Search This Blog

Monday, July 29, 2019

A Joyful Luncheon with Gail & Genevieve

Aloha Everyone,

J.J. and I enjoy going out to lunch with Gail, our friend and the energetic, conscientious owner of Red Ledge RV Park. Today we tried the Depot Grill in Cedar City. Their lunch hours are 11:00 am - 2:00 pm. Not being able to secure online reservations, we decided to beat the crowd and arrived at the restaurant promptly at 11:00 am.

I’ve written about this restaurant. With a great ambiance and good acoustic, it is an ideal place for a meeting. Today we were graced by the presence of Gail’s younger sister, Genevieve who is visiting Gail from Oregon.

Interestingly, the restaurant had no other guests. I wonder if today was an unusual exception or do they not have a steady clientele. Hopefully, today was anomaly and their business will pick up because the food is excellent.

The four of us enjoyed our lunch. The dishes were well presented and delicious.

Aloha -- Cathi

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Equifax Data Breach Settlement

Aloha Everyone,

Here is an outline of Equifax Data Breach Settlement.

1.  Equifax had their data breach about 3 years ago.
2.  You can go online to verify whether or not your SS# was compromised.
3.  J.J. was not, but my SS# was.
4.  If your SS# is among the ones that may have been compromised, you can go online and receive $125 one time compensation or choose the first option of having an independent third party monitor your data for the next 10 years.

I chose the first option.

Aloha -- Cathi

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Why Disney World in Florida is Mosquito Free

Aloha Everyone,

I always make sure that we carry insect repellents whenever we travel to Florida. I personally don’t recall being bitten by mosquitoes in one of the happiest places on earth or resort to using hydrocortisone cream after a bite.

So here is the answer. This is a fascinating story of how Walt Disney created a mostly pest-free amusement park in the middle of Florida’s swamp country. This amazing achievement is credited to MIT graduate and engineering expert Major General William “Joe” Potter. Below is a link to the Reader’s Digest article.

Aloha -- Cathi

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Back to Kanarraville, Utah

Aloha Everyone,

There is a beautiful Nephi city park located less than a mile from High Country RV Park where we stayed last night. J.J. parked Honu to clean the  windshield and windows. Lots of dead insects during the summer months. It gave me a chance to walk around the perimeter of this beautiful well maintained park.

I drove 1 1/2 hours this morning. Trying to squeeze in driving time before we return to California where my driving Honu is unthinkable.

By 1:00 pm, we were greeted by Gail at the Red Ledge RV Park in Kanarraville.  

J.J. and I have a list of things to do before our next overseas trip.

Aloha -- Cathi

Saturday, July 20, 2019

An Extraordinary Day

Aloha Everyone,

It began as an ordinary day. After my walk and breakfast with J.J., we were ready to move. I began today’s drive taking advantages of states where I feel comfortable to drive.

In the town of Heber, J.J. stopped to inquire about having wheel alignment. Receiving a positive response and being informed that it would take about two hours, we decided to go ahead.

A wonderful leisurely lunch at a nearby Mexican restaurant.

When the two of us  seated ourselves in the customer waiting lounge, little did we realize that the waiting time would extend to 5 hours. The job scheduling manager was polite and professional. She apologized profusely over the unexpected delay. The actual work took 15-20 minutes. With more apologies, she comp the job.

Unfortunately, two KOA campgrounds which we were planning to stop & stay closed by 6:00 pm. Recalling a small RV Park in Nephi, J.J. drove an additional 90 minutes. High Country RV Park was where we frequented when J.J. did volunteer photography for the US Forest Services.  

Fortunately, using their self check-in, J.J. and were able to settle in for the night.

Aloha -- Cathi

Friday, July 19, 2019

Serendipity Meeting with Bob & Diane - Pleasant Drive on Wyoming 220

Aloha Everyone,

Bob and Diane invited us to see their brand new Mercedes Benz Sprinter. Their cabin was manufactured by Coachman. It is luxurious and has notable upgrades. J.J. and I peeked around with aahhh and oooh. On their maiden voyage, a rock ricocheted from a passing car made a small crack on the windshield. Having experienced a couple of cracks with Honu’s windshield, J.J. offered a temporary solution until they take it for repair.

J.J. and I enjoy meeting people especially when they share similar interests like travel! Before we parted company, Diane and I exchanged our contact info and promised to keep in touch.

From Casper, Wyoming, we took Wyoming State Highway 220.  This is a less-traveled roads. No stunning or breathtaking scenery but the unfolding scenes encapsulated the beauty of rural America. It was a joyful drive and a reminder of why we love our RV adventures.

Aloha -- Cathi

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Honu’s Repair then to Douglas, WY

Aloha Everyone,

Too anxious to have our repair work get started, we arrived 15 minutes prior to our appointment at Floyd’s Truck Center.

Two long-haul truck drivers were also in the lounge. Darren, who was more talkative, told me that he has been waiting since last Saturday. His truck has a full load and having already missed his delivery deadline, he was not very pleased. Being an independent driver, Darren has to pay for all the repairs, meals and accommodations. Saving grace is that his cargo is not perishable.

Two hours of labor of $193.50, electronic fee, shop supplies and taxes totaled $266.03. We thought the charge was very reasonable.

Douglas Wyoming is a quaint little town with a 6,120 population. (Per 2010 census). It is the home of the Wyoming State Fair and the historical district of Douglas has a number of attractions.

Douglas enjoys the status as one of “The 100 Best Small Towns in America.”

Residents also boast the claim of “Home of the Jackalope”. Actually a strange imaginary creature with a body of a Jackrabbit wearing the impressive antlers of deer.

Following enthusiastic recommendation of the staff at KOA Douglas, we went out in search of the Best Pizza in Wyoming. “Friendz” is an eclectic establishment. But the rich aromas from their stone-baked oven was unmistakably Italian.

J.J. was happy with his pizza dinner. Being famished, his comment that this may be one of the best pizzas he has eaten may have been subjective :-)

Aloha -- Cathi

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Introducing Our Flat Granddaughter 2019-2020

Aloha Everyone,

During her birthday month, I make an updated flat granddaughter who will accompany J.J. and me on our RV adventures interspersed with foreign travels. This tradition began when we retired nearly 6 years ago.

Her birthday card is an over-sized handmade card which serves as a pictorial summary of the year just passed. Photos of our granddaughter, family, relatives and friends plus her personal and school activities take up at least 3 sections. There are also her travels, books she is reading and her art work, etc. The end result is rather comprehensive. My intention is that every birthday card will give her some “I remember that” moments.

The cover design of the card depends on what our granddaughter was involved in that particular year. For example, last year I mounted the flat granddaughter against an sprawling meadow with colorful wild flowers. In the distance is Mount Hood. This year, I placed her in a deep green pine forest with sunlight streaming through dark branches.

Gathering photos and information require time and assistance especially from my daughter-in-law.   Our granddaughter’s big smiles and hugs are worth a thousand “thank yous” as J.J. and I are grateful to be a part of her young engaging life.

Aloha -- Cathi

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Honu Requires Repairs

Aloha Everyone,

We had a busy, productive day in Rapid City. Finally completing most of the items by after lunch, J.J. and I started our drive back to Hot Spring. The distance between Rapid City and Hot Spring is approximately 50 miles. We were at least 1/2 way. Then it happened without any preamble. J.J. and I simultaneously saw the dashboard warning light flashing ESP (Electronic Stability Program) with a message that a visit to service shop is required.

We are staying the next two days in Hot Springs KOA. The earliest an authorized Sprinter repair company can take a look at Honu is Thursday at 9:00 am. That is just to determine if they would be able to make the repairs.

I suppose Hot Springs is as good place as any for us to get stuck. Hopefully our stay here will not be prolonged.

Aloha -- Cathi

Monday, July 15, 2019

Changes in Restaurant Etiquette

Aloha Everyone,

There are generally 3 categories of restaurants J.J. and I frequent.

We like family-style restaurants that have become community fixtures. They tend to be unique, personal and have characters. Especially if they can claim to be in business for 30 or more years, you know they serve great food. Some of these places have one special daily choice so when you are seated, you will be offered the day’s special.

The second category is chain restaurants such as Applebee’s, Olive Gardens and Chili's. At least we know the quality of food and service.

Occasionally, we like to try fine dining places. These unfortunately are hit and miss. Even when they have a dress code, we see people get seated in their t-shirts.

In the past, restaurants follow specific dining sequence starting with appetizer, main dish and dessert. Some would encourage their guest to take an aperitif, wine with the meal and an after dinner drink.

I eat 5 small meals a day. At Olive Garden, I ordered an appetizer of calamari as my main course and shared it with J.J. And I even had 1/2 leftover packed to take away. J.J. had chicken soup and a scampi pasta.

Tips were meant to express thanks for extraordinary service. Today tips are expected and the computer display at our table tells you what you are expected to give.

Somehow J.J. and I prefer the Old World restaurant etiquette where you pay for their gracious service and good food and feel happy to leave a generous tip because you want to and not what the computer prompts you to do.

Aloha -- Cathi

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Hot Springs, SD

Aloha Everyone,

July is the warmest month in Rapid City with the average day time temperature reaching 85.5°Fahrenheit. The lowest average day time temperature is 57.5° Fahrenheit. This morning at 6:00 am it was already 70 and now at 4:30 pm, the thermometer is registering at 92 degrees Fahrenheit.

January is Rapid City’s coldest month. The average low temperature is 11.3 degrees Fahrenheit and rises to 33.6 degrees. J.J. and I have seen photographs of Rapid City under thick blankets of snow. The photo is beautiful but we are not interested to spend more than a few hours in the snow.

When fellow South Dakotan asked if J.J. and I have intentions of living in South Dakota sometime in the future, we truthfully give enthusiastic affirmative response. But it is a qualified “Yes.”  We prefer to be here in late spring and early autumn when the gentle, peaceful rolling grasslands and the Black Hills are most attractive and conducive for outdoor activities.

Aloha -- Cathi

Friday, July 12, 2019

Renewed My SD Driver’s License

Aloha Everyone,

How quickly our first 5-years as South Dakotans has gone by. One of the must thing to accomplish on this trip was to renew my driver’s license.  

Documentations requirements obtained online and also from our mail forwarding service company was rather lengthy.

1.  Completed application form
2.  My current driver’s license
3.  Accommodation receipt proving that I have been in SD within the last 180 days.
4.  Letter from our mail forwarding service in SD that J.J. and I are their client. 
5.  Two documents to prove our SD residential address.
6. Social Security card.

The wait was about an hour since I did not make a prior appointment.  

Once I was called, the clerk accepted the first 4 of my documents and said I was all set. No written test necessary. After a quick eye exam, I stood in front of a curtain for my photo.

I am happy. My new license is good until 2024!

Aloha -- Cathi

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Blinklist/Emotional Blackmail, 1997, by Susan Forward, PhD

 Aloha Everyone,

I stumbled onto the Blinklist app a couple of days ago. I was trying to research summaries of several books I was contemplating in purchasing. 
Blinkist is free and as long as you are using their basic service, there are no additional charges. Blinklist is at present the #1 book summary app. Blinklist library includes nearly every book you want to read or curious about its content.  
15 minutes is all you need to check out Blinklist to read a book summary.
Emotional Blackmail, 1997, by Susan Forward, PhD is not just an attention grabbing title but the content is insightful and her message has substance with “ah ha” moments. Emotional Blackmail helps reader to understand, identify, approach and rectify harmful, unhealthy relationship which often involves close family members, friends and business associates. 
Aloha -- Cathi

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Traversing Wyoming

Aloha Everyone,

Last night Honu’s accommodation was KOA Lyman, Wyoming. The park is verdant and our site was surrounded by well-trimmed green grassy areas. I recall the Uinta Mountain Range from our previous stay. Situated mostly in northwestern Utah, the Uinta Mountains are unusual for being the highest range in the contiguous USA. The peaks are from 11,000–13,528 feet and they were visible this morning when I braved the morning chill of 43-49 degrees to do my 3 miles walk.

I wasn’t able to take photos during my 2 1/2 hours of driving. Going through a long section of construction area, I had to concentrate for Honu to not get off the temporarily cordoned off section of the two-way highway. Glad that I was able to take us safely to Rowlins and J.J. was happy to take over.

Located in the mountain region, Wyoming, based on 2018 census estimate, has a population of 577,737. This makes Wyoming, the 10th largest by area, and the least populous in the USA. Except for the construction area where roads became congested, most of today’s drive was through wide open countryside with few cars and trucks.

Tonight we are staying at Casper KOA in Casper, Wyoming. The outside temperature is 86 degrees and no breeze. Will wait for awhile before I finish my daily walk.

Aloha -- Cathi

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Traversing Utah

Aloha Everyone,

Utahns are family oriented. We have seen families with 3-4 children riding in large shopping carts in supermarkets and at Walmart. 51% of Utahns over the age of 18 had religious affiliations with Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. (Information based on a report produced by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life circa 2008).

One of the direct results of the church's doctrine is high birth rates among Mormon families. It is 25% higher than the national average. In fact, Utah leads the birthdate in the USA. Real estate developers offer large homes with 1,327 to 2,062 sq ft priced between $259,900 to $299,900.

Based on 2013 US Census, Utah has the second fastest growing population in the USA. Utah also has the 14th highest median average income.

It is a scenic state with tall mountain ranges. It is already July and we can still see snow on their peaks. Cities and towns we’ve visited are very clean. Highways are well maintained and free of litter.

We really like this state and try to spend as much time as possible. The two of us are grateful of our ability to crisscross Utah so many times and always discover new charms.

Aloha -- Cathi