Tuesday, December 30, 2008

December 30, 2008

Hi to those who are still following this blog!

We hope you are enjoying a pleasant holiday season even if you have to go back to work for a few days. We had a nice family gathering at Susan (our daughter in Whittier, Ca) and Raul's house over Christmas Eve and the days following. We parked our RV in their driveway and dwarfed their house behind it. Santa came and the little ones were excited to see him.

On Friday night, we took the adults (three of our children and their wives/girl friend) out to Lawry's Prime Rib Place in Beverly Hills. That place seems to be popular these days with certain football players. The place was big, a bit loud and crowded. The prime rib was delicious, but the side dishes were just "so-so" for us. All in all, it was a nice evening get-together.

We are now in Long Beach, CA at our favorite RV spot -- right by the ocean and the convention center. This afternoon we biked over to the Queen Mary.

We even were able to connect with long time business associates in Long Beach -- Judy and Ron from Jerry's film days. Jerry made lunch. (See picture.)

Tomorrow we leave for Pasadena where we will have a spot for our RV right on Colorado Blvd. We will be able to see the Rose Parade from our front RV windows. Our children and grandchildren will be joining us. Jerry will be making breakfast for everyone on the coach.

Our 2008 RV trip is almost over. Like my sister said, we seem to be "dragging our feet" getting back to Cambria. I expect to update this blog one more time before ending this great trip. Until then, we wish everyone a very happy and healthy New Year.

Jerry and Mary

Thursday, December 18, 2008

December 18, 2008

Hi Everyone,

We are still in Pismo Beach, CA. Since we previously purchased an interest in the Pismo Coast Village RV Resort, we get to stay here for up to 70 days free a year. That part is good. But, being right on the beach, within walking distance from Pismo Beach and the pier, and within a mile or two of all the shopping centers (and the Pismo Outlets), makes this a very good place for us to settle in for awhile. Not only that, we are within driving distance from Cambria (45 minutes North of us) and can easily run up there if we have to do so for any reason. And, we are close enough for our Cambrian friends and relatives (Pat and Bill) to drive down here to see us.

That is what happened yesterday. Tom and Lynn (Cambria Coffee Roasting Company) joined us for dinner last night on the RV (with Jerry doing the cooking, of course). Great catching up with them. See picture below.

The other day we found a boardwalk walking/running path along the backside of the golf course and next to the ocean just South of us. Like the boardwalk on Moonstone Beach, the path is wooden and meanders through the dunes and trees. I brought my camera with me today to capture some pictures.

That reminds me of something I've noticed since we have been RVing. Maybe it's because I've been taking pictures of our surroundings for the last eight months, or maybe it is because I'm getting older and "more observant" (though there are those who will dispute that -- namely, Jerry), or maybe it is because we are more "retired" and have the time to appreciate all the beauty this world has to offer, but I am so much more impressed with nature and it's impact on the senses than ever before.

So, let me ask, when was the last time you stepped outside the door of your home to take photographs of the beauty that surrounds your house -- plants in the garden, birds in the trees, dew drops on the grass and the lighting, colors or shadows making for artistic pictorial creations? In this digital age, it is so easy to just shoot without having to spend money getting film developed. And for some reason or other, if you capture the scene on your camera, it is also captured in your mind and will stay with you longer.

On Saturday, Jerry and I will celebrate our 34th wedding anniversary. Who knew?

With that, we will sign off for now. Still have until next Wednesday until we leave Pismo Beach.

If we don't update this blog until after Christmas -- we send your way our happiest of thoughts for a wonderful holiday season to each and everyone of you.

Happy Holidays!

Jerry and Mary

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

December 9, 2008

Happy Holidays to Everyone!

We have settled in the Pismo Coast Village RV Resort for a couple of weeks before heading down to LA to be with the kids and grandkids for the holidays. We plan to stay here until December 24, 2008.

Last Thursday night, our friend John (who is camping next to us here with Marijean) drove us up to Cambria for the Holiday in the Pines evening (or whatever they are calling it this year). We were able to connect with Pat and Bill who have done so much to help us stay traveling this great country for the last eight months, and were able to see some our real estate agents in the office.

We also saw lots of friends that we haven't seen since April. It was a fun evening. We even got to attend the program put on by the Cambria Chorale and the schools. The room was packed and they put on a great program. Really got us into the holiday mood.

Then, we spent our first night in our house after being gone for so long. It was weird -- that's all I will say about it. Someone called us the "modern day gypsies" when we were in Cambria and we are beginning to believe that the term truely applies to us.

Pat and Bill were able to join us on Sunday afternoon in Pismo. Together with John and Marijean, we all went out for a wonderful dinner at Steamers. Jerry and I can't believe that we have lived in Cambria since 1999 and we never heard of Steamers before. Needless to say, we will be going there again in the future. Not only that, John (Marijean went back to Long Beach on Monday for her job), Jerry and I went there again for happy hour tonight to have their steamed clams.

We love it here in Pismo. See the great picture below that Jerry took of the sunset the other night.

This is an open invitation for anyone who is reading this blog and lives in the area to come to see us while we are here. Just call us at 909-0909 to make sure we are here at the time as we have picked up my car and just may be out and about. As we said above, we will be here until December 24th.

We hope everyone starts enjoying this season now as it is a special time of the year.

Will update you again before we leave here.

Jerry and Mary

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

December 2, 2008

Hi Everyone,

We are getting closer to home -- that is, Cambria. Right now we are parked at the ocean (about 25 feet from the waves) in Ventura. We were hoping for a nice sunset, but the day has been foggy.

We spent the last five days at Pechunga in Temucula, CA with our friends, John and Marijean, who also have an RV. Both John and Jerry are gourmet chefs and each took turns preparing the evening meal. Needless to say, we ate well and gained a bit of weight (not something we want to do at the beginning of the holiday season).

Our son, Shannon, with his daughters, Erin (age 12) and Natalie (turning 4 on Dec. 21), drove down from LA to spend Sunday afternoon with us. We really appreciated his visit and a chance to see the grandkids again. We last saw them when we were in Fargo in June. The weather was great and I took my share of Sunday afternoon walks with Natalie who kept wanting to walk Chanti.

Yesterday, we stopped to see a long time friend, Laurie Greene in Thousand Oaks, on our way to Ventura. Although we would have loved to stay longer, it was nice catching up. I think that the size of our RV always shocks people when they first see it.

After we arrived in Ventura last night, we witnessed the Moon, Mars and Venus alligned in a triangular formation, something we understand will not happen again for another 40-plus years. (See photograph below that Jerry took.) We hope to take photos of the next one 40 years from now!

Today, we spend the afternoon with our friends, Bob and Nancy, who drove up to Ventura from Granada Hills, CA to have lunch with us and catch up. Now that we are back in California, we are able to spend time with people we haven't seen since we left Cambria last April. (Hope we aren't boring them with our videos!)

Tomorrow we move up the coast to Pismo Beach where we will be staying for a couple of weeks. John and Marijean will be joining us for the first few days. Oh no, more eating!!!!

Until next time, keep living the life you love,

Jerry and Mary

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

November 25, 2008

Happy Birthday, Samantha!

Well, we were in Laughlin, NV for just one night. The last time we were there (back in the 70s), there were only a couple of casinos and a riverboat hotel. Now, it is Las Vegas 30 years ago. Lots of activity and city lights. We stayed in an RV park that had 750 spaces, a shuttle running every 30 minutes to the casino, and we had a beautiful view of the city at night. (Unfortunately, we forgot to take pictures.)

On to Indio -- where we stayed in what is probably the most exclusive, elegant RV park in the world. It's the newest concept in RVing -- where you can purchase your own lot and improve it with an outdoor kitchen, BBQ, jacuzzi, etc. The lots are located either on a golf course or the waterway. This place has the ultimate high-end RVs parked on the lots, many for the winter season. In all of the thousands of miles we traveled in our RV this year and last year, we never saw this caliber of RVs on the road. These people purchase $1-2 million dollar coaches and, basically, just park them on their lot(s) as a winter condo. One guy had two $2 million dollar RVs parked in the place. The lots on the water have boat pads. See pictures below.

One really good thing about being there, we were able to hook up with old friends, Sandy and Larry. I've know Sandy since 1983 when I first started working at Hughes. We had them over for dinner on the RV. They live in Indian Wells, about 25 minutes from where we were staying in Indio. It was a fun evening.

Right now we are in another place close to Temecula, CA where one can also purchase their own lot. This place is great, too -- but doesn't begin to compare to Indio.

Tomorrow, we leave to join John and Marijean in Pechunga for Thanksgiving.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving everyone. Don't eat too much. (Since we had the traditional thankgiving dinner with our son, Sean, in North Dakota a couple of months ago, we will be having prime rib, full bone cut for each, instead of turkey.)

Love to all,

Jerry and Mary

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

November 18, 2008

Hi Everyone,

We are on our way back to California. After leaving Salt Lake City, we spent one night (on our way to Las Vegas) at Fillmore, Utah. We took pictures of the spectacular sunset sky that night. (See pictures below.)

Then, we were on to Las Vegas where we have been since Saturday. The weather is beautiful, in the low 80s and getting into the 50s at night. I've spent a few hours gambling, enough to get it out of my system without losing everything -- but not making anything, either.

We leave tomorrow for Laughlin, NV, and from there we go to Indio and Palm Springs. Then, on to Temecula to spend Thanksgiving with our friends, John and Marijean (also RVers).

Just received our mail today (thanks again, Pat and Bill), and have lots of it to go through. Always brings us back to reality!!!

Keep living the life you love.

Jerry and Mary

Sunday, November 9, 2008

November 9, 2008

Hi Everyone,

Last weekend we drove from Jackson Hole, WY to Salt Lake City, UT in one day. It was a long drive over high mountains. I had fun taking pictures along the way because the scenery was beautiful.

We've spent the week here in Salt Lake City and, on two occasions, walked from the campsite to downtown and back (1.8 mile each way). Then, in the middle of the week, it snowed. Chanti's little paws kept slipping in the snow when she went out. Below are a couple of pictures of our RV in the snow. It was cool and we immediately put on Christmas music.

The last three days were spent at the XanGo 6th Annual Convention at the Salt Palace. There were 10,000 distributors in attendance. What excitement! XanGo, in 6 years, has sold $1.5 billion dollars of the mangosteen juice. It was the first company to bring this super fruit from South East Asia to market and is the category creator.

Now, the company just released its Glimpse skin care line -- and, again, is the first company to create a clean, green skin care product with no toxins or harmful chemicals -- another category creation. The skin care line contains the mangosteen fruit with its high anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. We are proud to be associated with this great company.

Today (Sunday) we experienced what it really means to "take a day of rest" here in Utah. Almost everything was closed -- including our favorite lunch stop, Subway. While parking spots were hard to find around the Convention Center during the week, no problem today!

We expect to leave here on Tuesday and head slowly back to California via Las Vegas. Will tell you more in our next blog update. Until then, have no regrets and continue living the life you love.

Jerry and Mary

Friday, October 31, 2008

October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween! (I say that with tongue in cheek as Halloween is not my favorite day. But for all of you party people out there, have a fun evening. The only thing I like about Halloween is all the chocolate.)

We have spent the better part of the week in the midst of breathtaking wonders of nature -- Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Tetons in Wyoming. We tried to capture as much as we could on camera, and so have included more pictures on this blog than usual. (We just couldn't decide what to eliminate.)

And speaking of cameras, for those who want to know, Jerry is using the Digital Nikkon D200 SLR with an 18-135 mm lens. I am using a simple point and shoot that I love. It is the Sony Cybershot DSC-T300 touchscreen with full HD 1080. (And you thought the pictures are great because we know how to take them!!!) Well, Jerry was a professional photographer in a previous life and I feel I have a bit of artistic creativity in me. (After all, my mother was an artist - and so is my sister.) Plus the cameras we are using allow us to compensate for different light settings.

Jenny, the picture of Jenny Lake is for you.

We are writing this from Jackson, WY - a cowboy town. We love it. But tomorrow we leave as we make our way to Salt Lake City.

Until next time, keep living the life you love.

Jerry and Mary

Sunday, October 26, 2008

October 26,2008

Hi Everyone,

Lesson learned! Never EVER play around with the background computer programming code for a website unless you know what you are doing. Trying to accommodate one of our faithful readers (he better be, he's our son) to add a "Comment" box at the end of each new posting (as we had in last year's blog), I studied the computer code -- and after hours of intense study, thinking I knew what I was doing, I substituted new code for the current code in one spot. Bad idea! I immediately lost 16-18 pictures previously posted on this blog (some real nice ones, too). Worst yet - the "Comment" box never showed up on the blog. So ____ (you know who you are), you will just have to e-mail us your comments (as everyone else does) at cambriabythesea@msn.com.

After the class reunion in Grand Forks, ND we traveled to Jamestown, ND where we spent three days. It was cold and windy -- just as I remember North Dakota to be. The RV Park was right next to the "Largest Buffalo in the World." (See picture below of Chanti and me standing next to it.) I'd seen that buffalo from the freeway hundreds of times in my lifetime and now got to touch it! Gee -- how exciting!!!

Then we drove to Bismarck, got the stitches out of my right eye and could immediately see 20/20. But, my vision is still in the process of stabilizing and will take some time, yet. At least I can see distances, read road signs, read books, and work on the computer -- all without glasses for the last month. Now when I look in the mirror -- never mind.

From Bismarck, we spend 6 hours driving through Indian Reservations in both North and South Dakota because Jerry wanted to drive through an out-of-the way area. There was nothing spectacular to see the whole way. (Again, see picture below.) All I could think of was that, at one time, the Indians owned all of America. Then, the white folks came, took away all the beautiful parts of America, and allocated to the Indians what was left over.

You may be wondering why I put a picture of Subway on the side of this blog. Truth be told, we are trying to eat at all Jared's Subways across the USA. We are creatures of habit in some ways. Everytime we travel in the RV and it comes towards noontime, we look for the nearest Subway. I couldn't even begin to tell you how many Subways we have eaten at since we started this trip -- probably between 75 and 100. We love Subway!

Yesterday we drove to Buffalo, Wyoming where we spent the evening with very good friends from long ago. I've known Marlene since 1958 (she was in nursing with me) and have known her husband, Dick, since shortly after Marlene found him. It was such a pleasure being with them and their family -- and so much fun, too. I remember Kenny, their oldest, when he was just a one-year old running around with a hot dog and chips in his tiny hands. He is now 46 years old, with a lovely wife and a two year old (Abby). Boy, do they do up their house for Halloween!

We parked in their driveway. It snowed a bit last night and the temperature was 15 degrees with the windchill this morning. Jerry had to wait for the ice to melt off of the sideouts before he could put them back in.

Today we drove to Cody, WY (a more than four-hour drive from their place) and are at an RV park in the city. Tomorrow we will drive into Yellowstone National Park where we will be dry camping for as long as we can. Hope we don't freeze as the temperatures are getting quite low (especially at night).

Until next time, stay warm -- or for those of you in California, stay cool. We miss you all.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

October 18, 2008

Hi Everyone,

Well -- we are relieved! All our fears about hanging around upper North Dakota in the third week of October just to make it to my 40-year Law School Class Reunion evaporated. Yes -- it seems cold and windy to us -- but NO SNOW! In fact, we find the weather refreshing.

We left Sean's farm yesterday morning (Friday) after digging up his yard with the wheels of our RV (see picture below). Turns out, all that rain made the ground wet and difficult for Jerry to get traction in the wheels to leave. (We needed Sean's help in getting the RV out.)

We then drove 85 miles from Fargo to Grand Forks. The Alerus Center in Grand Forks, where the reunion was scheduled, is hugh. (Neil Diamond will be there November 22.) The reunion was so much fun. It was interesting seeing classmates that, 40-43 years ago, I sat in classes with 5 days a week for three years. The personalities of each did not change -- but, obviously, other parts of them did. What we found most interesting and entertaining was that each person was invited up to the mike to summarize the last forty years. It was as if we were at a comedy show. Many laughs -- because at this age, what else can we do about the things that each of us did or that happened to us? And, it also gave us a better understanding on how differently each of us handled stepping out into the world after Law School. Some were quite adventurous -- trying various occupations and areas of the world to live. Others have stayed in the same house, doing the same job, in the same town -- from the date they left school until today. In fact, one person even calculated that he has driven the same street going to and from his work 56,000 times since graduation.

Unlike today, when 50% or more of all law school students in the United Stares are women, I was one of just two women in my class during my first two years, and the only woman in my class during my last year. (The other woman in the picture below was actually in the previous class, but ended up graduating with this class.)

Right now we are in an RV park in Jamestown, North Dakota, where we plan to stay for three days before going back to Bismarck (to get the stitches out of my right eye). It is 52 degrees outside.

Until next time, "life if not about things -- and things are not about life." (Quote from Mike Hucklebee)

Miss all of you.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

October 15, 2008


So here we are again (for the fourth time this year) back on Sean's farm. Like I said in my last blog, we are getting to see more of family and friends during this stage in our life than at any previous time. Of course, that also means that we are seeing less of our family and friends in California while we are out of the state. But hang in there everyone in California, we expect to be back into the state within the next month or two.

For the first five days that we were here in Fargo, it rained and rained and rained. Today and yesterday have been sunny, but cold and windy. It is expected to get below freezing tonight.

On Friday, we will head up to Grand Forks for my 40-year law school class reunion. After that, we plan to head back to Bismarck to have the stitches removed from my right eye. Had no problem with the cataract surgery on my left eye, but the right one gave the doctor some problems (mainly because I put super glue in it on last year's trip -- for those of you who remember that incident). As a result, my left eye is still blurry, but I have been assured by the technician at the doctor's office that my eye will clear up after the stitches are out. I certainly hope so.

What a ride we are having with the economy! The thing is, nearly everyone under 80 years old has never lived through a real depression. I'm not saying that we are in a depression right now, but we are certainly in the most serious financial crises that most of us have ever experienced before in our life times. Somehow, I have the feeling that, once the election over, the United States at least may have some idea where this country is going. And that may change things -- either for the good or not. It will solidify something at a very minimum in this uneasy
environment, even if it may take some time to put things into action. We are looking forward to hearing the last debate between Obama and McCain tonight. Then, this weekend, we are going to vote absentee. We just received our ballots yesterday with our mail that Pat sent to us.

On a more enjoyable topic, we were able to spend last weekend with our granddaughter, Angela. What a cutie (even if we have to brag about that). She is happy, self assured and very inquisitive -- and a joy to spend time with.

Both Jerry and I have been called to Jury Duty in San Luis Obispo. Luckily, they allow a one-time 6 month postponement. We are now scheduled to go in February 2009.

Jerry has been working on his book while we have this downtime in Fargo. He just completed his second draft. Keeps him out of trouble.

Until next time -- live the life you love. You only have this one to live right now. We miss everyone.

Jerry and Mary

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

October 7, 2008

Hi Everyone,

Where to start! First of all, I had the cataract removed from my left eye last week in Bismarck, North Dakota. Tomorrow I will have the right one removed. I am more than pleased with the results so far. I just couldn't wait any longer -- so my opthalmologist in California missed out even though he knew I had cataracts and couldn't see out of my glasses for the last two years. Finally, I can see clearly - instead of seeing two of everything with my left eye. Can't wait to get the other one done tomorrw. In the meantime, there are lots of eye drops to contend with until this is all over. Now finally, when Jerry says as we travel "Mary, look at that." I can see what he's talking about.

But, we found time after my first surgery to go over to Minot to attend the Norst Hostfest, North America's largest Scandinavian Festival. There was entertainment every hour in five different venues, lots of Danish and Swedish foods to choose from, art and gifts representing that portion of the world and their heritage, hosts dressed in native garb, and many side show activities. We had an absolute ball!

There was the Johnny Cash Tribute by Sherwin Linton & The Cotton Kings (who Johnny Cash acknowledged when he was alive as the best of those imitating him -- and he really sounded like Johnny Cash, too), Kenny Rogers, Oak Ridge Boys, Charlie Pride, Randy Travis, Peking Acrobats, Tribute to the Beatles by the Abbey Road Band, Patsy Kline Tribute by Kathy Bender (she sounded just like Patsy Kline) and too many other groups and performers to mention. There was also a wonderful performance by Daniel O'Donnell who flew over from Ireland. We had never heard of him even though he has been performing for over 27 years and the Festival had to add a third performance for him because he was sold out immediately. Both he and Kenny Rogers put on great shows and really worked with their audiences. We bought a couple of Mr. O'Donnell's CDs that we will play as we travel down the road.

Have to admit, I had three ice cream cones in one day in between performances and walking the floors. We heard that there were 12,000-15,000 people in attendance each day, including lots of Canadians. We definitely plan to come back to this Festival again in the future.

I've included a picture below of my brother's Laser Guided Cement Leveling Machine. He has a construction company and is the only one in Minot who has this unit. It allows him to pour and level five times as much cement in one day as the regular cement pouring process. The laser guided system automatically levels the cement to the designated height and angle. Cool!
Just because we haven't included a lot of personal family pictures on this blog, we had to include one of Tanner. Tanner is my nephew's six-month old baby boy. He is so cute and smiles a lot.

Lastly, here is something that we never thought about in the years we were working towards retirement. During those years, we were lucky if I saw my brothers and sisters once a year (usually at a wedding or funeral), except for my sister who at that time also lived in LA and I saw frequently. Now that we are semi-retired, we have had the wonderful opportunity to see my other brothers and sisters, and my son, Sean, and their families three or four times so far this summer. It's like when we were kids again and took each other's presence in our lives as commonplace. Just one more blessing of having made it through the hectic years and living this lifestyle.

Oh yes, I picked up my new bike when we were in Minot, but I have not had a chance to ride it yet. For one reason, it rained on Sunday in Minot. For another reason, I don't want to drive it on gravel. And, I really want my eyes to be healed before I take it out. Got a beautiful lavender helmet to go with it!!

On Thursday, we will drive to Fargo, North Dakota and spend a week on Sean's farm. Remember, he is the one who has all the goats. Looking forward to that.

I'm not going to comment on the stock market or the economy -- even though it is very much on my mind. Hopefully, we have hit the bottom and things will start looking up after the election (whoever wins).

Take care, everyone. We miss you -- but we love this way of living -- so you are in our thoughts until we make it to your area.

Jerry and Mary

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

September 30, 2008

What a great life! Even with the stock market doing its thing and the uncertain economy, we all just have today and right "now." Make the most of it because when "now" is gone, it is the one thing we cannot get back. So look around you -- take a deep breath and count your blessings --breathe. With that off of my mind, we will update you on where we are (as Sheron keeps emailing us "where's Waldo?").

We spent the weekend at the Theodore Roosevelt National Park that is located in the Badlands of North Dakota. At first glance, the Badlands appear barren. Created over 60 million years ago by streams from the Rocky Mountains flowing eastward, the Badlands demonstrate an array of sculptured buttes and is home to a variety of wildlife and plant life. (We keep wondering how the covered wagons made it over these treacherous lands.)

When we were in the Park, we had to "dry camp," meaning there were no hook ups for electricity, sewer and water. For us, that is not a problem. Our inverter continues to provide electricity for our lights, tvs and computers when we are not using the generator (which is run on diesel). And, with a 90 gallon water tank, we can go for a week without hook ups. The beauty of "camping" this way is that we are really out of the mainstream of life (no RV parks) -- just nature. But, I have to say, I am a bit scared to let Chanti out at night for fear of being attacked by a mountain lion, buffalo, coyote or wolf (Jerry said to add a "rabbit.")

Now we have to tell you about the best ice cream (at least for us) that we found. Actually, we first encountered this delicacy while in Zion National Park last year. And, it being so good, we never forgot about it. Lo and behold, we found it again in Keystone last week. It is called "Moose Tracks." It is made of either vanilla or chocolate ice cream with large fudge chips and peanut butter cups folded in. (See picture of me finishing off the last of it on this trip.)

One other thing. For those of you who followed our blog last year, you may remember that I accidentally put fast-acting glue in one of my eyes and ended up seeing three ophthalmologists along the way. Well -- this year, something different has come up. It seems that my cataracts are really starting to interfere with my life -- to the point that everything is somewhat of a blur and I can't read road signs until we are almost past them. And, most of the time when Jerry points something out as we travel, I can't see it.

Tomorrow, I'm scheduled to have one eye fixed -- and if that works out, I'll have the other one done next week. Thus, we are held up in Bismarck, North Dakota until Thursday, when we will head for Minot to spend time with family and attend the Norsk Festival. We will be back to Bismarck after that so that I can have the other eye done. Will tell you more about that with our next blog. Until then, enjoy your life. We miss all of you.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

September 24, 2008

Hi Everyone,

So here we are checking out the site of "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" (the movie location). The mountain (Devils Tower) is here -- but there is no place where the space crafts could land on the backside of the hill. Thus, the landing was just Hollywood at work!

If you are an Earth sign -- Capricorn (Shan, Erin, Natalie, Pat, Pinky, Story and Mary Stewart), a Tauras (Daniel, Raul, Ninette, Chase, and Nancy), or a Virgo (Tim, Madeline, and Dave) -- you should make it a point to visit this area. (Sorry if we missed anyone.) The rocks and trees will feed your spirit as Earth people. Actually, the area is very spiritual and is sacred to Native Americans.

Devils Tower is in Wyoming. It is 867 feet tall. We have extended our stay here because of the beauty of this place. We arrived on Monday and will leave tomorrow (Thursday).

Yesterday we walked up the hillside path (not the main road) to the Visitor's Center at the base of the Tower. Then we took the paved path around the Tower and back again to the RV site. The total hike was over 5 miles -- and at 4,250 feet above sea level, we sure got our exercise. During this time, we took many pictures. We tried to capture pictures of the Tower, the dozen or so people in various stages of actually climbing it, the one-mile trail around the Tower, the valley below, and the many praire dogs.

The climbers were youngsters (compared to us). The rest of the tourists were older folks, like us.

We are dry camping in the State Park. There is virtually no one else here and it is wonderful.

Before we arrived here, we saw a sign painted on a barn about Verizon that was funny and sadly, somewhat true. That sign also belongs in Cambria. It is always a gamble whether we will have cell and/or internet coverage as we travel the USA. For the most part, though, Verizon has been quite reliable for us.

Tomorrow we leave for Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

Until next time, enjoy the pictures and our blog. Much love to all.

Jerry and Mary

Saturday, September 20, 2008

September 20, 2008

Well -- this is it! After spending four weeks in Rapid City, SD, we will be moving on come Monday morning. It was our time to see how if feels to stay in one spot for a short period of time. What a life!

During this time, we rented a beautiful blue PT Cruiser - some days taking in the sites, and on other days, just pretending we lived here on the RV (which, come to think of it, we do). Some evenings were filled with social get-togethers with wonderful neighbors around the camp fire; and on other evenings (after the Olympics were over), we spent quiet times reading (and, of course, catching Jay Leno at 9:30 pm on DirecTV's East Coast feed). We have just one site yet to see in this area tomorrow -- Sitting Bull's Cave.

This past week we went to Hot Springs where the water is a constant 87 degrees. Jerry wasn't into the healing aspects of the special water, so I spent some time alone in the water. I don't know if it was the water or what -- but I came out singing.

Hot Springs is 90 miles away from Rapid City. Along the way, we saw more buffalo, a coyote crossing the road right in front of us, praire dogs and -- in the middle of Hot Springs next to City Hall -- deer moving about. See some of the pictures below.

Today we took in a movie -- "Ghost Town." We liked it. It had good acting with some funny lines. Probably would have to be over 40 to really enjoy it, though.

Afterwards, we were able to get our flu shots for free (sounds better than saying Medicare picked up the tab).

One good thing about staying in one spot for a period of time, we were able to receive our mail, internet purchases and, most important of all, my Double Fudge Chocolate ice blended mocha mix from the Cambria Coffee Roasting Company sent to us by Jerry's sister, Pat. Thanks, Pat.

Lastly, we watch in awe the market waves go up and down. Uncertain times for many retired people and especially those about to retire.

On Monday, we are off to Devils Tower in Wyoming. It was established in 1906 by President Theodore Roosevelt. Until next time, happy trails!

Love to all,

Jerry and Mary

Monday, September 15, 2008

September 15, 2008

To all you anxious blog-readers!

You do not have to wait any longer. Today we are posting the pictures we took of Mount Rushmore during the day and at night. Even though we have all seen pictures of Mount Rushmore in books and on postcards, these are special pictures because they were taken by us.

First a little history for those of you who need a bit of a refresher. Mount Rushmore was designed by sculpturer, Gutzon Borglum -- a big thinker and maverick (where have we heard that word recently?) in his day. A true patriot, he wanted to honor President Washington for overseeing the birth of this great nation, President Jefferson for his vision to expand the nation's territory with the Louisiana Purchase in 1803 (acquiring 828,000 square miles for $0.035 a square mile), President Lincoln for keeping the United States one nation under God, and President Theodore Roosevelt for preserving over 200 million acres of this country's natural resources, including the Grand Canyon and Yosemite.

When Mr. Borglum announced that he was going to carve a memorial 465 feet tall of these Presidents (each head as tall as a six-story building), people back east said something like this: "Mr. Borglum wants to distroy another mountain. But it's in South Dakota and no one will ever see it."

It took 400 men, working with dynamite and in dangerous conditions, 14 years (1927-1941) to complete the monument. And, no workers were killed on the job either. There is a granite monument here with the names of all of the workers engraved on it. Today, there are only two men living who worked on the sculpture. One is senile and we met the other one in the bookstore -- Don "Nick" Clifford. We bought his book (which he autographed) and Jerry later read. I haven't read it yet because Jerry said it was all about the drill bits they used to do the job and other such men's interests. (See picture of me with Mr. Clifford.)

One other piece of trivia -- do you know why the mountain was named Mount Rushmore? Answer: because a lawyer from New York named Mr. Rushmore came out to South Dakota in the late 1800s to check out his investment in many mines. The lawyer pointed to the mountain and asked the rancher who was his guide, "what is the name of that mountain?" The rancher said something to the effect: "It doesn't have a name. But it does now. We'll call it Mount Rushmore." (Wouldn't you know, it had to be named after a lawyer.)

While the daytime view and park service guided tour was excellent, if you ever come here, you have to see the evening presentation. They have a large outdoor amphitheater, with great sound. The presentation includes a movie on the carving of the monument. In the movie, there were spectacular scenes of America while "America the Beautiful" was sung in the background.

After the movie, the park ranger asked everyone to rise and sing our National Anthem. He then requested all military personnel (now serving or who had ever served in any branch of our armed services) to come up on the stage. Jerry joined a rather large crowd on stage. Each person was asked to state their name, branch of service and years served. The park ranger joking said: "who knows, you might run into an old service-mate." Sure enough, after Jerry said he was with "Navy VFP-63," a few minutes later, another guy announced that he was also in "Navy VFP-63." Turns out, he was there two years after Jerry left. It was interesting because he and his wife, too, are also RVers.

Let us say one other thing about Mount Rushmore. We were here last in 1979 while on our motorcycle trip touring the United States. What a difference! Between 1994-1998, they spent $57 million dollars to upgrade the area around the sculture. All you people from Cold Spring, Minnesota -- that is Cold Spring granite that you see on the picture below.

Until next time -- live the life 'ya love!!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

September 7, 2008

Hi Everyone,

It's the end of our second week in Rapid City, SD. There is so much to see -- we are trying to take it all in little by little. Even though we went to Mount Rushmore during the day time, we will be going back to see the evening show and movie. We'll write about it all next time.

I'm dying to tell you about the Crazy Horse mountain carving because I actually had the pleasure of speaking with the sculpturer 40 years ago. Back then, Bob (the father of my children) and I were traveling through the Black Hills and decided to spend a few days there. We heard that this guy was going to carve a replica of an Indian in the mountain and we went to see him. As I recall, we climbed up old wooden stairs to a workshop that felt like it was in a tree house. The sculpturer, Korczak Ziolkowski, was a man in his late 50s with a mustache, beard and long hair. When we got to the top of the stairs, he stopped working and greeted us warmly. He pointed to the mountain that he was carving and showed us a model of what it would look like when it was done. We looked at the mountain -- and all we could see was a mountain with a piece of granite dynamited out. He said that he has been working on it for 20 years already. He loved talking about his "project" and we listened. From my recall, he was a nice man. But when we left, we both said, "he'll never finish that in his lifetime."

This week I was taken back when I saw the current carving of Crazy Horse in the mountain some 40 years later. Even though it is still far from finished, at least you could see the Indian. Not only that, there are thousands of square feet of historical items and rare artifacts, an Indian Museum, and even the workshop (redone) where Bob and I first met Korczak. He died in 1982, but his wife and 6 of his 10 kids are carrying on the project without any help from the Federal or State governments; instead, only public donations are supporting its completion.

Jerry and I were blessed to be here last night (Sept. 6) for a very special celebration. It seems that Crazy Horse died on Sept. 6, 1877, and Korczak was born on Sept. 6 exactly 100 years ago. We saw the laser show and the night-time dynamite blasting that they do for the public only 2 or 3 times a year. It was spectacular! There were more than 5,000 people present and a dignitary from Japan.

To give you some idea of the size of the Crazy Horse carving, the head is over 87 feet high, the eye is 16 feet wide, and the overall structure is 563 feet high. See picture below taken 1 mile away.

We also visited the Cosmos Mystery Area where objects seem to defy gravity. Balls and water run uphill. And, depending on where people stand, they may appear to be taller or shorter than they actually are. See picture of me trying to fall forward and gravity is holding me back. What is more amazing is the feeling of lightheadedness, dizzyness and even nausea that I felt as I moved to various parts of the site. Apparently, there are certain vortexes like this in other parts of the world, and many in California.

And then there were the buffalo we saw as we toured through Custer State Park. These are big creatures! Even Chanti couldn't figure out what kind of "dogs" these were.

Rapid City has bronze-cast figures of many of the former United States Presidents, one on each corner in the down town area. Jerry was attracted to Franklin D. Roosevelt because he was standing before a lecturn (you know Jerry and lecterns -- they go together). He pretended he was interviewing FDR. See picture.

We loved the city of Deadwood, scene of Wild Bill Hickock's death. But, at this time of year, the town and streets lived up to their name -- it was dead.

Next time we'll discuss Mount Rushmore. That's it for your history lesson for today. Let us just say, that if you ever are traveling the country, you need to see Rapid City and surrounding areas.

Have a good week. Miss you all. Jerry and Mary

Monday, September 1, 2008

September 1, 2008

Happy Labor Day Weekend!!
Hope all of you had a great one. We have to admit, that we miss not having been in Cambria for Pinedorado this past weekend. We heard that the parade had many entries and also, we would have loved to have seen the Follies. Hopefully, others in Cambria will fill us in on more of the details.
We have been situated about 10 miles outside of Rapid City, SD for a week now. The RV park is still pretty populated, but we expect that it will thin out in the coming week as many RVers' vacations are over.
Starting tomorrow, we will be renting a car and visiting the sites, including Crazy Horse, Mount Rushmore at dusk, Sitting Bull's Cave, Deadwood, Cosmos Mystery area, Keystone, Needles Highway and the various lakes in the mountains. As we do so, we will post the pictures of what we see on this blog.
As a side note, while Jerry still continues his running program, I have taken to seriously riding our 3-wheel bike with Chanti in the basket and getting in some good exercise. Soooo, I am moving up to a 2-wheel bike (designed for people who have not been on a bike for years, but remember the fun they had as children). The difference between these bikes and the ones manufactured for the last years, is that we sit straight up (handle bars are high), sit on wider seats and can put our feet on the ground when we stop without having to jump off of the seat. I won't get my new bike until we get to Minot, ND at the end of this month, and am looking forward to getting it.
No pictures are attached this time, but get prepared for many in the coming weeks. We want to show you America just in case you haven't been to the places we visit. Until then, we hope all of you are loving the life you live. Jerry and Mary

Saturday, August 23, 2008

August 23, 2008

Hi Everyone,
We spent four days in Montana after coming back from Calgary. In Billings, Montana, we spent a couple of days at the first and oldest KOA campground in the United States. It was nice. See photo on side.
We left there and stopped to see the Little Bighorn Battlefield where Custer and his soldiers met their demise. It was a clash of cultures in 1876, when the Lakota, Cheyenne, Sioux, and Arapaho Indian tribes decided they weren't going to take it any more. Custer and his 41 men took to the hill and, get this, they shot their horses to use as cover. When you think about it, 1876 really wasn't that long ago. As with all war time memorials, you walk away feeling sadness and wondering how it could have been different. See Statement of Sitting Bull below and a picture of the actual hill.
We are now in Rapid City, South Dakota, where we will hang around for a month. We promised ourselves that this year's trip would not be as hectic as last year's trip. And, so far, it hasn't. But, Jerry really needs some time to stop driving. We have put on 10,000 miles so far this year. This is the part of the trip where we had planned to just sit back and relax for close to a month. So just when the gas prices go down, we have decided to stop driving!
There is lots to see in and around the Black Hills here in Rapid City and we are going to take our time absorbing it all. It seems that every time either of us has been here, we were constrained by the vacation time we were taking to see the place. This time, we have no constraints and it feels wonderful. The last time Jerry and I were here was in 1979 when we toured half the United States on a motorcycle.
At some point, though, Jerry will fly out of here to go speak in Atlanta. As we mentioned once before, we have decided not to drive there due to the cost of fuel. So Chanti and I will be alone for a few days.
As we see the various sites, we will tell you about them. Have a great Labor Day Weekend.
We are dug in for the holiday weekend, Jerry and Mary

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

August 19, 2008

Hi Everyone,

It feels good to get back to the states, but we have to say, Calgary (Alberta, Canada) is a beautiful city. It is clean, hilly, lots of trees, open spaces, and sprawling (like LA) with a center of tall buildings down town (again, like LA). We went there to attend the Toastmasters International Convention and heard 10 top speeches from around the world, each speaker competing to become the World Champion of Public Speaking 2008. Little did we know that we would be privileged to see and hear the first woman ever in 77 years to win the contest, and also, to see only the second woman ever to be installed as President of Toastmasters International. In addition, the third runner up in the contest was also a woman. It was a very exciting day. There were over 2,000 people at the convention and 1,200 at the evening dinner. (See our picture taken at the dinner to the right.)

We also took a day trip to Banff, about an hour away from Calgary. Once again, we rented a small compact, but Enterprise gave us a Dodge Ram extended cab, which made the drive to Banff more enjoyable. Banff is a beautiful tourist town and we would love to go back there some day. We understand Banff is a great place for honeymooners.

We are now outside of Townsend, Montana. Tomorrow we will move to Billings, Montana to the first/oldest KOA campground on our way to Rapid City, South Dakota on Friday.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

August 13, 2008

Hi Everyone,
This past weekend, we attended Mary's 50th high school reunion in Cold Spring, MN, where she grew up. If you plan on attending any high school reunion, please tell the committee the following: First, the 1"x 1" high school class picture with your name in 6-point font under it on the name badge just doesn't cut it. With the lighting on dim and our 68-year old eyes trying not to be too obvious as we strain to read their names -- while slowly moving our heads embarrassingly close to their chest to stare at the badge -- only to end up by saying, "I'm sorry, but you will have to tell me your name," could use some improvement. Second, when creating the name badges for the women, put their high school names in big print (not just their married names) on the badges. Not being able to see the tiny name on the badge, I never knew if I was talking to a classmate or the spouse of a classmate. Third, put the high school name of the woman on the spouse's name badge with a cross reference to the classmate. Fourth, every reunion should make sure they have a microphone system, especially for the senior citizens at the back of the room.
I'm not criticizing the organizers of the class reunion because they did a fantastic job. For me, though, it started out slowly as I just saw a room full of old people and didn't recognize anyone -- not even my friends, Nancy and Fran (see picture below), with whom I went on to three more years of nursing after high school. What a riot!
Also, we were able to visit with relatives both in Cold Spring and Mary's son and his friends in Fargo -- which were enjoyable. See picture below of the twins of Mary's niece, Ashley and her husband, Neil.
Tomorrow we enter into Canada on our way to Calgary to attend the International Toastmasters Convention and hear the top ten speakers from around the world compete for Toastmaster of the Year 2008. We will have no cell coverage until Monday.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

August 7, 2008

Greetings from Iowa!
The Winnebago facility is located in Iowa. Jerry thought it would be a good idea to get our Winnebago Vectra coach checked out by the manufacturer at its service place. That was on Monday. It is now Thursday and they think our coach will be done by noon tomorrow. (It's a long story and we won't go into that right now.)
Last year, after we returned from our 4-month RV trip and after telling everyone about the places we saw, the friends we met along the way and the fun we had, our friend, Walt, asked: "So, now, tell me about the horror stories." Well, this week may qualify as one. We spent last night at Motel 8 (a far cry from our coach), walked this morning with all our stuff (laptops, books, clothes, dog etc.) six blocks from the motel back to the repair facility today only to be told that they are not finished and we have to spend another night in the motel. So we walked back again to the motel where we are now. (Small town, no shuttle.)
The good thing about Iowa is the weather and seeing the high fields of corn. (See pictures below.) It's been fascinating checking out the corn fields in the various states. Without a doubt, Iowa's corn fields are more dense, greener, and taller than any other place we have seen. Did you know that 85% of all food you put into your mouth has corn or a by-product of corn in it? Jerry and Mary

Sunday, August 3, 2008

August 3, 2008

Hi Everyone,

Last year we swore we would never come back to the Chicago area -- lots of freeways (many needing repair), all the trucks crossing the USA passing through (oh, maybe not all of them), lots of regular traffic, and concrete. That's just getting into Chicago. Actually, down town Chicago is beautiful. But, we couldn't get this close to a life long-friend without stopping to see her. Her name is Mary, too. Mary and Mary have been friends since the '70s. They have spent hours discussing all the current issues of the world, especially as they related to their various stages in life -- from raising children, health issues, careers, the children and their lives, the grandkids and their personalities and activities, and now retirement styles. With Jerry's mother now gone, it's like my friend, Mary, said: "We've moved up to the top of the line." Our grandparents and parents are now gone, and we are now the "old folks" in our family trees. So we know what our parents meant when they said: "I sure don't feel old." Until next time, live the life 'ya love. Jerry and Mary

Monday, July 28, 2008

July 28, 2008

Hi Again,

We spent the week with Mary's sister, Lavern, and her husband, Bob, in the mountains in Northern Pennsylvania. (See photo of our RV parked on their property.) They have a get-away retreat on 14 acres with their own pond right outside their back door. Every night we would burn wood that they gathered up with their truck ATV during the day from the back woods of their property. One night we all went out with their pontoon boat powered by a quiet battery operated motor to have appetizers before dinner on the pontoon.

As you can see by the pictures, their place is serene nature at its finest. Blueberries, apples, raspberries and other fruit grow wild there. Between Jerry and Lavern's cooking, we ate well. It rained, with thunder and lightening, a couple of nights, just enough to get Chanti panicky. Other than that, the weather was perfect and we had a very relaxing time.

Tomorrow we head out again. It is always exciting to take off to new places and experience a different part of this great country that we live in.

Monday, July 21, 2008

July 21, 2008

Hi Everyone,
You don't have to wait any longer! Just what you have been waiting for -- is finally here! Pictures of Niagara Falls!!! Seriously, pictures do not do justice to the experience of seeing the spectacular force of unstoppable water going over the Falls, feeling the power and energy of the fast moving water and the mist as it constantly drizzles on us and our cameras, and hearing the unremitting sound of the moving water. Although we didn't take the tour boat that carries people under the Falls, we can just imagine how drenched they were -- and maybe a little scared, too. Instead, we chose to see the IMAX picture of traveling through and flying over the Falls. That was scary enough and we didn't have to get wet.
We were on the Canadian side of the Falls because that side is the most beautiful. Tomorrow we leave Canada for Pennsylvania, where we will be staying on Mary's sister and her husband's lake home property for a week.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

July 16, 2008

Hi Again -- You may be wondering why we are up-dating this blog just two days after our last up-date. Well, for one thing, lots has happened. And, secondly, we are about to enter into Canada on Friday. (More about that later.)

When we left St. Ignace on Monday, we crossed over the longest suspension bridge in the Western Hemisphere. This bridge, the Mackinac Bridge, connects Michigan's two peninsulas. (See picture of bridge below, taken from RV.) We drove all day Monday and arrived at the RV park in Ann Arbor, MI by 6 p.m. This is the same park we stayed at last year. We ended up in the exact space as last year, too. We love it because, from our front window, we see only trees and the lake.

Last night (as we did last year when we were here), we had dinner with our long-time friends, John and Gale, and their 19 year old daughter, Annie. We enjoyed catching up with them. John never fails to remind us that, when he knew us years ago, we were the only people he knew who had a teenager in the house. He always wants to know how hold she is now. Susan, he is talking about you!

We have a rented car from Enterprise, so today we went to the Ann Arbor Art Festival, which is hugh. Thousands of vendors from many differents states come here for the Festival to show their art works -- paintings, glass, pottery, jewelry, wood, clothing, ceramics etc. That part was great. But, we couldn't take the heat. It was 94 degrees -- too hot to enjoy the sights.

On Friday we leave for Canada to see Niagara Falls from the Canadian side. We checked with Verizon today, and were told that our PC cards (to get us on the internet) will not work in Canada, and our cell phones will cost between $.78-$2.00 a minute to use. Soooo -- we've decided that we will turn off our cell phones when we are in Canada. If anyone absolutely needs to reach us, we will be at the Niagara Falls Jellystone Park (tele: 905-354-1432). We will be back in the USA on July 22. Later -- Jerry and Mary

Monday, July 14, 2008

July 14, 2008

Hi Everyone,
We've spent the last two weeks in Wisconsin and Michigan. (Right now we just arrived at an RV park near Ann Arbor, MI.) Wisconsin is beautiful -- especially if you love trees and lakes as we do. It was a quiet time for us.
But it was in Michigan that we did a bit more exploring. Probably the most fun we had was taking the ferry over Lake Michigan to Mackinac Island. Now, Mackinac Island is home to 400 people -- the Grand Hotel -- small shops (especially home-made fudge shops -- we bought two pounds) -- horse carriages and lots of bicycle rental places. No cars are allowed on the island. We rented a tandem bike and asked the young boy who prepared it for us if the island was hilly. "No, it's all flat," he said. Well --- we biked up and down the hills, really getting our exercise, and had to push the bike a number of times. We said, "how can he say that this is flat?"
Nearly two hours later when we returned the bike, we asked him why he said that the island was flat. We told him where we biked and he said "Oh my, you did that?" Turns out that there was a flat bike trail that circled the island close to the water. Guess he didn't figure that old folks would take to the hills. Turns out that we were the only ones on tandem bikes traveling the hills. But, in doing so, we saw the Grand Hotel and other island wonders of nature. (The Grand Hotel was the place where "Somewhere In Time" starring Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour was filmed.) We asked how much it cost per night to stay there and were told that rooms go $250-$400 per night.
On a more sober note, the high cost of fuel has certainly put a damper on this country's RV economy. One day, we traveled 300 miles and only saw 11 other RVs along the way. RV parks make their money in the summer time. Most of the parks are near empty. (See photo below. In that park, there were 145 spaces and only six RVs were there last Saturday night.) We, ourselves, have decided to travel less and stay longer at the various places we visit. (We will update our map of projected travel shortly.)

Thursday, July 3, 2008

July 3, 2008

Happy 4th of July to Everyone!
We just left Sean's farm in North Dakota where the family held a large birthday party and reunion. All of Mary's children and grandchildren, plus most of her brothers and sisters and some of her nieces and nephews with their families, were there, along with many friends of Bob, the birthday boy. The weather was beautiful EXCEPT for the day of the party when there were heavy rains, and some thunder and lightening, the whole day. Luckily, they rented a tent and the party went on. With a rented sound system, speakers and microphone, the music continued until 2:30 A.M. Raul, our son-in-law, created beautiful fruit platters -- making palm trees, birds, sharks, chickens, and leaf designs out of the various types of fruit. (See pictures below.)
With all of the space on the farm, everyone had a great time -- especially some of the city grandkids from LA -- who really felt their freedom. The younger ones chased after the farm animals, rode bikes all over the place, climbed hay stacks, helped feed the goats and rode on an ATV with Sean. We took lots of family pictures, and even dressed with overalls for some group shots. (See picture below.)

Sunday, June 22, 2008

June 22, 2008

Hi Everyone,

We left our relatives in Cold Spring, MN and are spending five days in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota. Now, most people know that Minnesota is the land of 10,000 lakes. But, did you realize that there is more grass to cut in this state than nearly any other place? It's all quite beautiful -- yet we feel sorry for all the hard work the folks here have to put in to keep their lawns looking so spectacular. Even though most people have a riding lawn mower, it still takes a lot of time to cut so much grass. Then there are the mosquitos that come with the territory. We are very lucky right now because the mosquitos disappear when there is a breeze. And there is a nice breeze at present. On Wednesday, we head back to Fargo for a big family reunion.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day to all of the dads out there. We are sure enjoying this day and the trip thus far. Since our last posting, we spent time on Sean's (Mary's son) goat farm in Fargo, ND, traveled to Cold Spring, MN (about 200 miles from Fargo, the place where Mary grew up and where many of her brothers and sisters still live) to attend the wedding of her niece, Becki, then traveled with two of her sisters and their husbands to spend time at her sister and husband's lake home in Hackensack, MN (120 miles north of Cold Spring), and are now back in a beautiful RV park right outside of Cold Spring. Mary's nephew, Terry, and his wife, Lynn, live on the lake across from the park. Yesterday, they and their family came across the lake on a pontoon to pick us up to take us to their lake home. Absolutely lovely! Now -- that is. In winter, the lake is totally frozen over.
About the most unusual for us is the weather. One minute, the sky is blue with white puffy clouds, and the temperature in the 70s. Within 5 minutes, the sky can turn ominous, dark, with winds coming at us at 60 miles an hour with heavy rains. Last night we were entertaining Ann (Mary's sister) and her husband, Mike, when the camp host drove up to our coach in a golf cart and told us to get to the shelter immediately. We jumped up from the dinner table and ran 50 feet to the men's shower (a concrete building) where we met up with 25 or so other adults and children. One man had a radio tuned to the weather station, and we heard how a tornado touched down 15 miles from us. Poor Chanti (our dog) and some of the young children in the room couldn't stop shaking as the rain came down in buckets, lightening and thunder all around us. Boy, when they say, "get to a shelter" -- they mean right now!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

June 3, 2008

Hi Everyone,
This is the part of the trip where we visit relatives. Our trip from Glacier to Minot (after we left the mountains) was flat and straight. (See picture below.) First stop was at Minot, ND to visit Mary's brother and sister-in-law, and their family. They and their business partners build retirement community homes that provide one, two or three bedroom suites, all amenities of a fine hotel, including a dining room with seating on an enclosed patio, library, beauty parlor, laundry rooms, a communal kitchen for those who still love to entertain large families or friends, a beautiful private dining room reserved by the guests for special occasions, an exercise room, extra storage room for the guests, and numerous themed-relation lounges. After we toured the Minot facility (which was first class), we then ate in the dining room where we each ordered different selections from the menu. Places like these are becoming very popular with seniors who still have all their faculties, but don't want the hassle of owning a home yet want all of their necessities close by them and the companionship of others near by. (We have seen our future when we are finished RVing -- some twenty years from now.)
We left Minot and are now in Fargo, ND on Sean's (Mary's son) farm where he raises goats. It is raining heavily, as usual for this trip. Will tell you more about it later.

Monday, May 26, 2008

May 26, 2008

Hi everyone,
We are currently in a KOA park at Glacier National Park. To our surprise, the Park is still closed due to heavy snow. As a result, we could only drive 9 miles into the park to Lake McDonald. As you see by the pictures below, it has been overcast and rainy. Also below, note the pictures taken in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, where we were before coming to Glacier. There, they had the highest record of snow fall ever recorded this past winter. On top of that, they had the highest 4-day record of heat (90 deg.) just a few weeks ago. Add to that some heavy rain fall this last week, and what you get is over-flowing rivers, including the one next to our RV Park. In fact, as we left on Friday, the water had risen to cover the entrance road to the Park. (See picture below.) On the news yesterday, the TV station reporter interviewed the RV Park owner who said that over half of the Park was under water on this holiday weekend. Looks like we left just in time.
We are catching up on reading the books we brought along, including one we bought on impulse at Starbucks ("The Art of Racing in the Rain" by Garth Stein) that we both totally enjoyed. Don't let the title fool you. If you are a dog lover, this is a must read. Speaking of dogs, Chanti is now doggy-boxed trained (like a cat litter box, except for dogs), so Jerry doesn't have to take her out on those cold and rainy mornings any more. This also gives us the opportunity to take longer sight-seeing tours away from the coach without worrying about having to get back to let her out. It's so cool!
Since Oregon, we have been eating a lot of fish (salmon, halibut, sea bass). Jerry has been perfecting his sea food dishes and has come up with some exciting creations.
Tomorrow we leave for Minot, North Dakota.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

UPDATE May 18, 2008

Hi Everyone -- We are in Lynden, WA for the last couple of days. Yesterday we visited the famous Bellingham farmer's market where we ate fresh crepes' made with blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and more, including whipping cream. (Have we made you hungry yet?). Since we are planning to go to Alaska next year, we also visited the Bellingham Ferry (where we could cruise to Anchorage with the RV on the ferry and then explore Alaska as we take our time driving back to the states).
Today, we took our Enterprise rental car (PT Cruiser convertible) to Vancouver, British Columbia. What an absolutely beautiful city! We were there some 20 years ago and it was an experience to go back. See pictures below.
We leave tomorrow for Coeur d'Alene, ID and then on to Glacier National Park for Memorial Day Weekend. Hope all is well with each of you. We miss you. You are welcome to e-mail us at any time. We love staying in touch with you as we tour America.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Update May 16,2008

Hi Everyone,
Sorry we haven't updated this blog for awhile, but a number of places we stayed at were located in beautiful remote settings wtih "dead zones" for internet, cell phones and even DirecTv. On top of that, it rained a lot -- thus, we don't have many pictures of the places we stayed.
After visiting Jerry's sister and family in Grants Pass, OR, we traveled up the Oregon and Washington coasts. We went to Portland for one day to visit with our former neighbors in Playa del Rey (see photo below). In Port Angeles, we visited with Jerry's long-lost second cousin and his family (again, see photo below). Jerry had not seen him since the '60s.
We have just arrived at the KOA in Lynden, WA -- a few miles outside of Bellingham. To get from Port Angeles and across Puget Sound, we had to take a ferry from Kingston to Edmonds. It was a half hour trip on the sea. When we were directed to drive the RV on the boat, Mary took video of us loading the coach on to the ferry. Just as we parked the RV, a port security guard knocked on our door. He said: "we noticed that you were using a video camera. I have to see what you taped." He indicated that, for security reasons, they don't want any video taken of the inside of the vessel that could be used by terrorists. Jerry showed him the video, and he said "you can't keep that." He asked us to please erase it now. Big problem!! We just bought the camera and hadn't erased anything yet. When we told him we didn't know how to erase it, he asked to see our ID. We showed him our passports and he let us go, but said "no more tourist pictures down below...please."

Sunday, May 4, 2008

It all starts here

With the start of this Blog, we are starting with the beginning of our trip. The next time we post, we will put the most recent photos first and you can scroll down to see the past places, events and people.

Friday, April 11, 2008

This Blog is all set for you to enjoy

If this is your first time to our Blog -- welcome. In order for you to follow our trip, you need to go to FAVORITES at the top of your web page (usually up at the top left between View & Tools) and click on it. Then click on ADD TO FAVORITES (you can do that right now while you are on this Blog). The next time you want to see what we are doing, just click on Favorites, look for JERRY & MARY RV TRIP 2008 - click on it and you will get back to this Blog to see what we are doing. If you would like to e-mail us, send an e-mail to go2icon@netscape.net (Jerry) or to cambriabythesea@msn.com (Mary). We'd love to hear from you.

We hope you will enjoy our Blog as we travel America and Canada.

Jerry & Mary