Condiments, Hot Weather, and Tillamook

So, Diane went to Taco Bell yesterday and got me a couple tacos and a burrito. Knowing I like the hot sauce she asked for some and got this:

Ya gotta wonder how doing this affects overhead for this establishment. Just a little bit of waste.

Well, not really a waste, I guess, because I gave them to Baylee who loves hot sauce on pretty much everything. Yesterday she made a sandwich of two pieces of toast that she doused liberally with Cholula Hot Sauce. Nothing else … just two pieces of toast covered in Cholula smashed together. Makes my mouth hurt thinking about it. Sadly, I failed to capture video evidence of this one, but I have no doubt she will do it again in the near future.

The weather has turned nasty up here in Oregon. Temperatures have been around 100 for the past few days. The good side of that is Diane won’t let me work outside when it’s that hot because she apparently doesn’t want me to die of heat stroke. For that, I’m happy. It’s also a reason for me to just lounge around in my jammies all day.

Last Friday, the 14th, we returned from a week long visit to the Tillamook Elks Lodge RV Park. In all, there were five RVs in our group so we were able to practice our social distancing each evening as we gathered for an illegal pot luck. We’re pretty comfortable with each other and have no fear of COVID-19 because we are very careful when out and about among people we do not know. We know they are safe courteous folks because they all drive Winnebagos. We used to, but they let us hang out with them anyway.

Cliff and Susie brought their cat, Dusty, who is pretty quick about escaping out the door when it’s open. Normally, when he’s allowed outside, he’s on a harness, but sometimes he just waits for the door to open and launches and runs under the motorhome. That causes Cliff to get active and chase him down. In this sequence, Cliff had to crawl under and extract him from the right front shock absorber:

This activity keeps Cliff in shape.

Note the sign next to Cliff.

Susan, Sophie, Susie, Carolann, Diane
Lunch at the Blue Heron. Looks nice, food was good, but the wind was blowing about 80 mph.
Fun with bubbles a few RVs down the road from us.

Since it was only five miles down Highway 101, we three remaining guys (the other two had already departed) went to Munson Falls State Park. It’s off the road a few miles and it’s a 1/4 mile hike from the parking lot, but a very easy walk. The falls are 300+ feet high. Since the weather has been very dry the falls were still pretty, but a little subdued. When the rains fall, they are amazing to see.

Cliff, Munson Falls, Terry
Munson Falls & Me – I believe I must shave. Again.

The last photo is from Cape Lookout State Park. This is where we were in March when the pandemic began.

Here we are, eating again. It’s something we do well together. Diane took the photo so the only evidence of her is the empty plate across the table from me.

Hope everyone is staying safe. We are, even with all the riots and such going on in Portland. We just don’t go there any more. Really sad.

Jibberish

It’s now July 8, and I must get creative, but first I need food.

That’s a haiku poem. Really it is I know this. They don’t have to rhyme.

Actually, both of those are haiku. Not a planned one, but it kinda worked out. In case you don’t know, haiku poems consist of 3 lines in a 5-7-5 syllable format. It’s interesting to make words fit that pattern because you just never know what comes out. At least, I don’t.

Yesterday it rained buckets and buckets, after I got home from golf. Didn’t get rained on even one time on the golf course so it must have been fun, right? It was, even though I did my usual terrible game. To help with my frustration, I’ve started counting only the good strokes which allow me to wind up with a respectable score. I know, that doesn’t make sense because I’m not in competition with anyone so why bother, right? I think I’ll just skip the scorecard next time.

It’s supposed to start clearing up today so maybe I can mow the yard again. I kinda like following my exercise machine around the yard. Makes it pretty and Diane likes that.

Our 3 blueberry bushes are producing prodigious amounts of berries since we fenced them off from the deer. I could have done that in years past but figured the deer like the berries more than I did. That, and picking them is a lot like a job that must be done every day till they are all gone. The deer kept them neatly trimmed.

Yesterday afternoon Diane looked out the kitchen window and saw one of the neighbor’s small goats with his head through the fence around their garden chomping away on what I think was a potato bush. Maybe it’s just a plant. I don’t know. It just has lots of leaves and the goat really liked it. I went out and watched for a while, then let Jeff know what was going on so he could call Jen, the neighbor, so she might salvage part of the plant. In hindsight, I suspect I probably should have let them know sooner. Goats can eat a lot in a short period of time. I’m thinking about renting a couple of Jen’s goats to eat the blackberry bushes across the street where we park some of our vehicles. I’ve cut them down numerous times over the years but they just won’t go away. If you aren’t plagued with blackberries let me know. I’ll send you some. I’m pretty sure doing that would violate a bunch of laws, but I’m willing to chance it if you are.

Actually, I’m not. I won’t send them to you, but you are more than welcome to come visit and take with you as many of the vines as you wish when you leave. If you wait for another month, or so, you can pick some ripe berries and make me a pie which I will happily eat as I watch you toil. I’m really good at sitting around watching people toil. Just ask Diane. She’ll tell you I’m right. I’m a professional toil watcher.

On Monday Diane got up early so she could get me to my VA appointment in Hillsboro on time. Like normal, she dropped me off out front then made a beeline to her favorite store (Goodwill) up the street a ways.

I wandered up to the 3rd floor, arriving in plenty of time, only to learn that I really didn’t have an appointment. Well, I did, but it isn’t until July 28th. I was 22 days early. That’s kind of epic, don’t you think? I mean, people are either a little early or late by a matter of minutes, but 22 days? Really?

I didn’t call Diane right away to inform her that she got the appointment wrong on the calendar because I knew it would ruin her chi. I kinda do that unintentionally on a regular basis, ruin her chi, throughout the course of a week but not quite as profoundly as getting an appointment wrong by 22 days. Oh, and it wasn’t her that got it wrong. It was me.

Finally I called her and she answered while digging through a pile of clothes in children’s sizes that had just been made available. It would have been easier to report my mistake if she’d been in the book section instead. Nope. Had to catch her in the kids clothes.

I told her what I’d done then went outside to sit on the curb because I didn’t want to wear my little Sponge Bob mask any longer. I told her to take her time but she rushed right back to get me. Unfortunately, Goodwill isn’t far enough away from the VA facility to allow disappointment to fade away. Not even my bright and smiley face could make it better. Thankfully, she was hungry (hangry, actually) so she drove us to Elmer’s to see if it was open. It was, so we had breakfast. After coffee and a couple pieces of really crispy bacon, she was OK and we could safely continue with our day. The trip to town wasn’t a total waste. For me a trip anywhere with my bride is special. Even to a very early doctor appointment.

After we got home I think we both took naps. Going to the Portland area does that to us. Actually, getting up and walking around the house for a while does that. Naps a good.

Looking back a few paragraphs made me hungry so I’m feel the need to go fire up the stove and cook something. If I don’t I’m sure I’ll go into a diabetic coma and that’d make Diane a little cranky. It always does.

Stay safe and keep your distance.

Another Day in Paradise

Today was another sunny one here at the beach. It got to 65 at one point as we navigated back to camp from Tillamook. We braved the crowds because Diane needed paper towels. Fred Meyer didn’t have any, but Safeway did. She did, however, score some chocolate covered Peeps at Freddies. She also got a small knife sharpener at my request because all the big knives are dull like rocks.

Once we got home I immediately sharpened all those knives and also the one I carry in my pocket. I’ve been whittling a little and found it a bit dull. They all sharpened right up.

Then we took a walk to the beach because the tide’s out and there’s actually one we can walk on. The last few times we’ve been there the tide was in and splashing right up against the rocks with no place to walk.

Crafty people were there ahead of us.

While Diane soaked up the vitamin D, I wandered around looking at likely sticks to whittle, found a few then went back to her log and whittled til I cut my thumb. That signaled the end to whittling because I was getting blood all over my whittling stick. Little cuts are easily remedied because I carry bandaids in my cell phone case just for that reason. I have a stunning variety of them available at all times. But, it was time to return to shelter anyway, so, we went back to the RV.

We had a concert scheduled for our church service this coming Sunday but Governor Brown has banned gatherings of 25 or more, and President Trump trimmed that to 10. I was going to cancel it tomorrow, but the group, New Legacy Project, beat me to it. Their scheduler cancelled all upcoming concert dates for the foreseeable future for this group of talented young men and recalled them to Nashville. It’s sad to cancel, but better to be safe for all concerned. This would have been their fifth visit to our humble little church. If you ever have an opportunity to attend one of their events, they are free, please do. You won’t be disappointed.

Now it’s time for sustenance and a movie. Tonight it’s going to be “My One and Only”. It’s a Renee Zellweger movie and we like her.

Camping & COVID-19

Diane and I have weathering the current COVID-19 outbreak in space C51 at Cape Lookout State Park. We didn’t run here to flee civilization because of our concern about the virus, it just kind of worked out. Diane had this trip planned many weeks ago. We’re six days in on a planned ten day stay. So far we’ve had sun every day. At home it snowed last night. We’re in the right place.

We have been surviving without TV with no deleterious effects. Instead of TV we’ve been reading, mostly, and checking the internet once in a while. The park doesn’t have internet but our cell phones have a tiny little signal that allows us to use the “hot spot” feature, so Diane gets her daily fix of Trump snippets. Her day isn’t complete without at least a couple of those.

We have been watching one movie a day. Yes, that’s on our TV, but doesn’t count because there’s no news, or commercials.

Last night we watched two movies because the first one was so horrendously boring. It was almost 3 hours long and was about the beginning of the CIA. The name is “The Good Shepard”. We don’t recommend it for anyone who doesn’t need a nap.

Yesterday we mosied around the backroads of Pacific City and came upon an entire hill full of Holy Cow Houses. Those houses that, when you first see them, causes one to blurt out “Holy Cow, look at that house!”

Seriously major homes, the vast majority of which appeared vacant. We postulated about that and determined they were all owned by California lottery winners who have other homes all over the place and only use the ones in Pacific Beach when the sun shines and gets the temp above 70 degrees. Whatever the reason, they are quite magnificent. Considering that the development name is Nantucket Shores, it’s possible all those houses are owned by a Rhode Island lottery winner who wishes to spend time, with his enormous family, in another beautiful part of God’s world, while pretending he’s still on that little island in the Atlantic.

Lunch at The Schooner on Netarts Bay – best fish and chips ever. Really. I had a cup of some really good clam chowder and a piece of Diane’s fish.

After lunch we drove to Alderbrook Golf Course, north of Tillamook. It’s a beautiful course with awesome fairways. Diane was excited because there wasn’t anyone playing. But, the guy in the pro shop pointed out that the wind was blowing pretty hard, keeping players away. I told the guy in the pro shop that wind doesn’t bother people who can’t hit the ball straight. Also, if they’re concerned about wind they’d never be happy playing with me and the Peal Boy’s because wind just isn’t a factor for us. Neither is snow or rain.

All the restrictions for COVID-19 are concerning. I’m sure pretty much everyone is getting the message about how important it is to wash one’s hands. At least we hope they are. We’ve enforced that simple heigenic routine with the Littles, and each other, for years. Some of us still don’t get it but they aren’t the ones likely to contract the virus. We older folks are. So, we keep them honest by making them wash their hands pretty much every time they touch anything. We do our best to ensure they understand the possible consequences of not washing their hands before opening the refrigerator, any drawer or cupboard to get eating utensils, or when they cough. All the news about this virus gives us ample opportunities to get their attention and say, “See what happens when you don’t wash!?”

I have photos of houses and “stuff” that I’ll have to add later. The weak signal we have won’t allow me to upload them with this. So, I’ll just send it off without them and work on the A/V aspect later.

Hope everyone is getting through this scary time OK. We’re praying for everyone.

Now I must stop. Diane is prettying up to go shopping at Safeway in Tillamook. Alone. I’m staying home to work on the furnace. It won’t light and Diane doesn’t want to be here when it blows up while I’m working on it.

Wish me luck.

Small World Stuff

Considering all the not so good things that have happened over the last couple of weeks, this last week has restored a semblance of normalcy and happiness to our lives.

The good stuff started on Thursday the 14th when brother Jack had his aortic valve replaced and he came through with flying colors. He’s been waiting for this since he was about 9 years old, I think. That’s a guess, of course. I really don’t know when it was determined to be necessary. The point is, at this time, he got it done, he’s home, and it’s all good. Wynette didn’t actually say it but I’m sure she’s convinced he’s good for another 20-30 years. Makes me happy.

Then, on the 19th, sister Ruth had back surgery, not her first rodeo, and it also went well. Last I heard she was still in a little pain but at a lower level of normal than she’s experienced over the past many years. We’re happy she got some relief.

On the 20th it just kept getting better when we loaded up the RV and headed south to Keizer, Oregon to visit with our old Winnebago friends Terry, Carolann, Susie, Cliff, Les, Sophie, Pete, and Jeannie. We were invited to spend our time in Keizer at their Elks club RV park. Getting in was no problem and we submitted the required funds and got set up.

That first night we all gathered for dinner at Les & Sophie’s house for the traditional pot luck. We could do that because Les & Sophie actually live in Keizer, unlike the rest of us. Pete & Jeannie live just a short drive south, on the other side of Salem. Pete and Les are brothers. The rest of us are from other various parts of the country and aren’t, to the best of my knowledge, related to each other in any way. But, you just never know.

The next day we all went shopping. Diane took the girls, and Les took the boys. I would have driven the boys but before leaving home Diane forgot to remind me to put my wallet in my pocket so I drove the RV hundreds of miles without a driver’s license on my body. Thankfully, it was an uneventful trip, and no one ratted me out, so the police weren’t involved.

When we returned to our respective RVs from shopping, we discovered that during our absence Diane, me, Cliff, and Susie had been evicted from the Elks property because of a new rule that prohibits members from inviting guests to stay there. We aren’t Elks members. It was a little later in the afternoon when this happened, but Diane was able to secure a couple of spots at a nearby Good Sam park for about twice the price. But, we had a new home for the next couple of days. And it was a really nice one at the Phoenix RV & Storage Park.

That second evening we returned to Les & Sophie’s home to celebrate “Friendsgiving”. We did that since we knew we would be apart for Thanksgiving. It was a very good substitute, and one we can celebrate whenever we get together. We did it with all the normal Thanksgiving trimmings and it was terrific. I had to sit at the kid’s table for this meal. I’m not sure why. Apparently I was a little unruly at the pot luck the previous day.

On the 22nd we guys visited Harbor Freight to pick up some necessary “stuff” then went back to the Elks RV Park where Terry & Les raced their electric scooters. There was a lot of posturing and chest pounding leading up to the race about how Terry’s new seat cost more than Les’s shooter (which doesn’t have a seat). When it was all said and done the rig with a seat was the clear winner.

Sadly, that didn’t stop the chest pounding and only primed the pump for cheaper and faster scooters. This could really get ugly. Since we’re all connected I might know what’s happening and can share results.

Now for the small world stuff … after the shopping was done we all descended on a Taco Del Mar for lunch and had a nice visit. Men in one booth, women in another. Kind of like a high school dance. While listening to Terry relate a story to Less he mentioned someone named Pinkston which caused my ears to perk up.

Diane should have been closer because she loves it when my ears perk up. She says it makes me look like a little chihuahua puppy. Makes your heart melt a little, doesn’t it?

I waited for a reasonable pause in Terry’s story to ask about the Pinkston reference and to discover if he knew Adam Pinkston. He said “sure, He’s married to Alicia and they have a bunch of daughters.” I responded, “Huh” because I also know Adam … Alicia is my cousin.

Small World.

Compounding this baffling revelation is that Daniel and our daughter Jennifer invited me and Diane to lunch with Adam and Alicia in Warren just a few days ago. You see, Adam has applied for a job at Daniel and Jennifer’s church in St. Helens and they didn’t remember the family connection until the a little memory from long ago caused Daniel to ask me if Adam was a cousin.

Very interesting.

I love this small world stuff. In this expanding world it’s getting us closer and closer together all the time.

How fun is that?

So, I ask that you pray for the leadership at Grace Baptist Church in St. Helens to make the right decision to hire Adam. He’s the right guy.

Now, about the lack of photos …

I really did try to add them but, sadly, I upgraded my MacBook to the new operating system and when I open my photos application it initiates a procedure to update my photo library. It’s a brutal process. I let it run for 3 days and it got all the way up to 75% complete before I lost patience and terminated Photos. I thought that maybe if I turned my computer all the way off and did a hard restart something different would happen. But it didn’t. It was still painfully slow. Now I’m convinced there’s a bug in the bush that I must discover before I can access my photos on this machine. Once I figure it out I’ll revisit this post and add some color.

I’m sure there are other alternatives but they will have to wait until we return home.

That’s it for now. Hope everyone has a wonderful, safe Thanksgiving celebration. Keep us in mind when you think about all those other people who choose to wander around on potentially icy freeways at this time of year.

The End

It’s been a few days since we returned from Myrtle Beach and I didn’t honor the last statement in my last post about “more tomorrow”, so this is to get you up to date and share with you the end of the trip.

Getting out of Myrtle Beach was a breeze. It’s nice there, but we were ready to be home. There’s stuff we need to do there.

The trip to Seattle was just fine and we didn’t have any problem getting to our connection to Portland in plenty of time. As a matter of fact, we could have been an hour late and still made that flight.

That’s true.

Remember on our trip where Alaska wouldn’t hold our connecting flight for 10 minutes so we could make that flight, because our uflight was kept on the tarmac for 30 minutes after landing? Well, after missing it we discovered that they didn’t have any problem delaying every flight we were on thereafter. After landing in Seattle coming home, the Captain told everyone that we’d be at gate D-5 as he pulled the plane between terminals D and N.

Then he stopped. And we waited about 5 minutes.

The terminal we wanted was on the left of the plane and I told Diane I bet he turns right into N. That’s exactly what he did.

Doing this, of course meant we’d have to catch the underground train to D terminal and walk lots further than we wanted to. As we debarked, the Captain was waiting the door to the flight deck greeting to people and I said, “D-5, huh?” to which he replied, “it looks a lot like D-5. I was lucky to get what we got.” That pretty much sums up the mass confusion that seems to affect Seattle’s ability to keep track of how many gates they have and how many are open to receive planes. It’s pathetic, in my opinion.

Oddly enough, our connecting flight to Portland was leaving from, gee, D-5. It was empty when we got there. We chose to just park ourselves in the area and wait the hour required for it to show up.

About the time we were scheduled to board the plane the pilot, copilot and all the flight attendants showed up but the plane still wasn’t there. We waited for an entire hour more before they changed the time to delayed, then it was most of an hour more before it actually showed up. No reason was provided for our delay so I suppose it was just something we were expected to endure. We were, after all, at SeaTac International. That seems to be the way it is.

We eventually made it back to Portland and vowed to never, ever again make a connecting flight through Seattle. I don’t think I’d fly into Seattle even it that was our destination. The train would be faster, and more reliable.

Now, having shared all of the foregoing, I will add that I don’t think Alaska Airlines was the only one at fault for our delays. Not having a berth at a terminal for incoming flights seems to be a theme at SeaTac which I think is due to mismanagement some where up the chain. I don’t think traffic controllers are the ones calling the shots for where planes park, they just relay the information. Maybe.

Now I’ll share a photo form Joint Base Charleston where we found a Navy Uniform Shop. We wanted a new hat.

What caught my eye, and the reason I took the photo, is the “68” in the bottom right. It’s the USS Nimitz (CVN-68), the oldest nuclear super carrier in the fleet. It’s stationed in Bremerton, Washington and our grandson, Cedric, is currently serving aboard her. Looking closely you can see a sailor shoveling snow off the flight deck of this carrier. I’m pretty sure it’s not Cedric. It’s just struck me as very interesting that the Nimitz was part of this east coast collage.

Here are a couple more photos I took when we finally got home.

Our dogwood tree was shedding
Diane, Jennifer, and Lydia at paint night.
This is the first time Diane ever went with us and she loved it.
A Mt. Hood sunrise with a partial moon.
The same sunrise that I blew up a little. Lower, and to the right of the moon is a tiny little white dot. It’s the International Space Station and we just happened to be looking when it made it’s pass. It really moves along quickly.

That’s it.

Yesterday at MB

We walked again, very slowly because our little legs were sore, and there is a lot to see and do here in Myrtle Beach.

Instead of trudging our way up the beach (north), as we did the day before, we stuck to N. Ocean Blvd, walking south. I think we walked a couple of miles (one going and one coming) and the handy dandy app on my iPhone incorrectly reported that I took 6400+ steps doing it. I know that’s wrong because Diane’s fitbit told her she walked over 9300 steps and covered over 4 miles with the effort. I’ve brought this discrepancy to her attention many times and she always says, “you set it up.” What she means, of course, is that I entered the information about how long her steps are.

Considering that she gets credit for twice as many steps as me I can only presume that she either changed the settings or I made a mistake setting it up.

The other possibility is that the app I’m watching is the generic one provided by the infallible Apple people that keeps track of “stuff” only when it’s on your body. My phone isn’t always on my body. Ergo, I’m going to use Diane’s numbers instead of mine from now on. Looks better. Also, the length of her step isn’t much different than mine any more because I’m in the shuffling stage of life and, due to my excessive military career, tend to walk in step with her as we mosey along. So, I walked over 9,000 steps yesterday, too.

So, on this trip south, which fronts pretty much all of the big resorts along the beach, for 50 miles we had an opportunity to see some pretty snazzy places. Lots of them have tricky names like RipTydz, or Sea Dip Motel & Condominium Family Resort. Tricky stuff like that. There were many more, of course, but I can’t remember all of them.

I don’t know what this place is. Maybe Diane knows.

We stopped in a few shops and determined that shopping on the ‘strip’ wasn’t financially feasible and decided to drive inland for a while to see if things got better.

We’re thinking we’ll go to Conway today. Diane read something about it in the tour guide book and thought it would be fun. On a map it looks like a long ways from the beach, but it’s only about 30 minutes away. More on that later. Maybe.

We found this boardwalk not far from our hotel. As you can see, like most other vacation destinations Myrtle Beach has it’s very own giant ferris wheel. We will not be going on this one, called Sky-Something, even thought it actually stops to let people on and off unlike the really BIG ones.

In the middle of all the busyness there was a plaque that totally defines Diane’s Credo.

I’m not sure which one of these I like best – I Love Sugar, or the Gay Dolphin.

On the way back I was intrigued by this facility. Considering it’s diminutive size I thought it was improperly named. But, since it’s right across the street from a very large, tall, resort, and it appears to be pretty old, I suspect that it’s been here a while, no doubt before the big boys moved in.

After the walking tour we went to the movie to see Downton Abbey. Diane’s been wanting to see it since it was released and, I admit, so did I. Yes, I’m a fan.

The last two photos are just looking ahead to future movie possibilities.

Then we went “home” and watched the sunset from our porch.

This morning Diane noticed that the water was making scallops on the beach as it came it, unlike it’s been doing previously. Although the waves were still pretty straight, the way they finished coming in was very interesting.

Now we’re going to Conway to visit a museum which you will learn all about when we make it back.

Ciao.

PS – The movie Downton Abbey was absolutely wonderful. Highly recommended for those who were addicted to the TV series.

Happy Columbus Day

Today in Myrtle Beach we had a brief scare in the morning. There was evidence that it rained during the night because the railings on our balcony were dripping wet and there were dark angry clouds covered the sky, hiding the sun. It made one wonder what the day held in store for us.

Turns out there was a sunny day hiding from us. It finally made its appearance late in the morning when we were at Wal*Mart obtaining provisions that are to sustain us for the remainder of the week. We hope. If the weather turns nasty, like we’re told it will tomorrow night. We’re talking thunderstorms by midnight. But, that leaves the entire day open for opportunity. We’ve already decided that we’re going to walk 5,000 steps north on the beach then turn around and return to our room to cook something. Maybe we’ll have a tuna sandwich.

That’s what’s left. We ate the steak this afternoon.

I think there’re a couple cans of soup, too. And crackers and cheese. We’ll make it stretch to the weekend.

Shopping at Wal*Mart wore us out. That’s why we ate the steak when we got back to the condo. Then it was touch and go for a bit while we contemplated the benefits of a nap over actually doing something.

We determined that it wasn’t the right time for a nap so we went outside and sat on the beach for a while. Diane spied an umbrella with two empty beach chairs under it so we headed for them. When we got there the “For Rent” sign on one of the chairs was a little upsetting because I didn’t think we would be comfortable in one chair so I let Diane sit while I wandered around on the beach and took a couple of photos.

Now the truth – the For Rent sign on the chair indicated we should see the lifeguard. Looking around there wasn’t a lifeguard in sight so we sat down and enjoyed the view, the breeze, and the silence for just a moment before a lifeguard showed up as if he was waiting for someone to sit down.

I asked him what the deal was with renting and learned that the two chairs and umbrella cost $35 for the day, from 9am to 4:30pm. He added that since it was 4:30 it was OK if we just sat there till 5pm and he’d only charge us $5. Apparently $20 is the suggested price. I forked over a $5 and we just sat there enjoying the warm breeze and the sound of the ocean. For some reason the Atlantic Ocean sounds different than the Pacific Ocean. I think it’s because the Atlantic is quiet. The Pacific is much noisier as the waves crash with with more energy. However, if that were the case, you’d think the Pacific would be warmer from the friction of the crashing, but I guess it doesn’t work that way. The Atlantic is warm and quiet here.

We returned to our assigned perch on the 17th floor and nibbled on stuff until it got dark and the moon came out. It’s a full one today and we weren’t sure we’d be able to see it this evening. But, we did see it and it was wonderful.

The Original Benjamin’s Calabash Seafood and the Alabama Theater

Today (Friday) we ate quite well. Not that we haven’t eaten well on previous days lately, but today we ate exceptionally well. The Sea Mist Oceanfront Resort, where we currently reside, had a package for all of us old USS Cleveland sailors that included tickets to eat at The Original Benjamin’s Calabash Seafood buffet. The web site shows the innards better than I can but here’s a quick peek at some of our group chowing down in our own private section of the facility.


Pretty much any kind of seafood you desire, especially shrimp, is presented in many different ways. Pretty amazing. Calabash, by the way, is a word that describes food in this way: Calabash seafood typically refer to seafood that is lightly breaded (usually dipped in milk & then a combo of flour & cornmeal) and then fried. Usually in a calabash-style restaurant you will get huge portions, oftentimes with a combination plate of several types of seafood – shrimp, various kinds of fish, crab, oysters, etc.. and hushpuppies. Calabash is also the name of a small town in North Carolina near the southern border north of Myrtle Beach. Driving on Myrtle Beach one is assaulted with all manner of calabash restaurants. It gets a bit confusing after a bit. Just remember, it’s all good. I’m happy to report, too, that none of it caused my blood sugar to spike. I think another reason it was OK is that Diane was very careful about what I ate. She takes really good care of me.

I would have liked to stay a little longer at the buffet but we had to leave in order to make it to the Alabama Theater before 7 pm to see ONE The Show. It was truly a great show and is highly recommended by all of us who attended.

We weren’t allowed to take photos of the show so this is the only picture I got of the inside. It’s special because it has Diane in it.

The host of the show, Greg Rowles, who won Ed McMahon’s Star Search Show as the Best Male Vocalist 25 years ago, honored all of us USS Cleveland sailors and even provided a lot of the ship’s history. Pretty special evening.

After the show we all headed back to the Sea Mist for our last night at that facility. After breakfast Sunday morning we packed up and drove all the way north to Hilton’s Ocean 22 high rise. It took 11 minutes. We fiddled around a while, driving north to an enormous RV park, with a very small dune that one must traverse to access the beach. It looks like a place we should visit.

From the looks of things, fishing off the beach is a requirement.

See you tomorrow …

Myrtle Beach, SC

Yes, we’ve embarked on another journey. Some of you may be thinking that, considering the sad time we had in Maui recently, we would have given this trip a little more consideration before committing. But, we’ve actually been trying to get some time at Myrtle Beach for the last five years or so but something always comes up that messes it up. Mostly the deterrents come in the form of hurricanes this time of year.

This time, we made it all the way. Here’s proof …

OK, yes it’s the baggage carousel at the Charleston airport, but that’s the airport we flew to and rented the car that got us to Myrtle Beach. Another reason we flew to Charleston was so we could reconnect with our luggage which got there 8 hours before us.

Here’s what happened – there are no non-stop Alaska flights from Portland to Charleston, but there is one from Seattle. So, all we had to do was get to Seattle early enough to make the connection so that we could arrive on the east coast at a decent time of the day. The reservations she got allowed us almost an hour to get to the connecting flight in Seattle that would arrive in Charleston at 4:30 pm their time. If you think about that for a minute, considering the 3-hour time difference, we would arrive at 1:30 pm St. Helens time. Then, figure in flight time from Seattle you can see we had to leave pretty early.

We got up at 3:30 am to catch the PDX to SEATAC leg that left at 6 am. The first snafu we encountered was when TSA kicked us out of the precheck line because out KTN wasn’t printed on our ticket. We knew that but had the letters from TSA as proof that we had KTNs. That’s Known Traveler Number in case you didn’t now. Not good enough for the ambitious little guy who insisted that it had to be on our boarding pass. The first time this happened, on the way to Maui, the TSA agent would have let us continue if we knew the KTN. Not this guy, however.

So, we returned to the ticket counter and fixed it with some manual interventional assistance of a cheerful Alaska Agent.

We breezed right through.

Got to Seattle in plenty of time to make our connection then ‘things’ kinda went south with regard to customer service and scheduling accumen of managers at the SEATAC International airport who parked our plane on the runway for 30 minutes because there wasn’t an open gate for us.

There we sat, with 12 other folks who needed to make the connection, watching the clock tick away, diminishing the probability of making the flight to Charleston.

We finally parked at N15 about 7:20 pm and our connecting flight was scheduled to depart at 7:45. Our pilot and crew assured us that everyone knew we were on the ground and the reason we were late and that they would hold the plane for us.

It was a huge lie. We got to the next gate, D21, in time, but management had already filled our 12 seats with standbys and sent the plane on it’s way, 20 minutes early. Kinda makes your day, ya know?

Then we were sent to the Alaska Customer Service desk near gate D2 that is manned by folks who are accustom to dealing with upset people and apparently don’t see the need to be friendly any longer. We 12 were demoted to 3rd class citizens (whatever that is) and the fact that we missed the flight due to decisions made by the airline.

The two agents behind the counter were working to re-book flights for misplaced people but their hearts weren’t in it and they weren’t very careful about information they doled out. For us, for instance, after they professed to have got us seats on an American Airline plane leaving shortly, gave us a confirmation number and sent us to gate D8 and told us to talk to one of the AA agents there to get us seat assignments. We made that trek and learned that the confirmation was invalid and that the flight we were supposedly put on was full. No seats available.

Back to D2 and customer service. At different agent made another attempt and actually got us seats on a plane leaving in a few hours for Dallas. From there we were booked on an AA flight to Charleston which was to arrive at 11:30 pm.

Interestingly, our bags were transferred from the Portland flight to the original non-stop connection with no problem, but they couldn’t delay 10 minutes to wait for the people who owned them. That’s why our luggage arrived in Charleston on time.

And, they didn’t have any trouble delaying the newly acquired flight, for some reason, which pushed our arrival time in Dallas a little later yet. That was OK because we had a 2-hour layover in Dallas.

Once in Dallas the flight to Charleston was delayed twice ensuring our arrival time wa pushed beyond midnight. Yippee!

By this time both Diane and I were to the point that we could see humor in all the things that had happened to us during this trip. It was like a comedy of errors so it was easier on both of us to accept the comedy of the situation instead of being bitter and upset.

Now, the good part of all this. On both of the flights we met passengers who went out of their way to accommodate both Diane and I by switching seats so we could sit together. You see, with all this switching going on, we were considered standby passengers with no real guarantee we’d get on an airplane. Because of that, we were placed in seats that were rows apart because, you see, all those other passengers made their flight on time.

Our fellow passengers made it all OK and we had a great time talking with them. Had we caught our original flight we would have missed that opportunity which would have been kinda sad.

When we got to Charleston we sent directly to the AA office in the baggage claim area to retrieve our on-time bags. The cheerful agent said, “oh, you were on that Alaska flight …” which kinda told the entire story.

After getting the bags we went looking for a cab because I was told the car rental agents closed up at 11:0-0 pm. But, we saw some lights on at the rental area and saw people turning in to that area. There was hope, after all. You see, we had a car reserved for the trip so we could get to the Air Force Inn at Joint Base Charleston for the night, then drive to Myrtle Beach in the morning.

When we turned the corner and saw lines of people at pretty much all the various rental agencies, and way off in a corner was Enterprise, with one agent working and a line of 2 people ahead of us. It was a miracle.

Long story short, we got a car and made it to Joint Base Charleston with no problem. It was only about 5 miles away, so we didn’t expect problems.

At the Air Force Inn we had a reservation and the agents were waiting for us. We got our room, spent the night, and took off for Myrtle Beach earlier this morning. We fudged our check out time beyond 11:00 am because it was so late when we checked in (1:30 am or so) and stopped at a really busy restaurant for lunch. It was the Long Point Grill in Mount Pleasant, SC for lunch. It was absolutely wonderful and the place was jumping. I had shrimp and linguine. Diane had a chicken BLT sandwich and a cup of tomato and artichoke soup. It as good, but getting it meant she could only eat half her sandwich. So, of course, I ate the other half.

The drive to Myrtle Beach was very relaxing and it was great sailing along without a care, our worries behind us. Life was good.

Now we’re here on the 9th floor, at 1200 S. Ocean Blvd with an ocean view.

Our view north
Our view south.

How sweet it is.

Oh ya, the reason we’re here is to attend the 22nd annual reunion of the USS Cleveland Reunion Association. So, there will be more news later.

Cheers.