I called Doug a few days ago and we talked for a while. Since the weather is going to be so nice for a while we decided to take our tired old bodies to the golf course for a little activity. Neither of us had touched a club in nearly 2 years so we felt it was time.

The first thing I had to do was dig out my bag of clubs and find my shoes. Last time I saw them they were in the garage. I actually looked directly at the bag but, some unknown reason, I got the one stored in our little shed. Yes, I have two bags of golf clubs and both are black. The one in the shed was the easiest one to extract so it’s the one I took. It’s been so long since I’ve golfed that I actually forgot the reason the one I got was in the shed. It’s the one I used to store all the extra clubs I’ve accumulated over the years and don’t use any more for one reason or another. Consequently, there are a lot of clubs in that bag.

I didn’t realize this problem until I was strapping the bag onto our cart at the golf course. While doing that I looked for a my driver, a Ping that belongs to Cedric, and a few other favorite clubs like the putter I like, and my 56 degree pitching wedge … stuff like that. They weren’t there. Instead the bag had an oddball assortment of 22 clubs, none of which I could use very well. But, I certainly had a lot of choices.

As you might have suspected, I didn’t do very well, but that’s not a surprise. I never do very well, and that’s OK. I have low expectations when golfing with Doug. He’s pretty good and I gave up trying to beat him many years ago. We just have a good time enjoying an occasional good shot, or putt, and move on down the road.

That was yesterday, and it was a good day.

Happy Mother’s Day

I know, this is a little late, but I didn’t forget. Honest.

To celebrate this important event, Diane and I made a 5-hour round-trip to Albany, Oregon on Sunday to visit a little dog she found on the internet. We lost our last fuzzy family member a couple of years ago and she thought it was OK to look for another. I can’t call the new one a replacement because that’s hard to do. Dogs are different from each other in so many ways so you can’t just pick randomly. She’s been checking various animal shelters every day for a few months now so I knew this was coming. When she saw the photo of Max on one of her web sites it was a done deal before the adoption process was even considered.

After submitting answers to an incredibly complex questionnaire, I had no doubt we’d be making a trip somewhere soon. That was late last week. She got the call on Saturday to drive to Albany, Oregon for a visit with Max. Nothing wrong with a road trip. We’ve driven over 3 hours to destinations that were less important than this one.

The rendezvous location was at a Petco store, a public venue where random spies and snipers would have difficulty singling us out to prohibit a successful adoption . . .

Sorry. I’ve been reading a lot of spy stuff lately and it seems to have seeped into my unconscious thought process. Let me regroup a little.

It was a beautiful day for a ride and it was easy for me I’m just a passenger as I no doubt have explained many times before. I’m not allowed to drive, ever, when we go somewhere together, or I go alone, or if the weather is extremely bad. Like lots of rain, snow, stuff like that. I always find it humorous that she trusts me to drive in bad weather. At the same time, I’m honored that she trusts me in situations like that.

We arrived early for the meeting so turned back to visit a KFC we’d seen not fr away. We almost made it a whole block before spying an Arby’s, a place we like, but rarely get to visit. So KFC lost out to Arby’s. We ate our sandwiches then returned to the store to spend the next 25 minutes anticipating the meeting. You know, like, what if Max didn’t like one of us. Would we need to live separately to appease his fickle notions? Would he like us both, but one more than the other? That would create tension on the homefront, right? None of these possibilities were discussed because it was all in my head. Diane was pretty sure he was going to be great. She knew this as soon as she saw Max’s photo. She swiped ‘right’ for sure.

After visiting all the fish in the store, who were looking for a home, about a dozen times, we went to the car and sat there with the engine running so we could be air conditioned. Did I mention that the temp was in the high 90’s in Albany? Very warm. Not comfortable enough to be standing around on tired feet.

Finally the Foster Mom showed up and I recognized Max immediately. Diane had shown me the photo and I have to admit he was pretty hard to pass up.

We followed them into the store and approached with totally unnecessary caution. We didn’t want to scare Max, or seem to eager to take him home in case he found something wrong with us. Turns out he’s a totally nonjudgmental people person and climbed right into Diane’s arms. The ended the interview process.

While Diane took care of the necessary paperwork I trotted Max around the store, teaching him new tricks, then we stuffed him into our car and headed north. Turns out that riding in cars is one of his favorite pastimes. Just like driving cars is Diane’s favorite pastime. They were obviously made for each other.

Although it’s only been a few days since he appeared in our lives things have perked up around here. Being a kept man, it’s my job to take him for walks. Actually, one of Diane’s motives for getting him was to serve as one of my exercise machines that require a lot of walking. The other one is my walk behind mower. The difference is that I can control the speed of the mower, but not Max. He thinks it’s his job to stretch the leash to the breaking point or it isn’t fun. So far, as we’ve made the circuit around our block, he’s anointed every telephone pole and all but 3 of the brown yard debris containers people leave out, and there’re a lot of them.

Now, let’s talk about the water issue. He kinda loves it and seems very pleased that a creek is running through his new back yard. He also loves mud puddles. Being mostly white, that’s a problem solved by a quick rinse in the creek. He doesn’t just walk through the puddles. No, he stops, turns around 3 times, then lays down ensuring he gets the majority of his little body covered in whatever lives in puddles. Then I take him to the creek where he wades out far enough to cover about half his height, then he lays down, facing upstream, leisurely lapping the water headed his way. Thankfully, he rinses off nicely. That’ good because our chosen pet groomer can’t see him for another month or so. By then, he’s going to be a mess.

As you can see he’s very busy. What you don’t see is how fast he can run. He’s like the wind and likes to run willy nilly around the yard seeing how close he can come to people before dodging away to make another circuit. There’s no photo of this activity yet because we’re never ready for it. This is what he looks like when he’s done.

Then we go inside and he does a lot of this.

Then we go back outside and do it again.

You’d think it would get boring pretty quick but so far it hasn’t. He’s fun and funny and he’s our new family member. The proper name is Maximillian which looks better on paper but he’ll only ever be called Max. That’s who he is. I’m sure he’ll be appearing in future posts.

Time to stop, so I will.

The Cruise – Day 21

Day 21 – April 29, 2023 – Seattle, Washington

Tied up around 0700 and begin the debarking process.

Diane reserved a couple seats on the 0845 airport shuttle that took a leisurely trip through downtown Seattle, just to show us what we were missing, I’m sure. We got to the airport about an hour later, checked in for our flight, got our overweight bags checked, flew to Portland, and Jeff & Jerrie picked us up.

It was a fun trip, but we’re happy to back in America.

That’s it, folks.

The Cruise – Day 20

Day 20 – April 28, 2023 – Vancouver B.C.

Inport 0700 to 1700.

This is packing day for us because we’ll be in Seattle early and we have a shuttle bus date at 0845. We put the bags outside our cabin before midnight. Stewards will pick them up and deliver them to the pier in Seattle. Makes getting off the ship a little easier.

Many new passengers embarked for the one day ride to Seattle. They turned our nice quiet ship into a booze cruise. Also, the ‘new’ folks did their best to make anyone using the Lido Marketplace miserable.  It wasn’t fun.

So, we just hung out on our balcony when we weren’t eating something.

The sunset was nice.

We’re ready for departure.

It’s been a hoot. Now all we have to do is navigate SeaTac airport to find our departure gate. So far, in our experience, wherever it is, it will be the furthest gate away from where we enter the airport. It always happens. Still, we endure.

The Cruise – Day 19

Day 19 – April 27, 2023 – Victoria B.C.

We entered the Juan de Fuca Strait early morning and had a pretty pristine sail all the way to Victoria. Here’s what we saw. Snow covered mountains and a lot of tankers.

Then there was this guy.

I’m sure it was headed back to Bangor with it’s escorts.

Inport 1200 to 2300. That means our trip to Vancouver through the San Juan Islands will be in the dark.

And see, we’re still happy and having fun.

We stayed aboard to eat and lay around doing nothing.

The Cruise – Day 18

Day 18 – April 26, 2023 – At sea

Got up later than 0800 and took the treacherous trip to Lido with our platter to get food for Diane. We both felt it was best that she stays away from folks. There are 29 people on board with COVID symptoms, so Diane’s been wearing a mask, as have most other folks, when not in the cabin. So far, I haven’t worn a mask because I’m a daredevil. But I avoid people, too, and that’s one reason we’ve chosen to eat at “home”, so to speak.

At 1000 we went to the Main Stage to watch a presentation about how this ship works from the people who run it. Very informative. Most interesting, to me, was that the 4 huge diesel engines – two 12 cylinder, and two 8 cylinder – only run generators. The electrical power they create runs everything else, including the propulsion system. Yes, the propellers are connected to 3 very large electric motors that can rotate 360 degrees to direct the ship making a rudder unnecessary. Pretty cool. The captain takes control of those motors when entering a port and uses them to gently approach the assigned pier and place the ship within inches of the designated spot designated. The captain said docking without tugs is done in all types of weather up to 40 knots. Above 40 tugs are used.

Had a hotdog from the Dive In Grill. It was really good.

A great many of the original passengers debarked in San Diego and were replaced by a much younger crowd that includes many children. We know this is true because we’ve seen them throughout the ship, running up and down passgeways, and through the food line at he Lido Marketplace. None of their parents seem to think this is a bad idea.

Here’s something fun. There are four outboard elevators that have an ocean view. What fun.

Tomorrow we will be in Victoria BC for the day.

The Cruise – Day 17

Day 17 – April 25, 2023 – At sea

Diane got up at 0800 or later. I’m not really sure. She was feeling better but still not ready to meet her public so I took the challenge, and the tray from our cabin, and made the trip to Lido in search of food and coffee. I did good and didn’t spill a thing.

In the evening she was better yet and wanted to see the entertainment. It was a quartet of singers, 3 guys and a girl, called Major Fourth. They were the best entertainment we’ve seen this trip. Really good.

Other than reading our books, and watching a little TV, this was pretty much it for the day.

The Cruise – Day 16

Day 16 – April 24,2023 – San Diego

Arrived 0530 a couple of miles off Coronado Island. The first thing I saw outside was the Pilot boat pulling away from the ship meaning we’re on our way into San Diego.

We cruised slowly past Point Loma and NAS Coronado and straight into our pier in downtown, two piers away from the USS Midway CV-41. The first line across was at 0630. The entire ship will be searched since we are coming from Mexican ports, I suspect. The process will take approximately 3 hours.

We passed the test with the Border Guards & Immigration and were released to roam freely about San Diego and that’s what we did. But, we had a destination in mind. The nearest US Post Office. The closest we could find with Google Maps was .7 miles away. Looking each other in the eye, we made a solemn promise to give it a try walking.

The ship was tethered to the B Street Pier, just a block north of the Broadway Pier. Diane made it about half way to the post office before it became necessary for her to sit and rest, so I trundled on by myself to mail the cards. It was very hot and muggy out. I went back and gathered her up and we began the walk back to the ship. Getting a cab was an option, but Diane wanted to walk so we just mosied along, very slowly which suited me just fine.

We got to the ship right about lunch time, ate, then retired to our cabin and took a nap until dinner. Diane really needed it and slept well. I guess I did, too.

According to my very reliable technological gizmos, I’d walked over 5 miles, before noon. That’s a first for me. Diane did over 3. You wouldn’t have thought we would walk that far when the PO was only .7 miles away. But, that’s what my Fitbit reported and I trust it implicitly.

There were three aircraft carriers in port at Coronado Island, all being worked on for one reason or another: USS Carl Vinson CVN-70, USS Ronald Reagan CVN-76, USS Abraham Lincoln CVN-76, CVN-72.

The ship pulled out of San Diego while we were napping so we missed the sail away past Point Loma. That was OK as that’s a trip I’ve taken many times in my past life in the Navy.

The seas are noticeably more active.

Next stop is Victoria Island B.C.

The Cruise – Day 15

Day 15 – April 23, 2023 – At sea all day

Got up late at 0700 then read until 0800 when the room service breakfast arrived. It was good to have coffee delivered to the room.

After coffee and a continental breakfast, we laid around until it was time to go to lunch. I ate spaghetti. Only the second time I’ve done that choice.

After lunch we went to the main stage for an interview with the CO. The special services activity directory did the interview. It was very interesting and informative.

Since we were already at the main stage we decided to stay and watch the featured movie, “Plane”. We were sitting in the top row, so I was able to be first in line for popcorn. When sporadic coughing started, Diane chose to leave for quieter pastures, like our cabin. I stayed and watched the movie. It was good.

After the movie, I walked aft and took the stairs up to deck 3 just in time to catch an elevator the rest of the way to deck 6. Diane was laying on the bunk watching HGTV. Just like home.

It was a very relaxing day at sea.

The Cruise – Day 14

Day 14 – April 22, 2023 – Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

We arrived at our anchorage around 0700. Sadly, there’s no place to park this big ship inside the port so we had to anchor offshore and use boats to go ashore. They call them tenders at times like this, but they are really lifeboats. I know this is true.

The bus tour Diane scheduled was leaving the ship at 0900 and we had to show up for muster at 0800 to get our sticker. We finally wound up on about the 4th or 5th tender to leave the ship. In addition to 4 of the ships tenders, civilian tenders pitched in to help ferry folks to the inner harbor.

There are about 8 zillion boats in and around Cabo’s harbor. Additionally, there are a lot of scary people riding sea scooters that go about 80 mph. They just zip all over the place, seemingly without a care about the many boats they are annoying.

Once ashore we joined Oscar, the bus driver, and Israel, our tour guide, for a look around the area.

The first place we went was to a fandancy restaurant where we obtained a gratis drink – soda, water, or beer. I had a Mexican can of Pepsi, and Diane had a Mexican 7UP. They tasted normal; in case you’re wondering.

From the seaside, multi-level patio area of the restaurant we could see the ship at anchor.

From the restaurant we were driven to San Jose which is a little east and north from Cabo. Once there we were turned loose on the city’s huge main piazza. It must be 10 acres of open space that is completely covered what appeared to be 2×3’ tiles that were perfectly level.

We wandered around the piazza taking photos and saying “no gracia” to the myriad folks trying to sell us things. We wished we could accommodate all of them, because they are so nice, but we really have no way to transport a suitcase full of tchotchkes without them breaking, not to mention how overweight our luggage would be.

At one end of the piazza is an old church which we entered. It’s quite rustic, but beautiful for its simplicity. We sat for a bit and watched a lady (a nun, maybe?) teaching a group of children communion and how it’s done. The children appeared to be somewhere between 8-10.

We left the church and wandered back toward the spot where Oscar let us off an hour or so prior. He wasn’t there, yet, but we were early. When he arrived we returned to our seats and adjusted the A/C again. It’s warm in Cabo, but not sufficatingly so like Costa Rica, El Salvador, and Huatulco.

We were driven back to Cabo but before going back to the ship there was one more stop, at a “blow glass” business. A friend of Israel’s works there and it’s apparently a regular stop. In addition to watching the workers, about 10 of them, scurrying around with molten glass on a metal rod, one of them sat in front of us and created a turtle with a sombrero and a bottle of tequila in about 10 minutes. It was impressive. Another worker brought him different colors in a choreographed manner so he didn’t have to get up and get it himself. It was fun to watch. It was interesting to learn that this facility does not make glass. They recycle it.

Once the turtle was done, he held it up for all to see, then took a peso note and touched it to the finished product and it burst into flame. A demonstration of how hot it was.

Then we were ferried back to the main part of Cabo where all the fun happens. Especially on a Saturday night, like today. It was getting vey noisy as our tender headed for the ship putting a definite end to this tour. It was a good day.

Did I mention that there were some pretty classy yachts scattered around the harbor?

Once aboard the ship we immediately went to the Lido deck to seek food. We didn’t stop for lunch on our tour, and we were hungry. We ate tacos and chips and cheese.

At 1500 the ship upped anchor, we made a right turn, and headed for San Diego. We’ll be there the day after tomorrow.

We ‘live’ on the right, or starboard side of the ship so the sail away from Cabo was right in front of us. The driver spun this big ship around and sailed straight out for about a mile, then made that right turn slowly so we could all see the lands’ end where the Baja Peninsula meets the sea. The arch that’s revealed as we pulled out was right where it’s supposed to be.

Then we went to Lido to eat something. I had roasted chicken and green beans followed by a small salad with lots of shallots, which was a mistake. I guess they kinda curled Diane’s eye lashes a little. I would’ve brushed my teeth but we were late for the 1930 show and had to rush to the other end of the ship. One of the promenade walkers told me that once around the main deck is 1/3 of a mile. So, I guess walking from one end to the other is about 1/6 of a mile. Then we had to walk back to our cabin which is half of 1/6 so that should be 1/12. Making the afternoon trip about ¼ of a mile, right? Just guessing, of course.

The evening show was BBE (Boy Band Evolution), four young men singing hit songs from pretty much all genres and doing it very well. Fun to watch and listen too.

Now we just rest until our eyes tell us it’s time to call it a night.