Monday, November 27, 2023

Giving Thanks in Minneapolis, Palo Alto, Iceland - and Vermont!


Kolya bundled up in an ice cave.

Gary, Will and Rowan at their Thanksgiving table

Scott, Zoë, George, Tommy & Nick after our meal
is demolished!

But we weren't the ones celebrating Thanksgiving at our home in Vermont. Our oldest son Josh and his family came for the holiday there (sorry no photos yet). We were in Palo Alto, CA with our daughter Zoë, son-in-law George and grandsons Nick and Tommy. James, Morgen and Kolya went to Iceland for a week with Morgen's family. Good news - the volcano didn't blow! Lastly Sean, Will and Rowan spent the holiday with Will's Dad Gary in Burnsville, MN. 

We've all enjoyed ourselves immensely and give thanks for our loving family & friends, and continued good health

Kolya loved Iceland

Our grandsons love to wrestle. It 
reminded us of our boys when they
were young!

Just a few of the 9 (yes, really) pies George

Rowan didn't get to taste a thing from 
the delicious feast. - next year!

One of the waterfalls visited in Iceland
Morgen and Kolya at the pool

Tuesday, November 07, 2023

October Travels

The view from our RV site

Looking at Baby & Junior


We decided that this year we were not going to scare ourselves silly getting the RV out of here in the winter. Two years of digging her out of 2 -3 feet of snow and skidding sideways down the driveway etc. is over. We drove Baby down to the Bar Harbor RV Park near my sister in Belcamp, MD and she'll stay there until we pick her up on the way south at the end of the year. 

We enjoyed a little free time sightseeing around
the Havre de Grace area at the head of the
Chesapeake Bay.

It was convenient too as we stayed there during the week we spent visiting my sister Paula at her long term health facility and cleaning out her apartment. It was a lot of work, but it's over. We packed our truck with mostly family pieces, gave a lot to her synagogue & friends, some to Goodwill and a removal company picked up the rest. 

We had a good visit with Paula. Scott and I brought coffee and enjoyed an early morning visit and then came in again with dinner. I made some of her favorites and brought them down from Vermont. She is reasonably happy there. Let's face it, no one wants to live in a nursing home. But her life at her apartment was very lonely and dangerous. She was having difficulty walking at all and almost never left the house. Now that she can't even get out of bed, this is the only choice. And she's had some nice roommates!

After that we paid another visit to Sean, Will and Rowan. We stayed for Halloween and what a good time. Their street is a popular one for trick or treaters. People come from all over the area to walk down their block. Many of the homes were decorated and almost everyone was out with their treats. Will's dad Gary was enjoying the last few days of his visit to them from Minnesota. It was fun for us to spend time with him as well. But of course the big draw is Rowan, Lots of photos here of course!

It was a furry family and happily warm 
outfits on the cold but clear night.

Their home was very welcoming with a fog 
machine and lots of lights. 

Sean had a few items to dress us up for the 
holiday. Scott's was really fun!

Looking a little wistful here He's just starting
to sit up 
But he laughs and smiles a lot. Why not, life
is very good for him!
We went out to dinner one night. Everyone had a good time.

Friday, November 03, 2023

Second Annual Tortugeezers Reunion

There were 13 of us this year: from top left, Dave, Dave, Renate, Jerry, Don, Scott, Jim, Breck, Ellen. Bottom from left seated: Heather, Deborah, Sally and Rosie

Tortugeezers, in case you're wondering, is our made up designation for cruisers who made Tortugal Marina in the Rio Dulce, Guatemala their second home over the years. When the pandemic started we began to Zoom every Saturday at 12 Noon EST in the U.S. Friends and Buddy Boaters from all over the world came together to share stories and updates on our boats and ourselves. In 2021 Roy and Dale, from S/V Wahoo invited everyone to a reunion in their home town of New Orleans, LA. for August 2022. It was a fantastic time and happily, Rosie & Don of Chickcharne volunteered to host this year's reunion at their home in Montana in Polson.

This is one of 5 cottages on Rosie & Don's 
estate. We had this lovely place to ourselves. It
was right on the beach and below the main house

Our deck and the view down the lake!

The main house looking up from our cottage

After a few days up at Glacier National Park with Renate and Jim, we drove down to Rosie and Don's beautiful home on Flathead Lake. The lake is 30 miles long and 16 miles wide. It is one of the cleanest lakes in the populated world for it's size and shape (Wikipedia). We really lucked out on the weather, It was sunny and in the 70's all week. 

The Red Sleep Road at the Bison Range
stretches ahead up and around the hills.

Views of the mountains stretched in all directions

This was the view from the top of the trail we hiked off the road

We saw individual and small groups of bison with
3 large herds. 

Sometimes they were close up to the road!

And always very imposing!!!

The views changed so much - here rolling hills
and grazing land.

Scott stops to take photos.

Trees lined the road occasionally but mostly
it was open plains

It was such a relaxing time. A group of us took off each day for a trip locally. The first was to the Bison Range, home to around 350 bison. This area was originally owned by local Native Tribes but was stolen from them by the Federal Government by the Allotment Act in 1906. After decades of legal battles the tribes finally regained ownership in 2022. We took the Red Sleep self-directed driving tour - 19 miles winding through the reservation. We saw lots of bison and lovely scenery. Many of us hiked up the highest knoll for more distant views.

Jerry, Breck, Deborah, Sally, Heather, Ellen, Scott and Dave before our walk down to Kerr Dam.

Close to the start of our hike we had a glimpse of
the dam below.

The Flathead River above the dam.

Scott, Sally and Breck coming down the long
steep stairs to the dam.

The formerly named Kerry Dam generates
electricity and provides constant water levels
for recreation.

Another day we visited the Seli’š Ksanka Qlispe’ Dam, built in 1930 and since 2015 owned and operated by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. A long stairway has been built leading to several viewpoints over the dam and lake. It was a fun hike! 

A pleasant walk along the lake stretches around
downtown Polson. 

Several fishing piers extended out and were 
popular with local fisherman. We heard an
exciting story from several about the "one that
just got away!"

Sally and a Grizzly on display at 
the Miracle of American Museum.

Our last walk was along the lake in Polson followed by lunch at a restaurant overlooking the lake. We also visited the Miracle of America Museum nearby. Nicknamed appropriately "The Smithsonian of the West" it is a jumble of every artifact you can imagine in any period in American History. If you actually looked at every item, it would take a week! I especially enjoyed the WWII exhibits, especially around the contribution of women and minorities. 

But the main events at our reunion were the times spent eating and drinking and talking on Rosie's deck and "ours's". Leisurely breakfasts and lunches were enjoyed at various times during the day allowing lots of catching up on everyone's news. Rosie and Don had prepared delicious meals for dinner. We also enjoyed one night out at a local restaurant. 

Thanks so much are due the host and hostess of this year - Rosie and Don of Chickcharne. We all hope for a Third Reunion next year! We'd love it to be here in Vermont.

Dave entertained us one night with lots of our
favorites. I get a little teary when I hear "On the
Rio Dulce" or "Bonacca Town".

You can see the view of the lake from Rosie and
Don's home.

Jerry, Don and Deborah at the buffet table.

That's "our" cottage as viewed from the deck

Another night we had drinks down on "our" deck!

Dave "Odyssea", Dave "Cordelia", Ellen & Rosie

Renate & Sally

Jim, Dave, Renate, Sally, Rosie, Breck, Don, and Scott

Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Glacier National Park - Briefly

That's the Road to the Sun etched along the mountain behind us.

There were many waterfalls off
in the distance

Jim, Renate and myself with our rental car

Over 150 glaciers were known to have existed a hundred 
years ago, but now there are about 20 left. It's predicted that
they'll all be gone by 2030.

Our second annual reunion of Tortugal cruiser friends (Tortugeezers) was in Montana this year. Our buddy boat cruiser friends, Renate & Jim drove their trailer from their home on Vancouver Island, so we decided to spend a few days with them before joining all the others. Our flights from Boston to Missoula, Montana were on time but our second flight was overbooked so they had to ask for volunteers in order for us to be seated.  Luckily one couple took the $700 offer. This has convinced me to reserve seats in advance from now on. We had chosen the cheapest package and now I know what that means. I upgraded to the next level for the trip back.

The road is an engineering marvel and mostly 
built by hand.

We didn't see any goats but lots of deer.

The road is narrow and often has no shoulders.

We picked up our rental car quickly and were off for the 2 hour drive up to Columbia Falls near the west entrance to the Park. Our Airbnb was a "tiny house" and they weren't exaggerating. There was room for a double bed (two pillows!), one chair and a kitchen counter with the basics and frig. The bathroom had a stall shower so we really had all we needed, except two more pillows. We wadded up our fleeces! But it was cheaper than any of the hotels and conveniently located near our cruiser friends, Renate & Jim's RV park. 

We had only one day together in Glacier National Park but it was a full one. We lucked out with beautiful mostly sunny weather, but as a result, encountered crowds of people. It was the first day that entry reservations weren't required and that meant many of the popular parking areas were full. But we found lots of spots to pull over and admire the views and take short walks.  The big thing to do here is to drive the Highway to the Sun and we did it twice, traveling east first and then reversing. 

There are hundreds of lakes in the park, 131 of which are named. 

We saw touches of color, mostly berries and low shrubs.

The park was established in 1910 and the road completed by the CCC in 1932. This was Scott's first visit but I spent a week back packing through the park with a friend in the early 1970's, During that trip we camped at both spots where in 1967 two young women were killed by grizzly bears. It was more than a little frightening for sure. Before leaving on that trip, all hikers were made to watch a safety film explaining what to do if encountering a grizzly. As I remember it, "Take off your backpack and throw it away. Stand up as tall as you can and wave your arms over your head. If it starts towards you, roll up on a ball on the ground and pretend to be dead."  "Don't run!" We wore bells around our neck, traveled in a group and sang songs when the trail wasn't visible ahead.  It was a great trip!!!

The trails were all very inviting but we didn't
have time for any long hikes

Built by the Great Northern Railway in 1914-15
the Many Glaciers Hotel sits on a big lake. The
lobby here was really grand rustic.

Renate and I enjoy some time in the sun at the
viewpoint inside on the tunnels

 A fleet of restored 1930s White Motor Company
 coaches, called Red Jammers,
offer tours on all the main roads in the park.
The drivers of the buses are called "Jammers",
due to the gear-jamming that formerly occurred
 during the vehicles' operation.