My blogging efforts are focusing on our family history/legacy of World War II. When Bill and I visited family over Thanksgiving, we dug into a treasure trove of family history. This post is the first of many as we look towards Memorial Day 2023 when we will honor our three WWII family veterans, Bill’s parents, and my dad. Yes, Bill’s mom served with her sister! We have always been proud of them but little did we really know or understand what they went through. Our regret is that we now see missed opportunities to hear more from them firsthand. We hope to learn more as we dig into their history.
Both my husband and I are so honored to have parents who served during WWII. Bill is doubly honored as both his mom and dad served. Not together, but met soon after returning home. I started this blog with a tribute to my dad, click here. I’ve written a tribute to Bill’s amazing momhere and shared her WWII letters here.
This is the first of a multi-part series as I plan to write about the actual service of all three of our WWII vets. Our neighborhood has an active Veterans Association. As such, twice a year, they hold patriotic ceremonies to honor the service and memories of the loved ones of our residents. This blog is a result of our desire to…
This is our final hike and post of our fabulous Fall and water fall trip to Sapphire, NC! The waterfalls were what caught Bill’s attention, this is a place to hike with lots of great rewards. Our last post, contained two hikes in the Gorges State Park. Our first post contained the best waterfalls we could find in this area. So this one was a bit more about challenges, some waterfalls but the view was the best of all our hikes. We didn’t know that when we selected it – which is our usual method. What we do know is that you can’t drive anywhere with out seeing beauty in this area!
We have three more hikes to share while we were in Sapphire, NC. The first two, in our last post, were the most spectacular! But the other three were still great hikes, very challenging and encouraging to me, Debbie.
I mention my knees issues every once in a while. I am so grateful I can still hike! I was told in 2004, I’d need a partial knee replacement in five years. Never happened. I found a different doctor who prescribed a better regimen but I was also told to avoid stairs. So I do as much as possible. I have had two meniscus repairs on each knee. My last X-rays were very encouraging, no knee replacements in either in my future. Can I shout, Praise the Lord!!! It really is miraculous because I did abuse my knees with long distance running in the beautiful city of Philadelphia, but on the sidewalks. My mom warned me I would wear out my knees. I was a bit disrepectful and said God created them to run so I’ll be OK. Needless to say, mom was right! I have to use caution with any activities. I can’t walk fast let alone run, but I can take slow walks on hard packed dirt or sand and I can HIKE! There is something about being in and around God’s creation that brings me much peace and joy!
9/13/2022 Windy Hills Fall hike – attempted but failed.
Our first hike in the Gorges State Park was more or less a failure. We thought we were hiking to another beautiful waterfall, called Windy Falls. There are pictures of it in the All Trails App but it was impossible for us to hike to see it using the app and designated trail. There is a glitch of some sort. However, we still had a great time and learned we should not climb over road closure arm. We entered Toxaway Game Land. It wasn’t marked. We were told Gorges State Park was NC’s newest campground so perhaps that was why there wasn’t better signage.
Let me back up. I should start at the beginning of our day. Using All Trails App, we looked for great hikes closer to us. Gorges State Park was only about 15-20 minute drive. We had plans to at least hike 6 if not more miles. Normally, we stop in Visitor Centers, especially when it is so convenient to the trail head. We decided we wanted to hit the trail and, after all, the All Trails App had the trail map and a great review to Windy Hill Fall trail then on to the Rainbow Falls. Follow our hike in the slide show, below. It looked well marked in the beginning. But as noted above, we hit a glitch;
After the fact, we realized we could have had a disaster as we descended. I couldn’t take pictures and use my poles most of the way from the barricade to the end of the trail. It was narrow, lots of roots and rocks. The review warned us of this so we were not concerned. But by the time we could go no further, we realized we made a mistake. In the Visitor Center, we later learned we had entered Toxaway Game Land. There were no warning signs, but maybe a barricade was a clue we weren’t entering a viable State Park trail. While we wanted to hike more miles, we encountered another couple that let us know, we needed to call it a day.
9/14/2022 Rainbow Falls and Turtle Back Falls
As mentioned above, had intentions of ALSO hiking to Rainbow Falls the day before. To get to the Rainbow Falls, there is a steep descent – so one must be prepared to climb back up and out. We literally bumped into a really nice couple in the parking lot, then ended up hiking the entire trail with them. They were maybe 15 years younger but were novice hikers. Perhaps they thought we might need help since we had hiking poles. We thought they might need help since we’re so “experienced.” We were tipped off the day before, it is a tough trail. We did fine. We actually were forced to go slow because there were a lot of other hikers. What they learned from us was to get hiking poles!
Follow our hike in this slide show. To read the captions, click on the first image then view as a slide show:
This trail was challenging for those not used to hiking. Unless one reads the description of it at the trail head, they may not realize the challenges. The day before, we met a couple who just finished the hike. We had gone nearly four miles challenging miles, they said this one was also challenging in the descent then ascent.
While we waited to get our pictures taken, we talked to an “urban” couple. They wanted to experience a lot of fresh air on their vacation. They had no idea what they were in for, but in their determination, they made it to the Falls. However, it was slippery and the woman lost her footing and slide down. Fortunately, the fence caught her! It was a heart stopping moment. Thankfully, she was not injured. We met up with them on our way back to the car. The were sitting on a bench about 1/4 mile from the parking lot. They were catching their breath. They had not carried water but had some in their car. They needed a drink so we offered to go get it. They thanked us and said they learned some valuable lessons if they ever decide to take a “hike!”
Stay tuned for our final hike to Salt Rock Gap trails. It’s been nearly two months since we were here. Writing this up has helped us to book another trip here – in the Spring.
My final thoughts as I finish this post:
The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and He helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise Him!”
Bill continues to serve as our Travel Adventure Director. He never disappoints. I am always amazed at the places he finds for us. So for this quick one week trip as close to home as possible with challenging hikes, we traveled to Sapphire, NC. He said he picked this area because of all the water falls.
First, a bit about our accommodations at Fairway Forest Resort. We are members of RCI (Resorts Condominiums International). We needed a better way to travel after giving up Recreational Vehicles. We actually stumbled upon this travel idea. It is too complicated to explain, let’s just say it is working for us. This week was our ninth week since joining a year ago. The condos are fully furnished with fully equipped kitchens. We have not been disappointed in any of our accommodations. This one ranked up as one of the best – but then I seem to say that after every week. Maybe our expectations are lowered, or maybe they are higher, no matter, our expectations each trip so far have been exceeded.
Our two story condo was on a golf course, next to a National Forest with a babbling brook running nearby. The sound was so soothing! The outside appearance was really not all that lovely, but inside, it was perfect. We had a two bedroom, two bath. Full kitchen, dining table, living area with a fireplace, sliding doors from both of these areas are technically on the second floor and went out to a large balcony and overlooked a hidden golf course. Stairs are my nemesis but these were carpeted, not steep and easy on my knees. The stairs went downstairs to the master bedroom ensuite. HUGE jetted bathtub with a separate shower. Full washer and dryer with plenty of closets and drawers to unpack. We also had a sliding glass door to an outside patio. I have lots of photos but really, they do not do it justice.
We went on five fabulous hikes, plus visited with friends who have a cabin in the area. Little did we know we were staying so close to them so it was bonus to spend an evening with them.
September 11, 2022 Glen Falls Trail
My review on All Trails, which I rated four out of five stars: We like to hike to falls wherever we can. We’re in this area for a week because of all the Falls. This hike had the most robust and gorgeous falls! The trail was challenging so it was well worth the length and rewards. We had poles – and needed them for balance around some mud, all the roots and rocks. These are natural in a forest! The trail was well traveled but no signs after the first one. Fortunately someone familiar with it helped us at one junction-not marked. Conditions: Muddy, Rocky, Great!
Sadly, I had a hard time getting the All Trails App to record the hike. But I used my Apple Watch which said it was about three miles. We had a picnic at the bottom of the trail. It was a three and back.
A slide show of a few pictures:
September 12, 2022 Nantahala Whitewater Falls & Foothills Trail
My review from All Trails, which earned five stars out of five! Fabulous! We started at the Whitewater Falls, then hopped on the foothills trail to Grassy Knob. Great views. Two areas with benches as we climbed Grassy Knob. Trail was excellent, just one area needs maintenance from fallen trees. We need to carry a saw!
Stats: Length, 4.81 miles (Actual was 5 miles); Elevation gain 702 ft; Moving time 3:02:08
And we thought Glenn Falls was fabulous. This is THE WATERFALL that makes this area famous for waterfalls! From the Forest Service website:
“Whitewater Falls owes its existence to the Blue Ridge Escarpment, a sharp drop in elevation between the mountains and the Piedmont.
“With a 411-foot plunge, Upper Whitewater Falls in North Carolina is the highest waterfall east of the Rockies. South Carolina’s Lower Whitewater Falls falls another 400 feet.
“Because of the escarpment’s difficult access and rugged terrain, much of the area receives few visitors and has remained wild and undeveloped over the years.”
A slide show with captions of a few pictures:
In a recent Bible study, we looked at Psalms 90. I thought of our wonderful time in these beautiful mountains and the prayer of Moses:
“A prayer of Moses the man of God. Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations. Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the whole world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.”
We still have three more days of hiking to share. So stay tuned. We liked this area so much, we are returning in the Spring!
Oh my, a precious remembrance of Colin as he prepared for his 4th birthday. Can you believe his 9th birthday is this month??? I started a new YouVersion Bible Reading plan this morning that brought back this past Bible Reading Plan.
By Brady Boyd, restoring healthy communication in how you think talk and pray.
I just love it when I am down in the dumps, our Lord reaches down to me and pulls me up with something amazing! And this morning it started with the daily scripture on my YouVersion Bible app:
What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me – practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:9
Then the app asked me if I’d like to see devotional plans related to this scripture – and then I saw it, “Speak Life.” Oh, yes, one of my favorite (I have about 1,000) worship songs. But this one is really special as I try, oh how I try, to speak life to all my loved ones, friends and family. But I fail time and time again.
In case you don’t know us,this blog was started to share the story about our marriage (4/11/1975),separated in August 1988, divorced (12/13/1989), reconciliation, and remarriage (8/19/1989). When we married, like all young couples, we had a dream of living happily ever. That dream was shattered 13 years later. Then a miracle happened. And we know for any divorced couple to be restored back to holy matrimony, it takes a miracle. You can read our story by starting here. There are links with chapter headings for 26 marriage blog posts. Once we became grandparents in 2013, we changed the blog site to write about our travel adventures. And here we are, in our second week of travel adventures in April 2022.
We are thanking God I can indeed still hike! In our younger days, until just a few years ago 😁, we went for long-distance hikes – for us, six + miles. So I am excited to know how much/or little, I can still hike! Anyway, here is a recap of our second week and what is ahead in this and the remaining posts about our time in northeastern Massachusetts:
The week of April 23 – 30, 2022 4/23/2022 Canoe Meadows Wildlife Sanctuary Trail (Hiked 3.2 miles) 4/24/2022 Shaker Village (walked 3.4 miles) 4/25/2022 Mahanna Cobble Bousquet Loop (Hiked 5.9 miles) 4/26/2022 Toured Ventfort Hall 4/27/2022 Shaker Mountain (Hiked 3.9 miles) 4/28/2022 Deerfield MA (toured the historic town, walked 2.4) 4/29/2022 Bradley Farm Interpretative Trail at Greylock Mountain (Hiked 2.4 miles – although we hoped for a 6+ mile hike) 4/30/2022 Drove to Winchester, Virginia (We celebrated our daughter’s birthday)
When we traveled full time in our motor home, we preferred to not drive more than 250 miles in one day for a variety of reasons. One of our main reasons was so we could still do something, such as a long walk, on our day of travel. Our drive from Wilmington to Pittsfield was perfect and reminded us of how we traveled in the past. By design, it was only a 45-mile trip to change mountain ranges! So it took over 80 minutes. Here is a slideshow of the drive as well as both the inside and outside of the Berkshire Mountain Lodge, where we stayed:
In our last blog post, we didn’t get any feedback from the “Relive” app which creates a short “movie.” That one was our drive through the Green Mountains, from Wilmington, Vermont to Hildene in Manchester, Vermont. I tracked our drive from Wilmington to Pittsfield. Relive then makes a video, which I’ve posted it below. Bill has enjoyed these because as the driver, he misses some of the scenery! I know I am enjoying watching Appalachian through-hikers using the app. It is amazing technology. Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below:
Once we arrived and put everything away, we headed out to Canoe Meadows Wildlife Sanctuary Trail. It was just over three miles away, less than a 10-minute drive to get there. Perhaps we had been a bit too aggressive on our hikes in Vermont. We decided on our first day here, we start on a flatter trail. And this was the perfect trail for us, for the most part. There was one very swampy area that was challenging. I was unable to take any pictures because I was too busy balancing with my poles as I tiptoed over roots, branches, rocks, and whatever else to not get my feet and shoes soaking wet. We were successful. Phew! Here is a slide show that documents the beauty and you can see the potential for difficult areas to traverse:
Bill not only selected the condo, but he also figures out great places to visit. He uses both Trip Advisor as well as Pinterest. The Shaker Village was on his list. We previously toured and enjoyed the South Union Shaker Village (1807-1922) in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Quoting myself from that blog post: “One thing we like to do as we travel is to learn unusual history and to honor those whose lives are memorialized in museums, in parks, gardens, and even cemeteries.” The Shakers fall into all of these categories at the Hancock Shaker Village.
April 24, 2022 – Hancock Shaker Village, Massachusetts We didn’t learn any more about these particular farmers. Interesting as we learned in the South Union Shaker Village, they kept meticulous records and diaries. I am sure the information is there, just not readily available. We questioned the one docent we met in the cellar of the Brick Dwelling why they may have not only made a big donation, but in essence, turned their lives and the lives of their children over to a relatively new “religious” order. He surmised life was very hard then and this offered the help needed to survive. An interesting note, to be a Shaker, one must take a vow of celibacy as well as turn their children over to the “village” to be cared for. The children actually contributed with age-appropriate chores. Anyway, this village endured until the last remaining partials of ground were sold off by the few remaining members in 1959. From the website:
Hancock Shaker Village began in the late 1780s, when nearly 100 Believers consolidated a community on land donated by local farmers who had converted to the Shaker movement. By the 1830s, with a great many more conversions and additional land acquisitions, the Shaker community peaked in population with more than 300 Believers and more than 3,000 acres.
During the height of their growth, religious fervor, and influence, the Hancock Shakers erected communal dwelling houses, barns, workshops, and other buildings, and developed a large and successful farm. With the 1826 Round Stone Barn as the center of a thriving dairy industry, and with many acres cultivated in medicinal herbs, vegetables, fruits, and other crops, the Hancock Shakers enjoyed a simple, peaceful, and hard-working life, separated from the ways of “The World.” They named their utopian village The City of Peace, and organized the large community into six smaller communal groups known as Families for efficiency of work, worship, and administration.
The Shakers were proficient in a wide array of crafts, trades and industries, including woodworking and metalworking, basketry, spinning, weaving and broom making. They developed their own water-powered mills for grinding grain, sawing wood, and manufacturing textiles. The Shakers were highly regarded for their honesty and industriousness, and for the quality of their products, which became an important source of income.
Eventually, forces outside the community, including the industrial revolution and the shifting of America from a rural to an urban society, worked against their continued growth and stability. By the early 1900s, with dwindling converts, the Shaker population at Hancock declined to about 50 Believers, most of them Sisters and orphan girls who had been adopted by the community, and only a few adult Brethren.
Many outlying acres of land were sold off, and buildings were razed during the final decades of the Hancock community. In 1959, when the Shakers could no longer maintain their City of Peace, they sold the remaining property to a local group committed to preserving the Shaker heritage. The utopian village known as Hancock Shaker Village continues its life today as a history museum with 20 authentic buildings, a working farm and significant collections of Shaker furniture and artifacts.”
I enjoyed this village more than the one in Bowling Green, Kentucky because it felt more alive to me! The event for the month was the “History of Baby Animals” so there were many families with young children. This was definitely a place I would want to bring our (young) grandsons.
Bill preferred the other one because we were first shown an informational movie. There were only a handful of others there so it was more “peaceful.” Also, the few Docents working were able to answer all of our questions and provide us with lots of information. Bill also didn’t see any references here to the fact, we were told upfront at the other Village, the Shakers in essence became extinct because of their vows of celibacy. He also thought we were better informed there about their religious practices. Did you know they were called Shakers because in their worship of God, they “shook” in their fervor?
In preparing for this blog post, I found this YouTube video about the Hancock Shaker Village which actually shows the beauty and explains the more about the village:
A Registered National and Historic Landmark and such a beautiful “farm”
We enjoyed our time here as it was a beautiful day and we managed to get in enough miles. Although we did not go visit a physical church, we watched our home church service on-line before we came. Had we come earlier, we probably would have included a hike up Shaker Mountain, but we returned another day for that hike. Which was more challenging than we expected.
Here are a few more pictures of things I didn’t see or notice in the YouTube video:
Oh my, I almost forgot to show my favorite animal on the farm. I was just fascinated and wished I had taken a video. But at least I have this remnant:
Some final thoughts before we move to our next blog post. This farm is sustainable and there are many lessons to learn here about farming. One important lesson for farmers is how this farm used solar energy 200 years ago! And as technology advanced, this farm has become part of a Community Shared Solar Retail enterprise. I found interesting details from an article on this website “Village: Powered by the Sun for Over 200 Years:”
Throughout the Village there are many examples of ways in which the Shakers efficiently used what today we would call “green” or “sustainable” building and architectural features, and “renewable” or “alternative” energy.”
“Borrowed light” in the Brick Dwelling (1830) Windows placed on interior south-facing walls bring sunlight further into building, reducing the need for artificial lighting (minimizing the use of candles, oil lamps, and electricity). In addition, interior windows ensure better ventilation. Also note the woodstove placement at the center of the room and the long stove pipe; both provide more efficient heating. ca. 1930s Collection of Hancock Shaker Village #1986-1320
Passive solar gain in the Brick Poultry House (1878) The large number of south-facing windows provided heat and light in winter, keeping the Shakers’ chickens healthy, and increasing egg production. The amount of passive solar energy gained from these windows during the winter heating season is equivalent to 6 barrels (252 gallons) of oil. ca. 1915-1920 Collection of Hancock Shaker Village #1995-5821, album p. 12
What is even better, the Solar Retail Enterprise provides another source of income to preserve this farm, museum and educational entities. Visit this article and website for more details, Hancock Shaker Village Getting Greener.
This makes me want to move to a Solar Farm! What a great way to provide electricity for personal use while providing electricity for near by homes/communities. Now to figure out how to grow our own gardens and care for the chickens, eggs and protect them from wildlife. I’m not sure about the pig, though. Something about him that just didn’t sit right….Oh well, back to my dream!
Up next a few hikes and a tour of a mansion. More history to learn.
God made two big lights, the larger to take charge of Day, The smaller to be in charge of Night; and he made the stars. God placed them in the heavenly sky to light up Earth And oversee Day and Night, to separate light and dark. God saw that it was good. It was evening, it was morning— Day Four.”
Since our last two hiking trips in Missouri, Bill has wanted to go to the Berkshire Mountains in Massachusetts. But we had to wait for a few issues to be taken care of and for the weather to warm up. Finally, everything came together in April. As a bonus, we were able to fit a week in Vermont first, then to the Berkshires the following week.
Here is a quick recap of our week in Wilmington, Vermont, with the details in two blog posts:
The week of April 16-23, 2022
April 16 Arrived but first took a tour of the Visitor Center Bennington VT April 17 Easter Service, snow, Hoot toot whistle trail (hiked 4.6 miles) April 18 Haystack Mt. (Hiked 4.1 miles) April 19 Day off hiking so drove to NH for groceries April 20 West Lake Trail (Hiked 6.2 miles) April 21Catamount Cross Country Ski Trail (Hiked 3.3 miles) April 22 Toured Hildene Mansion April 23 Drove to Pittsfield, MA
On April 16, 2022, we arrived in Wilmington, Vermont with no expectations. Bill only had a few days to book the week but thought it might work out. It was also Easter weekend so thankfully, there were openings. After all, this is the cold north so, unlike other “warmer” locations we tried, there was availability. I trusted my Travel Guide, my husband, on this one. Thankfully, he exceeded ANY expectations I could have had!
We stayed in the historic Crafts Inn, 10 West Main St., Wilmington, Vermont. From the informative website:
A little history about The Crafts Inn
The Crafts Inn, along with Memorial Hall (which is next door), were designed by architects, Mead, McKim & White, with the New York firm of Stanford White. White was considered one of the preeminent architects of his time. The architectural designing of the Inn and Hall was started in 1898, Memorial Hall was opened mid-December 1902 in time to have Christmas celebrations for the town, and Craft’s Inn was opened on February 10, 1903 by Major F. W. Childs and was called ‘Childs Tavern’ at that time. The hotel was built more as a resort for visitors who would be staying for an extended period, as opposed to other accommodations in the area, designed largely for travelers passing through. A lot of people would come up from the city. The men would send their families up for a long-term stay, maybe for a month during the summer. It was a very popular place back then….”
A few pictures inside and outside:
The best feature of not only the Inn, but the town, was the relaxing environment. From my first phone call to the Inn about two hours before our check-in, until we checked out and drove away, we were impressed. The staff was second to none. All were very friendly and wanted to make sure our stay was the best.
About the only thing we could complain about this week was the unpredictable weather! Friends and family thought we were a bit crazy to head so far north in mid-April. BUT I did check the weather forecast and there was absolutely NO snow predicted. I should have taken a picture of a sign that indicated the snow season was over on April 15. Remember, we arrived on April 16. We had a nice snow shower Sunday afternoon but it didn’t stick. But as everyone in Vermont knows, you can never take the weather for granted! Monday, warnings were issued, between 5 – 8″ of snow was coming Tuesday evening! But I am ahead of our week in Vermont.
This was NEVER in the forecast when we made our reservations. We are glad, otherwise, we would have missed one of our best hikes ever!
April 17, 2022, Sunday was Easter so of course, we had to find a church. No problem, there was a precious young fellowship around the corner, in a historic church building. We found such a wonderful body of believers and heard an outstanding message for this most Holy of our holidays. While it was hard to not be with any of our family members, I told them, I felt like we were with long-lost relatives – after all, we really are family!
“He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.” Matthew 28:6
After church and eating, it was time to get acclimated to the terrain. We were surprised it began to snow as we headed out. Seriously! Bill said we’ll just stay out as long as we don’t get cold. It was only a five-minute walk from the Craft Inn.
Here is a slide show of the rest of our first exciting Vermont hike:
This was an excellent trail! It was well marked and had plenty of beauty along the way. It had rained a lot the day before and then the wintery mix as we started. So there were some soggy and slippery areas. We decided to walk back via a hard-packed gravel road in the interest of time. Why not go enjoy the hot tub and sauna?
April 18, 2022, we decided to drive to Brattleboro to pick up some provisions. While it was only 23 miles from destination to destination, it was predicted to take nearly 40 minutes! Oh well, it was a very windy and cold day, at least it was warm in the car. The weather forecast said 5-8 inches of snow overnight. On the way, we saw a Sam’s Outdoor Outfitters. Bill’s favorite hiking shoes are no longer made (so we thought) so he’s looking for a replacement. We tried to park nearby to shop there but no convenient parking places close by. So we skipped it and ended up in New Hampshire. Bill knew that was where we were going. I didn’t see a welcome sign but could sense a bit of difference in attitude as we grocery shopped. That’s when Bill told me we were now in New Hampshire. Interesting!
April 19, 2022, the weather was perfect for a great hike! And guess what, we only got about an inch of snow, not the 5 – 8″ predicted. It melted as the sun began to shine. We had so many places to choose from that, using All Trails, we decided to stay close to Wilmington. The gas prices are just ridiculous so why not stay close to our Inn? We picked a four-mile hike with great views. We had no idea what we were in for as we are “out of practice.” We didn’t look closely at the elevation! Thankfully, our only complaint was the last 3/10th mile to the summit. Due to the snow, only three visible markers didn’t seem to be doing the job. Fortunately, a local hiker came by and agreed to blaze the way for us! She ended up taking a picture of us at the summit.
4/20/2022 We were not sure if I could hike when we planned this trip. My orthopedic surgeon said it’s just arthritis, which comes and goes. So far so good, so next we went on the West Lake Trail, 5.9 mile out and back and the elevation wasn’t apparent. When will we learn? But we have to remember, we are in the mountains. Also, prefer loops when that is an option. Still, this looked inviting because it was considered moderate. To us, surprisingly, this ended up being one of the best hikes we’ve ever been on! And probably not for reasons others would agree. It just threw everything at us as hikers! Here is a slide show:
It was interesting to talk to a new owner around “West Lake” which is really called the Lake Raponda. She and her husband actually just purchased the land, which borders part of the trail. They are from Boston, Massachusetts, and will build a summer home on the lot. She was just in town to check it out! She explained the closest place for us to sit and enjoy a refreshment was on the other side of the lake, a bit too far at this point. So we made our own picnic area on a fallen tree. I didn’t take a picture but we could see the lake enough to enjoy our reward!
4/21/2022 Our last hike in Vermont was the Catamount Cross Country Ski Trail. It sounded moderate. But the melting snow made the trail a mess. We had an alternative trail where we parked, near the trailhead. We took the packed gravel road alongside the creek. At the end of this trail, we hiked and walked at least 25 miles. So our next day will be a scenic drive to a historic location.
I am out of downloading and uploading energy. So I will save that drive and what is now one of our favorite tours for the next post! All I can say is, can anything top this week? Stay tuned!
Let the rivers clap their hands, let the mountainssing together for joy” Psalm 98:8
As I started writing this, we finished our second week of hiking and sightseeing in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. These have been two AMAZING weeks. We had no idea if I could hike – I could – nor how the weather would be. We only had one unexpected snowstorm. Thankfully, we brought all of our cold-weather clothing, gloves, hats, etc.
We enjoy history as much as we enjoy hiking. We found a perfect balance in both locations. It’s a good thing I’ve had to rest my knees a bit. If not, we would have missed out on some great sights and history lessons.
For me, the Lincoln Family Summer Home, called Hildene near Manchester, Vermont is now one of my all time favorite historical homes! When Bill first mentioned it for a “day off of hiking” something didn’t make sense. I didn’t recall any mention of a Lincoln summer home in Vermont. Lincoln’s Presidential Library is still one of my favorite museums. Sadly, we visited it when I wasn’t blogging about our travels so no pictures or written memories. Other than how it was so well done but …. Hang on
A few years later, we toured Mary Todd Lincoln’s childhood home in the heart of Lexington, Kentucky. We have a blog post about that visit.Click here toto learn more about her early life. She had a sad childhood, then lost all her children but her eldest son, Robert. I can’t imagine her distress and pain over those losses. It is even harder to imagine how horrific it was for her beloved husband to be shot while watching a play, only to die the next morning. Apparently, all this heartache caught up with her as she eventually was placed in a sanitarium.
Robert was Abraham and Mary’s only child to survive to maturity. An ugly side portrayed at Mary’s home/museum was Robert’s relationship with his widowed mother. No wonder. He had her committed to Bellevue Place Sanitarium in 1875. Needless to say, it did not make me want to see HIS summer home, Hildene. But I read a little bit about it, so since it was not a day to hike, why not? It was a beautiful day to drive. While writing this blog post, I found a wonderful article about the reconciliation of Robert and his mother. It gave more background which was fairly presented. Click here to read more.
As an aside, someone on a hiking trail recommended this “Relive” app so decided to try it on our drive through the Green Mountains. Let me know if you can see our drive from Wilmington to Manchester. I’ve recorded a few more of some of our hikes. Practice makes perfect and I need more practice!
Hildene is formed from two old English words: “Hil” meaning “hill” and “dene” meaning “valley with stream.” Robert and his wife Mary gave their Vermont home this name because it is perched on a hill overlooking the Taconic Mountains to the west, the Green Mountains to the east, and the Battenkill river flowing through the great Battenkill Valley below….
Hildene is rooted in Abraham Lincoln’s values, making them our own and relevant to the 21st century.”
Hildene is considered the most significant Lincoln site outside of Illinois. Situated in Manchester, Vermont, it is the site where the Lincoln family lived from 1905 to 1975. Built by Robert Lincoln, the oldest child of President Abraham Lincoln, the 412-acre estate consists of the mansion, formal gardens, “Sunbeam” (a 1903 Pullman Palace Car), a goat dairy, Dene farm, and miles of trails for hiking and snowshoeing. The site’s unique aspect is that the Hildene Foundation, which preserves the property, has transformed Lincoln’s values of integrity, perseverance, and civic responsibility into actions: sustainability, preservation, conservation, and education, all of which you can experience when you visit.
We arrived too late for the only guided tour of the day, at 11:00. But, a very knowledgeable docent was available. He gave us lots of valuable insight. This beautiful 8,000 square foot 24-room is a Georgian Revival mansion. Three generations of Lincoln’s lived in the house, from 1905 until 1975. The mansion was built with electricity, telephone connections, and a hot air heating system. About 90% of the furnishings were original.
While it was supposed to be “just a summer” home, Robert Lincoln was said to spend about 80% of the year here. Robert died in the home in 1926. His wife maintained the home until her death in 1938. Upon her death, her daughter, Mary (Peggy) Lincoln Beckwith inherited the home. She lived there until her death in 1975. She and her brother, Robert Lincoln Beckwith spent considerable time there as children. Neither one had children so upon their deaths, the family lineage of Abraham Lincoln ceased. Allegedly. Hang on again. I seem to learn more when researching the places we visit afterward to verify my memory and add more facts – to write-ups such as this one.
I uncovered information I had not heard before. First, the researchhelped me correctly remember the story of the condition of the mansion in 1978 when the Hildene Foundation took ownership.These days, my memory is only good for about 20 seconds. What I uncovered was even more fascinating than I hoped. I’ll have to save some of this for a future visit to another Lincoln memorial. But here is what I found to substantiate what the Docent said about what a mess the house was in when it was finally taken over by the Hildene Foundation:
Peggy Beckwith moved to Hildene after her mother’s death and stayed there for the rest of her life. She spent her days golfing, dabbling in oil painting, sculpting, photography, and chain-smoking cigars. Because she tended to dress in knickers and men’s shirts, rumors spread about Peggy’s sexual orientation. No one knows for certain whether the rumors were true, but it is certain that growing the Lincoln family tree was not in her plans. She never married and never had children.
Housekeeping wasn’t in her plans, either. When she died in 1975, the mansion was in disrepair and was overrun with animals, including raccoons. ‘She’s an odd one,’ said Lincoln scholar Ralph G. Newman at the time. ‘I would call her an eccentric recluse. She doesn’t give a @#*! about Abraham Lincoln, and she’s rebuffed any attempts by historians to interview her or look for family papers on the farm.'”
I found a few favorable facts about Peggy. She was a pilot and owned several planes. She had a runway added to the property but I couldn’t find anything to substantiate that claim. I do want to get this posted as I still have to write up our week in Massachusetts, but I could keep digging up and reading about this family! But the other important detail in the article quoted above is there is an heir-apparent still living today. I believe more Lincoln historians are ignoring it but the fact of the matter is a 17-year-old (Timothy Lincoln Beckwith born in 1968) was able to claim part of the inheritance left by Robert Todd Lincoln. Hopefully, one day I will be able to write more.
This 24-room Georgian revival mansion has been perfectly restored. But yet, it is the sad legacy of one of our greatest presidents, Abraham Lincoln, who was not appreciated by his children and subsequent heirs. But yet, his legacy is living on in the museum, mansions, and humble sites pertaining to his life. A few pictures I took downstairs inside of this amazing Mansion:
My favorite part of the house was an exhibition room dedicated to the legacy of Abraham Lincoln. Around the room were numbered excerpts from Abraham Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address, delivered on March 4th, 1865 during the fourth year of the Civil War.
I typed up the quotes with their corresponding “numbers” as they went around the room. Several were my favorites so you will see additional information and pictures. First, the entrance way.
On March 4, 1865, only 41 days before his assassination, President Abraham Lincoln took the oath of office for the second time. Lincoln’s second inaugural address previewed his plans for healing a once-divided nation.”
The below numbered quotes, 1 – 13 were from displays around the room, dedicated to Lincoln’s second inaugural address. I took pictures of each display, so they typed them up and inserted them. So any errors, are mine! I only included a few pictures of the displays with the quotes plus a few other displays worthy of inclusion. Actually, the ENTIRE room is worth viewing! We encourage others to go and visit this historic mansion.
“At this second appearing to take the oath of the Presidential office, there is less occasion for an extended address than there was at the first. Then a statement, somewhat in detail, of a course to be pursued, seemed fitting and proper.” Abraham Lincoln
“Now, at the expiration of four years, during which public declarations have been constantly called forth on every point and phase of the great contest which still absorbs the attention, and engrosses the energies of the nation, little that is new could be presented.” Abraham Lincoln
“The progress of our arms, upon which all else chiefly depends, is as well known to the public as to myself; and it is, I trust reasonably satisfactory and encouraging to all. With high hope for the future, no prediction in regard to it is ventured.”
“On the occasion corresponding to this for years, all thoughts were anxiously directed to an impending war. All dreaded it… All sought to avert it.” Abraham Lincoln “I worked night and day for twelve to prevent the war, but I could not. The North was mad and blind, would not let us govern ourselves, and so the war came.” Jefferson Davis
“While the inaugural address is being delivered from this place, devoted altogether to saving the Union without war, insurgent agents were in the city seeking to destroy it without war… Seeking to dissolve the union, and divide effects, by negotiation. Both parties deprecated war, but one of them would make war, but one of them would make war rather than let the nations survive, and the other would accept war rather than let it perish. And the war came.” Abraham Lincoln
“One eight of the whole population were colored slaves, not distributed generally over the Union, but localized in the southern part of it. These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest.” Abraham Lincoln
“All knew that this interest was, somehow, the cause of the war. To strengthen, perpetuate, and extend this interest was the object for which the insurgents would rend the Union, even by war; while the government claimed no right to do more than restrict the territorial enlargement of it.” Abraham Lincoln
“Neither party expected for the war, the magnitude, or the duration, which it had already attained. Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease with, or even before, the conflict itself should cease. Each looked for an easier Tryon, and a result less fundamental and astounding.” Abraham Lincoln
“Both read the same Bible, and pray to the same God; and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God’s assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces; but let us judge not that we be not judged.” Abraham Lincoln
“The prayers of both could not be answered; that of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes ‘Woe unto the world because of offenses! For it must needs be that offenses come; but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh!’” Abraham Lincoln
“If we shall suppose that American Slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove and that He gives to both the North and South, this terrible war, as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a Living God always ascribe to Him?” Abraham Lincoln
“Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toils shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash, shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said ‘the judgments of the Lord, are true and righteous altogether.’” Abraham Lincoln
“With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations.” Abraham Lincoln
I found the rest of the statement from Number 9, so worthy to get the complete quote:
Each (party) looked for an easier triumph, and a result less fundamental and astounding. Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God’s assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces…(but) the prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes.”
Hildene House Lincoln Room
The Docent was outstanding. Apparently for the price of admission, if you miss the guided our Docents are available and await your questions. I wish I had recorded all he said, but I thought I would remember the important tidbits. But hopefully, this blog has captured the essence of this beautiful mansion and the legacy behind its creation.
After we spent an hour or more inside, we went outside to see the garden and the views in the back.
After admiring the view, we went back through the welcome center. We made a few purchases to take back to our neighbors. They are watering our flowers! Everything for sale was “local” merchandise. We could have spent a fortune there.
Next, we went and put on more warm weather gear and walked to the Pullman. We had actually wanted to walk around on the hiking trail. But we were running out of daylight. No way Bill would drive in the mountains in the dark! We were greeted by another Docent. He was so knowledgeable. He impressed me but Bill questioned some of his “historical” facts. There may have been a slant but I did fact check what I could remember and the facts were true.
Preamble to the US Constitution, also on display:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed….”
This is a long overdue blog post. So much has happened until we finally felt well and fit enough to return to our love of hiking (next blog)! First, we had a wonderful time for the start of our grandsons Christmas break. Then we had great plans to celebrate Christmas Eve with them and our daughter at the conclusion of the week. Regretfully, we abruptly left and drove back to Myrtle Beach.
We were having a GREAT time, until we all started to feel really sick. Uh oh, Covid got us. The boys ended up doing well, more like a cold for them. But we both went into double pneumonia. We are so grateful for the doctors at the hospital that saved our lives. And that is all I will say about that experience. Because sadly, a friend and neighbor of ours didn’t make it. He was one of our buddies in our gym. He was in excellent health, very physically fit, but he KNEW and loved Jesus. His memorial service was one of the most honoring in spite of all of our deep grief at seeing someone die in their prime of their life …. Covid does not discriminate.
A slideshow of the equestrian resort the boys enjoyed for the start of their Christmas holiday:Continue Reading
This is the final blog post of our hiking in the Ozark Mountains for 2021. Our first Ozark hiking trip this year was in eastern Missouri, south of Saint Louis in Desoto, Missouri. You can catch up here. Our last blog post was the start of our week in the Branson, Missouri area. Interesting, where we stayed is called Ozark Mountain Resort. I used that as a play on words, so to speak, in my blog post titles! We enjoyed the mountains in both areas. However, I have a relative who lives in Arkansas who also likes to hike. He said it is even better there. So hopefully, one day, we will hike in Arkansas!
We ended on a cliff hanger in thelast blog post, sort of. Did we visit the cabin where Matt and Aunt Mollie lived? Yes and no. We didn’t explore the history of Branson soon enough so we missed it. We had our Thanksgiving dinner in the Shepherd of the Hills complex. It was too cold and windy to go explore what all was around the restaurant. So we missed it and now have another reason to go back. We will also explore more of the history Branson. I am a bit fascinated with Harold Bell Wright’s writing and his life in case you didn’t notice in the last blog post. He is given a lot of credit for putting Branson on the map so to speak. I want to explore that idea. But in this blog, I am digging into a more obscure historical figure. Hopefully, next time we visit I will have more answers.
We have three hiking excursions, Thanksgiving Dinner and a visit to historic downtown Branson in this post. I enjoy writing these memories in this blog as it helps me relive them! And we do go back and refer to our posts from time to time – to remember where and when we visited…..various areas!
We have not regretted our decision to NOT buy a Class B RV. We wrote about our dilemma on how to travel in two posts, here and here. We finally figured it out. This is our third road trip as we return to our love of hiking. This is the start of our most recent travels in diary form.
On November 11, 2021, we departed our home in Myrtle Beach. We took two days to drive to Bill’s brother’s home near Boonville, Missouri. It is just over 1,000 miles and without stopping, takes around 16 hours. In case you aren’t familiar with David and his wife, Linda, you can just about catch up to their lives in a post written here. Most recently, their was some good news is that he has taken a turn for the BETTER in his battle against cancer. Modern medicine has done all possible to eradicate his body of the disease. He was told there was nothing more they could do but offered palliative chemo. In the meantime, they have looked at alternative treatment methods. The latest CEA test results were encouraging, for those familiar with CEA tests.
11/19/2021 After a week with David and Linda, we went to Branson, Missouri to hike! That’s probably not what you think of when you say you are going to Branson, is it? More about that below. From there, we returned to the Fayetteville, Arkansas area to visit with my aunt, uncle and cousins. Then we went to Little Rock area. I have cousins to the south and north of the city. After all that, we headed back to Myrtle Beach. According to this map, it was about
Our October 2021 hiking vacation, so to speak, continued on a good note! We were watching the weather closely and discovered the mid west gets a lot of rain storms. But like us in Myrtle Beach, the systems move fast and it seemed the ground dried out. We were prepared for indoor activities just in case….It looked like both Thursday and Friday had high chances of rain. We don’t mind those days as we enjoy museums and other interesting inside venues – such as caves!
Bill and I tried to scuba dive one time, in Cancun. We had “free” snorkeled a lot but those opportunities were disappearing as the reefs were becoming damaged from all the snorkelers. Snorkeling was becoming “controlled” which meant more people going out together so they could be closely monitored. The idea of scuba diving seemed the answer to enjoying that beauty under the ocean! We were optimistic we could scuba dive, but Bill was just too buoyant while I had a hard time equalizing. We did manage an hour in plus 30′ but pretty much declared it wasn’t for us. So to see a dive sign at the nearby Bonne Terre mines initially put Bill off. I looked closer and saw it included an underground boat tour. It just looked worth the price of admission – and it was!
The first time I heard of the Ozarks was when our friend, Larry Hurst, accepted a job transfer there. At least how he described his families new home – AMAZING. Now we know and understand the beauty of this part of the country.
I developed my wanderlust as a young child,exploring a ranch around Colorado Springs. So no wonder I really enjoy hiking. Bill grew up hunting and exploring the great outdoors. So when we want to take a bit of a vacation, we look, or actually, he looks for places to hike. Somehow, that is a skill he developed when we started traveling in an RV.
Now that we have decided not to buy a Class B or any RV now, we are taking trips “resort” style. To buy the Class B we wanted, it was going to cost at least $120,000 IF we could even find that one. Yes, they are hard to find right now. So let’s divide that up and see how many “vacations” we could take in the next five years for the same amount of money. Let’s start with easy math: $120,000 divided by 5 = $24,000 a year. We honestly only want to go for a week approximately four times a year. At our age, we do prefer the routine we have at home. BUT in traveling, we hope it will keep our minds and bodies sharp and in shape. Anyway, that equals $6,000/week. We can certainly enjoy a vacation/trip for that amount! HOWEVER, if you know us, we are budget shoppers and we are pretty good at finding budget vacations (click to see our two Colorado vacations in 2011 and 2012). So our bottom line to a Class B, we also don’t want all the head aches associated with them and we want flexibility. So with that said, here is our first vacation/travel blog!
You may have figured out from our last post, when we said we were lost in the woods, we found our way out. If you missed it, click here. We had taken a short hike, about two miles, in a heavily treed park nearing dusk. We did finally see enough daylight to find our way out! And perhaps you may also have figured out, I can hike! We haven’t been in the mountains since March 2019. Let us continue with recent travels that took us to the Beckley area of West Virginia and in particular, New River Gorge National Park and Preserve (NRG).
Day 3 August 24, 2021
Miner’s MuseumOur friends from Beckley highly recommended we visit the Exhibition Coal Mine and Youth Museum in the City of Beckley. It is the #1 activity according to Trip Advisor and it was well worth it! We bought our tickets and had about 45 minutes before the underground mine tour began. We enjoyed the quaint museum. We always like to learn local history. We certainly appreciate what miner’s did for our country to provide fuel for heat and energy for transportation. So this really was beyond anything local! Continue Reading
December 2018, when we decided to sell our motorhome and “get off the road” Bill asked only one thing. He wanted to take at least 3-4 road trips a year. I agreed but I wasn’t sure how it would work out. Long story short, it hasn’t. We did manager a few fabulous hiking excursions while we traveled to see family. Otherwise, the travel/hiking bug began to bite us big time. BUT we just didn’t know how to make it work. Finally, it looked like buying and traveling in a self-contained Class B would make it possible. We wrote two blog posts, Is it Time to Hit the Road and Van Life – Pros and Cons, as we began to seriously consider it. This blog post will explain why we decided against it. We figured it out when we took a side trip in West Virginia on our way from Pennsylvania where we attended the funeral of a precious relative, Bill’s second cousin, to attend my mom’s Celebration of Life service in Virginia.
A few people thought we were going to sell everything again andtravel full-time againin a camper van. I should clarify and this post will give us more opportunity to contemplate as we work through this process. As a reminder, it took Bill five years of research before we bought our first Recreational Vehicle (RV). We also attended RV camper shows during those five years so once we bought, we were pretty well educated. We are also known to take our time before we do anything major – well, sort of! Anyway, we’d love to hear some feedback if you are so inclined.
Sometimes decisions are easy to make. We have made a lot of major decisions in our 46 years together. But this one is going to take more time, prayers and thought than ever before. We are now committed to attending the Hershey RV Super Show this fall!
Lessons learned from our past: I’m so grateful for the legacy Bill’s parents instilled in him. We were reminded of this Sunday – to be good stewards with EVERYTHING God has blessed us with. So for Bill to want to make a BIG purchase, he has to run the numbers, count the cost and be as educated as one can be. In one seminar we attended at the Tampa RV Supershow, we learned your first RV is your “education.” That helped us to buy small to start and it paid dividends:
1. We miss the RV life style full of adventures!
2. We miss traveling on the back roads, through small towns and looking for the EPIC view on our hikes.
3. We are now into a routine that needs a bit shaken up.
4. When we visit family, we stay in hotels for multiple reasons. Mainly that at this time, none of them have a guest bedroom. So we will be able to not only bring our own bedroom, but also our own kitchen and bathroom!
5. We have a lot more family we need to visit but all of them live very far away. So we could smell the roses on our way and bring our own guest bedroom! Who wouldn’t want to have us visit?
6. We want NIMBLE. We don’t want to tow a car nor do we want to tow a camper. Been there done that. These are our personal preferences.
7. An RV offers the sights and sounds we can’t get traveling to and from a hotel or resort. We have been trying for the past 2 1/2 years. We just can’t get motivated nor have we been willing to take the time to travel as Bill asked us to do when we sold the motor home.
8. We prefer to eat at home. We bought an electric 42 quart cooler to haul with us when we travel. In and out of the trunk and in and out of the hotel. Our last hotel stay, we left the electric cord behind. It has a 12 volt one connected to it and then you add the plug in one. So didn’t notice until we were hundreds of miles away. The hotel would happily mail it back, as long as I sent them a postage paid address label. As of nearly a week later, the hotel is having a hard time getting it sent back to us….So a Class B means we will now have a refrigerator with us! Not to mention things to cook with.
9. We are work-a-holics. Granted, we are retired, but we sure find a lot of work to do….And that is the routine we need to shake up.
1. Cost. Been there and done that! When we sold the motorhome, we literally “threw” in every “extra” thing we bought. Bill said he was done. So now we have to buy a lot of little things – but we don’t know what we will need. He bought as we went along.
2. We formerly traveled in the lap of luxury. Meaning, we had a king sized bed (I am like a built in heater in the summer and winter.) We had a residential refrigerator! We had a full sized washer and dryer. The shower was big. We had a toilet in a closet with an extra sink. Now that was a luxury. If one of us couldn’t “wait” we could always go to the campground restrooms. BUT if we travel the way we want in a class B, we won’t be in many campgrounds.
3. After a full day of outdoor activities, especially hiking, we both need a long, hot shower and a comfortable chair to kick back in. Bill had a leather deluxe lazy boy. My passenger seat turned around so it became my lazy girl!
4. So that brings up the issue, do we really think we could we survive in a VERY small environment? We are getting up there in years and while we are active and in good shape, we wake with aches and pains….
5. VERY little storage space. We found a GREAT list by another #vanlife couple. They spelled out exactly what we need so maybe we can really be minimalists – but I can’t find it now.We successfully downsized from a sticks and bricks home into a small 28′ fifth wheel. We only bought four of everything, imaging the day our grandson(s) would join us or even friends for a meal. We managed and we actually liked to call ourselves minimalists. But then we bought the motor home and somehow, we began to add more and more stuff….then we sold it and moved back into a sticks and bricks home. Now we are used to stuffing our residential fridge more than we dared to in our MH and we are now used to so much stuff again. Basically their list suggested only bring two of everything, ie., two bowls – no plates. What ever you can eat on a plate, you can eat in a bowl. Bring two spoons. Whatever you can eat with a fork, you can eat with a spoon! Only bring two pans. Bill will pick those out! Get the picture?
6. Dealing with the RV industry again. This is considered a luxury industry so our “needs” are at the bottom of the totem pole. That was a rough lesson when we first started and so we know what to expect. So that helped us stop RVing.
7. RVers are the proving ground/testing victims for their improvements. Too many parts wear out prematurely. Too many people have added sumo springs, for example. Heavy duty shocks, heavy duty tires, etc.
We don’t know what we don’t know! So we will continue to engage with others traveling in Class Bs as we come across them. Continue to read blogs – there are some fabulous ones. And then attend the next big RV show and get educated by the RV manufacturer reps and meet class B owners and wannabes! Please feel free to add your thoughts below in our comment area.
My go to verse when I don’t know which path to take:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your path straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6
We both agreed it was time to get off the road in our 2010 Tiffin Phaeton in December 2019. Only one thing Bill asked was for us to agree to take a road trip a few times a year. We have only been able to make one such road trip since then. We have made several trips to see family but never seem to make the time to stop and smell the roses on the way there or back.
I know I am dating myself, but I loved this Clint Eastwood movie. So when I told Bill this was our next topic, he was surprised! He asked, “Is there bad and ugly in our marriage?” Men don’t see life the same way us women do, in case anyone reading this does not already know this! (smile)
Bill never thought there was anything wrong with our first marriage. I used to say he had his head in the sand. But did he really? He never wanted to see the bad or ugly. And he still doesn’t. We have learned so much and our second marriage is heavenly – but not perfect! There is no perfection on this earth – we only get to look forward to it in our afterlife!
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
I love my husband so much! He is so funny! My next post was going to be called, “the good, the bad, the ugly.” But life this morning was just too amazing so a preview of the good, the bad and the ugly, so I have to share a quick blog.
I remember the first Marriage Bible study we took was under Rev. Paige Young and his wife Sibby at Ferry Farm Baptist Church. They became our role models! Anyway one block was on learning to describe your marriage through illustrations (Jesus taught by parables because our human brains can’t grasp how deep and wide His love and creation is). Bill said I was like a bulldozer!!! Can you imagine how I felt? He quickly added, “in a good way!” He then went on to compliment me on how I get things done! Phew, I was worried for a…
The last post I shared some of the things that killed our relationship. Today I want to share one simple formula and principle which restored our relationship, our marriage and our love life – again from Love Life for Every Married Couple – how to fall in love, stay in love, rekindle your love. I will guarantee if you incorporate these basic principles into your daily life, you will see other relationships improve as well. I know this works because it worked for us and I am a HUGE testimony about how this simple phrase can change your life. Anything good that has happened to me by my own will and chosing to do RIGHT thing (I have made horrible and destructive decisions and thank God I am forgiven) is based upon the Bible.
In Romans 12:2, we are told to
… not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–His good, pleasing and perfect will.”
I believe this scripture with my whole being and Bill knows that I have allowed it to work to improve our marriage. However, he will be the first one to tell you, I still have a lot of renewing to do!!! It is never too early or to late to put this into practice.
As a reminder, I used to do some husband bashing. I focused on everything bad about Bill. I stopped looking at his goodness and all the traits I initially “fell in love” with and began to not like him. I gave up on our relationship, felt it was hopeless and sought the divorce. I did not previously write that when we divorced, it was three strikes and Bill was out. There were two other key times when I cried out to Bill there was something wrong in our marriage.
In our seventh year of marriage, called the typical “7 year itch” that I was not happy with the direction of our marriage. So after lots of heart to hearts and lots of yelling and acting out (we also were not in a church or even really looking to God for direction at this point), Bill decided it was time to have a baby (yes, my biological clock was ticking and I really wanted a child for years. Bill was holding off until he thought we could “afford” a baby.) I did love Bill and he loved me and we wanted a child. But our marriage was on shaky grounds. I really wanted to be back in church, but Bill was still soured on some bad past experiences.
I looked to God during this time and even prayed “Hannah’s prayer.” We read about it in 1 Samuel that Hannah was greatly loved by her husband but she was unable to become pregnant. She became more and more distraught and we find the account in 1 Samuel 1:10-11 “In bitterness of soul Hannah wept much and prayed to the Lord. And she made a vow, saying, ‘O Lord Almighty, if you will only look upon your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.'”
While I did not look this up and fully identify, I remembered that Hannah really wanted a child and prayed this prayer and offered her child back up to the Lord. And that was what I did. I did not ask for a son or a daughter, I simply asked God to give us a healthy child. God gave Hannah Samuel and we know the rest of that story, hopefully! Well, God gave me Jessica and those who know her know, what a blessing she is to everyone she meets! She has a heart of gold and helps people everyday in her work. She helps her friends and her neighbors. But mostly, she loves her mom! Oh, and she also loves her dad and her husband (note added: She has since had two boys and she loves them as no other mother could!)….she is amazing and to know her is to know love!
After 10 years of marriage, I “cracked up” again and tried to separate. We went to counseling for one session. The marriage counselor said we had to tell her what we wanted her to do. Did we want her to help us restore and save our marriage or did we want her to help us dissolve the marriage? I said I didn’t know, I wanted her to tell us what we should do! Needless to say, we never went back and somehow we muddled through and did all we could to be the best parents possible! Jessica was such a good child and so easy to raise, she really was the glue we needed at that time.
But as you read in my earlier posts, things came to a head again and I just decided the marriage was over. I had tried to get Bill on three separate occasions to change as he promised (each time he knew he needed to do something, but honestly, he just didn’t know what he needed to do! ) No one told us there was a marriage manual (the Bible or if you need it spelled out succinctly, Dr. Ed Wheat has done all the hard work and put it in an easy to read book mentioned above), so our marriage fell apart…but our God is faithful! He not only restored our relationship, He gave us the new and improved version! We continue to praise Him and thank Him everyday for our miracle!
So what did we learn to make our lives better? Not bash my husband nor he cut me down. How I now wish I not only applied this to our marriage, but to other relationships – at least the BE part of the principle. So under conviction, I am now going to stop bashing ANYONE!!! Ok, even politicians. Our Lord knows they need our prayers and love more than anyone, jerks that most of them are…OK, so I am a work in progress….
Before Dr. Wheat gives this principle, he hopes you have accepted all the five ways of loving and he devotes several chapters to each of the different ways a couple should love each other. He even gets pretty explicit with the sex part, so buy the book as I am not going to post any of that part!
Here is our SECRET!!! Starting in his Chapter 13, page 237, Prescription for a Superb Marriage, he says this involves a practical course of action for husband and wife (but trust me, it applies to all relationships) that is both uncomplicated and effective. “You will be able to remember it easily because it is called the B-E-S-T, acronym which represents the four positive elements that will transform any marriage. These are not steps to be tried one at a time, but four measures to be taken simultaneously and maintained consistently. If necessary, they can be implemented by either partner alone. In many cases you will have to make the first move without any promise of cooperation of the other (my note: if your marriage or relationship is on rocky ground). So if you want the best marriage possible with the mate you have chosen, then give your partner the BEST!”
So after we learned this principle and allowed God to renew our minds about each other, we no longer cut each other down or bash each other to others. Think about it, if you know either one of us, have you ever heard us say a negative thing about each other? Or heard us even jokingly cut one another down? If one of us started down that road, we simply whispered lovingly, BEST, and the bad words stopped!
I have summarized the principle and keep it handy on my computer to share with anyone as needed. So not quoting directly from the book, here it is:
1) Blessing – Perhaps you have never thought of blessing as a practical element to be introduced into marriage. The principle of blessing is a biblical one, and the Christian is commanded to practice it, most particularly in response to annoyance or provocation. Learning this important technique of response will carry you through the difficult moments that occur in any marriage and will bring peace to the troubled waters of your relationship. The practice of blessing puts an end to the volley of sharp words that mars so many love affairs, and that is only the beginning of its benefits for you.
The word “blessing” (eulogia) in the New Testament is based upon two Greek words: eu meaning “well” and logos, meaning “word.” The first way of blessing your marriage partner is to speak well of him or her, and to respond with good words even when your partner’s speech becomes harsh, critical, or insulting…..To put this in the most practical terms, you have the power to bless your marriage by the words you speak to your partner. You can also bless by learning when to be silent.
Three other aspects of blessing are found in Scripture. You bless by bestowing practical benefits upon, simply by doing kind things for another person….You also bless by showing thankfulness and appreciation….Finally, you bless by calling God’s favor down in prayer.
To sum up: 1) through your good and loving words spoken to him (her) about him (her); 2) through your practical behavior, which shows loving kindness toward him (her) in actions large and small; 3) through conveying your attitude of thankfulness and appreciation; 4) through your prayer to God on your spouse’s behalf. Good words, kind actions, thankful appreciation, and intercessory prayer for your spouse.
Ephesians 4:29: “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”
2) Edifying – A biblical term often used in the New Testament, refers to the building up of individuals…in every aspect of your spouse’s personality, cheering him (her) on in every area of life, and increasing his (her) sense of self-worth with the result that his (her) capacity to love and give of himself (herself) would be increased as well….
The New Testament Greek word for “edify” is oikodomeo, a combination of two words: oikos, meaning a family, home, or house, and demo, meaning to build. While you are edifying and building each other up, you are also building a home together….We find as we study the New Testament passages that speak of edifying that three golden strands are interwoven: personal encouragement, inner strengthening, and the establishment of peace and harmony between individuals….
”Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing” (1 Thessalonians 5:11 NIV). 1 Corinthians 8:1 sums up the matter of edifying: “Love builds up” (NIV).
But how do you build up your mate? A careful study of New Testament principles and the example of the Song of Solomon indicates that husbands and wives each have their own ways of edifying. In brief, the husband edifies his wife by praising her. The wife edifies her husband by her loving response to him.
Husbands are commanded in Ephesians 5 to nourish and cherish their wives. This is at least partially accomplished through the giving of verbal praise and encouragement. A wife’s sense of her own beauty depends greatly on what her husband thinks of her. She needs to be nourished emotionally with praise and never diminished by criticism, especially in the areas where she feels most insecure and vulnerable. She needs to be cherished in public and the test if this is how her husband treats her socially…. Remember, edification builds up, never tears down. So love gives your partner freedom to grow and develop as a person without fear of failure and fear of hurtful criticism.
Biblically, the wife best edifies her husband by her response to him. In the full meaning of the language of the Greek New Testament, the wife is told to respect, admire, be in awe of, defer to, revere, adore, esteem, praise and deeply love her husband….God has designed marriage so that a husband is dependent on the affirmation of his wife, the appreciation she shows him for all that he gives her, and her demonstration of respect for his manhood.
Colossians 3:16 “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.”
3) Sharing – The more ways you can find to be in relationship with each other, the stronger your love will become. Sharing should touch all areas of life—your time, activities, interests, concerns, ideas, innermost thoughts, spiritual walk, family objectives, goals, etc. Sharing demands giving of yourself, listening to your partner, and as you live life together, developing a sensitive awareness of moments that offer possibilities for deepening the love between you. Yes, this too is a biblical principle as the husband and wife are to become one flesh.
Genesis 2:24 and Ephesians 5:31: “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”
4) Touching (non-sexual) – God created us with hundreds of thousands of microscopic nerve endings in our skin designed to sense and benefit from a loving touch. A tender touch tells us that we are cared for. It can calm our fears, soothe pain, bring us comfort, or give us the blessed satisfaction of emotional security. As adults, touching continues to be a primary means of communicating with those we love, whether we are conscious of it or not. (My note: I think the more non-sexual touching a woman gets the more of the other the man gets!)
After 36 years of marriage (ok, on and off, as we did divorce but we have been together in one flesh since April 11, 1975) we testify that this prescription will help your marriage be as full and loving as God intended it! We call this the BEST principle!
35th Anniversary Picture
We are about to celebrate 46 years years of marriage as I type this, 4/10/2021 – a day early. Needless to say, I am way behind on blogging. And now I really need to decide what to do with this blog since we are no longer traveling (much). But this month, as we celebrate, I am reviewing, updating and re-blogging our Marriage Blog Posts. We are still so passionate about the state of marriages. I plan to download these and put into a “table”book for our old age! So if anyone sees any typos or errors, let me know. It will be much appreciated. To catch up if you want to start at the beginning or see why these posts are still relevant, we now have a “Marriage Blog Posts” link on our header.
Near Pawley's Island on a warm winter day, February 27, 2021. Perhaps we should buy new hats to celebrate our anniversary!
I’m way behind in blogging. And now I really need to decide what to do with this blog since we are no longer traveling (much). But this month, as we celebrate 46 years of marriage, I am reviewing, updating and re-blogging our Marriage Blog Posts. We are still passionate about the state of marriages. I plan to download these and convert them into a “table”book for our old age! So if anyone sees any typos or errors, please let me know. It will be much appreciated. And sorry, this is five chapters behind. But to catch up, we now have a “Marriage Blog Posts” link on our header.
Most couples start off madly “in love” where they only see the good in each other, right? I know we did. I don’t think anyone becomes a couple with the idea they will break up one day. I know we professed our undying love for each other and I know we vowed to love one another until death do us part. So what happened? Why did we divorce? We don’t think we are the exception to the rule. We think what happened to us, happens to so many others. A general once said, “The only way to win a war is to prevent a war.” And that is true in marriages: the only way to not divorce (or break up) is to prevent a divorce! Again, I highly recommend Dr. Ed Wheat’s book, Love Life for Every Married Couple how to fall in love, stay in love, rekindle your love to EVERY…
Our grandsons spent last summer with us, written about here. I’m not sure, but I don’t think I included how the boys wonderful summer ended.
Both boys are healthy, active, and are very typical BOYS. They love activity, anything outdoors, running, bike riding, roller skating, playing in the sand at the beach and riding the waves! And they have the need for speed….But none of that had anything to do with either injury. I will say, we were toughened up when Bryce cut a slice near his eye last summer. But oh, deja vu when on…..
July 7, 2020 our oldest grandson took his first trip to an Emergency Room. Surprisingly, Colin had very little pain after the initial fall. UNTIL I had to get him in his car seat and buckled in! OUCH he was screaming! I felt like calling 911 – but he said NO. He’d be ok so he did settle down. He didn’t understand how cool it would have been to ride in an ambulance – I think he just didn’t want to have to get out of the car after we struggled getting him in. Continue Reading
Our daughter drove our grandsons 1/2 way to Myrtle Beach. Bill drove up to get them. Happy reunion!
I’m behind in blogging – I’ve recently written about 10 posts – in my head since my last post! But alas, as with everyone, the Pandemic has thrown our lives off kilter. Humm, according to Merriam Webster, that means not in perfect balance. Maybe I need a stronger word to describe not only our lives, but I am sure nearly everyone can identify with this since the pandemic: our lives are upside down!!!!
As with all families with young children, the pandemic turned first turned their lives upside down when schools and daycares closed in March. Both parents were considered “essential” so they were able to continue to work – which was good in one sense. But then that meant they had to find someone to take care of both boys and “continue” their education.
Since Bill was recovering from the surgery he had on March 20, we could not step in to help them out. But we decided as soon as he felt he could, we would bring the boys back up to Myrtle Beach. In the meantime, they were “sheltered in” with a babysitter/tutor to keep the boys home and working on “school.” Colin had “virtual” classes in reading and math so that was good. But for a 4 year old? He was struggling with learning the alphabet. Thankfully, we learned on August 6, 2020 he needs reading glasses to help his focus! But more on that later.
Bill was healing quicker than expected so we were about to send for them when I tore the meniscus in my left knee. Uh oh! So after six weeks with the babysitter, we finally brought them to Myrtle Beach. They loved their summer here last year so it was “natural” for them to come a week earlier than originally planned had it not been for the pandemic.
While most activities were closed, we at least had the beach as a place to go and go we went! After all, we moved to Myrtle Beach for the beach – and our grandsons love it as much as we do! But then, the rainy season began – so the beach was out for many days. We had gone to Fun Warehouse last year so we tried it again – and it opened just in time. We discovered they had a GREAT summer pass, with unlimited use on the skating rink, go karts, bounce house and laser tag room. Colin was just able to drive a go kart himself – and did he ever love it. And both boys became determined to learn how to skate – which they did!!! The bounce house is always a favorite but laser tag became a favorite for Bryce, our younger. While driving the go-carts were Colin’s favorite. What a great place to spend rainy days. While a huge part of it is “open air” we felt safe with their cleaning standards. Here are a few pictures in a slide show of various activities during the pandemic:
Another great summer activity – but only in dry weather was the mountain bike skills park. We only made it there once, but no problem for Bryce to master it after he saw Colin successfully go around it.
If we got out early enough on days that we knew would not be good beach days, we also enjoyed Savannah Playground. It finally opened on June 1. We had a few great times there, but the weather became too hot. And those were about the only activities we could enjoy. Compared to good friends back up in Virginia, it was so much more than what is opened there. It’s so hard on children to not be able to play and enjoy summer activities.
The worst thing for us was our neighborhood swimming pool not opening. We have a fabulous amenity center, gymnasium, tennis, bocce and pickle ball courts. But the swimming pool was the biggest hit last summer. Eventually, the outdoor courts opened and the swimming pool with one horrible stipulation – aside from having to sign up for an hour or so a day, it was only open for residents. No guests. Which meant no grandchildren! And so many of us have grandchildren that come to visit. We heard a YMCA indoor pool was open and they had swimming lessons. Well, sign us up!
So on July 6, we were blessed for them to start two weeks of swimming lessons. The boys loved it and both were committed to really learning how to swim properly. Our summer was starting to beat to a new rhythm – we were going to survive this pandemic yet!
And then on July 7, after our second great day of lessons, off we went to Fun Warehouse. Another rainy day. And then it happened. A grandparents worst nightmare for their grandchild, who is in their care, to get seriously injured. But Colin was a champ. He was only whimpering but the elbow was starting to swell. And I could see a bone fragment sticking out on the underside. Ugh….
And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in you.” Psalm 39:7
Bill hoped to dig for hidden gems mine for gold while we traveled full time in our Motorhome. We never did, but we still have plans! We hope to take our grandsons on adventures where they will join us in this dream! In the meantime, I just found some hidden gems that are worth more than gold to me!
My dig started when our grand niece arrived from Missouri to spend a few weeks with us. In my last blog post, I alluded to something special happening to help us with our grandsons while I recovered from surgery – and this is our GREAT news! As with most areas, so many fun things for children are closed. Thankfully, here in Myrtle Beach, things are slowly opening. If nothing else, the boys and their cousin will enjoy bike riding and the beach! Continue Reading
I had dropped out of college after completing my junior year, met Bill, and here I was meeting all of his family.
We thought we experienced about every facet of the worst during the Pandemic. I’ve written about my mom’s passing (where I learned Funeral Homes are not considered essential), traveling and surgery in the past few blogs. Just when we thought it was about over – for us that is. So this post is about how we are fairing with our overall health and now our next issue – the need for another surgical procedure.
When I started college, I had to figure out how to “protect” my heart. I developed rheumatic fever when I was five. I was told I had to take penicillin for the rest of my life and I should NOT “stress my heart” by running. Imagine telling that to a five year old!
But when I went to college, I was no longer under a doctor’s care. My roommate was a nursing student and an athlete. It didn’t take me long to learn how important exercise is for a heart. So I began to workout – after all, I had to lose the Freshman 15 when I returned home for the summer. Once I began to run, I was quickly addicted. BUT my mom warned me I would wear my knees out….What do mother’s know? I said you can’t wear out your knees. How how naive I was….”Mother’s are always right” – eventually we see that truth. Continue Reading
“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” Psalms 19:1 Sunset, Jacksonville Beach, March 19, 2020.
Bill’s eyes well up with tears whenever he thinks about these past four months (January 1 – April). He said last night, “I know I’ve said it already, but again, I don’t know what I would have done had it not been for you these past four months.” Bill is not an emotional guy. In fact, he fights his emotions like his dad did. And it has not served him well. He knows his dad ended up with health problems because he bottled them up inside. But he’s working on it. “We are all works in progress!” Continue Reading
Our travels 3/19/2020 to 3/31/2020, from our home town, Myrtle Beach, SC (MB) to the Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, FL, back to MB; then to my mom’s former home, Newport News, VA
I thought I had the Google Map tracking feature on my iPhone but it must have fell off during an update. This map only shows the “ideal” routes we traveled – not what we actually traveled which were longer distances and much longer times. But for the purpose of this blog post, I’ll just show the 1,101 miles or 17 hours 4 minutes we traveled most recently, more or less. First some background about my husband’s and my mom’s health decline that lead to these long miles during a less than ideal time to travel.
My mom was a very easy going person. I only remember her losing “it” once, soon after my dad passed away. I don’t know why I don’t take after my mom in that way. Let’s see, which of her fine traits do I have? Hummm….the only thing I can think of is faith. Mom was a woman of faith.
Nothing tugs at our heart strings more than a child in need! One of my nieces, Rachel, has been a good friend to Clara’s mom, Lori since 2007. They met in Mexico while serving as teachers after college. Eventually, both accepted teaching positions in Colorado Springs. And then both went on to have three children each. Eventually, as is common in our culture, both of their families moved apart but they are “virtually” connected!
Clara turns 11 on March 26, 2020. Rachel’s mom, my dear sister-in-law Linda, has been kept up to date on Clara’s life since meeting her a few years ago. Linda has a memory of seeing Clara, her little sister Ana Cecilia and Linda’s grand daughter, Hadassah, running and playing on their farm. No one suspected an unknown and undiagnosable disease was lurking in both Clara and Ana Cecilia.
I’ve missed blogging, both on this blog and on our Travel Adventure site. I usually say these posts are more for me – as a diary of where my life was going, where it went and where it needs to be (this site is more for where it needs to be). As I am aging, I see more and more the need to have these events documented somehow. I am so sad I never blogged about all of our motorcycle adventures (many were pre-blog days) nor do I have a good journal of our early years in Florida (2004-2011). I started a few journal entries to keep our daughter informed of those times – but until I actually began blogging, those memories are now about lost except on some digital and paper photos “somewhere.”
I missed posting on December 15 – Bill’s anniversary. We both have been blessed by the “radical” lifestyle change he had to make. We want to be able to really enjoy our grandsons. We’ve discovered good health and fitness really help! 😏
My blogging has slowed down since we’ve settled down. But I still have so much I want to share – and this one has taken me a few months to finalize! My mother-in-law was such a huge blessing to her family. She was so humble, she never would have wanted us to share her life story. But it is an important one and for the sake of her grandchildren and great grandchildren, her story needs to be told and re-told!
Ruth A. (Brunner) Lees, 98, formerly of North Huntingdon, Pennsylvania died Thursday, June 20, 2019, in Mount Vernon, IL. She was born March 17, 1921 in West Newton, a daughter of the late Walter and Minnie Louise (Huber) Brunner and was also preceded in death by her husband Earl Lees, and siblings Rosella “Posey” Fulmer and Warren H. Brunner. Ruth graduated from Westmoreland Hospital School of Nursing in 1943 and served in the Army Nursing Corps during WWII serving as a Lieutenant. She worked as a private duty nurse after the war. She was active with her late husband in the 9th Infantry Division Reunion Group and was a Red Cross volunteer for over 45 years. Ruth was a professing Christian and humble follower of Jesus Christ. She demonstrated her faith in daily practical help to those around her. She was a member of…
Bike riding with our grandsons in our district. Our oldest grandson likes to strike a crazy pose to show his “crazy” side. He gets that from his dad! Our youngest learned how to ride without training wheels this summer!
I can’t believe I never finished our last series (click here) about our first automobile road trip after we stopped RVing. For some reason, it’s harder to blog now that we live back in a sticks and bricks home….I have a draft blog started on the end of that road trip which stopped with us traveling through Indiana. I just have to select the pictures and finalize it. And as usual, I have an abundance of photos. Hopefully, I’ll finish it one day as it includes a stop with a tour of the State Capitol. In the meantime I am compelled to write an update. Continue Reading
We were able to visit the Governor’s Executive Office! Each Governor gets to select what pictures he wants displayed. She explained to us about two but not who the man was in the middle. Or else we forgot!
Our first stop after a family weekend in Mount Vernon, Illinois, Bill’s mother’s birthday celebration, was to visit Indianapolis. We stopped at the Capitol Building for a tour and then headed south to Bloomington to do some hiking. We really enjoy history and where else can you get a great history lesson? This was our 5th such Capitol tour: Frankfurt, Kentucky; Montgomery, Alabama; Madison, Wisconsin; and, Harrisburg, PA. While our tour guide was good and we were able to go into the Governor’s private office, he was away, this one ranks 5th as far as “wow” factors. But it was still a very good visit and we would recommend it.
Our two top tours tie for #1, Madison and Harrisburg showcased history and the majesty of the physical buildings. We would put Frankfurt next followed by Montgomery. All were enjoyable and we are grateful we saw each. Indianopolis was lacking in the amount of history we cherish and the building wasn’t showcased like the others. But there were many things that set it apart from the others. It was pretty cool they were in session – first time we’ve seen it.
Indiana is one of 8 states that have all three branches of government working in the historic capitol building. All seven Executive officers, 100 members of the House and Senate and five Supreme Court Justices have working offices in the building.
From our home in Myrtle Beach, to Gatlinburg, Tennessee; to Mount Vernon, Illinois; to Indianapolis, Indiana; to Bloomington, Indiana; to Newport, Tennessee; back to our home. 30 hours of driving time and 1.848 miles.
We’re on a two week road trip, which we didn’t spell out in our last blog post (click here if you missed it). We’ve been working hard on our new home (closed on it on 2/1/2019 in Myrtle Beach), getting it ready for our daughter, son-in-law and grandsons to spend their Easter Break with us. We needed a bit of a vacation break, but more importantly, we needed to spend time with Bill’s mom – to celebrate her 98th birthday and to be supportive of Bill’s brother and his wife. They have been her caregivers for the past five years. We are trying to cram as much as we can into two weeks while driving from Myrtle Beach through the Smoky Mountain National Park; to where his mom is in Mount Vernon, Illinois; to visit the State Capitol in Indianapolis, Indiana; to do some hiking near Bloomington, Indiana and then to spend one night in Newport, Tennessee to finish our drive back home.
We left you with a cliff hanger last blog post, so without further delay, let’s see how our third hike in the SMNP turned out! Continue Reading
Newfound Gap Overlook and trailhead to Charlie’s Bunion. It was a bit chilly up here!
Wow, so much has happened since our last blog post. We are still getting settled into our new home – as well as changing our domicile to South Carolina. I really want to write a post on what one has to do to become a resident of this great state – it’s not as easy as it was to become residents of Florida. I don’t want to forget and who knows, maybe one day some family members or friends will want to move here. It would be great to have the steps written down for them. But onto more exciting things!
When we got off the road, we knew we weren’t through traveling. Just like when we first bought our 5th Wheel on September 4, 2013, we didn’t know how our travels would work out. And now we can say the same thing about “settling” down – we know there is still so much to see in our great nation and so many things on our bucket list to see.
One such place was Smoky Mountains National Park (SMNP). We first visited the area in 2012. We stayed in a cabin in the Pigeon Forge area with our daughter, son-in-law and grand pup. Sadly, I didn’t write a blog post about the trip but I have pictures posted on my personal FaceBook page. We did a few of the same hikes, so I wanted to refresh my memory about them – but somehow, those pictures now seem to be lost in the outer spaces of the internet. Anyway, we knew this was a place we would return one day to do more hiking. We actually tried to get here several times in our motorhome but something always came up to hinder us….
Sunrise walk on January 9, 2019 in Myrtle Beach, SC.
Our son-in-law titled this – when we told him and our daughter our news. He said he was glad we were going to finally settle down! If you follow us on our FaceBook page, found here, this is no surprise. We have been posting some of the process but perhaps a post to help explain how this went down might help others. Or at least help us! Most of our family and friends were surprised by this – and so were we! Continue Reading
He’s just too cute isn’t he? I am sorry, I just can’t help but be one of those typical grandmas who carry too many pictures of their grandchildren.
We’re still here in Myrtle Beach! We arrived on October 24, 2018 with our three year old grandson. You can read about his trip by clicking here. What a treat it was for all of us to have him here. This blog post is supposed to be “Myrtle Beach Through the Eyes of a Three Year Old” – and it will be in part. We have written so many posts about Myrtle Beach, we will add a list of all the posts from the 10 times we have been here since we started RVing five years and four months ago, but who is counting? 😏
Believe it or not, as of the date of this post (12/12/2018) we have been here in total 207 days, nearly seven months since September 2013. The only place we’ve spent more time is in Fredericksburg, Virginia. The reason we started this journey was to be with our grandsons (and their parents) – and that’s where they live! Continue Reading
Our Tiffany, named on honor of our precious dachshund. She’s a Tiffin motor home or coach. We love the palm trees here.
Our motorhome, Tiffany, was four years old when we bought her in May 2015. She had two previous owners and neither used her very much. We were pleased with the condition of the mattress, although we hated the thought of a “used mattress.” We washed the fully enclosed cover it had on and we bought a new mattress cover. Either we are getting older, or the mattress has finally worn out – we are both waking up with new aches and pains! Actually for the past six months we’ve noticed it. Buying a replacement RV mattress is NOT easy. We are experienced, we had to do it for our 5th wheel as well. But that hasn’t helped us other than for us to know it was going to be hard to do since we are moving targets.
On my mom’s birthday, when she turned 90, she was there for her first grandchild by her only grand daughter. She has four grand children, seven great grand children and her first great-great grandchild is due in a few months.
So much to write about, so little time! Yes, not enough time to keep our blog updated. We just blinked and three months have flown by. Our last postended with a teaser of the birthdays we celebrated in August while in Fredericksburg, Virginia. We also had two anniversaries to celebrate. And then our oldest grandson started kindergarten and that was a reason to celebrate. And then he learned how to ride his bike without training wheels! And then there were the issues….Where to start? With the best of the best!
We had three celebrations on one date! Let’s start off with a bang! We had a joint birthday party for my mom and our oldest grandson. She turned 95 and he turned 5. What a gift for her, her only granddaughter to give her a great grandson on her birthday, her 90th as pictured!
Our FaceBook post using the check-in app when we flew on July 4, 2018.
How exciting to attend our oldest great nephew’s wedding in California! As much as we would have liked to drive our home there, it’s just too far for us the way we like to travel – since we prefer to be back in Fredericksburg every three months.
It’s a big deal to figure out where to park and leave our motorhome – safely. This is not our first time to leave it. We’ve been fortunate it has always worked out for us. This time, we had also had to figure out which airport offered the best direct flight options. There were so many airports to pick from! So the wedding helped confirm Pennsylvania as the place to go for our summer travels. We didn’t want to go too far since we had to be back by August, to celebrate both grandsons birthdays and my mom’s 95th.
And bonus! My mom was flying to the wedding with my oldest sister, grandmother of the groom, from the Florida panhandle. We’d be together for the wedding and then she flew back to Virginia with us. More on that later. Continue Reading
We only had about 80 miles to go from Cook Forest to Black Moshannon. See all the green – those are more state and national forests. We would have loved to visit each place.
We are a bit behind in our blogging-it’s been over a month since our last post! Hopefully, I can still do justice to our last two stops in our wonderful Pennsylvania summer travels.
We arrived at our next stop, Black Moshannon State Park, on Father’s Day. We were there for eight days. We were able to attend church at Cook Forest before we hit the road since we weren’t going far. Check-in (and out) time in the Pennsylvania State Forest Campgrounds is 3:00 pm. Our trip was only 80 miles and took us just over two hours since we also fueled up. We couldn’t rush out so it was great to attend a worship service church at the campground – and then fellowship a little with some of the attendees.
We prefer to not travel on Sundays, let alone a holiday. But it doesn’t seem like Father’s Day puts as many people on the road as Mother’s Day. Wonder why? One thing we learned here in Pennsylvania – and it does seem to be common in many other state and federal campgrounds – they book up on Friday and Saturday nights. You have to book ahead unless you don’t mind changing sites or just going Sunday – Friday. Continue Reading
Bill drove our motor home 800 miles over the nearly two months we were in Pennsylvania.
We’re in the Wilds!!! See the bottom picture in our last blog post to see how Pennsylvania is broken down regionally. Anyway, trying to decide where to finish our last two weeks in Pennsylvania was no easy task but we felt the Wilds calling our name. So much to see, so little time!
We’ll admit, we were pleasantly surprised at how much we’ve enjoyed this beautiful state. Surprised because it is Bill’s home state – he never really “saw” the state! Bill had hoped to make it up to Lake Erie and to the Allegheny National Forest, but the clock was ticking, we needed to return to Virginia on June 27, 2018.
Bill’s focus this summer, after reviewing places to hike in Pennsylvania was to find state parks where we could start our hikes from our campsites. Our last two weeks, we finally stayed in two locations where we could do this and we loved it! Continue Reading
Our next travel adventure in Pennsylvania, while in New Stanton, took us to Ohiopyle State Park. When Bill was a senior in High School, some friends asked him one day if he wanted to skip school and go to the rapids to ride a raft. He was always game to skip school – so off they went – with a rubber raft. A cheap rubber raft. I’ve heard this story for years – how he almost drowned! Now I get to see where he almost met his waterloo. Here he is looking at the place they jumped in with their rubber raft: Continue Reading
Fredericksburg, VA to Dillsburg, PA, via Warrenton (B) to get us on US Highway 15 and avoid DC traffic, then to Dillsburg, PA (C) to Shawnee State Park (D) and now to New Stanton, PA
Bill is from the New Stanton/Greensburg, Pennsylvania area. Sadly, it takes funerals to reconnect with family in our culture today. We all seem to move and it’s not easy to go back – until we grow up. So we returned on May 23, 2018.
After we were married, we lived in Bill’s hometown – for 1 1/2 years. I’m so grateful as it gave me an opportunity to get to know Bill’s parents and extended family. We both come from small families so it is nice to remain close to the few family members we have – and that is not easy since we all live so far apart. But for the funeral of Bill’s Uncle Warren in November 2016….
We drove our car up from Myrtle Beach to attend Uncle Warren’s funeral – our motor home was safe there for a few days. We reconnected with many and it was as if we hadn’t been apart for 40 years! One second cousin has a fifth wheel Recreational Vehicle (RV). They camp in it at Myrtle Beach every summer. So it was easy for us to connect and share adventures! She also said there is some good RV campgrounds in the New Stanton area if we ever decide to bring our motor home. So that started the wheels turning our heads….
Our drive from Dillsburg to Shawnee State Park, 113 miles.
We are enjoying our short drives from location to location to maximize our adventure days this summer. (Click here to see our short drive in our last post.) We never know what we may be facing driving our 40′ motor home towing our car, so Bill likes to be cautious with the routes he takes. This may not have been the most direct route, but in the mountains, we needed the safest.
The 119 mile drive to Shawnee State Park was uneventful so we made record time, arriving by noon time on May 17, 2018. On the way, we decided to call the office to ask if there had been any cancellations. For the six days we would stay here, we initially booked two sites, our first two days we’d be on an electric only site and then we’d move to a full hook up site. We’ve noticed in most state parks (and many federal parks as well), the weekends are always booked, which means we may have to change sites for our week-long stays. It seems the prime spots in this case, sites with full hook ups are booked on the weekends during “peak” season. We know this is a reality so we’ve learned how to work around it. The weather forecast wasn’t Continue Reading
Our drive on Route 15 from Fredericksburg to Dillsburg. We drove 151 miles and took 3 hours 22 minutes. Compliments of Google Maps Timeline.
We will be flying to attend a wedding in Sacramento on 7/8/18. This has dictated our summer plans – we don’t want to be too far from our home base, Fredericksburg for multiple reasons. More on that later.
Our summer travels will be to see as much of Pennsylvania as we can in 52 days! Although Bill is from Pennsylvania, he has never appreciated the state like we now do after traveling to North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Kentucky, Illinois, and Wisconsin. Bill’s goal is to see enough of a state to really grasp it’s essence. We’ve had grand plans, but a month has passed as I write this and we haven’t begun to see the state as we originally hoped. Mainly, because we are traveling “slo-mo” to really enjoy each stop. Continue Reading
Spring in Fredericksburg! The dogwoods were beautiful.
We started RVing, right after our first grandson’s birth, in September 2013. We were living in South Central Florida at that time and our daughter and family were (are) in Fredericksburg, VA. So we were 900 miles away or a 14 hour drive! Once we decided to travel full time, Bill promised our daughter we’d come see them at least four months a year.
We decided to come in the month of April because it’s our daughter’s birth month and our first wedding anniversary (married 4/11/1975). The next month we visit is August – both of our grandsons birth month and our second wedding anniversary (8/19/1989). Then we visit a week before Thanksgiving and usually through New Years. We add on a week or two to our times in April and August because of extenuating circumstances.
If you follow us on our public FaceBook page, you know what is coming! Bill had offered to remodel the boys (and guests) bathroom. He thought it would be simple job – would only take two weeks to finish. WRONG. Best laid plans…..
He has remodeled more bathrooms than I can count! He said he wanted to see if he still had it in him….Well, he still has it in him, but he had a few obstacles: tools, tools and the right tools makes a huge difference! When we went full time, he sold most of his tools. Plus, the fact the family was living in the area, so he had to clean up everything every night. Of course, for safety, so the boys wouldn’t get hurt and to keep it somewhat livable.
Let’s stir in that deadline matter…but a bit of background. It took us two years, but we finally found a place to park our motorhome hassle free with full hook ups and no other amenities – which is ideal for us. There are only six RV spots. They used to have maybe 30 or 40. They’ve changed to a manufactured homes park. We managed to snag a spot which gives us the flexibility we need with our comings and goings. It’s complicated and we are not at liberty to share the details of our “deal” but let us say, our “deal” expired on April 30 – so we knew we needed to leave by that date.
Long story short, he didn’t anticipate how off the walls were, so he thought, why not also tear out and install new dry wall? Dry walling isn’t his favorite way to remodel, but he knows how to do it. Thus the two weeks he anticipated it taking turned into five! Bill was sweating bullets because he was no where near ready to leave as the month began to wind down. He always aims for 30 days but this time, it was 43 days.
We arrived on Thursday, March 29, 2018 and left on May 9, 2018. Bill set some parameters with me – no weekends – that was before he tore out the walls! Our tradition upon arriving is to set up our “home” which includes washing the car, cleaning the bugs off the front of the bus and putting on our window sun screens and cover the tires (when we stay anywhere for two weeks or more). Then we go to their house, let the dog out, get the car seats and then pick the boys up, getting them out early. We also cook dinner unless Jessica has it already planned for our first night. But this time, as soon as we arrived, Bill was anxious, so he didn’t take time to clean the bugs off the front of our bus – always mandatory so anything else. In fact, he never did. But in the end, our daughter and son-in-law were pleased and the boys we really excited about it (because their PeePaw did it and they got to touch his tools).
Bill had most of the bathroom emptied by Saturday, in time for our son in law to finish it up. Sunday was Easter, but Bill ended up working some more on it in the afternoon. He took the next weekend off and they realized, he would never finish by April 30 – so he began to work seven days a week. Granted, he only worked 4-6 hours a day. He had a good pace once he started each day. Another hindrance was the fact it was on the second floor and our daughter wanted the shower and floor tiled. Bill uses a “wet” saw so that was set up in the garage – each day while he was cutting some of the tiles to fit. We wish had a step tracker – he must of went up and down the stairs a dozen times a day!
I forgot to mention, in addition to the deadline, Jessica and Shane had new flooring installed downstairs, during this same time! Of course, they had scheduled it before the two week project became five weeks. So that meant Jessica and Shane had a huge project as well. They emptied out all the furniture – then after done, they put it all back. Then Shane put down all the new quarter round. Of course, no project is just one easy day install. We had to have the installers back twice! So we handled the additional things for them.
Here is a slide show of some of the remodeling and finished product. No one thought to take a “before” picture. It was a dated bathroom, very basic with a leak somewhere….It needed a new floor!
While Bill and our son and law worked on the weekends, our daughter and I took the boys on a few excursions to have fun. Please note I had over 600 photos of the boys and our fun to pick from. So here are just a few pictures to capture some of our fun moments:
We like to let the boys take turns spending the night with us over the weekend. They require a lot of energy – so we had to cut back on how much we had them over. Since Bill was fully engaged in the remodel, I took over the responsibility of cooking dinner during the week. Jessica cooked every Sunday. If you know us, I stopped cooking a decade or two ago – so I am slow and it zapped me! Because Bill is now particular about what he eats, we give them a break – while we can stay on target with his heart healthy diet. Needless to say, we limped out of Virginia and are now trying to get back into the travel groove. But we can’t wait to get back in August for Bill to make up for some lost time with the boys!
Our daughter was trying to get the boys to cooperate for our farewell picture. I said just let it go! Bryce had grabbed my cup of water and was determined to use it as a prop! Colin loves his monster poses!
Next up, our summer travels! We’re not going too far away this summer. But we’re going high….
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” Colossians 3:23-24