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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

At Last Honu Gets Green Light

Aloha Everyone,

7th time is the charm. This afternoon, we received the thumbs up. We can resume our RV adventure in Honu. The number of visits to "Fix My Sprinter" included diagnostics of Honu's computer system and actual work on Honu spread from over four days. What took time was downloading data from the engine's computer; sending it to Mercedes Benz worldwide software support in the UK; waiting for the custom program to be sent.

To celebrate this auspicious event, JJ and I indulged ourselves with Green Tea Ice Cream. Not a healthy choice, but it was delicious!

Aloha -- Cathi

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Holiday Treats At World Market

Aloha Everyone,

One can find interesting and international products at World Market. During the holiday season, their shelves are stacked with unique holiday treats from Europe.

J.J. and I were able to find Advent chocolate calendars, several different types of Marzipan from Germany, chocolate covered rolled wafers from Greece and olives from Spain.

Aloha -- Cathi

Monday, November 28, 2016

My Body Training Program

Aloha Everyone,

I have been fascinated about rock climbing ever since J.J. and I saw climbers up close and personal at Maple Canyon in Utah. During Thanksgiving dinner, one of our son's friends offered to take me to an indoor rock climbing wall.
Based on J.J. and my travel schedules, we tentatively agreed to attempt my first wall climbing sometime in early  2017. This means I have at least 5-6 weeks to train my body.  

From initial online information search, it seems that my yoga and qui-gong exercises are a good way to start as most trainers suggest that one need to:

1) increase muscle, tendon and bone strength
2) increase durability of related soft tissues
3) to increase flexibility
4) to increase blood flow
5) to correct muscular imbalance and finally 
6) to toughen the skin

My granddaughter is practicing her push ups as part of the required training for Tang Soo Do. I am up to 8 consecutive per session. I also am going back to my juggling practice to strengthen my arm muscles.

Cracking nuts using a cracker is also another way to increase muscle, tendon and bone strength as well as
provide protein for my body.

Aloha -- Cathi

Sunday, November 27, 2016

My Mother's November Garden

Aloha Everyone,

A storm system out of the Gulf of Alaska visited Southern California starting on Saturday afternoon. We experienced a sharp drop in temperatures and heavy intermittent rainfalls. In the mountains, snowfalls are forecasted.

My Mother's garden is soggy and colorful persimmon leaves are tenaciously clinging on as blustery winds blow.

Here are some of the flowers and tangerine oranges that are still thriving in my Mother's November garden.

Aloha -- Cathi

Saturday, November 26, 2016


Aloha Everyone,

The news of Fidel Castro's death at 90 was not unexpected. Since 2008, Fidel Castro had formally retired and Cuba was under the rule of his younger brother Raul.

Fidel Castro was an iconic and enduring Cuban political leader. He ruled for 50 years outlasting 10 US presidents: Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, GHW Bush, Clinton, GW Bush.

The news was greeted by Cuban Americans in Florida as a fantastic event! For us we hope that it would mean an easing of restriction on American travelers to Cuba. J.J. and I would love to visit Cuba before the country becomes westernized!

Aloha -- Cathi

Friday, November 25, 2016

Selfie Stick

Aloha Everyone,

J.J. and I received early Christmas presents from our son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter.  

They gave me a selfie stick! I will be practicing using it before I share with you our hopefully "improved" selfies.

Aloha -- Cathi

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving!

Aloha Everyone,

In 1863 during the American Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed Thanksgiving a formal national holiday.

Franklin D. Roosevelt and Congress acted to establish Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of November, in part to lengthen the Christmas shopping season.

Approximately 88 percent of Americans eat turkey on Thanksgiving, and 46 million birds are served. (National Turkey Federation)

According to the Guinness Book of World Record, the largest pumpkin pie ever was baked on October 8, 2005, by the New Bremen Giant Pumpkin Growers in Ohio. It weighed 2,020 pounds and measured just over 12 feet long.

May we maintain the grateful and thankful spirit of Thanksgiving everyday of the year!

Aloha -- Cathi

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Thanksgiving Eve Traffic

Aloha Everyone,

Southern California freeway traffic on Thanksgiving Eve is considered the worst in the nation. Unfortunately, our plan to get an early morning drive to San Diego had to be aborted when Honu's engine warning light reappeared. Back to Fix My Sprinter shop for 2 more hours. Our cheering was short lived. Honu was declared fine but within a few mikes of driving, we again saw the frustrating warning light.

J.J. decided to continue our drive to La Jolla and address the issue on Saturday.

Wonderful dinner cooked by our daughter-in-law as a prelude to the Thanksgiving feast she will be preparing.

Aloha -- Cathi

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

A Day At the Repair Shop

Aloha Everyone,

J.J. and I brought Honu to Fix My Sprinter repair shop at 10:00 am. It took 6 1/2 hours. Hopefully, replacing this enormous exhaust pipe would have Honu's engine functioning at its optimum level.

Aloha -- Cathi

Monday, November 21, 2016

Fix My Sprinter

Aloha Everyone,

One of the main reasons for choosing the model of our motor home was its engine reliability. Therefore when Honu's dashboard began to show a warning light count down that we have only 10 engine starts remaining, we had to take swift action. J.J. knew that the problem is related to Honu's exhaust system. Use of Diesel 2 for fuel, we are required to add a chemical called DEF to minimize pollution. There are no instructions on what to except if a problem surfaces, you need to take the vehicle to a dealer.

J.J. found "Fix My Sprinter" in Gardena, CA. To mitigate farther problems, J.J. kept Honu's engine running until we were able to drive to the repair shop.

Lenny's family is originally from Latvia. The business began by his parents is now run by Lenny and his friend, Dani. After doing diagnostics, they were able to determine the problem. We are hopeful that they will take good care of Honu as J.J. and I plan to continue our RV lifestyle for many more years.

Here is a gentle lady, Anna, who is Lenny's mother.

The repair is expensive and it's a common problem with Sprinter engines. Several online groups are threatening class action lawsuit.

Our lunch, a take-out from Eatalian Café in Gardena was also a nice find. Calzone, which J.J. enjoyed and my green salad with Mozzarella cheese was authentic Italian.

Aloha -- Cathi

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Wonderful Visit With Cousin Ricky

Aloha Everyone,

From Black Canyon City to Phoenix, we took Interstate 17 South to 101 East. J.J.'s cousin Ricky and his wife, Farah, were waiting for our arrival with wonderful home cooked meal. Farah is an excellent cook and for today, she prepared roast pork with baked and mashed potatoes for everyone and a large sumptuous vegetable and fruits salad for me.

For dessert, we were treated to the L. A. Burdick chocolate mice. They are all natural, handmade chocolates. Individual mice was more charming to look at than to consume.

J.J. and Ricky have known each other all of their lives. They were also high school class mates. Conversation flowed freely among the four of us and we enjoyed and relished our time together. Promising a return visit soon, J.J. and I were back on the road eager to put a couple of more hours of driving before the expected rain.  

Interstate 10 West turned out to be a good choice of route to take as the Sunday traffic was light. However when we started to look for an RV park, the two of us encountered challenges. There were only a few rundown places. On the other hand, sudden rainfall and gusty wind cleared pollution and we enjoyed ever changing colors, clouds and the sunset.

Tonight we are staying at an RV park in Desert Spring just outside of the Joshua Tree National Park in California.

Aloha -- Cathi

Traversing Arizona from Page to Black Canyon City

Aloha Everyone,

Traveling on Route 89 up to Flagstaff was very enjoyable. Viewing  the magnificent vistas from a different angle also gave us a chance to see familiar sights with more attention and focus. I did several quick sketches with notes so that I can do more detailed drawings or paintings later. 

J.J. drove on Interstate 17 South to Black Canyon City. This section of Arizona has a small population and thus we did not find many options for lunch. At Fort Verde, we made a quick stop at old reliable McDonald's  to purchase Filet of Fish.

The RV park we are staying in Black Canyon City apparently no longer belongs to the KOA (Campground of America) franchise. This campground still displays KOA signages on I-17, and their on-site signages are in bright KOA yellow except the letters are painted over. Their charge is comparable to KOA, but the quality of the place is far below the standards of this national franchise.

One consolation is we do have a strong WiFi signal and I am happy to have our own Saguaro next to our camper.

Aloha -- Cathi