Most of the travel plans Betty and I had for this year ended up being abandoned. With a move to our new home, a decision to cancel a summer-long RV trip, and the need to stay close to home for awhile after my heart problems, several anticipated getaways never happened.
We did manage to fly to Portland for a week to see friends, but that was short circuited with a hospital stay. Our just completed time with family at Disneyland and California Adventure was memorable and special. And, we will take the RV up to the White Mountains later this week for a four day stay in the cool pines by a pretty lake. But, overall, this was a year we spent pretty close to home.
Betty and I will celebrate our 40th anniversary in June, so we would like to make 2016 very special. After the year that is quickly coming to a close, we are ready for some serious self-pampering.
Right after the first of the year we are off to join Mike and Tamara Reddy for a week at the Palm Springs Film Festival. This past January was our first visit to the annual gathering of thousands of film fans, along with the famous and nearly famous folks who appear in those movies. With well over 1,000 movies to choose from, the toughest part is deciding which ones to see. During the eight days we will be in town we will see six films, enjoy excellent meals together, do some hiking and shopping, and enjoy each others' company.
In early June we will fly to Seattle and board a cruise ship for a week enjoying the inner passage of Alaska. This trip has been on our must-do list for several years; 2016 is when we finally make it reality. How can you not enjoy something that involves too much food, being pampered by a crew of hundreds, and visiting places with names like Skagway and Ketchikan?
After returning to Seattle we may take a boat back to Victoria for a day. The cruise ship stops there for only a few hours, not long enough to explore Butchart Gardens and the thoroughly British feel of the small downtown near the dock. We were last there twenty years ago and still have vivid memories of the area.
In early November we are discussing a trip that would be truly special: Hawaii and then two weeks in New Zealand. For the first time, I would be turning over all planning and transportation to a tour company. Typically, I plan a trip, book all the hotels, arrange for the airplane flights and rental car, and then plow through an intense itinerary that leaves me frazzled and unable to see much since I must focus on driving.
In all honesty I must say that the idea of being on a structured tour with someone telling us where and when to be someplace is a little scary. The lack of control and the need to be with a group of people for two weeks will be different. I will have to practice my patience and people skills, and give up my need to manage everything.
On the plus side, I will have the opportunity to actually see the countryside, learn about the history and importance of places we visit, and not worry about driving on the left side of the road! We would spend time on both islands, enjoying the stunning countryside and sights. One required stop is Hobbiton, where parts of the Lord of the Rings movies were filmed.
The flight to Auckland is 14 hours from L.A. That is more time stuck in a tight airplane seat than I am willing to endure. So, we would fly from Phoenix to Honolulu and spent 3 nights enjoying one of our favorite places on earth. That leaves "only" a nine hour flight to New Zealand-much more doable. On the way back we would stop off in Hawaii for two nights to help with jet lag and another too-long time in a metal tube before continuing home.
The cost of that trip is giving us pause. To spend so much on just a vacation strikes us as questionable. But, it is a major milestone in our marriage. Stay tuned for a final decision.
A few long weekend trips in the RV to Flagstaff and Arizona Wine Country should help us make up for a disappointing travel year in 2015.
Quite literally, 2016 should be a truly Satisfying Journey with experiences and memories to last the rest of our lives.
Now, if we can just stay healthy.......