Showing posts with label 'retirement travel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 'retirement travel. Show all posts

Sunday, November 13, 2022

Wild Rides and Hurricane Cleanup

Greetings From Inverness, Florida.

You may be wondering about Steve.  I mean, it seems like we are spending a lot of time and sharing some great adventures together.

For example, remember when I tried to create a team called Grinners and Spinners to help with some of the work needed in North Fort Myers where hurricane Ian devastated the barrier islands and a large swath inland?

Steve volunteered right away when I told him what I wanted to do.  But that was it, I could not recruit anymore volunteers. Steve was a good sport about it and excited to help out.  Our team of two was going to head south in our campers and help a fellow Sister on the Fly, Linda Shay.  We would clear fallen and damaged trees from her property.  Then I had also signed us up to help the American Legion for a couple days with whatever they had going on.

I met Linda in Hayward, Wisconsin in June during a Sisters on the Fly camping event.  She had invited me to park on her Florida acreage several times.  She had hook-ups. 

She reported the house was fine but there were many trees down.  I was glad to have Steve on the team because he used to be a lineman for the telephone company and knew how to safely cut trees.  He was also bringing two chain saws, gasoline, and tools. 

On the night before we were to leave he invited me over for homemade pizza at his house about six miles north of Inverness.  He showed me how to tie a couple knots we would be using to pull on trees and branches in Fort Myers.  He has one of those chin-up bars in a doorway like I used to have when I had a house.  He said he has to pay a toll of  chinups each time he enters that room.  Later when I needed to use the bathroom beyond that chinup bar I did one!  I have been trying to do a nice chin up or two for several years!  I was mighty proud.  A little happy dance.

On the morning we were to leave, Steve texted me to tell me his bike (that he had packed in the back of his pickup truck the night before) had been stolen.   He would be delayed because of the police report.  What a bummer for him.  It was a very nice road bike.

We planned to meet up at a park just before entering what I estimated to be the disaster area.  I messed up and the park was closed due to hurricane damage.  I drove around looking for another place that would accommodate two trucks and two trailers.  We ate our packed lunches on a curb in a parking lot.

Later as I was leading us down I-75, I got a call from Steve.  Someone had motioned to him that he had tire damage on his trailer. He was going to pull over and fix it.  I began to worry.  What if he gets defeated or the tire causes damage to his trailer and he must return home?   How would I be of much help to Linda with my measly loppers?

I was happy to see him pull up into a gas station.  He told me the warning to pull over was a kids prank.  The tire was fine.  Better that than the alternative, we agreed.

We saw piles of rubble lining the streets and many blue tarps as we headed into Linda’s neighborhood.  Her road was quite the roller coaster.  The sign on it made me smile.

Linda actually had water and electric hookups for two trailers.  She and her husband David had already cleared the drive and our camping spots. We got set up and then went to work.

Linda showed me how to operate the gator.  What a blast!  That became my job.

They kept a big fire going for days as we worked. Steve would cut and I would load and haul dead branches and vegetation to the fire.

We tied a rope to the gator and used it to pull down broken and stuck branches.  Learning the knots was a big help.  We were tieing and untieing a lot of knots.

Before I learned about the four-wheel drive feature, I dug a pretty good hole into the ground one time.

Steve took a picture of me before we cut this little tree down.

And I took pictures of him at work.  We were smiling a lot, working outside brings a special joy.

David was using the back hoe too and pushing downed debris into the fire.  I was worried he would blow a tire as he would often roll right on top of the pile of ashes and burning debris.

After the second day of work, we realized we were making a lot of progress.  The place was looking very nice!  Steve suggested we get cleaned up and go exploring, maybe find a place to watch the sunset.

We drove around and ended up further North than we expected.  We lucked out and found a nice waterfront walkway that had been cleaned of debris.  We saw sinking and broken boats.  And walked through a replica of the Vietnam Memorial.

We got back in the truck and headed back southward when we came to a Ponce de Leon Park, right on the water at Sunset!  How lucky was that!  We sat on the cement sea wall and watched fish jump and the colors change.

It was getting hungry out!  Linda had told us about Boat House Tiki Bar near her place.  It has a salt water pool and live music! We put that in the GPS.

Wow, what a full day for a couple of people in their sixties, don't you think? 

Two other Sisters on the Fly drove down to Linda's from Minnesota and Wisconsin to help.  I had met them in Hayward too!

Karyn is a real jokster and I think she tricked us all with fake poop.  But all the way to our last day, she insisted she put it in a baggie and "it is in the trash, you can go see for yourself it is real."  I regret not checking the waste basket, because we could not imagine an animal big enough for that size doodoo being on top of that tire.

Terry texted me from Tennessee and asked if I was going to watch the Lunar Eclipse.  I didn't even know about it!  Thanks Terry!

I googled and found out it was happening between four and six in the morning.  Steve and I set alarms and sat out on the deck watching the moon pass through our shadow.  Steve took this picture, we gave up trying to capture it with cameras and just watched.

I took this of Karyn in the early morning when we were up before most everyone else.  Daylight savings time shifted while we were at Linda's.

We had a challenging limb to drag down.  It was a riot.  Vishelle and I and Linda were cackling like hens in the background.  Barking out suggestions that were ignored and worries that were sometimes heeded.  

Vishelle handed Steve a cut log that he used as a projectile with a rope tied to it.  First try it went over the fork where we women were directing him to throw it.  Of course it was our female directions and not his experience that got it where it needed to go.  Ha ha.

Vishelle, Steve, David, and the big branch.

But the rope and gator were not strong enough.  Dave pulled out a very big rope and his truck to finally get it down.  Cheers!

At the same time we were cleaning up after Hurricane Ian the news was reporting that Hurricane Nicole was coming to Florida.  The trajectory pretty much covered all but the southern tip of Florida.  We didn't know where it was going to go or how bad it would be.  I saw on the weather map that the storm would not reach the Everglades by the Shark Valley Trail.  

Steve had never ridden that trail and I thought it would be fun to show him the area and escape the flying debris of the hurricane.  We each made our reservations at Midway.

When we were at Linda's Steve had his 64th birthday.  That morning I dashed out early and found him a chair that lays back.  As he likes to watch the stars at night I thought this would work well for him.  There were two, so I bought myself one too.  He and Terry had both got me into star gazing.   

For Steve's birthday, Linda baked a cake!  And one evening she took all of us out to the Boat House Tiki Bar for dinner and drinks.  She was soooo appreciative.  Thanks Linda!  It was a real blast!

Linda and David were happy to have all the help.

Me, Linda, Karyn, and Vishelle

One evening after working we cleaned up and went in search of a bike for Steve.  

I found my dream bike right away.  Ha ha.  Boy that thing was heavy!

We felt very lucky.  The first store we went to had the bike that Steve was wanting.  He put a rack on it, he hopes to do some touring in the future.

Two mornings we went to the site to volunteer for the American Legion.  Both mornings no one showed up to instruct us or tell us where to go.  Via email I inquired and the next day came appologies saying the volunteer organizer had COVID.  

The second time we went to volunteer for the American Legion, we had hooked up the trailers to head down to the Everglades afterwards.  I was wandering around and when I looked back, there was Steve up on my truck cleaning my windsheild!   Oh my!  Ha ha, be still my heart!

Highway 41 cuts across Florida from Naples to Miami right through the Everglades National Forest.  Midway Campground is a National Park and therefore we got the Senior Discount when we made our reservations.  We were close when we encountered a road block.  The officer said they were repairing power lines and it would be an hour.

I remembered what Terry Fund taught me.  It can be fun just to set out your chairs in a parking lot and have lunch.

As we were sitting eating lunch, a crow came nearby begging.   We got a really good close look at it.  Steve began to explain the different layers of feathers.  He does wood carvings of birds.  He brought several down from New York for his Florida home.  They are very impressive.

After we got into camp and set up, the wind started to blow, but the weather had said only 20-30 mph winds in the area.  I asked Steve if he had ever biked in a Hurricane.  He grinned, "Not yet."

We put both bikes in my truck and we went over to the Shark Valley Trail, about 17 miles from the campground.  The trail is about 14-16 miles long and makes a loop so you end up where you started.  We  parked outside the gate because we would be on the trail after the park closed.

Whoops, we forgot extra lights in case we are out past dark.  Oh well, let's just go.  Ya, I know.  I don't watch movies about swamp monsters, so I was ok with that.

We started seeing a lot of great blue heron.  They were used to people being on the trail and many did not take flight when we passed.  We counted well over 30 on our ride.

At one point we had a rainbow on our left and the sunset on our right.  The Everglades is called the river of grass.  It actually is a shallow wide wide river (50 miles?) that flows from Lake Okechobee to the southern tip of Florida.

Before the loop turns the corner, there is a wonderful look-out tower.

The second half of the loop trail, the wind was in our face.  Parts of the trail were covered in water.  As it got darker and darker, the tar they use to repair cracks began to look like snakes and gators, gators and snakes.  We pushed on.

I only screamed twice.  

Once there was a dead Great Blue Heron on the trail and I thought it was a gator and Steve was heading right toward it.   The second scream was when something mid-sized splashed into the water right next to me.

The loop back seemed a lot longer than the ride out for sure.  I was panting as we worked against the wind slowly slowly slowly.  But we were still smiling.  Thanks for being game to ride in the storm, Steve!  What a memory and story we created!

The next day we took Big Blue again and drove around to the visitor centers and board walks.  

Over lunch I told Steve that people were wondering about us.  Pretty nervous, I said, "And so am I."  I think I caught him off guard, but then after a bit he looked happy and said, "me too."

I had been telling people, "We are not a couple!"  Perceptive Debra had told me, "Oh yes you are!" even before we left on this trip.  

I thought I didn't want any man in my life.  I thought I was quite happy on my own.  But Steve is exceptional. Barrier one, our denial (or was it fear?), came crashing down.  

After lunch, we decided to bike a gravel loop road.  

We and our bikes got pretty sandy and gritty, but we saw some very nice places, a few gator, turtles, and birds.

Steve's daughter is a teacher and he often sends pictures of wildlife to her to share with her classroom.  He said the kids get so excited, the gorrier the better. There was a dead gator on the side of the road.  We got some good shots.

That evening we escaped the bugs by eating in Steve's trailer and playing a game that my sister had given me in celebration when I bought LILAC.  Though there were great open dark skies, the bugs kept us from looking at the stars for long.  Tiny little insects seemed to get in the trailer and gather by the lights even with the door shut.  Fortunately they were not biting insects and seemed to die off quickly.

Our last day in the Everglades we rode the Shark Valley trail again.  This time in the daylight without the big wind.

During the week I had been contacted by my boss when I volunteered as camp host at South Trout Lake in Boulder Junction, WI this summer.  She wanted to know my availability and interest in doing the same this year.  Since I have plans to go to New York state and Vermont and into Canada, I told her I could only do August.  So there, I am, committed to a month at the same no-power campground I was in this summer.  It was lovely and not too far to visit my sister.

Steve asked me if I would do the GAP trail with him next year.  "Yes!" 

I will be busy this winter planning for that and all the other travel for next spring, summer, and fall.

I woke early on the last day and started packing up LILAC for the trip back to Inverness.  When I pulled out before 6:30 a.m. in the dark, the fog was thick.  

I stopped in Naples and spent an hour or two at Anytime Fitness.  I took advantage of the good cell service to call my sister and read emails and messages.  

It was mid to late afternoon by the time I got home and got all set up again. I texted Steve to let him know I arrived ok and inquired about him.  He had made it home but that tire problem that he thought was pranksters was actually a tire problem that was hidden when the tire wasn't rotating.  When it was rotating other drivers could see something was wrong.  

Another person flagged him and managed to let him know what was going on.  Steve had to change the tire on the side of I-75.  Just as our many many many fire ant bites were finally on the mend, he found a nest on the side of I-75.  

Me Time

I told Steve that if we become a "couple" that I really need to maintain lots of space for me-time.  Like four days a week even, when we aren't traveling together.  He was glad to hear that, my independence is one of the qualitites he likes about me, he says.  And that, dear friends, is a dam good thing, don't you think?

Though I am looking forward to sharing lots of travel adventures with him.

And speaking of "Me Time".  Caregivers don't get a lot of "Me Time".  (How is that for a transition?)

If you know of someone caring for someone, think about how you might beable to relieve them, visit with them or their loved one or help them pay for respite care.  I was very fortunate to have good people around me that helped me when I was caring for George.   Be that person for just a few hours this month.

And who do you know that would enjoy escaping into a good story, or appreciate some good information.  AlzAuthors is holding a Caregiver's Appreciation Book Sale this week... only two more days! There are a variety of books in the AlzAuthor's book list.  Including Alzheimer's Trippin' with George.

Till next time, find something that makes you wanna do a happy dance.  

And speaking of happy dance, we just had a mid-term election and it is making me feel like doing the happy dance.  Jean and I and Steve are going to the Drum Circle on the beach tonight.  A good opportunity to go wild.

Sunday, October 2, 2022

Trikers, Sisters on the Fly, and a Hurricane


Wow, September was a full month.  Much of it without good cell service.  That is my excuse for not writing to you earlier, that and as my sister Mary says, I have been having fun.

Yesterday I was driving 300 miles from a Sisters on the Fly event I hosted at Hocking Hills State Park near Logan, Ohio.  I was heading toward the highest mountain in Virginia to camp at a place that was recommended to me.  Grayson Highland State Park where there are wild horses and lots of hiking trails.

As I was driving, Googlemaps announced that I may be encountering Hurricane Ian on my route!  

When I stopped several times I tried to see what was happening and where, but the cell connection was weak everywhere I stopped so I got pretty frustrated trying to find out how bad it was going to be.  Was the rain going to pour and pour so I wouldn't beable to see?  Would the wind blow so that I would worry about flipping my trailer?   

I took a picture of Lilac and Big Blue parked by the trucks at a service center along the toll road in West Virginia.  They look pretty small when next to those big rigs.

Speaking of big rigs, my son Jeremy has started driving big rigs across country.  At almost 50 he was having to search for employment again.  Finding nothing in his chosen field he began training to become a trucker.  Life sure sends us on unexpected paths sometimes.  We are hoping he loves it and it serves him well.

Anyway, back to my journey to the Virginia mountains.

I didn't think the part of the Hurricane in Virginia would be bad, because the Hurricane that hit Southern Florida would have probably lost a lot of it's power and water on its over-land journey.  Still, I was wondering.

For those of you reading this in the distant future, there was a category four Hurricane that hit the coast down by Fort Myer, Florida.  The experts couldn't really tell where it was going to hit, so even up north of Tampa the homes were being evacuated.  A lot of damage was done, but I have yet to learn how much since... as I said, not much access to the internet... and googlemaps, my Spanish lessons and human connections take priority over watching the news when I do get a bit of internet access at a wayside or truck stop.

I climbed up a long winding road to get to the Grayson Highlands campground.  I set up in the cold rain and wind.  I turned my heater on to warm up and dry off.  I reached out to some friends with texts, but with only one line of cell service that often would fade into "No Service", some of my texts were not getting through.

I was able to reach Steve who said if my trailer was damaged during the storm he would come get me.  He was camping less than six hours away.  Thanks Steve!  I am sure I would have figured it out between the ranger and AAA, but it was nice to have a friend watching out for me.

Then we realized he could look up the weather for my area and let me know what to expect. 

He reported rain for three days, most of it overnight.  Wind gusts up to 40 mph.   Not too bad.  Thanks again, Steve.  The trailer shook, there were huge bangs on the roof that made me jump.  But in the morning the limbs that had fallen were really just twigs, kindling size.

It was too wet and windy and cold to hike any of the trails.  I saw no horses, but did see a couple of deer.

My next stop planned was a non-electric site in the mountains.  Cold and rainy, I cancelled and headed to Sugar Hollow Campground in Bristol, VA.  I had stopped there on my way north and enjoyed it.  So that is where I am right now as I write this.  

There is an Anytime Fitness in town, a library, and the Virginia Creeper Trail is less than 20 miles away.  And I have electric and cell service!  What is not to love.

Triking in Ohio

When I last wrote you I was near Copper Harbor, MI.  I had just finished meeting up with several folks that have Weeroll Campers.  It was a beautiful area with vistas and hiking trails and waterfalls.  I would like to return with a friend sometime.

I left there and headed to Lake Michigan State Park on the North end of Lake Michigan near the Mackinaw Bridge.  On the way I stopped at a wayside and it was connected to a hiking trail that goes all the way to South Dakota and this part went to a waterfall.  So I got a nice little walk in.  Michigan does a good job with their waysides. 

Lake Michigan was a nice non-electric campground on a strip of land between Highway two and the lake.  I was booked for two nights.  Yet when I got there I didn't know what to do with myself.  It was cold and breezy, and other than a quick walk on the sandy shore, I didn't have plans.  And now that I knew that my friends Regis and Cindy had arrived in Xenia, Ohio, I was anxious to get there and be with them.  After dealing with one night of cold, I packed up in the morning and headed further south.

It only took me two days to get to Xenia, Ohio.  Regis and Cindy were camped at the Fairgrounds in Xenia.  It was great to see them and get hugs from them and licks and wags from their two dogs.

I had missed being around my Florida friends!  People who knew me back when there was a "George and Sue".

Our first day of riding we went to Yellow Springs of course.  Larry Varney drove up from Kentucky to join us for the ride.  It was fun to see him.  He didn't recognize me at first until he saw my trike.  Then it all came back to him.  "I have a few more wrinkles now," I told him.

Yellow Springs is a progressive town.  Downtown they have artsy shops and even their garbage cans are dressed up with art.  In much of my travels I have to haul my recycling with me in my truck until I can find a recycle bin, they usually don't have them at many of the campgrounds.  But they have them right on the street in Yellow Springs.

While riding around we encountered a man riding with a sandhill crane.  He did a loop so I could take more pictures of him and his friend.  

The next day of riding we rode to Dayton, Ohio.  We didn't go far into the city.  Regis and Cindy and I had all not been riding a lot and 30 plus miles was enough.

We got to see some people practicing their white water kayaking in short little kayaks.

In Dayton on a Sunday we found a Coffee, Chocolate and Wine shop open.  Happy!

I tried to write to you at the Fairgrounds.  You would think, being close to town that I would have good cell service.  But not so much.  AND we were too busy riding and taking care of ourselves and our houses on wheels that there wasn't much time for writing.

On one trip to Yellow Springs I read this plaque and learned that Yellow Springs had a reputation for being progressive way back before and during the Civil War.  A guy named Conway walked his father's slaves to Yellow Springs in the hope that they would find a safe place to be free from slavery.

My plans to stay closer to Cincinnati were canned in exchange for being closer to friends and all the bike activity.  The Xenia area is criss-crossed with rail trails, most of them paved.  

This map shows the many different trails going out of Xenia, Ohio.

I contacted Bernie and Roger who live close to Cincinnatti.  I had chatted with them on my way north when I rode with their group.  I told them about my change in camping location but that I still would love to have them show me around Cincinnatti by trike.  They figured out a place to meet and posted a ride on the Impromptu Trike Riders of Ohio Facebook page.  Thank you Roger and Bernie!  It was scheduled for Thursday the day before the Trike Rally started.  

I had timed my return to coincide with a Trike Rally.  One of the members of the Impromptu Trike Riders was hosting a Trike Rally over the weekend where all the rides were starting from the Xenia Station at 9:30 each day.  How cool is that!

Here are some pictures of our ride into Cincinnatti.  The guy in yellow below is Regis.

Cindy is in the purple below and that is Roger next to her.

Amy posts a lot of the rides on the Impromptu Facebook Page.  I will add pictures of her later.

At one of our stops was this kind of seasonal sun dial.  The slots in the wood allow the sun to shine perfectly into the center during the equinox.

The bridge below was designed by the same person than designed the Brooklyn Bridge.

I was looking forward to riding the Purple Pavement Eater across the Purple People Bridge.   The bridge itself looked more grey than purple, but the decorations leading into the bridge were a perfect match!

On the bridge is drawn the state line between Ohio and Kentucky.  Amy took my picture crossing the line.

On the Kentucky side, Roger lead us to a great place to have lunch.  We were all in good spirits, and a beer and good food lifted us even higher.  Many of us commenting on the beauty of the sky after lunch.

Larry and Roger below.

Cindy, Amy, and Regis shared a table with me at lunch.

Larry Varney crossing the Purple People Bridge, heading back to Ohio.

Regis and Cindy on the line, below.  And locks of love have a designated area on this bridge, pictured above.

This piece of artwork reminded me of the Bean in Chicago.  Reflecting at so many angles.  It was fun to walk into and around it.

I took a picture of the thing below.  I think it was art.

Larry played around and sent me this picture.  Yep!  I was high on life and loving the sky.

On Friday I got to meet Jann M.  She and her husband Bryan drove all the way from Western Illinois to ride in the rally.  They had learned about it by reading this blog!  

I was honored when she told me she had read both my books!  It was great meeting you and spending time with you, Jann and Bryan!

They also hope to join me at Jekyll Island down in... someone told me it was Georgia.  Ha ha, I didn't know what state I was going to be in when.  In fact, I was going to go to Elkmont today.  I know it is in the Great Smokie Mountains, but didn't know which state until I learned today the address is in Tennesee.   (The invitation is still open for October 25, 26, 27th to ride Jekyll Island in Georgia.)

Right now I am in Virginia.

Writing to you about my time in Ohio.

And worrying about getting reservations for next July in Vermont.  (Last I checked the campgrounds were all booked up for the end of June, early July 2023.)  People say to me, "Remember when we used to just decide after work on Friday to go camping for the weekend?  Back when there were always campsites available."

The first day of the Rally we rode from Xenia to Yellow Springs and beyond.  I got to lunch with Jann and Bryan which was great.  Here are some pictures of some of the smiling faces on the rides I attended during the Rally.

Below middle is Peggy T. from Illinois.   She lives only about five miles from Jann (on the left) and Bryan (on the right).   I met Peggy and her husband, Dennis, on a trike rally in Florida.  Then I visited and rode with them in Illinois in 2020.  It was great seeing them again.  She gave me a wonderful warm hug.  Thanks!

Whose from Ohio?  Raise your hand.  There were people from Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee and me from Florida.

Did I miss anybody?

Pictured below is Steve our non-Facebook host and Amy, who announced the event on the Facebook group site.  Amy not only bikes four or five times a week, but she also does Pickleball six days a week.  She loves staying active and she is great about making me feel welcome and likable.  Thanks Amy!  And tell Steve I said thanks to him too for some fun rides with fun folks.

Amy said she is reading one of my books and will be passing it on to another Impromptu triker when she is finished.  Pretty cool!

Paul with the tie-die flag is from Tennessee. He had this cool orange and purple trike.  It reminded me of me and George together...  purple and orange.

Amy visited my campsite one day after a ride.  Both nights I rode with the group she had dinner with me.  It was great spending time with her and she promises to come down to Florida for the Big Honkin' Trike Rally on the Withlacoochee Trail.  I think it starts on February 19th, 2023.

Traveling takes time.  All this socializing takes time.  Driving from place to place takes time.  Taking care of life stuff takes time.  Studying Spanish takes time.

So I have not spent any time researching Hurricane Ian.  Hurricanes approach slowly and the experts really try to predict where it will make landfall, but they have not perfected it.  

I reached out to Debra and learned she was heading to North Carolina to visit her daughter and hopefully escape the storm.  I heard from the Citrus County Sheriff emergency warning system that those by the Gulf in our County should evacuate.  I saw on Facebook that my friends Beth and Jim had put up the storm shutters over her windows and set out all the emergency supplies she will need if it hits the Inverness area hard.

I left the Xenia Fairgrounds and headed to Hocking Hills State Park where I would quickly set up and get ready to share a Happy Hour Campfire with other campers from Sisters on the Fly.  

This was my first time hosting a event.  I wanted someone with whom to share the beauty of this park.  So I decided to invite Sisters.  I am very glad I did it.  Many of the Sisters events are big and very organized.  I promoted this event as "Sisters Hiking at Hocking or Not".  It was loose and allowed for the women to do their own thing or join in some activities.  We had eight of us show up, I think.  There must have been... four dogs?  It was all good.

And the hikes were interesting and lovely.

I met Dee last year at a Sisters event.  And she met me on my way north this year and we did the Virginia Creeper together.  I was so glad to have her join me again for this hiking event.  Another Sister took our picture together on this artsy bridge on our first hike at Hocking Hills.

The area was formed from the runoff of the Apalacian Mountains.

Pam is in the pink above.  She is from Wisconsin!  She shared with me this Forager's Guide when I expressed an interest in learning more.  And then she showed me her vintage 1969 trailer.  OMG!  It was a real mess when she got it.  Even the undercarriage had to be re-done.

How she ever started without feeling overwhelmed!  This is the third trailer she has restored.

I took a picture of her gas buddy.  It runs on propane and will take the chill off when camping without electricity.  But you can't leave it run for hours.  

On our last day in camp, Theresa who lives in Dayton and loves to bike, guided me over to the Hock Hocking Rail Trail that starts about 20 minutes away from the park in Nelsonville.  We rode about 35 miles.

And when I got back to the park, on of the sisters asked if she could have the fire at her site and show the Rocky Horror Picture Show (which I had never seen).  

So that is what we did.

The night was clear and in the 40's.  I left after dark and drove to the John Glen Observatory.  No one else was interested in joining me. It is about 1/2 mile from the park entrance.  I didn't want to shine my flashlight and mess up the view of the sky when I got there.  It was scary walking in the very dark toward shadows of a building.  

The observatory isn't open during the week, but there is a platform with a wall protecting it from the lights of the approaching cars as they came into the parking lot.  And there must have been five folks with the gear for observing the heavens.  

I vaguely saw a lump of black on the pavement and heard voices coming up from the lump.  A man and three children were laying on the pavement.  So I too, laid down and looked up.  Clear enough to see the swirl of the milkyway.   And watch satellights move across the sky.  And then, one of the folks setting up his scope pointed out the space station!  For a few seconds it was bright in the sky and then faded as he explained it moved into the shadow of the earth.  

Wow!  Later when I share the experience with Steve who is a star gazer himself said that seeing the space station is special and I was lucky to have caught it in the light for a few moments.

One night he sent me a picture of Ian as it hit the Florida coast.  A blue dot indicated a location about six miles north of my town, Inverness.

Below is Theresa the biker on one of our hikes.  She and all the women were fun and I hope to meet up with them again on an adventure.  Theresa said we should make the Hiking at Hocking an annual event.  That the time of year we chose was best because the parking lots and trails were not packed.

We'll see what the future brings.

A Miracle and a Good Laugh

 Greetings from Inverness, Florida. I have sooo many stories to tell.  So much fun to share.  But I will save you from yawns by telling you ...