Banff Ski Trip

On March 7th, 2020, we flew to Calgary, Alberta, where we met up with the Chagrin Valley Ski Club for a week of skiing in Banff. Founded in 1883 near a proposed Canadian Pacific Railway tunnel site, the first town, 3 km from present-day Banff, was know as “Siding 29”. The town of Banff is located within the Rocky Mountains mountain range, at 4,639ft above sea level, within Banff National Park. The town is built around Tunnel Mountain, We stayed at the Banff Ptarmigan Inn in downtown Banff. with a great view of Tunnel Mountain. Bob was not able to snowboard on this trip so I went with the girls to ski at Banff Sunshine Village, located on the Continental Divide of the Canadian Rockies within Banff National Park in Alberta and Mt Assiniboine Provincial Park in British Columbia. We took the free Mountain Tour and were able to see the whole area with our guide. It was a beautiful blue bird day and the views of the Rockies was impressive as well as the skiing. The next day we skied at The Lake Louise Ski Resort, it is one of the largest and most scenic ski resorts in North America. The resort is situated on the southern slopes of the Slate Range, between the heights of Mount Richardson, Ptarmigan Peak, Pika Peak and Redoubt Mountain, all around 10,000ft above sea level. Lake Louise has been a home to skiing since the 1920s, the first lift was constructed in 1954, and a poma was added in 1960. It is a beautiful mountain to ski and we took the free Mountain Tour again and were able to ski most of the area. Continue reading

Japan Ski Trip

On Friday, February 7th, we were ready for our trip to Japan, for 10 days of skiing/snowboarding and sightseeing with our ski club from Ohio, the Chagrin Valley Ski Club. Kevin picked us up bright and early to drive us to Los Angeles to catch our 10:40 am flight to Tokyo. When we arrived at the Narita Airport in Tokyo the Club members were there to meet us, especially Karen Moyer (but sadly no Bruce), and we all boarded a bus for the 6 hour drive, 270km northwest of Tokyo, to Hakuba. The town of Hakuba is located 44km west of Nagano in the Nagano Prefecture, on the island of Honshu (the main island of Japan). “Hakuba Valley” is the large area that encompasses 9 ski resorts, 135 lifts, over 200 runs  and various villages. Happo One Ski Resort and the Happo Village is the most popular area, and we stayed at the Hakuba Mominoki Hotel, located within a few minutes walk to Happo One. We checked in at the beautiful front desk and went off to find our rooms in different areas of the hotel, we had a standard room with a tiny bathroom. Continue reading

Whitefish Montana Ski Trip

On January 5th, 2019, we flew to Kalispell, Montana, where we were greeted by Marguerite and Don Shepherd, then taken to their condo in the Meadow Lake Resort in Montana’s majestic Flathead Valley. We were here for a week of skiing at Whitefish Mountain Resort (formerly Big Mountain), with 3,000 acres of uncrowded terrain. It was going to be an epic week for me as I have seen the light and I am returning to skiing after 20 years of snowboarding. Don was a great help as he was a ski instructor at Mt Baker and knows all the new ski equipment and what would be the best for me. Our first day on the slopes was foggy so we stayed lower down on the mountain, following our fearless leader Don. The best part of the day was lunch at the Hellroaring Saloon & Eatery located in the historic Chalet on Whitefish Mountain Resort. The drink of choice was the Keoki Coffee, (kaluha, brandy, & coffee) that will keep you feeling warm and cozy for the rest of the day. After a tiring first day of skiing and snowboarding we enjoyed some apres ski drinks and snacks at The Montana Tap House. Continue reading

Costa Rica Christmas

Christmas (2019) in Costa Rica with the family was a special treat this year. We arrived in Liberia, Costa Rica, on December 22nd, and picked up the rental cars then drove to our beautiful house on the Papagayo Peninsula. There were a total of ten adults and four kids staying together in this 7-bedroom house. The Jackson family(7), Josh and Aminda Parafinik’s family(4), Andrew Roberts and Sunny Trann, and a friend of Josh’s from Phoenix. Kevin’s company, EXP Journeys, was doing a program for a family staying at the Four Seasons Hotel near us. So Kevin and “crew” were working most of the time we were there, while the Moms and kids got to play. Our house was beautiful and spacious, plenty of room for everyone to relax and enjoy this place. The infinity pool was the biggest hit and we certainly spent plenty of time in it. Continue reading

November in the Desert

While we were in Phoenix, AZ, for the month of November we took several side trips exploring the area. We drove scenic route 89 from Wickenburg to Prescott, along a beautiful winding road with great views of the mountains and valleys as we climbed higher in elevation. Prescott is at 5,367ft and it was much colder than Phoenix. We went shopping on Whiskey Row for warmer clothes. The main street was originally known for the establishment of many saloons, gambling parlors, opium dens, and houses of prostitution. The town-site of Prescott was officially founded in 1864, as the Territorial Capital of Arizona. Many of the old wooden buildings on Whiskey Row were destroyed in “The Great Fire” of July, 1900, and replaced with more permanent concrete, brick, and stone buildings which are still intact today and give the town a very old-western appeal. While  shopping we were told to visit the Superstition Meadery, founded in 2012. Needless to say neither of us had tried Mead before so we were ready to sample it. Their mission at the Meadery is “To Reintroduce the World’s Oldest Fermented Beverage to Mankind”, and we wanted to sample the range of craft beverages, many of which are the top rated in the world. Oak barrel aging is the secret to many of the products they make at Superstition Meadery. The flight of Mead and Cider we tasted was excellent and we even bought a bottle to go. We stayed the night at the historic Hassayampa Inn, opened in 1927, with on-site bar and restaurant and very stylish rooms. We went for dinner at the El Gato Azul, a friendly, quirky little restaurant in walking distance from the Inn. Continue reading

’69 Mets 50th Reunion, Phoenix AZ

On Monday, November 11th we checked into the Sonesta Suites Scottsdale situated in the heart of Scottsdale’s exclusive Gainey Ranch neighborhood for three nights.  It was the celebration of the ’69 Mets 50th Reunion, and 9 Engineers from the Metallurgical Department at UBC along with their wives arrived for Happy Hour on the patio greeted by our hosts Alex and Karen Currie and the reminiscing began. Then it was a short walk to dinner at the Famous 48 Restaurant. The Famous 48 Local Kitchen & Bar gives a nod to Arizona, the 48th state, and we all enjoyed the American classics and favorite Arizona dishes prepared with the highest quality and freshest ingredients in season. Continue reading

Death Valley NP, California

After leaving Seven Feathers RV Resort we drove to Lone Pine, CA, and we stayed at the Boulder Creek RV Resort for two nights. Death Valley National Park was established in 1994, enlarging the park by 1.3 million acres. We have never visited here before and we were excited to spend a day exploring some of the Park. Death Valley is the largest national park in the contiguous US, and the hottest, driest and lowest of all the national parks in the US. It is this unique combination of low elevation and dryness that makes Death Valley the hottest place in the USA and one of the hottest on earth. On November 1st, we visited the Park, on a beautiful sunny day, not too hot. The road into Death Valley, SR 190, was narrow, winding and steep in some places.

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Crater Lake, Oregon

On October 26th, 2019, while staying at Seven Feathers RV Park in Canyonville, OR, we drove over to Crater Lake National Park for the day. Visiting this iconic Park for the second time was still a special treat, to see that brilliant blue color of the lake is still so impressive. There wasn’t as much snow this time but we couldn’t drive the entire Loop road around the lake yet, but we drove along the West Rim Road as far as we could. The Rim Road is a 33-mile loop that follows the caldera rim around Crater Lake, and was finally finished in 1919. We stopped at every view point there was to get different perspectives of the lake. There are eight main viewing areas with roadside parking, and it is 7,900 feet at its highest point. We stopped at the Rim Village for lunch at the restaurant that was open, before heading back. Crater Lake became the Nation’s sixth national park on May 22, 1902, by President Theodore Roosevelt. Click on thumbnail to view images Continue reading

Multnomah Falls, Oregon

After leaving Bellingham on October 18th, we stopped in Portland, Oregon, where we stayed at the Columbia River RV Park situated on the Columbia River. We had not stopped in Portland before and wanted to explore the area. We visited Multnomah Falls at the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, it is the tallest waterfall in Oregon at 620 ft. in height. It was a rainy day as we left to drive to the falls, but it cleared up as we arrived to view the impressive two tiers of waterfalls cascading over basalt cliffs. Some interesting history about the waterfall; it formed around 15,000 years ago at the end of a hanging valley, and was created by the Missoula Floods. The name comes from the Multnomah tribe, and according to legend, the waterfall was formed after a young woman sacrificed herself to the Great Spirit to save Multnomah village from a plague by jumping from the cliff, and the Multnomah people were saved. After her death, water began to flow from above the cliff, creating the waterfall. If you can believe legends from long ago! The waterfalls were even noted in the journals of Lewis and Clark during their expedition down the Columbia River Gorge in October, 1805.

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Trans Africa Safari

We began our 3 week Trans African Safari on September 17th in Windhoek, Namibia. We gathered together in the Terra Africa Guesthouse. At the Guesthouse we met Pat and Dan Bowen from Wisconsin; Joe and Carolyn Harley from Calgary; and four Australians: Steve and Toni Pearce from Newcastle; and Keith and Paulette from Melbourne. Along with Pat and Harry Koehler from Calgary and us makes twelve in our group. Our guide was Thulani from Zimbabwe, and our driver was Thamu.

We spent 3 weeks exploring Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe, experiencing the wildlife, culture and scenery only Africa can deliver. From marveling at the Victoria Falls to the breathtaking magnitude of Namibia’s dunes and big game interaction – this tour combined all the comforts of lodge accommodation with an unforgettable safari experience.

Bob, Keith, Carolyn, Paulette, Patty, Dan, Pat, Joe, Steve, Toni, Pat and Harry                  Continue reading