Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Christmas Letter December 2016

Happy Holidays 2016

Once again it is time to look at the year that has passed and try to remember what the heck happened!  It seems like it went so quickly.  Of course, it seemed like we were constantly on the move;  perhaps we were…..

Many people believe that we spend all our time on a cruise ship.  Not so!  Last January we were in our RV and had a delightful time reconnecting with RV friends, and making some new ones, at the Boomer gathering in Quartzite, AZ,  In Feb. we visited Laughlin and Las Vegas, and then returned to our RV lot at Park Sierra.  March found us doing some medical checkups and also preparing for some international travels due to start in April.  Elaine’s new grandson, William Orion Clemo, was born late in March.  So early in April we flew to San Diego and had a very nice visit with him, and the rest of the family.  Of course, Evie, his older sister, age 2 was the real star of the visit.

In mid-April, we flew to Florida and did a 1 week Caribbean cruise on the Allure.  Then we boarded the Brilliance for a very wonderful transatlantic cruise to Barcelona - one of the best we have ever done, thanks to the awesome crew and wonderful hotel director, Johann.  In Barcelona we transferred to one of Royal Caribbean’s new ships, the Ovation.  We were on this ship for 4 cruises in a  row:  Barcelona to Dubai through the Suez Canal; Dubai to Singapore; a short cruise to Malaysia and back to Singapore; then Singapore to Beijing.  We had many new experiences on this ship, such as doing the iFly, a sky diving simulator, going up in the Northstar, which allowed us to see the ship and surrounds from 90 feet up, and riding in the bumper cars (a flashback from our youth).  After we arrived in Beijing, we joined a Gate 1 tour for 2 weeks of land explorations which included the Great Wall, the Terra Cotta Warriors, the Chengdu panda sanctuary, Shanghai, and a 3 day river cruise through the Three Gorges on the Yangtze River.  In the year 2000, we spent 30 days exploring all over China, and it was quite interesting to see the incredible changes that have taken place in 16 years!

We were back in the USA by July 6, just in time for more RV adventures.  First we drove south, to San Diego, for another visit with Darran, Marielle, Evie & William;  we want to bond with them while they are young so they at least know who we are when we visit!!  Then we drove north, to Oregon & Washington.  My oldest granddaughter, Paige, married her girlfriend, Allison in the Lynden, WA area on Aug. 21, and we were happy to be there with some of the other family members.  

Our next big adventure started Sept. 21 when we flew up to Seattle, spent 2 days enjoying it and seeing Paige & Allison, and then we boarded the Explorer of the Seas for 39 days.  There were 2 short cruises up and down the Pacific coast, so we got to see my son Thomas, Elaine’s daughter, Tarra, and her granddaughter, Ari when our ship docked in San Francisco.  Luckily we had great weather most of the time; our first port stop in SF we had 90 degrees F, almost unheard of there.   On Oct. 8 the ship started the 24 day transpacific cruise to Sydney, stopping in Honolulu, Lahaina, Fiji, Vanuatu, and New Caledonia.  Many friends were on board, and it was one of the best cruises we have ever done.  

Nov. 2 we landed in Sydney and Elaine and I flew to Perth, Western Australia.  We had never been there before and we had an enjoyable 2 weeks exploring by rental car, public transport, and Airbnb apartments.  A highlight was visiting the Margaret River wine area.  The best part was reconnecting with friends from former travels and cruises who did so many nice things for us and made our time with them so special.  Thanks again Abby, Tina & Stuart!!!  On Nov. 16 we boarded the Radiance in Fremantle for a 17 day cruise around the southern part of Australia and over to New Zealand.  In Melbourne we again reconnected with a travel friend, Siti, whom we hadn’t seen for 9 years; such fun.  Sadly, there was a big storm in the Tasman Sea which caused us to miss the fjords and all 4 of our ports scheduled for the south island of NZ, a great disappointment.  We had been to New Zealand for a month in 1999 and were anxious to see it again, plus some new areas.  Instead we visited Tauranga, and Auckland, on the north island.

Dec. 3 we flew back to the USA, had a quick visit with Tarra and Alonzo in Fremont, and took the train back to Fresno.  It was tough moving back into our RV because now it was COLD in California!!!  Also, Elaine developed a cold with a bad cough the first day we were back.  A few days ago, now that she is feeling better and we are over jet lag, we left Park Sierra before a huge storm was due to hit.  We are spending about a week at the Jojoba SKP park in southern CA where the weather has been warmer, and we have had fun social times already with Boomer friends who have lots here.  George and Diana Ruelens have already had a very nice Happy Hour gathering for us, and helped us tackle our RV battery situation (we now have new ones, which he installed).  On Dec. 21 we will drive to San Diego to have Christmas with Darran, Marielle and the little ones, plus other members of her family.  New Year’s will find us in Yuma, sharing good times with Ron & Carol Leonard and other RV friends.

 Of course, we have made more travel plans for 2017.  We are glad that we will be spending quite a bit of time in Europe, because it will get us out of here where there seems to be so much acrimoniousness during and after the election.  Hopefully, the warm wishes which everyone extends through Christmas and New Year’s will carry over into people’s everyday lives and the future won’t be as bleak as we fear it might be with the new administration.  

This is the time of year when we hear from many of you, and we greatly enjoy that.  We sincerely hope that this has been a good year for you and your families, and that you will continue to prosper and enjoy life in the year to come.  Please keep in touch; family and friends are the most important parts of life.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!

Love,  Mary & Elaine

New Phone Numbers:
Mary 206-229-7002
Elaine 206-698-8797

Friday, February 05, 2016

This Blog Is Finished

I suspect I am not disappointing anyone, but I have decided to discontinue this blog.  Besides the fact that we often do not have good internet access, I am finding that even when we are in the USA and have internet, I am not inclined to sort through my pictures and write what we have been doing.  Perhaps this is because we have shifted to short posts periodically on Facebook.  This is also the way that we find out about what family and friends have been doing.  Of course, direct e-mails are also still an option.  So if you wish to find out what we have been up to, please feel free to call us at 928-581-3624, e-mail us at, or check us out on Facebook, under the name Mary Lane.
     Thanks for traveling with us.  It has been a good time and we have been fortunate to have been able to see many parts of the world these past years.

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Arizona in January

Arizona is going to be the location of our adventures for January.  We drove over to Yuma on Dec. 29 from San Diego, and parked on the property of Ron & Carol Leonard, as usual.  They were visiting Jim & Diane Fisher Baker at Sun City near Phoenix, and they returned on Dec. 31 in the afternoon.  By then, both Elaine and I were down and out with bad colds.  We welcomed them and then returned to our RV so we didn't share our germs with them.  We then spent the next few days resting and avoiding people.  Elaine started to feel better a few days before I did, because she got the cold a few days ahead of me.  The good news is that we started feeling much better a few days ago, and now we are back to seeing people, walking everyday, and trying to exercise.
     Yesterday we drove out to the Escapees park (KOFA) to visit Lee & Susie Blattner.  Susie has Alzheimer's and Lee is now the 100% caretaker.  She smiles and chats a little, laughs a lot, and is still a sweetheart, but Lee has to tell her everything, and she can only handle one thought at a time.  Our Park Sierra neighbors, Dave & Brenda Neil, were at their place too, so we got to see them, and also Monica Rose.  We made a plan to relocate to Quartzite next Monday, and will be staying at the Escapees boon docking area, where the 2 Happy Hours will be held on the 13th and 14th, so we can be with Dave, Brenda, Monica & Hank for a few days.  Then we will move to the Boomers site, just down the road.  Boomerville will be between Jan. 17 and 30 and we will stay for the whole event.
    While we are still here in Yuma, we will be visiting Tom & Judy Tillery, and Eileen & Neil Detloff.    We are also taking care of trying to get new passports, a visa for China, and Global Entry cards so that we can continue to travel all over the world.
     You might be noticing that no pictures have been included in recent blogs.  I am still learning how to manage them on my new MacBook Air.  Also, I have decided that I am simplifying my life, so my blog posts might be few and far between, and might or might not include pictures, depending on how much time I have to do computer work, and how good my internet access is.  It has been very slow and disappointing on recent cruises, which is why I have gotten so far behind in updating this.  Instead of stressing about this, I am just going to slow down.
     We do manage to put a few updates on Facebook periodically, so you can check that.  If you aren't a Facebook friend, just search for us under my name:  Mary Lane, with a profile picture of both of us.  Your other option is to e-mail us at, and I promise to answer you!
     Hope you are having a Happy New Year!!