Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Farmer In The Dell

Late entry today – our Verizon Air Card will not stay connected at Bull Run Regional Park.  This is the first time in all these years that we could get good AT&T coverage on on cell phones, but lousy coverage on Verizon.

Mary and Joel thought it would be fun to visit the Farmer’s Market in old town Alexandria, so the four of us loaded into their BMW and made tracks in that direction.  The Farmer’s Market was pretty much like any Farmer’s Market with great looking produce . . . . . .


After making a pass through the Farmer’s Market we did a tour of old town Alexandria.  It is really a beautiful little town and well worth a visit if you’re in the area.


Here’s the fountain and the Visitor’s Center in the middle of town.


We walked all the way down to the waterfront which is on the Potomac River.  It was said that George Washington threw a silver dollar across the Potomac; that’s nothing, today’s politicians are following suit by throwing billions (trillions?) across the river.


The old Torpedo Factory, which is right on the waterfront, has been turned into an Arts Center with three floors of various arts/crafts shops.  Judy didn’t find a thimble, however, I did manage to escape with all my money still in my wallet.


We decided to take a walk through some of the neighborhoods of Alexandria where we found this old stone street – it’s neat to look at, but miserable to drive on (or walk on).


The architecture is mostly Colonial with a lot of homeowners displaying the old Red, White, and Blue.


The kids took us to their favorite restaurant in Del Rey, La Strada.  It’s an old style Italian restaurant with Tuscan dishes.  The food was absolutely, positively delicious.  We started with a glass of wine and some rosemary bread with a seasoned olive oil for dipping.  Then followed that with an appetizer of calamari; it was nice and tender – yummy.  We ordered two family sized entrees for dinner, don’t ask me to remember their names – it’s all Greek to me (or maybe I should say all Italian to me).  In any event, the food was wonderful.  Thanks, Joel and Mary, for a great day and a fantastic dinner.

It’s only thirty miles from the campground to Joel and Mary’s, but, do to all the traffic lights, it takes us almost an hour to make the trip.  This morning we’re heading back to attend church with them followed by a brunch of homemade pumpkin blueberry pancakes (our daughter married a wonderful chef).  Then who knows what we’ll do next since we haven’t decided yet, but we’ll think of something.

Take Care Until Next Time  - - - - - - -

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Bull Run (Manassas) National Battlefield

It took us close to four hours to make the trip from Lickdale Campground to Bull Run Regional Park.  It was another uneventful travel day.  As we got closer to Washington, D.C. we could tell that Congress was still battling over the debt ceiling issue as they were generating more heat than light; it was 104* when we arrived at the campground.  Fortunately, we have 50 amp service so we can run both air conditioners to keep the kitties nice and cool. 

After getting the rig set up and the air conditioners running, we took off for a visit to Bull Run (Manassas) National Battlefield.  First we watched the movie and then played with the interactive battlefield map in the air conditioned Visitor’s Center.  The movie was very well done and covered both the First and Second Battles; it was 45 minutes long.  Being that it was a hundred and three degrees on the battlefield, we only took a short walking tour of the First Battle of Bull Run.

By the way, the Northerners named the battle after Bull Run stream that runs east of the battlefield while the Southerners named the battle after the nearby community of Manassas Junction which is south of the battlefield. 

The battle began “over yonder there” on Matthew’s Hill (in the distance).


It made it’s way across Warrensburg Turnpike and engulfed the Henry farm where the majority of the battle took place.


As the battle made it’s way toward the Henry Farm, an attempt was made to rescue an elderly lady, Judith Henry, by carrying her on a mattress.  She was adamant that she not be taken from her home, so they returned her to her bedroom.  The Union Army made their way to the knoll just to the right of the farm house.  Some Confederate soldiers snuck up behind the house and began attacking the Union Army from their left flank.  Union guns were turned toward the house and cannon fire tore through the house killing Mrs. Henry, the only civilian killed during the battle.  After the battle ended, Confederate soldiers assisted with her burial in her garden just outside the house.

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After the war, the Union Army erected a monument next to the ruins of the Henry Farmhouse as a memorial to the Union soldiers who lost their lives in the battle.  Then, in 1870, the Henry children built a new home on the site of the original house. 

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President Lincoln was expecting a victory at Bull Run which would position the Union Army within striking distance of Richmond, Virginia which was the Capitol of the Confederate States.  He felt that victory here would bring a quick end to the Civil War, however, that wasn’t to be.  The Confederate Army ended up turning the Union troops back toward Washington and positioned themselves for moving the war on to Federal lands.

Gen. Thomas Jackson was instrumental in “turning the tide” of the battle, which ultimately lead to a Confederate victory, as he stood steadfast on the battlefield rallying his troops against the Union cannon fire.   Because of his tenacious stand, it was said that he “stood like a stonewall” hence, his nickname – Stonewall Jackson.


Here are some implements of war.  It was just too danged hot to walk clear over to the Confederate position on the field so we only have the one photo of the cannons in the distance.

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We would be remiss if we didn’t include a photo of Bull Run Stream for which the battle was named after.


And here is a bridge on Warrensburg Turnpike that was used by the Union Army to gain position and later to retreat.  Obviously this is not the original bridge.  After the battle the Confederates blew up the original bridge to keep the Union Army from a return attack.


One thing that we noted during our short visit was the lack of monuments on the battlefield.  Other Civil War battlefields that we have visited have had lots of markers commemorating the various units that fought at that place, but no so at Bull Run.    

Today it’s off to see Mary and Joel, a long over due visit.  We haven’t seen them since June of 2010.  We had planned to stop on our way north, but the jacks broke and we were unable to disconnect the RV from the truck so we had to make our way to Mikee’s RV Repair, Lube Center, and BBQ to fix the problem.  Anywhoo, we look forward to spending the day with them.

Take Care Until Next Time  - - - - - -

Friday, July 29, 2011

Chatting. Chewing, And Chuckling

It was a great day.  Randy and Terry showed up around eleven o’clock.  That means that we chatted, chewed, and chuckled our way through the next five hours.  It’s great to have such wonderful friends to spend time with.  I mean, we could have gone over to Hershey to have gotten a candy bar, or we could have gone for a ride about the countryside, but we’ve been there, done that.  So it was nice to just sit and visit while the burgers and dawgs burned themselves on the grill and the fresh Pennsylvania corn steamed itself on the stove. 

It began to rain so we had to move our picnic inside, but that didn’t slow us down one bit.  We had an enjoyable meal and solved many of the country’s problems (you should be hearing a solution to the debt ceiling issue any day now).  We even received an unexpected phone call from Peggy; wish she and Mikee could have been here to have joined in on all the fun.  It was sad to say, “so long”, since it will be several months before we get together again at Rainbow Plantation.   

Today we’re heading to Bull Run Regional Park in Centreville, Virginia; it’s right next door to the Bull Run (Manassas) National Battlefield and forty minutes from our daughter’s house.  “They”, whoever they are, are predicting high humidity and hot temperatures (hazy, hot, and humid) over the next several days.  Hopefully it will just give way to cooler temperatures like it has over the past couple of days. 

Once we get housekeeping reestablished in Virginia, we’ll head on over to the battlefield for a look see.  It’s been 150 years since the first battle was fought in July of 1861; the second battle was fought in August of 1862.  That’s all we’ll say about that for the time being (obviously we’ll have more in tomorrow’s blog entry).

Now it’s time to pack our bags and get ready to go, so Take Care Until Next Time  - - - - - -

Thursday, July 28, 2011

A Day Of Visiting

What fun!!  We got together with our playmates, Randy and Terry.  After arriving and spending a few minutes at their “house”, we packed into their truck and headed to Reagan’s house (well, actually Jason and Lindsay’s house but grand kids rule, ya know).  It was good to finally meet them all as we have heard so much about them (especially Reagan) over the years.

Then it was off to Isaac’s for lunch.  The sandwich was good, but the best part was sitting over a casual meal while chatting and laughing the time away with good friends who are as close as family.  After a quick stop at the grocery store, we made our way back to their place where we continued our visiting. 

Randy and I took Blackie for a walk about the campground, or probably I should say a section of the campground.  That place is huge with a lot of nice sites, both seasonal and transit.  It makes a nice “home base” for Randy and Terry during the summer months since it is within striking distance of Lindsay’s (and, of course, Reagan).

We had an uneventful ride back home even though we managed to hit Harrisburg during the “rush hour”.  The rest of the evening was spent on our ‘puters, watching TV, and doing a little reading.  Then we pulled the curtain on the day and toddled off to bed.

Today Randy and Terry are driving up to visit us here at Lickdale Campground.  It will be great to see them again since it will have been almost 20 hours since our last visit.  I plan to dig out the grill for some burgers and dawgs while Judy makes her world famous potato salad.  Eat and visit, is that all you guys do?  Pretty much!!!!

Take Care Until Next Time  - - - - - - -

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Rule Number 79

We all know that it is totally impossible to go through life without rules.  Some rules are handed down to us from the Lord, our parents, teachers, bosses, spouses, etc..  We don’t really have a choice regarding these rules, they just exist for our own good (???). 

Other rules are developed by us as we march through life learning from the school of hard knocks.  As we stumble from one misadventure to another we form rules to help keep ourselves from experiencing same “bad luck” in the future. 

Having said all of that, it’s hard to believe that I’ve gotten this far in life, especially having been married for 38 years, without bumping into rule number 79 (which, most likely, will become rule number 1 before the sun goes down).

But, before I get too carried away explaining rule number 79, let’s just take a moment to understand exactly what a rule is.  It’s a principle or condition that customarily governs behavior; a prescribed guide for conduct and/or actions.  That simply means that before we act, we must consider any rules that currently in effect and follow them in order to steer clear from calamity.

Now, what is rule number 79?  Rule number 79 states that, “You should always, always, always listen to your wife!”  Yep, remarkable isn’t it?  Here I am in my 60s and am just now bumping into this rule.  It’s been around for a long, long time, but I have discounted it because of all of Adam’s problems.  After yesterday morning, no more!!

She says, “I’m going to get out the radios and follow you out because of how close we are to the house.”  He says, “Nah, there’s more than enough room, just get in and buckle up.”  She says, “I know how close you were to the house when you backed in!”  He says, “There’s plenty of room, she’ll (the coach) will come right outta there.”  Reluctantly she climbs in and buckles up.

Well, wouldn’t you know it, I managed to graze the corner of the house gutter with the back end of the coach.  It’s all minor damage, it only crushed the gutter on the house a little.  The sad part is that John just had that gutter installed last week.  On top of that, the sharp corner of the house gutter managed to tear a hole in the edge of the rubber roof on the coach.  Where was rule number 79 when I needed it?

Thank God for white duct tape – just one more thing for me to repair when we get back to the RP barn.  In the meantime, I’ll just make sure that the duct tape is holding so we won’t get any leakage from the A/C condensation run off or rain water.  So much for a non-adventurous travel day.  It seems to be a tradition over the past couple of years that I spend a month or two repairing the coach after a summer of travels; gives me something to do and keeps me off the streets.  However, from now on I’ll pay closer attention to “rule number 1”.

Anyhow, we made it to Lickdale Campground in Jonestown, Pennsylvania with the rest of the trip being uneventful.  We’ll be getting together with Randy and Terry later this morning - more about that tomorrow.  In the meantime, as Peggy says, “It’s all good!!!”.

Take Care Until Next Time  - - - - - - -

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Shoofly Pie

So, here we are tucked away in Connecticut.  It was a little challenge backing the rig into position, but we made it in the first pass – no pulling forward, no repositioning.  Sometimes you can slip this monster in like putting a hand in a glove, other times you can’t park it on location to save your soul.


Yesterday we spent the day hanging around the house visiting with aunt Marge.  It was rainy, but who cares?  It just makes for better napping.  I went out and topped off the fuel tank – diesel fuel was $4.249 here whereas in New Hampshire it was $3.899 (quite a difference). 

When I returned home, I made a nice crab meat pie for dinner.  If you remember, Mike, Peggy, Judy, and I went to the Block and Tackle Dinner in Cundy’s Harbor to have some seafood pie.  Unfortunately, they only had two pieces left so only Peggy and Judy got to have some.  They were nice enough to let Mike and I sample some and it was pretty good.  So I got to thinking that it probably wouldn’t be too difficult to make. 

After searching the internet, I found three different recipes.  Not being thoroughly content with any one of them, I created my own recipe.  Marge, Cheryl, and John liked it and Judy said my crab meat pie was better than the Block and Tackle’s seafood pie.  I guess we can add that recipe to our seafood carte du jour. 

This morning it will be hugs and good byes, readying the coach for travel, and hitting the road.  It will probably take us 5 to 6 hours to make the trip, depending on how many stops we make along the way.

Today we are heading for Jonestown, Pennsylvania where we will be spending three nights.  We’ll go visit Randy and Terry on Wednesday and they’ll come and visit us on Thursday.  It will be great to see them again; it’s been over a month now since we last saw them.

Take Care Until Next Time  - - - - - -

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Cousins

Don’tcha just love it when a plan comes together?  We arrived at cousin Cheryl’s (and John’s) just before noon.  After a quick survey of the “lay of the land”, I showed Judy where I wanted the tires of the rig to land.  Judy scuffed a “line in the sand”, manned the radio, and backed me right onto the mark.  No pulling forward or repositioning of the rig required.  It’s always fun to do this kind of thing when you have an audience.  Especially when you have to back down hill and “jog” around the house in order to get into position.

Part II of don’tcha just love it when a plan comes together?  The WD-40 seems to be doing the job on the front jacks.  They have been performing just as they are supposed to.  John has a great workshop here, so I could work on them, or anything else that I wanted to, while parked in his driveway.  But, it appears that that won’t be necessary.

Now to the rest of the afternoon / evening.  Robbie and Bonnie arrived first and then Glen, Anne Marie, and boys (Brett and Scott) showed up.  Tim came later as he had to work.  Tim, Robbie, and Glen are my cousins – Cheryl’s brothers.  Cheryl cooked up some steak, hamburgers, and hot dawgs on the grill and served them up with “con on the cob”, ‘tater salad, coleslaw, and a zucchini salad.  Wow, everything was sooooo gooood!

Then we retired to the front porch to visit for the rest of the evening.  It was great, it has been years and years since I have seen my cousins.  All four of the Riley children commented on how much I looked like their dad, my Uncle Clyde.  Being that he was my favorite uncle, that was quite an honor for me.  Now, it’s time to meet the Rileys – in birth order.


Today, Judy and I will just hunker down and enjoy visiting with Aunt Marge while everyone else goes to w*rk – well everyone except Blue.  She’ll hang around and enjoy getting spoiled by Grandma and her yard guests.  Katie and Alex seem to like it parked here in the driveway.  They like having trees surrounding the coach with plenty of bird activity. 

Take Care Until Next Time  - - - - - - -

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Hitchin’ Up The Wagon

On the road again, I just can’t wait to get on the road again!!!  Well, in a couple of hours that’ll be just where you’ll find us.  We hope to pull up stakes and be outta here by eight o’clock.  ‘Twill be tough though, ‘cause we are still sitting here in our PJs sipping on our coffee with ‘puters in lap and it’s almost seven.

Today it will less than a four hour drive to cousin Cheryl’s where aunt Marge is staying.  Cheryl has invited her three brothers over for a cook out / family get together.  I can tell ya that there is nothing more entertaining that a “Riley Family Reunion”. 

My mom was a Riley.  It was Grandpa and Grandma Riley who had the farm in Monroe, Maine.  A portion of that farm is still in the family today.  My mom was one of ten children (actually eleven, but one of her older sisters died as an infant).  There were five boys and five girls and they grew up on a family farm during the depression – can someone start humming the Walton’s theme song in the background?  Anyway, there are only two siblings left standing today – my aunt Eunice, who owns the hardware store in Belfast, and the youngest child, Louis, who is retired and spends a lot of time on what remains of the family farm.

My uncle Clyde moved to Connecticut after getting out of the Navy at the end of WWII where he met and married aunt Marge.  They moved to the Cape once Clyde retired and that’s where we’ve visited several times in the past.  Marge has rented the house to vacationers for the next couple of weeks so that’s why she is at my cousin’s (her daughter’s) home in Connecticut.

Okay, now that you have all that pertinent information, where do we go from here?  I guess the four of us, Katie, Alex, Judy, and I, get our bags packed, hitch up the wagon, and go west young man, go west!  Well, actually it’s southwest, but I have writer’s license.  See ya from Connecticut tomorrow.

Take Care Until Next Time  - - - - - - -

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Hot, I Guess It’s Hot!!

Hoe-Lee Cow!!!  One hundred and three degrees along the New Hampshire coastline?  Unheard of!!!  We were in the cool part of the state, it only got up to 98*.  Seven Maples Campground only has 30 Amp power so we were only able to run one A/C which meant that it got up to 85* inside, but that felt cool compared to the outside temps. 

Briana had spent Thursday night with us, so we did a morning swim and an afternoon swim in the pool.  The water temperature was also 85*, however, it was refreshing and cooled us down.  The Katts refused to go swimming so they just had to find a cool spot on the floor and stretch their little katt bodies out as far as they could in an attempt to keep cool.

We took Miss B home at around 3 PM and returned home to just sit quietly while reading.  After another dip in the pool, we decided to have a little dinner.  Being as hot as it was, we didn’t feel like eating much so we shared a chicken breast along with some cold fruit.  After that, we went back to reading. 

While we are here on the backside of the wilderness, we only get one television station and our air card is rather “sketchy” at best.  Generally we have no cell phone coverage either, however, Judy did get a phone call from Kalina yesterday morning.  She talked with Grandpa as well; chatting away with Grandpa only understanding a word here and there – I kept “pressing one for English”, but it didn’t work.

Today is supposed to be a repeat of the temperatures.  We’re coping just fine, but do feel sorry for the “locals” – they’re just plain miserable in these temperatures – actually, they are miserable with any temperature above 85*.

We’ll be getting together with the kids and grand kids later today for a final grand kid fix.  Tomorrow we’ll be heading to Connecticut for another family visit with my Aunt Marge and my cousins.  On Tuesday, we’ll be heading further south to meet up with Randy and Terry (4 more sleeps).

Take Care Until Next Time  - - - - - -

Friday, July 22, 2011

Night Of A 1,000 Cupcakes

You’ve heard that the night has a thousand eyes, well last night had a thousand cupcakes.  We rendezvoused with the kids at about five o’clock and made our way to Jaffery, New Hampshire for the annual “Night of 1,000 Cupcakes”.  As always, you can place your cursor over the pictures to read the captions.



There was the crowd,


And there was face painting,


And there was music,


And there was wine, lemonade, and water,


And then there were the cupcakes,


And more cupcakes.  And it was all free!!!!


There were fancy cupcakes,


There were wedding cake cupcakes,


There were hat cupcakes,


There were watermelon cupcakes,


And there were lost sheep cupcakes, only to mention a few.


However, the best part of the evening’s event was the cupcake eating time.

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Especially while enjoying eating cupcakes in the company of good friends.


Nothing beats the creativity of these small New England villages for finding a reason to celebrate on a warm summer’s afternoon.

Briana had a sleepover with Grandma and Grandpa last night, so when we returned to the campground she and Grandpa went for a dip in the pool.  Then we came home where Grandma handed out nice cold ice cream bars.  Now can you think of a better ending to a hot July’s day than celebrating with cupcakes, taking a dip in the pool, and eating ice cream?  Not by a long shot!!!!

Take Care Until Next Time  - - - - - - -