Sunset, Kailua-Kona, The Big Island, Hawaii, March 11, 2024

Sunset, Kailua-Kona, The Big Island, Hawaii, March 11, 2024
Sunset, Kailua-Kona, The Big Island, Hawaii, March 11, 2024

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 Centurion Challenge Complete - Tues., Dec. 31

100 Volksmarches in 2013 completed today. I thought it fitting that I complete my 100th walk on the last day of the year. Yesterday, I went to Mission San Jose to register for the walk and pick up the walk instructions so I could start whenever I wanted from our 5th wheel. I started just a little before noon today. Our RV park is right on the 12K walk (7.44 mi.)...very convenient.

Tonight I am at Random with Bob. He was asked to work as bartender tonight. I am in a heated back room enjoying quiet time while I hear the hubbub of New Year's revelers in the beer garden.

Random revelers
Bartender Bob.
I have limited battery power so I will finish my blog tomorrow.

Happy New Year wishes to all my friends, relatives, and blogger friends I have yet to meet. Cheers!

Still two hours to midnight!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Alamo Bowl - Mon., Dec. 30

Tonight's the big night for Bob. He bought a ticket to the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio. Right now he's at the game wearing green and yellow and cheering for the Oregon Ducks. It's halftime and the Ducks are up 20-7. Bob's probably hoarse from screaming by now!

He loves Oregon football and both of us love the Portland Trailblazers. Now that we're Texas residents, we also love the San Antonio Spurs. It's fun to root for some of the best teams in the NBA.

Oh, wait, I got side-tracked. I was talking about football. But really Bob should write this blog. He loves football and I know nothing about the game, except a touchdown is seven points.

I can tell you, though, people sure get worked up about their sports teams. Just yesterday, we had a camper in our park who came in a Hummer pulling a utility trailer (which they must sleep in). Outside his trailer he set up a Longhorns canopy with sidewalls and put a sofa, chair, and big screen TV...effectively making an outdoor living room.

Other people in our park are obviously Oregon fans and have their Oregon colors proudly displayed in front of their motorhome.

How about you? What teams do you cheer for? What kind of decorating do you do on big game days? Do you tailgate? Do you go to the games?  Do you have an outdoor TV on your rig and invite other RVers to join you?

If you go on, or any sports retailer for that matter, you can find all manner of game paraphernalia: logo grill covers, hot dog team logo brands, hostess party aprons with team colors and logos, chef hats, canopies, clothing, footballs, chairs, dartboards, plastic cups, coolers, car flags, lunch bags, the list goes on and on.

Displaying your sports team colors is a sure-fire conversation starter in a campground or RV park. Have some beer in the cooler and snacks on hand, you may find some new friends stopping by.

Alamo Bowl score is now 23-7 Oregon in the 3rd quarter. Go Ducks!!

Update: 4th quarter and Ducks are up 30-7. Looking good!

Did I mention I'm partial to the Ducks because my son graduated from University of Oregon? I'm a proud Duck momma.

Ducks win 30-7!!!!

Travel Bug out.

Two 5K Walks Today - Sunday, Dec. 29

We set out on our first 5K walk around 9:45 a.m. and finished about an hour later. Our walk was along the Museum Reach of the Riverwalk up to Pearl Brewery.

Oregon Ducks fan
Could be a mix of wild and domestic duck.
 The two ducks above were bobbing their heads up and down as they circled each other.

American coot
Duck on left looks like a blue Swedish duck.
Black duck

Flowers along the RiverWalk
Egyptian goose
Yellow flowers blooming in Deecember.
A river boat in the locks.
Palm tree with nice lines.
When we finished our RiverWalk, we headed back to the 5er. Bob went to work and I decided to do another 5K Volksmarch at Mitchell Lake. Off we went on our separate journeys.

Today at Mitchell Lake, the long-eared owl was not visible. A father and daughter came into the Visitor Center excitedly talking about the bobcat they saw. They told me where they saw it and I walked there, but didn't see the bobcat.

Here are today's finds at Mitchell Lake...

Pied-billed grebe
Great egrets and little blue heron, American coot
Top: Hooded merganser
Top bird: red-breasted merganser

As usual, I had an enjoyable and relaxing walk. Yesterday, I joined the Mitchell Lake Audubon Society.

Bob worked until 5:30 then picked up a few items at Costco on his way home. We watched 60 Minutes, then Bob watched sports for the rest of the evening while I blogged.

We ran out of propane tonight and it's getting downright cold in here. At least we have an electric heater in the bedroom to keep us toasty. We have a partial tank of propane that Bob will put in the 5er in the morning. I'll get our two tanks filled tomorrow. It sure has been cold. Brr.

Here's another picture of two cozy cats.

Sunnie and Bowie
Travel Bug out.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Today was Non-stop! - Sat., Dec. 28

What a day. I headed to Mitchell Lake Audubon Wetlands for a 5K+ Volksmarch while Bob went to the gym to play basketball with his buds.

Once again, the long-eared owl was hanging out where it could be seen. People have been coming from all over to see it because it is out of its usual range.

Long-eared owl.
Other unique (to me) birds in the refuge:

The Bird Pond is home to many types of ducks. Excuse the grainy quality of these photos, the ducks were on the opposite side of the pond. Using my best Sherlock Holmes bird detecting skills, I think these ducks are in the following photo: male and female hooded mergansers, bufflehead, a gadwall, and scaups (species ?).

A variety of ducks.
Two hooded mergansers and a gadwall (?)
Adult female red-winged blackbird.
Mourning warbler (?) - a very small bird.
Need help identifying this bird.
And I saw a couple of my favorite birds again..

Black-necked stilt
Northern cardinal
Vermilion flycatcher
When Bob finished playing basketball and after I got home and showered, we drove out to Random because a food truck, The Melting Point, was there and we wanted to try it. They serve gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches and tomotle soup. Bob and I each ordered Caprese grilled cheese sandwiches. The sandwich had tomato, basil and a chipotle sauce with cheddar cheese. So yummy! I was cold, so I had a bowl of tomotle soup (kind of like tomato soup only more flavorful) which hit the spot. For dessert we shared a Banana Rama grilled sandwich...Nutella and sliced bananas on cinnamon chocolate chip bread. It tasted like the best French toast you've ever eaten.

Some people come to Texas and say they've never seen a longhorn. We see them as we're driving down the freeway!

Trailered longhorns.
But wait, our day is not complete. After Random we stopped at Walmart and Costco to pick up a few items, then headed downtown for dinner and a river taxi cruise with The Cafe Society of San Antonio group. We spent time shopping in downtown San Antonio. Bob wanted to purchase an Oregon shirt to wear at the Alamodome for the Alamo Bowl game on Monday night.
Christmas tree in front of The Alamo.
Bob in his new Ducks shirt at The Alamo.
(Ignore the Longhorn shirts behind him.)
Ten of us from the group met at Mexican Manhattan, a restaurant by the Riverwalk. We had warm drinks and appetizers, then walked down the stairs to river level where our leader hailed a river taxi. Because many people go to see the holiday lights along the river, the tour boats have very long lines. If you pay extra for a river taxi, you can get on the boats much quicker and go farther on the river.

The night air chilled us as we rode to see the lights. We were on the river taxi about two hours. Our driver did not inspire confidence and was the slowest boat on the river. Oh well. We certainly got to see the lights.

Some of our group at the restaurant.
The lights coming on at dusk.
Stephanie and me on the River Taxi.
Pearl Brewery lights as seen from our river taxi.
Downtown Riverwalk area
RiverCenter Mall's tree.
By the time we finished our ride we were chilled to the bone. Our group was going to the Esquire Tavern for more food and drinks. We opted to head for home and get warm! We need to take care of ourselves.

I'll leave you with one final photo from Mitchell Lake Wetlands. You can figure it out.

The end. Travel Bug out.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Moving Day - Friday, Dec. 27

A quick catch up on Thursday...Bob and I both worked.

On Friday, Bob decided to take the 5th wheel out to get the axles greased before we had to change sites in the park. He had called them the day before to let them know he would bring the 5th wheel in. They told him the place opened at 8:00 a.m. When he got there, they didn't have the correct tools to do the job and said the shop next door (which was associated with them) opened at 9:00 a.m. and they had the proper tools. As soon as the shop opened it became apparent they didn't have the correct tools or parts or whatever. Someone had to run out to get what was needed. In the meantime, the original place decided to have their staff meeting, even though they had a customer who had been waiting over an hour already. They finally finished the job at 10:30 a.m. What should have taken 1/2 hour, ended up taking 2-1/2 hours. Sheesh. What has happened to customer service?

After the axles were greased, Bob took the 5er in to be inspected so we could get Texas plates on the 5th wheel. That went pretty smoothly. Then he drove the 5th wheel several miles on I-410 to get the tires moving after being in one site from May to December. Have to get that rubber moving from time to time!

Once Bob got the 5er situated in our new site, he took the inspection and insurance papers to the County Tax Assessor to get our new Texas 5th wheel license plates. All our vehicles are now road legal in Texas.

The cats survived being driven around in the 5er and are now settled happily into our new site. Several pigeons enjoy scratching around the leaves outside our windows, so the kitties "hunt" from their window perch. You can see they are quite content after an afternoon of hunting.

Bowie loves the footrest out. It's right over the heat vent!

Sunnie and Bowie

For dinner on Friday night, we went to Green Vegetarian Cuisine. I had 1/2 grilled cheese sandwich and a bowl of potato lentil soup. It was yummy and helped me fight off the beginning of a cold, plus I've been drinking Airborne, lots of tea, and water. We watched a re-run of Shark Tank and Bob watched Spurs basketball.

Travel Bug out.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Busy Holiday Season - Wed., Dec. 25

The day before Christmas (Bob's birthday), we headed over to Costco to shop for each other for Christmas. We chose books by Ken Follett, Tom Clancy, and a book about Texas trivia so we can learn about our new home. We also bought stocking stuffers: Clementine tangerines, apples, and chocolates. At Wild Birds Unlimited Bob bought me a beautiful pair of cardinal earrings. We also bought bird seed for the local doves, cardinals and sparrows. In New Braunfels, we picked up two Party Suns of rolls from Theis Bakery for the RV park luncheon.

On Christmas Day, we slept in, relaxed, then headed over to the RV Park Rec Hall at 12:40 p.m. for Christmas supper. Carefree RV Resorts, our park's parent company, provided turkey, ham, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy for our meal. The rest of us (about 110 people) brought potluck items to round out the meal. With that many people, we were assured many holiday favorites: green bean casserole, steamed squash, deviled eggs, macaroni salad, pistachio pudding, rolls and butter, scalloped potatoes, veggie tray, coleslaw, green salads, pecan pie, pumpkin pie, cream pies, chocolates, fancy cookies, brownies and cake. We had a great meal.

I was on the clean-up crew. Bob, Fran, some other people and I cleared the tables. Then after a problem with a lack of hot water was solved, Helen and I were able to do the dishes.

Upon completion of clean-up chores, Bob and I went to see "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty." Both of us enjoyed the movie. The first part of the movie required keeping alert as to what was real and what was imagined in Walter Mitty's life. The movie picked up when Walter decided to LIVE his life rather than imagining things happening to him. I loved the scenes in Greenland and Iceland.

Bob went to the Med Clinic earlier in the week. They prescribed antibiotics and some other medicine to try to knock out his cough. We'll see if they help.

From reading many friend's blogs, it sounds like your Christmases were filled with friends, fun, faith and food. Merry Christmas to you.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Happy Birthday to My Honey - Tues., Dec. 24

To birthday boy, Bob: 

You make my heart throb with
all new adventures
Your hair is still blonde,
with no need for dentures.

Bob's birthday lunch at Schobel's in New Braunfels, TX
You love watching sports 
and ignore my derisive snorts.
Ducks or Longhorns, who can decide?
Does it matter when we're side by side?

Bob and Susan at Enchanted Springs Ranch, Boerne, TX
I like the movies, you like to run,
but together we choose to walk in the sun.
I like birds, you like history,
both of us enjoy a scintillating mystery.

I like red meat, you like white;
a salad manages to be just right.
You sleep early, I stay up late;
to meet in the middle we must make a date.

I love mountains, forests and streams;
You love the ocean, waves and surf teams.
Together we travel to see it all,
especially to hike to a waterfall.

Bob at Upper Mesa Falls, Island Park, ID
I love you, Bob, with all of my heart
and enjoy seeing sunsets, new places and art.
Today was fun spending time shopping,
not worrying, vacuumimg, dusting or mopping.

One of the places we shopped today.
Now another year has gone by
Age creeps on up; we try to deny.
Through it all, we keep on going:
laughing, loving, life keeps on flowing.

Happy birthday to the man of my life!
Thank you for choosing me as your wife.

You are the best!


Monday, December 23, 2013

Nebraska Movie Review - Monday, Dec., 23

Monday, Sharon and I went to see "Nebraska" with Bruce Dern. The reviewers loved it. Sharon and I each slept through parts of it. I'd call it a sleeper, literally.

The premise is this: Woody Grant (Bruce Dern) claims he has won one million dollars from a magazine subscription service and, come hell or high water, he is going to Lincoln, Nebraska, to claim his prize. His son decides to drive him from Billings, Montana to Lincoln, thus setting the stage for the two of them to connect and learn about each other.

We trudge along with them and encounter old-fashioned characters, low-life family members, and mean-spirited townspeople in the town he called home for many years. I admit there were a few times I laughed out loud.

Woody may make you think of aging parents; he is set in his ways, irascible, determined to do what he wants no matter what others think, and perhaps getting a little tetched in the head (crazy). Oh, and he's an alcoholic.

The end of the movie is wonderful, if you can stay awake for it. Definitely a feel-good story. I almost shed a tear during the scene where Woody explains to his son why he wanted one million dollars. It will touch you as will his son's response.

It's not a bad movie. The acting is spot on. The music is sleep-inducing. The film is done in black and white which is a bit confusing as it makes you think the time frame is the 1940s or 1950s before Technicolor movies were created. But it actually takes place in a more current decade.

If you think you'd like this movie, by all means go see it. It's being mentioned for a best actor award for Bruce Dern.

I would rate it 3 stars out of 5.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Bird Jackpot! - Sun., Dec.22

Today I saw a long-eared owl, vermilion flycatcher, mute swans, and an American wigeon. Quite a day at Mitchell Lake Audubon Wetlands in San Antonio. Bird-watchers have been a-twitter about the long-eared owl for over a week. Last week I couldn't find it, but today...jackpot!

Long-eared owl.
Long-eared owl in a mesquite tree.
Long-eared owl.
But that wasn't the only unusual bird seen today. We were walking along the isthmus between the East and West Polder. I looked across the pond and said, "Wow! Those are the biggest honkin' geese I've ever seen ** or ** those are swans!" When I got back to the Visitor Center, I asked if there were swans in the west pond and the answer was, "Yes." I wanted to know what kind and was informed they are mute swans.

Mute swans
Mute swans
I consider the swans quite a find in south Texas. Their range is the Midwest and Northeast, especially Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Tennessee, Kentucky, along the northeastern seaboard, eastern Minnesota, eastern Iowa and eastern Missouri.

Bob and I had a great walk today, although a cold wind was blowing down from the north. As we were walking, we saw a number of people wandering through the weeds and brush taking photos. We heard a bird making a very unusual noise and couldn't identify it.

I tried to find the unique birds on our way back to the Visitor Center, but no luck. However in the Visitor Center, a birder was talking about adding TWO birds to his birding life list today: the long-eared owl and a common pauraque (which is a type of nighthawk). We're thinking the bird with the unusual call was the pauraque.

In addition to the above birds, we saw:

American wigeon and Northern shoveler

Snowy egret & tri-colored heron with four turtles.
Wind-blown snowy egret and five sunning turtles.
Northern shrike.
 Below is one of my personal favorites: the vermilion flycatcher.

Vermilion flycatcher
Vermilion flycatcher
Black-necked stilt
Great blue heron taking off.
Northern shrike
Three turtles sunning
I was very happy with the bird sightings today! Maybe I'll go back tomorrow to look for more. We'll see what tomorrow brings.

After our walk, we went home and I showered to get ready for our employee Christmas party at the RV park tonight. We headed over to the Rec Hall at 6 p.m. and were greeted with our choice of beer, wine, pop, water or spiked eggnog. Bob and I shared a bottle of prickly pear beer. It was good. The hall looked so festive decorated for the holidays and our party.

Rec Hall decorated for employee dinner.
Helen (co-worker), Brenda (manager), and Pam (friend).
The dinner was catered by The Big Bib BBQ restaurant. It was delicious! We had smoked turkey, smoked brisket, pulled pork, jalapeno sausages and regular sausages with fantastic BBQ sauce to put on the meats. In addition, we had scalloped potatoes, green beans with cut up sausages, corn bread, sourdough bread with cheeses, squash casserole, veggie tray, and fruit tray. For dessert, we feasted on banana cream pie, chocolate cream pie, cheesecake and cupcakes.

Here are all the people who work in the park and their significant others.

Helen (office), Ron, Brenda (manager), Terry (manager),
Fran (activities director), Tom (landscape)
Dixie (cleaning), Felix (cleaning), Rose,
Mike (maintenance), DeAnna (Security) and Larry (Security)
Steve (landscape/maintenance), Jan (office), Lee (cleaning),
Delia (office), Virginia, Pam, Bob (maintenance)
Steve (landscape, Margaret, Vickie, Ralph (office),
me (office), Bob
We had a great evening with our RV park "family." And I'll tell you what, there was plenty of food. I'm still full five hours later.

After the party, we took care of seven loads of laundry. A very satisfying day from start to finish,

Travel Bug out.