Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Our Africa Trip is Almost Here!!!

We've been planning and anticipating our trip to Southern Africa for so long now that it's hard to believe the time has come to leave.  We take off tomorrow afternoon from O'Hare at 4:20 PM.  We have an eight hour flight to Amsterdam a three hour layover there and then another ten hour flight to Johannesburg where we'll be arriving at 9:30 PM on Thursday.

Friday morning we catch a flight to Cape Town where we'll be spending the next nine days exploring that area and enjoying the local beaches.  We're staying at a boutique hotel in the Sea Point section of the city. Here's a link to our hotel, Glen Hotel.  If you click on the picture of the third room down, room 3, you'll see a virtual tour of our room.

After Cape Town we fly back to Johannesburg on April 10th and we begin our safari with Intrepid Tours on the 11th.  Click on the Intrepid Tours link if you'd like to check out more information about our tour which is called the Southern Explorer trip.

We're hoping to find adequate Internet access there so we can update the blog as we go, but we may end up having to wait until we return to post most of the photos.

Here's a map of the tour we'll be on which will last 14 days.  We'll be starting and ending in Johannesburg and will travel through Botswana to Victoria Falls in Zambia and then back to South Africa.

For those who are interested here's the Itinerary for our trip.

April 11- Johannesburg- Perhaps explore nearby Soweto to learn about South Africa's recent history.

April 12- Khama Rhino Sanctuary- A visit to this sanctuary supports local communities as well as the formidable single-horned herbivores the park was set up to protect.

April 13- Maun- Travel to Maun, our springboard to the delta.

April 14 &15- Okavango Delta- Navigate a watery wilderness in a pole-propelled mokoro, a traditional dugout canoe. Stay on a remote island and drift to sleep amid the sounds of the bush.

April 16- Chobe National Park- Famous for its elephants, this lush forest also shelters lions, hippos and a flurry of birdlife. Cruise the Chobe River for the chance to spot wheeling fish eagles.

April 17 & 18- Victoria Falls/ Livingstone, Zambia- Admire the unforgettable sight of white water at Victoria Falls. Leap into the many adventure activities offered on land and in the water. For extra excitement, take an optional flight over the thundering falls.

April 19- Northern Botswana- Forge through Botswana's wilderness twoards Nata and enjoy a sunset over a waterhole in the African bush.

April 20- Polokwane Game Reserve- Cross the border into South Africa. Arrive at Polokwane in time to set up camp for the night.

April 21 & 22- Kruger National Park- Explore the Kruger's granite hills and spreading grasslands, spotting animals along the way.

April 23- Shangaan Cultural Village- Meet the Shangaan people, tour a cultural museum and enjoy a meal in a traditional boma. Then, spend a night in a villager’s hut.

April 24- Johannesburg- The safari ends back in the bright lights of Johannesburg.

Northern Illinois at Dave's Brothers.

We are in Mt. Morris IL until Wednesday morning before returning to Chicago for our flight to S. Africa. Here's Dave's brother Steve.

This is Steve and Ginny's new puppy Max. He's too cute!  Kelly's trying to get him to wear a Cubs hat.

Friday Night in Chicago

After leaving Mom Haney's Friday morning, on our way to Dave's brothers in Northern Illinios we spent the night in the city. We had a great time walking around downtown on Michigan Ave. which is Chicago's equivalent to New Yorks 5th Ave. This is the view from our Hotel room at the Crowne Plaza.
More shots of the city.

More from the Midwest...

It's always fun to visit the Gilbert Family. We have Cindy, Delaney, Spenser, Brad and Maisie their Old English Bulldog. Dave, Brad and Cindy are long time friends from college.
Here's Spenser schooling Dave in a little game of one on one. 

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Our Visit to Indianapolis

Tuesday the 15th we packed up the car with Mom Haney, Anson & Kylie and drove to Indianapolis.  Our Niece Alison and her husband Eric had just closed on a house there on Monday, so we took the kids down to them.  We spent the rest of the week there visiting more family.

We stayed with our Niece Megan & her family in Brownsburg on Tuesday and Wednesday nights and got some good play time with her kids Avery & Ben.  Here they are driving their little Jeep up and down the driveway.
Here's Ben taking a break in his Little Tikes car
Avery enjoyed this nice spring day climbing the tree in their front yard
Thursday we moved over to our Nephew Rob's house where he's the new Pastor at Northview Church of the Brethren.  Friday morning we had a nice visit with Jan & Roma Jo Thompson.  Our friend Erica Colburn was in town and she drove over and we spent about five hours catching up with her as well.

Here's a photo of us with Erica and Rob & Trysh's dog Mister.
Saturday we spent a lot of time with Rob & Trysha's boys Josh & Micah.  In this next photo Micah decided to crawl in Mister's cage with him.
Micah peeking through the tires at the Church's playground.
Great Uncle Dave spent a lot of time on the basketball court with Josh.  He's pretty darn good for a second grader.
Kelly playing horse with Josh.....we won't mention who won... so as not to embarrass Kelly.
Dave kicking the soccer ball around with Micah.
Josh at the top of a rope jungle gym at a nearby park.
Mister, Josh, Kylie, Anson & Ben after Church on Sunday.

Our Trip to Indiana

Monday March 8th we flew to O'Hare, picked up our rental car and drove to Mom Haney's house in Indiana. We've been here since then visiting with Dave's family.

Here's Dave reading to Kylie & Anson.
Here's a very excited Anson
Here's Kylie watching Anson get a horseback ride from Uncle Kelly
Mom Haney with Kelly holding Morgan
Saturday the 13th we had a family breakfast at Mom Haney's.  We had quite a full house with 24 of us.  We had egg casserole, pancakes, bagels & cream cheese, fruit and breakfast burritos.  We don't think anyone left hungry!!!  Here are some photos from that day.

Kayla & Ryan
Andrea holding Hannah & Kylie
Dave reading to Morgan & Anson
Nick & Carter
Hannah & Kylie laying on Nick
Mom Haney holding Morgan
Jozef, Bradlee & Kayla
The following Monday we babysat for Carter & Hannah and they wanted pancakes again for breakfast, but this time they both wanted to help Great Uncle Dave stir the batter.

A Quick Visit to Bend

The weekend after our Seattle trip we drove to Bend to visit with friends and to take care of a few things. We were there for three nights and we stayed with our friend Pat.  Saturday night he hosted a party so we could see allot of our friends all in one shot.

Here's Pat preparing food for the party.
Here's Tom & Stef amoungst the other party goers.
Dave & Noman
Jacques, Val & Dave White
Ed, Jason & Joel
Ken, Dave & Kelly

Our Weekend in Seattle

The first stop of the Seattle trip was a stop at the "Graber house".  Rich, Diane and the girls used to live in Bend, Diane and Kelly worked together.
Rich and Diane had just returned from Mexico. 
Diane opened the Martini Bar and made "lemon drops", the girls entertained us until Rich came home from work.
Here's Sydney with her bunny Pepper.
Lexi and her bunny Salt.
We stayed at our friend Randy's house and we meet up with friends in Ballard Saturday night for drinks and appetizers. Here's Randy, Steph, our niece Kara, Elizabeth(a friend from Antarctica), Dave and Kelly.
Elizabeth and her first new car.  
Sunday on our way back to Yakima we stopped in to see our friends Matt & Becky and their little boy Henry.  Here's the little fella with Kelly.