Hello from Seattle

Hello from Seattle

Thursday evening – July 19, 2018   (Second post of this travelogue)

Well, we survived a very interesting train trip from San Francisco (actually Oakland) to Seattle.  Our train departed essentially on time (9:40 PM).  This is a popular Amtrak train (“Coast Starlight”).  We booked a sleeping room.  Once we got to the room we were a bit surprised at how small it was.  There were two small bunks and barely enough room to change your clothes.  That said, once we got settled in, it was not too bad.  Of course, I had to get up in the middle of the night and risk my life getting out of the bunk {grin} and then traipse down the hall to the bathroom.  While we did not get as much sleep as we would normally get, it was not bad. 

We had heard that there was going to be work on the track and we would encounter a delay.  The train stopped in Klamath Falls, OR and we parked on the tracks for around two hours – maybe more.  We could disembark the train and walk around that part of the town.  I was able to get a photo of our train (see below).

Coast Starlight Train (Medium)

Because of the track delay, coupled with what seemed to like several slow areas, the result was us getting into Seattle at 11:23 (about 3 ½ hours late).  That was not a problem, but we were ready to get off the train.

The sleeping car accommodations included meals in the diner.  That was a lot of fun.  There was a SU demonstrator that we met in SF and we had lunch and dinner with them.  The meals were pretty darn good and served in a formal (think linen) setting. 

We got to our Airbnb about midnight.  We had told the owner we would be late and the door has a code, so we got in with no problem.  The place is a converted garage, but well done.  It is very small, but all we need is a bed and bathroom.  As you can see in the photo it has a nice “patio” and I have spent some time there working/playing on the computer.  Here is the Google  Map link for the Airbnb (link)


Our Airbnb in Seattle (Medium)

We are about a half mile from several restaurants.  We had brunch at the Varsity café and it was great.  We had large omelets that we could split and have tomorrow before we leave for the ship.

For dinner, we considered taking Uber down to the dock area for seafood, but instead decided on ordering Pizza delivered.  That was a good choice.  The pizza was good and they had cans of IPA beer that could be delivered.   Below you will see a picture of me having my fancy birthday dinner {big grin}.

Birthday Dinner (Medium)

As was the case in SF, the weather is nice and cool here.  I have had my sweatshirt on all day and it is very comfortable on the patio.

That is all for this post.

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Hello from San Francisco

Hello from San Francisco

Tuesday morning – July 17, 2018   (First post of this travelogue)

We are on our  big summer trip thanks in good part to Stampin’ Up!  Pat earned an Alaska Cruise and we decided to broaden the adventure a bit.  The cruise sails out of  Seattle on Friday, but we wanted to try something a bit different before the cruise.  We chose to have SU fly us to San Francisco and then we plan to take the train to Seattle.  The Train is the “Coast Starlight” and is said to be a very picturesque trip.  We depart tonight at 9:39 PM and arrive in Seattle about 8:00 PM tomorrow.  We booked a sleeping room, so it should be pretty comfortable.

We flew out Sunday morning and took an Uber “Pool” ride  to the hotel.   That was pretty interesting.  There were 5 passengers and luggage in a Honda Pilot.  It all worked out  fine and we got to see quite a bit of the area as the driver made his stops. 

Our hotel is the Holiday Inn Express, Fisherman’s Wharf  Google Maps Link

This is a typical Holiday Inn Express, but because of the location, is it obscenely expensive.  However, we decided to splurge since we are within a couple of blocks of some great tourist areas including Fisherman’s Wharf.

Sunday we ate a late lunch, so we were not all that hungry at dinner time.  We walked down to the wharf and shared an amazing dessert waffle at a famous bakery. 

Yesterday we planned to take a “hop on  hop off” bus around the area, but Pat woke up with a pretty bad migraine headache.   We opted to cool our jets and then have a great dinner at Alioto's – a famous Fisherman’s Wharf restaurant.  We went early a got a great window table overlooking the bay with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background.  It was a great meal.


View from dinner table at Alioto's  (note Golden Gate Bridge in background.

View from dinner table at Alioto's (note Golden Gate Bridge in background.

Our table at Aliotos (Medium)

Meal at Aliotos (Medium)

The weather here is rather cool (high 60’s).  We had planned to “layer” for the Alaska part of the trip and it sure worked out well for here.

That is all for this post.

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Hello from Phoenix

Hello from Phoenix

Draft Started Thursday evening – June 7, 2018   (First post of this travelogue)

Posted Sunday June 10 2018

This was another trip to present an NTT class.  It was what they call a regional class which means that it is held in a hotel and folks from various companies attend.  The class was Mechanical Drives which covers bearings, belts, chain, gears, couplings and other mechanical components.  This class was held at the Holiday Inn Google map link.

Mechanical Drives is a three day class – in this case Tuesday through Thursday.  There were only 5 students with is not so good for NTT, but great for me.  We have a total of 5 different trainers for the various types of mechanical components and that takes up a lot of space in the room (four extra tables).  NTT ships this equipment in two very large crates that weigh a total of 1500 pounds!

Three of the students traveled from out of town – two from Pennsylvania and one from Canada.  It is always fun to have  folks from different  companies and parts of the country.

It is always a challenge to get all the equipment packed up and then make a dash for the airport.   Fortunately the students are always good to help.   The equipment is packed in large Pelican cases and it takes quite a bit of effort to get all the parts of each trainer in the correct location. 

I was able to get to the airport in time to have a quick dinner.  It was a fairly late flight and I got home about midnight.  That sure makes for a long day.

That is all for this trip

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Hello from Sacramento

Hello from Sacramento

Saturday morning – May 12, 2018   (First post of this travelogue)

This trip was to present a NTT class.  It was what they call a regional class which means that it is held in a hotel and folks from various companies attend.  The class was LRSA which concentrates on bearings, lubrication and shaft alignment (including the use of dial indicators and a laser).  This class was held at the Lions Gate Hotel Link to Google Map

LRSA is a four day class – in this case Tuesday through Friday.  They could not get me out  Friday evening, so I am flying home today.  I flew out last Sunday so that I could visit with my good friend Steve Leach on Monday before the classes started.  As I have said many times Steve and I are almost like brothers and we even look a bit alike.  I met Steve in the late 80s when he was a Gates customer selling blower belts to the fuel teams in NHRA drag racing.  It did not take long for the relationship to change from customer/vendor to friendship.  Pat and I  have visited Steve and his family a few times and I try to get out to see him whenever I am in the area.  He is also a car nut and has a couple of fantastic projects going right now. 

It is a fun drive to his location which is in North San Juan about an hour and a half from Sacramento.  The drive is beautiful.  His home and business buildings are very remote and are located next to a huge gold placer mine Link to Google Map.  If you look at the map, the pin is at his house, and the manufacturing facilities (race car parts) is to the right.

The class went very well.  There were six students and we were able to have fun dialogues during the class.  They were quite attentive an did well on the trainers.  I enjoy teaching the various classes, but when the student group has good participation/dialog, it make it even better.

That is all for this trip

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Hello from Clarkston, WA (belated)

Hello from Clarkston, WA (belated)

Draft started Saturday evening – May 12, 2018   (First post of this travelogue)

Posted Sunday May 20,  2018 (schedule has been kind of hectic since we got back including two more graduations of grandkids).

This is a quick trip so that we could celebrate our Grandson’s graduation from the University of Idaho with a masters degree in Geology.  The university is in Moscow, Idaho  about 25 miles north of here.  Motel rooms are hard to find for the graduation weekend and prices are quite high.  As a result we booked an Airbnb in Clarkston (Google Map  Link)

If you look at the map, we are right on the Snake river.  It is gorgeous here and the apartment is really neat.  Unfortunately, our short time here has been very hectic and we have not had much time to enjoy the amenities. 

Thursday we flew into Boise and drove about 6 hours to get here.  The difference in airfare was significant as compared to Spokane.   Besides, we were told that the scenery on the drive here was great.   Well, the term “great” does not adequately describe the amazing rolling hills, mountains and rivers along our route.  This is wheat country and the rather steep hills are covered with beautiful young green wheat crop.

Friday we drove to Pullman, WA and met with the Jeute family for breakfast.  Pullman is where Thomas and Klara live.  He commutes to Moscow,  ID for classes – about 20 miles.  After breakfast we drove to Moscow and toured the campus, with an emphasis on the Geology building.  We got to see Thomas’ office and some of the class rooms where he taught classes.  In the evening we had a wonderful family dinner at a restaurant in Pullman.

Saturday we met at the University for the graduation ceremony.  The ceremony was very special with a parade of the graduates across the campus led by a bagpipe band.  The keynote speaker (the lead rocket scientist at Space X) was great.  After graduation we met in the park across from Thomas’ apartment and had a fun cookout.  Then we headed back to the Airbnb.

Thomas and Us (Medium)

 As noted earlier, our Airbnb was in Clarkston, Wa.  The adjacent city is Lewiston, ID.  Both of these towns were named for the Lewis and Clark expedition that explored the area.

]View of Clarkston, WA and Lewiston, ID

View of Clarkston, WA and Lewiston, ID


Sunday we set the alarm for 3:00AM and left at 4:00 for our 6 hour drive back to Boise.  As noted earlier, the scenery was breathtaking. 

That is all for this trip


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Hello from Las Vegas, NV (Belated)

Hello from Las Vegas, NV (Belated)

Saturday evening – April 7, 2018   (First post of this travelogue)

Note:  I prepared most of this post on Saturday,  but I was not able to finalize the draft until today (Wednesday).

Well, we are in sin city.  Unfortunately we are too old to do much sinning {grin}.  We flew in very early Thursday and will depart early Sunday.

We are here for Pat’s Stampin’ Up! convention.  The convention was held at the Rio (Google Map Link).

We are staying on the 15th floor of the Masquerade Tower.  If you look at the google map, you will see that the Rio has two towers.  One is in the shape of three spokes – we are in the other tower.  In between the two towers is a huge convention center.  There are several very large meeting rooms and the whole area is very ornate.  Stampin’ Up used two of the meeting rooms and they easily accommodated over 600 people each.

Friday we were hosted to a special meeting/dinner for higher level managers.  Today was the main meeting day.  As a part of the meeting Pat got to walk across the stage in honor of her achieving Gold Elite level. 

Today I went to the national drag racing even at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.  This is a fabulous complex that includes a NASCAR track, dirt oval track and a modern state-of-the-art dragstrip.  They just rebuilt the track to include 4 wide racing.  It is amazing to experience 4 top fuel/funny cars racing side by side – each putting our over 10,000 horsepower!  It was fun to spend the day at the track.  Pat and I have attended several races at this track and each has been fun.  Obviously she did not go this time.

Pat was able to play the slots a bit and they were pretty kind to her this time.  She just cashed out tickets worth over $380.  Not bad for penny slots!

Tonight we had a group dinner with Pat’s downline (some with spouses).  It is always fun to see the enthusiasm of these ladies. 

Well, since this is late, I will add a few more details.  Our flight home was uneventful albeit pretty darn early.  I always say that sleep is overrated.  As we approached the house, we saw a large elk  herd in the back yard (well over 50 head).   Later Sunday we saw a small herd of Deer in the front yard.  We don’t often see both at the same time.   I guess they just wanted to welcome us home.

That is all for this trip.

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Hello from Everett, WA

Hello from Everett, WA

Wednesday evening – March 7, 2018   (First post of this travelogue)

Wow, this has been about the longest stretch between blog posts that I can recall.  As we have noted many times, this blog is a travelogue and we have not traveled since early our October/November trip.

This trip was made to teach two different classes at the Boeing Everett facility:  Shaft Alignment and Mechanical Drives.  Most of the classes I teach at Boeing are at the Auburn plant which is south of Seattle.  The Everett plant is north of Seattle and it the main assembly plant for a variety of the Boeing passenger planes.   It is a huge facility with many acres under roof (several 747 size planes can be assembled at one time in the main building). 

The classes are going well.  We have completed the Shaft Alignment class and have started in on the Mechanical Drive class.  There are 12 students, which is quite of few and the space is very limited for setting up the trainers.  It will be quite a challenge to get the labs done.

As is typically the case, I am staying at a Holiday Inn Express (Google Maps Link)

This is the first class I have taught since my knee replacement.  I was very concerned about being on my feet for five 8 hour days, but it has not been a problem so far.

The class is being held from 6:00 Am to 2:30.  The alarm goes off long before I am ready to get up {grin}.

Friday should be a scramble.  I will need to pack all the equipment and then head to the airport.  On paper, I have quite a bit of time (7:55 PM) departure but I have to drive nearly 40 miles though some of the worst traffic in the world.  Should be fun.

That is all for this trip.

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Hello from Richfield, UT

Hello from Richfield, UT

Post started: Wednesday morning    November 8, 2017   (Sixth post of this travelogue)

Posted to blog Thursday Morning   November 9, 2017

Well, the tourist part of this trip is about done.  More in a minute.

We are staying at the Holiday Inn in Richfield, UT  (Google Map Link) 

We have been here for two nights – mostly as a holding location until we travel to Salt Lake for Pat’s convention.  We have traveled through Richfield on our way to California many times, but never stopped.  I have always enjoyed to wonderful mix of rock formations and beautiful hay fields.  Last night we ate at a local café and just kind of absorbed the small town environment.

Now, let’s catch up on our tourist fun for the last few days.   After we left Kanab we traveled to Bryce Canyon and stayed at Ruby’s Inn.  We toured the park for about a half day.  For the first time on this trip we had to put on our heavy coats.  The temperature was not all that bad, but the wind was very cutting.  Bryce Canyon is the opposite of Zion in terms of how you view the beauty.  In Zion you are on the canyon floor looking up at the incredible sheer rock walls.  At Bryce you are on the rim looking down at mind-blowing  geological beauty.  I have included one photo.  But again, it does not begin to do justice to the splendor of rock formations.

The beauty of Bryce Canyon (Medium)

Sunday (11/5) we travelled to Torrey, UT which is close to the entrance of Capitol Reef National Park.  The route from Bryce to Torrey is via Utah 12 which is a real adventure to drive.  Lots of curves, and one part of the road is at the top of a ridge with very steep drop-offs on both sides of the road.  I really had to pay attention to driving, but I still got to enjoy the beautiful scenery.  This highway is so unique that it has its own website:  (link)

Our stay in Torrey was in a fun cabin (see photo).  The cabin would have been even more enjoyable, but you had to be prepared with your own provisions (such as coffee).  Also we had very little cell phone signal.  We had thought about staying two nights, but the minor issues got to be too significant.

Cabin at Torrey UT (Medium)

We spent Sunday afternoon and Monday morning touring Capitol Reef NP.  It is a geological wonder with the layers that were formed over millions of years, displayed in canyon walls that are hundreds of feet high (at one location, 400 feet).  I  have attached a photo that barely does  justice to the  grandeur of the area.  I pirated these comments from another site: 

Like other parks in Utah, Capitol Reef is about geology. It is said that the area got its name because early visitors thought some of the rock formations, especially along the Fremont River, reminded them of the dome atop the U.S. Capitol.

The land inside the park is part of a 100-mile buckling of the Earth's crust, named the Waterpocket Fold by explorer John Wesley Powell because of indentations in the rock that catch rainwater.

Capitol Reef (Medium)

I think I will “ring off “ for this post.

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Hello from Kanab, UT

Hello from Kanab, UT

Friday evening    November 3, 2017   (Fifth post of this travelogue)

Monday we drove from San Diego to Primm, NV where we stayed in the Buffalo Bill Hotel.  Primm is right on the CA/NV border and it used to be a booming location with about three hotels and a large campground.  The campground was the site of at least one Bus Conversions Rally in the early 2000s.  The campground is long gone and the hotels are pretty run down if ours was an example.  The gambling floor was almost deserted.  The room was clean and fairly inexpensive, so that was a plus.  Pat even got a bit ahead on her gambling fund.

Buffalo Bills at Primm (Medium)

Tuesday we drove to Zion National Park where we splurged and spent two nights in a cabin that was special to us (529) (Google Map Link) 

Four years ago we stayed in this cabin and sat on the porch, almost overwhelmed by the sheer cliffs on both sides of us.  The cabin is at the far end of the resort and very private.  This time it was a bit chilly, but we still spent a bit of time on the porch.  I have included a couple of pictures, but they do not even come close to showing the beauty of this park.  This is a very deep and narrow canyon and the sun only hits the floor of the canyon for a few hours a day this time of year. 

Another view of the Zion Cabin (Medium)

Cabin at Zion (Medium)

Interior of cabin at Zion (Medium)

The road leading up to the lodge (and on up the canyon) is limited to the tourist trams and cars used by the guests of the lodge.  From the lodge, only the trams are permitted.  We rode the tram to the end of the road and then I hiked in about a mile and saw some amazing fall colors.  They said that most years the colors are not all that great, since it tends to freeze before the leaves turn.

Trail in Zion (Medium)

Thursday we made the relatively short drive to Kanab, UT.  It is less than 100 miles but it is a tight twisty drive.  The drive was a bit more difficult as we left slightly before sunrise so that we could make a 9:00 appointment in Kanab.  On the drive, in the twilight, we saw something big on the road.  It turned out to be 5 or 6 buffalo.  By the time we got to them, they were off the road.

Our appointment was a pre-arranged tour of the Stampin’ Up! manufacturing facility.  We were told ahead of time that some parts of the plant would be off limits.  However our tour guide (Julie) took us on a very detailed tour and we got to watch all the processes right next to the machines.  I even got a quick tour of the  maintenance shop!

Stampin Up Kanab (Medium)

Pat at Stampin Up Kanab (Medium)

We took a side trip to a neat park in Kanab where the playground is covered with sever inches of ground up scrap rubber stamp material.  It is very colorful and quite soft.

Jim at Kanab playground with stamp particles for base (Medium)

We checked into the Holiday Inn early and Pat did some laundry.    Today we cooled our jets (I caught up on a bunch of computer projects and Pat read and did a bit of stamping stuff.  Late this afternoon, we took a ride out to Johnson canyon.  It was a relaxing, scenic drive.   Then we had a great Mexican dinner. 

That is all for this post.

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Hello from San Diego, CA

Hello from San Diego, CA

Sunday evening  – October 29, 2017   (Fourth post of this travelogue)

We are at the Holiday Inn Express in San Diego (Google Maps Link)

I wanted to catch up on some items from my week of teaching.  First of all, the weather was very hot.  It was over 100 degrees for at least two of the days and well in the 90s the rest of the week.  This was quite a bit higher than the average temperature for that time of the year.

During the week a large brush fire broke out a couple of miles from the hotel.  The last I read, it had consumed over 850 acres (but no structures).  It was weird leaving the motel in the dark and seeing the red glow.

Lastly, my commute was about 14 miles each way.  At the times I traveled, it was not a problem.  I had picked the Holiday Inn in Lake Elsinore without a lot of thought other than it was about the closest Holiday Inn property.  It turns out that it was not all that great of location or hotel.  Apparently there was a much better location in Temecula at about the same distance.

Now for our reason for travelling to San Diego:  The USS Midway Museum (Wiki Information).  This was among the very best museums we have ever visited.  The decommissioned USS Midway aircraft carrier has been converted into a museum.  It took us 5 hours to tour the complete ship. 

The Midway was in service from 1945 to 1992.  It is 1001 feet long and is 69,000 tons total weight. It has 18 decks and 12 boilers feeding 4 steam turbine engines.  We were up and down a bunch of stairways but it was worth every minute/step/stair.  One of the best events was a lengthy talk by a former pilot about the aircraft main deck layout and the process of landing a plane on a moving target with an obscenely short “runway”.  The planes had to catch one of three cables stretched across the deck.  Surprisingly the hook that caught the cable was only about the size of your fist.

I have included two photos.  The first one was pirated from the internet and shows an aerial view of the museum.  The second photo shows the machine shop that could fabricate most any part for the ship.

USS Midway aerial view

Midway Machine Shop (Medium)


That is all for this post.

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