Friday, August 8, 2014

Hangin' Around - May 29 - August 7, 2014

Welcome to the Low Adventure portion of The Program.  Not that tranquility is always a bad thing . . . 

When last we wrote we had inelegantly crossed the bar, moved ashore at the Paradise Fishing Lodge and spent several days drying Abracadabra out and putting her into "summer slumber" mode.  

We then spent a week committing acts of tourism in San Salvador (a flash-back post on that trip to come).  From there we flew to Sacramento, California, checked into a Hampton Inn (it's all about the waffles) and got much-needed hair cuts. 

Once presentable we began ..... 

Taking Care of Business  

As much as we like to touch base with our compadres here in The Old Country we're visiting this summer primarily because Captain Bryce needs to take care of some medical  "bidness". He needs a new right hip.  A whole hip replacement.  Ouch.  

As retired civil servants we have really good health care insurance so we chose to return to the U.S. for surgery in the belief that for a relatively affordable price we could get a new hip, recover and be on our way within four or five months.  

Oh, foolish people.

We met with our primary care doctor on May 30th to start the process and surgery has finally been scheduled for November 5.  Math Lesson:  5 months, 6 days.  Cue the laugh track from Canada.  Thank god we don't have a single-payer health insurance system or we would be waiting for, oh, maybe seven months and paying, oh . . . nothing

In the meantime we've been . . . 

Having Some Fun

We have joined friends for lunches and dinners in Sacramento, San Francisco, Napa, Sonoma and El Dorado County.  If we were the sort of people that put our world view on t-shirts, our's would clearly say:  Will Travel For Food.  Will Travel Further For Food And Wine.

We have had some boat time including a few days at South Beach Marina on Gusto (thanks, Bob and Kathy) and an afternoon on The Bay on Solar Wind (thanks, Frank and Irene). 

One take-away was how much Solar Wind looks like a real sailboat - it lacks all the "Tinker's Caravan" stuff that's strapped onto cruising sailboats.  What a joy to be on a boat performing it's prime function - sailing!

The Generous Captains, Letting Bryce Take The Wheel

Glamour Shot

[Photo Credits: Molly's replacement Panasonic Lumix received as an early birthday gift from Brother Robert and Brother-in-Law Tom.  Thanks, guys!]

House-Sitting - Plus+

We have been house-sitting in Sacramento mostly for our friends Ken and Claudia Carlson who have cleverly chosen to beat the Sacramento heat by VRBO-ing it on the coast for several weeks.  We also house-sat for a few weeks for one of their neighbors, Karen, who was travelling in Europe.  There we enjoyed her beautiful garden and bonded with Velvet the cat. 

The Carlsons are such great hosts that they invited us to leave our duty post at their house and join them in Pacific Grove on Monterey Bay for a couple of nights to enjoy the spectacular view from their VRBO and the cool air of the seaside.  One day we joined the rest of the tourists on the 17-mile drive where we looked at sea lions (stronger flippers / bark) and seals (more varied coats / grunt).

The Tourist Hordes

The Seal Hordes
Claudia Pointing The Way . . . Ken Paying
Absolutely No Attention

Bryce Scientifically Cataloging Sea Lions, Seals and Tourists

Fog, Cool Fog!

The Requisite Lone Cyprus Picture

We learned that if you go to the Monterey Bay Aquarium early or late enough in the day you can have a relatively adult experience.  It was our first visit there since beginning our Travels on Abracadabra and it brought home to us how our lives have changed.  We weren't just looking at interesting specimens -- we were looking at creatures with whom we share the Pacific Ocean; some we strive to avoid . . .   

Pretty - But Stingy

and others we eat when we can . . .  

Calamari On The Hoof

Our Take-Away:  The Monterey Bay Area is hugely touristy.  But there's a reason for that.

Being "At Home"

It's been fun being so close to our old neighborhood (our house is only a few blocks from where we've been house-sitting).  We've enjoyed old bad habits: eating too much at Dad's, buying too much cheese, meat and wine at Taylor's (what does it mean when the butcher asks where you've been?), eating pizza and drinking half-priced wine on Thursdays at Masullo's, getting "just a little something" at Freeport Bakery; and hanging around The Coffee Garden eavesdropping on conversations and drinking ourselves jittery.  

But it hasn't all been bad habits.  We've visited some local yoga studios, and some mornings and evenings have even been cool enough for us to enjoy taking long walks through the neighborhood.  We've returned to our favorite stalls at the Sunday farmers' market.  Having access to the combination of a real kitchen and air-conditioning has prompted Molly to dig out some cold-weather recipes (meat loaf and smashed potatoes and roast chicken, and roast vegetables of all sorts).  

Next week we move out of our old "hood" to a big house in the 'burbs while our friends Frank and Irene Chan travel the Pacific Northwest.  In addition to enjoying their home and beautiful yard, we're looking forward to being near the American River Parkway.  If you have reason to visit Sacramento, don't miss traveling along this river-side walking and biking trail.  It's a gem.

Next: Road Trip!!!

Waiting around for a surgery date is no fun.  At all.  And if one spends too much time in doctors' offices one can begin to believe that sickness and infirmity are the inevitable future.  Yikes - we've gotta get out of this place!  So, now that we finally received a surgery date we are going on the road.  Well, that and we're beginning to run out of house-sitting gigs and if we're going to stay in another Hampton Inn we don't want it to be in West Sacramento . . . .

So on the 22nd we're flying steerage class to Buffalo, where we will stay in a Hampton Inn.  The adventure begins!  

Actually we're stopping there only for a night.  From Buffalo we will drive across Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and into Maine.  Road Trip!  

We are encouraged to try another long car trip because our summer of 2012 road trip and our trips down and then back up the Baja Peninsula were so fun.  And this time we have a scientific mission to accomplish:  

To determine if one can actually get tired of eating lobster and drinking micro-brewery beers.  

We'll report in on that.  

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