The cruise to Alaska was fantastic. The ship we were on is called the 'Crown Princess' and is in the P&O lines, which we were told, was the best lines to take for a cruise. This ship was something else. It is huge - over 800'. Our room was real nice - we had a big port hole. There was alot of stuff to do on board and the food and service was outstanding. They even had Guinness!
We started in Vancouver, British Columbia where we spent a day and a half. This is a city of 1.7 million people - very beautiful and cosmopolitan. The first night we took the seabus to north Vancouver, hopped on a bus and went to the base of Grouse Mountain. We then took a tram ride to the top and had dinner while overlooking Vancouver (we were about 7000? feet up). It was quite a site. Night time was interesting - a lot of people come out. Sidewalk stalls sell a lot of different kinds of stuff, people play chess, musicians appear, etc.
The next day around 1500, we boarded the Ship. We got underway around 1730. That night in Vancouver they had a international fireworks exhibition, so as a special treat to us, the ship didn't go on its normal route but anchored in English Bay so we could see the fireworks. I have never seen such a display - it was truly awesome. It was set to music that was played throughout the ship.
We were underway all of the next day travelling northward in the inner passage. We were in BC and then Alaska. We saw lots of mountains, islands and trees. We also saw (boo) some clearcutting.
Our first landfall was Ketchican, Alaska. We just walked around town and did some shopping. The town is about 1-3 blocks wide but long.
Our next landfall was Juneau, the capitol. About 30,000 people here. We took a side trip to the Mendenhall glacier. It's big and beautiful.
Next landfall was Skagaway. We took a train ride up the White Pass which was a famous route in days past. We saw some spectacular sceanery.
The next day was spent in Glacier Bay. This is a bay that contains many glaciers. We saw some big ones and some small ones. We also saw some calving. We picked up two park rangers who gave lectures and kept us informed as to what we were seeing. It was very interesting. As a note, this was the only day I wore long pants. Every other day I wore shorts.
The next day was spent cruising College Fyord. Again, we saw many islands, mountains and glaciers.
Next day we made landfall in Seward where we disembarked the ship.  We took a bus to Anchorage where we spent the rest of the day.
The next day we flew from Anchorage to Vancouver where we rented a car and drove to Mount Vernon, Washington where Bobbies aunt and uncle live. We spent 2 days there. This is a BEAUTIFUL place half way between Vancouver and Seattle. There are lots of islands and mountains here. The two biggest islands are San Juan and Orcass.I think this would be a cool place to live.
As far as animal life goes, we saw lots of Eagles and Seals. We didn't see any Whales.
Well, that's it in a nut shell.
Caribbean Cruise
G'day to all,
Bobbie and I just got back from our 10 day Caribbean cruise.  Along with us were John and Phyllis Browning and Dave and MJ Miller.  We were on the Volendam, a Holland American ship.  The ship is 780' long with a 106' beam.  It can carry up to 1440 guests with a crew of 647.  It has 9 decks of which 5 contain staterooms and is over 140' high.  Our stateroom was on the Main (2nd) deck.  It wasn't extravagant but we didn't spend much time in it - a place to hang clothes (have you ever noticed how much clothing a woman needs and can actually pack?), shower and sleep.  During the day, we spent time on the Lido (8th) deck which
contained 2 pools, 2 bars, the Lido restaurant and ping pong tables.  At night we spent time on the sports (9th) deck which had the Crows Nest bar which overlooks the bow.  The crew was mostly Indonesian and Philipino and they were FANTASTIC!  We met some great people and had lots of fun.  This is what we did:
1st day    -  We boarded the ship around 1430 and explored.  We then hung out at the Dolphin bar on the Lido deck.  We sailed from Ft. Lauderdale around dusk.  We went to the Crows Nest while we were underway where we had a great view.  We met a Canadian couple, Ron and Chris who we partied with the rest of the cruise (he's a Boeing 767 pilot for Canadian Air).  Had a great meal (second seating at 2030) and then retired to the Crows Nest bar.  We then met some Philipino crew members (Jess, Girlie, Norby, Nester, Arnold) who ended up taking very good care of us the whole trip.
2nd day -  At sea all day.  Hit the pool, played ping pong with John Browning, hung out.  Changed our dinner seating to 1800 because the Schneider's didn't make the cruise.  John and Phyllis Browning also changed their seating so we were seated together, along with another couple, Jack and Sue.  We went to a show after dinner and then the Crows Nest.
3rd day    -  At sea all day.  Did more of the same.  Our table mate Jack talks a lot.  Went to another show after dinner and then to the Crows Nest.
4th day    -  Made port in Basseterre, St. Kitts and Nevis.  This is kind of a poor island in the British Commonwealth.  We caught a taxi into town and walked around and did some shopping.  We caught a taxi to Brimstone hill where there's an old British fort.  This was *very* interesting.  There is a lot of history in this area with many a battle between the British and the French.  In 1782 the French, with 8000 men, captured the fort from 1000 British defenders after a month long battle.  A year later, the French returned the island to the British as part of the 'Treaty of Versailles'.  From the top of Fort George, we could see another island to the northwest called St. Eustatius.  We then went back into town, ate lunch at a little local place, did some more shopping and went back to the boat.  This is a very picturesque island - mountainous and green.  Jack is still talking a lot at dinner.  We
went to the show after dinner and then the Crows Nest.
5th day    -  Made port in Fort-de-France, Martinique.  This is a French island where everyone holds French citizenship.  French is spoken here but we didn't have any problems with locals understanding our English.  We walked around town, shopped and ate lunch.  This was a very cosmopolitan island compared to St. Kitts and Nevis and it is much richer.  Once again the scenery was unreal.  Very mountainous and lots of green.  Jack is still talking a lot at dinner but it's Ok now as we like him.  He's pretty funny.  His wife is the total opposite - very quite.  We went to the show after dinner and then to bed since we have a full day in front of us.
6th day    -  Made port in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago.  Port of Spain is in Trinidad.  We were going to rent cars here and drive into the mountains along a route that Natalie (our Trinidadian friend) suggested.  As it turned out, the car rental place had our dates messed up and didn't have our transportation.  We then rented a taxi to take us on our route.  Thank god for that as it rained in the AM, the roads were narrow, winding and steep, and we could all relax and enjoy the sites.  Our driver was named Kirk and we all called him Cook as we didn't understand his accent.  The language in Trinidad and Tobago is English but with an accent that is sometimes hard to understand (just like Natalie when she's drinking :-)  Our tour was OUTSTANDING!  We were in a rain forest in the northern part of the island that was beautiful!  Very mountainous, rugged and remote.  We stopped for lunch in a town where some of us ate a Roti.  It's kind of like a big square burrito with meat, potatoes and spices.  After about a 5 hour tour we ended back at the ship where we did some local shopping.  I didn't care much for Port of Spain but our drive around the north part of Trinidad was really cool.  We've been told that Tobago is even a better place.  Jack is cracking us up at dinner.  He is very interesting.  We went to the show after dinner and then to the Crows Nest.
7th day    -  Made port in Roseau, Dominica.  We caught a taxi to Trafalger falls.  This consists of 2 water falls, side by side.  The country is beautiful - very rugged, mountainous and green.  There are 365 rivers and countless waterfalls.  We did some shopping and then went back to the boat.  The boat then left Roseau and went north to Portsmouth to pick up a group of people who went on a land tour.  The ride north was beautiful as was Portsmouth.  There's an old British fort on a hill there that is very picturesque.  Dominica is one of the most under developed Caribbean islands and like St. Kitts and Nevis, it's in the British Commonwealth and is kind of poor.  There's a medical school in the north part of the island called Ross University.  I've met a doctor on Andros who
graduated from there and is now practicing in the States.  We then left Dominica and to the north was a beautiful island which turned out to be Guadeloupe.  We ate dinner and like all our dinners, it was outstanding.  It's fun to talk to Jack.  We went to the show and then to bed.
8th day    -  Made port in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, United States Virgin Islands (USVI).  We took a taxi into town and did some shopping.  We then caught a water ferry to St. John.  This is the most beautiful of all the USVI's.  We took a 1.5 hour taxi tour of the island.  It was UNREAL.  It's very mountainous, green and they have great beaches.  Lot's of little islands abound.  We
could see some of the British Virgin Islands (BVI's) off in the distance - Josh Van Dyke and Tortola.  We then went shopping and caught the ferry back to Charlotte Amalie.  We went back to the boat, ate dinner and went to the show which was the best one of the cruise - it was a very funny juggler.  It was the Crows Nest again after that.
9th day -  At sea all day.  We slept in and then spent the day on the Lido deck.  We went toan art auction at 1400 where I bid on and bought 2 pictures which will look great in the new house (Jack helped me a lot during the auction).  This was a lot of fun and I wish I would of gone to all 4 auctions.  We ate dinner and then went to bed.
10th day -  Anchored at Little San Salvador, Bahamas.  This is a little Cay on the north west tip of Cat Island.  Cat Island is one of my favorite Bahamian islands.  We stayed on board all day because going to a Bahamian beach, when living in the Bahamas, wasn't very exciting for us.  We lounged on the Lido deck and ate like pigs.  Dinner was great and Jack gave us a Christmas
present.  We went to the Crows Nest for the last time and said goodbye to all of the people who took good care of us.
11th day - Made port in Ft. Lauderdale around 0700 where we got off the ship.
It was a great vacation and is recommended to all.  The Caribbean is a very cool place.  Lots of beautiful islands with colorful people and histories.  Everyone of these islands has been fought over at one time or another by the British, French, Dutch and Spanish.  The islands remind me of Hawaii but are much smaller.  I would love to take another trip and visit islands like:  Antigua, Barbuda, St. Martin, Guadeloupe, St. Lucia, Barbados, Grenadines, etc.
Until my next trip report ...
p.s.  As I mentioned, the food was great and no one lost weight.  Here is a dinner menu picked at random (I don't have a desert menu, but to say the least, the desert selection was just as grand as the below menu).  Bon Apitite:  
APPETIZERS:  Tropical Island Fresh Fruit Medley, Delicacies of the Ocean, Malossol Caviar, Pate De Foie Gras, Escargots "Bourguinonne", Potato Gnocchi in Gorgonzola Sauce.
SOUPS & SALADS:  San Francisco Cioppino, Cream of Asparagus, Chilled Vichyssoise "Chef Louise Diat", House Salad, Caesar Salad.
ENTREES:  Two Broiled New England Lobster Tails, Seared Tilapia with a Warm Tomato Salad, Medallion of Beef Tenderloin, Grilled Double Rack Venison Chops, Oven Roasted Five Spice Duck Breast.
VEGETARIAN ENTREE:  Vegetable Strudel.
FROM THE GRILL:  Grilled Chicken Breast, Supreme of Salmon.
Reno, Nevada
My latest vacation was to Reno, Lake Tahoe and Redding, Calif.  I went with Bobbie and had a wonderful time.
We flew into Reno and spent the night at the Silver Legacy which is one of the newer Casinos in town. This place is unreal. Area
wise, it is about one square block and it goes up 38 floors. From the inside, you can walk to two other Casinos, Circus Circus and
the ElDorato. Each of these Casinos is also at least a square block and about 30 floors. Each has over 2000 slot machines and numerous gaming tables.
The next day we drove to Redding, California. We took a 1.5 hour detour and passed through Mt. Lassen National Park. The highest point we hit was about 7000 feet and the views were out of this world. This is a volcanic area and the last rupture occured in 1915. There still is some thermal activity going on.
Redding is a nice size city (80,000) that is in a little valley. From it you can see Mt. Lassen and Mt. Shasta, both of which had
snow pockets. The city is built on nice rolling hills and mountains can be seen to the north, east and west.
The next day we took a road trip to Mt. Shasta which is about 60 miles north of Redding. We stopped in the town of Mt. Shasta which is right at the base of the mountain. The town is very small and very spiritual. It seems that a lot of the people there believe the mountain has mystical properties. I can see why just by the beauty of it. We took a scenic drive to the top that was breath taking and I found myself thinking that God must have played a role in creating such beauty (this is something for me because I am a heathen).
The following day was spent shopping in Redding. It never ceases to amaze me how much a woman can shop. They can do it, without getting tired for at least 30 hours per day.
The next day we left Redding and made our way to Lake Tahoe. We stopped in Chico which is a quaint college town and also stopped in Auburn, Calif. to visit a lady that Bobbie use to work with many moons ago. They live in an area called 'Lake of the Pines' and this place was really, really nice. All of the houses were beautiful and built on rolling hills surrounding a nice size lake. We saw plenty of deer walking around in the front yards of various houses. We got to Lake Tahoe late that night. Lake Tahoe is about 15 miles long and 5 miles wide. It is in California and Nevada. The lake is at about 7000 feet and is surrounded by mountains. It's greatest depth approches 2000 feet and it's ccccold year around.
The next day we took a road trip to Virginia City. We went through the capitol of Nevada which is Carson City, and through rustic old towns like Silver City and Gold Hill. There is a lot of history in Virginia City - this is where the Comstock Lode was found. I was
talking to a guy there and he said in the good old days, the men use to dress up, go to the bars and gamble and get drunk at night. They would then start shooting each other. Ah, those were the days. While we were driving up there I saw a Ferrari. Then I saw another one. Then I saw about 100 of them. There were Ferrari's from all over the states there to race along a steep, winding mountain road that the cops had blocked off for the occasion. The view from this place was unreal. I was looking at mountain ranges that were over 100 miles away. On the way back we went to Incline Village which is right on Lake Tahoe. This is a nice place with up to 5 million dollar homes (I'm moving next week). Bonanza was filmed close by. We finished the day by losing money in various Casinos.
The next day we made our way back to Reno. We took the long way and drove around the Lake. We stopped at Emerald Bay which is a little bay with Emerald green water and a tiny island which holds a tea house for a very rich person (now dead). We went through many a small town and ended up in Truckee, Calif. This is another famous old town right by Donners Pass - an old trail that cuts through the mountains. Lots of history in this area.
The next couple of days were spent in Reno at the Silver Legacy. I only lost about $30 total, all in the 25 cent slots. There is every
type of gambling there that is possible. Besides the gaming tables and slots, you can bet on any kind of College or Pro sport. We also saw a Las Vegas type show one night at the Reno Hilton that was very good.
Until next time ...
St. Croix
Well, I just got back from St. Croix which is the biggest island in the American Virgin Islands.
I was there for a week working. St. Croix is the home of AFWTF UTR, which is an underwater test range, somewhat like AUTEC. The range is much bigger than AUTEC area wise but they employ fewer people. I was working with Trish and Bobbie came with us just to relax.
I was helping to support a Canadian test which included installing and running some software that I wrote. I also did some work on a MicroVAX.
St. Croix is a beautiful tropical island. It has it all - mountains, a rain forest and even a small desert. Unfortunatly, there seems to be a bit of crime on the island and in the American Virgin Islands as a whole. This is due to everyone being related to one another. The crooks are related to the police who are related to the politicians. They find it hard to put their relatives in jail no matter what they do.
The British Virgin Islands are way different. They are more beautiful than their American counter part and there is *no* crime because the Brits do not put up with any crap. I would recommend going to the British side vice the American side.
Oh yea, it wasn't all work and no fun. I managed to enjoy myself greatly. I have become friends with some people who work down there. I also saw John and Philis Browning and Uncle Doug Brooks. They are all doing fine. We (Trish, Bobbie and myself) also bought Cruzan bracelets which bring good luck. Bobbie and I will need it while working for Raytheon.
Until my next trip report, I remain ...
John Hinkamp’s Various Trip Reports
G'day to all,
I just returned from a 17 day trip to Hawaii.  I spent the whole time in Oahu.  The purpose of my trip was to help take care of my brothers' kids while he, his wife Nelly and her sister Jioleta were off to Walter Reed Army hospital in DC.  My dad was also there for the same purpose.  Nelly was having a kidney transplant and her sister was the donor.  I happy to report all is well, for now at least.  The easy part (the operation) is over and now the hard part starts - keeping her body from rejecting the organ.
I flew a DC-10 from Dallas to Oahu.  What a long flight.  By the time I arrived, I was pretty much beat.  Since it was the last weekend that Steve was going to be there, we took a drive to various places: Hanauma bay where there is great snorkeling, and Bellows Air Force base where there is a nice beach.  That night we went out to a Filipino restaurant (Nelly is Filipino) for a traditional dinner.  It was really good.
Steve lives on Hickam Air Force base that is right by the Honolulu airport.  This base is beautiful.  There are over 5,000 military people there, over 2000 dwellings, a well kept up infrastructure, and beautiful landscaping.  I was amazed by what I saw.  All the building were well kept, the roads were immaculate, not a single crack in them and the landscaping was perfect.  There were so many big, beautiful trees, some over 100 years old.  I guess that's the difference between an Air Force base and a Naval installation - they have money and we don't.  They had a nice beach at the mouth of Pearl and two big swimming pools that I used a lot.  One was Olympic sized.
Pearl Harbor Naval Station is right across the road from where Steve lives (Hickam and Pearl adjoin).  Dad and I took a good walk around there.  We went to the sub pens and walked by 6 fast attacks that were in port.  No one questioned us or asked to see a pass.  There were also lots of  surface ships in.  There were boats going in and out the whole time we were there.
While in Hawaii, Nelly has been treated at Tripler Army hospital.  This hospital is huge and is nestled in the foothills of a small
mountain.  It is pink and stands out well.  There are many military bases, installations, and stations on Oahu.  This one hospital serves over 1/4 of the people who live on Oahu.  The economy must be military, tourism and a small amount of farming (bananas, coffee, and pineapples).
Dad and I took off one morning and drove around the island.  We went to the North shore and saw Waimea bay, Sunset, and Pipeline.  These are the home of big surf in Hawaii.  It was pretty flat at Waimea bay but there was a surf contest at Pipeline.  The parking was really bad so we didn't even stop.  I didn't get in the water myself because I haven't surfed in a couple of years and I didn't want to be a kook with all the locals around.  That's the bad part of living on Andros, no waves.  We continued on our trip and followed the shoreline home.  What an amazing sight!  On the left side we had beautiful ocean and on the right we had lush mountains.  Dad and I also went to Waikiki beach one day.  This is just north of Honolulu.  It was nice but crowded.  Lots of Japanese since Hawaii is their number one tourist spot.
My nephews are Errol who is 11 and Colin who is 5.  Both are great kids.  Errol is a genius.  He took a SAT test last year and is in the top 1% of the country for his age group.  He is also very computer literate.  This kid has a great future.  Colin is a big bundle of energy.  He is constantly asking questions and learning new things.  He will be as smart as Error, I think.  Both of these kids were fun to be around and I tried to guide them the best I know how.  I tried to teach them to: swear, pick-a-nose, spit, drink beer and chase skirts.  I hope they learned a lot from Uncle John.
That's it for now.  My next trip is snowboarding in Park City, Utah in 21 days.  I will update you when I get back.
Park City
G'day to all,
Well ... I just got back from an 8-day vacation to Park City, Utah.  I made this trip with 6 other people from work (Pardo de Zela, Bock, Strauss, Bolin, Fenton, and Hendricks.)  This was a ski / snowboard vacation.  Robin and I were snowboarding and the rest were skiing.  Two of the skiers had never skied before and I am happy to report that they both enjoyed themselves and both of them did well.
We left work on a Monday and did some cold weather shopping in WPB.  We then made our way to Key Biscayne where we spent the night in a condo right on the beach.  Pam's friend owns the condo and was gracious enough to let us spend the night.  The next day we were up early to catch our flight to Salt Lake City.  We caught a shuttle from there to Park City, which was about a 35-minute drive.  The rest of that day was spent getting settled, renting skis and buying groceries.
The next day we hit the slopes.  The sun was out, not a cloud in the sky and we were all sweating to death - we over dressed.  The last time I was snowboarding was in New Zealand in 1993, so I was a bit out of practice.  However, after a couple of runs on a small hill, four of us went to the top of the mountain for a 3.5 mile green run.  What a view we had from the top!  This place is very pretty and you could see mountains up to 50 miles away.  I'm happy to say we all did well, and from then on, we tore it up.
The rest of the days, we moved on to blue runs.  On the last day, five of us did a black.  No one died.  We had snow on two days, and on one of these, we had whiteout conditions - at times we couldn't see 20 feet in front of us.  That was kind of weird.
On Saturday night, we started to party in the condo and about 10 PM, after we were pretty stupid, we moved to a bar down town.  They had a reggae band, and we danced 'till the lights came on (you know what they say about real men and dancing...)  The band members looked Samoan to me, so I started to talk to one of them.  I asked him where he was from, and he said Tonga.  I said "wow."  He then asked me where I was from and I said the Bahamas.  He said "wow."  It was kind of funny.  I talked to him throughout the night.  He knows Jimmy 'Super Fly' Snooka (who is a wrestler) and he probably also knows the Tonga Kid.  We have pictures of this episode to prove our guilt, so you might want to look at them.
We flew back to Miami on Tuesday and once again spent the night in the condo on Key Biscayne.  We came back to work on Wednesday.
My next trip, in a couple of weeks, is to Cat Island, Bahamas.  A trip report will follow.  Until then ...  
P.s. Did I mention I am the best snowboarder in the Bahamas?  I use to be the only one (on Andros at least) but now there are four of us.  I plan to retain my crown.
Park City 2
G'day to all,
I just got back from Park City, Utah.  I went there with 5 friends from work (Tim, Jon, Pam, Robin and Julie.)  Robin and I were snowboarding (a way cool, manly sport indeed) and the rest were skiing (Ok, I know you expected something here but I'm not going to say it - but you know what I'm thinking ;-)  This is the second time we have been to Park City, the first being in Feb of this year.  This was a mini-vacation and we only stayed 4 nights.
Most of us flew off the island on Friday and we spent the night in WPB. Robin, Pam and I rented a car and went down to Ft. Lauderdale where I got my board waxed.  Robin and I also bought some snowboard clothing.  Four of us went out that night for Sushi at a new place that Julie told us about.  It was very good.  The only bad part of the evening was Jon being right about how to pronounce Bonsai (as in a Bonsai tree.)  So how do you pronounce it?  Bone-sigh.
We flew to DFW and then to SLC on Saturday.  All of our luggage arrived with us and we caught a shuttle from SLC to Park City.  We checked into our 3-bedroom condo around 1400.  This place turned out to be about 2 blocks from where we rented a home last time.  We were actually closer to the resort center this time - about 2 blocks away.  We then walked to the resort center and those that needed to, rented skies and boots.  We then took the free shuttle bus to the store and bought beer, along with some
groceries (we have our priorities straight!).  That night we went out to eat (pizza and noodles) and went to bed early anticipating a great day.
Sunday was our first day on the slopes and it was indeed great!  The weather was unreal - about 32 degrees and not a cloud in the sky.  We were way overdressed.  While I was up north for Jeff and Lauren's wedding last spring, I went to Burlington, Vermont where I bought a new snowboard, binding and boots (all made by Burton.)  This was my first chance to try this new equipment and I am happy to say that everything worked out fine.  Everyone had a great day marred only by some equipment
problems Robin was having with his boots and bindings.  Tim, Jon and I took a run that we had no business being on - that was less than fun but I'm glad we did it as it gives us bragging (or stupidity) rights.  That night we went out to the resort center for a Mexican dinner.
Monday started out kind of cloudy and a bit cooler.  By noon, however, the sun came out and it started to heat up.  This was another great day on the slopes.  Robin was still having some equipment problems but he went to a couple of places and got his bindings straightened out.  I have seen Robin progress from falling all the time too hardly falling at all.  He is catching on nicely.  Robin cooked us a great dinner and Pam and I did laundry for everyone (I am so domesticated!!)
Tuesday was our last full day of fun on the slopes.  I was very sore and my ass hurts (I ripped a muscle windsurfing awhile ago and I guess it's still not healed 100%.)  This was another great day - not a cloud in the sky and it was warm.  The highlight of this day was Julie walking down Double Jack.  This was a pretty tough run on the upper section.  Tim, Jon and I fell within the first 20 yards while Julie had to walk down.  She was really good about this though, and she doesn't hate us - well, not much.  We give her an `A' for effort, for providing entertainment and for putting up with us.  Robin solved his last equipment problem today (boots.)  That night we went out for a steak dinner at the Claim Jumper.  We have been there before and it is a very good place to eat.
Wednesday Tim went out by himself for a couple of hours before we had to leave for the airport.  Jon, Julie and I walked into town and did some shopping and ate lunch.  Pam and Robin left first for flights home and then the rest of us left a couple of hours later for our flight into WPB. We all had a great time.  About 45 runs were open and most of the lifts were running.  They had both natural snow and they were making snow the whole time we were there.  It didn't snow while we were there but they got dumped on as soon as we left - figures.
Next trip is in Jan/Feb to Crested Butte, Colorado.  Stand by for more trip reports.