Saturday, December 1, 2018

December in Texas

10 Dec,  We moved fast today! Up early and moving at lighting speed, we met grandson Steven who took two loads of furniture and decorative items to daughter Julie.  The huge storage unit is soon to be emptied of all the ranch and lake house furniture.  Boxes of records are almost recycled.  Too bad we didn't do this three years ago when we sold the lake house.  Ron doesn't throw anything away, including the shirt that he has faithfully worn and worn-out for the past year.

There are a few of my favorite things...
9 Dec, An arctic blast blew into SE Texas, a ‘brisk’ wind, that is more aptly described  as a ‘cold’ wind.  YES! It is cold.  We had brunch with grandson Steven after worship and managed to unload another large box for him to take to his sister Samatha’s home.

8 Dec, Nothing on our schedule today,  but this poses a problem, now to figure out which pressing computer tasks should be first.  It isn’t raining, but 10,000 people in the area are without electric power.  While walking,  we noticed the lake is very high.  Ron’s Trail maintenance is working, the Trail is dryer.

7  Dec,  Its a Mir-A-cle!  7 December and the Christmas cards are in the mail.   Never mind that we are burning the candle on all four ends.   Cynthia wss happy her favorite editor reviewed a Christmas letter to her high school classmates.  It is soon ready to mail.  There are numerous reasons for being happy today.  One of them isn’t the deluge of rain preventing our daily walks.  The rain is almost as heavy as from a fireman’s
Hose at times.

6 Dec, At ten-thirty on the nose, plus two minutes, we pulled into the storage unit to load grandson Steven's pickup to take to granddaughter Corrie in her new home.   Cynthia is delighted Corrie is interested in the Bible Dictionaries, file hangers and folders.  Slowly, but surely, we are emptying out the second storage unit.  It is always fun to lunch with Steven!  Later, we managed a short walk, but the heavens leaked sprizzles and we turned back. The seriUUS rain begins tomorrow with possible flooding.  HOW can two retired people be so crazy busy?

5 Dec, Another trip to Dr. Sim’s office late AM followed by Jason’s Deli for a baked sweet potato and salads got us going early.  The Shoe Hospital fixes purses, so that was a really, really critical stop.   Wally World for food, and fleurs for Smooch Smooch,  rounded out a long day and we were ready for hiking.  The crimson and orange sunset was phenomenal.

4 Dec, NO! We did NOT go to a doctor’s office today!  We DID go to the storage unit to organize the boxes that are going to Granddaughter Corrie.  YAY for us!  Ron worked on recycling, the James Lea Book,  Christmas letters and more of the same in reverse.

3 Dec, YUP!  We had another doctor appointment in the Woodlands; we were at Dr. Sims office by 11:30 right on the money.  Our Christmas letter was printed at Office Depot for a huge sum of $5.00.  The letter will cost $20.00 to mail.  Our friends are well worth the big bucks.  We went shopping at the Verizon Store for a new flip phone for Ron.  That old faithful flip phone got rained on and ti seemed to be dead.  Interestingly, in the Verizon store, the battery booted up a bit with a sign of life but not enough life to get the contacts uploaded to the Cloud.  The old phone did not have a SIM card., so all contact numbers are gone.   So here's the deal... if you phone Ron, your phone number will be in his new phone.  

2 Dec, Rise N Shine!  Ya gotta get up, ya gotta get up!  We do?  Yeah.  We do.  Sigh!  The drive to attend church with Roxanne took an hour.  After worship, we had an early Christmas with Paul’s family.  How fun to see Fyn and Zoe open their Christmas gifts.  Fyn said she wanted soft pink towels because her towels are scratchy.  She was delighted to receive very soft pink towels, a robe, slippers, and pajamas that have her name on them.  Roxanne prepared a lovely holiday dinner for us at her home.  We are mighty full!  Thirty days of thanksgiving were duly observed, ending two days ago and I haven't posted how thankful we are for our life together.  It goes without posting, but we say it often to each other.  Thank God!


1 Dec,  Texas is having near record breaking heat after surprising hard freezes early November.  Is August catching up to us again??  After morning stretches, exercises and oatmeal, Cynthia cleaned the condo.  Ron scrubbed the motorcycle clean.  Ron platted properties for the James Lea book, and we walked to the lake.  The car is loaded with Christmas gifts to bring to Paul’s tomorrow.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

November at the Lake

30 Nov, Nice to sleep in except we were wide awake by five AM. We have the same routine. After the hike we boogied to the storage unit to organize.   Great day. Mammogram is normal. Good bye November.

29 Nov, How can two retired people be so busy?  We stretched, oatmealed, hiked... Ron’s strategy of strength training and cardio on a,ternate days is paying benefits.   Recycling followed workouts, then James Lea book, then recycling, etc. and the Christmas letter was written   Cynthia and her adult children were joined by their dad for a lively, fun dinner to celebrate Julie’s birthday.

28 Nov, Also, Texas accidentally has a New England leaf peeping season.  In early November we had a couple of hard freezes just when Texans are supposed to be enjoying 75 degree temperatures. Repeating November 18th: Thanks to the freezes we are enjoying Autumn dressed to the nines in her fall finery using every Crayola in the box. Breathtaking shades of red, crimson, burgundy, gold, bronze and greens are gorgeous to behold.  Despite our crazy busy schedules we managed to hike twice today accumulating a total of eight miles.  WOW! Are we proud.  Ron completed a full round of routines at the Fitness Center, too.  The large community of deer must be happy, too, because they are bouncing and bounding along the trail. for of aware we are not deer until we get too close.

Also, dear reader: do you wonder why you have to read about our trips to doctors and pharmacies? We keep this record for the IRS! And we do most of our medical trips annually while in Texas.  Another boring day of a medical trip to Dr. Sims in the Woodlands.



27 Nov, was a very long day.  We enjoyed a pleasant lunch in Chappell Hill with Carol S., and her sister visiting from Hawaii.  Following lunch, Cynthia had an appointment in Brenham with the ophthalmologist.   She has dry macular degeneration which is showing regressive changes.  But such is life.  Enjoy life as it comes.

26 Nov, Our rental car exchange created a most interesting vignette. We rent a car when home in Texas. This current rental, a Nissan SUV, produced interminable growling and complaining from one member of this duo (not naming any names) who says the vehicle is unworthy of a Premium price.  Three weeks into the rental, the maintainance lights flashed for tires, oil and filter. “Gladly,” she declared, “I will bring the vehicle back, but I want a different car!”  Imagine Ron waiting patiently in the rental Nissan MENDING his socks when her exuberant voice exclaims, “Its a luxury car.”   Enterprise exchanged the manual operating Nissan for an Infinity with buttons.  Two different world views.  One of us mends socks; the unnamed one likes electric buttons, auto heat, GPS and comfort.  Imagine that!  We do have a mixed marriage:  One prefers Old-Fashioned Oatmeal while the best oatmeal really is Quick Cooking Oatmeal.

25 Nov,  Brunch with son Jon, Merry and Bill (Ron’s longtime friends from Florida) at the Yacht Club was delightful.  Bill and Merry told us about their terrific trip taking Bill's mom and stepdad on the grand tour of Europe for three weeks.  Bill's mom is 90 and his stepdad is a youthful 93.  Later, Cynthia took a long winter’s nap before we walked. The visual effects of gorgeous fall colors are exciting to see.  It is a rarity in Texas because a hard frost rarely comes when there are still leaves on the trees.

24 Nov, Montgomery, Texas - a stellar day!  The weather is perfect; the recent hard freezes dressed autumn to rival New England using every Crayola in the box. The brilliant shades of crimson, orange, and gold dance and shimmer in the sunlight.   By the time of our late afternoon walk, the light changes caused the colors to pop.  Lots of deer frolicking along the trail increased the day's delight.  We agreed it was a fun day.  Grandson Steven arrived at our storage unit mid morning to move furniture Cynthia is gifting Steven's sister, the bride-to-be. The back of Steven's pickup was loaded!  It was fun chatting over lunch at Magnolia Diner with Steven about potential plans to enter law school and the political fray.

23 Nov, Happy Stay at Home and Do Not Do Black Friday!  Well. we almost stayed at home.  We worked on our projects before going to dinner and Wally World.  The James Lea book is back on the front burner; it is not likely to reach the publisher this winter but progress is being made.  Our front bedroom is a sea of files, cardboard and plastic boxes going to recycling,  a shredder, and to a fellow who will take about a hundred hanging files with file folders. Thirty years of financial, ministry building and other project records are being examined and sorted carefully by Ron the Recycling Man.

22 Nov,  Happy Thanksgiving!  We are deeply thankful for you, our family and friends.  We are both thankful and doing marvelously well despite the multitude of setbacks that life deals to us always.  (We just notice the unfairness more as we age.)  We still walk industriously every day and do our morning exercises together and consequently our bodies feel very good in most respects most of the time. We still eat Pritikin, i.e. tons of veggies and no oil no butter, no fat, no cheese, no salt, so I'm feeling fine. 

I continue to work on the computer doing genealogy projects interminably.  Cynthia tolerates my messes very well, poor dear.  She is in constant e-communication with half of the universe, an interesting by-product of retirement for a introverted minister who does not hear well.  (Cynthia approved this message.)  Brother Dean and kids raced in a 5K despite cold and wind.  No surprise that he won first place in his age group. Benjamin and Sarah ran together. Gobble Gobble!



21 Nov, Happy Birthday daughter Julie!  We drove to the Woodlands for Cynthia’s Ob-gyn appointment and on to the Toasted Yolk for lunch,  witnessing a nasty accident on the way home.  Cynthia ordered a case of fat free-salt free pretzels from Walmart because the store is perpetually out of stock. No other stores carry them.  The case is huge.  Ron will have pretzels for three or four months!

20 Nov, Yes! Another day, more doctors.  Ron rides shotgun as Cynthia’s extra pair of ears; her hearing aids aren’t enough listening to mumbling doctors.  The mammogram results aren’t back yet, but the oncologist was joyful Cynthia has reached the milestone of being seven years cancer free.  Yes, we are thankful.  Next year she does not need to see the oncologist, just the PA.   Eating at Jason's Deli in the Woodlands is our reward.  After pigging out we saw Cherie , the PA  in Dr. Sims office, for a treatment.   Ron hauled lots of paper to our church recycling bin.   Now back to work on various computer projects!

19 Nov, Another day, another trip to the Woodlands.   It was time for Cynthia’s annual trip to MD Anderson for a mammogram.  Afterwards we tried to stop at Staples only to be  greatly surprised to discover Staples no longer exists within 29 miles of us.  This means we will use the nearby UPS, not Staples, to shred paper that cannot go to recycling.  The Toasted Yolk fed us nicely after our non-stop at Staples.  And we walked! The rain spurted a bit, just long enough to make a mess on the trail,  Ron, the hiker man got into trail maintenance mode.  Large groups of curious deer cluster along the trail, very young fawns, does, young bucks, a large buck with six antlers delight us with their antics.  But it is too late and my eyes won’t stay awake.




18 Nov, Montgomery, Texas.  Exhausted.  Five hour drive home in a heavy rain the last hour, but grandson Eric's wedding was beautiful.  We need sleep!  But Ron is busy going through years of Cynthia’s boxes of records to take to recycling or shred.

17 Nov, Fort Worth, Texas.  We have had mornings below freezing in Texas already, and one morning I saw ephemeral snowflakes amidst raindrops.  Oh, and ice on the windshield, frost on the rooftops, etc.

We have seen a host of doctors already and attended grandson Eric's wedding this afternoon, a lovely outdoor wedding in a pleasant climate, 72 degrees.  More doctors until the 3rd of December at least.  Cynthia wore her newest cute shoes with high heels (as recommended by a California sister) and suffered mightly.  I had to hold her up while she muttered " I shoulda worn my hiking tennies."

The poor motorcycle hasn't moved in two weeks although it has been washed a time or two whenever it rained to provide rinse water.



Cynthia with sons and daughters...


16 Nov, Errands were run to Lakeside Pharmacy, our storage unit, and Ron waited patiently for Cynthia while she was girlicured with pedi/mani for the grandson Eric’s wedding to Emily tomorrow night in Fort Worth. At tonight’s rehearsal dinner: daughter Julie (mother of groom), Eric  (groom), Emily the bride, and son Jon, brother of julie.


15 Nov, Our deepest sympathy to our niece-in-law, Denise, In the loss of her mother.   Cynthia’s Appointment with the audiologist took an hour, followed by a stop at Home Depot to get a water ph test strip.  From there we enjoyed lunch at the Toasted Yolk with our former landscape contractor and her mom at the Toasted Yolk.  We shopped at Wally World, stopped at the storage unit, tried another Walmart for salt free, fat free pretzels, dropped off a check at the Managemebt Company and managed a 5 mile walk.   We deserved that great dinner tonight at the Yacht Club!

14 Nov, Yet another long, exhausting day at the Woodlands for medical appointments with Cherie and getting labs.  Usually this is all accomplished in the month of January, but this year we are going to Miami late January.  We really enjoy the sweet potato at Jason’s Deli. Our newest great grandson is beyond cuteness.


13 Nov,  Snow in Houston brought a lot of big smiles this morning!   The smile froze into a loud YUK:  A colonoscopy and endoscopy! Yes, YUK! After the three hour ride round trip to NW  Memorial Herman Hospital,  a baked sweet potato at Jasons Deli was a just reward.  The cell phone is still deader than dead.

12 Nov, August heat is gone for awhile!  Brrrr!  Bundled up, we walked a ways before receiving a phone call to go to Lakeside pharmacy to pick up the prep for tomorrow’s medical test.  After the pharmacy stop, we shipped a bunch of 3.5 floppy discs to a business in California that will recycle them; Cynthia shipped the Brooks genealogy to the public library in Troy, Alabama for their loose paper files.  Ron’s phone is dead!

11 Nov, The cross generational worship at our church is delightful.  How fun to see the children assume  roles as readers,  and participating with the pastor in Offering the benediction.  The antics of a set of two year old twins during the children's sermon makes all of the adults smile.  Son Jon, Granddaughter Lauren and her beau, Tyler, joined us for brunch at the Yacht Club.  We miss Yassar, the Maitre D' at the club.  The rains they came, soaking Ron and his cell phone.  Will it work in the morning?

10 Nov, We are counting our blessings!  Thanks for son Jon, daughter Julie and Granddaughter Rachel joining us to see Granddaughter Zoe’s performance in the Little Mermaid.  Zoe, a senior in HS, has won many local and state accolades in musical drama. She graduates mid-December,  planning a spring semester break to travel before she begins college in late August. Zoe is also an accomplished equestrian.




9 Nov. Progress is being made on several DNA projects, plus going through boxes in the storage unit.  These are humungous boxes filled with years of records that go to recycling.  Ron is preparing a zillion pierces of paper, tax records, some from forty years ago to go to the dump, the dump, the dump, dump, dump.  Lunch was a great treat at the Toasted Yolk.  A delightful customer said she enjoyed watching us.  Ron told her the story how we became Smooch and Smooch Smooch. She was enthralled to know Ron hiked the Appalachian Trail, and also that Cynthia was vacationing in a Vietnam during some of that hike. She explained that she has never had a vacation because she is a caregiver for everybody in her family.  Cynthia blessed her.  She cried. Life is good, love shared is the joy of life.

8 Nov: Awake, exercises done, oatmealed and we were in the car for a long drive to the Galleria area and medical center by 7:30 AM, for  appointments that took up the entire day!  Ron made Cynthia’s hairdresser laugh until his belly shook and he had  tears in in his eyes.  It was fun to have fresh Atlantic salmon at Pappadeaux for lunch.  Now that darkness falls upon the earth like a trapdoor by five thirty, it was too late to get in the day’s walk.  Granddaughter Zoe called with joyful news of her acceptance to her number one college choice.

7 Nov, Cynthia is en route to College Station to visit daughter Julie, granddaughter Corrie and her two babies.  Ron is hardly working.  He is good at this job.  Today we are thankful for family.

6 Nov, And thank God the mid-term election is over; no political ads tomorrow.  Cynthia had a girl day at Bambi's and Ron went along to keep her company.  Eating at Jason's Deli is a treat.

5 Nov, Thank God!  Just Thank God.  We woke up!  We are healthy!  We are incredibly happy!  Thank God.  This was another one of those days to run a million kazillion errands.  Cynthia had a medical appointment in the Woodlands at one PM; afterwards, we treated ourselves to a monster-sized baked sweet potato at Jason's Deli.  Cynthia eats a quarter of her potato, so Ron ate his baked potato and three quarters of Cynthia's sweet potato.

4 Nov, Sunday Offering from Cynthia:  
 I decided to post positive thoughts this month to combat the negativity and cruelty so highly visible in the media and on social networks. Each day I will thank God for something positive on our blog and Facebook. 
 I am thankful for my baptism into the mystical body of Christ on this, All Saints Day.  I lit a candle in memory of my father who died on All Saints Day, 1977.  As I lit the candle I reflected on a memory of that day as I grasped the deep meaning of the mystery of the Communion of Saints.  In Christ Jesus we are  connected to those who have gone before us.  At the same time, we are connected to our community. 
“The first service one owes to others in a community involves listening to them. Just as our love for God begins with listening to God’s Word, the beginning of love for others is learning to listen to them. God’s love for us is shown by the fact that God not only gives God’s Word but also lends us God’s ear. . . . We do God’s work for our brothers and sisters when we learn to listen to them."
Dietrich Bonhoeffer

3 Nov, After running morning errands, we walked four miles, once home again, we settled into doing DNA projects on our Macs. Triangulation on GEDmatch.com is a terrific tool, but how to research 500 close matches?

2 Nov. Thank you, Lord, for this gorgeous day beside the lake.  After a four mile walk, we inspected the disaster in the storage unit: Jon moved boxes and boxes of stuff from Cynthia’s former home into our storage unit.  She had forgotten about the boxes.  Now we have to figure out how to dispose of the stuff.   We can’t start a bonfire.   We hauled our personal items to the condo, like shirts.  After wearing the same shirt for the past seven months, Ron wore through the back of this favorite shirt; but the front has lots of wear left in it.  He located a favorite long sleeved shirt from the 60’s  or 70’s that must have been a cast off  from a Haight-Ashbury Hippie.  But Cynthia loves the  blue that matches his eyes.  Tonight’s sunset was a show stopper,  with many shades of blue, lavender, peach, and Rose to delight us on our evening walk to the fitness center.  The deer are out and about, but the numbers seem smaller.



1 Nov. Lake Conroe, Texas. After seven months on wheels, we are back at the condo.  Jon moved a bunch of Cynthia’s boxes that were in his storage unit into ours. It is packed full.  We shopped for groceries and walked to the fitness center knocking out 12,000 steps.  Good night

Monday, October 1, 2018

October Trails on Wheels

Oct. 31, The Feast of the Great Pumpkin has arrived.  And a huge Happy Birthday to brother Dean.  The Smooches are in Nacogdoches, Texas, ready to roll home to Lake Conroe dressed for the part. Thanks to my friend Jane for photoshopping this picture.


Oct 30, Autumn made a grand entrance in Arkansas, dressed in glorious reds, oranges, golds and bronzes,using the whole box of crayolas.  We were in Mena  visiting Cynthia’s Miller cousins, Danny and David.  Her mom and aunts lived here the year of  1932, after their mother died in Texas.   The Miller cousins told us the story  that her Miller ancestors brought their church bell from Dade County, Georgia to Mena in 1859. They gave the bell to a newly founded Miller Chapel church built On land great grandpa Miller donated for church and the Board Camp cemetery.  Eventually, the church closed;  it was torn down and the bell seemingly lost.  Fifty years later the bell was discovered at an auction.  Dorothy Ellison Miller found out the Miller bell was to be auctioned and bought the bell.   It is now back in the family.  We left  Mena  for the descent to Texas after a seven month absence.  At exactly 12:20 PM we were welcomed home to Texas by a big sign.  The landscape changed immediately from colorful forests to ranch lands.  The GPS got us lost for awhile, but it did seem to know where we were, and where we are now is Nacogdoches, Texas.  Our local genealogy cousin invited us to a fish fry college scholarship fund raiser started by her late husband.   Yes. We ate fried catfish. 

Oct. 29, Red! Orange! Gold! Bronze!  We awoke to wonder!   Somebody used the whole box of crayolas everywhere we look.  After a great two hour hike with Duncan we finished packing for a a colorful   ride to Mena, Arkansas for dinner with Cynthia’s two Miller cousins.  We are ensconced in the carriage house of the Carriage House Inn, a marvelous antebellum home.

Oct. 28, What? How did that happen! October is zooming off the page!  That’s what happens when you are having fun.  And we are indeed.   From our bedroom, we saw a marvelous sunrise spread red orange over the Arkansas River Basin,  with ethereal patches of fog floating over the valley.   Its amazing how clean the trails are after we have been cleaning up dead branches and clipping overhanging vines in only five days.   The entire 400 acres of Camp Mitchell was all ours todayuntil a photographer showed up late afternoon.   Ron fixed a few screens on the bedroom porch.  Glory, glory to this gorgeous sunset tonight.

Oct. 27,   What a glorious, golden sunshiny day!   Cynthia is on day 7 of a 30 day exercise challenge in addition to our stretches.  This morning’s routine is increased to 70 squats by adding five a day. Two great hikes today, plus a splendid sunset walk made a perfect day.  The outdoor stone chapel is perched on a rock outcropping, catching the sunrise and sunset.


Oct. 26,  Despite the cool, cloudy weather we managed two great hikes plus a trip into Morristown for grilled salmon and sweet potato dinner at Colton’s Steakhouse.  Just as we returned a stunning sunset cast a scarlet glow on the the trees and buildings.  We raced into the house for a camera and caught the last glimmer of the glow.



Oct. 25 Thursday, Camp Mitchell, Arkansas. Here we are perched on top of Petit Jean Mountain, stuck indoors because of  mist.  It rained a lot last night and it has been misting all day.  Add to that, dense, thick fog which means we don’t have views of the breathtaking Arkansas River Valley.  We are at work on our computers without WiFi!

Oct. 24, Camp Mitchell, Arkansas. The view of the Arkansas River Valley is breathtaking. The morning hike to Stout’s Point, overlooking the Arkansas River and the grave of Petit Jean. We saw a deer, big fat buzzards, road runners, and a walking stick insect.  We rode into Morrilton for lunch and groceries.  Cynthia baked salmon with tangerine sauce and baked sweet potatoes for dinner with Duncan.











Oct. 23, Tuesday: Another pleasant ride from Blytheville, Arkansas on Highway 127 SW through fascinating flatlands with a lot of water in some sort of irrigation project.  We arrived at Camp Mitchell Episcopal Retreat Center on Petit Jran Mountain in Arkansas about 5 PM. How fun to see Cousin Duncan Ely who is Mr. Camp Mitchell. We are his guests until Monday morning.

Oct. 22, Monday: Our plan was to leave Carlyle about ten AM heading for Petit Jean State Park in Arkansas, but we didn’t get on the road until 11:30.  The ride was pleasant but cool, on Illinois 127 south to I_57 to I-55 to Blytheville, Arkansas. Cynthia had on heated gear.   Fascinating to actually see a bright red maple tree, very little fall color has happened because of the heat lasting until a week ago.  Mosof the corn is harvested, with bean harvesting big time sending clouds of dust high in the air.  A big surprise was white stuff along the edges of the Highway in Missouri. What’s that white stuff?  Snow??  Oh my stars! Cotton! Vast fields of cotton ready for harvest line both sides of the highway.  Our bellies are full, thanks to a stop at Ruby Tuesday’s. Enroute.


Oct. 21, Sunday, Keosauqua, Iowa - returning to Carlyle Lake late afternoon.  A hard freeze last night and we are awakening to a temperature of 28 degrees. It is possible the shared bathroom on the second floor of the Victorian Hotel Manning hasn’t been washed for a few centuries.  The sound proofing isn’t good, either.  A herd of elephants danced on the floor above. How did all of those elephants get up threevfloors?  Ron awoke at 4 AM, sister Carol was already awake, unable to sleep, she suggested getting on the road for Illinois.  At eight AM, pulling into Denny’s Restaurant in Litchfield, a phone call to a stunned Cynthia produced, “Holy Moses!”  What a fun time visiting cousins for the first time in 20-30 years.  The cousins litte kids grew up!

Oct. 20,  Driving to Keosauqua, Iowa  with Sistah Carol to Marvin's 50th wedding anniversary celebration, returning Sunday. Carol arrived promptly at nine-thirty AM to have breakfast with us at the Wheelhouse Restaurant.  She gifted Ron a new wool neck scarf of the Clan Little Tartan plaid.  Thank you, Carol.  Thanks to YDNA testing, our Beatty line is genetically Little, with such a unique DNA marker it pinpoints the Borders Reivers (click here), the infamous Beatty and Little low land clans on the Scottish border of England; King James gave the Reivers (horse thieves) the boot by 1600.  Instead of surnames, they used clan names.  Hence, a Beatty woman kept her clan name when she had a child sired by a Little (click here) clansman.  Cynthia loves this pun.  Have recycling, will travel. Yes. a whole month’s recycling is packed to deliver to Litchfield recycling today.

Oct. 19, The move to pack our belongings is indeed slow. Sudokus are more fun. So is DNA!  But we did walk the River Trail.  The new restroom along the trail is completed and the horrid old outdoor restroom has been hauled away. It is now filled in with dirt and grass is planted.  The Great Blue Herons are fun to watch when they are in flight.  Fuzzy Caterpillars are crawling about the sidewalks. The dam is silent; there is no water gushing over any of the four divisions.  Perhaps the Corps of Engineers are getting the lake ready for a mega fishing tournament that begins tomorrow??

Oct. 18, Another heat wave hits Carlyle Lake! The temperature reached a pleasant 60 degrees by noon-thirty.  We racked up close to 10,000 steps during the morning walk.  We first toured the Nature Trail, where we spotted four turtles perched so perchily on a log.  Then we hiked the River Trail, followed by lunch out of the refrigerator in our room.  Don S. thought he was improved enough for company and a Rummy game or two, but partway through the second game he returned to bed.   Now it is time for the second walk of this lovely day.  16,500 steps. Life is indeed good!

Oct. 17, Its a heat wave at Carlyle Lake!  62 Degrees warm.  Ron spent the day with sistah Carol on her farm using lopping shears.  The ATV ran out of gas, but the mower had gas to go get gas to fill the ATV tank.  Carol roasted chicken, potatoes and baked an almost fat free pumpkin pie. From scratch.

Oct.  16, Another day just like the other day, except we walked 7 miles enjoying the antics of Great Blue Herons in flight.  Ron is hardly working.  Cynthia is very hard at work, being an industrious preacher lady, she has completed 6 essays of the #52 Ancestors 52 Weeks with a huge shoutout to Jane B. in Kensett, Iowa, editor-in-chief!

Oct. 15,  Happy Birthday to nephew attorney Benjamin, who reported, “It’s been all downhill since I turned six.”  Our friend Don is still in bed suffering from a cold or flu.  We did our usual routine with eating alot, exercise and more eating. Pritikin is such a terrific program that allows us to eat non stop. The housekeepers cleaned. Cynthia did her favorite exercise: laundry, despite the howl Ron's clothes were just washed last year.

Oct 14, Ann reports Don is sick in bed with congestion after overdoing the gardening.  Hence, no trip to Trenton in 44 degree temperature.  Instead, we walked the river trail, rode to Wally World to replenish our food supply, and we worked on our computers.  Before dinner at the Wheelhouse, we walked the Nature Trail once again and explored the Corps of Engineers outdoor storage. The birds were so fun to watch. The pelicans sat on one side of the jetty while the sea gulls were across the jetty on the landside.  A huge great blue heron was wading in the water foraging for food.

Oct. 13, Sea gulls, great blue herons, and pelicans were out and about while we hiked the River Trail. It was most amusing to see a large community of pelicans gathering, circling, dipping black tipped wings in flight as we approached the hotel.  We wondered if a signal was going out to cluster for the flight south for approaching winter.  The temp is colder this morning, but we managed the 2 mile ride to Walmart to replenish our mainstay vegetables and fruit.  Don's newly planted grass is growing higher!  Cynthia reports a new TV station, "The Chosen" byVidcom. is going to have a TV series about the Life of Christ.  She watched a premiere, The Shepherd.

Oct. 12, Happy 18th Birthday Granddaughter Zoe. Well, we tried to prevent winter’s arrival as long as we could, but it sneaked up on us, arriving with another rainy day. But we did get in a four mile walk on the Kaskawaka River Trail accompanied by spritzes of rain.  The Restaurant next door is open weekends so they baked sweet potatoes for us. It is exceptionally heartbreaking to read about the devastation at Mexico Beach, FL.  One wing of the El Governor Hotel is gone and so is the pool. The town is demolished, it looks like a war zone.

Oct. 11, Finally, summer heat has ceased; the high temperature was 58 degrees.  Why do people post gedcoms on GEDmatch.com that do not show direct lineage?  Junk genealogy.  After the morning walk we got hooked up into more genealogy and time whizzed by so fast it was 3 PM.  Despite the chill, Ron rode to Trenton and helped Ann bring in green tomatoes.

Oct 10, a day of adventure!  The forecast was for thunderstorms so we planned to get in our walk in spurts during rain breaks.  Surprisingly, we were able to walk the dam in mid-morning 45 minutes.  After a couple of hours of computer work on Bankston DNA, we decided to take a second walk because the sun came out, and that's when the adventure began. We were fortunate to hike the entire Kaskawaki River Trail, just coming around the last curve when we spotted ominous black clouds approaching from the west.  And the rain drops started.  We walked up the hill very fast when the serious rain drops began pelting us while we got into our rain jackets.  We boogied so fast staying under the trees and made it to the shelter with our pants and shoes soaked to the skin.  The heavy downpour didn't last more than twenty minutes.  We scarfed down some hot oatmeal and dried our clothes.  Ron rode to Trenton to play rummy with Don and Ann.

Oct 9,  The red-orange sunrise blazed across the morning horizon emitting such a glorious feeling of gratitude: Thanks for this day!  We are doing a great job of keeping winter at bay!  Wherever we go it is hot; today wasn't an exception, except we didn't sweat as much as yesterday.  After buying some mouse poison at the Tractor Supply, we had a pleasant ride to Edwardsville.  Harvest is fully underway with few cornfields remaining to be harvested, and most of the beans yet to combine. Our first stop was the Moto Guzzi Store for a test ride on this Italian beauty.  It performs comparable to our BMW, and it is lighter.  Next stop was the postoffice to return Cynthia's Hoka shoes (they replace under a year for any problems) and we mailed her absentee ballot.  What a surprise to see Maxine (Credit Union) behind us in line.  We quickly made arrangements to meet her in Collinsville for lunch at Ruby Tuesday's. The next stop was the bank to replace some coin sets in the safety deposit box and have Cynthia sign the card to access the box if necessary.  After filling out all of the forms which took forever, the teller let us know that the entire document had to be resigned by others authorized to have access because of adding a new person on the list. The last stop was the storage unit.  Cynthia asked where the space was after the motorcycle was given away?  How is really there room for a mouse inside this storage unit?  If one does get inside, the new mouse poison will take care of that problem.  Lunch with Maxine was so fun.  It cooled off by the time we got back encouraging us to go for another walk.  Good night!

Oct 8,  Columbus Day and Indigenous Peoples Day: I still appreciate Columbus.  Bankston DNA is foremost on the agenda before playing cards with Don and Ann.

Oct 7, Sun: Zooming our way through October, too, with morning stretches, 4 mile walks, we enjoyed a great lunch with Don and Ann at the Wheelhouse Restaurant.  Ron rode into Trenton to play rummy, and beat them roundly once again.  We are likely to stay at the Carlyle Mariners Resort until 15 October.  The Wheelhouse had baked potatoes and tilapia for dinner tonight. It was too late for sunset views on the evening walk.  The mosquitos like Cynthia.

Oct 6, Sat. We did another 4 mile morning walk in August-like heat. Cynthia spent the afternoon on the computer, doing laundry, and wishing it wasn’t so hot.  In the meantime,  Ron enjoyed the afternoon playing cards with the Stalcops, beating everyone! Don’s gardening is done.  He can’t do much by himself any more; he is quite pleased to have the assistance of two extra hands and a strong back.   Don is really celebrating seed that is now planted before it turns cool, allowing it to germinate while the temperatures are yet warm. The ride home from the Stalcops was spectacular riding into the center of vivid double rainbows. The rainbows continued to increase in intensity approaching the hotel.  We dined at the Wheelhouse Restaurant, now open weekends.  A perfect ending to a great day.


Oct 5, Fri. Was a long day! We walked in horrid heat before riding into Trenton to visit a blind minister who uses a talking computer to write his sermons. Unfortunately for us, he wasn’t home. Lunch at Ruby Tuesday’s in Collinsville at two PM filled us up.

Oct 4,  A morning walk to beat the rain with cool 70 degree weather.  Ron rode to Trenton to enjoy the afternoon with the Stalcops hitting golf balls. Cynthia was hard at work on 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks. God answers prayer.

Oct, 3:  We spent the AM walking the dam and river trail until Ron took the yellow blaze trail on the motorcycle.  Cynthia spent the afternoon trying to pull together a Christmas Dinner for our huge family with so many other conflicting schedules.

Oct, 2th!  Ron is enjoying his time with Don and Ann in Trenton. Cynthia was abandoned in Carlyle, but that's ok, there was hiking to do, a lake that held a huge community of seagulls this morning, a black squirrel, and lots of bicycles on the trail.  Cynthia didn’t  want to sit inside.

October - 1th, Carlyle Lake, Illinois: Turn the page to a kaleidoscope of color; autumn soon dressed in her finest apparel.  We are hunkered down at a quiet, pleasant resort with hiking trails, a woods near by, and a room with a view of a lovely lake, in yet another hot week. Ron spent the day with Don and Ann S. Gardening. Cynthia hiked 5 miles after publishing the first of 52 Ancestors a Week Challenge. https://www.treesfrompeopleseeds.com


Walking the Dam

Goshen Trail 

Carlyle Lake Dam

Suspension Bridge Stuff


Saturday, September 1, 2018

Hello September

30 Sept, Mariner's Inn, Carlyle Lake, Illinois.  Cynthia thinks she could live here. The room with a lake view includes a separate living area and kitchenette; a Walmart is within walking distance, and the Carlyle Lake park is lovely.  The restaurant next door offers baked sweet potatoes; and the visitor's center was a timely stop at 5 PM because they close at 6 PM for the winter.  There is a five mile trail across the dam and onto a river walk.  This looks like a great place to hunker down until the the high temperature of the day is below 70 degrees because that is the indicator to turn south to  warmer weather. And this is a good place for Ron to work on DNA and Swedish Colonial Society projects.  Cynthia can get started on TreesfromPeopleSeeds.com. Good bye September!

Praying Mantis 
29 Sept, Fairview Heights - the Hampton Inn after a terrific long walk achieving 10,300 steps; we stopped at Dick E.'s law office and shoved a message with a phone number through the mail slot.  Lunch at Ruby Tuesday was a delight.  After some time with our Macs, we enjoyed the gorgeous day by walking the neighborhood, followed by yet another walk to dinner at Ruby Tuesday’s how fun, Ron discovered a large Praying Mantis.   Now we are back at the Macs; Lance sent a super funny email from the Beatty hometown in Scotland:  his Mac was revived by calling on St. Stephen of Silicon Valley. Cynthia is creating a new blog: http://www.treesfrompeopleseeds.com ...  the goal is to write an essay a week for 52 weeks. She has completed #1 but sent it to her Kensett, Iowa friend and editor;  It is not yet posted.  Ron is smiling even bigger after a big DNA breakthrough.  We hit 18,500 steps today which equals 7.5 miles.  Woo hoo for us.

28 Sept, BMW Service in St. Louis, the headlight for the bike was  replaced, a five hour project.  Now to return coins to safety deposit box - woohoo - forgot the key to the box.  Sistah Carol showed up at Eric's with freshly made tomato juice. The Beatty siblings had dinner together with Eric's family.  Ron had dinner again at Agostino's Italian restaurant with the beloved Smooch Smooch.

27 Sept, Fairview Heights Hampton Inn.  Ron rode to Trenton to visit Don and Ann S.  They picked Cynthia up at the hotel for dinner where Don entertained Cynthia with stories of Ron, the basketball star coming off the bench his senior year dominating the court.

26 Sept, Watching the new Hampton Inn sign get erected over the past week was fascinating ...  but a cliff hanger, because we missed seeing the actual sign raised beforr we left at noon.   Litchfield in the morning and Fairview Heights an hour away by afternoon.  After lunch at RubyTuesday Ron rode into St. Louis to the BMW shop for bike service, arriving late because of construction and detour signs, driving twice as far as he needed to. A romantic dinner at Argostino’s Italian Restaurant led to a 3 mile round trip walk with a gorgeous harvest moon again tonight. Thanks to Denise A. for our photo.   Prayers uplifted for Brett Kavanaugh. Yes.

Silly and Sillier
5 Sept, Oh, what a beautiful morning... ! The usual stretches, exercise, oatmeal accomplished, we walked to Wally World followed by lunch at Ruby Tuesday’s Garden Bar.  Ron rode to Edwardsville for a late lunch with longtime friend Maxine from the Credit Union, mailed a box for Cynthia after forgetting the tape in the storage unit three times. At least he remembered to get the envelope he forgot yesterday at FedEx. The police (in an unmarked vehicle) turned on their red light,  checked out the drivers license which has no violations, and asked a variety of questions.  The reason for the stop is puzzling.  We ate dinner at Ruby Tuesday again,

24 Sept, Ron rode to Edwardsville to visit John and Susan, old friends from SIUE, enjoying a 4 hour lunch with John at Ruby Tuesday's. Shopping and errands were next:  Walmart, then the storage unit to Fedex boxes of puzzles to Sam in AZ, followed by a trip to the credit union and the bank to get coins out of the safety deposit box to gift to nephew Eric. Once the coins were delivered to Eric it was time to return to beloved Smooch Smooch.

23 Sept, Stretches, Oatmeal and Shopping for low sodium bread to go with low sodium breast of turkey was the morning agenda. We did pig out on veggies at Ruby Tuesday's before taking sandwiches to the eVILE older sistah for the afternoon event - meeting a new very close and very lovely relative. The warm, sunny afternoon was indeed pleasant for touring Carol's tree farm and visiting.

22 Sept is much cooler in Western Illinois, but the chiggers are fierce!  Ron's hide is covered with bites.  Cynthia has a few that may have passed from Ron’s clothing or from crossing a mown field while waking to Walmart.  Fels Naptha soap helps the itch. We lunched at Ruby Tuesday's, ever so grateful for the garden bar assortment of raw vegetables; it is too bad the croutons tempt Cynthia, 14 fat grams!  Wally World is a few blocks away allowing more steps to accrue.  Ron rode into Edwardsville to visit Connie McK returning home amidst a gorgeous hot pink sunset and a frigid temp of 64 degrees (54 at 60 MPH).  DNA is ever so compelling now that we are finding unknown ancestors.

21 Sept, Litchfield, Illinois is a cooler day. Ron became a tree and trail farmer again today. Cynthia opted out of cleaning trails after seeing chigger bites that have nearly devoured Ron.  We may lose all of our blogger fans without having exciting hiking and traveling news.  But it surely beats the main stream media. The pacemaker test was sent through the iPhone perfectly!  A good report followed.

20 Sept, In the wee, small hours of this day, Ron finally turned the computer off to sleep for a few hours before the energizer bunny woke him up. Today is another day just like our other days except Ron now has chigger bites.  Dinner with sister Carol at Ruby Tuesdays is always fun. We get to eat so much!

19 Sept,  After a thoroughly delightful breakfast with Bob A., a new motrcycycle afficianado/genealogist,  Ron spent the day at Carol’s tree farm cleaning trails.  We picked Cynthia up at 4 to meet nephew Eric and family In Edwardsville for dinner.

18 Sept, Edwardsville, Illinois home of the infamous Beatty storage locker packed with precious possessions, including an ancient Triumph motorcycle that is being gifted to be refurbished.

17 Sept,  Litchfield, Illinois;  Ron helped Carol tie pink ribbons on the boundaries of the expanded acreage of her tree farm.  Cynthia opted not to ride on gravel roads. We had dinner (spinach) at Jubelt's bakery followed by a meal at Ruby Tuesday's.  That bakery had a huge selection of delicious looking stuff we can't eat; but we stared really good.

16 Sept, 9:00 AM Jacksonville, Illinois and it is 70 degrees already with a promise of 87!  We are outta here to Litchfield,  Illinois, our home in a Hampton Inn for the next week.  After lunch at Ruby Tuesday's (hooray!) we rode to sister Carol's tree farm where Cynthia took photos of Ron's Smiles Through the Years.
Ron's Smiling Christmas Photo for Mom

Smiling Ron Childhood


Smiling Toddler Ron

15 Sept, it is still surprisingy hot.  From Ottumwa to Keosauqua, Iowa it got hotter. We passed through Eldon, Iowa, home of Ron’s great grandmother Julia Nicholson, and Selma, Iowa where his father was born, past the ancestral Forbes Cemetery as we entered Van Buren County, Iowa, where the Beattys and Rambos were early pioneers.  First Cousins Ken and Marvin joined us for lunch,  Ron and Marvin rode to visit the Farm.  Ron and Cynthia got going at four PM for the next leg of the trip, past a trillion zillion cornfields, across the wide Des Moines River, the WIDE Mississippi, and the sorta wide Illinois River, arriving at a Comfort Inn in Jacksonville, Illinois at 7ish.  If you are looking for a hotel, don’t choose this one.
Ron and Cousin Sandy

14 Sept, was hot  I thought we escaped heat once September arrived. We had a lovely visit with my second cousin Sandy in West Des Moines before getting going about 4 PM to beat the rush hour and made it to the Hampton Inn in Ottumwa without incident.  The wind still blew us around a bit, but far less than yesterday.  Again it was far hotter than we like - and I thought that this was supposed to be fall rather than more summer.  Tomorrow we ride to Keosauqua to visit my first cousins Marvin and Ken (also proud owners of Beatty blood through their mothers, my father's sisters).  Then off to Illinois.



13 Sept, From DesMoines, Iowa we made a side trip to Elk Horn, Iowa on IA 44 west for a lovely luncheon hosted by Cynthia’s friends.  SW Iowa is home to the largest Danish settlement outside Denmark.  The early part of IA 44 was very rough so we returned on a different but more crowded road. Iowa is boasting Freedom Rocks, a hand painted history in every county is most interesting.
Classmate Carol visited us at the hotel.

Cynthia's friend Carol, Ron and Cynthia

The Smooches in Elk Horn, Iowa

12 Sept, Northwood to Des Moines, a two hour trip turned into three hours because we took back roads instead of the interstate.  Despite a strong south wind, the ride was very pleasant passing one cornfield after another with a bean field here and there.  Lake Mills, Forest City, Garner, Belmond... towns Northwood played against during football and basketball season. But the most important part of sports was for the cheerleader who also marched in the band.  Our hotel is only four minutes from Ruby Tuesdays where we met cousin Sandy for dinner.

11 Sept, 9.1.1, Forever etched in our hearts. This was a good day to catch up on projects.  Dave, a Rambo cousin, and his wife Pat, joined us for dinner and great conversation.  Packing ensues.

10 Sept, Northwood, Iowa has poor Verizon and WiFi or I would be posting photos from our day hiking at Pilot Knob State Park near Forest City.  Annie and Connie hiked with us on the trail to the second highest point in the state, while Dave and Jim visited at the shelter. We had a great lunch together before visting a waterfall in Fertile, Iowa.  Annie hosted a feast for dinner with Norwegian treats like lefse, cod, vegetables and fruits from their farm. She made fat and salt free bread, cake, etc. Her home is like a museum filled with family treasures. She lit memorial Candles for those who have passed away.
Northwood Friends and Food!

Cynthia at Fertile, Iowa - The Top of Iowa

9 Sept, Elk Creek Lutheran Church was the congregation Cynthia’s great ancestors belonged to and are buried.  We attended the baptism of friends great granddaughter and joined their family for a great  brunch of sweet corn, and grapes. Cynthia did eat the contraband (Iowa beef), but only the patty without a bun. When we returned to the hotel we ate a big bowl of oatmeal.



8 Sept, The Smooch family bounded out of bed at the crack of daylight-thirty to participate in the Tailgate 5K Run.  Ron came in first place in his age group six years ago, despite being the very last person behind Cynthia and Ann.  This year The 5K did not have age groups, so there were no winners in our family. We toured the newly restored Stroheim Building and the 100 year old Miss Winifred hotel  now undergoing restoration. Cousin Ray M. joined us for lunch before we visited a courageous niece who has suffered through cancer of the jaw and tongue twice.



7 Sept,  Northwood, Iowa.  One word surfaced during the two hour ride from MPLS to northern Iowa Cynthia’s hometown: Order.  Farms are well kept, equipment is organized, or parked in machine sheds, farmhouses are well maintained. The same is true of twins with manicured lawns and tidy houses. Perhaps it comes from well ordered Scandinavian or Germanic influence. We arrived about three PM, surprised by a large bouquet of flowers and a basket of vegetables and fruit in our room from Annie and Dave.


6 Sept, Minneapolis, MN on a pleasant, cool, but sunny day.  The steel cut oatmeal was prepared with cinnamon and honey;  honey is a no-no sugar for this diabetic.  Ron is Rockin’ DNA.  Our room smells! What’s the smell in here?  Smells like shoe polish. Aha! It is Mink Oil for leather boots so they don’t dry out.  Ron met his riend/former boss Kurt K. this afternoon and walked across the Mississippi River.


5 Sept, Minneapolis, Hilton Garden Inn, Shoreview: It is a windy Wednesday in MN.  Ron is spending the day with his sister-in-law, Carolyn, treating her to an awesome dinner at McCormick and Schmitz.


4 Sept, Sioux Falls, SD:  Rising early, Ron checked and rechecked the color radar making the determination to go north to Brookings, SD ... immediately, at 9:00 AM to avoid the gully washer soon to hit this area. We turned east from Brookings into MN, with a pit stop in Tyler a Danish enclave famous for Danish pastries, managing to avoid rain until we were close to Fairfax, MN with an inviting cafe. Oh, my goodness. A guy with extreme Daisy Dukes, cowboy boots, pink hair, and covered in body tattoos was a hoot.  The cafe closed at two, so we opted to be Library patrons wait8ng for a break in the rain, which occurred at 3:00.  The rain break didn’t last long!  We got as far as Eden Prairie, MN at 4:00 when more intense rain and heavier traffic called a halt to the day’s ride. We opted to check in at a Hilton Garden Inn.  Cynthia ranted at the idiocy of the reservationist when she tried to book by phone standing in the rain.

3 Sept, Hope you are enjoying Labor Day!  7:30 AM and we were packing the bike!  Cynthia said, “This is one of those rare occasions we are leaving very early!”  Ron said, “It is the ONLY time we have left so early!”   We had an adventurous ride to Sioux Falls, SD through heavy, dense fog this morning. Pea soup.  SD 44 East is a back road with very little traffic, with no farm equipment or school busses on this day.  A pheasant flew up close and personal, a community of wild turkeys and about ten babies gathered alongside the road.  Two deer bounded across the road.  We crossed the Missouri River Lake.  The joy was arriving to find a Ruby Tuesday restaurant in perfect time for lunch!  Ron asked the hotel clerk for a hiking suggestion; we were both surprised when she said, “Yes, the Yankton Trails.”  We ventured forth from the hotel for a great walk on terrific bike and walking trails along the Big Sioux River. We will check weather early AM to see if we dare venture forth very early to arrive MPLS without drowning.  The weather looks clear until close to noon. 


2Sept, Prairie Wind Casino and Hotel:  Breakfast is deli and our only choice is oatmeal. No wonder there are so many unhealthy people!  The buffet offered scrambled eggs, bacon, biscuits and gravy for an affordable price.  We walked through the smoke filled casino to the restaurant, which was almost empty except for a few elderly with oxygen tanks.  But, the hotel was a place to sleep.   The sun is shining, its a beautiful day, birds did an air show outside our window, and we are happy. Interesting to see the bike trails with overhead lighting. The ride through the agricultural Pine Ridge Reservation was most interesting with vast fields of  corn— sunflowers, alfalfa, sorghum, and pasture land with black angus cattle. An abrupt change of scenery occurred crossing into the Rosebud Reservation on 18 east;  the first 2/3 of the Rosebud Reservation were hilly and not good grazing land. An amusing contrast was seeing mostly Hereford cattle on the Rosebud side, while the Oglalla Sioux had only Black Angus. Also amusing was a doe standing by the roadside observing traffic. We were happy to arrive in Winner, SD at the Holiday Inn and discover we can eat cooked vegetables at the Mexican Restaurant across the street.  Congratulations to Granddaughter Lauren for her first full time salaried position as the outpatient therapist for a new psychiatric hospital.



1 Sept, Guernsey, Wyoming was a disappointing night in the Cobblestone Inn.   The scenic ride across pristine Wyoming grasslands turning from green to gold was mdeed pleasant. How fun to see advertising for Wall Drug!  At Lusk, Wyoming we learned about the Cheyenne to Deadwood Trail,  and at Hot Springs, SD we scarfed down an egg white veggie omelet and platter size pancakes with no butter at the Daily Bread Bakery not too far from the Black Hills, and we arrived at the Prairie Wind casino hotel on the Pine Ridge/Oglala Indian Reservation SD for the nights lodging.  This is At least the Cobblestone Inn was clean. Our room appears clean except for hairs on the bathtub. The halls smell like smoke. The elevator is not clean,  the stairs are gross.  Glad we had that big lunch. We have had great experiences staying at casino hotels, they have been clean. Today is the 20th anniversary of Cynthia’s son’s death from Leukemia. Anniversaries of deaths are difficult. The many faces of grief are endless. Tomorrow will be here soon. After all, tomorrow is another day!

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Escaping August Heat

31 August and we are still trying to escape the heat.  Certainly the heat will disappear at midnight with the dawning of September?  Last night Ron, Dick and Fran, stayed up until the wee hours of today. After breakfast oatmeal, we ventured forth from Berthoud, CO to Guernsey, Wyoming to avoid the Kansas heat. A fierce wind tried to blow us back to CO.  A stop at the Virginia Dale Rest Area offered interesting history about the famous Overland Trail.  Such a ride we had ... under surreal skies and over a landscape that looked like the lunar surface.   Wild fires were occasionally visible in the distance, and what appeared to be rain off in the distance, but may have been smoke.  Our Guernsey restaurant choices are Mexican, cowboy and pizza. Ron marched to the market for fresh fruit, oatmeal and new red potatoes to cook in the microwave.  The Rollins Trail is right outside our hotel crossing over the North Platte River, under the bridge, and follows the river to the Oregon Trail Wagon Trail Ruts preserved in concrete.  The round trip walk was about 4.5 miles. Good Bye August.

30 Aug: We had a delicious, long, much needed sleep followed by a pleasant, short ride to Berthoud to visit a Mechem Cousin overnight. How fun to see a Prairie Dog out of his burrow along with a vast field dotted with burrow mounds    Dinner at the Mad Green Restaurant was delicious.

29 Aug:  Ron planned the ride east to the Midwest this morning,  and Cynthia booked the hotels after we arrived home from dinner with Brett’s family. The baby is adorable.  Brett and Jen adore the cake plate Cynthia designed and had painted by a rosemaling artist.  The dogs Entertained Ron.





Denver Botanical Gardens
28 Aug:  We are in Denver, Colorado, enjoying our three-week-old great grandson, Hudson.  We toured the Denver Botanical Gardens with the family while Hudson slept peacefully throughout the afternoon and missed our early dinner at Elway's.

Happy Great Grandparents
Delighted Great Grandmother

Winston the Dog with Hudson and Brett

27 Aug:  We began today at Estes Park, Colorado in the Inn on Fall River.  We stayed in Juniper Cabin, wonderfully remodeled with a hot tub on the porch, two fireplaces, a living room with a jacuzzi in the alcove, so shouldn’t we live here?  The girlie is happy, especially because the “hubsand,” who never discards anything, surprised her by producing oatmeal and blueberries that had been hidden in the luggage.  After packing we rode to the Egg and I for breakfast heading off to the Doubletree in Denver.  Today we rode from Estes Park south on Colorado 7 through beautiful scenery of mountain peaks, switched to Colorado 72 through Nederland to Colorado 119 south thorough more beautiful mountains and then re-entered the real world via the magnificent Clear Creek Canyon shared by that lovely stream and US Highway 6 for 13 miles into Golden, but constrained by traffic ahead and penned in by courteous traffic a discrete distance behind.  Then we were on lightly traveled four-laned Colorado 58 for five miles before being dumped unceremoniously into the frantic hordes on I-70 for fifteen miles until we could exit and find our way to the wrong Doubletree hotel on Quebec street.  (The correct Doubletree was two miles earlier on Quebec street.)  Oh, and we were cool in the mountains but pulled over to take off a couple of coats in the canyon as the heat increased.  The final ninety-three degree temperature fried my brain, but air conditioning is helping.  I may yet recover from the traumas of the traffic and the heat.  (Strange to think that we dropped four thousand feet to end up in the mile high city.)

Northwood escapees sighted in Estes Park !
Ron actually stopped riding at a scenic overlook and posed
One of those clouds that might have sprinkled us
26 Aug:  Today we rode east from Craig, Colorado to Estes Park on US Highway 40, switching to US 35 northeast at Granby, crossing the Rocky Mountain Mountain National Park despite cold and gusty winds associated with nearby scattered thunderstorms.  In Cynthia's words "bracing, fierce, chilly winds whooshing us around."  A threatening black cloud hovered over us the last few miles, but it only leaked on us a little after we stopped at the visitor center for a bathroom break.  Immediately after checking in to our cabin, we walked to Nicky’s Restaurant for dinner with Cynthia’s cousin Richard and his wife Becky, who drove from their Fort Collins home for the occasion.  As Cynthia walked to the restaurant, she passed a crowd with cameras gathered to watch and photograph a small black bear just a few hundred yards from our cabin.  As Ron walked by a  few minutes later, one of the spectators pointed to the bear so that Ron enjoyed watching him moving uphill away from the police who had shot into the air to scare the bear away from the residents and the road.  Cynthia likes the notion that we were the only wildlife we saw until we reached Estes Park.  We had a thoroughly enjoyable visit with Richard and Becky,and we thank them for treating us to dinner.
Not the kind of soft fuzzy place for a comfortable nap.

25 Aug:  In Vernal, UT we packed for today's ride to Craig, CO.  The plan in leaving Pagosa Springsa month ago was to escape the smoke from the 416 fire in Colorado.  It didn't work, smoke from the California wildfires have dogged us in Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, and Utah.  Reports suggest the smoke has reached New York.  Because of the smoke, the sun turns blood red/orange at sunset, an interesting and colorful phenomenon.  Today’s ride began after a late breakfast at Denny’s, prepared to perfection without oil or even cooking spray.  The cook from last night cooked our breakfast again this morning and did an even better job the second time.  The views were marvelous as we rode through Dinosaur, turning southeast to Meeker, and then back northeast to Craig, taking advantage of every twisty turn Ron could find.  Clouds of every shape, including threatening rain clouds, hovered above.  A few times the threat of rain was realized, although not of great significance.  We didn’t get wet!  An Italian Restaurant fed us a lovely salmon, baked potato and smashed potato.  (The chef came out to explain that he had not yet added any butter or milk, that these potatoes had only just been mashed).  Sad that John McCain passed away.

24 Aug:  We escaped the ninety-degree heat forecast for today in Salt Lake City by riding on east on I-80 in heavy traffic up the Wasatch towards Denver.  The snow that fell on the mountains on Tuesday is gone, but the mountains are breathtaking.  Noon is not usually the best time to sightsee, but the mountains were quite lovely with patches and striations of straw, pale green, and green as well as several other colors.  We turned south on US 189 for a few miles, then east on Utah 248 for a few more miles into the berg of Kamas, where we switched to Utah 32 south and then left on Utah State Highway 35 east.  We stopped in Woodland at the Biscuit Company and could not decide if we've eaten there before or stopped to find them closed.  This time they were definitely open, and we both enjoyed a veggie sandwich.  Not much else there that fits our diet.   We continued on Utah 35 alongside a couple of nice streams and over Wolf Creek Pass into more bucolic pasturelands and peaceful valleys kept green with irrigation.  It was a very peaceful and pleasant day although we skirted one mass of clouds and received a few raindrops.  Utah 35 terminated at Utah 87, and Ron guessed that south was the correct direction.  Then we found ourselves heading directly towards a dark wedge of clouds expanding from the horizon towards our chosen path.  We soon recognized the scenery and arrived in Duchesne, Utah about the same time as the leading edge of that mass of storm clouds.  But we needed to make a pit stop, and filled the tank with gas, and were dismayed to watch the storm begin to pelt the pavement beside us.  After half a minute it slowed, and we sped off east on US 40 into variable light rain for about ten minutes.  We soon were back into dry air and enjoying the cloudscapes surrounding us.  It was awesome, and we saw a bonus herd of six or ten antelope within 100 yards of the roadway.   We stayed on US 191into Vernal and discovered the Comfort Inn, where we've stayed before, & Denny's, where we've eaten before.  this time the Harvest Bread Company  we enjoyed a four mile sunset walk as the rain clouds hovered over us, but we avoided more than a spit or two. Smoke from the California forest fires have accompanied us from CO to Montana to Idaho, Utah. was open, and Ron indulged for a half a loaf, but was disappointed that it tasted salty and wasn't as good as he had hoped.

23 Aug:  Thanks to Raquel and Stan L for cherry tomatoes and zucchini from their garden. Ron will have the Jones package completed by bedtime. Cynthia has the Lea DNA Subgroup combined with the Lay Project.  Our big surprise is that we are almost packed for an early morning departure towards Denver to see new grandson Hudson.  Cynthia is doing laundry again: the clothes were just washed last year!  Good night.

22 Aug: The cleaning crew arrived to clean the rooms, and we took off for the Library to photograph records. Cynthia walked back to the hotel to shower at two, Ron returned by 4:38 in light rain. At 4:44 we picked up a hotel umberella because of severe weather alerts; and for once the alerts were right on as hail pelted us for two or three minutes before turning to a heavy rain for another couple of minutes.  By the time we reached the restaurant at five, the rain stopped.  Dinner with Raquel and Stan L, out favorite genealogists, was delightful.  Raquel has done research for Cynthia since 2004 breaking through many brick walls.

21 Aug: Yesterday! The favorite wefee had a Girl day accompanied by her favorite hubsand.  Her hair is even shorter.  Ron walked her home and rode to spend the rest of the day with cousin Roy while Cynthia dived into DNA.

20 Aug: It is a windy Monday in Salt Lake City. We are amazed at the changes in downtown SLC from two years ago. The major construction projects are completed, with new construction creating chaos north of the Temple. The Temple Assn. purchased two city blocks of Main Street to add to the Temple’s landscaped grounds. The flowers are amazing.  Thursday night we may attend choir rehearsal  
The homeless are no longer so visible downtown, most of them have moved south six blocks to our Homewood Suites area. Many sleep in Pioneer Park across the street from the hotel. The city is building a soccer and recreation complex for them in the park, construction in progress. We met the whole community of 2,200 on our walk two nights ago as they relaxed on the grounds in front of Catholic Charities, having received the second meal of the day. Many have bicycles, some are in wheelchairs, and some use shopping carts piled with their possessions. One lucky fellow had a trailer pulled behind his bicycle. The Opioid use and schizophrenia are most apparent. A large medical complex is available for treatment. Sunday, we were walking to the Market Street Grill for brunch when one of the fellows started crossing the street with us; he asked if we  knew of another place for feeding, because he had missed breakfast at Catholic Charities. Ron’s patched shirt was sending a message!!.  Cousins we met for brunch said that homeless come from all over the country (US ) to SLC because of the food, shelters and medical care, etc..
Downtown SLC has motorized bikes and scooters with charging stations. Drop your money in, get on and go to other drop offs. The scooters and bikes have their own traffic lanes and travel very fast. We don’t plan to try them. 
The Family History Library has changed significantly. Now, with digitization the library is a media complex. Sign up and you are given an IPad.  We already have a lot of access to records on the Mac.  Maybe this will work. We are finding items of interest. 
The 24th we travel to Denver to meet Hudson  what fun. Brett said he is a very contented little man. Roxanne returned to Houston yesterday complaining Brett wants to hold him ALL of the time. She did hold him through a two hour nap; he woke up with hiccups and poopy pants so he turned him over for repairs.
The 30th we begin the trek towards Iowa. We travel back, scenic roads, and avoid heat and rain. I think this means we reach Iowa sometime the end of the first week in Sept.  We do not know if we are going through Elk Horn to DSM and see Carol C. en route or if we go directly to Northwood and travel south to EH and DSM. I will post here when the mystery is revealed.

19 Aug: Sunday brunch with Roy and Barbara was a delight. Barbara is such fun!  She recounted hilarious tales of ghosts at the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park. We walked to the Market Street Grill and home for. Computer afternoon. Of interest, a homeless guy with a bike asked Ron if he knew of any other feeding spots since he missed breakfast (presumably at Catholic Charities behind the hotel).   By evening it was time to hit the pavement again for a sunset walk that included touring the magnificently landscaped temple grounds.  Since our last tour, the temple purchased two city blocks at the end of Main Street, that are now incorporated into the landscaped grounds connecting the Joseph Smith building and Brigham Young’s home.  Thurs. night we plan to attend the choir practice.  We totaled six miles walking today.  Never seen before, downtown has motorized bikes and scooters that one hops on, drops money in to turn them on, and takes off racing down special lanes in the wide city streets. Evidently they have GPS systems built in so they can be picked up and returned to charging stations.

18 Aug: Ron spent the day with cousin Roy W. and his wife Barbara while Cynthia worked on DNA projects.  We enjoyed getting lost for forty hours/days/minutes while trying to walk to our favorite restaurant in Salt Lake City, the Market Grill. The split salmon and halibut on cedar plank was delicious!

17 Aug: Salt Lake City, Utah, downtown. Much has changed since our 2016 trip to SLC, heavy construction has shifted north of the temple now that downtown projects are completed.  Homeless have shifted away from downtown proper to Pioneer Park and the Rio Grande area, a block behind the south side of our hotel. Even the family history Library has had significant changes, with records and books digitized on computers.  The FHL is now a mega media complex, which is not intriguing to us. Even so, we found information to add to our records.  Our evening walk was, inadvertently, right through the middle of four or five blocks of tough looking homeless. It was surprising to see so many black homeless considering the whiteness of Salt Lake City. The opioid use and mental health issues were obvious. Such tragedy!

16 Aug: Flying Saddle Resort, Alpine Junction, Wyoming is nestled along the banks of the Snake River.  On this coolest morning we are getting the earliest start. By the end of the day when we arrived in  Salt Lake City, UT it was hot! The ride was pleasant and especially scenic; just as we crossed into Utah we rode past the the Bluebird Inn, a great B and B situated across from Bear Lake, its lovely blue color is due to minerals.  Several spectacular homes clustered the lakseshore for over a mile.  Logan Canyon was mesmerizing. So was a mile long cattle drive on the opposite side of highway 89! Thankfully, the cattle were not on our side of the highway; this was a first time ever sighting for us.  Lunch at the Old Grist Mill Bread Factory was a turkey sandwich and greens for Cynthia,   Ron won’t eat bread; they had little Ron would eat; by the time we left Logan we were shedding layers of clothing. The Homewood Suites had a vegetarian dinner,  except the vegetables were canned, loaded with sodium. After dinner we walked to the family history Library.  A large city park across from the hotel had many homeless and is unsafe at night.  We met a group of young adults dressed in fancy evening clothes,  evidently returning from an event. Upon meeting a trio of scantily clad young girls Cynthia said, “Its  hard to tell the nice girls from prostitutes today.”  Ron said, “They are prostitutes.”

15 Aug: Leaving Cody, Wyoming and riding onto Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Tetons was an all day trip.  While haze from wildfires was a disappointment, the scenery was splendid, takes your breath away glorious.  The only wildlife we saw were water fowl,  a deer and fawn planning to cross the highway in front of us, but we startled them and they jumped back.  Beautiful blue lakes looked like glass.  Gravel, highway construction, plus areas of beetle infestation leaving devastation were downsides to a mostly perfect 75 degree day.  Lunch at the Jackson Lodge was a treaty We arrived at Alpine Junction Resort at 4:30 PM and ate wild, fresh caught Alaskan salmon for dinner, waddling along the Snake River for a brief walk. Now it is bedtime.

My handsome Smooch!
Grand Tetons visible through smoky haze
14 Aug:  Oh, no!  Oh, yes!  Cynthia's scheduling errors compounded.  She must have been looking at a different month on the calendar.  We missed our scheduled check-in at two hotels.  When we arrived in Cody Wyoming, Cynthia was shocked to discover that we were scheduled to have arrived at the Comfort Inn on Sunday night, two nights earlier ... and the hotel was sold out for tonight. Thankfully, the Holiday Inn next door had one room left.  The ride to Cody from Billings was breathtaking, crossing the peaceful, wide Yellowstone River twice and several forks of the placid Clark Fork River many times. Leaving a Rest Area, vast golden fields of newly baled hay presented against lavender hues of the Pryor Mountains.  An antelope played alongside the road.  A couple of black clouds hovered above us, spitting a few rain drops until we out rode them.  A most surreal sight was mist rising up from the hot concrete after the rain; shafts of sunlight were streaming through breaks in the clouds,  like spotlights dancing on the mountains. We arrived in Cody dry!  And hungry.  Ron described todays ride like this: The skies were awesome as we rode south for about 100 miles to Cody.  The forecast was for afternoon thundershowers, and we skirted slightly east of a massive plume of ominous and opaque sky.  We even ducked underneath a ribbon of cloud with tendrils dropping to earth but only got a few scattered raindrops.  With 40 miles yet to ride, we saw distant valleys seemingly full of cloud or fog.  The closer we got, the more it looked like rain until we rode over some wet pavement, and Ron realized that the heat from the pavement was evaporating the moisture creating the foggy appearance.  The rain wetted us ever so lightly one more time, but we rode into Cody warm and dry.  And it has remained dry since.

The Big Horn River canyon must be south of Cody on highway 72 because it wasn't north.  Actually it is south of Thermopolis.

13 Aug: Its a Mir-A-cle, A high today of 80 degrees means a trip to a hiking trail or at least to enjoy the view from the rim.  Cooler weather tomorrow means we leave early morning to begin the journey to Salt Lake City.

12 Aug: Sunday Offering:
Dear Lord, Its one of those Sundays! Our hearts overflow with thanksgiving for your presence that comes in surprising ways: it is a Facebook post about gratitude for friends; it is fat, furry, bunnies bouncing on the patio; it is a beaming smile from the chef; it is a swaddled newborn; it is love from a spouse. Transform our hearts to radiate your presence to a hurting world; open our eyes to recognize your presence in others. Amen. P.S. Thank you for our blog friends.

11 Aug arrived on schedule. We woke up glad to be alive, continuing to enjoy a great life. Venturing forth to walk a couple of miles, at 80 plus degrees, we were surprised we weren’t fried.  Ron’s Jones family group sheet package ran into a glitch; after an entire afternoon it s seems like not a lot was accomplished.  Cynthia is upbeat after a DNA discovery confirmed Linda B’s 11th great grandfather was the Puritan Robert Coe who emigrated to the Colonies in1634.  We must be the most well known couple in the hotel as we walk the halls and stairs at after dinner unti it cools off enough to walk outside.  This is Saturday night,  bath and laundry time,  Cynthia boogied the laundry down a flight on the back stairs in her robe praying no one would see her. Yuk! Spotted! And the guy had the nerve to chuckle. Good night!

10 Aug: Our satirical blog title should be obvious: there is no escape from August heat. A 9:30 AM ride to the hair salon was pleasant, not yet hot.  Cynthia had a haircut, a new wife? What happened to my favorite wife?  By noontime, the heat had escalated, yet, it was quite pleasant having lunch on the shaded outdoor patio by the ponds.  Ron is keeping out of trouble working on Sudokus OKIE mailed to him! Hi Okie! The fitness center worked for afternoon exercise, and a long walk after dinner at the Rib Chop rounded out the day’s exercise except for hand feeding a couple of the fat, furry bunnies. Amazing these bunnies are so tame and seem safe from predators, except for the four wheeled ones.

9 Aug: A severe heat warning was issued for Billings so we walked early,  but we waited too long in the afternoon for the walk to lunch; it was beastly hot, but it helped to jig and jag from the shade of one small tree to the next.  Ron walked again in the evening. It was fun to talk to Mark, the owner of the Moto Guzzi motorcycle parked outside. And it was interesting to see a couple more Hells Angels at breakfast again.  Perhaps they are part of the Sturgis Rally that is just about over.   Ron is nearly finished with another Family Group package.

8 Aug: Brett and Jen had a beautiful baby boy last night. They are over the moon in love with this guy.
Hudson, newest addition to the family

7 Aug:  The heat is creeping up!  Ron completed his GEDcom and uploaded it to Gedmatch.com.  He is delighted to find DNA matches to known ancestors.  Sistah Carol will be so pleased to find more chromosome matching to do when she returns from her trip to a reunion in Iowa.  We are interested in learning if she found takers for the four DNA test kits available to be passed out to cousins.  We walked early.  Cynthia is engrossed in texting family about her new great grandson expected to make an appearance today.

6 Aug: Billings, MT on a cooler than usual day: we forgot to blog. Imagine that.

5 Aug:  Sunday Offering: Find someone you disagree with, someone you think is wrong, and decide to love that person the way you want Jesus to love you. We might be thought well of for our opinions, but we will be remembered for our love.  Become love. 
(from Bob Goff, Everybody Always Becoming) —-

We walked, we ate and we slept the rainy afternoon away.  Now  it is time for Ron to go grocery shopping before the thousand year flood arrives.  The rain ceased and we walked for nearly six total miles today. 


4Aug: Yesterday’s rain cooled Billings a bit. The morning was quite pleasant for walking. A big surprise was seeing 4 Hell’s Angels in colors staying at a Hilton hotel. The two women looked pretty tough, covered in tattoos. Ron cleaned the bike’s Fareng. Email consumed our afternoon followed by a walk to an early dinner at the Rib Chop Restaurant and a later, and longer, walk. The sunset was glorious.

3 Aug: Happy Birthday Jon!  The smooches are in a Billings, Montana hotel, all cozy, during a deluge. After months traveling a very dry SW crying for rain, it is deeply pleasing to be inside watching a down pour outside.  The cleaning crew arrived earlier this morning, leaving the room fresh and enjoyable.  Our chores done for the day, we are relaxing after a noon walk to the Windmill Restaurant; the salad was yummy.    Last night we stayed awake almost to the rooster crowed, looking at weather options and routes for going to Salt Lake City.  The coming two weeks are forecast to be roaring hot no matter which route we take; we would burn up riding in the heat, so we opted to stay here until the 12th of August - departing very early AM to ride to Cody,WY.  From there we ride through Yellowstone on the 13th - repeating a very early AM  departure, arriving in Alpine, WY by evening.  The 14th, we have a  Grandaddy of a ride to Salt Lake City.  God willing, we arrive by evening after a long, hot day.

2 Aug: Bunny rabbits and prairie dogs are the story for Aug 2. Ron fed them carrots.  We walked to the Windmill for super sized salad in 88 degree weather.  Tonight we will walk in Walmart!

Terry the Prairie Dog

Bunny Eats From Hand


1 Aug, Billlings, Montana, Homewood Suites - we tried escaping the heat by riding to Montana, it didn’t work the first time we tried it either. The temperature was 92 degrees today.  Fat, furry bunnies on the hotel grounds are capturing our attention. Very cute.  Cynthia was pleased to find a tailor to alter too loose blue jeans in short order.  Nearby was a five story Hilton hotel that begged us to walk the carpeted floors; we amuse ourselves by walking the floors of hotels to we can stay cool.  Lunch at the Windmill Restaurant was very pleasant with nice grounds and lakes for walking. Our noses were buried in computers for the afternoon.  The hotel has free suppers besides free good breakfasts. And that was our day.