Thursday, July 14, 2016

50th Anniversary Celebration

We debated how to celebrate our anniversary.  Here are ideas our friends are doing with their families:  community party, Costa Rica (2 families), Breckinridge CO, resort in Sedona AZ…1966 was a good year. 

We finally settled on a destination celebration, starting right here at home.

First, we were so pleased that all of our nine family members could get off work and celebrate with us.  It is no small task to pack everyone up and drive a little over 500 miles (Colorado family) and 1000 miles (North Carolina family) to our place.  But, what a treat for Dan and me.  We had beds for everyone & I hope plenty of food.

This celebration occurred over the 4th.  As per request from multiple grandkid—and kid--we manage to blow up a lot of fireworks.  It was hot enough that it didn’t take long for everyone to find our swimming hole below the house.  We managed to celebrate Dan’s and Evan’s birthday as well.

Then it was on to Lake of the Ozarks where Drue’s family has a lake house.  We were there for a couple of days, enjoying the water and just hanging out. 

Finally, on to the North Fork of the White River for a day of floating.  It was  beautiful on the river—even had a few sprinkles to cool everyone off. 

As usual, I have a slide show.  Sometimes it is easier to just let the pictures tell the story.   If you have an Apple product click either on this link or click on this picture and it will take you to the pictures.IMG_8810-1

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Prairie Fire Winery

Two weeks ago, Dan’s brother and wife invited us to join them to visit the Prairie Fire Winery in the Flint Hills of Kansas.  I know, Flint Hills and wine? 

Well, according to the owners, the Hills and grape vines are a amazingly well suited.

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The gently sloping hillsides and porous soil provide the needed drainage for the many varieties of plants which  have  been meticulously studied for Kansas climate.  The staff will be happy to share the winery story while providing tastes.  (In the interest of full disclosure, they do charge for sampling, but the pour is generous)

Owners Bob DesRuisseaux and his wife Julie are quick to tell you, as they do on their web site,  their winery also has a commitment to, “to the sustainability and success of family farms and ranches” and will open their operation to those interested to learn.  

The best part of a visit to Prairie Fire is their wine, which we thought was excellent.  They advertise 17 labels and with that there is something for everyone.  I am not sure they have all 17 at once, but the four of us have widely different tastes and we easily found a wine that appealed to all.

We walked to the top of the hill where there is  a 360 view of those lovely flowing green hills.  Then back to the tasting room to determine which wine to enjoy and then settled in to enjoy an easy afternoon of wine, cheese and conversation from this patio.

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Along with the good wine and beautiful location, it’s close.  Only located  few miles off I70 south of Exit 335 or the Snokomo exit, it is about 23 miles from the Sam’s store off I70 on the west side of Topeka. 

We’ll be back!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Friends

If you are wondering what this post is about, read the crazy thing I did yesterday!  Actually, this is an awesome song.  I think we sang it as a “round.”  Does anyone do that anymore?

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Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Roses

Christi and Tom’s anniversary was just a couple days before ours.  Tom gave Christi roses, then she brought them to me so I could enjoy them while she was on vacation.  They were beautiful as a bouquet, but for some reason, I didn’t get a picture.

Today I decided to hang them to dry as they were looking tired.  Don’t ask me why, but I like this picture of the roses hanging upside down in the basement. 

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Then I had another idea (and some would say too much time on my hands, but truth is I was procrastinating on painting the bathroom). 

This is a song.  I’ll put the lyrics in tomorrow’s post. It is a complete song, one we used to sing at Y-Teen and church camp.  The last three flowers are a hint.  It’s about friends—I thought it appropriate.  Really, I would never in a million years guess it, but here you go:

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It’s hot today—maybe it’s making me a little crazy!  If you know it, put it in the comments.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Thank you for the comments

I usually don’t link my postings from here on Facebook, but I couldn’t resist sharing our anniversary day.  So enjoyed hearing from long time family and friends.  And loyal readers of this humble blog.

Paul and Janice came by yesterday afternoon with a “bouquet” that had been delivered to their door.  It was awesome!  Delicious too.

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Back to work today.  The green beans in the garden are hitting their stride!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

50 Years Ago Today!

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Harvest was beginning and it was hot 50 years ago today.  Sunday weddings were common back then so relatives didn’t have to miss farm work time.  During harvest, though, Sunday was just another work day.  So, with the heat and the most important time of the year beginning, relatives and friends gathered, celebrated enthusiastically with us and took off for home and the fields. 

Wedding days are just that though—a day.  We should call a wedding day a “Wedding Beginning.”

So, our Wedding Beginning was 50 years ago today.  There are so many cliques—“where as the time gone”  “It seems like yesterday”  They are all true.  But, most importantly, as the song says, we have truly loved through the adventures and….. the word here won’t come to me because how can I put a word or words to all that 50 years of marriage brings.  However, there is one word that readily comes to mind besides love when living life for 50 years together—we have fun.  Hardly a day goes by that we don’t laugh together.  All the other emotions two people bring to a marriage are balanced when laughter is added. 

We have two very special children who we love and were the focus of our marriage during their (which seems short) formative years. They now have their own families with spouses we love and grandchildren we cherish. We look forward to being a part of their lives in some small way as they move forward to provide a nurturing environment for their children as I hope we did for them.

We are celebrating over the 4th of July when both families are coming home!  We have fun times planned then.  Today, we are happy and satisfied with our life.  What more could a couple married 50 years want.

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Black helicopters on a mission

Back in the mail route days I sometimes listened to local talk radio.  There was a theory among some that called in that the black helicopters that flew around the area were on secret missions. 

That seemed hard to believe since we saw them so often.  The flight pattern was definitely following the Wakarusa river—sometimes a bit north, so we could almost see inside. 

As of last week, we now know a whole lot more about the helicopters.  They are not on secret missions but training missions.

They are a part of the 1st Battalion, 108th Aviation Regiment Kansas Army National Guard located at Forbes Field in Topeka.  Equipped with UH-60A helicopters, a few of the many unit assignments are to deploy to wartime theater of operations; occupy assigned tactical assembly areas; and prepare for and conduct combat operations. 

We are privileged to now know about the helicopters that we’ve watch fly for years is because an Iraq veteran and full time pilot for the 108th has recently moved into a beautiful home near where we live.  Well, he and his wife and two children. 

He invited several neighbors to take a tour and we were excited to be included. We learned a little about how the helicopters fly—it is as complicated as I imagined.  He shared how it was working in a war zone.  He allowed us to take pictures, so here are a few.  Several were taken by our new neighbor’s son.

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Monday, June 06, 2016

Memorial Day Cemeteries

Dan and I enjoy visiting cemeteries.  There are so many stories there.

Early in May, it was a beautiful evening so we decided to find the geocache in the Overbrook Cemetery.  The flowers were beautiful—the car isn’t bad!

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The day was muggy when we visited our parents cemeteries on May 25th.  And, just as we arrived home all the severe weather broke out near the Chapman area, only about 15 or so miles from where we were decorating graves only a few hours before.. 

Left  sunflowers at Mom & Dad’s.  And roses at Dan’s parents.

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Decided to pick up a geocache on the way home at this beautiful stone abandoned Catholic church cemetery.  It is located in the flint hills south of I70.

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There was a geocache at this cemetery in Wabaunsee county.  Beautiful location to view the green, rolling Flint Hills.

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Same spot, opposite direction:

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Finally, we visited a Native American burial plot near Paxico last Saturday afternoon. 

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It was after we walked around reading stones and dates that we noticed a sign that asked all who visited to not walk through the plot as it was considered sacred ground by the tribe.

A special visit and then wrapping Up

The trip to North Carolina was fun, but it was over a month ago.  I need to wrap it up and get back to what’s going on around here.  But, first, some special family.

Before returning to Kansas from Savannah, we visited Dan’s nieces in Alabama.  It is always good to see them! 

This beautiful mother/daughter team are horse whispers.  It is always fun to see their new additions to their little farm, including the horses-in-training.  And, the deer steaks were delicious. 

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Then it was on to see the new little addition to our extended family.  I think Granma is feeling very proud as she should be. 

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Saturday, April 23, 2016

Fort Pulaski and Tybee Island

Savannah graciously allowed us to sleep in the welcome area one night, but we didn’t want to take advantage of its generously.  So, late afternoon we headed toward Tybee Island.

On the way out to the outer bank, we were looking forward to riding a rail to trail, namely McQueen’s Island Rail to Trail.

This RTT is on a part of the Savannah Atlantic Rail Road line.  Tybee Island was (and still is) a refreshing destination for the humid conditions of Savannah.  Driving a carriage out required navigating marshes and all that live within.  So, a railroad was built in 1887.  However, in 1923 a road was constructed which led to the demise of the railroad.

The trail follows the South Channel of the Savannah River.  There are beautiful river views and marshes filled with sounds.  Unfortunately, we were only able to ride about three miles out  because the trail was closed for construction.  It will be six miles one way when reopened.  From where we were parked, we also rode our bikes into the Fort Pulaski National Monument.

Construction on Fort Pulaski began in 1829 and took 18 years to finish.  It was considered to be invincible and stood to guard the river approaches to Savannah.  It was not quite complete when the Civil War broke out but it was transferred to the Confederate States of America.  In 1861, The Federal troops were able to secure Tybee Island and set about bombing the Fort.  The Federal army had a new cannon which opened wide holes in the side of the fort.  Fearing the possibility of igniting the main powder magazine, the Confederate troups retreated leaving the fort to be occupied by the Federal troups the remainder of the war.  By 1880, the fort was occupied only by a caretaker and lighthouse keeper and was made a National Monument in 1924.

Tybee Island has beautiful beaches and vacation homes.  We walked out on the beach, enjoying the sunset with a picnic.  They had just completed a day of shooting the new movie Baywatch.  No, we didn’t see Zac Efron, The Rock or Pamela Anderson for that matter.  It will be fun to see the familar sights in the movie though.  If interested in more pictures, click here or on the picture.

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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.