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


Loey said...

Your letter is great! However I had to change the font to a 12 or 14 so I could read it! LOL my eyes aren't what they were when we were kids. I am so glad you both still have the energy to be running all over the world. I know you have enjoyed meeting people from all over and have become lifelong friends.

Welcome home! Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, and Happy New Year. I hope you will be able to come and visit sometime this year!

Lois and Muffin

Loey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
dorothy mitchell said...

What a wonderful year you guys had.. we love following your travels around the world.. keep it up.. you certainly are living the dream.. lots of love and hugs to you both..Dorothy and Jeff

Kathe K. said...

Another great year for you two with just the right mix of family, friends and travel. Happy holidays from Arbolitos south of Los Barriles, BCS