Well, 2006 was a year of change for the Bickerdikes. As you read, you will see why.
As we hinted last year, we took Katie’s parents on a seven-day Mexico cruise for their 60th anniversary right before Christmas 2005. A super time was had by all 14 of us. We finished by celebrating the holiday here in Hacienda Heights with Gerda Meesters’ surprise visit from Belgium.
In February we went to Park City, Utah for some playing in the snow. This year we drove so we had time while driving to spend a night in Las Vegas and tour through Zion National Park. Kevin and his girlfriend, Anne, flew in to join us for a couple of days. We did our usual fun things like snowmobiling, eating at the lodge that is reached by horse drawn sleigh, and just relaxing. Kevin and Anne skied and skated.
If it is March it must be time for 17 days in Florida! This year was no different. We spent a week at Orlando and checked out some of the Disney parks. The brand new Expedition Everest ride at the Wild Animal Park is not to be missed. We finally found the Blizzard Beach Water Park open. It’s interesting riding a ski lift to the top of a water slide. I even convinced Katie to ride the Tower of Terror at MGM studios (elevator that drops, climbs, and drops several more times). On a rainy day, we rented a small airboat and cruised around some swampland, no alligators, but many birds.
Next was a ten day cruise out of Ft. Lauderdale. We stopped at Aruba, and took a snorkeling cruise to De Palm Island. Pete took a train from the Atlantic coast to the Pacific coast of Panama during the Panama Canal part of the cruise. In Curacao we took a tram type train ride around the city of Willemstad. It was a great trip.
April saw us off to the Grand Canyon. We took Katie’s parents on a combination driving and train trip. We stopped at Laughlin both ways for playing some Men In Black (our favorite one cent slot machine). The train from Williams to the Canyon was great and everyone enjoyed the guided tour of the South rim of the Canyon.
With his VOP duties, Pete has participated in several traffic checks where everyone going through a certain area must produce a valid driver’s license. Usually about 10% of the vehicles stopped are impounded (drivers must walk home) for licensing problems. This helps remove many problem (no registration, licensed driver, insurance) cars off the road.
A short stint as a juror (he was dismissed after four days during the selection process) on a murder trial in downtown Los Angeles was an interesting diversion for Pete. Fredrick Wapner was the judge, great guy, and son of the famous People’s Court judge.
In early June, we put Kevin on a plane for England. He quit his job, broke up with his girlfriend, sold his interest in their house, and decided to travel the world. At the time of this letter, he is in Odessa, Ukraine looking for a job. He has been to England, Spain, Ireland, The Netherlands, Czech Replublic, Poland, and Slovakia.
June 15th we were blessed with the birth of our second grandchild, Trevor McCormick. Liberty, Kevin, and Trevor are doing well at their home in Simi Valley. He is helping his mom at work half days.
We took a Sea-Doo trip to Laughlin in June. We rode down our favorite canyon, Topock Gorge, toward Lake Havasu from Needles, the Colorado River below Laughlin, and Lake Mojave. It was a little warm during the day, 115 degrees. At dinner the first night in the Riverside’s Prime Rib Room (one of our favorite food stops in Laughlin), Larry Lach and his family were at the next table, small world. Pete worked with Larry at Edison. Unfortunately they were headed back to LA the next day or we could have hit the water together, Larry has a Honda PWC.
For father’s day Jennifer and Hugo took Pete to the Peterson Automotive museum and then lunch at Bob’s Big Boy in Toluca Lake. It was a super day with all sorts of interesting displays and vehicles.
In July, friends Tracy and Cathy Nelson visited from Washington. Tracy had worked with Pete at Edison. They had towed a trailer down with their super BMW motorcycle inside, lots of bike stops including the Santa Ynez Valley and Santa Barbara.
We took a Sea-Doo trip to Long Beach with Jennifer and her friend, Chris. It was Jen’s first towing experience and she did just great. It was a bit cold but we all had fun. Lunch was at the guest dock across from the Queen Mary and we warmed up at the Lone Star steakhouse afterwards.
We had some Beau trouble this year. After returning from Florida we noticed that he was favoring his left rear leg. To make a too long story short, he had to have a toe amputated because of a tumor. He is doing fine now and just turned 10 in December.
Pete worked at the local concerts in the park for the Sheriff’s VOP program. It was fun to see them all and be able to reserve a parking spot for Katie and Kaitlyn. Kaitlyn really enjoyed the music and danced to all of it. One of the groups that played was the “Osmonds 2nd generation” eight sons of one of the original singers.
We took a two-week Sea Doo trip in late July. The first day on the water we explored the California Delta near Stockton. Lots of great water, but we got lost even with a GPS (we knew where we needed to go, but not where the water path was). We then headed to Chico where Mike and Meg Kaliczak live. Pete celebrated his birthday at a great barbecue that they put on. We then hit lake Oroville with captain Mike, mate Meg, and friend Bobbi for crew. The lake was so wonderful that we went out the following day too.
We then headed for Redding and a day at Lake Shasta. On to Oregon and a visit and dinner with our friends in Medford, Kerry and Cherie. Next we went to Salem for a belated birthday dinner with Pete’s sister, Cathy. We took her out on the Willamette River for her first Sea Doo adventure (water was cooooold).
Tried to find Pete’s grammar school friend, Zall, in Eugene but he was nowhere to be found. It was to be a surprise visit, the surprise was on us. We checked out the Sea Lion Caves north of Florence and the West Coast Game Park near Bandon, OR.
Ever try to drive a pickup truck with two 11’ Sea-Doos on the top over the Golden Gate Bridge and through downtown San Francisco? That was an interesting drive. The same day we went on Lake Naciemento near Paso Robles and took Pete Lawn for his first PWC ride. Boy is that an expensive lake, $27 before we even hit the water.
We visited with Margie Withrow near Lompoc, had not seen her for over 10 years and she’s still looking great and doing lots of traveling and running. Not much ham radio these days for her, but she makes up for it with internetting. We stayed in Buellton for the night and had a pleasant dinner with Ned and Linda Oakley.
Kaitlyn, our two and a half year old grand daughter, has been attending pre-school at St. Marks (our church about 3 blocks away). Because her parents are involved in school and careers, she has been living with us 4 or 5 days a week since September. She is quite a handful, always interested in something new and trying to copy everything we do and say. We have made trips to the park to play, the zoo to check out the animals, and to ride the ponies. She is a lot of fun and a lot of work, our days with her start at 6:30 or 7:00, so much for sleeping in during retirement! She has taken over feeding Beau and gets very upset if we attempt it without her.
In November, Kaitlyn joined us for two weeks in Hawaii. She had her first limousine and plane ride the same day. We took Kaitlyn for a ride on the Sugar Cane Train (she liked it other than the loud noises the steam engine made). The first week we were at our Sands of Kahana Condominium where Mike and Lisa Toft joined us. A highlight of that week was when Mike rented a Cessna 172 and flew Lisa and Pete around Maui; we also landed in the Lanai airport for refreshments.
The second week, Jennifer and Hugo joined us at the Maui Marriott. Hugo’s brother, Martin and his family were also there. Martin and Gina have a son, Seth, and a daughter, Ashley, who is two days younger than Kaitlyn, so the girls had fun playing at the kid’s pool (quite an area with pirate ship, sandy beach, and animal sculptures to play on). Jennifer is now working in the Sears HR department and is responsible for most Southern California stores. Hugo is still working for a major homebuilder.
Katie’s parents spent Thanksgiving with us, and they will be back for Christmas. We will miss Kevin, but wish him well.
Karen’s fiancÚ, John, just obtained his big rig truck-driving license. He starts driving right after Christmas. Karen is planning to transfer to Cal-Poly Pomona this spring.
We wish everyone a happy, healthy 2007!
Please check up on us anytime you have a chance, we’re still at 2650 Daytona Avenue, Hacienda Heights, CA 91745-5101, phone 562-907-9003 extension 55, email: (NOTE email change) , Our website is Bickerdike.us (you can see the pictures from this letter there in color and higher resolution, see the Christmas letter page). Other websites that we maintain: Beau, the dog, is at beau1.com Granddaughter Kaitlyn’s is KaitlynL.com