What a super year this has been – we have seen so much and enjoyed so many new things. I have found that writing our blog has not been top priority for me and for this I am sorry. I will try to fill you in and give you the highlights of the year in this blog entry.
January found us spending lots of time in Petaluma, California at the Coast Guard Base. The nice thing about being here was our daughter Amanda rented a house about 7 miles outside of the base. Her Christmas present was getting a new home and a new job to start a new chapter in her life. We were able to visit often plus many days we picked up Elijah and Gracie from school and enjoyed their company for a few hours. They loved playing on the playground and just running around on base. Our campsite was huge with a great view.
We were able to spend a beautiful day riding to Dillon Beach and Bodega Bay Doran Beach with the Kim’s, enjoying the company and a super lunch in beautiful surroundings.
We both had eye exams at Travis Air Force Base and then took a ride to old Hamilton Air Force Base where we lived back in the early 1970’s. Wow has that changed as it no longer is a base but they did a wonderful job building beautiful homes and using old base housing also.
February took us to Moylan Brewery where we had lunch and Tim had the best dark beer in the world. We bought a t-shirt and two beer glasses as Moylan was my maiden name. One day we went to the Casino for about 20 minutes and lost money right off the bat. Very small casino, but nothing like Vegas or even the ones in Connecticut.
The middle of February we drove to Oakland National Airport and spent the night at the Marriott Hotel. Early morning we were on a flight to Honolulu. We checked into The Modern Honolulu for 5 nights and what a wonderful time we had. We got to see Dole Plantation and all the pineapples growing, wonderful tour of Pearl Harbor, Laniakea Beach, Waimea Bay, Botanical Gardens, riding around the whole island and just taking in the beauty. After those 5 days we flew to Maui where we did a Helicopter tour of the island, visited the Rain Forest, took a driving tour on Hana Highway, did a dip in the ocean, swam in the pool, relaxed, ate and just had a super wonderful time. We also got to do a Luau which was a traditional Hawawian feast with great food and entertainment. Hope to be able to return to Hawaii sometime and enjoy more of this beautiful island.
The first part of March we spent a great deal of time with family enjoying dinners, talks and loads of laughs. On the 15th we left the Petaluma area and headed south with the Kim’s to begin our trip across the country. In California we visited Joshua Tree National Park which is 792,510 acres of desert wilderness. The Mormon pioneers thought the limbs of the trees resembled the upstretched arms of Joshua leading them to the promised land. We enjoyed watching the people climbing on the huge rocks, and the beauty of the rock formations.
Another day we went to Moorten Botanical Gardens which was a privately owned garden with over 3000 plant types from the desert. After that we stopped in town for a nice lunch and then walked thru the art/craft show with interesting pieces.
Arizona was our next stop visiting the town of Tombstone, the Cemetery, Big Nose Kate’s Salon for drinks and lunch, Fort Hucchuca Museum, Fairbanks Historic Townsite which is now deserted and Chirccahua National Monument. We enjoyed all these places and always find something to interest us.
New Mexico was next with a stop at White Sands Missle Testing Range which turned out to be a super stop. We all loved the campground and the museum was quite interesting. While outside looking at the displays we started to talk to an older gentleman whom worked there years ago. What an interesting conversation we had. We also visited White Sands National Monument and had fun climbing on the dunes of gypsum. This park covers over 275 square miles and is the largest dune field in the world. A great visitor center and better gift shop.
Texas is the biggest state to get across and we had a lot of fun doing that. We stayed at two city parks which turned out to be a okay, one was free. We also stopped at a corp of engineers park which we love. Dallas was a stop going to see The Sixth Floor Museum and then see where President Kennedy was killed. I still remember that day as I was sitting in class during my senior year of high school and could not believe what happened. We also visited the Reunion Tower where you have a 360 degree city view. Lunch was at Sonny Bryan’s Smokehouse which turned out to be a great choice. In Texaskana we relaxed and enjoyed outside with hikes and many campfires.
Into Arkansas we went and stopped at the Maimelle Corp of Engineers Park. This was a great place to relax and enjoy the view plus a few walks.
Memphis Tn came next and we visited Beale Street where we had dinner, then a carriage ride and just enjoyed the music and watching the people. One day we did Bass Pro Shop and then visited Mud Island which was very interesting. This display shows how the Mississippi River flows from Cairo, Illinois to the Gulf of Mexico. Marlow’s Restaurant came and picked us up at the campground in a pink limo and took us to the restaurant. The food was okay but it was a great experience.
Quick stop in Mississippi with a visit from Kim’s brother and nephew. We visited the Farmers Market, took walks, enjoyed the scenery and had great food and campfires.
Next stop was the Navy Base in New Orleans. Here we truly enjoyed the city with lots of food and great drinks. We even got to see “NCIS New Orleans” being filmed. One day we toured Oak Alley Plantation which was built in 1805, we had a great tour and wonderful lunch in the Restaurant. We also went to the Laura Plantation but decided not to do a tour as it was late in the day. New Orleans is such a fun city with lots of places to drink and eat.
Blue Angels Naval Recreation Area was our next stop where we got to see the Blue Angels perform. Super show and outstanding museum made this day very pleasant. We then all went to the Oar House for a wonderful late lunch and then to Joe Patti’s Seafood to have fresh seafood for dinner one night. A visit to Pensacola would not be enjoyable without a trip to the beach.
Raptor Ranch at Tyndell Air Force Base was another wonderful stop. Because we all have access to the base we were able to enjoy the air show the day before the general population was allowed. We stood at the fence and the pilots all waved to us as they proceeded down the airfield. Super show and then we went for a wonderful boat ride on the Seascreamer for a sunset cruise. The captain of this boat was able to get the dolphins to follow the boat and they actually jumped the waves. It was a super night enjoyed by all. While here we took a nice ride to Apalachiola, Florida where we had a wonderful lunch at Owl Café and then walked around the town enjoying the little shops.
Stephen Foster State Park in White Springs Florida was an enjoyable stop for a few hikes and wonderful campfires.
Next stop was Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base in Kings Bay Georgia. While here we went to Jekyll Island and had lunch at the Jekyll Island Club Hotel. This hotel was built in 1888 and catered to the wealthy for many years. The dining room was just beautiful with white linen tablecloths and outstanding food. We toured the island and stopped at the beach where the tide was out and the beach was all mud. I have never seen anything like that in my life. It was a wonderful fun day with another stop at the Horton House which was built in 1743 and the oldest tabby building in Georgia. Tabby is a type of concrete made by burning oyster shells to obtain lime and then mixed with sand and water.
Fort McAllister State Park located in Richmond Hill, Georgia was our next stop. They had been hit by the hurricane and quite a bit of destruction remained. The park is very nice with an Earthwork Fort where General William Sherman ended his march here in 1864. We toured the grounds and the museum and enjoyed that. Henry Ford had a home in Richmond Hill and spent loads of money and time helping the town with medical care, education programs, employment and housing opportunities during the great depression. While in the area we toured the Richmond Hill History Museum and then took a drive to Savannah where we had a great day just walking thru the city. We also did a tour of Old Fort Jackson which was constructed in 1808 to defend Savannah. We had a very interesting talk about the fort and then they actually fired the cannon.
We left Georgia and arrived at Charleston Air Force Base Famcamp in time to wish our oldest daughter Happy Birthday. It was also a special day as it was Julia’s concert. We loved seeing them all. Our time in Charleston was spent with family, visiting downtown Charleston with a visit to the Old Slave Mart, lunch and drinks at Fleet Landing, visit to the spice store and a carriage ride. Also while here we visited Magnolia Plantation, Fort Moultie, celebrate Mother’s Day at Burton’s Grill, loads of shopping, celebrated Susan’s, Emily’s and Julia’s Birthdays with dinner out, church, visiting with friends. While here our friends left us and started back across country, we so enjoyed traveling with you guys and hope to do it again soon.
June arrived and we had doctor appointments with a new doctor whom we love, our oldest granddaughter Emily graduated from High School, visited Tim’s brother Jeff in Florida, celebrated Tim’s Birthday at Halls in downtown Charleston, lunch with friends, walking tour of Charleston, fun days at the beach and before we knew it the month was over.
Stayed tuned for Part 2.