Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Wow! That was close

No, we didn’t almost have an accident on our way home.  As a matter of fact, the driving went well—even had a tail wind for a few hours.  We ate lunch with the family on Saturday, sadly said our goodbyes and were on the road around 2:00 pm.  We had an awesome ten days and enjoyed seeing everyone so much.  However, it was time to let them get back into their routine.

We knew the Cary forecast on Saturday night was lower thirties which is concerning for the part of the plumbing in the PW that is on the outside.  For some reason, we thought we would be better off driving for a few hours.  I don’t know what we were thinking because we were driving toward the Smoky Mountains.  When I checked low temperature for Ashville, it said 24 degrees!  We didn’t want to continue to drive even higher into the mountains so we decided to make the best of it where we were.

I am not sure I got more than an hour sleep at a time because I kept jumping up and running a little water.  Finally, around five o’clock Dan got up and we ran a hose from the inside hot water into the water holding tank.  This was after we turned on the water and nothing came out for a few scary seconds.  We did the hot water transfer a couple more times and then took off down the road.

Every fifteen minutes I jumped up and ran water.  Only once did we have a delay but again it broke free.  By 9:00 am, the weather warmed up and we decided to take a little detour off I40 on to the Blue Ridge Parkway.  More tomorrow.

Friday, March 27, 2015

A Little Home Time

We are finally feeling confident in our ability to get where we want to go here in Cary.  For some reason,  we have been direction challenged.    However, we can now get from our campsite to the Hoobler home without GPS.

Speaking of home….



The wrap around porch certainly gives the southern feel and I know they will use it as the weather warms.  As with most homes in this area, they do not have a basement.  So, Dan & Marc have a project in the garage. 


This is called, “Creative Storage.”

We’ve been parked at the Jordan Lake State Park, which is only about 15 to 20 minutes away.  The kids have come out our way several evenings for a campfire and conversation.  Finally, last night we made use of our fishing license by catching  channel cat & strippers.  Evan was especially excited to catch one.




Thursday, March 26, 2015

Wrightsville Beach & Wilmington Brew

How great is it to live two hours from the beach?  Definitely a day trip.  We decided to check out the beach before lunch.  It was cloudy and still cool. 
The clouds seemed to be breaking so we decided to eat lunch in Wilmington and come back when it was warmer. 

Front Street Brewery had good reviews and rightfully so.  The beer was good and the food excellent. 
Not surprisingly, Aaron had the Mug of Bacon appetizer and Evan actually lost his other front tooth—and that was just while we were waiting for our main course.  Everyone said their food was excellent, but Dan & I thought our order of Shrimp and Grits with cheese sauce was exceptional.  It certainly was not a dish that would be found on a Kansas menu.

Back to the beach in the afternoon where we found surf and sun. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Research Triangle right now means three teams in Sweet 16

It also means the location of Marc’s new job.


As to the three colleges in the Triangle, we have visited the campus of two of the teams—North Carolina State last Sunday.  We went there to visit the University campus area and to visit a microbrewery with the promise of checking out truck food fare—a not so unusual thing to do in this area.

Our Philly’s Cheese Steak was excellent; as were the fries & of course beer. 

Image-1 (1) 

Today we visited Duke University specifically the Doris Duke Gardens.  The end of March might be a little early for most of the garden color, but the Magnolias' didn’t disappoint.  Kim and family will for sure be back to see the Discovery Garden where container gardening will be taken to a new level and the bees and chickens seemed to be a good idea.   Also the Rose Garden with its fountain and pergola as well as the annual and perennials throughout. 

Click here or on the picture, then on “slideshow” in the upper right hand of the web page.  I’m calling this display Evan’s Duke Garden Journey.


The Duke family’s fortune came from tobacco.  This picture is of one of their tobacco warehouses built in 1906.  It is now used for various organization offices affiliated with Duke University.


Monday, March 23, 2015

Road tripping again!

It’s been a long time since I updated so it will be hard to catch up in a few short sentences.  However, time at home between Phoenix and now pasted quickly as time can do when doing routine chores.  Not much of interest to write about but all of a sudden the trip to North Carolina was upon us and, that is exciting to write about.  So, here we go.

Our plan was to leave at noon on St Patrick’s Day, but it was three o’clock in the afternoon when I checked my watch driving up the driveway. The PW is headed east to visit Kim, Marc, Aaron, Adam and Evan.  They moved the first of the year and this will be the first time we visit them and their new home and city.

Despite the late start, we drove seven hours which took us to Mt. Vernon Illinois, a goal because that is where we drop south into Tennessee.  We brought our bikes with us this trip so The Cumberland River Trail at Ashland City, just outside of Nashville, seemed like a good break.  And, it was.  We didn’t ride the entire length but had to be close.  It was probably at least ten miles at that.


IMG_2212   This is a beautiful trail in the early spring.  We could only imagine how pretty it would be in the fall.

We had a goal of Ashville for this night, but came up short.  We didn’t want to wind down through the Smoky Mountains in the dark.

Thursday we pretty much kept the peddle to the metal with only a short stop at a Pawn Shop in Pittsville North Carolina.  We arrived at 132 Hamilton Hedge Place just as the kids were arriving home from school.  So good to see them.

Sleepiness has caught up with me so out and about around Cary and Jordan Lake will have to wait until tomorrow.









Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Saturday, February 21, 2015

We are home!

We watched the weather from the Phoenix area and decided we could slip north through a window of fairly nice weather Thursday and Friday.  And, we did.

The route is the most direct according to our GPS.  It is Phoenix to Holbrook AZ, then east on I 40 to Tucumcari NM and north, northeast to home.  We stayed in Ute Lake State Park just north of Tucumcari—at least that’s what the sign said, we never saw anything in the daylight—in after dark and gone before sunrise.

We needed to hustle because we wanted to get home before dark so we could unload and re-winterize. We stopped for a few things from the Overbrook grocery store and by the time we got everything unloaded, it was cold enough that  the water from the drained lines in the PW froze on the cement.  That’s cutting it close.  And to think, we were in shirt sleeves only 36 hours before. 

I do have a few observations and pictures from the drive home.

How many cars on a Texas Coal Train?  120

Along the highway in Guymon, Oklahoma, there is a drive in theater.  Well, that and a restaurant and RV park.  According to this web site, Eric and Alka Lammes reopened the drive in after it set vacant for 25 years and incorporated an RV park on the land.  How cool would it be to be able to watch a drive in movie from your RV.

Further up the road is Hooker Oklahoma.  According to their high school sign, they are the Horney Toads.  On the way out of town we passed the Hooker Inn.

Then there is Mullinville, Kansas/ IMG_6928and MT Liggett’s Whirligigs.  True folk art!


There’s even more on the other side of town.


Read more about Mr. Liggett’s art here.  He is a unique individual.

I’ll step back a couple days for the ATV ride in the Arizona hills in a day or so.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Wait, I thought you were going home

That’s probably what Kay and Lynn said when they got my text that we were still in town.  We thought we were headed home Monday morning and it is Tuesday evening as I write this.

When we checked the weather at Berryton on Sunday evening it said snow and very cold temperatures.  We decided not to brave bad roads and just stay put for a couple more days.

Anyway, we needed a day of rest. Monday was that day.  The only thing we did was go to the new Cabela’s store near the dome where the Super Bowl was played.  That trip made us realize how big this city actually is. 

Here we are in this picture telling Kay and Lynn goodbye.  What a good time at their home.  Good food and talk just as it is with old friends.

Here they are in front of their beautiful home


The adventure isn’t over.  Today we visited the mountains up close and personal. 

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Tortilla Flat and Olive Oil

We  visited Tortilla Flat before.  Frankly, it is pretty much a tourist place.  It is a pretty drive getting there and beyond, though.  Here are several pictures from that drive this morning. It was a surprise to me when I first saw these rugged mountains so close to the Phoenix area. Unfortunately, all the Tonto National Forest campgrounds are closed.   It’s too bad because this would be a beautiful place to stay a few days. 

IMG_6833 IMG_6847 This afternoon, Lynn, Dan and I drove to the Olive Mill.   We ate a whole loaf of olive bread dipped in vanilla Bean Olive Oil.  Oh my was it good.  There was live music setting up as we left around 4:30.  They had wine, of course olive oil and lots of other things to eat.   Definitely a great place to visit.

photo (2) What a treat to see  fresh vegetables growing in this container garden. 

photo (1)

Once again Lynn & Kay prepared a delicious meal.  We are getting spoiled.  

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Copper Mine, Farm Store then Arizona

The trip from our creekside mountain campsite to warm sun took about six hours.  We weren’t in a big hurry so we stopped by a Tractor Supply store in Silver City NM just to see what people in this part of the country buy at a farm store.  One thing notably missing was lawn mowers—no surprise there.  Lots of horse gear, but no baby chicks. 

Another stop before seeing New Mexico in the rear view mirror—and it is a big one—is the Chino Cooper Mine near Silver City.  This is an open pit mine IMG_6822 and they have essentially moved an entire mountain.  It all started in 1799 when an Apache Indian showed Jose Manuel Carrasco a outcropping of copper.  Since that time, the mine has gone through multiple owners and from small underground mines to the massage pit it is today.  The huge trucks hauling the ore look like ants down below.  And they are moving 24 hours a day.  

We are parked in Lost Dutchman State Park near Apache Junction Arizona.  This state park is a jewel.  Absolutely breathtaking view of Superstition Mountain.  Pictures and activities with friends later.

Monday, February 09, 2015

New Mexico top to bottom

We were planning on staying the night last night in Raton NM, but only made it to Trinidad, CO.  I think it was the coldest night we have ever spent in the PW.  We woke up at 5:30 am and decided to move down the road a while.  It was a good idea because here is what awaited us as we entered New Mexico. 


At Santa Fe we turned south on the Turquoise Scenic Trail.  One of the more interesting small towns with past mining history and now artist community was Madrid.  It would have been a good place to spend a little time, but we knew we had miles ahead.  The Trail is rich with history including Cerrillos which was once New Mexico’s capitol and historical locations of Indian missions.  Between the small towns were   scrub pines and cactus with mountain ranges far in the distance.  Or, there would be a small mountain thrusting out of flat terrain.  



About 100 miles north of El Paso, we turned west on scenic 152 over Emery Pass in the Mimbres Mountains.  Emery Pass was named for Lt William Hensley Emery who in 1846 scouted the then Mexican territory for the United States.  The mountains in this range are made up of  Tertiary Volcanic and Paleozoic sedimentary rocks.  Although parts of the drive reminded us of Colorado, the small trees and Yucca like plants that we’ve since decided are a miniature palm set it apart. The horseshoe turns and steep drop offs took us up to the 8,000 foot pass. 

We knew the campgrounds were all closed for the winter through this pass, but we were able to snag a scenic off road spot anyway. 


We have enjoyed this beautiful drive but tomorrow will be headed to what our friends Kay and Lynn call Land of the Sun.

Sunday, February 08, 2015

Warm Sunday in Colorado

It has hardly seemed like are in Colorado in early February.  We’ve been outside in shirtsleeves and shorts.  Crazy.

What to Coloradans do on a warm day in the winter?  Hike.  So that’s what we did—only they did a easy one for those in the group who were not used to the altitude (and a little more than out of shape).

Everyone went except Trent.

IMG_6732 Even little Eve.  What a trouper with those short little legs.

IMG_6739 Look out Gunner is shaking!  Eve isn’t sure of the water yet.  She’s interested though.

IMG_6740 After a fried fish dinner, we loaded up and are off for points further south. 

Saturday, February 07, 2015

Western Museum of Mining & Industry

We are out on the road again for a while.  I always look forward to these roadtrips.  We are headed southwest so it makes sense that we would first spend a couple days with our Colorado kids. 

We did a rough calculation on the way out and decided there is a chance we’ve made this trip 50 to 60 times.  So, you would think we have seen everything interesting and fun around the Colorado Springs area.  However, there is one place we’ve missed over the years—the mining museum. And it is only about 10 minutes from Monument.

This museum was incorporated in 1970 with the intent of preserving the mining history of Colorado.  That it does very well for the $6 - $8 admission, which includes a tour and a chance to pan for gold.

The tour begins with a walk through a simulated mine tunnel where we were shown how the veins of ore are broken out of the rock and brought up from the ground. 

First, it begins with how the men were dropped down into the mines.  Then we were shown the steps in blasting the ore and finally bring the ore back to the surface. Throughout we were reminded how dangerous this whole process was and to some extent still is.  Men lost eyesight and hearing not to mention their lives. Men who work in the mines, especially in the early days of mining,  were brave, strong and fearless. 

The second part of the tour we were shown the machines used to crush the ore, to provide power to bring the ore and men up out of the mines and provide air. 

IMG_6722This was just one of them.  It’s hard to capture how  big this flywheel actually was. This part of the tour was interesting because each of the machines actually ran.

After we watched a short movie about the history of mining in Colorado, Trent & Carly panned  their gold—really they both found some tiny gold. 

IMG_6727 Finally, we were introduced to Nugget and Chism.  They are the two resident burros.  Before steam power, burros were used to pull ore out of the mines.  They were often the only companions of the early gold prospectors.

IMG_6730  Definitely the Mining Museum should be a destination for anyone in the Colorado Springs area.

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Looking for that camera angle


I promised to show my little secret to the picture taken last night. I know, a little hokey.  But, if no one is around to take shot of us in the scenery, you have to admit,  this is the ticket.

Taking pictures of ourselves is not the reason I put out the $8 to purchase this extension, though.  I am excited to try it taking pictures from unusual angles.  How about over a cliff…or out the window…or over the top of a fence!  There are so many possibilities. 

My big camera is way too heavy.  I can barely hold my little camera still enough for a good picture.  Maybe it would help if I set the timer for a shorter time. 

I can’t wait to try this—I may get an opportunity in the next couple weeks!   

Happy Birthday to me!!

It was a great day.  I may be a bit prejudice when it comes to hard copy birthday cards.  It might be due to the fact that it was my job for so many years to bring those little bits of joy to birthday celebrants when they opened their mailbox.  And, I still love getting them.

I will have to admit, though, that it is a lot of fun to find those “Happy Birthday” wishes from Facebook family and friends.  What I like about social media is that it brings those who probably would otherwise never know it is my birthday  back into my life for just this short time.   All those positive thoughts came though to help make this day special.

Tonight neighbors came by for pizza and dessert.  We were glad we didn’t have to get out because it was cold and miserable with the snow today.  In keeping with the trend, here is our selfie—taken with a selfie stick, which I will write about later.


Wait—I just noticed Steve is taking a picture of me taking a picture of him.  Fun evening!