What has been going on!
It is time to catch you up to our recent activities. I have added some of you to the mail list as requested by a family member. They thought you might want to visit the web site. I hope you find it worth your time, but if you don't, let me know and I will take you off the mail list.
We jumped on a Southwest jet and flew to Jamaica. This was our third time to go to the Sandals resort. Obviously we like Sandals and I will tell you why. The resort is beautiful and kept in spotless condition.
The staff is very friendly and seem to actually love their jobs. The resort is built to look like a European village.
There are 6 restaurants, fitness center, tennis courts, spa, 3 beach front bars, a entertainment building with a stage, and about 4 businesses for jewelry, general store, clothing store etc.
3 swimming pools, a couple of large Jacuzzis and several groupings of couches around fire places? These are used before and after dinner to watch the sun go down and stars come out. Adults only and the majority of the guests are in their late 40s or early 50s and mainly from around the Great Lakes area of the U.S. and Canada. They are getting out of the snow in exchange for warm sunny weather.
A typical day goes like this. Wake up at 7:45 and put on a swimsuit or tee shirt and shorts then proceed to breakfast. The central restaurant has a large buffet of all types of food for breakfast. We have a Mimosa and eat a hardy breakfast. After breakfast we grab our Kindles, sun screen, and go find us a couple of recliners under a shade umbrella or palm tree. 10:00 we do a water aerobics class then drink a Red Stripe beer while floating in one of the 3 swimming pools.
At noon we walk over to one of 2 beach front restaurants for lunch. After lunch we swim a little in the ocean then maybe go sailing on a Hobie Cat. Time for another Red Stripe before taking a nap under the umbrella. As some guests play games in the pool we order up another Red Stripe and play some gin. Cheryl beats me every time.
We head back to the room and clean up for dinner. Each night we have a choice of a steak house, Asian restaurant, sea food restaurant, Sushi, and an Italian restaurant. All food and alcohol is included in the fixed charge for the week. Before dinner we sit on some couches under the palm trees on the beach and drink champagne. After dinner we sit outside the French cafe with some coffee and listen to the entertainment du jour. Could be steel drums, country western singer, opera singer, or reggae band.
Each day we may walk all around the resort, go to the fitness center to work out, or play in the ocean. All activities are followed with a Red Stripe beer. Now you see why we keep going back. What is there NOT to like!
The time to go hiking. We rented a place in Sedona, AZ because that is another destination we really enjoy. We had some fantastic hiking and enjoyed several new resaurants that were not available the last time we were in Sedona.
This is a snake we ran across on a hike. Very colorful guy.
At this point we had reached the turnaround of the hike. Now to return to the 4 small pointy peaks you see in the middle of the image. 5 miles to go!
Cheryl poses with 3 miles to go.
This was a very pretty hike.
The last day we were there it started snowing and sleeting on our hike. That was different, but kind of fun.
I had to look away shortly after this photo. This Asian girl is standing on the Devil's bridge that is a couple of hundred feet above the ground below. (Cheryl went out on the bridge last time we were there, but I told her no more) The girl wanted her picture taken by a friend so after posing where she is standing now, she said "One more." So she steps forward and hops down to the slanted ledge right in front of her and then bends over and sits down so she can hang her legs over the edge. It was snowing and the snow was melting as soon as it hit the ground. This made the rocks a little slippery. I just knew she was about to go over the edge to her death.
Our drive back to Texas was awful. It started snowing on our way to Flagstaff and it snowed on us all the way past Tucumcari. Then it turned to rain. A very long day.
MotoGP in Austin. MotoGP is the international motorcycle racing organization that only holds 2 events in the U.S. One at Austin and the other at Laguna Seca in California. I rode my Ducati down to attend the race. This was my second time to attend, and I met up with 4 other riders I know in Austin. It was good to see them again because it has been 4 years since our last get together.
It is amazing enough that the professional racers ride the bikes on the very edge of disaster, but their consistency is beyond belief.
For example I timed one rider on 2 laps to see how his times compare. Remember this is a 3.4 mile track with 20 turns and speeds from 40 mph to 215 miles per hour. His times were 2 minutes 10.16 seconds and 2 minutes and 10.24 seconds. He kept this up for 21 laps. Amazing.
Well, sometimes things do go horribly wrong.
The only thing that didn't work out for me was Saturday night. I had hoped to spend it drinking and touring clubs on 6th street. This required transportation since I never drink and ride a motorcycle. I found out that Austin threw out Uber so I ended up sitting in my room that night.
Time for Cheryl to head to her annual gathering of girl friends in Tecate, Mexico at the fitness spa.
This makes her 21st consecutive year to attend. There is a group of about 11 ladies that she has met over the years and they return like Swallows every May.
She gets up at 5:30 every morning and goes hiking followed by Yoga, weights, or aerobic exercizes.
Dinner with friends and she is in bed by 9:30. She loves the place but it is not for me. I don't do anything for fun that requires getting up at 5:30. Also, they only eat good for you food and no alcohol. I would escape and head back to the U.S.
Cheryl goes to the spa. I go camping.
My friend Mike Murch and I took off for an overnight camping/motorcycling trip to Lake Texoma.
The state park ranger said the park was nearly empty because it is the middle of the week and the weather is iffy. Perfect for us so we pitched our tents went riding. That evening we heated up some grub on our propane stoves and then began looking at the Big Dipper. At midnight we got into our tents for the night.
I'm loving this. But wait, I hear it start raining at 3:00. I have camped out all my adult life and I have never had it rain on me. Oh well a new adventure. Then at 4:00 the bottom fell out. Very strong winds and raining sideways. We kept getting wind down burst that forced my dome tent down until it hit me in the face. I would push it back and it would pop back into position. At this time I notice that my damn air mattress is slowly losing air. This has been a life long issue for me. I have never found an air mattress that will last more than one usage before starting to leak. Maybe it is my 250 pounds that is just too much for the mattresses. So my butt was beginning to sink.
At 5:00 I am startled by a very wrong feeling. My ass is wet and it is now touching the floor of the tent. I roll over the edge of the mattress and land on my elbows and knees in puddles of water. Good Grief we are going down captain! I pull my sleeping bag up from the bottom of my mattress and it weighs about 50 pounds due to being full of water.
It is still raining pretty hard and I'm really taking on water quickly. I feel like I'm on a lower deck of the Titanic. Now I'm rolling around the floor of the tent trying to put on my pants while splashing in water. Of course they are inside out so I have to start over. Unbelievably both of my legs cramp from trying to pretzel into these damn wet pants! Navy Seals don't have to endure this kind of torture. I holler to see if Mike is alive. He responds that he is also taking on water so he is in scramble mode.
I finally get my air mattress pumped up enough to get me above the water line so I lay down and hope the rain gods let up before sunrise. My prayers are answered when I poke my head out at 6:30 to see the rain has stopped. What a night. 3 hours of sleep, soaking wet, and now everything is MUDDY!
Mike and I sit down at a park bench and begin wringing everything out. We both say “Next time we will tie down the tents and rain covers tighter, locate a spot on higher ground. And for godssake find an air mattress that holds AIR! I know, I know, we are idiots.
Here is Mike wringing out his gear.
That brings you up to today. We are traveling a lot these days, but we are aware that the window for making these trips will close in the future so we are doing it while we can.
Cheryl and I have put out a challenge to each other. She is learning Spanish and I am learning French. Next year we are going back to France to do a hiking trip followed by a canal barge trip. I will try my best to speak French on the trip. Then we are going to plan a trip to a Spanish speaking country and she will be responsible for conversation on the trip. It is going to be difficult or should I say "Il est difficile."
Well, sports are not going as planned this year. I was convinced that my beloved Stars Hockey team was going deep into the playoffs this year. Well...WRONG...they didn't even make the playoffs. I am afraid the most used phrase describing the Stars will become “Wait until next year!”
The curse also fell upon the Mavericks and they failed to make the playoffs in basketball.
That leaves us with the Rangers baseball team. Expected to play for the American League in the World Series this year. Oops, here comes the curse. They are in last place in our division and dropping. WTF
We got a new dog from the SPCA.
She is 2 to 3 years old and about 20 percent Red Healer, 20 percent Blue Healer, and 60 percent Beagle. We think she was a patio dog for someone living in an apartment. When we let her loose in our backyard she just slowly walked around smelling the grass and then pooped on the patio. It took a month and about 5 mistakes in the house before we got her house trained. Now she is doing great. Loves to walk/run in the park with us (cannot resist going after squirrels) and playing retrieve the tennis ball over and over and over. She is 25 pounds and living a great life now. We are really enjoying her just as much as she is enjoying life.
Our cat. Well she is not at all happy, so she has taken the upstairs as her home and she stays away from the dog. I forgot to say we named the new dog Lindy after the Stars Hockey old coach. His name is Lindy Ruff.
Thought for the day
You only have one shot at today. Make it memorable!