Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas at Home





What a wonderful time we had while home for Christmas. The ride home was uneventful, after the fog lifted. Robin had the bed all set up, and the dogs were so happy to see us. Jax slept with us for a bit, then went to stay with George and his Mom. Every morning they came in to give us our morning kisses. I suppose they are missing us now.
Connor came to sleep over on the week-end before Christmas. We have this recipe for old fashioned cut-out cookies that my grandmother handed down. As a child we made them every year, and decorated them. That was a tradition I kept up. Since we've been on the road I haven't made them. This year we had such a good time. Connor counted the cookie cutters and found out we have 70, yes 70 of them. I was surprised at the final count. We had so much fun doing them. Wait till you see the picture. We shared them with Tom's sister, Beckie, and our son's family, and our Moms. There are only 2 left for Tom here. I guess we'll have to cut the recipe down and make them for ourselves while traveling. My grandmother used to have them in her cookie jar all the time. She would cut them out in these great big circle, and sprinkle them with sugar. I remember as a child going to the cupboard for them.
What fun I had baking. I made lots of cinnamon buns and sticky buns. I had taken my bread maker home so I could do it for every one. I also make this good pecan chocolate chip bread. Of course That is one of Robin's favorites. Robin and I also made ravioli. Years ago my mom gave me a pasta maker. I haven't made them foe years, but Robin wanted them for Christmas Eve. I told her she had to help. We made both cheese and meat. She has plenty left in the freezer for later on. She couldn't believe it was so easy to do. Kind of time consuming and tedious, but well worth the effort. We had lots of cheese filling left so we made stuffed shells. Boxed shells. We used some of our sauce from Trader Joe's. It was so good.
Christmas day was really just like it always was. Going next door to Tom's mom's, and having dinner. I had baked the ham and stuffing and made the gravy the day before. I added the sweet potatoes. Mom made creamed potatoes and cheesy spinach. Beckie made some deviled eggs, and her son brought some cookies. Tom and Jenn just have to bring Connor. That's enough for us. Connor shops at school every year. This year he gave me a cute pink bracelet. I told him I would wear it every day. So if you see me with it on and it doesn't match what I have on, too bad.
The day after Christmas we went on over to Tom and Jenn's. Connor showed us his new drum set. He played (?) for us for a bit. Then we got to play Uno Flash. We got it for him for Christmas. Everyone had such fun. Tom says he won't be winning that game anytime soon. You have to think fast and make your move before the buzzer goes off. And you never know when your turn is coming. The game decides. I suggest it for everyone.
Now we are back with Emily after a beautiful day of traveling. The only thing yesterday was a four car accident that was mostly a fender bender that involved a U-Haul trailer. There weren't many trucks on the road, so it was a nice day to travel with cloudless skies and we had fun seeing the different license plates. I'm thinking the other travelers were thinking South Dakota was far away from home. Little do they know, we are home where ever we are. We just didn't have Emily with us. Tomorrow we are on our way South. Hopefully, we will find some warmer weather.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Home for the Holidays

Well, we made it home to Plains, Pa. Emily is in storage in Tennessee. The folks were kind enough to let us keep her plugged in, so the furnace will go on if she gets below 40. She is winterized, and all set to endure the weather till we get back. Tom says we'll head south as fast as possible when we get back. There's no snow, but we'er just not used to the cold. I've been doing some baking. Tomorrow Robin will be home, and we will be making some homemade ravioli. I havent done that in years. We used to have then for Christmas eve dinner. The kids love them. On Saturday Connor will be sleeping over. The plan is to make the Christmas cut-outs that we've made every year since we were married. It's an old recipe from my grandmother, and a family tradition. Tom and I have a system. Connor loves to do them. We have lots of fun decorating them. I think I must have about 50 cookie cutters. Everything from a set a of lips to a cactus to the state of Pennsylvania. I have stopped buying them now. The recipe make so many I wouldn't have room in the motor home. Besides, there's just no room to carry the cookie cutters.
Tonight we plan to go to a basketball game to see Robin's cheerleaders. I suspect we'll be busy till the day we leave. We still have to find a nice day to go to Upstate New York to see my Mom. It will be a day trip for us, but you just never know about the weather up there. It can be nice one minute, and then if the lake effect snow starts you're doomed. We'll just have to pick the right day.
The tree that we usually carry with us was left home this year. Robin put it up before we got home. She then put the garland that we put over the slide-out on her mantle. It looks nice. We'll have to get a nice picture for our Christmas greeting. Maybe Connor will be in it. Maybe the dogs. We'll see. It's nice to be home, but it's probably the last time for a while. We just aren't that fond of the cold. Besides, I have a hankerin' for some gulf shrimp. Maybe even some Louisianna cajan meals. Yum Yum!!! Stay warm if your up north, and enjoy the warmth if your down south.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Adiarsville, Ga.

Cloudland Canyon is left behind. We thoroughly enjoyed our time there. The folks we worked with were great. It was cold up on the mountain, and the snow we had a couple of days before we left and melted. We came south for about 65 miles, and are camped here at Leisure Time Campground. It doesn'y have much to offer, but our neighbor Joan from How Kola lives here during the winter. We've had a nice chat with her, and then the rain came. The plan was to go to Marietta. Trader Joe's is there. We haven't been to Trader Joe's for quite some time. There are no stores in the northeastern part of the country, so we have to wait till we come south. The idea was to pick up some wine, some spaghetti sauce, and see what else caught our eye. I spied some salsa that looks pretty good, and a big bag of chips to go with it. Tom sampled some of their coffee. If we had gone there last, we probably would have bought some of their other goodies from the freezer section. Everything looked so good.
From there we went on to Sams Club. I wanted to pick up some Chai Tea. Our store in Wilkes-Barre doesn't carry it, but the one in Scranton does. Well, this one didn't either. Tom got some blueberry muffins(one of his weaknesses), and I picked up some pecans for baking at home. The next time I see the tea, I'll pick up about 5 cans of it. I have a mugful every morning, and I'm beginning to get down to the bottom of the container. Maybe we'll be able to get to Scranton in the few days we're home.
Next came Wal-Mart. We picked up and UNO FLASH game for Connor for Christmas. He is such a good game player. He loves UNO ATTACK. Beats us more often than not. Also we added some stuff to the pantry. But of course, that the way it is when you go into Wal-Mart. You always come out with more that you went in for.
Then we went to Gondolier for a meal. Now, there are 2 types of Gondolier restaurants. At the time we didn't know this was a take-out, counter serve type. The one we went to in Tenn. was a nice sit down type. The food was as good as last time, and the meals were cheaper, but the atmosphere wasn't there. I brought home half of mine, but Tom ate the whole thing. He said if they had had bruchetta he would have bought half of his home, too. Then it was time to come home.
It rained all day, very heavy at times, but it seemed to not be bad when we were going to and from the car. Tom just opened a couple of windows. It's getting warm in here with the sun shining so bright. It feels good. Now if we can get Emily up to Bristol, and then drive home, we'll be set for the Holiday. Wish us luck. This may be the last time we try to do this. Oh well, there's no time clock to punch. No time limit to go here or there. When it's good to go, we'll go.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Almost Done at Cloudland

I can't believe a whole month has passed since we came here. Tomorrow stars our last 5 days of work. As of yesterday they have closed most of the campground, and we won't have much to do. The work is never hard. There is only one bath house left open. Tim, the volunteer coordinator asked us if we would come back next year. That mean a lot. He's been very please with the way we do our thing with the other campers and the job we do with our chores. Our answer was that we don't plan that far in advance, we'll have to call next year. It's been pretty cold here at night when the sky is clear and no cloud cover. We've only had maybe 3 or 4 days of rain. The folks have been extremely nice, but folks usually are here in the South. It's been a pleasure to be here.
We have been to Chattanooga a couple of times. If you've never been, I recommend it. It has something for everyone. Good food, lots to do, and free, that's right, free shuttle service. You can park your car and take the shuttle to the aquarium, or just go downtown for lunch. The city has a variety of nice little shops and is utilizing the old warehouse district. They are bringing it back to life. Everything is clean and tidy. We would have liked to go on Sunday to the Market, but we had some other things to get done. Maybe next time. It's supposed to be really nice with lots of vendors.
Our converter stopped working. A trip to Camping World took care of that problem. They had just the one we wanted, so Tom installed it and PRESTO we have all the light we need. Our batteries are all charged up and all is well. While there we took a look at one of the motor homes we had seen on line. For a 2007 Monaco it wasn't in the best shape. I guess some folks don't care how they take care of things. Oh well, when and if we find the right one maybe we'll up grade. That one would have been ideal. I had everything we want. Maybe next time.
We had a great Thanksgiving. Ann, one of the camp hosts, made the turkey and stuffing and gravy. Everyone brought dishes to add to it. I took the sweet potatoes and spinach with cheese sauce. I also made a big batch of the peanut butter fudge Tom likes so much. Well, we brought about 10 pieces home. I guess it was a hit. I told him I'd make more when we get home for Christmas. Robin wants sticky buns, and pumpkin roll. Connor wants shape cookies. (That's what he calls my cut out cookies). The year we went full timing was the first year since we were married that I hadn't made them. This year the tradition continues.
Now I have to go to bed. Tom's been there for over an hour, and we have to be up and out in the morning. The air is so fresh here that you can fall asleep really easy. We'll miss this place. The good thing is....we can always come back.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Days Off

Today is the second of five days off. The plan was to travel to Chattanooga, Tenn. to see the sights. It started to rain before we rolled out of bed, so we decided to stay home. Tom did some stuff on the computer, and I did my thing. Those of you that know me best, know I like to bake or cook. Well, today was baking. This year I made sure my bread machine came with us. It was sticky bun day today. It was the first time, I tried this in this oven. We haven't tried them yet, that will come at breakfast tomorrow, but I think they came out OK. Let's hope so. Ann and Ron came over to give us some Thanksgiving info, and I gave them half of them. She said only one each, but no one can eat just one. Oops, let's edit this. Tom just opened the buns and is having one with some tea. Now we'll wait for a couple of minutes......He says they are good.
It's always hit or miss with the bread. I was using yeast in those little packets, and the first loaf, which was whole wheat, looked like Cloudland Canyon. Sunk in the middle. The second loaf, potato bread, looked really nice. The third loaf, I tried whole wheat again, didn't look nearly as bad. For Thanksgiving I'll make some oat bread. It's all yummy. I love that machine.
The other day we went to town to eat. We ended up at LaLita's. It's a Mexican restaurant. Tom chose a platter of taco, enchilada, and burrito. I had enchilada, renello, and something else. I can't remember the name. Everything was really good. We hope go back before we leave.
Tonight we find out who goes to the finals on Dancing with the Stars. We have our favorites, as I'm sure everyone does. I hope the best dancer wins. You just never know how folks will vote. I guess we'll just wait and find out.
Tonight we sat and watched the fog roll in over the campground. It looks really eerie out there. Looks likes one of those old Dracula movies. I hope it improves by the morning so we can go to see the Choo Choo in Chattanooga. It should be fun.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Hiking Sitton's Gulch Trail




On Saturday, along with Ron and Ann, we set off hiking on the Sitton's Gulch Trail. Tom followed Ron down the mountain to the parking area to leave his truck, and drove back up to their camping spot on the east rim. From there we hiked on down to see the waterfalls at the bottom of the canyon. The waterfall trail is about 2 miles round trip. Not bad except for the 1200 steps. We only went down, so we went about 600 steps. Then we crossed the bridge to where the Gulch trail starts. It works it's way along the bottom of the west side of the canyon following Daniel Creek. The way the creek tumbles and falls over numerous falls and cascades is so beautiful Tom took some great pictures, and could have taken so many more. We stopped about half way and had a snack and a drink. Although we started off at 11:00 and ended at about 3:15, we had a really wonderful day. After the hike we all decided to go for pizza at Rafael's. It doesn't matter what size pizza you order, you get one free. It was really good. No doubt we'll be back before we leave here.
Yesterday we stayed around home trying to rest our aching legs. We fixed some ribs on the grill. With a side of my cole slaw and some fried okra. MMMMMMM!!! We ate outside at the picnic table. I think the temp went up to about 75. What a perfect day.
Just before I went to bed on Saturday night I received a phone call from Joan. She lives across from us at How Kola. She had some bad news for us. Our friends Butch and Jo Miller from up there were just starting to go full timing in their new fifth wheel. They were excited to be going traveling. Butch retired last year, and when they got the new trailer they thought they had a piece of heaven. Joan called to tell us that Butch had had an apparent heart attack while diving and hit a vehicle on the side of the road. They think he was gone before impact. Jo is in a hospital in Johnson City Tenn. quite banged up. The truck is totally gone, but the trailer seems to be OK. I really don't know much more than that, but we are saddened by the thought they didn't get far. Jo has a lot on her plate right now. Her health isn't really all that good, but she seemed to be getting so much better this summer. We worry about her. Butch, rest in peace our friend.
That's the ups and downs of the weekend. Two days left till we start working. The rain is on the way. I don't imagine there will be many campers out in the bad weather.The bright colors are fading to rusts and browns and are still beautiful. This is a beautiful peaceful place. Some of God's handiwork.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Cloudland Canyon State Park

Here we are at the beautiful state park in northern Georgia. We arrived last Saturday, and started work the next morning. We worked for 5 days, and now we are off for 5. Our jobs are to clean the bathhouses each day, and keep the camp sites clean. Selling wood is, I suppose, is also one of our duties. If someone comes in after the office closes we have to get the nights fee. A golf cart is ours for the month. Oh, I forgot. When we checked in they asked if we could stay on for an extra week. As of right now our leaving date is Dec. 9. Folks here are really friendly and the campers are vary good at keeping things tidy. This weekend is fully booked, and we have a family with 3 little girls next door. It's nice to hear children.
Today we took a trip to a Civil War Battlefield. It's a really nice place not unlike Gettysburg, Pa. Tom wanted to get his America the Beautiful Pass. We were going to get it before we left home, but with getting ready to travel we forgot. The good news is that the state parks in Louisiana take the pass. After Christmas we plan on going there for maybe a month. We'll see. Gotta go get some of that good Cajun food. Tomorrow we plan to go to the lookout path. It overlooks the canyon, and is really stunning this time of year. I'm afraid we'll miss peak season for the leaves, but we missed it by about a week. Believe me, we know how many leaves have fallen, Tom blows out the sights. Sometimes you can't even see where they are because there are so many leaves falling on them. I'm sure it will still be wonderful.
Last night we went to a pot luck dinner. One pair of volunteers is leaving, and we were welcomed. I made a chicken pot pie that came out really good. I also took a loaf of bread I made in the morning. Ann, with her husband Ron, have given us lots of instruction and have have been very nice to us. They work over at the East Rim Campground. We work on the West Rim. She loved the bread, so I gave her the leftovers. There was lots of good food, and about 26 really nice folks to eat it. Including rangers and their families. It seems we'll have a great month.
So many times we are happy to report how many good people we find where ever we happen to stop. Whether we stay for a day or a month. It does the heart good.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

A Good Day

First let me start by saying we are Mets fans. OK When you finish laughing you can read the rest......Done now? The reason we want the Phillies to win is because they are a National League team. They are also from PA. as are we. As I write this the Phils lead 1-0 with 2 on base. Go Phillies.
Today started off on a good foot with the sun shining and warmer than it has been.
Tom went out and washed the car and Emily, and it went down hill from there. I did some cleaning inside, and we took a break for lunch. The sun disappeared and sure enough during the afternoon it started to rain. It rained on and off. Right now there is no precipitation. The forecast is nice till Saturday, which is moving day. Oh well, it could be worse.
I did the pleasant job of defrosting the fridge today. It doesn't really take too long once you get started, bu you have to do something with all the food in the freezer while you do it. We have a nice size cooler and I fit everything in that. So it's all clean and shiny now.
Tomorrow we may go out and pick up a few things we need before we go to Cloudland. They have trick or treating there, so we'll have to pick up some candy or something for the kids who come along. If it rains we'll have to eat it ourselves. And of course some wine. Can't go far without it.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Cool Damp Day




The past couple of days have been rainy and cool. Today in the afternoon it finally started to clear out and the sun showed it face till sunset. Tomorrow should be better. I wanted to do the laundry today, but the facility here isn't so great. It has 2 each washer and dryer, one of each is out of order. We decided to wait till our next stop. I just wanted a fresh start when we leave here. Oh well.
I was going to make stew for supper, but it ended up to be really great vegetable beef soup instead. I just kept adding stuff I found in the fridge and cupboard. We have some left over, so that will be good to have on travel day. We just paid for a few more days here. At 2 bucks a day you can't go wrong. While the soup was cooking we watch a movie called "Camilla". It has Bridget Fonda and Jessica Tandy starring. Some of it was filmed at one of our favorite places. We both said at the same time, "Isn't that Jekyll Island?" If you have never been there, you won't be disappointed if you make the trip. It's on the coast of Georgia just north of Jacksonville, Florida. Somewhere in the blog are the pics, but they don't do it justice.
Tomorrow will probably be cleaning day. Tom has some things to do outside, and I have the inside to take care of. Maybe we'll be able to open the windows and get some fresh air in here. I've been fighting a sinus thing that I get every fall. It seems to be almost gone now. Just the post nasal drip left. I'll take that over not breathing at night. Of course, Tom doesn't get colds anymore since he drinks his green tea. He swears by it, and I think it works for him. Now it's time to watch the Phillies win the World Series. We hope.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Cumberland State Park




As I told you all last post, we were on our way out to dinner at the State Park. We sure weren't disappointed. The catfish (the Friday special) was absolutely amazing. The salad bar was just right, and didn't hinder our appetite for the fish. Ton doesn't usually like fish, but this he was waiting for. It's lightly breaded and seasoned to perfection. It just melted in your mouth. There was also baked fish, roast beef and gravy, cold baked ham, cabbage salad (not our favorite), hush puppies(which weren't hard but soft and wonderful), mashed potatoes. greens, and a bunch of other good things to choose from. The desserts, spelled with double S because you want 2 helpings, were delicious. Cherry cobbler or hot brownie sundae that you could top with soft serve ice cream. Then of course their famous home made banana pudding. I went for the brownie, Tom for the banana pudding. Needless to say, we waddled on home. A wonderful ending to a rainy day.
Yesterday and today we went running around doing some errands. We've been having trouble with our car battery, and when we figured out it was the original that came with the car, we thought it was time we replaced the poor hard working thing. No Sam's Club here, and Wal-Mart doesn't carry it, so we went to Auto Zone. They had to get it from another store, so we went back today. We had been waited on by the store manager, and when we went back today he had ordered the higher priced battery, but gave it to us for the other price. Tom put it in, and off we went.
We also took the short drive over to the flea market. It's advertised to be the biggest in Tenn. It is quite large, but a good portion of the vendors are done for the year. It was still a good hours exercise. On the way home we stopped at the bakery outlet. It's hard for me to pass up a Hostess Snowball. We picked up a few things there and came on home.
Sunday is the day to check in with our Moms, and we did that, too. Now we'll call Connor, and relax for the rest of the evening. What a wonderful day. The sun is shining on the trees bringing out the lovely colors, and we just look out the windows watch the beauty. What could be better?

Friday, October 23, 2009

Fall Creek Falls State Park.





As we leave behind the Raccoon Valley Escapee park we head west to our Coast to Coast home park at Crossville, Tenn. The location is perfect for those who like to visit some beautiful scenery. We took a trip yesterday about 25 mile away to the Fall Creek Falls State Park. Within the park is the tallest waterfall east of the Rocky Mts. Also are a number of other falls that are quite beautiful. Add to that the colors of Autumn, and you have a wonderful day of beauty and exercise. The walk to see each of the different falls isn't very long, but some are rocky and steep. It's not for the folks who have trouble with knees or ankles. I suppose it would be difficult in the rain, I wouldn't want to slip and fall on any of the pathways.
You can also walk out on any of 3 suspension bridges that span out over the water. There are a number of hiking trails, including the one that goes to the base of the falls. The sign says it's not an easy hike, and it's not short. I imagine the view wuld be spectacular, though.
As nice as the day was, we had a somethiong great waiting for us on the way home. Just before you get into the park we spotted a place called the Fire House BBQ. Outside was a big smoker, and we decided to stop after the park. We were so anxious to get some good BBQ. IT WAS SO GOOD!!! The menu isn't large, but you do have some choices. We chose the BBQ sandwich and fries. It was juicy and warm, with just the right amount of sauce, and the mound of fries was just enough to finish filling up the tummy. When we come back to this area we;ll definately go back.
Today we are sitting tight waiting for the supper hour to arrive. The Cumberland Mt. State Park has a wonderful buffet. Each night they have a different special. Tonight is the catfish night. Tom has been waiting for this. Also their home made banana pudding. Saturday is rib night. Another night is fried chicken. Always at least 3 different meats. I'll write more about that tomorrow.
We are spending a very rainy and windy day inside. At least it's a little warmer. Hopefully it will continue to be. We've had enough of the 30 degree temps. After Christmas we'll get really warm.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Barb and Roy with Italian Food

Friday afternoon we pulled into the Escapees Park in Raccoon Valley Tennessee. Bard and Roy Dalton, who worked at CARE with us, are working here till the end of the month. We decided to go out to eat after Roy was done for the day. They took us to a new place called Gondoliers'. They have the best Italian food! First they give you fresh baked garlic bread sticks with dipping sauce. Then comes your big salad, and your appetizer. We chose bruchetta. It alone was terrific. By the time the main course came, we were wondering where we would fine a place in our tummies to put some of it. I managed about 1/3 of my Veal Roma. It's veal with eggplant and ricotta cheese, and the rest of the plate was filled with spaghetti. Then as always it's covered with some great sauce. I'm telling you. It is so delicious. Tom managed about 1/2 of his ravioli combination. Cheese, meat and spinach. We waddled on out without even thinking about dessert. It was hard to pass them up. Stuff like 5, ye 5 layer chocolate cake, and a pie that was about 8 inches high. I don't even know what kind it was. There just wasn't any room. Needless to say we took a couple of menus that had addresses of the others so we can have another great eating experience.
Today we went over to the ice cream social. Most, if not all, of the SKP parks have an ice cream social once a week. The days vary, but they are much the same. For a dollar you get a big hunk of ice cream, take it over to the topping table to put on what you want. Of course the toppings vary from place to place. This time I had cookie dough and Tom had strawberry. Yummy. Then we went for a walk around the park.
Now we are in for the evening and I think popcorn for me tonight. Tom had a bowl of cereal. Did I forget to mention that I fixed dinner today? Roast chicken, stuffing and gravy, peas for me, and cauliflower for Tom. Tuesday is pot luck. I still don't know what I'll make. It depends on what's in the freezer and the cupboard. Some folks say RVer's eat their way across the country. Maybe what they say is true. You can get some good recipes. Don't you wish you were here? We're glad we are.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Our Last Weekend at How Kola

Today is Friday and that means the final weekend for us here at home. By home I mean our home campground. Depending on the weather, we will be heading out on Wed. or Thur. Our daughter Robin has the day off from school for the holiday, and she is going to fix Tom supper and have a cake. That should be the end of the trips down the mountain. We'll take Connor home, and finish packing up. Most of the other folks here are already winterized, and those who aren't will be by Sunday evening. Some might come up for an afternoon and sit out, and some will stick it out till the last second. It's sad to say "so long" to folks knowing you won't see them till next July. The hardest is the grandson. We really miss him when we're away. He loves the packages we send him each month.
Yesterday we went up to see Mom. She seems pretty good considering, and we know she is well taken care of. The rest of my family is there, so I know she won't be lonely. We know she's happy we're doing this RVing thing. The scenery was soooo beautiful! I would say we picked the perfect day for the trip. The sun was shining on the mountains, and the trees where, I'd say, at their peak. It was a gorgeous day.
Today we took the Christmas tree and decorations from under the bed to leave them at Robin's house for the year. Since we are coming home for the holidays, we decided to leave them. It makes room for my bread maker, which really makes me happy. Now I can make sticky buns and cinnamon rolls when ever I want. Maybe even with cream cheese icing. Are you hungry yet? I always made them at home and sold batches of them during Thanksgiving and Christmas. I've been missing it. I'm sure Tom will be glad we found room for it. Anyone who is likely to cross paths with us, please let us know. Maybe a batch will be waiting for you.
Drive careful.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Fall Is Here




Now is the time for most of the RVers to hit the road going south. Tom and I are no exception. Emily has been scrubbed inside and out, and has a new satellite dome. It has been getting chilly here during the night, and the electric blanket is back on the bed. God's paintbrush has been busy with all of the maples and birch, etc., and the campground is beautiful. I went out yesterday for a short walk and took the camera with me. The sun was shining through the partly cloudy sky, and I think I took some great pictures. I put one on face book and everyone liked it. When Tom gets home (he's at breakfast with the guys) he will add some to this post.
As most of you know, we will be camp hosting in a State Park in Georgia for the month of November. Cloudland Canyon State Park is in the northwestern corner of the state just south of Chattanooga, Tenn. This will be our first try at camp hosting, and I think we should be fine. Anyone in the area please stop in to see us. We are anxious to start seeing our traveling friends again.It's nice being home, but we are getting antsy to get moving.
Connor will be spending the weekend with us. We'll be missing his birthday again this year, so we plan to take him out shopping and celebrating his birthday and Tom's. Tom will be 62 on Saturday, and can't wait for his National Park Pass. I should also mention is Social Security. But that won't come till December. Columbus Day falls this weekend so we get an extra day. I hope the weather stays fairly nice.
Tomorrow we plan to take one more trip up to see my Mom in upstate N.Y. It's supposed to be sunny and warm, so a day trip it is. Then all of our commitments will be covered and we will be free to leave when we are ready. It's been a very cool rainy summer, with a few warm days thrown in there. I think we had the air on twice just to see if it still worked. We have a nice shady site, and we don't really need it. I think we'll hit the road either Tuesday or Wednesday. On the move again....AHHHHH.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Finally Summer

I know...It's about time I posted. We have had some lazy days and some busy days. It has rained so much this summer, it has been hard to find a few nice days together to do anything. We did manage to have 4 out of 5 days the week we helped with Cub Scout Day Camp. What a joy. Somewhere in the range of 60 kids. Tom helped out with the bee bee shooting range. Myself and Amy had charge of the Pixies. Those are kids whose parents are helping out elsewhere with the cubs. We had anywhere between 5 and 8 kiddos to keep busy. We hiked, explored, did crafts, and just played games. It was a terrific week. Our son Tom was the Program director. He did all the planning and had great special visitors everyday. One was the County Coroner, another was a deputy sheriff, and a State Trooper. I think they liked the trooper the best. He gave a really great discussion and answer time. But they really got excited when he opened the trunk and got to the good stuff. According to the scouts, anyway. When he started to pull out the riot gear and shot gun they got really excited. What a good week we had. If need be, we will be ready to go back next year. We were very tired every night, but we really enjoyed it.
The other night we went to St. Benedict,s summer bazaar. Man, talk about good food. Any thing you could think of in Northeaster Pa.bazaar food they had it. Of course we came home feeling over full. Most everyone in our campground goes at least one night. Good food at good prices and live entertainment. What a combination.
We have also spent lots of time at our daughter's house. (formerly ours) Yesterday we cut down 2 small trees. What a job that was! But the yard looks so much better. We still have some work to do up in the attic to get things where they belong. We've gotten rid of so much this year. We had a yard sale which didn't bring in much, but lots of stuff is gone. Some things went to Goodwill which is where it should have gone in the first place.
We've had some problems also this summer. Our GPS Nelly died. Now we have her sister who is the smarter of the two. She as lots of features Nelly didn't have. One of our lap tops bit the dust. We had just bought a new monitor because the screen cracked and stopped working. We had used it with a TV, but the new monitor took up much less space, which is important in a motor home. Then the compressor we had stopped. Now we have a bigger one. Also the weed wacker quit. I know there were other things that broke, but they were the big ones. Tank God it wasn't the fridge or furnace, or something big like that. We all know things like that happen once in a while. Ours just all happened at once.
I think that's enough for one post. The next one will have more news. We hope everyone is having a good summer. We are!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Having a Great Week

Over the weekend we traveled to upstate New York. My high school class was celebrating our 60th birthdays with a get-together. It was so great to see old friends. Tom stayed at the campground, and had a surprise visit with my brother Ken. My friend Penny picked me up and off we went. There are no friends like old friends.
On Tuesday some of the girls got together again just to go out and gab. We had some finger food and drinks at the Solsville Hotel. Just a great time again. We had hugs and kisses and hope to do it again next year. I had some nice time with my Mom. On Tuesday when I was visiting her my sister came in. The three of us laughed a lot and really enjoyed being together.
On Wednesday we hooked up and and headed for Troy, Pa. They have a great fairground there, and we met up with Escapes Chapter 20. Since we are new members of the chapter, we have met some wonderful new friends. Last night we all went out to the Edgewood, The food was good and so was the company. Most of us had either fried chicken or lasagna. They were the specials for the night. Everyone declined dessert, but didn't go away hungry.
Today is registration, and supper will be hot dogs and chili. Tomorrow is breakfast, then times for crafts or games or just exploring the area. Of course the pot luck on Saturday night is a given. Nothing like pot lucks at a rally. I made some spaghetti and meat sauce to take. Since I will be teaching some folks about Swedish weaving tomorrow, I thought I better cook today. It'll taste better after it seasons through.
We have had a camp fire every night so far because the weather has been so nice for the past few days. Today it has rained some. We'll see how it goes tonight. Soon we'll be off to registration, so the rally will be officially underway. There's nothing like a group of SKPs to get a good time going. Ya gotta love 'em.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Rain, Rain, and More Rain

I'm sure we're not the only ones who are sick of the rain. But enough is enough already. Today is the first day that the sun was up before us and was still there at supper. Mind you, it wasn't there all day, but we're not complaining. The week looks a lot better than anything we've seen since we've been home.
All was not lost. Connor came to visit for a couple of days, and boy did we have a good time. Our daughter had given him this dinosaur thing. It has these little plastic dinos hidden in a block of hard clay. In the box comes a wooden hammer, a pointed punch, paint, and a couple of brushes. We had the greatest time finding the dinos by chipping away the clay. It was like being archaeologists. He found 5 different types, and was thrilled. When the rain stopped we went outside and he started to paint them. Some he saved for the next time. Also we spent many enjoyable hours playing Battleship, Go Fish, and other games he likes.
On up to the playground, but it was so wet he had to take off his shoes just to play on the swing. Every kid loves to put their feet in puddles. He had such a good time till the thunder started. What was weird, was he read to me at bedtime in stead of me reading to him. I thought it was cool. It was so wonderful having him to ourselves for awhile.
Over the weekend we had more company. We babysat for the granddogs. Geroge and Jax came for 2 nights while Robin sanded and painted the hallway floor. They really enjoyed taking walks through the campground. I suppose there are so many good dog type smells for them to sniff, like chippys and ducks and geese, and other dogs. Of course, because of the rain, we spent lots of time inside. As you will see in the pictures, they like lots of lap time, and they also helped me with my knitting. Just before they left, George got his toy stuck in one of the skeins of yarn, and I had to untangle the whole thing. What a mess. It was hairy yarn on top of it all. It took less time than I thought going into the job. We so enjoy having them. Tom says George is a good Escapee. When you ask him for a hug he gets excited and jumps up and delivers. All the while he's moaning and groaning like you wouldn't believe. They both sure know how to show their love, and we sure do take all they give.
Today we both had doctor appointments. Everything looks good, and tomorrow we go get the blood work. I have to make appointments for bone scan and mammogram. We're hoping all checks out OK. Also tomorrow we pick up our new eye glasses and I go to the dentist. Busy, busy. busy. We'll have to get on the road to rest. Only kidding. The sooner we get all this done, the sooner we're free to do what we want. It's still good to be home for a time.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Catching Up

Tom and I have been very busy since we pulled in. A couple of trips down to our daughter's house (formerly ours) to retreive some of the stuff we store there for the winter. What with raking leaves and washing the deck and getting things back to the way we want them, the days are flying by. Our grandson had a couple of baseball games left, so of course we went to see them. Big hugs there. He is still in school till the end of the week, and his week-end is busy, so maybe he'll be with us next week for a few days.
Last night I went down to have the end of year picnic with my group of ladies from the church. It was so good to see everyone. Our pastor is leaving our church at the end of June, and we plan to spend every Sunday there till she leaves. Also there will be a send off open house which we have tickets for. This coming Sunday there will be a dedication for items given to the church by the Hochenbury Family. Our good friend Marge Hockenbury passed away a few days after my Dad. She had been our next door neighbor for many many years, and we miss her terribly.
As you can see we have been busy, and will continue to be busy while we are home. We have a few trips planned for the summer, and will be in and out of the campground. Monday we took a trip to Upstate New York to see my Mom. She is doing quite well. We had a really nice visit. We'll go again next month.
I spent a few hours today cleaning and polishing the wood in Emily. Now that some of my muscles are poking at me, I think I'll call it quits for the day. Tomorrow we have eye appointments for new glasses. I really need them. Tom too. As I'm writing this, our hummers come and go for drinks. The feeder is on the window here by the table. They were looking before I even put out the feeder.
It's good to be hime for a while, but I knoe we will be anxious to get going again in September. What a blessing to be able to do this thing we do.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

A Great Finish to the Month of May.

The month of May may not have started so great, but the end was worth waiting for. The Elks Pre-Rally and the Escapade were both great fun. We enjoyed the Escapade so much I don't think we'll miss any more of them. We had get-togethers with the Class of 2007, and fellow CARE volunteers. We are now RCAs. Roving Care Ambassadors. That is one thing we are proud of.
Escapees do some good things for charity. The quilters make quilts for CARE, and this year some went to a battered women and children shelter. I wish our schedule had given me some more time to get to help them out. Next time I will make the time. Another thing we SKPs do is make little baby hats. They are donated to hospitals. Some 1500 of them were given out this year. Also some were given to a local charity that give hats to children who have none. If a child goes to school without a hat, they have one when they go home. I have been making hats all the way home. When we stopped to visit my cousin on the way home, she gave me a bagful of yarn for baby hats. Thanks to my friend Bobby from the class of 2007 I have started knitting again. I wish she was closer so she could teach me more.
We went out to eat more in the past 2 weeks than we have in the last couple of months. We'll miss all of our friends while we are home, but it's so go to be here. Our daughter came up to night and brought some pizza and wings. She also brought the dogs, and Tom's Mom. It was fun feeding the dogs the pizza bones. You know---the crusts. That's what our grandson calls them. They were so excited to be here. I thought they would have forgotten, but no. They cried when they saw us. It's not very warm here. At least not what we're used to. I know it will warm up though.
Tom is very tired from driving for 4 days. The last night we were in Sedalia we were in the parking lot on the asphalt. When we were leaving we had Emily weighed. She's must be doing things right, she is not over weight. We could still put in a few hundred lbs. on the front tires. So many of the rigs had to be towed out because of the wet ground. Emily was such a good girl and simply drove right out. God love her. We stayed at Wal-Mart the first 2 nights, and at a Coast 2 Coast park in western PA. last night. 3 nights of dry camping. Not bad. It was nice to have full hook-ups last night. A couple of days of cleaning, and then we'll settle for a rest. Just take in the birds and chippies and bunnies. What a way to spend the day. Life's good.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Escapade 2009 Sedalia, Mo.

Here we are at Escapade. This is our first time,m but it won't be our last. One of the first things we did is go to the CARE booth. WE visited with Doug and Sandy for a while, then did the vendors. One thing we bought is an Escapee plaque for Emily's back ladder. It has our names and SKP #. Yesterday we dropped off a blanket I did for CARE and chatted with Kay and Joe Peterson. They are the founders and owners of the Club. They are mostly retired now, but it is run by second and third generations.
On we went to Chapter Row. Most of the chapters are represented, along with the BOFs. They are Birds of a Feather groups. For example-wood carvers, quilters, beaders, hikers, boon dockers, etc. We stopped and visited with the folks from Chapter 19 of the Rio Grande Valley in Texas. We became members while there during the winter. It was good to see them. Tomorrow we will go sit in for them so they can take a break. We are also scheduled to do the same for Doug and Sandy on Thursday.
Today I went to a craft class on quilting. It wasn't what I expected. If I have time I may help with a CARE quilt. That way I can really learn.
Last night they had the best group of entertainers we've seen in a long time. At the last rally we saw Neil Sedaka and the Osman Brothers and both were really great. But last night was New Odessey. Three really talented guys who play 30 different instruments. What a show they put on. On of the most entertaining renditions of IN A GADA DA VIDA that I've ever heard. They blew the roof off the place. If you ever get a chance to see them, do so. They are truly terrific. Tonight's group was the Brent Family. We didn't stay to see the whole performance. It wasn't our cup of tea. Too much running all over the stage while they tried to sing. Made me dizzy. Sometimes I couldn't understand what they were singing. Day after tomorrow is a show by SKPs. It should be fun. In the morning Wednesday is the dog show. Jay from our class is going to dress up like Elvis and the Schnauzer, Lulu, will be dressed as Peggy Sue. Can't wait to see that.
Last night we went to a Chinese buffet with some fellow elks, and members of the SKP CO-OP THE RANCH at Lakewood, New Mexico. We had a really good time. Tonight we came home and had soup. It warmed us up, what with all this rain. It has poured all day. Everything is saturated. Let me tell you--we have seen enough of Missouri rain!
Pictures will be in next time, it is late and time for bed. I wanted everyone to know what a good time we are having here. There is nothing like a bunch of SKPs.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Elks Pre Rally

Here we are at the Elks pre-rally. Actually it's a pre-Escapade. We have met some really nice folks, as is usual for any bunch of SKPs we have come across. The rally is in the Boone County Fairgrounds in Columbia, Mo. Today most of us took a trip about 30 miles north to the Cooper Oak Winery. This little winery makes all of it's own barrels, and the barrels for many others, plus grows the grapes and makes the wine. Hence the name Cooper Oak. They also cut their own trees and cut the wood to make the barrels. First came the tour of the cooperage. What a thing to watch. It was very noisy so no one talked till we got to a quieter section of the barn. We saw most every step in the process of making the barrels. The first stop was the cutting of the slats. then we saw them fire them. Then came the metal band, and all the rolling and coating and sanding. They sell most of the barrels they make to wineries in California. Some go to South America some to Japan and some to China. They keep some. The owner says he gets to keep the rejects for himself. I don't suppose there is anything really wrong with the ones he keeps. They like to make at least 100 a week. Some weeks are busier that others.
Then came the wine tasting. Now I don't like wine, and Tom does. But...I bought 2 bottles and he didn't buy any. I really liked the ice wine. I also got the sweet white. I'll get it out for a special occasion. A good time was had by all.
At 5:30 we had our pot luck. I took my famous cheesy potatoes. The ones our son calls heart attack potatoes. There was a really nice variety of really good food. We all ate too much and rolled on out afterwards.
tomorrow morning we may go into town for a while. They have a candy factory tour that some folks have taken, and they say it's quite interesting. Well, I for one would love a tour of a candy factory. Maybe buy some product. A walking tour of downtown may also be on the to do list. We'll have to see how much time we have. Tomorrow night is our catered dinner. I think it's chicken. I'm not sure. They take care of everything. All we have to take is ourselves. That shouldn't be to hard.
Today we also talked to Sandy and Doug Cameron from the CARE Center. They are on their way to Escapade. Can't wait to see them. I have finished a blanket for the raffle that the CARE booth has. I hope it brings them lots of moola. Donations have been down some with this economy, as are most donations. The Elks here are having a silent auction to benefit CARE, and also drawings every night. Such good folks.
Some folks from the class of 2007 are on the volunteer list for parking and such and are already at the Escapade. We got a call today from Marcia and Joe. They were wondering if we were coming in early. Not till after this Elks rally. We'll all still get together while we are there. Can't wait for those hugs. See you all in a few days. Hugs for all till we arrive.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Branson, Mo


Where do I start? Is it with the rain? Is it with the tornadoes? Well, it's rained just about everyday since we've been here. By here I mean Turkey Creek Escapee Park in Branson Missouri. We checked in April 29th. We have been up to the stone house, which is the storm shelter, 2 times. Once was before breakfast, and the other was last night. I woke up Tom and told him to get dressed because the horn was going to go off. Sure enough. Within 5 minutes we were out the door. We were lucky both times and didn't have anything to worry about. I'd rather be safe than sorry. The Turkey Creek is over it's banks, but not into the campground yet. This morning we were told there were 2 water moccasins down by the water mating. They tried to get them, but they think they both got away. We still are supposed to get more rain this afternoon. When will it stop?
Not all has been yucky since we've been here. We have seen some great entertainment. We went to see Jim Stafford at his theater. We remember seeing his TV show in the 70's. He was funny and told some terrific stories. He still plays the guitar like no body's business. He has magic fingers. His kids both played piano, and did other bit parts. I'd recommend it to anyone. Last night at the campground they had some very talented folks. Gordy Wensel and Debbie Kaye. They have regular jobs at the Hard Luck Cafe here in Branson where they are Singing Servers. They did a mixture of country, 50's and 60's, gospel, and comedy. It was just as good as any show worth $25.00. We put money in the tip jar, and if we go back to the Rio Grande Valley next winter we will stop in to hear them again when they perform there. They had another fella with them. I can't remember his name, but I wish I could. He was really good. He has started to work with them at the Cafe. He does a lot of Elvis. He'll do well here.
One day was sunny for a couple of hours, so we went to town. They have an old 5 & 10 here that everyone goes to. You can find some really neat things there. The only thing is the taxes you have to pay when you buy anything. We picked up a couple of items, but the tax is between 14 and 15 %!!! Everything is is way out of line. It seems everyone has a gimmick. All these signs for half price tickets, but you have to go to these timeshare seminars. One guy was going to give us $100 to go to one. Ya right! Man sometimes they almost drag you into the shop. Then they find out your an RVer, and they tell you they can't do business with us. That made me really mad. Not that I would have sat through any hour of selling, but to me it was discrimination. Oh well. We've decided we won't be back anyway.
On Mothers' Day we went to Shoney's for the breakfast buffet. We have been going to go since we go to the south. Wrong place at the wrong time I guess. We enjoyed it. We always do. Everything is fresh out of the kitchen, and they have just about anything you want. Yummy! After Jim Stafford we went to Penny Gilley's. She started the small restaurant because she couldn't find anything Cajun here. She is from Louisiana, and was missing the good food. We each had Jambalaya, Tom had a roast beef Po Boy, and I had a shrimp Po Boy. We were sitting there eating, and in she came. She stopped at each table and chatted for a bit. They sold Abita Rootbeer. We hadn't had that since Abita Springs, La. The food was great, and we enjoyed meeting her. Bye the way, She is related to Mickey Gilley only through a former marriage, and she has her own show on RFD TV. Nice lady.
Tonight we are going to the dine-out. We will be going with other campers here to The Rib Crib for the all you can eat rib night. Sounds good to me. We'll let you all know how it goes. If it is as good as the dine-in we'll be happy. The other night at the dine-in we had lasagna, garlic bread, green beans, salad, dessert, and beverage. It's prepared by the managers here, and it was delicious. They have a dinner here every Tuesday. They do a good job on them.
I think that's all. If I think of other things, I'll write it next time. I was a bit under the weather for a few days, and when I did the last post I didn't put in some things. So if you read it before I added the hummers and prairie dogs, check it out again. I love to look at those pictures. Soon we will be on the move. On our way to Escapade. Can't wait to see some our friends. Then on to home. It will be good to be home for awhile.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge

What a wonderful place! We found the campground and signed in at the little building. The campground is in the woods like the campgrounds we used to go to with the pop-up years ago. One of the first things we noticed were the hummers. Right after we set up, Tom suggested we get out the feeder. I mixed up some hummer juice, and filled the feeder and put it on the window. It took maybe 2 minutes for the little beauties to find it. They were all over it. What fun we had having breakfast with our little friends. The birds were everywhere. We woke up each morning to their singing. I even saw a summer tanager. He was bright red, like a cardinal, but shaped more like a robin. He was beautiful. I wish I had gotten a picture, but he was only there briefly. In the evening is when the deer came out. One night about 15 or so came walking by and decided to rest for a bit in a campsite across from ours was empty. We got some photos, but one of them was trying to play with the others, and they finally got up and stated to romp and play. Soon they went on their way. One morning I thought I heard a turkey gobble. I got out of bed and sure enough there he was. At the top of his lungs walking through the campground at about 7:30. I wish I had that picture, too. He was the biggest turkey I ever saw.
The reason we decided to come here was for the buffalo and long horn cattle that roam on the open range. The herds number around 6 to 7 hundred. What a sight to see. At one point we had to stop the car and just watch them as the grazed near the side of the road. They were so close to us we could have reached out to touch them. Of course they could have been dangerous. They have a herd of elk also, but the didn't come out. It was windy, and elk don't like the wind. It's something about these little hairs they have. We did get our fill of the buffalo, though. maybe next time we'll see the elk. Definitely there will be a next time.
One of our favorite things to do is watch prairie dogs. Well, they are in abundance at the refuge. As you drive over the rise you have to go really slow. They have homes on both sides of the road, and they don't look both ways. In fact they will yell at you if you don't pay attention to them. They are just so busy. We had watched them in Williams, AZ when we were there visiting the Grand Canyon last year, but we didn't get this close. You could get out and walk around them, but they are wild, and it isn't a good idea to get too close. My favorite picture is of this fat little guy sitting up. Wait till you see it. We went back a second day just to watch them.
We collected enough wood to have a small fire and did hot dogs. They taste so good over the fire. I had some marshmallows, and the fire was just about out. There is so much to see in the refuge. It's such a beautiful drive. We'er so glad we went.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Amarillo, Texas


While at the Rally and going around the vendors, we found a place called Oasis RV resort in Amarillo. It's a really nice park with big sites. It's a Passport America campground, and it had no limited stay. I suppose because it is a nearly new place it needs to promote itself for awhile. The biggest plus was the free-yes that's right, free-laundry. You can do as much as you want, as many times as you want. They have 3 buildings with 4 washers and 4 dryers each. I was nice and only used 2 at a time. Some folks used all 4, which made it difficult. The Rally closed on Tuesday morning, and the Oasis was just the right distance away to stop for the night. Because we left the rally a day early and stopped the first night in Tucumcari, we arrived before everyone else who decided to stop there. It was just the right distance from Albequeque for what most RVers drive, and lots of folks came in for a couple of days. We were staying for a few days, so I waited to do laundry until most of the others were gone.
Right down the road was the Cadillac Ranch. I wanted to stop there because I had seen it in pictures and read about it. It's 10 old cadillacs buried face down headed west. Well, I was disappointed. It was in a field that was plowed, ready for planting. Yes there is a very wide pathway that you use to walke to it from the road, but that was it. I thought it would be in some sort of area with grass or a plaque, or at least some sort of explanation. There was nothing but the walkway and the cars. That is unless you count all the empty paint cans that folks just throw on the ground in stead of the dumpster put there for just that purpose.
One day we took off to find old Route 66. Of course we found it. Lot's of old gas stations-closed of course. Lot's of old places to eat. You just have to love the old buildings. They have an old theater that is redone, but we didn't see that. We then went to see the stockyards. Not much to that but lots of empty cattle pens. Maybe that is because we went on a day when the sale was 4 days away. Tom also gave Emily a good wash down. At the Oasis you can do it when ever you want. Not so at most RV parks. If we get back that way we will definately visit again.
Then it was off to one of my favorite places, Witchita Mountains Wildlife Refuge. You'll see read all about it next post.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Branson, Mo. and Rain



Here we are in Branson, Missouri, and all we've had is rain, We have a pretty good signal here so the blog will keep me busy for a while. Tonight we will be going to Culver's for supper. We found it on the GPS quite by surprise. But for now, I will catch everyone up on where we have been lately, and what we've been doing.
I think the last thing I mentioned was our trip into Artesia in New Mexico. There are these great sculptures there that tell the story of the early days during the cattle drives. We did the walking tour. There is one that still has to be completed,m but maybe we'll see it next time we visit.
Then it was on the The Rally. Every year the Affinity Group put on the rally. They are Camping World, Coast to Coast, a magazine group, Good Sams Club. This year it was in Albuquerque. All of the RVs were parked at the Balloon Festival Park. The exhibits were about 30 to 40 minutes away in the fair grounds. Everyone was frustrated with the transportation. The organizers had contracted for tour buses to transport us from venue to venue. Well, not enough buses for the amount of folks. The first day we waited for 2 hours to get on a bus to the fair grounds, and another 2 hours to get one going back. Needless to say, we drove the rest of the time. That worked out quite well. I'm sure most everyone had a pretty good time. The first night we met some of the 2007 class for happy hour. It was good to see some folks we hadn't seen for some time. Another great thing was the entertainment they had scheduled. The first night was Neil Sedaka. He was really great. He hasn't lost a step. His voice was still as good as it always was. We really enjoyed him. the next night was Rita Coolidge. She wasn't my cup of tea, but Tom liked it. She was heavily into Jazz. Tom loves Jazz, so he was happy. Lot's of folks we talked to left early. The last night was the Osman brothers. What a show they put on. Man they are talented! It was Jay, Merle, and Wayne. They let us all know where and what the rest of the family is doing. With the great songs, and the things they put up on the big screens, it was one fabulous show.
We left the Rally on Monday. We had seen everything and done everything we wanted. We have decided to put in some solar panels so we can do more boon docking. That's another blog. Then it was on to Tucumcari, New Mexico. The old Route 66 goes right through the town. We stayed in the same place as last year. We also went to Ken's Ice Cream place. It's right down the road, and you get a really good size cone for about a buck. We only stayed overnight, then moved to Amarillo, Tx. I think that will be in for tomorrow. I'll have to make a few posts to catch up, and that way they won't be so long. Now Tom can put in the pictures. Enjoy.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Just an Update

This is just an update till we get someplace where we have a really good cell phone signal. We have been at the Rally where we were dry camping (no hook-ups), and some places where we had little or no signal. We have some great pictures to share, but the signal has to be good to get the pictures all downloaded to Picasa. We revisited Tucumcari, New Mexico, and have spent some time in the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge. What a great place that was. Wait till you see the pictures.
Tomorrow we will be heading toward Branson Missouri. We are hoping to stay at the SKP park there, and then attend the Escapade. Maybe take in a couple of shows. As you can tell we are heading east. We hope to be home come the second week of June. It'll be good to be around family for a while. I have finished another blanket, and will be donating it for the CARE booth. It just needs the finishing touches. While we sit for a few days I'll catch up on some things that need to be done.
Right now we staying at an RV park that is loaded with bird life. They have feeders and houses out all over, and I am so enjoying it. I purchased a new bird book, and it is proving to be great. I bet we wake up to beautiful music tomorrow. Here's hoping for a great connection.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Trips From the Ranch

The area within a few miles of the Ranch SKP park is rich in history and places to visit. Yesterday we did the trip to Carlsbad Caverns. It's about 50 miles away. As we drove up the National Park road we knew we would stop to take pictures on the way back. Very scenic. You have to check in as soon as you get into the building, pay for what ever tour you would like. There were quite a few to choose from. We opted for the self guided walking tour. Down we went 75 stories. Then we started walking. It was quite breathtaking. It's hard to get really good pictures because of the darkness. Tom did what he could. Other people had tripods set up. Really like pros. Well, we like what we saw, plus we got some good exercise while we were at it. When we came out we took some photos of the view from the top of the mountain. Magnificent. You could see for ever and a day. On the way down we did the same. Nothing like the high desert.
Today we went of to Roswell. About 70 miles away, it's the home of the UFO Museum. We walked around the exhibits and saw the short documentary. It's a lot of reading, and some repetition. Everyone makes up their own minds about what really happened in 1947 in the month of July. It was all pretty interesting, and we were glad we went. After the museum we went to get some Mexican food at the place down the street. It was OK. I would say average. Then we hit a T-shirt store for the grandson. Then we were on the way home.
In the little town of Artesia we stopped to take some pictures of the Trail Boss. It's a sculpture in the middle of town. In a couple of days we are going back to take the walking tour to see the rest of the sculptures they have located around the town. That way we get to see some of the place, and we get to meet some of the locals. That's what we like.
Tomorrow is a some cleaning and down time. It seems the wind is coming back as I'm writing. I hope we get some sleep tonight. Good thing we have nothing planned for tomorrow.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

The Drive to The Ranch

The day started out with our slide popping. We didn't know where the sound came from. Tom went up to the office to pay, and I found the problem. We had forgotten to remove the censor for the indoor-outdoor thermometer. I opened the slide and took it off. It closed fine. We started the 2 hour journey. A few miles up the road we saw a sign that said no vehicles over 11,000 pounds. Well, since we are about 26,000 we took the detour road. It took us miles out of our way. The road was so bad it was a miracle that anything worked when we stopped. We went on and on for miles. Then the wind came up. It was really bad. At one point we had to stop for Tom to check on things because a gust had blown something at us, and it made a terrible bang. We thought we had blown a tire. It must have been a stone or some sort of litter. Our 2 hour journey ended up to be about 4 hours of rough road and terrible winds.
When we finally got to the Ranch, we pulled in right behind a fifth wheel. We couldn't believe it was Deb and Rod from our class rally. That was the second time we met them by accident since leaving Bourne. They will be here for about 3 nights, We may stay for the week. The Ranch is near Carlsbad, and we want to see the Caverns. There is plenty to keep us busy while here. The folks greeted us with big SKP hugs. The wind just keeps blowing. In fact, it is still blowing. Here it is after noon on Saturday, and the wind isn't letting up. Poor Emily has been rocking for 24 hours now. It was so bad during the night that Tom got out of bed about 3:00 and stayed up. I stayed in bed just going in and out of sleep. This is the worst we have seen. No one is outside, and we don't plan on go out either. It's like a 24 hour earthquake. It's not supposed to stop till later on tonight or tomorrow morning.
I'm going to make dinner, and we'll enjoy some movies or whatever. Later the NCAA games will be on. We'll make it though and travel on. They say if you don't like the weather today stick around. That's what we plan to do.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Pecos SKP Tra Park

After leaving Abilene we headed off to Pecos. Birthplace of the rodeo. We left early and had a nice travel day. It took us till about 1:30. We had stopped for a sandwich and to check the car about noon, so we could just set up when we stopped. Some friends of ours, Bobbi and Jim, and Leslie and Bill, had just been here before us. Through reading her blog we know sort of what to expect. The folks are very nice, but the park isn't much. The plan was to stay only a couple of nights.
When the office opened at 3:00 we went over and did the check in thing. Of course at SKP parks you don't pay till you leave, so they just took our info and sight number. The laundry is located in the office building, and as we were leaving someone stopped us to talk. The more we talked the more folks came in. Barb, one of the workers here, finally said we should all go to lunch the next day(yesterday). Everyone thought it was a great idea. The consensus was we would go to Alfredo's. So that's what 10 of us did. It's not much to look at, but the food is good, and you get a lot for your money. Tom and I both had the Mexican Plate with 1 taco 1 tamale, 1enchilada with red sauce, beans and rice. We were well pleased. The plate was only $6.95. They also start you off with this great salsa and chips. It was great. Hot, but great. My tongue hurt when we left. The food itself was not spicy, but that salsa sure was. They kept filling our drinks, too. If we were to stay another couple of days we would probably go again. At 7:00 we all met to play some Farkle. No one knew how to play, so Tom and I taught them. We played till around 9. Then called it a day. Nothing like and Escapees Park to meet great people.
Today we did the West of the Pecos Museum. It housed in the old hotel and saloon. There are even bullet holes in the wall and plaques that tell you where folks were shot. The whole history of the town and surrounding area is within the walls of the museum. They have so much stuff in there you could go back several times and still miss somethings. There are old clothes, furniture, doctors' office rooms, barber room, and off course the bridal suite. In the saloon this animated bartender talks about things that happened here in Pecos in the early days. From then on you are on your own. Lots of saddles, and western gear, kitchen tools, old pulpits from churches. You name it, it's in there. There is even an accounts receivable book from the mercantile. We really had a good time looking through the old place. Not a bad way to spend the morning.
After we came home for a sandwich we headed out for the park and zoo. Zoo, I use the term loosely. What a poor excuse for a zoo. It had peacocks and pea hens. 2 ostriches, 2 buffalo, 3 long horn cows, donkeys, and goats. That's it. So much for our trip to the zoo. Once there we found out we could have walked from the park. It sits right behind us.
There is an old train station that will house the Rodeo Hall of Fame, but it not open yet. I guess it's a work in progress. Pecos reminded us both of old route 66. It's a lot like Tucumcari New Mexico. There are so many old abandon gas stations and eateries along business 20. Buildings right out of the 50's. You can tell Pecos has seen better days. They are trying to build up downtown again, but there is a lot of work to be done. It's a great place to stay for a day or two. I suppose it gets quite busy during rodeo.
We have been having some very high winds. Last night we were rocking in the bed. It woke us up several times. Now today it is cooler, but very nice and sunny. Tomorrow we head out for the Ranch. It's another SKP Park, so we will be with friends again. If you aren't friends when you get there, you are when you leave. I hope the weather cooperates with us and the winds don't blow too hard. It's only about 2 hours away, so it'll be a short trip. I'm glad we stopped here. The home of Pecos Bill.

Monday, March 30, 2009

A Wonderful Week-end

We arrived in Abilene around noon on Saturday. Set up was really easy because we have a nice level spot. The satellite dish set up with no problems, and we called Rick. What was so wierd was he was right down the road at the gas station we had just stopped at. We missed him by about 5 minutes. But because he was only 1/4 mile down the road, he was herealmost before we hung up the phone. We sat around and talked till it was time to go out to dinner. Tom and I had been looking for BBQ, and he knew just the place. Now we like local places more that chain restaurants, but he took us to Famous Daves. Man, what a good choice! We all got combination platters, but mine was by far the best. Well, maybe not. It depends on what you like. I had rib tips and chicken wings. Tom had chopped pork and spicy sausage link. Rick had chopped briskey and BBQ chicken. Each comes with corn on the cob, 2 sides, and a corn muffin, and toast. With all that you get refills on your drinks. There was enough left of mine to bring home for another supper. The beans were so good. There were chunks of pork (not pork fat), Jalapinos, and I think some beef also. Needless to say, we were all full and rolled on home. Rick to his, and us to ours. When we got here Tom got on the computer to see where else they may be.
Yesterday Rick came over somewhere about noon, and I fixed dinner for us. Rick being a bachelor, cooks and sometimes bakes. He asked me if I had Heart Attack Potatoes. I figured out he meant my bacon cheesy potatoes. His sister had made me a book of my mother's recipes, and I pulled it out. We had fun going through it and giving him copies of what he wanted. Soon after he left to do his laundry.
Rick has about 2 years left before he retires from the Air Force. He has been all over the world. Some places I'm sure he could have done without. But mostly he has been in safe places. The B1's and cargo planes fly over all day. He's done work on most of them.
Today we were supposed to head for Pecos. The wind has been so bad that we decided to stay another day. Tomorrow, windy or not, we leave. Off to another SKP park.
Oh, by the way, for all of you ladies in the class of 2007, BEWARE!!! I think it's catching. Yesterday for dinner I put some Texas toast in the oven.....You know what happened. Look at the photos to follow. Just be careful. I want to know who else has caught this dreaded disease.

Friday, March 27, 2009

L B J Historical Park.

What a wonderful day we had. About 10: we took off down the road to the Texas White House. You folks who are about our age remember when LBJ became president. This tour more or less takes you through his life. There are 2 parts to the park. When you first arrive at the visitors' center they give you a handful of information and a CD to play while you drive your car. We don't have a CD player in the car, so they gave us a booklet that we didn't use. If you read the signs and the map you know where you are going and what you are seeing.
The first part of the complex is a State Park. You begin with a 25 minute movie in which LBJ and Lady Bird narrate as they take you on a auto tour of the grounds. It was made about 1966 so it's old. Nonetheless, it was quite interesting. The next stop is a working farm. It has chickens, cows, sheep, goats, turkeys, and more. They have a rather large garden where they grow lots of vegetables. They use everything. They make cheese, bake bread, cook all the food they eat, and even make soap. You can go in and out of all the buildings and can see the canned goods such as corn, peaches, beans, cherries, etc. They do everything as they did it back in the 1800's
The state park also offers the things every other state park offers. Swimming, tennis, hiking trails, and picnic areas.
The next part of the day was spent at the LBJ National Historical Park. The Johnsons gave the ranch to be used as a park that is opened to the public. It came with 2 conditions. 1)There is to be no charge for people wanting to visit. 2)It will remain a working ranch. Both of the stipulations are in place. You have to drive carfully because of the cattle roaming free. I believe they said about 700 acres. As you drive you pass by the school house where President Johnson went to school as a child. Then comes the reconstucted house in which he was born. The next stop was the cemetery where many generations of Johnsons are buried, under the old live oak trees in such a beautiful setting. Then you drive past the house where his grandparents lived for the latter years of their lives. Then the map takes you along the border of the ranch up towards the start of the runway and back around till you reach the house itself. No one is allowed inside the house, but in May they will open the living room and the dining room. A Park Ranger takes you on a tour of the grounds and into the Texas Oval Office. While president Johnson spent 25% of his time at the Texas White House. He did most of his entertaining there. There is a little house where the secret service had headquarters while working there. It will also open soon to the public. The doors have been locked since the day Lady Bird died. It will be interesting to see what's inside.
We both enjoyed our day so much. It was much better than I expected. I would recommend a visit to anyone who is in the area. The flowers are now starting to bloom, since we had some rain, and things are greening up and the rivers have some water now. It is really an awsome part of the country. The Beautiful Hill Country. Tomorrow we will be leaving for Abilene. We hear it will be cold and windy there for a couple of days. YUCK. But it sure will be good to see Rick. If we don't like the weather we can go somewhere else. That's what's fun.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

More Fun in Fredricksburg

On Monday we had a nice visit with our friends Everett and Carol. They had volunteered with us at CARE. Ev was flying into San Antonio from Florida after visiting his daughter. On the way back they stopped by. They are at the present time work camping at Inks Lake State Park. We had a nice few hours, and they were on their way.
On Tuesday we went to Kerrville to Culvers. We met Greg and Jean from our 2007 class for lunch. Tom and I have been waiting for a chance to go to Culvers. We haven't been to one since we were in Minnesota. That was much too long. They have frozen custard that is to die for. Those of you in the mid west know what I'm talking about. The only trouble is they only have a few in this part of the country. I guess if had those burgers when ever we wanted them they wouldn't be so good when we finally get them. We certainly enjoyed the meal and the yogurt after. And of course the friends and conversation. Such nice folks.
Yesterday we went into Fredricksburg to see the National Museum of the Pacific War. It it partially housed in the former hotel building owned and operated by the Nimitz family. Admiral Nimitz was born and raised there. What a great old building. The museum itself was so interesting. There is so much to see. The first building is just for Admiral Nimitz and the family. Another part of the museum is a Japanese Peace garden. It was donated by the Japanese to help promote peace. It's very beautiful. Then there is a big building the houses the Pacific War Museum. We could have spent hours in there. So much to see. Everything from compasses to nurses uniforms to Japanese swords and tools.
Outside in the middle of all this is the Veterans' Walk of Honor. What a wonderful tribute to those who served. There are so many plaques. It is supposed to have every boat and ship that served in WWII in the Pacific. So many men are pictured. Some in honor of and some in memory of. AWESOME! The Greatest Generation.
After we were done seeing what we wanted to see in these building, we went down the street a bit for the last part of the museum. It's called The Pacific Combat Zone and Center for Pacific Waq Studies. It is set up outside like an island ready for war and occupied by the Japanese. It has bunkers, pillboxes, tanks, and much more. It is surrounded by bamboo, and looks like a pacific island. There are 3 buildings at this part of the museum. The first one is a replica of the inside of an aircraft carrier. Complete with plane. We saw a brief old newsreel, and headed to the next building. It housed PT 309. It is the only PT boat from the pacific war in a museum. It was bigger than I thought it would be. Then we went to a building that was a Quonset Hut. It was set up like a military hospital would have been on Okinawa if we had invaded the Japanese mainland. Outside near the entrance was a housing of an atomic bomb they were going to drop on Japan. It was smaller than I thought. Looking at it, you wouldn't think such a small thing could do so much damage. The last exhibit was a mock burial plot like the ones on the islands. Complete with dog tags on the crosses.
What a full day. It ended with a trip to Opa's. They make sausage, etc. We picked up some bratwurst and knockwurst. Can't wait to cook them up. Folks say they are the best. Nothing like home town meat markets. We have one at home that makes terrific kielbasa and porketta. I'll get some when we hit home. I can almost smell it cooking.
Tomorrow we plan to go to the LBJ Ranch. We were going today, but then we got a severe weather warning, so we did the laundry and I got a haircut. On Saturday we hit the road and head for Abilene to see our nephew Rick. That is if Uncle Sam doesn't want him working. He is a lifer in the Air Force. What's nice is we can change plans if we want. We can always come back. This is a beautiful area. I'm sure we will be back to visit again.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Last Rally Night

The last night of the rally was as much fun as the rest of the week. We had a appetiser contest. I made the chicken wing dip that everyone likes, and came in third place. Second was a wonderful crab/seafood mixture on English muffins. YUMMY!!!! The winner was a fish dish with lime and other ingredients. I didn't care for it because it had so much raw onion in it. It won by a large margin, I just don't like that much onion. We all had fun with and ate too much. Then came dinner at 6:00. Bob and the guys had cooked turkey all afternoon. The deep fryer was right across from Emily and I smelled it all day. I made those candied sweet potatoes that Tom's Mom taught me to make. We had such a great array of dishes. It was billed as Thanksgiving in March, and since it was the third Thursday, I guess it really was. We all sat around and talked until the brown bag auction started. After lots of laughs and swapping of gifts we ended up with a copy of "RV Vacation for Dummies" which brought out the laugh if the night. Then we started good-buys to those leaving the next day.
In the morning all the left-overs were served, and the ones of us who were staying the extra day cleaned up the rally room. The rest of the day some folks went out to see the sights, and some like us just stayed home and did stuff. Tom got permits to wash the car and Emily, and I started to stow things to be on the move again. The next day most of the rest of us were on our way after many SKP hugs and well wishes. We know we will all see each other soon. Then we were on our way to Fredricksburg.
Fredricksburg is only about 40 miles from Boerne where the rally was. Just a short drive. It's a really nice little town. It was settled by German folks, and is still very much German. Last night we ate at the Altdorf. We each had Jager Schnitsel-a pork cutlet. It came with a choice of three-potatoes, noodles, red cabbage, and saurkraut. Also a choice of soup or salad. I also had some of the sugar cane root beer. It was all very good. Not something I could eat everyday because of the German flavor, but we enjoyed the meal.
We did some shopping in the really cool 5 and 10. It was just like the old Woolworth stores. We picked up a couple of little things for gifts. Then we went to a little Texas gourmet store. It had all kinds of jellies, jams, salsas, sauces, pickles, etc. Everything they sold had a sample opened with crackers or wheat thins. We could have made a meal there, but knew we were going to eat at the Altdorf. I bought-get this-Amaretto Pecan Honey Butter. What wonderful stuff. Kind of pricey, but I think it's worth it.
All night long we had really windy conditions. We woke up to cloudy skies and cool temps. After it warmed up some off we went. Two things on our list to do here were The Wildflower Farm, and Luckenbach, Tx. Luckenbach was not much. The pamphlet says it has a post office, a beer joint, and a dance hall. Well, that's about it. The sing says"Welcome to Luckenbach. Population 3." That's right 3. But Hey, they have live music everyday. The beer joint was going strong, and also a little snack stand attached to the dance hall. The post office is filled with memorabilia, and some stuff for sale. There is also a hat place that was molding the hats and selling assessories like hat bands to go with them. I was fun to watch. When you see the pictures you will notice the liscence plates nailed on the stage and the restrooms. They come from all over. Even Europe. What I was surprised to see was the bikers. They were everywhere. Hundereds of them. I would venture to say many more than cars. There were only a few cars in the parking lot. We'll have to find out if they are having some kind of rally thing going on this week.
After Luckenbach we stopped at Wildseed Farms. Well, no flowers. Too early. You can see the fields have been planted, and they are growing strong, but we weren't lucky enough to see them in bloom. The sell all kinds of lawn ornaments and some landscaping plants and cactus, etc. They have wine tasting, and also samples like last night at the gourmet store. We were sort of disappointed, but will survive I'm sure. Tomorrow is another day, and we have lots planned. We love being tourists.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Class of 2007 Rally

Escapees Class of 2007 have met in Borrne, Tx. for our first annual reunion rally. What a time we have had. The class reunited at the Alamo Fiesta RV Resort here. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 35 of us attended. What a great place for the reunion. We had a very nice Rally Center for any activities. Because it had a full kitchen we were able to have really nice meals as well as a place to meet to do crafts and workshops.
On Tuesday, the first day, when we went to orientation we were to take something for the Hobo Stew. It started with some beef and then we all added stuff. As you can see by the pictures there was quite a variety. It was sooooo good. What made the meal so great was the dishes folks brought to share. Everyone really enjoyed it.
It's good to see everyone again and catch up. The next day some of the ladies did crafts. I went over to the room to see what they were doing. Bobbi taught me how to do some great things with recycled plastic bags. She also got me into knitting some hats for newborns. I'll make some for the hospitals at home. Marcia also helped me with the plastic bag items. Patti did a workshop on T-shirt braiding trim. I will do some of that when I get a chance.
Then came happy hour. We were to take a liqueur or cordial for tasting, and something chocolate. Let me tell you, there were enough calories for a whole year on that table. There must have been about 15 different bottles to sample. We all had little cups. After we each took a plate of goodies some of the folks took the bottles around to each table and you could taste what you wanted. Tom and I weren't to crazy about most of them. I did like the Amaretto. The Bailey's was also good. Of course all of the chocolates went down well with the tasting. After all of that we had the chili cook-off. Tom was a judge for that. We had seven different cooks enter. Everyone else took bread or salad to share. Joe won the prize for the best chili. Bob came in second. I sampled each one, and each one was different.I liked Bob's best. So did Tom, but it was a really close call. Then came margarator time. Ours had strawberry Dacaris, and Marcia and Joe's had margaritas. That night Mark gave us a lesson in star gazing. It was neat to see each star come out and have him tell us the names and what constellation they belong to. We were lucky enough to see the space shuttle/space station go across the sky. It only lasted a few minutes. It was going much faster than I thought it would. Marty had taken his telescope, or what I thought was one, and we all saw Venus. It was like a tiny little crescent moon. I was amazed. We all were happy that he agreed to do in on such short notice.
What a terrific day. There is more to come tomorrow. I am sure glad we started fulltiming in 2007. I can't imagine missing this. How lucky we are.