Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas Pictures

Hi all...we've had a wonderful time here in Sampson County this Christmas.

We also have enjoyed visiting with family and friends in Durham and Hillsborough.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Long overdue

As you know by now I've very delinquent in updating our blog. We've had an eventful late summer and fall. We spend most of August in Oregon and Washington. Both were beautiful states that we hope to visit again someday. About the first of September we put the petal to the metal and took off for Michigan. We paused for a week of so in Montana, long enough to visit Glacier National Park..then continued on east.

We spent a wonderful 3 weeks with our friends Gary and Sue Tomlinson in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Run Ragged Tours had an amazing itinerary for us. It was outstanding. We saw more beautiful waterfalls than anywhere we've been before. And walked and hiked more than we had for some time. It was awesome. Our last week together was spent in Ohio at the Gypsy Journal Rally. This small rally is put on by our friends Nick and Terry Russell. We had a great time visiting with Eascapee class of 05 and 07 friends too.

The last day at the rally found me on the phone with my sister. My Mom's health had taken a turn for the worse so we decided to head on back to North Carolina. We pulled out of Celina Ohio about 1pm on Friday and arrived at their home in NC by about 6pm on Saturday. The only problem we had making the quick run was Gary started feeling poorly and I actually drove us through the mountains in Virginia. Yipes, the first time I'd pulled the house in some time. We made it bumps or bruises. :)

We spent about a week with Mom and Dad helping out. Mom got better so we headed up to Mount Airy, NC for the Autumn Leaves Festival. We'd been planing this for some time. We enjoyed a long weekend with our friends, Van and Rita and their son Daniel, Ken, Laverne, along with Steve and Robin. Other than it being a little bit rainy on Saturday we had a very good time.

After the weekend we moved down to Durham to stay at Russell and Tootsies home. They are Rita's parents and have welcomed us to their back drive every time we return to Durham. We spent the next 3 weeks there taking care of various appts and catching up with friends and family in the area.

Gary went to his primary doc a couple of days after we got there and told him he had started to have chest pain. His doc immediately scheduled him for a stress test, which was positive. Two days later he had a cardiac cath and a stent placed. The very good news was he didn't have a heart attack. They caught it in time. He is doing very well now, and hasn't had any more pain. He is going to Cardiac Rehab three times at week at Betsy Johnson Hospital in Dunn and will continue with this until January. Today we went back up to Chapel Hill to see his Cardiologist and all was well. Just keep exercising, eating right and taking all his meds.

We're going to stay here in Dunn for now. Mom and Dad need our help and we're enjoying the time spent with them along with time spent with our daughter Jennifer and others. We hope to be back on the road at some point, we're just not sure when that will be.

Have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone. Love, Deb

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Our route from Texas to Here...April to August

Our route since leaving Texas on April 1st. If you click on the Larger Map it'll open so you can scroll out and see the entire route.

View Larger Map

Monday, August 17, 2009

July in the North West-Lincoln City, Oregon

After leaving the Thousand Trails near Bend we moved west to be near the shore. Lincoln City runs about 7 miles along the coastline. This small town was very welcoming and we enjoyed our stay. It's a bit pricier being on the shore but wasn't too bad. We paid $13.00 a night for a week's stay at Chinook Bend RV Resort. This was another membership park where we get a discount rate thru our Resort Parks International. Another perk of owning a Thousand Trails membership. The park was OK..very tight spaces. I'm glad we only paid the lower rate. It is located on the Siletz River. They rent canoes and boats. We had planned to take them up on this, but the weather was pretty cool and rainy for much of our stay.
One day we drove south route 101. This route follows the coastline. It is winding very busy.
Along the way are many many very small state parks. These are usually located at the top of cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The views were outstanding. Another day we drove north on 101. Not as many state parks, but a beautiful scenic drive. I love the Oregon coastline. If I were ever to live on the coast..of all we've seen so far, this is the most beautiful.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

More July in the Pacific North West-Crater Lake

One day was spent going about a 100 miles south to Crater Lake National Park. Crater Lake is located on the crest of the Cascade Mountain range, 100 miles east of the Pacific Ocean. It lies inside a caldera, or volcanic basin, created when the 12,000 foot high Mount Mazama collapsed 7,700 years ago following a large eruption. Generous amounts of winter snow, averaging 533 inches per year, supply the lake with water. There are no inlets or outlets to the lake. Crater Lake, at 1,943 feet deep, is the seventh deepest lake in the world and the deepest in the United States. Evaporation and seepage prevent the lake from becoming any deeper. The water is crystal clear blue that reflects the mountainous rock cliffs and the two islands.

July in the North West- In and Around Bend, Oregon

We also took a couple of short trips from the preserve to and around Bend. It is about a 20 mile drive right through the middle of volcano country. We spent several hours traveling up and around the volcanic mountains.

Friday, August 7, 2009

July in the West

At the end of June we left California and took a short detour into Nevada.
Gary felt the need to check out Reno since we'd been to Las Vegas earlier on our trip. Reno is called the Biggest Little City of the World. I'm not really sure what that means but it's their motto. The city is like Las Vegas..but smaller and a little "less refined" (imagine tongue in cheek here)... if that is possible. We visited Scheels, a very large sporting goods store while there. Ever been in a store that had it's very own ferris wheel? Pretty cool!!

Please note Gary's very creative support system for the sewer hose. County law required it be off the ground completely.

We also took a drive down to Carson City and the north shore of Lake Tahoe.
To quote the Offical Lake Tahoe Visitor Bureau website...
"About 2 million years ago, a shift in tectonic plates caused the Tahoe Basin to drop down between the Sierra crest to the west and the Carson range to the east. Volcanic activity, also caused by the tectonic shifts, led to expulsion of magma up through the faults, filling in gaps and damming the valley.

Ten thousand years ago, at the time of the last ice age, individual glaciers formed at the area’s highest elevations, on the north, west and south ends of the Lake. Movement by the glaciers scoured out basins and formed Donner Lake, Emerald Bay on Lake Tahoe and Fallen Leaf Lake, which sits up and to the West of Lake Tahoe.

Today, erosion and weathering is causing a slow, undetectable lowering of the Sierra, the mountain range that houses Tahoe. It is believed that Lake Tahoe is filling in with sediment at a rate of one foot every 3,200 years, so that in 3,158,400 years the lake will be replaced by a meadow."

Wow..pretty impressive..I'm just glad I wasn't around when all the action was occurring. And won't be around once it's reduced to a meadow..
Its a beautiful place..but filled with gated homes worth $$$$$ ...way more than our tax bracket for sure. We also saw one of the ski slopes..very different looking than the winter I'm sure. There was still some snow around but nothing you could ski on.

The picture of the pole is a snow marker. These are placed along the road so that when it snows, folks can find the road...this give you some idea of the amount of snow they get???

We left Reno after a week and moved up near Bend Oregon. On the way we traveled thru the Oregon Outback. This area is unlike anything we expected in Oregon. In many areas it looked more like the southwest, New Mexico or Arizona. Very desolate for miles and miles.

We spent 1 night at Lakeview Oregon..this small town in Lake County is called the hang gliding capital of the west (self proclaimed). Lake County is a land of stark beauty where we appreciated broad expanses of desert, sagebrush, high bluffs and rim rocks, plus the solitude of mountain forests. We looked for their crystal clear lakes...most of which seemed to be dry this year. Lakeview was a nice small town with a pretty good Mexican restaurant that we enjoyed for dinner. Or at least I did..Mr P had his usual hamburger...the only American food most of the Mexican restaurants seem to offer.

Before we left in the morning we drove down the street to the Old Perpetual Geyser. This geyser was supposed to go off every 90 seconds. We later learned that we arrived during it's summer vacation. Evidently it stops erupting when the water table for the area drops in the summer. Oh well..we looked at pictures on the web instead. And it still doesn't compare to Yellowstone's Old Faithful. See below..

We stayed at the Thousand Trails near Bend for two weeks. Most of that time we spent sick. We missed all the 4th of July festivities at the park and in town. Gary started out with a cold/flu and we took him to a local doctor's office on Friday. By nightfall, I was sick too. We had all the symptoms of cold/flu and it was no fun. We were glad to know that the Swine flu had been and gone in the area before we arrived. We spent a lot of time going from chair to bed and back for over a week. My cough is still lingering.

More to come..I know I'm behind...I'll catch up soon. Love to you all. Deb

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Around Lake Mendin Thousand Trails

Lake Mendin was one of the smallest Thousand Trails Preserves we've visited. While there we went down to visit Sacramento. The capital of California is a busy place. Even on a Sunday afternoon. We went by the capital building but didn't see the Governor. Or the Governator as we heard Mr Schwarzenegger called.

In downtown Sacramento we visited Old Sacramento. This 28-acre town of historic buildings constructed in the 1850s, on the Sacramento River contains several museums dedicated to educating us about the history or the area. To quote the Chamber of Commerce Web Site "The discovery of gold at Sutter’s Mill capped off the greatest human migration in history. Thousands of hopeful pioneers headed towards Mexican California on the Oregon Trail in search of a better life. From the settlement town of Old Sacramento, to the supply center and trade post of Sutter’s Fort, the Sacramento region is rich in Gold Rush History. "

There are wooden sidewalks, horse-drawn carriages, old-fashioned candy shops and even a Mississippi-style riverboat. There are many shops and restaurants to collect the tourist $$$ too.

We eat a barely passable lunch at Annabelle's Pizza. Cheap and filling but I wouldn't go back. CiCi's Pizza shouldn't worry. Noooo competition.

We also saw the Tower Bridge which crosses the Sacramento River nearby. The bridge is painted an odd gold color. It is supposed to be representative of the gold leafed cupola on the nearby State Capitol. I'm not sure they succeeded in that.

The Lake Mendin Thousand Trails is surrounded by farm land. And for the first time we saw rice growing in the flooded fields. There are also many groves of walnut trees.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Gary and the Street Entertainer

Along The Embarcadero and the Wharfs of San Francisco there are many street entertainers. On our way back to the hotel one night, Gary got "caught"..and became a participate.

If you click on the pictures, it'll open in a larger screen.

Check List for San Francisco

We had a list..
See Alcatraz....check
Eat Sourdough Bread in San Francisco...check
Ride a Street Car...check

Take a boat ride on the bay...check

Visit Fisherman's Wharf...check
Visit Haight Ashbury..check
See Coit Tower...check
See the Golden Gate Bridge....check
Ride across the Golden Gate Bridge...check
See the Sea Lions at Pier 39...check

Ride down American's crookedest St..Lombard Street...check

We spent 4 days in San Francisco. It isn't nearly enough time to enjoy this wonderful city.

Alcatraz Tour

When we were planing our trip to San Francisco one of the first things I said was, " I want to see Alcatraz". Having seen movies over the years like "The Rock and Escape From Alcatraz", I was curious to see how the "real" rock looked. I was surprised to learn that Alcatraz was actually used for several purposes other than a Federal Prison.

While there isn't a charge to visit the island you must take a ferry to get to the island. The ferry company offers many choices of times and we decided to go in the evening so we could see the lights of San Francisco from the island and boat. It was difficult to get a clear picture at night while on the boat.

In 1775, the Spanish explorer Juan Manuel de Ayala was the first to sail into what is now known as San Francisco Bay. His expedition mapped the bay, and named one of the three islands Alcatraces. Over time, the name was changed to Alcatraz. While the exact meaning isn't really known, Alcatraz is usually defined as meaning "pelican" or "strange bird."

Alcatraz became the first long-term Army prison. The first prisoners to be brought in to Alcatraz were Civil War and Spanish American War Prisoners during the 1800s. As the number of inmates increased, the prison structure was also extended and renovated. By the 1920s, the three-story building was almost at full capacity.

Alcatraz Island was declared a military reservation in 1850 and troops had arrived by 1859. For almost eighty years the Island was the site of the first fortress and military prison on the west coast.

Due to its isolated location and the extremely cold San Francisco Bay waters, the authorities considered Alcatraz as an ideal place for holding dangerous prisoners. Criminals like George "Machine Gun" Kelly and Al Capone are some of the most famous inmates to claim residence on Alcatraz.

Alcatraz operated for a full 29 years and during that time, there has been no known case of any successful escape attempts. In 1962, three prisoners - Clarens Anglin, his brother John and Frank Morris – disappeared from the premises and were never found. But nobody knows if they ever reached the shore.

From the mid 1930's until the mid 1960's, Alcatraz was America 's premier maximum-security prison, the final stop for the nation's most incorrigible inmates.

On March 21, 1963, when the prison was closed, Alcatraz had already accommodated 1033 prisoners.

From November 1969 until June 1971, the American Indians inhabited the island. Since October 1972, Alcatraz has been a historic site and is part of the "Golden Gate National Recreation Area" ran by the National Park Service.