A Travellerspoint blog

Sylvester and GoatyMcGoatface - the characters of Crete

It was time for a redo of the Crete trip. Since we didn't really get to see much the first time around (except of course the inside of a hospital) we booked tickets to Crete for May. This time we traveled with two doctors, just to be safe. Oh yeah, they also happen to be our friends. We have known Kyle and Julie since our time in Japan and we were super happy that they wanted to make the trip across the pond to come adventuring with us.

We arrived one day before them and spent some time hanging around the harbor in Chania until our apartment was ready.

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In the morning we took a drive out to the monastery Agia Triada. It was so picturesque we may have taken about 100 too many pictures.

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As all the best monasteries do, this one made wine. It was fantastic.

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Then we went down the road a little more to Gouverneto Monastery which is the starting point for a scenic hike down to the ocean.

Here is a close up of a cave and then the same picture zoomed out. See if you can spot the cave.

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The hike included a really large old bridge, and it even included some billy goats. They weren't so gruff.

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We still had some time before we picked up Kyle and Julie so we enjoyed time for a Greek Frappe and garlic dip while looking at the harbor and military base in Souda bay. We just stumbled upon this most picturesque restaurant with tables, well manicured lawn, sand, and an incredible view.

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Friends!

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We enjoyed a stroll along the harbor along with some microbrewed Greek beers.

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We drove to Vamos to do a little walking and see about some cooking classes. Turns out no cooking classes that day but we did go on a really nice walk and see some beautiful flowers followed by yet another delicious Greek meal.

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Impromptu fruit picking.

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Interesting roof. I wonder if the rock was weighing it down?

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More fruit picking. I really love picking fruit.

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It's just so ridiculously gorgeous in Greece.

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Back in town we enjoyed an adult beverage and the city wildlife.

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Our apartment was located in a 300-500 year old building. There was some disagreement among the locals on the age of the building. It was a traditional hamam, a bath house, originally. The toilet was very entertaining to walk into when it was dark.

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The next day we set out for an olive oil tasting at a mill called Biolea. They make olive oil in the traditional method by crushing the olives by millstones. The mill was located in a valley up on a hill with 360 degree views. This would be the perfect location for a wedding or party. The pictures do not even begin to do it justice.

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Rental car photo shoot.

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The millstones

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The Biolea folks recommended a nearby gorge for a hike before lunch.

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I cannot believe we don't have pictures from lunch but it was a little family owned place sitting under the pergolas with grape vines growing everywhere. We had one of everything and loved every dish. All of the customers sitting there were repeat customers from years past and the server remembered each one of them. I would like to go back sometime and test his memory.

Next up 500 year old olive tree.

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We had a beach day next that included a hike down into a canyon to get there. Balos beach is one of the most famous beaches of Crete and I can see why. Can you find all the sheep?

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The name of this blog comes from this beach experience. The beach had many goats on it and it turns out that they try to eat everything you have. One got a hold of an orange peel and from that moment on we were stalked prey. Goaty McGoatface and Sylvester worked together to flank us while the other served as a distractor. Luckily we fought them off with a few claps and hand waves.

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This was another pit stop on our drive. We had a frappe, a view, and a relaxing moment here. Also, we paid homage to the wooden goat in honor of our new goat friends.

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Beach day round two. This time we went to Elafonissi which is known for its pink sand made by pink shells. It was beautiful and packed. Everyone went for a swim except for me. I was a chicken because the water was still quite cold.

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Yummy lunch outside of town. This was a giant piece of cruton like bread with cheese, tomato, and balsamic on top.

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For our final group day together we went to the Chania botanical gardens. This place lures you in with signs in town but it turns out that it is a 20 or so mile drive up into the mountains. Ultimately it was worth the drive but Julie and I weren't so sure as we snaked up the switchbacks and felt our stomachs in our throats.

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This botanical gardens is privately owned and was formally farm land for olives and oranges. After a devastating fire, the family reinvented their farmland as a botanical garden to share with visitors of Crete. It is a gorgeous property and they serve a great lunch too.

We went back to our original cafe on Souda bay to kill some time before dropping Kyle and Julie off at the airport. Kyle went for a short swim and Julie and I walked along the beach to an American memorial nearby. We also enjoyed some frappes, as all Cretan visitors should.

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They have a playground there too complete with a dinosaur rocking horse.

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We took Kyle and Julie to the airport and said, "see you later." We are happy to report that they are moving only one hour away from us this summer! We are so excited to have such good friends close by.

We then made our way down to the southern end of the island to Agia Galini. This is a former little fishing village turned tourist mecca but I have to say, it has retained its charm. Here is the beach area.

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Our inn in Agia Galini.

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The next day we took a little hike in the morning and spent the afternoon lounging at a cafe/restaurant that overlooked the beach. Parts of the hike reminded me of Arizona.

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Goats and goat shadows

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We made a trip out to Preveli beach with a stop along the way for more hiking.

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Preveli beach was a little tricky to find and involved driving along a tiny road with a steep drop off with no guard rail. I don't think we ever would have made it to this beach without the help of a local Greek man who stopped us from going down some crazy ungraded dirt road where we probably would have ended up pushing our little Fiat Panda!

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The beach before the beach.

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The hike to the beach.
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The funny thing about Greece is, that no matter how far you drive on whatever crazy kind of road and no matter how far you walk or hike, there will ALWAYS be a taverna at the end of your adventure! You can see the two tavernas in the previous pictures.

Finally, Prevelli beach.

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This beach is known for its Palm Forest and river leading down into the sea.

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Our last day we went for a walk along another dirt path over two hills. On the other side turned out to be a local beach. This was the first spot we went to that wasn't predominately tourists. I finally was brave enough to make it into the water and after the initial shock, it wasn't quite that cold. This little beach, Agios Giorgios had the BEST taverna and BEST food of the entire trip. I loved the whole vibe with hippie/surf bum/beach servers, cover bands playing reggae and oldies on the radio, and yet another gorgeous view. I hope one day we can come back to this spot.

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Quinn told me that this was one of his favorite trips and I have to agree. The welcoming people, delicious food, and unbeatable scenery of Greece are magical.

Posted by trackers 12:32 Archived in Greece Comments (0)

Aaron and Lisa

Quinn's kindergarten friend, Aaron, made the long trip across the pond with his fantabulous girlfriend Lisa to come tour Europe with us. We started them off showing them around some of our local haunts including an open cellar weinfest event in Punderich. This town has a bunch of old timber buildings and is a very quintessential Mosel river town.

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Open cellar events are fun because each winery in the town open up their cellars and gardens for viewing and make food. There was even some live music and some guy walking around telling jokes and singing. You can see his historical get-up. Not sure what he was all about.

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Some of the joys of traveling are receiving mystery food. We were told we were getting some roasted wild boar meat. These look like deli meat slices to me! They were delicious though so can't complain.

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On day two Aaron and Lisa were game for a bike ride so we took them on the Maar Mosel Radweg. This is an old train route that they turned into a bike path. It passes by a couple of monasteries, a brewery, and also a renovated castle. The weather cooperated and we even got to stop for a drink along the way. (Quinn doesn't often allow breaks!!!)

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These pictures are taken from a scenic viewpoint in Piesport. There is a road called Panoramastrasse that provides the most amazing view of a bend in the river. I love this spot. We got the obligatory photo and then found a winery that has the most amazing patio and view. I cannot believe we had never been to this spot before.
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Piesport was also having an open cellar day and they had soup in a bread bowl!

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We also went on a little walk through our town and then hiked up the side of one of the vineyards for a view. Man! Those hills are no joke. I could not imagine harvesting the grapes on these hills. This is the first time Quinn and I have ever actually hiked straight up one.

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Our town center. Photo credit goes to Lisa. It is neat to see your own town through someone else's view point. It is pretty cute here as long as you are ok with storm clouds.
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Lisa and Aaron went to France and Switzerland while Quinn and I worked during the week. Then we all piled in the car to go to the Netherlands. I had found a town called Giethoorn on a buzzfeed list and I really wanted to check it out. It is famous for being a town with no roads. There are only canals and pedestrian paths. This was a very rural area of the Netherlands and our hotel was also right on a canal. The Netherlands never disappoints.

Walking to Blokzijl and checking out the town center. Ethan was hunting sheep. We also met a Dutch/American couple on bikes from Amsterdam who were towing a blow up kayak on their bike trailer. Sounds like a fun adventure.

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Giethoorn. The town with no roads.

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Our fearless boat captain and his first mate.

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This is maybe too many pictures of Giethoorn but it was just so adorable.

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We spotted someone wearing wooden clogs. This is a first for me.

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We saw quite a few storks and nests along the way.

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Lisa found a nest swing. What better way to end a day than a little playtime on the playground.

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We spent the next couple of days bumming around Utrecht which is a college town and of course, as is Dutch style, full of canals, amazing architecture, and windmills.

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And people wearing costumes while racing row boats.

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And people doing the conga out of bars to celebrate

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Wait....we know that girl at the end, LISA!!!

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Qunn also took us on a pub crawl. It had a little of everything. An old renovated church turned bar, a dive bar with an airplane wing as the liquor stand, and a fancy pants cocktail bar complete with full sprigs of mint and whole slices of cucumber.

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We topped it off with a castle drive by.

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One last fun quirky tidbit about Utrecht. This was a rainbow crosswalk and take a look at the red stop light. It is a little bunny.

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On our last night with Aaron and Lisa we met up with my friend Jochen and his girlfriend Sandy and we all went to dinner at an Abbey near our house. It has quite the picturesque location. We couldn't let them leave without a traditional German meal and Lisa ordered the best dish which was a dumpling with cream sauce and bacon on it. Yum!

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We had so much fun with these two and we hope that they enjoyed their European tour. We jammed a lot of activities into their trip and the weather didn't always cooperate but overall it was a fantastic time.

Posted by trackers 10:48 Archived in Netherlands Comments (0)

Spring in Arizona

In April, Quinn had a work trip back to Phoenix and I tagged along so I could visit our family and friends. We didn't take as many pictures as we normally do, but I will share what we have.

Our friends are multiplying! We really enjoyed meeting the newest members of their families. Quinn and I spent time holding babies, catching up with friends, and enjoying meals, drinks, and laughs with our gang. The pictures below include a dinner with Pat, Sarah, and Suzanne, some hang around time at Sarah and Johnny's house, a trip to Tempe art festival with Erica, Rene, Sarah, Monica and my Dad, an afternoon lunch with Sam and Chris in a park, afternoon at Missy and Dusty's house including their tiny library, and breakfast with Jackie. When you put it all in one sentence you can see how this trip was a jam packed week!

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This is one of my favorite series of photos from the trip. Sarah dressed up Claire in the cutest little outfit to prepare her for blog pictures and Quinn snapped a shot before Sarah could get her cleaned up from lunch. Erica and I seized the opportunity to rib Sarah a bit (since she is such a good sport). Then we took the "official" blog photo.

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We sneaked in a quick morning hike with Sam and her adorable large eared puppy Mina. This was such a nice hike, I am sad I never did this one when I lived in Phoenix.

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I also spent some time with my family and enjoyed a three generation luncheon. The Camelback Inn is a perfect backdrop to while away an afternoon with my fam!

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Quinn and I also had a nice evening with Granny at a Lebanese restaurant. The food and company were fantastic.

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We headed out to KK and Randy's for an overnight and to meet their newest family members. This picture captures the moment perfectly. They treated us to a fantastic dinner and we enjoyed catching up and seeing their pictures from their recent trip to the Dolomites. I hope I can be as active as they are when I grow up :)

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A special shout out goes to Erica and Rene for hosting a sushi dinner get-together and Monica and Robert for hosting a "resort" backyard BBQ.

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I really enjoy Arizona in the spring and this trip was no exception. I felt like I saw Phoenix through new eyes and that my city was all grown up with its very own light rail system connecting all of the newest and swankiest places around. I spent 5 days without having to drive a car and was able to meet up with friends and go all the way to Tempe from Phoenix with public transportation. This was such a treat and I am thrilled that Phoenix is embracing mass transit.

It is always a little difficult to go to Arizona for visits because I am so sad to leave. It was so nice to see that my family and friends are all so happy and doing well. Thank you all for being a part of my life.

Posted by trackers 00:46 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Sun Chasing in the Netherlands

We cruised up to the Netherlands for the weekend to find some some and get out of the rain! We spent the long weekend based out of a town near Delft and then we also meandered over to The Hague and Rotterdam.

Our little cheap drive in type motel was located right next to a beautiful park filled with birds! Each morning, we enjoyed a stroll through the park along the water to check out the birds and let Ethan sniff.

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The first day we walked around Delft, a town known for their blue and white pottery. They also have a nice park, many canals, cute Dutch Architecture, and a leaning clock tower.

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There was a functioning mill built in the 1600s. You could buy flour that they had milled right on site.

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More pictures from Delft

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They have really delicious thin waffle cookies with honey sandwiched in between. The market was selling warm ones. Yummy.

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Brewery and fancy drinks. Quinn had a dirty chai which was chai tea with a shot of espresso and I had ginger tea with lemon, cucumber, and cayenne pepper.

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Next up, the Hague. This is where the international court of justice is located. Much of the city was damaged during WWII so many buildings are reconstructed. It has a mixture of modern and historic style architecture.

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We ate rice table at a delicious Indonesian restaurant. We got the smallest option but it was still huge!
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Apparently, beer pong has made it to Europe.
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Our last stop was Rotterdam. This city was completely rebuilt after the war and used very modern and successful planning techniques. Quinn was really excited about the tourist information office with interactive multimedia displays on how the city was rebuilt. I must admit, it was a well done information center. The first couple of pictures are of some cube houses that are located right over a major roadway and shopping plaza. It was a very interesting way to add housing to the middle of the city.

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Birds everywhere.

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Train, boat and industrial park along the harbor.

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International food market. You could get whatever style food you wanted in food court type atmosphere. So cool! This would be a great perk of living here.

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Last picture is of the park near our little hotel. One of the most stand out aspects of the Netherlands is their emphasis on parks and walking/bike riding places right in the city. It really makes every city that much more inviting.

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Posted by trackers 05:27 Comments (0)

Florida Surprise

My Cousin Stacy planned a family weekend in Saint Augustine for my Mom and Bob's 25th wedding anniversary. Of course, I had to be there because 25 years is a truly momentous milestone.

We stayed in a bed and breakfast right in the center of Saint Augustine which allowed us to walk everywhere in town. I flew in the night before my Mom and Bob arrived and surprised them by being in their room when they arrived. I think they both were in shock because they just keep staring and me and then started pinching me to see if I was real!

We spent the weekend eating, drinking, and trying to stay warm while we walked around St. Augustine. We also did a ghost tour/pub crawl. This one was like drinks and a show. The tour guide was very theatrical in her presentation which made it all the more entertaining.

It was really special to have time with my family and sit around a table together laughing and sharing memories.

Here is the group all bundled up. I am not lying when I say there were very small snow flakes dropping from the sky.

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The happily married couple.

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My Aunt and cousins!

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Such colorful cocktails and a fun presentation of a fish.

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Group shot!

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The owner of the BnB takes her breakfast very seriously. Two course breakfast served on fancy pants plates.

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Florida bird.

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I spent the rest of the week in South Florida and had a little bit of individual time with my family members. Bob and I had a day to ourselves and we were busy! We went to to the Loxahatchee preserve (swamp) and watched some birds while relaxing in amazing rocking chairs, we had a sushi lunch, and then we hit up a brewery! It was such a fun day with Bob.

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I spent another day with my Aunt and Cousins. We ate some amazing sushi and then hung around on the couches catching up on their life adventures.

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I also got to spend an evening with my niece Jessica, working on her homework, watching her create art, and hearing about her time at school and girl scouts. A night with a kiddo isn't complete without a trip to an ice cream shop!

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I also dragged my mom away from work and we spent a couple of days tooling around some stores, eating lunches, and going to the zoo. Yes, we still love the zoo even though we are both adults! The Palm Beach zoo has quite a few nice exhibits and a ton of nosy Ibis that are just freeloading on the zoo animals' food.

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I also had a night on the town with my step sister Tracey. We cruised around Delray checking out the scene and laughing for most of the night. Here is a picture I took from her Facebook.

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We had one last big family get together the day before I left. It was fun to see everyone one more time.

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A big Thank You goes out to Stacy and Cheryl, the organizers of this trip. Without them, this trip would have never happened. It was so fun to have a family trip. We have to do it again.

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