Saturday, November 10, 2018


For most of our children's young lives, we made regular summer vacations to Oregon.  It was a relatively cheap vacation for us since we could stay with my parents and they were even paying half our airfare---at least for the first 5 or 6 years.   Even though the kids didn't always appreciate vacationing there every year, it grew on them.  Now in their adult years, they often talk about moving there.  In fact, I really thought Ken and I would live there after he retired! 

We spent a couple weeks in Oregon every summer from about 1980 up until about 2008 (when neither of my parents were around anymore).  After that, we still went from time to time, but for a specific purpose (a niece's wedding, a family reunion X-mas on the beach, and to show Oregon to some friends who had never been there before).

I decided to go back into my archived photos and blog about some of those trips.

2015 Oregon 3 week Christmas trip with the "kids" 

2014 Oregon (continuation from Utah), Crater Lake, Clear Lake, waterfalls, Coast---with Schneiderjans

2010  July trip --- Kim's wedding

2006 July trip to Oregon and the Olympic Peninsula in Washington

2005 Oregon July trip with Barb (Crater Lake)

2002 Oregon/Montana/Yellowstone summer trip 

2000-Oregon Vacation (Faith's 1st trip to Oregon)

1998 - Oregon with a side trip to Seattle (with Holly)

1997 Oregon summer vacation (yurt and Crater Lake) / Shannon

1995 Oregon (North coast surfing and Maupin white water rafting) 

1994 Oregon (mother-in-law with us) and Vancouver, BC

I still love Oregon!  Don't see us ever moving there now.  Probably wouldn't be able to enjoy it like we did when we were younger---hiking, floating, visiting with family (still have a sister and a couple nieces there, but not as many family members as we use to have there).  How I miss those days!!!!


Tuesday, November 6, 2018

St. Louis, Missouri!

St. Louis

OK---not a vacation for me. This is my "home". But it really is a pretty neat vacation city. Lots of history and lots of free activities!

Just a little info to start with:
The city of St. Louis was founded in 1764 by Pierre Lacl├Ęde and Auguste Chouteau, and after the Louisiana Purchase, it became a major port on the Mississippi River.  Much of the area is a fertile and gently rolling prairie that features low hills and broad, shallow valleys. Both the Mississippi River and the Missouri River have cut large valleys with wide flood plains.  With a Metropolitan Statistical Area  population of 2,812,896 it is the 18th-largest MSA in the country and has a total area of 66.2 square miles. 

Summers are hot and humid with the humidity often making the heat index feel well above 100°F. Fall is mild with lower humidity and intermittent bouts of heavy rainfall. The first snow flurries usually coming in late November. Winters are cold with periodic snow and sleet and temperatures often below freezing, however thaws are usually frequent. Spring brings frequent thunderstorms and mild temperatures.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

The Hawaiian Islands

Oahu, Kauai, The Big Island, Maui

Many years ago---around the year 1998--- Ken and I went to yet another timeshare presentation in St. Louis (for the entertainment and free stuff they gave us), but this time we ended up buying into it.  This presentation was for Pahio Resorts (specifically Kauai Beach Villas---- one of the 4 Pahios on Kauai).  We had never been to any of the Hawaiian islands and didn't really figure we'd go to the Pahio resort, but we were sold on the idea that we could bank the week into RCI and go anywhere, anytime, that we desired.  We were so naive back then!!!  So we bought a 1 bedroom/1 bath EOY (every other year) unit.  

About the same time that we went to the presentation, I came across a great TWA Getaway Vacations to Oahu for $599/person which included airfare from St. Louis and 5 nights on Oahu ( at the Maile Sky Court Hotel which we extended to 7 nights for a couple hundred dollars more).   With our first year at KBV set to be 1999, and we already had reservations for Oahu for Nov. of 1998, we banked the KBV week into RCI---and began to learn what "go anywhere, anytime you want" really means - go anywhere that is available, at the worst times of the year!  That usually means somewhere over saturated with timeshares (like Orlando or Las Vegas); or where you really want to go (usually only available during off season) if you're lucky enough to catch it as soon as it's banked.  Since we had a really good time on Oahu in 1998, when our next EOY week rolled around in 2001, we decided to go with the sure thing and see exactly what we bought into.  

And that was the beginning of my Hawaii love affair!  We never banked that week again.  In fact, we bought more and more weeks at Pahio until we had 2 weeks every year (1 bedrooms in even years and 2 bedrooms in odd years).  That worked so well, that when Wyndham took over as the management company, we eventually converted our weeks into Wyndham points by buying another EOY 1 bedroom unit at Bali Hai.  With that purchase, all our Pahio weeks were converted into Wyndham points.  Which ended up being a rather inexpensive way to become Platinum VIP in Wyndham (which has been great!).  Part of what got us to convert, was we were told we'd be able to reserve ocean view rooms 13 months out.  That did work for a couple years, then they "learned" that we could only reserve our original type units that far in advance.  But it worked out.  With lots of persistence and patience, we still got a lot of ocean view rooms in the 10 month Wyndham open reservation window and even often within the 60 day reservation time when our Platinum VIP privileges of 50% off the number of points non-VIPs pay and free upgrades takes place.   

Since we didn't yet have an even year timeshare week in 2002, we decided to check out the Big Island that year by renting a week at Kona Coast Resort.  Then we went back to Kauai in 2003 and started picking up more Pahio weeks at Kauai Beach Villas (all 3 on the resell market at a fraction of the cost of our original unit) until finally buying another developer EOY week from Wyndham in 2009 and ending up with a million points.  

1998 Oahu - first trip to the islands

2001 Kauai - first trip to Kauai

          2nd trip to Oahu

2002 The Big Island 

2003 Kauai with Dad (buy a 2 bedroom week)

2003 Oahu with Dad for Sean's reinlistment

2004 Kauai with Tim and Faith

2005 Kauai

2006  Kauai with Tim and Faith, then Dad

2006 Maui father/daughter trip - first trip to Maui

2007 Kauai

2008 Kauai

2009 Oahu by myself, 

         Kauai with Ken, Angie and Josh (and we convert to Wyndham)

2010 Kauai with Tim and Faith, again

2011 Kauai

2012 Kauai with Schneiderjans

2012 Maui sisters' trip

2013 Maui with Baileys

2014  Kauai

2015 Feb. 6-26

2016  8/18 - 9/14 (2 weeks each place)
          Kauai starting 8/31

2017  no Hawaiian islands!!!!

2018  Maui for 4 weeks  with Fischers

2019  yet to happen!

With 20+ trips to the islands between 1998 and 2018, we obviously LOVE the islands!  It feels like another home to us!  Can't wait to go home again!


Friday, October 19, 2018

Georgia state of mine!

In and around Georgia:

If you'd told me years ago that some day when we were retired we'd live in Georgia, I would have been very surprised, and wondered how and why!  But here we are---2018, and on our 2nd location in Georgia and our 3rd year!   Why???  We followed our daughter and son in law awaiting our first grandbaby.  In Dec. of 2017, they adopted a beautiful baby girl.  Now we're smitten.

From May of 2016 until May of 2018, we lived about 40 miles north of Atlanta in Buford.  Loved the proximity to Lake Lure and the N. Georgia mountains only being an hour away.  I also loved Ivy Creek Nature Preserve which we lived adjacent to---spent many many hours walking around in there.  And that there was every store or chain restaurant I could ever want to go to within a couple miles of our apartment.  What I didn't love about Buford, was the TRAFFIC!!!!  Atlanta traffic some 40 miles away!!!

Then in 2018 our son in law got a promotion and territory in middle-lower Georgia.  So we followed them to Perry.  We ended up buying a house this time.

 So I thought I'd start a blog of the places we've been to in Georgia.

2018 Georgia National Fair

Lake Lanier:
        Feb. 26, 2018
        March 2, 2018 
        Oct. 13, 2017
        June 8, 2017
        April 19, 2017
        March 21, 2017
        May 31, 2017 - Old Federal Park
        Jan. 31, 2017

State Botanical Gardens of Georgia:

Gibbs Gardens:
         March 7, 2018 - daffodils
         Nov. 4, 2017
         Nov. 2, 2017
         Sept. 7, 2017
         May 2, 2017
         March 8, 2017 - daffodils

Atlanta Botanical Gardens:
         july 2018 ,  Imaginary Worlds
         Oct. 2017  ,
         Aug. 2017  ,
         June 2017  ,
         May 2017  ,
         March 2017  ,
         Oct. 2016   , chihuli

Atlanta Botanical Gardens at Gainesville:
         May 6, 2018
         March 28, 2018 - tulips
         March 23, 2018 - tulips
         Nov. 21, 2017
         Oct. 8, 2017 - Fall Woodland Ramble and Goblins in the Garden
         Aug. 9, 2017
         April 1, 2017 - tulips
         Aug. 16, 2016

Massee Gardens:
         June 2018 ,

         Feb. 23, 2017

         Dec. 2010   Atlanta Aquarium:
         July 7, 2012  World of Coca Cola
         July 7, 2012   Centennial Olympic Park
         Oakland Cemetery 

         June 2018  ,
         May 2018  ,



Brasstown Bald:
         Nov. 3, 2017
         Oct. 17, 2016
         Aug. 2, 2016

                   Jan. 2018  ,
                   Oct. 24, 2017
                   March 12, 2017
                   April 17, 2018 
         Helton Falls 
                   Nov. 3, 2017
                   Oct. 17, 2017
         DeSoto Falls
         Toccoa Falls:
                    Nov. 7, 2017
                    Oct. 3, 2017
         Panther Falls
         Minnehaha Falls
         Sea Creek Falls
         Fall Branch Falls
         Poole's Mill
         Duke's Creek Falls
                     Aug. 2, 2016
         Anna Ruby Falls
                     June 20, 2016 
                     May 7, 2018

         march, 11, 2017
         March 10, 2017 - River Run Cabin

Dahlonega around Christmas 

        Nov. 3, 2017 

Providence Canyon State Park:
        Feb. 11, 2017

                    8-21-17 eclipse viewing
         Kaya (Frogtown Vineyards)

The Mall of Georgia 

Ivy Creek Greenway and Mill Creek Nature Reserve:
         Nov. 2017
          1-8-18 icy mill
          2-27-18 picnic
Sloten Auctions:
         11-10 &11-2017

Hopefully I'll be able to continue adding on to this blog for many more years!

Monday, September 24, 2018

2018 Sept. Yellowstone: with Angie, Josh, and Layla

2018 Yellowstone: with Angie, Josh, and Layla:

13 months of advance planning!  Why so long?  I booked a week at the Worldmark West Yellowstone.  Like Kihei, you have to be online ready to book the resort right at 13 months out as soon as the reservation system comes on line.  Thus, after trying a few days, I ended up with Thursday, Sept. 6th -  Thursday, Sept. 13th, 2018.

As soon as I told Angie and Josh that I booked a 2 bedroom unit at the Worldmark in West Yellowstone, Josh said without hesitation that they were coming with us (which turned out to be "me").  Neither he, nor Angie had ever been there and Josh had always wanted to.  So I was excited about another vacation with some of the kids.  I had extended the invite to Tim and Faith, too, but they declined.

A lot happened in the 13 month wait time!!!  Most notably Angie and Josh adopted a baby (Layla, who was 9.5 months old by the time the vacation rolled around); and Ken developed char-cots foot and a bone infection and spent 7 weeks getting antibiotic IV infusions that ended about 2 weeks before the trip.  I was in limbo for the last couple months as to whether or not I'd get to go.  But Ken got well enough to stay on his own and even dog sit while we were gone.

Next came the debate on whether to fly directly into West Yellowstone or into Jackson Hole.  After waiting a bit too long to get tickets, Jackson Hole ended up being a couple hundred dollars cheaper per person (still about $550 rt), so our decision was made.  I wasn't too upset, I'd always wanted to see the Grand Tetons.  Ended up not being any cheaper since we ended up spending about $600 in hotels to stay in Jackson the night we got there and the night before flying back home.  We hadn't planned to leave West Yellowstone a day early, but wasn't looking forward to another long day of confining Layla to a car seat on the 13th knowing we wouldn't get into Perry, Ga.until about midnight.  So we decided to spend the night of the 12th in Jackson, too.  I'm not sorry we did.  The ride through the Tetons on the 6th, and the ride along the back side of the Tetons on the 12th were amazing!

As for Yellowstone---it didn't disappoint, either!  Weather was spectacular!  Views were more spectacular!!  Company was the most spectacular!!!!

Sept 5, 2018---travel day

Jackson Hole Lodge---accommodations in Jackson

Sept. 6, 2018--- to West Yellowstone by way of The Grand Tetons

Worldmark West Yellowstone---accommodations in West Yellowstone

Sept. 7, 2018---Mammoth Hot Springs and Lamar Valley

Sept. 8, 2018---Hayden Valley, Mud Volcano Area, and Canyon Area 

Sept. 9, 2018---Norris Geyser Basin 

Sept. 10, 2018---Midway Geyser Basin and Old Faithful Historic District 

Sept. 11, 2018---Hayden, West Thumb, and Biscuit Basin 

Sept.  12, 2018---back to Jackson

Sept. 13, 2018---Mormon Row Historic District and back to Georgia

It was another vacation I will cherish forever!  Loved spending the time with the kids and getting to see so many spectacular things.

For my blog from 2002 with some different areas of Yellowstone, click HERE

Monday, June 4, 2018

2018-May 31- June 3   Savannah-Edisto long weekend with Angie, Josh and Layla:

Time to use some more of our Wyndham points and hit the beach!

5-31-2018 to Savannah

6-1-2018  Savannah and on to Edisto

6-2-2018  Edisto Beach

6-3-2018 Botany Bay

Wyndham Ocean Ridge: The Village; 674A&B (2 bedroom lockoff)

Only 3 nights, but we all had a great time!  Been way too long since we've been to the beach!

Monday, March 19, 2018

2018 March Knoxville, St. Louis trip

Time to head back to St. Louis, by way of Knoxville.  Time to dog and cat sit for the kids for the weekend, then continue to St. Louis to pick up our tax papers so Ken can get our taxes filed.   


 3-8-2018  heading up to Knoxville


3-9-2018  ride up into the Smoky's to Cades Cove: 


3-12-2018  Knoxville - St. Louis in a snow storm: 


3-13-2018 a disappointing trip to the Social Security Office! 


 3-15-2018  dinner and dominoes with the Wilkes:


 3-17-2018  STL - Knoxville:  St. Patty's day!


3-18-18  a walk through Carl Cowen park with Tim and Faith and Jesse: 


 3-19-2018  a rainy cold drive back to Atlanta.


All in all, we had a good time.  I do enjoy St. Louis a lot more now that we don't live there!  But I don't want to move back.   

Saturday, February 24, 2018

2018 Jan. 25-Feb. 22 Maui --- 28 night vacation: (Fischers)

2018-1-25  through 2-22  Maui trip:

4 weeks in Maui!!!!  Longest we've ever vacationed in one spot.  I'm so anxious, I'm starting my blog a couple days early.  I'll get all the mundane stuff stuff out of the way:

Flights:  ATL-OGG
We're using award miles again.  This time we're using Alaska Airlines for our flights to OGG and AA for our flights back.  I booked the flights about 300 days out, knowing there would probably be changes before Jan. 25.  First one came while we were on vacation in S. Florida in May.  AA decided to eliminate our red eye flight out of OGG to LAX.  So they moved us up to a 2:30pm flight and changed our LAX - ATL flight to LAX - Charlotte (CLT) - ATL.  With an 8 hour layover in CLT!  I had to call twice before I got someone who could or would change the CLT flight to one with "just" a 1 1/2 hour layover.  Then in Nov.---while on an 11 night Caribbean cruise---our Alaska Airlines flight ATL - SEA got eliminated and we got an email telling us to call them.   So I called and they put us on a flight to SEA a day earlier and said they'll put us up in a hotel that night.  Then we would take our 10:30am SEA - OGG flight on the 25th.  So our really LONG travel day becomes 2 long travel days, but at least we don't have to get to the Atlanta airport by 4am!  As always, I kept checking our flights for better itineraries and/or seats.  On Jan. 20 AA put their non-stop LAX-ATL red eye on mile-saver award travel, so I was able to called and got us switched to that flight instead of LAX-CLT-ATL.  Now we'll get back into ATL about 7:30 am instead of noonish----just in time for the lovely Atlantic rush hour traffic!  As we're driving through the city to get to the north side I'll just keep reminding myself it's better then sitting in the Charlotte airport waiting for another flight!

Accommodations --- Kahana Villas Resort and Worldmark Kihei

Car rental --- Nissan Pathfinder

Cameras this trip:  My Canon 60D DSLR with a Tamron 17-300mm zoom lens and a Tamron 150-600zoom lens; and a TG-4 Olympus underwater camera. 

For our day to day fun, click on the links:

1-24-2018  Day -1 --- off to Seattle:

1-25-2-18  Day 2---SEA - OGG and settling in: 

1-26-2018  Day 3---snorkel Kahekili and Lahaina for sunset: 

1-27-2018  Day 4---snorkel Kapalua and Lahaina for sunset

1-28-2018  Day 5---Sea House breakfast, Napili bay, Kapalua snorkel, Kahana sunset, Lahaina 

1-29-2018  Day 6---the Fischers arrive!

1-30-2018  Day 7---trip up to the North/West side and the Super Blue Blood Moon:

1-31-2018  Day 8---snorkeling Kapalua with newbies

2-1-2018  Day 9---whale watching tour out of Lahaina 

2-2-2018  Day 10---move to the South side by way of Haleakala: 

2-3-2018  Day 11---checking out the high surf on the South side

2-4-2018  Day 12---half the road to Hana

2-5-2018  Day 13---RAIN and Fischers leave

2-6-2018  Day 14---Oneuli whale watching and walking the Hoapili trail

2-7-2018  Day 15---a walk along the Wailea Walking Path 

2-8-2018  Day 16---snorkeling!  Kapalua and MM14

2-9-2018  Day 17---snorkeling Makena Landing 

2-10-2018 Day 18---snorkeling Ahihi and a walk along the path by Maluaka

2-11-2018 Day 19---snorkeling MM14 and sunset at Kam 1-2 

2-12-2018 Day 20---snorkeling Kam 3 and Po'olenalena

2-13-2018  Day 21---snorkeling Po'olenalena and The Dumps!

2-14-2018  Day 22---Valentine's Day Trilogy whale watching tour 

2-15-2018  Day 23---A rainy day, but a great sunset  

2-16-2018  Day 24---Kula Gardens, Hookipa turtles, Kam 1 sunset 

2-17-2018 Day 25---Snorkel Honolua!!!  and Kapalua, then off to Lahaina 

2-18-2018 Day 26---Water spout!  walking north of Kam 1 

2-19-2018 Day 27---Walk along the Kam beaches and disappearing ring

2-20-2018 Day 28---Snorkel Maluaka and Wailea

2-21-2018  Day 29---last day!!! So sad!

2-22 and 23-2018---heading home to ATL

Highlights and lowlights of this trip:  The biggest highlight was sharing vacation time with good friends for a week.  Biggest lowlight is apparently having my wedding ring stolen!  Another lowlight is my glasses disappearing in the ocean and having to get new ones made at LensCrafters.  Speaking of things disappearing---so did my hat!  Definitely too many lowlights!  Our trip ended with another highlight!---finding my assumed "stolen" ring!