Tag Archives: Travel

Our Trip to St. Kitts Part 2

21 Jul

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

On the next day of our trip to St. Kitts we took a long stroll along the beach, picked up a few shells, and did some exploring of some of the old ruins not too far from the hotel.  We learned that St. Kitts has the oldest written history of any island in the Caribbean, and that Sir Christopher Columbus was the first European to see the islands and the Island Caribs (natives) during his second voyage (1493) to this area.  He named St. Kitts San Jorge (Saint George) and Nevis San Martin (St. Martin) and claimed the islands for Spain (see Wikipedia for island name changes).  We stopped to take a picture beside a small submersible of some kind that was just sitting there on the beach.  There was no one around, to ask what it was used for and why it was just sitting there.  Later that day we visited the hotel’s garden area and ran into some of the other folks from our group and went to dinner with them.

Photo by DiVoran Lites

The next day we rented a car and took a drive around the island.  It only took us about two hours to do the whole island, and we were amazed at the difference between the resort area where we were staying, and the way the island people lived.  At the time, the majority of the island was devoted to the raising and processing of sugar cane.  There were cane fields everywhere we looked, and the method for harvesting all that sugar cane seemed very primitive.  

Photo by Bill Lites

The road was very narrow and cluttered with all manner of animals, children, and trash.  We saw open communal toilets alongside the road, and people carrying water jugs to collect (what we assumed was) drinking water running from a pipe that came out of the side of the hill, right there on the side of the road.

Photo by Bill Lites

Once we left town, we were not sure we had made the right choice to drive around the island by ourselves.  We didn’t have a map and were concerned about what we might run into if we got off the main road.  However, all the locals we encountered during our little trip were friendly and willing to help us whenever we took a wrong turn.  

Photo by DiVoran Lites

Back at the hotel we had a nap and then walked the hotel property, collecting a few more souvenirs, before heading back to the hotel for dinner.  I’m sure we did more relaxing and pleasurable things on that trip, but the details escape me now.  Overall, we enjoyed the restful atmosphere, and it was a memorable trip.  The flight back to Orlando was uneventful and after we got home and unpacking we were ready to head back to work on Monday. That trip to St. Kitts was one of the most enjoyable adventures we had experienced in some time, and it left us with some wonderful lifelong memories. 

Photo by DiVoran Lites

Epilog:  My creative artist wife, DiVoran, took many of the souvenirs we collected, during our trip to St. Kitts, and arranged them in a beautiful collage that hangs in our studio to continually remind us of our one and only ‘Caribbean Island Adventure’ all those many years ago.

Collage & paintings by DiVoran Lites

—–The End—–

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

A Balloon Ride for Ivan

2 Jun

A Slice of Life

Bill LItes

For those of you who have followed my most recent blogs, you will be familiar with the major players in my wife, DiVoran’s family.  For those of you who are just joining me, her father is Ivan and her mother is Dora.  Her younger brother, David, rounds out the family members.  I became a member of this wonderful family when I married their daughter, DiVoran, and have enjoyed the pleasure of their company for over 60 years now.  I would like to share with you one of the more delightful times we had with this family. 

Sometime in early June of 1985 DiVoran and I flew to California to take part in this family’s celebration of Ivan’s 70th birthday.  DiVoran’s father, Ivan, her mother, Dora, as well as her brother, David, and his wife, Susan, all lived in Vista, CA at the time, so that turned out to be the gathering place for the major celebration activities.  As part of the celebration, on one of the days, David had made arrangements for us all to take a balloon ride.  None of us had ever been up in a balloon, and the southern California area is one of the many locations where the weather is favorable for flying balloons; cool clear mornings with little or no wind.  

Photo by Susan Bowers  (No, we didn’t dress like this to go ballooning)

We were all up early that day, rushing around in order to have our breakfast and still have time to drive north some 50 miles to the launch site in Paris, CA.  We met our pilot, Steve, and he asked us to help him unload his balloon from its trailer.  It was a beautiful clear crisp morning and the unfolding of the balloon was very interesting.  Steve was very particular about how we handled every part of the balloon and its hardware.  He had us position each part of the balloon, basket, guy ropes and burner in a systematic way so he could assemble everything quickly and correctly.  Once everything was ready to begin the inflation process, he had us hold the bottom to the balloon open and he used a large fan to start filling the balloon with air.  In the photo below, you can see Ivan supervising the initial inflation operation.

Photo by Dora Bowers

At some point Steve fired up the burner, pointed it toward the partially inflated balloon and blasted hot air into the balloon, and it began to rotate off the ground and rise to an upright positon.  Once the balloon was vertical, we each had to hold onto a rope, attached to the basket, to keep it from ascending before Steve was ready.  He climbed into the basket and asked us who was going to be first.  We all pointed at Ivan and said, “The Birthday Boy!”

We helped Ivan climb into the basket.  Steve went over the operation and safety rules for Ivan, loud enough for all of us on the ground to hear.  I was amazed how Steve was able to keep applying the burner just enough to keep the balloon upright and still keep the basket sitting there on the ground.  When Steve was ready, he told Ivan to hold on, and he applied a long blast from the burner; they slowly lifted off the ground, and they began their ascent.

Note:  I forgot to mention this was one of the smaller balloons and the basket was only large enough to carry Steve, the pilot, and one other person.  And because there were several of us that wanted to take a ride, the duration of the flights were a little shorter than usual.

Photo by Dora Bowers

Steve had instructed us that they wouldn’t be flying more than 1000 feet high, and for us to follow their flight path, so we would be there when they landed, to hold the ropes.  This would allow the passenger to exit the basket and the next passenger to climb aboard (a quick and easy transfer).  If it looked like the wind wasn’t going to carry the balloon far, we would all run to the next landing spot.  DiVoran said, “There goes my 70 year-old white haired mother running after a balloon!”  Dora told DiVoran later that the running was fun, as she hadn’t done that in years.  When the wind picked up, we would all jump into Ivan’s pickup truck and follow the balloon to the next landing spot for the next passenger exchange.  When it was my turn, I couldn’t believe how quiet it was when the burner was off.  I love to fly, but I had never had the opportunity to fly that low in all my flying experiences.  I could just imagine how thrilled the two French brothers, Joseph Michel & Jacques-Etienne Montgolfier, known as the aviation pioneers who launched the first confirmed piloted ascent by man with their hot air balloon, Annonay, in France on June 4, 1783 must have felt.  It was a really wonderful experience!

DiVoran remembers, “During my ride we flew over a junk yard, and when Steve applied a blast from the burner, to keep us high enough to clear an obstacle, I saw hundreds of rabbits running from their hiding places in all directions!”  When everyone had a turn, we helped Steve deflate, disassemble, fold and load his balloon onto his trailer.  We thanked him for an exciting morning of sight-seeing and headed back to Vista, where we each had something to share that was special to us that morning.  That was a wonderful ‘Birthday Gift’ that we were all able to enjoy.  It didn’t dawn on me until years later; that I had scratched off another item from my Bucket List and hadn’t even realized it at the time!

—–The End—–

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

Random Memories of Germany

21 Feb

Wiesbaden-Part 5

Italy

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

I don’t remember the exact route of our trip…I just remember places where we were along the way.  Remember from last week, I mentioned that the other Americans in our B&B in Oberammergau was the pastor from a Baptist church in Kaiserslautern?

First Baptist Church-Kaiserlautern, Germany

Well, believe it or not, we ran into that same group when we were in Pisa, Italy!!  Small world, indeed.

I was fascinated by Pisa and the Leaning Tower.  I was amazed that it was still standing, especially at the angle it is leaning.  And to think that it is STILL standing in 2021!! 

Judy in front of the Leaning Tower – 1970

I realize a lot has been done to shore it up and keep it upright, but still…..  We made another trip to Italy with our girls in 1982, and our Janet climbed up to the top of the tower!  But she always was the more adventurous of all of us.

1982 – Janet in the pink jacket at the top of the Leaning Tower

I was nearly as amazed by the Baptistry near the cathedral, as I was the Leaning Tower. 

1982 – The Baptistry next to the church – Janet in the foreground

It is an amazing building.  And according to this picture we took, the Baptistry seems to be “leaning” a bit, as well!  I guess the ground in that area is not very stable!

We had been told about a shop in Pisa that had marble pieces, and we found it.  We purchased two marble lamp stands that we still have with us today. 

1982 – The Baptistry next to the church – Janet in the foreground

I found some marble “fruit” that I liked and have today as well – along with an alabaster “egg.” 

Marble fruit – quite realistic looking, I think

 And I found some “tumbling angels (or should I say cherubs)” that are made out of some kind of composition material.

The tumbling angels (cherubs) – from right to left

I have enjoyed having all of these things.  And so our trip to Pisa was a grand success!

Again, I don’t exactly remember where we traveled in Italy.  I just remember that we hit Venice,

St. Mark’s Square
The Bridge of Sighs

and Florence (my favorite!!), and Trieste.  

Michelangelo’s David

Fred and his family lived in Trieste following World War 2, and we were able to find the building where his family lived.  They lived in the “mezzanine” of this building – just under the arches of the arcade.  Here is a picture taken by Fred’s dad in 1950,

and now one we took on our trip

As a “footnote” to this story, our Karen and her husband Brian, on one of their trips to Europe, found the same building in Trieste, and Karen was able to point it out to Brian and tell her Dad’s story.  Amazing how that works, hmmm?

I remember we drove along the Appian Way – all those trees along the way.  

We also stopped see Lake Como. Beautiful.

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

Judy is living in Central Florida with her retired U.S. Air Force husband of 50+ years. Born in Dallas, Texas, she grew up in the Southwestern United States.She met her husband at their church, where he was attending the university in her town. After college and seminary, he entered the Air Force, and their adventures began.They lived in eight of our United States, and spent six years in Europe, where their oldest daughter was born. She was a stay-at-home mom for many years .

  Judy has always been involved with music, both playing the piano and singing. Always interested in exercise, she was an aerobic dancing instructor, as well as a piano teacher for many years, and continues to faithfully exercise at home.

After moving to Central Florida, she served as a church secretary for nearly nine years.Her main hobby at this point in time is scanning pictures and 35mm slides into the computer. She also enjoys scrapbooking.She and her husband have two married daughters and four grandchildren, including grandtwins as well as a great-grandson. She and her husband enjoy the Disney parks as often as possible.

Random Memories of Germany

8 Nov

Paris Part 2

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

I think the most memorable trip was the bus trip we made to Paris with the girls in 1981 over New Year’s into 1982.  The first complaint we had was that, when we boarded the bus,

Credit Pixabay

we found that a lot of the single soldiers traveling together, had each wanted a window seat, leaving only one seat on the aisle for someone else.

On the bus

Therefore, when we found two seats together, we took that one.  The remaining two seats together were at the back of the bus.  Okay, that’s not much of a problem, except that was the “smoking section” on the bus, which was laughable.

Credit Pixabay

I mean, come-on – ANY smoking on a BUS would contaminate the entire bus.  But Fred was violently opposed to sitting among all that smoke, so I volunteered to sit in the back with one of our daughters.  The girls weren’t too pleased with the situation, and traded seats with each other quite often.  I especially remember that, being winter and cold weather, we had our coats and gloves with us.  And the girls would sit with my leather glove across their noses the entire time they sat in the back with me – they really couldn’t stand all that smoke!

Credit Pixabay

Also, on the trip home from Paris, quite a few of those riding with us, especially in the back of the bus, had been drinking.  I guess they had found a New Year’s party somewhere.  They were quite tipsy and loud – they particularly enjoyed doing the “Funky Chicken” over and over with much hilarious laughter.  I remember telling Karen, who was sitting with me at the time, that “this is real life – this is not a made-up movie to show you what drunk people are supposed to look like.”  She looked at me and stated that “they are stupid…and silly…and I will NEVER get drunk!!”  And she never did.  It was a great teaching moment.

But that story gets us away from our time in Paris.  We loved staying in the hotel, and the breakfasts they gave us of French bread, butter and jam,

Credit Pixabay

and the croissants (sigh)!  We just wished they had allotted us more than one croissant!  They were delicious!!

Credit Pixabay

We went to the Louvre, and spent quite a bit of time there.          

The Louvre with small arch

 We went up the Eiffel Tower.

The Eiffel Tower – Judy, Karen and Janet

We walked along the Trocadero and we told the girls about our 1969 visit to Paris, and the fountain with jets shooting water across the fountain.  

The Trocadero and water canons

We showed them  the statues we had seen along the Trocadero in 1969.

The Eiffel Tower from the Trocadero

 We went inside the Notre Dame and showed them the beautiful Rose Window with its stained glass.

We went to and inside Versailles, and took in all its beauty. 

 We saw Napoleon’s tomb. 

Napoleon’s Tomb

 We walked along the Champs Élysées and admired all the stores and the Arc de Triomphe.  We didn’t dare attempt to get to the Arc, as the traffic was suicidal!

The Arc in the setting sun…beautiful!

But, all in all, we thoroughly enjoyed our trip to Paris.  It was thrilling to us to know that we were in that beautiful country, and all the history that had passed through that lovely city and country.  If Fred and I ever go back to France, there are other places I would like to visit – Normandy, Marseille, Toulouse (mainly because my father stayed in Toulouse following WW1 for one year, and studied at the university there), Avignon, and just the French countryside.

Whether or not that comes to be, is anyone’s guess.  Well, I guess I should say that if it is God’s will, we will go there.  Otherwise, I’ll just be pleased God allowed us to see as much of France – and the world – that we did.  I am grateful.

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

Judy is living in Central Florida with her retired U.S. Air Force husband of 50+ years. Born in Dallas, Texas, she grew up in the Southwestern United States.She met her husband at their church, where he was attending the university in her town. After college and seminary, he entered the Air Force, and their adventures began.They lived in eight of our United States, and spent six years in Europe, where their oldest daughter was born. She was a stay-at-home mom for many years .

  Judy has always been involved with music, both playing the piano and singing. Always interested in exercise, she was an aerobic dancing instructor, as well as a piano teacher for many years, and continues to faithfully exercise at home.

After moving to Central Florida, she served as a church secretary for nearly nine years.Her main hobby at this point in time is scanning pictures and 35mm slides into the computer. She also enjoys scrapbooking.She and her husband have two married daughters and four grandchildren, including grandtwins as well as a great-grandson. She and her husband enjoy the Disney parks as often as possible.

I Love to Travel Part 1

12 Aug

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

I guess I must have gotten my “Travel Genes” from my father as he was on the road a lot, for his work, when I was growing up.  Then as a teenager I worried my parents when i made several long trips on my motorcycle.  When I joined the U.S. Navy they took me all over the world, and by the time I got out, I was hooked on travel.  After DiVoran and I were married, and I was going to college in California, it didn’t bother me a bit to travel across the “Great American Desert” to visit my parents living in Albuquerque, or to drive to northern California to visit DiVoran’s parents in Livermore.

After I finished college we moved to Florida for my work on the Apollo Manned Space program.  Over the years I ended up working for several of the major aerospace companies, and traveled quite a lot for my jobs.  I retired from the Manned Space program in 1996, after 35-years, as what I called myself, “An Aerospace Nomad.”  I had been shuffled around various areas of the country during all that time and I was ready for a change.  I was working for Lockheed (LSOC), in Florida, when NASA decided to change their Space Shuttle processing contractor.  I was going to have to change who I was working for again, and that was the last straw for me.  I was just 58 years-old when I retired.  I felt like the “Aerospace Hassle” had made an old man of me before my time.  I was ready for a rest from the fast pace and constant pressure of the NASA schedulers.

I’m sure my first year of retirement was like a lot of men, wondering if I could adjust to all that time with nothing in particular to do.  I also wondered if I would be called back to the job like many men I knew were.  If that happened, what would I do?  I would just have to wait and see how I felt about that, if and when I was called back.  As it turned out, I was able to adjust fairly well.  It took a while to take care of all the repairs around the house, but I managed.  A couple of years later I started volunteering, one morning a week, to help at the Car Care Ministry at our church.

A year or so after that, a friend talked me into volunteering, as a Tour Guide, at the Warbird Air Museum here in Titusville one morning a week (that wasn’t hard).  I am interested in all kinds of airplanes, and this allows me to keep up with the warbird community as well as the on-going evolution of the aviation industry.  I love the time and the comradery I get to spent with the friends I have made over the years at both of these weekly volunteer occasions.

Then in 2012, in addition to the volunteer work, I took up a new hobby – travel (one of my favorite things to do) and blog writing.  While browsing thru the gift shop at our Warbird Air Museum, one volunteer day, I happened upon a book titled “GUIDE TO OVER 900 AIRCRAFT MUSEUMS.”  This guide book covers museums in the U.S. and Canada.  I thought, “WOW!  This is just what I need to help me find museums to visit.”  As you might have guessed, I have developed a love of going to museums.  All kinds of museums.  Airplane Museums, Auto Museum, Train Museums, Maritime Museums, or any other kinds of museums I happen to come across.

Using that guide book, I have established a method for my travel plans.  I usually try to make one (two week) trip in the spring and one (two week) trip in the fall of each year.  Note: My 2020 trips have been interrupted by shoulder replacement surgery and Covis-19.  I have had to postpone this summer’s trip twice (from July to September) because of travel restrictions, but I am determined to get at least one two-week trip in before the end of the year.

—– 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.

Bill

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

Julep Farms, Dillard Georgia

4 Mar

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

We are back in the mountains for a short stay. Our daughter was feeling the need for a vacation and we were more than happy to help. It has been a warm winter in Florida and I was ready for some “chill time.”

We arrived on Saturday to a less than optimal weather forecast. One day of sunshine, then four days of rain. Normally we need a rest day after the 6oo mile road trip, but we decided to take advantage of the day of sunshine to explore a nearby farm/resort, Julep Farms in Dillard, Georgia

Here is the description from their website:

While driving up to Highlands, NC to look for investment properties, Lauren (a decorator, designer, & restauranteur) and Rick Weaver (techno-geek & former US Marine ) stumbled upon this enchanting pasture. Lauren & Rick decided to purchase the land and Julep Farms was born. They then started to create a farm with a nod to the regal elegance of the Kentucky Derby with a splash of sweet tea southern meets modern.

The first time I noticed Julep Farm we were heading to Sky Valley, Georgia and I was impressed with the beauty of the land. I think the property was in the process of being constructed and I thought it was simply a private farm. On another drive to Sky Valley (to enjoy a beautiful waterfall) I glimpsed a sign as we drove past. Once we were home, I looked it up online and added it to my want to see list.

My husband wasn’t quite sure why we were going to a farm but he was happy to drive us. I was pleased to see a good number of cars in the parking area. A good sign.

Here is a side view of the main building.

A closer picture show the outdoor fireplace and casual seating.

It was hard to get a nice photo of the main building’s front.

Before going inside to explore the marketplace, restaurant and event center we walked around checking out the farm. The ponies were adorable but too busy munching to lift their heads for a picture. I had no idea that horse munching is loud!

When our daughter was in Ireland, she fell in love with sheep. We only saw these two.

These two beauties were in charge of the sheep.

The Marketplace sells farm fresh eggs. This is the nicest chicken house I have ever seen! Not a bad fire pit either for sipping cocoa or coffee as the sun goes down.

The farm also rents 4 cabins. Here is a picture of two.

Finally we went inside. The coffee bar, restaurant and Marketplace are decorated in crisp white. Our daughter said it felt very Chip and Joanna Gaines. We weren’t ready for lunch but I could picture myself meeting friends for lunch and enjoying the scenery through the big windows. I didn’t take a photo of the restaurant. I felt weird about taking pictures of strangers.

The merchandise was a nice blend of country and trendy. If one were in a buying mood, you would definitely find something to take home.

The Julep Farm is located at 500 Hwy 246 Dillard, GA30537. Their contact information is 706)-960-9600 info@julep.farm. If you are planning a country getaway, check them out! There are plenty of outdoor activities in the area to keep one busy, including a nearby winery.

As we left Julep Farm, we decided to drive further south on highway 441 to revisit the Tallulah Gorge overlook. We haven’t been there in years.The Tallulah Point Overlook store is rustic and junky looking from the outside, but inside is like stepping back in time.

The store has an upstairs gorge viewing area.The swing beckons one to sit a spell.

And what roadside tourist attraction would be complete without a Sasquatch?

We enjoyed our day in the sunshine. Fortunately, I am a big fan of rainy days as well.

My 2019 Great Lakes Road Trip Part 5B

16 Oct

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 5 – Saturday July 27 (Continued)

Continuing today’s activities, I crossed the Menominee River (the border between Michigan and Wisconsin), where I visited the Marinette Logging Museum located in Marinette, WI.  This museum was built in 1962 and offers information related to the history of the early homesteaders to the area. Visitors will find several authentic pieces of sawmill and ice cutting equipment, and displays of early 1900s farm and logging equipment, artifacts, and memorabilia.  This museum also has the restored1897 Evancheck homestead log cabin that is filled with period furnishings.  Another interesting area of the museum is their collection of Menominee Indian cultural items.

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This is where the many Native Indian names of this region (many of which are spelled and sound similar) got me in trouble.  When I was making my motel reservations for this trip, I booked a room, for this night, at a motel in what I thought was Menominee, MI.  Now, I had just come across the Menominee River to visit the Logging Museum in Marinette, and knew it was only a couple of miles back to the motel.  But when I plugged the motel address into Greta (my Garmin), she told me to turn in the opposite direction, and that it was 240 miles to the motel.  What?  Have you lost your mind Greta?  I entered the motel address again, but got the same results.  I remembered passing a Quality Inn earlier, so I drove back across the Menominee River to Menominee to find the motel.

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The motel clerk said she didn’t have a reservation for me.  I showed her a copy of my reservation, and she pointed out to me that my reservation for that night was in Menomonie, WI.  Greta had been right.  My reservation was for the wrong town.  I couldn’t believe I had made such a foolish mistake.  Evidently I had hit “WI” instead of “MI” and didn’t notice the slight difference in the spelling of what sounded to me like the same word.  Well, balderdash!  I was going to have to eat the cost of that reservation, as it was “non-refundable.”   I asked the clerk if she had a room for me, she said, “No we are completely full because of the Oshkosh Air Show this week.”  And I discovered all of the motels in the surrounding area were full for the same reason.  So now what was I going to do?  Sleep in the car?  She was kind enough to call around and finally found me a room at the Best Western, there in town, so at least I would have a bed for the night.  

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After I got checked in at the motel, I asked Greta to take me to The Brothers Three Restaurant, there in town, where I waited almost an hour after ordering, to be served the worst Calzone I have ever tried to eat.  There were lots of cars in the parking lot, and the restaurant was full, so maybe some of their other Italian dishes are better, but I sure can’t recommend their Calzone to anyone.

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—–To Be Continued—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 61 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.

 

Bill

 

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

Finally in North Carolina

17 May

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

 

After a lot of delays, we are now in North Carolina and enjoying the cooler mountain temps. I shared a picture earlier of our wild grass and weeds. Today I realized the Knock-Out roses surrounded by wildly overgrown grass and weeds had it’s own unique beauty. When I see abandoned houses with flowers growing among the high grasses, I often wonder what happened to the family that lived there.

Sorry about the quality of this short video. Silly me let the wristlet dangle as I filmed.

 

 

We don’t know what type of flower or weed this is, but we are excited to see that now there are four plants. The first one appeared a couple of years ago. It was rather spindly but we liked the flowers and didn’t cut it down.

 

 

We have two blueberry bushes, one an early bloomer and the other a late one. The early bloomer doesn’t have any berries, I wonder if a late frost killed them The later one is loaded with berries. I hope the birds share with us!

 

 

The Bleeding Heart and purple Iris still have some blooms, so I am thankful we get to enjoy them for a few days. I was pleased to note the Iris are spreading on their own. I had planned to thin them last fall but ran out of time.

 

Some of the Peonies have bloomed but I have my fingers crossed that there will be more. If not, I will enjoy them doubly next year.

We have had a couple of mishaps since arriving on Thursday night. It seems we should have written down some passwords like the wifi and the security system. They slipped right out of our minds. I won’t say much, but two deputies from the sheriff’s department are probably still laughing about this absent minded,  batty old couple.

Road Trip~Celestial Seasonings

25 May

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

 

Days 16 September 23, 2017

 

If you read the beginning of our road trip story on September 7, 2018, you will remember that we started out as Hurricane Irma was bearing down on Florida and I had mixed emotions about driving further away from our daughter living in Florida. It took us a week to arrive in Denver for our meet up with our friend, Pam and our daughter, Rebekah. The week we spent with them in Pagosa Springs, Colorado flew past and this morning we were up early to drive them to the airport.  Fortunately, they both had their electricity restored and now it was a matter of putting away their hurricane prep. We were sad for them to go, they were fun travel companions.

One place Rebekah had really wanted to visit was the Celestial Seasonings headquarters in Boulder, Colorado. Unfortunately, a visit there couldn’t be worked into our schedule. I guess a kinder mom would have chosen to not visit the tea headquarters without her, but I really wanted to visit it too. Rebekah enjoys flying, I hate flying, so she can fly in for a weekend. So after dropping the “girls” off, husband and I headed north to Boulder.

Except for getting some basic information, I didn’t know anything about the facility and what to expect, except that we would learn how tea is processed.  As we followed the map on my phone, I began to worry when it directed us to turn into a residential area. Surely the phone app had led us astray…again.  We decided to continue following the map app as we had no idea where we were and knew if we were in the wrong place, we could program it to bring us back to a main road.

To our surprise right there in the residential area, we saw the a street sign reading SleepyTime Drive. We were in the right place! Not far down the road, we came to the entrance.

 

 

By this time I couldn’t wait to get inside, and I was hoping we would not have long to wait for a tour.

 

As we approached the headquarters entrance, I had no idea what to expect. The front window was covered in their signature picture.

 

 

Once inside we discovered tea heaven! I can not believe I didn’t take pictures. The first thing we did was sign up for a tour that would be starting in about 20 minutes.  The room had a long counter set with a variety of teas.

 

Photo credit Yelp by Jeff Boyardee T

 

After signing up, we were invited to sample not only those prepared but any tea in their inventory!

 

I was in my element…..free samples!! Take that winerys! We sampled both cold and hot teas until it was time to go into the theatre and begin our tour.

 

 

There is a slight downside. We were touring on Saturday and the processing lines were not running. That didn’t stop us from enjoying the tour as our guide explained what activities we would be seeing if the machines were running.  They process their teas except peppermint from air drying to packaging.  I looked at each variety of tea from all over the globe, while my imagination roamed wild, imagining the places where the tea was grown as well as the people who spend their days hand picking the best leaves.

After we finished our tour, I asked if we could return to the tasting area. I wanted to try out more blends to decide which I wanted to buy. They laughed and said, “you can taste until we close!”  The people at Celestial Seasonings are friendly and seem to love their jobs.  We tasted several more blends, then headed to the Tea shop. As we entered the shop I was delighted with the huge assortment.

I told my husband to buckle up, I would be doing some serious damage to our charge card!

Celestial Seasonings teas are bulk packaged in signature designed boxes. My husband prefers individual pack and we were pleased to note they had a selection of boxed individual tea bags and scooped up several in flavors we can’t get locally. (Reminder to self….order some more of these online.) It was fun browsing the different blends and deciding which ones had to come home with us. It turns out quite a few hopped into our bag!

 

 

The facility also has a cafe and I was hoping to have lunch there, but it was closed. As I am writing this story, I am beginning to think I might need to join Rebekah and Pam when they fly out to visit Celestial Seasonings. Surely the two of them can keep me from embarrassing myself on the plane.

It has taken me way too long to tell the story of our road trip and this is the final episode. My interstate hating husband decided we should abandon back roads for the return trip and drive the interstates. I still don’t know why, but if I understand everything he did, what fun would that be?  Thank you for reading the posts. I have enjoyed remembering the journey. We are undecided about where we will visit on our Fall vacation this year. I do know that a short beach adventure and a tour of a historical city is in the works.

 

Oh the irony. As I am finishing this series, a sub-tropical storm is advancing on Florida.

 

Road Trip~Pagosa Springs, Colorado to Denver, Colorado.

10 May

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

 

Days 15 September 21, 2017

Packing up day. Sad, but leaving with precious memories. I grew fond of the townhouse at Wyndham, Pagosa Springs. It was a perfect harbor after a day of touring. I am thankful for our friend, Pam, who made this trip possible by sharing not only  her time share with us, but also her bright and sunny personality.  I will miss our morning coffee times.

 

 

Our plan for the return trip to Denver was to visit Pike’s Peak. We didn’t have time to visit the peak on a previous vacation.   Unfortunately, husband’s breathing episode at Lobo Overlook caused us to scratch it once again.  The  275 mile journey would be a combination route of our trip a week earlier to pick up Rebekah and Pam at the Denver airport which would be new to them, as well as retracing some of the route we took south from Rocky Mountain National Park.

We of course, were planning to have a picnic lunch along the way and were looking for the park we found on the trip south.We should have done a GPS drop pin on the location, because we couldn’t find it. Finally, an urgent need for “facilities” drove us to find anyplace to stop!  We spotted a smallish parking area with facilities and pulled in. The facilities were adequate, but the scenery was fantastic. It turned out there was another lower level to the parking area and the river was a prime kayaking area. I guess it was a little too windy cool for them to be out that day as we didn’t see any. There were also picnic tables so we had our lunch there.

 

 

The Aspen trees on the drive north gave us a grand display of color.

We arrived in Denver and checked in to the hotel where we had stayed the previous week. We made it in time for their free supper buffet and it was nice to stay in after the long day. When we checked out after our previous stay, I left a bottle of wine in a room drawer. I had purchased it at a winery near Jefferson, North Carolina for Rebekah and Pam to enjoy at Pagosa and lugged that bottle across the country.  When we checked in, I asked if it had been turned in to lost and found. ! They said they would check and let me know. I’m still waiting…..Silly me, of course not!

 

 

 

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