Lazy River Christmas, Mexidentication and A Big Boat

February 20, 2019 0 By Jeanah Bartruff

We start our next trip out in the best possible way, at a Christmas Party with some dear friends!  A huge thank you to the gracious Wittner Family for hosting the Awesomebestest Holiday get-together.  A delightful time hanging and eating and gabbing with people we love is never to be missed!
We spend a couple relaxing days with Vic and Carolyn before hopping in the van to head south for the winter.  It’s Christmas in the desert with the Bartruff/Ludeman/Merrill tribes!

The driving is uneventful and there is much singing, talking and laughing.  We spend the evening of our 19th anniversary in Merced, CA watching a late night showing of Bohemian Rhapsody with one other couple in the theater.  Fortunately all of us felt like singing along and we had a lovely time.  We capped off the night/early morning by sleeping in a Walmart Parking lot.  Sooooooooo Romantic!

We arrive in Indio the 19th of December, a day before our family members arrive, only to find out the resort Lazy River (the main reason we chose the destination) was closed for repairs.  Management believes it may be up and running by the 27th – After Christmas!  Aaaaaargh!  Much sadness ensues.  Consolation prizes:  It’s sunny, warmish and the sunsets are verra pretty.

Fortunately, the Lazy River is up and running on the 22nd so Christmas is saved!   

What a wonderful time with family we had on this trip.  The chitchats in the hot tub and lazy river, the laughter, the food and fun.  This batch of jalapeno poppers and a pyrex dish were the only casualties. 

If you felt like a hike, just head that direction…

But evening would come and those drab tan colors would deepen to purple with pink and orange streaks crossing the sky as if it were on fire.  

We stayed in this lovely place until the middle of January when it was time to move on for a little Mexidentication. Rosarito Beach was our home for a week and what a lovely place it is.

Poor Victor learned that seven old fillings needed to be replaced along with some prep for an implant.  This photo from Pioneertown best represents his feelings on the subject.

After our superfun dental work south of the border, we headed back to the Indio area to putz around for a while.  Finding this flat little ridge over a cool canyon seemed just the spot to spend a night.

Holy Moly!  The wind came whipping through early in the morning and for a few hours it sounded like we were stuck in a carwash.  The gusts were shaking and rocking the van and pelting it with pebbles.  It was bonkers!  

That morning I get a promo email from a discount travel site.  Hey, there’s cheap cruises leaving from Long Beach in the next few weeks.  We have a few weeks to kill before meeting Vic & Carolyn in Phoenix.  What if we used some of our credit card rewards points?  And that is how we ended up booking three cruises in three consecutive weeks.

We have a few days before needing to get to Long Beach so…for the next few days we explored Joshua Tree National Park.  Lots of rocks and Cacti and more rocks…

We spent an afternoon at Pioneertown, CA.  This is an 1880’s themed Old West movie set built in 1946 and used for hundreds of Westerns. 

Whatever you do, don’t break the law here.  

Our last night before boarding cruise number one we spend on a turn out of the Angeles Crest Highway.  This is an amazing viewpoint overlooking the city.  It’s a well know parking spot for sunsets and teenagers so we had quite a bit of company until late at night. Could have done without the blitzed dude and his guitar singing down the canyon though. 

 And the winner for quickest embarkation for a cruise ever?  Carnival out of Long Beach!  These folks had it together and we practically flew on board.  When we reached our inside stateroom we see this.

Victor’s response  “I don’t know whether to expect a baptism or a puppet show.”


 One of the stops on this cruise was Catalina Island.  Neither Victor or I had ever been.  Pretty place, walked around the City of Avalon enjoying the sunshine and learning about the history of the island.

Essentially, we did this cruise, got off the boat for a couple days, did laundry and got back on. As cruising was not preplanned before we left in December, we scrambled to make clothes we had with us work for “formal” nights on the ship.  Fortunately, Carnival is much more laid back than other cruise lines we have been on.

These three weeks were super relaxing and we met some great folks, both cruisers and crew.  On the last day of the last cruise we got off the ship and  headed to our next destination – Phoenix and Spring Baseball for the OSU Beavers!