Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Fremont Visit, Alaska Cruise, and San Diego Visit

It has been a long time since I have had time to download pictures, select some, and write a blog entry.  We have just been traveling too quickly, and when we were home, were getting ready for the next trip!  As I mentioned before, we drove to Fremont just before our Alaska cruises because Elaine's daughter, Tarra, lives there with her husband, Alonzo, and his 3 daughters, Ari, Alia, and Analy.  Analy is 11 and was graduating from 6th grade on June 12. My son, Thomas, who lives in San Francisco came over on BART that morning to join us. We were able to see her event, and celebrate by taking all the family out for lunch at a teppanyaki place.  Here is a picture of all of us together:
This is a picture of Tarra, Alonzo, and their 3 girls:
The next day, Ari was graduating from high school, so I got a picture of her in her gown in the kitchen:
We did not get to see the ceremony, nor enjoy the backyard party which Tarra and Alonzo held in her honor, because it was held the next day, when we were flying to Vancouver for our Alaska cruise.
We don't get to see Thomas very often, so we were happy that he came over.  Here is a picture of him with me:
He is really much taller than I am, but he was sitting down in this picture.
     Friday, the 13th, we caught an early flight to Vancouver, took the Skytrain from the airport to Canada Place, on the waterfront, and boarded the Radiance of the Seas.  Usually we never fly in the same day as our cruise, because it would be disastrous to miss the ship.  This time we had an early non-stop flight of only 2 hours, and the Skytrain is so cheap and easy that we risked it.  We arrived at the ship before noon!  We have done this same cruise twice before, but we enjoy this ship and also Elaine wanted to finish the healing process of her broken elbow in this way, so we did it.  Because of those 2 previous cruises and also the fact that we spent an entire summer up in Alaska in our RV, I didn't take very many pictures.  Also, the weather was cool and rainy a lot of the time, darn it.
     It is always pleasant to be on a ship, and we never know what cruising friends are going to be onboard with us.  One reason we have become frequent Royal Caribbean cruisers is because they have an excellent loyalty program.  They have a lounge on the ship for people who have achieved Diamond status, and another lounge for Diamond+ and suite guests.  Each evening from 5 to 8:30PM they serve free drinks and appetizers in these lounges, and this is why we have made so many good friends over the years.  So it is always a pleasure when we meet up with friends from former cruises, and this time it was Fred and Shirley Oldham.
They introduced us to a friend of theirs, Sheila Rodger, who happens to be the wife of the staff captain on the ship.  So we had excellent times with all of these people, plus a few others too.  This is a picture of us having a drink with Sheila on one of the only days sunny and warm enough to sit outside:
Her husband, Malcolm, is the second in command on the ship, and is just waiting to be named Captain on one of Royal Caribbean's ships.  Both Malcolm and Sheila are wonderful and we hope to sail on a ship soon where he is in command.
     Because we were cruising round trip, we hit the same ports both up and back.  In Ketchikan, it was raining so hard the first week we didn't even get off the ship, and the second week we walked around a bit, so I took a picture of the rain gauge.  You can see that they have already had over 150 inches of rain this year!  Wish we had some of that water down here in California.
Both stops in Juneau were also on very rainy days, so we didn't explore much.  We like to go to the Alaska Brewing Company tasting room, but didn't want to get soaked on the way!  One of the smaller stops is a place called Icy Strait Point where there is a large Tlingit community and there used to be a huge salmon cannery.  Royal Caribbean has converted the buildings to a museum and also shops and restaurants.  Here I am standing near one of the many totem poles:
This is a place where people have to be tendered to shore.  While we were doing the nature walk on the shore, we watched 2 or 3 whales jumping around and feeding right between our ship and the beach.  The first week we walked to the nearby village of Hoonah, and checked on the progress of the native carvers.  They are carving a Tlingit tribal house and totem poles which will be set up by the National Park Service in Glacier Bay National Park.  There is a 4 million dollar grant for this and the carvings they have been doing are just beautiful.
     One of the cruise highlights is the day that the ship enters Disenchantment Bay and the ship goes very close to Hubbard Glacier.  There are small icebergs floating around that have broken off the face of the glacier, and we usually see quite a bit of "calving", which is when big pieces of the face fall off into the water. 
In this picture the glacier doesn't look like much because we are far away and the mountains tower over it.  But it is about 7 miles across the face of the glacier and it is much taller than the ship.
Here you can see how irregular the face of the glacier looks.  This is one of the few glaciers which is not retreating.
     The end of the first cruise is at Seward, Alaska and we were blessed with a beautiful sunny day.  Our friends, Jack & Robin Ross, who live in Soldotna, drove over to pick us up again for another road trip.
They are former SKP's and RVers, and we always have a wonderful time with them.  This time they drove us to Hope, which is a former mining town, but now hardly anyone lives there.  The views on our drive were exceptional:
Hope was booming in the late 1800's, and this building was from around 1898:
This is the social hall from 1902:
On one of the information boards, there was a picture taken during that time showing a bear sled!  It is hard to believe they could train a bear to pull a sled, but apparently they did.

There was nowhere to eat lunch in Hope, so we drove back to the Seward Brewing Company restaurant:
Seward is a nice little town which is surrounded by tall mountains with cirques full of snow and glaciers - absolutely gorgeous on the sunny day we had:
We had not gotten off the ship in Skagway on the way up because of the windy, cold, rainy weather.  On the way back, we ventured out between squalls.  Skagway has a nice picturesque main street with lots of cute shops, restaurants, and places of interest.
The most interesting shop and museum was Corrington's, which has many carved horns and tusks, such as this one:
They also have several huge (and priceless) baskets, woven by the indigenous people:
We went to the National Park Service film (free), which does a good job of telling about the Klondike Gold Rush, and explaining all the difficulties people had just getting to the gold fields.  They have some excellent museum displays as well.
     Once we were back from the cruises, it was time to get ready to go down to San Diego because Elaine's son Darran, and his wife Marielle, had just had their first baby, Evelyn Maryann Clemo.  She was born on June 29 and weighed 7 lbs. 2 oz.  We knew Marielle's parents and grandmother were staying at their house to help, and we didn't want to be in the way, so we rented a room through airbnb and stayed in Pacific Beach.  This is a picture of the proud Dad, Grandmother, and new baby when she was 3 days old:
And here is the proud grandma:
Often newborns aren't very cute because of the birth trauma, but this little one was just darling.  But WOW, can she make a lot of noise!!!  Of course, there were lots of good times sharing meals with Marielle's family at the house, and on July 4th we all attended a party together at a condo rented by other family members.  Our airbnb room turned out to be just fine and we greatly enjoyed our 4 day visit down there.
     On July 4th, Marilyn and John Bintz joined us for breakfast at Kono's at the Crystal Pier.  They have been full time RVers for 20 years and have just given up their RV and moved into an apartment in Chula Vista.  We wanted to talk to them about settling in this area, although we certainly aren't ready to quit RVing yet.  We had a nice walk with them along the beach promenade after we ate:
Saturday we drove back to Park Sierra.  We decided to get ready to leave in our RV ASAP because the weather was so hot there - 105 degrees on Saturday.  So we loaded it up and yesterday we drove to Sacramento where we are now staying on the property of Ron & Carol Leonard.  They have RV hookups for us and we are happy to have A/C in the afternoons!  Friday we are heading for the Reno area to visit my daughter, Laura, and her husband, Dennis.  Then we will head towards Denver, and eventually Illinois and the 100 year anniversary party for the Cannell farm on Aug. 9.


Betty Prange, Nomad, from somewhere on the road said...

Congrats on new granddaughter. I've not been looking at your blog nor adding to mine as reception here in Yellowstone is sooooooo slowwww! Moving up on list at POS. Slowly, but moving.

Phoebe said...

Congratulations on you new grand baby! Wow I was looking up bloggers and came across yours... I'm Tarra old friend Phoebe, it's been 10 years since I've seen her. I'm happy to know you and Mary are still trucking along.. Xoxo