Category Archives: Travel

Road trip to America: California Part II

It’s family time!  I love visiting California as I get to see my beautiful sister, family, and friends!  A trip to America is not a trip without stopping in Southern California.  And she was showing off its beauty with gorgeous sunny days and clear skies. But it was chilly coming in at 12-14 C!  We also had some amazing sunsets.

This is the Hermosa Beach pier and boardwalk or strand.

Cameron was home from Colorado University and he had a collegiate volleyball tournament where they made it to the Gold bracket but ended up losing to the team who won the entire tournament!   It was a nail biting, yet truly exciting weekend!

I was blessed to be able to visit with several friends during my stay.  This is my good friend Deborah.  She used to work with Matt many, many moons ago and now I’ve stolen her from him.

My dear friend Ed whom I’ve know for over 30 years!   The top right photo is a statue near the Manhattan Beach pier and the lower photo is a view from my sister’s house toward Hermosa beach.

Squeezed in a few more friends.  Paul (aka Wild Man) is top center), Troy and Paul (top left), Deborah and I, middle, Gian Marco, Jennifer, and Mateo (bottom photos).

Kimberly managed to get sick, then shared it with me so we ended up spending almost 9 days inside recovering.  The day before I left we made it out for a little sister time.

I even had a chance to visit with my family even though I was not feeling great.  Easter Sunday service then brunch at the Cheesecake Factory with my aunt Diana, uncle Mark and uncle Matthew.

And breakfast with my uncle Joe and my dad’s wife Kelly.

Kimberly and I enjoying some Gelato before I left.  It was such a disappointment to be so sick for so long, but at least I got to be home with my sister.

Our blog posts run 10-12 weeks behind actual live events.  This blog post occurred during mid-March to mid-April 2024.  Did you catch Part I of Road trip to America: Texas?

Jamie, Christine, Michelle

Road Trip to America: Texas

It’s that time of year again where I make my way to America.  As we get further and further west it becomes a little more challenging to get back to the states.

Matt and I were in Whangaroa enjoying the beautiful bays when we realized we had to head back so I could catch my flights.  We sailed about 6 hours to Bay of Islands where I caught a city bus to Whangarei (3 hours).


While in Whangarei, I visited with my friend Kara and her friend Emma.  I was able to get a quick mani / pedi and my hair done by my favorite stylist Jordyn.  I would really love to go back to my dark brown hair, but without access to a hair stylist I just can’t deal with the grays!  Yes, this is a HUGE luxury for me.  Normally I go years without any beautification treatments so this is a special treat!

The next day, Kara takes me to the airport where I catch a small puddle jumper to Auckland at oh-dark-thirty (1.5 hours).  From there it is a 14 hour flight with a screaming mother and child during a very turbulent flight.  Truly one of the worst flights I’ve ever had. But, I make it to America, Dallas safe and sound.


I spend a few days with my good friend Wayne in Dallas.  He was kind enough to let me store some of our “stuff” in his closet and it was time for me to go through it to see what I could discard.  Originally when I placed these items in his closet we thought we would only be gone for 3 years.  Well, we are going on almost 8 years now and surely I don’t need half of this stuff.

I tried on every single piece of clothing.  Items that did not fit (size 0 and 2) were put in a donate pile, items that were expired or documents that were older than 7 years all got shredded.  It was a great cleansing experience and fun walking down memory lane.

We had a lovely dinner with our friend’s kids, Sydney and Dylan (and Corey).  It had been several years since I had seen them so it was great catching up on their lives.  Top photo: Wayne, me, Dylan, Sydney and Corey.

San Antonio

Wayne and I drove to San Antonio (Boerne) to visit with Shawn and Sharron (4hr drive).  It always warms my heart to be around them!  They just fill my soul with lots of love.  Mason was home and made his famous brisket.  He is doing so well teaching high school students history, government, and economics.  All three kids are just doing spectacular!

After our glorious weekend, Wayne takes me to Austin (2.5 hour drive) to get my rental car and then he continues back to Dallas. 


It is spring time and the flowers are blooming.  This is my absolute favorite time of the year and I am so happy that I get to witness the natural beauty of Texas!

The Bluebonnets (purple) and Indian Paint Brushes (red flowers) are all over the highways, roads, and yards.  We also stop at Buc-ees which is a true Texas establishment with over 120 fuel pumps and over 100 toilets!  Only in America can a gas station with 100’s of toilets be a destination!

My dear friend Jamie flew in from Oklahoma and we both stayed at our best friend’s house, Michelle.  She is hostess with the mostest! These two women feed my heart and soul.  I am so blessed to have them in my life.

Jamie, Christine, Michelle

Jamie, Christine, Michelle

I was swamped with doctor appointments, but one night they took me out to meet our friends Jennifer and Heather at a beautiful place called Wild Flower.

Medical Appointments Galore!

Once a year I return to Texas to visit my oncologist and take care of a few medical things.  This year, I’ve been experiencing numbness in both arms and hands along with upper neck pain which was concerning to her.  So, along with the standard complete blood panel, she ordered an x-ray, bone density, and a bone scan.  So, I spent several days in and out of doctor offices trying to get it all done while I was in town.

The Good News:  I am in my 9th year of being cancer free and have one more year to go before I stop taking my chemo medicine (anastrozole).  After my 10th year I no longer have to come in once a year for blood work or doctor visits either as I will be considered in complete remission (applause).  

The bone scan did not show any metastasis which is fantastic news! 

The other good news is that my bone density showed that I am still in Osteopenia despite my bones getting worse, they have not crossed over to Osteoporosis.  

The Neutral News:  The x-ray showed that my C4-C6 has degenerated further and that surgery is in my future (at some time as I refuse to do it now).  This is causing the neck pain and most likely causing the numbness.  I can stretch my neck hanging from a doorway (except we don’t have any doorways on the boat).  So, I will search for other exercises to help minimize the pain.

Medical Care outside of America

For those of you who are wondering, we do receive medical care outside of America.  Matt and I visit the dentist, optometrist, dermatologist, general practitioners and a few others when the need arises.  We pay cash out of pocket, just like we do in the U.S. as we don’t have health insurance.  We have received excellent care all over the place including Panama, Chile, Costa Rica, French Polynesia, Fiji, and New Zealand!

Celebrating with Friends

To celebrate we gather a few friends for happy hour.  My friend Diana organized everything and it was fabulous!  Thank you for everyone who showed up!

It had been years since I had seen some of these beautiful faces!  Top: me, Erica, Missy and John, me and Jason.  Bottom; Jeff, me, Tracey, and Diana and next pic is John, me and Missy.

Oscar and John, Josh and Tiffany also came in for special Christine hugs!

My time has come to leave Texas and head to California.  I am so very grateful for all of the love and generosity my friends showered upon me, thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Stay tuned for the second part of my trip to America in California.  Coming up next.

Our blog posts runs 10-12 hours behind live events.  My trip to America occurred mid-March to mid-April 2024.  In our last blog post I summarize our sailing locations around the North Island.

Nirvana on Rangiroa

Breaking News-Blog Release Dates

We have had so much fun in French Polynesia that our blogs can’t keep up!  As many of you know, our blogs are usually 6-8 weeks behind us.  Why do you ask?  It takes several hours to write each blog, compose the photos, upload the data and fix the SEO.  So, normally, I write the blog post offline.  When I find internet, I upload the content, photos and load the blog.  But the problem arises when we can’t find access to the world wide web, which can last for weeks on end.

Needless to say, we stock pile posts and schedule them to be released while we are offline. This will ensure that you always have something fabulous to read each week.  However, I have written so many posts about all of our amazing Polynesian adventures that they were being scheduled out through next year!  Yikes 3.5 months is way too long to wait.

Blog Release Dates

So, we have a new release schedule. Check out a new blog every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday!  Imagine all the work you can delay while reading our blog!  Blogs are released at 0700 PST every Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday through the end of the year.


Did you know you can register at our blog?  Go to “Home” page, then on right hand side click “Register.” You will receive emails when a new blog is released once you are registered.  It’s easy and free.  This way you won’t miss a single adventure.

Gallery: Photos of Sugar Shack

Many of you have asked for photos of Sugar Shack.  We have created a new Gallery which has photos of the interior and exterior.  Go to the “home” page and click on  “Sugar Shack Gallery Page” then click on “Photos of Sugar Shack.”

Sugar Shack Standing Proud

Sugar Shack Standing Proud

Tracking us on Sugar Shack

Did you know that you can track our location at any time? Simply go to our “Home” page, click “Current Location.”

Send us Some Love

We always love to hear from you. Please don’t be shy about sending a comment on our blog, Facebook page or Instagram account (sv Sugar Shack)!

Makatea Belvedere Lookout

Makatea Belvedere Lookout


Did you know that you can “like” us on our Sugar Shack Facebook page?  I know it’s hard to remember to check our blog, each week, so be sure to “like” our svSugarShack Facebook  page ( to see when new posts are launched.

Lightning Strike Blog

Tomorrow we will launch a post on our lightning strike that occurred in Costa Rica two years ago.  Stay tuned.