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Friday, December 31, 2021

Stormy Weather

Aloha Everyone,

Stormy weather, which began in the Pacific Northwest and moved to Southern California, drenched the land. It brought much needed rain but also caused havoc including mudslides and falling trees. 

Snowfalls as low as 2,500 ft elevation caused some mountain communities to suffer while it delighted others to enjoy winter activities.

Our condolences and sympathies to everyone who have been affected by stormy weather.

Aloha -- Cathi

Thursday, December 30, 2021

Preparing for the New Year

Aloha Everyone,

Our earlier trip books were Metropolitan Museum of Art calendars.

Over the years, preference for our trip book became white bond paper sketch book allowing more choices to draw and make daily entries.

Preparing how to begin our new trip book is indeed a joyful but serious activity. One of our friends mentioned to us that he writes a daily diary summarizing the main activity in one sentence. Modifying on that idea, our daily activity will be summarized with one sketch.

Aloha -- Cathi

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Our Next Trip, Hawaiian Cruise

Aloha Everyone,

Princess Cruise is offering a 15-day Hawaiian cruise that is hard to pass. The two of us actually booked our tickets weeks ago before Omicron variants entered the COVID picture.

We are cognizant and very willing to postpone our cruise should Princess Cruise cancel. As of this morning, the cruise is on. Should there be an outbreak of COVID cases, we must be prepared to be quarantined in our cabin, unable to dock at any of the 5 ports of calls and subject to be tested on board as needed.

These are challenging times. J.J. and I will take all precautionary measures including wearing masks at all times except when we are dining or in our room.

Stay tuned for more updates to follow.

Aloha -- Cathi

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Driving from Phoenix, AZ to Torrance, CA

Aloha Everyone,

Weather forecast for today was mostly clear with occasionally strong winds. That was exactly what we experienced on our drive from Phoenix, AZ to Torrance, CA. Allowing slower driving, the two of us were on the road by 8:00 am Arizona time.

Several times, we encountered sudden and heavy but brief showers and nearly always when we were at a Rest Stop.  We used Google navigation app and were able to avoid heavy traffic cutting our time to 7 hours on the road.

Two challenging situations during our drive: first was to get fuel. Following signages J.J. pulled into the gas station in Morango Indian Nation. Unfortunately, some drivers don’t follow common courtesy and cut into lines. Windy and cold J.J. and I decided to get lunch first.

Panda Express in Morango, as in many other locations, only serve drive-through customers. Honu’s heights did not allow entry.

Fortunately, J.J. was able to purchase diesel from a Chevron Gas Station just before getting back on the freeway.

The good news is we made back 400 plus miles in 7 hours. However, we sacrificed our healthy balanced lunch by consuming senbei (Japanese rice crackers), shrimp chips and mixed fruits with nuts.

Aloha -- Cathi

Monday, December 27, 2021

Wonderful Reunion with Delicious Homemade Dishes

Aloha Everyone,

It’s been nearly two years since the two of us visited Cousin Ricky and his loving wife, Farah. Over two days, we tried to catch up on each other’s families and other relatives.

Farah is a wonderful 
cook, and she prepared several Filipino dishes including some of our favorites:Mongo beans, menudo with garbanzo beans and tomatoes, grilled beef with onions plus Bibinka (casava flour dessert). She also introduced us to Organic Quinoa & Brown Rice. 

Aloha -- Cathi

Saturday, December 25, 2021

Christmas Day Drive

Aloha Everyone,

Honu is running well. It appears that the onboard computer system was upgraded along with the mandatory recall. We no longer hear rattling noises coming from somewhere in the dashboard.

The weather was perfect for driving and J.J. covered approximately 320 miles between Las Vegas to Phoenix in 7 plus hours inclusive of delays due to temporary road closures. The trip was tiring so we opted to visit cousin Ricky and his wife Farah the following day.

Our driving photo journal from Phoenix towards Arizona via Lake Mead. Stunning golden hues of Aspen groves kept me busy trying to capture them with my iPhone.

Aloha -- Cathi

Friday, December 24, 2021

Happy Christmas Eve

Aloha Everyone,

We had Christmas Eve lunch at J.J.'s favorite Chinese restaurant in Las Vegas. Tonight, we will have leftovers in the room to avoid any drinking, rowdy groups.

The two of us are ready to leave for Phoenix tomorrow morning.  It rained nearly all day yesterday but this afternoon it is sunny, and we are expecting good driving conditions through Kingman, AZ.

We know of at least three friends who are flying today to be with their families. The latest news is about cancellations of 3,500 flights worldwide due to lack of airline personnel are disheartening.

Wishing you all a very Happy and safe New Year’s Eve. And safe travels and safe family gatherings over the Christmas holidays!

Aloha -- Cathi

Thursday, December 23, 2021

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

Aloha Everyone,

Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina can be downloaded for free through

Easy to remember the main characters, but the supporting ones was like reading something new. It’s a long book.

I decided to set aside the book to watch a recent Russian miniseries on YouTube. Magnificent costumes and good presentation with a captivating beginning. I watched the first episode last night in Russian with English subtitles.  Recognizing a couple of simple Chinese dialogues enhanced my enjoyment. This will surely be a combination of language studies with historical events and masterful story telling.

Aloha -- Cathi

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Dining in Las Vegas

Aloha Everyone,

J.J. and I quickly found that we have limited options when it comes to dining in Las Vegas.  =For instance, there are hotel restaurants but with exception of Starbucks and Café-Coffee Shop, most dining facilities open from 4:00 pm to 2:00 am. Drinking and loud music is a big part of “entertainment” so we stayed with early hours dining in the Café.
The second option is to choose “family restaurants” that are within easy walking distance. Included in this group are Denny’s, iHop, and a couple of takeaway places.

The last and more preferred option requires we drive Honu.

Here is a sampling of American and ethnic foods we enjoyed.

Aloha -- Cathi

Monday, December 20, 2021

Fletcher Jones Mercedes Benz

Aloha Everyone,

Dave, the customer service department representative only works with clients who own Mercedes Benz Sprinter models. It was very apparent that Dave knows Sprinters and was efficient in giving us an overview of services required and its integration with the mandatory recall. 

By afternoon, Dave telephoned to get verbal approval from J.J. to proceed with the repairs which we will have to pay.  I am pleased that JJ’s decision to drive to Henderson to have Honu serviced worked out. At the additional cost of $3,586.00, we now have a peace of mind and ability to use Honu as a camper in the future.

Fletchers Jones family, according to their website also own several dealerships of European premium brand cars including Alfa Romero, Audi, BMW, and Ferrari.

As a customer service package, Fletcher Jones family also employ drivers for complimentary pick up to and from the dealership to your hotel, home or airport.

Aloha -- Cathi

Sunday, December 19, 2021

Busy Day Taking Care of Honu

Aloha Everyone,

Our bed is extremely comfortable that both of us slept over 8 hours!

First order of the day was we had Honu professionally cleaned. It took nearly two hours including waiting for our turn to get serviced.

We went to get fuel and then to KOA to dump our grey and black water. This morning’s cost for Honu’s maintenance includes $40 for hand washing (inclusive of a very generous tip) and $15 for dumping.

By the time we purchased our lunch from our favorite Mexican takeaway place, it was past 3:00 pm. A long day but we are satisfied with our accomplishments for today.

Aloha -- Cathi

Saturday, December 18, 2021

Back To Nevada

Aloha Everyone,

So happy to see J.J. behind the steering wheel of Honu. It has been over two years and now, we are back on the road. Weather was cooperative and with Honu running well, the two of us had a very pleasant drive.

The purpose of our trip is to have Honu serviced by the Mercedes Benz dealer in Henderson, Nevada. 

J.J. decided to book a room at The Strat which is offering a fantastic promotional rate in their recently renovated tower.  We have a large room with a King size bed and mountain view. This room price is less than what we pay for our weekly rate at Extended Stay America where there are no daily cleaning services.

Aloha -- Cathi

Friday, December 17, 2021

Dining in Meals

Aloha Everyone,

J.J. has been enjoying more interesting Japanese sushi and bentos while I try to stay with fruits and vegetable selections.

Aloha -- Cathi