May 2007 Archives

Awake: 5:16am Temp 56 sleep 5+55 sunny overnight @ Nicktown, PA.

Our breakfast: a quick cup of coffee & a healthy muffin. Then with our slides retracted, phone line disconnected, shore power disconnected & tow car attached, we leave Nicktown @ 6:52am.

We follow route 553 to 219 to Ebensburg; route 22 to Altoona; I-99 to Bedford; US 30 to Breezewood; I-70 to route 522 to Winchester, VA; I-37 around Winchester on I-37; US 17 to I-95; a Flying “J” fuel stop, 146 gallons @ $2.54 per gallon; I-264 around Richmond to I-64 to Newport News, VA. We arrive @ the City Park campground @ 2:28pm, pay our camping fee for (5) days, get a campsite map, & park our home.

Today’s travel: 344 miles 7+35 time 56.5 gal used 6.1 mpg 45.2 avg speed.

This park has a lot of big trees with plenty of shade, thus, no satellite signals or TV. But, our computer air card is cranking out high speed from the Internet.

Kathy calls Melissa @ the private residence where they are staying @ in Norfolk, VA. It’s over 30 miles from our campsite. Both she & Kevin are doing most of the cooking for the people who live there & the invited guests who are staying @ the residence for the Billie Anne & Jason wedding on Saturday.

Dinner: Hamburger/ bean stuffed acorn squash & fruit salad.

Evening time: we walk around the campground loops A, B, & C. for exercise for over an hr.

Melissa calls again after our return to our motorhome.

High travel temp=79 Lights out: 11:30pm

Awake: 6:02am Temp 47 sleep 6+15 sunny overnight @ Nicktown, PA.

K & I attend 8:00am Mass & then join the Koffee Klub afterwards. A lot of Memorial Day talk: the movers & shakers of Nicktown bring up the fact that local TV coverage of other small towns show small crowds gathered during their Memorial Day parade but, Nicktown has no TV coverage at all & the crowds are in the mid hundreds for the parade in this small town. These movers & shakers are going to make phone calls in hopes of getting some decent TV coverage for a change. I wish we were going to be here for this special occasion.

Kathy continues to reorganize her pantry & galley area after bringing some canned goods from the Foote storage area. Meanwhile, I make a trip to the dumpster & chat with Carol & her husband Dave @ the Enchanted Garden Shop.

Later, I talk with neighbor Chuck about UPS delivering my Sony Camera when we are away this week. He assures me that he’ll be watching for the UPS man. I was hoping to take that camera with me on this trip but according to the camera repair company, it has checked, recalibrated, realigned, cleaned & tested & according to the UPS tracking website, is scheduled to be delivered on Wednesday, the same day we leave for Norfolk.

In prep for leaving tomorrow, I disconnect our well water source & store the portable water filers in the basement.

Dinner: Leftover tuna steak, green beans, red pepper with Boursin cheese, brown rice pilaf & toast.

Call & talk with Gary & Grace in Landenberg, PA. We discuss the finished Madonna Statue & the uncovering ceremony + perhaps doing some more RV caravaning this coming winter in the southwestern states. It’s always interesting & informative when talking with these honorable people from eastern PA.

We call & leave a message with our daughter, Katrina, in Denver, CO.

High temp=77 Lights out: 11:21pm

Awake: 6:23am Temp 48 sleep 5+48 mostly sunny overnight @ Nicktown, PA.

K & I attend 8:00am Mass & then join the Koffee Klub group. A lot of bird & animal talk + an assortment of other selected subjects. Theresa D. is leaving town after the meeting. We might see her again in July; she admits she hasn’t planned that far in advance yet.

Those boxes we have destined for the Foote secure storage; the question is: did we take out more then we brought in? After our Koffee Klub meeting, we make another run to the Foote home, unload the Suzuki, carry the boxes to the secure storage area, & then lock the house & do some light grocery shopping @ Giant Eagle & Wal-Mart.

Early dinner: Tuna steak, brown rice pilaf, broccoli, salad, & toast.
A phone call from my buddy, Ken, in Alaska; “mission accomplished” he says. “You’re new motorhome is now titled & registered with the State of Alaska.” I was very happy to hear that. Kenny was also able to get our motorhome registered as the “free vehicle” for seniors over 65. Both Kathy & I insist that he buy himself & Donna each a case of their favorite wine with the blank check but he says: “NO, I was happy to return the favor for all the favors you did for me.” What a nice guy.

Next we pay a visit to my 1st cousins, Bernie, Ethel, Rita, & Lou Ann just down the road. We sit on the outdoor swing & gab for over an hr until both Kathy & Rita are so cold that the blanket they had wrapped around each other isn’t providing enough warmth. Then we retreat to the indoors & gab for another hr. Rita will be 90 next week; she still drives well, she’s quick, sharp, & up with the modern times. We always enjoy hanging out with these cousins.

High today=65 Lights out: 11:47pm

Awake: 6:35am Temp 48 sleep 6+30 rain overnight @ Nicktown, PA.

Kathy does (5) loads of laundry while I peruse through some papers & documents that were stored @ the Foote secure chambers.

Gary C. calls: he gives me some road routing ideas for avoiding the heavy D.C. traffic on our intended trip to Norfolk, VA. After hanging up, I went right to the maps to outline the plan.

Later, both K & I do some in-house organizing of the things that we’ve been carrying around but not using; they are already boxed & labeled so we’ll be taking them to the Foote secure chambers tomorrow.

Dinner: Italian chicken, pasta & toast.

Before dark, we walk our property & notice an abundance of wild strawberries. I hesitate to trim our fields until after strawberry season is over.

Late movie: “A Civil Action” with John Travolta, Robert Duvall, Tony Shalhoub, William H. Macy, etc. Slick Boston injury lawyer gets in over his head when he takes case against (2) industrial giants whose alleged pollution of a river caused the deaths of children in Woburn, MA. 1998. Based on a true story; if you haven’t seen it, you should.

High temp=66 Lights out: 12:35am

Awake: 5:34 Temp 36 sleep 5+54 partly cloudy overnight @ Nicktown, PA.

K & I attend 8:00am Mass & then join the Koffee Klub group for 1.5 hrs of gun & airplane talk & many other selected subjects.

From the community center, we drive to the Foote house in Indiana, PA & start going through our storage boxes that we had left in Anchorage.

We had left some (20) boxes, furniture, a car & other miscellaneous items in Alaska because we fully intended to buy a downtown condo & have a place to come back to after selling our home but, when both Katrina & Melissa moved out, we called off the hunt for a downtown condo with our Realtor. Then when Kevin & Melissa moved themselves to Indiana, PA, they also volunteered to move the things in storage that we really wanted. We not only went through the boxes but relocated them to a spot in the basement designated by Kevin making room for the washer and dryer the Footes are going to buy.

So today, Kathy finds some can goods & other incidental items that we can use in our home on wheels plus I find a few good socks, an old shirt & some not so old papers.

After some light grocery shopping @ Martin’s, we return to Nicktown.

K & I then walk to church for the 6:00pm Vigil Mass.

Dinner: leftover meatloaf, gravy, mixed salad & toast.

Late movie: “Fine me Guilty” with Vin Diesel, Peter Dinklage, Linus Roache, Ron Silver Alex Rocco, etc. Diesel gives a wonderful transformative performance as real-life N.J. gangster “Jackie Dee” DiNorscio, an outgoing character who decides to defend himself in a record-breaking Federal case against the Lucchese crime Family in 1987-88. 2006. Quite entertaining.

Lights out: 12:05am

Awake: 5:38am Temp 43 sleep 5+05 overcast overnight @ Nicktown, PA.

We attend 8:00am Mass, then join the Koffee members for 1.4 hrs. Today is Donna’s birthday (the church organ player) so those (2) desserts: lemon bars & double chocolate banana cake are for her but we know she will share them with the rest of the starving Koffee Klub members. Again, extra chairs were necessary for the occasion.

After breakfast, I take the Suzuki to Spangler & vacuum the cabin & cargo area; then in our circular driveway, I clean all the glass except headlights.

Theresa arrives @ 12:29pm. Today we tour; drive to the town of Loretto (35 min), do an auto tour of the Saint Francis University campus & then tour the Loretto town (population 350). @ the end of town, there is a huge Catholic church that none of us have been inside. The door is not locked so in we go.

What a nice surprise! This Basilica, Saint Michael the Archangel, is a diamond in the rough. Built by & paid for by the American Industrialist, Charles M. Schwab & his wife in 1901. Schwab was raised in Loretto, spent (2) yrs attending Saint Francis College, then started working for the steel industry in Pittsburgh, PA. He always called Loretto his home town. The (3) of us self toured this beautiful ornate structure from the basement up; what a prize to have in such a small town.

Next, we visit the statue & tomb of Prince Gallitzin, the Russian Prince-priest, who gave up a life of ease to be the founder of the Loretto Catholic Colony. We find a path & it leads to a shrine for the “Sisters of Mercy” nuns. They settled in Loretto in 1848, built a school on Saint Mary’s Street which became the forerunner of Saint Aloysius Academy; later to be Mount Aloysius College near Cresson, PA.

We continue following the path & find ourselves in the very old cemetery. After some careful tombstone checking, we enter the nearby chapel & home of the founder, Fr. Gallitzin.

We are greeted by the Rev. Brian, who is on duty today; he offers us a film clip covering the Prince Gallitzin story & how he influenced the beginning of this beautiful church. Rev. Brian also tours us thru the home & chapel + some interesting artifacts of the prince-priest; so much significant local history.

Time to move on: next we self tour the “Museum of Art” @ the nearby Saint Francis University. That was ok….. & then a walking self tour of the “Sunken Gardens” of Mount Assisi Monastery which was very nice.

Dinner: fish fry (pollack) with French fries or baked potato & cold slaw & wine @ the nearby “Lemon Drop Golf Club & Restaurant.” What a nice ½ day tour of something interesting & historic right under our noses! It was also very pleasant having Theresa with us. She enjoys touring & exploring as we do. We will be keeping in touch.

High temp=66 Lights out: 11:40pm

Awake: 6:32am Temp 43 sleep 6+57 overcast overnight @ Nicktown, PA.

We walk to 8:00 am Mass for the Ascension Thursday Holy Day. Then we join the Koffee Klub for over an hr. K & I eat only a healthy muffin for breakfast for I have generously invited Kathy out for lunch.

We leave about 11:25am, drive to the Cambria Hills Country Club near Barnesboro & attend the Rotary meeting. Lunch was delicious: tender pork ribs, pasta, cold slaw, tomato slices & chocolate cake for dessert. Today’s crowd of (8) was small but we manage to all have good appetites.

Back @ our motorhome, I finally finalize the paperwork on our motorhome’s title & registration save for having (2) papers notarized & mailing the package to Alaska. Cindy, our nearby notary, is out of town for the rest of the week. My call to the listed notary in Barnesboro went flat. I call my brother in Ebensburg; he recommends his former employee Sue who has been a notary for yrs.

Sue is busy when I arrive but takes time out for my request. “Oops!” says Sue. “I can only do notary on documents, not vehicles.” I ask her for ideas; she recommends the auto dealership, McCall Motors, a few miles east. Ah, I know this place; my brother buys his cars there. The FedEx drop box pickup time in town is 4:00pm; time now 3:45.

@ McCall Motors, the 1st door I knock on is a bingo. My (2) papers get the stamp & signature & some important tips: another FedEx drop box across town with a pickup of 4:30. My FedEx envelope slides into the slot @ 4:20; later as I zoom toward Nicktown, a blurred vehicle passes in the opposite direction; a FDX truck. I want to get that package to Ken in Anchorage before he goes to his summer cabin in McCarthy.

Back @ our motorhome, Kathy is busy baking a batch of lemon bars & a double chocolate banana cake.

Because of our good size lunch, dinner is simply a mixed salad & toast.
Late evening: call Ken in Anchorage; “the package will arrive tomorrow” I tell him. “It’s about time” he says. “I’ve been checking our mail daily.”

Even later movie: “The Greatest Game ever Played” with Shia LaBeouf, Stephen Dillane, Josh Flitter Peyton List, etc. Winning story of sportsmanship & class struggle surrounding the 1913 U.S. Open Tournament in Brookline, Massachusetts, where a caddy (LaBeouf), is allowed to play opposite the much-admired British champion (Dillane).
Solid, old-fashioned storytelling with a modern eye; golf has never been portrayed like this before. 2005. Even if you’re not a golfer, you’ll love this movie + it was based on a true story…..we Googled it.

High temp=below 70 Lights out: 12:33am

Awake: 6:40am Temp 63 sleep 6+23 rain overnight @ Nicktown, PA.

K & I attend 8:00 am Mass, then the Koffee Klub afterwards. Today’s main topic overflowing from yesterday: water. Again I wish I could reveal the details, but the minute technicalities are not yet approved & far from being finalized.

K & I both spend some time on our computer late morning.

Melissa & our young grandsons arrive just after 2:00pm. Since it’s raining, it’ll be an inside play time visit. They came equipped with their own toys & that is good since we have nothing of that caliber in our motorhome. Of course, they were only here a few minutes when Matthew announced he was hungry. Kathy tried to supply some healthy snacks, popcorn and “real fruit” fruit strips. This sufficed for a while but then Matthew wanted something sweeter; carrot cake left from this morning’s Koffee Klub treat was enjoyed by all the Footes. Yes, Grandma has our grandsons trained to look for sweets.

Andrew is really getting around these days…walking, running, twisting off bottle caps, pushing switches on our instrument panel, making motor noises when playing with the cars & trucks, etc. I’m impressed. He is sooo cute & gentle.

Meanwhile Melissa brought some (3) pair cable telephone wire with her today. She’s been reading to Matthew about electricity & the book he has shows how to make a simple circuit to produce an electrical current. “Ok, lets get started” I tell Matthew. 1st we pull all (6) strands of that insulated copper wire from its sheath; strip the ends of each section of wire of an inch of its insulation, wrap the ends of each section together to connect about a yard of continuous copper wire. Matthew is helping with this project as best he can.

Then we make (2) coils with this yard of copper wire. The coils are spaced a good foot apart from each other. One coil is wrapped around my magnetic compass; the other coil is open. Now I ask Matthew to push the magnetic stick that he brought with him, through the open coil…..back & forth & then watch what the needle on that compass is doing. It’s moving & almost spinning. I explain to Matthew that the magnetic forces generated by moving the magnetic stick thru the coil are multiplied & carried over to the coil wrapped around the compass thus, generating an alternating current of a crude nature that moves that needle. I’m not quite sure just how much Matthew really understood for his age but he is a very bright kid & I think that Melissa enjoyed seeing the project actually working. The Foote visit time is up & they leave around 4:00pm; it was another fine gathering for us grandparents.

I make a call to Sister Jane that we are behind schedule & are on our way. Our late arrival was no problem as my sister, Sister Corinne, was dozing on the couch as she recuperated from a minor surgical procedure she had done this morning. General anesthesia, no matter how light, does a good job of causing its recipient to want to snooze for many hours after being administered. Corinne is feeling better and is gradually coming to life, even helping to clean up the kitchen and do dishes after our delicious meal.

Sister Patty is of Italian decent & is our chief chef for tonight. Sister Jane brings out snacks and the wine glasses as I appoint myself to be the keeper of the bottomless glass. My job was rather easy as I soon realize: these nuns are close to being teetotalers. Sister Jane sets a marvelous table with their finest china & crystal, proper eating utensils & nearly all the condiments one would find @ an exclusive restaurant.

This dinner was exceptional: Italian spaghetti, Italian meatballs, Italian sauce, Italian mixed salad, Italian Parmesan garlic bread, Italian black & green olives & American strawberry shortcake for dessert. We had fun talking about anything & everything. Aside from being hard working Sisters of Saint Joseph, these ladies are very human with a great sense of humor, a vast knowledge of the present world & are very dedicated to their Catholic faith.

Late movie: “The Cranes are Flying” with Tatyana Samoilova, Alexei Batalov, Vasili Merkuriev, etc. Lilting love story set in WW II Russia. The Doctor’s son (Batalov) leaves his sweetheart (Samoilova) to join the army. She is seduced by his cousin, marries him & from subsequent tragedies tries to rebuild her life. 1957 Russian with English subtitles. Kathy did not like this film…..subtitles distract her from napping. Even though it was an unhappy story, the stamina & determination of Samoilova to continue waiting for her boyfriend was incredibly tenacious.

Lights out: 11:35pm

Awake: 6:40am Temp 53 sleep 6+33 sunny overnight @ Nicktown, PA.

K & I drive to attend 8:00am Mass; then join the Koffee Klub meeting for 1.5 hrs. Today’s highlighted topics: roads, streets & sidewalks. I won’t go into detail; it’s much too complicated.

Ray from Ocean Park, WA calls after our return; we have a nice long chat making up for the other “too many short chats” that we didn’t take enough time for. Their son Nathan Andrew recently graduated from the University of Portland & is now en route to Cape Hatteras, North Carolina to begin his new life. Ray sounds good; we are planning to visit Ray & Sharon later this yr.

My Sister Corinne calls: she invites us for a real Italian dinner @ their place tomorrow night. She said the right words: “A real Italian dinner.” But wait, there is more. The Sisters Three: that’s a special treat. They are Catholic Nuns whom we’ve known for yrs (especially my Sister) & enjoy very much. We both look forward to this gathering.

Today is the primary voting day for PA. On this annual occasion, the Heilwood Presbyterian Church has a special turkey dinner with all the trimmings; eat in or take out @ a very reasonable price. It’s a very popular meal that many partake in. During our Koffee Klub meeting this morning, K & I talk with Bill & Theresa & agree on a 3:00pm rendezvous for an early dinner.

Generous portions of turkey meat; dark or white or both, mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans, cranberries, rolls, dessert & coffee; it was great. Some of us took a doggy bag home in lieu of overeating. Then we invite Theresa & Bill (who are 1st cousins & very good friends since childhood) over to our abode for wine, a slide show & movies.

Bill was @ his finest; he told stories of the early days in Spangler when in grade school; then high school & later college about some of those many girlfriends he dated. That topic stayed with us for hrs as we all took turns revealing the 1st real love of our lives.

Then we watched Theresa’s CD, & DVD slides & movies of her recent travels of Bern, Switzerland, France & Dubai, U.A.E. United Arab Emerits. Super great company; terrific discussions & excellent wine; it was a fun evening without a doubt. Oh the wine: a Merlot; Ste Genevieve only from Texas.

Today’s high=77 Lights out: 12:17am

Awake: 7:05am Temp 43 sleep 6+44 sunny, then overcast overnight @ Nicktown, PA.

K & I attend 8:00am Mass & then join the Koffee Klub for 1.5 hrs of action packed discussions. Today we have a relatively new member (Theresa) who has returned to the area for a few days & is brave enough to join us around the conference table.

After the meeting, Theresa follows us to our property. She needs a local phone number to access the Earthlink system to use her computer from the home where she is residing. Kathy searches for Earthlink, gets an 800 number, Theresa makes the call & instantly gets a local area phone number to access a local modem. We talk for a short time & then she is ready to leave & try out that computer contact. Later she tells us: it works perfectly.

5:45 dinner: leftover tuna & noodle, mixed salad & toast.

After dinner, we take a walk about town. 1st on Main Street called “Ridge Road” & then our street; some people call it: The Boulevard of the Alleys. But it really is, “Saint Joseph Street.” Other people are seen strolling around town as we all casually enjoy the evening silence & cool breeze. We spot Al K. over @ his place; he invites us to join him on the porch. Donna is @ the church hall playing bingo tonight so we chat with Al until darkness falls, then return to our humble abode. That was nice; we’ll have to do that more often.

During our absence, Katrina calls & leaves a message.

Today’s high=64 Lights out: 12:07am

Awake: 6:01am Temp 41 sleep 6+21 sunny overnight @ Nicktown, PA.

Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers, grandmothers, Godmothers, and wannabe mothers!

Katrina calls with her mother’s day wishes while driving to her masters program in Colorado. Kathy takes the call & they chat for only (20) min as Katrina was close to her destination. Kathy reports that she is doing fine.

The young & active couple, Gary & Rosemary, call; no visit from them this week. Gary is filling in for another driver & will be in & out of town. Dang! Now who am I going to get to help wash the motorhome?

We leave @ 12:30pm, drive to Indiana, PA & do some light grocery shopping @ Wal-Mart & Martin’s & then spend about (3) hrs with the Foote family. Most of my time was consumed with getting the engine started in our (now their) old 1984 Ford Van. Kevin reported the engine isn’t turning over. I thought perhaps the battery posts needed a good cleaning so that was performed 1st. After all, those batteries were practically brand new!

Kevin turns the ignition key again & that click gave us a stronger clue; when checking the battery acid level, the clue was even more convincing. I didn’t realize Kevin had retained my maintenance records in the driver’s door; I had replaced those batteries in 1999.

A trip to the Sears Auto store provided the replacement batteries needed to wake the 6.9 liter engine right up. Both Matthew & Andrew were privy to watch from the dining room window--our slow motion fix of making that engine run.

Kevin grilled chicken breasts with bar-b-que sauce, corn on the cob, & red & green peppers & onions plus he had a mixed green salad and fresh strawberries. A nice mother’s day treat! Thanks guys. It was getting late according to the activities clock so we zoomed back to our motorhome before dark where a recording from Zack with his mother’s day greeting was waiting. He was on his way to go hiking.

Late evening, Ken S. returns my call from the other day; after some good chit-chatting & updating, I ask him for assistance in working with the AK DMV in getting our motorhome titled & registered. He agrees to help us out.

Later evening; Nick calls from Moscow, Russia. He arrived yesterday and after some sleep was in the computer office early; at least an hour before the other workers would show up. He wished his Mommy a “Happy Mothers Day” just before midnight & that completed all the kids checking in. He was calling on Skype; it was just as clear & audible as being next door. It’s amazing! The progress & technical advances in communications is just phenomenal these days. We talk for slightly over an hr.

Late movie before Nick calls: “Stella Dallas” with Barbara Stanwyck, John Boles, Anne Shirley, Barbara O’Neil, etc. Stanwyck is a small-town vulgar innocent who sacrifices everything for her daughter. Boles is the elegant wealthy heel who does her wrong. 1937. That’s all I am telling; you have to see the rest for yourself.
Lights out: 1:21am

Awake: 6:02am Temp 59 sleep 6+00 some clouds overnight @ Nicktown, PA.

K & I join the Koffee Klub members @ 8:30am. Kathy stays only 20 min & then leaves for her annual doctor’s appointment in Ebensburg.

John B. offers me a ride back to our motorhome after the meeting which I accept. John & I chat for more than an hr. I like John; he has an inquisitive mind & asks questions that are difficult to answer. John has been attending our club meetings more frequently as time goes on.

Later I call Harold D. whom we spent some time with @ Lake Kiowa, TX about (6) weeks ago. I waited a few hrs before making this call because I figured he & his wife would be out in the west coast states….. & they are. We do a little catching up talk & then I bring up the subject of their dogs & how our (2) grandsons might be interested in having a dog. During our visit, Harold was prompted by Clare to have Kathy & Monte take one of their dogs. Nice dogs, really cute & house trained but we agreed to decline the offer. Now, according to Harold, Clare has to think about giving one of the dogs away & they will let us know.

Early dinner @ 4:00pm: balsamic chicken with white beans & wilted spinach; after eating we walk to 6:00pm vigil Mass @ our church. A few dark clouds were forming to the east as we entered the church; after Mass, we canceled our social time to hasten our steps back to our home-on-wheels. Sure enough, less than (5) min later, lots of rain.

Later we watch a docudrama on “The Sinking of the Lusitania.”

High temp=77 Lights out: 11:40pm

Awake: 6:24am Temp 55 sleep 6+22 mostly sunny overnight @ Nicktown, PA.

K & I attend the Koffee Klub meeting @ 8:30am; an unusually high attendance rate; we don’t know why, sometimes it just happens. Our extra 12 or more chairs do come in handy for these occasions. The meeting ended about 9:25 and a few of us joined the communion service over @ the church @ 9:30.

Back @ our motorhome, I spend some time filling out required forms for our car registration to be sent to Anchorage, AK. Then I call the notary, Cindy, nearby to assure that she is open for business this afternoon & she is.

@ 1:45pm, Melissa, Matthew, & Andrew arrive to spend the afternoon with us. The 1st 1.5 hrs was spent indoors as the boys brought a box of their small cars, trucks, tractors, etc over for me to play with them. They also wasted no time in scouting around our new home on wheels in between traffic jams on the floor.

Later while Kathy had the boys sitting @ the dinette eating some healthy cookies, I excuse myself & take my filled out papers over to have Cindy notarize them. Next a quick stop @ the post office on my return & I am back with the young guys for some outside time. K & I take Andrew for a walk around our circular drive with a few lifting & swinging sessions along the way. He reluctantly agreed to a 2nd time & then, he insisted that we do those swings during the rest of our walk.

The most interesting attraction for the boys today was….visiting, petting, & feeding the neighbor’s dogs. They were absolutely fascinated with those animals. I believe we spent nearly an hr with the dogs. It was a very nice & relaxing visit.

Dinner: tuna & noodle with a mixed salad.

Melissa calls later evening: we talk about dogs & are they ready for one. It seems that on the way back to their home, the boys were asking questions & showing an interest in having one in the family.

Today’s high=74 Lights out: 12:02am

Awake: 6:42am Temp 63 sleep 6+01 mostly cloudy overnight @ Nicktown, PA.

About 9:00am, I call Al K. then walk across the field & give him a check for my Rotary dues for the last quarter. We didn’t shake hands or get too close.

Melissa calls: "the boys are doing much better today" she says; "so if it's OK, we'll plan on a visit with you tomorrow around 2:00pm." "That'll be terrific" we tell her.

Meanwhile Kathy has recovered enough that she is baking again; making healthy cookies for the Koffee Klub members & for our grandsons when they visit.

I spend some time talking to Claire in Alaska about our Lexus auto registration renewal. She points me in the right direction to download the appropriate forms to fill out, have notarized & enclose a check for the exact amount of: garble, garble, blab, blab.

Our new motorhome title arrived via FedEx today so I continue the search & download more forms to be filled out to have that coach registered also in Alaska.

Mid afternoon, the meter reader guy from Penn Elect drives into our circular driveway.

5:05pm dinner: Pork chops & onions with gravy, rice pilaf + some green beans from Gary C.’s garden. Wow! A real dinner!

Evening movie: “Woman of the Year” with Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn, Fay Bainter, Dan Tobin, etc.1st teaming of Tracy & Hepburn is a joy; Kate’s a world-famed political commentator brought down to earth by sports reporter Tracy, whom she later weds. Unforgettable scene of Hepburn trying to understand her first basebgall game. 1942. This movie was great……add it to your list.

Later evening: we watch the O’Reilly Factor.

High temp=80 Lights out: 12:02am

Awake: 6:50am Temp 54 sleep 6+50 sunny overnight @ Nicktown, PA.

Doctor L’s secretary calls: he will accept both Kathy & me as patients. We were delighted to hear this.

Our young friends, Rosemary & Gary C., call; they would like to pay us a visit today. Unfortunately, Kathy has to turn them down; we feel we should have a few more days lapse before exposing ourselves to others.

My bro Don calls from Pittsburgh; he’s attending an accounting seminar to build his required hrs. We lightly discuss our schedule for a get together for the occasion of our sister Corinne’s birthday.

Our almost long lost son…..ahh, what’s his name; oh yes, Zack….calls from Seattle. We talk for nearly an hr & just about catch up on what he & we have been doing lately. It was sooo good talking with him; we’ll have to do this more often.

I call my 1st cousin Bernie; he invites us down for a visit today. Oh, we would love to ….but, I have to tell him: we are being cautious & don’t want to contaminate them.

Before 4:00pm, I wrap & send my Sony camera out for repair. The camera’s sharp focusing has become less sharp within the last several months & needs adjusting.

Before dinner, I make a milk run down to the BiLo Food store.

Another eloquent dinner: tea with (2) slices of toast.

Late movie: “Bringing up Baby” with Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn, Charlie Ruggles, May Robson, Barry Fitzgerald, etc. In her sole venture into slapstick, Hepburn plays a madcap heiress & “Baby” is her pet leopard, who sets her sights on absent-minded zoologist Grant & inadvertently proceeds to make a shambles of his life. Definitely a screwball comedy & one of the fastest, funniest films ever made. 1938. This fast paced, action packed story literally wore Kathy out.

High temp=82 Lights out: 12:41am

Awake: 6:20am Temp 47 sleep 9+20 sunny overnight @ Nicktown, PA.

I felt much better this morning as I was getting off the couch. It wasn’t the solid sleep I usually have but my body feels much better. Even my Japanese coffee, which I drank before Kathy awoke, tasted better this morning. She, by the way, was not looking her bright & lively self & tells me her night was not good & mostly her head was hurting. A few times thru the night however, she says she felt like she was going to upchuck. We were sitting around talking about all of these strange moments of not feeling so well when a car pulls into our circular drive.

It’s my cousins Florentz & Anna. They drove to Nicktown to attend the 8:00 am Mass but quickly found out, there was no Mass today, so they visit us instead. Kathy quickly runs back to the bathroom & changes out of her nightgown.

We both made sure we didn’t get up-close & personal during their visit….since I’m pretty sure we are still carriers of that bad bug. We chat for over an hr & agree to get together @ another time for more talk time. As they are leaving, Kathy excuses herself & makes haste to the bathroom; you can probably guess why. Besides the obvious she was extremely dizzy and then cold. She remains horizontal for the rest of the morning, wearing a sweater & covered with (3) blankets; I help out whenever she calls me.

During Kathy’s resting time, I notify the electric company that we are now on the meter & using those kilowatts. The girl told me the meter reader will be in your neighborhood either tomorrow or Thursday. Our lunch consisted of tea & toast.

Kathy encourages me to call a local doctor & try to get on his patient list. His secretary will check with him & call us back in a day or two. For several yrs we have tried to get on his list but it was locked out; no new patients being taken in.

Melissa calls to report that Kevin left the University early yesterday afternoon with that Flu Bug.....then early Tuesday morning, the bug finally caught up with her. Kevin stayed home today because he had not yet recovered; It’s a good thing since Melissa was up during the night suffering with nausea & vomiting and didn’t get much sleep. It’s a BAD bug!

Our dinner: Chicken broth and saltine crackers.

Late movie: “Alice Adams” with Katharine Hepburn, Fred MacMurray, Fred Stone, Evelyn Venable, Ann Shoemaker, etc. Excellent small-town Americana with social-climbing girl finally finding love in a person of unpretentious MacMurray. The dinner table scene is unforgettable. 1935. This story was great!

High temp=78 Lights out:12:00 midnight

Awake: 6:35am Temp 41 sleep 6+23 sunny overnight @ Nicktown, PA.

K & I join the Koffee Klub meeting for an hr this morning. The big topic was Father Job’s mother’s passing away on Saturday. There was some discussion as to who would be interested in driving to the Scranton area to show their respect & attend her funeral. Barry commits himself to bringing Theresa, Monica & Margie.

K & I are thinking: we have no real plans; maybe we should drive our tow car up to Scranton, PA (some 200 miles) & pay our respects. Meanwhile, I ask Barry for the exact address where the funeral will be held. He will call later & let me know.

Back @ our motorhome, Al visits & reminds me that tomorrow the Rotary is having an International meeting with (5) Rotarians visiting from Turkey. The more I talked with Al, the more interested I became in the Rotary meeting. Last yr, K & I attended a meeting in Ebensburg when the Germans visited & we both found it most interesting.

I call Barry & let him know of our change of plans. He was ok with that. So we committed ourselves to the Tuesday late afternoon Rotary meet in Ebensburg.

My young buddy Gary C. calls; we left several messages weeks ago & again on Sunday for these guys with no response; we thought they had left the country. Here they were touring some VIP’s, Gary’s sister & her husband, who chose to celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary with G & R who in turn took them to see some of the local attractions.

At a thrift store in Miami, OK Kathy found a “Stir Crazy” popcorn popper that externally was in great shape but the internal thermostat was kaput. Our S.C. popper works well but the foundation body has a good sized hole & the plastic bubble cover is full of cracks + one handle is broken off. So, I used the (2) poppers to make (1) good one.

Next, with Kathy’s help, the canisters are cleaned, then the filters are installed & the well water is now feeding our motorhome.

I felt very ambitious so far today….but when tinkering around outside with my tools on another project, I suddenly began feeling useless. Time for a break I figured. That was @ 4:30pm. Inside the coach, I poured Kathy & myself a glass of wine; we toasted & both sat down to relax.

I didn’t finish the wine……my stomach ached big time; the couch was comfortable but my body was grumbling & I was groaning. It became obvious: I had caught that flu bug from the boys yesterday.

Holding a pan & sitting on the toilet was not nice but with my nurse’s help, we kept it clean. The whole ordeal completely wore me out. I spent the night on the couch. Kathy was feeling good & I was happy to have her help.

High temp=68 Lights out for me: 9:00am

Awake: 6:26am Temp 40 sleep 5+53 sunny overnight @ Nicktown, PA.

Kathy makes her special sourdough pancake breakfast with eggs, bacon & real maple syrup. Not long after breakfast, I run the well water into the lower field to clear out the somewhat cloudy water @ the bottom of the well. I do this every time the well sits a long time without use.

Mid morning, Melissa calls: she reports that both Matthew & Andrew were sick during the night….like a (1) day flu; vomiting & diarrhea. She warns us that they may still be carriers & be contagious to us. Well, it sort of put us on the spot; we turned her down yesterday & now today, it’s risky. Oh what the heck, we say to ourselves! We’re healthy & we will be careful & not be real chummy.

It was a wonderful visit; both boys were not their usual spunky selves but Matthew warmed up to us immediately (being older); Andrew (being younger) treated us like a couple of strangers; later though, he did get a little more friendly. We played in the back yard with the boys for quite a while. Then Matthew showed me his interest in electricity by plugging in many extension cords, one after another. He pretends that the vacuum cleaner works when plugged in; the light switches on; the compressor runs, etc. That’s really good for a (3.5) yr old.

Kevin makes hamburgers & potato slices on their grill & we join them for a mid-afternoon meal. Melissa, now more than halfway through her pregnancy, is feeling good. We leave around 4:30 pretty happy about our 1st visit in (4) months.

Back @ our motorhome, I find the well water very clear again, so tomorrow I’ll ask Kathy to clean up the filter canisters, then I’ll put the filters in line & hook the water up to our coach water works.

Lights out: 12:12am

Awake: 6:32am Temp 49 sleep 6+10 sunny overnight @ Nicktown, PA.

We both slept well in our mini campground; so quiet & spacious. It does feel good to be back again. We start the day off by attending a Communion Service @ our Saint Nicholas Church & then, we attend the Koffee Klub meeting @ the community center for 1.3 hrs; pretty good size group gathered this morning which I’m sure, had nothing to do with our arrival back in town; we did get quite a few “welcome back” greetings however.

After the meeting was over, we pickup our Nicktown mail from the local post office & then return to our home-on-wheels.

After breakfast, we make a call to Melissa; she would like a visit from us today. Customarily, I like to have myself organized & have the coach organized before I begin the visiting program. Kathy has all of her clothes drawers lined with felt & organized. I have maybe (5) finished. So I make a deal that we visit with them tomorrow afternoon & besides, I want to attend tonight’s vigil Mass @ 6:00pm here in town.

I spend about (2) hrs all together taking “stuff” from one drawer @ a time; Kathy cut the felt to match the drawer & then after perusing the stuff in each drawer, I decide what to get rid of and what to keep.

We chat with Katrina, who, of course, is driving her car. She is going home after spending (5) hrs with the young girl, Karina, & her younger brother. I cut my talk time a little short & begin setting up the well water for use in our motorhome.

K & I walk to the Nicktown Church for the Sunday vigil Mass. We talk with a few of our cousins outside after the Mass is over.

While Kathy prepares dinner, I make a run to our nearest grocery store, “BiLo Foods,” (3) miles to buy milk.

8:05 dinner: Leftover meatloaf, gravy & fried rice & salad.

Lights out: 12:32am

Awake: 7:05am temp 65 sleep 6+44 overcast overnight @ Caryville, TN.

We leave the Cove Lake State Park campground @ 9:20am. (15) min north on I-75, we are in the sunshine. Mary Ann calls to inquire about getting together again today, but we’re on our way. So it’s: I-75 to I-64 to I-79 to I-68 to US 219 to route 553 to Nicktown.

A short downpour dirtied our clean coach just south of Lexington, KY but going east brought back those blue skies again. Our intention was to make this a casual (2) day trip but the good weather kept us traveling. I-79 & I-68 had abundant up & down hills with many curves; not so good for fuel mileage.

We like sneaking into my small hometown arriving @ 7:50pm; had it not been for Barry & Bonnie outside doing some yard work, we would have been successful.

Today’s travel: 582 miles 10+48 time 100.4 gal used 5.8 mpg 54 mph avg speed.

Our campground looks good; grass not too high yet & no trees that we know of blown down.

Kathy plugs us into our 50 amps; we extend our slides & we are in our home for the night.

Light & late dinner: A salad bowl from the Ridge BBQ restaurant.

High travel temp=81 Lights out:12:22am

Awake: 6:05am Temp 65 sleep 6+04 overcast overnight @ Caryville, TN.

Russ & Mary Ann R. drive up @ 9:00am sharp. We invite them into our coach & gab until around noon time…..trying to catch up on one another’s lifestyle & family activities in retirement. Russ is another retired pilot from FedEx who I casually keep track of.

Russ & Mary Ann live about 20 min from this state park & their youngest boy, Mark, runs a restaurant inside this park a mere (2) city blocks from our campsite. Russ drives us over to meet Mark & have lunch @ his “Ridge BBQ” restaurant.

Mark was busy with some (30 +) TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority) customers but gave us 10 min of his valuable time to talk with us. Lunch was very tasty & the busy girls gave us quick service.

From here, Russ drives us thru the small towns of Caryville, Jacksboro & La Follette; all having a lot of business activity along the way. Then we ride 20 min south to the Norris Lake area; climb some curvy & small mountain roads & arrive @ a subdivision near the lake with some very fine looking homes, one of them being Russ & Mary Ann’s. Russ gives us a tour of the subdivision & then a grand tour of their lovely home. Russ mostly designed their house with some very practical ideas of which we took note of. Another large home (5000) square ft & very well built. We hang out @ their place until around 5:45pm gabbing & checking out Russ’s digital photo studio & electronics. After a glass of good wine, we return to the Ridge BBQ restaurant for dinner & some live entertainment from a few of Russ & Mary Ann’s bluegrass friends; playing their music on the stage that Russ & his son Mark built. K & I share our (2) entrees of Alaska Salmon & ½ rack of dry BBQ ribs; a very good meal without a doubt.

Around 8:00pm, we say our goodbyes to Russ & Mary Ann’s bluegrass friends & return to our motorhome for more talk time. I ask Russ how he got started in the Aviation world. Taking advantage of every opportunity, his story was enterprising, ambitious, daring with a lot of determination & more; it would have made a great movie.

We begin to say our goodbyes with R & M around 10:30, but before they leave, we make a deal: if it’s raining tomorrow morning, we’ll stay another day & go places with them; if no rain, we’re on our way. We enjoyed these people a lot.

Lights out: 12:21am

Awake: 7:05am Temp 61 sleep 6+20 sunny overnight @ Caryville, TN.

Kathy & I talk the walk & then, walk the walk…..for 1.2 hrs of exercise on an asphalt walking trail. There are some 200 acres in this park so we only scratched the surface with the walking exercise.

Our TV remotes are challenging to us so we both spend some time reading the manuals for a simpler control of our TVs. I went so far as to call the distributor of the TV & question the matter as to needing (2) remotes to control (1) TV. They apologized but confirmed that “yes” you do need (2) remotes to control the TV.

Kathy gives Mary Ann R. a call; they would like to visit us tomorrow morning around 9:00am.

7:30 dinner: Meatloaf with mushroom gravy, baked potato & a mixed salad.

Evening TV: We watch Part II of the docudrama on Marlon Brando.

High temp=82 Lights out: 12:01am

Awake: 7:26 Temp 59 sleep 7+00 sunny overnight @ Lenoir City, TN.

1st thing this morning, I clean the smashed bugs off of our windshield, wipe the dust off the mirrors & climb the telescoping ladder to check the slide tops. Then we leave the Soaring Eagle Campground @ 12:28pm; drive about (5) miles down the road & top off our fuel tank @ the Flying “J” Truck Stop. Then continue with smooth roads on I-40 & I-75 to our destination.

Arrive @ the Cove Lake Tennessee State Campground in Caryville, TN @ 2:10pm.

Today’s travel: 58 miles 1+18 time 10.3 gal used 5.6 mpg 44.3 avg speed.

This state park allows one to drive in, pick out a campsite, hookup & then later, the Park Ranger comes by to collect the fee @ your door. We decided to detach the Suzuki, leave the coach in a “out of the way parking area” & then, drive the car around for the hunt. I’m glad we did….most of the sites are 30 amps with only a few being 50 amps; plus some of the roads have sharp dips & hills. This campground is very quiet & not so crowded.

7:15 dinner: Kathy describes it as: creamed hamburger, beans & green peppers plus mixed salad.

Late night TV: A docudrama on Marlin Brando part I.

Travel high temp=85 Lights out: 12:45am

Awake: 7:02am Temp 52 sleep 5+57 sunny overnight @ Lenoir City, Tennessee.

We sign up for another night of camping, then drive east to the nearest gas station to fill our tank before doing some more mountain climbing. I couldn’t believe the current price of fuel so I simply paid for $10.00 worth.

Then we backtrack & climb that mountain to the G.W. mansion again & enjoy a special Japanese lunch of home made noodle soup with (4) different levels of spiciness, complete with fried rice & onions. For dessert Miyako had water melon, fudge brownies, & chocolate ice cream. Eating this lunch took over 1.5 hrs as we gab & refill our soup bowls many times. It was outstanding & reminded me of the Noodle Shop in Narita, Japan that a lot of us guys would frequent nearly every time we were in town.

Later, a fellow by the name of Rick & his helper arrived to estimate some carpet and tile work for G.W. & to look over the latest project down in the basement: a movie theater room. The tier seating area needs to be carpeted & seats bolted in place; also new carpet throughout all the basement level and stairs. Out on the front porch; new tile to replace the brick. These fellows have their work cut out for them.

Now it’s time for G.W. & Miyako to pick up their daughter Manami @ her school. Miyako has a healthy snack for her before she begins her ice skating class. We opt to visit our motorhome for 45 min before joining them @ the ice rink. Manami is very talented; besides ice skating, she does ballet, attends a Japanese language class, classical piano, etc. I take a few pictures of her practicing her jump twirls. From here, they take her to the University of Tennessee for her piano lessons. They will stop by our motorhome after the piano lessons on their way back to the mountain.

We spend another hr gabbing in our coach & then it’s time for the teenager & her parents to get back to the mountain. We sure did enjoy our fast (2) days with Miyako, G.W. & Manami. We’ll be making some good excuses to motor this way again in the future.

Late dinner: Thick slices of ham with Triscuits.

Later movie: “Black Stallion” with Kelly Reno, Mickey Rooney, Teri Garr, Clarence Muse, etc. An exquisitely filmed story of a young boy’s adventure with a magnificent black stallion….from a dramatic shipwreck to a racing championship. 1979. A little slow @ times but a good family film.

High temp=82 Lights out: 12:26am

Awake: 5:40am Temp 50 sleep 6+03 sunny overnight @ Goodlettsville, TN.

En route to Saint John Vianney Catholic Church in Gallatin (15 miles) @ 7:55am, G.W. calls; “we are home, come visit us” he says. “That is good news & we will" Kathy tells him.

The priest @ St. John’s Vianney church was very enthusiastic; obviously their beautiful church was newly built & he wishes to pay down the mortgage ASAP, so has offered to donate 10% of his personal salary to show his seriousness in asking the parishioners to participate in this challenge.

We leave the Nashville Country RV Park in Goodlettsville @ 11:23am; same time we left the Tom Sawyer Park in West Memphis. I-40 continues to be smooth & a cornering headwind continues to not be in our favor. When Kathy was talking with G.W. earlier this morning, she mentioned that we’ll be camping in an RV Park near Kingston & arriving mid-afternoon. About an hr west of our destination, G.W. calls: he wants to know the name of the campground we will park in; after Kathy reveals that info, he tells her: “that is only 5 min from where we live. We’ll meet you there.”

We arrive @ the Soaring Eagle RV Park in Lenoir, TN @ 3:12pm.

Today’s travel: 167 miles 3+49 time 26 gal used 6.4 mpg 54.9 avg speed

As we are checking in @ the RV office, G.W., his wife, Miyako & their daughter, Manami drive up to greet us. This is only the 2nd time in parking @ 223 campgrounds around the states that someone has met us while parking @ the campsite. The 1st thoughtful individual that did that was my buddy Ray in Washington State on April, 24, 2004. I believe it was the Eagle’s Nest. It must be the eagle powers that make it happen.

We show G.W. & his family how we enlarge our home by extending the slides & then we hang out for over an hr catching up on one another’s lives since seeing them in Anchorage in the late 90’s. Daughter Manami hints that one of her favorite Asian restaurants, just down the road would be a perfect place to have an early dinner & her parents agree. Both K & I like Asian food so it’s a done deal. And the food was indeed good and plentiful.

Back to our campground to get our Suzuki; we follow them to their gentleman’s farm in the mountains about 5 min away. Wow! What a beautiful & scenic area & and another mansion for touring. How do they find these places; I remember G.W. telling me about buying this farm in Tennessee but I had no idea of its beauty & the eloquent home to go along with it. Their 13 acres fit in perfectly with the (3) horses & (2) dogs. I didn’t count the number of rooms this 7,200+ sq ft mansion has but, without a doubt, there are plenty of rooms for overnight visitors. This home tour lasted longer than Helen’s & she had plenty of details to elaborate on. It was after mid-night when we finally realized: we should let these people get some sleep; actually it was a mutual thing, we just had a lot to talk about. Before we leave, Miyako invites us for a special lunch @ their home tomorrow & we accept.

Lights out: 1:05am

Awake: 6:45am Temp 55 sleep 6+47 light rain….then sunny overnight @ Goodlettsville, Tennessee.

Kathy uses our Lady Garmin GPS to seek out a church for tomorrow’s early travel plan.

My Sister Corinne calls from Lilly, PA. Her college is out for the summer season; she will be visiting her office but not be as super busy as when school is in session.

My brother Don calls: He & Josie are in Maryland visiting their daughter Kelly Jo & their family. He was packing the car getting ready for the return trip to PA tomorrow.
Then Kathy calls Melissa & they have a long chat.

Next, K & I drive our Suzuki on the Long Hollow Pine Road to the outskirts of the town of Gallatin & spend the remainder of the afternoon & evening visiting with Helen M. & her (2) boys, Samuel & Andrew, & their respective wives & children. We were “across the street” neighbors of the M family in Raleigh, TN for 9 years during the 80’s. Samuel and especially Andrew were part of our family and spent a lot of time playing with our 3 older children. Since we haven’t seen the family since 1989, we had a great time reminiscing and catching up on our lives.

Helen gave us a grand tour of her home which she planned and architecturally designed. She has every reason to be proud of this beautiful 5,000+ sq ft, well built, tastefully decorated home built on property that has been in her family over 100 years.

Helen lost her husband, Larry, to cancer about a year after the house was finished; fortunately their (2) boys live nearby & visit frequently with their wives & children. While Helen does all of her own house cleaning plus substitute teaching several days a week, Samuel & Andrew help her with some of the outdoor chores and indoor repairs.

Andrew is a country dentist in the county near his home in Hartsville, @ 10 min from Helen. Samuel, a bit farther away in Nashville, calls himself the dirt doctor; he has a PhD in agriculture & teaches @ a local university + 2 courses on-line. He also has an independent business in agriculture.

Samuel & Andrew both married well. Samuel’s wife, Autumn, has her PhD in Nutrition & heads an internship program in nutrition; they have 3 children, Ellen, Catherine, & Levi. Andrew’s wife, Celena, is a pharmacist; they have 2 girls, Abigail & Elizabeth. We enjoyed meeting & spending time with their wives & children. They all contributed to our delicious buffet supper of pulled pork, beans, cold slaw, & potatoes plus a choice of frozen pies for dessert. Very nice families!

We say our goodbyes around 8:00pm & stopped @ a Publix grocery store for milk & yogurt en route to our campground. Back @ our campground, I call another one of our retired pilots, G.W. from FDX & leave a message that we are going to be in his neighborhood tomorrow & would like to pay him & his wife & daughter a visit.

Lights out: 11:37pm

Awake: 6:45am Temp 58 sleep 5+50 sunny overnight @ West Memphis, AR.

It’s a beautiful day for travel….but we can’t leave until the local mail arrives. I had it sent from Alaska last Saturday via the U.S. Postal Service. Finally today @ 10:30am, the mail arrives; (5) days later & postmarked Saturday the 21st. They call this Priority Mail!

We leave the Tom Sawyer RV Park @ 11:23am. This campground was good for us; easy & close access to downtown Memphis; secluded, quiet & scenic view of the l-o-n-g barges that slowly move up & down the Mississippi River & the friendly workers that keep all of these 80 acres manicured + the free laundry facilities. When we return, this place will be on our list.

I-40 continues to be very smooth….. or could it be the new ZF suspension system from Germany.

We arrive @ the Nashville country RV Park in Goodlettsville, TN @ 3:54pm.

Today’s travel: 241 miles 4+31 time 37.8 gal used 6.4 mpg 53.6 avg speed.

This park is crowded & small with some tight turns. But….with the steering tag axle we now have, it was no problem making those turns. Before dinner, Kathy & I take a walk around the campground; we couldn’t help noticing on one tight turn, the solid white fence had been hit & completely run over. Apparently it happened after our arrival. During our campground walk, we casually watched for signs of scratches or dents on other parked RV’s; we found nothing suspicious.

Late dinner: tuna steak, veggie medley in Boursin cheese sauce & a mixed salad.

Travel high temp=71 elevation 552 ft Lights out: 11:58pm

Awake: 6:24am Temp 60 sleep 5+38 mostly cloudy & windy overnight @ West Memphis, AR.

Early afternoon, I call & talk with Ron D; he & his wife are empty nesters now. Their (2) boys are both married, have children & live elsewhere. They have sold their big house & are now living in a zero lot line condo. He also sold his 210 Cessna aircraft; Linda does not enjoy flying. He would love to get a motorhome & do some traveling but Linda doesn’t want to do that either. I suggested that Kathy have a little talk with her; Ron liked that idea. Ron continues to enjoy his FDX flying & operating the simulator however.

In the meantime, Kathy does another laundry load & also lines (8) of her drawers, some kitchen & some bedroom, with felt.

I spend some time trying to understand our new Pioneer navigation system.

@ 5:50pm, we drive to East Memphis & meet with Bob & Mary Ann B. @ “Buckleys.” A very popular restaurant @ Popular & Estate Streets. K & I share a Filet with Portabellas, creamed spinach, & garden salad + wine. We haven’t seen Bob & Mary Ann since their son’s wedding in 2002. Before that, we were neighbors when we lived in Memphis, living about ½ mile from each other.

After a delicious dinner, (Buckleys was very good), Mary Ann rides with me to their nearby home while I demonstrate our Lady Garmin GPS to her; she is amazed with the technology within that little unit. Kathy rides with Bob & then, we sample some dessert in their living room & gab for another hr or more. It was wonderful teaming up with these people again. We return to our campsite around 11:30pm.

Today’s high= 69 Lights out: 12:55am

Awake: 6:45am Temp 64 sleep 6+13 rain overnight @ West Memphis, AR.

I call for Ron D. & talk with his wife Linda. She tells me he is in Seattle now but will be returning home later tonight.

Call Jack S. & wish them a Bon Voyage for their trip to the Northwest & thank them again for their visit.

We have been invited to a 6:00pm dinner tonight @ P.D. & Jodi’s; the proud father & mother of their daughter & new bride Adrienne. On the way to their house, traffic moves swiftly & we are early; so we stop @ a liquor & wine store called: “The Flask” @ White Station Road & I-240. Gary the proprietor introduces us to a new wine: Menage a Trois. We buy (1) bottle as a test.

During our browsing in the Liquor store, Bill M. calls from Tacoma, WA. They are living in their motorhome while working on their new house about 30 min down the road. He explains: last night when I called & left a message, they were sleeping…..but were awakened with my call. He rushed to the front of their motorhome to take the call, realized it was “just me” & decided not to respond & go back to bed; a few minutes later, another phone call came thru on his wife, Debby’s, cell phone. Again he rushes to the front of the motorhome to answer the call & realizes: “it’s him again!” Apparently they had an early 4:00am wakeup for whatever reason & my timing was not so good. We chat for about 18 min & maybe....we are still friends. We did discuss a rendezvous near Tacoma for later in the fall.

@ the home of Jodi & P.D., we sit in their living room & review their daughter’s wedding prep & the effort it took to pull it off. That project wore them both out & they tell us that recovery is ongoing. Jody made a delicious lasagna dinner with salad and rolls. It was a relaxing, enjoyable evening of talking & laughing that went too quickly. We left @ 9:00; Jodi & PD were both very tired and had to get up early for work.

En route to our campground, we stop @ Kroger’s on Stage Road & buy some milk & yogurt.

Late movie: “Angels with Dirty Faces” with James Cagney, Pat O’Brien, Humphrey Bogart, Ann Sheridan, George Bancroft, etc. A tale of (2) playmates: one (Cagney) becomes a gangster, the other (O’Brien) a priest. The Dead End Kids idolize Cagney, much to O’Brien’s chagrin. 1938. A surprise ending awaits the viewer.

High today=69 Lights out: 12:46am

Awake: 6:07am Temp 66 sleep 5+26 low clouds overnight @ West Memphis, AR.

We both eat a small breakfast in preparation for meeting with Dennis & Annette for lunch @ the “Olive Garden” in Cordova. They haven’t changed at all since seeing them (4) yrs ago. K & I order the unlimited salad & soup selection. Denny continues to fly the Boeing 747-400 for Saudi Arabian Airlines getting in on the “fly over 65 yrs of age” change for foreign carriers. Lucky guy! We do a lot of talking & catching up on their lifestyle since the Iraq war began. They tell us it hasn't restricted or affected them much @ all. It was good seeing them again. We exchange e-mail addresses to try & stay in touch better.

Next K & I go across the street to Loewe's & begin our search for a suitable small vacuum cleaner that has a beater bar & a hose with a nozzle for getting into smaller spaces. Actually we visit Sears, J.C. Penny, Target, & Macy’s; then we realize maybe Google would be more efficient & helpful in our search.

Dinner: Stuffed peppers & bread.

@ 9:30pm Seattle time, I call & leave our ole neighbors Bill & Debby a message on both of their cell phones.

Late movie: “Resurrection” with Ellen Burstyn, Sam Sheppard, Richard Farnsworth, Roberts Blossom, Clifford David, etc. A beautifully realized story about a woman who returns to life from the brink of death with amazing healing powers. 1980. A very realistic & heart-warming story. Don’t miss it!

High temp=79 Lights out: 12:32am

Awake: 7:03am Temp 65 sleep 7+41 overcast overnight @ West Memphis, AR.

We drive to East Memphis & ride past our 1st house on Knollwood Drive just off of Estate. We lived here for 5 years and rented this house out for over 20 yrs before selling it to a neighbor’s son whose parents lived just across the street. This place also looks very good.

Next we visit the Costco store on Hacks Cross Road where I top off the Suzuki’s fuel tank paying $ 2.69 per gallon & then we both do some light grocery shopping inside the Costco store.

Next I make a deal with Kathy. Since she donated a lot of her clothes to a thrift store in Miami, we visit two of her ole favorite thrift stores on Summer Ave to begin the restocking process: the (DAV) Disabled American Veterans & the Mid-South Outlet. Amazingly enough, Kathy found no clothes of interest but I bought (1) like new shirt. We are back to our campground by 4:45pm.

Shortly after we arrive at our motorhome, Jack S. calls: he & Trish will visit us early evening. “That will be great!” I tell him.

Meanwhile, Gary J. calls from eastern PA. Mostly we discuss motorhome travels & their progress on the Madonna statue. I had to break off our conversation when Jack & Trish arrived & try to help Jack possibly get Trish into our motorhome. But she is unable to climb the few stairsteps we have due to the extent of her osteoporosis. Instead, we all sit outside on the picnic bench & our camping chairs, talk for more than an hr updating each other on “what’s been happening?”

As dusk slowly arrives over the mighty Mississippi & our campground, we decide to accompany Jack & Trish to the midtown restaurant, “Bosco’s Square,” where K & I share a pizza & we each have a micro-brew stout beer. Jack’s Toyota auto works well for Trish; she is able to drive it & can easily store her walker in the rear of the car using the remote control for the sliding doors & rear door. Jack drives us back to our campground & we thank him & Trish very much for the visit. It was also great catching up on a lot of the retired pilots & what those guys are doing now.

Today’s high temp=77 Lights out: 12:41am

Awake: 6:15am Temp 60 sleep 6+20 sunny overnight @ West Memphis, Arkansas.

Kathy calls Denny & Annette & makes plans for a rendezvous later this week. Then she calls our ole neighbors, Bud & Jean. When they understand that we are in town….so to speak, they invite us over for a visit.

En route to their house, we ride past our old house where we lived for 11 yrs. It looks real good from what we could see: a new white metal fence up near the house; another large garage behind the house; a clean & manicured yard, etc. We were happy to see it being taken care of. Also the neighborhood is looking healthier; (2) new large homes have been built since we moved to Alaska.

Both Jean & Bud look healthy, happy, & lively. They sure don’t look their age; Bud is 81 and Jean is not far behind him. They continue to take trips in their motorhome, Bud still plays around talking with his amateur radio buddies, & Jean is a busy volunteer plus doing all her own housework. We sit in the den & update each other for over an hour & then their 2nd oldest boy, Bill, & his wife arrive for a visit. Then we talk for another hour. It was a good reunion with our former neighbors.

Then K & I have a pizza & beer @ the Exlines “Best Pizza in Town” restaurant on Austin Peay Hwy. During the 80’s, our family would patronize this place @ least twice a month. Their pizza is still pretty good, tho it can’t compare to the Moose’s Tooth in Anchorage. We return to our campground before 9:00pm.

High temp=79 Lights out: 11:38pm


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