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Wednesday, June 27, 2018


Aloha Everyone,

Our visit to the Pacific Northwest, followed by one week cruise to Alaska, was absolutely wonderful. J.J. and I shared so many magical moments with our 2 sons, their spouses and granddaughter. Watching them enjoying each other’s company was truly gratifying and far exceeded our expectations.

Our children are already engaged in discussing our next family vacation. The two of us feel blessed by the love of our family and look forward to future holidays together.

Aloha -- Cathi

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Mount Shasta, CA

Aloha Everyone,

Mount Shasta, located near Redding, CA Is the most voluminous stratovolcano in the Cascade Volcanic Arc. The mountain and surrounding area are part of the Shasta–Trinity National Forest.

J.J. and I have traversed this road before yet we cannot recall seeing Mount Shasta as it appeared so enormous out of the surrounding plain.

Fascinated with Mount Shasta, I asked J.J. if we could find a restaurant with the view of this colossal mountain. He found Dos Amigos, a Mexican restaurant in Weeds with a million dollar view of Mount Shasta.

The place was quaint, food was nothing to write home about, but what an incredible family history of the man and his sister who work there. Their Chinese ancestors looking for better life wanted to go to America. When they asked for directions, the locals show them the way to where “White People” lived. This was in the 1930's and British were occupying India.

The siblings were born and raised in India and they are fluent in 3 of the main Indian languages: Punjabi, Hindi and Bengali. They also speak Chinese, learned English, and the brother is now fluent in Mexican Spanish.

Here is the sister, “Maria”. The brother was engaged in negotiating with contractors about renovations for the restaurant.

Today J.J. drove 6 1/2 hours with two rest periods in between. We are staying at an RV Park connected to the Rolling Hills Casino. Outside temperature was 92 degrees Fahrenheit when we arrived.

Aloha -- Cathi

Monday, June 25, 2018

Tacoma Suspension Bridge & Portland Steel Bridge

Aloha Everyone,

The original Tacoma Narrow Bridge opened for traffic on July 1, 1940. It was the first suspension bridge in the United States. The bridge spanned the Tacoma Narrows strait of Puget Sound between Kitsap Peninsula and Tacoma. It is remembered for its collapse on November 7, 1940. At the time, this was the third longest suspension bridge in the world.

The cause of collapse was the vertical movement of the bridge under 40 mph wind. The collapse prompted research into bridge aerodynamics-aeroelastics, which has influenced the design of all later long-span bridges. The new Tacoma Narrows Bridge opened 10 years later.
This morning Honu was buffeted and we felt the force of wind, but J.J. and I felt confident that we are driving on an aerodynamics-aeroelastics sound structure.
We stopped for a picnic lunch inside Honu at the Gee Creek Safety Rest Area. While J.J. took a rest from his driving, I went on a quick 2 mile walk in the surrounding woods.

The second bridge we crossed was the Steel Bridge that is through truss, double-deck vertical-lift bridge. It spans across the Willamette River in Portland, Oregon. The bridge opened in 1912 is designed for railroad, bicycle and pedestrian traffic on its lower deck. We drove across the upper deck designated for vehicular traffic. It is the only double-deck bridge with independent lifts in the world. We have crossed it several times in Honu and I would love to walk across one day.

Aloha -- Cathi

Sunday, June 24, 2018

The Soyamas

Aloha Everyone,

We’ve known Taka & Romi more than 20 years. I recall our very first meeting with their daughter, Karin. She was about 3 years and cute as a button. The image of her wearing a bonnet always takes me back to the start of our friendship.

Their children moved to Seattle to attend school. The last time we saw them was at Jeff and Jenny’s wedding. They played the Ukuleke for the newly weds.

Karin graduated from University of Washington (UW) and has a budding specialty beverage manufacturing company with 3 friends from UW. The promising business began as a class project.

Ray graduated from high school last week and ready to pursue his interest in college.

Every parents would like to see their children succeed in life. Seeing how Karin and Ray have become confident, responsible members of the society was wonderful and heartwarming. 

Tonight we are back at the Eagle Tree RV Park.

Aloha -- Cathi

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Victoria/Cruise Industry

Aloha Everyone,

We arrived in Victoria at 7:00 PM and left by 11:30 pm. The stop was to satisfy a legal maritime requirement under the Jones Act. Emerald Princess  is a foreign registered vessel with a foreign crew.

J.J. and I have taken 10 cruises of which 8 of them are since we retired in 2014. Total number of days is nearly 90.

One passenger on our most recent cruise was cited as having the highest number of days. He had more than 400 nights and that’s just on the Princess line. Frequent cruisers are offered wonderful perks. These include cabin upgrades, onboard credits, free items such as spas and shore excursions. 

There are at least a dozen cruise lines that service an international clientele ranking Carnival Cruise and Royal Caribbean as first and second positions.

Net income for Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCCL) surged 61% to $369 million due to better exchange rates and strong North American demand.

The bigger ships are more profitable. For example a 5,000-passenger ship is more lucrative than two 2,500 sized passenger ships. RCCI has 4 Oasis-class ships ($1 billion plus building cost) including the Symphony of the Seas. Size is 230,000 gross tons. It will be in operation by next year. 

Aloha -- Cathi

Friday, June 22, 2018

2nd Sea Day/ Delightful, Sumptuous Onboard Dining

Aloha Everyone,

Traditional English Tea Time on board is  from 3:15 to 4:15 pm. You are usually served English black tea with tiny sandwiches, and various pastries and biscuits. For our family, Tea Time was a relaxing and enjoyable gathering and we attended at least 4 during our cruise.

J.J. and I usually had sit down meals in restaurants, occasionally interspersing buffet on the 15th floor cafeteria.

Here are but a few selection of our onboard dining:

Aloha -- Cathi

Thursday, June 21, 2018


Aloha Everyone,

The Port of Skagway is our 3rd and final stop in Alaska. Estimated population for 2015, based on the 2010 census, was 1,057. However, the population doubles during the summer. Today, with 3 cruise ships docked at the port, streets and stores were packed with about 8,000 tourists.

Among the many stories and movies that used Skagway as a setting include Jack London’s novel The Call of the Wild, and North to Alaska, a film starring John Wayne.

Last frontier truly applies to Skagway as you can see from the architecture of downtown buildings. As with other Alaskan ports we visited, Russian settlers left a legacy of onion-domed churches.

Skagway was a productive stop. J.J. and I went to do our banking at Wells Fargo Bank, then the two of us made inquiries and looked around the Skagway RV Park. Driving to Alaska crossing Continental Canada is an adventure we are considering.

Aloha -- Cathi

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Tracy Arm/ Juneau

Aloha Everyone,

J.J. and I have been looking forward to crossing Tracy Arm, a fjord named after Secretary of the Navy Benjamin Franklin Tracy. Tracy Arm is located within the Tonga’s National Forest.

Tracy Arm-Fords Terror Wilderness contains 653,179 acres including two deep and narrow fjords: Tracy Arm and Endicott Arm are over 30 miles long and one-fifth of their area is covered in ice. We saw numerous floating ice bergs in various sizes including one that was large enough to carry several seals.

Alaska’s Inside Passage is indescribably beautiful and also teemed with wildlife. After the ship passed the narrow Tracy Arm bar, we swing around 180 degrees using thrusters. We saw several tour boats at the ships side picking up passengers who took optional scenic tours.

Juneau, the capital of Alaska is located on the Gastineau Channel in the Alaskan panhandle. Juneau is the second largest city in Alaska. Juneau, the state capital, has no roads connecting the city to the rest of Alaska. It is also isolated from the rest of the continental USA.

Activities especially for first-time tourists in Juneau include visiting Mendenhall Glacier, the Mount Robert Tramway, dog sledding, glacier flightseeing and whale watching.

Our granddaughter and I joined Jeff and Jenny on a stroll to enjoy seeing the city. 

Marilyn from Denver, CO and Joyce from Phoenix, AZ were neighbors and friends when they were children. The distance has not interfered with their friendship. They visit each other on a regular basis and travel together at least every 2 years.

Aloha -- Cathi