Bob & Ilonas 2009 Annual Holiday Letter & BLOG

Hi friends, relatives, neighbors -

We did a bit of traveling again this year, and stayed home a lot too.

Retirement is still great! See below for some of our best pictures.

Hope to hear from you.

Have a great holiday season and New Year.


Bob, Ilona, and our family

[Please use e-mail; we dropped our landline phone]


Bob's Home Page & letters from past years -


New BLOG for our 2010+ Sailing Trips:

[e-mail us for the password, or see 2009 Holiday Cover Letter]


{Most photos by Ilona}


January 2009: Ready to leave home for the Winter. You can see why. We traveled with our semi-microbus camper van.

Macintosh HD:Users:robertrouda:Pictures:iPhoto Library:Originals:2009:pictures - Winter 2009 trip:DSC06680.JPG



Padre Island National Seashore: We drove to California. It took us 47 days and 4700 miles to get to Los Angeles from Minnesota. Sort of took our time and the long way around.  We stopped in Little Rock and Houston to visit friends and relatives, then continued south. Here we are camped on the ocean for $4 per night.

Macintosh HD:Users:robertrouda:Pictures:iPhoto Library:Originals:2009:pictures - Winter 2009 trip:DSC06805.JPG



Roseate Spoonbill & its friends: Ilona loves to look at birds, so we did that all through South Texas.



Rio Grande Valley: West of Big Bend, the road continues along the river – with 15% grades and not too many people. This is between Big Bend National Park and Presidio, Texas.

Macintosh HD:Users:robertrouda:Pictures:iPhoto Library:Originals:2009:pictures - Winter 2009 trip:DSC07325.JPG



White Sands National Monument: New Mexico.

Macintosh HD:Users:robertrouda:Pictures:iPhoto Library:Originals:2009:pictures - Winter 2009 trip:DSC07499.JPG



City of Rocks State Park: New Mexico. Camping in a very private campsite.

Macintosh HD:Users:robertrouda:Pictures:iPhoto Library:Originals:2009:pictures - Winter 2009 trip:DSC07504.JPG



Ocean! Finally made it to the Pacific.  We stayed with Ron & Nancy in L.A., then on to our grandkids & Nif & Nik in Berkeley. Home in March.  Only 4 days to drive home.

Macintosh HD:Users:robertrouda:Pictures:iPhoto Library:Originals:2009:pictures - Winter 2009 trip:DSC08045.JPG



Garden at home: Constance & Gwendolyn helping their mom and Ilona plant our garden.



Rain Garden:  Ilona tore up much of our lawns and put in rain gardens. These doubled as playgrounds for the grandkids.

Macintosh HD:Users:robertrouda:Pictures:iPhoto Library:Originals:2009:2009_06:DSC09511.JPG



Mishpokies: Hooked up with some long-lost relatives through Facebook, and got to meet them at our home in Minnesota, Here are the kids of Bobs father and his brothers – Bob, Nancy, Keith, & Diane.

Macintosh HD:Users:robertrouda:Pictures:iPhoto Library:Originals:2009:2009_06:DSC09560.JPG



Lake City Marina, Minnesota: Heres where we keep our boat and sail during most of the summer.

Macintosh HD:Users:robertrouda:Pictures:iPhoto Library:Modified:2009:2009_06:DSC09576.jpg



North Channel, Ontario: Every July, we trailer our Precision sailboat to Canada and sail with a flotilla of other trailer-sailors from all over the USA & Canada. Here we are at anchor.



View from Casson Peak, North Channel, Ontario: A view of the Baie Fine fjord from the summit.



Sleeping arrangements in our s/v Maija Lisa: We make up our boats salon into a king-size, wall-to-wall bed. [If you would like to try it, just move under your dining room table and spend 2 weeks camping there.]



Dinghy Party, North Channel: Getting together with other boaters – we raft up our dinghies and have a cocktail party.



Crossing the Whalesback Channel: Sailing with another boat (same make and model as ours) in some interesting seas. We dropped the sails and motored this part.



New Boat: We bought a brand-new Bavaria 30-foot yacht in September.  Here it is on its cradle.



New Boat: View of part of the cabin. This boat is rated for crossing oceans, and nice to live in also.



First Splash: Dropping our new boat into the water for the first time ever. Lake Pepin, Minnesota.



Lake Pepin: View from the cockpit of our new boat, Fall 2009.



The Captain: We did get to sail for a lot of October, and it was cold!



The Crew: Sailing on our older, now-smaller boat, Spring 2009 on Lake Pepin, Minnesota.  Ilona, Gwennie, Constance. Not shown: Bob, Nik, Nif, Ben.


Preview of coming attractions:

      December 2009 – March 2010: We will trailer our (old, smaller) boat to Florida and spend the winter sailing on the southwest (gulf) side and in the Florida Keys.

      March 2010: Back to Berkeley to visit our grandkids and their parents.

This part is our dream, but we are planning for it:

      April 2010: Sail our new boat on Lake Pepin, and outfit it for –

      September 2010: We are planning to take our new boat south, via the Mississippi, Ohio, Tennessee and Tombigbee Rivers – then cross the gulf to Florida and hang out next winter in the Keys, Bahamas, or wherever.

      Hurricane Season, 2011: Leave boat on-the-hard somewhere well inland in Southern Florida, then return home and sail our smaller boat in Minnesota.

      Fall 2011: Return to Florida, sail boat somewhere (Bahamas, Keys, Cuba, Caribbean?) until Spring returns, then head north and return home via the East Coast Intracoastal Waterway, Hudson River, Eire Canal, Great Lakes.

Best wishes for a happy, healthy, peaceful, and enjoyable Holiday Season and New Year –


Bob & Ilona