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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Blog update 07/12/17

We left right on time Friday morning the 23rd of June. We got to our first stop about 45 minutes east of Omaha on I80. This is my first stop of any eastbound trip, as I was heading into the restroom I checked for my billfold and it wasn’t there. I had left home without it, now we had no choice but to go back and get it because we planned on being gone for about three weeks. So, we back tracked, got the billfold and headed out again.

Our plans were to meet up with Robert, Sarah and the kids for dinner. I was a bit worried we wouldn’t make it but we did. My dad had a saying he used a lot, “I never pass up a water fountain”. My saying is “I never pass up a restroom”, the problem is my saying always adds more time to our trips.

We had a great dinner at a restaurant called The Rock Bar & Grill, very good restaurant but they don’t have a website.

Saturday night we saw granddaughter Madyson perform at her dance recital. She was great. Her solo was fabulous. She does an aerial, that’s a cartwheel without touching the floor, scares me every time she does it. The recital was great, I am not much in sitting and watching all these different performances but I did enjoy the whole recital.

Sunday, we saw grandson Mason play two baseball games. It is fun to see the growth of the kids in their particular sport and interest. Mason had come a long way in his skills as a baseball player and I know he will continue to grow in the sport. Madyson is phenomenal in her solo, she puts more expression in her face and body and it just takes the dance to a higher level. Love watching both of them play.

Madyson and family are on their way to the Nation Dance Competitions in Myrtle Beach, NC, I know she will do well.

We left Beloit on Monday the 26th and headed for Thibodaux, LA for Sarah’s brother Bill’s 60th wedding anniversary. We overnighted in Cape Girardeau, MO and the following night at Canton, MS. Since we were going to get to Thibodaux a day earlier than I planned I thought I better call ahead make sure we could get in a day early. We could and we did. 

We booked in at the Hampton Inn.Out first night was not very memorable, we stay at the Hampton Inns a lot and this was the first one where we have had a problem. The room was very humid and just didn’t feel good, I didn’t sleep very well, but then again, I don’t sleep that well anymore anyway. The next morning Sarah went to take a shower and the gizmo on the spout wouldn’t come up for the shower. She calls down to the front desk and the lady says try twisting it. Now I don’t every remembering I had to twist gizmo to make the shower work, twisting didn’t do the job. Sarah calls back down the front desk and the lady asks if we wanted to take a shower in another room. Now wouldn’t you think if they had another room for us to take a shower in, why wouldn’t they just offer us that room. We said no, then the lady says do we need two beds, we said no, so she said we could move to another room with a king bed, fine with me, she said she’d bring up the new key, Sarah asked her to bring a cart.

Our new room was a king whirlpool room, it was two rooms, very nice. Since we were going to be here for a week it was a nice upgrade. We had a great time, we got to see folks we haven’t seen for a long time or in my case ever. Sarah thoroughly enjoyed going through old pictures with her brother and others from Mable’s side of the family. Bill’s kids, Teresa, Brenda and Chuck and their spouses did a great job on hosting the anniversary party on Sunday.

Of course, we went to eat at Bubba’s, it wouldn’t be a successful trip if we didn’t eat their. They have a fantastic shrimp/oyster po’boy sandwich, however I opted for the shrimp/oyster platter, delicious.
I got to play Rummikub with some of the great nieces and nephews and cousins, I got beat more than I won. I loved every minute of it.

The week went by too fast, before we knew it we had to pack to continue our road trip. On July 5, we bade Thibodaux a fond adieu (as the French would say, I think) and headed the car west to Houston.
We had road construction in Lake Charles, LA which delayed us over an hour. We arrived at our hotel a little after 4:30pm. We stayed at the Hilton Houston Westchase, this is the first time in many years we have stayed in a hotel with a bellhop, it was great Sarah didn’t have to handle any of the luggage. We had a very nice room with breakfast included. I chose this location because it was only a mile from our friends Jose and Emma. Plus, we had plans to visit with Sylvester and Joyce on Friday.
Emma had prepared dinner for us that night so we went to their house a bit after six. Dinner was delicious and I ate too much. For desert, she had Island Way Sorbet, I loved them. She bought them at Costco so I will have to see if they have them here.

On Friday Sarah and I went over to Sylvester and Joyce’s house, we went to lunch and had a great visit with them. Sylvester and I served together in Vietnam. He was asking me if I remember certain people and I couldn’t. I can remember a few names but not many.

Jose had done some research on the painted churches, https://www.bing.com/images/search?q=20+painted+churches+of+texas&qpvt=20+painted+churches+of+texas&qpvt=20+painted+churches+of+texas&qpvt=20+painted+churches+of+texas&FORM=IGRE. I wanted to see them but I wasn’t feeling very well so we didn’t go, maybe next time.

I met Jose at St Ambrose College, that’s before it became a University. Anyway, Jose and I grilled the steaks for Saturday night dinner, we worked in the kitchen for our room and board. After I came back from Thanksgiving with my family I asked Jose where he went, he said he stayed on campus, he had come over from Cuba and his family was still there. I told my mother this and she said to invite him home at Christmas, I did, he came and had Christmas with us. It went so well, in fact, when I went into the military he took my place and the holidays. It was great, Jose is a terrific person and married a beautiful person Emma. We were at their house every day, most days we went back to the hotel so I could take a nap which I evidently needed because one day I slept and hour and a half. Over the course of our visit we played 40+ games of Rummikub and I was reintroduced to canasta. I had not played canasta since I was ten or twelve and we kids would play with my mom’s mother. Thank you for a great time.

Saturday night Sarah’s cousin Becky and husband Ken came to the Rio Ranch restaurant next to the hotel and we had dinner with them. Becky is and anesthesiologist and Ken is a retired Air Force officer, I don’t remember his rank but I know if was up their close to a general or something. He is a great photographer and freelances now. He has some great pictures, https://www.mach3photography.com/, check out his website. It was great seeing them.

We left Houston Monday morning and went through some of the heaviest rain I have seen in a while. To make matters worse the spray off the road was blinding at times, but we made it out of town without any mishaps. I had hoped to get through Dallas without any trouble so we took the Dallas tollway. I wanted to miss all the construction on I35, well we didn’t quite get out of Dallas event free. We were slowed down considerably by a wreck, when we reached the site of the wreck it looked like someone had side swiped this car and vanished because there was only one vehicle there.

I had decided we were going to stay in either Norman OK or Guthrie OK depending on what time we got out of Dallas. We weren’t too late so I go us reservations for Guthrie. Now in our car we have a service, I pay for it, called Destination Assist, I click on the screen and we get a live person asking where we want to go. I said the Hampton Inn in Guthrie OK, she said ok and downloaded the directions to the navigation system in the car. Now I just clicked on OK without verifying the address of the location that was downloaded. That is an important item, since it was the wrong destination although we didn’t figure that out until we got to Oklahoma City. Now I knew Guthrie was on I35 so I wasn’t too concerned when the navigation said to take I235 through Oklahoma City, but I became a bit concerned when it had us going west off I235. Sarah kept telling me we were going the wrong way but I got to the point where I wanted to see where this was taking us. Well, it took us to Cushion OK, I’d never heard of the place. We came into town and it said turn right, I did, and that is when it got interesting. I saw a police car sitting on the opposite of the road and thought nothing of it until I saw the pretty red and blue lights on this car behind us, I thought we were in a parade or he was going somewhere. The somewhere was us, as soon as I pulled over so did he. I thought “wow a welcoming party, how did he know I’d never been here before”. I now know someone in Cushion OK, Sgt Henderson. He was very nice and said I was doing 44 in a 35 zone. He asked where we were going and I flat told him I was lost. He laughed and I told him about the navigation system and the Destination Assist. He told me I should have stayed on I35 and I wouldn’t be lost. He was a very nice officer and gave us directions to the Hampton Inn, we were eighteen miles from it. He said to drive safe and keep the speed down, no ticket.

We did finally get to the hotel about six thirty, I was hungry and tired, so we went for pizza. I know it wasn’t anything very glamorous but filling.

The next day we headed for Omaha and got home about four thirty.

We were gone nineteen days, stayed in six different hotels, and put 3,048 miles on the car and we had a great time.


Thanks to everyone for helping this to be a great trip.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Update 04/3/2017

A few days before we were scheduled to fly out of Omaha for our cruise, the airline sent me an email saying the departure time of our return flight out of San Juan had changed. So, I called the airline and sure enough the change gave us approximately fifteen minutes to change planes in Atlanta. Since I don’t walk very fast anymore, so we changed to a later flight at 8pm. This would give us a three-hour layover, which was fine with us.

So, Sunday the 26 of March, Daniel came over and picked us up at 4am and took us to the airport. We had a bit of a wait but I don’t like to have to rush in the airport. It was a good thing too, I had to be stripped searched because I set off the scanner. I couldn’t go through the big x-ray because I can’t raise my right arm over my head. My belt and suspenders caused the scanner to beep. The TSA guy asked me if I could take off my belt and suspenders. I said I could but then my pants would fall down. He didn’t think that was good so he took me off to the side. He asked if I wanted to go to a room or have him do his thing out in front of God and everyone. I told him, I don’t have much modesty left after what I have been through so do it here. After he was done he said I could go. It didn’t take very long so Sarah and I headed to the gate area.

Now, I am not a very good flier anymore because I have to go to the bathroom a lot so I tend to visit the restroom by the waiting area a lot before we board the plane. The first leg of the trip was to Minneapolis so it wasn’t too bad, no trips to the restroom. In Minneapolis, we hooked up with brother Larry and his wife Kathy. We would be meeting sister Tara and husband Paul, sister Colleen and husband Darrius in San Juan, Puerto. Anyway, we got on the plane and got settled in our seats.

 After a discussion with our son Daniel, he had recently flown to Thailand on business, he told me to fly first class because it would give me more room. I am still wearing the brace and so I sprung for the extra expense, I am very happy I did that. Now either I have gotten bigger since I last flew or the seats have gone through a shrink machine, it is most likely the former. The seat was comfortable the tray you use for lunch comes out of the armrest between seats and it does not give at all, it was very close quarters. I would have had enough problems without the brace but with the brace it was trying to put a blow-up bed back in the box it came it. It can be done but it takes some work at it. All in all, we had a good flight and was just happy we got to San Juan safely.

We also received an email a week before the cruise was to leave that because the ship had a propulsion problem our cruise would be cut short by a day. We were all bummed out but when life gives you apples you make apple pie. I know that isn’t the saying but I like apple pie more than lemonade.

We spent Monday seeing things in San Juan. Larry, Tara and I rented a cab to take us and spouses on a two-hour tour of San Juan. Our cabbie Chris was great, we started with Old San Juan and then the newer places and the beaches and ended with some places he said not to go to at night.

We stayed at the Sheraton Old San Juan, a very nice hotel and within walking distance of some very nice restaurants.We had some great food, we ate at the same restaurant La Cueva del it was great. Marissa was our server and she was a lot of fun.

There is a lot more history in San Juan than I ever knew, so it was time well spent. One of the two forts we saw was, https://www.nps.gov/saju/index.htm, Castillo San Cristóbal Castillo and Castillo de San Cristobal, what I found interesting was the two forts were connected by underground tunnels, these forts were a couple miles apart.

We boarded the ship at eleven, that was the earliest we could get on and since we had a day and a half cut from the cruise I wanted to get as much use as I could out of the ship. Now those of you who have been on cruises know that it is a feeding frenzy, food everywhere and I got as much of it as I could. We were in Aqua Spa class, we had a suite with a deck so we could sit on the deck and watch the world go by. My brother was next to us so we could talk without much problem, but there was a cabin between Tara and Colleen and I so we just yelled at each other.

Our breakfast and dinners were taken in the Blu room, very nice setting. Our server was Wilmer and he made each meal a delight. He was from Columbia and had been working cruises for five years. All the people on the boat were great, even the captain. I had my picture taken with her but I can’t find it so you will just have to take my word for it.

We returned to San Juan Saturday morning and was off the boat and to the airport by 10:30. Again I went through the strip search procedure and they found nothing that concerned them. We got on the plane and arrived in Atlanta about 4:30. Now as I said earlier I had changed our flight because we wouldn’t have enough time to get to our connection, as it turned out we could have made it, but to change flights it cost a couple hundred dollars, I wasn’t going to do that. So, we waited for our 8:00 flight, with an arrival time in Omaha at 9:35pm. Well let me tell you, due to a maintenance paperwork screw up at La Guardia airport we didn’t get home until midnight. We boarded the plane on time, deboarded an hour later and reboarded an hour after that. They finally got it all straighten out and we arrived back in Omaha at midnight.

It was a long day but we had a great time on the cruise. The best part of it was being with family, the food etc. was also very good.

I hope we can get together sometime this winter for a few days.


That’s all for now.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Update 3/14/17

I have been remiss in getting this out, so I decided today was the day.

We stayed the last weekend of our time in AZ with my sister and her husband, Darrius & Colleen. They have sold their home and have bought a townhouse which is still being built. We saw the model of their new place and I figured I could stay there for a month or so but I was told no by Sarah. I would not stay that long a week at the most
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Sunday, February 26, we headed for Sierra Vista, AZ. I didn’t get to see the Buffalo Soldiers Museum at Ft Huachuca on our way to Mesa because it was closed. That was a holiday weekend so I figured the 27th of February would not be a problem. WRONG!!! The museum is closed on Sunday and Monday. We wanted to head out the next day so we went out at nine when they opened and did get to see some of it. Sarah saw more than me because part of the exhibits were upstairs and I wasn’t feeling up to negotiating any steps. We left after a couple hours.

Our plan was to get to Alamogordo, NM and stay there for the night. A few miles after we got on I-10 eastbound the neon sign across the interstate showed we had to get off and follow a detour because the road was closed due to dust storms. The detour was up to Safford, AZ and then followed Hwy 70 back to the interstate. We arrived in Alamogordo around six, so the detour took about two hours.

From Alamogordo, we went to Liberal, KS, spent the night there and left the next morning for home arriving about 5 pm. It was sure nice to get home even with the cold weather.

I did bring a cold home with me so I went to my primary care doctor and got some medicine for it. I seem to be getting better.

Today I went to see my oncologist and he said all looked good and I will see you in three months, good news.

Next week, Wed, I go to the eye doctor for an annual checkup, might need a new prescription. On Thurs I see the orthopedic doctor and hopefully my fractured humorous will be healing nicely.

This weekend we are going to WI to see the kids there and I am sure it will cost me for their report cards. Then it is a stop in Ames, IA on our way back to see Tiffany and family. That will cost me also as Alexa is getting A’s and on the honor roll. I don’t mind because I want the kids to do well in school so they can do whatever they want when they get to college.

March 26, we fly to Minneapolis and then to San Juan, PR. My brother Larry and his wife Kathy will meet us in Minneapolis and we’ll all be on the same flight. My sister Tara and her husband Paul will arrive in San Juan an hour or so after we do. My other sister, Colleen and husband Darrius, are flying there on Saturday to determine which restaurant we are going to eat at Sunday night. On Monday, 27th, we board Celebrity Cruise Lines ship the Summit for a cruise of the Caribbean. We are going to have a ball, I am looking forward to this trip like none I have been on before.


Nothing else going on so I will close for now.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Blog Update 02/17/17


Our time here in Mesa is coming to an end. We arrived at the Goodlife RV Resort on January 1 and have for the most part enjoyed every minute of our stay.

Now we are down to the last two weeks.

Let me catch you up on what has been going on. I fell in the bathroom of our hotel room on January 1 and ended up going to the ER at the Phoenix VA. After x-rays and an orthopedic consult, they put me in a brace to immobilize my arm.
(In case I didn’t say before, I fractured the right humorous. I go back to the VA tomorrow for x-rays to see how the fracture is healing, hoping for the best. (I am writing this after my Dr. visit and I received very good news.  The Dr. said the bone is still healing, per the x-rays, and that I should continue wearing the brace until I visit with the orthopedic Dr. In normal.)

We haven’t done all the things we wanted to do while here but we have kept plenty busy. We had the pleasure of having dinner with Gordon & Cheryl, friends we met at the VA in Omaha. Steve & Teresa, we worked at Cal-AM with them, we went to dinner and had a great visit. We met Rick & Jana, coworkers from Cal-AM, at the RV Café, a restaurant started by Cal-AM. Had a great visit with them and enjoy their tales of traveling. We were able to get together with Nikki, Jack & Meredith, I worked with Nikki at Ruan. She is a massage therapist and teacher of same here in the Phoenix area. It was great seeing them again and catching up on their lives.

We have not done a lot of sightseeing except for the Mesa Flea Market, South Mountain Park, Wrigley Mansion and the Heard Museum. Also, a ride on the lite rail system.

The Flea Market is, in my opinion, a bunch of stuff you don’t need that is displayed two or three times in each of four long tents a quarter to a third mile long at least. You can find anything and everything in these tents, even things you didn’t know existed.

South Mountain Park is a great place to view the valley from 2,000 feet plus. The road is narrow and winding go up the mountain but a very pretty drive. Coming down there were two guys in front of us on skate boards, they had to hit speeds of 40+ mph, very dangerous. I hope they made it to the bottom safely.

The Wrigley Mansion is an interesting place, http://www.wrigleymansion.com/, the view is phenomenal and the food is great. I enjoy visiting this place.

The Heard Museum is very interesting, http://heard.org/,  was interesting. I will admit I didn’t pay to go through the museum but I looked at everything else. There were a couple of sculptures on the grounds pertaining to Native Americans being in the military, I found those and the writings to go with them to be very enlightening.

Tests today February 17 we went to canyon lake and took a boat ride on the lake on the boat the Dolly, https://dollysteamboat.com.  Canyon lake is one of 4 or 5 lakes in the area and have 20 some miles of shoreline, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canyon_Lake_(Arizona).  But at a small ride is a very seek a ride through one of the canyons on this lake.  After the boat ride, we went into tortilla flats and had lunch.  One of those things on my bucket list was to have prickly pear ice cream and I accomplish that today.

It is supposed to rain this weekend so I doubt that we will do much of anything.  In fact, we are in the process of planning our route home for when we leave a week from tomorrow.  It seems, the Omaha and the entire Midwest has had as good as or some day’s better weather men we have had here in Arizona.

I do have one more bucket list item I want to take care of the four we get home and that is visiting the buffalo soldier’s museum at Fort Huachuca, AZ.

So, we are leaving here a week from tomorrow with a couple stops here and there on our way home.  We should be back in a law by March 6 orbit four.

We have terrible WIFI here in this park and so I hope I will build a sendup this blog, will try.  If it doesn’t work, I’ll wait until I have better WIFI a service and send about them.

Hope all is well with everyone and we will continue this when we get home.