Dick and Sandy's World
Dick Daniels and Sandy Cole - our 2006 Summary

Other Summaries: 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005

This is an online version of our annual Christmas Letter. If you want to see the photos from any of our trips, click on the appropriate link. The links are in bold to help you find them.

We began the year in North Carolina where we walked the beaches with regularity and I got to know the names of most shells, while Dick became just as familiar with the shore birds he photographed. We joined the Museum of Coastal Carolina as volunteers and have assisted them both by my writing plays about sea creatures for their summer program and moving furniture for the Oyster Festival. That was a vacation for us and we were happy to travel around with Rosie and Phil, Christy and John, and Wanda- seeing the Battleship North Carolina, the North Carolina Aquarium, and the varied beaches and parks in our area.

We traveled the coast seeing much of The Outer Banks and spent my birthday on Bald Head Island, where we traveled via a golf cart that came with our room at Theodosais, an elegant B & B.

In early spring we flew to China to see Heather and tour the country. We began as part of an organized tour in Beijing- where a great tour guide showed us the Great Wall, Tienenmen Square, The Ming Tombs, The Forbidden City, parks and an ancient hu tong- a labyrinth village within the city area. We learned a good bit about the history and customs, and enough Mandarin to say ‘thank you' and ‘very, very, very good'. And we left Beijing to travel on our own, feeling very comfortable with our future travels, having found the Chinese to be extremely friendly during our time there.

In Xian we walked the wall around the city and saw the Terra Cotta Warriors- an amazing excavation of an ancient tomb area. Then we flew to Cheng Du where Heather had been studying that college year. We traveled around the city with her, and spoke with a class of young Chinese medical students that Heather was teaching a voluntary conversational English class to.

Then we headed to the Tibetan area with Heather and her friend Olivia as guides and translators. We spent three days walking through the beautiful lakes, mountains, and waterfalls of  Jiuzhaigou National Park. A highlight there was eating in the market, sitting on plastic stools eating yak meat, potatoes, and tofu painted with cayenne and some other peppers cooked in front of us on wooden skewers. When we were done, they simply added up the skewers and charged us 14 cents apiece. With a roasted sweet potato from another vendor, they made a great meal for under a dollar each. Then we could wander the market and eat pineapple on sticks that we bought on our way. The second stop on our Tibetan odyssey was to Song Pan where we were met off the bus (which stopped at several shrines so a woman could toss tissue paper prayer flags and pray) by a lovely woman with the Americanized name of Emma who helped us find a hotel room for $10 a day and arranged for the men who organized horse treks to talk to the girls and schedule theirs. Emma had a little restaurant filled with memorabilia from other tourist friends where we had breakfast most days. The town was bustling, with people in Tibetan dress and rosy cheeks walking the streets and dodging ox-carts, bicycles, tractors and motorcycles. We had a great time exploring both along the shop filled streets and above on the mountain and on the old wall that still existed in parts of the city. It snowed the night before the girls' trek, but they bundled up and enjoyed their day riding into the mountains and eating with a family high in the hills.

In the summer we had  a neighborhood cookout at our pond.

In early September we flew to Alaska and spent ten days on the Kenai Peninsula and at Denali National Park . We saw glaciers, both on hikes and on a day cruise that also featured appearances by dolphins, puffins, mountain goats, sea lions and killer whales. We got a chance to try our hands at panning for gold, and came out empty handed except for the few flakes in a sample packet of sand the mine gave us, but enjoyed it anyway.

In Denali we did a day long bus tour into the park with a funny guide from Texas who managed to teach us a lot about the wolves, grizzlies, Dall sheep, and moose that we saw. We spent time hiking by ourselves and saw the sled dog kennels, ate more salmon, and enjoyed the unbelievable scenery. Our weather was sunny and clear and we saw Denali more clearly than we thought we would.

Within about thirty-six hours of our arrival back in New Hampshire , we were packed and ready to go back to North Carolina . We spent time cleaning up around the property and Dick finalized his purchase of the fourteen acres adjacent to my house. We said hello to our favorite beaches and restaurants, and helped the museum set up for the Oyster Festival.

On October 13, 2006 Dick's daughter Cindy married Chris Nicola in Big Sur, California. It was a lovely wedding. Dick's other two children were there - Heather and Rick, plus Rick's family (Michelle, Ricky, Randy). And Dick's brother Dave plus sister-in-law Linda were also there; so it was a great time to be with family.
While in California we had time to see San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara , and drive along the beautiful coast. Heather was not only at the wedding.  She was also able to join us for our California tour, which made it extra special.

We did an overnight trip to the South Carolina coast in the fall. Our favorite spot was Cape Romaine National Wildlife Refuge.

On the way to our New Hampshire home for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, we traveled to Virginia to see the Zubers. Here are some photos from that brief trip.

Our families continue to do well. As well as Cindy getting married to a very nice man, Heather graduated this fall from Brown. Now she's in the process of job hunting, but will be participating in a research study on the physical and mental benefits of meditation next fall. Rick and his family continue to grow and enjoy life. Michelle got a promotion within the special education department and is enjoying learning the new ‘ropes.'

Christy and John got engaged this fall and plan to marry in August, so that will keep the summer busy. She really enjoys working with the kids at her school, especially those that wouldn't otherwise be able to afford therapy. Rob is working for Verizon, checking telecommunications closets for future upgrades. He also got back into martial arts and enjoys the challenges there.

Per recent tradition, we had a Thanksgiving gathering at our NH home - the usual cast of characters plus John's mother Barbara. As well as Thanksgiving, we ceebrated Christy and John's engagement.

Christmas Photos taken at Bob's House: Rob, Sandy, Christy, Bob, John, and Duncan the dog (Dick as photographer) >

We hope you have a healthy, joyous 2007!

Sandy and Dick