Archive for the ‘Liz’s Journal’ Category

COVID Summer Road Trip 2020

Thursday, August 27th, 2020
Mountain portrait, Dan/Liz

Glacier Lake in the Beartooth Mountains

The natives were restless after spending 6 months in home quarantine against the COVID-19 pandemic. When Zephyr Adventures announced their safety-adjusted Beartooth Hiking Adventure based in Red Lodge, Montana in August, we immediately signed up, and started planning a road trip to and from the location. Dan mapped out outbound and return routes that included two days in Yellowstone National Park and a first-time look at the incredible Leslie Gulch in Oregon. We wore masks around other people for the entire 2 weeks.

We returned to a lightning-struck California on fire amidst a severe heat wave and drought. With smoky skies forcing us to keep indoors and windows tight shut, it seemed like end times had arrived!

Japan Photo Albums 2020

Saturday, February 15th, 2020

Dan had a dream, to ski the famous bottomless dry powder of northern Japan, known as “JaPow”! So he signed us up with a company called “Savour the Journey,” specializing in both skiing and food.

Liz dreamed of being able to communicate with the natives, so she immediately started working through the Duolingo Japanese lessons in order to master the basics: “Hello, thank you, where are the toilets? English menu please.”

Iceland Photo Albums 2019

Tuesday, August 27th, 2019
Storurdh, eastern Iceland

Storurdh, formed by volcanic activity in eastern Iceland

Dan and Liz spent two weeks in Iceland, the first with Kim and Rich (daughter and son-in-law), and the second week with Zephyr Adventures. The large number of albums below reflects how much gorgeous scenery we saw there! Iceland is truly a nature lover’s paradise.

Happy Holidays 2018!

Monday, December 10th, 2018

Happy Holidays to You, Happy Retirement to Us!

From Liz, Dan and Don

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Christmas card 2018

2018 Events and Travels

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Ode to Fall in Danville, CA

Friday, November 16th, 2018
Closeup of leaves and mushrooms on a Danville lawn

Art by Nature

As a new retiree, I have time to take long walks with eyes wide open. Here are the word pictures Mother Nature shared with me this Fall:

Neighborhood sycamore trees shamelessly flaunt their Autumn glory like can-can dancers flashing gold and red skirts. A single glorious specimen hosts clusters of yellow, green, orange and magenta leaves, blending into the graduated shades of a Neapolitan popsicle. Later in the season they prolonged the show with an elegant starburst of tenacious orange clingers on near-bare branches.

Two blocks further on,  Japanese Maples convert to a richly saturated, almost blinding crimson, while citrus tree fruit finally ripens from its camouflage green to bright yellow and orange, begging to be snitched. The leafless branches of persimmon and pomegranate adorned with red and orange globes trigger thoughts of both Christmas decorations and holiday recipes. Like holly surrogates, clumps of cardinal-red pyracantha berries drip from dense shrubs in front yards, while street-side ranks of California pepper trees drop a crunchy hot pink carpet on the sidewalks.

Down the frontage road, a long sound wall of newly planted ivy is brilliantly gilded with orange, gold and red, in wedges shaped like an assortment of exotic geisha girl fans.

After the first heavy rains thrashed the trees, washing mountains of leaves onto pavement and gutters, hints of green finally appeared on the slopes of omnipresent Mt. Diablo and surrounding hillsides, signaling at last, the end of brown season and the coming of green season.

These are more than enough hints that it’s time to get well and truly festive for the holiday season!

Stepping Into Routines

Friday, August 24th, 2018
Santiago Gym

our Santiago gym

We have joined a gym, go out daily for long walks and groceries, go up and down the apartment stairwell to warm up, sit with our Kindles in a nearby coffee shop, and still we have too much spare time here. Like real retirement? 😉

Dan and I are sometimes “hermited” in our bedroom. When Julia occasionally hosts a lady friend in the living room, we are looking at our phones, catching up on news, politics and Facebook. That said, she spends most of her time in the guest bedroom, into which she has moved so that we could have the master for ourselves.

We take turns using the miniscule kitchen, and sometimes we three share dinner cooked by Dan. Ella es muy simpatica, pero no habla Ingles. Sometimes we are all at our phones taking Duolingo lessons, Julia included.

The apartment is kept quite chilly. Since we’d read about this trend before leaving home, we are prepared and are always in multiple layers of clothing.

    Dan at ValleNevado

We went skiing last Tuesday. It was pretty much a 12-hour day when you added up the commute times to and from. We had the skiing almost all to ourselves, and the groomed runs were fine. But that was a lot of time and effort for the 5 hours of skiing we got.

We considered a return trip to the same place today to ski the fresh new inches of snow, but this front is extremely cold, and we now know there’s no place on the mountain to shelter, so we decided to wait a couple more days.

Dan wondered last night if it would cost too much to fly home early. He is disappointed by the skiing options. I said let’s stick it out with other activities!! He is now researching excursions to the Atacama desert, a wine tasting day trip package and another one to a coastal city.

Today, we are planning a long walk to a park and museum with large Chilean sculptures as soon as it warms up. I downloaded Google Fit– I will be getting my 10 thousand steps again today!

Reality Check

Friday, August 17th, 2018

Looking at rental bikes

We arrived in Santiago, Chile yesterday morning but our skis and luggage didn’t make it due to a tight connection in Dallas. However we were welcomed with open arms by our kind hostess Julia Romero, who is charging us a modest amount to use her spare bedroom for 5 weeks. Now that we’re here, I realize we are using her own master bedroom, which she totally cleared out to accommodate us! This isn’t something she does regularly, but it happened because of a connection involving one of my co-workers’ parents.

Unfortunately, the language barrier is a more  immediate problem then expected, because Julia does not speak English. (Thank goodness for Google Translator!) Day to day communications as we get settled are a daunting prospect for Dan, and even me at my current level. He is feeling a bit down after seeing how difficult the logistics are to go skiing from here, a significant challenge even in a good snow year.

Mountains over Santiago

The Andes are calling

Yesterday was a gorgeous winter day in Santiago. We took the opportunity to stroll the neighborhood, first with Julia and later on our own. We found grocery stores, coffee shops, a dedicated bike path right out the front door, and people going about their daily lives.

The challenge as I see it: Establish a daily routine of exercise and mealtime activities mixed with learning better Spanish and how to live like retired folks. And on the side, of course we can plan excursions.

I have already done a 15-minute workout in the stairwell this morning, going up to the 7th floor and down at various speeds. But with no other clothes to wear, I don’t want to get too sweaty.

After our luggage arrives, our To Do list today includes charging the Bip! metro card, visiting a ski shop and researching the two nearest gyms.

Holiday Greetings

Sunday, December 24th, 2017

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

From Liz, Dan and Don

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Christmas banner

Xmas card 2017

2017 Events and Travels

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Win Some Lose Some

Friday, November 3rd, 2017

Dan and Liz at the top of Mt. Diablo — PHEW!

Soon after the New York terrorist mowed down and killed several people on a bike path, a CNN story, Why we’ll never stop biking, caught my eye. As I read it, I found a resonating quote:

“A bicycle is a human-powered machine weighing next to nothing that can travel easily at 10-15 mph, needs only a surface on which to move, is not limited to transit schedules or beholden to fuel prices, does not pollute the environment or require large parking spaces, has demonstrable benefits to the health of individuals and the strength of economies, is easily repaired, costs nothing to operate, and is, above all, really, really fun to use.”

In mid-October, sombody stole both our bicycles from our garage — on a cul-de-sac at the end of a dead-end street. The theft was more than a material loss, it is depriving Dan and me of an important aspect of our outdoorsy lifestyle. We continue to “play outdoors” in other ways, but road biking was an activity we are enjoyed sharing for hours at a time. And at this age, it is less traumatic to the joints than our replacement choices: running, hiking, biking and inline skating.

We are already discovering the silver lining behind this cloud:

  • Soon we will have better home security systems, including cameras and a self-closing garage door
  • The latest models of Trek bikes have some very cool features we are eager to experience
  • We lost our bikes at the end of biking season; and ski season is just around the corner!

Photos: Our People-to-People Tour in Cuba

Thursday, July 27th, 2017

Dan and Liz joined old and new friends on a Zephyr Adventures tour of Cuba in December 2017. Here are links to the photo albums. Scroll down the album splash pages to browse our photos, or click one to see an up close view and read captions where added.

Update June 14, 2019: Perfect happy ending to my career as an inline skating professional? I just shipped almost my entire Get Rolling inline skate school inventory to Cuba; first journey is by train to Jose M Bordas who runs Miami’s Skate Cuba. Every November he visits his homeland bearing donated inline skates and all things related. I sent him my old helmets, scads of wheels — mostly used, several sets of bearings, a couple of unused brakes (and lots of used ones), various skate hardware bits, my extra protective pads, plus chalk and cones for obstacle courses. I am delighted to have this chance to help folks in Cuba Get Rolling!

My Get Rolling skate school inventory all ready to go by train to Cuba via a contact in Miami