by Bob Sparrow
Twenty-fifteen was a RED BANNER year in terms of playing ‘Where’s Waldo’ and showing up in a lot of fun and interesting places. I’ve enjoyed having you readers come along vicariously, which has prompted many of you to ask, “Where are ‘we’ going next year?” As of this writing it seems I’ll be lucky to get to the end of my driveway to pick up the paper, so forgive me if I do a little reminiscing of the mostly Good, but sometimes the Bad and the Ugly of my 2015 travels.
Good: Visit with Suzanne and Alan in Scottsdale where I had my Best Cigar of the Year, A Cuban, from Bob Gett, while overlooking Scottsdale sitting in his and Liz’s beautiful backyard after a delicious dinner.
Bad Idea: Using my National Geographic Expeditions to travel the world ‘through beer’; good at the time, bad the next day.
The Best Place to Live: Completing the ‘Southern California Trifecta’ – breakfast at a golf course in Palm Desert, lunch at a ski lodge in the San Bernardino Mountains and dinner at Duke’s in Huntington Beach.
Great: My time with the ‘odd couple’, Patrick Michael and Marc Webb, on our hike through the unique terrain of ‘Ladder Canyon’ adjacent to Joshua Tree National Park.
Best time with my in-laws (No that’s not an oxymoron): Rochester, Minnesota celebrating Warren & Phyllis Barnes 70th Wedding Anniversary.
Biggest surprise: Hiking in the draught-stricken Grand Canyon in the Havasupai Indian Reservation with Rick & Chris Fisher and finding gushing waterfalls generated from flowing underground springs.
Bad and Sad: the overweight and unfriendly Indians at Havasupai.
Bad prediction: Saying LA would never have an NFL team; it looks like they could have up to three by next season. Good: Rams; Bad: Chargers; Ugly: Raiders
Bad news: The earthquake in Kathmandu, Nepal that destroyed thousands of homes, including Dom’s, our Himalayan guide; fortunately the family survived with no injuries.
Best time with the family: No question about it, our family gathering at Rocky Ridge at Lake Tahoe – great place, greater people!
Baltic Cruise . . .
Best photo: the photo I took of the ‘No Photos’ sign as I was trying to sneak into Russia at Passport Control in St. Petersburg
Best reunion: After 28 years, seeting Mira, our au pair for Dana, in Helsinki
Best & Worse: St. Petersburg – spectacular sights, depressing people
Great traveling companions: Jack & JJ Budd, John & Judy VanBoxmeer and John & Mary Billham and of course Linda
Ugly: The living conditions in Sachenhausen, the concentration camp outside of Berlin
The Inca Trail
Good: Winaywayna – the mini Machu Picchu, without the crowds
Bad: Mosquito bites I’m still scratching
Ugly: Disneyland-like crowds at Machu Picchu.
As 100 year old, Frank Sinatra would have said, “It was a very good year.”
So while I’m working on some adventures for this year, I’m sure you’ll find lots of laughs from our politicians in this election year.