Monday, January 20, 2020

Let's Kickoff 2020

Major Fun
Somehow the Vols salvaged a football team and got invited to the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville on January 2nd so we added that trip to our trek southward for the winter. Rob and Julia were all set to meet us there (but Robin's knee went out--they were missed) and then came the tailgaters group of Charley and Elizabeth, Harry and Cathy, and Carol Anne and Carey Smith and a big party came together for the bowl game. On December 29th we headed out of Nashville and we overnighted at Walmart in Forsyth, Ga, next night at Walmart in St. Mary's, Ga, then on New Year's Eve we rolled into our Gator Bowl accommodations.  On January 3rd,  we will make our way to our winter digs at Cross Creek RV in Arcadia, Florida.

The Gator Bowl gang at the Bearded Pig for New Years Eve

Lola, Carol Ann, Cathy, and Elizabeth

Mike Cole (from our Farragut class) and his wife Helen were here from the Czech Republic 

Perfect night and perfect 4 minutes of football

By the hair of our chiny chin chin (Vols 23-Indiana 22)

Prosecco celebration afterwards 


Fall and Winter 2019

Merry Christmas 2019
Back in Tennessee in August where we enjoyed weekends at Floating Mill State Park where Leeton and Holden joined us and rode their bikes, made friends and ate s'mores.  One little boy and his brother kept coming over for Holden's Gatorade and were full of tales.  The youngest had been banned from electronics for the rest of his life (he was only 7!) because he had stayed up most of the night on YouTube and gotten caught.  Sign of times? We lost our dear friend David Hunsucker to the ravages of Frontal Lobe Dementia --a form of Alzheimer's --so we honored and laid to rest one of our best buddies.
 In September we went to Knoxville for a football game and stayed, along with Robin and Julia,  at the Coliseum.  The game was awful (we lost to BYU in overtime and we were supposed to beat them soundly) but the RV accommodations were really good and we scouted them out for the future. 
We went to downtown Nashville with Steve and Sally for the NASCAR burnout

Craig, Connie, Julia and Robin helped bring in football season

Craig and Robin were in Nashville's Veteran's Day Parade

In Knoxville for the horrible BYU game we went with the crew to Stormin' Crab

My beautiful friends came over for a Christmas cocktail party
The first 2 weeks of October were the kids fall break so we took off for Pensacola Beach for a week (Leeton got 2 darling bikini's and we found that both children have not inherited any golfing skill--Putt Putt was a disaster that may take us a few years to get over).  The second week we stayed in Nashville and shopped, found crawdads, and played with Iris--the Greenlee's cat.  A highlight was a cruise on the Cumberland River with Bruce and Carolyn--the kids still have their sealegs and so do we.  Holden went from training wheels on his bike to riding Leeton's bigger bike. 

The kids love Pensacola Beach 

So did Lolo

Bikini's are a must

Man of the Beach
November we cleaned house and got ready for the holidays --I played some bridge, and Fitz winterized some boats at Commodore.  After a low key Thanksgiving with the kids and  Brooke, time started rolling down hill. Leeton had an awesome piano recital and Holden a great Christmas program. We welcomed the Women's Club dinner group at our home with a holiday Christmas cocktail party, some of the Knoxville UT tailgaters came to our house for a BBQ dinner and the Leetons immersed themselves for a fun Christmas gathering.  With new joints (ankles and hip) for Nancy, Andy and Phil the group was somewhat gimpy but we played cards, talked sports and politics and had a fun time.  The Barksdale's Christmas Party was wonderful and Leeton hit down one of the piƱata's.  Nick got a coffee table from Santa and Fitz got a weight set.  I must have been the best of all because I got a new Fitbit, new Teva's and a box of Godiva (how long will that last?!?) Leeton got real makeup, Katie a new phone and Scott, a Ring doorbell. After the Best Christmas Ever (Holden's words after he opened his metal detector) we had no rest for the weary.
Holden is growing up!
Leeton and her chorus buds

Building the cookie houses were fun

Loving Christmas

Leeton's piano recital

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Wrap Up

Our Hop On Hop Off Tour of America

The map helped us with planning--the different colored dots are the various routes we took 

  Possible Book Titles
  • Travels with Terry
  • Closing out the puzzle--What if everyday was Saturday
  • I have learned more the first 4 years of retirement than 4 years of college 
Don't be that person:
  • Stay more than 1 night at a commercial freebie (Walmart, Pilot, etc.)
  • Start lecturing people on what you have seen and what they HAVE to see
  • Run the generator after midnight
  • Stink up the place with faulty holding tank management
  • Be in a hurry  
5 best meals:
  • The Thompson's --Lobster in Maine
  • Bibiji's--Indian food--Santa Barbara
  • 411--McMinnville, Or
  • Hamilton's - Washington DC
  • Martha's --Yuma, AZ--Date shake
 Tips of travel: 
  • You can take our own bed, toilet, kitchen, wardrobe (had to learn to manage the TV reception, generator, water, holding tanks)
  • Set your own budget
  • Set your own pace
  • We plan on driving no more than 4-5 hours a day. It always takes longer than the maps say and if you get in early all the better--don't be in a hurry, enjoy the scenery
  • Talk to everyone that will talk back
  • Stay flexible 
Places to stay:  
  RV parks, Walmart, Pilot, BLM, Rest Areas, most Casino's, Fairgrounds --haven't stayed but others have--Cracker Barrell, Pro Bass, Cabela (all these call first).
Useful devices:
  Garmin for RV, phone, paper maps, kindle, jet pack, camera, sat TV, antenna, DVD player, computer and printer
Useful Traveling Apps:
  Park Advisor (with a little help from Compendium, Allstays and The Dyrt), Weather/Radar/Wind Alert, Yelp, Safari/IE/Firefox, Maps(various), I-Heart Radio
Important to us :
  Warm in winter, Cool in summer, Tennessee for fall, spring (kids birthdays), Christmas at home, Tennessee Football and Basketball, NASCAR
Places we liked to plan for:
  Presidential Libraries (get a pass), National Parks (be sure to buy a park pass), NFL Stadiums. Not necessarily our bag but other things people did: State Capitols, Cemeteries, Prisons, Shopping, Beach--Know that every town seems to have a museum--some are great others are awful.

Monday, July 22, 2019

St. Louis

A nice, pricy RV park in St. Charles, MO sits about a half hour outside St. Louis, is only 3 hours from Independence and most importantly--we can plug in and run both air conditioners.  It is HOT, dry and conveniently just 5 hours from home.  We spent 2 nights here waiting for Hurricane Barry's wind and rain to clear out of middle TN so we can go home. The first night there we ate a great birthday dinner at Tony's on Main in St. Charles--Wed. night and it was packed.  St. Louis turned out to be a delightful stop--we visited the Arch which heretofore we had simply admired from the water.  They have a really good museum in the visitor center in the base. We stayed cool and spent the day.  There is a lot more to do here and we will come back (free zoo, Busch Stadium, etc) maybe a good place to bring Leeton and Holden. 
In the middle of downtown St. Louis sits this iconic National Park

The museum and visitors center have been added in the last few years and are really interesting

Who knew?

View from the top

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Truman Library (with a little football thrown in)

There is a lot of rain coming from the Gulf caused by a Cat 1 hurricane called Barry so while we are heading home we do not want to head too quickly. In Independence, MO is Harry Truman's Presidential Library and we love to visit those so there we go. Independence is just outside Kansas City --very cute little historic town that reminds me of Franklin, TN. It is hotter than hades so we need to stay plugged in for air conditioning--what happened to our dry, cool weather of upstate Washington? So 2 nights in at Campus RV in Independence and then on to celebrate our birthday in St. Louis.
A lot happened during the Truman Presidency which began when
FDR died less than 6 mo. into his 4th term (April 1946). We took the tour
and had a great docent named Jack who had lead the tours for 25 years and we were his last.

This is the only known authorization given by Truman to allow for the dropping of the nuclear bombs
 on Hiroshima and Nagasaki to end the war in the Pacific (he was in Europe and wanted to be home before it happened).
Bomb 1 was dropped on August 6th, 2 days later the Russians decided to show up, August 9th when the Japanese still
refused to surrender, we dropped bomb no. 2. For all that, the Russians still got half of Korea!

A lot came out of his time in office-- ending WWII, NATO, Marshall Plan,
Berlin Airlift, Korean War.

Iconic--he liked to take solitary walks but he and Bess seemed to be a loving couple

The library opened in 1957 and he worked in this office there until his death in 1972

My FB says it is only 45 days until Football Season (YAY)
Arrowhead Stadium is just 15 minutes down the road from Truman's library in Kansas City.
They only do tours on the weekends so day late and a dollar short but we drove/walked around a little.

Lamar Hunt was instrumental in starting the AFL in 1960's

Monday, July 15, 2019

Colorado Springs

On to Colorado Springs via Montana and Wyoming--we are rolling down hill towards home. We retraced some roads we came through last summer and came into Colorado Springs to visit (in particular) 3 places we had left on the table when we were in Denver last summer:

The Air Force Academy:
My Dad was in the Army Air Corp during WWII and LOVED this place.

There we sat on the hill in the Visitors Center atop the hill

The Chapel is very unique

Here was a real treat that I had forgotten about:

A model of my Dad's plane

The different bomber groups sponsored the different models on the terrace of honor
And there is my Dad's name!  Felix Leeton

Terrace of honor with the different statues

An actual B-52 (Big Diamond Lil) sits at one of the overlooks

There was a Lacrosse tournament going on with teams from all over the country 
Garden of the Gods is a beautiful red rock garden.
We just rode through--it was full of hikers and families

Balanced Rock is the picture op
Pike's Peak is one of the highest points in the lower 48
They ski there too

There was a vast remodel going on but you could drive to 11,000 ft. and then shuttle to the peak 

The mountains meet the clouds

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