Small Miracles

As I wrote in my last post, life sometimes has a way of altering our plans.  And what are plans?  A plan is a set of goals and objectives we would like to complete but sometimes we have to deviate from those plans because of factors that are unforeseen or beyond our control.  My plans to keep moving has required me to deviate and cut back on activities in order to help my wife and son-in-law care for our daughter who is battling adult t-cell lymphoma.

Tomorrow, May 16, will be six weeks since she was given the terrible news that the chemotherapy treatments she had been receiving were not working and there was no other treatment option available to her.  Since that time she has been home and our family has done our best to keep her comfortable.  Her positive attitude and courage has been an inspiration to family and friends.

She finds blessings in simple everyday things that we take for granted.  For example, on days when she has energy, she wants to go outside and to feel the sun on her face.  Warm water streaming down her back as she takes a shower she describes as heavenly.  The taste of a hamburger, which she had not eaten for many years because of being a vegetarian, is wonderful when pureed.  Getting comfortable in her bed has a new meaning for her.  Last week Melissa and Ryan celebrated their 17th wedding anniversary and she was so excited that she was here to celebrate with Ryan.  Marilyn bought sparkling white grape juice for us to toast their anniversary.  Melissa said it made the celebration that much more special.  These are simple everyday things most of us take for granted but she feels blessed just to be experiencing them.

Recently, her vision has become blurred and she couldn’t see clearly across a room.  Today a staff member from her eye doctor came by the house to check her eyes.  She had a lens that enabled Melissa to see clearly in the room and even out her window at trees near the mountainside.  They were taken to the office and returned within an hour!  You talk about happy.  Melissa declared it was a miracle from God and she proclaimed “Hallelujah”.   Melissa celebrates small miracles and praises God for them.  Lesson learned: we should all be doing the same!

Living in Asheville and being near such a wide variety of outdoor activities, Melissa and her husband, Ryan, love the outdoors.  From hiking on trails near the Blue Ridge Parkway and in Pisgah National Forest, to tubing down the French Broad River, to enjoying the surroundings at the Biltmore Estate, to bicycling with friends.  They love living in such a diverse and dynamic community.

On Father’s Day in 2016 Melissa and I rode a loop around Brevard, NC.  It was a beautiful sunny day with mild temperatures.  We rode 18 miles past farms and woodlands and had a great day.  It was a day I will never forget and it is heartbreaking that we will not  bicycle together ever again.

Doug and Melissa biking 2015

Me and Melissa getting ready for our Father’s Day 2016 bike ride

I said that she is thankful for small blessings that we often take for granted.  The blessing of being able to ride along side her that Father’s Day was special to me and I didn’t take it for granted.  She will always be my riding partner no matter where I ride because she will always be in my heart.


Switching Gears

Even when you are retired life has a way of interrupting your plans.  Whether you have travel plans, projects on the to-do list, or just hanging out at home, sometimes other things take priority.  That is the situation my wife and I find ourselves in.  Our priority the last four months has been helping our son-in-law care for our daughter.  In my last blog post I was optimistic that she would soon be in remission and headed to Duke University hospital for a second stem cell transplant as she battles Adult T-Cell leukemia (aka acute lymphoblastic leukemia).  A month ago we were told that the chemotherapy medicines and the immunotherapy she received over the past four months did not have any affect on the leukemia and there was no other treatment options available.  So she made the difficult decision to go home and be comfortable during the time she has remaining.  It was devastating and heartbreaking news but she has handled the cards she was dealt with grace, courage, and dignity.  She is truly an inspiration to our entire family and her friends.

So while we offer her our love and support she encourages me to get out and ride my bicycle.  As I ride along the Blue Ridge Parkway this spring I have the pleasure of watching wild flowers bloom, young leaves emerge on tree limbs, and hearing birds sing their beautiful songs as I chug up these mountains.  Often I am treated with the loud call of a Pileated Woodpecker or see a Red-tail hawk catch an air thermal and glide gracefully over a nearby valley.  John Burroughs once said, “I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.”  Biking on the Blue Ridge Parkway gives me a chance to let my mind drift to a place of calmness and peace for a few hours.  As I climb higher and higher the views open to something so majestic it is hard to describe.  As I pass through 4000 feet I find that spring has not yet arrived at this elevation.  Trees are still bare and there is no leafy vegetation sprouting up through the leaf litter.

Craggy Gardens view

View near Craggy Gardens Visitor Center

Craggy Gardens tunnel

Craggy Gardens Tunnel

While I have taken several shorter bike rides my two biggest and most strenuous rides this spring were in opposite directions from the Blue Ridge Parkway parking area just off Rt. 74A east of Asheville.  Starting at an elevation of about 2,100 feet I rode south for 24 miles to Mt. Pisgah climbing to an elevation of 5,000 feet.  The next “big” ride was north of Rt. 74A.  From there I climbed 21 miles to the Craggy Gardens Visitors Center to an elevation of 5,200 feet.  My goal was to reach both destinations as a way to train for my future bike ride and to prove to myself that I can climb to those heights.

Road to Craggy Gardens

Views like this make the long climbs worthwhile

I once told my wife that there is something about the Blue Ridge Parkway that beckons me to ride from one end to the other.  I don’t know if it is a call to challenge myself to get out of my comfort zone and do something extreme, or some primal need to prove to myself that I can sustain myself outdoors without the creature comforts of home.  Whatever the reason, when I begin my trip to finish what I started two years ago I hope to find peace with myself and with God, and at the same time honor my daughter’s life and legacy.

It is for this reason that I will complete my remaining 350 miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway later this summer as a fundraising endeavor.  I will be seeking pledges for each mile I ride to raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society for research.  I will soon be notifying others via social media of a website established in Melissa’s name for those who just wish to make a tax deductible donation instead of pledging an amount per mile (amounts donated via pledges is also tax deductible).  My goal will be to raise $25,000 for research to find a cure for this type of cancer.

The thought of cancer striking my family like it has is devastating and unfathomable.  But it has hit us and I hope that someday the money raised in this campaign will help save someone in the not to distant future.


A Reason To Ride

The few people who follow my blogs know that one of my favorite ways to keep moving is riding my bicycle, especially the new bike I purchased about a month ago.

For the past two months my wife and I have been living in Asheville, NC helping to care for one of our daughters who is battling T-cell lymphoma, a type of leukemia.  She was first diagnosed in January 2017, and quickly began a regiment of chemotherapy that got her into remission.  She then went to Duke University hospital in May 2017 and had a stem cell transplant.  Stem cell transplants are synonymous with bone marrow transplant but without the donor having to have bone marrow extracted from their hip bone.  Donors now give stem cells through blood withdrawal just like a blood donation.

Her recovery was going well throughout the remainder of the year based upon blood tests.  She had just returned to work in January of this year when she learned she had a relapse.  This news hit our family very hard.   So we moved in with our daughter and son-in-law to help with her care.

Being in Asheville, NC means I am near the Blue Ridge Parkway.  As we juggle our care giving schedules I try to get away and bike on the Parkway when the weather permits.  Biking is a way for me to clear my mind and try to focus on something else for a few hours.  However, I have a lot of time to think while chugging up a 5 mile climb and many things cross my mind but most have to do with my daughter.  It is also a chance to observe some outstanding scenery, to experience the beauty that God created, and a good time to pray.

We are very optimistic about the successful outcome of our daughter’s treatment and eventual cure.  It is hard to watch her deal with the effects of her treatment.  As a father I feel helpless as she goes through this experience.  She has shown us that she is a strong and powerful young woman.

On a recent bike ride I had an epiphany.  Two years ago I set out to bike the entire 469 miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway, but only finished 120 miles and stopped near Roanoke, VA.  After my daughter is in remission and is back at Duke University hospital for a second stem cell transplant, I am going to finish the remaining 349 miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway (I will start at MP 119 to make the trip an even 350 miles).  Being near the Parkway is giving me the ability to train on this terrain to be better prepared for this trek.  Living in the low country of South Carolina hills are non-existent.  So it is hard to recreate climbs to train for such a trip.


Rest stop overlooking the French Broad near Asheville, NC


Another rest stop during a recent ride

This ride will be a fundraising endeavor.  I will be seeking pledges for each mile I ride to raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society for research.  My other daughter will help me with marketing to publicize this fund raising trip.  My goal will be to raise $5,000 for research to find a cure for this type of cancer.

I will be providing more details as our planning progresses.

My Dream Bicycle

Any experienced bicycle touring cyclist will tell you that the most important piece of equipment you will need is a proper bike.  A bike that is built for touring and is properly sized for your height.  I was looking for a touring bike that will also double as a road bike when not outfitted with panniers and other gear.  I followed that advice and in my opinion purchased the perfect bicycle to fit my needs – a 2017 Co-Op ADV 1.1 touring bicycle from REI, Inc.

bike 3

Co-Op ADV 1.1 touring bicycle

Although I have only ridden about 60 miles on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Asheville, NC, I am very happy with this bike.  This bike fits my height which makes the ride very comfortable.  It has ultra-low gears for touring while carrying a tent, clothes, food, and other gear.  The 30-gears make climbing mountains so much easier than the hybrid bike I previously rode.  My son gave me an apt description of climbing hills with this bike when he said, “it’s like cheating.”  And he was right.  You are still pedaling but the gears are such that you exert much less effort.

bike 4

Rear cassette and derailleur

Some of the features that drew me to this bike are its light weight (30.1 pounds), the steel frame that provides comfort and stability while carrying gear, the 30-speed drive train, and the bar-end shifter’s which took some getting used too.  The shifter for the front crankset is a floating shifter that allows for fine tuning the placement of the front derailleur while the rear shifter involves incremental shifting.  I would have liked disk brakes but they were not available on this model so the bike has rim brakes which I have had on every bike I ever owned.  This bike is also equipped with rear pannier racks which I will soon outfit once I find a suitable set.

I look forward to putting a few thousand miles on this bike and am planning to bicycle the Florida Overseas Highway from Key Largo, FL to Key West, FL during the first week of September.   I hope to resume bicycling the Blue Ridge Parkway beginning at Roanoke, VA some time later this year.  I might end up completing the Parkway in a couple segments rather than one trip.

At any rate I have a new mode of transportation that will keep me moving for years to come.

There Are Benefits From Exercise As We Age

I posted a blog a few months ago entitled “Is It Ever Too Late to Start Exercising”.  My theory was that it is never too late to start exercising, but you just have to be smart about starting an exercise program if you have been sedentary for a long time.  You should consult a physician then find activities that interest you and proceed with caution until your muscles, joints, and cardio fitness adapt.

While there are physical and emotional benefits to regular exercise, researchers are beginning to study the effects of exercise on people of different ages at the body’s cellular level.  An article written by Gretchen Reynolds and published in the March 2017 edition of “Cell Metabolism” based upon a study entitled “Enhanced Protein Translation Underlies Improved Metabolic and Physical Adaptations to Different Exercise Training Modes in Young and Old Humans”, looked at the effects of different types of workouts on men and women whose ages range from under 30 years old and those over 64 years old.

We all realize that our muscles weaken as we age if we don’t do something to keep them strong.  This study hypothesizes that the weakening most likely begins at the cellular level, but is more severe in older adults’ muscles.  From my experience this may explain why after working out regularly for weeks, then taking 2 to 3 weeks off,  going back to the gym is a struggle for the first few workouts until my level of fitness returns to what it was before taking time off.  The hypothesis in the article is that cell regeneration in older muscles is slower and becomes weaker as their mitochondria, which produces energy, diminishes in number.

To summarize this study: researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota studied the cells of 72 sedentary men and women, some under 30 years old and some over 64 years old.  After baseline measurements of cardio fitness, blood sugar, and mitochondrial health they were randomly assigned to a specific exercise program:

  1. Weight training
  2. High intensity interval training (HIIT) on stationary bike (pedaling hard for 2-3 minutes then resting for 1-2 minutes then repeating that sequence several times)
  3. Combined HIIT and light weight training
  4. No exercise

After 12 weeks there were two expected results.  The weight training group increased muscle mass and strength and the HIIT group increased their endurance.

Unexpected results on a cellular level were:

  1.  In the under 30 group – HIIT changed activity levels in 274 genes; 170 genes changed in the combined group; 74 genes changed in the weight training group.
  2. In the over 64 group – HIIT changed the activity levels in almost 400 genes compared to 33 for weight training and 19 for combined training.

The subjects who did the HIIT showed an increase in the number and health of mitochondria which was more pronounced in the older study subjects.  It appears that the intensive workouts “corrected” the decline in cellular muscle health, especially in older people’s cells.

Cycling is an exercise that has measurable benefits for senior citizens.  In addition to improved cellular health, cycling is great for cardio endurance and is an exercise that is easy on the legs, knees, and hips.  This study appears to validate my theory that it is never too late to benefit from an exercise program at any age.

Back in the Mountains

On a recent visit to my daughter’s in Asheville, NC, I had time to go out for a few hikes on trails near the Blue Ridge Parkway.  Since I live in the lowcountry of South Carolina where the highest elevation is a dizzying 50 to 60 feet above sea level hiking in the western mountains of North Carolina was a treat.  One of the trails along this section of the Blue Ridge Parkway is part of the Mountains-to-Sea trail whose western terminus is Clingman’s Dome where it intersects with the Appalachian Trail in the Great Smokey Mountains National Park.  The trail heads east across North Carolina and ends at Jockey’s Ridge State Park on the east coast.

mtn to sea trail 2

I walked 5 miles of this trail one afternoon and enjoyed walking in the mountains again.  Walking in the mountains the only sounds you hear are birds chirping, squirrels digging through leaf litter searching for an acorn they buried earlier in the year, wind blowing through the treetops, and your own footsteps.  It is easy to find peace and serenity in such a secluded environment.  You are alone with only your thoughts.  You have time to think about your life, what you have done, and what you would like to do with the rest of it.  You are close to nature but I think in many respects it brings you closer to God.

mt to sea trail

I have written previous blogs about bicycling and a couple years ago attempted to bike the 469 miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway.  However, weather delayed my start but I did ride 122 miles from Waynesboro, VA to just south of Roanoke, VA, where two more days of rain and fog resulted in my stopping my trip.  Had I been hiking, for example, on the Appalachian Trail the rain and fog would not have been as much of a problem, but bicycling on the Blue Ridge Parkway in thick, foggy conditions is dangerous.  I still have a desire to go back to Roanoke someday and finish this ride.  My daughter said I need to do a bike tour on flatter terrain.  So later this year I am planning a bike trip on the Florida Overseas Highway that is 106.5 miles and goes from Key Largo to Key West.  This would either be a leisurely 3 day trip or a quick 2 day trip.

Florida overseas trail

Portion of the Florida Overseas Heritage Trail

I will likely opt for the 3 day trip to enjoy the scenery.  The Florida Overseas Highway and the Skyline Drive will be routes that I can check off my tour list.  So it is important to me to try to finish the entire Blue Ridge Parkway either in one more trip or take a couple trips to complete.

I once read that often times when people get to the end of their life it is not the things they have done that they regret, but the things they have not done.  For some reason being in the Blue Ridge mountains around Asheville, NC reinforces my desire to continue bicycle touring and have no regrets.



Sometimes Mother Nature Says to Rest

A winter storm has reached down from the north to blanket the low country of South Carolina and Georgia with ice and snow and that does not happen very often.  It has been since 2010 that we had the last measurable snow fall and being from West Virginia it is nice to see some snow which will melt in a day or two.  We were just in Buffalo, NY for Christmas and saw plenty of snow.  But it is something that kids in the south don’t often get to experience.  With schools closed for a couple days local kids, many who have never seen snow, are outside throwing snowballs, making snow angels, building a snow man, and if they can find some sloping ground, riding an inner tube down a hill.

With temperatures in the 30’s and battling a cold it makes me think that Mother Nature is speaking to me about finding other things to do indoors to keep active.   Or perhaps it is time to take a few days off to rest.  Occasionally I overdue it when it comes to exercising and push myself a bit too far resulting in aches and pains.  Those aches and pains are my body telling me to back off a bit.  If any type of exercise causes you discomfort you are pushing yourself beyond your bodies ability to positively respond to the stresses placed upon it.  Always listen to your body.  It does speak to you.


A rare scene in the low country of South Carolina.  The plastic tent is my attempt to protect a small orange tree we planted last spring.


As my daughter said, “Palm trees and snow don’t go together.”

On days like this when you don’t feel like venturing outside you look for indoor activities to keep you moving.  You can curl up with a good book and a cup of hot chocolate,  organize your office or garage, go through your closets and gather clothes you have been thinking of donating to Good Will or other charitable organizations, or catch up on movies you have recorded on your DVR.  I know some of these suggestions do not involve too much moving but you will at least be accomplishing something positive.  I had an aunt whose daily goal was to accomplish one thing.  That sounds like a good goal to me.

It is okay to sit around and relax on days when the weather is bad and you can’t get outside.  Don’t feel guilty and just enjoy the time you have at home.  Wasn’t it part of an old McDonald’s commercial jingle that once said, ‘You deserve a break today…’?  So take a break and you will be ready to get moving when the weather clears.

Final Port – Labadee, Haiti and some scenes from the Oasis of the Seas

The last stop on our December 2017 cruise was to Royal Caribbean’s private island resort in Labadee, Haiti.  This 260 acre private resort has been continuously updated over the years to include many types of activities, shopping, etc., to the point that you can spend an entire day enjoying a relaxing day at the beach, taking part in the many types of water sports, or zooming down a zip line from a nearby mountain top down to the waters edge.  There is something for everyone on this small strip of land.

This blog turned out to be more of a photo blog of Labadee and scenes from the Oasis of the Seas.


So much to do on such a small peninsula


View from the pier of Labadee Bay on the Island of Haiti


Lounging on the beach at Labadee


Waves crashing on a breaker that protects this small bay


Ready for beach goers

On the Royal Caribbean cruise ship, the Oasis of the Seas, you can see the evolution of a merry-go round horse.  Yes, they have a merry-go round on board.


Phase 1 – blocks of wood glued together


Phase 2 – design layout and initial carving


Phase 3 – Head and neck completed as carving begins on the body of the horse


Phase 4 – Body carving complete and painting is underway


Ready to ride


Sun rays through distant clouds


My favorite cookie – Coconut Ranger cookie


Looking down on the aqua theater and interior balconies


The Rising Tide bar that travels between decks 5 and 8


The Royal Promenade


My lovely wife relaxing in our stateroom


I had to try the zip line.  A fast 7 second ride seven stories above the Boardwalk.


San Juan, Puerto Rico and Castillo San Felipe del Morro, ‘El Morro’

Our second port-of-call was San Juan, Puerto Rico.  Much has been reported about the difficulty this island is having as it recovers from the impact of Hurricane Irma in September of this year.  We didn’t venture outside of Old San Juan but the itineraries of the shore excursions were not much different than they were from our previous visits.  While not seeing the damage outside of the city it is reported that much of the island is struggling to recover.  Electric and water service is still not available to a large part of the island.


This building near the port sustained considerable roof damage.

We walked the streets of Old San Juan browsing through shops before I went of on my own to tour Castillo San Felipe del Morro, ‘El Morro’.   Before describing the fort let me say that it appeared that Old San Juan has recovered more than reports from other parts of the island.  Electricity has been restored to most of Old San Juan but you could still hear the occasional generator humming.  From the streets there appeared to be very little damage but you could not see if the roof tops sustained any damage.  However, some of the shops did have a slight musty smell which would indicate some roof damage and water infiltration.

The cruise port terminal did not appear to sustain any damage and the surrounding area is open for cruise traffic.  We were one of three cruise ships in port that day that deposited about 10,000 visitors to San Juan.  A definite boost to their economy.

Spain’s Empire in the America’s extended from the Atlantic coast of Florida, across the Gulf Coast, down to Mexico and Central America, then along the Northern Coast of South America.  This area was called the Spanish Main and from the 1500’s through the 1700’s brought great wealth that supported Spain as a world power.

Castillo San Felipe del Morro, ‘El Morro’, along with Castillo San Cristobal, is part a major fortification to protect San Juan bay’s deep harbor from attack by sea.  This was the first good harbor for ships en route to the New World after crossing the Atlantic.  Construction began in 1539 and continued for almost 250 years.   El Morro originated from a point at the mouth of the bay that served as the cannon level to what is now a six level fortress that protected Spain’s access to New Worlds wealth most of 400 years.  In 1660 a smaller fort was constructed across from El Morro, called El Canuelo, located about a half mile across the entrance to San Juan bay that provided formidable cross fire.

We can only hope that the hurricane recovery continues and restores this beautiful island.  The Puerto Rican people we encountered were friendly and hospitable and are proud of their heritage and country.  Hopefully this island can get back to a level of economic stability that will endure for many generations to come.


Looking towards the promontory at the entrance to San Juan bay (bay’s entrance is on the left)


A Sentry box looking east where approaching ships would becoming from after crossing the Atlantic via trade winds and ocean currents


View of El Morro from the town.


View from El Morro looking east along the northern coast of Puerto Rico


Looking west at dry moats that provide additional protection from attacks.


This room is a modern addition to the fort.  This opening to a balcony is actually in the men’s restroom.


We Keep Moving by Cruising

As I have stated in past blogs, my ‘Keep Moving’ theme can mean many different things related to how we handle our time in retirement.  Some activities are more sedentary that keep hands and minds nimble like crocheting, sewing, needlepoint, reading, writing blogs, traveling, etc., to more physical activities like bicycling, walking, golf, tennis, pickelball, joining exercise program, etc.

Recently my wife and I were moving at a speed of about 15 knots as we embarked on a cruise from Port Canaveral, Fl.  Our ports-of-call for this cruise were St. Thomas, San Juan, Puerto Rico, and Royal Caribbean’s private island, Labadee, on the island of Haiti.  If you recall just three months ago Hurricane Irma slammed into both St. Thomas and San Juan with category 4 and 5 winds and wrecked havoc on both islands.  These two ports just recently opened to cruise ship traffic.  Both islands rely heavily on tourism as a major source of revenue so it was important to open the ports as soon as possible to begin restoring some measure of normalcy to the people.  It was also beneficial for the cruise lines as well.


Looking down on the harbor pilot boat from our balcony on deck 7 as it maneuvers close to our ship.  The harbor pilot boards each cruise ship as it leaves port to “guide” it safely out of the harbor.  The harbor pilot boat then comes along side the ship and the harbor pilot jumps onto the harbor pilot boat and returns to port.

However, two hours out of Port Canaveral the Captain announced that a passenger had a medical emergency that required more treatment than the on-board medical staff could provide.  So we returned to Port Canaveral and five minutes after transferring the patient to an awaiting ambulance we were underway again.  We did hear later that the patient’s condition was not life threatening and he should recover.

We were now four and a half hours behind schedule and 1,049 nautical miles from St. Thomas.  That meant we had a need for speed.  That term is relative since the maximum cruising speed of the Oasis of the Seas is 22.6  knots and we were originally traveling at 15 knots.  So we headed out to the open sea hoping for two days of smooth sailing.  The second day we awoke to cloudy skies, a 20 knot head wind, and rain.  Those conditions created 10 to 12 foot swells which this large ship cut through like a hot knife through butter.  However, even ships this large are at the mercy of the ocean and  with stabilizers deployed we felt the ship roll a bit which made walking in a straight line difficult.

We arrived in St. Thomas on time and docked at Crown Bay.  The cruise ship Bahama’s Paradise was docked in the next birth.  This ship is being used to house power line workers and others involved in the recovery efforts from Hurricane Irma.

We joined a group that was taking a tour of the island and stopping at several points of interest including the ‘Top of the Mountain’, an area that on a clear day offers a 180 degree view of the Caribbean sea and the surrounding islands of Jost Van Dyke, Tortola, and St. Johns.  However, as we approached the summit we drove into the clouds and endured an hour of heavy rain and fog.  So the 180 degree view was limited to about 200 feet.   We were glad we had seen the view on previous trips.


Communication tower at the ‘Top of the Mountain’.  Note the tower next to it nor the satellite dish were not damaged.

It is hard to say how long the recovery will take but work crews are making progress.  The main roads around the island have been cleared but many side roads and streets remain blocked or have limited access because of downed trees.  Any wide spot along the narrow, winding roads are piled with vegetative debris, appliances, furniture, and other damaged items.  Many roof tops are draped with blue tarps, communication lines from power poles remain on the ground, hundreds of power poles have been replaced and hundreds more are stacked and ready to be installed.  Debris is segregated into piles near the port by the type of disposal needed.  There are piles of vegetation, white goods (appliances), and construction and demolition debris (building materials).  I don’t know what the final disposal plan for these items will be but being on an island will make that task more difficult.


Part of the roof from this building can be seen on the hillside below.

Our tour guide told us that about 40% of the island has electrical service restored.  As we departed at dusk you could see lights scattered among the houses dotting the mountains above Crown Bay and Charlotte Amalie.  It is hard to tell if all those lights were powered by restored electricity or from generators.  I thought it was interesting that each street light outside of town has its own solar panel.


This used to be a coconut grove at Magan’s Bay.   Photo by Marilyn Baker


Equipment loading hurricane debris.   Photo by Marilyn Baker


Up rooted trees across telephone and electric lines.  Photo by Marilyn Baker


Magan’s Bay beach area.   Photo by Marilyn Baker


Next port-of-call – San Juan, Puerto Rico.  See you there.