Monthly Archives: June 2020

Back in the USA: FL, GA & AZ — November 16-30


When we left Ft. Lauderdale, we crossed over to the west coast of Florida and stopped in Ft. Meyers to see our granddaughter Katie.  We met for lunch and then she showed us her apartment, the most memorable aspect of which — the apartment, not our visit —  was her vast collection of shoes.


On our way up the coast, we stopped in Brunswick to see Tusen Takk II  one last time.  It was raining when we arrived.  We briefly debated whether to descend the ramp and see if the new owners were on board.  They were.  I knocked on the hull, and when the new owner came out, I asked if he knew of a Krogen I could buy.  He didn’t recognize me, and said “no, you might ask around down the dock.”  I replied, “I sold you this one!”.  He apologized and invited us in.  I explained we were just there to have a final look, and that we needed to get down the road.  I wished him well, Barb took our picture, and that concluded our association with the sea and my deep regrets of its termination.

We stopped in Savannah for a time, altering our usual routine of staying in a midtown motel and instead booking a bed & breakfast deep in the woods south of Savannah and owned by a former colleague of Barb:  Randy Brannen and his wife.  While in Savannah we visited with friends Dick and Karen Munson, Steve and Beth Ellis, and Mike and Iris Dayoub.  Iris kindly loaned me her massive 600 mm lens so I could do a little bird photography on Skidaway Island.  I loved the focal length, but concluded that the lens was too heavy for a little boy like me.  And of course, we spent time with daughter Danielle and granddaughters Abigail and Kristen.

We exchanged rental cars and drove up to Atlanta to spend time with daughter Nellie, her husband Mike, and their sons Michael and Connor.  While in Atlanta Barb had lunch with some of her former colleagues.


We flew out of Atlanta to Phoenix, AZ, where we had stashed our CR-V at the home of Jeff Quackenbush, friend of Bill and Bruce.  

Bill and Bruce were extraordinarily helpful.  They had gotten our RV out of storage in Phoenix while we were in Georgia and moved it to Lake Pleasant north of Phoenix where we all met to do some camping.  While there I took a few pictures with my new Nikon D500 camera.

On the 26th Bill and Colleen and Barb and I drove down to the Yuma area where we left the car at the Mexico/USA border and walked into Mexico where we all had our teeth cleaned and all got new eye glasses.  While in the area, Bill and Colleen showed us their former playground in the sand tunes where they ran their dune buggies in the old days.

 On Thanksgiving day, back in Phoenix, we feasted at the home of Bruce and Jan, along with what seemed like half of Phoenix.  (They had a lot of guests.)

On December 1, Bill & Colleen and Barb & I took our respective RVs down to Rincon Country West RV Resort in Tucson, where we were initially booked for a three-month stay.  But an account of how that worked out will have to wait for the next edition of this blog.

Rome to Ft. Lauderdale aboard Celebrity Cruiseship ‘Edge’ — November 1-15, 2019

On November 1 we — Bill Bouchard, Colleen Wright, Barb and I — joined a Celebrity cruise on their latest ship (Edge) that took us from Rome to Florence/Pisa to Provence (Toulono) to Palma de Mallorca to Tenerife (Canary Islands) followed by a week at sea crossing the ocean to land at Ft. Lauderdale on November 15.  (See previous posts to read about the multi-country trips we four enjoyed prior to the cruise.)

The Ship

The ship was impressive, and not just because it featured a unique external elevator/platform that could be raised out of the way when not needed or lowered to accommodate passenger ingress/egress or festive underway gatherings.  We all subscribed to a flexible plan that permitted reserving evening meals at any of the main restaurants. We could do breakfast and lunch at numerous restaurants or in a cavernous cafeteria that hosted an uncountable number of stations, each specializing in a different constellation of food types or international sub-genres.  And there were numerous snack shops and coffee shops and dessert bars physically separate from the eateries I’ve already mentioned.  We all gained a substantial amount of weight; I admit to adding about 15 pounds.


We boarded in Rome, where we had already visited extensively.  (See previous postings.)


We had visited the lovely city of Florence earlier in our land trip, so we didn’t even disembark in Florence.

Provence/Toulono (11/03/19)

Palma de Mallorca (11/04/19)

We did some strolling, but  much of what we saw was via the Segways.  The tour was fun; the Segways were, as usual, a blast.

Tenerife/Canary Islands

In the Tenerife Canary Islands we took an organized side trip to Mount Teide, taking a tour bus from our Cruise Ship dock to the volcano, where we rode a cable car up to near the peak.

From Wikipedia:

Mount Teide is a volcano on Tenerife in the Canary Islands, Spain. Its summit (at 3,718 m (12,198 ft)) is the highest point in Spain and the highest point above sea level in the islands of the Atlantic.

If measured from the ocean floor, it is at 7,500 m (24,600 ft) the fourth-highest volcano in the world,[a] and is described by UNESCO and NASA as Earth’s third-tallest volcanic structure. Teide’s elevation makes Tenerife the tenth highest island in the world. Teide is an active volcano: its most recent eruption occurred in 1909 from the El Chinyero vent on the northwestern Santiago rift. The United Nations Committee for Disaster Mitigation designated Teide a Decade Volcano because of its history of destructive eruptions and its proximity to several large towns. …  The volcano and its surroundings comprise Teide National Park, which has an area of 18,900 hectares (47,000 acres) … Teide is the most visited natural wonder of Spain, the most visited national park in Spain and Europe and – by 2015 – the eighth most visited in the world, with some 3 million visitors yearly. … Teide Observatory, a major international astronomical observatory, is located on the slopes of the mountain.

The volcano and its surroundings, including the whole of the Las Cañadas caldera, are protected in the Teide National Park. …  A cable car goes from the roadside at 2,356 m (7,730 ft) most of the way to the summit, reaching 3,555 m (11,663 ft), carrying up to 38 passengers (34 in a high wind) and taking eight minutes to reach the summit. Access to the summit itself is restricted; a free permit is required to climb the last 200 m (660 ft). Numbers are normally restricted to 200 per day. Several footpaths take hikers to the upper cable car terminal, and then onto the summit.

Entertainment on board

There were lots of entertainment opportunities.  Singers, tribute musicians, acrobats, dancers, comedians, improv acts (which roped in both Bill and me), house orchestra, dance lessons, well-equiped gym, etc. etc.

In short, we had a great time.  We were all a little surprised:  it had seemed like an interesting way to get back to the USA but we weren’t prepared for how much we enjoyed it.  The extensive (and expensive) tour of the ship was a fascinating glimpse of what it takes to provide all of the necessary services. Food preparation. Laundry.  Machine room.  Control room.

 While still on board, we booked a Panama Canal cruise for 2021, but we will have to rethink that.  The very real possibility that COVID-19 is still lingering by then makes spending an extended amount of time in a confined space with gazillions of people unattractive.  Besides, we now are wary of another 20-pound weight gain.