Spring gardening

Every year, we weed and replant around our lilac bush. This year it was our big weekend project!

We turned one side into a memorial garden…”No longer by my side but forever in my heart”. Bolo and Indy being most recently lost, but this is for all our critters who have, as a friend of ours likes to say, made their transition into what is next.

The other side is a small herb garden.

Catesby Trillium

What started as one little plant has grown into quite a big clump this year.

Catesby Trillium (Trillium catesbaei) is a spring ephemeral plant that is native to Georgia. This perennial is one of 20 trillium species native to Georgia.

Happy spring!

Yesterday was the first day of spring and Mary is so happy to say goodbye to winter.

It has been very rainy here in Georgia, lakes are overflowing and there have been several flooding watches issued recently. Thankfully the last few weekends have had some sunshine break through the clouds.

We took advantage of the good weather by visiting the nearby local botanical garden Gibbs Garden. They have over 20 million daffodils which bloom over 6-weeks.

And we were able to go see the cars that showed up for the March PoBoys Cruise-In.

Hope there is more good weather in everyone’s future!

Merry Christmas!

We had a wonderful, healthy, and fun-filled 2018! To our family and friends near and far, we wish you a very Merry Christmas and a happy healthy New Year!

Reminiscing

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Last year around this time, we took an amazing trip to the South Pacific; visiting islands in the Society Islands, the Tuamotu Islands, and the Marquesas Island.  We boarded a very unusual vessel, the Aranui 5, in Papeete, Tahiti.

We had a wonderful room with a balcony.

The ship had a wonderful crew and amazing food.

During the trip, we visited some very exotic islands….

First there was Tahiti, where we spent a few days exploring before boarding the Aranui 5 and almost a full day after disembarking.

Moorea where we visited with the sharks and stingrays.

On Fakarava we enjoyed the beautiful scenery and the Heiva festival activities.

Nuku Hiva is an island that has to be experience to believe that it exists. Its remarkable scenery and welcoming people make this an island that we’d love to return to someday.

On Ua Huka we visited an  arboretum garden and a cultural museum.

We got our exercise on Ua Pou by hiking to the top of the hill to enjoy the amazing view. After our hike, locals entertained us performing the traditional bird dance of their island.   And before bidding this beautiful island farewell, we enjoyed a delicious buffet at a local restaurant.

Te l’lpona on Hiva Oa has the largest tiki statues in French Polynesia! It is easy to see why Paul Gauguin chose to live here.

The Church of Vaitahu on the island of Tahuata has the prettiest stained glass window.

Fatu Hiva welcomed us with music and demonstrations of local craftsmanship.

Rangiroa is the largest atoll of the Islands of Tahiti. From snorkeling to learning about pearl farming, everything here centers around the crystal clear endless shades of blue water.

Bora Bora, so beautiful its name has to be said twice!

If you’d like to see even more photos, visit our online photo album:  https://clukey.smugmug.com/Through-The-Years/2017/South-Pacific-2017

It was definitely a trip of a lifetime! Come on lottery, I’d like to do this trip a few more times!!!!!

Once in a lifetime

Over the years, we have taken many great trips. Most of which we consider once in a lifetime simply because the world is so big that we will probably not get back to see the same place again. A few are real stand-outs, like the 70th Anniversary D-Day trip that we took in 2014, our 25th anniversary cruise last year on the Aranui 5 and our most recent trip to Nome, Alaska for the Iditarod Sled Dog Race finish.

We are coming up on the 74th anniversary of D-Day, our friend Clinton Riddle (a veteran of WWII) is over in Europe on the shores of Normandy once again. This year sponsored by the Best Defense Foundation. We wish him safe travels!

About our most recent trip to Alaska, I have been meaning to write about it for a while now. I remember before we left one of my coworkers asked what in the world was I going to do in Nome Alaska for 10-day’s…it’s not very big. Well, I can tell you by the length of time that it has taken us to sort and publish our photos, we did and saw a lot. Nome is unique and for us an unusual latitude of exploration (it is no where near the equator). It is by far the farthest North that we have traveled. And to do so in winter, when there is this white stuff called snow falling from the sky and accumulating in record amounts on the ground, was extraordinary for us.

So why did we go to Nome Alaska in winter? In a nutshell to see and experience the finish of the last great race on earth.

Now we could have just flown up there, stayed at anyplace available, and seen a few mushers cross the finish line, all on our own…and it would have been a good trip. Our past travel experience told us that this event/trip could be made magical by the right tour guide/company. The research for the perfect guide began a bit over a year before the actual trip.

We’ve had some good tour guides and we’ve had some great tour guides, Laurent Dick of Wild Alaska Travel ranks up near the very top of the list. We knew from his beautiful website that the itinerary for the trip was comprehensive, including all of the things we would like to see and do. We had high expectations and they were exceeded.  Laurent even threw in a few awesome surprises.

Highlights of the trip included:

  • Experiencing and photographing the finish of the 2018 Iditarod Sled Dog Race _copie-0_IMG_6583
  • Flying to the scenic Iditarod checkpoint of White Mountain_copie-0_DSCN3148
  • Riding a snowmobile to the Iditarod checkpoint in Safety_copie-0_DSCN3706
  • Attending the 2019 Iditarod Finisher’s banquet
  • Tracking down muskoxen by snowmobile
  • Playing golf on the frozen Bering Sea
  • Seeing and photographing the northern lights_copie-0_IMG_6843
  • Experiencing authentic Alaska and learning why ‘There’s no place like Nome!’
  • And, of course, meeting Iditarod mushers and their dogs!

We enjoyed great food.

And even had a little bit of fun photographing all of that snow!

There are many more photos on our online photo album at: https://clukey.smugmug.com/Through-The-Years/2018/AlaskaIditarod-2018

It’s already March!

2018 has been non-stop for us. We closed out 2017 and rang in the New Year down in Ecuador (South America). We took lots of pictures and it is taking us a while to sort through them.

Of course we don’t stay home much, which slows down the process of sorting and posting our pictures…but that’s not a bad thing.

Already this year, Pete’s been to a car show or two: https://clukey.smugmug.com/Through-The-Years/2018/NPD-Mustang-and-Ford-Show

https://clukey.smugmug.com/Through-The-Years/2018/NPD-Auto-Collection

And we’ve been serenaded by Elvis, check out our Valentines Day dinner photos: https://clukey.smugmug.com/Through-The-Years/2018/Valentines-Day-with-Elvis/

We rocked out with the Rush tribute band, RushHour: https://clukey.smugmug.com/Through-The-Years/2018/Rush-Hour-Concert

And things got a little weird, when we celebrated Pete’s birthday by going to see the legendary guitarist, John 5: https://clukey.smugmug.com/Through-The-Years/2018/John-5-Concert

Soon we will be off on another adventure…stay tune for the photos!

Merry Christmas!

We had a wonderful, healthy, and fun-filled 2017! To our family and friends near and far, we wish you a very Merry Christmas and a happy healthy New Year!

Ships we’ve sailed…

Came across a website with cruise ship size information.  I thought it would be interesting to compare the traditional cruise ships that we’ve sailed on with the size of the current largest ship, Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas.  Harmony of the Seas which weighs 226,963 gross registered tons, carries 5,479 guests, and 2,100 crew members.

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Holland American Lines / Eurodam (2016): 
GRT: 86,700 
Length: 935 ft
Beam: 105 ft
Speed: 23 knots
Registry: Netherlands
Passengers: 2104
Crew: 929
Shipyard: Fincantieri

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Carnival / Victory (2010):
GRT: 101,509
Length: 893 ft
Beam: 116 ft
Speed: 21 knots
Registry: Panama
Passengers: 2758
Crew: 1100
Shipyard: Fincantieri

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Carnival / Legend (2009):
GRT: 88,500
Length: 963 ft
Beam: 106 ft
Speed: 22 knots
Registry: Panama
Passengers: 2124
Crew: 930
Shipyard: Aker Yards 

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Celebrity / Galaxy (2007): 
GRT: 77,713
Length: 866 ft
Beam: 105 ft
Speed: 21 knots
Registry: Bahamas
Passengers: 1850
Crew: 909
Shipyard: Meyer Werft 

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Celebrity / Horizon (2000):
GRT: 47,427 
Length: 682 ft
Beam: 95 ft
Speed: 22 knots
Registry: Bahamas
Passengers: 1875
Crew: 670
Shipyard: Meyer Werft

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Dolphin Cruise Line / Sea Breeze (1997):
GRT: 20,416
Length: 606 ft
Beam: 79 ft
Speed: 21 knots
Registry: Panama
Passengers: 840
Crew: 400
Shipyard: Ansaldo Sestri Ponente 

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Premier Cruise Lines / Starship Atlantic (1993):
GRT: 35,143 
Length: 672 ft
Beam: 90 ft
Speed: 19 knots 
Registry: N/A 
Passengers: 1062
Crew: 535
Shipyard: CNIM

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Christmas cruise on Holland American Lines Eurodam 2016

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Over the Christmas holiday, we spent two relaxing weeks cruising around the Caribbean on the MS Eurodam.

On board we ate some amazing food.

The staff was awesome.

Holland American Line’s private island provided a nice beach day.

On Turks and Caicos, we hung out at the Margaritaville pool.

In San Juan, we tasted the original Piña Colada at Restaurant Barrachina, walked around Old San Juan, and sampled some local chocolate at Casa Corte.

From Ft. Lauderdale, we took a tour to the Florida Everglades.

We made fishy friends in Grand Cayman.

We explored Cozumel on a rail buggy adventure tour.

We wandered around Key West…visiting Mel Fisher’s Museum, ate Maine lobster rolls at DJ’s Clam Shack (which was featured in an episode of Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives), meandered through the Key West Cemetery, and did a mini pub crawled – stopping into Sloppy Joe’s and Captain Tony’s Saloon.

After the cruise we spent a few days exploring and eating our way around south Florida and the Upper Keys.

 

We finally made it to the Coral Castle.

Had an awesome fish sandwich at Robbie’s Marina.

We spent a few hours exploring the displays at The History of Diving Museum.

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We spent a morning exploring the Fruit and Spice Park.

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We had great pub grub at the M.E.A.T. Eatery and Taproom (another restaurant featured on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives).

We visited two wonderful breweries; Islamorada Beer Company and Florida Keys Brewing Company.

The best meal of the trip just might have been at The Fish House (another restaurant featured on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives).

And ended the vacation with a beautiful sunset.

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