Monday, June 30, 2014

Ranger Talks

I don't have much to say today, just some pictures.  I'll let Terri do the talking.

OK Ranger, start talking.

Recognize this building?  It's in your pocket.  $10.00 bill.
At the train station.
Life is good.... at the Kiss & Ride.

First Year Anniversary

Terri retired from 30 years working with Pierce County on this date one year ago.  Our retirement plan was formed 8 years before as we sat at our kitchen table one evening.  One of us asked the question, "What should retirement look like for us?"

My quick answer was, "I want to live on a boat again."  I had done that 40 years ago in my foolish youth.  Terri's quick answer was, "I want to live in the sun or better yet I want to live in sunny Mexico."

That's us up on the sixth floor.
After a few hours of discussion that evening we had our retirement plan.  We would live on a larger boat during the Spring and Summer and spend our Falls and Winters in Mexico.  Simple plan.

Fast forward a few years and we found the place we wanted to live in Mazatl├ín.  It took several months but we bought the condo on the New Marina in Mazatl├ín.  Portofino would be our retirement home.

I was now a free man, ready to find and buy a larger "live aboard boat".  I spent hours/ days/ months/ years looking and dreaming about the next boat.  We had enjoyed the Grand Banks trawler for 13 years but it was too small to live aboard and be content.  I was a man on a mission.

Something funny happened during my search.  After spending most of my 60 years messing around with boats it occurred to me that I was done boating.  I had lost my interest.  My interest had been replaced with a desire to travel and see the country.

Our home on wheels.
What followed was the plan to be "one of those old people" driving along at 50mph in their motorhome.  The new yacht became a motorhome.

So we find ourselves, one year later, happily enjoying our lives on the road and in Mexico.  For us it is the near perfect life.

"Near Perfect?"  Life still has it's challenges.  Nothing is perfect.  Old age, aches and pains, lousy memory, and no one told me about black and grey water tanks being a weekly chore.  But all things considered life is very good.

As I reflect back on the last year I can say we are happy with our plan.  After one year we can see many more years of travels in our future.

So I will continue to say....Life is Good.

Friday, June 27, 2014


A great President and a great dog sit and have a chat about Gettysburg.  Eva is ready to enter the 2016 race for President following her talk with Abe.  We hope her heritage will not be questioned during the campaign.

Abe and Eva

Today we did a driving tour of the Gettysburg Battlefield.  My son Matt is more of a history buff than I am and he had an audio CD that lead us through the battlefield.  When ever I didn't understand what was happening he could explain what transpired during those few days in the first week of July.

We walked out onto the top of Round Top which may be the site of the battle that determined the Unions victory at Gettysburg.

Billy takes high ground at Round Top.
A field of Day Lilly's covers the Battlefield.

Matt and Billy
A farm field where one of the battles occurred.

Billy the soldier.

Our lives are good because soldiers sacrificed for us.

Washington DC, the First Day

Congress in session...Vice President about to come out.... regular citizens please stand back.
We began our first day in DC by riding the train into Union Station.  Our grandson, Billy was ready for the ride and couldn't stop talking about "Trains".

All aboard.
We've arrived at Union Station.... now which way to go?

We started walking and didn't stop for the next 5 1/2 miles.  Here are some photos of our day.

Mo and Billy.
The front side of congress.
It turned out that the Senate named their building after me.... cool.
I enjoyed that the Senate was so humble that they would name their building after a regular ordinary citizen, such as myself.  I accept this honor in the spirit in which it was given.  Thanks, Senators.

Next we were off to the Smithsonian Air and Flight Museum.  We all enjoyed this huge museum.  Billy is ready to fly.

Billy touching a "Moon" rock.
All things "Space".
Looking down the Mall.
We just touched the tip of the iceberg.  We will need many more days to see all that we want.  5 1/2 miles is only the beginning.

We ended our day with ice cream..... true Americans.
We're off to Gettysburg today.  Life is good.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Patapsco Valley State Park, Maryland

We were in three states yesterday in our final move East.  The 105 mile travel day put us 18 miles from our son Matthew's home at Fort George Meade, the home of the NSA.  We will be here for the next 14 days visiting and seeing the sites of Washington DC.

The big news for Matt and his family is his new assignment.  Matt is a Master Sargent in the Air Force and has been assigned as a computer hacker for the NSA for the last four years.  He has loved this assignment but his time was up for a new adventure.  With his seniority and skills he will spend the next four years assigned to NATO in Brussels, Belgium.  This may be his last assignment before retirement from the Air Force, so it is a great way to finish his career.

Terri says that Europe is in our future.... sounds good to me.  I don't think I can drive the RV there.

Harpers Ferry, West Virginia
We got an early start yesterday which allowed us time to visit Harpers Ferry National Park.  This wonderfully preserved town is up the Potomac River from Washington DC and was the site of the US Armory during the Civil War times.  The town changed hands 8 times during the Civil War.  It's manufacturing capabilities made it a key location in the war.

The town is located where the Shenandoah River and the Potomac Rivers meet. This is where Virginia, Maryland and West Virginia meet and are on each side of the two rivers.  The railroads and power from the rivers provided the ideal location for arms manufacturing.

The wooden railroad trestle still runs through town. 
  We visited several museums in town and learned more about slavery. I now have more interest and questions than ever on the subject of slavery.  It's time for more study to try to understand this whole part of our history.

I don't know about you but the fact that you could purchase a person for $1,250.00 bothers me right to my core.  I've got a lot to try to understand.

Entering Harpers Ferry.
War, floods and fires have taken their toll on this town.
Driving over the Potomac.
The driver is over the river, but not past his prime.
We passed the 10,000 mile mark yesterday as we were driving.  It's been a great adventure, in a few days we will celebrate our one year anniversary as vagabonds'.

We are in a wonderful spot at Patapsco Valley State Park for the next 14 days.  Being surrounded by forest only miles outside of DC is nice.

Life is good.... we could do this for many more miles and years.

Monday, June 23, 2014

I've Got Butterflies

My son Matthew and his wife Monique came to spend two days with us at our campsite in Front Royal, Virginia.  Grandsons Jackson and Billy had to stick close to the RV because we had lots of rain during those days.  Billy became an expert at driving the Monaco and was handling it like a pro after only two day.

During one of our sun breaks we all went down to the Shenandoah River so the kids could swim and play.
Jackson in the middle of the river.
We did spend an afternoon walking the historic Civil War town of Front Royal.  The town was in both army's control during that time.  It is now a very nice active downtown that we walked around to view the old buildings from Civil War times.

Today we drove the Skyline Drive into the Shenandoah National Park to do a 3 mile hike.  We got an early start but it was slow going with more elevation gain than we expected.  The Appalachian Trail runs the 105 mile length of the park.  I was glad we only had a 3 mile hike because it took us 3 hours to cover that distance.  That fortunately matched the amount of water we had for us and the dog.

Terri and Eva were always ahead of me today.
On one of the many uphill climbs we hit a ridge that had a great view down into the valley several thousand feet in elevation below us.  We sat on a rock to recover and enjoy the view.

Early in the hike we came to an open area and the sunlight and flowers had attracted dozens of butterflies.  We stood and let them flutter around us as they went from flower to flower.

Life is good....I've got Butterflies.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Waterfall Hike

We spent a couple nights at Peaks of Otter National Park on the Blue Ridge Parkway in western Virginia.  It was at mile 85 of the 469 mile road that goes from peak to peak in the mountains through two states.

One of the reasons we picked that area was for the hiking and waterfalls.  It was going to be a very hot day so we got an early start.

We never saw another person on the whole hike.
We had the wilderness to ourselves.

After descending many hundred feet of elevation we started hearing falling waters.
At the bottom of the gorge was a bridge to cross the river.

Terri decided to climb down the rocks to a place she could carefully jump from rock to rock.
No need for a bridge.
She made it across, so I had to follow.

At this point the water tumbled over a 75 foot solid rock.
Of course she wanted to see what it was like under the falls.

She was yelling, "I'm getting wet."  Duh.

I stayed behind on dry ground.

Our waterfall selfie.
What goes down must climb back up.  The walk back to the top of the falls was just the beginning of the hike out.  The temperature that day topped out at 96.  It was a long climb but worth every step.

Life is good when hiking.