March 20, 2015 - An Adventure to be Remembered!|
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Our last posting was March 1st, and we’ve done so much since that day!
The biggest and most important activity was to leave the SKP Park here in Coarsegold and head back to the Bay Area. “Why?” you ask. Well, sit back, relax and come with us on a lovely and exciting journey. Only this time, the motorhome stays put, as does Paul.
On March 7th we drove the Honda back up to the Bay Area. Most travelers shun CA-99 like the plague, unless they are going only a short distance on 99 – or have forgotten what a “mess” 99 is with NO beauty ….. just trucks, noise and dirt. Well, hello! This is 2015 and there have been serious changes to CA-99. As an introduction, look at the wild flowers along the CA-99 highway today!!!
The beauty went on and on and it was hard to just “pass them by” but truth be told, there are few pullouts along the road, so we had to satisfy ourselves with shots of the wildflowers as we drove along. What a memorable sight!
We arrived in Fremont for a quick visit with Christina, but soon we were off to the nearby Holiday Inn where we spent the night. (We did sneak in a visit to a favorite Japanese Restaurant of ours close to the hotel– ummmm, good!) So why did we go to a hotel and not stay at Chris and Chet’s guesthouse? Well, there’s a neighbor whose mom flew in from the east coast to be with her daughter while the daughter underwent a cancer operation. Chris and Chet told the woman she could stay as long as necessary, and when the woman’s daughter developed a cold and fever, the doctors put off the operation for a month. So the guesthouse was home to a woman who really needed and appreciated Chris and Chet’s generosity.
We spent one night at the Holiday Inn, and the following morning (March 8th) Kathleen joined up with Christina and they boarded an airplane that took them to Puerto Vallarta, MX! Paul returned to Coarsegold.
In PV (as the locals call it) Kathleen and Christina cleared customs (no problem) and soon found Michelle waiting for them. The three had a great reunion! Michelle had engaged a driver to take the three of us up to the tiny village of Sayulita (north of PV.) This was once a quiet fishing village, but over the years has become a tourist destination as well. Looking down on the town from the house -
The house Michelle rented is amazing! Each bedroom was well appointed and each had a view of the Bay below! This chair caught our attention – we called it the “Necktie Chair!”
The ride up the hill (mountain?) from the town to the house was an adventure! But it must be said that during the week they were there, Kathleen conquered her fears of the heights as they traveled up and down the “road” in a “golf cart” and soon kept her eyes open traveling in both directions!
Kitty’s plane (from Cancun) did not reach PV until evening, and we all drove to the airport to welcome her! Not long after we were ALL together, the three girls had their first chance to visit with one another!
This really was an idyllic location with beautiful flowers and plants everywhere.
The pool is at the rear of the house and affords another great view of the Bay. We were surprised (maybe impressed?) at the “bar” at one end of the pool!
The occasion for this unique celebration was a result of the generosity of son-in-law, Slade who “footed the billS” for all our transportation to PV, the rental of the house, the food and anything else we managed to spend – especially the great dinners we enjoyed down in the town. Enough cannot be said in Slade’s favor – this was the opportunity of a lifetime, and the four of us will carry the memories of this birthday celebration for the rest of our lives. The three sisters stored up many happy memories of just being together! I stored up happy memories of being with my three, wonderful daughters!
So yes, it was a week to celebrate Michelle’s birthday. This is the girl whose medical challenges have been scary, but she refuses to let anything disturb her firm belief in her ability to conquer any challenge!
We gathered a few little “gifts” to present to her at our birthday celebration. Here we have them lined up…..
We even wrote a parody to "Twelve Days of Christmas" for her. And we all had a fun time!
Swimming, relaxing and visiting weren’t all we did! One day Michelle hired a driver who took us to a town to the north of where we were staying and we enjoyed a day at a Flea Market!
There were many visitors from afar (like ourselves) who enjoyed visiting the many booths and purchasing a few articles for family members or to have a memento of this trip ourselves!
One day, while shopping in Sayulita, we visited Sayulita's "Galeria Tanana" where the artists were engaged in a number of artistic endeavors. This was one of the most interesting places we visited – not only for the beautiful bracelets and jewelry, but also for the many forms of artwork. The shop is a non-profit fair trade store that suports the Huichol Center for cultural survival. This place, since 1981, promotes language education, cultural sustainability and self-sufficiency to help the Huichols maintain their traditional way of life. This young man caught our fancy.
His English was near perfect, and we asked how he came to develop such excellent English. To our delighted surprise we were told that for three years he was an exchange student in Albany, CA (where we all once lived!) He knew of many places we often frequented and his sister teaches Spanish at the high school in Albany!
Our shopping did not end with this particular Flea Market, for there was another day when we visited a Flea Market right in Sayulita, where we had lots of fun!
We probably walked down nearly every road in this little town, and enjoyed that shopping, too!
Michelle and Kitty
Christina, Michelle & Kitty.
Lunches were always fun!
One evening we stopped at a restaurant that featured gluten free pizza. Both regular crust and gluten free. Delicious!
Shopping and eating were not the only activities on our agenda. One day we had a delightful time at a fairly small and secluded beach.
We met a delightful young woman in the liquor shop we frquented --- "FREQUENTED?" That's a matter of opinion. But we enjoyed talking to her and she suggested several restaurants in the town. We felt it was only appropriate that we visit each one.... This one, when told we were in town to celebrate Michelle's 50th birthday, presented her with a cake and candlel at the end of the meal!
Not only that, but as we were leaving the restaurant, a waiter ran after us and fairly yelled "Oh no, you must have a "birthday shot!" He presented Michelle with a shot of Tequilla that she downed in a gulp! What a plalce! What a good time we enjoyed!
We enjoyed several lunches during our days of shopping.
Kathleen, Christine, Michelle and Kitty.
On one of the last nights there, we had an unforgettable dinner. The appetizers were so good; we decided to make our entire meal appetizers only (and we had enough to fill us all!)
It capped our marvelous adventure – the four of us had a blast!!!
Early on the morning of the 15th, Michelle had the first (and early) flight out of this little bit of paradise. We sure hated to see her go. Several hours later the three of us, Kitty, Christina and myself were driven to the PV airport. Kitty left first, so Chrisina and I gave her a warm send off.
Christina and I were left to experience a new adventure. First of all, we enjoyed an excellent musical presentation by this group of local musicians!
The skies grew quite dark and the rain that had been falling grew in intensity. It almost seemed like a monsoon type rain, but we were hopeful the storm would pass and our flight would take off.
We purchased a small salad to take on the plane. We had about 4 hours in the air, and felt this would “tide” us over until we reached California.
When the time came for our flight to begin boarding, we noticed there was no airplane at the gate. The rains abated a bit but then started coming down heavy. It was a sort of on and off thing, so we were not surprised when we heard the announcement that the flight would be delayed by an hour …. (We ate our salads.) Then by another hour … then by yet more hours ….. Eventually we were told that the flight was CANCELLED! Oh yikes! This was an entirely new experience for us!
We were directed to pick up our luggage, present ourselves at the Alaska ticket counter to obtain “vouchers” at an undisclosed hotel for the night. It was still raining buckets (or cats and dogs) or coming down hard. Oh well, the airline provided a bus to take us from our terminal to another and then we were shown to the taxi area where a taxicab took us to our overnight destination: A fabulous first-class hotel! Christina and I secured private rooms (next to one another) then repaired to an area that was amazing … we were treated to a buffet fit for a big party! Hot food, cold food, meats, veggies, desserts, and all sorts of delicious food! What a feast! This was a night not to be forgotten, either!
A good hot shower and soon we were in slumber land, awakening the following morning to vouchers for a nice breakfast and a ride to the airport.
We arrived early at the airport and were near the head of the line of passengers like ourselves. Although there was still some rain, flights were taking off and landing and in short order we were on board and soon were flying above the storm – landing in San Francisco in good weather. We did wish, however, that some of that rain might have visited the poor, dry state of California, but we were happy to be home.
Paul met us at the airport and we were soon in Fremont. We landed early enough for Paul and I to say goodbye to Christina and head for Coarsegold.
We took a different, but picturesque route back to Coarsegold and enjoyed being together again.
So ends an adventure that will remain dear to my heart as long as I live (and I intend to live a long time yet!)
One last surprise awaited me! Our site was moved to another, even lovelier spot than the one we had. We will take pictures of this area for a future posting. (With promises that it will be a reasonably shorter posting!)
Before ending this long post, I am going to add in a good word for Alaska Airlines.
From the get-go, every Alaska Airlines representative was courteous, kind and helpful. The rain was not their fault. The airplane on which we were scheduled to return to the States was diverted to Mazatlan, due to the storm. That plane remained in Mazatlan overnight, but was finally flown to PV and was the aircraft on which we traveled back to San Francisco. In addition to providing us with an overnight stay in a REAL high class resort, providing us with a sumptuous evening meal, as well as a breakfast voucher and free taxi trips to and from the hotel, the other day I received an email from the company. The email contained $400 voucher toward any future flight I might want to take!!! Now folks, is Alaska Airlines fantastic and more than generous? I think they are! In future, so far as I am able, I will be a passenger on Alaska Airlines (and/or their affiliates) for all future travel!! Way to go, Alaska Airlines! Now is this a perfect ending to our trip, or what?!