Monday, October 2, 2017

Following a gorgeous Fall into October

20 Oct, Raleigh, NC Archives: How fun to see our friend Gaye, the smiling receptionist.  We had to wait to ride until the fog lifted at ten AM; the ride took 90 minutes and 63.4333 seconds.  The research is productive. Cynthia needed the 1771 Petition to form Caswell County out of Orange.  The signatures are key to proving which James Lea married the Bankston daughter.  Ron forgot to move the motorcycle after an hour, but four hours later there is no ticket and the bike is moved.  Ron called the UNC Medical Center in Chappell Hill and learned an echocardiogram was indeed done with the reports sent to our cardiologists in Houston. Ron does not need to repeat the test.

19 Oct, Hello Fall on gorgeous Hyco Lake.  The fog lifted early, the sun sparkles like trillions of diamonds on the blue waters.  Ron cooked egg white veggie omelets.  The master suite jacuzzi is really huge and awkward to enter; it had to be designed by a huge guy or for a party of six in the bathroom.  Cynthia's cousin Randall is visiting us to discuss plat maps from 1755-1830 for Cynthia's book about the Leas of Caswell County.  We ate lunch at Dockers Grill and walked home.

18 Oct, It is a very Foggy fall morning at Lake Hyco, NC.  The dense, eerie walls of mist didn't lift until 10:00 AM. We waited for the temperature to rise from 49 degrees before we ventured forth on a five mile walk. Happy US! Thanks be to God.

17 Oct, Tues: Fall on Lake Hyco, North Carolina.  Once again we are enjoying the Lake Hyco house with off season rates; it has a marvelous view of the lake from most rooms of the  house.  We do need food! This meant a ride to Roxboro, NC where we thoroughly enjoyed spinach and strawberry salads at the Brookfield Grill.  On to the library for research and to Walmart for a food buying spree.
View from the house
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16 Oct:  We left Waynesboro, VA and enjoyed a lovely ride driving south on the Blue Ridge Parkway to US Hughway 501 and turned SE to Lynchburg, following the James River.  The Ruby Tuesdays in Lynchburg was closed.  We continued on to Danville with anticipation of the Ruby Tuesday's there; talk about disappointment... it was closed, too.  Oh, well! There was an IHOP not far away.   By 5:30, PM we arrived at Lake Hyco in Person County, North Carolina to resume working on the James Lea book and enjoy lakefront views for 10 days, God willing:

15 Oct, Thr Appalachian Trail in the Blue Ridge Mountains of VA.  Yes, Virginia is for lovers and hikers, too, especially us on a gorgeous day like this one.  We hiked from Beagle Gap over Calf Mountain and towards Jarmin Gap.  Just when we thought we wouldn't see another thru- hiker, we met three of them.  Flip has 160 miles to complete his thru-hike by the time he reaches Harper's Ferry, WVA.  A couple was southbound this late in the season, possibly hitting cold and snow in the smokies next month.  The female of the two will be a freshman at MIT.  We had a super filling lunch causing a big stomach ache for Cynthia; Ron eagerly hopes it is morning sickness.    Happy Birthday nephew Benjamin!

14 Oct, Waynesboro, Virginia:  Staring out the hotel window at thick fog at noon thirty, we are thinking about walking about to Ruby Tuesday and Walmart.  The forecast promises us better visibility by mid-afternoon. Ron rode to Skyline Drive and hiked 6 miles.  Cynthia worked on DNA.

13 Oct:  Friday the 13th before Halloween, but we are not superstitious.  We extended our stay in Waynesboro, Virginia until Monday.  The forecast is for cooler weather and very humid; the fog is very thick this morning, so Ron is blogging while we wait to see if it will ever clear.  Always rejoice, always.  Ron snacked on shredded wheat all morning, then we went to Ruby Tuesdays, and he is now stuffed to the gills - uncomfortably full, and checking the forecast to decide when to ride to ALDIs and Safeway for groceries and fat-free, salt-free pretzels, his miracle absorbing-water-to-sleep food.

Photos don't begin to do justice
12 Oct:  Singing in the rain, just hiking in the rain!  Jarmin Gap Trail was an enchanting place to hike and sing in the rain:
Why am I smiling
And why do I sing?
Why does October 
Seem sunny as spring?
Why do I get up
Each morning and start?
Happy and head up
With joy in my heart
Why is each new task
A trifle to do?
Because I am living
A life full of you.
to the beauty of the fall fog
Although we had to ride a little farther through intermittent fog (Isn't it strange when you round a curve in the mountains and the fog suddenly disappears - or suddenly re-appears?), we stopped at the Jarmin Gap trail head in order to have an easier hike to reduce bodily distress, ... and it apparently worked.  Cynthia was hesitant to commense hiking in the least little drizzle that greeted us as we parked and wondered for most of the hike if we were actually being rained upon, but Ron steadfastly held that it was just cloud and dripping trees, as it appeared to him.  Since we carried our ponchos, we had nothing to fear except running out of trail food (jelly beans).  It was amusing to discover several somewhat large branches that had fallen onto the trail since our previous visit three days ago.

Ron waving goodbye as the fog enshrouds
11 Oct, Waynesboro, VA:  Today as we started riding towards our hike, Ron noticed that the top of the mountain was in the clouds, entrancing to see the cloud decapitating the forested mountain - no top just a clean line of cloud.  Along the parkway we encountered pea-soup fog and were quite startled to come upon a new vehicle with inadequate taillights; is seems so strange that the newbee designers can embrace form over function without enough seasoned supervision to catch their inappropriate designs.  Since the fog was thick, we stopped short of our intended hike and started at Beagle Gap, enshrouded in thick fog (as you can see to the right).  The hike to the top of Beagle Gap was delightfully colorful, but when the cloud started actively wetting us, Cynthia voted for turning back because of the rain; Ron contended that it was just a wetter part of the cloud.  (Truth be told, it was a light rain.)  We continued to the rock pile at the "summit" and congratulated ourselves on our 10,000 steps hike.  We got off the mountain by 4:30 and dined at our favorite, Ruby Tuesday, where Ron can happily eat salad until over-full.

10 Oct:  Our favorite color is October.  Today's 4 mile hike wasn't difficult, but it was very humid.  We hiked from Jarman Gap to the the designated sitting rock at the top and on down to Sawmill Run Overlook on Skyline Drive.  This was one of the longer hikes we did in June, so it was reassuring to find that we are in better condition now than then.  Cynthia loves her gift of roses.  Our granddaughter Lauren said she misses us and sent a photo with her aunt Julie, our newest hiking pal.

fleurs fer de feme
little Lauren & auntie Julie
foliage underfoot, notice flesh tones 
fall colors in Virginia (Virginia is for lovers)
9 Oct, Waynesboro, VA:  Forecast calls for a high of 82 humid degrees, but the rain has stopped, so we will go hiking sooner rather than later.  Our five-mile hike felt like twenty; we hiked from McCormick Gap up over the mountain to Beagle Gap and back.  It was hot, humid, and the little gnats were obnoxious. Lookie at the photos, Mother Nature used every crayola in the box, even flesh tones!  We have a jacuzzi suite, so Ron filled the jacuzzi with water before discovering that the jets don't jet.  He enjoyed a nice soak and fell asleep before Cynthia finished the laundry.  Later he slept five continuous hours without awakening.  That doesn't happen often any more.

8 Oct:  Oh oh!  Rain is forecast for 3 days.  Will we make it to Waynesboro, VA dry??? No?  At 10 AM, it is raining, with increasing thunderstorms forecast.  Will we ride today?  We did!  Ron watched the color radar and the predictions faithfully and decided to leave about 1:42:37.  Frequent isolated raindrops damped us and stung Ron's eyes en route to Frederick, MD and south to Leesburg, VA on US Highway 15.  Our GPS discovered a multitude of charming smaller roads to cross over to VA highway 7, where we turned west on 7 until it intersected US 340 south.  It was amusing to find ourselves on the same road again after detouring south on 15 to avoid the increasing rain on 340 west.  Ron was content to follow 340 all the way to Waynesboro until he saw the sign for Skyline Drive, whereupon we detoured for 60 miles of gorgeous yellows of all shades from BRIGHT to purple and rust.  At higher elevations the clouds laid on top of the mountains and provided a surreal experience, driving through patches of heavy fog.  The K1600GTL has fog lights, but I cannot say that they helped at all.  Ron slowed down to the speed limit in the fog, not at all concerned about vehicular traffic, but quite concerned about four footed traffic, especially deer and bears.  Unfortunately we saw neither.   After a scenic and very enjoyable twisty excursion, we exited onto US Highway 33 westbound and turned south on US 340 for the third time until we arrived in Waynesboro before dark and DRY!   Fall!!!, Mother Nature used every Crayola in the box!  We checked into a jacuzzi suite at the Comfort Inn and enjoyed seeing our friends at Ruby Tuesday.  Ron ate Sooo much salad, partially because the final set of DARK clouds arrived to deliver a real cloudburst after we had walked to Ruby Tuesday and were seated and eating, Thank God.  Cynthia's Accuweather said that Ron, already full, needed to eat one additional small plate of salad before the rain would stop.  Ron walked to Martin's Grocery to buy salt-free, fat-free pretzels which absorb lots of water from the system, allowing him to sleep several hours at a time.  We slept very well indeed.

7 Oct:  We are in Mount Airy, MD, celebrating fall, plus Jim and Joni's first wedding anniversary; Cynthia officiated at their wedding a year ago October 16th.  A crew was here filming a mystery movie on Jim and Joni's pond.  We were filmed returning from a long walk; hopefully it won't end up on the cutting room floor.

6 Oct:  Matamoras, PA, bound for Mount Airy, MD to visit Jim and Joni for the weekend.  The window view of Fall in her colorful finery is marvelous.  We drove south first on PA 209 and 225 south, 100 east before I lost track of the numerous highway changes. The traffic was extremely slow near York, PA, and it was very warm sitting in traffic.  About two PM we found a Ruby Tuesday's for lunch, pigging out so much we thought we didn't need dinner.

5 Oct:  We departed eclectic Brattleboro, VT where every third person has green or purple dyed hair and one in five is an old hippy; people watching has been fascinating.  The temperature forecast is a blessed 72 degrees; with sunshine on our shoulders, we ride towards the Delaware Water Gap; VT Highway 9 west, although slow because of construction, featured fashionista Fall in an extravaganza of eye popping color between Brattleboro and Bennington.  We stopped just before Bennington at Papa Pete's for a huge second breakfast/lunch that was beyond delicious.  Oh my goodness, 14" pancakes!  Ron ate a stack of two besides his egg white veggie omelet, which was also large; he was full for the entire rest of the day & night.  Crossing into New York, VT 9 becomes NY 7 south we soon turned west onto NY 22, thereafter turning onto the Taconic State Parkway for a short distance.  We wiggled west and south around New York City until we reached US 209 south to Matamoras, PA and the Hampton Inn for a good night sleep. We are still full from lunch. Good night!

4 Oct, Brattleboro, VT:  Lunch with Eddie and Beanie at Whetstone on its patio overlooking the Connecticut River.  The huge salad was delicious.  Our hearts are heavy over the hurricane disasters that have affected thousands including friends. The senseless massacre in Vegas is gut wrenching.  Equally insane is politics instead of compassion.

3 Oct:  On the road again! We departed for Brattleboro, VT by noon thirty plus thirty.  The ride on VT 100 south to VT 103 south to 11 east and I-91 south was spectacular.  Cynthia particularly enjoys the views of the several lakes which border the roadway.  Eddie and Beanie are not available until tomorrow, so we plan to meet them for lunch.  Left to our own devices for dinner, we tried the Brattleboro Food Co-Op and enjoyed huge, fresh, yummy salads.

2 Oct:  We delivered Julie to the Rutland Airport, packed and ready for her return trip to Houston.   She laughed heartily as we waved kisses at her while she was going through security.  After returning the rental car we visited Patrick, the former ILT chef, at his new business in Chittendon.  We spent our afternoon packing and doing laundry.  Our room smells fresh like New Tide.

Julie & momma on toppa Killington in Vermont
1 Oct:  Fall colors aren't peak yet, but brighter reds are peeping.  What an exciting day!  The forecast is  62 and sunshine by late afternoon.  We took the local bus up to the Killington Ski Resort, rode the gondola to the ski lodge, took the short trail to Killington Peak for a photo op (as shown), and then hiked 7+ miles down to the Inn at Long Trail for Julie's big adventurous hike.  Julie and Cynthia did great on their hike; Ron, on the other hand, sprawled once onto a flat rock without injury, but mis-stepped onto leaves covering nothing beside the trail and dropped onto his left hand and right knee hard, damaging both; they still hurt ten days later.  Julie has taken to trail maintenance with pleasure; we moved several large logs off the trail following her suggestions.  By late afternoon, the sun sent slender rays of sunbeams into the forest and onto the golden leaves now carpeting the trail.  It was spellbinding.  We were so tired and happy to be back at the inn in time for dinner.
photo from Julie, tail gating

Cynthia feelin' fine at the Van Trapp Lodge

daughter Julie

Friday, September 1, 2017

September Strong

30 Sep: Stowe, VT - Von Trapp Family Lodge, a great drive on Highway 100 to Stowe, with a lovely hike and lunch.  Ron and Cynthia, Ron and Julie

29 Sep: Our really big hike was 6.78 miles and a good time was had by all of the survivors.

28 Sep: The forecast is 54 degrees by noon.  Cynthia's daughter Julie arrives at 3:00 from Houston to hike with us for several days. Three of us don't fit on the bike so we rented a car. WooHoo! We are excited to show Julie Vermont. The temp high hit 71 degrees instead of forecast.

27 Sep: We slept late!  Another 80 degree day with a lot of humidity made today's hike uncomfortable until we reached a high elevation. Ron slept for two hours late afternoon.

26 Sep:  Gifford Woods State Park hike is on for the day. Andddddddd! We did it!! A terrific hike was had by all of the survivors.

25 Sep: Summertime in Vermont!!! 86 degrees forecast again today.   With a little bit of renewed energy we hiked 4.5 miles to the ski run and return.  Why is it getting dark so early? We would like to go back to May and start summer over.   Comment from Annemarie:
Dear Cynthia, It was a pleasure to meet you and Ron! Hope you keep glowing together :-) You should come visit Copenhagen and see how different it is from Elk city. Best wishes from Annemarie (the Danish girl in the lounge) on July- Mrs. Beatty's Birthday!

24 Sep: The weather is a warm 86 degrees in Killington.  We hiked to the sinkholes enjoying an interesting conversation with a woman searching for ceremonial stones from "pre-contact European." Curious about the pre-contact phraseology instead of using the term indigenous, Cynthia searched Google for New England ceremonial stone markers.  Apparently, there are several theories about unusual New England stones, ranging from indigenous peoples,  to Celts,  or even Scandinavians.  An archaeologist/science guy from Brattleboro, VT summed it up calling the stones historical, but not ancient nor indigenous relics. Instead, he believes they are root cellars created by the earliest European migrants. We will keep our eyes open for stone markers pointing due north.  We feel terrific, happy to be together, thanks be to God.  Life is good.

23 Sep, Vermont Hiking!  A short 2 mile hike (puffing and huffing) proved ten days without exercise is not good!  How fun to discover a Comment posted to our blog from AnneMarie in Denmark, one half of the adorable young couple we met at the Hilton hotel in Boston 11 days ago (JOY!).

22 Sep, Killington, VT: Heavy mist and chilly weather pursued us departing Boston on  bumpy roads.  Stop and go. Go then stop.  Once we reached Highway 16 west,  traffic eased, speed increased and the rain stopped.  Highway 2 west was a winner, light traffic allowed good speed.  The sun flirted outrageously, warming us nicely at times.  Lunch at the Old Colonial Hotel was lovely. Turning onto I-91, we really enjoyed the Vermont Welcome Center, certainly one of the finest in the US.  The best part of the ride was Vermont 100: the late afternoon sunlight splayed across the mountains, fall foliage was reflected In rivers and lakes.

21 Sep, Carlisle, MA:  Clear and cool weather this morning, a nice change from the cloudy, rainy past couple of days.  Cynthia returns today, and we are both excited to be together again after a long week apart.  Forecast is for no rain today and tomorrow.  Today's immediate tasks after oatmeal are to take photos of the XYWrite manual and to pack for departure.  Bye. While it did rain/pour enroute, by the time Cynthia arrived at the Houston airport the sun was shining.  She was upgraded to Bus. First and boarded with thanksgiving.  A backward glance to Tuesday morning for further reason to rejoice: the oncologist ordered further diagnostic tests that were imperative to do (diagnostic mammogram and ultrasound) within the week. The tests were scheduled for Wednesday AM, the same time as the return flight to Boston. After scurrying, the flight, hotels, car rental were all changed.  The joyous news: the tests were negative.  WooHoo!!!

20 Sep:  The forecast of rain all day moderated into less than 50% chance hour-by-hour, so Ron rode off in a heavy mist toward Plaistow, NH to visit MIT buddy Sock.  I-495 was stop and go for miles approaching some construction, so he took an exit labeled Massachusetts highway 133 and was delighted to drive right by familiar sights: the house where Penn Clower formerly lived and the cemetery adjoining Tuna's residence.  However it had been raining lightly in the traffic jam on I-495 and was still misty, so rather than call Tuna, Ron continued to the Uno restaurant and enjoyed a wonderfully pleasant visit with Sock.  The return trip was also nearly completely dry, so the day was a complete success.  Chris again delved into her recipe box and prepared a veggie soup that was quite good; Ron liked it best with oatmeal in it.

19 Sep:  Dawn revealed another foggy morning in Carlisle, and Ron rode the motorcycle on wet roads to Market Basket for oatmeal and frozen berries.  Frozen berries are best because they cool the oatmeal to eating temperature much more quickly.  Oops, I left the cell phone in the apartment and am now past due for pills and a call to my beloved. showed no rain en route although there was a persistent mist in Carlisle, so Ron rode up to Sharon, NH to visit friends Margie and Richard.  The visit went astoundingly well.  Margie wanted to go for a motorcycle ride, so we rode through Hudson, NH to a lake and back through Jaffrey to find that the best display of fall color was in their back yard.  Richard and I enjoyed a good conversation about the joys of getting older, and Margie cooked up a delicious stuffed squash recipe without oil, butter, fat, cheese or salt.  The return ride was also surprisingly dry.  Chris cooked a ratatouille that almost  fit the diet, so Ron was able to enjoy a bit of that.  Cf. last sentence of previous day; whew again.

18 Sep:  My beloved is sick in Texas with a bahhhddd cohd.  AhhChoo!  She spent the day in bed without substantial improvement.  Ron visited Richard again to day after stopping at Trader Joe's for cacao and Whole Foods for California Baby Calming Cream.  Bob, a volunteer, showed up at the dining hall and chatted for half an hour before wheeling Richard outside for fresh air.  Ron rode out to Maynard to visit Bob & Rachel, who are preparing to move into Arlington.  As a bonus, Aletta was helping, so Ron was able to watch all three bounce off each other while trying to organize the household for an open house this weekend.  Of course, Ron helped as much as possible by carrying stuff downstairs into the basement/ garage.  After returning to Carlisle, he again retired "early" - before midnight.  My pill alarm goes off at 9 PM, so if I excuse myself to take my pills and more importantly, to call my beloved, Dave and I can actually stop talking before 10 PM, and I can get a good night's rest.  Whew.

Smooch Smooch Smooch, I love you
17 Sep, Carlisle, MA:  & Smooch to SmoochSmooch.  Dave and I need to stop talking before 1:30 am.  The sun rose at the usual time this morning, and my fog lifted to some degree by the time the 9 AM pill alarm rang.  Now it is time to walk the driveway while calling my beloved before circumnavigating Boston to Hingham by motorcycle to visit Maggie.  The happy beloved in Texas adds: "Look what arrived in the mail with an Elvis stamp:"

16 Sep: From Houston, TX - to Smooch... you are greatly missed!  The areas where our family lives are not damaged, although the Hurricane evidence can be seen in downed trees and fences.  The traffic has improved but is quite heavy.  There are large areas without school.  The shelters are emptying as folks are moved into hotels.  Ron met Linda and Hamilton at noon at Not Your Average Joe's (click here) restaurant in Burlington for a delightful couple of hours of adult conversation about ailments, injuries, muscles, joints and doctors.  Hamilton succeeded in appearing awake despite being witness to this conversation.  For dessert, Ron ordered a bowl of sorbet that was SO big and SO good that he ordered a second serving.  Amusing that Ron's single temptation during this "vacation from adult supervision" is overindulgence in sorbet.

15 Sep - Carlisle, Massachusetts:  Ron is being hosted by Dave E.  while Cynthia races around Houston: Mammogram, lunch with daughters, shopping for Fyn, dinner with granddaughter Samantha.  Our boxes have been shipped to The Inn at Long Trail in Killington.  Ron rode over to Watertown to visit Richard and is overjoyed to report that he witnessed Richard walking down a short hallway and back to his wheelchair.  This was amazing and wonderful, Praise God.

14 Sep:  Cynthia has labs early AM, appt with the ENT and RX.  Dinner with realtor Barb S.  Lacking adult supervision, Ron and Dave stayed up talking until 2:30 am; then Ron stayed up reading about printer fonts another hour or more.

13 Sep:  Ron is visiting MIT friends through the week.  Cynthia has manis, pedis, and a hairicure with Sasha today.   Cynthia's hairdresser lost his home during the hurricane.

12 Sep: Cynthia is Texas bound causing heavy hearts for a long week.  Weather was good in Boston and Houston; the flight was on time.  Ron rode with Cynthia on the hotel shuttle to the airport and had to wait 45 minutes for the shuttle to return him to the hotel to pack.  The flight was fine the drive in Houston was amazingly good after reported traffic concerns.  This will be a long week.  Ron will be without adult supervision ... uh oh.

11 Sep: We changed hotels, 3 miles away, because of confusion booking with 3 Hilton properties at the airport.  Ron was up till the rooster crowed this morning, working on another Swedish Colonial Society Project.  He manages to be refreshed with minimal sleep at times.  Earning hotel points, we are invited to the executive lounge for breakfast (on the 10th floor overlooking Boston and the Harbor).  Today is Patriots Day to honor first responders.  After 9-11, Irma, Harvey, wildfires, the message resounds, we will endure... we are strong.  We are Americans.

10 Sep: Boston, MA  Our morning was wonderfully lazy.  We worked  on projects and distressed over  news of fires and hurricanes.  MIT is almost visible from our tenth floor window also overlooking Boston Harbor and a corner of the airport.  The temperature is 70 degrees with partly sunny skies, but it is cool enough to wear warm jackets.  We toured along Boston Harbor and drove the causeway onto Winthrop Island enjoying spectacular views.  The housing on Winthrop,_Massachusetts. is not gentrified like Nahant Island. Most Boston roads are really rough and/or rutted.  The Walmart near Revere Beach is, maybe, the second worst ever.  Our next stop was Lynn Woods Reservoir for an hours walk; we puzzled over a dungeon in a rock:  The executive lounge was open serving veggie snacks; we met a delightful couple... he from Boston, she from Denmark.  The sunset was enchanting.  It is always a great day to be alive, thank God.

9 Sep: Peabody, MA -- pronounced PbuhdE.  Sometimes we stay at a Holiday Inn when the price is right and they cook to order; it wasn't so great today.  The ride to Nahant island on our touring machine, the horseless cycle, was quite pleasant; the homes overlooking Boston Harbor are indeed beautiful.  The highlight was lunch at Tide's sharing a crock of New England clam chowder.  Mmmm.  Parking at the Boston Logan Hilton  is $45.00 a day.  Ouch!!!!  And they don't even have a laundry.  I shoulda checked the Hilton listings closer when making the reservations for the 9th and 10th.  The reservations were supposed to be at the Airport Hilton Garden Inn.  We move there tomorrow.
View of Boston Harbor from Tide's Restaurant:

8 Sep: Boston Bound -- we were packed, ready to roll by 9:30 AM after a good-bye to the rugged coast of Maine.  Breakfast at the Island Grille worked well for us.  Ron took photos of an iconic New England church, cemetery and rock fence for Dr. Arain.  (We drove on Highway 1 to I-295 to I-95, switching to the very slow 1 and back to I-95 again.)  Despite being on major highways,  the views of lakes and turning leaves were exceptional.  Cynthia spent 2 frustrating hours on hold with Lifeock after learning about the Equifax hack; we cancelled our subscription a year ago; now we are signed up again.

7 Sep: Bailey's Island, Maine enjoying new friendships and the Driftwood Inn --  once one of the 100 best inns in America.  Our new friend, Andy (attorney from Las Vegas) told us we missed a great night in his cottage when L.T. Smooth, musician from New Zealand, played guitar and sang.  LT played with Stevie Wonder for the Trunps in the White House a month ago.  Our camaraderie continued as we walked the shore trail and Washington Street to breakfast.  Andy has fascinating stories to share about his days as a young attorney and he is an Abraham Lincoln history buff.  But, now we do the "Maine" thing and watch the high tide roll in.  The sun was warm through the afternoon.  We enjoyed another seaside walk before riding to the Dolphin Marina for dinner.  Our new friend Andy was gone when we returned.  Now to pack for the ride to Boston tomorrow, early.

6 Sep: Irma - another  storm we don't want is bent on destruction.  Mother Nature always bats last.  What is meant by "Old Maine?"  Fishing boats, lobster pots, cedar shakes on vacation inns with one shower per floor (thank goodness for modern sinks and stools in the rooms), walls that speak, and a musty smell.  The guest cabins aren't winterized. Yet, we are surprised at the number of people we see.  The roads on Bailey's  Island are better than in Bangor, so tourism pays.  Yesterday was the Inn's last breakfast of the season; we walked the 1.25 mile to Bailey's Island Grocery that also serves meals.  Ron makes oatmeal by heating water in the coffee pot and adding fresh blueberries.  The afternoon rain stopped -- opening a window of opportunity for another walk on the shoreline trail.  Fascinating to see the fishermen casting from the rugged shore.  By the time we reached the end of the trail, the rain returned - and a nice guy in a pickup offered us a ride back to the Inn.  Ron enjoyed the afternoon visits with new friends on the cottage porch while watching the waves pound the shore.

5 Sep:  14 guests left yesterday with 5 new ones arriving meant we had only a few people for breakfast.  Screaming seagulls interrupt solitude.  Watching waves crash at high tide is a perfect solitude pastime.  Ron is nearly finished with an extensive research project with another one needing completion sooner rather than later.  Cynthia extolled a biography of the actress Marlene Dietrich, written by her daughter Maria Riva, for its historicity.  She finished the lengthy tome last night and started reading The Shallows  by Nicholas Carr.  The Carr book is research on the changing brain, "The internet is changing our brains so we lose the ability to contemplate."  After reading we walked the rocks and climbed on our touring machine for more exhilarating views of the island.  We stopped at the market for two days worth of food because rain is on the way.  SeeView from the porch and photo of Ron hiking rocks

4 Sep: A glorious day... all the day long. The temperature was a perfect 72 degrees with blue skies and brilliant sunshine.  After bouncing gaily over the shoreline rocks, we rode to the popular Dolphin Marina for lunch followed by walking the Curtis Farm Heritage Trails at the Coves.  Dinner at the Driftwoid Inn was a split entree of blackened salmon and a humongous salad.  Guests say they enjoy the Driftwood Inn because it is "Old Maine." Here they are in jeans, plaid shirts and fishing caps, all watching the waves whether walking, dining or relaxing.

A passerby photoed us.
and Cynthia photoed Ron's balancing act.

3 Sep:  Breakfast tables were all occupied when we arrived, so Tom and Sharon invited us to sit with them.  How fun to share breakfast with a delightful couple like Tom and Susan from FL.  Due to the crowd, the inn could not prepare egg white veggie omelets for Ron's cardiac restricted diet, so he ate nothing at all.  Cynthia ate oatmeal at breakfast; Ron ate oatmeal in the room before our hike.  We hiked the shore trail scrambling over rocks to the Thunder Hole (not thundering at low tide), and Ron went down the Giant's Stairs carefully (so as not to disturb the giant).  As he later rode to Brunswick for foodstuffs, the views were exhilarating, and the lucky guy arrived back at the inn just as the sprinkles preceding the rain started.  At high tide, 10:00 pm, we walked  over to see the storm-tossed waves, wild, wet and wonderfully powerful.  We watched, but try as she might, Cynthia was unable to get a photo in the dark.  Cynthia almost choked to death 😂 laughing at Ron's  hilariously funny expressions.

2 Sep: We rode to the Driftwood Inn on Baileys Island, Maine, south of Brunswick an improbable distance on little splinters of islands to lands end; we are here for almost a week of semi-solitude.  We pigged out at Ruby Tuesday's in Topsham before turning "straight" south.  The Inn is very rustic with a shared shower, but Ron isn't concerned because he showered last year.  We thoroughly enjoyed watching the ocean as we walked the path to the Giant's Stairs.  Just before dark Ron walked to the General Store to see the sunset view from the west side of the island.  Thanks to Steve P. for recommending a great read, The Stranger in the Woods by Michael Finkel.

1 Sept:  We worked, we walked and we reflected:

Remembering Scott Forde - 1961-1998
Today!  IT IS A MOMENT of light surrounded on all sides by darkness and oblivion.  In the entire history of the universe, let alone in your own history, there has never been another just like it, and there will never be another just like it again.  It is the point to which all your yesterdays have been leading since the hour of your birth.  It is the point from which all your tomorrows will proceed until the hour of your death.  If you were aware of how precious it is, you could hardly live through it.  Unless you are aware of how precious it is, you can hardly be said to be living at all.

"This is the day which the Lord has made," says the 118th Psalm. "Let us rejoice and be glad in it."  Or weep and be sad in it for that matter.  The point is to see it for what it is because it will be gone before you know it.  If you waste it, it is your life that you're wasting.  If you look the other way, it may be the moment you've been waiting for always that you're missing.

All other days have either disappeared into darkness and oblivion or not yet emerged from them.  Today is the only day there is.

- Originally published in Whistling in the Dark

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

August Hiking has drawn to a close

31 Aug: Bangor, Maine visiting MIT friend Steve P tonight.  Our Texas family sends reports of their volunteer efforts; our 3 year old granddaughter Fyn is excited the water is going down.

30 Aug: Tilton, NH to Bangor, Maine (Route: NH 106 to 16 N to Maine 2E to I-95 N -- not speeding;  hint: read yesterday's OOOPS!)  We stopped at Drew's for a quick good-bye, but no one was home.  Northern New Hampshire brings the Adirondacks to mind with its many lakes and forests.  The white birch trees stand resplendent against the tree covered White Mountains.  Near Mt. Washington we saw a couple of B&B's next to the Appalachian Trail we might visit.  Jonathan's Seafood in North Conway served a tasty haddock lunch with boiled potatoes and salad.   Google maps suggested the ride would be four hours;  the scenic roads less traveled took a mere seven hours.  Tired and hungry we arrived at the Hilton Garden Inn ready for dinner.

29 Aug: The NH MIT friends gathering  last night at the Pasta Loft was a marvelous success.  Now we are packing for the one hour ride to Laconia, NH to spend the day with Drew and BD in their new home.  The temperature is 51 degrees at 9:30 AM.   Our Houston family remains dry with power. Friends have not fared so well. All the banks are closed; a few markets are open with limited hours letting in a few people at a time. 2/3 of the greater Houston area is flooded. The rescue effort is amazing byTexans who pull together to help each other.  OOPS!! We encountered a policeman going 60 in a 30 MPH zone.  He musta liked us because we got a verbal warning instead of the usual 30 days with license suspended for reckless driving. He was worthy of a heartfelt blessing from the ordained one. Drew and BD have a delightful cottage by the lake.

Lake house dock earlier
8 hours later
28 Aug:  Houston, we have a problem!  Update on Harvey's impact on Cynthia's family in Houston:  Roxanne no longer has power (fortunately it came back on at noon); she said last night was scary; her huge cypress tree fell on the lawn.  The water is up to Paul's front door; they moved what they could upstairs (fortunately it retreated from that scary position); his in-laws in Sealy are ok. Stan Forde is in College Station and Ok.  Jon Forde is ok on much higher ground.  The bold headlines in the USA Today read, "Catastrophe," and it is indeed.  It is heartbreaking to read of whole coastal communities destroyed.  Many hospitals were evacuated along with thousands of residents from rooftops.  The convention centers are housing the evacuees.  A friend sent pictures of our lake house dock (the house we sold a year ago).  Seeing the dock breaking away from the bulkhead was a personal pain for only a fraction of a second, grasping the horror Houstonians are facing. The Governor said that Port Aransas is 100% gone; don't come back and don't come to look.

27 Aug: We are yet in Nashua in a holding pattern until Tuesday with excitement building over the Monday gathering of long time friends at the Pasta Loft.  In the meantime-and in-between-time, Cynthia is glued to Texas news.  Catastrophic flooding has occurred and will worsen in the days to come.  Our family is dry with power.  Ron is doing fun genealogy!!!

26 Aug:  We are in Nashua, New Hampshire at the Hampton Inn awaiting a fun get together of many friends at the Pasta Loft in Milford.  We left the Chesterfield Inn at 11:30+ am and took Vermont 9 north and east to route 101 in Keane then east to Nashua, NH.  The temperature at first was 52 degrees, signaling a need for warmer outer gear en route.  Then the sun came out so that we were too warm by the time we stood in stop lights in Nashua.  We checked in to the Hampton Inn and found a Ruby Tuesday's to pig out at the Garden Bar.  Hurricane Harvey hit the coast of Texas SW of Houston with 130 mph sustained winds and 40 inches of rain predicted for some areas.  Our Houston, Texas area family reports the rain has begun; they prepared for four days of heavy rain and flooding by stockpiling a lot of food and bringing home standby generators.

25 Aug:  West Chesterfield, New Hampshire - The Chesterfield Inn is a Select Registry B&B; with 12 stays we earn points for  $100.00 off a 13th stay; it is a pricey way to earn a hundred bucks.   We enjoy the New England ambiance with wild flowers, red barns and a walking trail. The nicest part of this inn is a fine dining restaurant in-house.  They prepare breakfast to order.  (Some B&B's are rigid about their breakfast menu and unwilling to prepare anything but en masse.)  We spent a lovely, leisurely day on Beanie and Eddie's patio overlooking their extensive gardens.  Eddie made a delicious chopped salad with grilled chicken and fresh peaches.  Another great dinner at the inn was enjoyed by the four of us.  We like to eat.

24 Aug:  Hello World!!  The Smooches are packed and departing for Keane, NH to visit the Scrabble Champs!  (Old U.S. route 4 east to Vermont 100 south to Vermont 30 east to NH 9 north & east to the Chesterfield Inn.)  VT 100 is a Vermont scenic highway with marvelous scenery and lousy, bumpy pavement.  After a very chilly start, the ride turned pleasant and relaxed.  Half an hour down mountain from Killington we warmed up.  We stopped in Townshend, VT for a walk and a restroom, but nothing was found.  We parked  in the dead center of town; not a restaurant nor open city building was in sight.  The school secretary and the pharmacist suggested the doctors office.  The number of cars parked outside made us choose the nice woods in back of the parking lot.  Ron reflected that asking any New England business to use a restroom reveals that true New England hospitality is exactly similar to male sympathy.  Their scenic roads also display New England frugality: if the road surface degrades seriously, just lower the speed limit; problem solved, and this is a permanent solution.  The good side of this solution is that there are not many cops handing out speeding tickets; apparently they know better than to drive their police cars that fast on those roads.  Eddie and Beanie joined us for a lovely dinner on the patio at the Chesterfield Inn.   Our family in Texas is preparing for Harvey.

23 Aug: We are nearly completed with the huge task of packing for Thurs. departure to see friends in New Hampshire.  But, we had time for a hike and trail maintainance.  3 hours.

six duckies all in a row, sitting on the log;
  I thought they liked to swim

22 Aug:  Here we are running out of August already. It's not my fault.  I did my best!  Ron hiked up hill to put out oranges for hikers and quickly discovered yesterday's 8 mile hike was overkill.  Today's hike was a flat 2.5 mile walk in the woods.  Cynthia's new bunion bootie might prove valuable.  Ron performed magic by cutting his hair, taking a shower and napping for a couple of hours. Cynthia is amazed that Ron and Bro Dean cut their own hair.  7 Duckies lined up in a row. 3 hours.

21 Aug: Rested and Refreshed, Ron plans to hike to the top of Killington.  Cynthia is icing her feet with plans to do Ron's laundry despite howls the clothes were just washed last year.  The eclipse was amazing.  Absolutely amazing.  Ron started hiking at noon thirty and returned at dark-thirty- 8:15 PM. Lots of water bars to clean out; CHARLIE was also on the trail.    8.4 miles RT  8 hours

20 Aug:   The Candyland Puzzle might be  our family Christmas photo.  We have thoroughly discussed our fatigue to the point we might need  a nap; we will increase our protein to get the cardiologist RX 80 grams a day, severely limiting fat.  Cynthia has a blister under a toenail on her right foot. She suffers osteoarthritis on the lefty related to a bunion that needs to be removed. Nothing to do about it but keep icing, eating food that reduces inflammation and keep moving.  Off we go for a hike up the Sherburne Pass Trail and roll back down. 3 hours

Puzzle with box.  It was a dilly.
19 Aug, Killington, VT:  Whew, the 1,000-piece candy cane jigsaw puzzle is finally finished.  It was probably the second hardest jigsaw in Ron's long career of time wasters.  Strange, isn't it, that an otherwise intelligent individual can become totally absorbed and waste time so cheerfully on such a meaningless project.  Wouldn't it be nice if all the hostile and destructive people would channel their limitless energies into something equally meaningless?  Since the day dawned dry and the forecast is pleasant, we are going for a hike (imagine that !!). It was fun to see CHARLIE doing trail maintain even today!

18 Aug: The Smooch Family is INDOORS at the Inn at Long Trail because of rain, drizzle, rain....  Ron has completed 3/4 of the Candyland Jigsaw Puzzle.  Cynthia is doing DNA stuff and genealogy.  In one hour and twenty minutes we have a break from our hard work; it will be time to eat dinner ... but just thirty minutes before dinner Ron awoke from puzzling to realize that the rain had stopped and that he really wanted to inspect his stream bed maintenance ASAP, so dinner was delayed another hour.  (The trail looks great - no slop, and water-bars diverted water off the trail satisfactorily.)  After dinner, more puzzling, and, as has happened too often in the recent past, when we should have been heading to bed, Ron launched into genealogy for an hour or more.

17 Aug:  We are at The Inn at Long Trail in Vermont - but "they" moved the trail, so the inn is no longer right on the trail, a monumental disservice to hikers.  After breakfast we set out for an early hike, but it was a very short hike of only 2000 steps, just long enough for Cynthia's feet to complain; we are back to the jigsaw puzzle and genealogy.

Thundering Falls sure looks good in this photo
16 Aug:  Today we enjoyed 68 glorious degrees with a nice breeze, and we were pumped for a long hike.  Cynthia switched to her old Salomon hiking shoes for greater foot stability and comfort.  Before hiking, we set oranges in a basket beside the trail for hikers and walked across the boardwalk to Thundering Falls, rejoicing in creation's abundance, marveling at the blooms bursting forth in gratitude for last night's rain.  We again enjoyed the camaraderie of a couple of AT hikers.  As we rode on Vermont highway 4 toward Gifford Woods State Park, we slowed to allow a momma bear and her two cubs to walk across the road just 100 yards in front of us !!  Oh joy !!  (Sorry, the cell phone camera was tucked into an inaccessible part of Cynthia's purse.)  Cynthia was chock full of inner energy from the multitude of flowers, so we hiked straight away from Gifford Woods to Thundering Falls and return.  The inner energy deserted us when we started the long uphill from Thundering Falls, and we trudged up hill wondering why our bodies weren't more energetic after all this hiking.  The twos of us thought simultaneously, "Will you carry me?"  Ron, the trail maintenance man, moved rocks and clipped brush.  Back at the Inn he clipped his hair before resuming work on the jigsaw.  The puzzle is now half done.   5.5 hours

15 Aug:  Another terrific day, but our bodies weren't bursting with energy as we hiked up to the ski run.  WooHoo for us; we tackled 4.5 miles in 4 hours.  On a flat road we could have traveled 8 miles in that time.  Of course, the hiker with the hoe stops for trail maintenance.  Ron went to the market in Rutland for supplies.  (Unfortunately, he forgot the most important hiking fuel - jelly beans.)  Aaauuuggghhh!  Cynthia had painful feet keeping her from sleep until the wee hours. The Altra hiking shoes have a terrific fit but they really lack shock absorption.  4 hours

14 Aug:  70 degrees; a gorgeous, sunny day.  We spent 3.4 of the day Determined.  Ron is determined to beat the puzzle to a paper pulp.  Cynthia is working on Ancestry trees. Over 50% of the trees on Ancestry are WRONG!!!  Never trust Ancestry trees.  The Ancestry DNA circles match the erroneous trees.  Aaauuuggghh.  Only FTDNA and 23 and Me DNA testing can be trusted.  Genealogy!  After lunch we worked on Bankston genealogy.  We did have a good 2.5 mile hike.  2.5 hours.

13 Aug, Sunday: Today was a quiet Sunday with a hike to the sinkholes and back to the puzzle board.

12 Aug: Ron pulled the jigsaw puzzle out from its weekend hiding place for an hour or two; the Inn's top gun, Patty, sat down to help him figure it out.  This one is a bugger.  We were up for a really short hike today; instead, Ron made the hike to Coopers Lodge with the promise to return by six PM for tonight's hot date.  Ron returned an hour late having forgotten the new AT trail takes much longer. Cynthia is working on DNA projects.  (no trail maintenance)

11 Aug:  Today's "short hike" was 4.5 miles to the ski run, uphill both ways.  How nice Rosemary's Restaurant served salmon tonight!  Ron met the executive director of leadership communications from MIT while puzzling away.  We invited him to dinner, but he and his friend had already eaten.  His friend was a graduate of CU Boulder where Cynthia's grandson Brett is enrolled for a second degree this fall.  4 hours.

10 Aug: Killington, VT.  Cynthia's hurted IT band was iced, and she was ready to roll; we hiked the flat trail from Gifford Woods State Park along Kent Pond while Ron trimming overhanging branches along the way.   We enjoyed masses of flowers in bloom along the board walk kissing the sun, thanks to a lovely rainfall.  A family of Hasidic Jews parked next to the motorcycle; Cynthia commented to the Rabbi ... "The Lord has blessed you with a quiver full."  He smiled back, knowingly.  The four little boys were very excited to have their their photo taken on the motorcycle.   Back at the lodge, Ron is patiently making progress on the jigsaw puzzle.  We might stay for another year?  2 hours.

We reached the ski run when Cynthia's cell phone delivered
an urgent warning of an impending thunderstorm.
We hastened down, but the rain she came.
Click here for full size photo.
9 Aug: Oh, wow!  We slept 10 hours awakening at 9:10 AM.  I love our lazy mornings; but the inn stops serving breakfast at 9:30.  A Word from Ron: Be thankful; be thankful for what you have (in response to Cynthia's complaint she should be skinny with all this hiking).  Cynthia is pondering Ron's answer as fodder for a sermon amidst the cries of gender confusion:  Be thankful for who you are.  On another note or two: Ron is finding success with the candy cane puzzle; he has discovered a pattern in the cut of the puzzle and can predict the shape of every piece.  Cynthia's nephew Alexander reports Wharton is top on his college preference list; another nephew is experiencing an answer to prayer; daughters Roxanne and Julie returned from a happy trip to Mexico.   Our hike was fun, although Ron worked cleaning ONE water bar forever.  The trip down mountain was wet. 5 hours!

8 Aug:  Rested, feeling good, a great way to start a new day. A hike is planned for this afternoon once the housekeepers have worked their way around our clutter.  The forecast high today is 71 degrees with a light shower mid-afternoon.  Apparently, vertigo is related to allergies, Joni S. tells us; cousin Newell offered movement exercises that really did work.  WoooHooo! We hiked nearly five mountain miles from Gifford Woods State Park to Thundering Falls and back in 3 hours.
Kent Pond

7 Aug:  We woke up!  That is really exciting news because it means we went back to sleep after being awakened by the girlie thrashing around in pain.  For some puzzling reason Cynthia's back issues returned despite rest in bed with vertigo for three days.  Maybe inactivity caused the inflammation to kick in again?  We hiked to the sinkholes round trip.  3 hours. Ron pulled the jigsaw puzzle out of its weekend hiding place and managed to put in a few more pieces.  The puzzle over the missing Coriell ancestor in Ohio has not been solved.  We hope to sleep?  Good Night!!

6 Aug, Sunday: Friends from the Inn at Long Trail lunched with us.  Pat's design business is keeping her incredibly busy.  We had fun telling them about our travels.  After being foodified, we hiked to the sink holes while Ron did trail maintenance.  3 hours.  A trail angel, "Miss Janet," from Tennessee was at the pub when we returned.  We visited for awhile but pubs are too noisy for us. We worked on DNA and SCS records.  Sistah Carol has discovered that the Beatty/ Overturff ancestor Sarah Alice Correll was actually a Coriell, thanks to DNA.

5 Aug:  With rain in the forecast we boogied up the Sherburne Pass Trail late morning but didn't reach the sinkholes before the first drops of rain came. The thunderstorm with heavy wnds didn't appear.  2.5 hours

4 Aug:  Cynthia slept 9 hours; the vertigo continued to lessen throughout the day.  It is apparent only upon standing.  Ron, Eddie and Beverly fascinated us with stories of how Eddie became a master Scrabble player - ranking # 1 at times in Vermont.  They are a delightful couple; Eddie is the essence of supportive spouse taking care of Beverly while she had a kidney transplant plus being diagnosed with Parkinson's disease afterwards..   They are heroes of the first class.  After breakfast Ron and the duo went to Thundering Falls to see the view before heading back to NH.  Ron hiked back from the falls. 4 hours (no trail maintenance).

3 Aug:  Happy Birthday Jon!  Cynthia has vertigo.  She slept most of the day.  Eddie and Beanie arrived for a visit; she slept arising to have dinner at six PM.  We were all tired and went to sleep early.

2 Aug:  Our minds are refreshed.  We managed hiking to Ormond's Overlook with  Ron doing trail maintenance. 2 hours

1Aug: Cynthia was exhausted after getting to bed too much too late; she stayed home to rest while the hiker man pushed the boundaries being without adult supervision.  Despite fatigue he hiked 8 miles and injured his knee. 7 hours.   Promising to go to bed early, that did not happen.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

July- Mrs. Beatty's Birthday!

31 Jul: The end of the month; Monday morning: the beginning of the week; for every ending there is a new beginning.  Early morning, Ron took oranges to the AT trail for hikers while Cynthia slept until 9:00 AM.  Not quite recovered from the late night Rambo genealogy project, Ron managed to start a new 1000 piece candy cane jigsaw puzzle that isn't quite as easy as it appeared.  But we did gather steam to hike 4.4 miles in 3.5 hours; Ron removed two large trees from the trail.  On the return, Cynthia heard thunder and hustled so fast Ron was could not catch up with her, certain she must have gone off trail and gotten lost.  He finally caught up to her near Kent  Pond.  Once we arrived back at the lodge, we were seriously hungry!!!

30 Jul:  Sunday morning, a pleasant 70 degrees with the sun shining, and we only had energy to hike to the ski lift - about 2.5 miles RT taking 2 hours because of trail maintainance.  We spent the rest of the day working on Rambo genealogy until the wee hours of the next day. Zzzz

29 Jul:  We were a bit tired and slow this morning at breakfast & after, so our plan was to do a short, comfortable hike to give our bodies a rest.  Short didn't happen; we hiked to the ski run & back, 4.4 miles according to Cynthia's FitBit.  Ron took clippers and saw, so stayed very busy clipping, but by-and-large we enjoyed a casual hike, and spent half an hour enjoying the view from the ski run where we encountered a Harvard grad and delighted in talking to that philosopher for half an hour.  Surprise #2 was seeing Tom and Sue (from MIT) again at the Inn; they are prepared for another night of Irish music.  Sue thinks that the second woman MIT graduate I met a week ago was her junior year physics lab partner, Lee Ann.  We agreed that if we had known then (at MIT) what we know now, we would have been much better students.  5 hours of hiking.  Photo of Cynthia's aunt JoAnn and cousins at aunt Betty's memorial service:

28: Jul:  Killington Vermont, Inn at Long Trail.  Ron is awake this morning feeling much better rested and less achey than yesterday. has an interesting blog, and Ron spent his morning hour reading instead of writing.  Cynthia is still snoozing at 7:30 am, so this blog will get a quick update.  11 am now and we are up, fed, and nearly ready to hike.  Our choice today is perhaps sloppier, but with less elevation gain & fewer rocks around Kent Pond and over to Thundering Falls.  Since we will be riding the bike to Gifford State Park, we will take a basket of oranges to drop off for hikers on the other side of Thundering Falls.  It looks to be a gorgeous sunshiny day.  WOW: 7 hours of hiking wore us out.  Double WOW!  Ron stepped out the door to go to the market when a lovely lady jumped up from the lawn chair to hug him!  It was our friends Trillium and her husband from Pennsylvania who stopped to see if we were in Vermont.  Oh what fun!!!  7 hours hiking.

27 Jul:  Once again, at breakfast, we enjoyed pleasant conversation with the Long Trail hiker, LongStride.  Once our stomachs were fed and happy, we slowly changed into hiking gear despite the objections of our worn-out bodies.  As we ventured outside, huge rain drops splatted down; Cynthia's interest in hiking immediately melted into a resolve to stay dry.  Those raindrops wet the ground and roadway but soon stopped, so silly Ron decided to hike despite the forecast of afternoon thunderstorms.  The reason silly Ron likes to hike in the slop is to find more easily those places to exercise his hiking hoe to improve the trail.  He was creating a channel for water runoff in one of the last sloppy segments when a day-hiker, Kevin, paused to inquire.  Ron quickly decided to use Kevin to pull him up the trail, and the two fell into a long lasting pleasurable conversation all the way to Pico Camp, Kevin's destination, and beyond to the AT trail junction.  On the return a couple of water holes demanded an exit which the hiking hoe created in short order.  At bedtime Cynthia reported that her day had been boring; Ron countered that she would have found hiking in the slop with him more engaging.  4.5 hours hiking.

26 Jul:  Breakfast was most enjoyable, visiting with our new friend "LongStride" from Maryland.  The sun appeared, so did we on Sherburne Pass Trail hiking to Jungle Junction - 5 hours.  Ron took only clippers and trimmed many of the branches violating air space over the trail.  (Those branches wetted his balding head yesterday.)  We are proud of ourselves for accomplishing this long hike.  Anthony (GoodJohn) and his dog, 'Tober, made terrific company on our journey.  Ron walked with Anthony to the sink holes and waited there for Cynthia.  Anthony hiked up Pico and caught up to Cynthia on the downhill.  LongStride was at the inn with lively conversation when we arrived for dinner; he has a neat keyboard for his iPhone.  Five hours hiking.

25 Jul:  This drizzly day prevented Cynthia from entertaining thoughts of a hike in the slop, but Ron wasn't daunted.  As he crossed the parking lot, he remarked to another couple crossing the road that they and obviously found mud today.  The woman of the couple approached Ron and asked if he went to MIT (since his maroon shorts are emblazoned with MIT).  She also graduated from MIT in 1985 in materials science; her father has taught there for 60 years.  Too amusing to meet two MIT women from the same class here in Killington.  Ron hiked 2.9 miles to the junction of the AT, Long Trail and the Sherburne Pass Trail.  Cynthia is distressed with cell service and wifi being mostly bad in our room.  (Bozo Jane, a reply will happen).  This was a four hour hike sans trail maintenance.

24 Jul at 6 am at the Inn at Long Trail on U.S. highway 4 east of Killington, Vermont:  Ron is up early for the first time since leaving Virginia.  Rain is forecast for today all day, but it hasn't started here yet although the color radar shows it all around us.  I'm guessing that the winds across the  pass are blowing the precip past us just now.  Ah ha, I hear the drip now.  No hiking for us today, the rain was quite consistent all day.

23 Jul, Sunday: A Beatty Happy Birthday Sistah Carol!  Ron phoned to sing the annual birthday song properly out of tune to cheer her on for another year all the while Carol was singing Happy Birthday Cynthia.  And our precious imaginary daughter, Little Carole Anne, turned 7 on auntie Carols special day.  Before hiking, we dropped off fresh oranges north of Thundering Falls as Trail Magic for hikers.  Thundering Falls presented a pretty cascade today with good flow; Cynthia took a video clip.  The temperature here in Killington reached the upper 70's making for pleasant hiking, except that the mosquitoes were ferocious as we hiked past Kent Pond.  Ron threw a ton of dead wood out of the many bogs be-muddying the trail.  He is embarrassed to admit that he became totally lost in the woods when he ventured off trail in search of a manageably big rock to place in the middle of a sloppy spot.  Fortunately he came across a ski trail and followed it out to highway 4 and regained his bearings and his SmoochSmooch.  Another wonderful Appalachian Trail coincidence developed after we met hiker Pineapple on the trail and then Ron happened by Mountain Meadows Lodge where a standing dead tree is carved with a giant pineapple totem.  Cynthia was enjoying conversation with a young slight female hiker who typically hikes 25 miles a day.  The hiker was enjoying food & drink provided by a couple of trail angels from their pickup truck at the state park parking lot.  Upon their asking, Ron enjoyed a Gatoraide and was amused twice later in the day to meet those same two people in stores in Rutland.  As he was buying more oranges, they reported how delighted one hiker had been to discover those oranges after exhausting himself on that mountainous decent.  It was a most enjoyable day.  Cynthia will catch up on email if it rains tomorrow.  Three hours hiking.

22 Jul:  Another successful day on the trail.  The .6 mile hike northbound up to the trail junction was a strenuous climb over large rocks.  The 1.5 mile hike down to Gifford Woods was a muddy mess going down, but on the return trip it was surprising to see how much Ron's trail maintenance had reduced the slop.  We were delighted to again meet MIT Sue after our dinner; her husband also seems to be a very nice & enthusiastic guy; they were at the Inn to listen to the Irish music.  Ron was popular that evening.  Crystal is a young Long Trail ridge runner who was eager to meet Ron and ask about his trail maintenance.  Ron is can talk on and on about the proper cleaning of water bars.  Four hours hiking.

21 Jul:  Rested, we were ready to hike the Sherburne Pass Trail by 10:30 enjoying a lovely cool day.  Ron continued making improvements to the trail while Cynthia boogied ahead.  Ron met Sue, a 1985 MIT grad who stopped to visit upon recognizing his maroon MIT shorts.  We reached the ski run with energy to continue to Pico Shelter but reconsidered upon reflection that part of the trail is likely to be muddy.  We were so PROUD of us for a great hike that we went shopping.  Walmart had a coffee pot on sale for $8.74;  now we can heat water for our oatmeal.  Three hours hiking.

20 Jul:  Killington, Vermont at the Inn at Long Trail:  We are both tired.  Ron had a fast hike northbound to the trail junction, returning sweat drenched because it is humid (and because he removed quite a pile of sopping wet dead wood from the trail).  After lunch we went southbound up the Sherburne Pass Trail which was wet, slippery, and badly eroded.  The humidity sapped our strength, and Cynthia returned after half a mile, whereas Ron continued to the ski run maintaining water bars all the way.  Grandson Brett was accepted into a top physics program, step one towards the PhD. Five hours hiking.

19 Jul:  Aurora, New York is a lovely town of 765 people founded in 1789 on the eastern shore of  Cayuga Lake.  Now it is famous for Wells College, MacKenzie Childs furnishings, and The Inns of Aurora, mansions turned into inns.  We stayed at the Rowland House.  The breakfast was a blueberry scone and coffee.  No !!!, no scones for us, no coffee for Ron.  Ron made rolled oats instead.  Todays 7 hour ride was long but lovely.  We stopped at Brewster Inn in Cazenovia for lunch, but they don't serve lunch and referred us instead to Owega Vineyard to enjoy a great salad.  No vino.  Our route was hither, thither and yon.  We started on U.S. 20 east but missed a turn in Auburn, NY and stayed on 5 East until the GPS threatened to take us through downtown Syracuse.  So we turned south on NY 174, east on 175, south on U.S. 11, enjoying nice views and one fast moving stream, until we eventually arrived on 20 east again.  Jim had recommended McDonald's 99 cent salad, so we tried it after a fuel stop, and yes, they are worth the price.  We turned left onto NY 80 north, but it was lumpy and bumpy, so we turned more north on NY 10, also lumpy and bumpy, so when the GPS suggested a local road, we followed its route on much smoother and more pleasant county roads through the Adirondacks until we found ourselves detoured through Lake George.  We resumed our planned route on NY 140 through Fort Ann and U.S. 4 into Vermont, through Rutland and arrived at the Inn at Long Trail by 7 pm, somewhat surprised that we had covered 300+ miles in one day.  Cynthia's seat was tired.  Murray immediately found a hoe and a saw and a mattock to help with Ron's trail maintenance exercise program.

18 Jul:  Williamsport, PA  is home to the Little League World Series and the Genetti Hotel where we slept soundly through the night.  The chef made oatmeal without sugar and milk but thought vegetable oil might be ok for egg white veggie omelet. No..  No oil, butter, fat, cheese or sodium is our litany.  Cynthia could not eat the fruit which was canned in syrup. Now, packed up we rode through a most enjoyable neighborhood filled with iconic Victorian homes. The ride was lovely with blue skies, fluffy white clouds and nary a rain drop; ouch, then we crossed onto NY state's rough roads. Bumpity bump. We arrived in Aurora, NY boasting a downtown of three buildings.  The rest of the city is comprised of many grand old mansions, once donated to Wells College, some are now turned into the Inns of Aurora.  After checking into our Inn, we dined on pigeon sized portions at the Inn's restaurant.  After we went to our room In the Rowland House, Ron drove six miles to the next town for rolled oats.  The room is a lovely brilliant pink and soft gray decor with a marvelous view of Lake Cayuga.   Early evening we explored the grounds.

Wynn: Our route was 27 North to 407 to 31 to 75 to 84 to Trevanion Rd becomes 134 in PA.  We were lost or confused twice around Harrisburg before getting on Highway 11-15 North to Sunbury, then 15 Nortth to 14 North through Elmira, NY to 34B North to Aurora. I hope that is correct.

17 Jul: Ron, the early riser, was up by five mapping out the day's journey to include scenic roads with lots of twisties. We didn't get started until noon.  Cynthia enjoyed the ca. 1800 historic main streets in Uniontown and Taney town, Maryland.  Corn was beginning to tassel out.  We took a wrong turn and missed a turn twice around Harrisburg, PA, stopping for a veggie sub and gas at Duncanon.  By 3:45 we arrived in Sunbury, PA to say a brief hi to friends. The sky looked threatening with ominous black clouds and severe weather alerts but we arrived in Westport, PA dry at a lovely, very old hotel.  After checking in we took the risk of reaching a Ruby Tuesday restaurant for Garden Bar dinner. A dangerous thunderstorm with flashes of lightning hit while we were safely ensconced inside nice and dry.  It lasted about 45 minutes.  We returned to the hotel dry.

SmoochSmooch & her mommy.
16 Jul, Sunday: Mrs. Beatty's Birthday was celebrated royally, thanks to Jim and Joni for hosting a party and baking carrot cake.  We surprised everyone including ourselves by eating two pieces of cake. The photo is Cynthia's first birthday ->->->

15 Jul: A gorgeous day for a bike ride over hills and dales to Sandy Spring, Maryland for lunch close to where Jim went to school.  The Quaker Meeting House was intriguing because the Underground Railroad  history.

Quaker Meeting dates to 1753

14 Jul:  After rising early we drove to I-Hop for breakfast and groceries.  That was a good thing because loud, clashing thunder announced major moisture spewing from the skies preventing us from leaving the house for lunch or dinner. We ate oatmeal for lunch and dinner nstead of going to Smokey Glen Farm for the evening party. Our backpacking gear is now packed to ship back to Texas unused. Cynthia enjoyed the day engrossed reading Attkisson's,  The Smear.   

13 Jul:  Mount Airy. MD for five days with Jim and Joni! We had a lovely lunch with Cynthia's newly found cousin.  Jim and Joni joined us for dinner at Mt. Airy Tavern.

12 Jul:  Jessup, MD Bob's BMW  bike repair ... took all day, arriving in Mount Airy. MD by 5:44 - it appears the bike is fixed!

11 Jul:  Apart from long good-byes to the hotel staff, we departed on time.  Wynn: our travel route was 340 North from Waynesboro, VA to I-70 to Baltimore, MD, then 695 south, on to 95 south,  to 32 to Jessup, MD where we are overnighting in a hotel near Bob's BMW Motorcycle Repair.  This is my least favorite hotel but walking distance to the shop.

10 Jul: Our room looked like it was hit by a tornado with repacking and recycling everywhere before stopping at the recycling center; after a two hour hike, followed by an hour long meal at Ruby Tuesday's,  Cynthia worked on a DNA article for publication while Ron recycled plastics at Target and returned home with contraband: Ben and Jerry's Triple Caramel Chunk.  She shared.

9 Jul, Sunday: We  missed yesterday... because we were busy hiking McCormack's Gap to Beagle Gap in one fell swoop.

8 Jul:  Waynesboro, VA, and our time here is coming to a close.  Ron really needs to stop working on James Lea to focus on recycling and thereby reducing our load.  But in the early am, while Cynthia is still sleeping, James Lea is quieter and darker.  Today's hike was Beagle Gap  up, up, up, over and  half way down before turning back to retrace the ups and down, down down.  Ron saw a bear

Recommended summerreading: Paris, by Edward Rutherford, Killing Lincoln by Bill O'Reilly, Sojourner Truth by S.T, Ulysses S. Grant, autobiography, Harriet Tubman, Killing Kennedy, by O'Reilly, Make Your Bed by Andrew McKraven.

Ron resting in MIT purple shorts.
7 Jul:  We are indeed thankful that we awaken to another glorious day.  We ate, we hiked, we ate again, Ron worked on plotting plats, and here it is already 10:30 again.  Time for bed.  Todays hike from Jarman's Gap through to Sawmill Run had a very nice view to the west across a recovering burn area.  We met only two thru-hikers today, one was a nice German mother whose visa is good until October 1, and she hopes to finish the trail by then.  Cynthia was chatting with her in the sun when Ron caught up to them at Sawmill Run, so he laid in the grass in the shade and didn't hear Cynthia say that she was continuing north on the trail for a bit.  He got up and chatted with the German girl a bit and headed south grooming the trail uphill as he does, trimming bushes, clearing dead wood that might snag a hiker's pack, cleaning fallen weed-whacked bush debris, etc.  Eventually he realized that he needed to catch up to Cynthia and quit his trail clearing activities to hike along speedily.  Unbeknownst to Ron, Cynthia was now following him.  By the time he met the other hiker, Ron suspected that he should have caught Cynthia, so she was likely behind him, but he had no cell phone signal and could not call.  Once he got to the motorcycle and found no Cynthia, he called just after Cynthia had met the second hiker, so she was able to tell him that she was 15 minutes behind him.  All well that ends well.

6 Jul:  In Waynesboro, Virginia, Ron slept not a wink until 6:30am.  Plotting plats on the map is exciting, yes?  He did try twice to fall asleep, but was just wide awake for no good reason.  We arose at 7:20am after the usual mandatory morning stretches.  It was a beau-ti-ful day for a hike, overcast and sinisterly foggy.  The perfumes in the air were overwhelming as the flowers expressed their gratitude for the rain.  Poison ivy is berried and lush, a bumper crop, and several of the plants had extended branches out over the trail at face height or above.  Walking under a canopy of poison ivy is anything but reassuring.  Todays hike at McCormick's Gap was "only" 3.22 miles because we are gently reintroducing our bodies to the rigors of hiking.  The hill is a lot steeper than the one at Jarman's Gap, so not descending down the far side reduced our risk of slipping on a wet rock or mud.  Hard to imagine that we hiked a couple of hours without seeing another hiker; usually we see between five to twenty of 'em.  Ruby Tuesday welcomed us for lunch early (12:30), and we each ate a baked potato and salad until full as usual with the addition of one order of salmon to split (for essential oils) today.  Ron mailed six cards & letters in response to cards received within the last three years and is finally beginning to reduce the paperwork he carries with us on the motorcycle.  Cynthia has read five books in the last three days on her iPad; her favorite of these was Killing Lincoln.

5 Jul: We didn't hike due to threatening storms and Cynthia's allergies.  She slept the morning away to half past afternoon.  Ron spent the entire day reviewing his plat plotting of all the landowners near any James Lea in Caswell County.  The analysis paid off in a couple of realizations which came about as he meticulously documented all of his references.  With a couple of exceptions, most everything was within shooting distance of correct (that is a couple of hundred yards).

The patterning is quite pretty.  Ron is tiny.
4 Jul:  Have a very happy celebration of our American Independence.  We did finally arise, eat and hiked 4 miles.  This was our usual gentle Jarman's Gap hike to the top of the hill, down to the road, and return.  The trail maintainer has been out with his weed whacker.  AttaBoy.  As we rode the motorcycle back towards the park entrance, we saw a big black bear hightailing it uphill away from the road!  We ate again, and Cynthia slept again.

3 Jul at 5:29am:  Ron is up and blogging briefly before resuming normal morning plat plotting exercises.   Cynthia awoke and the Triduum celebration of eating, sleeping and platting continues quite peacefully.  Yup, for the third sequential day the motorcycle sat; methinks it is growing roots.

2 Jul, Sunday:  Zzzzzzzzzzzzz.  We slept in again and just got to breakfast before 9am, then took a nap until noon, and Cynthia had another nap around 5pm.  We ate at Ruby Tuesdays, the only restaurant we've been to this month while staying in Waynesboro.  We did NOT hike, and our bodies appreciated the second day of rest & recuperation.  The motorcycle didn't move for the second day in a row.  (We walk to Ruby Tuesdays, only three blocks away, and Ron walks every evening to either Wally World or Martin's grocery, six blocks away.)  Cynthia wrapped up her article but hasn't delivered it to the editor (Ron).

1 July:  A Beatty happy day begins; Cynthia begins celebrating her birthday month.  We party hearty by taking a full day of nothing but rest.  Our bodies were beat up from the longer hikes, and we needed to recouperate.  The motorcycle didn't move.  Cynthia is working on her article for publication about Harry Bernard King who was born as Charles Edwin Rinker.  Ron continues to transcribe hand-written notes from his collection of scraps of paper and to transcribe metes and bounds of plats preparatory to plotting.  His mid-year letter is this:
                                                                                                                          1 July 2017

My memory has never been spectacular, but I vaguely remember that I needed Thank You cards to send to you folks that sent me (or gave us) a card in 2016, and I vaguely remember clipping return address labels to remind me of you.  Since I have no other clues, you are receiving this mid-year letter in addition to the annual letter.

                    2017 has been a great year for us with no problems and no traumas so far (June 28).

                  As a matter of fact, the year has been spectacular, and we thank God as we count our blessings.  Cynthia is my wonderfulest blessing, and she counts me high on her list too.

                  After doctors appointments and family visits and the completion of capping 10 of my front teeth, we returned to Crystal Beach for two weeks while we waited for the genealogy DNA conference to begin in San Antonio.  My sister joined us there and helped the instructors instruct us.  One exercise called for using new tools to find autosomal matches, and Cynthia discovered a new 2nd-cousin match to her aunts and herself that turned out to be from her mysterious great grandfather Harry Bernard King.  That match descended from an earlier marriage when his name was Charles Edwin Rinker !!  It is a huge find and worthy of publication in genealogical magazines.  We are now working on those articles.

                  Next stop for the year was the Pritikin Longevity Center in Miami, and yes, we did learn how to become good little longevities - mostly by eating a plant-based diet and exercising a lot.  The interesting part is that Cynthia is now controlling her diabetes by eating lots and lots of veggies but no salt.  She loves this new diet because we get to eat until full all the time.  The diet boils down to: “if it grows in the ground, you can eat it.”  Refined flours and grains do NOT grow in the ground; whole grains do and their flours are OK too.  Other participants found the diet bland; we find it wonderfully more varied than our previous 10-grams-of-fat-a-day diet.  Ruby Tuesdays, our favorite restaurant, is right on target with its salad bar, and we call ahead to have them bake a potato for us without salt.

                  En route to the year’s big event, we visited my college roommate Greg in Columbia, South Carolina.  The big event was held at the Union League in Philadelphia, a really swanky place, and I was honored with an impressive award from the Swedish Council of America for my efforts on behalf of the Swedish Colonial Society.  My brother and sister both came to heckle, and a good time was had by all.

                  The original plan was to commence hiking the Appalachian Trail southbound from Harpers Ferry on June 6th, but we walked too many miles on concrete there preparing, and Cynthia’s sciatica returned with a painful vengeance.  Fortunately icing her feet, hip and knee combined with the exercises we learned at the Pritikin Center for the IT band and the piriformis muscle have her feeling quite well again.  Meanwhile we have been staying at the Comfort Inn in Waynesboro, Virginia, a favorite place, and hiking daily in the nearby Shenandoah National Park on various segments of the Appalachian Trail.  Meeting the current crop of thru-hikers has been great fun, and Ron has worn himself out with trail maintenance: cleaning out water bars, clipping overhanging shrubbery, and tossing unwelcome rocks and sticks off the trail.

                     We were considering beginning the hike July 5th, but it got too hot, so we will head north towards Vermont after motorcycle maintenance scheduled for July 12th.

                                                                                                          25 Feb 2017 (annual letter is late)

                  After 3 cardiac procedures in 2015, 2016 started with dental work and soon turned miserable; I bled profusely from the roof of my mouth every third day for three weeks, then my atrial fibrillation returned which led to an ablation and a pacemaker (my little alien).  Now I have a blood clot on a pacemaker lead.  Hmm, that sounds much worse than what I experienced.  I feel fine now.

                  On April 15th Cynthia and I left Texas for Sedona and bought a brand new BMW motorcycle in Scottsdale, AZ.  Sedona is Cynthia's favorite spot, and we stayed six weeks ... except that we did rent a car and drive to Sacramento to see Cynthia's aunts. (Too hot to ride the bike - 104 degrees at Hoover Dam.)  While there, I insisted that Cynthia see California coastal Highway 1 north to Fort Bragg.

                  From Sedona, we rode north to the Grand Canyon, where I confirmed that my cardiac care was functional by hiking 3 miles down into the canyon in 1½ hours and back out in 2 hours with no breathing difficulties, no undue strain, no sore muscles.  Monument Valley was awesome; the highlights were our Apache guide and climbing the 40' Indian ladder to enter one of the cliff dwellings.
                  We were in & out of Durango, Colorado four times to see Dr. Youssef & get injections into Cynthia's spine.  The cortisone worked, and she's been much better since.  We visited friends in Santa Fe and hiked there and in Pagosa Springs, Ouray, Estes Park and Grand Junction, CO.  We even ventured into Denver to visit Cynthia's grandson.

                  Cynthia performed the first of 2 religious ceremonies this year by baptizing a Taos Pueblo Indian boy at the Lama Foundation, a hippy spiritual commune dating to the 1960s. 

                  We rode past Dinosaur en route to Salt Lake City, where Cynthia flew back to Houston for doctors appointments.  My Rambo cousin Roy White showed me the Golden Spike, the gigantic Kennecott open pit copper mine and the Spiral Jetty.

                  The ride from Salt Lake City to Denver was spectacular with shimmering golden aspen filling a couple of valleys.  As we crossed the country in late September, the temperatures were pleasant or cool.  We visited friends in Des Moines, Iowa and my 97-year-old Aunt Eleanor in Keosauqua, IA.  (She was quite surprised when I told her that she was the third oldest relative we visited last year.)  In Mt. Olive and Trenton, Illinois we visited my sister, my nephew and a couple I've known since high school.  Next stop Cleveland to see MIT buddy Walt & wife Pam.

                  We arrived at the Inn at Long Trail in Vermont just in time for peak leaf peeping.  Colors were brilliant, although the drought lessened the effect.  Dinner at the Pasta Loft in Milford, NH with several MIT friends provided a wonderful opportunity to "catch up."  We turned south to Gaithersburg, Maryland, where on Oct 16th, Cynthia officiated the marriage ceremony for Jim & Joni, motorcycling friends.  The groom owns a BBQ catering business and catered his own wedding - a fabulous affair.

                  We visited friends in Philadelphia before fleeing south, visiting my brother Dean and wife Janina in their new home in Lewes, Delaware, a comfortable town.

                  Old man winter caught us because we stayed a bit too long on Lake Hyco in northern North Carolina (doing genealogy), so the ride to Atlantic Beach, NC was quite cold.  Ditto the ride to Columbia, SC, where we visited and walked daily with friends.  Ditto the ride to Macon, Georgia and the ride further south to El Governor Hotel in Mexico Beach, FL.  We like that hotel because it is right smack dab on the beach.  We decided to try a new location, Biloxi, MS and discovered fabulous accommodation at the Hard Rock Casino.  Our suite was fit for a Rock Star: sitting room, 3 TVs and a shower big enough to wash the car.

                  Crystal Beach on the Bolivar Peninsula near Galveston, TX is our new favorite wintertime walk. 
                  On January 5 we returned to Houston for our doctors appointments and Cynthia's favorite hair stylist, Sasha.   In summation, we enjoyed a marvelous year despite the miserable start.