Thursday, March 1, 2012

March 'N On!

30 Mar:  Back is improving; so is hiking. First sign of wildlife all week is a black snake.

26 Mar:  Hiking on the AT began slowly.  Trail Journals are up and running even though we are not so speedy:

25 Mar:  Packed up and moving on to Staunton, Virginia to hike for a week.  Virginia is for lovers without a doubt.

23 Mar:  Busy, busy, busy here in Philadelphia, and the spring flowers have been marvelous.  We've had a lot of fun with all our friends and the multitude of acquaintances in the hotel, in restaurants & pubs, etc.  Ron is disappointed that his two major current projects are still uncompleted, but that is the price one pays for spending the time with people instead of projects.  Hmm, methinks Ron needs more coffee this morning; the muse seems to be asleep, and nothing of interest comes to mind outside springtime scenery.  The Cherry Blossom Festival in the D.C. tidal basin is renowned, but Philadelphia suburbs in the spring are similarly spectacular.

 22 March,  Maybe the blog will  get updated soon; we are racing the clock to complete work at the Archives with Cynthia's grandson, Austin, digitizing 250,000 pages of Dr. Craig's records. We leave for Staunton, VA on Sunday for a week of hiking, getting the Rambo CD done, plus edits for Vol. 6.  Cynthia took her grandson on a tour of Gov. Prinz park, the Swedish American Museum, and Gloria Dei "Old Swedes" Church with a detour for a fabulous lunch on board the Moshulu.  Austin is an extraordinary young man who prepared for a career in law and changed his mind after graduating from UT Phi Beta Kappa Magna cum Laude.  We are thankful to have his assistance.

17 March, Sat:  Lá fhéile Pádraig sona dhuit!  Happy St. Patrick’s Day to You!

16 March, Friday: Whew.  We are busy busy busy.  Smooch Smooch has the energy of the Energizer Bunny!  "What's that," she asked.  Dinner tonight with Eric and Jean C.  at the Mediterranean Grill.
12 March, Mon: 10 Month Anniversary!  Smooch Smooch! Arrived at the Lutheran Seminary after a very nice late sleep and now to work!  Cynthia's grandson Austin arrived last Wednesday and has the digitization of the Craig Collection project underway.  We enjoyed lunch and dinner with Jim Z., Austin, Kim-Eric, Agel at McMenamin's Irish Pub

11 March, Sun:  NO! we did not want to awaken an hour early but the prospect of surprising Poppa Bear and his family so delighted us we managed to hop out of bed anyway to drive to the Tidings of Peace Mennonite Church and witness the joy on their faces as they saw us.  We enjoyed worship, Sunday School and a magnificent dinner prepared by Mary Lois and the girls.  The dining room table must hold twenty people.  Each one of the boys is more talented than the next.  What a marvelous family.

Austin, Grandpa Shakedown, Kevin, Trevor, Mary Lois and the Girls

The Shenk Girls, Cynthia, Trevor, Kevin, Austin and Grandpa Shakedown

10 March, Sat:  Long lo0000nngggg drive to Lancaster, PA where we met Popeye and Lil Mak at the Hilton Garden Inn.  They appeared radiant and joyful in their roles as caretakers of 501 Shelter.  After a great visit, we promised we would drive to the 501 Shelter Thursday and go  hiking.  A phone call from KAT brought us good news: she will be married this fall in Traverse City, Michigan.  Yahoo!

8 March, Thurs: We wasted little time in reaching Parker-Lexus in Little Rock, arriving by 8 AM  to replace the front tire.  It is easy to see why Parker Lexus was voted #1 Lexus Dealer in the US in 2010: they could not have been more cordial and accommodating.  The courtesy driver named Jorge drove us to an I-Hop for breakfast and picked us up again when we had finished. We were on the road again by eleven AM with a nice bag of cookies they slipped in as a thank you.  NO.  We didn't eat the cookies. With a new tire under the designated driver we drove NE on I-40 accompanied by ominous black clouds looming to the north;  gusts of wind whipped the car, objects blew across the median and finally rain came down in torrents.   Crossing the Mississippi River bridge traffic was backed up for a long distance in the opposite lanes: a semi-truck was on its side blocking traffic.  Emergency vehicles flashed their lights attempting to maneuver through the traffic to reach the truck.  Our lanes being open quickly moved us beyond the scene with no knowledge of what happened next or how long the traffic sat on the bridge waiting for the truck to be moved.   When we reached Memphis the downpour made it difficult to read the signs. We made a wrong turn that took us through the heart of the city.  We were pleasantly surprised with the nice drive downtown Memphis accompanied by Elvis singing away on a CD,  Lunch was at a nice Ruby Tuesday restaurant on the far east side.  The excitement of the day signaled a need to stop early in Jackson, TN for fuel and sleep at a Comfort Inn.  The room is surprisingly nice,  With one exception.  There is a ten thousand pound gorilla pacing on the second floor above our room.  One of us should know better than agree to a first floor room!

7 March, Wed.  On the road again!  Just like old times, arrival and departure, plus packing in the meantime and in-between time.  Ron discovered a possible manufacturer's defect in the left front tire a couple of hours SW of Little Rock.  Despite the late hour, we phoned and e-mailed the Lexus dealer to anticipate our arrival the first thing tomorrow.  We found a Holiday Inn Express at Malvern.
6 March, Tues. Arrived at genealogy cousin Dorothy B. loaded with home-made bread, lingonberry jam and fresh flowers in perfect time to eat lunch.  As usual, we had a marvelous time discussing genealogy and nutrition with Dorothy who  celebrated her 95th birthday not too long ago.
5 March, Mon:  Departing today for Denton, TX  then onward and upward to Philadelphia while zigging and zagging avoiding bad weather. 
4 March, Sudoku, I-Hop, Rambo CD's, packing again. 
3 March, Home Sweet Home.
2 March, Fri:  Dreaming is done.  Today's the day.  One more walk to the recycling center with stuffs, Sistah Carol arrives at 7:30 to drop off more stuffs at the storage unit and off we go to STL for the flight home.  No more Virtual.  Now Reality.  Reality!!!  Cynthia's eyes were wide and huge when Ron exited the airport to surprise her in thirty year old clothing dug out of his storage locker he calls his "Gold-Digger Repellant."   The teen-age girls in the Walden Fitness center ohhed and ahhed over Ron's cool shirt, "Neat shirt!"  Cynthia dived for the restroom stifling belly crunching laughter. 

Teen-age girls LOVED the shirt.  

Leather uppers to cover hiking boots in rain

1 March, Thurs: Thank God for friends like Maxine, Doug, Connie, Brian, Joe H., to name a few, for the gifts of housing, transportation, meals and marvelous camaraderie the past two months.  Thank God!