Monthly Archives: February 2012

Home in Indiana, adios Colorado!

Well, I’ve been sick again, and that delayed this post.  We’ve been back home for a week or so but I just haven’t felt well enough to get this done.  Now, I feel SO much better!  With Kate’s care and a little assist from the doctor I have bounced back.  I hope this isn’t a trend – I came home sick from the cruise and now sick again returning from Colorado.

We were invited to go to Colorado to help out with watching the grand-kids while Natalie and John had a getaway out in Las Vegas, and we were eager to help.  It was to be a “double trip” – a few days at their house, then when they got back from Nevada we were to pile in the car and drive up near Steamboat Springs (actually Clark, CO) to stay with the whole family at their newly-purchased ranch.  The property had been a guest ranch and therefore has a number of buildings suitable for that endeavor: a lodge, a 3-bedroom guest house, a number of 1- and 2-bedroom cabins, garage, tack house, loafing shed (sounds just right for ME!), etc.  They’ll be selling off some of the cabins and some of the restaurant gear in the commercial kitchen in the lodge.

Anyway, everything went as planned, in spite of all my worrying.  We made our flight out of Louisville on time, got safely to their house in the Castle Rock area and got the adult folk shipped off to Vegas.  We had several good days with Alek and Aleyna (Blake was out of town doing ‘college shopping’ things).  We all had a great time.  Kate was guiding the kids in some craft projects and I mostly just stayed out of the way but helped with the grocery shopping and the cooking.

Nat and John came back as scheduled and we left on Sunday afternoon to head for the high country (their place is at 8200 feet elevation).  It was a marvelous drive – the Rockies are certainly beautiful all year round, and the snow-covered peaks were just wonderful to see.

At this point I’m going to turn the story over to the photo album – I won’t labor you with all the descriptions of everything we got to see and do.  In partial explanation, I’ll say that Kate and I had the use of one of the 2-bedroom cabins during our stay, and that was fabulous!  A wood-burning fireplace, no radio, no tv – we loved it!  There was from 2 – 4 feet of snow on the ground and it snowed almost every day we were there, we were living a Christmas card!

Enjoy the photos!

Return from Paradise – Part 2

Costa Maya was our first port of call.  Next, Belize.

We dropped anchor at Belize City the next morning and the PA system started announcing departure times for the small boats (tenders) that would take us in to the dockside area.   It was a small adventure, whizzing along in the tender
across 5 miles of water to the Belize City dock.  Again, we were just
intending to stroll around the dock area to see what there was in the way
of shops, etc, but after we arrived we decided to take a van tour around
the city and also see some of the countryside.  And, you know, it was a
lot different from things we see around here, no big surprise – it’s
ANOTHER COUNTRY  🙂  The city was old, had very narrow streets,
and seemed to have way more pelicans than Indiana.  We were driving around
at noontime and our driver pointed out that things may seem a little slow
right now, it’s SIESTA time!  Sounds good to me!  We drove through the
town then out into the country.  The wildlife is pretty much the same as
ours, not counting the howler monkeys, crocodiles (caiman, I think), huge
iguanas.  We liked the tour, gave us a feel for Belize.

When we got back to town we went looking for The Wet Lizard, which was a refreshment emporium that Kate had seen in a travel brochure.  We were kinda thirsty by this time, and were eager to check it out.  Soon, there it was!  We
climbed to the second floor, a location which made the sea breezes even
more pronounced. and gave us a good overlook.  Amazingly, they had NACHOS,
too!  WOW, neat place!  🙂  Actually, we had some kind of chalupa things,
which were also quite good.  And, of course, it’s required that you try
the local brew, Belikan.  One of the locals said it was pronounced
“Belly-a-Kan”, if you happen to be Aztec or whatever.  No, it wasn’t
“Belly-Achin”  – we had no discomfort after imbibing a sample

We were supposed to have a total of 4 ports, as you can see by our
itinerary on the previous post, but we were not able to dock at Roatan,
Honduras, due to high winds in the bay.  As you may remember, Kate was
planning for us to visit an orphanage there, drop off some school
supplies, groceries, etc, but of course that all fell by the wayside.  A
nice lady at the customer desk on the ship took the suitcase from us and
said they would arrange to drop off the donation the following week when
the ship would (hopefully) be able to dock.  So, we had an extra day at
sea to enjoy the shipboard activities.  My favorite activity was to stand
at the railing and gaze at the sea – this was not always consistent with
Kate’s ideas of fun on a cruise ship  🙂  But, we really enjoyed the whole
shipboard thing, no matter what we did.   (psssst, you should GO!)  🙂

Following Belize, and skipping Roatan, our last port of call (Friday, Jan
27th) was the island of Cozumel.  What a nice place!  Yes, it’s VERY
touristy, but we were tourists, so that’s OK.  There were lots of shops to
stroll through, a main street of town within walking distance for further
explorations, so we had a good visit there.  We picked up a couple of
souvenirs, thirsty work, then went in quest of Jimmy Buffet’s
Margaritaville Cozumel.  We went in, found a table, and after a short
discussion with the waiter we wound up with a MOUNTAIN-SIZE plate of, yep,
you guessed it, NACHOS!  Maybe we’re just not adventurous enough on our
food choices, ya think?  A shrimp cocktail, some nice brew, some Mexican
music playing in the background – it was like being on vacation!  🙂  We
didn’t see Jimmy Buffet while we were there, I guess he was washing dishes
or mopping, or something.  The skies opened up while we were enjoying our
little meal, and it was a TORRENTIAL rainfall.  So glad we were inside.

Lots of good memories of Cozumel, and of Margaritaville
So, that was our cruise week in the Western Caribbean.  Great fun!  Who
knows, maybe we’ll do it again sometime.  This is the second time we’ve
taken this exact cruise, and we were not bored at all!  It was like
visiting old friends.
Come with us next time, OK?  🙂

Return from Paradise – Part 1

We’ve been back a little over a week from our cruise to the Caribbean, but sometime during our drive back from New Orleans I was hit by either a bus or a cold, not sure which.  I’ve really felt bad, didn’t feel like posting, so I wasn’t able to do this while everything was fresh in my mind.  Actually, very little is fresh in my mind, at any time, but here we go  🙂

We got away on Saturday morning (Jan 21st) around noon (had to wait for Kate to get home from her shift at the hospital), and headed south.  The weather was favorable, so we were able to make pretty good time.  We drove as far as Jackson, MS, and found a room for the night.  They gave us a suite for only twice what we’re accustomed to paying – sweet!  🙂  (suite?)

We got to New Orleans with several hour’s cushion but went ahead and got our car parked at the storage place and then were shuttled over to the cruise dock area.  No problems checking in, everything went well.  No delays, no problems.  The ship departed a little ahead of schedule and we were off, down the Mississippi toward the Gulf.  Now, unless you were a geography major (do they actually offer that as a major?), you might think that we’d be pretty close, and it would only take us an hour or two to make it down to the deep water.  Wrong, buffet-breath!  We were on the river a full 6 hours to get to where the pilot boat met us.  One of the other passengers said they were awakened by the comings and goings of the little boat so he knew just when all that took place.  He said they dropped off the pilot and then the small boat headed over toward a cruise ship that was waiting to make the up-river transit.

We sailed all night on Sunday (22nd) and then all day Monday, crossing the Gulf, heading toward the Yucatan peninsula.  We rounded the tip of the peninsula sometime Monday night and docked at Costa Maya on Tuesday morning (24th).

I did get to see one neat thing while we were crossing over to Yucatan – I heard a couple of passengers talking about ‘flying fish’, so I went out to the railing and stood there for awhile, watching the water.  I didn’t know quite how to ‘pre-focus’ for these fish, because I didn’t know if they were the size of water buffaloes or maybe the size of minnows.  Anyway, I was gazing down and saw something that looked like a dragonfly, skimming just above the water.  Then I thought, “Hey, wait a minute!  There are no dragonflies way out here!”  So, I watched for a few seconds and it skimmed along and disappeared into a wave.  I kept watching and soon was amazed to see about a dozen of them take flight at once – a school of fish had become a squadron of fish, flashing silver in the sunlight.  They sailed along, maybe a foot above the water, then all of them disappeared into a wave and disappeared, just as the other had done.  Wow!

On a bar drink list. Norwegian poetry, maybe? 🙂

As we were transiting the Gulf, we mainly just enjoyed the shipboard experience – the warm breezes, getting to meet lots of nice folks, going to the various restaurants for our meals.  There are a few ‘premium’ restaurants where you have to pay a cover charge above what you paid for the ‘all-inclusive’ cruise.  We went to one of those, Teppanyaki, and enjoyed the Benihana-like fun of group dining while an oriental comedian

Chop Looey 🙂

chopped and cooked our meals.  Lotsa fun, but maybe a little pricey.  I took the opportunity to start telling some of my old jokes, and they seemed to be well-received.  I guess these folks didn’t get to hear many jokes back home 🙂

Kate, being beautiful and elegant.

We made it out to the topside hot-tub one time, probably would have done it more, but unfortunately Kate was saddled with a fuddy-duddy on the trip and it was hard to get him to participate.  Dang!

This photo of Kate turned out particularly well, even though I took it with my Android phone in low light.  Yes, she IS pretty!  🙂

So, we docked at Costa Maya next morning and strolled off the ship to see what treasures we might find at the dockside establishments.

We couldn't find our formal wear 🙂

We managed to find  Senor Frog’s Palace of Nourishment and Hydration.  We indulged in some local food – I believe they called the dish NACHOS.  Tasty!  Of course, we had to try the local health drink, Tecate.  Also tasty!  🙂 A traveling artist, I think his name was Renoir, asked if we would care to have a caricature done.  I thought caricature was some kind of acupuncture, but I said, “Sure, why not?”  It might have been the Tecate talking  🙂  We had a BIG time at Senor Frog’s establishment!  Later we strolled around, I bought a hat, Kate shopped, but didn’t buy much.

Well, that’s a WRAP, for now.  I’ll continue my story in the next installment.

Chapeau Nouveau

Renoir (Fernando) creating his masterpiece.