Tag Archives: Family Vacation

Fishing with Ivan Part 4D

7 Apr

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

The scenery was beautiful as we continued north on CA-1 to our next stop in San Francisco, CA where we wanted to show our kids some of the sights and sounds of that fabulous city.  First we took them to Ghirardelli Square, where we checked out the shops and bought some chocolates for DiVoran.  Then we took the famous Powell & Hyde cable-car to Fisherman’s Wharf for some really wonderful seafood.  After that delightful experience, we went back to our car and drove down the famous winding Lombard Street with our camper!  I wasn’t sure we were going to make it around some of those curves.

Photo: https://www.queenanne.com/things-to-do/fisherman-s-wharf

Leaving San Francisco, we crossed the Golden Gate Bridge, and took U.S. 101 north to our halfway point for this trip, which was to visit Ivan & Dora in Ft. Bragg, CA.  See there, I told you we would eventually get to them, if you were patient with me for the first half of this road trip.  We had a great visit with Ivan and Dora.  They were a little isolated from their family, and loved seeing us and their grandchildren.  They showed us around their small fishing village of Fort Bragg (pop ~4737), and introduced us to some of their friends there.  One day Ivan took us all out in the woods, close to their house, to collect mushrooms for our dinner.  He showed us how to tell the eatable ones from the poison ones.  Dora grew a lot of the fresh vegetables they ate in her small garden.  The fresh vegetables and mushrooms sure were good with the charcoal grilled steaks we had that evening.  

Photo: https://www.phinneycenter.org/calendar/edible-and-medicinal-mushrooms-of-the-pnw/

Now for the fishing story you’ve been waiting for.  One day while we were there, in Fort Bragg, Ivan took me out on the Pacific Ocean (just the two of us) in his commercial salmon fishing boat, Husky, to show me how he fished for Chinook Salmon.  What an experience that was!    I mostly just watched, helped when I could, and steered the boat once he started letting out his fishing line.  Ivan did all the work, and had his one-man system worked out well.  You couldn’t pay me enough to do that kind of work, but Ivan seemed to love it.

       Photo by Dora Bowers – Ivan’s new fishing boat (Husky)

Ivan told me that he fished alone most of the time, and used the trout line method.  He would use his Lowrance Fish Finder to locate the schools of fish, and then he would put the boat on auto-pilot and let out his baited hooks and line.  Once the line was all the way out, he would make a very large turning circle, and head back, reeling in the line and fish with the aid of a small electric powered winch.  He would ice down the fish, and if the catch was good, he would repeat the procedure all over again.  It was a difficult task, but he seemed to manage without any problem, as long as the seas didn’t get too rough.  

Photo:  https://www.asupervip.top/products.aspx?cid=36&cname=trotlines

—–To Be Continued—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 63 years in Titusville, Florida. He was born and raised in the Southwest, did a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy, attended Northrop University in Southern California and ended up working on America’s Manned Space Program for 35 years. He currently is retired and spends most of his time building and flying R/C model airplanes, traveling, writing blogs about his travels for Word Press and supporting his wife’s hobbies with framing, editing and marketing.  He also volunteers with a local church Car Care Ministry and as a tour guide at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum there in Titusville.  Bill has two wonderful children, two outstanding grandchildren, and a loving sister and her husband, all of whom also live in Central Florida, so he and DiVoran are rewarded by having family close to spend lots of quality time with.

One of Bill’s favorite Scriptures is:  John 10:10

It’s Vacation Time

4 Oct

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis


I have the most amazing team of bloggers. They never miss a deadline and even send posts ahead when I am going to be offline.

I love them!


There won’t be any Fall color in this vacation but I hope to get some sand in my shoes and enjoy leisurely cups of morning coffee on balconies over looking the ocean. I’m expecting some interesting blends of tea to be a fun part of the adventure.  Hopefully I will return with some fun pictures to share. Until then,







I'm a winnerAfter my retirement, I decided to re-learn the canning and preserving skills I learned from my mother but hadn’t practiced for twenty years. I titled the blog Old Things R New to chronicle my experience.  Since then I have been blessed to have six other bloggers join me, DiVoran Lites, Bill Lites,  Judy Wills, Louise Gibson, Janet Perez Eckles and Melody Hendrix

In addition to blogging, I work as the publicist/marketer/ amateur editor and general  “mom Friday” for my author daughter, Rebekah Lyn. I also manage her website, Rebekah Lyn Books  where we frequently host the best in up and coming authors.

Road Trip~ Treasure Falls and Lobo Overlook

26 Apr

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis


Day 14, September 20, 2017


Tomorrow we would be packing up and heading to the Denver airport, ending the fun week we spent with Rebekah and Pam. Since this was our last day in Pagosa Springs, we decided to stay close to our home base and explore the mountains nearby.

After browsing our accumulated tourist brochures, we decided to visit Treasure Falls, then drive up to Lobo Overlook and have a picnic. There were two trail options to reach the falls. Rebekah and Pam chose one route and husband and I chose the other. Even though it was a very nice trail, it wasn’t a good walking day for my husband. We found a bench where we could rest and enjoy being in nature.



Rebekah and Pam made it to the trail end and shot some pictures of the falls. I read a hiker blog post about viewing the falls in winter. He said it was 70 percent ice and 30 percent flow. I would like to see that!



Next stop, Lobo Overlook.  HikingMike.com describes the overlook:

Lobo Overlook with a 3 mile dirt/gravel road leading up – Forest Road #402 is an easy, slow drive (4wd not required) that winds about 1.5 miles to the very top of the 11,760 ft unnamed peak north of Wolf Creek Pass. In winter, snowmobilers take this same route to the top. If you want to go on foot, you can hike the road up, or hike the Continental Divide Trail which starts just west of the road and tracks just west of the overlook. By the way, heading south on the Continental Divide Trail lets you head up the ridge to the summit of Alberta Peak, the top of Wolf Creek Ski Area.

Once you get a chance to look around, you’ll find great views of the San Juans all around. There aren’t many places where you can drive to the top of a high elevation mountain on the Continental Divide!


Living in the Western North Carolina mountains, we are accustomed to winding gravel roads.  Although I do have to confess that they still creep me out a bit. As we climbed, Pam wondered if the road might be the one that her son-in-law traveled on horse back with an elk hunting party just weeks earlier. After returning home, she spoke with him and it was indeed the same place. Another similarity is that we didn’t see any elk and they didn’t take down any elk.

The view from  Lobo Overlook gives a spectacular view of the surrounding peaks of the San Juan Mountains and lands that lie within the San Juan National Forest (including Weminuche Wilderness) and Rio Grande National Forest. Near the parking area was a convenient vault toilet. It turned out to be an amusing experience due to the location of the toilet and the swirling winds.



Nearby there were some picnic tables, and a rough fence surrounded the overlook area. The temperature and strong winds made the air dramatically colder prompting us to pull on jackets over our short-sleeved shirts.  I was in my element, high above the valley, embracing the strong winds and chill.






Unfortunately, the altitude of 11,760 feet taxed my husband’s breathing and we made a hasty retreat to the car, foregoing our picnic. On the way down, we saw this interesting bird. Can you tell me what kind of bird it is?



We came across these cuties at one of the pull outs.




Two random pictures taken from road pull outs.




It was a long, but good day. I was thankful my husband’s breathing settled down and he was able to drive us down the winding gravel road. We were sad to be leaving the condo at Pagosa Springs, beautiful area and beautiful memories.



Circuitous Travel~Part 1

30 Jul


Judy Wills



Circuitous travel – I had never heard that phrase until we were about to leave Germany (1983) and return to the United States. If you aren’t familiar with that phrase, it means that you will travel from point A to point B, but not in a straight line, i.e. you will make a stop – or several stops – along the way, that are not really related to getting to your destination.

I found the following online: The Air Force defines circuitous travel as any route other than the one that would normally be prescribed by the TMF between places listed in members travel orders.

 All that information to say that, our family took advantage of circuitous travel when we left Germany and returned to the States. We took two weeks leave, and went to England.

After we had hired someone to clean our government apartment – and it was approved “clean” – we were allowed to leave Germany. We had a friend drive us to Ramstein AB (with Karen crying all the way, because she was leaving Brian behind).


Credit Google Search


We boarded a C-130 there.


Credit Google Search


It is a transport plane, and we sat knee-to-knee with each other, in canvas seats, for the time it took to fly to RAF Mildenhall, England.


Credit Google Search


We were given foam ear plugs to wear during the flight – which we really needed. That is a NOISY plane!! I made the mistake of taking one of them out of my ears, just to see how noisy it was – and regretted it immediately! It was really LOUD! So then I attempted to re-insert the foam plug into my ear – and it wouldn’t fit! So I had to endure that noise for the remainder of the flight.



About half-way through the flight, one of the flight crew came around with a cardboard box. It was filled with candy bars, and we took our pick. That was the extent of services on that flight. And that crewman didn’t look too pleased to be doing that job, either. I’m sure he would rather have been flying/navigating/etc. on that plane, rather than passing out goodies to the passengers.


aCredit Google Search and Amazon


We finally landed at RAF Mildenhall in England. Fred had arranged for a car to be delivered to us there. It was a Vauxhall, 4-door sedan, and nearly new, with just a few miles on it. It, of course, was right-hand drive, but was automatic shift. Fred hadn’t driven many stick shift vehicles in his life time, and wasn’t too keen on driving the English round-abouts with a stick shift. So we were glad to have the automatic.

By this time, it was getting rather late in the day. For some reason, Fred had not arranged for a B&B for us to stay in that night. So he began calling those in the phone book, and those the people in the terminal knew about. About the time I thought we were going to have to spent the night in the car, he was able to connect with a lady who said she would put us up, but she had to roust her children out of their beds to do so. So we finally had a bed to sleep in for that night. We had breakfast with them the next morning, and Janet had a few cats to play with and love on before we left.

Fred said it was the most expensive stay of any we had the rest of the trip. But it was worth it!



~~~~~~~~~~To Be Continued~~~~~~~~~~

Our Nation’s Capital

8 Jan


Judy Wills


 Have you ever had the opportunity to visit Washington D.C.? If not, then put it in your bucket list, as it is somewhere you don’t want to miss.



By Carol M. Highsmith via Wikimedia


There is a different “air” in the air there. It’s just…..different. I find it difficult to describe the difference, exactly, but the whole atmosphere of D.C. is different from any other city we have visited. Is it just because it’s our nation’s capitol? Perhaps. It’s just…different!

We, as a family, have visited D.C. many times – especially when we lived in Virginia. It was only about a three-hour drive from our house to our nation’s capitol. We usually stayed in a hotel outside the city proper, parked the car, and rode public transportation. It seems like we were there either in blistering heat or freezing cold!

There are so many things to see and do there. The museums are magnificent. The history of this great country is portrayed for everyone to see.



But one of the most impressive, and awe-inspiring, is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington Cemetery. While that is not the official name of it, that is the “common” name for it. There are remains placed there from World War 1 through the Vietnam conflict. Amazing to see.





We had heard so much about the annual cherry-blossom festival there, but never, in the nearly 13 years we lived in Virginia, made it up for that event. And so, in April of 2013, Fred and I made the trip to D.C. just to see the cherry blossoms. It was spectacular! Some pink, some white, just gorgeous! And those little blossoms were just everywhere. One time, as we walked along the Mall, there was enough breeze blowing to make the blossoms shed from the trees – and it looked like a snow storm! Such fun!



But this place is at the heart of our country. This is everyone’s “home town.” We all belong there. Of course, I really wouldn’t want to actually LIVE there, but it’s a great place to visit.

Our daughter, Janet, and her family made a trip to D.C. a few years ago, and brought us back a professional photo of the U.S. Capitol building. Here’s a copy of it.




I think it’s one of the most beautiful pictures I’ve ever seen! The photographer really had a good eye – and a steady hand! – to get this photo just right. We have framed it, and it hangs proudly on our wall where we can see it just any time we care to look at it.

In the not-too-distant future, there will be great celebration in that great place – the inauguration of a new United States President. Oh, to be able to see that in person! But we’ll just have to watch it on TV. I’m not going up there again in the freezing weather!! That’s why we live in Florida!


An Amazing Adventure~Part 11

4 Jan


Judy Wills


After we had crossed the Continental Divide at Milner Pass, we drove on up to and stopped at the Alpine Visitor Center, at 11,796’ above sea level.

The air temperature was only 56°!! We were glad we had our sweaters and jackets with us! The tree line is at about 11,000’, so we were well above that, and vegetation was sparse, and we were glad we were inside the vehicle!



On one side of the mountain was some left-over snow! I guess the sun doesn’t get to that side of the mountain very often.


There were about a dozen chipmunks running around there—all along the stonewall– at least five or six were running at a time. One even jumped on Brian’s jacket, before jumping off quickly. They were really cute—standing on their hind legs, paws up, begging.

We drove along the Trail Ridge Road and it’s reported to be the highest continuous PAVED highway in the United States. It was still pretty rough and narrow, but at least it was paved.

We drove to and parked at the Bear Lake Ranger Station.

There was a trail Brian wanted to walk, but thought it would be too difficult for us, so he took off by himself. We were to meet up back at the parking lot. Karen, Fred and I began our “virtually flat” walk around the lake. We discovered that their idea of virtually flat and ours, differed greatly! There were times it was pretty rough going—but we eventually made it. It was a lovely walk and a gorgeous lake to walk around. Again, there were stands of Aspen trees that were just beautiful.


As we were leaving Bear Lake, we came upon a LOT of cars parked by the side of the road. So we stopped to see what was going on. And we were so glad we did! There was a heard of Elk in the meadow—one bull and about 10 cows, with one rather young calf in the mix. We got a lot of good pictures. We were amused to see that the bull was chasing after one particular cow—and she was having absolutely NOTHING to do with him! He bellowed quite a few times. It was so funny!

As we drove off again, we came to a few more Elk by the side of the road– just eating. We stopped and took more pictures. They seemed to pay us no mind at all.


It was time to head to Denver for our final two nights. But we stopped in Estes Park for dinner. We stopped at a place called Baba’s Burgers and Gyro’s—just a small diner on the side of the road. They were actually about to close, but they told us we could come on in and eat. We were glad they did, because those who came in after us were turned away! There was one other couple in the diner, and as we all got to talking, it turned out they were from Orlando, as well! Small world! The food was really good, and we were glad we had stopped.



~~~~~~~To Be Continued~~~~~~~


An Amazing Adventure~Part 5

23 Nov


Judy Wills



As we were leaving the Grand Canyon, once again we had a picnic meal near the van. After we packed up from our meal, we headed toward Cameron. But before we arrived, Brian stopped the van and we all got out. It was a clear night, at elevation, and with almost no visible “town” light, and we did some stargazing. It was AMAZING! And I was able to see the Milky Way for the first time in my life. It is really beautiful! I never thought I could see it with my “naked eye” like that.

We headed to Cameron for an overnight at the Cameron Trading Post Hotel, in Cameron, Arizona.


It is near the Grand Canyon, but outside the National Park.   Interesting place—perhaps not as “fancy” as the Ute Casino, but unique in its own way. It was established in 1911 as a Navajo and Hopi trading post, where the Native Americans would bring their goods to barter.

The inside of the restaurant was unique, as well. Notice the hammered tin ceiling.



There was a small garden near the hotel, that Fred and I wandered through the next morning after breakfast.

From Cameron, we drove northwest toward southern Utah, but we were still in northern Arizona at this point. We were still following the Colorado River—the river that carved out the Grand Canyon. We stopped and walked across the Navajo Bridge, built to replace Lee’s Ferry.



Lee’s Ferry was essentially the only way for the Mormon’s to cross the Colorado River, leading them into Utah. Lee’s Ferry is designated within the southwestern most extreme of Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and is considered the northernmost end of Grand Canyon National Park. It was an important crossing point before construction of the Navajo and Glen Canyon Bridges. It was named for John Doyle Lee, who operated the ferry for many years. The ferry was in use for 60 years, before the bridges were built in 1928. If one didn’t cross on this ferry, one had to travel another 800 miles just to cross the 85 feet of the Colorado River. So it was an important ferry crossing.


Driving out of Glen Canyon, from Lee’s Ferry we passed an area with several balanced rocks, and an inspiring vista of Cathedral Peak.



We then made our way alongside the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument that was set aside in the 1990’s due not only to its beautifully colored cliffs, but also its importance as a preserve for nesting condors.   We continued our journey through the upper end of Kaibab Plateau National Forest where we stopped at the Forest Station for a picnic lunch.


~~~~~~~To Be Continued~~~~~~~

An Everglades Adventure~Part 3

8 Oct

A Slice of Life

BIll Lites

Bill Lites


That evening after supper, we built a campfire and were enjoying “S’mores” when we heard rustling in the brush around our campsite. Now we were all veteran nature lovers, but, we had heard tales of what kind of critters called the Florida Everglades their home, so were extra 1cautious. As it turned out, it was a mama Raccoon and her three little ones looking for a handout. We tried to discourage the children from feeding them, but you know how kids love furry creatures, and they don’t realize how dangerous wild animals can be. We shooed them off, knowing they would surely be back to try their luck again. It was a fretful night for me since it was a strange place (many of the night sounds were different from those we were used to in our woods at home) and I kept waking up, worrying about the raccoons coming back and trying to get into our food.

After breakfast the next morning, the ladies packed a picnic lunch, we all covered ourselves with sunscreen, and insect repellant and headed off with the canoes to see what we could see. It was a beautiful day and birds of all kinds were everywhere. DiVoran was especially thrilled to get to see her first Rosette Spoonbill and we all were excited to see a nest of Pileated Woodpeckers.



There were egrets and ducks of all kinds, on the water and in the air, and we had a contest to see who could name the most correctly. Of course, being in the land famous for alligators and snakes, we were constantly on the lookout so as not to be surprised by one of them. By the time the sun was high overhead, we were tired of paddling, so we found a small clearing, beached our canoes, and shared our picnic lunch with the ants, flies and mosquitoes. Then it was time for more sunscreen and insect repellant. We found our way back to the boat landing and decided 25 cents was not too much to pay for a shower.




If you have ever done any camping, have you ever noticed how the mosquitoes seem to attack much more after you come out of the shower? I don’t know what it is about a clean body, but for me, the race is on to see if I can get to the insect repellant before they can find me. Earlier we had seen some very unusually shaped old dead trees not too far from our campsites, so we spent some time scouting the area for driftwood.



That evening, after supper, we sat around the campfire and Dwayne showed our daughter, Charlene, how to play cords on the guitar. We had another visit from the raccoon family, but they didn’t stay long this time, as the boys chased them off.



So much for our “Everglades Adventure.” We all agreed this sort of “Primitive” camping was not exactly what we had in mind for a relaxing weekend camping trip. The next day we packed up all our equipment, canoes and children, and began the long drive back to Titusville. Other than being long and hot, the return trip was uneventful (if you can ever begin to call 4 adults being cooped up with 5 kids for 6 hours in a hot car, uneventful). We stopped for lunch and potty breaks, but didn’t stop in Melbourne for my car, since we couldn’t pull both the camper and the car. I would have to make that trip another day, and that is a  story in itself that I will have to share with you some other time.



—–The End—–

Busy,Fun and Throw Back Thursday

7 Aug

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

I'm a winner

Onisha Ellis

This past week was fun and busy. My aunt and cousin came to visit. We ate a lot of food and especially dessert! My aunt is a great cook and I try to learn something from her whenever we are together. My cousin is a talented crafter. I shamelessly took advantage of her to get some bows made for Christmas. In addition, she learned how to make those ruffled scarves that are so popular and she made two of them for me. Don’t tell Rebekah, but they are for her.

photo photo 1

The last Sunday they were with us, I suggested a Sunday afternoon drive. Does anyone remember doing that back in the 1950’s? We had a delicious buffet lunch in Franklin at The Boiler Room, then loaded up in Mike’s truck and headed for the hills.

We decided to take one of our favorite quiet drives, Balsam Mountain road off the Blue Ridge Parkway. It is a one-way drive through natural forest. It does not have spectacular vistas but it is perfect if you want the whole woods experience without snakes and bugs. Just before the entrance to the drive is a fantastic picnic area. Fantastic if you like a quiet picnic in what looks like an enchanted forest. The tables are big stones set on stones with logs for benches. We loved it. Next we left the picnic area and began the drive.

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Time to wrap up this post. We are going to a picnic tonight by the creek of someone at church. Since today is Throw Back Thursday I will add  that  thirty or so years ago, I was busy with another creek bank. My friend Sharon and i worked with the children in our church on a musical, “Down by the Creek Bank” My favorite line from the play is “aren’t the stars pretty?”. I’m not sure I can stay awake long enough to view the stars tonight!

Love’s Concentric Circles

10 Jul

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

I'm a winner

It seems my circle of love is not becoming smaller but concentric. A side benefit of having eleven aunts and uncles is a whole bunch of cousins. It doesn’t stop there as those cousins have children, creating even more cousins.

This week we were blessed to have a visit from my cousin, Susan and her children who live in Georgia. Her three children combined with our two grandchildren created some awesome and chaotic “cousins time” On the first day of their visit the children from teens to tweens had a blast at our local entertainment complex, The Factory”.

The Factory


The second day we loaded up two cars with picnic supplies, chairs and towels and visited a local swimming hole, Sliding Rock in the Pisgah National Forest.

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Susan is the granddaughter of one of my favorite aunts during my childhood. Her grandmother Della, her husband and boys spent a lot of time with my family as I was growing up. We were a musical family and would “make music” when the families got together. Della sang a beautiful high soprano while my mother a strong Alto. Together with their boys and my brothers we had music voices covered all the way down to deep bass. Dad and mom also played the guitar. Oh the sweet hymns they sang. There was one they sang, that I still sing in my heart when I am feeling down, Come Unto Me.

My aunt Della died of a brain tumor when she was forty-seven. I was heartbroken but she left a legacy of love. I still miss her almost fifty years later.


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