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Parrottrek Journal 2015

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The picture perfect Hard Rock Hotel in the center of Universal Studios

Our big comfy room for the week of our Good Sam conference

A welcome platter from our VP for having a great year

The hotel is just steps to some of our favorite restaurants

January 11th - Universal Orlando Resort - Good Sam Conference -
We officially survived our first year with Good Sam, and had a blast at it. We traveled all over New England helping RV Resorts and campgrounds market their businesses, reach out to campers, show off their amenities on all of Good Sam's webpages, and give them some input on how they can make their RV parks better for the consumer. Most of these interactions went over quite well, and a few, not so much. But we are done with our inaugural year, and now get to spend an entire week with the other 40 couples that do the same thing all around North America. We checked into the hotel today, which was a convenient 45 minutes drive from our place here in Florida, unpacked, and set out to explore our surroundings. We walked around the pool, took in a little sun, browsed through the gift shop, and ran into a few other Good Sam couples doing the same. A few of us decided to head over to Universal City Walk for a nice lunch before our welcome reception later today where we will meet up with the rest of the couples and all our support staff from California.

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Monday night they took us to Blue man Group

Dinner backstage before the performance

Great seats and great company

A photo op with one the Blue Men

January 12th - Another Evening of Fun - Blue Man Group -
Our day was filled with a few very productive meetings and interactions with other rep teams on how their summer went. The Hard Rock provided a great breakfast and lunch for us, and we were whisked off to dinner backstage at Blue Man Group before the performance where we had great seats for a very entertaining show. I came incredibly close to being pulled up on stage by the Blue Men, but avoided it by pretending to not see them all staring straight down at me with the spotlight they shined on me. Whew! That was a close call. The poor girl that they did pick was a good sport, and did quite well with the mock vomit they shot at her.... yuck! After the show a bunch of us took pictures with the Blue Men and their band members and braved the rainy walk back to the hotel.

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Universal Studios was closed to everyone but our group. AMAZING!

So great to see friends that are usually just a voice on the phone

Thank you Good Sam and Camping World for all your hospitality

We spent the evening in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

January 16th - A Private Evening at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter-
What usually holds around 40,000+ people was opened for the 200 of us. Our group of Good Sam was around 100, and our sister company, Camping World had around 100 people in their group. The duel roller coaster Dragon Challenge, that usually has a wait time of 60-90 minutes, had about a 5 minute wait and four and a half of those minutes were taken up by the time it took to walk through the entrance area of the ride that usually holds the line of die hard Harry Potter fans waiting for one trip around the Dragon Challenge. We of course went on it about 12 times in a row, and then hit The Forbidden Journey, a ride like nothing we've ever been on, that is housed inside the infamous Hogwart's School of Witchcraft, and it was awesome! The only downside to the evening is when the clock struck midnight, and we all turned back into civilians and had to leave Harry Potter's magical world. But have no fear, we will head back here tomorrow to see all the glory of Hogwart in the daylight, however we will have to share it with the usual crowds... bummer!

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We went back Saturday to check it out in the daylight

Even if you're not a Harry Potter fan, the buildings are amazing

Dinner and margaritas

A fun night listening to the dueling pianos at Pat O'Briens

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We met up with a big group of friends to watch the launch at New York New York

Our Good Sam blankets came in handy when the evening cooled

The launched was delayed... and delayed... and delayed...

It finally went off... ... 5 days later, but our friends got a great shot of it!

February 8th - The Space X Rocket Launch - New York New York -
On the banks of the Indian River sits an old rustic tiki bar full of character and more historical events than any other hole in the wall on earth. It has pretty much been there since the beginning of time and has always been the locals place to watch launches. Back in the day there was standing room only during a Space Shuttle launch, but as the space program diminished and the shuttles were sent elsewhere to be gazed at on ground level museums and Presidential Libraries instead of soaring over our heads like the stars they floated past, New York, New York began to get a little more quiet. Even though the locals enjoyed this, the business owner didn't. Now that Kennedy Space Center is beginning to lease out space, no pun intended, private enterprise has stepped in, which means for lots of new launches sending all sorts of apparatus into space, and a bustling New York New York where friends gather and memories are made.

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Dinner overlooking the Indian River

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We checked into the Queen Mary

The long wood-lined hallways to the room

Chillin in the bedroom

Our quaint sitting room

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February 11th - Sleeping On a Legend - The Queen Mary -
Getting across the country in 5 hours traveling at over 575 mph at 30,000 feet is quick and efficient, but I sure do miss the scenery that flashes by our windows when we drive at a little over a tenth of that speed (give or take) on solid ground. An aerial view of this country is quite amazing, and thinking of how many of the little roads that we soared over today we have actually driven on, is quite surreal. Our trip out west this week is to celebrate my very best friend's 40th birthday. There will be 11 of us setting sail aboard a Carnival "Fun Ship" for a long weekend of relaxing, celebrating, eating, and being entertained all while exploring the beaches of Mexico... ... and we can't wait. In order to ensure we made it on time, had enough rest the night before to prepare for our fun filled weekend, Frank and I decided to fly in a day early. When we first started looking into hotels, we figured one at LAX would be our best bet. This way our friends could pick us up on the way to the boat and we wouldn't have to worry about a car. But as we did some more research and really started to think about it, we realized that staying at the airport might just the most boring place on the planet to stay. So we looked into more desirable locations... ... behold, The Queen Mary. Not only is it a stone's throw from The Imagination, the boat we will board tomorrow, but it is a piece of history and an amazing vessel to explore. As you step aboard this ship you almost feel transported back in time. The hallways are filled with pictures from the early days when it transported vacationers, to war time when it transported soldiers. We walked through areas that are open to the public and snuck into a few paces that were closed off with caution tape and locked doors (unless you know how to unlock them, thanks to our very knowledgable driver that picked us up from the airport) We gazed at the Long Beach harbor across the water and took a trolley over to the marina where we enjoyed sights of the Queen floating in the harbor. The weather was perfect and since it was a weekday we had the whole place to ourselves. There are stories of The Queen being haunted and all I can say about that is... if you spend the night here you might just see some things and hear some sounds that wouldn't quite rule anything out.

We are steps from the cruise ship we will board tomorrow with friends

The views of Long Beach out the window. The weather here is perfect!

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We took a long walk all around the ship

We almost got close enough to pet him

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Checking out the marina

Cocktail hour over looking the Queen Mary

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The bridge - where this glorious ship was steered from

The ship's wedding chapel. And yes, you can still get married here.

The closed down pool that we snuck in to see shhh!!! Yes, it was dark and scary. ECK!

The beautiful skyline of Long Beach Harbor at night.

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Everyone is here and we're ready to board

One the gang plank headed to the boat

By the pool with drinks in hand

The boys catching up

February 12th - Having More Fun than Imaginable - Aboard The Imagination -
11 great friends + 71 hours + balcony suites + 88,000 square feet of ocean floating fun + 187 activities on board + a stop off in Mexico = The best 40th birthday weekend ever! We all met up, luggage in hand at the port in Long Beach with priority boarding tickets. Once onboard we were handed a cocktail as our bags were whisked away to our rooms so we could all hang by the pool, listen to music, and read over the itinerary for our weekend. After we had lunch alfresco by the pool and soaked up some sun, we headed to see what sort of accommodations we had. Deluxe suites with a balcony was the answer to that since we had booked our trip so long ago. Frank and I swung our sliding glass door open as soon as we entered and never closed it again all weekend. There is something so soothing about listening to the ocean waves lapping against the boat and the being awakened by the sun pouring through your wall size window each morning. Once we unpacked and got our fill of ocean scenes we all met up again in the lounge for a comedy show, followed by dinner, followed by a magic show, followed by more comedy. And this is just day one... well, actually it did spill over into day two. :-)

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Breakfast in the dinning room

All dressed up with places to go!

Our Valentine's Day dessert

Watching the sun rise from our balcony

February 14th - Valentine's Day at Sea - Ensenada, Mexico -
The best part of being on the west coast is waking up at the crack of dawn because your body is still on east coast time. One of the best things about being on a cruise ship is that you can order gratis room service any time of the day, and if you fill out a little form and hang it on your door the night before they will bring you croissants, yogurt, and fruit along with juice, hot tea, and coffee at your choice of time, so you can enjoy breakfast while watching the sun rise. Since it is Valentine's Day we decided to take this alone time before calling the rest of the troops and starting our day in Mexico.
We all departed the boat around 11 and hopped on a bus that took us into town for shopping, and walking to La Bufadora, which is one of the largest marine geysers in the world. When you first look at it, it simply looks like a rocky beach wall until a flood of water shoots about 100 feet from it. It is quite a sight to see, and if you're not careful you can get soaking wet. The weather today was about 80, so none of us felt the need to stand in the wet zone, but on a day in summer when the temperatures here can reach 100 the wet one would probably feel fantastic.

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Breakfast on our balcony

At the beach

Before the waves come in

The blow hole when the waves come in

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We had the track to ourselves on Wednesday when the teams were practicing

Lined up ready for testing

In front of last year's winning car

February 22nd - Raining Sunshine - The Daytona 500 -
Just a year ago, in fact just a mere 364 days ago, we attended this same race... where it rained and rained and rained and rained and... well, you get the picture. We literally stood under the grandstands for six hours, and a few of those were because they had to evacuate the stands due to tornado warnings. YIKES! I was ready to chuck it all and go home, but a certain unnamed individual in our party is such a die hard NASCAR fan the rest of us decided to stick it out and stay. The track ended up running out of both hotdogs and beer that day. Ran Out Of Beer! Can you imagine how many cans they had to go through to run out of beer at a NASCAR race? We aren't beer drinkers, so we were fine, but you should have heard the uproar when it happened. Anyways, back to today, we are happy to announce that the race went off without a hitch and all that flowed from the sky today was gorgeous sunshine without a cloud to be seen for miles. We didn't have to wait for anything but the busses to take us back to our car, and even though the favored driver of our group didn't win, we had a blast.
A couple days back we drove up here to take a tour of the track, see last year's winning car on display, and watch the cars test out the track and do some time trials. Those days there were about 500 hundred people milling around but today there were over 20 times that amount of people, and the whole place was packed.

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Watching the guys work on the cars

In Pit Row

Crazy boys seing how banked the track is

The crowds head to the stands for the race

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The live lobster arrive and Sammy checks to see they are all there

Enjoying our feast with our fellow traveling friends - the Kleins and the Heaths

We're ready to drop them in the pot. Everyone else ran off

The table is set we are ready to eat our perfectly cooked lobsters

February 27th - A Good Sam Lobster Feast - Titusville, Florida -
A few weeks back, while we were at Conference in Orlando, Frank and I won a contest and were given a certificate for six fresh Maine lobster. Yum! Since we had just spent the summer in Maine and had pretty much eaten our weight in lobster we were having withdrawals, so this prize came at with perfect timing. Since there just happen to be two other couples that work for Good Sam currently in TGO, we thought it more than appropriate to share. We set up the delivery to be Friday via FedEx, and met at Dan and Flo's around 4pm with lots of side dishes, a couple bottles of wine and our little crawling friends on ice. Neighbors of ours lent us their huge turkey cooker, so we could boil the water quickly, keep it at temperature and fit and cook all of our delicacies at once. The man who sent us the lobster also sent us instructions on how to cook them and boy did they turn out perfect. We threw a couple steak on the BBQ, each of us made a side dish, and we ate like kings.

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Hooked up and ready to head west with our handy mini van

Each day we were supplied with great views and changing terrain. You can definitely tell the changes in vegetation from east to west

A rest area in Texas with private pull outs for RV's... pretty cool

March 3rd - ... ...And We're Off! -
This spring we are headed west on our Good Sam travels. Since our first state, Nevada, is a smidgin warmer this time of year than New England, where we spent last summer, we decided to head there a little early in order to get a head start, and take a little time to visit friends on the way, and while in the state. We sure do love Florida and our family and friends there, but we are explorers at heart so moving on down the road is heaven to us. Our first stop off was San Antonio Florida, where we spent a long weekend with friends, followed by a stop off in Texas at the coolest rest area we've ever seen, and then a couple days in Arizona where we visited new friends from Good Sam and long time friends from our very first days on RVing. The best part of exploring each and every corner of this country is knowing that you have friends in each and every nook of the states and get quite a few chances to meet up.

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A stop off with Patty the Great

The ever amazing Lake Mead

Even Cody made a friend along the way

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30+ mile bike trail - All paved and traffic free

Over the hills... and boy were some steep

And through the tunnels...

Along Lake Mead we go

April 3rd - I Think I Can... I Think I Can... - River Mountain Bike Loop -
Note to self... next time husband suggests that we take a 38 mile bike ride that includes 2800 feet of climbing after not being on a bike for 3 months, drop him off at the trail head, go home and read a book. I should have listened to that little voice in the back of my head that said, "this perhaps is a little too much for today" But no, my headstrong self decided heck, I can do this, and do it I did... until the last 7 miles... but that's jumping ahead. We started out the ride in the center of Boulder City. Over 38 miles of total protection from any traffic other than the occasional walker and cyclist = color us happy. The trail started out with a few downhills and then a few uphills. The views were pretty great, including one of the entire Las Vegas Strip off in the distance and another of Lake Mead. As the hills began to get steeper and the winds began to get stronger our legs began to tire a bit but it was exhilarating. You know, those workouts where you feel like your lungs might explode and your legs might give out all at the same time you feel on top of the world. Then the hills got even steeper, not the uphill ones... the downhills. The wind blew so hard in our faces my eyes started to water and the cross wind at times felt as though we might get blown off the hill. Luckily my brakes didn't fail, or overheat. Why? Because I had to pedal the whole way downhill in order to fight the headwind and keep moving. 28 miles into the ride we noticed that the next set of hills were big, in fact it was only one and it literally went up and up and up for 7 miles. Off to the left was a sign for the Lake Mead Marina (which was a downhill ride) so I headed left as Frank headed up the hill and into a 30 mph headwind to go after the car and come back for me. What a man! And what a ride. When he did return his legs were toast so we hung out at the Lake's restaurant long enough for lunch and his legs to recover. Someday we'll do this ride again... after a shorter break than 3 months.

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At the Hyde Bar in Bellagio

Drinks overlooking the water show

3rd row tickets to "O"

An amazing show on land and water

March 14th - An Evening "O"ut - Las Vegas Nevada -
This town is quite intriguing. You can walk down Las Vegas Blvd and see women dripping with diamonds, cross the street in front of Maseratis worth more than most people's homes, walk through casinos and see people drop five figures on the black jack tables, all while the neighborhood bum has his hand out as you walk from one glitzy building to the next. Anything goes in this town, including the luck of our evening. No, not at the gambling tables, we weren't too lucky there, however people watching at the craps table has got to be one of the best hours of entertainment one can get in this town for a nominal fee. We lucked out in our choice of dinner and more importantly our after dinner cocktail bar choice. After enjoying some delish sushi at Bellagio, we were walking to the ticket office to pick up our tickets for "O". Out of the corner of my eye I saw a window where you could see a great view of the water show in the front of Bellagio, and an open door with a very large man standing in front of it in a very nice suit. Feeling confident, I walked over and asked him if we could go inside and watch the water show. He told us that they were closing down for a private party, but if we promised to stay for a short while he would let us in. SCORE! He walked us in and lead us to a booth that was wide open to the outside. Not just any outside, but the backside of the fountains without a single person in front of us, not to mention a bird's eye view of The Strip. "Don't pinch me, Frank if I happen to dreaming, or if this is a side effect of Saki." We sat there for about 40 minutes, enjoyed the show a couple times over, and left right as the DJ announced the doors to the private party were opening. As it turned out it was perfect timing since "O" would be starting in about 30 minutes.
We left The Hyde and walked to the theatre where we enjoyed third row seats to one of the most amazing shows I've ever seen. The stage started out solid with characters dancing and flipping across it and then all of a sudden people came diving out of the sky from 20 feet above us onto the same stage, that was now water. We highly suggest if you ever find yourself inside Bellagio not only is "O" something you have to hit... The Hyde bar Is. A. Must. You'll never want to watch the water show from the street again with hundreds of others crowded around you and blocking your view. Wow!

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Happy camper with her new swing

Playing hie-n-seek and blending in well

This week's accommodations come with a tiki hut, a BBQ and some gorgeous sun sets

April 15th - Over The Hump to Pahrump - Pahrump, Nevada -
Never quite knew what this phrase meant until today. I guess I just thought it was a cute slogan that rhymed. As it turns out the "Hump" refers to the insane mountain range you have to drive over from Las Vegas. 3200 feet of climbing to be exact. In a car you don't realize how steep of a grade this is, but when you are driving a 40,000lb vehicle each foot of climbing is felt. Oh, hmmm, perhaps you don't know what or where Pahrump is... well, you'll just have to Google that on your own, and please remember we just rate campgrounds, now...back to our regular programing. The views weren't quite as scenic as some we have seen, but once you get to Pahrump the hill levels out and the desert scenery gets a tinge of green, and trust me ever since we left Florida we have been starving to see miles and miles of green, but a few splotches are enough for now. We stayed at Nevada Treasure and yes, it did up to its name. It is a little gem in the middle of the desert with huge RV sites, tiki huts and BBQs. The birds loved the tiki hut, since their perches could hang from inside and they could not only enjoy the shade, but were blocked from the sky. Since birds do have amazing eye sight but aren't always able to tell if the thing flying above them is a plane at 35,000 feet, or an eagle at a mere 350 feet a roof over their head gives them peace, and gives us a little peace too, since each time they think they see a predator they make a deep growling sound and flap their wings, as if to say "That thing up there might eat me." and we have to calm them down.

April 18th - Views, Vixens & Lemon Verbenas -
Since we just had to come back to Las Vegas for some "work" and some play this week, we figured why not make the most of it. We met up with our good friend Chris for dinner and drinks at The Cosmopolitan one evening where they have a special drink called the Verbena. It is essentially a lemon margarita with a verbena flower on top, but the maître d' makes it sound like the most amazing thing you'll ever taste in your entire life by his romantic description. You're supposed to take a sip of the drink, then eat the flower, then finish your drink and your mouth comes alive with flavor. In reality the flower makes your mouth feel like it might just melt off your face and the drink doesn't taste any different except that you can't taste anything and now that your mouth is totally numb you feel like your drink might be pouring down your face. You begin to fear everyone around you might think you're hammered since you feel like you're drooling and spilling your drink, even though you've only had two sips. Luckily, you are actually keeping it your mouth.
As for the "work" we had to do this week, we took our A/C out for a weekend on the town. What's an A/C? No, it's not an air conditioner, it stands for Account Coordinator, and more importantly it is more of a Who question. Her name is Lori and she is the liaison between us and the California office of Good Sam. She makes our life easier, our job even more enjoyable, and verifies that all we send into the office is correct, and if it's not, nicely corrects it... ... and, she just happens to be a Brittany Spears fan.

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The first sip of the cocktail was good, and now we eat the Verbena flower

Brittany Spears! We were there a couple weeks before she broke her ankle.

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Call us teeny boppers, but we had a blast. We all danced, sang along, and thoroughly enjoyed the show.

Needless to say none of us were as thrilled as we should have been. I tried to spit the flower out, Chris almost threw up and Frank just sat there stunned.

Since Oxnard is just a few hours from Vegas, and Brittany Spears just happend to be performing here in Vegas, Lori and her husband decided to come out, visit us, and see Brittany live. Back in the 90's when Frank and I owned a ski boat we used to blast Brittany on the speakers and waterski and wakeboard to the upbeat music, so her songs brought back fun memories of good times with friends, and a great bet to dance to. We dined on sushi before the concert, and hamburgers after... dancing for hours does make one hungry. The morning after we met up again for an early lunch and took a loop on the world's largest ferris wheel - The Highroller, which goes nice and slow 550 feet up in the air and gives you a bird's eye view of the Strip, the mountains around Vegas and miles and miles of scenery.

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We board the Highroller ferris wheel

At the top of the circle

Lori, Ken, Frank and I enjoy the views

The views were breathtaking!

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Camped in Winnemucca, surrounded by snowy mountains

Now a historic landmark, The Martin Hotel used to be a boarding house

Previously known as the Lafayette Hotel Complex & Roman Tavern

It now houses a Basque family style restaurant with more food than imaginable

April 26th - 18 Years to Life - Winnemucca, Nevada -
This is our 10th wedding anniversary that we have celebrated since we hit the road and we haven't celebrated it in the same location since, which has been our goal. Winnemucca might not be the most romantic place on earth, but it might just be the coldest this time of year. We literally had snow. It didn't stick where we were, but it made for some gorgeous views of the snowy mountains all around us. And, Winnemucca is full of history. We went to see 'Woman in Gold' at the towns one three theatre movie house, followed by dinner at The Martin Hotel which was established back in1898 as a boarding house to local Basque sheepherders and is now on the National Register of Historic Places. It still serves as a Basque restaurant, but has been modernized a bit. Basque food is something we had never heard of and just had to try. It is a family style atmosphere which means for one price they bring you plates and plates of side dishes, big bowls of soup, salad, wine, and an entree that you are way to stuffed to eat when it arrives. To top it off they bring you homemade desert, in a to go container in case you need a midnight snack.

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A walk down the beach of Lake Tahoe

A bite to eat and a glass of wine overlooking the lake

The Sunset Bar lives up to its name with great views

Enjoying the forest and the trees

May 14th - 17th - Lake Tahoe to The Delta - A Scenic Commute -
As we wrap up all of our campground visits here in Nevada, we took the weekend off to visit our old stomping ground of Lake Tahoe. Every year we used to make the long yet beautiful drive from Santa Ynez to Lake Tahoe with friends and Frank's grandparents. Frank's aunt and uncle and cousins would drive from Sonoma and we would all get together for a week of skiing, snow boarding, enjoying hot cocoa by the preverbal fireplace at the bottom of the ski lifts, playing games back at our hotel or cabin, and cooking together while catching up on each other's lives. Some of our best family memories were made here. We drove to both places easily as though it hadn't been 10+ years since we've been here. The cabin looked a bit more rustic than we remember but then again, snow can make everything look more romantic in the middle of winter.

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The old cabin we used to rent when we went skiing with family

The Ridge, overlooking Heavenly, another one of our winter getaways

Camped on the Delta, Frank was in heaven watching all the boats go by

A perfect Cody sized tree

Once we had our fill of Tahoe, we started our drive to California with a top secret mission to accomplish... crash my dad's birthday dinner, and then our planned mission of watching our youngest niece, Torrie, graduate from Santa Ynez High School followed by a fun weekend of family events to celebrate her accomplishment. Our first night's stop was on the banks of The Delta. A beautiful waterway in Stockton that flows through housing developments and marinas, and a very nice RV park. We sat outside watching sailboats and fishermen float by while we bar-b-qued and let the birds play in the trees that were perfectly sized for them.

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The restaurant we had dinner at in Montecito. It was delish!

Juliana's reaction when we walked in and sat at their table

Pops told me, when his dessert came, he didn't need to make a wish, with me, Juliana, Frank and Marianne all there on his birthday made all his wishes come true!

May 19th - Happy Birthday to Pops! - Montecito, California -
Just the drive to California made me happy, let alone the moment when I hugged my sweet dad on his 79th birthday. I felt a little shady however, since I had called him that morning to wish him a happy day to throw him off that I was just miles from him. I didn't technically lie about our whereabouts when he asked. His question was " Have you started your drive to California yet?" My answer... "Yes, we have! And I can't wait to see you." Frank and I arrived a little early to the restaurant and sat in the lounge with Juliana's daughter, Marianne. She and I have become quite good friends, thoroughly enjoy each other's company, and love the sweet union of our parents. These two are so happy together it truly makes my heart happy. For example, we had a bird's eye view of their entrance into the restaurant. My dad pulled up the car to the valet, handed the young man his keys and walked around to let Juliana out of the car. As she grasped his hands to be helped out of the car the smile on her face as she looked at my dad was heartwarming. The way they leaned on each other as they took the short walk to the door of the restaurant, the way he opened the door for her and took her purse as she stepped in to free her hands, and the happy laugh she let out as Frank and I walked to their table and asked "Is anyone sitting here?" My dad looked a little puzzled at first as if to say "Who are you to join our table", but after Juliana yelped with glee my dad realized just "who" exactly we were. We had a wonderful dinner and a great time and I realized we were, just as the sign on the door said... Lucky. Lucky that work led us to the west this year, lucky that we worked hard to finish up with all our Nevada clients early, lucky to have a table full of loved ones, lucky that happiness has found these two people who lost past lifetime loves.

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Kevin & Renee. Very proud parents

Torrie is officially out of high school

We are so very proud of you, Torrie

The Smith family... all grown up

Our Babies, All Grown Up - Torrie's Graduation - Santa Ynez, CA -
A little over 18 years ago the photo on the left was taken of two of the sweetest little girls that have graced this planet. Today those two little ones are all grown up, and Frank and I have had the honor of a front row seat to watch this. Whether we were in the same town with them or miles apart they have always been a part of our lives and an even bigger part of our hearts. Lucky for us, we have been fortunate enough to watch each of them progress from one stage of life to the next. 2 years ago we sat in these same bleachers and watched Hayley walk across the field and receive her diploma and today we are witnesses to Torrie's walk, surrounded by friends and family. It's crazy how fast time goes by. I don't feel much different than the day these two girls were 2 and 6 weeks old, but seeing them grown up makes me realize we have changed. We've grown closer as a family, have had hundreds of happy memories and a few life shattering ones. Ones where we didn't feel one or more of us could pull ourselves off the floor and move on, but with the strength of each other, we did. And have grown stronger because of it. Dozens of holiday memories, family vacations, quiet dinners together, loud festive ones, little tifs, sharing deep dark secrets knowing they would never be shared with anyone else, and the list goes on. I can't wait to see what life will bring next for these lovely ladies and we plan to be there through it all. More happy memories and perhaps more sad ones. That's the great thing of life... it is always a mystery what is around the corner, but being a lover of mysteries I plan to boldly walk through the next door of life, just like these girls. Here's to your future, Hayley and Torrie, and all the different things life will hand you that will make you even more awesome people than you are today... If that is even possible.

mhdinef

Time flies. This photo was taken 18 years ago

We love you both more than words can ever express, and are so proud of what amazing women you have grown up to be... and can't wait to see what comes next. Please always promise us that we can continue to get front row seats to your lives. I've never had the desire to bear a child of my own, or raise it for that matter, but I am SOOO glad we've always been able to get the perfect ratio of "child rearing" from you, where we can spoil you rotten, make life long memories, pop in and out of town, and send you back to your fabulous parents.

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