Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The circle is complete...

This is what 11, 261 miles looks like, and this was just from the end of July through December, when we arrived in Petaluma.  What a year we have had!  

Starting in our beautiful Anza Borrego Desert (as always) the first of the year, then February in Roatan, Honduras, April in San Carlos, MX, August in Port Townsend, WA, then north of the border to the beautiful Okanagan.

East along Highway 2, the most northerly route across the USA, to possibly my 2nd favorite (surprisingly) location at Duluth, MN.  Yes, the stars were aligned, the weather pristine, and bugs non-existent.  And Michigan's Upper Peninsula, oh my!  Ever seen falls like these and the Soo Locks?!

Another crossing into Canada, and my personal fav, Niagara Falls!   I had never been here in all our years of travel and joined the international throngs to pay homage to this world wonder, both from above and beneath.   And we had never heard of the Thousand Islandsbut thanks to George, we got to the St. Lawrence Seaway in upstate NY.  And all the Great Lakes...

The original reason for this circumnavigation was to see the Fall Colors, and we arrived in Vermont and New Hampshire at peak leaf peeping season.  Our minds were blown by the beauty of little mountain towns like Bethlehem.

We arrived down east at Bar Harbor for Mainely lobster!  Time to turn south for Cape Codthen a detour through the Shenandoah & Blue Ridge Parkways, but not before we found the Promised Land.  

On to the Lowcountry of South Carolina and St. Helena Island, Beaufort, and Hunting Island. I truly believe I have lived here in a previous life.  I love this place.  It is a south like no other!

We had not been to Florida for years and had a real resort vacation in The Keys, after a few days spent in The Everglades.  

At this point we were done, psychologically, and the decision was made to get home to the Bay Area and family before Christmas.


From Yuma, with motorhome service issues tended, and full tummies from friends who fed and housed us, we continued our westerly trek to the Pacific Ocean at Pismo Beach, CA, and a couple of days of re-charging on the beach in near perfect weather.

North to Half Moon Bay, our old home territory, where we were happily greeted by granddaughter Liliana's beautiful little face, along with Santa and Frosty!

Our daughter,Terri, had promised a "ThanksMas" feast chronicling our arrival just before Christmas, and she did good.  Terri's prime rib is consistently the best!

Our youngest grandson Damien at 2 1/2 was a little leery of all the fuss and stuck to his smart phone games, thus auditioning for the next eTrade.com kid part!

On a long awaited trip to Costco for diapers, prime rib, and wine...When, what to my wondering eyes should appear....We happened upon the Christmas camera specials!  We had been doing some research and talking to more professional friends, thinking maybe a new lens, but really needing to upgrade from our old 10.1 MP Canon DLSR kit we bought from Costco many moons ago, when we saw this:

Honestly, the Canon 70D would be comparable but the 18-200 mm lens in the Nikon kit sealed the deal for us.  I think toting around one multi-purpose lens when we're out walking about will be more comfortable after a few miles.  We'll see!  Now the learning curve begins....And please, any tips, suggestions, favorite settings for "on the go" shootings; manual, aperture priority, shutter priority, would be greatly appreciated.

Finally, we arrived back in Petaluma from whence we left late last July.  A lot of time was spent with Christina, our 7 year old, who is a very willing subject for camera practice.  We also got to attend her dance recital and play with the greatest granddog!

And last but not least, a lot of very good food was consumed.  Dungeness crab is always in season at this time of year and our friends Bruce and Phyllis, and Bob and Marilyn, put together a great celebration with the added surprise of abalone, a true delicacy in these parts.  Another tradition for Christmas Eve is tamales at Norm and Wendy's along with some opening of presents, and on Christmas Day was duck with all the trimmings!

My goal for the last few days was to organize photos and get this posted before the year's end.  Yes, it is rushed and disjointed, but it is done.  We have had the most spectacular 2013 and I hope you have enjoyed traveling along with us this year.  We wish you all the very best in this coming year.  I bet you can guess where you'll hear from us next!

Happy New Year 2014!

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