Think about this ... "be kinder than necessary because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle"

Friday, November 28, 2008

It's just so ..

Good and Norman Rockwell'ish and makes me miss a Peck family time (but I did have a very important one in October).  

Why is it that good people, good friends, loved ones and good food just give you a "warm and sniggly" feeling?  Here is a photo - minus (unfortunately) Rick the photographer, around the  dinner table yesterday ... just a small group of friends and relatives but gosh it was good .. real good.  I got to cook a great meal (yeah yeah yeah I guess the cook really isn't suppose to say that, but darn it was great ~ thank you Donna for the turkey I got to prepare, which is always a good place to start a good meal on that November holiday).  Anyway I created a great, perfectly timed meal in a terrificly laid out real kitchen ~ what a treat.  So the photo is Paul, his brother Bobby and their Mom with friend Russ and myself
   ... darn we need to learn the way to do pictures that include all the people present  ~ it really is easy ~ I did research it after my weekend in Iowa/Omaha with baby sister when none of the photos included both of us (yes foolishly)! 

I can remember many years ago when said baby sister gave me a bit of a talking to because I really and truly hate having my picture taken (yes, I have gotten better since I graduated from the Alves school of smiling).  Anyway, said sister reminded me about the importance of photos, particularly family photos.  Yes, dear sister you are correct and that is confirmed by the great photos of Dad's that Chad had scanned for all to appreciate (well he and I surely appreciate them ~ who knew a little girl could be so darned adorable eating an apple?).

So the second photo in this post is obviously after that delicious dinner chillaxin on the porch with Rick, Mom and Bobby.  

The photo to the right is a different day (one day later), a different porch and a different brother ~ this is Mom, Paul and his brother Billy (the one with the same back view of a hairdo similar to Rick's).  Once again, everyone is "chillaxin" (is there a pattern here or what?

We had planned to leave Paul's on Sunday and head south to Ocala to see our friends Dana and Wendy, then continue onward to the Keys (Tavernier).  However, rain is predicted for the next three days so the departure plan may (read will) be delayed by a couple days.  The trailer (aka the shed) is disconnected from the coach and parked out back and we don't want to leave major lawn dents pulling it out in the rain ~ nor do we want to connect the two in the rain ... not to mention  set up in a new place in the rain ~ so it seems we will be here a few more days (hope Paul can stand it).  Dana and Wendy will be leaving on their latest cruise in a week and a half so we want to see them before that but also allow them time to get their stuff together before they leave ~ although they are such frequent cruisers that probably their stuff isn't unpacked from the last one!  We had talked about going to Silver Springs before seeing them but we may rearrange (like we haven't gotten real good at that - planning then re-planning!) our plan a bit.  We still have three weeks (and a couple days) before we are "scheduled" to be in the Keys so timing isn't really an issue ~ although Rick thinks it may be .... talk  about role reversal here ... I was the one that always worried about timing and scheduling!  Which was sort of the subject of a topic of discussion, not once but twice, over the last two days as we have discussed our travels with people.  When we left Massachusetts 13 months ago (as well as the time leading up to the departure) I was very very ~  like really very ~ concerned about constantly moving and having no real roots anymore.  Don't get me wrong here ~ I've loved to travel since Rick introduced me to traveling years ago ~ but I've always loved to return to "my space" after seven or ten days.  There was something about a brick/stick home that was my comfort zone and I really stressed over not having  that when we started our big adventure.  Well it is so reversed now - we are booked to be in the Keys for six weeks (no that is not a complaint - I do that know many people would love to have that issue) but that is the longest we've been in one place (well I guess we were in Sioux Falls that long but that is waaaay different - Sioux Falls is "home" now and we have our friends Rick and Jaye there, not to mention our friend Mr.  Mayor and our keys to the city).  Rick and I have always just "known" when it was time to leave a particular place and it has never been more than two weeks so the reality of six weeks scares the crap out of me - what the heck am I going to do?  Although we are right on the Gulf of Mexico (like 20 feet) I know that the most activity I will get in a day is throwing Wilson into the Gulf repeatedly for Sir Arlo or riding my bicycle a mile to the market!  Anyway, I think I need to find a place to volunteer some time while we are there ... or something ... 

So, that's my rambling for today!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I am so ...

Thankful for .....

and      ....    in no particular order    .....

Happy turkey day to all .........

Monday, November 24, 2008

Way down upon

The Suwannee River ...  

So we three got the bikes out today and rode up to White Springs (2000 census population was 819).  It was pretty darned cool riding because the sun just wouldn't stay out for more than three minutes.

We had to go down ALL these stairs (well the going down wasn't too bad, but the coming back up ~ now that was tough) to one of the springs in the area.

The spring was pretty interesting, but pretty dried up!  I guess, according to the information signs around the spring, that in it's heyday (which apparently ended in the 1970's) there was a six story building where this "monument" now is and people would jump from the balconies into the spring below.  Below is a photo of what that spring looks like now!  No jumping these days huh!  That thing that looks like a ladder was actually how they closed the space off so the spring didn't run out into the Suwannee River behind.
Prior to going over to the springs we had lunch at the Telford Hotel shown below.  What an interesting OLD building.  It is obviously still operating as a restaurant and a bed and breakfast (the Vermont and New York sisters would love a sister weekend here I'm think)!  Nice lunch buffet - and of course we ate too much.  Paul says they also have a great Sunday Brunch!

Below is a house across the street from the Telford (just because it appealed to me it got posted!!).  Lots of very old buildings in this teeny tiny town.
From the Springs we went to the Stephen Foster (who wrote "Way Down Upon the Suwanee River) Folk Culture Center State Park!  What a fabulous campground ~  with a few (five or six) good sized pull through sites that we would be able to fit in and not have to disconnect the trailer (aka the shed).  But like most state parks, it can be difficult to get a site, particularly if you don't plan ahead (um we do not plan ahead ... man we hate to try to plan ahead).  Below is the Museum.  This entire huge park was just immaculate.

Below is the tower at the park.  While we were there the bells from the tower were ringing.  I thought I took a video of  Rick and Paul with the bells in the background ~ but alas ... I think I goofed (again) 'cause there be no video on the camera!  I think we need to go back there and hopefully get  campsite there and enjoy the gorgeous place.

Now for the grand finale of this particular post (yes I do realize I've been lax, to say the least, in my posting this past week ... I will try to do better).  So to continue ~ Rick and Paul went out the other day to have a repair made to Paul's new truck and have a transmission service done on our car.  When they got home Paul was all excited to give me this great prize he bought for me.  Check out the box it came in ~ see the bottom right hand corner ~ the product is "100% Redneck Approved" ... doesn't that speak volumes!

I was going to record a short video of the prize in action but I haven't gotten there yet.  It really does need a video to fully appreciate the prize ~ trust me!  
Paul knows how much I love cows and this is a trailer hitch cover ~ not just any hitch cover mind you - oh no not for this girl.  It moves and lights up when you hit the brakes or put your blinker on!  It is hysterical and of course Sir Arlo is petrified of it.  We took him out to show it to him just after I put it on and of course he was scared.  For the next couple days every time we left the house or the coach he would go directly to the cow and check it out, sniff it and bark like a fool at it!  Such a goof he is.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

we be chillin'

And eating too much and drinking too much and not getting out taking pictures much!  My bad!

However, above is how we can start each day (or a mid day snack or just whenever the mood hits) you go out and pick yourself and orange or three (actually Paul said they are called satsuma ~ as a matter of fact that link has a recipe there but with six eggs I probably won't be making it any time real soon).  Also, for the northerners - we have had two frosty mornings yesterday and today - 26 and 28 degrees at 7:00 AM!!!!!!

Rick and Paul worked most of the day yesterday on this ... the bikes used to be the other way in the trailer, as in we would ride them up the side door ramp (to the right of my bike in the photo above).  Well that was not great because I couldn't ride my bike straight in and Rick would have to pick up and move the rear end after I rode it into the stand.  So now we can ride both of them in from the back door (where the car goes in) and Rick doesn't have to move anything!!!  We are also coming up with plans to rearrange other things in the trailer (aka the shed!).  We keep our bike jackets and chaps etc in there and we just couldn't come up with a way to neatly store them but also have quick easy access to them.  They had been traveling in milk crates and storage bins but it was just so messy and a pain ... we are trying a few brass coat hooks on the side walls ... hopefully that will work better and eliminate the clutter out there.  It has been one of those things that we just have had to create solutions for along the way.  Now if we can continue to eliminate more of the cluttered storage stuff in the coach!  Seems there is still a lot of "stuff" that we haven't used in the 13 months we've been on the road and it should be time to get rid of it!  Whatever we feel its "value" is I am becoming a firm believer in the logic of "if you haven't used it in a year get the heck rid of it"!!  Heck when it's all done we could increase our mileage by maybe two miles a gallon - ya think?

Oh and I keep forgetting to mention ... remember the new blog I was setting up on squarespace?  Well, NOT happening ... I had a two week free trial and in that time I couldn't even get beyond creating the header ... much too complicated for this girl!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

AH for Sir Arlo

Sir gets to see his very best person friend Chester, aka Paul.  As the photo above shows, they listen to one another intently.  As shown below they enjoy sparring with one another as well ... how 'bout Sir's stance there?
And when it's all done Sir is so worn out he needs to have a nap - love the pillow huh ... and this afternoon he deflated that sad looking Wilson so on the next trip to Walfart we shall have a new Wilson ... can't go to the Keys without a new Wilson.  Don't know who remembers the story, but last year when we were at the Lodge in the Keys for a couple weeks Sir would go out many times a day for water play and chase Wilson into the depths of the Gulf of Mexico and got distracted by who knows what - a falling coconut, a butterfly, an iguana ... whatever it was he lost his "attention span" (which is often no more than 15 seconds anyway) and Wilson floated away.  The campground host (Dave) went out later in his kayak and captured Wilson on an island  far far away and retrieved him for Sir.  
Below, another sunset photo.  Not sure what's up with me and sunsets (among other things) but it's a nice picture ~ yes?  This was at the "campground" we were at last night and the night before.  Pecan Park is in Jacksonville, FL just outside the JAX airport with all its air traffic.  We were there in January for a couple weeks ~ a week of that was Sir and I alone when Rick had to fly back to Boston for doctors appointments ~ UGH wasn't that a time!  It's a decent sort of place, for sure it is over priced, but as in real estate I guess, it's about location location location.
So today we left Pecan Park and came over to Chester's house about 30 miles (ish) west of Jacksonville for who knows how long.  We are researching State Parks where we could all (Rick, Paul, Paul's brother and I) go for a few days with Paul's kayak and/or boat etc. and "chill".... we shall see.

Anyway, it is good to be with a good friend .... once again ~ how lucky are WE!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Friday with a connection

Yesterday we went into downtown (I think) Charleston.  Neither Rick or I had ever been there.  It was such a beautiful city with so much history and as I've mentioned before I am not even close to being a "history nut" .... it bores me silly.  

Okay, with all that said I will try to describe the photos here ... the first photo is what is referred to (now and many years ago) as "The Market".  Now it is a tourist trap with assorted t-shirts at probably 30 vendors (UGH) as well as various other "souvenirs" none of which we needed or wanted - in fact we passed about four vendors and had had enough so out we went.  We were told that many years ago that building was a slave market (although there was no marker or such indicating that) ... you know I got such a  weird feeling being there ... what the hell humans do to one another sometimes just blows my mind, not to mention disgusts me and this is certainly a case in point.

Above is just an ally that I thought was kind of interesting!  Sort of a photo op that reminded me of some of Chad's photos  ~ sure wish you were there to take photos with us Chad!

The photo above is another one that just appealed to me as an interesting photo op ...

The next three are of the mansions in the "Battery area" along the water front.  Apparently these were owned by cotton plantation owners but have been turned into .... you guessed it ~ condos.  I should do some research and get an idea as to the current market value of these beauties.  The location was outstanding of course and the properties were lovely, old and beautifully landscaped and maintained.  They reminded me, to some degree, of the mansions in Newport, RI but those in Newport are on much larger pieces of land ~ heck 15 or 20 of these would fit on one of those and these are a bit less ostentatious than those.

Photo below is from the rooftop at the Rooftop restaurant (what an odd name for the place huh!).  I was hoping that we'd be able to see the new Cooper River Bridge headed into Charleston but not so.  That bridge is just spectacular and reminds me of the Zakem Bridge in Boston, but I think this one is larger (and was built in much less time than Boston!)  By the way, the link above for anyone interested, is a terrific site going into a lot of detail as to the need and construction for the bridge.

Now, Jack or Kimberly ~ what kind of bovine has a wonderful hair do like the one below?  These "guys" were at the property next to the lovely, peaceful campground we were at in St. George, SC (30 miles outside Charleston).  Not to mention the damned rooster who started his rooster call (as Joshua used to say about 28 years ago "clicky-click-a-do") at 4:30 every morning!  Anyway, what a lovely hair do, and how bout those black bovine with those feathery ears?  What are they (other than pretty cute)?

Finally, we just arrived in Jacksonville, FL after 211 miles.  We don't normally do that many miles in a day but we got a very early start (well for us anyway) today and the driving was pretty decent - even going through Georgia (as my blog pal Lucy refers to as the State of Construction) and miles upon miles of barriers and orange barrels etc .... We were at this campground last January for a couple weeks.  Sir and I were here alone when Rick had to fly back to Boston for doctors appointments.  It is about 1/2 mile from the Jacksonville airport so there is lots of plane traffic, which doesn't particularly bother either of us for a couple days, but the place is pretty over priced for what it is ... little grass and no campfires etc..... pretty much like a parking lot for coaches but for some reason it just "works for us" for a few days - it may e location location location - it is close to restaurants etc. that Rick has a need for (being that he is the socializer amongst us!!)

Sunday we will be headed to "Chester's" for who knows how long.  Hopefully he and his brother will join us at a National Forest camp ground area in Olustee (FL) about 25 miles from his house (we can have campfires there and it is nice and wooded and peaceful!)

Can't wait to see you pal ... we don't dare tell Sir Arlo that he'll be seeing you soon, but he still perks up every time he hears a diesel truck hoping it's you!