Friday, December 24, 2010

Feliz Navidad….


After almost three weeks in Red Bay, Alabama, we pulled out of the Allegro Campground and headed South last Friday evening.  Needless to say, it was a happy day!!  

The weather was a dramatic improvement….seventies over fifties and lots of sunshine….glorious!!

  We spent a great weekend with Keith and Donna, eating really good Mexican food and playing Hand n Foot….Donna and I finally got the groove back…we won four out of five games (we had to let the guys win one!)  Since there has been a major women’s losing streak for about the last six months, we were really happy gals to score a win. 

We hated to leave them, but needed to get on to Spring Branch and Tommie Sue and Harrell’s,  so Monday we drove deeper  into Texas….everything in Texas is a six hour drive….unless it’s more!  It takes at least a day and a half to get  into or out of Texas…unless you’re going to El Paso and then it takes THREE days!  So six hours later we arrived at TS and Harrell’s lovely place in the Hill Country.   This is one of our favorite areas and the drive over 306 is so pretty.   The peeks at Canyon Lake from Devil’s Backbone are so beautiful…maybe one day we will capture it in a photo, but not yet!

We put our little LED lights on the tiny tree that sits on the credenza…IMG_5760

…put on the Christmas music, lit the Christmas candles and then put on our SHORTS to enjoy the eighty degree weather!

IMG_5762The sunshine and warmth feel so good after the cold days in Red Bay!  

It was great to see TS and Harrell and we have been busy making Escapade plans and visiting.

On a sad note, Cathie called yesterday with the very sad news that Joe had suffered an aneurysm and the prognosis was not good.  What a great loss of a truly wonderful man, as he succumbed early in the afternoon.   As the co-founder of the Escapees RV Club, he showed us all how to be better people and to share joy in life with all around you.  He will be missed by so many people.   Keep them all in your prayers, please.

I find myself missing the kids very much, but not the cold and snow back home. How’d you like to spend Christmas on Christmas Island?     I would love it…and it’s still one of my favorite Christmas songs!

We wish wonderful Christmas blessings to everyone as we remember the reason for the season.   Hugs and love you all!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Red Bay, AL

Eight degrees yesterday morning in Red Bay....too cold for anywhere, is what I think about that!

We have been at Coldwater Inn in Tuscumbia, AL for the last ten days, and with the frigid weather that has been a good thing! It snowed almost all day Sunday, but no accumulation, thank heavens!! What is up with the weather??? Cold everywhere except where we are supposed to be!!

Dennis Hill arrived Sunday to enjoy the cold weather. It sure was good to see a familiar face! We've had custody of the now almost famous "Little Green Man" since we left Abbeville.... we decided to return the little guy to his rightful owner! He has recovered nicely from his recent 'turtle napping' and hanging at the rally in Goshen. He really needs a jacket's awfully cold outside!!

As an update, they should finish with the MH in the cabinet shop today! the last ten days, they have replaced much of the tile floors and done a tremendous amount of cabinet and wall work; all of the technicians have done a nice job and we are pretty pleased. Today they should move it to the paint bay and bring the cleaners in, to get all the sawdust and grit cleaned out.
So, if the creek don't rise, we hope to be driving out of here on Friday....oh, happy day!!! :)

I am one of those that LOVE travel is always exciting when Bob fires up the engine and I climb in my seat and buckle up...I can't wait to see what's coming up around the next turn, especially if it's new territory for us. Not to mention finding warmer weather and good friends ahead...leave the light on for us...the countdown is on!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Where in the world….

…have we been? Well, it’s something like this…from the Escapade in Goshen back to Virginia…. then on to the Equestrian Games in Lexington, KY with Paul and Katie. En route we experienced our first-ever break down in a motorhome…

Broken Down

and the great big tow truck delivered us to Lee-Hy Truck Stop in Lexington, VA where they installed an emergency belt on the engine and we were on our way the next day, none the worse for the wear.

It was a lovely time to drive through the mountains to Kentucky; the leaves were turning and the nights were brisk. We toured the Bourbon Trail stopping at the Wild Turkey plant…

Wild TUrkey

Paul inspects some bourbon barrels in Bourbon County, Kentucky. Only spirits processed in Bourbon County can be labeled as bourbon…otherwise it’s just a whiskey!

Paul in Bourbon

We spent a good deal of time with Tiff and Scott up in Catonsville and then flew to San Juan, where the Celebrity Summit took us all on a cruise.


Scott and Tiff…


Trunk Bay, St. John…one of the loveliest beaches


Dinner on the ship was fun and delicious…


A view of the ship in St. Lucia Castries harbor…


Leaving Warsaw, we headed South to Abbeville, LA where some of us got caught in Betty’s web for the Thanksgiving week…


Recognize any of these guys???


How about now???


Keith, Bob, Dennis, Denny, Bob and Chuck-Bob hammed it up a little…Boss Hawg and Don were MIA in this photo! The time spent at Betty’s went by all too fast…it was wonderful spending time and just having fun there in Cajun country. The girls got beat consistently by the guys in Hand and Foot (‘nuff said!) and then it was time for us to head to….Red Bay, Alabama where we will be for a little while (that’s Alabama time, you know!) and then we will head West to the Texas Hill Country to see our good buddies Tommie Sue and Harrell.

The days fly by so quickly, it seems…thanks to all of you who emailed or called to check and see where in the world we’ve been; it’s always wonderful to hear from you! Big hugs to everyone!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Yes, it's about time....

Yes, it's been a little while...but we've been busy having some fun and getting ready for the Escapade.... it seems we were last in Livingston when the blog was updated....leaving there on July 28th, the temps were headed to 99 that day...thehottest day we'd had, so we were happy to be heading north...but it was a HOT trip....105 degrees in Little Rock when we arrived that night!! Too hot, for sure!!!

Then we landed in Tunica, MS where we met Karen and Donnie for a few days of fun and HEAT. It was 105, but it was cool in the Casinos so we headed right up to Paula Deens Buffet at Harrah's and indulged in her wonderful Southern cuisine. Yes, indeed she knows how to put the four main food groups of the South (Butter, chocolate, bacon and cheese!) to good use! It was wonderful!! Karen and Donnie had been down to Livingston to visit us for a few days, but they had a couple of issues with the motorhome, so they headed to Red Bay, where we met them on their way back to Fort Worth. The gals were victorious in Tunica, stomping the boys several times in Hand and Foot...of course, that luck would change quickly, as I have not been winning much since then!!

So, this brings us to Goshen, IN to the Fairgrounds where Escapade will be held and we've been working on the rally and enjoying the Amish countryside and meals for several weeks. There are lots of folks here in the Elkhart area for the rallies...among them are Dennis and Carol Hill. Dennis just bought some new kayaks and has been busy trying them out back east in the HEAT!!

So Dennis, this kayak is for you......

you might recognize it from the Lakeshore's the latest cardboard model there and I was dared to get in it for the photo...yes, it's still there, but barely!! I can't say just who took the photo, but I can tell you that it was someone 'up there' on the advance staff!!! :)

Now, if you read any of the other RVers blogs, you already know what we've been up to...many fun Happy Hours with the great folks who are gathered here, and adventures in the area.
Here are a few not-so-incriminating photos of this wonderful group who are here getting ready for the Escapade....

Kellie had to try on all the animal masks at Das Essenhaus......

...and of course, our fearless leader and his dog, Blue...

...yes indeed it looks like Bud!
We all have a pact that goes something like this, "What happens at Escapade, STAYS at Escapade"!! :) That's my story and I'm sticking to it!!! :)

Saturday, July 17, 2010

How about that Texas weather?

Leaving the Farm on Father’s Day, we rambled on down to Aberdeen and spent a few days finishing up some projects at the park.

Pine Forest Park 005

It was SO HOT and humid in Carolina…..more so than back in Montpelier and it was really HOT there!!   So our Texas friends were smiling and saying “Just wait til you get to Texas…it’s really going to be hot and humid”.   So, we’re thinking “O K, we’ll be well prepared for the heat and humidity in Livingston”.  But…guess what?  The hurricane that brushed Texas pulled all of the humidity and much of the extreme heat up to the Northeast…it has been almost delightful since we arrived!   Makes for great walks in the evenings and most nights Kellie and I swim for a couple of hours…and it’s chilly when we get out!!! Who knew???  It’s beginning to get hot again, but so far the humidity has remained on the low side, making for some pleasant summer days.

I drove much of the way into Texas; Bob decided to share the wheel  so I got lots of time in the seat. Easy travel days, and we headed to Lufkin to spend a little time with Keith and Donna…..

Farm 031 They are finally settled into their lovely new home; of course the cards came out and Hand N Foot ensued.   The gals got stomped…really stomped.   If you read Keith’s blog, you already know this!!   There WILL be a rematch for sure!!

Arriving in Livingston on the 29th, we got our hugs from Tommie Sue, Harrell, Kellie and Walt.  After settling in, we got to work on the advance planning for Escapade.  These guys are just the best to work with; along with Bud and Cathie, we do a lot of brainstorming and feed off each other pretty well so there’s a lot of progress and a lot of fun going on!!  Yes, lots more card games, and Bob says to make sure to say that I’m still not winning!   But Kellie and I did have a victory one night….must have been brief because it’s long since forgotten…. And then there’s Farkle and bowling to add to the fun.

So life is pretty good in Livingston these days and the wheels will soon be rolling North…but so far we are loving this Texas weather!!!

Hugs to everyone!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Down on the Farm

After our time at Tiff’s, we returned to Montpelier to  do ‘farm things’.   Being one of the hottest June’s I can remember, we just kept on doing our thing, and spending as much time as possible with the kids.   Paul was on vacation from the House most of the time we were there, so he and Bob got lots of things done, while I……..Eggs 001George and Eggs 015

gathered and washed eggs (that’s only about four dozen, Deb!)…..and “mow de lawn”…….Pete & Robin & Katie 241…there is soooo much grass to cut! (We’re still waiting for Dortha to send Andrew up!) Since it’s something I enjoy doing,  it seems nice to give Katie and Paul a break from their routine.

I love working outdoors, and decided that I would tackle some of the undergrowth while the guys were building a “chip pit” for Katie.   (This is for the wood shavings (chips) that go in the stalls)   Well, the undergrowth project proved to be a mighty one…so after complaining that I had NO power tools(well, none that I could handle myself!)…and the guys have every conceivable powered tool, machine or device known to man…..I got a  “Goat”…..yes, indeed, this goat eats everything, and I can clear around fence lines,  drives, the barn, creek….you name it, and the goat will chew it up!! I am a happy girl!!!   So, many of the days were spent behind my goat…..we were delighted to discover blueberries growing all over the front hill.…the goat spared most of those. 

After we got the bushwacker  home, I couldn’t help but think about Daddy’s “goat”…..he had a yard and leaf vacuum, which Mama always called “the goat”.   It must have weighed about 3oo pounds and was self propelled; he used it constantly to vacuum the yard.   After Daddy died, I remember trying to use that old goat, which must have been at least twenty years old by then….it was way too heavy for me  to manage.  I’m not sure who got it, but that old goat was still running strong when Mama sold her home.   The new “goat” weighs much less and eats much more….maybe  it will  last for the next twenty years!!! 

While I am not a “horse girl”….I did get smitten by Sir George, which Heaven foaled in April.    He is a friendly little guy…George and Eggs 006and loves attention!

Here’s Katie getting ready to ride Robin…..Pete & Robin & Katie 159 So we finished out our days with the kids having many wonderful breakfasts, lots of road trips (a road trip is anywhere past the little town of Montpelier) and dinners, both home cooked and ‘on the road’.  Paul and Katie took us to Maggiano’s  for a wonderful dinner one evening… umm, umm, good!!! :)

And here are the “guys”, together on Father’s Day before we left, headed to Aberdeen, then on to Texas……George and Eggs 021    …it has been  wonderful being here with the kids; we love working alongside them on the Farm, and we sure will miss them!!   Y’all stay cool and HUGS to everyone…we are Texas bound!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

From the Farm to the city


We left the Farm for several days and headed to Catonsville to spend some time with Scott and Tiff.  While not a “city” girl,  I really like the little town of Catonsville, which lies just West of Baltimore and has remained relatively untouched by the “hood” atmosphere  found in some of Baltimore.   It’s kind of like a small town with with all the amenities of a large city.   The weather was amazing….no humidity, bright and sunny.  So most mornings  found us having breakfast on the sidewalk at Dusenberg’s…… mmmm, mmmm, good……

Pete & Robin & Katie 162

then we’d walk up the street to  Sugarbakers to buy Smith Island Cake, and over to Atwater's Bread  for fresh bread.  

Then it was back to Tiff’s to help with a few projects.   They have just remodeled their kitchen, taking out a wall in the process.   They did a beautiful job designing their own kitchen and making it just what they wanted……

Tiff's Kitchen (2)  they did keep the dining room, along with Grannie’s china cabinet and mine……it is so welcoming!!!Tiff's Kitchen (8)  When I was growing up, Mama always kept the lace tablecloth on the dining room table, with another color under it (always red at Christmas time) and a heavy, plastic protector over it all.   I always swore that I would never do that…but,  I sure did, and I loved it.   (Don’t look too closely at that table) :)

Tiff's Kitchen (3)

So, Bob helped finish up a few things and I helped do a good clean up after all the sheetrock dust and just to generally get things back together after two months of construction in their home.   And of course, there were long walks with little oggy-doggy the princess Beagle, Dixie.  

On one of the gorgeous evenings, we all went out to Camden Yards to see the Orioles play the Yankees.   A really beautiful stadium, and  the Yankees out-classed them, (no surprise there!) including a grand slam home run, but it was a great night at the ball park!

It is just so nice to spend time with the kids and enjoy a little part of their lives.  I miss them so when we leave, but we always make some good memories and look forward to our next visits. I even managed to drive around town for several days and emerged relatively unscathed, save for quite a few “one finger” salutes from those crazy Maryland drivers (apologies to all of our Maryland friends!) :)

All too soon it was back South down I 95 to Montpelier….and lots more Farm projects with Paul!!   

Friday, June 4, 2010's not snowing in is hotter than blue blazes; while I was on the tractor cutting the grass under those Pear trees today, I kept thinking about how pretty they looked all covered with snow...they look pretty nice when they're blooming in the Spring, and when they start to turn russet in the Fall. And since I really LIKE to cut grass, they looked great to me today, too!!! But that photo just makes it seem cooler....that's my story and I'm sticking to it!!! :)

Back on the Farm is where we are....Bob and Paul are doing their "projects"...the biggest of which is trenching, laying and completing new water lines and power lines over to the machine shop, our parking spot, and the front pasture. They have mostly completed this little chore. My job is to cook breakfast and dinner, and I love doing it!!! Usually I will run out to the hen house for fresh eggs in the snatch a still-warm egg.
Colonel Sanders (the loudest rooster) makes sure we are awake every day at 0'dark thirty and the guys get an early start, trying to beat the heat!!!

I did have to break down and do one of the dreaded "Three P's"....which I don't ever do. (For those that don't know, the 3 P's are Pee, Poo, & Puke.....all of which are abundant here at the Farm) Katie is so good about taking care of the animals...she mucks the stalls and cleans up when the dogs or kitties or whoever throws up; so I will cook and clean, and cut grass and help the guys with the projects...but I don't do the 3 P's!! BUT Paul hurt his back the other day, and he had to take the horse trailer to get Heaven and George.....and there was a huge pile guessed the I had to oblige!!
Don't will not become a habit!!!! (That stuff is heavy when it's wet!) :)

So, life is pretty good here at the Farm and I am enjoying every minute...the time is going by so quickly and it feels so good to have life in the slow lane, for just a little while!!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Back in Carolina

Just a quick to post to say that we are back in the Sandhills of North Carolina, busy as beavers, crossing things off our lists!!!

After managing to get out of Betty's web, we made our way up to Red Bay, AL and had a good visit at the Tiffin Factory Service Center. Greg, the technician in Bay 35 was very proficient, and got lots of things fixed for us pretty quickly, including the living room roof leak!! They also laid out a plan to replace the floor tiles and attempt the wall work when we return, so things are looking up.

They got us out promptly, so we made it to the Multi-Chapter Rally in Marion, NC in time to enjoy a little fun with those guys....Bryan & Jane and Larry & Marilyn hosted a fun rally in a lovely mountain location!

Larry and Marilyn

That's just called "T R O U B L E"!

Then it was on to Pine Forest Park in Aberdeen, NC...right there with Pinehurst and Southern Pines, and all the other small Southern towns that are "all about the pines" in the Sandhills of Carolina. We are working our bums off, but having a great time getting lots of things done. I took a few days and hopped on the train in Southern Pines to spend Mother's Day weekend with Tiff and Scott....that was a real treat, and it was, indeed, a wonderful Mother's Day. That picket fence I have long been wanting, was waiting for me when I returned...Bob had been a busy guy!!!

Yesterday, we had a great visit with Barb and Bob, who are nearby at Sycamore Lodge in Jackson Springs!!! It was a real treat to spend the day with them, share some laughs and some good fried chicken and Carolina BarBque at Smithfield's. Safe travels, guys, as you head West towards Idaho!

Photos and stories may come's a busy time here in Carolina. But we'll be ready for a game of Hand and Foot very soon!!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Caught in Betty’s Web

Yes, indeed, we’ve been caught in Betty’s web, and a delightful one it is.   Betty is a ball of fire and fun, making sure her guests are well cared for and that they experience the culture of Abbeville and Southern Louisiana in the finest manner.  We were very happy campers!!

Bayou & cypress tours 001

Shadows and Betty's 046Betty serves her homemade Gumbo!!! 

Shadows and Betty's 029 Carol likes corn on the cob almost as much as shrimp!!

There is so much to see, do and learn here….so much history, from the  Indians to the French, Acadians and Spanish…. such a proud and treasured culture from the people who still speak French with a pronounced accent AND a bit of a drawl, and who make music, food and dancing an important and integral part of their lives…..and they just love sharing it with those of us who come in search of it!!

128 Crawfish Farming

Learning about the agriculture and farming,  and way of life…just tasting the  fresh and delicious Creole food is a never ending joy.   The warmth and welcome that these folks extend to you is  hard to describe….it  makes you want to be a better person, and to savor the simple delights of life, and share them as these folks….Creoles, Cajuns…Louisianians do……and you really do not want to leave.     Betty’s web, is indeed, a fine place to be!!!

Parting was sweet sorrow, but we had the BEST send-off team….

Cafe Des Amis 043

our own personal driving instructor…….

Cafe Des Amis 039

do you recognize this guy???? How ‘bout those shoes???

Cafe Des Amis 045

And this team s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d- across Betty’s drive….


really made us hate to leave….but there we go down the road!!!   Red Bay, Alabama in our sights!!!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Chasing Alligators...Chompinn’s Bayou Tour

Champagnes Swamp Tour

We mentioned “chasing alligators”….and we did spend a day doing this!!! A beautiful, sunny day with Bryan Champagne…(pronounced “Chompinn” by Bryan, and all Cajuns, in his rolling, French Cajun accent) on St. Martin Lake Bayou. He takes about 14 people out for a swamp tour, in his little flat bottom “pirogue” and hunts down the biggest alligators in the bayou, along with turtles, snakes (yuk!), birds and water fowl.Bayou & cypress tours 034

Bayou & cypress tours 013Bayou & cypress tours 031Bayou & cypress tours 021

Bayou & cypress tours 049 Tommie Sue was our bait, since she was wearing purple…and we all know alligators LOVE purple! (Well, it sounds good!)

TS almost jumped out of the boat when the big guy above thrashed his tail next to her and splashed into the water!

Bayou & cypress tours 056Bayou & cypress tours 050 Above a juvenile Blue Heron in the swamp grass….and below Mama duck tends her nest.

Bayou & cypress tours 071 Below, Bryan Chompinn identified a Cow Bird.Bayou & cypress tours 041

There are no mosquitoes on this ride, as the swamp is full of Black Gum trees, and the leaves of the Black Gum act as deterrent to mosquitoes.

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The towering Cypress trees were abundant in the bayou. Many of the old plantations and buildings were constructed of this almost indestructible wood, and remain in good condition today, due to it’s resilient qualities.

Bryan Chompinn gave us a wonderful inside glimpse of the Louisiana bayou, wildlife and flora and fauna….it was fun chasing the alligators and we lived to tell about it!!