Christmas Trips

Dates: December 7 to 10, 2018

Location: Our daughter and son-in-law’s home near Tacoma, Washington

On Friday, the 7th, we got up super early and packed our luggage into our neighbor Jim Lee’s car. He was nice enough to get up super early to drop us off for our 7:50 AM flight out of Orlando to Seattle. We breezed through check-in and security (that PreCheck paying for itself again) and boarded our plane on time.

When we arrived in Seattle, our son and daughter were both at work and both grandchildren were in school, so we picked up a rental car for the weekend. We spent the weekend visiting, making cookies, etc.

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We also went with the family to church on Sunday. We got up early Monday morning, loaded up our rental car with some of our luggage and headed to the airport for part 2 of our Christmas trip.

Dates: December 10 to 17, 2018

Location: Disney’s Aulani Resort, Ko Olina, Hawai’i

We had visited this resort back in 2016 for our 30th wedding anniversary as cash paying customers. This time we decided to go using our timeshare points from our Disney Vacation Club membership.

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Our flight arrived an hour early (yay, Alaska Airlines) and we surprised our shuttle company. They were waiting for other passengers, but ended up taking us to the resort instead.

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Our room was advertised as Island Gardens view (i.e., the back side of the building). However, it wasn’t much of a stretch to see the ocean and our balcony faced the sunrises each morning. As an added bonus, we could see the stage for the luau that they had a few nights while we were there and could clearly hear the music and narration.

Sadly, the first day we were there, Malcolm came down with a cold. Fortunately, it didn’t hit him as hard as they usually do, so we managed to do a lot of relaxing outside. Val caught the cold a couple days later and managed to suffer through, as well. Housekeeping left two extra boxes of tissues with us at our request.

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Cold Medicine

We spent most of our time at the resort, taking advantage of the various swimming pools, hot tubs and the lazy river.

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Adult Hottub View

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Lazy River

We did take one organized excursion around the island of Oahu. Our bus left the resort at 7:30 AM and arrived back at 5:45 PM. We saw many different sites along the way. Malcolm took his big camera and posted the pictures from that journey here: [Click]

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Our Ride for the Day

We also had a special dinner at the sit-down restaurant at the resort on Friday evening to celebrate Val’s “special day”. Val was adopted and her special day celebrates when she came home to live with her adoptive parents.

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On Monday, the 17th, we checked out of our room around 11:00 AM but our flight wasn’t set to leave until 11:25 PM that night. Aulani lets you stay around all day if you want and they even have a lounge with attached bathrooms (complete with showers and lockers) so that you can go swimming if you want, then change into travel clothes before you leave. That room closed at 6:00 PM, so we changed around 5:00 PM and caught a cab to go to the airport fairly early.

We arrived at the airport at 6:00, figuring we’d get checked in and head to get something to eat. Unfortunately, we had to wait until almost 7:30 PM outside with our luggage. The USDA checkpoint was closed until then and you have to put your checked bags through their machine before you can drop them off with your airline.

We finally got back to our gate around 8:00 PM to find out our flight had been delayed and was now going to leave at 1:00 AM. We napped, watched videos on our phones, etc. until we could board the plane. We both ended up napping the whole way back to Seattle, arriving around 8:00 AM. We rented another car for the rest of the week so nobody would have to come get us at the airport.

Dates: December 18 to 22, 2018

Location: Our daughter and son-in-law’s home near Tacoma, Washington

The final part of our Christmas trip is back here in the Tacoma area visiting family for Christmas and New Years. We ran around with Elizabeth on Wednesday while the children were still in school. We wandered through a few different antique stores and had lunch at Lucky’s, dining in the bus.

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The Dining Bus

Lucky’s is all take out drive-in type food. You order at their stand and, if you want, can sit in their bus and eat. The food was tasty and it was a unique place to eat.

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We also ran across this cool 1947 Dodge in a parking lot in Sumner, Washington. Since Elizabeth was dressed in period clothing, we decided to do a little photoshoot. The owner of the car was in the nearby barber shop and came out to let us see the car, hear it run and for Elizabeth to get pictures in and around the car.

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The granddaughters’ last day of school until after the first of the year was on Thursday, so we’ve had more time to hang around with them since then.

Today, the local fire department came down the street with Santa Claus in tow. He stopped and gave the girls candy canes. It’s a cool tradition and lots of fun.

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We’ll be seeing lots more of our son-in-law’s family over the Christmas holiday and will be here until January 2. More to come…

 

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Wait, Where Are You?

Current Location: Fort Toulouse Campground, Wetumpka, Alabama

We’ve really been lax in updating our blog. Sorry about that. We’ll be making that up with a few blog posts, divided up a little differently. Note that our current location is again listed at the top of the blog post. It was a sort of trademark thing that we missed.

First, where we’ve been and where we are.  We’re obviously back in Alabama. When we last posted, we had been in Fort Myers, Florida.

We left Fort Myers and headed up to Tampa, Florida for several days. We met our friend Robby for dinner one evening in Ybor City and otherwise just relaxed. We stayed at Lazy Days campground, taking advantage of their free breakfast and lunch coupons while we were there.

The rest of that week, we spent in Mexico Beach, Florida at Rustic Sands. We visited with David a bit and Malcolm got some work done. The last time we were at Rustic Sands (beginning of January), the owner encouraged us to renew our Passport America club card. Rustic Sands offers their Passport America rate ($24 a night) every day except for the summer season. We’ve been paying much more than that in prior visits. This visit, we saved quite a few dollars, even on a three night visit.

After we left Mexico Beach, we parked in our old “home” campground at Fort Toulouse in Wetumpka, Alabama. Our trailer has been here since. Malcolm worked in the office here the last three weeks of February. On March 1st, we flew out from Montgomery, Alabama and spent 10 days and 9 nights at Disney’s Aulani Resort and Spa in Hawaii. More on that in a separate blog post.

We got back from Hawaii yesterday afternoon and are now trying to reset our jet lag clocks. We ended up sleeping in until around 10:00 AM this morning, for example. Also, our stomachs are off time, as well. Changing time tonight won’t help, either. On top of that, for Malcolm, he will be flying to San Diego this coming Monday to spend a week out there in meetings for work. His internal schedule is going to be all over the place.

More posts over the next few days about the Hawaii trip and a few other topics, so stay tuned.