The planning continues…As busy as I can be…

On this date in 2015, we were at the Arts Village in Pacific Harbour, Fiji. For more photos, please click here.

At this point, we need to get to work and decide on what we plan to do in India for 54 days beginning on February 8th after the end of the Maharajas Express train from Mumbai to Delhi.

We’re deliberating over several options and will definitely share what we’re deciding to do when we hopefully come to a decision in the next few days. There is so much to consider.

As far as booking periods of time, this period of time in India is the most challenging. We don’t want to be floundering by ourselves jumping from town to town, flight to flight and hotel to hotel without a plan in mind.

Many have asked over the years if we are “backpackers” and if we possibly stay in hostels, making our way through a country without specific bookings in mind. That’s not us. 

We have no home. We require the peace of mind of knowing where we’ll be staying during our time in any country, whether it’s in the US or anywhere else in the world. 

India is not an easy country to visit without plans in mind. We do not want to be trapped for days in a smoggy, over-populated city attempting to figure out what to do next.

A priority for us is also a tiger safari which is a must-do to be included in our almost two-month itinerary. This is not practical in many areas that are not particularly close to wildlife areas or national parks.

Having had literally no experience in India, we have had countless travelers and others making suggestions as to what would our ideal itinerary. We appreciate the input, but we feel we must pursue this considering our own interests and desires, not what may necessarily appeal to others.

Yes, we could make a mistake in the planning process, but as always, we’re willing to take the risk. After all, we had the “unthinkable” happen this past February and somehow we managed to make our way through it with careful planning, dignity, and grace.

Right now, we are working with a highly competent agent with a highly rated travel agency in India who booked the train for us. As I write here now, amid stopping every 30 minutes to get back to work on tonight’s dinner, Tom is going through all the “paperwork” on some options that may or may not work for us. We shall see.

This morning I went grocery shopping for the last time while here in Nevada. Before doing so, I stopped at a branch of our bank to get some blank checks. 
I am making tonight and tomorrow’s dinner and Sunday brunch. On Sunday afternoon, we’re going to the Vegas Gold Knight’s game at 3:00 pm at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

After the game, we’ll go out to dinner on the strip and then on Monday morning we’ll pack and leave for Apache Junction, Arizona. Hopefully, Tom will be feeling well enough to drive for five hours. I’d be happy to drive but he doesn’t like how I drive and the stress associated with his “backseat driving” isn’t worth it.

He’s yet to turn the corner with his cough and exhaustion, but when I consider that’s where I was a few weeks ago, he still has a way to go. I looked back at the level of activity a few weeks ago in Minnesota and I don’t know how I got through it feeling as he does now.

I just finished making enough broccoli salad for all of us, including a batch for my sister Susan, which I’ll bring to her tomorrow. Soon, I’ll make the low carb hamburger buns, peel potatoes for the first time in over a year for tonight’s oven-baked fries (chips), shape the ground beef and ground turkey into patties, make the homemade ketchup, and slice the onions, tomatoes, and lettuce for toppings for the meat. It will be another busy day.

Tonight, we’ll grill the meat poolside and enjoy a quiet and restful night in. Thank goodness.

Take care, dear readers.


Photo from one year ago today, December 6, 2018:

A praying mantis stopped by for a visit this morning.  After it walked on the veranda table, it landed on Tom and then landed on me.  Friendly little fellow. For more photos, please click here.

In a rush today…

It was five years ago today that Tom was checking out the views from one of the two houses we rented in Pahoa, Big Island, Hawaii. Only days later our family began to arrive for the holiday. For more, please click here.

Today, I am in a bit of a rush. I have to leave the house at 10:45 am to drive to Las Vegas to see Susan and to join her for lunch in her new assisted living facility located 45 minutes from here.

I’ll stay a few hours and then stop at Smith’s Market on the way back to Richard‘s home for a few items for tonight’s dinner and then rush back to begin preparing dinner. Richard only eats chicken so as his mom, I try to be inventive and produce another good chicken recipe.

As for the coughs…Tom is in the worst of it now while I am slowly beginning to turn the corner. If it weren’t for Nyquil Cough, we wouldn’t be able to sleep at all. Both of us have fits of coughing at all hours but especially during the night. For some reason, everything seems worse at night.

We’d hoped to go to a movie with Richard while here but there’s no way we would be able to get through a two-hour period without hacking and disturbing everyone. We’ll see how it goes. We’re leaving in eight days.

Why this cough has lasted so long has baffled us. It started slowly on the cruise over a month ago. Tom had a bit of a tickle in his throat and I had a small pointless cough. I spent one night’s dinner in the cabin when I was feeling dizzy and out of sorts not knowing what was wrong.

But, the dizzyness was the beginning of this dreadful virus when only the next day the cough exacerbated. Also, one of the symptoms we have both experienced has been a feeling of utter exhaustion. 

I am past that stage right now but Tom has been going through it over the past two weeks, worsening the past three days. Please, let this be over soon so we can return to our usual enthusiastic selves, especially now that we know we can move forward with travel plans.

Speaking of which…we booked our flights to India on British Airways at a great price as follows (for both of us):

Total price: USD $1675.16
Trip Protection:      117.26

Total:                $1792.42
We used a flight booking company (after reading lots of reviews) we’d never used for the best possible pricing. The flight leaves Phoenix on January 29 and ends on January 30, 2020. 
There are two over nine-hour flights with an eight-hour layover in London in between. It will be a long 27 hours. This leaves us a few days in Mumbai to refresh and recover before we begin the exciting six night-train excursion on the Maharajah Express.
As always, we’ll manage OK on these long flights although neither of us is able to sleep on the plane. It’s funny. I can fall asleep sitting upright on a sofa while watching a show but I can’t sleep for five minutes on a plane in a similar position. Go figure.
Tonight’s a big sports night here at Richard’s…the Vegas Golden Knights will play on TV along with the Minnesota Vikings. I plan to get back early enough to make the dinner so we can all settle in and somehow watch the games simultaneously. 
Tom can bring up the football on his laptop via NFL GamePass and the Vegas Golden Knights can be playing on the TV. We’ll see how it goes.
Thanksgiving weekend is over in the US and life is back to normal also after “Black Friday” shopping frenzy has ended. We’d intended to go to renew our driver’s licenses today but as mentioned, this is supposedly the DMV’s busiest day of the year. Forget that!
Unfortunately, no new photos to share but check out last year’s photo below! It still makes us laugh!

Be well. Be happy.


Photo from one year ago today, December 2, 2018:

Little decided to check out the inside of the house.  I was in the kitchen chopping vegetables when he entered and looked up to see this! We both couldn’t stop laughing. I yelled out, “Little, is that you?” (I knew it was him). He shook his head a bit like he often did when I spoke to him. He climbed up six very slippery tile steps to get to me, difficult in those “high heeled shoes.” For more photos, please click here.

A much needed restful night in…Using Google Pixel 4XL phone for photos?…

Richard is definitely a Vegas Golden Knight’s superfan when he had this mural painted on a wall in his backyard pool area. We’re looking forward to attending a game with him on December 8th.

Yesterday, I baked seven pumpkin pies. When Tom and Richard enjoyed their miniature pumpkin pies topped with whipped cream while out to dinner on Thanksgiving night, I decided I needed to bake a few pies. 

Two of the pies are low carb and the remainder are traditional. I made an extra for my sister Susan which I’ll bring when I visit her tomorrow at lunchtime. Richard often has a low carb way of eating but when he saw how different the low carb pies looked, he decided on the regular pie instead. 

I guess I’ll have to figure out how to eat two pies over the next several days. Most likely, I’ll freeze one and we’ll take it to Arizona when we make the drive on or about December 10th or 11th.

To make all these pies and dinner for the next several nights yesterday morning I grocery shopped by myself for the first time in over nine months. I was a little slow moving in Smith’s Market in Henderson due to another bad night’s sleep with both of us coughing, but I managed to get it done.

Years ago, while visiting Richard, I’d signed up for the Smith’s rewards card. Long ago I’d disposed of the card but I was able to remember my old phone number which worked in place of actually having the plastic card in my possession. 

As a result, when I was checking out after spending $300 on groceries, I saved over $34 from recalling the old phone number. Wow! That was a thrill. I purchased all the ingredients for the seven pies, two glass pie pans which we’ll take with us (Richard doesn’t bake pies), lots of Keurig coffee pods (so we don’t deplete Richard’s entire supply) and enough food for four or five dinners.

Last night we had carryout from Cheesecake Factory. I was too pooped to make dinner after making all the pies. Carryout was perfect. Today, I’m making dinner, enough to last for two nights but made fresh daily.

Today, I’m making boneless skinless chicken breasts stuffed with sauteed mushrooms, onions, garlic butter, and mozzarella and parmesan cheese and wrapped in hickory-smoked bacon. On the side; cauliflower mash, steamed asparagus, jasmine rice, and homemade coleslaw, a nice easy-to-prepare Sunday dinner.

After we devoured our Cheesecake Factory dinners, we began watching a movie that had recently been released on Netflix, “The Irishman,” which is over three hours long. Of course, I fell asleep on the comfy sofa, ultimately dozing off and on during the movie.

About an hour into the movie we took a break for pumpkin pie. Each of us could choose a pie of our own, without having to share. This is a great way to savor a pie at one’s own pace without worrying about sharing with others. We’ve often done it this way with my former passion for baking which over the years has diminished since we’ve been traveling.

By 11:00 pm, the movie ended and we were off to bed each chugging the little plastic cupful of Nyquil Cough, hoping we wouldn’t disturb each other’s sleep. It was a useless expectation. We each awakened many times from our own and each other’s coughing. Tom is where I was two weeks ago and I still have a long way to go to be free of this virus. 

In case you haven’t noticed I have been posting photos taken with my phone. This is something I’d been adamantly opposed to for a long time, preferring to use a camera. Now, with this new phone, I am amazed by the quality of the photos as seen in the above photo.

This doesn’t mean we won’t keep using a camera. One of our two cameras “died” while in my carryon bag on the flight from Fort Lauderdale, Florida to Minneapolis, Minnesota. How? I don’t know. Now, we’re left with one camera and will use it for most sightseeing. For now, it sure is fun using my new phone.

When I take photos with the phone, within seconds they are automatically on my laptop through Google. This saves me so much time. Having these many features is astounding to us having been so far removed from the most current digital equipment for so long.

Our phones work like Amazon’s Alexa. We can ask anything at all by voice and get an instantaneous response within seconds. This is quite fun for me but Tom doesn’t seem as interested in using voice commands.

That’s it for today, folks. We hope each of you has a peaceful and restful day as well.
Photo from one year ago today, December 1, 2018:
This is our boy Wildebeest Willie, who stops by most afternoons for pellets and several naps.  He waits for other wildlife to appear then gets up to join in on the pellet frenzy.  He isn’t interested in carrots, celery tops, apples or pears.  He responds enthusiastically to his name and most likely responds to names other residents have given him.  Smart guy, that Willie! For more, please click here.

Visited my sister for first time in over two years…The Las Vegas Strip for dinner…Food photos…

Chase, Susan’s adorable Yorkie.

Yesterday afternoon, I drove to Summerlin, Nevada to see my sister Susan, who moved into an assisted living facility on November 1st. This move was long overdue when she requires quite a bit of help in her day to day activities. I am hoping she’ll be able to manage there when she’ll no longer have as much support staff as she had in her apartment.

My sister has been bedridden for approximately 14 years from what I recall. She suffers numerous health conditions including COPD and pain syndrome which requires constant oxygen, many medications and frequent doctor visits.
Seafood salad.

Her spirits are good and always have been. She’s accepted her limitations with dignity and grace. As my older sister by four years, she’s always been an inspiration to me. How dare I ever complain when I am up and around traveling the world while she lingers in a bed around the clock?

But, as we know everything is relative. When we suffer, regardless of the cause, thinking of the suffering of others doesn’t necessarily bring us comfort. It may for a few moments when we contemplate the suffering of others but rarely does it make us become pillars of strength and resiliency. It the nature of the human spirit.

Fried chicken.

As I sat there with her for three hours, hacking and coughing, she was more concerned for me than for herself. I dismissed the annoying cough as a mere inconvenience that eventually will go away. 

And it will. This morning I noticed a slight improvement. On the other hand, Tom is in the throes of the worst of it, behind me by about two weeks. Hopefully, soon with his strong constitution, he’ll be on the mend. It’s unlike him to become ill.

Chicken Piccata.

I will return to see my sister on Monday, joining her for lunch at the facility. They allow visitors to have meals with residents for a $9 fee. I noticed they had a salad on Monday that will work for me. The food is irrelevant. It’s the interaction that bespeaks it all. I will be able to dine with her.

When I returned back to the house, we drove to New York, New York Hotel and Casino and walked through the casino to the Venetian Hotel to a restaurant Richard suggested The Grand Lux Cafe.

Guess who ordered the beef pot roast with mashed potatoes?

The offerings were primarily American fare which Tom prefers the most and we all had an excellent meal. Once again, I had salad, this time seafood salad but that is always the easy go-to for me.

Today will be low-key. Soon, I am going to Smith’s Market to buy some groceries. Today, I am making pumpkin pies, both regular and low carb which we all missed over the Thanksgiving period. It will be wonderful to be able to have a slice of low carb pie topped with real whipped cream.

Most likely tonight we’ll dine out and then tomorrow, I’ll do some cooking for a few days. Richard only eats chicken so it will surely be a “chicken fest” while attempting to make a few favorite chicken recipes. I haven’t cooked a meal in almost a month.

May you have a spectacular weekend!


Photo from one year ago today, November 30, 2018:

Bushbuck baby, maybe dad and mom often stop at the bottom of the steps for their pellets.  For more, please click here.

Another difficult travel day in the US…

Five years ago we’d seen photos of this car, a 1959 Cadillac convertible (woody) hanging from the ceiling at Hard Rock Café in Lahaina.  On our return drive from Kaanapali Beach, we stopped to take a few photos of our own as shown. For more photos, please click here.

This may sound awful to say as proud American citizens but we’re are disappointed with the service at airports in the US. Questions go unanswered, the staff appears disinterested in traveler’s need and we discovered somewhat of a blase attitude of many airport employees.

Of course, there are many exceptions but during these past two flights; one from Fort Lauderdale to Minnesota and yesterday’s flight from Minnesota to Nevada left us wondering if the average worker is dissatisfied with their job.

No, I won’t get into all the potential reasons why we may have experienced these inconsistencies. None the less, we were grateful to arrive safely on somewhat of an uneventful flight, barring some turbulence as we approached Las Vegas where it was raining.

It is cool here but we don’t mind. It’s certainly not as cold as it was in Minnesota. Today’s high is expected to be 45F (7.2C), cool enough to require we dress warmly. The sun is shining today after a few days of rain.

It was wonderful to see son Richard after two years and four months. Once we arrived at his home, we dropped off our luggage, piled into his Escalade and headed right back out the door to go to Thanksgiving dinner. 

The restaurant he selected located across the road at Green Valley Ranch was perfect. Tom and Richard ordered the traditional Thanksgiving dinner while I had a Cobb salad. The turkey dinner had too many items I couldn’t eat and the salad was filling and satisfying. 

As I’d mentioned, Tom’s cough has exacerbated and last night after returning after dinner he went directly to bed. I am still coughing but am now convinced its a virus not a bacterial infection and there is nothing we can do to make it go away. Not antibiotics, not steroids…just time.

This gives me pause when considering upcoming cruises. What can we do to prevent catching the dreaded cruise cough? I can only surmise that avoiding the buffet, restrooms, and elevators when we can, may be the only way to ramp up our avoidance of catching these awful bugs.

We’d hoped that today we go to the DMV to renew our driver’s licenses. Richard suggested we wait until next Tuesday when it won’t be as busy. We’ve heard stories of people waiting all day to be called for their renewal. We have no interest in waiting in a queue for hours. 

Soon, I’ll take off to visit my sister Susan at her new home in Las Vegas, a beautiful assisted living facility, about 30 minutes from here. I can hardly wait to see her.

Tonight, we’ll all head out for dinner at a favorite spot of Richard‘s on the strip. Many new hotels and restaurants have been built in the past few years. We’ll enjoy having an opportunity to see the new properties and dine at one of the restaurants.

At the moment, I’m seated in his comfy living room with a great cup of Dunkin’ Donut Decaf Keurig coffee. At some point today or tomorrow, I’ll grocery shop to make a meal in the next few days. We’ve been eating out almost every day (except for a few fabulous dinners Karen made) since we arrived in the US on November 8th.

A home-cooked meal may be just what the doctor ordered. Settling in here in this low key environment is also on the list of healing properties, a little easier pace than we had in Minnesota.

We wish our friends in the US a fruitful “Black Friday.” the big sale after Thanksgiving each year. We prefer not to partake in the festivities! We hope everyone who celebrated Thanksgiving had a fabulous meal with quality time spent with family and friends.

Photo from one year ago today, November 29, 2018:
Many species visited our garden in the early mornings;  kudus, bushbucks, warthogs, helmeted guineafowl and duikers.  What a great start to the day! For more photos, please click here.

Final expenses for 25 days in Nevada…Back out “to the world tomorrow!”….A new normal…

Mountain view on a rare cloudy day.

This morning I packed my one suitcase of clothing and collected items for our supplies bag.  My bag weighs well under the 50 lb maximum (23 kg).  Surely today, I’ll find odds and ends to get me up to the 23 kg maximum allowed by the airlines.

In a way, it’s bittersweet, packing and leaving the US once again for the next two years when once again we’ll return to visit family.  Next time, we won’t stay quite as long, most likely for a total of one month between Minnesota and Nevada giving us plenty of time to be with family and friends.

Here are our total expenses for the 25 nights in Henderson Nevada:

 Expense   US Dollar 
Housing (Richard’s home)   $                         
 Gifts & Misc.   $                  299.00
 Airfare    $               1,137.00
 Rental Car & Fuel  $                  926.00
 Groceries   $               1,245.30
 Dining Out   $                  402.52
 Supplies & Pharmacy   $                  609.32
 Entertainment   $                  310.25
 Total   $               4,929.39
 Avg Daily Cost 25 days   $                  197.18

Now, as we pack and make the necessary preparations to continue our world journey, we’ve further discovered that this nomadic life we live is definitely our “new normal.” 

There’s no way we can envision living in one place, renting a condo somewhere and returning to a life of owning “stuff,” shopping among the crowds, waiting in traffic, and considering times to go out based on when “rush hour” ends.  That’s no longer who we are.

We ask ourselves, “Was that ever us anyway?”

Two Mallards sharing a rock in the pond at the Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve.

As we’ve melded into life in convenient Henderson Nevada over these past 25 days, we realize how far removed this easy life is from our reality.  Living in constant temperature controlled comfort, with nary an insect in sight, with little wildlife and nature surrounding us, we’re literally starving to be living in a challenging environment.

To be surrounded by nature, including the good and not so good, and the occasional discomforts that remind us of our humanness and vulnerability, is where we long to be.

One of eight ponds in the preserve.

That’s not to say that living in a luxury villa in Costa Rica will be tough.It will be easy in most ways.  But, we’ll be surrounded by expansive views, varying temperatures and climate and some of the finest wildlife in the world. 

Costa Rica is a country rich in unique and colorful inhabitants, both human and animal.  Yes, modern conveniences will be enjoyed and appreciated but never taken for granted.  Our goals will still be to focus on that which always appeals to us the most.

Is this a weather ball I shot from a distance?

We have a plethora of tasks to complete while in Costa Rica including tax stuff, visa extensions,  trips to a dentist (we’ve both lost a few fillings), other financial “paperwork” and beginning the process of preparing for the Antarctica cruise which requires medical certifications and tons of forms to complete.

We hope to get as much of this “work” completed shortly after we arrive to leave us ample time to focus on our interests in culture and in taking photos of the extraordinary scenery and wildlife that Costa Rica offers in abundance.

Today, we’ll complete the packing, make a quick trip to the market to replace any paper products and supplies we used while living in Richard’s home (he doesn’t expect this but, that’s just us) and fill the little white car with fuel. 

Mountains surround the Las Vegas valley.

Tonight, we’ll all dine on the leftover pizza which I made yesterday with a new salad I’ll make today.  Overall, with as much as we’ve already completed, the day won’t be much busier than most.  Thanks, Richard, for an excellent stay in your beautiful home!

Tomorrow, we’ll post from the airport while we await our flight.  We’re leaving for the airport at 8:30 am although our flight isn’t until 11:25 am.  Returning the rental car is far from the airport and requires a 10 minute or more ride in a shuttle to return to the airport where I’ll be waiting for Tom.

Tom feels more comfortable leaving for the airport earlier rather than later.  I’m fine with that since it is an international flight after all and I’ll have more time to upload a new post while we’re waiting.

We’ll be back tomorrow with some favorite Nevada photos and our goodbyes once again to the USA as we continue on our “new normal.”  We can’t stop smiling.

May your day bring many smiles!


Photo from one year ago today, July 31, 2016:

One of two long piers in Chalong Bay.  At that time I was still recovering from the spine injury in Bali occurring on June 1, 2016, and I wasn’t able to make the long walk on the pier. Now, I wouldn’t have thought about it twice.  For more photos, please click here.

An unexpected oasis in the desert with wildlife…Five days and counting…

Impressive clouds over the mountains while I toured the Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve.

With both of us having visited Nevada many times in our old lives, we had already been to many of the popular sightseeing venues throughout the state.  With many tasks to accomplish before leaving the US until our next family visit in a few years, we had much to do with little interest in traveling around the state in the outrageous heat.

The entrance to the Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve is secure to avoid trespassers entering during hours the facility is closed.

At this point, we’ve almost completed everything we needed to do. Today, we’ll make the final visit to our mailing service to pick up the last of our mail and drop off a few items we’ll store in our oversized mailbox for future shipment.

Also, we’ll make a quick stop at the pharmacy and Smith’s Market which will see us through until we leave for the airport on Tuesday morning to fly to Costa Rica for the upcoming three and a half month stay.

Too distant for close up photos, we spotted these two Cormorant sitting on a rock in a pond.

Two days ago, when I decided to head out on my own, leaving Tom behind to have some time to himself, I headed to the Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve with few expectations, hoping to see a few birds.

There is a total of eight distinct ponds within the facility.

On many occasions, we’d attempted to take photos of the few birds we’d seen here and there, including some in the yard by the pool.  In most cases, they’ve flown away before I could grab the camera.  While out and about we’ve seen a few birds and virtually no wildlife.

Each pond had a distinct look with a variety of birds and vegetation.

As our long time readers know, wildlife is the single most exciting aspect of our travels.  Without the opportunity to see Mother Nature’s treasures, we try to focus on culture, scenery, and vegetation. 

Unfortunately, where we’ve been located in Henderson with a population slightly under 300,000, (bordering Las Vegas which has a population of over 632,000), there have been few opportunities to see desert wildlife in the metropolitan area. 

In the summer there are fewer birds at the facility but I was surprised to see as many as I had.

Even if we’d ventured deep into the desert (as we’ve done in the past), it would be unlikely we’d see much in the way of wildlife.  The heat and the sun keep most animals under cover during daylight hours.

Arriving at the Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve at 11:10 am, I had no idea the facility closes at noon during the summer months.  A kindly staff member explained they’d be closing soon and the gates would be locked. 

Duck on a rock.

When I explained about our website and the fact I’d hoped to prepare a story on the facility, I was not only welcomed with open arms but was offered a private tour through the entire facility on their utility vehicle I couldn’t have been more appreciative. 

Oddly, the typically sunny sky this time of year was overcast and not ideal for taking photos but the unseasonable cool temperature at 75F (24C) was perfect weather for the tour.  I was determined to do my best and take as many photos as possible to share here with our worldwide readers.  It proved to be a perfect tour.

This bird is a vulture.

As for the Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve, here are a few facts from their site:

The Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve (HBVP) is one of the best places in southern Nevada to watch birds and dragonflies. Marsh and stream-side habitat in the nearby Las Vegas Wash, combined with open ponds and trees in the HBVP ponds, attracts birds of all kinds to water in this otherwise parched land. Desert species, waterbirds, wading birds, migrant songbirds, and shorebirds can be abundant here. Paved (fully accessible) and dirt (mostly accessible) walkways run on dikes that divide the area into nine brush-lined ponds and provide many vantage points. An elevated platform gives good views over much of the area. Access to the area is free, but it closes early, especially during summer.

The HBVP began as part of the Henderson city sewage treatment system, but with changes in the treatment process, the HBVP now uses reclaimed water and the odor is gone. Even so, the staff still ask people to remain on the trails and stay out of the mud and water.”

More information may be found on their site, including year round hours of operation and the amazing fact that there are no fees required to visit this exceptional spot. 

Please keep in mind a liability waiver must be signed upon entrance into the facility via the visitors center.  However, staying on the trails is safe for people of all ages although the roads are rough in spots and may not suitable for those with disabilities.  

In the usual heat of the desert, certain plants bloom pretty and colorful flowers.
The walk through the facility may take several hours and it’s imperative to dress for the weather and bring plenty of water.  Cooler days definitely would be more suitable for those interested in walking the entire distance.  Binoculars and/or a camera are a must. 
Shortly after Barbara, who’d volunteered to give me the tour, we were joined on the utility vehicle by Anthony, a biologist, who plays a big role in overseeing the wildlife in the preserve. 

During and after the tour, I had an opportunity to speak to Anthony at length as we shared wonderful stories of nature and wildlife.  He, too, was originally from the Midwest with an innate passion for nature so much so that it had become his dedicated lifelong career.

Las Vegas/Henderson is located in a valley surrounded by mountains.
Over the next several days, we’ll continue sharing more photos from my visit to the Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve although the stories included may not necessarily be relevant to the photos.

So, folks, we’re winding down our visit to the USA.  On August 1st, “travel day,” we’ll include all of our expenses and a recap of our favorite photos from the 24 days we’ll have spent in Nevada.

Have a pleasant day filled with wonderful surprises!


Photo from one year ago today, July 27, 2016:

One year ago…the second bedroom in the Phuket house which we never used which included an en suite bathroom with a Jacuzzi tub.  For more photos, please click here.

Safari luck prevails once again…A visit to the unique Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve….

Ducks and other varieties of bird in one of the many ponds in Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve.  I visited the preserve on a cool cloudy day but the scenery was still beautiful.

Over the next several days, we’ll be posting many photos from the awe inspiring Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve located about 15 minutes from our current location in Green Valley Ranch.

In the interim, I had to share what turned out to be a solution for my unfortunate fender bender which occurred on Monday while I was visiting a possible assisted living facility for my sister located in North Las Vegas, beyond the Summerlin area.

Visiting this venue provided me with an entirely different perspective of the Henderson area.

As shared in Monday’s post (click here for details) I bumped into a square post in the parking lot of the facility, leaving a dreadful situation in the left front of the white rental car that could easily have cost us hundreds of dollars in expenses with Avis handling the repairs, subsequent to returning the vehicle on August 1st.

With considerable angst, I showed Tom what had transpired in the parking lot.  With only a week remaining until we leave Nevada, we decided to wait and see how it would roll out when we return the vehicle next Tuesday before our flight to Costa Rica.

Two Mallards sitting on rocks in one of the eight ponds in the Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve.

Yesterday morning after visiting the Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve which I’d done on a whim when on my way to the grocery store (more on that shortly), the most peculiar thing happened.

After buying the groceries to make last night’s dinner, loading the groceries into the trunk in the insulated bags I had with me, I was approached by two men who commented about the situation on the left front bumper.  They explained they could fix it right there in the parking lot for $100 if I had 10 to 15 minutes to spare while they worked. 

Car before we wiped off the residue this morning.
Here’s the white rental car after repairs were made in Smith’s Market parking lot.  A tiny spot remains but is barely visible.  We’re satisfied with the work.  Below is the before photo.

At first, I hesitated.  Was this some type of scam?  The two men in their 30’s seemed OK.  They had a nice pickup truck, were dressed in clean white tee shirts and jeans and didn’t appear to be anything other than two guys trying to make some extra cash doing small body work jobs from Smith’s parking lot.

They assured me I didn’t have to pay until they completed the work to my satisfaction.  They explained I’d need to let the paint dry overnight and could wipe off the residue in the morning with a damp towel.  Another car owner was standing nearby listening to the conversation.  He, too, was considering that they work on his car also.

The little white rental car before the repairs done in Smith’s parking lot.

What did I have to lose?  The only risk would be if they exacerbated the damage by working on it.  For $100, it seemed worth taking the risk.  I told them I’d walk over to Wells Fargo ATM across the parking lot to get the rest of the cash when I didn’t have $100 in cash on me. 

I locked the car and walked to the ATM while they worked on the car.  The bystander watched with intense curiosity and decided that he, too, would go for their “deal” and could work on his car as soon as they were done with mine. 

In no time at all, I was satisfied with the work they were doing and told them I’d give them a mention in today’s post for a reasonably priced job well done.  How handy could this be?

This bird is a Grebe as described here:  “Grebes are a widely distributed order of freshwater diving birds, some of which visit the sea when migrating and in winter. This order contains only a single family, the Podicipedidae, containing 22 species in 6 extant genera.”

This morning Tom and I  wiped off the car to find it in considerably improved condition, most likely not detectable by the rental car company.  The 2016 model with 30,000 miles on the odometer had a number of similar small spots when we took the car, which is normal for rental cars over a year old.

If you live in the Las Vegas/Henderson area, they’ll come to your home or place of business or any other designated location to repair dings such as mine.  Of course, the price is subject to the extensive nature of your “dings” or dents.  You can reach Sean at 702-972-2495.

Today, I’m off to see Susan.  With today and Friday’s upcoming visit this may be the last of the two times I see my dear sister.  These past weeks I visited her every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. With this next upcoming Monday designated as packing day, I may not make the long drive that day and say goodbye on Friday.

In tomorrow’s post, I’ll share the details of my amazing visit to the breathtaking Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve with many more stunning and surprising photos.

Please check back then!


Photo from one year ago today, July 26, 2016:

The pouring rain in Phuket continued for many days during our six-week stay.  For more photos, please click here.

Oh, oh, stuff happens… I dinged the rental car!… See below for damage… Seven days and counting…

This is the separation of the fender that transpired from the “ding.”

I’ve never claimed to be a good driver.  Overall, I’m OK on the highway, paying strict attention to my driving.  But, I’m a nightmare in a parking lot, parking ramp or other such areas where there are posts or obstacles of any type.

In my 50 plus years of driving, I’ve probably caused a dozen or more “dings” in parking lots, some more serious than others.  Why?  I don’t know.  Perhaps my judgment as to how close I am to obstacles is impeded in some manner by my depth perception.

There’s no doubt that at some point I’ll give up driving maybe earlier than some seniors.  But, in countries where we have a rental car, it’s been nice to give Tom a break from sitting in the car waiting for me while I shop.  He despises shopping but he’s an excellent driver.

Also, it’s good to give him time alone while I head out to shop for groceries.  I can easily spend a few hours dawdling in a larger market when I’m not familiar with the placement of the inventory.  Learning a grocery store each time we move can take several trips.

The little white rental car after I’d caused the ding in the left front bumper.

In the smaller markets such as in Belize, Kenya, Fiji and others, with only three or four aisles, I’d be done shopping in less than 10 minutes.  We anticipate more of these types of markets in the future.

But, it wasn’t at a market that I dinged the white rental car yesterday.  I was entering a parking spot at an assisted living facility not far from where my sister Susan currently lives.  I was investigating the prospect of her moving into such a facility sometime in the near future.

As I pulled into a shaded parking spot, I thought I was paying attention.  However, a square post was located at the end of the space defining the position of two spaces and acting as a support for the shaded overhead canopy.  I barely tapped the post.

As a matter of fact, I tapped it so lightly, I wasn’t even going to look at it, figuring I hadn’t done a thing to the vehicle.  When I decided I’d better take a look, with the utmost of angst, I realized I had displaced a portion of the left front bumper which appears to have become disconnected from its joining points. 

The pea sized bit of paint came off the car.

I tried to push it back in place with my hands to no avail.  It needed a rubber mallet or some other type of device to put it back in place.  When I arrived at Susan’s an hour later, I couldn’t get my fender bender out of my mind.  How could I be so careless?

I also wondered how the bumper could feel so soft and more like tin or plastic than the metal on cars made years ago.  I had no idea it was so soft and pliable, seemingly responding to even the slightest ding.

Today, I’ll call the credit card company on which we charged the rental car.  Apparently, we have rental car insurance that covers such incidents.  Hopefully, that will work out or we’ll be paying for the repairs out of pocket and there’s no doubt the rental car company will gouge us.  Once we know what transpires, we’ll report back here.

So it goes…stuff happens.  In the realm of things, it’s a small incident.  As we always say, if we have our health and we’re safe, we have no reason to complain. 

It doesn’t appear to be that much damage but who knows how it will go.

When I returned to Henderson around 4:00 pm I was a little apprehensive to tell Tom what I’d done. The minute I walked in the door, based on the look on my face, he asked me what was wrong.

In his usual style, he wasn’t angry at me for my carelessness and reassured me not to stress about it.  In no time at all, we were our usual cheerful selves, enjoying the evening with a good meal shared with Richard, as we begin to wind down our final week in the USA.

By the way, right now after 10:00 am, it’s overcast and rainy at a cool 75F (24C).  Go figure.

May you have a stress free day!


Photo from one year ago today, July 25, 2016:

Kong, our fabulous tour guide with Viking Cruise Line took this photo of Tom and a tarantula served at dinner.  He didn’t actually eat it.  I would have tried it but it was batter fried.  For more photos, please click here.

Keeping it real…How are we feeling about movin’ on?…Are we worried?

Leialoha and Mark from Minnesota were a delight to see last night at our Meet & Greet!

After almost two months in the USA, we’re ready to move on. We’ve spent quality time with family and friends, rebuilding and enhancing relationships, catching up and filling our hearts and minds with loving thoughts to carry into this next phase of our travels.

As always, we had a great evening at The Elephant Bar with friends.

Are we at all apprehensive?  As Tom and I are sitting together this Saturday morning in air conditioned comfort in Henderson, Nevada with literally every comfort we could possibly need or want, with nary a scary insect or snake at our feet, I asked Tom, “Do you have any apprehension about continuing on in our world travels?”

The Elephant Bar in The District in Henderson is a great meeting place.  Prices are reasonable, especially during happy hour.

After all, we have some substantial challenges ahead of us, we’re not getting any younger and we’ll definitely be forfeiting this easy and comfortable life we’ve experienced while in the US over these past two months.

He picked up his head from his computer, contemplated my question, made a goofy smirk and said, “No, not at all. I’m looking forward to it!”

The Elephant Bar has a rewards program.  By signing up each new member receives a free appetizer even on the same day as registering.  We did this before heading out yesterday and enjoyed our two complimentary appetizers for both of our temporary US phone numbers.  Click this link to sign up for free.

At times, we can all over think our lives, cringing with a bit of apprehension over that which we don’t know for sure…what the future holds.  Is it a matter of destiny or luck that propels us into the next phase of our lives or is it predicated by our own design, tinged with a bit of good fortune?

For us, good fortune revolves around good health and safety.  If we have these two, coupled with our mutual love and compatibility, we’re content.  We often ask ourselves, how much are we able to we control these two areas when so much about safety can be a matter of being at “the wrong place at the wrong time.” Do we have control over this?

The food coming out of the Elephant’s Bar kitchen was fresh, hot and delicious.

To an extent we do. But, aren’t we placing ourselves into situations where risks may be considerably higher than sitting here in Henderson Nevada in air conditioned comfort? 

Yes, we are exposing ourselves to certain risks but that’s not only the nature of leaving the safety of one’s surroundings but it’s also the nature of travel in itself; the airports, the flights, the seas; the trains, the buses, the rickety taxi rides and the outdoor cafes, all present some risks.

The decor is pleasing and comfortable.  It has changed considerably since the last time we were there in 2009.

Although mindful of these possibly risky scenarios, we don’t allow ourselves to contemplate the potentiality of the worst happening.  Doing so would hinder or prevent a traveler of the all encompassing joy of their experiences.

As for health, here again, we can’t allow ourselves to spend time worrying about “what if?”  Instead, as our regular readers well know, we try to stay fit and healthy to the best of our ability through a healthy diet, staying mobile and active and avoiding stress inducing scenarios.

Having healthy relationships and a positive attitude is also a major aspect to maintaining good health and a state of wellness.  Worry and stress have no place in attempting to achieve such a scenario.  Joyful anticipation, enthusiasm, and hopefulness for a safe and healthy future somehow seem to propel us to our next awaiting experience.

Tom and Mark, old buddies from the railroad in Minnesota were happy to catch up at our Meet & Greet last night.

As for last night, we had a small turnout for the Nevada Meet & Greet at The Elephant Bar in The District.  None the less, we had an especially enjoyable evening.  Several readers contacted us via email apologizing for being unable to attend last night and if time allows, we may meet with them before we leave in 10 days.  We’ll see how it goes.

Tonight, we plan to head to the strip to check out a few of the new hotels and have dinner at a popular Brazilian barbecue.  Our plan is to return with many new photos of the Las Vegas Strip which we’ll begin sharing in tomorrow’s post.

Have a blissful day!


Photo from one year ago today, July 22, 2016:

One year ago today, we made it to Phuket, Thailand where we stayed for six weeks. Photo showing businesses, one after another in tight spaces.  For more photos, please click here.