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WHEE...... Home in Alabama!









Sunday, August 20, 2017

My Favorite Place

Cullman,  AL

After seven weeks of traveling with and hosting our 8 and 11 year old granddaughters, it sure is quiet around here.  (And the house stays a lot neater).  But I sure do miss them.  

We left Cullman on Friday the 11th and drove a little over 400 miles to our nephew and niece-in-laws house (Jason and Kelly)  who live in Rural Retreat, VA.   They are gracious to host us when we travel I-81.   After another 400 miles, we got the girls home to MD mid day on Saturday.  Daughter Amy and SIL Scott were awaiting their arrival with open arms and hugs and kisses.

Then we visited daughter Terri and SIL Steve who live in Cleona PA.  Grandson Justin and girlfriend Karlie came to the weekend.  We stayed there until Tuesday morning and did our trip in reverse, staying at Jason and Kelly's Tuesday night and arriving home Wednesday.

What a welcome sight!  Home!  And grass to be cut!  But that's okay.  It's home!

On Thursday as I set our table for dinner, it hit me.  Only Two Plates.  Only Two Place Settings.  Only Two People to Feed.  Tears fell.  So quiet around here now.    Time to relax, to think, to dream.

My spot favorite is our porch.  The front porch.  My views.





I love this house and every part of it.  But no place compares to this porch.  The back porch has a porch swing.  It's okay.  As we were looking  outside a bit ago, we saw a fawn and its mama walk into the woods in the back. That's nice.  But even with that, I prefer the front porch.

It's my spot for morning coffee.  It's my serene place for a cold glass of unsweet tea.  It's my spot to read or even play a game on the Smart Phone or catch up on Facebook.   It's a relaxing oasis in the evening to watch the lightening bugs until the mosquitoes find me.  It's a spot to just sit still, be calm and listen to the birds sing and watch the hummingbirds drink from the feeder.   It's my place of contentment.

Do you have such a place?


Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Winding down

Cullman,  AL

Our summer with the girls is coming to a close.  Next Friday we take them back to their parents in Maryland after 2 months of travel, play, sight seeing and exhaustion.  Since we came back to Alabama in mid July we've visited:



 in Birmingham where Abby layed on a bed of nails


and Charlotte led a group of kids in "catching jewels"


If you are ever in the Birmingham area and have a child with you, this is a must see.

We've also spent time at


We love the NWR system and so do the granddaughters.


We did not see a great variety of wildlife outside, but the inside displays were  informational.  Perhaps we just hit a time when most of the birds, duck, geese, etc were on vacation too.

Our fifth wheel is going back to the manufacturer in Indiana in November.  It must be emptied of all personal items.  In this Alabama heat and humidity it took us several days.  After emptying everything  I came up with the idea to take the girls to one of our favorite Thousand Trails parks ... Hidden Cove for 5 days.  This campground is about 22 miles from the house.  SOOOO....... let's see. What do we need to put back in the trailer.  Lots.  We are now at Hidden Cove until Friday.  Oh yea, we are doing without some things that I forgot.  But that's okay.

The girls are enjoying the pool here and improving their swimming skills.



And even tried some fishing.  No luck.



Some will remember that not long after we moved here, our good neighbor bush hogged the area that was once a pond and we plan to return it to that state.  He also used his bob cat to remove trees in the back and both sides of the property.   Thick growth had returned in the future pond and the areas behind and on the sides had also grown too thick to mow even with our John Deere Zero Turn.  This is due to us being gone 6 weeks and heavy rains most days.

Today we drove over to check on the house.   We will Celebrate.  Our neighbor had bush hogged the pond area along with the new growth behind and on each side of the house.   Gotta love someone who would take his time to surprise us like this.

Until next time....

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Sweet home......

Cullman, Alabama

We left Branson on Saturday, July 8.   Our intent was to stay there until July 10 but we did all we wanted to do and all us of were anxious to get to Alabama.   We left around 8 am with the intention of taking two days to get to Cullman.   However, we were past Memphis between 2 and 3 pm.  As there was less than 200 miles to home, why not?   So on we drove.

We arrived in Cullman about 7:30..... still light out.   Oh my, the lawn.   It had been raining almost continuously since we left for this trip two months ago.  Son Lennie and DIL Lois came a couple of times to cut the grass between rain showers.  There are sections of the property that were bush-hogged earlier in the year.  With all the rain, no lawn mower can get through it now.   The weeds and grass in the future pond area is as high as when we moved in.

On Sunday, Lennie and Lois came to the house, with Lennie helping Len by weed whacking.  And we've mowed twice in the week we've been home.  It is getting a third mowing as I write this.

Now we see more of what is growing on the property.












The grand-daughters have had a few day trips with Aunt Lois .... one day to a water park and another day to the library.   It gave these exhausted grandparents a short rest.  Thank you Lois.

Did we rest?   Well not really..  We worked each day removing EVERY THING from our Open Range Fifth wheel.   This rig is 15 months old.  So far two spring hangers have broken, causing damage to tires, a crack formed in the fiberglass under the bedroom slide.  It's been fixed twice.  It's split again.  The batteries to the residential fridge/freezer will not hold a charge.  It's been worked on 3 times, at three different dealers.  The overhead track on the shower door lost the screws, causing the doors to be inoperable, the heater has been worked on twice (we think that issue is solved,,,but do we really know as it's in the 90s out) and now the flooring in the kitchen and into the living area is soft and sinks when walked upon.  The area is getting larger almost daily.  Obviously flooring is rotted.  We've talked to both the local Open Range dealer and the manufacturer Highland Ridge in Indiana.  Arrangements are being made for Highland Ridge to pick it up and take to Indiana for repairs.  Fine.... make the repairs.  We don't want this rig anymore.  Fix it and we will sell it.

The yard is now looking good.   Still there are things that need to get done.  But so peaceful having morning coffee on the front porch and watching the darkness gather at night while listening to the tree frogs and crickets.

Until next time......

Friday, July 7, 2017

Branson days

Turkey Creek RV Park
Hollister,  MO

We left Nebraska Tailwaters COE park on July 2 and drove to White Cloud Casino in White Cloud, KS.   This is a small Iowa Tribe casino with 6 RV sites.   Here we had full hook up 50 amp service at $5.00 a night.   This is our 2nd stay at this casino.  We were here back in 2012 for 5 nights.  However, this was a one night stay.   We went into the casino and ate at their small buffet.  We came out smelling putrid.  Those of us not used to the smell of cigarettes do notice!  All clothes went immediately into the washer.  All 4 of us took showers.  All heads washed.  Ah,  we smell better.

On July 3 we arrived at Turkey Creek, an Escapees Park.  Normal charge is $101.00 a week for members plus tax.  However, we wanted 50 amp so add on $2.00 a night.  Also the fee is for 3 people. So another $1.00 a night.  Still, Escapees membership is well worth the $39.95 a year.  Rained most this day.

July 4.... Fireworks.  After another day of rain.  Earlier in the day there was a Pot Luck dinner in the club house.  The girls enjoyed the variety.  Especially the Little Smokies wrapped in bacon.  Could not get enough.   At dusk, campers here pull their chairs up to one area of the campground for great viewing.  Lucky us, right outside our door.





Those sitting there for the view are our Granddaughters and a friend they met at the park.

On July 5 we went to the afternoon show of a group of 5 young men called Forever Young.  All sorts of music and dance as they told their stories of being friends in HS, going their separate ways and re-connecting years later to now do what they love .... perform.

July 6......The highlight of the day was Charlotte and Abby meeting Debbie and Gordy.  Last year when Len and I were here in Branson to attend the NOMADS annual meeting we went to a Tribute to George Strait show starring Debbie and Gordy.  We purchased two sets of CDs.  The girls fell in love with one disc and kept it and played it over and over and over and over.  So.... as a treat.... they met Gordy and Debbie.


This is a dinner show.  How cool!   Our assigned seating was right in front on the stage.


Abby meeting  Gordy


They know several of the songs this couple sing.   Two were in the act...... I Want a Cowboy and You're Looking at Country.   I think Debbie was impressed that these two sang right along with her.  I know all the people surrounding our table sure were.

BTW, now the girls have their own set of CDs.

That brings us to today, July 7.   We did the Duck Ride.


First around Branson  on land, then into Lake Taneycomo.

Each had a turn "captaining" the boat



An older Duck Tour Boat, no longer in service.


From there we went to a fish hatchery.  Feeding the fish.


By this time it was lunch...  So BAR B Q it was.  Then back to the campground and remaining inside with the temps outside 96.   Tomorrow we head back to Alabama, with an overnight stop to be determined, somewhere mid way.

Until next time

Saturday, July 1, 2017

South Dakota ... Revisited

Nebraska Tailwaters COE
Crofton, NE

So..... how many of these landmarks do you recognize?












Lots to do.....   As their motto says.      Great Places...Great Faces.

Until next time.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Two Presidents

Onawa, Iowa

After our ordeal with the spring hanger back in Ohio, we have really traveled the miles.   Our first stop was at Forest Bo Woods COE park in Sullivan, Il.   What would a camp-out be without Smores?



One day we drove the short distance to Lerna, IL and the log home of Abraham Lincoln's father and step-mother.  Abe never lived in this house but visited often.  The last time was after he was elected president but before he was inaugurated.


Re-inactors are working here and answering questions.   At the visitor center children get to choose to dress in period costume.  Abby was game but Charlotte only wanted an apron.




There is a nice picnic area on the grounds, of which we took advantage since it was lunch time and we had packed a lunch.


The next day we drove to Springfield, Il.

This is the home that Abe and Mary bought and lived in prior to moving to Washington.   It was originally a story and a half, but with a growing family additions were necessary.  Their son Eddie died in this home from TB shortly before his 4th birthday.



Mary's bedroom.  Ugly wall paper. No  wonder she suffered from Migraines. 



Following a visit to the house, we then toured the Lincoln Library and Museum.




And drove by his burial site....


We left Sullivan on June 22 and drove to another COE park (Linder Point) in Iowa City, IA.
Shortly before we got to the campground we saw sign for


Alrighty then.... let's visit.  It was only about 7 miles from the campground in the small town of West Branch, Iowa.   This small house is where he was born:


The Museum and Library:




We left Iowa City this morning and are currently overnighting at Blackbird Bend Casino in Onawa, Ia.   This casino has 14 RV sites with 50 or 30 amp electric.   Just pull in, plug in and stay for the night.....FREE.

Tomorrow we will go about 360 miles and overnight at a truck stop in Kadoka, SD.  Then on to the sights of SD.

Until next time.....