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Friday, September 30, 2016

FOTO FRIDAY - 9/30/16

Dear Family and Friends,

The Seine river in Paris, France on a cloud leaden day.  This picture was taken about 2006.

Have a love filled weekend.


Thursday, September 29, 2016

In the Air Again...

Dear Family and Friends,

It seems like we just returned from our trip to Minnesota.  We have had about three weeks to unpack, do laundry, catch up with friends and repack for our next trip.

On Monday we are leaving for a two month trip.  First, we are headed to China for a month.  The first two weeks will be with family and we are excited about that. The second two weeks we will be on our own, with a tour guide, touring southern China. Then we will fly to Singapore for a few days before we get on our cruise to Australia and New Zealand.  We will return to Cuenca the second week in December.

Chuck has his little handy dandy smiley face neck rest packed and ready.

For this trip we will have little internet access.  Chuck found this link that you can use to find out what URL's can be accessed in China.  You can use this link to see if your email or website can be seen in China. 

We will not have access to our blog, Facebook, or even my gmail account. Maybe Chuck will be able to receive email with his ymail account but we don't know for sure.

I can not be sharing posts on the blog about this trip until we return in December.
I have reinstated FOTO FRIDAY, beginning tomorrow, to have photos from our past to keep us in your thoughts until we return.


Thursday, September 8, 2016

Fun Time at the Minnesota State Fair

Dear Family and Friends,

Chuck and I have returned to Cuenca from our fun trip to visit family in Minnesota.  We had three glorious days at the Minnesota State Fair.  This fair is one of the largest in the USA.

Merri and Ken have ten children.  The five oldest were living at the 4-H building on the fairgrounds.  They were all involved with the 4-H State Arts-In program. We were there to see all their hard work.

We accompanied Merri, Ken and the five youngest kids to the fair.  Here we are, tickets in hand, going into the entrance.

Nathaniel, using a map of the fairgrounds, deciding which route is best to get to the 4-H building.

Off we go, Merri and her youngest ones leading the way.

The 4-H building is where the musical is performed.  This musical is put together by the 4-H kids.  They make the costumes, design and build the set, do all the lighting and other technical things and perform.

Portia, our oldest granddaughter, was hired as a staff member.  She is a student at Seattle Pacific University.  She returned home for a month to be with family and earn college money.

Paris was a dorm helper.  She helped make sure the kids were safe and the rules were followed.

Joshua played saxophone in the orchestra during the performances.

Petra was a performer in the musical show.

Paige worked in the technical arena, helping to build the set, run the lights and passing out programs.

Here she is passing out programs for the show we were attending.

Petra was one of the performers in the musical.  She is in the front row, right hand side.

They perform about three, high energy, shows a day during the fair.

After enjoying the performance, hugging and congratulating the kids for a job well done, Chuck and I set out to see the rest of the fair.

The majestic Clydesdales were a big hit.

We loved the baby animals.

Here is a new born goat.

These piglets were just hours old.

Smartly dressed riders and their horses.

There was all kinds of food.  Fried everything, sweet corn, cheese curds, everything you can think of.  Here is a sign for sweet corn ice cream.

We visited the commercial vendors, saw the displays of quilts and other crafts, and enjoyed down time sitting and listening to music throughout the fair grounds.

While not at the fair, the kids enjoyed the hotel swimming pool.

A fun time was had by everyone.


Thursday, August 25, 2016

Minnesota Mickelsons' Here We Come

Dear Family and Friends,

Chuck and I are on our way to Minnesota to see Merri and Ken and the kids. Our grandchildren are home schooled and are heavily involved in 4-H.  We are going with them to go to the Minnesota State Fair to see their accomplishments.

We left Cuenca on Monday via the bus to Guayaquil.  Our local airport is closed for a month and we cannot fly direct to Quito.  When we arrived in Guayaquil, we had lunch at the bus station and then took a taxi to the Guayaquil airport.  We flew from Guayaquil to Quito.  A little inconvenient but it worked.  It turned a morning flight to Quito to an all day adventure.

We have been relaxing and enjoying Quito since Monday.  Our flight to Minnesota leaves tonight about midnight.

Here are a few pictures from the last couple of days to share:

Here is the entrance to Park Eido.  We enjoyed shopping from the vendors there for gifts to take with us.

We went to the museum, Case de la Culture Ecuatoriana, across the street from the park.  Here is a picture of the beautiful paintings on the wall in the museum lobby.  Unfortunate for us, they were remodeling the museum and we were not able to see any of the exhibits. We will do it on a future trip.

We take a lot of refreshment breaks when touring.  Here is Chuck keeping us on track by checking the city tourist map.

I love the reflection of Quito on this glass building.

And, of course, more shopping for gifts to take to Minnesota.

I am lugging along my computer in hopes of sharing pictures of our family and the Minnesota State Fair.

We are very excited about this trip.


Monday, August 15, 2016

Bus Trip through the Cajas

Dear Family and Friends,

Awhile back, maybe six weeks ago, Chuck and I needed to go to Guayaquil. We had to go to get a Chinese visa in our passports.  We are headed to China the first of October.

Driving through the Caja National Park (Andes Mountains) is nice, but with fog and all it can be tense, especially for the driver.  Guayaquil is a big city and driving there is not fun.  So we decided to take the bus.

We have not taken the public bus since we bought Puff Puff (our car) many years ago.  We rediscovered what an easy and comfortable way this is to get to Guayaquil.

I sat by the window and took pictures.  Even though the window was dirty I got some nice pictures of the Cajas to share.  I have never been able to do this from the car because in the car I am sitting much lower.

Nice view of a valley.

A little house in the Andes.

Another beautiful valley.

Climbing higher and we are almost in the clouds.

This little church looks mystical perched in the mountains surrounded by the clouds.

Another little house in the Andes.

We had just come out of the Cajas on our way back to Cuenca when I took this picture of the road that lay ahead.  One of my favorite pictures ever.

This picture is of the houses that are along the Tomebamba river just before you arrive in Cuenca.

We really enjoyed taking the bus.

In a little over a week we are leaving for Minnesota.  We will be going to the Minnesota State Fair with our kids and grandkids.  The grandchildren are involved with 4-H and we are excited to share this with them.