Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Uh - Oh.....

On my way up to Flagstaff, and cooler weather, a woman started honking and madly pointing at my trailer tires. Thinking I must have a flat, I pulled off the highway.

I saw no flat, but did see a little smoke, and when I touched the hubs, I burned my fingers on one of them. I knew then that I had burned up a wheel bearing. Fortunately, the entire trailer did not burn up, like fellow bloggers, Ed and Marilyn, had happen recently for the same reason. In that respect, I was really lucky.

A flat bed tow truck was called, with the intention of towing the trailer on the bed. But the driver was unable to pull the trailer up without crushing everything on the underside of the back of the trailer.

So the driver ended up removing the tire, chaining the axles together, and towing the trailer on the ground.

I did a job on the end of the axle, completely burning it up. So I need a new axle, which will take a while.

In the meantime, I'm bunking with Phil, and we are at the Flagstaff Elks. They don't have a lot of space, and I hope they don't get sick of us.

It's in a beautiful location, with hiking right outside our door.

And lots of pretty flowers. Ah....choo!!!

Now - where to go dancing.... The Museum Club, otherwise known as The Zoo, is a historic honky tonk on Route 66. It was built of ponderosa pine logs around live trees. The trees are now dead and covered in lacquer and serve as the corners of the dance floor. (Sorry - no picture - it was too dark inside.)

The booths are definite Route 66 and the tables must be cross sections of ponderosa pine.

Before it was a honky tonk, the building was originally a taxidermist's museum. Some of the animals are still there.

Meanwhile, back at the Elks, I found my own animals. I've always wanted to get a picture of a dragonfly, but they are hard to corner.

I thought its face was amazing - looks like it's wearing a mask.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Back to the Real World

After our wonderful cruise, it was back to the RV park in Prescott for a few more days. As I mentioned before, it is located right in the middle Prescott's Granite Dells. This is the view out my window.

We had flown out of Phoenix on our way to Tahiti, and while there I was able to see what happens to saguaro blooms after they are done blooming.

The seed pod is bright red (!) and the birds just love them.

Back in Prescott, I have a new friend, who likes to hide under my black water tank.

And this pair of house finches liked the drippy faucet next door.

We frequented the local Moose lodge for weekly dance lessons, and dancing and food on Friday nights. All the Moose lodges have moose heads, but this was the biggest one I've ever seen.

On the Fourth of July, we heard that you could see the fireworks by climbing the rock hill behind us. So at twilight, we went scouting.

Here's Phil trying to figure out which direction the fireworks will be.

It turned out to be a great spot. The "fireworks" setting on my Canon camera worked perfectly. I think I must be the very last blogger to report on the Fourth!

Friday, July 15, 2011

I Finally Get to See Some of Tahiti

When we arrived in Tahiti (a long time ago), we were immediately transferred to the cruise ship, and didn't get to see any of the island.

But we arrived back in Tahiti last night, and our plane back to LA doesn't leave until 10:30 tonight, so we have some time to explore.

Looking down from our balcony, you can see they are loading supplies for the next cruise, which leaves tonight. They want us out of our rooms by 9:30 am, but do a very good job of taking care of us until the plane leaves tonight.

We took a short walk to the town of Papeete, where I wanted to see the Cathedral of Notre Dame.

It was built in 1875 and has been restored a few times.

Whenever I go into Catholic churches, I like to look at the Stations of the Cross. They are usually done in an interesting manner, but these hand-painted Tahitian ones are the most unusual I have ever seen.

Papeete has a very busy harbor, compared to the other islands. I found an interesting rusty tour boat. If your look at their website here, the ship looks nothing like this.

There were some outrigger racing canoes zooming through the harbor.

At noon, after an early lunch on the ship, we were given a free 2 1/2 hour tour of the north coast of Tahiti.

The bus made 3 stops; the first was the James Norman Hall House. Mr. Hall was an American hero of WWI who moved to Tahiti in 1920. He is most famous for having co-wrote the book "Mutiny on the Bounty."

The house is filled with antique wooden furniture, family pictures, favorite paintings, and other memorabilia.

We got a great tour from a very personable young lady.

Mr. Hall's son, Conrad L. Hall, is also rather famous. He has won 3 Oscars for his work as a cinematographer in Hollywood films, including "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid."

Our next stop was historic Matavai Bay, most famous for three events. The first European to discover Tahiti, Captain Samuel Wallis, came ashore in 1767. Captain James Cook sailed into this harbor in 1769.

And then Captain William Bligh arrived aboard the Bounty in 1788. They stayed 6 months, and a few days after they left, a mutiny broke out. The mutineers returned to Tahiti, before forming a colony on the Pitcairn Islands. I guess they knew a good thing when they saw it...

One of the few traditional lighthouses in French Polynesia is located on Point Venus, beside the bay.

Built in 1867, it's made entirely of coral stone.

Back on the bus, we saw surfers for the first time. Most of the islands are surrounded by reefs, the waves are outside the reefs, and if you try to surf out there, you'll crash into very sharp coral.

This tiny island has several rivers; this is the largest. Where does the water come from? As you can see, it rains a lot at the top of the mountains, the water runs down -

And into the ocean.

Our last stop was at Vaimahuta waterfall. I knew there were several waterfalls on the island, but I hadn't expected them to be so huge!

I put 3 pictures together to make this shot.

After the tour was over, we got dropped off at the Radisson Resort, and given an oceanfront room for the afternoon.

When our time was up there, we made our way over to the restaurant to get some dinner. The sun was just going down.

I got Spaghetti Carbonara, Phil had Cheeseburger and Fries, we each had a drink, and the total bill was almost $100! (Did I mention Tahiti is really expensive?)

By the way, does anyone know the purpose of the raw egg on the Spaghetti Carbonara?

After dinner, we were transported to the airport. We had a ticket back to LA on Air Tahiti, but kept hearing rumors that they had gone on strike! Oh no, we might be stuck in paradise!!!

But Air Tahiti must have chartered a 747 and crew from Air New Zealand - that's what we ended up on, and it was still considered an Air Tahiti flight.

So there you have it - the trip of a lifetime!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

On Our Way Back to Tahiti

Our cruise is almost over and the ship is on its way back to Tahiti. Here, Moorea is the dark island in the foreground and Tahiti is in the sunlight in the background. They are only 10 miles apart.

Here is a map of our wonderful cruise. Tahiti is the large island on the right, the other Society Islands are to the NW of Tahiti, and the two Cook Islands are 600 miles to the West, on the left side of the map.

Here are the actual distances we covered. A nautical mile is equal to 1.15 miles.

While we were cruising back to Tahiti, we went up to the top deck for the Captain's Farewell Party.

As usual, drinks were included in the cost of the cruise. (Tips too!)

The big camera belongs to a Korean film crew doing a show about the ship. So if you happen to be watching Korean TV, you might see me.

Michael, the cruise director, introduced some of the crew.

And here's the Captain. On this ship, the Captain is very visible and engaging. Wait a minute - who's driving the ship?

The young lady between the Captain and Michael is the head of the ship's Tahitian dancing, singing, entertaining group, Les Gauguines. She is quite a singer, as you can hear in the next clip.

This is an original song - it's hard to hear the lyrics, "Farewell to m/s Paul Gauguin."

And then off to dinner, where there was another wonderful dessert.

And then to the evening show. Wow! They saved the best for last. This is a professional dance troup and band from Tahiti. The dancing, and the costumes, were out of this world!

I really liked this dance. What DO these guys wear underneath? I took a movie so I could carefully analyze it...

I know my friend, Bagpipe Bob, would say, "Nothing is worn underneath - everything is in perfect working order!"

To be fair to the male readers of the blog, here is one of the women's dances. Notice how the keep their heads perfectly still. (I know that's what you're all looking at...)

After the show, there was time for pictures. I picked this guy. His expression for photos was very different from the smiles he wore during the dance.

Phil picked lots of women to be photographed with, and a couple guys jumped in.