Friday, April 22, 2016

Savannah

Our roadtrips are usually a combination of research, planning and last minute  decisions.   Savannah was one of those, “why don’t we stop by there” ideas.  We were dropping down to visit Dan’s nieces in Alabama so Savannah wasn’t too out-of-the way.

Had I planned ahead of time, I definitely would have read,  Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt.  We quickly could tell the tourist aspect of the city was banking on story familiarity.  And, rightfully so, because the book is nonfiction and does capture the feel and history of the city.  (I’ve read it since returning home.) 

The first thing we did after a good night’s sleep only about 200 feet from the Old Town Trolley Tour is pay up and jump on.  All the trolley’s were open sided and had informed and colorful drivers with loads of information about what we were seeing.   We could hop off and on throughout the city.  Note:  we should have ridden the entire 90 minute tour and then started over.  Live and learn.

In 1733 James Oglethorpe led a group of colonists from England to start the city he would call Savannah.  Oglethorpe was a visionary and social reformer.  His colony strictly forbid slavery, was welcoming to all religions, including Jews and other persecuted minorities.  He laid out the city on a grid with center public squares and parks.  Homes and business where then built around those squares.  When Oglethorpe returned to England, his ban on slavery fell away.  But, his plan for the physical layout of the city continues to this day.

When Sherman invaded during the Civil War, the city surrendered immediately and provided as it could for the troups which kept it from serious burning and preserved historical buildings.

During the 1950s, the city rescued itself from its neglect of its beautiful and historical past.  We were only there for a day, and it was not enough.  If we were to go back, I would tour the restored  historical homes, haunted or not.  Visit the cemetary with a martini and enjoy more of the delicious food.  The friendliness of everyone there toward visitors is refreshing even though we were told in the past ten years 50 million people have come to visit town! 

Here is a slideshow of pictures—click here or on the picture.  The pictures will be full screne if you click “slideshow” on the upper right hand corner.

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Thursday, April 21, 2016

South on Hwy 95

We were looking forward to seeing Savannah, a city so many friends have told us we should visit.  Normally, I would just pass by the journey part and get right to the destination.  This time, getting there might be of interest.

We knew there was a tire problem.  There seemed to be a “bump” on the right front tire. An inspection in Kim & Marc’s driveway seemed to varify this.   So, we thought we would just spring for four new tires before we left Cary the next morning.  One problem, no one—absolutely no one, had the tires we needed.  These are special order, hard sidewall tires especially made for an RV.  A tire shop did say the bump didn’t seem that bad.  We didn’t ask if that meant we could drive  over 1,000 miles home.  We just assumed it.   (As you know, I am back dating these posts and we did make it home)  The problem with something like this is it is worrisome.  It makes the travel a little less fun.  So, there was that.

We traveled down southeast on I40 and then caught I95 south to Buies Creek where we decided to hop off for a bite of lunch.  The first little cafe we came to was “Hot Dog and Hamburger Heaven.”  Now, this is what small town eatn’ is about!  Kim said we would have to get outside the Triangle to “hear” the real South. She was right.   The gentleman who took my order would not have it but that I order coleslaw on my burger. And, there was no asking—the tea was sweet.  He also knew  everyone who walked in the door by first name.   Always enjoy  hometown cafes.

Little did we know that there was someone further down the line at Florence, South Carolina who could make our worries about our tires laughable.  And, he had his own RV!

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We stopped by a gas station near a Walmart, then decided to run in after something we needed.  We happened to park right in front of Jim’s CannaBus.  If you study this picture for a while, you will find it more and more strange.  Like, what is that thing on the ground along side of it.  And, what about the crosses?  If you do go to 420 JIM.com there is a video that tells it all!   (It’s long but you’ll get the gist right away)   It looks like he got on the wrong side of the law in Emporia, KS, though.  Basically, he is driving to Washington DC with a petition to legalize—yep, hemp because you can drive using the oil.  I learned if you let a vehicle run in a closed up garage on hemp oil, it won’t be fatal you’ll just get high.  Who knew?

Finally, on the road again, there were no further stops until we wound our way into Savannah.  By this time, it was about 5:45 pm.  I had read the city allows overnight RV parking in the Welcome Center parking lot.  But, when we arrived, everything was closed and no RVs in sight.  We spotted a lady in the exit toll booth closing for the night.  It was our first taste of the Savannah friendliness.  She said, “Sure, you can park overnight.  It’s just $8.”  We were thankful because there was no Plan B.  

And, we felt safe with this parked nearby!

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Then we walked across the street to downtown Savannah and had a  drink and delicious meal.  All is well!

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Shrimp PoBoy with Sweet Potato Fries!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Wheels!

It is always fun to visit our families.  Since spending time with them now means a roadtrip, we look forward to putting our rubber to the road both east and west from Kansas.  And, when goodbyes are said, we know it will be for a while.  But, summer is not far away and there is a celebration planned over July 4th.  All will be here! 

Time to check out of Jordan Lake campground and take the rental car back.  Even though we are sad to see our time end, we are excited to be a part of a big day for Aaron and Adam.  Wheels!

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While we were visiting, this vehicle became a new addition to the family.   (I am blank on the chosen name)  Right now Aaron is the only one legal to drive, but Adam is not far behind.  I think everyone remembers their first car so memories are made here.  Even Jojo is excited.

So, it is goodbye and then tomorrow, on to Savannah Georgia.

Monday, April 18, 2016

North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences

Get ready for a short North Carolina quiz:

1. What is the name of the oldest river in North America?

2. Name the highest waterfall east of the Rockies.

3. How many gallons of water do Pelicans scoop up in their bill?

4. How many years does it take for a hardwood forest to rejuvenate?

5.  What is the name of the oldest tree species in the Eastern US?

Answers at the bottom of post.

Kim, Dan, Evan and I visited the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh.  We only spent a couple hours there, but there are movies and other interactive activities that would take up most of a day.  State museums are always interesting and this one is no exception.  IMG_3240

 

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Display of types of granite in the State of North Carolina

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Examples of wood available in North Carolina

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The message Evan is pointing to says that we all contribute to the museum by asking questions and observing things around us.

Museums make me hungry and thirsty so we ate lunch at a locally owned restaurant while enjoying a craft beer brewed nearby.  Fun day.

Answers to questions: 

1.  The oldest river in North America is the New River.  2. The Highest waterfall east of the Rockies is the Whitewater Falls.  3.  Pelicans scoop up three gallons of water at a time.  4.  100 years.  The first 5 to 50 are Sweet Gum and Red Cedar.  Later squirrels bring in hardwood nuts which eventually grow large enough to out shade the smaller trees.  5.  Bald Cypress

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Sunday at the Lake

The regatta yesterday was fun, exciting and beautiful.  But, the cool, damp air did not help the head cold I’ve been battling since I left home.  So, we hung out at the Jordan Lake Poplar Point campground until late afternoon when everyone came out for a picnic.

We were not able to get our favorite camping spot, but this one still presented us with a beautiful sunset.  We couldn’t connect with fish this time.  Good thing we didn’t plan a fish fry.  

The evening was just cool enough that the fire felt good.

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Triangle Rowing Club

It’s been about 25 years since we watched Kim row for Kansas State Crew.  Attending her regattas was always fun.  Adam now rows in a boat of eight for Triangle Rowing Club.

The event started early and it was held at High Point, but we were there and ready for the day.

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This is Adam in his winning shell

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In a press release on the TRC web site, the coach said he was proud of his middle school crew members because they won all their races!

Regattas are fun events.  People were grilling and just hanging out and cheering on the teams.

There was a drone there videoing all the races.  Of course, Dan was fascinated with the concept.  The operater could watch a screen on his remote control to see what the camera on the drone was videoing.  Here is a composite video of the day.  If you are quick, you will see Kim, Marc, JoJo (their Boston Terrier) Dan and me.  The link is in case this embedded one doesn’t show up on your screen.

High Point Rowing - Spring Regatta with Triangle and Belmont from Carolina SkyWorks on Vimeo.

Friday, April 15, 2016

North Carolina Zoological Park at Asheboro

Dan and I decided to take Evan to the North Carolina Zoo while everyone else in the family was working on Friday. 

The Zoological Park is on 500 acres in the Uwharrie Mountains in central NC.  (Asheboro, not Ashville) It is an open zoo with no small concrete cages.  Animals are in natural habitats with five miles of hiking trails joining the exhibits.  Thankfully, there were trolleys to hop on and off, although the best views are on the paths.  It was a warm, sunny day with flowers in bloom and trees for shade. Many of the animals were traditional zoo but fun to watch them in open areas.

The Lemurs were being introduced into a new exhibit.  I wasn’t familiar with the Lemur, but Evan knew immediately about them because of King Julien XIII in the Madagascar movies.  We learned they are not related to monkeys, cannot hang by their long tails and are native only to Madagascar. 

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The Polar Bears are the “main attraction” right now at the zoo.  Nikita, a male from the Kansas City Zoo, was introduced in March to Anana, the zoo’s resident female.  It is breeding season so lots of hope for a baby bear in November or December.  Polar Bears are threatened with only 60 in captivity and a 50% mortality among babies born.  The exhibit was awesome, with a cold indoor area.  The pool had underwater viewing, but the bears were more interested in each other than swimming.IMG_3212

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Evan and Dan by the always interesting Pink Flamingos.

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Evan making friends with a chimp. 

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We each enjoyed a slice of surprisingly delicious pizza and Evan had a soft drink in a bear  cup.

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Evan took this picture of me—looks like I’m being attacked by a plant!

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Fun day.  We headed back to our camp spot at Jordan Lake State Park early because tomorrow is Adam’s Regatta.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Hanging with Fam

First,  a quick note about our overnight stay in Knoxville. We pretty much stopped and dropped at 9:30 pm.  First, though, a quick trip into the store to pick up a few things for breakfast. When we got back, there was a car parked a few spaces away. As we walked by, Dan noticed  a lady with a small child in the car. We didn't think much about it until the next morning when the car and its occupants were still there.   Maybe she felt a little more secure with us parked nearby. We put a little gas money under her wiper on our way out.  Who knows the story in a situation like that, but it tugs at the heart.

We rolled into Cary NC right at 5:40 PM.  We made a wrong decision in deciding to veer off I40 onto Hwy 64 too early and hit the one stoplight in every small town along the way. We forget there are way more small towns in eastern states than here in Kansas. With our off-the-interstate-wanderings we made the trip in 2 1/2 days. It should be around an 18 hour trip--our kids have done it without stopping!

Things were rolling along in the Hoobler family with school, work and sports. There was time before grilling the burgers to see Kim's Cary clinic. For living in such a big metropolitan area, she feels fortunate to be working so close to home. Aaron is recovering nicely from his knee surgery. Adam was off practicing with his rowing crew. Evan is out of school on his year around school rotation and Marc is always busy at work.

On Thursday April 14, Dan and Kim worked at figuring out how to enhance storage in her laundry room while Evan and I tried once again to find "The Evil One" geocache  located near their home. I posted on the Geocache site  that we could not find it and that we thought it was stolen the last time we were there and the owner of the Cache emailed me to say to try again because she had just checked and it was in fact there. Well, six months later and we still couldn’t find it.  (We were later  put to shame when Dan looked for only a few minutes and scored)

It sure is nice to just hang out with the family. We are treated to wonderful meals and conversation which we miss so much with our kids all living away.

Tomorrow, the Zoo!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Last Train to Clarksville

It was late when we drycamped in the Walmart parking lot in Chester Illinois.  We noticed there was semi traffic nearby but assumed we must be by a high traffic road.  Usually, that type of noise settles down in the wee hours of the morning—not this time. I don’t usually sleep well the first night out and those trucks were going by all night. The next morning we discovered the reason.  There was a large barge on the Mississippi  that appeared to be taking on grain (probably all night).  There were six or so grain trucks in a line at a dock and it was right down the road from where we were parked.

We continued on south and east but took a break by stopping by the Kentucky welcome center to score a state geocache.  Dan agreed to help so it wouldn’t take so long.  Here we were, walking around the welcome center with the GPS.  We began to notice we had an audience.  Turns out, the help there all knew where it was and it became a game of hot and cold.  Finally found it behind this sign.  By the way, the Whitehaven Welcome Center is in a beautiful old mansion.  Worth a stop if down that way.

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Then it was on to Clarksville, Tennessee where we decided to stop at a little restaurant for lunch.  We discussed that knew there was a song about Clarksville but just couldn’t come up with it.  Finally, Google came to the rescue—Last Train to Clarksville by the Monkees, 1966.  Clarksville is near Ft Campbell, KY and the song is about a man meeting his girlfriend there before leaving for Vietnam.  (We were married in 1966 so know this was 50 years ago)

Then it was on to just outside of Nashville TN where we once again rode the Cumberland River Bicentennial Rail to Trail.  We rode a portion of it before, now we’ve ridden the entire length.  It was a sunny, spring day and this is a beautiful trail.  Wildflowers abound along a gently flowing Cumberland River.

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Found a quiet Walmart outside of Knoxville that allowed overnight parking.  Tomorrow finally to our distination and family.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Destination–North Carolina

Dan and I took off yet again in April.  This time to North Carolina for two weeks.  I am backdating the posts about the trip. 

I’ve spent a week—off and on—getting ready for this trip.  Of course, we had to get the taxes done.  I also wanted to get my garden planted as well.  We also needed to get all the burning done on the pastures.  By Monday morning, April 11th, all chores were completed and the PW dewinterized for the second time this year.

A little late start of 11:40 AM, but beat the goal of getting away by noon.  We decided to take the two lane back roads going east.  Cruising along just outside of Sedalia MO, the PW started missing out.  Nothing makes a heart sink like a machanical failure on a roadtrip.

As we drove down mainstreet Sadelia, there was the sign we were relieved to see, Rick Ball Ford.  Without hesitation, we turned in.  They were very accomodating and helpful.  It was an electrical situation.  In one hour and 45 minutes, we drove out only $340 poorer.  We were just glad it was fixed so no complaints.

Skadalled from behind the 8 ball in Tipton MO

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Cruised right past Popcorn Buddha in Linn MO only because popcorn doesn’t always agree.  Wished we would have stopped just because of the awesome name.

We finally ran out of light and dropped anchor at a Walmart in Chester Illinois, just south of St. Genevieve MO.  Both are nice Mississippi River towns that we like to explore, but on a mission to get to Nashville to ride bikes at a good time tomorrow.  . 

Friday, April 01, 2016

50th Annual Rural Water Convention, Wichita KS

As a board member of Douglas Rural Water #3, Dan has the opportunity to attend the convention each year.    Since this is the 50th year since the establishment of Kansas Rural Water,  we were glad we were a part of the celebration.

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What is a convention without drawings for prizes and there were a bunch.  But, as usual, we did not come home with one.  However, two couples we know well each won two items!  How great is that, especially when one of the gifts was a hand pieced quilt. 

Dan attended the break out sessions each time they were offered.  I went with him, except the spouses had a special afternoon Wednesday.  We visited the Museum of World Treasurers located in the downtown area of Wichita.  As I understand, local collectors came together to form these galleries of treasures from around the world.   This is an eclectic, almost quirky museum and I found it extremely interesting. 

The evening entertainment was an adaption of the Broadway Lend Me a Tenor by Ken Ludwig presented by The Forum Theatre.  This was laugh-out-loud funny and professionally presented. 

There were a few interesting facts that I thought I would share:

  • Emporia won the 2016 the best tasting water in the state contest and in 2015 won third place nationally.  (Makes me want to stop by Emporia & get a glass of water)
  • John Redmond Reservoir is 42% silted in and Tuttle Creek is 40% silted in. Dredging is starting soon on John Redmond because it is the water source for Wolf Creek Power Plant.
  • Additional storage is needed on the Republican River from Clay Center north to the state line
  • There is research to develop livestock feed wheat to reduce irrigation needed for feed corn
  • The water used in the oil industry is extremely hard to clean—disposal of the water is not an option.  One way to clean it is to shoot it high in the air and the petroleum will then evaporate off. 
  • Restoring stream banks to reduce erosion and in turn silt is successful with a 21-1 return (not sure what that means but there were aerial photographs that demonstrated the successes)
  • Buffer crops on high erosion areas continue to be federally funded
  • More discussion is needed for getting communities through drought conditions in dry areas.  

The Ogallala Aquifer is depleting at an alarming rate.  Many farmers find their wells actually drying up in the Garden City area.  Rex Buchanan of the Kansas Geological Survey gave the presentation at the closing session.  He and his staff have checked the health of numerous wells over the aquifer for many years and he had a map which showed  there are very few areas that are not affected.  This underground water was established when Rome was built Buchanan said.  It is not replaceable. 

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Fast Forward a Month!

This blog is like an old friend. One that I owe a call. The more I think about the fact that I haven’t written, the more I feel like I don’t know what to say because I’m such a slacker. 

Anyway, tonight I decided to just get in here and write…

It has been a busy month.  We started out the month cutting, clearing and picking up a hedgerow.  Those of you familiar with hedge know the branches will start growing almost sideways in order to get light.  They have to be cut so tractors—or anything for that matter—can drive under or even close to the trees.  Given that we aren’t as young as we used to be, this ended up taking longer than we thought.  What we accomplished looks good, but it really never ends with hedge.  The brome is growing, so we are done for now.  We still have a huge pile of these branches to burn and missed out on a chance for a safe fire when it snowed last week. 

The reason we missed burning when it snowed is because we made a flying trip to Colorado.  Trent and Carly were here over their spring break and we took them home—actually leaving a week ago tomorrow.  While they stayed with us, we were able to talk them into picking up rocks that were “flipped” out of the field when our neighbor ran over it with a rotary harrow.  Carly found something under one of the rocks…

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We enjoyed a spring snow storm in Colorado even though we missed the one here.   It was beautiful for a day.  By the time we left on Sunday, the roads were clear. 

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The little red Corolla racked up more miles this week with the 50th State Water Convention in Wichita for three days.  I’ll put that on a different post because I even took some notes that I thought might be interesting if anyone out there is still checking in….

Friday, February 26, 2016

Bishop’s Castle revisited

Last summer we visited Bishop’s Castle with our grandkids, Trent and Carly.  It was a crazy experience climbing up inside of what seemed to be fairly “shaky” circumstances.

This morning I saw this drone’s eye view of the castle.  It gives a much better perspective of how crazy Trent, Carly and I were to climb up to the very top of this crazy structure.

Monday, February 08, 2016

Happy Birthday

Yep, hard to believe—Big Seven O.  It was a good day for me.

I received a beautiful blouse from Kim & family that I look forward to wearing this spring.  I also received perfume as part of my birthday at Christmas.  I also heard from a lot of friends via Facebook, mailbox and phone.  It is always nice to be remembered. 

Birthdays were always a big deal when I was a kid.  There were five of us country girls that celebrated one another’s birthday each year.  Carolyn’s sisters were in this picture as well. I’m guessing around 1956 or 1957.

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And, here we are now

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DeAnne wasn’t in this picture so here we are

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These pictures were actually taken at two different parties.  Our goal is to revisit our childhood and have a party for each of us this 70th year of our lives.  Thank you Carolyn for making mine so special!

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Homeward bound

No surprise that we woke up again to sunshine and coffee.  Only this time we promised to meet Lynn at Gold Canyon UMC at 8:00 am.  And, we are leaving for home from the church so all had to be packed up and ready to go.  This morning there was no lingering with our coffee watching the sun slip up from behind Superstition Mountain. 

The Pastor was giving the third in his series of sermons about violence in the Bible.  We were glad we made the effort.  Not only was the message appropriate for our times, we were privileged to hear a beautiful rendition of “How Great Thou Art” with organ, bell choir, brass ensemble, string ensemble, men’s quartet and full choir. 

Following the service, it is a goodbye to Lynn and on the road with a destination of Ute Lake State Park, just north of Tucumcari New Mexico—610 miles.  We made it, although we parked in the dark.  We have stayed at this state park at least three other times because it is a perfect half way stop.  And, it is only $10 a night including electricity.  The lake was beautiful in the morning light but no tarrying because we were headed home.

Route 54 angles northeast through Texas and Oklahoma.  Dan agreed to help me add three states to my Geocaching List on the way home.  What more perfect route to add three states within three hours.

The first geo stop was in New Mexico, into a pasture on a dirt road for about a mile.  There we found a cache in the OBAR cemetery dedicated to the early settlers, ranchers and railroad workers who developed the area.  There was a fence around the cemetery, but it looked to be almost totally abandoned.  The town of OBAR was only indicated by a sign with no sign of buildings.  A very interesting place to nab a NM cache.

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Continuing on Hwy 54 we entered feed lot territory in Texas.  These lots are huge beyond description.  It was in the midst of these feed lots that a grotto built by a Mr. Hunt was located right along the road.    In 1959 he traveled to Europe and was impressed that every so often someone would build a grotto for travelers.  When he returned home he decided  to build a grotto for travelers traveling on Hwy 54.  So, in a freezing wind, with semi traffic zooming by, Dan patiently waited as I finally found the clever cache. 

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Next Oklahoma.  I knew I was stretching my luck so I settled for a easy find as we entered the state.  It was a good thing, because the wind was getting colder as we traveled north. 

Home around 7:30 pm.  The forecast said lows only in the 40s so we didn’t have to winterize in the dark.  But, with both of us ready to move around after two days of driving, we emptied the PW, leaving only the final cleanup and drain the water system for the next morning. 

Once again, a great trip to the southwest.