Saturday, May 21, 2011

Good to be Home

May 21 st - Saturday - Bright Blue Sky - No Rain!!

Can you believe it, it has not rained yet today; however, we have a pond of water in our back yard and can not cut the grass, but at least today we can get out and work outside. Krista and Steve cut the grass one time this spring and that is all that it has been cut. It is hard to believe just how much rain has fallen in this area. The poor farmers are really suffering, as may the rest of us when it comes to purchasing fresh produce this summer.

I went with Krista to Elmira to her doctors appointment on Tuesday and what an experience that was. Her doctor did an ultrasound in the office and pointed out to Michelle and myself all of the vital organs and then did an echo of the baby's heart and pointed out to us the abnormalities of the heart rhythm although on Tuesday it was much better than it had been and Krista does not have to go back until next Tuesday. Things certainly have changed since I had my babies 40 years ago. I certainly was impressed.

It was a fun day for all of us, after the doctors appointment we ran some errands for me and then we had lunch at The Olive Garden, as we all enjoy the soup and salad and then on to our favorite shopping experience at "Sally Annes" and what a deal I found. I have always loved Pfaltzgraff's Village, even though I have the collector set America. I have picked up assorted pieces of Village as I have found them and Krista has bought pieces for me as she has come across them and after Lou and I got married we ordered enough dinner plates to complete a full service for eight. Much to our dismay when they arrived from the company we found they were made in China and that ended that quest, I have not ordered any more pieces and vowed I would pick up pieces when I found them.

Last year when Lou, Preston and I were at a SMART campout we stumbled
into a flea market of sorts and I found a complete canister set and some odd pieces, so slowly but surely I was getting a full set. Well, at Sally Annes I found the jackpot!! I purchased casseroles, lunch plates, dinner plates, soup bowls and a couple of spare cups. I was delighted. Each piece was less than $.99. Good buy?? While we were away, Krista found the top of a butter dish, so if I could find the bottom someplace. The tea pot in the picture that contains flowers from our garden was also one of my finds.

All in all it was a wonderful day. It was good to catch up on all of the news of the winter with Michelle and Krista. Even though we talked every day or so, it was good to talk in person. Kris and Steve did a good job keeping everything here at home going for us right down to taking care of frozen pipes and getting them repaired.

House is cleaned up again and laundry caught up so it is time to hit the outside and see what can be done there.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Home Again - Spring Again In Pennsylvania

It was a long day, we started home at 8:45 this morning, and arrived here in our driveway at 6:00 pm this afternoon.

We did stop twice to fill with gas and once for lunch and for potty breaks, but other than that Lou drove, however, it was a nice day to drive. It was cloudy for the most of the day with some rain, but the closer we got to home the nicer the weather was. The temperature was a constant 65 degrees.

We really did not unpack much when we got here. Steve saw us when we drove up and quickly come down to help us get backed in. We had stopped at the church to unhook the car to make the transition easier. Our yard was a welcome sight. We certainly have to thank Krista and Steve, they had kept the grass cut and everything under control while we were away. We usually have mountains of mail; however, Steve had gathered it daily and Krista had sorted it and sent on what we needed and discarded all of the junk mail, so it was so much easier this year. They even harvested our asparagus and had it prepared for our dinner. Another welcome sight was Michelle at our front door several hours after we were home, our door was her first stop on her way home from college, we had missed her also.

Lou and I were surprised when we saw Krista, as she only has a month to go with her pregnancy and she has lost weight, she knows her baby weighs 7 1/2 pounds and she is seeing her specialist twice weekly now and so far every thing seems stable. Baby still has SVT and must be monitored but we are all hopeful and cautious.

Estee was also glad to be home and she had to make her rounds to make sure everything was under control.

For some reason we do not have a working land line telephone, so we can not telephone anyone, we will have to report the problem and then we can call the rest of the family and let them know we have returned home.

Our next SMART camp out is next weekend, perhaps we will have time to get unpacked in time for that!!!


May 11th - Cloudy 65 degrees

We were up early and ready to leave Elizabeth City, NC, driving on route 17 to purchase gasoline for the RV, as the base was putting in a new service station and the pumps were not working properly we had to drive off base for gasoline. We found a Seven-Eleven with gasoline at $3.79, filled the tank and we were off.

We had just passed into Virginia and a car came up on the passenger side of the RV and gave me a signal that something was wrong with the car, so as soon as we could stop, Lou pulled off and we found that we had had a flat tire and it was off the rim and we were traveling on the rim. I used our On Star and called for assistance and while Lou unpacked our trunk to get to the “so called spare tire” a repairman was dispersed to our location. By the time he arrived Lou had the tire and rim off. Another kind gentleman stopped by to give assistance and he was kind enough to locate the closet General Motors garage for us and provided us with their telephone number and I immediately called them and told the parts department what we needed and he suggested we come in and see what needed to be done. Thanks to our kind gentleman that stopped by, I programmed the address of Priority Chevrolet into our GPS and we were off. We arrived and were greeted upon our arrival. Lou and I unhooked our car from the RV and a work order was prepared. It was noted that there were two outstanding recalls for our car and that was also scheduled to be done. The rim had to be ordered which they felt would arrive on Thursday afternoon. They assured us they would call us as soon as the car was ready to travel. We left our car and departed for the closet RV camping area and that brought us to Little Creek Naval Base.

We called to make a reservation; however, no one answered so we made the decision to drive the RV out and hope we could get in, so we programmed that address into the GPS and arrived there around 2:00 PM and we found that they only accepted reservations, Lou commented that it looked like they had open spots and they relented and gave us a spot. We backed into a spot and got set up and had some lunch and turned on the television and we both found it hard to believe but we both sat down on the sofa and fell asleep and woke up and found NCIS was on for several hours and we sat there and watched it and enjoyed every minute of it. They were all episodes that we hadn’t seen.

We did fix our fresh peas and potatoes with chicken breasts and did it ever taste good and then I washed the dishes and we went right back to watching NCIS and we went to bed and watched the last episode in bed. Truly a relaxing day after what started out to be very stressful situation.

As you can see in the picture, Estee is in the passenger seat and ready to start on her journey again. Wonder if she knows this time it will be a long ride and the final destination will be home.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Second Day with Aunt Hettie - Museum of the Albemarle

May 10th - Tuesday - 70 degrees - bright blue skies

We were up early and off to pick up Aunt Hettie for our day with her. I always take my camera and take pictures that she wants taken and then once we get back home I make a picture book and send her a short story of our time we spent with her along with pictures. She has problems with short term memory and she tells us this helps her remember the days we spend with her and we are glad to do this for her.

She dearly loves her Bible and this year Lou found a different picture book of the Bible land to take to her and she was delighted with it. She kept leaving through it and telling us, she didn’t think it would look like this, so guess this was a good choice.

Last year, we took her back to Gum Neck, the community that Aunt Hettie grew up in, so this year Lou decided to take her on a tour of the area in Elizabeth City that she spent her married life in and that is what we did and my golly, she sure remembered the details of the way it used to be, she is 92 years of age, and that part of her memory is sharp. As we were driving down the street, she told Lou to pull over, she said “I know that man“, so Lou pulled and sure enough, it was her grandson, what a surprise for her, so she got out and he took her into the shop that he runs and she got to see that, so that helped to make her day special.

We stopped for a special lunch and she decided she wanted a cheeseburger, French fries, hot coffee and of course, vanilla ice cream for dessert. This was at a special diner and everything was prepared as we ordered it, and it was near the site of where Aunt Hettie used to work in a box factory. Great memories for her.

We also took her out to the base where we had the RV parked so she could see our RV, so she would know where we were staying, she kept saying she wished we could stay with her and that way she would know we were alright, so she felt pretty good when she left our RV.

Then we went to a new museum that is located near where her home was in Elizabeth City. Lou found that he could get a wheel chair at the Museum of the Albemarle and she was delighted being able to see all of the “ole timey things”. I have been to a lot of museums, and I have to tell you I was very impressed with this museum. EVERYTHING was labeled and very well displayed. It was divided into three catagories. Out of the Blue - Coast Guard Aviation - City of Elizabeth City - Lighthouses, Railroads, Civil War, Fireman - certainly a very interesting visit and it was free to everyone. A wonderful gift shop. Lou was able to find a book he had been looking for, so he was especially blessed.

After all of that we drove around a bit longer and then returned Aunt Hettie back to her retirement home, tired and happy. We sat and chatted on the porch a few minutes and then we drove back towards the base, stopping at a farmer’s market to purchase freshly picked peas, new potatoes, strawberries, and tomatoes.

Once back to the RV we shelled peas and fixed all of the food to put in the refrigerator to have for dinner tomorrow night as we would be on the road, and that make a wonderful dinner with some chicken we had in the freezer.

We went out to a recommended restaurant for fresh seafood dinner and back home for fresh strawberry shortcake, as I had baked a cake in the afternoon while Lou had shelled the peas. Enjoyed a little television and packed up to get an early start in the morning as we will start for home.

Leaving Camp LeJeune Arriving Coast Guard Base Elizabeth City, North Carolina

May 9th - Monday

It is always nice to be at Camp LeJeune, as I personally enjoy the bright red and gold signs that the Marines use on all of their bases. There was a lot of construction going on at the base especially in the tank training areas. Huge observation towers being constructed.

We traveled along on route 17 which was rather sad, as in years before we stopped at Cherry Point to visit with our grandson, Travis and his family and we always enjoyed that visit and we all had a special place that we liked to go to eat, so we had to drive past our exit and continue on up the road. However, that didn’t stop us from talking about our good times we had shared together.

Once we were settled in at the Coast Guard Base, we drove out to see Aunt Hettie, and she was delighted to see us and Estee, she immediately coaxed Estee to crawl up onto her lap and kept her there throughout the majority of our visit. When we visit with Aunt Hettie, we always sit on the front porch, as that is her favorite place to be, and we have to agree it is a very pleasant place to be. The fragrances of the flowers were wonderful. Lou picked some honeysuckle for her room. We made arrangement with the staff to pick her up at 10:00 the next morning to take her for a ride and out to lunch, so we told her good bye with promises to be back the next morning.

Lou and I left and made the short drive back to the base. We drove around the base and Lou found the road that lead out to the blimp hanger which I found very interesting. There had been a wooden hanger, which was called clam-shell hanger that was build prior to WWII in the Weeksville Community. It houses the blimp and also was used to make repairs to the blimps. It was the largest hanger in the world. It burned to the ground; however, you can see in the pictures, the tall cement structures that remain. You can also see the new hanger that is now used to house the blimps that are used today.

That was an interesting way to end our first day with Aunt Hettie.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

May 8th - Sunday - Mother's Day 68 degrees

We are getting ready to make our way to Elizabeth City but wanted to post for Mother's Day, we are both away from our family, and we were talking about this at breakfast this morning and remembering how much both of our mothers enjoyed flowers so thought we would post some of the pictures Lou and I had taken at the gardens at the plantation and now I notice that we have used one picture twice. I don't remember how Krista told me I could get rid of it, so sorry for the error.

It is cloudy here and we are supposed to have rain, hopefully it won't be bad driving. We have a five hour drive ahead.

Hope all of you have a wonderful day and enjoy your families in what ever activity you have planned. We couldn't go to church, but did enjoy Pastor Stanley on the television while we had breakfast and he had his always inspiring message on raising Godly children. Hopefully, we both have done just that.

Boone Hall Plantation - South Carolina

May 7th Saturday - Cloudy and Cool

Lou and I were up and around early and packed up and on our way on the northern route with plans to stop at Boone Hall Plantation. We had been told we would recognize it and we certainly did.

Where we arrived at the gate with the RV, we were a bit cautious as to rather we would be able to approach the plantation with the RV pulling the car; however, we were told it would not be a problem and once we arrive at the plantation there was a twenty acre field we could turn around in and we could even park there, as it was we did park there and had our lunch there before getting back on the road. It was cool and we were able to leave Estee in the RV while we did the tour, in fact it rained and she was very comfortable while we were away. Great way to travel ,knowing if we got wet, we had dry clothes, shower and everything we needed.........

If you haven't guessed, this is the plantation where North and South was filmed and also The Notebook. Lou and I had just watched North and South again before we started south, so it was a very pleasant surprise and so meaningful. This is a working plantation, in fact, they even have "pick your own strawberries". They have a Farmer's Market that the community counts on for their fresh produce. You can see from the pictures, their flowers gardens are beautiful.

We could not take pictures insides, as a family actually lives inside the home, and we could only go into several rooms downstairs, but that was enough to see what it was really like and certainly recognized the antiques used in the movies.

The slave cabins are the original cabins and they are made from bricks that were made right there on the property. The round brick structure in the original smoke house. The building that is under construction, houses the cotton gin. We couldn't go inside of that and I was disappointed in that, as I would love to see a gin.

We are off to Elizabeth City tomorrow for several days to visit with Lou's elderly aunt and then we are going home. We will be home next weekend God willing. Going to be hard to give up my shorts and sandals. Lou and I took a long walk on the beach today, but had to put our jackets on.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Sight Seeing in Charleston, South Carolina

May 6th - Friday - 58 degrees burrrr - Sunny - blue sky

Lou and I awoke cold this morning, imagine our surprise when we looked at the thermometer and found that it was no longer in the 90's as we were accustomed to. We both decided we needed long pants to do our sight seeing.

We left our RV camping site and drove the eight miles into downtown Charleston and purchased tickets for a horse drawn carriage tour of the city. This was very enjoyable, and we were both impressed with the treatment of the horses, the horses are only allowed to do two tours a day and then taken back to wonderful stables where they are feed and watered and given fresh straw to rest upon. They are shod with iron shoes that are attached to rubber shoes to wear on the pavement to cushion their steps. They work for two weeks and then are taken back to pasture for a month before they are returned to the city. Impressive.

I am posting pictures that I took on our tour and our walk back to the welcome center. We were going to tour a plantation ; however, we ran out of time, so saved that for the next day. We had a wonderful seafood dinner in town before we came back to the RV at 8:00 that evening, tired, but very satisfied with our day of walking and sight seeing.

Charleston is known for its narrow streets and splendid architecture. Embellished with fanciful wrought-iron details as intricate as window frost and painted sparkling white, pastels or whimsical rainbow hues, which reminded me of the houses we saw in Key West last winter. The city is 300 years old.

The city is rich in history and we would have loved to had time to spent time in the museum, maybe next time. Of course, the city was names for King Charles II and was founded in 1670 by the English. Those of us that love the Civil War History remember that the first cannon was shot at Fort Sumter and we didn't have time to get out there either, so you can see there is so much more to see. Also, I would have liked to have seen how tea is harvested and processed.

All in all it was a lovely day.

The next post will be on our trip to the plantation.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Naval Weapons Station - Goose Creek, South Carolina

May 4th - Wednesday - 78 degrees - Bright blue skies, very low humidity

We left Georgia this morning a little before noon and traveled route 95 to route 17 and stopped at our present location at Foster Creek RV Park which is located at the Naval Weapons Station in Goose Creek, South Carolina and that is 20 minutes from historic downtown Charleston, SC.

It is a nice camp ground; however, nothing like the campground we were at last night,we didn't get here in time tonight for us to get out and explore, by the time we got everything set up it was too dark to move around and enjoy an evening walk. Lou tries to get the windows of the RV and the car cleaned, as the Lovebugs are out in full strength and we have been told they need to be cleaned off each day, as they can make a mess of the paint on the automobiles. We were also told that fabric softner sheets work well to clean them off with so we have been trying them.

We are going to stay here for two days and tomorrow we are going to drive into Charleston and take a tour of the city and of one of the plantations. It so happens that the book I am reading now takes place in Charleston, so I am really anxious to see some of the points of interest.

Krista called today after she saw the specialist for her unborn baby and she does indeed have a problem with the baby's heart and they are going to continue to monitor the baby, she is going to return on Friday, she will not return to work until after the baby is born. The physician reports her baby (Matthew) weighs over five pounds and has big feet and hair. Please keep her in your prayers as she has over a month of her pregnancy to go.

She also reports that Steve was able to cut our grass around the house, we still have water around the barn, and the rain is still coming several days a week and the temperatures are still cool. Lou and I had thought we wouldn't put in a garden this year, but with all of the reports we hear of flooding and such around, think we must grow some of our own food to help ourselves and maybe help some other folks also. We certainly have enjoyed the fresh tomatoes, radishes, onions and such in Florida, and the peppers have been wonderful. Krista and Steve have always helped us with the garden and we share the produce, so will probably do the same thing again, Steve usually grows his peas as his house, along with a few other things he likes that do better in the shade and we grow the things that do well in the sunshine.

Strange how thought change to home as we start homeward. Lou has been talking about how he wants to rebuild the fence the wind had destroyed this winter, he has different ideas than we had thought of before, and think it will make it much easier than what we had before. Lots to do when we get home along with washing and waxing the RV and cleaning it inside and we have a SMART campout coming up in June also. Time marches on.