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Friday, February 9, 2018

Birthday

     Well, we both had dental appointments and I had PT to squeeze in in the morning before we met Cindy at the "Fleet Landing" for a birthday lunch. It's a building that at one time, I think, was a ferry terminal. Today it is one of those dockside eateries specializing in local fish. Their oysters weren't nearly as good as I had two days before at Bistro-217 in Pauley's Island with Myrt and Debra. Emphasizing local fish that do not usually appear on a menu, their catch of the day was "sheepshead". It was good...a flaky, white fish.



     They do have a good view of the Charleston harbor which is dominated by Fort Sumter


.
      So, I'm starting my 80th trip around the sun. Although hindered by serious mobility issues, I'm feeling pretty good.
      The picture below was taken last week and doesn't really fit here, but I have a nice shot of "our" pair of bald eagles.



     I have seen eagles all my life, although there was a dry spell in the 80's. But we have never lived for an extended period with a nesting pair in our vicinity. We hear their distinctive whistling shriek on a regular basis, and they provide convenient photo-ops when I'm having trouble drudging up some blog fodder.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Wrestling?

     Some of you know that high school and NCAA wrestling has intersected with the paths of our lives many times over the years. It started with my modest success in both the intramural and JV ranks at West Point. It continued during our three years in Norman, OK as the University of Oklahoma is a perennial leading contender in the NCAA rankings. From there we went to the Air Force Academy where I was on the faculty. I quickly began volunteering with their wrestling team and became the "Officer Representative" from '72 to '74.
     That meant that I was the faculty assistant coach for all matters  except coaching. Our kids fondly remember having the cadets on the wrestling team coming to our house after a Saturday home match and making homemade ice cream with our hand cranked ice cream maker. Many folks were puzzled by the several perfect circles of brown grass in our lawn where a bit of spilled brine had done its thing. I accompanied the team to all the away games and paid bills, arranged post weigh-in training meals etc. 
     When we made it to Nashua, NH in 1977, the kids were in high school and both of them became deeply involved in the sport. No, Cindy did not wrestle. She did, however, start her journalism career as a stringer for the Telegraph providing the results and game stories of the NHS wrestling team. She became the the official scorer for home matches and even for the state championships on occasion. Most matches had at least one "discussion in front of the scorer's table involving: the referee, opposing coaches, and scorers. Nashua's long time coach once told me that, "Cindy was never wrong." Mark, nicknamed "the baby-faced assassin" by the Telegraph's sportswriter, had a successful wrestling career for NHS. I volunteered where I could, and one year was the Meet Director of the State Championships. Mark returned to the Air Force Academy as a cadet and rejoined the USAFA team of his youth with modest and occasional success.
     In subsequent years we remained fans of the sport. I still receive a weekly newsletter from the Army coach.
     So where in the world is this rambling recollection leading? 



Well, yesterday the Citadel hosted the "All Academy Wrestling Championships" at their field house in Charleston. Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and the Merchant Marine Academy were all there. To complete the eight teams necessary for a filled out bracket, the Citadel also invited Norwich and VMI. Cindy was kind enough to bring me to the semi-final round (where the greatest number of points are at stake).


     The top three finishing teams were Navy, Army and Air Force in that order.

     To wrap up this atypical narration, let me complete the bookending of this blog post with a picture of me taken sixty years after the one at the beginning.







Thursday, January 4, 2018

My Street Hasn't Been Plowed!😆

     When it comes to conversations that contain questions like: "How cold was it?", "How deep was the snow?" and "How bad was the blizzard?", I usually win. Three years in Alaska, five years in Colorado, three years in Ohio when the Ohio River froze, a quarter century in New Hampshire, and a childhood in north central Massachusetts all conspire to give me more than enough winter anecdotes.
     So we belatedly smartened up and moved to Charleston, SC in 2004. We maintained our ties to the great white north via the motorhome in the summer. So, what did I find when I crawled out from under our down comforter at 0730, 4 Jan 2018??? 



Six inches of snow and 17↯↭⇟ degrees! We don't have a windshield scraper much less a snow shovel. Plus we are going to go through several cycles of daytime melting and nighttime refreezing before it melts away this weekend. Our bird feeder has never been more popular.



     Of course, Mocha was unaffected...four wheel drive, you know.


     This was taken on Wednesday before there was any accumulation. Here's the front of the house...again a yesterday picture.

    
     This, too, will pass.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Christmas 2017

     There are no grand children or great grands within a thousand miles, but we did get to share Christmas with Cindy. As a matter of record, it is the 57th consecutive Christmas she has spent with us. We had an assortment of rather pedestrian and practical gifts wrapped under the tree, but there was one spectacular framed photo from Jackie Fare.
     For many years the traditional meal on Christmas Eve has been lasagna. Here's Durelle nearly ready to put it in the oven.


     One of Cindy's gifts was a white Poinsettia.


     The lasagna was as good as it looks.


     When I went out to get the paper on Christmas morning, the sun was doing a nice job of illuminating the big holly bush in the front yard. It'll soon be a tree rather than a bush..


     Of course, calendars are a popular gift at Christmastime; and, of course, in our house they will feature pictures of golden retrievers.


          It was another fine Christmas. We hope yours was equally enjoyable.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

We are hanging up the keys

     Well, I guess, after that title, I don't have to write a blog. We started RVing in Alaska (Elmendorf AFB) with a tiny Apache pop up in 1964. Unfortunately, I do not have a picture from those days, but I do have a picture of the Coleman pop-up we used in Colorado around 1970.

         This was taken at 11,000 feet in the ghost town of Animas Forks in southwest Colorado. Note that it does have a propane bottle. The Apache didn't even have that. This combination made several memorable excursions into the Colorado high country including a few with chains on all four corners.
     Just before leaving USAFA in '74, I sold both the Jeep and the Coleman, and bought a used, iconic 1972 Winnebago Brave. It was an 18 footer with a small Chrysler V-8. We put 120,000 miles on it, finally selling it in NH ten years later. I even commuted in it. From then until '96 we did without as I was immersed in my civilian career with several companies. In '96 we went to an RV show in Boston and bought a 36 foot Bounder at the show. I then retired for the second time in March 1997. We put a lot of miles on it until we traded up to  a 2003 Allegro Bus. It was our first diesel pusher, and I loved it. Here it is in a friends backyard ("We have plenty of room."). I found a spot where the two passenger side slides straddled a tree.


     In December of 2006 we traded up again to our current and final rig, a 2007 forty foot Allegro Bus with all the bells and whistles that were available ten years ago.


          We used 2007 to be sure it was broken in and that any bugs were resolved. Then, in 2008, we did our lap around America. It was a wonderful 11,000 mile adventure that also prompted the start of a travel blog so that family and friends could tell where we were. That was 760 posts ago. The blog was a piece of cake in the early days with land mark sites occurring on a regular and frequent basis. As travel slowed, so did the blogs. Blog writing came to be like making gravy with nothing more than a cup of water and a bay leaf. What follows are some of the more memorable pictures.


The Badlands near the Black Hills

                           

Caption not required


Devil's Tower


Little Bighorn


Caption not Required


Up Close and Personal


Crater Lake


Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs


USAFA


Decisions, Decisions

          Obviously, the logistics of this blog do not permit an endless array of "What I did on my vacation" pictures. These were all just from 2008. Although there were many more travels (We accumulated over 350,000 miles on four motorhomes.), we gradually transitioned to spending the entire summer comfortably ensconced on the shore of Penobscot Bay at the Moorings RV Resort. Here there were day trips galore and many photo-ops. But the iconic institution here was the daily "Happy Hour" at five-o-clock.


"What do those folks talk about for all that time?"

     So, what do you think we are going to miss most; Mt. Rushmore or that little afternoon circle of chairs on the edge of the bay? You're right, and it isn't even close. The camaraderie and sense of close-knit community engendered there will always be the most pleasant and most important memory in our half century of RVing.
     I choose not to go into an "organ recital" of all the medical factors that drove the decision to hang up the keys. I'd rather not, however, hang up the keyboard with the keys. It remains to be seen what the transition will be like. That said, I hope you have enjoyed the decade documented here.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Another "Treager" Thanksgiving

     For the past several years the Thanksgiving turkey is done to a turn on our Treager wood pellet grill. I ordered a fresh, twelve pound turkey from Publix. I cleaned and vacuumed the Treager and filled the hopper with a new charge of apple pellets. On Tuesday I picked up the turkey and prepared to brine it overnight. This year I had a super-sized ziplock bag in which to brine it. I brewed up the brine and put the turkey a-soak. You'll note that the brine did not initially cover the turkey.


     By putting the bag in a large stockpot and wedging the bag together with a container of oatmeal and a similarly sized container of grits, the brine was squeezed together enough to completely cover the bird.




     You'll note that the pot occupied most of the top shelf of the refrigerator. You'll also note that the six pack of Shiner Bock and a can of Guinness were not displaced. Actually, there were two cans of Guinness in the brine. 
     On Thanksgiving morning I removed the turkey and dumped out the brine. I rinsed and dried the bird, rubbed it with oil and then rubbed in a dry rub on the surface and interior of the turkey. 


     Then I went out to start the Treager. It is powered by a thermostatically controlled auger which adds pellets as needed. There is a fan blowing air over the pellets to improve combustion and an electric probe to ignite them. Guess what? I had a temperature readout. I had a fan and the auger was working, but there was no electric igniter. Oh, well;there's no harm in using the inside, 120VAC oven with no smoke. 
     For sides we had butternut squash (outstanding), boiled onions, green bean casserole (thanks Cindy), stuffing, and gravy. This was our first Thanksgiving without a bowl of mashed potatoes. For dessert Cindy made a buttermilk pie!
     I did not take a picture of the finished turkey, but I would be remiss if I did not include an overhead shot of great-granddaughter, Brielle's, turkey. Back up in NH she made a veggie platter of a turkey that I think is extraordinary.


     What do you think?

Monday, November 13, 2017

Status report

    As is the case every year, the first few weeks back at home involves dozens of doctor's visits. Between us that is literally true. I'm wearing a heart monitor in order to rule out atrial fibrillation, and Durelle gets to make the acquaintance of my endodontist tomorrow. The heart monitor is a manageable nuisance EXCEPT...when the alarm goes of in the middle of the night and says, in effect, " We are trying to transmit data. Please move to where you have coverage. There are places in the house where Verizon's coverage is pretty marginal, and I guess the bedroom is one of them. The last time it happened I just shut it off. I think I have found a solution. A table in the front hall has a table in range of both Verizon and my wearable sensor. We'll see.
     I thought I was going to be able to get a great eagle picture the other day, but he was facing away. So I only got a good picture.



     I even had a chance to catch him in flight, but again, he was going away. Even in a mono-color profile the elegance is still there.


     The best I could do for photo ops were a couple of sunsets. There'll be no photo ops unless I get over to the bus and retrieve the charger for my Leica battery and the spare battery. Here's a couple of sunsets.





     All news is good; we are all well...including Mocha.