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Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Mandatory Airbag Recall

Aloha Everyone,

Mercedes Betz sent two letters informing us to bring in Honu to be serviced for their mandatory airbag recall.  

Mercedes Benz Henderson is one of the largest Mercedes Benz dealerships that J.J. and I have been to. In addition to a showroom, guest lounges, there is a coffee shop where we had complimentary drinks and snacks.

We also took a complimentary shuttle to Galleria Mall located just a couple of miles away.

Bobby Mao’s Chinese Kitchen and Mexican Cantina intrigued us. Bobby, the Mexican husband prepares his national dishes while his Chinese wife, Mao is in charge of the Chinese food.

I feasted on grilled vegetables in lettuce wraps while J.J., being more adventurous, ordered wonton soup, potstickers and street taco. For $33 inclusive of tax and service charge, it was a fair price to pay for a meal that was both excellent in taste and presentation.

Aloha -- Cathi

Monday, April 29, 2019

Unexpected Family Gathering

Aloha Everyone,

The two of us left Kanarraville at about 9:30 am. It was forecasted to rain all day, so we decided to beat the rain through an early departure. Interestingly, the rain followed us all the way to Las Vegas. When we arrived at Sam’s Town KOA, heavy drops we’re coming down accompanied by blustery winds.

Ah, then it became sunny and bright. Jenny, our daughter-in-law (younger son Jeff’s wife) heard from Jeff that we’ve just arrived in Las Vegas. In a matter of 20 minutes, Jenny, her mom and a sister ubered to see us.  

The impromptu get together was very enjoyable. I truly appreciate Jenny’s kindness in making it possible. Her family was here on a 3-days holiday and left tonight for Indianapolis. Jenny is returning to Honolulu on Wednesday and she begins her work on Friday!

Aloha -- Cathi

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Becoming, by Michele Obama

Aloha Everyone,

When I hear the name Michelle Obama, I always think of a friend who lost her life to an aggressive form of a breast cancer. I will call her Mona. Mona was a fighter. She went through one treatment after another hoping to beat the cancer for her two young children and a loving husband. After spanning a decade of treatments and relapses, Mona’s body just couldn’t take any more chemicals. During one of Mona’s remission period, she met Michelle as a volunteer. Someone may had whispered to Michelle about Mona. Michelle, skipping preamble walked up to Mona and held her in a tight embrace. Mona told me that the experience left her joyful, full of good energy and the brief meeting will be remembered as long as she lives.

Becoming is a perfect title for Michelle Obama’s memoir. While I cannot relate to her life growing up in the South Side of Chicago, or her achievements marginalized by her race and the color of her skin, there are other aspects of her life I truly can say, “Yes I understand.” Her relationship with her mother, with her drive to excel, her keeping order and schedules in her life are all things that I can associate. Michelle’s meeting and courtship with Barrack Obama, the future 44th President of the United States, their parenting two daughters while running the government are revealed in a personal and candid conversational manner.  

Her writing skill is excellent. It is fascinating reading just even from the historical point of view when the Obamas occupied a place in American history. Taking us through mean, outright repulsive and distasteful opposition politics where so much is at stake and anything seems to be acceptable in order to win makes ‘Becoming’ a book worth reading.

Aloha -- Cathi

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Resort Fees

Aloha Everyone,

Las Vegas casinos and Florida amusement parks are notorious for charging resort fees. Resort fees are mandatory additions to your basic room rates which do not include taxes, service charges, parking fees and even WiFi access. The resort fee could be anywhere from $20 to $100 per day on the average. Often resort fee exceeds the advertised price of a room.

J.J. and I occasionally notice we are being charged a resort fee at RV parks. These are instances when RV parks offer amenities such as indoor/outdoor swimming pools, jacuzzis, tennis courts, game rooms, exercise rooms, video game rooms, etc.

J.J. suspects the resort fees is extra money for the owners. The hotels don’t pay a commission on the resort fees so it is better than increasing the price for a hotel stay.

Aloha -- Cathi

Friday, April 26, 2019

Dining In & Out in Utah

Aloha Everyone,

We have three dining options while staying in Kanarraville. First is finding a restaurant in Cedar City, second is to go to St George and finally, dine-in Honu.

Our meals are usually simple. We skip appetizers because I would get filled just with the appetizer. We drink no sugary beverages, no alcohol, no coffee, no tea with our meals. Only water. Basically, we enjoy good main dishes.

So here are some of our dining out meals:

Hawaiian Lau Lau with Kalua Pig

Fried Chicken

Fried Cod Plate

Vegetarian Burrito

Dining-in meals:

Tofu salad with brown rice

Wild salmon

Spinach, cucumbers & tomato salad

J.J. came across an interesting article regarding the restaurant business:

Aloha -- Cathi

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Enjoying Our Stay in Kanarraville

Aloha Everyone,

We recognize our daily pace matches that of our environment. For example, a relatively slower pace of life in Kanarraville is ideal for easy hiking and walking.

This morning I joined Gail on a hike in what she refers to as an “easy trail.” This is my 2nd time going up this trail. I enjoyed the brisk morning air as we effortlessly managed the trail. Gail told me that if I want to go up to the top of the hill, then I should have at least a pair of walking sticks and wear snake guards. She also packs a gun in case she runs into a mountain lion. I will have to give it serious consideration.

One of the casualties of wearing my light walking shoes is that I often pick up a small pebble snuggly fitting into the cavity on the sole of my shoes. Today it was a black rock. The other day was a shiny red rock. J.J. jokingly suggested that I start a rock collection.

Melting snow from the summits of the surrounding mountains, picturesque lavender-colored field of wildflowers, blue shimmering lake that is so inviting are a few of the small treasures that make our stay in Kanarraville enjoyable.

Aloha -- Cathi

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Jackson Dry Cleaners

Aloha Everyone,

Our daily attire for our current lifestyle is simple: t-shirts and jeans. Although we have dress-up clothes, they normally are stored. It’s exciting to be invited to attend our friends’ daughter’s wedding. However, it means putting aside my hiking boots or walking shoes, and wear a dress and dress shoes. J.J. too will be wearing a suit!

We found Jackson Dry Cleaners located on Main Street in Cedar City. The sign posted on the window stated that they have been in business since 1949. They were very pleasant, professional and accepted our garments and my scarves after giving assurance that we would be pleased with the outcome.

The total was $42 which included $6 each for my long scarves. Trying to keep them hanging in our 1/2 length closet in Honu is another story.

The second order of the day was to wash Honu. We wanted to remove sad reminders of insects smashing into Honu during this road trip. The cost for the self car wash was $9 with a lot of elbow grease.

Aloha -- Cathi

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Zion National Park, Kolob Canyon

Aloha Everyone

Located in the northwest section of Zion National Park, Kolob Canyon is less crowded, easily accessible “mini” national park. It’s entrance is just one freeway exit away from Kanarraville, or one mile from our RV Park. J.J. and I first visited Kolob nearly 6 years ago and fell in love with its rugged beauty, colorful and amazing rock formations. To drive up to the top, one takes a two way paved mountain road for 5 miles. At the end of the road, there is an easy one mile walking trail for a more spectacular view of the canyon. Yes, I love Kolob Canyon and we had waited at least a year the area to reopen.

J.J. thinks the reason for a one year closure was multiple landslides due to heavy rains and snow. The fact is we had set aside today to drive up the canyon and for me to go on a mile hike. I was also hoping to practice yoga and take photos for our blog.

Well this turned out to be one of those days when things just did not go the way we had planned.

Kolob Canyon road is accessible but still under construction. We were halted twice. We also encountered a couple of sections where the paved road became loose gravel.

The late morning light was unfitting to photograph the intricate ridges and the ever enchanting hues of the canyons. So the only photo I took was a new signage at the entrance to the parking lot.  

What else was new? They had replaced 3 old rustic toilets with more modern rustic toilets. What are they? Let’s just say water is not needed.

Aloha -- Cathi

Monday, April 22, 2019

Depot Grill

Aloha Everyone,

From the outside, the building looks like an unadorned old railroad depot. But the real charm of Depot Grill is when you step inside.

The place is beautifully restored incorporating some original fixtures and giving the place truly an ambiance that you have just stepped back in time. We were told by our server that the semi-circular entrance used to be the railroad station ticket counter.

The ceiling beams, light fixtures and bar are also from 1923 when the original railroad depot was built. The rail line was needed for Cedar City’s iron and ore industry, and for ranchers to ship cattle to the East. Expansion of the railroad also benefited the new tourism industry by bringing focus on the national parks and monuments located in Southern Utah.

Arrival of the first official train carrying President and Mrs. Warren G. Harding is proudly highlighted in the Depot Grill menu. The visitors to Zion National Park increased from 3,692 in 1920 to 55,297 by 1937. The rise in tourism is impressive.

Casual but fine dining centers on steak and seafood plates. J.J. enjoyed today’s lunch special of shrimp taco plus clam chowder soup. I marveled at the presentation and the taste of my choice: French onion soup and spinach salad topped with strawberries.

This memorable meal was $33 inclusive of tax and service charge.

Aloha -- Cathi

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Happy Easter!

Aloha Everyone,

To some Easter means coloring and decorating eggs followed by egg hunts and a feast. To others, this is a time for reaffirmation of faith, a time for spiritual renewal and family love.

Aloha -- Cathi

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Trusted Traveler Program

Aloha Everyone,

This is a program offered by the Department of Homeland Security for frequent travelers returning from foreign destinations.

Today J.J. spent at least four hours trying to apply for Global Entry membership. The main feature is using a special kiosk upon arrival for both immigration and customs processing. The kiosk has biometric equipment to scan your face. That’s it. No long lines. The two of us see other advantages including TSA Pre-check when departing.

For unknown reasons, when J.J. applied for his Global Entry membership using his laptop, it was tedious but easy enough to follow the prompts. But when it came to my turn, using my iPhone, the process quickly became challenging. To make sure I was using the secure pass code temporarily issued by the Department of Homeland Security, we kept on receiving text messages with secured code which expires in 10 minutes.  

We are pleased to pay $100 each when both applications were finally accepted. This does not mean that we will automatically get our Global Entry Membership. A personal interview is required plus fingerprints and a facial scan. At least, the initial hurdle is over.

Aloha -- Cathi

Friday, April 19, 2019

Enjoying My Familiar Walking Route

Aloha Everyone,

Kanarraville is a quaint little town where we come to stay at Gail’s Red Ledge RV Park. Hiking its famous landmark, Kanarraville Fall is on top of my things to do list.

I enjoy my morning and evening walks where I see changes such as the colors of the surrounding mountains and trees.  I also see new constructions and remodeling going on.

Per the 2010 US Census, the population of Kanarraville was 355. With elevation of 5,541 feet, Kanarraville is usually 10 degrees cooler than St George, but also 10 degrees warmer than Cedar City.

Here is a photo album from my morning’s walk. Yes, I am curious about the ERA Realty sign.

Aloha -- Cathi

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Stunning Driving Day

Aloha Everyone,

Our drive began from Marble Canyon to Glen Canyon National Recreation area. We crossed Colorado River to Paria Canyon-Vermillion Cliffs. Wilderness, majestic scenery unfolded one after another. These are some of the most photogenic locations in Northern Arizona bordering Utah.

Vermillion Cliffs National Monument is famous for “the Waves” vermillion colored rock formations that simply take one’s breath away. I promised to do research to find out where and how we could hire a native tour guide. Even though I enjoy hiking, elevations ranging from 3,100 to 6,500 ft in an inhospitable environment is best to visit with an experienced guide.

At the entrance to Kaibab National Forest, the two of us stretched our legs.

Today’s drive totaled four and a half hours on the road including a brief, light lunch inside Honu. We are back at Kanarraville, Utah.

Aloha -- Cathi