30 March - Hawaii bound!
29 March, Sunday - Little sleep for the last two nights, so Ron is TIRED, but game for more activity. Volume 3 of the Rambo Family Tree is assembled and ready to go to Authorhouse, but G-Mail won't make the attachment from here ... could be an ISP restriction. More packing and preparing to do until 4:15 am departure Monday. It was nice that Dick joined the usual cast of characters for Sunday morning breakfast. We said our goodbyes to next-door-neighbor Nell with a promise to visit whenever we are in the neighborhood. A Great Blue Heron nearly stood on the nearly submerged rock by the dock - yes the water level is VERY high. The old computer at Greg's house is behaving better since I uninstalled several programs and threatened it with lobotomy.
28 March - It has been raining alllllllll day looooooong. We leave our lovely lake house tomorrow night. It has been a wonderful place to spend the past three months keeping us sane while working frantically. Monday at 4:15 AM, Donna (thank you!) will take us to the Columbia airport to board a flight to Hawaii for a month. Thanks to Continental One Pass we have free tickets to Hawaii! We land in Honolulu on the same day to spend eight days on Waikiki Beach. From there we head to Kuaui for eleven days and onto the big Island for eleven days of hiking and cycling. We arrive back in Columbia on the first day of May and head out to Illinois to build a train loft for the great nephew.
26 March - Ohwhatfun! We had a great time with Dean and his wife Janina. Dean recently retired from the navy (dentist) and is enjoying wind-surfing, running marathons and mining for precious gems. He likes to make jewelry. While they were here we visited Tom's (gemologist) jewelry store in Chapin - and took Liz, Clark, Donna and Greg out for dinner at BoneFish Grill that evening. Clark (past prez of the HO Railroad Association) took us to the railroad museum in downtown Columbia. It was pretty awesome experience for everyone. The next morning we walked with Dick and Jim (Jim invited Dean to see his fascinating model airplane shop and watch a helicopter guided by a micro chip). Zooma Zooma!
19 March - Jumping into the car early in the morning... we drove to Furman University to research and did not find much. Nice university! From there we headed to Standing Bear Hostel arriving about 7 PM to have a light meal with Southside. Rock Hound, Curtis, his wife and daughters joined us around the evening campfire. The hostel cabin located over a creek is mighty nice although it got MIGHTY cold because the fireplace went out. The morning temps were 28 degrees. Southside, renewed in spirit, was back on the road at seven AM. We headed to the public library in Greenville, SC for research - staying until the last closing ding. Once again we had a great meal (of fish!) at Ruth's Chris Steak House. They cooperated with the styrofoam and cardboard diet. More flowers for Smooch Smooch! She is very happy!
18 March - We enjoyed a brisk walk with Dick and Jim this morning despite the chilly morning. Time is running out: we have much TOO much to do in the next ten days before we leave the lake house. We are waxing frantic. The insulated gloves were mailed to Curtis at Standing Bear hostel. We hope to get to Standing Bear to see Curtis & Southside on Friday - WAY TOO much to do. (Travel time is four hours each way; we'd want an early morning departure in order to stop at Furman en route.) Brother Dean and Janina, his wife, might be able to visit us Monday or later while returning from a visit with their daughter in southern Georgia.
17 March - More flowers to rebeautify the house for smooch smooch.
16 March - We left Fontana Village driving south on 28 to 144 and onto 17 before reaching I-85 and into Greenville hoping to reach Furman University before they closed at 4:30 to look at their Baptist church records. We didn't make it in time, but we did go to the Greenville Public Library downtown. The library was terrific in every way! Reading through the tremendous repository of records we lost track of time until the staff announced that the library closed at nine PM. And we woke up to the realization we were hungry. After feasting on fine Ahi Tuna filets at Ruth's Chris Steak House, we drove back to the lake house arriving about midnight just in time to get a few hours of sleep before we walked with Dick on the 17th.
15 March, Sunday: - On the road again traveling up Hwy 17 in North Georgia through a corner of North Carolina and into Tennessee to Fontana Dam we stopped at two or three Wal-Marts to purchase food and warm gloves for AT hikers. Wal-Mart had a great special: $1.50 pair! We bought two pair. It was such a good deal (we thought they had erred) we stopped on the way back to SC and bought several more pairs to mail to Curtis at Standing Bear Farm on the East side of the Great Smokies.
When we arrived at Fontana Village it was almost deserted. Nothing open but the lodge where Southside was staying along with a handful of hikers. It was great to see Southside!!! We loaded Southside into the car and drove to the hikers hostel (Fontana Hilton) where we found five hikers who devoured the food we brought. They were mighty hungry - no restaurants or grocery stores were open; their re-supply would not be available until in the morning when the Post Office opened at nine AM. A young man from England was thrilled with a pair of gloves.
We took Southside to an el cheapo Mexican restaurant in Robbinsville for dinner because it was the only thing open on Sunday night.
13-14 March - Washington, Georgia is a delightful small town with magnificent antebellum homes including the Washington Plantation B&B, former home (1827) of Isaiah Tucker Irvin, Jr. The food is delicious and delightfully prepared by co-owners Tom and Barbara. Friday proved to be a fruitful day at the Wilkes County courthouse finding deeds. Saturday was another good day at the Mary Willis Library and a great lunch with Bryan and his lovely wife Randi who followed us back to the library for more research. Bryan made a Bankston "find" in the book, Some Georgia Records, Vol. II. In the evening we had dinner once again in the restaurant "Down Under" at the wonderfully renovated historic Fitzpatrick Hotel. We specially enjoyed meeting the French owner Guillame and his Cambodian wife So Kuhn, the chef par excellence. We told her our diet and asked her to cook us whatever she wanted. She made a delicious Asian glazed salmon (Jim - check this out!). The bartender, MyLinda, was a very delightful and animated conversationalist.
12 March - Hey, Roy! Thanks for sending the puzzle. Wanted to show this to you before it is taken apart again.
11 March - The ice cream was delicious. Too bad there isn't any left to take to Dick this morning to make up for the bad taste left in his mouth when he did not figure out the challenging Sudoku and had to face up to the Master.
10 March - Wowie Zowie!! FINISHED! The last page of the index of the fifth and last volume was completed today. Time to celebrate with three gallons of Blue Bell Ice Cream on sale for $3.00 apiece. We are taking our neighbor Nell out to dinner to complete the celebration.
9 March - Oh Boy! The temperatures have warmed up beckoning us to outdoor adventure! We take off this weekend for research Friday and Saturday in Wilkes County, Georgia with a side trip Sunday and Monday to take Trail Magic to hikers on the AT north of Springer Mtn.
Squire and Southside are venturing forth on another AT hike; we hope to catch up to Southside near Fontana Dam either Sunday or Monday. Poppa Bear and the Preacher Boys have a four day hike planned for 25 May, too! Good for them. The General (on duty in Baghdad) sent a note of congratulations along with his wish he was on the AT facing cold and fog instead of dust and heat. He is enjoying his new granddaughter on visits home in England every nine weeks. He has plans to take his wife hiking soon hoping she will learn to love hiking and cross the pond for the AT adventure.
Mallards: Mortimer, Minnie and Moe
Peking Duckies: Donald and Daisy. After our absence for a weekend, they have become extremely aggressive, practically planeing over the water in their haste to drive out interlopering mallards.
Canadian Geese: Captain and Cookie ARE NOT FED! They make a big mess!
9 March -The duckies have learned supper is coming through the sounds of seeds shaken in a jar (see photo left). They watch and hear Ron shake the seeds onto the water or the shoreline and begin scooping/vacuuming up the seeds..."slurp, slurp, slurp, slurp,whoosh, whoosh, whoosh!"
5 March - Smooch Smooch is home from a short trip after six loonnnng days! A lot of editing was accomplished but most importantly she had red roses, pink camellias and hand-made valentines to surprise her (good for mucho many romantic points).