Tuesday, November 7, 2006

2006 Magical Maui

Oct. 30-Nov. 6, 2006:
Another wonderful father/daughter trip. This one was to use his companion flight coupon on Hawaiian Airlines for getting a Hawaiian Airlines credit card. We were only there a week, which wasn't nearly enough time!
Here's Dad getting right into the Hawaiian spirit with a new tiki friend.

We stayed in our Worldmark resort in Kihei and loved it. Even managed to get the week on bonus time so only paid about $450 for the whole week there in a 2 bedroom condo. 

A few pictures of the Worldmark Kihei 2 bedroom condo we were in:

Saturday, June 17, 2006

2006 July trip to Oregon and the Olympic Peninsula in Washington

This was a somewhat difficult trip.  In June, my Dad had gone to the Dr. because of extreme fatigue after returning from a trip to the Holyland.  After a series of tests, he found out he had stage 4 prostate cancer.  He was still waiting for any treatments when we were there, so it was really hard seeing him in pain, even though he did a good job of trying to hide how he was feeling.  It probably didn't help that I had scheduled a few nights at Depoe Bay Worldmark and then a 3 or 4 night trip to the Olympic Peninsula.   I knew he had always wanted to go to the Olympic Peninsula, so he insisted that we still go. 
From our 3 bedroom condo at Worldmark Depoe Bay looking towards the heated pool and big jacuzzi.
 Looking towards the little bay on the other side of our unit.
 My sister and sister-in-law even came out for a day and the 3 of us went shopping and sightseeing.
 Nice to see Dad smiling and enjoying a beautiful sunset by our condo.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

2006-Our 5th Kauai vacation, Tim and Faith's 2nd, Dad's 3rd: Kauai Museum; Queen's Bath; Limahuli Garden; Sleeping Giant hike; Smith's luau; Kukuiolono Golf Course; Napali cruise;

We usually go to Kauai the end of Feb./beginning of March, but this time, we went the end of Jan./beginning of Feb. As I recall, this was the year they had really devastating rains in March. But while we were there the weather was really beautiful for our 2 weeks.

We had visitors most of these 2 weeks. Part of the time they were even overlapping. Since we had the 2 bedroom unit at our Kauai Beach Villas resort that my dad went in on with us, he stayed with us and Tim and Faith stayed at the Kauai Coast Resort at the Beachboy in Kapaa for the first 5 nights until Dad left, then they joined us.

One of the things we did with my Dad before Tim and Faith arrived was to go to the Kauai Museum in Lihue. In it is a permanent display of art and artifacts of Native Hawaiians. While we were there they also had a beautiful exhibit of hand made quilts and a photography exhibit--not sure if those are permanent or were special exhibits. The building was built from 1922-1924 as a public library in memory of Albert Wilcox by his wife Emma. When the Albert Spencer Wilcox Memorial Building became too small for it's library collection, and changes to buildings on the National Historic Register can't be made, a new library was built in 1969 and the Wilcox building soon became part of the Kauai Museum. I think admission at that time was about $8@, but it was an interesting museum in a really beautiful historic building.

Since Dad liked hiking and photography, we also took him on the short Queen's Bath hike. As I mentioned in my 2005 blog, the Queen's Bath area is very dangerous, especially in the winter, so when we do that hike, we make sure it's at times of low tides and surf and dry weather. (and we don't get near the edge like the people in this picture!)

Last time we really didn't even know which pond was the "bath", but we decided this is the actual bath. It looked rather calm at this time, but there were still large waves that did break over the outter wall on several occassions. After a short look around, we headed back up.

It is a moderately easy hike, but there is a spot near the lava shelf that is a bit tougher, as seen here in this photo. Again, if it's raining, this would be really hard to walk up or down.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

2006-Jan. Cruisin' to Baja California-4 nt Carnival Paradise: Catalina Island, Ensenada

Carnival Paradise 4 night cruise:

After the winter meetings for the company I work for (Prestige Portraits), my sister joined me and we headed off on a 4 night Carnival cruise. She had never cruised before, so we did a short one to see if she could handle life on a boat.

Our journey actually started the day before our cruise. We had to make our way from San Diego to Los Angeles. That didn't turn out to be much of a problem, though. My sister flew into San Diego and I rented a car from the hotel I was staying in in San Diego and we drove on up to Los Angeles the day before our cruise. We tried to pull off at some of the beaches along the way, but were surprised to see most of them charged a day use fee, so we continued on to LA. We did take the slower Hwy 101 instead of Hwy 5 and enjoyed going through the little towns and catching glimpses of the ocean. We ended up actually in Anaheim and spent the night in the Worldmark resort, Dolphins Cove, there. It was a really nice condo---too bad we were just there for 1 night.

The next morning we headed to the car return place in Long Beach, returned the car, and were quickly on our way to the port by taxi. There was the usual line to check in, but it went pretty quickly and soon we were on the ship. It was around noon, so we were sent to the Lido buffet for lunch. We also spent some time exploring the ship.

Here is the atrium of the Paradise:

Decorations in one of the lounges:

Here's the main stage:
Finally we were able to check out our room--an inside cabin for about $250@ for the 4 nights. Not a big cabin, no love seat to sit on, but the way the beds were arranged made it roomy enough.
By the time the ship was heading out of the port, it was getting dark fast. Here is a glimps of LA while we were pulling away.
The next morning we tendered into one of our 2 ports of call.
This one was Catalina Island.

We did a ship excursion that took us up to a botanical garden and also a tour of the town. We both enjoyed the tour and wouldn't mind going back there some day.
Here we are at the Wrigley Memorial which honors the memory of William Wrigley Jr., who lived from 1861 to 1932. Although best known as the founder of the Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company, largest manufacturer of chewing gum in the world, he also played an instrumental role in the history of Catalina Island. He truly loved the island, and with undying enthusiasm and energy, he brought numerous improvements: public utilities, new steamships, a hotel, The Casino building, and extensive plantings of trees, shrubs and flowers. William Wrigley Jr.'s greatest legacy was his remarkable vision and plan for the future of Catalina Island -- that it remain protected for all generations to enjoy.
We even had this view of our ship from atop the "mountain" on the island.
Back on board the ship, we enjoyed the nightly entertainment. Actually found the Carnival entertainment to be better , in my opinions, then the Disney, RCI, and Holland America cruises I've been on. I would also say their food was better then most, too---although I'm leaning toward Holland America as the best food right now.
They had lots of costume changes and stage changes. Made it visually more interesting.
Speaking of visually interesting!!! So was the Lido buffet.
We really enjoyed the lido buffet.
Our 2nd port was Ensenada, Mexico--- the third-largest city in the Mexican state of Baja California. While there we did the ship excursion to the Museum of history, a winery, and shopping. Ok excursion, but definitely not worth the price the ship charged!

Other then the colorful store fronts, shopping was rather disappointing, too.

But, as I said before, entertainment back on the ship was good each night.

That first sisters' cruise left us wanting to go on more. So we have made it on another one (Holland America 7 night Mexican Riviera in 2008) and plan to do many more.