This is the 14th Family Trip, a week in Ft. Myers Beach, Florida by ourselves and then a week with Michael, Nancy, Ethan & Lucas (June 16th to June 28th, 2018). We flew in a private jet for the first time and rented a condo right on the beach.
We had a great time visiting friends, taking a pontoon boat around Matanzas Bay, taking a power boat out to Cayo Costa Island, riding a swamp buggy to see alligators, sailing on a pirate ship and, of course, lots of beach and pool time.
We went on the Extended Discovery Cruise North, a 9-day trip up the northern coast of Southern California (Sept 8th to Sept 17th, 2017). The "Dana West Explorers" were Jim & Bev (our leaders), Bob & Kathy (part of the trip), Gary & Julie (part of the trip), Alex & Laurel, and us.
We spent 2 nights at the Cabrillo Beach Yacht Club (San Pedro), 2 nights at the Del Rey Yacht Club, 2 nights at the Pacific Corinthian Yacht Club (Oxnard) and 3 nights at the Santa Barbara Yacht Club. The weather was warm, sunny and we had some great adventures and terrific company!
This is the 13th Family Trip, a 5-day trip with Steven, Christine, Cadence, Brody & Bryce (December 26th to December 30th, 2016). We drove up to Big Bear two days after a storm dumped a lot of snow to the Lakeside Living rental, a 3-bdrm house on the lake.
We had a great time playing in the snow and sledding, but no snowboarding or skiing because of the crowds.
This was Part 4 of a complicated trip. We flew from Greenville, SC to Miami to spend one night before driving to Key Largo (June 6th to June 11th). We swam with the dolphins in a Natural and Structured program. We also played with a couple of sea lions. We got really lucky and were able to water a mantee and her pup right in front of our hotel. We also rented paddleboards a couple of times and rented a jet ski.
Pictures and journals for Part 1 of the trip are in Adventures in the USA/2016-05 Florida. Pictures and journals for Part 2 and Part 3 of the trip are in Family Albums/2016-05 Dana & Marcia and Family Albums/2016-06 Don, Michael & Tillman). Pictures and journals for Part 5 are in Adventures in Foreign Countries/2016-06 Cuba.
This was Part 1 of a complicated trip. We spent two weeks (May 11th to May 25th) in Ft. Myers Beach, Florida just hanging out. We watched sunsets, went parasailing and jet skiing. We rented a boat for the day and went to Cayo Costa. Another day we spent at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates. We went on a tour to see manatees and an airboat tour to see alligators.
Pictures and journals for Part 2 and Part 3 of the trip are in Family Albums/2016-05 Dana & Marcia and Family Albums/2016-06 Don, Michael & Tillman). Pictures and journals for Part 4 are in Adventures in the USA/2016-06 Key Largo. Pictures and journals for Part 5 are in Adventures in Foreign Countries/2016-06 Cuba.
We went to see Yellowstone in the Winter for 10 days (Feb 1st to Feb 11th). We took two snowmobile tours into Yellowstone Park, one to the Canyon and one to Old Faithful. We saw lots of animals on the Canyon tour and we watched Old Faithful erupt and stopped at several thermal features on the Old Faithful tour. Yellowstone is sure very different in the winter.
Then we rented a snowmobile to go on our own up to Mount Two Top for a day. This was an awesome Winter Wonderland with the trees laden with ice!! We went to the Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center to see bears and wolves. Then the last day we went dog sledding and had a lesson on how to drive a dog sled.
This is the 11th Family Trip, an 8-day trip with Diann & Rex, Dana & Marcia and Darryl & Peggy (July 9th to July 19th, 2015). We sailed from Sitka on the NatGeo Sea Lion on July 12th. We stopped each day to hike through the rainforest and to play with the zodiacs and kayaks. We saw humpback and killer whales. We saw salmon, bald eagles and sea otters. We went close to the Johns Hopkins glacier and the Dawes Glacier. Our expedition ended in Juneau where we went to the Mendenhall Glacier.
This was another successful family trip. It was great to see Diann, Dana & Darryl spending time together and getting to know their respective partners. It made for some great family bonding!!
This was the 9th Family Trip, a 5-day trip with Michael, Nancy, Ethan & Lucas (Dec 22nd to Dec 27th, 2015). This was a driving trip -- no flying!
We went sledding and romping in the snow with the kids, especialy Ethan, who was fascinated with the gondola!! Michael and Nancy spent two days boarding while Grandpa and Grandma babysat the boys. We were unexpectedly lucky to get new snow on Christmas Eve!! This was not in the weather forecast until Dec 23rd. We had a wonderful White Christmas!!
This was the 8th Family Trip, a 7-day trip with Steven, Christine, Cadence (6 yrs), Brody (4 yrs) & Bryce (10 mos) (Aug 24th to Aug 31st). We flew to Maui on Aug 18th, a few days early.
We went snorkeling, went to the Maui Ocean Center Aquarium, played on the beach, and played in the pools. Steven & Christine took Cadence and Brody to a luau. The next day Steven and Christine went ziplining. On the last day, we all went on a snorkeling boat trip to Molikini and Turtle Town. We all had a fantastic time!!
This was the 7th Family Trip, a 2-night trip with Steven, Christine, Cadence (5.5 yrs), Brody (3.5 yrs) and Bryce (4 mos) (Feb 19th to Feb 20th). This trip was in Steven's tradition of going snowboarding on his birthday. We rented the same condo that we rented last year, right on the slopes of Snow Summit. This makes it so easy--no driving to and from the slopes.
The weather was probably the exact opposite as it was last year. There was NO snow at all, except on the slopes. It was a cool 32 deg at night, but got up to 70 deg or so during the day. Kevin and Shawn came up for the day and stayed for dinner. We all had a great time celebrating Steven's birthday!!
This was the 5th Family Trip, a 7-day trip with Diann & Rex and Dana (Nov 9th to Nov 16th). We flew to Maui on Nov 5th, a few days early. Carl & I went Snuba diving on Friday. That was really awesome!! We picked Dana, Diann & Rex up from the airport on Saturday.
We drove to Hana on the East End and to the blowhole on the West End. We did some shopping, had some great food, relaxed, went swimming and Rex even had time to meet up with a buddy from work.
Dana and I went ziplining through the trees on a Canopy tour on Friday, the last day. What a kick in the pants that was!! Then Dana flew back to LAX with us on Saturday and stayed 4 days before flying back to NC.
We went on a road trip north along the coast, mostly Hwy 1 (May 6th to May 10th). We spent the first night in Ventura and visited relatives. We stayed one night in San Simeon and then two nights in Monterey. We went to the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
We stayed in Rohnart Park (just south of Santa Rosa) for two nights. My niece, Krista, graduated from Sonoma State on May 11th (see Family Albums/2011-05 Krista's Graduation).
After the graduation, we came south on Hwy 1 again (May 12th to May 16th). We stayed two nights in San Simeon and visited Hearst Castle. We stayed one night in Carmel and then one night with friends in Arroyo Grande. But then we took Hwy 101 instead of Hwy 1 because it was faster. It was a great trip (1,300 miles).
This was the 3rd Family Trip, a 2-night trip with Steven, Christine, Cadence (4.5 yrs) and Brody (2.5 yrs) (Feb 19th to Feb 20th). Steven has made a tradition of going snowboarding on his birthday whenever he can. So...we celebrated Steven's birthday by renting a condo right on the slopes of Snow Summit. This made it easy--no driving in snow to and from the slopes.
The weather was perfect!! It was clear the day we drove up, but snowed that night. Michael and neighbor Mike came up for the day and had to deal with chains. But, the slopes had several feet of new snow!!
We went to Chattanooga, Tenn for a few days (Sept 21st to Sept 24th). We visited the Tennessee Aquarium, Ruby Falls in the Lookout Mountain Cave, the Raccoon Mountain Caverns, Rock City, and rode the Tennessee Valley Railroad.
Then we drove to North Carolina to visit Dana and Marcia (see Family Album/2011-09 Dana & Marcia) for a few days (Sept 25th to Sept 27th). On the drive from North Carolina to South Carolina we stopped at Dry Falls and Bridal Veil Falls.
The main purpose of the trip was to attend Michael's wedding in South Carolina (Sept 28th to Sept 30th) (see Family Album/2011-09 Michael's & Laicie's Wedding). We went to the wedding on Sept 30th and then we went back to Dana's (Oct 1st to Oct 3rd) to go to a fair before flying home from Chattanooga.
Every year the Parker 4-Wheeler Club in Parker hosts a Desert Splash. We've tried for several years in the past to time the President's Choice Run so that we could watch the vehicles come up the Launchpad at the end of the run.
We went to the Car Crush on Friday night and then on Saturday we were able to watch and video vehicles going down and going up the Launchpad!!!
We went to Maui for 12 days (Sept 9th thru Sept 21st). This is a picture of the moray eel we found in Honolua Bay.
We went to the Iao Valley, the Haleakala Crater, the Kanaio Coast by boat, snorkeled at the Molokini Crater, drove around West Maui, drove the Hana Hwy, snorkeled in Honolua Bay, ziplined (not Carl), and snorkeled Lana'i and went 100 feet down in a submarine.
We did a lot of stuff, but also we took it easy and relaxed. At least more than we have on other trips. We had a really great time!!!
We used our exchanged RCI timeshare in Sedona again this year. We spent a few days in Sedona on our way to the Grand Canyon in June 2004 (pictures in the 2004-06 Grand Canyon, Sedona album below) and also a week in January last year (pictures in the 2008-01 Sedona album below).
No snow this year!!! Most of the Forest Roads were open, so we went to new places, as well as revisiting old places.
After using our Jeep for 2 years, we finally modified it with new 33" tires and a 3-1/2" lift kit. Check out more pictures in Personal Albums in the 7 Modified Jeep album.
We took it out to Parker to test it out!!! We drove part of the Parker 400 racetrack through Osborne Wash, and then took it on the more difficult Buckskin Mountain trail out to Kenny's Bar. We are really pleased with the improved performance!!! What a lot of fun!!!
Then we drove the Roamer, towing the Jeep, to Prescott to meet with Scott for some 4x4 training!! Awesome!! Check out more pictures in Adventures in the RV in the 2008-02-20 RV Prescott album.
We used our exchanged RCI timeshare in Sedona this year. We spent a few days in Sedona on our way to the Grand Canyon in June 2004. Check out the pictures in the 2004-06 Grand Canyon, Sedona album below.
Sedona is a beautiful area, appropriately called Red Rock Country. This time it snowed in the mountains surrounding Sedona. We went to some Indian ruins we'd seen before, went to some new ruins and drove the Jeep around on snowy Forest Roads. Sedona is just as beautiful in the winter as it is in the summer!!!!
Well, I finally retired--on Friday, November 4, 2005!!!
We left for Florida on Thursday, November 10th. We stayed a few days at our favorite Best Western until we moved into our condo on Saturday. We stayed until December 14th--a whole month. We slept in, walked on the beach, visited local attractions and visited with friends. It was a great, relaxing vacation!!
We spent 10 days going to Sedona and then the Grand Canyon. We spent 1 night in Jerome, the old mining town, and then stopped to ride the Verde Canyon train on the way to Sedona. We stayed in Sedona for several days taking an ATV tour and a Pink Jeep tour. We stayed one night at Oak Creek and stopped at Walnut Creek Canyon to see the ruins.
Then we stayed at the Grand Canyon for several days. We hiked the Rim Trail and stopped at all the overlooks. Then we went into town to the IMAX theater. We stopped at the Grand Canyon Caverns and hiked the Hualapai Mountains on the way home. We had a GREAT time!!!! What a beautiful country!!
We took a 2-week trip to Florida, again. This time it was for Carl's birthday. This trip was more of a research trip than a tourist trip. We wanted to check out the possibilities of living in Florida when I retire in about 1-1/2 years. We went to Safety Harbor and Cayo Casta with a realtor and researched boat slips and marinas (in case we decide to live-aboard a boat).
But we played too. We went to Ding Darling, on an air boat, to Sanibel, rented a boat and went to an air show. We also visited friends like Alvah, Mark and Barbara and Jack Hayes. We had a really busy 2 weeks!!!!
We flew to Alaska for 10 days. We flew into Juneau, but the next day we got on a boat, going up the Alaskan Marine Highway to Skagway.
We spent 5 days in Skagway. We went on the steam train to Lake Bennett, learned about the history of Skagway, went to the Denver Glacier to ride on a dog sled, hiked the Chilkoot Trail and rafted down the Taiya River.
Then we flew back to Juneau for 5 days. We hiked the Mendenhall Glacier, went to the Tracy Arms Fjord and flew home. Alaska is a great place to visit, but we wouldn't want to live there!!!
We went to Hawaii again!! This time we went to Oahu for 8 days, for Darryl's 50th birthday. Dylan, Nigel and Ryann, Darryl and Megan, and the two of us rented a couple houses on the North Shore of Oahu for a week.
This year there were six of us on our annual week-long snowboarding/skiing trip to Powder Mountain, Utah (Michael, Sabrina, Steven, Grandma, Carl and me). We used the RCI timeshare for a great condo at the Powder Ridge Condos. It was the same as the large one that we had last year; with 2 bedrooms, a loft and 3 bathrooms. It was ski-in, ski-out.
The kids and I went snowboarding and sking for a couple days. Then we took a day off to rest our muscles. We wanted to go to the famous Shooting Star Saloon, but it was closed. We spent the day playing games. Then a few more days of snowboarding and sking and we had to go back home.
Michael, Steven, Carl & I had a great snowboarding/skiing trip to Powder Mountain, Utah for a week. We used the RCI timeshare at the Powder Ridge Condos. It was one of the largest that we've had. It had 2 bedrooms with a loft and 3 bathrooms. It was ski-in, ski-out.
We skied and snowboarded for a couple days. Then we went to Huntsville to go snowmobiling. We needed a day for our muscles to recover from all our strenuous activities. Then we skied and snowboarded again and came home. What a GREAT, GREAT trip!!!
We went to Florida for a week. We flew to Ft. Lauderdale for a day before we drove to Ft. Meyers Beach. We went to Edison's and Ford's homes. We walked on the beaches, rented a boat for the day, went to the "Ding" Darling Wildlife Refuge and went on an airboat.
Then we drove to Key Largo where we went snorkeling and swam with the dolphins!! That was really awesome!!! Then we drove back to Ft. Lauderdale and flew home.