While we haven’t yet finished our month at the lake testing the waters (no pun intended) for this becoming our home base, Mike got an email with too good a deal to pass up. So we are booked for a transatlantic cruise at the end of March. It is the same cruise we did last year to begin our retirement year. We will be sailing aboard Viking Sea from San Juan to Barcelona. We were on Sky last time but all of Viking’s ships are almost replicas of each other so we should know our way around.

Lois (Mike’s Mom) will be joining us for the cruise and for a few days post cruise in Europe. Our plan is to fly into San Juan the day prior to the cruise so Lois can see our 51st state. We hope to spend 4 nights post cruise in Barcelona followed by 4 nights in Rome before flying back home as she has been wanting to see the sights in both cities we have talked so much about.

We will have to buy the flights to Rome but otherwise the flights are all included in our cruise fare which with all our loyalty and referral discounts is $2,650 per person. Not bad for 14 nights, three meals a day (including beer, wine & soda). Pavlus, the travel agent we have used recently is providing each of us with $300 of onboard credit which will cover our daily service charges (tips) and the few drinks we will buy. We are currently waiting to see if Viking will allow us to fly home from Rome in their dime or if we will have to fly ourselves back to Barcelona. We are both excited about sailing on Viking again and showing Lois two of Europe’s great cities.

Upon our return, we believe we will be staying close to home and will probably do some road trips…maybe even out west as neither of us have visited the Grand Canyon.


National Champions!

Moving a little slow this morning as I was up late last night watching my alma mater defeat Alabama to win the college national football championship. It was unexpectedly a one sided game but fun to watch the Tigers finally get some respect!

They are the first team since 1897 to go undefeated for 15 matches.


The view above is from the deck at our accommodations for at least the next month. We had a great Christmas road trip to visit both our families and see a few sights and friends along the way. After New Year’s Eve in Raleigh with our friends George & Doug we had brunch with our other friends in the Triangle, Robert & Scott and then headed to Danville to Mike’s Mom’s. Yesterday was spent doing lots of laundry from our road trip and packing it back into the car for the 45 minute drive up here to the lake.

We are using the month of January to reflect on our year of travel and figure out what we are going to do in 2019. The only decision we made was that we wanted a home base somewhere-to not be permanent nomads. So the obvious question is where should that be.

While we haven’t written off living outside the USA, we are considering the possibility of making Lois’ lake house here at Smith Mountain Lake our home base. The house is unused except in the summer so it would take the responsibility of its upkeep off of her -with all her rental properties she has enough to deal with. Of course we aren’t sure how we will deal with being this remote-there is an overpriced small grocery store about 10 minutes away in Penhook, small towns with Walmarts about 20 minutes away (Gretna & Rocky Mount) and then Danville about 45 minutes.

Best wishes for a great 2019!

Little Rock

We had a nice morning at the Clinton Presidential Library. 42nd’s compares favorably with 41’s which we visited in College Station a few years back. And sadly they have begun construction of Bill and Hillary’s final resting place, which interestingly appears to have a circular design much like George and Barbara’s.

The building is built on the former train yard at the east end of Little Rock on the Arkansas River. It is adjacent to an old train bridge which is now pedestrian and is part of the Arkansas River Trail. The building was intended to read as a bridge harking back to Clinton’s campaign theme of building a bridge to the 21st century.

The building’s interior design was also influenced by Trinity College Library in Edinburgh.

The exhibits were as expected, exploring the high and low points of Clinton’s presidency but I have to say the morning made me yearn for a president again who I believe really cared about all the citizens of our country. Of course the booming economy during Bill’s 8 years would be nice too! There were full scale replicas of the Cabinet Room and the Oval Office and displays of the various gifts, letters and daily schedules. And of course the Presidential Limo.

After leaving the Library, we swung by the Arkansas capitol building and then headed towards Jackson.