Saturday, January 6, 2018

2017 Review

2017 was an amazing year for us. 

January:  We started out celebrating our 34th anniversary with a fabulous trip to Costa Rica with friends Rick and Sharon.

We saw birds, snakes, frogs, monkeys, etc. and had a wonderful time.

We spent a few weeks home before we headed out to our summer volunteer job in Washington.

February:  After leaving Texas we spent a very short time in New Mexico before heading into Arizona where we visited friends Randy and Serene.  Mark and Randy played disc golf while Serene and I visited. 
Mark, Serene, Randy, and Elko.

We saw London Bridge in Lake Havasu City, Arizona.

Mark walking across London Bridge.

Next stop was California where we saw plenty of flooding.  With terrible weather we were not able to get out and do very much sightseeing.

Heavy flooding on IH-5 in California.

We spent a couple of days in Oregon where we saw very little sunshine.  Then headed on to our summer gig at Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge in Sequim, Washington.

Mark on "The Spit".  Dungeness NWR.

March:  We spent a little over 4 months at Dungeness and were able to do quite a bit of sightseeing. 

New Dungeness Lighthouse.

Snow!  March might not be the best time to be in Washington. 

We tried to visit as many tourist attractions as possible while we were in Washington:  Olympic National Park, Marine Life Center, Neah Bay, Hurricane Ridge, Hoh Rain Forest, Naval Undersea Museum, USS Turner Joy Destroyer, the Bug Museum and lots more.

 Pacific White-sided Dolphin.  Marine Life Center.

 Troll Haven.

Undersea Naval Museum.

We also celebrated 7 years of retirement on March 31st!

April:  While still volunteering at Dungeness NWR, we went on a 3 day cruise to the San Juan Islands with Puget Sound Express.  We spent our evenings at the beautiful Roche Harbor Hotel while taking day trips on the Glacier Spirit.  We saw whales, seals, birds and many other interesting things.

 Aboard the Glacier Spirit.

 Dall's Harbor Porpoise Hybrid.

 Stellar Sea Lion.

Our friends Randy and Serene visited and we had a fun filled day at the Olympic Game Farm.

Feeding the animals at the Olympic Game Farm with Randy and Serene.

May:  We took a two week vacation from Dungeness in order to take a cruise to Alaska.  It was an unforgettable adventure aboard the UnCruise Wilderness Discoverer.  While on-board we also celebrated Mark’s birthday.

 Alaska inside passage.

 Dawes Glacier.
Watching critters from the skiff.

 Humpback Whale.

 On board the UnCruise Wilderness Discoverer.

June:  By the end of June we had finished our job at Dungeness and decided to start heading South. We received word that we could start work at Ladd Marsh Wildlife Area in La Grande, Oregon.

Finishing up the trail work at Dungeness NWR.

July:  Our main job at Ladd Marsh was to get the volunteer site cleaned up and ready for use. 



We were only at Ladd Marsh for 7 weeks but during that time we saw some beautiful areas such as Anthony lakes and Hell’s Canyon.

 Anthony Lakes Recreation Area.

Hell's Canyon National Recreation Area.

August:  After leaving Ladd Marsh we quickly make our way south.  We spent a couple of days in Idaho where we visited friends Randy and Serene and saw the Devil’s Washbowl.  Then it was on to Utah for the solar eclipse and finishing the month in New Mexico.
Devil's Washbowl.

Checking out the eclipse.

September:  We made it back home!  We spent a lot of time playing our favorite disc golf courses and eating at our favorite restaurants.
One of many disc golf courses in our area.

October:  By this time we know that, due to hurricane Harvey, we will not be volunteering at Goose Island State Park.  We make some calls and are on the road to Martin Dies, Jr. State Park in Jasper, Texas by the end of the month.

Our site at Martin Dies.

November:  We spend time hunting for the Red-cockaded Woodpecker, play several new disc golf courses,  hike, bike and kayak while volunteering at Martin Dies.

December:  We’re finishing up our 2 month stint at Martin Dies with 2 1/2 weeks of stump grinding.  Our last work day was December 31st.

One of a couple hundred stumps to be ground.

We volunteered a combined total of 1,454 hours in 2017!

2018 is going to be just as exciting and fun.  We’ve got an amazing trip planned for our 35th anniversary and have locked in our summer volunteer jobs.

Stay tuned!


  1. You did have a fun and interesting year! Glad we got to be part of it a few times. Interested in hearing about this new trip!

  2. It was fun going back and looking at all our pictures from the past year. It was hard to just pick a few for this blog!
    We fly out in 5 weeks - can't wait.

  3. What a terrific review. And it must've been a great year! You guys really know how to do retirement! -- Sharon