We had a 38 foot fifth wheel with 4 slides. We pulled the BIG thing with a BIG one ton dually truck. Recognize the theme? We decided to sell all that at a great profit. Ha ha ha! Do you hear the laughter or is that the sound of sobbing? We sold because it did seem too large for part time RVing, it was too much truck to drive around casually as a second vehicle and, ya know, it seems like the bigger the unit the bigger the problems. So we sold .
We spent the next 2 years in our home in Green Valley without a camper. I can't say we were idle. In fact we still did some very nice traveling, just no camper.
In August 2014 we went to Vermont to attend a party celebrating my daughter's marriage to Elizabeth. The event was joyous and held at a huge maple syrup farm. Very nice.
From there we went to Newport, Rhode Island. There, we were going to act like tourists as well as hook up with friends John and Ann. (They will appear again later). So we toured the infamous "cottages",
|The Marble House|
and enjoyed the varied sites as guided by Ann (who grew up there) and John.
|Duane with our tour guides|
Next, it's off to Boston. My travel agent (guess who) scored us a downtown hotel for a fraction of the going cost. Still pricey, but not Boston pricey. We turned in our rental car and walked.
The city has a little history and some beautiful sites to see.
December 2014 we practiced our ABC's. That would be Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao via a 9 night cruise on Royal Caribbean. These are all prime locations for snorkeling, one of our very favorite activities!
|Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas|
|Fabulous Bonaire coral|
|Snorkeling sunken ship in Curcacao|
We were stay at home folks for the first half of 2015 then got busy. In June we were off to Hawaii for 3 weeks with our wonderful friends Bill and Rena. We toured the Big Island, Oahu and Maui. We love, love, love Hawaii! So much to see and do. Here's just a small sampling.
We enjoyed the beautiful and unique flowers and foliage,
dramatic scenery and coastlines,
|See the chicks under Momma?|
|Volcano National Park|
and of course, our traveling companions,
|Bill and Duane don't really coordinate their outfits. It just looks that way.|
Next we spent 3 weeks of August in Ireland and Scotland. Every last detail of this trip was arranged by Debbie Rowe Travel. We rented a car and drove and drove and drove. All on the left side of the road from the wrong side of the vehicle. Actually that went very well. The way narrow roads were a little surprising but we quickly adjusted. It would be that or die!
|Two lane road......really?|
We stayed everywhere at Bed and Breakfasts. These became a delightful element of the trip. So many really pleasant people, interesting dwellings and great food. The ridiculously scrumptious breakfasts always included multiple courses with great quantity. My favorite. Our routine quickly became eat breakfast and then nothing until a late dinner. While in Scotland we tracked down and visited some very distant relatives of Debbie. They could not have been more welcoming and hospitable. Scotland and Ireland were a sensory delight with visual overload. How's that for some travel brochure lingo? Here's a brief look.
|Kilkenny Castle - Ireland|
|Rock of Cashel - Ireland|
|Dunvegan Castle - Scotland|
Endless beautiful scenery.
These from Ireland.
|Practicing our selfie skills!|
|The unique rock formations of the Giant's Causeway|
|See the rainbow?|
We still have one more vacation in 2015 to discuss but first we need to review a little side trip. I'm currently sitting in a 2015 Jayco travel trailer. Yep, we bought another camper. We decided on this particular floor plan but production of this model stopped mid year. Consequently, inventories were disappearing. Locally, prices for this unit remained high but we were convinced that there were clearance prices to be found. Sooo, the research queen went on the prowl to find us a camper. There were a few units available throughout the country at, what we (we almost always means Debbie) believed was a discounted price but they weren't equipped exactly as we wanted. But ta da, Debbie found "our" camper in Portland, OR. So early November we hustled up there with a stop in San Francisco to see Aubree and Elizabeth (they have since moved to Seattle) then jetted home pulling a new camper. Even after travel costs we figured we saved around $3000 compared to any of this particular model available elsewhere. More camper stories to come.
The last vacation of the year was a 2 week river cruise in Europe. We went with Tom and Fannie and John and Ann (I told you they'd reappear) as well as Ann's brother-in-law, Ron. (He lives in Maine - great fellow.) Outstanding traveling partners!
|Tom and Fannie|
|John and Ann|
|You know who|
It truly was great fun and seriously wet our appetite to do more of Europe. The ship, designed specifically for river cruising the Danube, was much different from other cruise ships we've been on, but equally enjoyable. I'm betting a picture of the ship will follow this narrative. (I'm the talker, big surprise, and Debbie is "Tech Support" another surprise.)
|Vantage River Splendor docked in Budapest|
Most every day we were in a different city enjoying some form of guided tour. We still had plenty of time to do as we pleased. A little cold at times, but bundling up for the weather was a "jolly good time". It was a really nice trip with many unique sites and experiences. And did I mention our wonderful traveling companions?
That's it for the moment. Hopefully you'll enjoy this little diddie. 2016 is here so I'll share more soon.