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Monday, June 29, 2015

Alaska Cruising!

Lorna and I wanted to go on the Reno Rendezvous Motorcycle Rally with the group from Edmonton,
however the Alaska Cruise to celebrate Lorna’s 50th anniversary of her nursing class graduation took priority. Now 50 years is a long time, but getting together for this class and their spouses has been almost an annual event. But to celebrate such a special occasion we decided an Alaska Cruise would do the trick. Now this article is not really a biking story but . . . you may find it of interest.

Lorna and her buds took their nursing classes at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Humboldt, Saskatchewan. They were a small class of 12. But three have passed away and one couple were not thrilled about bouncing about on the ocean, so that left seven. We had 6 husbands along and one of the gals was a widow so she brought her sister-in-law. We all arrived Vancouver prepared for departure on Holland America’s Volendam on June 17th. This is a relatively small cruising ship with 1,500 passengers.

St. Elizabeth's Nursing Class of '65
Mendenhall Glacier
We departed about 5pm and cruised all night and the next day on the inside passage to arrive at Alaska’s Capitol, Juneau, Friday morning. Juneau is the only capital city in the world with no access by roads. You must either fly or arrive by boat. We had three excursions planned. The first took us to Mendenhall Glacier quite near the city. This is a flowing glacier which slides down the mountain and calves into a lake at the bottom. Snow that falls at the top will calf off about 12 years later. Our second Juneau tour was a jet boat whale watching trip. First, we got to see 6 or 7 humpback whales doing circle feeding. They swim head to tale in a circle, catch their breaths and then dive down and blow bubbles. The fish in the middle of the circle of bubbles are trapped. Then one or two of the whales come up through the middle with mouths wide open and catch the fish in a 15,000 gallon gulp. This usually only happens in Alaska for a week in July but we were very lucky. Later we seen a mother Humpback and her 30 foot long baby. The baby was lying on its back flopping it’s fins and tail in the water making loud smacking noises. Then came our third excursion to the Alaskan Brewery where we had six samples of their very excellent beer selections.

We sailed overnight to Skagway where we take an all day excursion. We bussed to Carcross, Yukon and then took the White Pass and Yukon Railway back to town. This is a narrow gauge railway which uses vintage GE diesel-electric engines. The drop is over 3,200 vertical feet past lakes, through tunnels, over trestles, and beautiful gorges with many waterfalls. This was always an item on my ‘Bucket List’. No visit would be complete without a stop at the Red Onion Saloon . . . for an Alaskan Amber of course!
White Pass and Yukon Railway

Sunday our ship would be in Glacier Bay National Park. There are glaciers and gorgeous scenery every place one looked. The ship parked off of a huge flowing glacier over 1,000 feet high that calves large chunks into the sea. We would see a big chunk splash down and then hear the loud bang a half second later. We then toured though several other glaciers in the bay before heading south.
Calving Glacier in Glacier Bay National Park
Monday would be our last stop at Ketchikan. This is an interesting small city with lots to see and do.
Welcome to Ketchekan
 Our excursion here was a few miles out of town to Ward Cove where we would meet Captain Rob on the Eagles, Totems and Lighthouse boat tour. Rob was a comic if we ever heard one with great and funny comments about the area. We seen many Bald Eagles and their nests in the area. ridecoord@gwrra.ca> and I will forward it to you. Following our boat tour we frequented the Fish Pirate Saloon for, you guessed it . . . an Alaskan Amber.
One of Many Bald Eagles
We also toured past the Totem Bight Historical Park which has the largest collection of authentic totem poles in one place. We then circumnavigated the Gard Island Lighthouse which was constructed in 1924. Captain Rob also offered anyone interested to email us a short iPhone video of humpback whales circle feeding just off the bow of his boat last year. If you are interested in having a look at this, drop me an email at <


Tuesday was a day at sea passing by the Queen Charlotte Islands which have been renamed Haida Gwaii. There are many islands, some with very narrow passages between. We arrived Vancouver early Wednesday morning and disembarked by 8:30 am. This was a great cruise with fabulous weather (read nary a raindrop), nice ports, superb meals, with great company. If you haven’t done this yet it comes highly recommended from Lorna and I.

Wally & Lorna Bentt

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Welcome Laura

This Sunday morning fellow golfers, poker players, shufflers, and just plain friends turned out at the gate to Leisure World to welcome Laura, fellow law student and girlfriend of our summer resident, Nick!  Glad to meet you Laura, now you've got to live up to the bragging your boyfriend has been doing. See you at the poker table!
(Sign & photos courtesy of Beth Staton)

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Forwarding e-mails

Terry Shanafelt sent me this.  It is very good advice and I wanted to share it with you.  His email also had some ideas on handling junk mail and phone "spam" as well, which I will share later.  Here is the information on email forwards.

E-Mail Tracker Programs -- very interesting and a must read!

The man that sent this information is a computer tech. He spends a lot of time clearing the junk off computers for people and listens to complaints about speed. All forwards are not bad, just some. Be sure you read the very last paragraph.
_________________________________________

He wrote:
By now, I suspect everyone is familiar with snopes.com and/or truthorfiction.com for determining whether information received via email is just that: true/false or fact/fiction. Both are excellent sites. Sometimes a good idea to check out something on one of the two sites before forwarding to check validity!
Advice from snopes.com VERY IMPORTANT!!
1) Any time you see an email that says "forward this on to '10' (or however many) of your friends", "sign this petition", or "you'll get bad luck" or "you'll get good luck" or "you'll see something funny on your screen after you send it" or whatever --- it almost always has an email tracker program attached that tracks the cookies and emails of those folks you forward to. The host sender is getting a copy each time it gets forwarded and then is able to get lists of 'active' email addresses to use in SPAM emails or sell to other Spammers. Even when you get emails that demand you send the email on if you're not ashamed of God/Jesus --- that is email tracking, and they are playing on our conscience. These people don't care how they get your email addresses - just as long as they get them. Also, emails that talk about a missing child or a child with an incurable disease "how would you feel if that was your child" --- email tracking. Ignore them and don't participate!

2) Almost all emails that ask you to add your name and forward on to others are similar to that mass letter years ago that asked people to send business cards to the little kid in Florida who wanted to break the Guinness Book of Records for the most cards. All it was, and all any of this type of email is, is a way to get names and 'cookie' tracking information for telemarketers and Spammers -- to validate active email accounts for their own profitable purposes.

You can do your Friends and Family members a GREAT favor by sending this information to them. You will be providing a service to your friends. And you will be rewarded by not getting thousands of spam emails in the future!

Do yourself a favor and STOP adding your name(s) to those types of listing regardless how inviting they might sound! Or make you feel guilty if you don't! It's all about getting email addresses and nothing more.
You may think you are supporting a GREAT cause, but you are NOT!

Instead, you will be getting tons of junk mail later and very possibly a virus attached! Plus, we are helping the Spammers get rich! Let's not make it easy for them!

ALSO: Email petitions are NOT acceptable to government or any other organization - e..g. Social security, etc. To be acceptable, petitions must have a "signed signature" and full address of the person signing the petition, so this is a waste of time and you are just helping the email trackers.


And another important point is to delete all previous names from your emails before forwarding!!! Send emails to your entire address list BCC (Blind Carbon Copy) then everyone after you doesn't get your friend's email address Search the help if your email program doesn't list this. Sometimes have to do special things to blind copy.


Friday, June 12, 2015

Dinner at Cortino's

Last evening 20+ residents of Leisure World joined together to enjoy a meal of Italian cuisine at Cortino's restauant here in Weslaco.
With our usual early arrival in play, shortly after 5 the menus were getting a lot of attention.

Jim Edwards appears to be looking for "steak".

Mary Davis didn't need to study the menu...she knew what she wanted.

The rest of us examined the full list several times over.

With so much to choose from, finally making a choice seemed like a major victory.

Of course, when the camera showed up a couple of the glamour girls popped a smile.

But it was soon back to the important business of the evening, picking the perfect meal from that menu.

After the decision is made...then it is just relaxing time....of course summer resident Nick arrived late from his job in Harlingen, and got a full fill-in on the top menu items from his neighbors.

Some of us finished early and got tomorrow's lunch boxed up. While there were others that were busy polishing off the pasta in front of them.

Post-prandial conversation flows easily with a full stomach.

While all good things must come to an end, it was difficult to break-up the conversation. Just think, we get to do it all again at the Great China Buffet in 2 weeks!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Napier's Adventures

Since some of our winter Texas friends have gone back north Jack & I have had a little free time to get out and enjoy some of our South Texas spots  of interest that we have long had on our list of things to do and hadn't done yet.  On May 2 we loaded our bikes and went to Palo Alto Battlefield National Historical Park near Los Fresnos.  I had seen in the newspaper that they were having a living history program and they have them the first weekend of every month from Sept-May.  The program was very interesting and then we biked around the paths and read all the signage and saw all the wild flowers & Cactus in bloom.




On our way back home we stopped at Ronald McDonald House to deliver  19 lbs of pop/beer tabs  which are used to help fund the houses. That day was McHappy Day & so they were having food, activities, games and crafts for the children, etc. So we had lunch with them, met Ronald & left the tabs. A real fun event.


A few days later we decided to go to So Padre to spend 3 days. We made plans to stop on the way there to tour the Freddie Fender museum and his tombstone at the cemetery. Both were so interesting! We enjoyed the stop.  I would recommend it.


At the island we attended the Sunday church services at the Chapel by the Sea. We had wanted to do that for so long so really enjoyed it.  Beautiful view!

 Our stop on toward home was at the Little Graceland Mansion. Simon Vega, the owner,  had been stationed in Germany with Elvis which is why he has such a passion for Elvis. I had told him at an earlier visit that Jack had also been stationed there at that time & had eaten across the table from Elvis & had run into him at other times even though they were not in the same unit. So Simon had told me, "well bring him and we will talk about Elvis and Germany" and that is what they did. I think they could have talked all day. We will visit with him every chance we get. We will go for the Elvis's birthday celebration in January.

Memorial Day at the VETERANS WAR MEMORIAL OF TEXAS was such a wonderful program as usual, I think we have gone every Veterans Day & Memorial Day since we have known about it.  This one was really special because we were able to take Mary Casey & Lloyd Walker with us--their first time and it was very special to them. As we were leaving the park a young couple came up behind us & the girl asked  Lloyd, "Sir were you in WWII"?  Then she asked, "would you mind to take a picture with me? it would be such an honor”.  Of course Lloyd said “yes” so they took the picture, shook hands, thanked him and were on their way and the 4 of us were SO PROUD. We were impressed with the young couple.


So that is what we have been up to recently & plan to continue exploring and enjoying our South Texas hometown and surrounding area.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Stan Gainer's Birthday

Monday, May 25th was Stan Gainer's 80th birthday.  Mary planned a surprise birthday party for Stan at Angler's Restaurant in Monticello, Indiana.  Attending were Stan's two daughters, Janet and husband Mike Stratton and Karen and husband Mike Angle.  Also in attendance were two of Janet and Mike Stratton's sons along with their wives and five children.  Karen and Mike Angle's daughter with her four children attended. When we walked to the room I had reserved he then thought, "something is going on".  We entered the room and he was speechless.  It is very difficult to surprise Stan with anything but this time it worked and was a wonderful.