Wednesday, January 24, 2007

January 24, 2007 UPDATE

Hi all – we have returned from our cruise – weather was beautiful. Of course, you never can go on a trip without some problems. We boarded and our itinerary had changed when we got out to sea. Our first stop was to be Freeport – one engine went out and we hobbled to Nassau (home port for the ship) for repairs. There were repairs done on ship while we were sailing – just enough to get us to port. The first day and half was spent “at sea”. The seas were quite rocky – the pursur told us her entire staff was sick from the high seas. Ken and I wore our ‘sea bands’ but Ken had to get a seasick pill and was okay after that point. One of our tablemates said they watched a couple cruise ships pass us by as though we were standing still. Needless to say, the noise from the one engine and the thrusters kicking in to keep us on course gave way to no sleep.

Our itinerary was flip-flopped around and when we got to Freeport, everything was closed and we spent only five hours there (we originally were to spend a whole day). We walked the clean, white pristine beach and enjoyed the weather and got a little sunburn. However, we did get to spend a full day in Nassau. We took two shore excursions – one was a historical tour of the city and the other was the Atlantis Aquarium and hotel. It was a beautiful Aquarium. In fact, there is a part of the hotel called the “Bridge” and it rents out for $25,000.00 per day and the minimum stay is a week!

I don’t need to mention anything about the food – anyone who has heard or gone on a cruise knows they are noted for their food – this was no exception! All the food was delicious and there was plenty to go around. Midnight buffets, pizza all night (24-7), ice cream all night, etc., etc.

We spent three days prior to our cruise with our son, Tim, and ate out every night enjoying the local cuisine. Tim is an avid surfer and we sat on the beach and took many pictures of him in the surf riding the waves. We were sorry to leave him. When you get this age you begin to cherish these memories more and wish you could turn back time and enjoy them again and again.

We are currently on our way to MS, but have stopped in Bradenton, FL to visit with my parents and my brother and his family and to have lunch with friends of ours from Girard – Gregg & Betsy Mitcho. We leave first thing in the morning (Thursday). Will update in about a week. Keep warm!

Julie & Ken

Monday, January 15, 2007

January 15, 2007 UPDATE

As many of you know, we left Girard, PA on January 1, 2007. Our first day got us to a church camp in Romance, WV where we stay each year. It is quiet and overlooks a beautiful lake. We have even used our photo in our Sunday Program at church.

We then continued to visit a friend in Spartanburg, SC and had a most enjoyable visit and the next day camped in Pine Mountain, GA. Home of Callaway Gardens and FDR’s Little White House.

We have an extra “rider” with us this year – his name is “Flat Taylor”. There is a story called “Flat Stanley” written by Jeff Brown. In the story, a bulletin board fell on Stanley as he slept and he became ½” thick! He wanted to go on a trip, so his family folded him up and mailed him in an envelope to California. One of our little boys (Taylor) in our church is participating in this “trip” but didn’t quite know where to send him. His sister, Hannah, was with their grandma Doris and they were discussing where to send Flat Taylor. You have to know Hannah – she is a very intelligent and energetic child of 5 years old and she very confidentially said that Mr. & Mrs. Davis were going on a mission trip so Flat Taylor should go with them…hence, “Flat Taylor” is traveling with us to points south and MS. I was excited to bring him along and show him all the places we are going…it is also an educational experience for the Grandview Elementary School children as they read of his adventures…and he has had a few!

On January 4th we arrived in Columbus, GA and celebrated Russian Christmas with my family. There were 21 family members in attendance. The only one missing was my sister and her family that live in Girard. She had chemo scheduled and could not make it. President Bush was coming to Ft. Benning, GA (only about 10 miles away from us) after we departed for Naples, FL.

Here we visited Dixie & Rae Atwell, friends of ours from church. They showed us a good time, we played “hearts” and celebrated a “big” birthday with her.

Leaving Naples on Saturday morning, we saw an accident. Apparently, we ran over some debris and had a blow out. In FL they have Road Warriors who stay with a vehicle in trouble…what a relief. She waited until our roadside assistance came, followed us to the garage and bid us farewell. What a great assistance to have. We had our spare put on, bought a new tire and went over to my brother’s home to repair it. Ken and George (brother) fixed it. We were surprised it was not as damaged as it could have been. The side panel was ripped off when the tire blew out, we lost a mud flap, the metal had been bent back and there were lots of wires hanging loose. We were fortunate that it didn’t damage our water heater or floor of the motor home…which sometime happens. Fortunately, I build into our trip a few days of doing nothing in the event we have any problems on the road.

Today, Sunday, January 14, 2007 we are camped at Hanna State Park in Jacksonville, FL visiting with our son, Tim for a couple of days. On Thursday, we take a 4-day cruise to the Bahamas before we head to MS to begin our mission work.

I will try to post a new message each Sunday – so watch for updates weekly (except this next Sunday since we will be “at sea”).

Have a great week and if any of my cherubs are reading this --- I MISS YOU!!!!!!
(and everyone else at home)

julie & ken