Sunday, September 30, 2007


We are docked in Hilo, Hawaii after "steaming" four days west from San Francisco. We had four days of very smooth sailing as you can see. There were hardly any waves in the ocean.

The Sun Princess is a very pleasant ship to take for a long cruise. She's stocked with friendly people, lots of good food, and activities. To that end, Chet's lectures are going very well and he's receiving a lot of positive feedback. They are even taping his lectures, so folks can see them on the TV in their staterooms. It's very strange to see him on TV.

Our first of three formal evenings, happened as we left San Francisco. Considering we all like to wear our play clothes most days, it was amazing to see how well we all cleaned up. Penguins might have even learned a lesson or two about tuxedo wearing.

I must report that I made an error about the "stork" in Seattle. I have been informed by Wes that the bird is a Great Blue Heron all hunkered down for the evening. As I look at the bird, it does look like a Heron. I apologize. Thanks go to Wes for setting me straight.

Tomorrow in Lahaina.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

I left my internet connection in San Francisco

Well, we are in San Francisco having made an uneventful sail from Seattle. The seas have been calm. There have been dolphins playing in the water and once in awhile, you can see the splash made by a whale. This morning we sailed under the Golden Gate Bridge. Life is good on the Sun Princess.

The only thing that is not good is the internet connection. We have a computer lab onboard, and it does have access to the internet, but it is slow, iffy and expensive. At 75 cents a minute, I will not be online for long periods of time. To that end, I'm glad we have the air card. It will only work while we are in port in the it will die when we leave Lahaina in a few days.

Today we had lunch with my Auntie Ruthie. Being a native San Franciscan, she hopped on a bus and met us at Pier 35! We had lunch at Neptune's Palace on Pier 39 where we had a perfect view of Alcatraz, the Golden Gate and Bay Bridges, and seals. I had heard of the seals at Pier 39, but I thought there would be a dozen or so. There are dozens of seals at Pier 39 all barking and basking in the sun. Life must be good for them too.

We have had a beautiful day in "The City." The Chamber of Commerce did well as the sun was shining and it was actually hot! Well, hot for The City! Folks were walking around in sleeveless shirts and shorts and enjoying the autumn sun!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

A Stork in Seattle

We drove from Salem to Seattle today. It's only 220 miles, but they were some of the hardest 220 miles we have driven this week. The traffic, even on Saturday, was heavy. In "green" Oregon, where being earth-friendly is important, we were overpassed by SUVs and big 4x4 trucks, while we were driving our Fazda (Ford-Mazda combo). Since we generally live in rural areas, seeing all the traffic is rather fascinating, but we wonder why folks want to live here with all the traffic; all the people; all the confusion. Just when we thought all was lost, we went for a little walk alongside a lake in downtown Seattle and there we saw a stork! A stork in Seattle! It was huddled up for the evening, all fluffed up and enjoying a rest on a log under a willow tree. There is nature here and it's not that hard to find...all you have to do is get out of your car and look.

Tomorrow we board the Sun Princess and start the 30 day voyage of this adventure. First stop will be San Francisco!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Goodbye and Hello

Today we drove from Bend to Salem over the Santiam Pass. Once again I was mesmerized by the beauty of the area. Oregon is known for her greenery, and we drove through miles of dense Douglas Fir and Pine forests. Now and then we saw an elk or deer hiding in the background. This natural beauty is awesome.

This morning we said good bye to our friends in Bend and this afternoon we said hello to our friends in Salem. It's always fun to travel and see places and things, but it's more fun to see special people. We are blessed on this trip, to have the best of all worlds.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Pilot Butte

For our second day in Bend we scaled Pilot Butte Summit and saw a bird's eye view of Bend and environs. A ring of mountains circle the town and from the summit you can see all of them. Except for the haze, it was a site to see.

We had warm sunshine today with a hint of a haze, a 100% improvement over the gray day we had yesterday. My husband went to college in Eugene and he remembers days on end that were gray, dull, cold and rainy. Yesterday fulfilled his old memories of the entire state, while today created some new ones. He might want to go to Oregon again, IF there was more sunshine.

Where the elk graze

Today we had a wonderful day visiting with our friends and learning more about this beautiful part of Oregon. Bend is a beautiful town with a river wandering beside main street, mature trees, and a heady blend of old and new architecture. While there is some traffic, you can see why folks move here to avoid the congestion found in the bigger cities south in California.

Not too far away is the Quilt Capital of North America: Sisters, at the foot of 3 volcanoes, called "The Sisters." During the summer, quilters flock here from all over share their wares, take quilting classes. listen to quilting lectures, and brag about their newest designs. Today the quilters were gone, but the evidence of quilters and crafters is evident wherever you go. Amid the quilts, we had a great lunch, a better ice cream cone, and we saw elk. Elk on a farm. It was interesting to see how content they were grazing on the green grass and enjoying a restful life in their enclosed environment. It lead me to wonder how they would act in the open like the wild elk herd in Yellowstone? I just looked at these animals and said to myself, "Enjoy this while you can! Life is good."

That's true, life is good!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Panhandling Geese

We are in Bend, Oregon, right on schedule. Today we drove from Weed passing through small towns like Macdoel, Dorris, Greneda, on the Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway, aka Highway 97. It's a pretty drive in a part of California that is sparsely populated! We crossed the border in Oregon and stopped in Klamath Falls for lunch. Klamath Falls is on the Klamath River where a lot of logging has been done over the years. We went in search of the falls. Up the river...down the river. We saw mill ponds where logs were being stored; we saw a few people in boats; we saw some beautiful riverfront..but no falls. Finally, in desperation, we asked "Where are the Falls in Klamath Fall?" We were disappointed by the answer. When the Upper Lake was dammed, the falls disappeared. There are no falls in Klamath Falls. What can you say.

On the other hand, there are panhandling geese who would certainly be willing to share your lunch.

Monday, September 17, 2007

On to Oz but first, Mt. Shasta!

We're on the road, only a mere 130 miles from home, but we're on the road. Right outside our hotel window we are treated to a view of beautiful Mt. Shasta. She's the second tallest mountain in CA at 14,162 feet yet I think she is more spectacular than Mt. Whitney which is taller. Shasta pokes up her head and tells the world I AM HERE with grace and majesty, while Whitney hides amid other mountains. Part of the "Pacific Ring of Fire," Mt. Shasta can erupt, but she's been dormant since the 10th birthday of the United States. Not too far away is a sister volcano, Mt. Lassen, which last erupted in 1915. Our property south of Mt. Lassen, is littered with little lava bombs that were hurled over 100 miles. The 1915 eruption was a true blast! When these big volcanoes decide to erupt, they are nasty.

Today Mt. Shasta is sitting pretty. She has some snow to grace her lovely sides, a friendly cloud to keep her company and two more visitors looking at her in awe of her power and beauty.

Tomorrow on to Bend.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

OZ minus 1

I'm packed! At least I think I am. The first iteration of packing was a bit of a disaster as I could not zip the suitcase. Right now, the suitcase weighs 38 pounds and I can zip it closed AND the expansion space is not being used. This is good. The next order of business is to pack the carry on suitcases and laptop computer.

I'm used to taking long trips in an RV. For them, we pack our small "house" with all that we need. Packing for a stateroom on a ship is a different order of packing. At least if we forget anything, there's a floating hotel where we can get most of what we need.

We picked up the rental car for the drive to Seattle. It's a 2006 Mazda 6 but it looks like a Ford. It feels like a Ford too. This is not a bad thing. In 1988 I a Probe, which was a Mazda/Ford offspring, so I guess the two companies still have some type of business relationship! It's supposed to be a "full sized car" but my friends, I think that's a bit of an exaggeration!

All we have to do is pack up the rest of the suitcases; pack the car; and head north to Seattle. We are getting excited! We've already made a date too. When we land in San Francisco, I'm going to have lunch with my aunties who live there. I've not seen them since June, so this is a treat!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

OZ minus 3

Slowly we are getting things organized for this trip. I have a mental list of all that needs to be packed...all I have to do is pack!

Today I bought a new air card for my computer so I can get online stateside (that means only to Hawaii). It fits in a USB port instead of a PCMCIA slot. The newer computers are not being made with PCMCIA slots and of course the travel computer is "newer." After we leave the states, WiFi will be the answer. Sure hope the Sun Princess has a good WiFi capability!

I've looked through all the travel documents. I have a binder an inch thick with everything placed in the order that we will use it. Thanks to my travel agent Liz for helping me get this altogether. We've been working on this trip since May. The next set of paperwork deals with places to see and things to do. I have get my travel guides out.

Friday, September 14, 2007

OZ minus 4

We're 4 days away from the next trip. Here's the Itinerary in a nutshell:
Weed, CA; Bend, OR; Salem, OR; Seattle, WA; San Francisco, CA; Hilo, HI;
Maui, HI; Bora Bora, French Polynesia; Papeete, Tahiti; Rarotonga, Cook Islands; Pago Pago, American Samoa; Fiji; Auckland, New Zealand;
Christchurch, New Zealand; Dunedin, New Zealand; Fjordland National Park, New Zealand; Sydney, Australia; Adelaide; Alice Springs; Darwin; Cairns; Great Barrier Reef; Sydney and then home. We'll be "on the road" for 6 weeks!
I hope to write about the adventure and share pictures, so watch this space.