came on occasionally and the exterior lid of the gas tank compartment was coming apart.  It's a 2012 F150 that we bought in September last year.  I'm not pleased but things must be addressed.  The evening of our arrival I hustle to a Ford dealership, plead my case, and make arrangements to be there first thing in the morning.  I'm truly the first guy in line and I'm out by noon.  $900 later the problems appear to be fixed. So Vegas was great fun.  Hot, but our little camper took good care of us.  We gambled little and lost almost nothing. Primarily we're there to see shows.  They included:  Vegas The Show, Jersey Boys, Terry Fator, Mat Franco and Rock of Ages.  A review of all the shows would be too lengthy, even for me, but if you want my critique, contact me and I'll freely share.  We also toured the Neon Museum. It mostly resembles a large yard with lots of old rusty neon signs.  That's it except they all came from old casinos and places of interest in Las Vegas.

Oh how we loved the Sahara!  Sorry to see it gone.

Surprisingly interesting due in large part to our truly excellent guide!

So now we're about to become current.  1 June we drove close to 400 miles arriving at Three Rivers, CA early evening.  This is a little community outside Sequoia National Park. Our mission is to see Sequoia as well as Kings Canyon National Park.  But there's a problem upon our arrival. The water for the campground stopped flowing just before we arrived.  The end of this story is it doesn't come back on until about 7 pm of the following evening. Everything about the well had fried as a result of an electrical short.  We were not traveling with any water in our fresh water tank.  We made things work, were not particularly fresh for a day but all's well.  Back to the parks.  They are HUGE!  Only a small portion of the parks is accessible via automobile.  This is particularly true of Kings Canyon.   The evening of day one is spent settling in and fretting about no water.  Day 2 we drive about an hour into Sequoia to an area called Giant Forest.  For those of you who have not been here, not every tree is a Sequoia.  But you will know one when you see one.  I'm at a loss to proportionally describe the size of these trees. Surprise.......we do have some pictures.

Almost impossible to get a picture of the entire tree 

Maybe this gives some perspective.  See  Duane at the bottom of the tree?
In the Giant Forest, The Congress Trail is an easy 2 mile hike to view the Sequoia's

Fire damage. But the Sequoia's survive. 

Day 3 we hang around the campground.  Day 4 we load the dogs into the truck and head for Kings Canyon.  We simply drive (for about 8 hours), frequently stopping to enjoy the sites and take a few pictures.

That evening we join our friends, Tom and Fannie, from our community in AZ for dinner.  They are on their way to their summer home in Washington.  Dinner lasted 3 hours!  It was great catching up.

Day 5 we return to Sequoia specifically to see Moro Rock. Again, the pictures must speak for themselves.

You can drive ot take the shuttle to Moro Rock, but we chose to do the 2-mile trail

More sequoia's along the way

Finally we see Moro Rock.  We're hiking up there?

Along the way we took a short side path to Hanging Rock

Finally we start the climb up the rock

It's about 400 steps

Almost there

At the top - - 6,725 feet above the canyon floor

Gorgeous views
 By the time this segment of the blog is posted we will be at Yosemite National Park or beyond.

Hope we're not boring you.  Please comment freely.

Duane, Debbie, Bo, Laska and our newest addition, Bailey.  I'll tell you about her in our next installment.            



  1. That hike looks awesome!! Elizabeth and I will need to return to Cali to to it!!
    More amazing photos Debbie!! New career?! :)

  2. Great photos of my home state, glad to see ha haveing a great time. Here in Monroe, La. Til July 5th and then to Wisconsin, Michigan and the Northeast. Great blog, take care.
    Steve n Pat and Ginger too.

  3. You could never bore us! Wish we were with you!!!

  4. Much thanks again; it's like visiting across the dinner table with y'all but with pictures!

  5. Thanks for sending the link to your adventures. Keep the posts coming and have a great time. Looking forward to your visit to Seattle.

  6. Glad to see you guys are all traveling again. We visited King's Canyon and Sequoia often while stationed in CA. Moro Rock and it's views are amazing! Back then I would jog to the top...but that was 35 years and 45 pounds ago. Keep in touch, perhaps our paths will cross.