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Weblog 2003


December 29, Lake Tahoe

101_0149.JPG (61758 bytes)101_0155x.JPG (56561 bytes)Sometimes you get what you asked for.  It's been snowing so hard we have been pretty much stuck in the house.  We took advantage of a large, sloping hill in back of the condo for some tubing.  The temperature is below freezing and more snow is in the forecast.

December 27, Lake Tahoe

101_0122.JPG (119853 bytes)It's time for the annual winter getaway at Lake Tahoe.  This year we decided to upgrade and rented a four-bedroom condo on the lakeshore.  Driving down from Reno, we saw almost no snow, so we all wished hard for some white stuff.  The skies were clear making for a beautiful sunset from the back porch.

December 21, Houston

TX009.JPG (84706 bytes)TX015.JPG (104801 bytes)The HBS Club arranged an outing for members and guests at Reliant Stadium.  It was brunch at the Lone Star Club (with the cheerleaders) followed by a game between the Houston Texans and the Tennessee (formerly Houston Oilers) Titans.  Very good brunch and most exciting game of the year.

 

December 18, Houston

PICT0004.JPG (106770 bytes)We hosted a holiday reception for all the residents of the tenth floor of our condominium.  The free flow of wine catalyzed the conversation for people who normally only meet at the trash chute.  The party was scheduled for 6:00 to 8:00, but almost everyone stayed until 9:30.

 

December 17, Houston

The HBS Club had beer tasting  at the St. Arnolds Brewery.  This microbrewery was started by one of the club members.  Our favorite brew turned out to be Lawnmower which, despite the name, does not use lawn clippings in the mix.

December 16, Houston

Pat won a drawing for two free tickets to the premier of the movie In America.  With nothing conflicting on the calendar we went and enjoyed the show.

December 10, Houston

PICT0043.JPG (93257 bytes)PICT0053.JPG (123605 bytes)Pat had her second annual bridge luncheon in the St. James party room.  Sixteen ladies competed for prizes.  Lunch was served at the half-time break.  General consensus was that Pat had topped last year's event.

 

November 30, Houston

PICT0030.JPG (110619 bytes)With the football season winding down, it appears that the hometown Houston Texans will be watching the playoffs from their living rooms.  Even so, its fun to see them play in beautiful Reliant Stadium especially against a team they can beat like the Atlanta Falcons.  Lew got to see this one as a guest of Shell Oil in their suite.  Not too shabby.

 

November 28, Austin

dickandjann.JPG (100783 bytes)scrapbook.JPG (96193 bytes)ellenlew.JPG (130996 bytes)Thanksgiving dinner at Dick and Jann's gets more complicated each year as the extended family expands.  Someone suggested a family org chart for next year.  This year there were 20 adults and 8 kids attacking the turkey, crown roast, ham, and much, much more.  Nobody went home hungry.

November 26, The Valley

Sunrise.jpg (47794 bytes)It's good to know that some members of the family get up early.  Ross and Kelly saw this spectacular sunrise over their backyard and snapped this photo.  

 

November 25, Houston

We are back from the New Orleans national bridge championships where Pat and her partner Esta Van Zandt finished 12th overall in the Womens Life Master Pairs.  This was a two day competition featuring the best women players in the world.  A great achievement for Pat.  Lew, playing with Joe Elsbury, finished third overall in the Monday Open Pairs.

redfish1.jpg (40729 bytes)Captain Herb Bode of South Padre Island sent along this picture of Lew with his prize 31 inch redfish.  The largest legal size is 28 inches, so this beauty was thrown back to perpetuate the breed.

 

 

November 16, Houston

We have recovered from all of our summer/fall trips and are looking forward to a drive to New Orleans this week.  We'll be back in time for the annual Thanksgiving do at Brother Dick's in Austin.  We have a new cell phone number, 713-562-5717, and new email addresses - pat@patandlew.com and lew@patandlew.com

November 3, Houston

PICT0022.JPG (100091 bytes)Mark, Margaret and the kids were here for a few days.  We had dinner in one of Houston's premier fine dining restaurants - Chuck E. Cheese - where, in addition to enjoying excellent Italian cuisine,  one can play games between courses.  Mark is recovering well, but not enough to mount a serious challenge to Margaret in video snow-mobile racing.

November 1, Barrington

lasramblas.jpg (114615 bytes)smilingwilly.jpg (67998 bytes)Mike and Monica had a well-earned vacation in Barcelona and sent along a nice set of pictures (click here).  They also had a bonus tour of German airports, but no pictures are forthcoming.  Willie was happy to see them.

 

October 25, Houston

Ross, Buddy, Sarah on Pacific Groove Beach.jpg (61376 bytes)Kelly and Ross drove to Carmel and sent along some pictures.  The whole family is there - Kelly, Ross, Mo, Buddy, and Sarah.  Click here to see more pictures.

October 23, Houston

newcar.JPG (92897 bytes)It was time for a new car so we said goodbye to our '99 Lexus ES300 and welcomed a 2004 ES330 to the family.

 

 

October 18, Houston

We attended a violin recital by Itzhak Perlman.  Outstanding music.  Perlman walked offstage after each piece to get updates on the World Series.

October 12, South Padre Island

After two days in Houston, we headed south for a fishing expedition in south Texas.  Lew landed a 31 inch redfish after a long struggle.  Pat hooked one that was probably bigger, but it snapped the line the line and got away.

October 4, Honolulu

ShLa2.jpg (63467 bytes)ShLa1.jpg (53645 bytes)Doris Duke built a house near Diamond Head in 1935 and spent the rest of her life filling it with Islamic art.  Following her death, the house, called Shang-ri La, was opened to the public.  We took one of the tours conducted by the Honolulu Academy of Arts and found it well worth the effort.  The views of Diamond Head and the ocean are spectacular.

September 24, Lanai

koele golf1.JPG (81357 bytes)It has been more than ten years since we last visited the island of Lanai.  The pineapples are all gone, replaced by beef cattle and two world class resorts.  We chose to stay at Manele Bay, but spent a lot of time at Koele Lodge where it was much cooler.  The ocean was too rough for snorkeling, but we did manage to get in two rounds of golf.  The Manele Bay course features wide ravines crossing almost every fairway, resulting in a lot of lost balls.  The Koele course (pictured here) was much more user-friendly.  For more pictures from Lanai press here.

September 20, Honolulu

We attended a Hawaii Cancer Research Center dinner honoring Pat's former boss Vi Dolman and found ourselves seated next to actor Richard Chambrlain.  He was very friendly and spoke to us about his new book, Shattered Love, which has now moved to the top of the must-read list.

September 20, Killeen

Kelly and Ross flew to Killeen to spend the weekend with Mark, Margaret and the kids.  They sent along some great pictures.  Nice to see Mark smiling again, and it's obvious that Johnny likes having his dad around.

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September 12, Honolulu

We are ensconced in Honolulu enjoying the cool breezes.  There are always a myriad of projects to complete when we first arrive, but  most of those have been completed and we are ready to begin playing tourist.  We have planned a little side trip to the island of Lanai later in the month and will do some snorkeling and hiking.

September 1, The Valley

Thepack1.jpg (82267 bytes)the angry spider.jpg (36076 bytes)Kelly's Pet Care continues to expand.  Here is a picture of Kelly and Ross with a typical day's complement of dogs in the park.  They are averaging between 20 and 30 dogs per day.  The picture on the right was taken with their new high-powered  digital camera.  Look closely at the face of this spider and you will be in for a surprise.

August 31, Killeen

PICT0020.JPG (93791 bytes)Johnny's fourth birthday along with Mark's release from the hospital were good reasons to celebrate.  Andy and Deanna, Mike and Monica, Margaret's mom Valerie, and grandmother Maggie joined with some neighborhood friends for a big party.  Johnny's favorite present was a battery-powered John Deere tractor just like the one he rode on in Arkansas two months ago.

 August 25, Nova Scotia

PICT0085.JPG (121288 bytes)Taking partial leave of our senses, we sign up for an ocean kayaking adventure.  With both air and water temperature in the 40’s, we made sure not to rock the boat.  It was a lot of fun, and we can now cross kayaking off our lifetime  to do list.  Afterwards we spent a pleasant day in Halifax, a very nice city.

 

  August 24, Nova Scotia

PICT0079.JPG (78712 bytes)We hired a driver who was supposed to take us on the Marconi tour.  It turned out that he didn’t know where Marconi actually made his transmission, so instead he took us on an economic depression tour.  We saw closed down steel mills, coal mines and canning plants.  Cape Breton Island is beautiful, but I don’t think we are coming back any time soon.

  August 23, Newfoundland

PICT0062.JPG (142389 bytes)Corner Brook, Newfoundland may not be big by most standards, but compared to L’anse Aux Meadows it is huge.  Our scheduled organized walking tour was canceled, so we found out where the trail was and went there ourselves.  With the temperature in the mid 70’s, this was the first warm day since the cruise began.

 

  August 22, Newfoundland

PICT0049.JPG (87182 bytes)We end our Viking trail with a stop at L’anse Aux Meadows, population 32.  This is where the Vikings settled in North America 1000 years ago.  The site of the former village is impressive, as is a reconstruction of the village near the original.

 

 August 20, Greenland

PICT0014.JPG (91549 bytes)PICT0024.JPG (88516 bytes)The bad weather followed us to Greenland.  We take a boat trip to see the ruins of a 600 year old Viking church.  The temperature is in the forties, the wind is in the fifties, and it is raining.  The boat takes us back to town (Qaqartoq), where the weather isn't any better so we quickly return to the ship to warm up.

 August 18, Iceland

PICT0013.JPG (60786 bytes)Reykjavik is our only two day stop.  We take advantage of this by going to the Blue Lagoon at 7:00 PM for a swim in the outdoor geothermal pool.  Reykjavik is very expensive.  For example, a glass of beer cost $8.00.  The second day in port was cold and windy, so after a walk through the local botanical gardens and zoo, we returned to the ship early.

 

 August 16, Iceland

PICT0015.JPG (69793 bytes)PICT0038.JPG (85589 bytes)Our first port of call in Iceland is Seydisfjorur, a small fishing village on the east coast.  It’s a fairy-tale setting at the end of a long fjord, surrounded by mountains with cascading waterfalls.  A hike up a path alongside one of the waterfalls yields a spectacular view of the Navigator and the village.

 

 August 15, Faroe Islands

PICT0003.JPG (83348 bytes)PICT0017a.JPG (102940 bytes)Part of Denmark, the Faroe Islands have 40,000 inhabitants and 25,000 cars.  The weather turned bad so after spending some time walking around Thorshavn, the major city, we decide to hire a taxi and see some of the countryside.  We visit a church that was built in the 7th century.

 

 August 14, Shetland Islands

PICT0193.JPG (88873 bytes)The first port of call on the cruise is Lerwick.  The town is quite pretty and the people are very nice.  We visit an old fort and discover a free, high-speed  internet service at the local library. 

 

 August 13, Dundee

PICT0174.JPG (76406 bytes)We leave Edinburgh by bus to Dundee to catch our ship, the Radisson Seven Seas Navigator, in Dundee.  On the way we pass through St. Andrews and stop at the Royal & Ancient to have a look at the golf course.  It’s hard to believe that such a picturesque place could be the birthplace of something which has tortured so many over the years – golf.

 August 12, Edinburgh

PICT0153.JPG (147330 bytes)Our last full day in Edinburgh.  We purchase an all-day bus pass, and armed with a confusing route map, head for the Royal Botanical Gardens.  It is one of the finest we have ever seen.  After lunch we get back on a bus and roam around the outskirts of town and see some non-tourist areas.  Our final event of the week is a performance of Chekhov’s The Seagull by an outstanding cast of British actors.

 August 11, Edinburgh

PICT0121.JPG (67475 bytes)PICT0133.JPG (147770 bytes)We  head over to the Edinburgh Book Festival in hopes of seeing a lecture by playwright Alan Ayckbourn.   The event is sold out but we queue up for returns and are rewarded when two tickets are returned.  It was worth the wait.  After Shakespeare, Ayckbourne’s 64 plays are the most frequently produced in the English language.  But the highlight of the week was the Edinburgh Military Tattoo.  It is a spectacle like no other.  No wonder its twenty plus annual performances have been sold out for as long as anyone can remember.

 August 10, Edinburgh

 PICT0098a.JPG (80666 bytes)A walk up Calton Hill gave us a look at the Nelson Memorial and some excellent views of the Old City.  In the afternoon we walked to The Meadows to be part of Sunday at the Fringe.  The spirit of Woodstock lives on.  In the evening we had dinner at Edinburgh’s most well known restaurant, The Witchery.  Its reputation is well-deserved as the food, service, and atmosphere are outstanding.

 

 August 9, Edinburgh

PICT0063.JPG (123425 bytes)The Edinburgh castle is Scotland’s top tourist attraction for good reason.  This was the home of Mary, Queen of Scots, and the birthplace of her son James who united the thrones of England and Scotland.  The facility is still in use for occasions and we were lucky enough to be at the castle’s chapel when a wedding was in progress. 

August 8, Edinburgh

We saw a bit of the old wall that used to surround the city as we walked to a Fringe Festival venue called The Pleasance.  There, fifteen events are shown simultaneously.  We chose to see a play called A Smile Fell on the Grass which featured five young ladies doing strange dance steps and reciting pretentious paragraphs about their interpersonal relationships.  This is not going to make it to the West End or Broadway.

August 7, Edinburgh

PICT0031.JPG (113242 bytes)A ride around town on an open top tour bus gave us a good overview of Old Town and New Town.  We went through the Whiskey Museum and sampled the output.  Later we sampled some single malts, washed down with local brew at a place called Clever Dick’s.

 

August 6, Edinburgh

PICT0006.JPG (131501 bytes)PICT0005.JPG (87477 bytes)Despite getting lost in CDG airport in Paris, we managed to switch terminals and catch a flight to Edinburgh.   Our hotel is one block off the Royal Mile which is teeming with activity.  We went to Deacon Brodie’s pub for lunch, where we met two English tourists who introduced us to haggis with tatties and neeps.  Delicious.

August 3, Houston

The countdown has started for our European adventure.  We leave Tuesday morning for New York, where we catch an Air France flight for Paris and Edinburgh.  After a week in Scotland we board the Radisson Seven Seas Navigator for a cruise in the North Atlantic ending up in New York.   Watch for an update when we return on August 27.

July 28, Houston

PICT0068.JPG (123553 bytes)PICT0099.JPG (297939 bytes)PICT0101.JPG (291628 bytes)We just concluded a weekend visit from Margaret and the grandchildren.  We took Johnny to his first movie, Finding Nemo, and introduced him and Katie to Chuck E. Cheese, now their favorite restaurant.  Margaret was impressive on the snowmobile.  In between there was a swimming party at a friend's house and a trip to the old fishin' hole at Hermann Park

July 15, (Baqubah, Iraq)

PICT0059.JPG (67116 bytes)Did you know that Maj. Mark Solomons was the operations officer for Operation Ivy Serpent?  Here he is on the 10 o'clock news explaining the mission to the press.  Although we wish that he were somewhere else, it was quite a thrill to see him on TV.

 

July 11, (Houston)

PICT0058.JPG (72877 bytes)olderphoto.jpg (72191 bytes)Exactly one month late, we celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary with a romantic dinner at The Capital Grille.  It would have been hard to imagine on June 11, 1983 all the adventures that lay ahead.  Amazingly, neither one of us look a day older.

 

July 2, (Lake DeGray, Arkansas)

boat 018.jpg (27903 bytes)boat 015.jpg (75203 bytes)The weather is good and the lake is calm, so it is decided to rent a "party barge" and explore.  After a short lesson, Captain Lew is ready to leave the marina.  Once safely arrived in the middle of the lake, with very little traffic, the boat is turned over to Assistant Captain John who did well until a spider lodged itself on the wheel.  At that point Captain John decided that his watch was over.  Katie decided that despite regulations that require her to wear a life jacket, she was going to sail unencumbered.

July 1, (Malvern, Arkansas)

Barr 007.jpg (65257 bytes)Barr 026.jpg (71890 bytes)We took a short drive to visit Burt and Leonora Barr.  Burt is a college fraternity brother of Lew's who has retired from the aluminum industry to farm here.  Johnny got a chance to steer a tractor around the farm while herding some cattle.  After a feast of Arkansas ribs, Burt took the visitors to see the herd.  When he said he was going to get a 2x4 in case the bull charged, Pat and the others decided to head back to the house.

June 30, (Lake DeGray, Arkansas)

misc 168.jpg (71541 bytes)misc 178.jpg (92251 bytes)misc 192.jpg (60913 bytes)Johnny has been practicing his casting and is anxious to try his luck.  We got a box of worms at the marina and found a promising spot near the lodge.  After a slow start Johnny managed to land a couple of crappies and a sunfish.  In the spirit of conservation a catch and release program was followed.  Ever the free spirit, Katie thought was a great opportunity to get an all-over tan.  In the interest of preserving the sanity of local diners, we went to Hot Springs and got food for a cook-out at the lake.  Everything worked out well except a couple of  marauding birds made off with some of our hot dogs. 

June 29, (Lake DeGray, Arkansas)

boat 011.jpg (68750 bytes)boat 013.jpg (36130 bytes)The annual summer reunion has turned into a mini-reunion as we are joined by Andy, Margaret, Johnny and Katie.  The lake is beautiful and the accommodations at the Lodge are quite nice.  The Lake was created by the Corps of Engineers in 1973 and is now run by the state of Arkansas.  Development at the lake is not allowed so it has remained pristine.

June 29, (on the road)

We are traveling to  Lake DeGray with detours to Shreveport and Little Rock.  We had a reservation at the Holiday Inn Downtown Shreveport, but when we discovered that the room had a view of the frequently  used railroad tracks (and was dirty to boot), it was time to look elsewhere for lodgings.   It appears that every hotel room in town was booked.  We had to go 20 miles out of town to find a place to stay.  The casinos are a real magnet.

 

June 26, (Houston)

patsand.jpg (30093 bytes)A family sub-set will be gathering at DeGray Lake in Arkansas next week for a summer reunion.  Meanwhile, while rummaging around in some old shoeboxes we uncovered a few photos for the family archive.  At left you see Pat as a young bathing beauty in Baton Rouge.  For the others see The Family Archive.

June 23, (Killeen, TX)

killeen pool.jpg (59377 bytes)PatKatieKilleen.jpg (73885 bytes)Mark, Margaret and family have moved into their new house about 200 miles northwest of Houston.  We drove up and stayed for a couple of days to divert Johnny and Katie so Mark and Margaret could accelerate the unpacking process.  Mark leaves Friday for a nine-month deployment in Iraq.

 

June 13, (Augusta, GA)

PICT0120.JPG (132290 bytes)PICT0122.JPG (135346 bytes)We've been in Augusta for a week and really find it to be a very nice place.  The National golf course is locked up tighter than Fort Knox, so we could only peer through the fence at the home of the Masters.  There is a lot of history here, some great museums, and a nicely redeveloped riverfront.  There is even a park with a real soapbox for making speeches.

June 3, (Houston)

Pat is back from the desert (110 in the shade) to a relatively cool 100 in Houston.  This is a quiet week as we get ready to head for the East Coast and a bridge tourney in Augusta, GA.

May 25, (Houston)

PICT0114.JPG (48184 bytes)Pat is in Palm Desert with friends from Hawaii.  This offers Lew the opportunity to watch a lot of sports on TV and take in an Astros game at Minute Maid Park.  Even better is that all the toilet seats in the apartment are in their locked and upright position.

 

May 17, (Fort Leavenworth, KS)

PICT0098.JPG (265675 bytes)The residents on Mark and Margaret's cul-de-sac decided to have an all day block party.  Although there are only 32 children living on the street, it seemed at times as if there were many more.  After a bicycle parade, there were games for the kids and refreshments for the adults.  The party was the farewell bash for the CGSC participants and their families who are heading off to join their units.

May 16, (Manhattan, KS)

PICT0057.JPG (210455 bytes)We are on the campus of Kansas State University to see Mark receive his masters degree.  Congratulations are in order as he completed his course  requirements in less than a year while working full time on the Army's CGSC program.  It was windy and rainy, but fortunately, the ceremony was held indoors.

 

May 3, (Houston)

PICT0052.JPG (297648 bytes)PICT0050.JPG (309336 bytes)While the girls are all in Omaha to attend the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting, Mike is in town to take in a couple of Astros games.  This morning we visited the newest member of the family, Robert Russell Postell (niece Robyn's son). Robert is 2 days old.  Here he is with his mom and Uncle Mike.

 

April 27, (Gulf of Mexico)

PICT20036.JPG (272504 bytes)PICT20040.JPG (263760 bytes)We finally got off the ship around 10:30, leaving us with 3 hours to explore Key West.  We rented bikes and rode around to the southernmost point in the continental US.  The qualifier continental is needed because the real southernmost point in the U.S. is on the island of Hawaii.  A map-reading error led to seeing more of the island that we originally planned.

 April 26, (Key West)

Due to new US Immigration regulations, every passenger must be cleared before anyone can disembark.  We have been here since 6:00 AM and it is now 9:45 and we are still waiting.  It took two days to get here and then another two to get back home.  For an unexplained reason, we have to be back onboard by 12:30.  Just enough time to visit Jimmy Buffet’s bar for a couple of Margaritas.

 April 24, (Roatan)

PICT20026.JPG (280025 bytes)PICT20028.JPG (273978 bytes)Not sure why Royal Caribbean stops here.  Other than a few makeshift souvenir stands, there is nothing to see or do.  There is one street and it is dusty and garbage-strewn.  Interestingly enough there is an internet café in Roatan.  After making our getaway, Pat entered the slot machine tournament, and had the second highest total in the qualifying round (out of 56 entrants), but lost to three less skilled but luckier opponents in the championship round.

April 23, (Cozumel)

PICT10005.JPG (285114 bytes)We rented a Volkswagen Pointer and drove around the island.  Old Volkswagens never die, they just go to Mexico.  This one had a five-gear manual transmission, which is excellent for climbing hills or driving in snow, neither of which we encountered.  The island is famous for snorkeling, so we went to a beach with a reef and gave it a go.  Well worth the effort.

April 22, (Grand Cayman)

PICT0044.JPG (285142 bytes)This is nothing like Jamaica.  The roads are good and everything looks new.   Even the local brew, Stingray, is better than Red Stripe.  We went snorkeling on Seven Mile Beach and went on a glass-bottomed boat. 

April 21, (Montego Bay)

PICT0027.JPG (295013 bytes)PICT0017.JPG (279526 bytes)This is our second trip to Jamaica, but first to MoBay.  Outside of a few oases of opulence, the place is falling apart.  The roads are in particularly bad shape.  We hired a driver and went into the mountains behind Falmouth and went for a very nice river raft ride.  We were going to go to Negril to check out Hedonism II, but the prospect of another 200km on Jamaica’s roads finished us off. 

April 18, (Galveston)

aPICT0003.JPG (320213 bytes)There may be a less attractive embarkation terminal in the cruise world, but I haven’t seen anything close.  This is the view from our balcony.  It is a concrete wall that is part of a grain elevator.  This is not for the claustrophobic.  On the plus side it is very convenient.

 

April 17, (Houston)

rockets.jpg (160388 bytes)We are getting ready to leave for Galveston to board the Splendor of the Seas for a cruise to the Caribbean with the Maxwell's.  Should be fun.  Meanwhile, Lew attended the Houston Rockets final game ever in the Compaq Center.  They had played in the building, formerly known as The Summit, for almost 30 years.  Pretty good effort by the home team despite having been eliminated from the playoffs the previous evening.

April 11, (Houston)

ferrer.jpg (22833 bytes)Remember Ibrahim Ferrer, the singer from the Buena Vista Social Club?  He's formed a big band of Cuban musicians called the Buenos Hermanos and is touring the US.  We saw them last night in concert.  The old guy has a lot left in the tank.  Great show.

 

Mar 29, (Houston)

diamond.jpg (104234 bytes)The ACBL has sent Pat her Diamond Life Master certificate.  Check this spot for Lew's certificate in 2023 (assuming no drop-off in present rate of master point accumulation).

 

Mar 28, (Houston)

I'm starting to learn what globalization is all about.  I bought a new H-P printer and the operating manual that was stored on the CD-ROM that came with the printer.  There were versions in Greek, Turkish, Arabic, and Hebrew, but none in English.

Mar 15, (Houston)

148-4868_IMG.JPG (67874 bytes)148-4867_IMG.JPG (129617 bytes)Home at last after a 620-mile drive by way of Dallas.  Andy was under the weather so we only stayed long enough to say hello and get a look at Andy and Deanna's new house.  All told we covered 4,000 miles on this trip.  Judging by the front bumper, we killed about two bugs per mile.  

  Mar 14, (Amarillo)

148-4853_IMG.JPG (269360 bytes)Get me out of here.  We've stayed at a lot of motels and hotels on this trip, but the Quality (ha!) Inn on I-40 is without question the worst. The constant roar of trucks zooming by on the highway was punctuated by take-offs and landings at the nearby airport.  Fortunately we stopped at the Petrified Forest on the way.  Not only was it fascinating in its own right, but it also reduced the time we had to spend in Amarillo.

 Mar 13, (Santa Fe)

An easy drive form the canyon, this old Spanish colonial town is very picturesque. 

 Mar 12, (Grand Canyon)

 148-4807_IMG.JPG (159497 bytes)Truly spectacular scenery.  It's a long way down to the floor and surprisingly there are very few guard rails.  We went to about a dozen view sites, but after a while the canyon scenes all start to look alike.

 

 

Mar 11, (Bryce Canyon)

 147-4749_IMG.JPG (248389 bytes)We spent the morning in the park and then drove to Arizona and the Grand Canyon.  The scenery is spectacular in this part of the country, but the food is at the other end of the spectrum.  Dinner in Tuyasan was a toss-up between Wendy’s and McDonald’s.  We opted for the latter.

 

March 10, (Zion National Park)

 147-4722_IMG.JPG (96023 bytes)After a less-than inspiring session at the tables in Las Vegas, we headed north to Utah.  We stopped for lunch in St. George, a very pretty town in the southwest corner of the state.  We then drove through Zion National Park (great scenery) and on to a town called Ruby’s Inn, Utah, near the entrance to Bryce Canyon National Park.  We stayed at the Best Western  Ruby’s Inn (where else?).

 

March 9, (I-15 between L.A. and Las Vegas)

 You may have read about the two-bus accident in Baker where more than 100 passengers were injured.  We got caught in the backwash and the normally three hour drive to Las Vegas took almost seven hours.  It seemed like we spent the whole day in Baker.

Mar 8, (Los Angeles)

146-4693_IMG.JPG (48718 bytes)buddypat2.jpg (71863 bytes) We spent the day with Ross, Kelly, and Maureen.  We celebrated Ross’ birthday at the house.  Ross prepared his famous beer can chicken.  Buddy, Ross and Kelly’s Alaskan Malamute, has fallen in love with Pat and will not leave her side.

 

Mar 7, (Los Angeles)

 Driving had been pleasant, but once we hit the L.A. freeway system, the fun stopped.

Mar 6, (Scottsdale)

 Another good driving day took us through Tucson to the outskirts of Phoenix.  Dinner with friends who also used to live in Hawaii was a pleasant surprise.

Mar 5, (Las Cruces)

 We made up for the slow start by covering 600 miles on I-10 ending in New Mexico.  Fort Stockton is the only town between S.A. and E.P. so we stopped for lunch at the best restaurant in town – Dairy Queen.

Mar 4, (San Antonio)

 The Great Automobile Adventure is off to a slow start as the caravan reached only as far as S.A.  The prospects for lodging between S.A. and  El Paso looked poor so we decided to spend the night here.

 Mar 2, 2003 (Houston)

Preparations are being made for the big Road Trip.  We head west on I-10 Tuesday and expect to get to L.A. sometime on Friday.  Everyone says the I-10 between here and Phoenix is the most boring stretch of road in America.  We'll see.  Our plan is to visit Ross and Kelly at their new house in the San Fernando Valley, then head for Las Vegas, Bryce Canyon, Zion, and the Grand Canyon National Parks.  On the way home we will visit Andy and Deanna in their new home in Dallas.

Feb 27, 2003 (Houston)

146-4641_IMG.JPG (58895 bytes)146-4661_IMG.JPG (71878 bytes)Pat's friends at the Bridge Studio threw a party in honor of her achieving Diamond Life Master status.  Everyone brought food and the club owner supplied wine and champagne.  Twenty three tables of bridge were in play.

 

Feb 19, 2003 (Houston)

PICT0007.JPG (151701 bytes)Lew's birthday always seems to roll around this time of year.  We invited some friends to party with us at Crapitto's Restaurant.  With a name that bad the food had to be good.  It was.

Feb 16, 2003 (Houston)

PICT0025.JPG (160262 bytes)Pat thought we were going out to dinner with another couple and was stunned when she walked into a room with more than a dozen friends who wanted to celebrate with her for achieving Diamond Life Master status.  The ruse was perfect as two of her friends called earlier in the day inviting her to play bridge that night.  Here she is with two of her partners.

Feb 12, 2003 (Houston)

We went to the Alley Theatre to see Edward Albee's latest offering - The Goat.  Albee, as always, pushes the envelope of what an audience will tolerate.

Feb 10, 2003 (Houston)

We completed our Regional bridge tournament last week, and on the final day Pat won enough points to become a Diamond Life Master.  This designation is reserved for those players who have accumulated 5,000 master points in their bridge career.  She is only the eighth woman in our unit to reach this level.

 

Jan 29, 2003 (The Valley)

sarah28.jpg (106618 bytes)rosspicksfruit2.jpg (46064 bytes)While the rest of us shivered, Kelly and Ross were soaking up the southern California sun.  Here is Kelly with Sara, the newest member of their family, and Ross harvesting fruit from a tree.  It isn't clear whether the tree is on Ross and Kelly's side of the fence or the neighbor's side.  In either case the fruit is clearly on their side.

Jan 26, 2003 (Houston)

What a week!  On Monday we went to discussion with Edward Albee, on Wednesday, we saw Lucia di Lammermoor at the Houston Grand Opera.  Fabulous.  Then Saturday night the Rolling Stones Forty Licks Tour at Reliant Stadium.  These guys are still the Greatest Rock and Roll Band in the World.  Houston No Ka Oi.

Jan 17, 2003 (Fort Lauderdale)

band.jpg (14653 bytes)We went to Florida to visit Kay.  During the visit we found a treasure trove of old photos, including this picture of Lew in his eighth grade band uniform.