2019 Holiday Letter
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
WoW! What a year for travel! There were trips during 9 of the 12 months this year.
- March: Milan, Italy; Helen also went to Charlotte, NC
- April: Bandera, TX, New Mexico & Arizona (3-week travel trailer trip)
- June: Vancouver, Canada
- July: Washington, Oregon & Northern California (3-week travel trailer trip)
- August: Cincinnati, OH & Montreal, Canada)
- October: Charlotte, Tryon & Asheville, NC
- November: Munich & Bochum, Germany
- December: Maui, HI
Megan's Cheerleading Competition
At the very start of the year, we were invited to cheerleading competition. Our very good friends, Dee Dee and Jeff's granddaughter, Megan, was in the competition. We were overwhelmed by the talent all of these girls had. Megan's team came in second place and they moved on to the state championships.
Megan's cheerleading competition
The Our Neighborhood
Milan was a fun place to visit. We took a day trip to cruise on Lake Como and visited the hill town of Belagio before heading back to Milan.
While in Milan we visited a travelling DaVinci exhibit and explored the Duomo di Milano (a cathedral). We had a wonderful two weeks in Milan.
Amazingly, this artwork can move using compressed air.
This artwork moves by being pulled.
Helen's Visit to Charlotte, North Carolina
Helen visted with her son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter in March. A lot of time was spent on their property which had recently been purchased. Helen helped in clearing trees for a future driveway to the house they are planning to build.
Peter Visiting San Francisco
Peter had a business trip to Boise, Idaho. On the way home, he popped down to San Francisco for a weekend visit.
Three Week Camping Trip to Bandera, Texas and Return
Good use was made of our trailer this year by spending over 40 nights in it. We had two trips, each three weeks long.
The first was to Bandera, TX for the annual Casita rally and to meet up with Charles' brother Wayne. Then we meandered our way home stopping by Fredericksburg, TX, to visit the National Museum of the Pacific War. A wonderful museum.
Then it was on to the LBJ Ranch National Historical Park. From there we visited Fort Davis National Historic Site and the McDonald Observatory.
Then it was off to see the cliff dwellings at the Montezuma Castle National Monument. From there we visited the Painted Desert National Historic Site and the Petrified Forest National Park. After all this, it was time to head home.
Casita Rally in Bandera, Texas
My brother, Wayne, took us to see Stonehenge II in Ingram, Texas.
Stonehenge II is an homage to the original Stonehenge monument and is located in the Texas Hill Country. Stonehenge II was conceived by Al Shepperd and built with the help of his friend and neighbor, Doug Hill. (Credit: Wikipedia)
Next to Stonehenge II, is a replica of an Easter Island Moai head. It was made by the same person that made Stonehenge II.
LBJ Ranch National Historical Park
"The Texas Whitehouse" when President Lyndon Johnson was in office
Historic Fort Davis, Texas
Petrified Forest National Park
Montezuma Castle National Monument, near Camp Verde, Arizona
This settlement was enhabited from 1100 to 1425.
Tap's Burial at Sea
Tap was a very good friend. He was one of Charles' sailing buddies, both on San Francisco Bay and on many sailing trips in the Caribbean.
Tap always had trouble with his name. To get around how unusual it was, he would put his fist on his head and would say "Tap, as in 'beer on tap' ".
Tap grew up in the San Francisco Bay area and loved sailing on the Bay. His wish was to have his ashes scattered on the Bay. He is greatly missed by all who knew him.
Three Week Camping Trip to NorthWest
Our second trailer trip was to visit Helen's cousin Cecil and his wife Patty in Port Townsend, WA. We had a great time visiting with Cecil & Patty. They showed us Fort Worden Historical State Park, Fort Worden beach, the city of Port Townsend and an estate sale.
One of Cecil's favorite games is to watch for ferries. The first person to see one, yells "FERRY!". The person with the most sightings wins bragging rights!
Day trip to Whidbey and Fidalgo Islands
A car ferry was taken over to Whidbey Island for a day of exploring both islands.
Mount Saint Helens
Then we headed South, visiting Mount St Helen's.
We visited with Charles' college buddy Ron and his wife Sandy. Helen and Charles enjoyed the visit very much as it has been several years since we have had a chance to catch up.
Ron and Sandy suggested we drive along the Columbia River Gourge and stop at the many waterfalls along the way.
Good friends, Ron and Sandy. Ron was a college buddy of mine and we have remained friends for the past 47 years.
Crater Lake National Park
From Portland, we went to Crater Lake National Park and then on to Mount Shasta, California and the Lassen Volcanic National Park. Then it was time to head home for a "vacation" from our trip ;-)
We had a GREAT time visiting with Cousin Joan and boyfriend Don. Among other things, we visited the National Museum of the United States Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, OH. It is the world's largest military aviation museum.
Don also showed us his huge and elaborate train layout which takes up 3,000 square feet of his basement. The details of the layout make it look very realistic.
We had a great time visiting Montreal. We climbed to the top of Mount Royal for some magnificent views of the city. Then we went to the Notre-Dame for a tour of the Cathedral.
Charles' First Couch
Funny story: No one picked up the couch, even though we had it on the curb over a weekend. Charles then went to post it as a free item on a local neighborhood website. To his surprise, he found there were hundreds of couches being given away! We ended up having the local trash service haul it away :-(
Charlotte and Tryon, North Carolina
During Sept-Oct we flew to NC to see Helen’s son Dave, wife Karen and their daughter Helena (what a sweetheart!).
While in Charlotte, we stayed with cousins John and Ginger. They have a lovely home in Charlotte and are always so welcoming when we visit. Thank you John and Ginger!
Tryon, North Carolina
Helen’s brothers Harold and Robert joined us and we also stayed at Robert’s 2nd home in Tryon, NC. It was fun exploring the old town of Tryon, seeing Mark Holland’s artwork (Robert’s brother-in-law) and visiting some peaceful waterfalls.
A large wooden toy horse honors Tryon, where the wooden-horse-on-wheels toy was first made in 1916. Various versions of the big horse have stood in town since 1928 -- the latest was unveiled in 2012 -- but they've all been made of wood. (Credit: RoadsideAmerica.com)
Pearson's Falls and Glen
Asheville, North Carolina
In Asheville, we had dinner at Robert's son's (Helen's nephew) restaurant, The Greenhouse, for a very upscale dinner. Yum! At the time, Jack was the Chef du Cusine at the restaurant. At the end of December, he will be the head chef as the current head chef will take a medical leave of absence.
Back in Charlotte, North Carolina for Dave's Surprise Birthday Party
Karen spent a year planning a surprise 40th birthday party for Dave and invited many of their high school friends as well as cousins, uncles & friends… so many memories revisited! Such a well planned and executed surprise party! Way to go, Karen!!
Our trip to Munich, Germany was wonderful! We spent a week wandering around the city. The highlight was visiting the BMW factory. We spent 2 half-days there and even had a tour of the assembly line where 1,200 robots were hard at work.
Dining room at The Residenz which is the old Royal residence for the Wittelsbach monarchs of Bavaria.
We spent a weekend in Bochum and as usual, had a wonderful visit with Peter, his family and friends. Thank you for such a wonderful visit!
Ancient Roman City of Colonia Ulpia Traiana
Peter showed us an old Roman town dating from 110 AD which was located within the current German city of Xanten. This is one of the largest archaeological open air museums in the world, built at the site of the Roman settlements, Colonia Ulpia Traiana. It was one ofthe Northern most Roman city and was a bustling port within the Roman Empire. Of particular interest were the huge Roman bathhouse, the coliseum and the Harbor Temple.
Party Time in Bochum
Peter's brother Albert and girlfriend Uta stopped by for a party, along with friends Charles, Kurt and his wife, also named Uta. A good time was had by all.
During the party, we had a chance to chat with Peter and Beatrix's daughter, Benita and her friend, Frederike, about their upcoming visit to the USA. They will be staying with us as they complete their University course requirement of spending 3 months in an English speaking country. Many sightseeing trips will be taken while they are visiting.
Our first German Christmas Market
Peter and Beatrix took us to our first Christmas Market. It was fun, huge and exciting to walk through looking at all the gift shops, food stands and beer pubs in the market. We enjoyed snacking on hot chocolate and gingerbread cookies.
The December JEDEC meeting was in Maui, Hawaii. We'll be coming back here for at least the next 3 December JEDEC meetings.
Staying at the Grand Wailea Resort
The meeting was held at the fabulous Grand Wailea Resort. Not only do they have big conference rooms, which Charles was in all day long, everyday, they also have multiple huge swimming pools, all connected together with slides and a lazy river. They even have a pool with a sandy beach. Helen was able to enjoy these while Charles worked! Fortunately, the meetings ended a day early so he did have a chance to go swimming.
Sand sculpting in the lobby of the hotel. The artists are Riki Inzano and her friend. Her company is "Art by Riki"
Kihei Akahi Condominiums
After checking out of the Grand Wailea, we moved into a condominium across the street from the ocean. We had the same condo we were in last year and Charles has been staying at this complex for the past 20 years.
Day Trip to Lahaina
La Perouse Bay
Pacific Whale Center
And in conclusion...
We wish you a merry holiday season and a happy New Year!
Charles & Helen