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Back "Home" and Becoming A One-Year-Old Old Couple

 Happy Thanksgiving!  I am grateful for you, friends and fans and fun folks.  Life is much much easier when surrounded by support, love and laughter.  

I have been telling myself to write to you, I knew it had been awhile.  I just looked at my last blog, it was short and was dated September 23, 2023!   

I said I was going to write you again in November, and it is the day before Thanksgiving.  Yay, I made it!

My excuse for the long delay is traveling south and then reconnecting and having fun in Inverness, FL.  I also have been using writing time to dabble at writing book three.  Don't hold your breath, it appears that doing fun things with friends has a higher priority.

You'd want to shoot me if I tried to tell you all that happened between then and now.

Last I wrote I was still at Steve's New York home.  Remember, we had decided not to do the GAP and C&O Trail ride because it just seemed to be too much for the time we had available.  His mom was in rehab after having a small stroke and we wanted to be close for a while.  (She is back home and in good spirits.)

Steve had lots of work to do to get ready to leave for Florida and prepare his house for six months of travel next summer.   I helped him where I could.  He cleared out plants and put in stone gardens.  I told him it made the place look sterile.  He said, "exactly!".  He is going for a lawn that requires less care.  We will only be there two weeks in late May next year because we will be driving with his truck and trailer out west.  

I gotta tell you I am nervous about that, we get along very well, and traveled well in his trailer together this summer.  But on travel days, I got into my own truck, and sometimes I went off camping on my own.  In 2024 it will be six months.

I have talked with Steve about my worries and he has told me that anytime I need to get away I can take the truck or my bicycle and go.  I am wondering if I should just plan in a couple of times when I go off someplace else for a couple days.  

What am I worried about?  I really don't know. Maybe I am worried about losing the magic that comes with falling in love.  Maybe I am worried about feeling trapped like I felt sometimes while married to George.  

Most of my feelings come from within me and are not the fault of  George or anyone else.  But I know myself enough to know that I need days totally on my own.  I will think on it some more, I will come up with a plan.  I will let you know what it is when it comes to me.  If I don't plan for it, I won't do it, and then I won't be happy.  Happy is good.

What else did we do while at Steve's New York Home?

While at Steve's house we did a two-day bike tour on the Albany-Hudson Electric Trail.  It was a blast.  We stopped at the Ichabod Crane School House.  Just past that we came upon President Van Buren's New York Farm. It is surprising how excited I got when a kiosk explained that we were overlooking the location of the barn where the first Elsie the Cow used to live.  I loved downtown Hudson which was built in the late 1700's, which is older than any town I have visited in Wisconsin.

We saw this sign outside of a main street diner where we stopped for lunch on our bicycle tour.




We saw a baby rattlesnake on the trail... at least that is what google lenz told us.



Joe the Troll and I learned that Van Buren was the eighth president and only three months after he was elected in 1936 was the financial crash of 1937.  The crash was due to the actions of Jackson, the previous president, but an interesting fact.  He was only a one-term president.

Steve took me hiking one day up a mountain overlooking Lake George, NY.



While staying at Steve's I began to feel antsy. I missed my active social life.  We got together with Steve's brother and his wife for dinner.  That was fun, I like them. I arranged to meet up with Margaret's brother and his wife Bobbie (who was very supportive of Steve and I getting together. ) That was great! 

Then I got online and I found a Sister's on the Fly camping event happening in Western Pennsylvania.  Hey! The perfect solution.  I left Steve's nine days before he did with plans to meet back up with him in Southern PA and we would journey to Florida together.



It was cold COLD and rainy at the Sister's event.  But the opportunity to meet and chat with other woman campers was just what I needed to fill my social needs for a few days.


A bonus was that the campground we were at was next to a bicycle trail.  It only went about eight miles but ended up at an amazing bridge.  The bridge was a tourist attraction even while the train was still running.  They created a walkway next to the tracks.  As they were doing maintenance on the bridge in 2003, a tornado came through and destroyed one end of the bridge.  Now you can walk around the rubble at the base of the bridge.  It was a great time of year to be there, the fall colors were at their peak.


I rode a bike trail to Kinzua Bridge State Park.


This picture shows the view looking down at the rubble left when the tornado hit the rail tressle.



Part of the Sister's event was an international lumberjack competition. 


After the sister's event, I traveled closer to Ghettysburg, where I was scheduled to meet up with Steve in a few days.  I would have written you there, that was my plan.  But I didn't have cell service.


The campground was adjacent to a bicycle trail.


A couple days in I was looking at the map and discovered I was less than an hour from Ann and Fred's northern home in Frederick, Maryland!  I texted her and asked what she was up to the next couple days and told her where I was.    She immediately changed their plans and arranged to drive up to meet me on the trail and ride together.  Wow!  Great!  It was awesome and fun.




We rode up to the Mason-Dixon Line.


And stopped at a brewery on the way back to their car.




I am sorry to say that somewhere in my gallaventing I lost Joe the Troll.  He may have morphed into something else, which Steve tells me is a thing Trolls can do.  So I will keep looking.

I met up with Steve at the Armstrong Winery, which is a Harvest Host that Steve has used for a night of camping on prior trips south.  He wanted to take me to see the stars in the vineyards, but the night was rainy and cloudy.  

The next day I met up again with Steve in the RV parking lot at Gettysburg.  I arrived first and discovered a bicycle rental booth with electric assist bicycles.  They had two left.  When Steve arrived I tried to contain my excitement when I asked if he would like to see the battlefield on electric bikes.  

"Sure! That's be great!" he said with a smile.  

The battlefield is huge and quite hilly.  I was glad we had the e-assist bicycles.  The battlefield, like Antitiem is filled with memorials from the different states that lost soldiers in the battles.  The battles happened over a three-day period.  We read the kiosks and some of the memorials.  To get a tour guide you have to arrange it weeks in advance.  I had not done that, we will have to return some day.




We made our way down to Florida.  We stopped at a campground near the Blue Ridge Parkway in ... I think it was West Virginia.  We did a hike.



Steve had never done the Blue Ridge Parkway, so we drove over and did part of it.


Our next camping spot was  at a private campground near the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina near Brevard. We drove over to the Biltmore Mansion in Asheville, NC one day.






Someone had recommended biking the grounds. We did but found ourselves frustrated by the lack of signs on the trails so we could find our way around.  Steve said that for $123 per person they could offer a free map, and/or  and some signs.

We got some lovely views on the Blue Ridge Parkway.  The trees in many places were at their peak fall colors.

This picture shows Steve's truck cap he had added to his truck in preparation for our travels in 2024.  We were hoping to haul both trikes, both bikes, and two kayaks.  Lots of toys.



In Brevard we visited Oscar Blues Brewery that I had visited with Cindy and Regis when I had visited them while they were volunteering at the Cradle of Forestry back in... 2019?.  

One time when Steve and I were there, they had live music.  I ended up dancing with a couple women.  When we chatted later we found out they were a mother and daughter from Tupper Lake, NY.  Tupper Lake is where we had been in the Adirondacs and is one of the places where Steve hangs out when he goes to the Adirondacs.  I learned that the mother, Joanne, had lost her husband a couple years before and was learning to step out on her own.  She was coming to Florida over Christmas to visit her son.  I invited her to our Christmas Eve Party.  She was all for it!  So I got her number and she says she is coming!  Pretty cool the connections we make.

This is a picture of the door at Oscar Blues.


Steve, Joanne and I at Oscar Blues Brewery in Brevard, NC.


So now we are back in Florida.  I spend a few days in my trailer at Oasis RV campground in Inverness, and when we have plans together, I spend a few days at Steve's.

It is so good to reconnect with the trail and the Withlacoochee Bicycle Riders.








Friends Jean and Keith met up with us and Steve's neighbors, Christie and Mark one evening in downtown Inverness to see a Pink Floyd tribute band.


Steve and I attended a paint and sip at his neighborhood club house.  Guess which one is mine.


If you guessed the scraggly ones on the right, you are correct.

On Steve's birthday we went kayaking with friends on the Silver River.  It was the most amazing day.  We saw manatee, lots of them for Silver Springs, we saw gator of all sizes, We saw many many turtles sunning themselves on logs.  We saw a large troop of monkeys!  Lots of action going on with jumping, and grooming, and cute little babies.  Steve saw a monkey jump high from a tree and land in a bellyflop.  I saw the huge splash.


Above is a picture of a manatee resting in the Silver River.




After we kayaked we went to a brewery and then to a restaurant in downtown Ocala, FL.  Our friends, Jim and Ann, Christie and Debbie pictured below.


Jim, me, Steve, and Mark pictured below.



I have a new campsite at Oasis.  I like it.  It has a cement pad.  I use my canopy for my kitchen sink and the tent as my storage shed/bike garage.  It works well and is much roomier.  I hope to host some happy-hours here this winter.  



Old Couple Reaches One-Year Anniversary

November 10, 2022 was when Steve and I realized we were a couple.  So we celebrated our one year anniversary with plans to kayak in the Gulf and dine at Pecks in Ozello, FL.  November 10, our anniversary, was cloudy, we had a good time, but I can't remember what we did.  

But this week we had a night of clear skies, we went to the Gulf, it was lovely.




Shortly after we put in we were surrounded by about four or six manatee.  Then later we saw a whole long stream of birds heading west as far as we could see, and when we looked east, flock after flock was coming in that same line.  We guessed they were starlings or grackle or black birds of some kind.  They made no sound, but thousands and thousands passed overhead in a narrow band.

We heard splaces and saw dophin fishing off in the distance.

We stayed out as the sun set and watched the stars appear.  The moon was about half phase and high, lighting our way in the dark.  We pulled our kayaks together and called Steve's mom.  Last year when he called Steve's mom while kayaking in the dark, she was worried about him.  But this year it didn't even phase her.  Maybe it was because I was with him, or maybe it was because she is a year older and a year wiser.  Ha ha.  Who knows.  

When we were done with the call, we realized the tide had carried us, and we could no longer see the launch place.  We headed in the direction we assumed it was and it turned out we were right.  But on the way, in the dark, I felt my kayak run into what felt like a sand bar.  But it rose up under me!  I screamed, it was a manatee.  Wow, wow, wow.  We laughed and were thrilled.  I was grateful not to be dumped into the dark shallow waters.

What are you up to this Thanksgiving?  

I didn't start wondering about our own plans until we were back in Inverness a week or two.  A lot of our friends already had their plans.  But, we happened to be talking to our friends from Canada and they didn't have plans, they didn't even know about our Thanksgiving!  So Steve and I are hosting a Thanksgiving dinner without Turkey or Pumpkin Pie and with four Canadians.  We will make up stories about Thanksgiving to entertain ourselves, and I will be giving lots of thanks.

I am so grateful for:

  • good health; 
  • good friends;
  • for friends to connect with when I am traveling; 
  • beautiful places; 
  • interesting things to learn and fun ways to learn them like Duolingo and Podcasts and kiosks on trails;
  • for the ability and ambition to exercise;
  • food to prepare and eat;
  • for a gut that tolerates food abuse;
  • rain and sunny days;
  • for LILAC and Big Blue and Serenity Sam;
  • interesting, safe, and smooth bicycle trails and bicycle communities;
  • the rise of the working or middle class (congratulations Auto Workers!);
  • a fun and talented life partner who knows how to give great hugs, is a good cook, doesn't criticize me, likes most people, and wants to travel many places with me, and excites this old lady (blush);
  • for a fun and loving sister who is such a great friend;
  • for a son full of heart and ambition and persistance;
  • for Steve's family's acceptance.

I could go on and on, and I just might do that on Thanksgiving.  

How are you spending your Thanksgiving this year?  Are you going to be listening to (or as my friend Regis does, singing) Alice's Restaurant on Thankgiving?  What are you super grateful for?

I look forward to learning what you are doing.  Comment or contact me.  I would love to hear from you, isn't the holidays the time to connect and reconnect?

.


Comments

  1. It all started two Thanksgivings ago that’s two years ago on Thanksgiving when my friend and I went up to visit Alice at the restaurant. But Alice doesn’t live in the restaurant she lives at the church nearby the restaurant 🤓

    ReplyDelete
  2. As always, I am so blessed to be your friend and share, in part, your life. You delight me with your attitude of adventure and joy.

    ReplyDelete
  3. As always I am delighted to be your friend and share in your life.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Loved reading this post Sue! So grateful to have you and now Steve in our lives! Hugs to you both!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks for all the great updates on your adventures since September. How nice that you will have friends around for a “Friendsgiving” dinner. Those of us who have found each other through the WBR certainly have lots to be thankful for - beginning with our friendships and ending with the very good fortune to have the health to be able to bike with these wonderful people. Additionally, I am forever thankful for finding my life’s partner and sharing so many years with him.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Silver Springs was awesome! Happy Thanksgiving to you and Steve.

    ReplyDelete

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