Hi Dear Friends!
Our son Stephen is doing great in CNC machining school in Norman, OK and will graduate in May. He is thrilled to have a new girlfriend, Julie, and we are so happy for him. In December he had laser surgery on his eyes so he is ecstatic about ditching his eyeglasses after 20 years.
Our daughter Teddi and her fiance Nick moved to Canberra, Australia in June to start exciting new adventures in life. Nick has a scholarship for PhD studies at the Australian National University. They would love for you to follow them on Facebook. We are so proud of them both. We miss them terribly.
2011 has been a busy and happy year for us – a big improvement over 2009 and 2010, when we lost our entire photo studio to someone who declared bankruptcy. We are still getting over that.
We got the house back in December of 2009 and worked 17 months to resell it. April 29, 2011 was the happiest day of our lives! It was also a day of joy for the buyer, a lovely young couple from Oklahoma City. They were thrilled to get exactly the house they wanted for a great price.
In June we were able to leave town for good. We drove north to Omaha, Nebraska and got into the middle of serious flooding on the rivers there. We were delighted to overlap our RV friends Mike and Julie Swain, who were in town for the birth of their first grandchild.
We drove to Milwaukee and spent a month with Carol’s sister Sharon and Gordy Hinrichs, Mike Powell, and all the extended family. We parked BessyBus in their front yard and made a few dents.It was wonderful to spend that time with them.
After Milwaukee we headed due west across the great plains for our first full time travel adventure. Our itinerary for 2011 makes us feel very spoiled. It’s like we are on a permanent vacation that never ends. We are so grateful for this happy time together. We balance driving with resting, and touring, so we don’t get too worn out.
Here’s our 2011 itinerary:
Jan – Fiesta Bowl, Phoenix
OU Norman Sooners – 48
U Conn Huskies – 20
We spend a lovely afternoon in Tucson, hiking with my cousin Kaye Ronsman and mate Kathy Phelan at Saguaro Nat. Park.
Yuma, Arizona – gettin it on with our Escapee Friends. We park our RV’s in a circle on BLM desert land and dry camp for two weeks, enjoying the company of our dear RV family away from home. We share dinner each nite and tell lies around a big campfire.
Parker, AZ – the stunning blue Colorado River flows through a stark, barren landscape.
Feb – Las Vegas, Hoover Dam
Valley of Fire State Park, northeast of Vegas
March – Shawnee, OK – I get to play tennis and spend time with family and friends in Shawnee and Norman.
June – Omaha
July – Milwaukee, Wisconsin Dells
Mt. Rushmore, SD
July 28 – Devel’s Tower, WY
Aug 1 – We stop at Billings, MT to spend a couple days with our dear Escapee Friends, Jim and Sandie Dixon. They give us the royal treatment. They buy a new 5th wheel and we get to see it first! I can’t find a shot of Sandie and me but here’s one I love of Steve and Jim sharing a good belly laugh.
August – Glacier National Park and Waterton, Canada
Two Medicine Lake, Glacier
famed “Going to the Sun Road” thru Glacier
Ceremonial powwow of Blackfoot/feet Indians, Browning, MT
I heard munching outside my window and snapped this shot to prove a herd of cows went strolling through our RV park.
Coeur d’alene, ID – Steve’s 10.5’ inflatable Sea Eagle boat that he keeps in the bed of our Dodge Dakota crew cab 4×4 truck. It’s more efficient but we sure do miss our Trailblazer.
August 20 –The wedding of our nephew, Patrick Dwyer, and his lovely bride Maria Cuenca, in Seattle
The Three Dwyer Kids – Paul, Karen and Steve
Sept – Fort Flagler, WA – Paul and Dee spend one week each summer on the Olympic Penninsula at the tip of Marrowstone Island living in a quaint army barracks. They cook loads of crab and salmon, sing, dance, preach, hike, fish, scuba dive, and make wonderful memories. After hearing about this for 20 years, we were finally able to share Ft. Flagler with them this year.
Paul outside the Barracks at Flagler
Row of Army buildings from a bygone era. Ft. Flagler had a battery of cannons to protect Puget Sound and Seattle.
beautiful curving seashore leads to Flagler lighthouse
Sept/ Oct – Seattle, Mt. Ranier, Pike Place, Music Experience, Space Needle
And Olympic Penninsula – Port Townsend/Sequim/Neah Bay/Forks, WA
View of Mystic Bay from the front porch of Nordland General Store across the street. Our bus is parked nearby. We stayed at Smitty’s RV and made lovely new friends, Lynn and Smitty.
whale watching cruise out of Port Townsend
Dream breakfast at a rustic cabin looking out on the Strait of Juan de Fuca!
The morning windowlight was a luminous silver.
Oct – Carol’s 45th class reunion, Seymour, WI
Cousin Doug and Rosie take me in overnight at their lovely home in DePere. Doug just got a fancy new Canon 60d camera and is going crazy with it.
Some people say they wouldn’t bring their bus on 101 because it’s too curvy or hilly. We did not find that at all. The road is smooth and new and the best drive of our lives. Once you are here, you cannot turn inland or you will run into the Cascade Mountains which would be life threatening for a big RV in the winter. The steep grades are scary enough in the summer, but slick with ice, snow and white outs in the winter.
Murals at Old Town along the bay front, at Newport, OR. Beautiful murals are common all along the Oregon coast.
We buy whole, live crab right off the boat for $5 each. Steve learned how to clean them from brother Paul. Crab cakes! Crab omelettes! Crab stuffed tomatoes! Crab Louie!
Real fishermen at Charleston, OR get their crab pots ready for winter season.
Loud, sassy Stellar Sea Lions barking up a storm at Crescent City, a block from our bus. We both heard barking in the nighttime and thought we were dreaming it.
Google the heart-warming story of the Mary D. Hume, the only steamer that worked for almost 100 years. She rests in the very spot where she was built, at the mouth of the Rogue River, and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Would make a great movie.
We feel like we are cheating to be this far north in the month of December without any winter weather. The natives think it’s cold here, but for Oakies its lovely and mild. Daytimes are sunny and 50-60 degrees. Nights get down to 40.
We have toured every town on the Pacific coast from Astoria, Washington to Crescent City, CA.
Crescent City CA lighthouse
Steve is Mister Spoiled Rotten at The Mill Casino, Coos Bay. The rate was $30 per night, but only $20 if you took this one spot near the trash, knocked down to $18 for having Passport America, and 7th night free, giving us seven luxurious days for only $15 per night!! “And don’t forget your swimming pool and hot tub key,” she says! (What?!!) We are enjoying pool, hot tub, casino, four star restaurants, and a shuttle that picks us up at our door and drops us off anywhere in town. Who ever heard of a casino shuttle taking you 25 miles to see the special Christmas lights display in town.?!!
Lovely Christmas lights at Shore Acres State Park on the coast, west of Coos Bay.
We just loved the redwoods, so silent and sacred. These are at Jedediah Smith State Park.
Dec – We pass into California. We are stopped at the state line. A female cop boards the bus and digs through my vegetable drawer. She confiscates all my oranges that were not grown in California. She orders me to go out by the side of the road and peel all my nice oranges. “I just want the peelings for proof,” she said. She suggested I should eat the oranges, not bring them into the state.
We pass through the Napa valley on hwy 128 (bad idea!) and arrive in Oakland, CA for Christmas with brother Roger Runnoe, wife Dale, and their young adult kids, Jessie and Jeb. They graciously include us in three whole days of Christmas celebrations! We love our stuffed stockings and many gifts, including tickets to Revels Christmas Pageant in Oakland. This was our first time to meet Jessie and Jeb. Those are two amazing kids.
We will spend a week touring San Francisco and then we will be back in southern Arizona by Jan 15. Plan to be back in Shawnee/Meeker/Norman, OK by March, 2012.
I am sad that I could not make one blog entry for each day of our travels. When we return home around 6 pm, it takes me two hours to process the photos, not because I have so many, but because my software and computer have slowed down to a crawl. Then it takes me two hours to write the words, even though the message is short, I compulsively rewrite until I feel it is polished. Then I open the blog and it takes two more hours just to upload the words and a few photos. As a result, it is six hours of effort for one teeny post. I know my friends are guffawing at me as they read this, because their blog entries take only 15 minutes. Jeri Williams finally got me to download Windows Live and I am using it for the very first time tonight on this long post. It works much better than posting directly into WordPress, because the photo upload has a slow two-step process. In Windows Live it is a simple drag and drop.
Uploading also takes me longer than people in houses because my internet is a Hughes satellite dish on the roof with an average upload speed of 900 kilobytes per second.
I hope to speed up in 2012 so I can post a short one every day.
Happy New Year Everyone!
Steve and Carol Dwyer
“I left my heart. . . .in San Francisco.”
High on a hill, it calls to me. . .
to be where little cable cars,
climb halfway to the stars,
the morning fog, may chill, the air,
I don’t care.
My love waits there,
in San Francisco
above the blue
and windy sea.
When I come home to you
your golden sun