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Sunday, July 28, 2019

Another vacation...where to this time?

Dear Family and Friends,

We have been back in Cuenca for a little over three weeks.  I have done so well with the vitamin B12 patches that I brought back from the USA.  It is a good thing I am doing so well because we are off again on another trip.

We leave tomorrow morning flying from Cuenca to Quito and then we fly from Quito to Amsterdam on KLM, from there we fly to Bergen, Norway.  On this trip we are taking a Norwegian cruise on the Hurtigruten line above the arctic circle to the very top of Norway.  

We are meeting up with our friends, Ronnie and Andre.  They live here in Ecuador and love traveling too.  We have been planning this trip since the first of the year and are excited to see the fjords and small towns of Norway.  

Here is a map of our cruise in Norway.

We have limited ourselves to one medium suitcase and one backpack each.

We will only be away from Cuenca for about three weeks.  As you know, this is a quick trip for us.  

I will post all about our trip to the blog after we return, but while we are gone, I will try and post pictures on Facebook and Instagram.

Back in a few weeks


Saturday, July 20, 2019

Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park

Dear Family and Friends,

We have been back in Cuenca almost 3 weeks now.  We still have the glow of our last trip in our heart.  There is something majestic about the southwest of the USA.  We are so grateful that we were able to have this experience and share it with Matt.  

Chuck dubbed this trip the "rocking" vacation and he was right on. Who would ever believe that looking at giant rocks from above and below could be so beautiful.  

So far we had visited the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley and other spectacular sights.  Our next stop was Bryce Canyon.

We spent one full day in Bryce Canyon.  We overlooked the incredible rock formations.  Unlike Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon was not formed by a river.  It was formed by erosion.  Over millions of years water has seeped through the rocks and shaped the spires that remain.  It is slowly, constantly changing.  

We went to the lodge for lunch and had elk chili and buffalo burgers.  

Below is a picture of Matt checking out an artist.  

The next morning we drove to Zion which is only about 75 miles from Bryce Canyon.  This time instead of looking down on the rocks, we were looking up from the canyon floor.  

Like in the other parks we visited, we went from site to site on buses.  This was a very efficient way to get around in all the parks we visited.  No long waits and plenty of buses.  

Here are a few pictures of Zion.

One of our favorite views.

After a day of touring we went to our motel to get some rest.  We relaxed, Chuck reading and enjoying his pipe, Matt reading and me, catching up on social media.

Later, we headed out again to see the canyon in the light of the setting sun.  This picture is one of the most photographed spots in Zion and taking this photo at sunset is the most popular time of day.  I love this picture so much that I have it on my desktop now.

The next day we made our way back to Las Vegas, stopping for a night in St. George, Utah.  

We spent another night in Las Vegas, turned our rental car in the next morning and "just like that" were at the airport waiting for our flight home.  

After our trip and the graduations, Chuck and I flew to Tucson, Arizona for 3 weeks.  Normally, we would never do that in June, but we had a special mission.  Chuck's sister, Audrey, had her hip replaced and we went to help out after her surgery.  

I am very happy to report that Audrey is healing well and is back to water aerobics and thrift shopping.  Her recovery process has astonished us.  

Now we are back in Cuenca with another adventure just ahead.  I will share all about it in my next post.

Have a wonderful weekend.


Sunday, July 14, 2019

Monument Valley and much more

Dear Family and Friends,

We drove from the Grand Canyon to Monument Valley.  Including stopping for a bite to eat, it took us about 4 to 5 hours. 

Monument Valley is part of the Navajo nation.  It is maintained and shared with us by the Navajo people, so it is not part of the U.S. National Park Service. 

After we turned off highway US 160 on to US 163, we passed so many beautiful large rock formations.  I took the photo below before we were actually at Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park. 

When we arrived at Monument Valley, we found that it was natural.  There were roads that you could drive on, but they were all dirt roads.  This made it seem as if we were viewing it just as the first inhabitants viewed it. 

It was in the afternoon and the sun was bringing out the beautiful red color in the rocks. 

As you know, many western movies have been filmed here.  John Ford filmed a lot of his westerns here and they even have a viewing area named for him.

The two rock formations below are known as the mittens.  When you look at them closely, you can see why.  It looks like two hands with the thumbs closest to each other.

We spent 2 or 3 hours exploring the different rock formations.  It was so incredible to see how our earth has been shaped into beautiful formations from geological events. 

In the picture below, Chuck and Matt are clowning around like they are trying to move a massive rock.  You can hardly see them at the base of the rock. 

Even after we left the actual Monument Valley Park, the scenery was beautiful.

The next day we set out for more sightseeing.  We visited Mexican Hat rock.

Later, we visited Goosenecks State Park, that overlooks the meandering of the San Juan river.  You can see how it has cut through the surrounding landscape.  

I have tried to upload a video, but not sure if it will work.

We drove through such beautiful country, and up to this higher level, which provided us a great view of where we had driven.  

Just incredible scenery.

The following day we drove to Horseshoe Bend, the start of the Grand Canyon.  We climbed up a sizeable hill on a sand path.  Not an easy thing to do. I took one look at the hike I would still have to make and sent the guys on to finish the trek.

Here they are, after their successful return.

We stopped at some incredible balancing rocks.  

It blows your mind.

At the end of the day we ended up at the northern rim of the Grand Canyon.

We were only half way through our "rocking vacation," as Chuck called it.  

Next time I will share about our visit to Bryce Canyon.


Friday, July 12, 2019

Vacation Time in the Southwest, USA...

Dear Family and Friends,

Every year about this time we take our son, Matt, on a vacation.  This year we decided on touring the beauty of the southwest USA.  

We started our trip by flying from Pasco, Washington to Las Vegas, Nevada. The flights were so reasonable in price, it was much easier than driving.  This saved us several days travel time.

Here is Matt and Chuck, in the waiting area at the airport in Pasco.  

To get from Pasco to Las Vegas we had to land for a connecting flight in Salt Lake City.  As we were landing, I got a great shot of the Great Salt Lake.  I asked the Salt Lake based flight attendant if people still swim in the lake.  She said that you can, but not a popular thing to do anymore because it is so briny.

After arriving in Las Vegas, we rented a car, drove to Henderson and stayed the night.  The next day we went to Lake Mead and toured Hoover Dam.

The following day, we headed started towards the Grand Canyon.  We stopped at the new bridge, that bypasses the damn, and walked out for a great view.

We stayed just outside the Grand Canyon National Park.  We took a shuttle bus to view the sights inside in the park.  We had beautiful weather for viewing.  

Matt took his share of photos also of the majestic beauty.

Here are some brave souls playing out on a ledge overhanging the canyon.

We encountered a young elk, who was separated from his mother.  They were soon rejoined.  The young elk was somewhat frightened by us people between him and his mother.

We got up early the following morning so that we could see the mules that were going to take people to the bottom on the canyon.  Matt is greeting one here.  

After viewing the Grand Canyon we headed northeast to Monument Valley.  I will share about that on our next post.


P.S.  I appreciate and love you all.  Thanks for traveling with us.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

U.S.A. Trip, Family, Family, Family

Dear Family and Friends,

Chuck and I returned last week after spending the last six weeks in the U.S.  

Our first week we delighted in two graduations.  Our oldest granddaughter, Portia, graduated from Seattle Pacific University.  

Here is Portia with her parents just before the ceremony.  

We are a couple of proud grandparents.  How do they grow up so fast?

Our granddaughter, Heidi, graduated from Hanford High School in Richland, Washington.  

Here is Heidi with a very proud grandma.

We are so happy that we were able to be in the U.S. for both of these graduations.

After celebrating, we packed up and started our vacation with Matt.  This year we drove some national parks of the great southwest.

I will post about that next time.