Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Busy Year

As the year 2014 comes to a close, I noticed that I have really written much about traveling or anything else in quite a while. Therefore, in a nutshell, here is how our adventures have gone since the last trip to Big Bend National Park.

I underwent a successful brachetherapy seed implant where 72 individual seeds of radioactive iodine were inserted into my prostate. The doctors, PAs, and nurses at MD Anderson Cancer Center have been, to a person, professional, friendly, and competent. With their care, my Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) went from 7.0 to 2.9 to 0.5 in a matter of only six months! I have high hopes that this cancer has been destroyed but I won't know for sure for another year or so.

Meanwhile, we took a camping adventure to Van Horn, Texas, where we visited the Red Rock Ranch. Here, we stood on the oldest rocks in the world - well, actually, they are among the oldest in the world. These pre-Cambrian rocks were formed over 4 billion years ago before any known life existed on earth. This is one of the few places in the world where these rocks are on the surface and can be touched by us. A great tour where we saw Desert Mountain Sheep and heard history of the oldest Anglo settlers to this region.

We also visited the great city of Fredericksburg, Texas, a few weeks later. Our camp ground was a few miles southeast of the city and it was very quiet. We enjoyed an amazing meal at a local restaurant and toured the Museum of the Pacific where I found a plaque honoring my uncle, Claudus Evans, a Navy veteran of WWII who also happened to have been one of the few survivors of the USS Indianapolis' sinking in 1945. Everyone who has seen the movie Jaws! will remember the story of how the Sailors left the sinking cruiser and floated in the water for 4 days while sharks decimated their number.

Along with our two grown children and our son-in-law, Sweetie and I took another cruise. This time, our family group boarded the Carnival Breeze in Miami, Florida, for an extended trip to the southern Caribbean! Our ship took us to the Grand Turks where we enjoyed a helicopter ride around the island, seeing a whole lot of rays (but no sharks), and getting a personalized briefing from the pilot. My Sweetie got the prime seat of sitting in the front with the pilot. Big smiles!

Later on the cruise, we hit the beaches (figuratively) in the Dominican Republic. We had an outstanding tour when we boarded a river party boat and cruised up and down one of the rivers in the area. Our crew cut the tops off of fresh coconuts, gave each person their own coconut, and the coconut juice flowed! This was the first time that My Sweetie every tasted fresh coconut juice. Once the liquid was down a bit, they came around with rum! What a nice way to have rum. They didn't let me down either as they kept the rum flowing!

We made our way to Curacoa and then to Aruba before sailing back to Miami! Aruba reminded me a lot of home in that there were lots of cactus and it was fairly arid.

Later in the year, Sweetie and I took a camping trip to Copper Breaks State Park near Quanah, Texas. This park is underutilized. And the park was great. We got a dose of rain but, being in Rita, we merely slept right through it!

And that, as they say, is that. Sweetie has plans for a trip to Indian Lodge in Davis Mountains State Park in a couple of weeks as well as my birthday trip to Las Vegas, Nevada, coming up after Christmas. So, we are still traveling!

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