We took a 14 days cruise to the Caribbean and Bahamas with planned port stops in Jamaica, Aruba, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica and Bahamas. Dec 26, 2021 to Jan 6, 2022
We were planning on taking a 14 days cruise to the Caribbean and Bahamas with port stops in Jamaica, Aruba, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica and Bahamas. On the second day of the cruise and after the first port MSC private island in the Bahamas, there was an out break of Covid on the ship. Those who tested positive were quarantined to one of the ships decks. We were tested twice and was negative both times.
The scheduled ports of our cruise, all refused the ships docking. The passengers were left in the dark about the ships plan for the balance of our 12 days at sea. After 3 days at sea 3 additional port were added to our itinerary. Honduras, Belize and Cozumel (ports with looser Covid Restrictions).
Needless to say, we were disappointed that we did not get the cruise we expected and paid for. We made the best of the situation and tried to enjoy the balance of the cruise.
We traveled to the East African nation of Tanzania. We traveled with other family members. Our niece has been in Zanzibar for the pass couple of months on a hotel internship which was coming to an end during our visit. This is not the first time that we have followed her on he on personal travel adventures. We visited her during her China and Spain culinary internships.
We stayed primarily at the boutique luxury resort of Michamvi Sunset Bay in Zanzibar. Our stay included leisure days on beach, spa visit and day long sailing tour. The tour included guided snorkeling, dhow sailing, sandbank stop, swimming in a mangrove lagoon, a delicious seafood buffet lunch, massive tropical fruit tasting and honest Zanzibar hospitality.
The second part of our adventure was a stop on the mainland of Tanzania, where we visit our expat family. We also embarked on a two-day private safari and tours of Spice Farm, Stone Town, and Prison Island.
Weekend getaway in RV with friends at Senator Wash, just north of Yuma Arizona. It’s about 3 hour drive from San Diego. The recreational area is approximately 60 acres in size. There are many trees of various types and several secluded camping areas both on the water and further inland. Gravel beaches provide access to the reservoir. A dump station is available at nearby at South Mesa, but requires a fee from September 15 through April 15. Boat ramp available nearby? small watercraft can be launched from shore.
We try to do something interesting on our birthdays (in October) usually another country. This year we had planned to go to Aruba but at the last minute I noticed I couldn’t find my passport. What a bummer. So, we rescheduled for the Dominican Republic for New Year’s, hoping that my passport would be processed by then and we still can have some time outside the country. We know the traveling during covid has extra challenges. We get tested often before and after any trips and as a matter fact when we landed in Dominican Republic we were given a rapid test. While we were there, we still maintained all the covid safety measures, staying 6 feet apart, wearing a mask, washing hands often and spending most of our time outdoors. Majestic Elegant Resort where we stayed was an all-inclusive which included a couple restaurants that were outdoors which we took advantage as much as we could. Most of the time we enjoyed our time on beach, reading, enjoying a cigar and of course some cocktails. After our New Year’s meal, we enjoyed the resorts firework display. All in all it turned out to be a pretty good New Year’s for us.
We were in Chicago area in October Celebrating Birthday, so we spent some time in Grant Park area. Finished the day with a Chicago Style Pizza.
There are 2 secrets for a good road trip first have a detailed plan ahead of time and second be flexible, this was even truer than ever in the year 2020 due to the Covid outbreak. When we left Coronado, our plans were immediately changed when we agreed take 3 teenage boys along and deliver them to their parents in Conway Arkansas, so all the stops with plan between Coronado and Little Rock were basically dropped because the boys wanted to go straight through without stopping. Below is list of our plan stops and some that were added. We still had a great trip. One of our goals was to see as many roadside attractions as we could along the western historical route 66 highway.
Arkansas Little Rock
This museum in northwest Arkansas was founded in 2011 by Alice Walton and the Walton Foundation. Featuring one of the largest collections of American art under one roof, the temporary and permanent exhibits span the last five decades of American art. Notable pieces include works by Andy Warhol, Norman Rockwell, and Georgia O’Keeffe. The architecture and surrounding natural space at Crystal Bridges blend together for an aesthetically pleasing viewing experience. Crystal Brides maintains more than three miles of trails throughout their 120-acre forested property that are worth exploring, including a leisurely stroll along the aptly-named Art Trail. While we were there we were treated with the Hank Willis Thomas “All Things being Equal” Exhibit. If you every get a chance you should definitely check out his work.
The Arkansas Alligator Farm and Petting Zoo is a privately owned zoo located on Whittington Avenue in Hot Springs, Arkansas. The farm raises alligators and has done so since it was founded in 1902. The farm includes a small museum with a collection of mounted alligators, a souvenir shop and a snack bar.
Van Buren Recreation Area
Van Buren Recreation Area is part of the Ferry Dam. Ferry Dam stands at the foot of beautiful Round Mountain in the Ozark Mountains of north-central Arkansas. Numerous parks offer modern camping and recreational opportunities. Marinas provide rental services, food and other supplies and services. Lake fishing is good throughout the year. A trout hatchery furnishes trout for the Little Red River flowing out of the dam. Hiking trails give visitors a beautiful natural view of the lake and its surroundings. Activities on and around Greers Ferry Lake will keep anyone busy.
Oklahoma Oklahoma City
The Oklahoma City National Memorial is a memorial in the United States that honors the victims, survivors, rescuers, and all who were affected by the Oklahoma City bombing on April 19, 1995
The Blue Whale (Catoosa, Oklahoma)
Another quirky roadside attraction is the Blue Whale of Catoosa, a waterfront structure that is one of the most recognizable icons of Route 66. Immersed in a beautiful pond and surrounded by a shaded picnic area, it is a great spot to stop and eat al fresco before the drive ahead to Oklahoma City.
Cadillac Ranch (Amarillo, Texas)
A short 15-minute drive from Amarillo lies one of the most iconic and quirky sites on Route 66; Cadillac Ranch a public art installation and sculpture. Amongst the red Texan desert sits 10 half-buried graffiti-covered Cadillacs nose-first in the ground. Visitors are encouraged to create their own art by spray painting a part of their chosen Cadillac.
Kitschy, saloon-style steakhouse offering patrons a 72-oz. steak challenge & a souvenir gift shop. n 1960, R. J. “Bob” Lee opened The Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo Texas on Route 66, the “Mother Road”. It’s distinctive architecture soon became recognized across the Mother Road as a good stopping place for great steaks grilled over an open flame. The Big Texan is famous for the FREE 72oz steak challenge, which includes eating a salad, baked potato, shrimp cocktail and 72 ounces of beef!
Jack Sisemore RV Museum
This place is FANTASTIC. For several reasons. 1- the museum is build on love for the past camping and nature enjoyment. 2- the examples are in excellent restored / original shape and really reflect the past. 3- the admission is free BUT the VALUE is PRICELESS! 4 and Last The RV store has great people that know their product and are just plain NICE to BUY stuff from.
So GO and enjoy a great look at the past AND consider supporting the owners by making a purchase!
(Agua Negra Chiquita) Once known as Blue Lake, it is one of seven sister lakes connected underground by a vast system of water. This wonder defines Santa Rosa even as it seems to defy the surrounding red mesas. Born of a geological phenomenon called the Santa Rosa sink, the place is magic—as water always is in a land of little rain. Nomadic tribes, cowboys driving their dogies cross the Pecos, and Americans going west on the Mother Road, Route 66, all sought respite here. Although it was closed due to Covid, Robin managed to get a photo.
Bandelier National Monument is a 33,677-acre preserve encompassing some of the most dramatic volcanic landscapes and archaeological ruins in the state. Former home of ancestral Pueblo people, the area was occupied from AD 1150 to 1600. Among the remains of the indigenous habitats are structures such as masonry walls and dwellings that were carved from the volcanic rock, as well as petroglyphs that illustrate the Pueblo culture and daily life. This national park has an educational museum, hiking trails, and campsites.
For a real experience in contrast, visit the Ice Cave and Bandera Volcano, “The Land of Fire and Ice,” right on the Continental Divide. Walk through the twisted old-growth Juniper, Fir, and Ponderosa Pine trees; over the ancient lava trails; down into the cave; and into a dormant volcano. Inside the cave, the natural layers of ice glisten blue-green in the reflected rays of sunlight illuminating natural arctic algae. Take a walk around the Bandera Volcano and view one of the best examples of volcanic eruption in the country. Browse the historic Ice Caves Trading Post featuring ancient artifacts, geologic souvenirs, refreshing snacks, and warm New Mexican hospitality.
Camel Rock is located in Pojoque, between Santa Fe and Espanola. There is really not much in Pojoaque — it is the closest town to several Native America reservations in the area — so unfortunately the small town is filled with several casinos and all-you-can-eat diners. There are a few tacky souvenir places in Pojoaque with rubber drums, fake Kachina dolls, tomahawks, etc. Anyhow, Pojoaque is pure Americana.
How can you describe Camel Rock? It’s basically a rock that looks like a camel sitting down. There is a giant lower rock and a large rock which shoots upward forming a neck, that is crowned by a rock on top, the head.
Montezuma Castle National Monument protects a set of well-preserved dwellings located in Camp Verde, Arizona, which were built and used by the Sinagua people, a pre-Columbian culture closely related to the Hohokam and other indigenous peoples of the southwestern United States, between approximately 1100 and 1425 AD.
Bearizona is approximately 160 acres. Visitors will drive through more than three miles of Ponderosa Pine Forest viewing North American animals in natural habitats when they visit. More animals are exhibited in Fort Bearizona, a beautiful 20-acre walk-thru area, along winding paths which is more of a “zoo” typesetting.
The park can accommodate most modes of transportation, including cars and RV’s. Bearizona welcomes tour buses and as a special service to our tour bus guests, offers a step-on tour guide for no additional fee! Guests who are a little more adventuresome and want to feel the brisk high country air and un-obstructed views of our wildlife can take a ride on our Wild Ride Bus Tour which departs from the Fort Bearizona parking lot at several times throughout the day.