Monday, July 29, 2013

The “Bridge Over The River Kwai”

Well, maybe, the “Bridge Over The Pond Koi” in that there is no river.  In further thinking about it, it’s actually the “Bridge Over The Goldfish Pond” as there are no Koi fish in the pond either.  Here’s the background.

Warren and Shirley have built a nice patio deck with a pavilion over it next to their gold fish pond in the backyard.  A couple years ago, Warren was talking about building a bridge across the pond.  Last year, when he mentioned it again, I told him that we’d spend an extra day or two at their place this year so I could help him build the bridge.  So he purchased a couple of treated 2 x 12s by 20 feet long and some five-quarter decking boards last fall to let them cure in his barn over the winter months.

The first thing we had to do was cut a sixteen foot arch out of the 2 x 12s.  Then we glued and screwed the cut out portions to the top the 2 x 12s which provided the arched beams for the bridge.  After some reinforcements were added, we hoisted the bridge frame over the pond, squared it up, and leveled it off.  Once the beams were secured, we began installing the decking boards.  Viola, the “Bridge Over The Goldfish Pond”.  Another fun project behind us.  By the way, the bridge is twenty-two feet long.


Now we find ourselves planted at Magnus Park in Petoskey, Michigan.  This is where we set up camp last summer while we workamped at Hearthside Luxury RV Resort.  We’ll be here for several days while we get our fangs sharpened (our dentist is in this area) and visit with Judy’s Brother, John, and his wife, Della.  We were supposed to get a site next to the water, but somehow we got bumped.  But, there aren’t any really bad sites here when it comes to proximity to the water.  This is a small RV Park (75 sites) and the area next to the water is open to everyone so every site has access to the shore front.

It was another uneventful travel day with us arriving before two PM.  After setting up the rig, we ventured out to get something “tweat”.  Applebee’s 2 for $20 filled the bill and, as luck would have it, Monday is draft beer for a buck and quarter day – why that’s cheaper than “pop” (as they call it in Michigan).   The meals were good and filled the bill considering we had only dined on two pieces of toast for breakfast somewhere around eight o’clock.

Next, after getting home from stuffing our faces, we took a hike about the park and sat on the beach for awhile.  That has to be right at the top of our favorite things to do.  We’ll be carrying our lawn chairs, Nooks, and a beverage of choice to the beach a couple of times while we’re here.  Why go sightseeing when there’s a beautiful bay to sit on and enjoy the ambiance of the waves washing ashore and the seagulls squawking in the background.

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.  (2 Cor 13.13)

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Amish Country Ohio Style

It was over the river and through the woods to Scenic Hills RV Park we went.  Actually, it was over many rivers and through a lot of woods.  We, also, experienced that “Pennsylvania Appalachian Mountain High” (how about that, John Denver?) as we passed over the highest point on I-80 East around mile marker 110 in Pennsylvania (2250 feet above sea level).  It began raining just before we hit Akron and it continued to drizzle as we passed through Canton (“Hi” National Football Hall of Fame), made our way across route 39, and “set up camp” at Scenic Hills.  Then it burst forth with pouring down rain. 

The rain didn’t stop us though. “Feed Me” showed up so we backtracked a few miles to the Der Dutchman Restaurant in Walnut Creek. The Special Of The Day was smothered chicken with two sides and butterscotch pudding. They use nothing but the finest Amish grown chicken that is fed NO preservatives or by-products. Along with the chicken, we had “smashed” taters with gravy, green beans, and Amish stuffing with gravy. Everything was ummm, ummm good.


Here’s our site at Scenic Hills and Judy’s sign.  She just had to have a picture of this sign – quite appropriate for Amish country.  By the way, you can “double click” any picture to see it in full size.

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Our Monday outing was to Miller’s Fabric, Keim’s Hardware, Lehman’s, and Heini Cheese.  While Judy looked around in Miller’s Fabric, I walked down the street to a market to get some freshly squeezed coffee and then I walked back and sat in the Amish rockers on the front porch to watch the cars go by.  Judy found some fabric and a pattern that seemed to make their way to the truck.  Keim  Hardware was impressive, but we didn’t have need of anything in there, however, we “poked” around in there for awhile.

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Then we headed north to Kidron, Ohio which is home to Lehman’s which is an old fashioned type of hardware / houseware kind of place.  A meat tenderize (hammer type) and a bag of Amish popping corn left with us.  Keim’s was an impressive hardware store, but Lehman’s was a lot more fun.  Lastly, we stopped at Heini Cheese factory where you can spend time testing the wares before making a purchase.  We bought some garlic cheddar cheese and some teriyaki beef sticks.

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On our way home we stopped at Troyer’s Market for a loaf Amish bread to make some turkey sandwiches.  Three and a half hours was enough for one day – a sandwich, a nap, and some reading rounded out the afternoon. 

On Tuesday we got an early start and made our way back to Der Dutchman for some cream sticks that were highly recommended by Paul and Margery.  They were right, the cream sticks were scrumptious.  We journeyed across the street to The Carlisle gift shop.  This is a unique building, both inside and out.

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Being in Amish country, we wanted to see some of the Amish farmland so we drove the back roads to Sugarcreek.  Here’s what we found.

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Sugarcreek is a cute little village with a Swiss influence.  The highlight of the village is the time piece in the center of town.  On the half hour a band comes out of the Cuckoo style house and plays a number while the couple on the left dance.  Once they finish, they all go back inside the huge clock.

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On our way back home, we stopped at the Coblentz Chocolate Company to get something for our “sweet tooth” and Walnut Creek Cheese, another huge emporium with tons of stuff; similar to Lehman’s only on a slightly smaller scale.  There’s also a grocery store in there so we purchased a couple boneless pork chops, some fresh mushrooms, and a gravy mix for our dinner.  We had planned to go to Chalet in the Hills for some Jaegerschnitzel, but I decided that I would make our own and I must say, it was scrumptious and a whole lot cheaper.

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Now here’s something that you don’t see everyday.  It’s a mother deer nursing her lamb.  I took this picture in the field that was right across the road from our campsite.


So we’ve been good little tourists and visited lots of shops, spent some money, and took lots of pictures.  The economy here in Holmes county, Ohio is a little healthier.  Now it’s onto Judy’s sister’s in Holly, Michigan.

May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. (I Thessalonians 5:28)

Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Rileys Of Connecticut

My mom was one of ten children (actually eleven but one died in infancy) of Frank and Mildred Riley of Monroe, Maine.  The Riley Clan, generally speaking, was a close knit family.  During the period of my adolescence there would be annual family gatherings.  Early on the gatherings would take place on the beaches of Lake Saint George.  In the later years they would be held at my G’Pa and G’ma’s home at City Point (or Head of the Tide) in Belfast.

Now you can only imagine the amount of people with a family of ten children and all their offspring coming together:  Bernice (Bunny) and Alton with 2 kids, Adah and Ralph with 3 kids, Edna and Tom with 9 kids, Clyde and Marge with 4 kids, Fred and Ioma with 3 kids, Doris and George with their 2 brats (that be us), Eunice and Dale with 2 kids, Walter and Bobbi with 3 kids, Howard and June with 4 kids, and Lewis and Carlene with 3 kids.  Add that all up and their would be over 55 people if everyone showed up.  Wow, that meant a lot of little Indians (Rileys) running loose.  What could possibly go wrong with that? 

Now, leap forward to November and the traditional family Thanksgiving meal.  Can you imagine having that tribe holed up in your house for a huge feast.  Throw in a couple of katts and a dawg for good measure and I’m surprised that that house ever survived the attack.  There would be people eating at tables, eating on the floor, sitting on the “what not” shelf, sitting in every conceivable position in the living room, and, don’t hold me to it, but I think Grandma Riley used to eat in the bathroom with the door closed while sitting on the throne and praying for her sanity to return.  I think I begin to see why the family gatherings began to ebb away to a final end.

Anyway, after all of that introduction, we engaged, once again, in a Riley Family reunion.  This time it was with the Clyde Riley family in Litchfield, Connecticut.  Tim with his children Ellen and Mike, Cheryl and John, Rob and Bonnie and Rob’s son Eric (his son Chris couldn’t make it), Glenn and Ann Marie with their two sons Brett and Scott, and, of course, Aunt Marge.  The event was a going away gathering for Tim’s son Mike who graduated from high school this year and is going on a two year mission trip.  Judy and I were on hand to ensure that mayhem didn’t breakout, but you can be sure that if more than two Rileys gather together for more than five minutes mayhem will breakout and it did.  What fun to be there with The Rileys Of Connecticut.


Ann Marie, Judy, Cheryl, Bonnie, Ellen, Marge  


Scott, Mike, Rob, Me, Glenn, John, Tim, Brett, Eric

What’s next, Mrs. Landingham?  Tomorrow we’re heading for Amish Country with a one night stop over in Pennsylvania, but first we have to endure a cold front moving through the area later today which could spell some vicious thunder storms.  Oh well, what will be, will be.  It certainly has been hot for the New Englanders – pretty much the same weather that we left in Alabama a little over a month ago.  They will welcome the relief from the heat wave of 2013.

May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. (I Thessalonians 5:28)

Friday, July 19, 2013

Visiting Litchfield, Connecticut

Litchfield, Connecticut is a quintessential New England borough located in the upper northwestern part of the state. It was founded in 1719 and grew to be an industrial town.  During the American Revolution it became an important center for the Army Commissariat. 

It was during the period following the Revolution that many of the fine colonial houses were remodeled and expanded.  Many of the lovely federal houses were built within the Borough and nearby villages assuming their present format.  Most of the industry is all gone today, but Litchfield is still known as one of the prettiest places in the Country to reside.

We didn’t do a tour of any of the historical houses (of which there are many) as it was just plain too hot, maybe next time.  However, here are some photos of downtown Litchfield which is a pretty little town (or borough as they call it) built around a nice shady park where we tended to hang out to escape the heat.

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Tapping Reeve (October 1, 1744 – December 13, 1823) was an American lawyer and law educator. He opened the Litchfield Law School in Litchfield, Connecticut, the first school to offer a comprehensive legal curriculum in the United States.  He later became the Chief Justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court.

The Litchfield Law School was established in 1784.  By the time the school closed in 1833, over 1,100 young men from throughout the country had attended, many of whom went on to have significant influence on political, economic, and legal development of the United States during the antebellum period.

The influence of the Law School students on American politics is largely unknown. Two students went on to become Vice-President, Aaron Burr and John C. Calhoun; three students sat on the Supreme Court of the United States; six served as U.S. Cabinet members; ninety-seven students, more than 10%, later served in the United States House of Representatives and twenty-eight were United States Senators.

These alumni played major roles in every important national political issue of the pre-Civil War period. At the state level, 15 alumni were elected governors of states and territories. Large numbers served as state senators and representatives and many were city and county office holders. Others became prominent in fields such as education, religion and the arts.  And now you know why there are so many lawyers in Washington – it’s all Litchfield’s fault.  The pictures below are of the Reeve’s Home, The School, and the Classroom.


The Shrine of Lourdes in Litchfield was constructed 50 years ago fashioned as a replica of the Lourdes Grotto in France. It is located on 170 acres of wooded land. The Grotto is complimented by a newly renovated and restored Way of the Cross that winds its way through the hillside overlooking the grotto. Shrines to St. Joseph and St. Jude help make this a inspirational place of prayer. The Shrine has been a ministry of the Montfort Missionaries since 1958. This is a place of prayer, peace and celebration for all people.


May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. (I Thessalonians 5:28)

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Gunkholing Part II

Gunkholing is a strange and little known term. It is used in the nautical world, that loosely describes the act of dipping in and out of small inlets, coves, and rivers that are in shallow water.  Most people think of Gunkholing as a style of cruising local shores.  Boats from kayaks, shallow draft sail and power boats, and catamarans are ideal types of water craft to get into tiny, little known waters.  We like to expand the definition of Gunkholing to encompass interesting places that are off the beaten path and that are accessible by vehicles other than boats.

Having expounded on all of that, on Sunday afternoon Mike, Peggy, Judy, and I did some gunkholing in and around Harpswell. 

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The highlight of our day was a new find; the Giant Stairs which are located near the end of Bailey’s Island.  Here are the pictures of the stairs and the coastline in that vicinity.

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We ended the day at Len’s Fish and Chips for a birthday meal of fried haddock, one of my favorites.  So that pretty much iced my natal day celebrations.  Here’s a birthday picture of the birthday boy and his bride on their outing to the seashore to collect sea shells.


Monday was a shopping day to L. L. Bean’s.  We had a coupon that was about to expire plus another seventy dollars worth of coupons.  Judy has been wanting some new bath towels, but she wanted to see them before ordering.  They turned out to be exactly what she wanted so two bath towels, two hand towels, and two wash clothes followed us out of the store. 

We did a “drive by” of South Freeport while we were in the area and then made tracks for home.  Mike and Peggy joined us for another dinner together; this time it was an early birthday dinner for Mike since we won’t be there on his real birthday which is Friday.  Judy and I had saved up a couple pounds of Royal Red Shrimps that we steamed and served with melted butter along with some fried rice and asparagus sprinkled with olive oil, garlic salt, and shredded parmesan cheese.  Mike and I shared a blueberry cheesecake birthday cake.  Do we know how to live right or what?

Today, Tuesday, I managed to get a hair cut at Pete’s Hair Shop and then we went to breakfast at the Kopper Kettle CafĂ©.  Three must do’s whenever we are in the Topsham area is to get an Italian sandwich at Michaud’s Market, get a hair cut at Pete’s, and have at least one breakfast at the Kopper Kettle.  Once our tummies were full and we had that nice warm feeling, we proceeded to pack up the house, hitch up the mule, and head in the southwesterly direction.  Our 2013 season in Maine has come to an end.

We are now at Wilderness Lake Campground in Willington, Connecticut.  It’s a nice campground right on a cute little pond.  Actually, they own the land all the way around the pond and there are canoes on the pond for us to use while we’re here.  On top of that, they give a 50% discount for Escapees.  We are going to stay for two nights for a little decompression time.  What does that mean?  I don’t know, but I’m willing to find out.

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May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. (I Thessalonians 5:28)