More of Southern Arizona – Buenos Aires Nat’l Wildlife Refuge, Tucson, and Whitewater Draw Wildlife Area

“You gotta be bird people!”, he said through clenched teeth.  I looked quizzically at the irritated man standing in the middle of our campsite.  It was clear that he meant it as an insult.  This strange and uncomfortable encounter occurred while we were camping at the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge which borders Sonora, Mexico in Sasabe, Arizona.  Here’s the story … Primitive camping (free) is permitted in the wildlife refuge but only at 83 designated sites which are scattered throughout the 118,000 acres of grassland and mesquite groves.  Most are small sites, but there are a few that can comfortably accommodate a 40+ foot RV like ours.  We were excited to score a very large, beautiful site for our week of vegging in the wide open boondocks.

Our Fantastic Site #39 at Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge

Our Fantastic Site #39 at Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge

Very soon after we settled in, we noticed a number of cars and campers driving past us to the campsites further down the little dirt road.  Before long, we got a knock on the door by a group of women politely informing us that the Womens Javelina Hunting Club were coming in for the weekend.  There would be 70-100 women with guns, many of them first-timers.  “Uhh, ok.”  They would probably be stirring up a lot of dust going up and down the road in front of us.  “Ok.”  They would be meeting at the main campsite (the one closest to us just down the road) for breakfast at 4:30 a.m. before they all head out to hunt javelina.  “Ok, thanks for telling us.  No problem.  Have fun.”

It was obvious that we were occupying a premium site, right next to their hunting group’s main tent site, and they were hoping to scare us away.  She then told me that they were all sharing the many campsites along that road.  She said that people would be arriving late into the evening, would assume we were part of their group, and might set up tents in our campsite.  I told her that I would watch for such activity and that I would inform newcomers that we were not part of the group and send them on down the road.  Our conversation was very friendly, but I knew we weren’t reacting like she wanted us to.  She wanted us to be horrified at all this activity, and leave.  But we had already scoped out the entire area and we knew this was the only site that would accommodate us.  And it was a good one!  That evening, we only had one van pull in, but they left promptly when I apologized and told them we weren’t in the hunting club.

The next day is when Mr. Friendly arrived.  We had parked our car to block the entrance to our site (hint, hint).  He was in one car, and his wife in another.  They pulled around my car, driving through the brush, and parked right next to our campfire ring.  He jumped out of his car and started scoping out where he would pitch his tent.  I came out of the RV and said “Sorry!  We’re not part of your group.”  He just stared at me.  So I said “You’re with the hunting group, aren’t you?  They are just down the road a little farther.”   He paused, gave me a snarky look, and stated “This spot looks just fine to me.”

THIS is where he parked his car!

THIS is where he parked his car!

Ohhhhhh, I hate confrontation.  I just stood there with my mouth agape.  I said “You’re going to set up right on top of us?”  He squinted his eyes at me and snarled “Looks like a good spot.”  Then, suddenly his eyes got big, he threw his arms up, said “I’m outta here” and he quickly started backpedaling to his car.  His dramatic change of heart completely surprised me.  Then, I turned around and saw that Mike had come out of the RV to put a bag of trash in our car.  Mike hadn’t heard any of our conversation, did not know this guy was being a jerk, and didn’t even look in our direction.  He was merely walking the trash to the car.  It apparently scared the hell out of this guy.  Did he think I was alone?  Did he feel like Mr. Big Shot intimidating the little lady?  He shouted “You gotta be bird people!” as he jumped in his car (his wife hadn’t gotten out of hers) and both cars peeled out of our campsite.  So weird.  At first I didn’t get it.  I thought he was saying we looked like birds or something.  Mike suggested that he meant we were not hunters.  Ahhhhh, now I get it.  People come to the refuge to see the protected bird species, or to hunt the legal game.

We enjoyed the rest of our week, despite this encounter.  And the women’s group did not disturb us at all.  We did not hear any late night or early morning noise.  Their event only lasted a couple of days, then we had the whole place to ourselves again.3 Buenos Aires Natl Conservation Area Campsite 39

Hiking the Arivaca Creek Trail in Buenos Aires Wildlife Refuge

Hiking the Arivaca Creek Trail in Buenos Aires Wildlife Refuge

Next, it was back to civilization.  We planned 7 days of fun in Tucson.  Since many of the activities we planned were not doggie-friendly, we decided that we should pay for a hook-up site so that Lucy could have air conditioned comfort while we left her alone in the RV.  We booked a week at the Gilbert Ray Campground on the west side of Tucson.  Poor Lucy.  She couldn’t even go hiking with us there.  But, even so, we enjoyed our stay immensely.  The hiking and the sight-seeing was tons of fun.

A Beautiful Hike in Tucson Mountain Park (right from our campground!)

A Beautiful Hike to Wasson Peak in Tucson Mountain Park (right from our campground!)

A Fun Happy Hour with Al and Ingrid

A Fun Happy Hour with Al and Ingrid

We enjoyed an evening with Al and Ingrid, our friends and fellow bloggers from Live, Laugh, RV.  Ingrid prepared her very special nachos and homemade brownies.  We all pigged out (in our most eloquent manner, of course).

A Nice Sunset at Snyder Hill BLM Campground

A Nice Sunset at Snyder Hill BLM Campground

We Visited The Mission San Xavier built in 1783.  A National Historic Landmark.

We Visited The Mission San Xavier built in 1783. A National Historic Landmark.

Mission San Xavier

Mission San Xavier

Walking Around the Artistic Little Town of Tubac

Walking Around the Artistic Little Town of Tubac

We Did The Walking Tour Of The Tucson Historic District.  Very Colorful!

We Did The 2-1/2 mile Walking Tour (called the Turquoise Trail) Of The Tucson Historic District, Very Colorful!

The Old CourtHouse on the Turquoise Trail

Built in 1929, the Pima County Courthouse on the Turquoise Trail

High on our list of things to do was a return visit to the Sonoran Desert Museum.  We just love the beautiful setting, the variety of wildlife, and the Raptors in Flight demonstration where the birds fly inches over your head.  It’s so thrilling!  (We must be bird people!)

Owl Alighting

Owl Alighting (not a very clear pic, but I love it anyway)

Taking Flight

Taking Flight

In The Hummingbird Garden of the Sonora Desert Museum

In The Hummingbird Garden of the Sonora Desert Museum

We love it that Jane and Bob, our friends who split the year between their two homes in Colorado and Arizona, invited us to a great hike in Tortolita Mountain Park.  It turned out to be more than we all bargained for and we almost missed our dinner reservation!  We arrived at the Old Pueblo Grill parched, hungry, and sore.  The Grand Marnier Margaritas were the perfect medication!

Hiking the Wild Burro Trail in Tortolita Mountain Park

Hiking the Wild Burro Trail in Tortolita Mountain Park

Jane and Bob on the trail

Jane and Bob on the trail

The next day we were off to the Rodeo!

Jane and Linda at the Tucson Rodeo "Fiesta de Los Vaqueros"

Jane and Linda at the Tucson Rodeo “Fiesta de Los Vaqueros”

It Was Breast Cancer Awareness Day.  Lot of Pink Shirts on Everyone!

It Was Breast Cancer Awareness Day.  Pink Shirts on Everyone!

A Lot Of Action .. All Day!

A Lot Of Action .. All Day!

Dramatic Sunsets Almost Every Night

Dramatic Sunsets Almost Every Night.   I Call This One “The Eagle”

Our week flew by quickly.  Next up, Whitewater Draw Wildlife Area (1500 acres).  Over 20,000 Sandhill Cranes winter here and we were hoping to get there before they leave (usually by the end of February).  Not sure if the cold weather has played a role in keeping them here, but here they were!  And it was Amazing!

Camping is allowed for 3 days near the viewing platform at Whitewater Draw.

Camping is allowed for 3 days near the viewing platform at Whitewater Draw.  The viewing platforms are just a short walk away beyond the hay barn.

This Great Horned Owl Was In The Rafters Of The Hay Barn.  He Was Looking Right At Lucy!  It Was Scary!

This great horned owl was in the rafters of the hay barn. He was looking right at Lucy! It was scary!

Mike and Lucy at Whitewater Draw

Mike and Lucy at Whitewater Draw

The Sandhill Cranes spend the night standing in the shallow water.  They fly off at sunrise to go feed in the fields and return at sunset.  Usually they also return to the water in small groups for a mid-day break.  So one can view the cranes throughout the day.  However, the most dramatic viewing is sunrise and sunset when they flock in mass.  Jane’s pictures turned out better than mine, so I’m posting hers!  I tried to post a video of this, but I haven’t figured out how to do it efficiently yet.

Sandhill Cranes Flying (photo courtesy Jane Forster)

Sandhill Cranes Flying (photo courtesy my friend Jane Forster)

(photo courtesy Jane Forster)

(photo courtesy Jane Forster)

(photo courtesy Jane Forster)

(photo courtesy Jane Forster)

It is not only an incredible sight to see, but the sound!  Oh my god, the sound!  Awesome experience.

Now, we’re off to explore the Chiricahuas!  Cheers!

Quartzsite, Yuma, and Why Arizona

01 Driving thru the desertWe headed out to the Arizona desert in mid-January, after our wonderful 2-1/2 month visit with family.  Our first stop was in Quartzsite for the big annual RV Rally.  The entire desert is covered in RVs.

01 Quartzsite BLM

It’s an enormous party and many RVs are clustered together in wagon circles.  You can shop til you drop, with aisle after aisle of vendors in the big tent set up for the rally, as well as acres of flea market style booths set up all over town.We walked through the big tent and bought a few little things, but we were more in the mood to just veg out in the desert.

02 Quartzsite Dome Rock BLM

We haven’t been living in the RV since Oct. 31, so we enjoyed just getting back into the lifestyle.  The only social contact we had was with Brenda and Hector of Island Girl Walkabout blog.  We were very much looking forward to getting to know them better after meeting them briefly last year.  We got together a couple of times over the weekend and we had such a great time!  I wish I’d taken some pictures!  Here is a picture of the 4 of us out to dinner that I snagged off of their blog.  They are so much fun and we can’t wait to meet up with them again.  Hector is an AMAZING photographer.  If you’ve never seen their blog, you should check it out.

Hector and Brenda

 

We headed down to Yuma to checkout the boondocking on BLM land off of Ogilby Road that Nina of Wheeling It blog wrote about.  We were out in the middle of wide open nowhere and we loved it.

03 Yuma Ogilby Road BLM-51We vegged out some more, hiked a little bit, enjoyed a few happy hour campfires, and got to watch our favorite TV shows.  Yep, you heard that right.  We caved in and signed up for Direct TV.  So now it doesn’t matter how far off the grid we camp, we can still watch the morning news shows with our coffee, and never miss another episode of Big Bang Theory.  AND we absolutely love our new solar panels which generate enough power to let us enjoy not having to worry about running the generator at all.

03 Yuma Ogilby Road BLM-2805 Yuma-Ogilby Rd BLM-American Girl Mine-4106 Yuma Ogilby Road BLM-34Lucy says “Let’s go for a nice long hike to the American Girl Mine Pit.  I’ve got my red boots on and I’m ready to go!”

07 Yuma Ogilby Road BLM-5008 Yuma Ogilby Road BLM-4909 Yuma-Ogilby Rd BLM-American Girl Mine-09

Yuma-Ogilby Rd BLM-American Girl Mine-18We spent a week on Ogilby Road, then went in to one of the RV Resorts in Yuma for 3 days (for free).  They were giving out coupons for this resort when we were walking through the big tent in Quartzsite.  No strings attached.  It was great!  It gave us the opportunity to leave Lucy in an air conditioned RV while we made a day trip over to Los Algodones, Mexico, to do a little shopping.  With a full hook-up site, I was able to do all my laundry and also take nice long showers.  We had Royal Flush come out and give our black tank a proper cleaning.  Then Papi and crew showed up to wash our car and RV for $45.  So we were all clean and shiny and ready to head back out to the dusty wilderness.

Next stop, Why, in southern Arizona.  This was another free BLM site we found on the Wheeling It blog.

23 Why BLM Campsite-02

The town of Why is a little blip on the map, but the nearby town of Ajo actually has some interesting touring.  We took a drive out to the old copper mine pit which was what supported this entire town for over 100 years.

12 Ajo Copper Mine Town-12

Every single ring of this pit had railroad track on it when it was operational.  We heard a lot of interesting stories from the curator of the Copper Mine Museum, an old fella that worked in the pit for many years.

13 Ajo Copper Mine Town-14

11Ajo Copper Mine Town-09

I couldn’t believe our luck that we were in town for the Annual Old Time Fiddlers Contest!  And it wasn’t just a local thing.  I heard introductions of Contestants that came from Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Colorado.  I’m sure there were other states represented, but those were just some of the ones I remember.  We heard amazing fiddling from young and old, men and women.  The oldest fiddler was 89 years old!  and good!  I got some great video.

17 Old Time Fiddlers Contest-10

14 Old Time Fiddlers Contest-0915 Old Time Fiddlers Contest-0216 Old Time Fiddlers Contest-12

We were camped only a couple of miles from the entrance to Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument.  We drove 20 miles through the park to the Visitor Center, then hiked to the Twin Peaks campground.  Then we drove the scenic 21-mile dirt road around the Diablo Mtns.  It was so beautiful.  We picked up the scenic drive guide and stopped at each numbered pull-out to read the paragraph about what we were seeing. 28 cactus species live here in the monument.  I am now a cactus expert.

This is an Organ Pipe Cactus…18 Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument-Canon-26

19 Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument-Canon-1420 Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument-Canon-31

We brought a picnic lunch and stopped at this ramada to devour it.  It was a perfect day.21 Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument-Canon-16I don’t know how he does it.  Ouch!22 Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument-24

We enjoyed our visit to Why and now we’re ready to move on.10 Why AZ BLM campsite-06

 

Cheers!

On The Road Again After A Wonderful 2 1/2 Months With Family

Oh my gosh, I have to learn how to live in an RV all over again!  We have been completely pampered and spoiled for over two months at our daughter Kimberly’s house.  We’ve been there since Halloween!  So fair warning … This update will be the epitome of a proud grandmother’s photo album.   In addition to scheduling all of our annual appointments (of which there were many), our days were filled with family gatherings, grandkids’ sporting events, and just hanging out with the family.  It’s mostly pictures folks, mostly pictures.

As hard as we tried, with all the crazy work schedules (Lance is a firefighter captain and Sean is a police officer), we never got all the kids and grandkids together at the same time for our annual picture.  This one is as close as we got.  It’s missing Sean’s wife, Keni, who was sick that day.  She’s an elementary school teacher, so we can guess where she picked up some bug!

Kids and Grandkids (sans Keni)

Kids and Grandkids (missing Keni)

Here’s a family gathering at Sean’s house for Mike’s 67th birthday.  Mike’s sister Diane and husband Glen are included, but Lance had to work that day.  Oh weird, I’m wearing the same shirt.  Doh.

Mike's 67th Birthday Party (missing Lance)

Mike’s 67th Birthday Party (missing Lance)

This next picture is Thanksgiving Day at Kimberly’s with Lance’s family.

Thanksgiving Day with Austins

Thanksgiving Day

And, we’re all goofy, so we like to do the silly pose, too!

Family Papa Bday silly

Family Thanksgiving silly

This picture includes our eldest grandson Blake’s girlfriend, Holly.

The Family With Blake's girlfriend Holly

The Family With Blake’s girlfriend Holly

Our Christmas Card

Our Christmas Card

We failed to reach out and make dates with many of our wonderful friends and for that we are truly bummed.  We have a list of people we love and promised ourselves we would contact each one, but we let time get away.  Fortunately, we did get to see several of our besties!

Our friends for over 20 years and former next door neighbors, Larry and Mary, came to LA for business so we met for dinner at Duke’s in Malibu.  We really miss hanging out with these two.

Dinner with Larry and Mary at Duke's Malibu

Dinner with Larry and Mary at Duke’s Malibu

Ray came up from San Diego, so we got to have lunch with him and Mikey.

Lunch with Ray and Mikey

Lunch with Ray and Mikey at a brewery in Burbank

I’m so happy we connected with Connie and Lew and revisited our old hangout in Ventura Harbor.  A fun day and it went by too fast!

Ventura Harbor - We Kept Our Power Boat Here Before We Switched To A Sailboat

Ventura Harbor – We Kept Our Power Boat Here Before We Switched To A Sailboat

Connie and Lew

Connie and Lew

Celebrating All Of Our Wedding Anniversaries at Geoffrey's in Malibu

Celebrating All Of Our Wedding Anniversaries at Geoffrey’s in Malibu

Blake's girlfriend Holly is a dancer.  We attended one of her performances in Thousand Oaks.

Blake’s girlfriend Holly is a dancer. We attended one of her performances in Thousand Oaks.

Blake got his Driver's License.   Our car was borrowed a lot!

Blake got his Driver’s License. Our car was borrowed a lot!

Garrett Takes A Selfie With Mom After Getting His Braces Off

Garrett (14) Takes A Selfie With Mom After Getting His Braces Off

Linda Learns To Navigate The New Computer She Got For Christmas

Linda Learns To Navigate The New Computer She Got For Christmas

Papa Juggles Kailyn and Brady

Papa Juggles Kailyn and Brady

Paige and Papa play word games all the time.  He just can’t believe how fast she is!

Paige and Papa word games 3Paige and Papa word games 4Paige and Papa word games 5Paige and Papa word gamesPaige and Papa word games 2

 

Taking The Little Ones Out For Ice Cream Is Always High On The List

Taking The Little Ones Out For Ice Cream Is Always High On The List

We Got Some Exercise By Walking The Dogs Everyday

We Got Some Exercise By Walking The Dogs Everyday

But most of all, it was sports!  All of our kids are involved in at least one sport (Paige does several).  I love it!  I mostly take video of their events, but I managed to get a couple of stills for my blog update.  Lucky you.

Blake plays Varsity Soccer at Moorpark High School

Blake plays Varsity Soccer at Moorpark High School

Header

Header

Garrett Plays Baseball.  He is a freshman at Moorpark High School

Garrett Plays Baseball. He is a freshman at Moorpark High School

Garrett

Garrett

Paige plays soccer

Paige plays soccer

Posing With Her Soccer Besties After Winning a Tournament

Paige Posing With Her Soccer Besties After Winning a Tournament

Paige also plays Softball

Paige also plays Softball

AND she ran less than 7 minute miles in a charity 5k

AND she ran less than 7 minute miles in a charity 5k

Kailyn is our competitive swimmer.  She swims with the Canyons Aquatics Club

Kailyn is our competitive swimmer. She swims with the Canyons Aquatics Club

Thumb wrestling with Papa between races

Thumb wrestling with Papa between races

Happy With Her Race Results!

Happy With Her Race Results!

Brady (6) started Flag Football this year.

Brady (6) started Flag Football this year.  Here he is going for the touchdown!

After The Big Game With Brady

After The Big Game With Brady

When Kimberly isn't attending one of the kids games .....

Paige, Kimberly and I in the stands

In addition to all her kids games, she plays on a co-ed adult team

In addition to all her kids games, Kimberly plays on a co-ed adult team

Kimberly and Paige heading out to a 'boot camp' workout!

Kimberly and Paige heading out to a ‘boot camp’ workout!

As Mike and I were heading out the door to Quartzsite, Kimberly and Paige were heading out to boot camp.  And now I’m going back to eating less and working out more.  Mike and I both gained weight during our visit.  With a house full of kids, there were just too many good things to eat.  My resistance is low around all that temptation.  Sigh.

Thank you Kimberly and Lance.  Not only did you welcome us to live with you for months but you fed us, pampered us, loved us and catered to our every whim.  Love you like crazy!  We love and miss our entire family and can’t wait to see everyone on vacation this summer.

Anyway, here we are in Quartzsite, getting our sea legs back (or whatever you call it in an RV).  We’ll spend a few days here and then head down to Yuma.  We’re still putting our travel plan for this year together.  Cheers!

 

 

The Month of Many Lakes – Oregon-Nevada-California

Our fond memories of Ashland, Oregon, from our first year of full-timing in the RV in 2012 compelled us to return to this cute little town.  The Shakespeare Festival gave us even more reason to spend a few days here.  I clearly remember (and that’s not something that happens frequently!) how much we absolutely loved Ashland.  We even thought it might be someplace we could live permanently.  It had a special ‘vibe’.  But, I think that now that we are in our third year on the road, and I’ve seen so many wonderful, adorable, cute little towns that Ashland is now just one more.

We spent the first few days at Emigrant Lake.  The weather was very nice albeit a bit chilly in the morning.  I must say we are enjoying our solar panels immensely.  The lake, however, has a depressingly low water level.  And the ground is so thick with stickers that Lucy couldn’t go outside.  And then we couldn’t get tickets to the plays we wanted to see.

No water in Emigrant Lake, Oregon

No water in Emigrant Lake, Oregon

We got up early (early for us anyway) to go to the Farmers Market in Ashland.  Everything was fresh, organic and yummy, as expected!

Farmers Market

Farmers Market – We bought some of that organic raspberry jam

Farmers Market

Farmers Market – We bought lots of great produce

Farmers Market - You KNOW we bought some of these morsels!

Farmers Market – You KNOW we bought some of these morsels!

As we sipped our coffee and devoured our baked goodies, we noticed these gentlemen wearing tin foil covered helmets.

Tin foil helmets

Tin foil helmets

Then we noticed the additional protestors across the street who were worried about the government doing bad things to them.

A5 2014 Sept - Ashland - protestors

A7 2014 Sept - Ashland OR pirate protestor

I’m not trying to start a political debate here.  Just found it amusing.  Time to move on.

On the road south, Mt. Shasta in the clouds.

On the road south, Mt. Shasta in the clouds.

We made a long drive down to Lake Mead, Nevada to meet up with our friends Ingrid and Al (LiveLaughRV.net).  They were interested in buying the love seat/jack knife bed that we replaced with my new desk.  So we delivered it to them.  Hey, anything for a party!

View from our BLM campsite on Government Wash Road at Lake Mead, Nevada

View from our BLM campsite on Government Wash Road at Lake Mead, Nevada

Water levels are low at Lake Mead, too!

Water levels are low at Lake Mead, too!

Ingrid and I had a good laugh when we both showed up with the same tee shirt on!  We both had fallen in love with Moab Utah last year and ended up buying the same Moab tee shirt.  Birds of a feather….

Ingrid and I bought the same tee shirts when we were in Moab Utah last year!

Ingrid and I bought the same tee shirts when we were in Moab Utah last year!

Here is Mike and Al solving the problems of the world again.  You’d think they would have it all worked out by now.  Pictures are courtesy of Ingrid’s blog.

04 lakemead-069

05 lakemead-163

Time was running out for Mike and I to spend some time up in the Sierra Nevada Mountains along Highway 395.  So we headed up to June Lake in the hopes of seeing the display of fall colors.  And we timed it perfectly!

View from our campsite #36 in Oh! Ridge Forest Service Campground on June Lake

View from our campsite #36 in Oh! Ridge Forest Service Campground on June Lake

Daily visitors

Daily visitors

08 2014 Oct - June Lake - P1010483 Deer in camp

09 2014 Oct - June Lake - IMG_0515

The weather was PERFECT!  About 80 degrees, perfectly clear sky, very gentle breeze, perfect in every way.  We took a hike up a mountain trail that gave us a great view of June Lake and Gull Lake.  It was quite a climb!  The thin air made it even more difficult.  Thought we were going to die.

View of Gull Lake from the Yost Meadows Trail

View of Gull Lake from the Yost Meadows Trail

View of June Lake from the Yost Meadows Trail

View of June Lake from the Yost Meadows Trail

There are so many interesting things to see and do in this area, that it is difficult to choose.  We had heard about a few fascinating attractions that we just had to see for ourselves.  The Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve was established in 1981 to preserve the limestone “tufa tower” formations.  Did you know this lake is over 1 million years old?  The towers are formed as the calcium-rich springs flow up from the lake bottom.  The calcium bonds to carbonates in the water to form a type of limestone, which then builds on itself to create these towers.  As the water level of Mono Lake decreased, the towers were exposed and, of course, stopped growing.  It’s amazing (and sad) to realize how much water is gone from Mono Lake.  But the tufa towers were awesome to see.

South Tufa's - Mono Lake

South Tufa’s – Mono Lake

All of this used to be under water.

All of this used to be under water.

Mike was hungry and ready to find the place that makes the lobster taquitos that everyone raves about.  We found it in Lee Vining behind the Mobil Gas Station.  The lobster taquitos came with spicy black beans, a mango salad and broccoli slaw.  We also got a plate of their carnitas.  It was quite good!

Lunch at the Whoa Nellie Deli in Lee Vining

Lunch at the Whoa Nellie Deli in Lee Vining – Carnitas Tacos and Lobster Taquitos

With full bellies, we drove up to see the ghost town of Bodie, which became a State Historic Park in 1962.  It is now maintained in a state of “arrested decay”.  It was a wicked and lawless town where “killings occurred with monotonous regularity”.  In 1879, Bodie had a population of 10,000 people and 65 saloons.  It was described as “a sea of sin, lashed by the tempests of lust and passion”.  I love the “arrested decay” style of preservation.  Like it is frozen in time.  What’s left of it anyway.  You can wander around the empty streets and peak in the windows of houses and buildings and see the things that were left behind.  It was surreal.

Bodie - State Historic Park

Bodie – State Historic Park

A ghost town now

A ghost town now

17 2014 Oct - Bodie - IMG_033852

The school house

The school house

19 2014 Oct - Bodie - IMG_032640

The drive up to Bodie was beautiful, too!

Fall colors all around!

Fall colors all around!

16 2014 Oct - Bodie - IMG_036377

 

Devils Postpile in the Ansel Adams Wilderness is another National Monument that we wanted to see.  The column formations were formed from basalt lava which flowed here 82,000 years ago and fractured by a glacier passing through about 20,000 years ago.  Subsequent earthquakes felled many columns that now lie fragmented below the postpile.

Devils Postpile

Devils Postpile

Oh, the forces of nature!

Oh, the forces of nature!

We continued hiking past Devils Postpile to the 101 foot Rainbow Falls.  Then we took the 95 steps to the bottom of the falls for a better view (and enjoyed a picnic lunch down there).

Rainbow Falls

Rainbow Falls

23 2014 Oct - Devils Postpile and Rainbow Falls Hike - IMG_0527

The hiking opportunities in the Mono Lake Ranger District are endless.  We enjoyed as many as we could and we will definitely return to this area again for more.  The hike to Parker Lake required a 2-mile drive on a bumpy dirt road to get to the trailhead, but it was worth it.

Parker Lake Trail

Parker Lake Trail

Arriving at the beautiful Parker Lake - 4 miles roundtrip

Arriving at the beautiful Parker Lake – 4 miles roundtrip

Now we were ready to take on a more difficult hike.  We knew we just HAD to complete the highly recommended 8-mile hike through the Virginia Lakes.  Again, we had perfect weather.  And again, we were gasping for air when we got to the steep climbing part at the summit.  Wow, this thin air really makes a difference!  But, I’ll tell you this was an amazing hike.  It ranks right up there with the best of the best in terms of beauty.

Driving to the Virginia Lakes trailhead

Driving to the Virginia Lakes trailhead

This hike rewarded us with beautiful lake after lake along the trail.

This hike rewarded us with beautiful lake after lake along the trail.

We're climbing now.

We’re climbing now.

Rock scrambling is required to reach the summit at over 11,000 feet!

Rock scrambling is required to reach the summit at over 11,000 feet!

The view from the top!

The view from the top!  The trail passed all of those lakes.

With our endorphines generating at maximum output, the return hike was a breeze.

With our endorphines generating at maximum output, the return hike was a breeze.

Enjoying lunch and the beautiful view.

Enjoying lunch and the beautiful view.

Breakfast at the popular Silver Lake Resort Cafe on the June Lake Loop was a great way to begin the celebration of our 23rd wedding anniversary, and a great way to wrap up our visit to June Lake.  Everything was perfect!

Celebrating our 23rd Wedding Anniversary at June Lake

Celebrating our 23rd Wedding Anniversary at June Lake

Cheers!

The Oregon Coast

We got lucky … the weather was perfect on the central Oregon coast!  We had a couple of weeks to kill while our new office desk was being built at Elite RV in Harrisburg, Oregon.  So we headed to the coast to explore Florence, Waldport and Newport.  We dry-camped at casinos and marinas (because we can now that we have solar).

1 Lucy poses on the beach

6 Lucy and Mike on beach

2 Lucy in the air at beach

3 Lucy wants to be carried

8 Lucy runs up dune

9 mike and lucy

14 lucy on beach

We sighted whales several times from the various look-out points.  We even took a whale-watching boat trip.

Whale 1

whale 2

Whale 3

So excited to get the tail even though this one was so far away.  I was on the shore.

So excited to get the tail even though this one was so far away. I was on the shore.

This whale is named Scar and she is with her baby

This whale is named Scar and she is with her baby

Scar and Baby

Scar and Baby

The whale's head

The whale’s head

We camped at the Newport Marina for a few days during the harvest moon.

Harvest Moon over Newport Harbor

Harvest Moon over Newport Harbor

Yaquina Bay Bridge with Newport Marina in background

Yaquina Bay Bridge with Newport Marina in background

When the fog rolls in...

When the fog rolls in…

Many of the buildings in Newport have murals painted on the sides.  Here are just a few.

Mural 1 Mural 3 Mural 2

 

We got in some farmers markets, seafood eating, hiking, shopping, touring and just enjoying the beauty of this little slice of heaven.

Lighthouse 3 Lighthouse 2 Heceta Bay Lighthouse

 

Hiking Cape Perpetua

Hiking Cape Perpetua

Beachtown 3 Mike and Lucy at pier in Florence OR

Campsite Bird Coast Sand Birds Coast 8 Coast 7 Coast 6 Coast 5 Coast 3 Coast 2 Coast 1

Our campsite at the Marina in Waldport

Our campsite at the Marina in Waldport (near Florence)

Oregon and the entire Pacific Northwest remain on our travel plans for the future.  We will be back!

The Bear – Upgrades

We decided to make a few changes/upgrades to the Bear.  These past few weeks have found us camping in RV shop garages and parking lots getting our “wish list” projects completed.  I can’t tell you how excited I am with these upgrades!!

We’ve known from the very beginning that we wanted solar panels.  Our love of camping in the wilderness, rather than in full hook-up campgrounds, required that we run our generator 4 to 5 hours a day to charge the batteries whenever we camped “off the grid”.  The Bear needs a lot of electricity, especially because of our residential refrigerator.

So our first stop was AM Solar in Springfield, Oregon.  Before I share our new solar panel configuration, I want to talk about our batteries.  We bought 4 new wet-cell batteries at the beginning of the year, but we decided to go ahead and replace them with 4 of the large L16 Lifeline AGM batteries (400 amps each).

Our 4 new L16 Lifeline AGM 400 amp Batteries

Our 4 new L16 Lifeline AGM 400 amp Batteries

We weren’t sure how much solar power we should install.  But we knew that we didn’t want to worry about power all the time.  So we met with “Marvelous Marvin” of Precision RV and put together a configuration that meets (and exceeds) our needs.

The Bear Going In For Solar Panels at AM Solar

The Bear Going In For Solar Panels at AM Solar

Marvelous Marvin Discussing Tilt Bars With Mike

Marvelous Marvin Discussing Tilt Bars With Mike

Our installation included 8 solar panels with 160 watts per panel for a total of 1280 watts.  Yeah!

Eight 160 watt Solar Panels

Eight 160 watt Solar Panels

Has all this power gone to our heads?  You bet it has!  We’re amped!  We freely run the coffeemaker, watch TV, use the microwave, hairdryer, fans, computer, printer, etc. … all without batting an eye.  These are some of the things that people in normal houses don’t even think about, and now we don’t have to think twice either.  We haven’t used the tilt bars yet, because we haven’t had to ‘work’ for the sun.  We’re at 100% before lunch and stay there all day no matter what we’re running.  We LOVE our solar power!

Our next stop was Elite RV Repair and Remodel in Harrisburg, Oregon.  We had a list of little (and one not-so-little) fix-it items that took a couple of days to complete.  Then we got to the fun stuff … my office remodel.  Up til now, I’ve used the dinette tabletop for my computer, and it’s all wrong.  I end up with a back ache and a neck ache and tingling arms.  I’ve spent two years mulling about what type of remodel to do and where to do it.  I was thinking about remodeling the dinette booth into a desk/dining combo.  Mike convinced me that I should use the space that was being occupied by the love seat/jack knife bed.  And he was so right!

Elite RV Repair and Remodel in Harrisburg, Oregon

Elite RV Repair and Remodel in Harrisburg, Oregon

The love seat was a catch-all most of the time!

The love seat was a catch-all most of the time!

Love Seat and Carpet Removed

Love Seat and Carpet Removed

06 love seat pulled out

The Floor Was Extended 10 Inches

The Floor Was Extended 10 Inches

Mark Measures For Topper Board After Marty  Builds and Installs New Desk

Desk Is Installed

Floor Is Prepped for Topping Board

Floor Is Prepped for Topping Board

Desk Is Wired For Electrical Outlets

Desk Is Wired For Electrical Outlets

Carpet and Desk Drawers Installed

Carpet and Desk Drawers Installed

It's Coming Together

It’s Coming Together

Desk Top and Wood Trim Completed

Desk Top and Wood Trim Completed

File Drawer, Printer Drawer, Large Divided Top Drawer, Double Shelf Slim Cabinet, and Electrical Power Strip.

File Drawer, Printer Drawer, Large Divided Top Drawer, Double Shelf Slim Cabinet, and Electrical Power Strip.

Corian Desk Top Matches Counter

Corian Desk Top Matches Counter

My  Stressless Chair with Attached Computer Table

My Stressless Chair with Attached Computer Table

The Computer Table Folds Down; The Chair Swivels and Reclines for TV Watching

The Computer Table Folds Down; The Chair Swivels and Reclines for TV Watching

My Ekornes Stressless Chair is soooo comfortable.  It even comes in sizes, so I got the one that’s perfect for me!

We also had sturdy new shelves built for our cabinets.  The cabinets above and below the large TV are too wide to have such a thin shelf.  They sagged!

We used those purple cups to brace the upper shelf.

We used those purple cups to brace the upper shelf.

New Strong Solid Wood Shelf

New Strong Solid Wood Shelf

Another shelf sagging under the weight of our crap.

Another shelf sagging under the weight of our crap.

Strong New Shelf

Strong New Shelf

I couldn’t resist using the old shelf for some extra storage capabilities.   We turned it over so it arches, rather than sags, and put some light stuff up there.

Old shelf inverted and placed high for some lightweight stuff.

Old shelf inverted and placed high for some lightweight stuff.

Marty, Eric and Mark at Elite RV Repair and Restoration in Harrisburg, Oregon are the greatest!

Another fun little thing we did was install a Hella fan.  We had 12 Hella fans throughout our sailboat and we loved them.  Sometimes all you need is a little air blowing on you.  This fan articulates in any direction and we had the perfect spot for one.  The Bear came with a wall light that had a broken light socket.  We never used that light anyway so we didn’t bother to repair it.  Replacing it with the fan made a lot more sense for us.

Installed Hella Fan

Installed Hella Fan.  From the looks of our weather station, we should turn it on!

Next stop, Henderson’s Line-up in Grants Pass, Oregon for a Road Performance Assessment.  We had them install new Koni FSD Shocks, Safe-T-Plus Steering Control, Motion Control Units, and upgrade our air dryer system.  Mike really likes the improved control and I love the smooth, comfortable ride.

Henderson's Line-Up in Grants Pass, Oregon

Henderson’s Line-Up in Grants Pass, Oregon

So, that’s it, folks.  Pretty close to everything on our RV wish list.  We’re very grateful that we get to live this lifestyle in such comfort.

Cheers!!

Cheers!!

 

 

 

 

The Two Happiest Days In A Sailors Life

There is an old saying “The two happiest days in a sailors life are the day he buys his boat, and the day he sells it”.  This is us on that first happiest day.

Offshore Delivery of Our New Hylas49, Aquila

Offshore Delivery of Our New Hylas49, Aquila in January 2005

We Enjoy Our First Dinner Aboard As Full-time Cruisers

We Enjoy Our First Dinner Aboard As Full-time Cruisers

Yesterday, we enjoyed that ‘second happiest day’ as escrow closed on the sale of Aquila.  We’ve had a couple of false starts on the sale these past couple of years, so we didn’t want to jinx anything by announcing it early.  But it’s official so we can celebrate now!

I spent a lot of time thinking about what I wanted to include in this post.  The more I thought about it, the longer it got.  You have been forewarned!  In fact, it’s taken me all day to whittle down our 7+ years aboard into one post.

First, I’ll share a couple of pics of Aquila sitting comfortably at anchor.

This Represents Many of Our Evenings That First Year In Mexico

This Represents Many of Our Evenings That First Year We Spent In Mexico

Caribbean Sea - Anchored at Barbuda

Caribbean Sea – Anchored at Barbuda

Mediterranean Sea, Corsica

Mediterranean Sea, Corsica

Sailing By Ibiza In The Mediterranean Sea.  See Us On The Bow?

Sailing By Ibiza In The Mediterranean Sea.  See Us On The Bow?

Were all of our days full of rainbows, dolphins, and beautiful sunsets?

01 rainbow in Simpson Lagoon  St Martin

1 Sailing - dolphins in Mexico

2 Sailing at sunset

3 Sailing - Sunset on Mexico coast

Many days treated us to fair winds.  Our first solo sail was from Ensenada, Mexico to Oakland, California when Aquila was brand new.  She was on display at the Oakland Boat Show representing Hylas49 Offshore Yachts.

Sailing Off The California Coast

Sailing Off The California Coast

5 Sailing - Spinnaker

Sometimes the breeze is at your back.  Perfect for spinnaker sailing!

Try taking a picture when the boat is heeling like this!

Sailing close to the wind creates more of a heeling motion. Try taking a picture when the boat is heeling like this!

Sometimes things got a bit more exciting.

8 Sailing - Atlantic Crossing-Seriously close hauled going fast

9 Sailing -Bashing Underway

This Is What Large Following Seas Looks Like.

This Is What Following Seas Look Like.

Lightning Is Striking The Water All Around Us in Costa Rica.

Lightning Is Striking The Water All Around Us in Costa Rica.

Mike Is On Deck Hoisting The Storm Sail In This Storm While Crossing The Atlantic Ocean.

Mike Is On Deck Hoisting The Storm Sail In This Storm While Crossing The Atlantic Ocean.

Following are a few pictures of clouds you DO NOT want to see ahead!

Squall Ahead

Squall Ahead

Weather at sunset

weather approaching

Weather - Storm Clouds

Oh Boy

Oh Boy

As full-time live-aboard cruisers, we did much of our own maintenance on board.

Mike Works On Generator

Mike Works On Generator

Mike Replaces Head Hoses (NOT a fun job)

Mike Replaces Head Hoses (NOT a fun job)

Mike Waxes The Hull

Mike Waxes The Hull

Mike Repairs the Radar

Mike Repairs the Radar

Mike Dives To Clean The Bottom Of The Hull

Mike Dives To Clean The Bottom Of The Hull

THIS is not what you want to see next to you!  Crocodile in Ixtapa MX.

THIS is not what you want to see next to you! Crocodile in Ixtapa MX.

Linda Varnishing Interior Teak

Linda Varnishing Interior Teak

Laundry Day

Laundry Day In British Virgin Islands

Linda Cuts Mike's Hair

Linda Cuts Mike’s Hair

Mahi Mahi For Dinner

Mahi Mahi For Dinner

Hoisting Dinghy Off Deck After Long Passage.  (think of taking your car out of the garage)

Hoisting Dinghy Off Deck After Long Passage. (think of taking your car out of the garage)

Skyping Home Using Free Wifi At The Yacht Club

Calling home using Skype at the local yacht club with free wifi.  This activity was repeated in many yacht clubs and bars throughout many countries.  Anywhere with free wifi.

The most vivid and wonderful memories of our sailing years are of visits from family and friends, as well as all the new friendships created in our life afloat.  The following is a snippet of those memories.  For unknown reasons, hundreds of my pictures were not on my backup disc (I hope they are back home in storage), so I apologize to all those friends not pictured here.   We love you all!

First up is family (of course).  The kids and grandkids sailed with us and vacationed with us in Channel Islands and Catalina in California; Ensenada and Zihuatenejo in Mexico; San Blas Islands and Bocas del Toro in Panama; St. Martin, St. Bart, and Antigua in the Caribbean; the Exumas in the Bahamas; Key West in Florida; and all along the French Rivera in France including Nice, Cannes, Antibes, Monaco and Villefranche.

This is our family when we first got the boat in 2005.

This is our family when we first got the boat in 2005.

Blake and Garrett instantly became little sailors and loved it!

Blake and Garrett instantly became little sailors and loved it!

San Blas Islands in Panama

San Blas Islands in Panama – Paige, Garrett and Blake

Bocas del Toro in Panama

Bocas del Toro in Panama – Sean, Keni and Kailyn

Lance and Kimberly in Antigua

Lance and Kimberly in Antigua

Blake and Lance on deck in St. Martin

Blake and Lance on deck in St. Martin

Sean and Kailyn in Key West

Sean and Kailyn in Key West

Villefranche, France

Villefranche, France – Lance, Kimberly, Blake, Garrett and Paige

Nice, France

Nice, France – Kailyn, Sean, Keni, Brady

Monaco

Monaco – Lance and Kimberly

Exuma Islands in Bahamas

Exuma Islands in Bahamas – Kailyn and Brady

Exuma Islands

Exuma Islands – Blake, Garrett, Paige

Bahamas

Bahamas

My sister Valarie and my aunt Nola from Texas vacationed with us three times.  First in Italy on the Italian Riviera, then Cape Cod, Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard, and they also joined us in the Bahamas.   We enjoyed their visits so much!  Always impressed with their ability to go with the flow and their can-do attitude.  I was truly nervous before their first visit, which was Italy, because I didn’t want them to hate it.  Turns out they loved it!  Even after a rogue wave threw Nola across the cockpit and dislocated her thumb when she hit the floor.  And Valarie discovered that she gets a little motion sick.  They still came back for more!  Love you guys!

My sister Valarie and my aunt Nola

My sister Valarie and my aunt Nola

Nola is 'King of the World!'

Nola is ‘King of the World!’ in Italy

Our Hylas family is made up of our team of riggers, engineers, crew members, and fellow Hylas yacht owners.  All of these folks were invaluable to us and became lifelong friends.  Thank you all so much for your guidance, assistance, wisdom and love.

Aquila's Hylas Team Dave Powers and Brad Storm.  Also Sam, and good friends and fellow Hylas owners Larry and Mary Ivins

Aquila’s Hylas Team Dave Powers and Brad Storm. Also Sam, and good friends and fellow Hylas owners Larry and Mary Ivins

After taking off shore delivery of Aquila in Marina del Rey, California, our first order of business was to get her down to her new home in Ensenada Mexico.  Following is a picture of our team.  I actually can’t remember if it took us 2 or 3 days to get there, but I do remember that we had a lot of fun and learned so much!  My head was swimming with information on all these new systems I needed to learn!

Dave Powers trained us and Mike's buddies Bill Queen and Steve Langford crewed.

Dave Powers trained us and Mike’s buddies Bill Queen and Steve Langford crewed.

We spent the next 6 months learning to live aboard, learning to sail, learning to dock, learning to anchor.  In all of our 7+ years, however, Mike never learned to duck when stepping down into the galley.  He hit his head every time.  (Sorry, that makes me laugh.  I can’t help it.)  At the end of 2005, we were ready to hit the high seas.  We joined a rally of several hundred boats departing from San Diego for Cabo San Lucas.  No turning back now!  Crewing with us was fellow Hylas owners Herman and Claudine and boat show friend Kevin.  Our friends Darlene and Mark met up with us in Cabo for the partying!

Cabo San Lucas with Herman, Claudine, Kevin, Darlene and Mark

Cabo San Lucas with Herman, Claudine, Kevin, Darlene and Mark

As we cruised for the following year down the coast of Mexico and Costa Rica to Panama, we became a part of a floating community.  We formed lasting friendships and our fondest memories are of that first year when it was all so new.

Linda and Bill of svCreola on Jeanne and Gary's mvBad Attitude

Linda and Bill of s/v Creola on Jeanne and Gary’s m/v Bad Attitude

Patricia and Joe sail with us crossing the Sea of Cortez

Patricia and Joe sail with us crossing the Sea of Cortez

Janet and Allen Adden at Puerto Vallarta home

Janet and Allen Adden at Puerto Vallarta home

Anton, a fearless solo sailor, on catamaran Sukha became a best friend

Anton, a fearless solo sailor, on catamaran Sukha became a best friend

Rick and Judith of s/v Dreamweaver, Anton, and future catamaran Aqua owner Mike Mak.

Rick and Judith of s/v Dreamweaver, Anton, and future catamaran Aqua owner Mike Mak.

After transiting the Panama Canal, we spent a couple of years cruising in the Caribbean.  We enjoyed visits from some of our dearest friends and made some great new friends along the way, too!

Ray Torres

Ray Torres

Bill and Monica Queen

Bill and Monica Queen

At Frank and Patti's Home on Tortola

At Frank and Patti’s Home on Tortola

Christmas in St. Martin with Larry and Mary Ivins, s/v Berkeley East

Christmas in St. Martin with Larry and Mary Ivins, s/v Berkeley East

Carlos Ciria

Carlos Ciria

Joan and Alan Teed s/v Moonstruck

Joan and Alan Teed s/v Moonstruck

Tom and Rose Hansmeyer

Tom and Rose Hansmeyer of s/v Sojourn

Richard and Diane Trayner of s/v Ava Ryan

Richard and Diane Trayner of s/v Ava Ryan

Sue Burton, Julia Christiansen, Yvonne Cooksley

Sue Burton, Julia Christiansen, Yvonne Cooksley join us for a sail

Joanne and Barbara vacation with us in the Bahamas

Joanne and Barbara vacation with us in the Bahamas.  One of my missing photo folders.  I had to copy this pic off of my sailing website.  That’s why it’s so grainy.

Tom and Cathy Dunn of s/v Interlude.  Another one of my missing pics.  Had to copy this from my website.

Tom and Cathy Dunn of s/v Interlude. Another one of my missing pics. Had to copy this from my website.

Major respect and love goes to Ray Berndt who gets seasick and yet he volunteered to crew for us on our Atlantic Crossing.  He split the nightwatch with Mike, so I could sleep every night, and for that I am so grateful!  He was terrific companionship for Mike and the two of them could talk and reminisce about on-the-job stories all day long.  Or they would play chess.  That is, when they weren’t dealing with stormy weather or trying to sew torn sails underway.  My folder with pics from the entire Atlantic Crossing and all of our first year in the Mediterranean Sea were missing from my backup drive.  So I plucked this one of Ray from my website.  We met up with Mike Mak and Marquise Hawley of catamaran Aqua in Gibraltar and kicked off our Mediterranean adventures!

23 Ray Berndt in Portugal

Frank and Patti flew to Barcelona to visit us!

Frank and Patti flew to Barcelona to visit us!  Love you guys!

Anton and Natalia were cruising in Italy the same time as us.  Yeaaa!

Anton and Natalia were cruising in Italy the same time as us. Yeaaa!

Enjoyed Buddy-boating with Pip and Sarah of s/v Roaring Girl in Italy

Enjoyed Buddy-boating with Pip and Sarah of s/v Roaring Girl after meeting in Italy

Good friends Ray Torres and Mike McBride flew over to vacation with us on Aquila in the Balearic Islands where we met up with our buds Larry and Mary Ivins.  Our little group began the search for the perfect champagne sangria on the beautiful (and wild) island of Mallorca.  Other great friends that we met along the way include Dan and Denise on s/v Canace, Spencer and Nana on s/v Adverse Conditions, Shirley and John on s/v Solstice, Terry and Deb on s/v Wings, the McGee family on m/v Tesla, Jim on s/v Orinoco, Robert on s/v Silver Harmony, and Mark and Kimberly on s/v Swanya.  We had good times!

Lucy on Night Watch

Lucy on Night Watch

And now I’ll share a sampling of our sailing destinations.  We had a wonderful experience during our life aboard Aquila and treasure all the memories.  It was very difficult to cull my thousands of photos down to just these few.  So if you are still here with me … this set of pics is the last of this post.

Barra Navidad, Mexico

Barra Navidad, Mexico

Ixtapa, Mexico

Ixtapa, Mexico

Providencia, Columbia

Providencia, Columbia

Cane Garden Bay, Tortola, British Virgin Islands

Cane Garden Bay, Tortola, British Virgin Islands

Carriacou, Grenadine Islands, Caribbean Sea

Carriacou, Grenadine Islands, Caribbean Sea

Grenada, the Isle of Spice

Grenada, the Isle of Spice

Martinique, Eastern Caribbean

Martinique, Eastern Caribbean

St. John, US Virgin Islands

St. John, US Virgin Islands

Tobago Cays, Southern Grenadines, Caribbean

Tobago Cays, Southern Grenadines, Caribbean

Azores, Atlantic Ocean

Azores, Atlantic Ocean

Barcelona, Spain (our winter home for 7 months)

Barcelona, Spain (our winter home for 7 months)

Fuengirola, Spain

Fuengirola, Spain

Ibiza, Balearic Islands, Mediterranean Sea

Ibiza, Balearic Islands, Mediterranean Sea

Mallorca, Balearic Islands, Mediterranean Sea

Mallorca, Balearic Islands, Mediterranean Sea

San Miguel, Ibiza

San Miguel, Ibiza

Sant Feliu, Spain

Sant Feliu, Spain

Golfe de Roccapina, Corsica

Golfe de Roccapina, Corsica

Bonifacio, Corsica

Bonifacio, Corsica

Calvi, Corsica

Calvi, Corsica

Cannes, France

Cannes, France

Carloforte, Sardinia

Carloforte, Sardinia

Fort Royal at St. Marguerite

Fort Royal at St. Marguerite

Villefranche, France

Villefranche, France  (that’s Kimberly’s family in the dinghy)

Cefalu, Sicily

Cefalu, Sicily

Portoferraio, Elba Island

Portoferraio, Elba Island

Portofino, Italy

Portofino, Italy

Stromboli, active volcano

Stromboli, active volcano

Tenerife, Canary Islands, Atlantic Ocean

Tenerife, Canary Islands, Atlantic Ocean

Gran Canaria, Canary Islands

Gran Canaria, Canary Islands

La Palma, Canary Islands

La Palma, Canary Islands

San Juan, Puerto Rico

San Juan, Puerto Rico

Cat Island, Bahamas

Cat Island, Bahamas

Swimming Pigs in the Bahamas

Swimming Pigs in the Bahamas

It’s the end of an era for us.  Cheers to new adventures!