Posted by Paul Groves on July 2, 2019

Busy Summer

Paul is well into his two months of summer workshops. Even though he is retired from classroom teaching, Paul still works with AP chemistry teachers at week-long summer workshops around the state and even in Indianapolis.

These teachers are great and are usually a mix of veteran and new teachers. This is a wonderful, but exhausting way to spend the summer. Paul is doing five of these workshops this summer in addition to teaching an online course through UCLA Extension which is a virtual version of a workshop. Whew!

Ron pretty much stays home and puts together materials that Paul needs for his workshops. Also, there are events all summer at our mobile home park to work on. In two days we have our big 4th of July golf cart parade and Potluck. Ron is the president of our Recreation Club and Paul is in charge of the kitchen, so we will both be busy on the Fourth.

Posted by Paul Groves on June 17, 2019

Back to Normal

Ron and I are back home at the Oakridge Mobile Home Park and it is great to see all of our friends and neighbors as well as our home. Our luggage made it home safely with no losses or breakages.

A few days after we arrived home was Father’s Day. We were in charge of the Father’s Day Breakfast at our park which involves cooking breakfast for 121 people! On the menu was Ron’s excellent Maple Oat Nut Scones.

Recipe from Pioneer Woman… yum!

We had lots of help, but it was still a lot of work setting up and cooking.

Paul left for San Diego at noon to begin his APSIs (Advanced Placement Summer Institutes). These are week-long classes for teachers. Paul will be in San Diego, Long Beach, Indianapolis, Northern California and Irvine. Additionally, he will be teaching an online version of his APSI through UCLA Extension. The next few weeks are busy and full of travel. Paul always takes a photo of his room number so he can remember where to sleep! Meeting and working with all of these terrific teachers is both fun and exhausting.

Ron will stay home through most of the summer. After four months of travel, time at home relaxing and working on home projects is very appealing.

Posted by Paul Groves on June 6, 2019

HAL 2019 Repositioning – Day 18 Vancouver, BC, Canada

This is it.  The final stop.  Tomorrow we debark the ship and, after visiting family in Seattle, we fly home!

Vancouver is a very busy and beautiful city.  We docked at Canada Place which is the  main cruise ship terminal serving as the origination point for most Alaskan cruises.

Since we had visited here before there was no excursion today.  However we were both very busy.  Paul’s job was to pack all the suitcases and Ron’s job was to stay out of the way and buy a refrigerator magnet!

After our compulsory US customs and immigration screening, Ron left the building to see some of the local sites, while Paul went back to the room and began packing.

Ron’s Walk

The city has changed a lot since the last time we were here.  This is probably due to the Winter Olympics held here in 2010.  Many of the old places were gone and new modern structures took their place.  The first place I visited was the Olympic plaza where the Olympic cauldron was built.

A little behind it on the shoreline was a docking port for seaplanes.  It was fun watching the planes land and takeoff.

I had lunch at the Cactus Club Cafe (the same restaurant chain we ate at in Victoria) and then headed to the Gaslight district of town.  Located here is the only remaining steam powdered clock.

On the way I saw the WWI memorial.  It represents the “Angel of Victory” (also called “Winged Victory”),  lifting up a fallen Canadian soldier commemorating 1,115 Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) employees killed during the Great War. Subsequently, the inscription was changed to also include CPR workers who died in the Second World War.  I thought it kinda looked like a military version of the Pietà.

I bought our souvenir magnet and headed back to the ship.

So, this is end of our great voyage for this year.  We couldn’t have done this without some great support at home watching our the house, car, and mail.  A BIG thanks to Jean Buccola, Kathy Padilla, and Josh Prescott for their efforts.  We guess it’s time to get back to the real world.

Posted by Paul Groves on June 2, 2019

HAL 2019 Repositioning – Days 16-17 Sea Day & Victoria, BC, Canada

Welcome to Canada!  

This morning we headed to Victoria, B.C. on Vancouver Island and arrived about 10:00 am.  On the way we saw huge fog banks hugging the coastline with the Olympic Mountains in the background.  The lighthouse was a great picture through the fog.  However when we arrived at Victoria terminal there was no fog and the sky was clear!

We’ve been here twice before and blogged about our visits to Butchart Gardens.  So today there was no excursion.  We  just walked around the city.

About a 20 minute walk from the ship was Fisherman’s Wharf.  There are quite a few restaurants here as well as tour kiosks.  We decided to have lunch here and had a great Fish & Chips (here they serve cod instead of haddock like they do in the states).

At the end of the wharf we noticed there are permanently moored private houseboats like in Sausalito.  Needless to say they are in a very pricey location.

They had one souvenir shop here also.  On the outside they had some interesting wooden ducks representing the 4 winds that are prevalent around the island.

From the Wharf it was another half hour walk into the city.  However, we noticed the checkered taxi boats and decided to take one of these as they had a stop in the downtown area.  So we hopped on for a quick 10 minute ride.

The downtown stop was at the Empress hotel which is world famous for it’s high teas.  Down the street from there we saw British Columbia’s Parliament Building (Victoria is the capital of the British Columbia province).

The rest of the day was spent doing a little shopping, getting a haircut, and having some great appetizers at the Cactus Club Cafe before we returned to the ship.  Great day!

Posted by Paul Groves on May 31, 2019

HAL 2019 Repositioning – Days 13-15 Sea Days & San Francisco, CA

It’s hard to believe that this is our first US port in 127 days.  We’ve used WIFI almost exclusively on this trip but now, for one day, we turned on everything to Verizon and updated the apps on all of our devices.  We’ll have to go back to WIFI once we leave San Francisco for the last three days.

(I’m sure you’ve heard this before but just in case you haven’t, I want to explain about the word “repositioning” in the title of a few of our blog entries.  Different locations of the cruising world have certain times of the year when cruises can occur e.g. Alaska is good usually from May to September.  So in May, the cruise lines move or “reposition” their ships to a port closer to Alaska when they begin their Alaskan cruise season.  In September they “reposition” their ships back to the Caribbean for that season.  So we’re on the Amsterdam’s repositioning cruise for the start of it’s Alaskan cruise season.  BTW, repositioning cruises are usually cheaper.)

We were in San Francisco for about seven hours.  Since we’ve been here before, we decided to take an excursion to see the redwoods in Muir Woods located about 45 minutes away across the Golden Gate Bridge.

Just after we crossed the bridge we stopped at the small city of Sausalito for a short visit.  Sausalito is located adjacent to the San Francisco Bay and had a thriving ship building business during WWII.  Subsequently it has became a very pricey and artsy place to live and a major tourist destination.

As we left the city we noticed what looked like mobile homes along the shore.  Turns out that these are permanently moored houseboats with many of them selling in the high $100,000s.

About 1/2 hour later we reached Muir Woods National Monument.  The Woods consists of old growth redwoods (Sequoia sempervirens) (these are not the ones you normally see in California tourist brochures that you can drive through.  Those are located north of Yosemite several hundred miles away).

Almost all of Northern California coastlines we once covered in these trees.  However after the great 1906 earthquake they quickly became the source of building lumber as San Francisco was being rebuilt.  Today only a small percentage of them remain.

The Woods has wooden walkways and many hiking trails.  Until you’ve seen it, you can’t believe the beauty of these trees and how huge they really are!  There is also a feeling of quiet serenity here.  We would have loved to spend a couple of days here.  Very sadly we had to leave and return to the ship.

As we left the city we were able to see just how hilly the city is (our guide told us that the city is actually built on 42 hills!).  If you look closely at the city closeup picture you can just see one of the city’s iconic Cablecars coming down the hill.  Our last view of the city was the Golden Gate Bridge as we sat down for dinner.

The cruise is rapidly winding down as we have only three days and two ports left before we arrive at our final destination, Seattle.  We’ll spend about a week in Seattle then fly home!