Thursday, May 31, 2012

So Much For Uneventful Travel Days

After spending the night at Fort Bellefonte Campground we hit the road again at quarter to eight.  We made a stop at a rest area on I-80 in Pennsylvania and then stopped for fuel at the Flying-J at Exit 234 in Ohio (just over the PA/OH line).  After fueling up, it was another 16 miles to the Ohio Turnpike.

When we stopped to pick up our toll ticket Judy said, “I sure hope that smell isn’t us!”  I said it’s probably just the area we’re in, but looked in my rear view mirror as we were pulling away.  Then I said, “I think it is us!” as I saw smoke rolling out behind us.  My first thought was injector issues again, but as both Judy and I looked in the passenger side mirror, at just about the same time, we saw black smoke rolling out from behind us. 

About a half mile from the toll booth, we were able to pull over to the side of the road and we quickly moved to the passenger side of the coach where we witnessed smoke billowing out of the hub on the forward wheel.  Judy opened the coach door and I grabbed the fire extinguisher that’s right inside the door and sprayed it into the hub; then I crawled under and sprayed the back of the wheel as well.  There were no flames, but I wasn’t taking any chances of some flaring up.

We contacted Coachnet and they assisted us as best as they could.  We were on the turnpike which is a limited access highway for towing purposes, but they did locate a repair facility and make arrangements for us to get repairs. 

In the meantime, I pulled the wheel off to determine what the problem was – wheel bearing freezing up or brake shoe locking up.  If it was the brake shoes, I planned to remove them and put the wheel back on so we could drive to the repair facility.  Both the brakes and the bearings were totally “burned up” so I couldn’t tell what caused the problem.  That being the case, the only way to move the coach was without the wheel.

After loading the wheel and the hub in the back of the truck, we limped our way to Leonard Truck and Trailer in North Jackson, Ohio.  It was a seven mile trip limping along on three wheels.  Chuck, the service manager, came out and looked at the wheel; he couldn’t tell if the problem was caused by the wheel bearings or the brakes either.  He gave us a $325 “ball park” estimate for parts and labor to rebuild the wheel.  We are scheduled for the first thing this morning and, providing they have all the parts (which he’s quite sure that they do), we should be on the road again by noon.

It was a scary scene to say the least.  We both had visions of everything we own going up in smoke right before our very eyes there along the side of the highway.  It’s a good thing that we had to stop at that unmanned toll booth or else we would have never smelled or seen the smoke.  Hopefully the seven mile trip on three wheels didn’t ruin the rear tire on the right side; we’d hate to have any more issues on this trip.

Just as a preventative measure, we’re going to have them pull the other three wheels to grease the bearings and check the brakes.  I put grease in the zerk fittings while we were in Maine, but after yesterday’s “fiasco” we’d feel safer knowing that everything is “kosher”.

Well, that is our state of affairs this sunny morning in Ohio.  Judy says, “Gee, not everyone can have this much fun!”, but thanks be to God for His protecting hand being upon us.  We were truly blessed yesterday as it could have been a whole lot worse. 

Keep On Keeping On and May God Bless  - - - - - - - - -   

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Just A Traveling (Wo)Man

We got underway at 0830 and managed to pull out of John and Cheryl’s driveway without pulling the gutter off their house this time.  It was another uneventful travel day with us sliding into our camp site by two thirty, just before a series of severe thunder storms came rolling through. 

I had my drink in hand and was sitting in my recliner gawking out the window before the sky opened up and rains came tumbling down.  The temps had hit 91* just before the cold front came rushing in creating a lot of havoc - you know, a cold front moving across a warm behind tends to cause a lot of disturbance.  Anyhow, the temps dropped almost twenty degrees in a matter of minutes while the thunder and lightning danced in the sky to entertain us.

We stayed at Fort Bellefonte Campground, a new Passport America member.  The campground is old, but nice and well worth the stay (especially considering it’s a fifty amp, full hookup site with cable TV for $21 per night).  This is a great location for us as it makes a nice stop along our trek from Maine to Michigan.  The only bad thing was our Verizon internet connection was slow to non-existent and the campground WIFI wasn’t working.

Today we’ll make our way onto Judy’s Sister’s place in Holly, Michigan – a long travel day to say the least.  So, see ya for now.

May God Bless  - - - - - - - -

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A Traditional Memorial Day

Being that yesterday was Memorial Day, what better way to spend it than being in a small community with a nice little parade followed by a family cookout.  You just can’t beat the patriotism of a small community.  They may not have big fancy floats in their parade, but they  a lot of heart.  There’s always an honor guard carrying the flag,

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a high school band playing patriotic music,

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military representation (the military contingency would stop every so often and fire their weapons in salute to fallen comrades),

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a few local politicians and beauty queens,

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various kids groups,

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ox cart and tractors,

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and, of course, the fire trucks.

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John’s son, Tony, and his family hosted the cookout with several of their friends and, of course, John, Cheryl, Judy, and I.  There were lots of kids and lots of food, but no dawgs or katts.  Katie, Alex, Blue, and Pumpkin stayed home and had their own celebration complete with katt naps, except for Blue who took a dawg nap.  You might say that we had a traditional Memorial Day which is exactly the kind of thing we like to do. 

We’ve had a great time visiting with John and Cheryl and seeing the other cousins as well, but now it’s time to hit the highways once again.  Miss Judy found a new Passport America campground half way between and betwixt here and her sister’s place so we’ll be spending the night there.  This will be the “long pole in the tent” of the trip with two long back to back travel days so I guess we’d better get packing.

Take Care, Be Safe, and May God Bless  - - - - - - - - -

Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day 2012

Remember our veterans now serving under the flag!

Memorial Day

Every U. S. citizen owes them for our freedom!

Today is the day that we’ve set aside to remember our veterans who have died while in service to our country.  It is through their sacrifices, as well as the dedication of millions of others who have served in our armed forces, that we have the rights and freedoms that we enjoy today.  Yes, we owe all our veterans and active duty personnel a huge debt of gratitude.  Let us not forget them on this special day. 

Sunday, May 27, 2012

You Can’t Win “Em All

The travel day was pretty much as we like them, uneventful.  Even being that it is a Memorial Day Weekend we had less traffic than we normally encounter on the roads with most of that heading north while we were heading south.  We arrived at John and Cheryl’s right at the targeted time.  Now, last year when we were here we impressed an audience with our team work and backing abilities.  Fortunately there wasn’t a big audience this year because, , , , let’s just leave it at, “it wasn’t a pretty sight”.   You remember the old commercial that stated, “I just washed my hair and I can’t do a thing with it?”  Well, we hadn’t just washed the RV, but we still couldn’t do a thing with it – no how!  I guess you just can’t win ‘em all.

Well, we’re finally tucked snuggly into our spot and had a great evening of visiting and feasting.  My cousin Rob and his girl friend Bonnie came over to join us for dinner.  Before the weekend is over we’ll get to see Tim and Glen as well.  Unfortunately Aunt Marge hasn’t made it home from Florida so we won’t get to see her this trip.  Tim, Cheryl, Rob, and Glen are Uncle Clyde and Aunt Marge’s offspring with Uncle Clyde being my favorite uncle.  If you remember right, we used to visit Clyde and Marge when they lived on Cape Cod.

After a fine dinner of grilled kielbasa and flank steak along with coleslaw, a broccoli salad, and a garden salad, the six of us, accompanied by Blue, the dawg, and Pumpkin, the katt, moved out onto the front porch to enjoy cocktails and key lime pie.  It was a great evening with cousins catching up on each others’ lives.

Oh, by the way, Katie made her great escape.  I left the door opened while I was getting some ice out of the ice maker in the basement and when I turned around, there was Katie standing there on the ground.  This is only the second time that she has felt terra firma with her little katt paws (the first time was in 2004 in Georgia).  She decided she wasn’t ready to go back inside and played hard to get by hiding out under the RV and then the truck.  We finally cornered her when she decided to check out John’s garage.  Bad kitty, bad.  Oh well, “all’s well that ends well”.

That’s the state of affairs here in Litchfield, Connecticut this twenty seventh day of May two thousand and twelve.  Hope you’re having a good weekend making lots of great memories.  Be sure to reflect on the meaning of this Memorial Day Weekend and the freedoms that we have thanks to those who paid the price.

May God Bless  - - - - - - - -   

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Just So We Could Say We Did

We’ve been fulltiming for six years now and have totally missed out on one of life’s pleasures; visiting a Trader Joe’s.  So, we made a trip to Portland’s Trader Joe’s just so we could say we did.  A lot of our fulltiming cohorts have eluded to experiencing this phenomena, especially the “Two Buck Chuck” wine that is now three bucks.  Chuck (actually Charles Swan wine) didn’t have any thing in our color so we opted instead for a nice German Sweet Red which promises to be nothing short of delicious.

A nice leisurely perusal of the store presented us with some other buying opportunities as well.  Trader Joe’s prices are not out of line; actually, they are on par with Hannaford’s plus they have some really unique items that certainly intrigued us.  For instance, their breads (they had a good selection), Trader Joe’s Sweet Italian Chicken Sausage (Ooooo, so yummy), cheeses (lots of great choices), and olive oil (a good selection with prices that even beat Walmart). 

We were thrilled with our purchases (okay, I know, we need to get out more) and would rate Trader Joe’s right up there with Market Basket.  Now if we could only just get Trader Joe’s and Market Basket to move in next door to Joe Patti’s Fish Market in Pensacola we would be in Happy Camper Hog Heaven.

Chris from the Escapees RV Club called us about renewing our ERPU site.  Wow, five years has gone by already.  Yes, of course we’re renewing.  She’s getting the paperwork in the mail so we can sign it, get it notarized, and mailed back with our check for a buck.  Then we’ll be all set for another five years.  She said there are currently 38 people on the waiting list for an ERPU site at Rainbow Plantation and that the person who is number one on the list has been waiting for over a year.  We were fortunate to get our site when we did (we only waited four months).

Last night we had a fare-thee-well dinner at Peggio’s (pronounced PeeGeeOhs) Kitchen with Mike and Peggy.   And, as usual, Peggy whipped up a mighty fine meal.  We had shish kebab, which Mikee grilled, along with rice pilaf and a salad.  And for dessert we had some delicious lemon squares (pretty much the same recipe as the raspberry squares only in lemon flavor).  Thanks, Mike and Peggy, for putting up with us for the week.  We’re ready to roll, but we’re sure gonna miss our play mates -  you guys should fire up Winne and come out and play.

Well, it’s time to round up the wagon and call out, “Wagon Ho”.  We’ll see y’all from Connecticut tomorrow.

Happy Trails To You and May God Bless  - - - - - - - -

Friday, May 25, 2012

Putting On The Finishing Touches

Judy was successful at L. L. Bean’s yesterday afternoon and was able to get herself a free pair of shorts with the “Bean Bucks” (coupons) that we get by using our L. L. Bean Visa credit card.  Also, she finalized the fabric selection for the baby mat so we’ll go to Jo Ann Fabrics this morning and make that purchase.  I need to go to PTB (Pete The Barber) this morning to get my ears lowered.  Later this afternoon we’ll gather at Peggio’s Kitchen for some of chef Mikee’s BBQ as well as Martini Time.   So, we are putting the finishing touches on our 2012 Maine visit; it will be “On the Road Again” tomorrow morning.

Here’s something a little different.  While we were kicking around Freeport yesterday afternoon, we came across this “Bootmobile”; hope you get a kick out of it.  Here’s a little history, “In 1911, an avid outdoorsman named Leon Leonwood ("L.L.") Bean returned from a hunting trip with cold, damp feet and a revolutionary idea. L.L. enlisted a local cobbler to stitch leather uppers to workmen's rubber boots, creating a comfortable, functional boot for exploring the Maine woods. This innovative boot - the Maine Hunting Shoe - changed outdoor footwear forever and began one of the most successful family-run businesses in the country.” (taken from L.L.Bean website)

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Hope You Have A Great Day and May God Bless  - - - - - - - -

Thursday, May 24, 2012

I Can’t Believe We Ate The Whole Thing

Yesterday unfolded just as we predicted it would.  The laundry was done at Peggio’s (pronounce PeeGeeOhs) Kitchen, Bath House, and Laundromat while the oil got changed at Mikee’s RV Maintenance, Electric, and Lube Center.  We came home for a ham “sammich” and then hit the TFM (Topsham Fair Mall) area.  We were each successful in finding some pants at Goodwill and Green Mountain Coffee at Hannaford’s, but fell flat at JoAnn’s and the Fish Market. 

After all of that running about, it was decided that a nice Shrimp Scampi Pizza at Cabin Pizza was in order.  Mike and Peggy picked us up and we headed to Bath, Maine, home to said pizza place.  We ordered two (count ‘em – two) large (14”) Shrimp Scampi pizzas along with drinks.  I can’t believe we ate the whole thing, but we did.  Oh my, we were full, but it was yummy.

The four of us returned home for a late Tea Time with a couple of Sam Adams and our conversation continuing.  Now, this very morning, we are waiting for a phone call from Mikee informing us what time to meet up with them for breakfast at Jen’s Place in Brunswick.  Yep, out to eat once again, that ought to be good for the old budget and waist line.  I’m pretty sure that I’m closing in on licking my anorexia problem.

The only thing left on our “Get-R-Done While In Maine” list is a trip to L. L. Bean.  We have quite a few Bean Bucks to spend with some expiring if we don’t use them soon.  Judy would like another pair of blue jean shorts but, if she doesn’t find anything she likes, I’m sure that we can find something else that old Leon Leonwood has stashed away on his premises.

Happy Shopping and May God Bless  - - - - - - - - - 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Doin’ Nutin’, Honey

Pretty much a quiet day.  A haircut for Judy and a Walmart run basically rounded out our day.  It was a rainy day, not pouring but overcast and drizzly throughout the day.  Mike and Peggy stopped by for a short visit and that is pretty much the highlights for our Tuesday.  It was just a nice laid back day of “doin’ nutin’, honey!!”

Today is oil change and laundry day.  We, also, plan a stop by Goodwill to see about some w*rk pants, JoAnn Fabrics for material for a baby mat, Hannaford Brothers for some Green Mountain coffee, and the Fish Market for some chowdah haddock.  All of those places are within a half mile of each other and about a mile from the Fairgrounds so it shouldn’t take too long.

Take Care and May God Bless  - - - - - - - -

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

This Switch Is For You

One thing that I’ve always wanted was a switch inside the house to turn off the power to the hot water heater.  I had to go outside and remove the hot water heater cover in order to turn off the power.  There are several times a year when we are plugged into 20 amp power which requires us to convert to gas for heating the water.  Well, my electrician showed up at ten o’clock sharp and we began to look things over to come up with an implementation plan. 

However, while we were at it, we discovered a water leak in the “nipple” that connects the two water filters together.  That required us to stop and remove the water filters from the coach, take the components apart, and re-tape the joints.  Once reassembled there were no more leaks; then it was onto the project at hand. 

After a couple of trips to the stores (the stores being Coastal RV for a switch and Home Depot for wire) we were able to finish the job.  Now we have an inside switch to turn off the power to the Hot Water Heater. it resides right next to the switch to turn on the gas to the Hot Water Heater – how neat is that?

But, right dead square in the middle of the switch installation project, Feed Me showed up.  So, Mike, Peggy, Judy, and I made tracks for Fat Boy for lunch and a Frappe.  Fat Boy has the best Frappes ever.  They are nice and thick, you can actually turn them upside down with nothing coming out.  It takes a long time to swill them down and you have to go very, very slow or else you’ll get a nose freeze and that hurts.

Mike and Peggy joined us for dinner of succulent Royal Red Shrimp, steamed broccoli, and boiled red potatoes.  Another fine meal indeed.  And, as always, we enjoyed our time together.  After Mike and Peggy returned home, Judy and I watched a little tube.  MASH, Mary Tyler Moore, and Dick Van Dyke was on ME TV.  There was a White House Performance on PBN recognizing Burt Bacharach and Hal Davis for their musical contributions.

We have no idea how things are going to unfold today.  It’s supposed to be another rainy day, but right now it’s just real foggy outside.  I’m sure that we’ll come up with something that needs doing before the day is over.  If not, it will be a stay at home and read day.  We could use one of those.

Keep An Open Mind, Something Just Might Drop In.  May God Bless  - - - - - - - -

Monday, May 21, 2012

Worshipping, Visiting, And Eating

Yesterday afternoon, after worship, Sandy and Bev invited us to lunch with them.  Sandy said they had five hot dawgs, one hamburger, and some steak so they should be able to throw together a meal.  It was a wonderful meal with tube steaks and regular steaks.  There was a garden salad, tater tots, and another vegetable salad – more than enough to eat.  We had a great meal and a great visit with Sandy and Bev.

Later we got together with Mike and Peggy at their place and walked over to Dairy Queen for a nice hot fudge sundae.  That pretty much rounds out our day.  Worshipping, visiting, and eating – who could ask for anything more?

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Take Care and May God Bless  - - - - - - - - 

Sunday, May 20, 2012

De Recipes, De Recipes

Our buddies, Jerry and Carol, commented on yesterday’s blog and asked for our recipes for the Crab Meat Pie and the Raspberry Squares so we figured maybe others may want them as well.  Here are the recipes:

Crab Meat Pie Recipe

2 - 6 oz. cans crab meat – drained  (We save a tbsp, or so, of the juice) 
3/4 c. (more or less) finely chopped celery
1/4 c. (or less) finely chopped onion
1/4 c. (or less) finely chopped green pepper
2 eggs - beaten
1 c. mayonnaise (or Miracle Whip - We use the mayonnaise with olive oil)
1/2 c. bread crumbs (We used the Italian seasoned bread crumbs)
1/4 tsp. salt (or eliminate the salt if you’re on a low sodium diet)
1 tbsp. lemon juice (this is an absolute must) 
1 Unbaked pie shell (We use the Pillsbury pie crust that you get in the dairy case)
1/2 c. (more or less) shredded Cheddar cheese

Combine the crab meat (and juice), celery, onion, green pepper, eggs, mayonnaise, bread crumbs, salt, and lemon juice together and mix thoroughly.  Then turn the mixture into an unbaked 9” pie shell and sprinkle lightly with some additional bread crumbs.  Spread the Cheddar cheese on top of that and bake in a preheated oven for 25 minutes (or until it is firm with the crust being brown) at 350*.  It may take another 10 minutes, or so, for it to firm up, but at least check it at around 25 minutes.  Let it cool for about five minutes, or more, before digging in.  Chops lickin’ good!!!

Raspberry Squares Recipe

Take the car keys out of your pocket (or pocketbook), start the engine, and drive to your local grocer.  Go to the baking isle and find a box of Krusteaz Raspberry Square mix.  Be sure to pay for it before leaving the store and then get back in your car and head home.  Follow the instructions on the box to the letter of law.  Yummy, yummy, yummy for the tummy, tummy, tummy!!!

Thar ya have it.  Hope ya enjoy these recipes.  They’ll “put smile on your face”.

We arrived at Mike and Peggy’s front door at a little after noon to fill the potable water tank.  Then it was over to the fairgrounds to “set up camp”.  After getting the household situated for a week’s stay, we warmed up the left over fish chowdah for lunch.  Then we proceeded to take a twenty minute power katt nap. 

We managed to get back to Mike and Peggy’s in time for “Martini Time”.  After visiting for an hour, or so, on the back deck, we headed into Peggio’s (pronounced Pee-gee-ohs) Kitchen for a wonderful baked fried chicken meal complete with smashed ‘taters, fresh asparagus, a fresh garden salad, and fresh strawberries with whipped cream on top for dessert – fine dining at its best.  Thanks, Peggy, for a great “travel day” meal.  

After dinner we sat and visited for awhile and then made it back home to visit with the katts.  They miss “Uncle Mike” coming over for a morning visit.  They keep looking for him to come-a-knocking at the door.  He is the only other humaniod, besides Dad and Mom, who they’ll let get near them and play with them.  Probably his scent is close enough to Dad’s to make them feel at home.

Today is Sunday so we’ll head out to Freeport Baptist Church to worship with all our friends from the past.  Then we’re not sure exactly what we’ll do, but you know that Mike and Peggy will be involved somehow. 

Happy Eating and May God Bless  - - - - - - - -

Saturday, May 19, 2012

It’s A Wrap

Another beautiful day.  That’s two in a row.  It must be some sort of a record or something up here in Maine for the month of May.   But it was nice to see our old friend, Mr. Sunshine, again.  And, guess what?  We’re in for another good day today.  How neat is that?

Yesterday morning I took Miss Judy for a walk.  We left the house turning right and walked three tenths of a mile east and then we walked a half mile south followed by about a mile east again where we turned north for about two tenths of a mile.  That brought us to Home Supply Center, Aunt Eunice’s Hardware store, in downtown Belfast, Maine. 

We got to visit with Aunt Eunice for about twenty minutes and then it was on the hoof again.  We walked up Main Street to Post Office Square (it used to be round until Urban Renewal decided it should actually be square) where we turned west for about a mile before heading north to Congress where we turned west again for the final leg.  All tolled, it was about a three mile walk, give or take a few inches.

Mike and Shauna were busy packing up for their week on the river so Judy and I kept ourselves occupied.  I assisted Mike a little bit here and there with the lifting part of his job.  He decided to put the canoes on the top of the truck and car rather than take the canoe trailer so I helped carry them around the house and lift them up onto the truck.   This is a job that he usually does by himself with each canoe weighing about 85 pounds.

While they continued organizing, Judy and I made a run to the store to get the “stuff” to make a crab meat pie, fill a propane tank, and top off the truck’s fuel tank with good old number 2 diesel.  Once home, we whipped up the said crab meat pie. 

The pie was a hit, both Mike and Shauna loved it,  Shauna wants the recipe.  We ate it along with some steamed broccoli and Shauna had made up some raspberry squares for desert.  Another fine meal at the Patterson households.

Well, today is it.  They head out on another adventure on the St. John’s River while we head for the Topsham Fairgrounds.  Tonight we join Mike and Peggy at Peggio’s (pronounced Pee-gee-ohs) Restaurant, Bath House, and Laundromat for some real fine dining.  We’ll be roughing it smoothly this coming week as the Fairgrounds hasn’t turned the water on yet which means electric and sewer hookups only.  We’ll have to swing by Mike’s RV Repair, Car Wash, and Lube Center to top off our water tank before setting up “camp” at the Fairgrounds.  I had planned to wash the rig this coming week, but that’s out until we find a spigot.

Happy Trails To You and May God Bless  - - - - - - - -

Friday, May 18, 2012

The Patterson’s Big Adventure

It was nice to see the sun once again.  We (Mike, Shauna, Judy, and I) headed west from the house.  Our first stop was at Hussey’s General Store in Windsor, Maine.  At Hussey’s you can find just about anything you need “from nuts to soup”.  They even sell shot guns and wedding dresses, some things never change.  It’s a unique store with three floors selling just about everything you can imagine.  There may not be a large selection, but if you need “one”, they most likely have “it”.  And, “if they don’t have it, you don’t need it.”

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From Hussey’s we made a stop at the extreme opposite – Sam’s Club.  Mike and Shauna needed to pick up some supplies for the week long “river trip” they’re doing beginning tomorrow.  They have two families of four people each canoeing the St. John’s river with them.  For those of you who don’t know, my brother and his wife are Maine Guides and have a canoe guiding business (Wilds Of Maine Guide Service) .

Upon leaving Sam’s Club, “Feed Me” showed up.  Mike knew of a sandwich shop in Winslow, Maine (Big G’s Deli) so we made tracks in that direction.  I have no idea where they get their bread, but one slice is four times the size and almost twice as thick as a regular slice of bread.  Mike and I shared a Reuben sandwich and we each only ate half of our half bringing the other quarter home in a “dawgie bag”.  Unbelievable!!!  Shauna had bread pudding and sweet potato fries while Judy enjoyed chicken tenders with sweet potato fries.  There were more than enough sweet potato fries in those two orders to feed a small army.  We hadn’t taken our camera inside with us so no pictures of the humongous sandwich, but it was yummy.

Next stop was Camp Caribou to visit Mike’s buddy Bill.  Camp Caribou is a family run sports camp for boys.  It is over 200 acres located on a peninsula on Pattee Pond in Winslow, Maine.  They have all up-to-date facilities and provide instruction in golf, hockey, football, baseball, basketball, and tennis.  There is, also, a woodworking shop and other craft activities for the kids.  On top of that, there are obstacle courses, canoeing and waterfront activities, and a zip line to round out the experience.  What a beautiful setting.

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‘Twas seven o’clock before we returned home for a nice fish chowdah dinner.  Um, um good.  However, we were still pretty full from that lunch, and tired?  I guess we were tired.  With all that fresh Maine air we were ready for our PJs by eight and beddy bye by nine.  Oh, it was sooooooo good to see our old friend Mr. Sunshine once again and to get outside just to “kick some of the stink off”.

May God Bless  - - - - - - - -

Thursday, May 17, 2012

You Can Betcha Bottom Dollar

The sun will come out today, today; you can betcha bottom dollar, today!!!  Yep, finally.  Three days of rain is enough.  Our skin is all shriveled up and gills are beginning to form on the sides of our necks.  I’d say that we’ve had our fair share of rain.

Being that it’s going to be a good day, we’ve scheduled ourselves a gunkholing trip.  Each year, when we get to Maine, Mike and Shauna and Darrell and Judy have to go gunkholing at least once and today is that day.  Be sure to tune in tomorrow to find out what holes we gunked.

Yesterday was a “tiring” day.  Get it?  A “tiring” day.  In that the truck got new tires and a four wheel alignment.  We purchased Michelin tires, expensive, and then I drove the truck to Rockport Automotive for the alignment.  It took over an hour to do the four wheel alignment and I expected to drop a couple hundred bucks but, it only came to $64.95.  Surprise, surprise! 

Wow, I didn’t think that anybody did anything to a Duramax Diesel truck for less than a hundred bucks any more.  The man who did the alignment owns the exact same truck, only it’s different – his is the four door cab model.   Their shop has a brand new sophisticated computerized alignment machine that makes sure the “towing” and the “cambering” and the whatever is purr-fect.  Yep, the truck is a happy camper once again and the tires on the truck go ‘round and ‘round all around the town.

While I was waiting for the truck, I strolled on down the “road a piece” to the 3 Dawg CafĂ© (only their was four dawgs) and enjoyed a couple of cups of coffee and a raspberry tart while I sat reading in my Nook in their nook.  After an hour there, I wandered on back to the “garage” where I waited another forty five minutes for them to complete the alignment job. 

Judy “stood” to home and read her Nook in her nook.  Once I returned home, with two pounds of haddock that I picked up along the way (road kill), we whipped up a nice old fashioned George Patterson Signature Fish Chowdah.  That will be for dinner tonight after a hard day of gunkholing.

Shauna had to w*rk last night (she’s a per diem nurse and does second shift), so Mike fried up some deer steak (more road kill, literally) and some ‘taters and onions and warmed up the left over fiddlehead greens from the other day for “suppah”.  Boy!  Those Patterson boys can scrounge up a meal outta just about anything and still eat like kings.  So it was with another day in the life.

Well, in the words of the immortal Porky Pig, “That’s all Folks!!!”   May God Bless  - - - - - - -

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

History Takes Its Course

Being another rainy day you’da found us hunkered down close to home.  However, the sun did sneak through the clouds a couple of times and it was warmer than the day before.  Anyway, Mike and I looked through some of Dad and Mom’s old papers to find Dad’s Navy discharge papers.  Judy made copies of them and I started playing on the computer looking at the various duty stations where Dad serviced during WWII.

Dad served in both the Atlantic and Pacific Theatres as Pharmacist’s Mate Third Class.  A Pharmacist’s Mate was what they call a Hospital Corpsman (or Medic) today.  He served on the USS LST 53 which was a large landing ship used to deliver army tanks and trucks to the beaches of Normandy.  What a bloody mess that duty must have been for a twenty year old to witness.  I won’t go into the details here, but it would have been a gruesome assignment.

In the Pacific Theatre, Dad served aboard the USS Chourre (ARV-1) which was a floating Aircraft Repair facility.  That took him to Guam, Philippines, and the Bay of Tokyo.  I’ve only begun to scratch the surface of his enlistment, but by researching the history of each of his five duty stations I will learn a lot more about his service in the U. S. Navy and his involvement in World War II.

The tires are on order for the truck and will be installed this morning.  An appointment to have the alignment is scheduled for later this afternoon.  We’re putting Michelins on the front and next summer we’ll buy two more for the rear.  Due to the weight involved in towing the fifthwheel, we have to replace the rear tires about every two years while we get at least three years out of the front tires.  I suppose if I did a rotation plan we might be able to squeeze a little more time out of all the tires, but it would be a thousand dollars to replace all four at once.  It’s rough enough paying almost $500 for two tires plus this time it’ll be another couple hundred to do the alignment.  Anyway, the pain will be all over by night fall.

Well, that’s enough rambling for one day.  May God Bless  - - - - - - - - -

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Just Layin’ ‘Round And Playin’ ‘Round

It was a lazy day at home.  The promised rain never materialized, but it was overcast and damp none the less.  I’m not sure if the temperatures ever made it into the sixties which made it feel chilly most of the day.  So, we just sort of, kind of spent most of the day hanging around the house trying to keep snug and warm.

However, we did go for a morning walk where we encountered aunt Wilma who was out walking Franklin, her
Bichon Frise puppy dawg.  Along the way we stopped by Jack’s Grocery to pick up the latest edition of The Republican Journal.  Dad was the Publisher right up until he died in January of 1991.  The Republican Journal is Maine’s oldest weekly newspaper (since 1829).  It felt good to just sit back and read “The Journal” once again.

For last night’s meal, Mike and I prepared a nice dinner of Royal Red shrimp, new red potatoes, and fresh picked fiddle head greens.  Top that off with a nice slice of Shauna’s coconut white cake and cold glass of milk and you gotcha self one heck of a meal, mistah!!!  That dang shrimp is some ol’ delicious.  After eating that, lobstah will never be the same.

The rain moved in over night and is supposed to continue on throughout today and tomorrow, yuck.  I was hoping to get some beach time while here.  Maybe Thursday and/or Friday, but we have to get an alignment and new tires on the front of the truck.  We wanted to wait until we got to Michigan, but the alignment is so bad that the left front tire has been scalloped too badly and vibrates like mad.  We’ll need to get the tires first at one place and the alignment at another so it will take a couple of days.  Other than that, we’ll just be making up the agenda as we go.

So, BBFN and May God Bless  - - - - - - - -

Monday, May 14, 2012

Serenity Now!!!

The outside temperatures on Saturday were downright fantastic and just what we needed to entice us for a afternoon outing.  So Judy and I decided to visit the Cathedral of the Pines which is less than five miles from Marc and Amie’s house.  You could hear the breezes blowing lightly through the trees with a nice pine scent in the air.  It is such a peaceful and tranquil place to just walk around the grounds, to sit and meditate, and to worship God.

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The following are excepts from Cathedral of the Pines website:

“Situated on a hilltop with a panoramic view of the Grand Monadnock, the Cathedral of the Pines is a breathtaking open-air cathedral and meeting space on 236 acres. Our historic monuments honor the service of American men and women—both military and civilian.”

“Cathedral of the Pines will be a thriving center in the Monadnock region where people come both from our local communities and from all over the world to participate in a wide range of events that address the Cathedral’s mission.”

“Sibyl and Douglas Sloane III founded the Cathedral of the Pines in 1945 as a memorial to those men and women, including their son Sandy, who had sacrificed their lives in World War II. They envisioned that their cathedral without walls would welcome people of every faith in a spirit of unity and mutual respect. It was their hope that interfaith understanding would help bring world peace. In the 21st century the Cathedral seeks to honor and extend that original vision through its activities and events.”

The path took us past the Zen Garden and Ten Commandment Monolith.

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Across from the Monolith is the St. Francis of Assisi Chapel with a statue of the Virgin Mary.

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A little further on we came to Mother’s Chapel and the Garden of Remembrance.

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“The Altar of the Nation, overlooking Mount Monadnock, is dedicated in grateful memory of all American war dead.  Constructed in 1946, stones as tributes from every President since Harry Truman and from each of the fifity states and four territories are all incorporated into the Altar to symbolize the unity and strength of a grateful people.  In 1957 the Congress of the United States recognized the Altar of the Nation as a National Memorial to all American war dead.”

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The views along the trail are absolutely stunning.  And with the breeze blowing through the pines, it presented a nice serene place to reflect on life’s purpose - “To Know Him, To Be Like Him, and To Glorify Him.”

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“The Memorial Bell Tower was dedicate in 1967 and is the first in the nation in tribute to all American women who sacrificed their lives in the wars of our country.  The pillars of the Bell Tower are the stones taken from the fields of the farm of which the Cathedral knoll is a part.  Carillonic Chimes play on the hour.”

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“The “Waters of Life” from the fountain nurture the “Tree of LIfe” which bears twelve manner of fruits and the leaves of the tree that represents the healing of the nations.”

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Yesterday afternoon was another uneventful travel day to Belfast.  Upon arrival, we had to “thread the needle” with the rig while backing into the drive way.  We’re getting really good at this, too good as a matter of fact.  We slipped it right into it’s “berth” in one smooth back up – no pulling forward what so ever.  Now we’ll have to find another challenge.  And, on top of all of that, we beat the rain.  The next three days are going to be wet, but we’ll be nice and dry sitting in Mike and Shauna’s driveway.

Mike and Shauna were off to church when we arrived so we got set up and headed out for a Mother’s Day meal at Darby’s restaurant in downtown Belfast.  We had nice old fashioned crab meat rolls made with fresh Maine crab and it was some ol’ yummy.  Darby’s has a wonderful crab melt sandwich, as well, which is what we normally have.  But, being that the crab meat rolls were a Mother’s Day special we opted for those instead – good choice.

Well, I guess that brings you up-to-date.  So, Take Care and May God Bless  - - - - - - - - - -

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Early Morning Visitors

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There we were, sitting in our PJs sipping our morning brew when we hear this little “knocking at my door”.  Katie immediately ascertained that it was someone under three feet in stature and made a quick retreat by high tailing it for the bedroom.  G’Ma opened the door and in trudged two little rag-a-muffin refugees from next door.  One was toting a piece of toast with lots of butter on it and the other had a snotty nose with drool all over his chin.

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This is something that we don’t get when we are staying in a campground and it’s something that we relish, a lot, and need more of.  Now, I have to tell you that we are not your Grand Parent’s Grand Parents.  My G’Ma always had a supply of homemade cookies on hand to give her little angel visitors (that would be me and my brother), but we didn’t have a cookie in the house for a hand out.  Maybe Rocco and Lola’s G’Ma can whip up a batch of homemade chocolate chip cookies or oatmeal cookies or molasses cookies to feed the little refugees whenever they come around pan handling.

By the way, if you’ve noticed the tattoos, it’s not because Marc and Amie are “enlightened” parents.  They are the wash off kind and Friday was a Superhero day at school.  I’m not sure when Superhero started wearing tattoos, but these two think they do and just “needed” to have them.  Don’t worry, they’ll come off after a bath or three or six.

Here’s a picture of Miss Briana.  As typical of most teenagers, she spends hours upon hours in her bedroom sitting on her bed yoga style with wires coming out of her ears and her thumbs going like mad while hovering over her smart phone.  Therefore, rarely is there a photo op moment, but she did come out of her “girl cave” long enough for G’Ma to snap this shot.

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We mainly hung around the house visiting yesterday.  Later in the afternoon we grilled some chicken and burgers on the grill and served them with some more of Doctor Duke’s baked beans and a garden salad.  This has been a fun visit.  Too bad it is only going to be a short one this year. 

We’ll leave later today heading for Belfast.  We were going to leave in the morning, but there is rain in the forecast for all day tomorrow and we don’t like to travel in the rain if we can avoid it.  It’s only a four and a half trip so we’ll hang out here until noon time and then pack up the wagon and pull out.

See ya tomorrow from my old stomping grounds.  May God Bless  - - - - - - - - - 

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Keeping Ourselves Busy Isn’t Hard

While everyone else was w*rking and sch**ling, G’Ma and G’Pa took a drive over to West Chesterfield, New Hampshire to the Truck Camper Warehouse to look at (what else?) truck campers.  They are the largest truck camper dealership in the United States and have several of the top line truck campers.  However, we only found one that we felt that we could “live” with. 

A couple of reasons for purchasing a truck camper is:  1)  You never have to register them as they have no wheels or motors and,  2)  They are small enough to get around town in and/or down back roads with.  A good reason to buy one in New Hampshire is that there is no sales tax which means big savings.  Anyhow, there are all sorts of disadvantages to buying one that we won’t bother to list here.

The one we “liked” is a Chalet Ascent.  It is made for a short bed pick up and comes equipped with a generator, two house batteries (you can have up to four batteries), a 600 watt inverter, thermal pane windows, entertainment center with a 22” flat screen TV, etc..  The price for a new one is in the 40Ks – another disadvantage to purchasing one.

  

Oh well, we don’t see a truck camper in our future, but the question remains – “Why are you looking in the first place?”  Well, we are getting tired of dragging 38’ behind us when we’re doing our “visitation loop” from AL to TN, VA, NH, ME, MI, TN, and back to AL.  Plus, we like the idea of going out on a six to eight week sightseeing trip and then returning home – smaller would be better.  The thought is that we would anchor the fifthwheel down at Rainbow Plantation as our home base until we buy a home either in Alabama or Tennessee.  Anyhow, we don’t see a truck camper as an option, especially not at forty plus thousand dollars.

Friday night is pizza night at the New Hampshire Patterson household so G’Pa and G’Ma joined in to uphold the tradition.  The Pizza Barn, which is located right in town Jaffrey (and less than a mile from the house), proved to be a good place to acquire the said pizza.  We got a pepperoni pizza for the kids, a Grecian pizza for the ladies, and a meat lovers pizza for the men folk.  There was enough of each to mix and match and it was all good.  I’ve never met a pizza I didn’t like, it’s just that some pizzas are better than others.

It’s been nice being right next door.  We’ve had more face time so far in this visit than we’ve had in the past.  Judy picked up Miss Briana from school yesterday afternoon.  Amie and the other two didn’t arrive home until somewhere close to six.  Lola and Rocco are a couple of live wires to say the least.  Their legs never stop and they can think of new messes to make faster than you can clean up the last mess.  Whew, we don’t think we could keep up to these two for very long.  But cute?  Why, they are cuter than a whole basket full of kittens.  We’ve enjoyed every minute of being around them (so far, that is).  We’ll be sure to get some pictures posted soon.

Well, that’s a wrap for today.  May God Bless  - - - - - - - -

Friday, May 11, 2012

It’s All About Grand Kids, Ya Know?

Our grand baby got to visit the Oval Office.  Yes, that’s right, the Office of the President of the United States.  On Tuesday evening, Joel and Mary were invited to tour the West Wing and here’s how it happened, according to our daughter in her blog.

“And then the moment came.  As expected, there was a partition and we could not go in.  That was not going to stop me.  Oh no.  My baby was going to go into the Oval Office.  So I did what any reasonable mother would do.  Forget security!  I scooted up as close as I could to that partition and I stuck my belly into the office of the President of the United States.  That's right ladies and gentlemen, Baby Fortner was in the Oval Office.”

G’Pa and G’Ma can only hope that this child has enough common sense to stay out of that office once he/she gets to be over 35 years old.  Now does Mary sound like she takes after her father or what?  Nah, I wouldn’t do something like that.

Well, yesterday we got to go to one of our most favorite places of all time – Market Basket.  We are always amazed at how much food we come home with compared to shopping Wally World in Fairhope.  First of all, there is no sales tax so that saves us eighteen to twenty dollars right there.  Then the prices overall are a little lower, however, there are a few things that are a little more expensive as well.  Their produce and meats are always much, much better than Uncle Wally’s.  Yep, it is one of the highlights whenever we are in New Hampshire.

After everyone got home from w*rk and sch**l, Marc cooked some pork loins on the grill.  I had “doctored up” some of Dukes original baked beans (does that make them Doctor Dukes baked beans?).  And we had some apple slices.  Needless to say, we had some more Grand Kids time.  Lola and Rocco’s feet never stop moving; they are couple of “live wires” that’s for sure.  Busy, busy, busy.  Going, going, going.  But, it’s nice to be with them and watch them go, go, go.  We even get to hold them for a few seconds here and there.  And, they are always willing to stop for a hug. 

Then there’s Miss Briana.  She’s so quiet and refined.  How did she ever get into this family?  What a neat young lady.  Today G’Pa and G’Ma get to pick her up from school.  It’s still unbelievable that next year she’ll start High School.  Glad we’re not getting any older!!!!

As for our Grand Kids in Tennessee, Catia has had to get eyeglasses while Kalina’s eye patch time is about to be reduced (she wears an eye patch on her good eye in order to strengthen her weaker eye).  Radek’s eyes have checked out okay, but how do you know for sure with a 22 month old?  “Can you read the letters?”  “A, E, I, O, U, and sometimes Y.”  “Yep, your eyes are good.”  Anyway, that’s some of what’s new in the Volunteer State.

It’s all about Grand Kids, ya know?  May God Bless  - - - - - - - - - - -

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Whadda Day!!!!!

It took us over ten hours to make a seven and a half hour trip.  When it comes to road construction Pennsylvania is in a class all of it’s own.  They don’t just shut down a lane, they shut down a lane and a half!!!  They have a make shift half lane that is uneven and rough as a cob.  It is posted for forty-five, but there’s no way on this green earth that anyone could travel at forty-five on that mess.  People crawl along at about ten miles an hour.  Now combine that with a heavy traffic corridor going from three lanes to a half plus lane and you’ve got yourself a stand still.  It took us the better part of an hour to move four miles.

We stopped at Port Jarvis, New York to fill up with an egg salad sandwich and fuel.  Then it was off again for about eighteen miles on I-84 when we came upon a stand still.  There had been a car/truck accident at mile twenty-six that resulted in a major traffic delay.  It took us over two hours to clear that mess.  Fortunately, no one was killed but it was one heck of a mess.  We didn’t see the car but the truck was totally demolished with it’s load scattered hither and thither.

After that delay we were considering places to stop for the night when Marc called and said they were planning dinner for us.  So trudged on we did arriving at their place at a few minutes after six.  We were safe and our equipment was functioning properly so, other than time delays, it was an uneventful trip. 

Even though we were tired, it was good to see the munchkins again and get our hugs.  It’s surprising how grand kid hugs can rejuvenate an old soul.  We were able to back in off the street on to our nice level RV site right next to Marc and Amie’s house – neat!!  However, we have no cell phone (AT&T) coverage or television reception, but we do have 20 AMP power, Verizon Air Card coverage, and running water (we have to run and get it).  Yep, we’re roughing it, but we’re up off the ground, dry, and warm so who can complain about that.

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Today is shopping day.  We get to go to our favorite grocery store of all time – Market Basket.  The prices are comparable to Wally World’s and there’s no sales tax in New Hampshire.  They have fresh produce and an excellent meat/seafood selection.  And, of course, today will spring forth with more grandkid fixes.  Boy are those little rug rats getting big.

Briana is thirteen going on fourteen; “Inconceivable”, she’ll be going to High School this fall.  She’s growing up into a fine young lady.  Lola is five, she let Grampa know that right away.  There’s no treating her like a little kid, she’s five.  And Rocco is “free” (that’s three in Lola speak) and he can make Dennis the Menace look like a angel, but he’s Grampa’s little shadow – ya gotta love it.

So we’re here safe and sound and that’s all the counts.  It’s raining outside again this morning, but it’s all good.  Be sure to hug your grand kids today, and if you don’t have a grand child, be sure to hug a friend, and if you don’t have a friend, be sure to hug your katt, and if you don’t have a katt, be sure to hug your dawg, and if you don’t have a dawg, I guess you lose.  Nah, I’m sure you can find someone to hug, but if not, hug a tree.

Stay High And Dry and May God Bless  - - - - - - - -

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

It’s A Long, Long Travel Day

We sat hunkered down while the weather front passed through hoping that it would be all gone by morning, but it looks as if we may run into on again / off again showers today.  As it is, we’ll be spending no less than eight hours on the road; rain will only slow us down and add to the time.  It is what it is.

Yesterday could have easily been a PJ day, but we showered and donned our clothes before the rain came rolling in.  That allowed me to get out and fill the truck, get a propane tank filled, and pick up some bread and milk.  It poured most of the day so after those few outside chores, we “stood” inside to do a few inside chores, play on the ‘puters, read, and watch television.  We laid down and took a twenty minute snoozer around two o’clock with Alex katt napping betwixt us.

We’ve had a sick baby.  Katie hasn’t been feeling so well.  She’s had an upset digestive system that required her to get a bath yesterday.  Now, we can tell you that that is not one of her favorite things.  You take a katt that hates to be groomed in the first place and add water to the equation and you’ve got your hands full.  She started screaming and Alex came running to her aid.  It wasn’t a pretty site, but we got her clean.  Hopefully we’ll not be faced with that dilemma again today while we’re on the road.

So that was it for our Tuesday, see ya tomorrow from Jaffrey, New Hampshire.  We hope to be there by dinner time – do you think our kids will have anything ready for us to eat?  We’ll just have to see. 

So, It’s A Long, Long Travel Day!  “What’s Next Mrs. Landingham?”   “Follow The Highlighted Route!”

Safe Travels Everyone and May God Bless  - - - - - - - - - 

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Hunkered Down In Pennsylvania

Sunday morning you’d have found us on the road to Alexandria to worship with the kids.  Now the neat thing about where they live is that they can walk to everything.   We walked to church and after church we walked to Osteria 1909 where Joel and Mary treated us to brunch.  

Joel and Mary are good friends, and customers, of the folks who own La Strada Italian restaurant in Del Ray.  La Strada serves authentic Tuscan dishes and the food is nothing short of fabulous.   When the store front right next to La Strada became available they jumped on it and opened Osteria 1909 which serves authentic Milan style breakfasts and sandwiches as well as fine wines. 

The brunch was superb and, in real Italian tradition, we lingered over our meals just enjoying the ambience, the fine coffee, and the nice conversation.  Thanks kids for a special Mother’s and Father's Day treat.

After brunch we walked back to their apartment and spent the rest of the afternoon chit chatting.  Around three o’clock we started making tracks for Bull Run Regional Park and Campground. 

Yesterday morning we hitched up the rig and began heading further north up the highway.  It wasn’t an uneventful day, however, in that the rain began coming down right after we entered Pennsylvania.  We arrived at the campground at twelve thirty and, once set up, spent the rest of the day relaxing and resting, reclining and reading.  Oh yes, a little nap also snuck it’s way into the “busy” afternoon.

We’ll hold up at Lickdale Campground for today, as well, while the rainy weather passes by plus we could use a “down day”.  It’s not raining yet, but later this morning the rains are coming and we’re in for a good soaking.  From here, tomorrow morning, it will be an eight hour run to New Hampshire for another grand child fix.

May God Bless  - - - - - - - - -

Monday, May 07, 2012

Welcome Aboard Mrs. Landingham

Everyone knows that fulltime RVing requires lots and lots of gadgets and gizmos.  Back in the spring of 2006, when we were getting ready for fulltiming, we purchased two absolutely positively necessities; a Pressure Pro Tire Monitoring System and a Garmin Quest GPS.  In two thousand and seven we added a Sprint Air Card and a Kyocera Router to the equation.  We are now on our third air card (a Verizon Modem) and our third router (a Cradlepoint CTR35), but we have still been using the same TPMS and GPS.

We named the Garmin Quest GPS Maggie which is short for Nagy Maggie – “Off Route, Recalculating!”  Being that she was purchased back in the spring of 2006 she’s getting to be quite an ol’ gal.  Remember that electronics age at around 21 years for each human year, that makes her 136 years old, and she has been getting real crotchety in her old age to say the least.

First of all, her map sets are way out of date.  She’s back in the pioneer horse and buggy days when it comes to a lot of new interchange additions to the Interstate Highway System.  We can live with this short fall, but the real issue as become her attitude.  We don’t always see eye to eye on which route to take from point A to point B.  After she “Off Route, Recalculating!” for about the third time, she gets real nasty and sends us down some really weird back roads.  Oh, she gets us to our destination alright, but she certainly gets her “pound of flesh” for not following her instructions to the tee.

Mary and Joel now have smart phones with the Maps App on them and no longer had use for their Garmin NUVI GPS so they gave it to us with one stipulation.  They named the GPS unit Mrs. Landingham and we had to agree to not change her name; so Mrs. Delores “Samantha” Landingham it is. 

Mrs. Delores Landingham was President Bartlet’s personal secretary on one of our favorite television shows, West Wing.  She was responsible for maintaining the President’s agenda and so it is with Mrs. Landingham the GPS unit; that is, she will be responsible for maintaining our traveling agenda from here on out.

Now, like all updated electronic devices, there are pros and cons to each new device.  The pros are an up-to-date map set for the entire country, a larger clearer screen, and a much easier method of programming.  The cons are you have to “scroll” to the dash board to see “Distance to Destination” and there is no “Elevation” read out (or at least I haven’t found it yet). 

With Maggie we could see “Speed”, “Distance to Next Turn”, “Elevation”, and “Distance to Destination” on the right side of the screen.  Mrs. Landingham shows us “Distance to Next Turn”, “Speed”, and “Time of Arrival” and, as I said before, you have to scroll to dashboard to see “Distance to Destination”. 

I really don’t know why “they” consider “Time of Arrival” as relevant information.   There are waaaaay tooooo many variables that affect that information, such as, weather conditions, travel speed, rest stops, fuel stops, red lights, road construction, accidents, etc., to make it useful.  But, at this point in time, I have not found any way to change that display to show “Distance to Destination” instead nor have I found anything showing “Elevation” which is information that I like to have. 

However, we can change Mrs. Landingham’s language making her British, Aussie, etc..  That’s kinda neat and we really liked the British accent, but it puts the ass-CENT on the wrong Syl-LAH-ble thereby making it confusing from time to time when your trying to figure out the street name.  So we have programmed her to speak “American English – Samantha” which is what gives her her middle name. 

Finally, in the words of President Josiah Bartlet, “What’s next Mrs. Landingham?” to which she replies, “Follow the highlighted route.”  “Well alrighty then.  Welcome aboard Mrs. Landingham, welcome aboard!!”  “And, Maggie, we wish you a long and happy retirement.  Thanks for your many years of service.”

Happy Travels and May God Bless  - - - - - - - -

Sunday, May 06, 2012

An Unsurprised Birthday Party

We woke up yesterday, stretched, scratched, stumbled to the coffee pot, and slurped down a cup of java to get the day rolling along.  It was a relaxing morning.  We did our household chores, played on our ‘puters, and read our books/Nooks.  Even the “puddy tatts” were pretty laid back and relaxed, just the way we like our mornings to be.

After lunch we made our way into Joel and Mary’s.  Joel was planning an “unsurprised” birthday party for Mary.  Her birthday was a week ago, but he waited until her parents were in town.  What a nice son-in-law; we’re lucky to have the best son and daughters-in-law that anyone could ask for.  Anyway, being that the party was in the evening we dilly dallied the morning away before beating the highways into Alexandria.

It takes us about an hour to make the trip from Bull Run Regional Park and Campground to the Del Ray portion of Alexandria and there’s just no easy way to get there.  The traffic, as stated before, is just horrendous.  We have to drive I-66 to Arlington and then take Glebe Road, with it’s thousands of traffic lights, south to Del Ray.  The whole trip is only 36 miles, it just seems like hundreds and hundreds.

The party was scheduled for seven P.M., but it is considered fashionable to be late in these here parts of the U. S..  They’re just not like Escapees that when someone yells free food it looks like seagulls flocking behind a shrimp boat.  The guests finally arrived and we all had a good time.  Judy and I were the elders of the party whereas the rest were young marrieds with either babies or puppies.  Small dawgs are in in Alexandria.

The old folks hit the road at around quarter after eight making our way to our PJs and beddy bye.  We are hitting the road early this morning to attend church with our kids; afterall, that’s why we are in this area of the country – to spend time with Mary and Joel.  It’s really good to be with them, just wished we could fine a campground a little closer to their apartment.

Well, time to start getting ready for church.  See ya on the flip side.  May God Bless  - - - - - - - - -   

Saturday, May 05, 2012

I Shall Not Tell A Lie

We had so much fun beating through the traffic on Thursday morning that we decided to do it again only this time we were off to visit George and Martha in their humble abode in Mount Vernon, Virginia.  The goal was to find that infamous cherry tree stump.

George Washington’s home was built in 1757 with Washington being the primary architect.  The property was made up of some 8,000 acres which was divided into five different farms.  George was quite an entrepreneur in that everything needed to sustain his farms was created right on Mount Vernon’s grounds.  Services and products from the various shops were sold throughout the local community.   Besides the farms, he built a gristmill to process his and his neighbors’ grain for exporting and a distillery for making whiskey.  He, also, engaged in a fishing enterprise on the Potomac River where “they” would process around 6,000 pounds of herring during each year’s fishing season. 

Of course, there was his military service during the French and Indian Wars, the five years of service as Major General and Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army during the American Revolution, a year of service in the creation of the Constitution of the United States, and eight years as POTUS (President of the United States).  While he was away from Mount Vernon managers oversaw the daily operations of the estate as well as the other farms and businesses.  Anyway, we won’t go any further into George Washington’s history here because if you’re into history you can just “Google It” or go to your public library.

Once we arrived at Mount Vernon, the first thing we did (or probably say the second thing we did ‘cause the first thing was to hit the restrooms) was to take in the orientation films.  We were greeted by George and Martha with two of their grand children (It’s all about grand children, ya know?).  The visitors center houses a beautiful stained glass window depicting the reading of the Declaration of Independence.  We watched a quick orientation film and then a very well done film documenting Washington’s Christmas day attack on Trenton, New Jersey. 

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Next it was off to walk the grounds.

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We began with the gardens.  There is what is known as the Upper Gardens which is primarily flowers and shrubbery.

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While the Lower Gardens are for fruits and vegetables.  George Washington was deeply involved in horticulture and finding better methods for gardening.

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Behind the Upper Gardens were some of the Slave Quarters.  Mount Vernon and the other four farms required over 300 slaves for operation.  These were the quarters used by single slaves.  Washington believed in keeping families together so there were family housing units located throughout the five farms as well.

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As stated before, Mount Vernon had all the various shops required to run the estate located right on the premises.  Here are pictures of the Shoemaker’s shop, the Spinning House, and the Blacksmith’s Shop along with the Salt Storage Shed and the Smoke House.

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And, of course, when George was away someone had to oversee the operation.  Here are some of the buildings that housed the shops along with the Overseers Bunkhouse and the Gardener’s Bunkhouse.  

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Next it was onto the stables where some of George and Martha’s rides were on display.  One was a Chair Wagon and the other a beautiful coach.

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Then we made our way around to the Washington tombs.  There is the old tomb where Washington was first interned upon his death at 67 in 1799, two years after serving as the first President of the United States.  His will had called for the construction of a new tomb which was completed in 1831 where the President and First Lady now rest in peace. 

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Finally, we toured the house itself.  No photographs were allowed inside, but here is one taken of the front and one of the rear of Mount Vernon.  A beautiful estate to say the least.  Fitting of a President.

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The views from the porch on the back of the home are stunning.  George Washington wrote, “No estate in the United America is more pleasantly situated than this ….”.

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The next thing on the agenda was the Donald N. Reynolds Museum and Education Center.  Unfortunately our time was running out so we didn’t get to spend the time in the Museum that we would have liked.  There is so much to see and do in that center that it will require us to make another trip to Mount Vernon.  There are nine theaters and lots and lots of displays, including George’s wooden false teeth, on hand for viewing.  And, oh yes, we found that which we embarked on in the first place – a piece from that infamous cherry tree.

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And before we leave you, here are some photographs of a model of Mount Vernon which include George Washington’s office and the Master Bedroom. 

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We had enjoyable day at Mount Vernon and look forward to a return trip this coming fall.  Hope you’ve enjoyed our photographs and . . . .

May God Bless  - - - - - - - -