Monday, December 1, 2014


31 Dec., Wed:  The girls enjoyed the Spa; Roxanne took a taxi to Fairhope to shop; Ron and Cynthia walked along the board walk beside the bay enjoying all of the lovely vacation homes in families for generations.  We had a tour of the village of Fairhope, AL (one of the top ten best retirement spots) enjoying the community's famous Christmas lights.  Another outstanding dinner set the course for an awesome New Year celebration.  Plans changed because of rain - four days to get to the lake house with two days of rain scheduled!  Happy New Year!!!

30 Dec, Tues. Daphne, AL;  departure imminent for Point Clear, AL where Cynthia's daughter Roxanne will be joining us for the New Year Celebration.  And we arrived in Point Clear about 1:39 PM in time for lunch.  Roxanne arrived just in the nick of time for food before the restaurant closed at two.  Oh what fun!  Oh what a huge lunch.  We talked the afternoon away followed by a marvelous dinner in the Grand Hotel's Steakhouse.

29 Dec, The trip from Greenville, AL to Daphne, AL on I-65 was dry and pleasant.  After checking in to the Hilton Garden Inn a month early (it was an ACCIDENT) we ate a fine lunch at the Pro Bass Shop and toured the USS Alabama, the USS Drum and the Air Museum.  The tours were so enjoyable we only regret we did not have an entire day for exploration. Pictures will follow once Cynthia posts them.

28 Dec.  The forecast of rain kept us in Greenville until Monday.  Unable to eat the breakfast buffets without a chef we walked to Shoney's only to learn they are like Cracker Barrel, Denny's and most fast food chains and told the manager we would not be back.  It took three napkins to mop the oil from the omelets.  Evidently the vegetables were cooked in or on an oily grill.  The manager did not charge us.  Ruby Tuesday's fed us a very good lunch and dinner.  Wal-Mart's Raspberry Sorbet is dessert.

Quote of the Day: So Caught Up 
WHETHER HE WAS born in 4 B.C. or A.D. 6, in Bethlehem or Nazareth, whether there were multitudes of the heavenly host to hymn the glory of it or just Mary and her husband—when the child was born, the whole course of human history was changed. That is a truth as unassailable as any truth. Art, music, literature, Western culture itself with all its institutions and Western man's whole understanding of himself and his world—it is impossible to conceive how differently things would have turned out if that birth had not happened whenever, wherever, however it did. And there is a truth beyond that: for millions of people who have lived since, the birth of Jesus made possible not just a new way of understanding life but a new way of living it.
For better or worse, it is a truth that, for twenty centuries, there have been untold numbers of men and women who, in untold numbers of ways, have been so grasped by the child who was born, so caught up in the message he taught and the life he lived, that they have found themselves profoundly changed by their relationship with him . And they have gone on proclaiming, as the writers of the Gospels proclaimed before them, that through the birth of Jesus a life-giving power was released into the world which to their minds could have been no less than the power of God himself. This is the central truth that Matthew and Luke are trying to convey in their accounts of the Nativity. And it was a truth which no language or legend seemed too extravagant to convey. What the birth meant—meant to them, to the world—was the truth that mattered to them most and, when all is said and done, perhaps the only truth that matters to anyone.
-Originally published in The Faces of Jesus

27 Dec.  Departure imminent for Greenville, AL.  Quote of the day from Einstein:  "If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not people or objects."  Quote from Smooch Smooch, "Until you are happy all alone on a flat rock, you are not ready for relationship."

Quote from  Thich Nhat Hanh
"Whether this moment is happy or not depends on you. It's you that makes the moment happy. It's not the moment that makes you happy.  With mindfulness, concentration and insight, any moment can become a happy moment. Happiness is an art."

We arrived in Greenville under the hotel canopy just as the Vault of Heaven leaked.  My goal for next week is to correct all grammatical errors on this month's blog during the frantic rush to write lest it be forgotten.

26 Dec, Fri:  The Smooches enjoyed a Marvelous Merry Christmas at Biltmore. Ron had a delightful time hiding Christmas cards espedially as a very surprised Cynthia squealed upon each discovery.  Too much over fed... healthy, no fat food, we accidentally embarked on a last tour of the estate by taking a wrong turn. Oh, happy accident.  In Geenville, SC we filled with gas that gave us a huge start, sputter and finally stop a mile or two down the road.  Thankfully we were across the road from a Yamaha Motorcycle Shop.  Thankfully a fellow with a trailer happened to be bringing his 14 year old son's bike to the shop for a new key, and thankfully he offered to load our bike and transport it to the shop where the service manager drained the gas, which was diesel.  After refilling with gas, the bike started and thankfully we were on our way.  No, Ron had NOT accidentally filled the tank with diesel but the Premium tank at the station was empty and diesel was draining into the Premium. This calls for a letter to the state of SC fuel control.  Off we were indeed, arriving in Peachtree City, GA at a nice Hilton Garden Inn.

25 Dec. Thurs:  We (in the mirror over the fireplace) wish you, our friends and family, a Merry Christmas!  May the peace of Christ reign in our hearts and through every land.

24  Dec, Wed: Freaking out at our weight on the bathroom scale, we asked for a replacement and immediately lost 8 pounds.  The staff is the epitome of hospitality.  Everyone is so very pleasant.   We had the best of plans to walk to the Biltmore house (4 miles) but the mist felt ominous.  A shuttle appeared at a Kairos moment and we hopped aboard.  The driver was congenial and knowledgeable offering many unknown facts about the house and its owners: Mrs. Edith Vanderbilt drove a 2 seated Harley around the thousands of acres with Cornelia seated behind her as they delivered gifts to every newborn among the staffs family.  The Harley is in the basement of the Biltmore for evidence.  We toured the house to see the ca. 1900 era Christmas decorations, beautifully crafted, with displays in every room.  Since we have taken all of the tours available during other visits here, we opted not to take a guided tour today.  Light rain was evident when we exited the house so a shuttle back was another good idea.  We were let off in Antler Village to shop and walk back to the Inn, racking up a couple of miles.  Christmas Eve dinner was specially prepared with no fat for us.   O Holy Night!
Ron and his dinner date, Miss Smoochie

Christmas Eve Dinner

Christmas Eve 2014
23 Dec, Tues, Mist turning to snow followed us for about twenty minutes; mist continued  for awhile as we approached Asheville, but thank the Good Lord, we arrived at the Biltmore dry having enjoyed lovely vistas on every side.  The afternoon was surprisingly dry allowing us to take a four mile walk in the afternoon.  The lunch in the library was $70.00!  We opted for Dinner at the Bistro which was the same price for a large meal.  It was excellent.  Cynthia lost her knit cap which was turned into lost and found;  JOY in Asheville tonight.

20 Dec-22 Dec.  Greenville, SC.  The Hughes Library is an excellent repository of NC and SC records.

19 Dec, Fri: Another good walk with Dick, bags are nearly packed for departure to Greenville, SC to research their fine record collection at the Hughes Library. Thanks to Dan and Christine for the photo taken when we visited their home a few weeks ago.  Dan and his M-i-Law are in the background looking like they are ready to jump on the bike with us.
Traveling Towards Texas

18 Dec, Thurs: Triple the work.  Ron did not finish the clopping and lipping until 8:PM - totally worn out.

17 Dec, Wed: Ron Worked and Worked and Worked clipping and lopping at the Gowdy's; Elizabeth drove him to the dump the dump the dump... with bags of recycling and clippings; pine mulch went to Mary Lou's who so appreciated having her "wild man" come visit.  Her vision and hearing are failing but she is learning to cope with the downside of living a long life.   We had dinner with Clark, Elizabeth and Dick at Ruby Tuesday's.

16 Dec,  Tues:  The Smooches saga of life in the fast lane continues:  we are walking about 7-8 miles a day, eating at Ruby Tuesday's, writing, editing, besides lopping and clipping the trees in the Gowdys yard.  Christmas gifts ordered...  !  No doubt we did the same activity yesterday and the day before. This works great when our forgetter is working overtime.

13 Dec:  Another stellar day; Wow !  Ron arose at 5:30 to work on James Lea and his cohorts James Lea and James Lea and included Capt. William, several Williams, a Will or two, and innumerable Wms.  How incredible that all the YDNA for these Caswell County Leas indicate a VERY close kinship; once we have a LARGE number of participants, we should be able to tease out familial groupings.  Ron again spent the afternoon clipping branches to drag the yard waste to the dump on Sunday.  Mary Lou was quite thankful to receive a bag of pine "straw" for mulching her ornamental beds.

12 Dec:  A stellar day, we woke up.  First things first, breakfast, then we arrived right ON time to walk with Jim, Steve, Dick.  Ron showed the guys evidence of his tree trimming progress in Greg and Donna's yard.   We had a pleasant, warm four mile walk, followed by another walk for lunch - two+ miles round trip to Ruby Tuesday's.   Computer stuff will fill Cynthia's day; Ron is off to remove unwanted growth from Greg's yard.  The night promises to be exciting (and was) since dinner is planned at Ruby Tuesday's with Clark and Elizabeth, Dick, Mary and Vince, Cheryl and Tom.  The second round trip to Ruby Tuesday's walking brought our total mileage to 8 today.   Cynthia's Health app on the IPhone 6 syncs with "My Fitness Pal" to record mileage, calories burned and nutrition, too.  8 miles earned 313 extra calories.  Cynthia showed all this on her IPhone to Cheryl and to Clark (his watch does similar things).  Christmas is approaching like a speeding bullet.  (Ron is oblivious.)

11 Dec:.  Ron walked with the guys while Cynthia worked out in the fitness center.  But we walked to Ruby Tuesdays for lunch and were charmed by the delightful, lovely Russian waitress.  Ron again attacked overgrown plant life in Greg's yard.  In Minnesnowda, a friend described Advent life with his Norwegian-Swedish wife: the Swedish half got satisfied by going to the Gustav Adolphus Santa Lucia Ceremony.  The weekend before the Norwegian half got satisfied by going to a St, Olaf Concert so awesome they did not get home until ten PM.  This weekend is the Lutefisk and lefse supper in the Lutheran Church basement.  The excitement in the air is electrifying (or maybe the threat of lutefisk is paralyzing).

10 Dec. Another great day, sunshine, fun time on our walk. We searched for the sunglasses in the Porta Potty, nada.  Then Cynthia noticeD her cell phone missing.  Pooh, boy.  The cell phone was not far away.   Returning to Gregs Ron noticed one of Cynthia's mittens missing so he got on the motorcycle to retrace our steps and found the mitten.  Such excitement.  We walked to Ruby Tuesdays... And the manager asked if we lost a pair of sunglasses!  There is a God!!!

9 Dec, Tues:  7:24 AM ????? Goodness!  We had six minutes to boogie to breakfast.  Dick was patiently waiting for us downstairs.  We walked 3.84 miles.  Ron brought Cynthia back to the hotel so we could do our computer stuffs before venturing forth to Ruby Tuesday's for lunch racking up another two miles.  The Health app on the iPhone 6 is terrific.  Ron cut down trees at the Gowdy's, visited Mary Lou for the better part of an hour.  She is having eyesight and hearing loss.  That is mighty tough for someone who was the chauffeur for the handicapped in her neighborhood and church. Cynthia misplaced her sunglasses.  Maybe she should post a sign in the porta potty with her phone number????

8 Dec:  MONDAY - RON, remembered: to ship Dorothy's OS/2 machine.!! (And pick up Greg's new HSN computer from UPS at 1782 Dunbar Road, West Columbia, but he forgot to remember to bring the UPS slips so he had to return to the hotel and caught Cynthia red-faced on the hotel treadmill machine with a clean room, too);  now he is off to visit Susan at the Lizard's Thicket in Oak Grove , and spend the day at the Caroliniana).  By 6 PM we were ensconced at Bone Fish Grill Restaurant near Harbison Mall in Columbia, SC; this night, after a phone call to the nutritionist this AM, they had food we could eat.  We ordered two entrees instead of splitting one because their portions are so small. It was delightful to see Tom and Cheryl; we had a fun time discussing DNA!  Imagine that!  By the time we departed it was raining.  Ron was happy he did not have to wear a helmet.

6 Dec:  dawned at a more usual hour for us; 8 AM for Cynthia, and 5 AM for her Smooch.  Little Smoochie moved from the door handle to a new perch on the shower faucet, ever hopeful for water in the frog pond bathtub.  James Lea, James Lea and James Lea are continuing to develop more substance and more potent citations, thanks to the millions of pictures we took in Raleigh last month.  98-year-old cousin Dorothy says to ship the OS/2 Thinkpad to her; we can fix it to satisfy her in January.  When asked, Dick volunteered to drive Ron to the AMROC train Christmas open house downtown.  (If the Caroliniana had been open later than 1 PM Ron would have gotten wet riding the motorcycle into town.)  It was fun to watch the trains run and to chat with the AMROC members.  After the return to Irmo in light rain, we were EXTREMELY surprised to learn that Susan has flown the coop and is now working at the new Lizard's in Oak Grove.  Hmm, I have now added links to the Caroliniana catalog and to the SC Archives catalog, and inserted a wedding photo on the RSBeatty website.

5 Dec, Fri: "For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move." -- Robert Louis Stevenson 
Another 7:30 breakfast with Dick & 9 AM walk with Dick & Steve.  Much fun.  Ron rode the bike to Kroger looking for fat free bread and stopped just before dark to visit Mary Lou (who calls Ron "Wild Man").  Her eyesight is rapidly failing, and the lifestyle transition is a major stress and disappointment.  Mary Lou hates to ask people to give her rides, etc, and unfortunately, very few people think to ask her if she wants to go.  Ron remembered to retool watermarks and protection for a Rambo "package" to be sold on the Swedish Colonial Society web site; too bad he didn't remember to set "fast web view."

Steve, Dick and Smooch turning the blue air between them
4th Dec., Thurs:  Cynthia planned to do the laundry on Thursday until she realized today IS Thursday!   Dick joined us for breakfast; we joined Dick, Steve and Jim for a walk at 9:00.  Those guys are really prompt.  If you are late, too bad, you will have to run to catch them.  Cynthia is wildly excited that the signature of James Lea of Cobb's Creek is deemed authentic by the historians!  Ron was pleased that he was able to extract the OS/2 Warp Thinkpad from under piles of possessions without excessive stress and strain and even more pleased that the computer worked flawlessly.

3th of Dec, Wed:  Hilton Garden Inn, Irmo, SC (Columbia Annex).  Yikes.  We were up early two days in a row and managed to meet Dick R. for a four mile walk by 9 AM.  Plans are to stay ensconced here with daily walks, writing projects, celebrations with SC friends before trekking to Asheville, NC for Christmas.

Morning Has Broken
View (landward) of marsh from elevator
View to the east from Shell Island Resort 
Wrightsville Beach, NC High Noon
2th of Dec, Tues: A Picture Paints a Thousand Words, so someone famous said once upon a time (apparently a modern time).  We enjoyed the Shell Island Resort!  Sun rise and beach views were awesome.  After our delayed departure and late arrival yesterday, we packed early in preparation for the ride to Columbia, SC.  (Cynthia used the phrase "meager possessions."  Ron is happy that the load is slightly less since recycling is recycled and unneeded items were mailed to Texas.)  The four hour ride took five hours because we enjoyed a timely stop for lunch at Ruby Tuesday's in Florence, SC.

1th of Dec, Mon: Happy December!! Ho Ho Ho is merrily packing while thinking up a Decemberry title for the blog.  The bike was loaded by noon thirty, but we were hungry, so we stopped for lunch at the Black Pelican.   The sunny warm day made the ride to Wrightsville Beach, NC ever so pleasant, although the late start delayed our arrival until dark.  The Shell Island Resort is unique with marvelous views of the Atlantic Ocean from our living room.  Their elevator has a glass window wall overlooking the bay; fascinating to watch the horizon grow as the elevator rises.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Novembrr brr brr

30 Nov, Sun: First Sunday in Advent.  Cynthia's Sunday Offering: Advent is time to quiet my soul, to remove distractions, in order to spend time preparing for Christ instead of spending Christmas.  This is not something I talk about  - just something I do.  I hope you will, too.
Quiet my soul, O Lord, release  the pain of recent weeks into your loving hands.  Free my heart and mind from all distraction that I may surrender in naked desire to you alone.  Come O Come, Emmanuel.

After a walk out to the end of the pier we hopped on to the bike for a ride to Jockeys Ridge Sand Dunes.  Very little trail for hiking unless one wants to plow through sand.  The visitors center was nice.  From there we drove north to the end of the island, looked at the Hampton Inn as a possibility for another trip, searched for Class 10 SD cards 2 GB unsuccessfully.  Dinner at the Black Pelican was another success.

Jockey's Ridge Sand Dunes

29 Nov, Sat: Six plus mile walk to a preserve after devouring fat free yogurt at the OBX Yogurt Shop next to Walmart.  Yummy yummy yummy.  The shop owner is a delight, too.

28 Nov: Ron arose with the sun; the water looks breathtakingly blue but the waves are whipped by wind.  Everyone coming into the hotel is shivering from cold.  We worked - we ate - and enjoyed another fine dinner at the Black Pelican Restaurant.   Cynthia read an interesting article about Soul Care, a widely popular book by Thomas Moore; twenty years ago she attended the lecture series at the Jung Center given by Moore.  Here is a link to an excellent article about the book, Moore and spirituality:

27 Nov: Happy Thanksgiving!!!! Thanks be to God for His great goodness, for love, laughter  and happiness. What more can be said other than thank you;  it is the greatest prayer we can offer.  In being grateful I discover the secret to contentment.  Our day was spent walking in various fun ways; we walked on the beach watching surfers leaping while we dodged the surf.  Cynthia took a video of Dolphins in the distance but missed getting a shot of one leaping in the air.  The sun is shining brightly.  JOY!  Thanksgiving dinner at the hotel was delicious.  Adam, the chef, prepared baked beets and sweet potatoes for Ron with steamed veggies.   Ron walked to Walmart tonight to get a flash drive on sale at 8 PM.  The sales have begun!!  Cynthia received photos from family in Texas today.  May your everyday be filled with Thanksgiving.

Granddaughter Lauren and Cynthia's son Jon

Granddaughters Lauren and Samantha

Son Jon and granddaugher Rachel

26 Nov, Wed... Rain.  Rain... But by afternoon it cleared enough for Ron to reach Walmart and return quickly because he forgot his money!!!! Sistah Carol enjoyed the lengthy conversation while he made trip one.  The second trip he returned with money while he and Ed had a marvelous long conversation.  We rode the bike to the Black Pelican for a yummy swordfish dinner.

25 Nov, Tues:  Smooch surprised his delighted  wee-fee with red roses.  Rain was predicted; in-between water leaks from on high, we did indeed manage a pleasant, dry walk in 65 degree weather beginning with a half hour on the beach.  The walk was longer than planned because  Boy Scout Beatty decided to investigate a sidewalk with a bridge.  The walkway led through parts of woodlands and suburbs that have no outlets; the streets make loops or trails ending up at the origin,  or nearly so.  According to Cynthia's Health App on her new IPhone, we walked six miles.  The App exaggerates about 10% high. The only downside to our wandering was a blister  on Cynthia''s left foot.  The new liquid bandage works great so she is busy bandaging her blisters.  Ron  walked to Walmart, Harris Teeter's and the Frozen Yogurt (shhh!) shop to forage food for the next couple of days when rain is anticipated in large quantities.  Dinner at the Black Pelican was very tasty.  We stayed dry.

Miss Smoochie and Roses from Ron 

24 Nov, Mon: The wind howled last night with gusts yet this morning; the sun came out, temperatures reached 69 degrees.  We walked the beach t2.6 miles to the Black Pelican Restaurant for a delicious salmon lunch but walked the asphalt beach road back to the Hilton Garden Inn because walking sand affects our bodies!  Light drizzle fell once in a while but we ducked under a beach house.  Great walk!  Great day!  Great life!

High Surf Attracted Surfers

Beach at Kitty Hawk

Blue Skies!


23 November: Ron captured a beautiful sunrise at 6:00 AM; mid-morning the skies and sea were breathtaking from our balcony:  We walked the beach for an hour before the rain began to fall.

View From Our Balcony
6:00 AM Sunris

22 Nov: Breakfasted, packed and on the road by noon, we had a pleasant ride from Raleigh to Kitty Hawk,, NC... Ron wishes he had worn his coveralls.  Cynthia was warm in heated gear.  The sun shine sparkled like diamonds on the bright blue water as we crossed several long bridges from the mainland.  We will be on the Outer Banks for a week of  hiking beaches, sand dunes, writing and watching water. Tonite we walked to the end of the pier and then to A market and Walmart but we were side-tracked at a frozen yogurt shop. Fat-free and no sugar added!!!

21 Nov: Ron arises early to edit. We did well today arriving by bus at the State Archives  by 12:15 and returning to Ruth's Chris Steakhouse by 6:40 PM. Ron enjoys having three scoops of Raspberry sorbet for an appetizer.  It makes a terrific dessert, too.  He is happy to finish Cynthias sorbet, too. Everybody's happy.

20 Nov, Thurs: Thanks to Cynthia's cousin Krista Gandrud Sanda Johnson for sending  a delicious recipe for sugar cookies for Christmas.

Nellie's Sour Cream Cookies
"The Gandrud Cookie"
from Detroit Lakes, Minnesota

1 cup butter (no substitution)
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup (8 oz.) Sour Cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon soda
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
5 cups flour

Sift the four, Baking Powder and soda.  Cream butter and sugar; beat in eggs and add vanilla.
Add part of dry ingredients to egg mixture.
Add sour cream, then rest of flour.
Roll on very lightly floured board to desired thickness and cut round with cookie cutter.
Bake at 350 degrees F. to desired browness, or keep them Norwegian white!

Richwood Lutheran (ELCA) church - favorite cookie from Becker County, Minnesota
Made by the hundreds by Nellie Gandrud, daughter of Engebret E. & Ingeborg ( Leknes ) Gandrud
Dunked in "egg-coffee" cups by Norwegian farmers for generations. Make them large!

from Krista

19 Nov, Wed:  Ron arose at five AM to become sufficiently caffeinated when Cynthia awoke at 8.00 AM; the electricity was out, no doubt because of ice someplace, but turned on by 8:30 AM.  We stayed in bed to stay warm.  Ron went to the Archives alone because the high temp is too cold for Smooch Smooch.  She planned a girl day around hair and nails and the fitness center.

18 Nov, Tues:  How nice to have a bus to ride downtown escaping the cold except for the few blocks to the Archives.  We were pleased with our success at the Archives.  Ron found Lawrence Rambo and Lawrence Bankston on the same abstract.   Cynthia discovered several goodies.  The shuttle dropped us off at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse.  We like to eat there because the food is delicious and the raspberry sorbet has three scoops.  Cynthia orders one dessert for herself but eats less than one scoop so Ron gets 5 scoops!  All fifty states have freezing temperatures.  We appear to be in the midst of a polar vortex.   Ron found a 42nd Street Oyster Bar and Seafood Restaurant in Raleigh five blocks from the Archives.   If it warms up we can try it.

17 Nov, Mon:  The Archives is open so we will take the bus! NO NO NO!  We took the shuttle from the hotel to the airport and the city bus to downtown Raleigh only to discover that the Archives is NOT open.  Leaving downtown Raleigh early we caught the 5:05 bus back to RDU and the shuttle to the hotel.  We dined IN!   The cold is getting colder, didja notice?

16 Nov, Sun:  The Archives is closed on Sunday.  Breakfast at the HGI, followed by computer time, followed by a 4.5 mile walk over the hills and onto the highways.  Dinner at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse again was delicious and delightful.  Now we can take the shuttle and stay warm.

15 Nov:  Another hour at the Archives.  We had a late AM arriving by 1 PM; they close at two PM.  The Raleigh Times Restaurant had been recommended to us but the noise of the band playing outside and the noise of a thousand little kids inside was simply too much for us.  We don't do noise.

14 Nov: Raleigh, NC at the Hilton Garden Inn after a hugely successful day at the State Archives in Raleigh. Cynthia found an original signature of James Lea of Cobb's Creek that appears to be distinct from James Lea, the deposed.  We had many wonderful dinner suggestions by the sweetest young woman at the archives, but opted to get outta Dodge before rush hour and colder temps.  Rush hour on Friday night was a given, but we were ok temperature wise.  The salmon and baked sweet potato french fries here in the hotel restaurant were delicious.
Raleigh, NC

Fall has not fallen in Raleigh, NC

13 Nov.  Thurs.  En route to the State Archives in Raleigh to research we discovered fall has not yet fallen in North Carolina.  Beautiful trees lit up the Target Parking Lot.

12 Nov. Wed:  Cynthia's dear friend from Houston surprised her with a visit; Suzanne, a very lovely attorney, has relocated to Virginia with her large family.  Following the visit, breakfast at Weasie's, we rolled off to Yanceyville, NC Courthouse to examine deeds; then onto Pittsboro, NC with glorious weather accompanying us all of the way to the 485 West B&B.  Dinner at the Roadhouse Bistro was a delightful treat.  Searching for a good restaurant we strolled downtown asking the first couple we met if they were local and if they could recommend a place for dinner.  They laughed heartily while pointing to the Roadhouse, "Yes! Indeed, we own that restaurant; we will take very good care of you."  They certainly did.

Cynthia with Suzanne

 11 Nov,  Tuesday: hiked from Mc Cormick Gap to Beagle Gap and back.
View of Beagle's Gap 

Fall Foliage is Fading

10 Nov: Good grief, where does the time go. Well, hiking for one. Oh, yes, and sleeping in until 10 AM is another.  So we enjoyed a late breakfast at Weasies ... have you heard this before?  We are still at the Comfort Inn in Waynesboro, Virginia since the weather has continued ideal for hiking.  Today after breakfast we stopped at the health food store for Elderberry Juice and Norwegian fish oil.  Then we rode quite a long way on Skyline Drive to the Riprap Trail Parking to commence our hike, again uphill both ways.  We wore ourselves out hiking 5.8 miles round trip to Blackrock Gap.  We started hiking at 12:30 and finished at 4:45, four hours of strenuous workout and speedy for us.  Again the sunset skies were beautifully pink and lit the landscape similarly rosy as we rode "home."  After dinner at Ruby Tuesdays Ron resumed mending, and Cynthia resumed computer work.  Ron has been arising early (4:30 AM today) to edit the James Lea book; that project is moving along at a satisfying clip (think tortoise).

9 Nov, Sunday:  It is going to be hard to reconstruct our hikes.  Sunday we started so late that we opted to shorten our ride time by hiking south from McCormick Gap.

8 Nov: We hiked from Rip Rap Trail to Browns Gap. 7 miles.  Hiker proud!!!

7 Nov:  We bought a new iPhone. This was our day off the trail.

4 Nov: Good grief, where does the time go. Well, hiking for one. Oh, yes, and sleeping in until 9 AM is another. So we enjoyed a late breakfast at Weasies, and the cook remembered our order and sent the waitress back to ask if we wanted cheese or NOT. We returned through a thousand stop lights to the Comfort Inn for pills and shoes and hiking supplies (jelly beans). After a pretty ride on I-64 and along the Skyline Drive, we arrived at McCormick Gap and changed shoes. Neither of us remembered that the trail was THAT steep to the top of Bear Den Mountain and the full complement of radio and microwave towers. The trail then goes steeply downhill to Beagle Gap and back up sharply up to the Little Calf Mountain meadow for lovely, lovely views of the Shenandoah skyline.   On the return, after the forest of towers, we met two southbound through hikers, Mav and Birdie. After they completed the trail to Rockfish Gap (on slippery leaves after dark) and after we stopped at the Rockfish Gap Outfitters to buy hiking poles, a GoPro helmet mount, wind-up flashlight (no batteries) and to try on hiking shoes, we treated Mav and Birdie and Ty to dinner at Ruby Tuesday.    And this was the day we turned back at 3 PM in time to see ominous black clouds approaching; we arrived at the bike by 5:10; the rain was a mist at first but becoming wetter and wetter.  Part way down the mountain we saw two very large bears; one lumbered across the road in front of us while the other one went down the ravine on the side of the road. Now it is time for me to sleep. Maybe I can write about yesterday tomorrow.  Another sentence to repeat ... tomorrow.

3 Nov: After a pretty ride on I-64 and along the Skyline Drive, we arrived at McCormick Gap and changed shoes. Neither of us remembered that the trail was THAT steep to the top of Bear Den Mountain and the full complement of radio and microwave towers. The trail then goes steeply downhill to Beagle Gap and back up sharply up to the Little Calf Mountain meadow for lovely, lovely views of the Shenandoah skyline. We started back at 3:PM just as the skies turned an ominous black.   On the return, after the forest of towers, we met two southbound through hikers, Mav and Birdie. After they completed the trail to Rockfish Gap (on slippery leaves after dark) and after we stopped at the Rockfish Gap Outfitters to buy hiking poles, a GoPro helmet mount, wind-up flashlight (no batteries) and to try on hiking shoes, we treated Mav and Birdie and Ty to dinner at Ruby Tuesday.   Now it is time for me to sleep. Maybe I can write about yesterday tomorrow.  Another sentence to repeat ... tomorrow.

2 Nov: Drive to Waynesboro, VA; it was very long. We did manage to get to Ruby Tuesday's for a huge salad dinner.
Miss Smoochie was ready to roll!

View of the Potomac from Jefferson Rock
Thomas Jefferson admired the view from this rock
Fall Foliage at Jefferson Rock
View of Susquehanna and Potomac
Love the color 
1 Nov. Sat:  Rain was forecast for this afternoon but surprised us by arriving early morning; thankfully it had cleared in time for a historical tour of Harper's Ferry, the train depot, the John Brown building, photos of flood damage that wiped out the bridge in 1924 and again in 1936.  We circled around town to the Appalachian Trail northbound about an hour of  trail hiking.  Lil Mak's picture was discovered posted on a mile marker.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Octobrrrrh turning chilly in New England with marvelous fall foliage colors on the 1st

Harper's Ferry Trails
The Harper's FAIRY
Shakedown Cruise looking at his photo from 2008
View of Harper's Ferry from the Canal Trail
Mooney replied, "I am running on the free beer ticket."
9.5 Miles!  
31 Oct:  Harpers Ferry, West Virginia:  Happy Birthday Dean!!!  That uphill climb on Jefferson Street from the Econo Lodge is NOT easy.  Breakfast at the Country Cafe was delightful with waitresses in costume; one was dressed as Harpers Fairy; of course we fit right into the merriment wearing our costumes: Cynthia as Hiker Chick and Ron as A.T. Through Hiker.  What else to do but hike.  As always after coffee, we needed to stop frequently, first at the Fire Department, then at ATC headquarters on Potomac (or Washington), where we spent way too much time reminiscing and looking at the 2008 photo album to discover dozens of familiar faces smiling back at us.  (Ron was #151 that year.)  Strange that he does NOT recognize the shirt he was wearing.  By the time we left, it was time for a quick lunch at the Towns Inn before walking across the RR bridge and down the C & O Canal Path for 2.6 miles to the point where the AT veers off to the left to cross the RR tracks.  We backtracked to town and enjoyed seeing dozens of trick or treaters on the sidewalks at 6 PM.  After another pit stop at the train station, we continued back to the Anvil Restaurant for another delightful dinner and were surprised that Google maps calculates our entire trip to be 9.5 miles - our record this year.  (The Anvil Restaurant was named for the 1960s play about John Brown.)  So, despite Cynthia's lack of sleep, we enjoyed a great day!

30 Oct: We rode from Jim's to breakfast at the Mt. Airy IHOP again and afterwards on to the library in Hagerstown, Maryland; Ron walked to the courthouse to hunt for deed records about his Sweeney ancestors. Imagine his surprise to learn the name was McSwain!  It was dark by the time we arrived in Harper's Ferry, West Virginia at the Econo Lodge, which was formerly the Comfort Inn.    The uphill hike to the Anvil Restaurant was worth it; great food.

29 Oct:  I-Hop it is!  We packed and drove 45 minutes to Mt. Airy for breakfast.  The weather forecast promised no rain, but rain it did as we left the restaurant.  Fortunately, Jim's house was only 3 miles away and the rain was very light.  Upon arrival at Jim's, Cynthia quickly ran two loads of clothes in the washer and dryer upstairs near our bedroom.  Ron was incredulous that Cynthia wasted water and soap to wash his clothes a second time in two years.  Jim arrived home with news of wet snow forecast soon.  We may change our direction.

28 Oct: We did it again!! We arose early and ventured down to coffee and hard-boiled rubbery eggs for Cynthia and several unadorned bowls of corn flakes for Ron before trekking 2 miles round trip to the Savage Mill Bakery that is advertised as Baltimore's best.  So say the signs on the walls, and they are right. Not only is the bread delicious, but all of their breads are made without oil or butter.  Cynthia found meringue cookies that are fat free with 4 grams of sugar apiece.   Computer work filled the afternoon until 4:00 when Bob's BMW phoned to let us know the bike was ready, so we were able to ride to the Rams Head Tavern for a marvelous dinner.  Thanks to brother Dean for the recommendation. Thanks to Jim Hoegh for sending US a thank you for staying at HIS  home!! Thanks to Jim's mom for teaching him that it is good manners to send thank-you notes.

27 Oct:  We arose early to complete packing after breakfast and to get moving towards Maryland.  Yes, it certainly was brisk at first (56 degrees).  This year the fall foliage is rather dull, missing the bright colors of other falls.  Occasionally a single tree or two shine brightly, but the colors, while pretty, are quite subdued.  Oh Well, it was still marvelously pretty.  The ride was interesting and varied, starting with 60 miles at speed on I-81 before dropping onto slower roads through Pine Grove Furnace State Park (home of the half gallon challenge),  The GPS picked some marvelously out-of-the-way roads with expansive vistas until we arrived in Gettysburg, where we lunched at the Pub and Restaurant at city center.  (It is VERY good.)  Continuing southwards on Highways 97 and 140 and 27 brought us past Jim's place and onto the very pleasant (and hilly) roads 144 and 32 to Jessup.  Checking in to the Comfort Inn was a nightmare, but we eventually settled in, and Ron rode the bike to Bob's BMW to leave for servicing tomorrow.  Nearby are only Subway, McDonalds and Burger King - looks like we starve tonight.

26 Oct: PM. Glorious day, perfect weather, woods are colorful but fading.   Breakfast at the Midway Diner was again just OK; Cynthia ate oatmeal with raisins and called it lunch.  For "breakfast" earlier she ate two bananas, a hard-boiled egg,  and a protein drink in coffee.  We rode to Redner's Warehouse Market to see if they sold anything we could eat - NO - and then north on Highway 72 to the Swatara Creek bridge.  We were able to hike only a bit of the rocky, uphill Appalachian Trail before Cynthia's feet became endangered; it was still a delightful hike, and we followed a forest road on the return to avoid the rocks, wondering all the while,  "Why do the bureaucrats insist on punishing hikers by avoiding places where walking is pleasant?"  Dinner at the Summit View restaurant was even more delicious now that we know there is merely 1 fat gram in their homemade raisin bread which is topped with powdered sugar icing.  YUM!!!  100 calories and 8 sugars.  YUM!  We are packing tonight and preparing for a cold ride to Jessup, Maryland, where Bob's BMW will service the bike and mount new tire.

Swatara Park near Bethel, PA
Swatara River west view
Swatara River east view
Hiking AT at Bethel, PA
25 Oct:  10:30 AM, Cynthia awakened refreshed and recovered from yesterday's lack of sleep.  Ron arose four hours earlier to work on James Lea (with great satisfaction and results).  We departed the room at the crack of noon for breakfast at the diner.  Undaunted by a late start, we followed the advice of Popeye and Lil Mak to hike southbound on the Appalachian Trail from Pennsylvania Highway 645.  It was a very pleasant route, and Ron found lots and lots of sticks and trees to throw and tug off the trail.  We turned around after looking at the William Penn shelter (two stories !).  Dinner at the Summit View is indeed a treat, and the ride getting there was delightfully scenic.

Dinner at Summit View Restaurant
24 Oct:  The forecast promised and delivered a good day for a scenic ride on back roads back to Bethel for more ping pong and hiking.  Awww! I looovvvveeeee my Smooch.  Life is a joy and we are indeed blessed to be living ours together.
After saying our good-byes and thank-yous to Jim & Becky, we breakfasted at Denny's before leaving town southwards (a diversion from the chosen route 890 before reaching it).  The route 147 looked to follow the river, but there were precious few views although the road was scenic enough.  The interesting and scenic part of the ride was on smaller roads crossing the mountains to Highways 225 and 443.  We drove through Fort Indiantown Gap in awe of the National Guard Training compound and stopped to examine the interesting menu of Funck's restaurant.  We checked in to the Comfort Inn before dinner and called Popeye and Lil Mak to see if they'd give us a ride to the Summit View.  They were happy to acquiesce.

The seminary fall newsletter arrived by email this morning with photos of the exciting April event and following article:
Dr. Alanis and Rev. Dr. Cynthia Forde-Beatty
Dr. Liz Stein, Bishop Rinehart, Jon Forde,
Rev. Dr. Cynthia Forde, Ron Beatty,
Rev. Blair Lundborg, and Dr. Jay Alanis
Earlier this year we honored Rev. Cynthia Forde with the first Distinguished Alumna Award. What a wonderful celebration at the Donor Associate, Heritage Luncheon in April. I would like to share with you parts of the message that Rev. Forde shared with the gathered community.  Her message was a personal witness of the role that LSPS played in her development as a pastor and in her ministry. She is a wonderful example of our graduates and we give thanks to God for her support of theological education in Texas.
Gracias a Dios por Rev. Forde!

From Rev. Forde:  
"I knew I wanted to become a pastor, but here at Seminary I learned what kind of pastor I wanted to be: ecumenical with a passion for transforming hearts and minds. LSPS in not just an institution but it is "peopled" by professors whose passion and faith is contagious."

One of those professors was Dr. August Wenzel, then director of LSPS, with 25 years' experience as the former bishop of the Southern District. Augie was at the forefront of ecumenism in the decades prior to the formation of the ELCA, a wise and spiritual man, Augie was the skin horse to those of us velveteen rabbits in process of becoming real theologians.

Augie taught church administration; three things I learned from Augie that impacted my ministry on relationships, fund-raising and preaching:
1.Relationships: "We are in this tent together (Church):  It's better to have a skunk inside your tent peeing out than outside peeing in." That is the kind of counsel that clings when dealing with conflict in the congregation or the church.  We are in this tent, the Church, together, for better.  For worse. 
2.Fund-raising:  Don't Dance for Dollars.  Tell people what you need; people give because they are Christians.   Augie also lamented, "In the past the church paid for seminary education.  Unfortunately, we stopped telling people in the pews the need to pay for pastor's seminary education; we fail the very ones we need to become our next pastors.  We need to rekindle our passion for funding pastoral education." 
3.Preaching: "Don't sweat the sermon, just preach Christ crucified. I had a teary response to my senior sermon about a Christ happening to me through a man dying from Aids; Augie defended my use of an emotional story to a glowering review committee.  On the way out he said, "That was a really good sermon, Cynthia; you preached Christ crucified.  God does the work.
Sadly, Augie is gone; but I know his legacy lives on.

Rev. Forde ended her message with: "Tell someone at your table today, 'I am so proud of you!'   We are in this tent together transforming and being transformed.  May Christ fuel our passion for educating pastors, may we re-commit to providing financial support for their education, may we grow old together in this tent called the Church as Someone happens to us."

Thank you Rev. Forde.  We are so proud of you!  And because of you and others like you we continue to be in Mission for the Sake of the Life of the World!

23 Oct: Ron's reminder, "I must remember to pay my phone bill today or earlier." worked. Cynthia remindered him several times and added "TODAY!" The sticky widget was that his credit card has expired, so check routing info was required instead and only the exact amount due could be paid. Cynthia again slept wonderfully and awakened after 10 AM (vs. Ron's 5:30 AM). We breakfasted at Denny's again with good success and returned at 1 PM to join Jim and Becky for another pleasant walk at Shikellamy Park. Today Cynthia and Jim are spending more enjoyable time reminiscing. We saw deer on Deer Trail today and, my, but their tails present huge waving flags as they flee. Unfortunately Becky's headache did not subside, so she crashed after work, and Jim took us to Hoss's for dinner where we all enjoyed a terrific salad bar.  Apparently we behaved well; Jim enthusiastically encouraged us to stay another day or two.  Good Grief, 11 PM again, no wonder I'm tired.

22 Oct: Cynthia slept until 10:10 AM, waking joyfully almost congestion free, and finished off the Triple Caramel Chunk. Ron had again arisen at 6 AM and devoured the Sorbet immediately before puzzling though several years of photos looking for James Lea documents. Breakfast at Denny's was fine; the waitress was energetic, thin as a rail, and voluble (single mom, wonderful faith, 16-month-old girl and 6-month-old boy). Cynthia and Ron rode to Shikellamy Park, hiked, and enjoyed the view overlooking the Susquehanna River. The park is lovely and so was the Deer Trail. We returned to town and enjoyed more walking along the river, although the cold and unrelentingly fierce wind changed our minds so that we meandered downtown into the Historical District for a diet Coke at the historic Hotel Edison, the first building in the world to be lighted by commercial electric power. The bartender promised their haddock filets would be delicious. We returned for dinner with Jim and Becky, and the haddock was indeed good.

21 Oct: Bethel, PA, Ron is again up early at 5:30 updating this blog & The next step of the James Lea book is to find the original source material for inclusion and to check for accuracy in thousands of places. However for today, the weather forecast is encouraging - no rain. We relocated to Sunbury, riding through marvelous scenery in the coal country after breakfast. The fall foliage colors were not as bright as Ron wanted, but the roads were lovely with predominately smooth pavement and lots and lots of twists, especially PA route 125. As we arrived in town, Ron needed to use "the facilities" and espied signage pointing to the Sunbury hospital and, since Cynthia's friend Jim is a physical therapist, Ron decided that this particular hospital should have a suitable rest room. Wonderful to discover a huge sign announcing Jim's physical therapy directly across the street from the Hospital. Jim and Becky were nice enough to allow Ron to use their facility. Jim and his seven siblings were Cynthia's Iowa neighbors for 17 years in Elkhorn. Each one of the eight kids being more accomplished, talented and good looking than the next. Jim holds the world speed record for an unfaired motorcycle and broke his own record once. Jim and Becky offered us the empty upstairs apartment for the night, and Ron thought we should stay until snow fall, so he rode off in pursuit of food and returned with Triple Caramel Chunk. Their work day is a long one, but we all enjoyed a fun dinner at ??, overlooking the Susquehanna River, just before dark.

Cynthia's recommended reading list: Eleanor and Franklin, by Joseph P. Lash, No Ordinary Time, by Doris Kearns Goodwin, Franklin and Eleanor by Helen Rowley, The Roosevelts and the Royals, by Will Swift, The Narrow Road to the Deep North, by Richard Flanagan. (The last volume is not so well written despite being on the NT Times list).

20 Oct:  The plan was to hike on the Appalachian Trail from route 645 south; an hour and a half after breakfast Cynthia felt terrible with continued allergies, so we canned the plan, especially since Ron awoke at 2 AM this morning and edited the James Lea book for hours.  It is now 11:46 PM - how did it ever get that late? Oh, editing book and organizing for tomorrows prospective relocation to Sunbury, PA. We ate at the neighboring truck stop three times today - constrained to chicken or turkey with not much else that fits our diet.

Shakedown Cruise, Popeye & Lil Mak at Sand Springs
19 Oct, Sun: Breakfast at the Comfort Inn ends at 9:00 AM; we arrived at 9:08 and were not impressed, typical hotel "continental."  The Midway Diner fed us much better egg white veggie omelets with grits.  Cynthia wasted her Sunday "indulgence" by truing their bacon - a reminder refresher to again quit eating bacon.  Ron was unable to finish the sudoku over breakfast, a tough one.  After a rousing game of ping pong with Popeye, we hiked the Sand Spring Trail with Lil Mak and Popeye (friends from the AT).  It looks like as many leaves are on the ground here as in Killington; fall is falling fast.  In the evening Lil Mak provided transportation to & from the Summit View Restaurant, much more variety for us with a decent salad bar.

18 Oct:  The ride from Fishkill, New York to Bethel, Pennsylvania was interesting and colorful.  We didn't see a lot of reds, but hillsides varied widely through the spectrum of yellows and burnt orange. Lots of leaves are already down, so the views through the woods are delightfully iridescent.   U.S. Highway 209 is very much in need of resurfacing and traffic management improvement.  It was fun to pass through Jim Thorpe, and the coal mining areas provided the best vistas today.  We arrived at the Comfort Inn near Bethel just in time to see marvelous sun-drenched clouds on the horizon before sunset and vivid red & rose streaks as the sun set.  Dinner at the Midway Diner was less than impressive, but the chicken and potatoes were fat free.

17 Oct:  Chasing fall colors southwards on our Touring Machine took us on winding roads through woods in 64 Crayola colors, with sweet streams sparkling in shimmering sunlight, quaint New England villages in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Connecticut.  We arrived at the Hilton Garden Inn in Fishkill, NY long after dark and enjoyed an excellent salmon dinner before bedtime.  Imagine our delight; Cynthia used Hilton Honors points to get free lodging at this Hilton Garden Inn, which was expensive and nearly full (of leaf peepers?).  At dark we detoured from originally planned route down 4-lane Connecticut 8 to I-84 west to avoid sighting wildlife up close and personal

16 Oct, Nashua, New Hampshire, a rainy day:  Lovely morning with leisurely, late breakfast.  It was a good decision to wait an "extra" day before leaving.  The rain paused about 11:30, a perfect time as Ron had finished necessities and was able to ride off to spend the day with Wall and Irja.  Goodness! several trees in their neighborhood are vivid.  Cynthia enjoyed the solitude and rest and accomplished so much with DNA studies and communication.  Miraculously the rain again paused about 4:30, and Ron was able to stay dry riding back to the hotel.  However his key card failed to open the rear door; a couple of women inside opened the door for Ron and joked that his wife may have switched rooms in his absence.  Mike and Irja had volunteered to give us a lift to dinner at the Surf (yes, it is that good), so Cynthia and Ron walked out to wait for them and bumped into the same two women waiting for their third sister from Iowa to arrive.  Much fun & humor exchanged all around.  Dinner lived up to our expectations as did dinner conversation.  We all were very much pleased with the evening. 

Proof of alien invasion with touring machine
See stylishly cute shoes on petite alien
Departure on the touring machine
15 Oct, Nashua, NH:  12:04 AM Cynthia received points for first "I love you" of the day.  12:43 the coffee proved stronger than Ron's ability to fall asleep, so this blog post is early.  Whew, up already at 7 AM without nearly enough sleep, but sleep eluded Ron much of this night.  Cynthia fared better, sleeping until 8:30, and we breakfasted leisurely, only a little disappointed that breakfast cost extra.  Shortly after noon, after finishing pills and sudoku, we ventured out to ride to Mike & Irja's and were immediately surprised that the GPS directed us into a familiar neighborhood - our hotel is about 0.5 miles from Mike & Irja's.  We visited with "the Walls" and Drew & BD until near dinnertime, rode back to the hotel to shower & change, and were greatly surprised to find ourselves in rush hour traffic, stopped by nearly every one of seemingly thousands of stoplights as we crawled through Nashua on NH 101A.  Ron was a bit chagrined to arrive at the dinner ten minutes late.  Altogether 13 people came to enjoy very good food and lively conversation: Ron & Cynthia, Drew & BD, Mike & Irja, Mary (without Ed), Robert, Marjorie, Rick & Sherry.  We all missed Sock, Ed, Beanie & Ed and hope they all feel better soon.

14 Oct:  Today we enjoyed both breakfast and lunch at In a Pickle.  It took until 1 PM to pack everything onto the motorcycle, but the good news is that everything including the heated gear & rain gear all fit.  Although we opted for the quickest route involving Boston 128 [now I-95] and I-93 north to Andover, the scenery was spectacular.  The trees are magnificent this fall, and those close to the road were no exception.  We arrived before 3 PM at Oriole Drive to visit Tuna & Christine & her mom for an hour+ before continuing on to the Holiday Inn Express in Nashua, NH.  Traffic was much congested on the little bit of I-495 south, so we coasted a lot to avoid stopping and stayed in first gear for nearly the entire five miles.  Our door-to-door time was not bad for rich hour; we arrived at 6 PM.  Margie suggested meeting at a new restaurant, the Surf, in Nashua, and it was exceptional.  We thoroughly enjoyed our visit with Margie & Richard although we made the mistake of talking politics.  Fortunately good friends can beat different political drums and forgive each other readily; the evening ended with hugs and love.

13 Oct,  Monday:  Breakfast at Pickle was a happy experience once again.  Cynthia gave Ron a long  list for shopping at a health food store plus a trip to Target to buy a thank you gift for our hostess' interesting loft apartment in the iconic Waltham Watch Factory building along side the Charles River.   Well,  Ron planned to leave to do the recycling and shopping, but he accidentally got locked out  because he had given Cynthia the key to the external door as well as to the apartment.   Her phone battery was dead;  so he "patiently" waited for someone to enter the building so he could enter also.  And now - off to shop and walk around Fresh Pond with Richard and Jasper, a three hour hike.  Jasper is EXTREMELY protective of his turf and his master, so we shall transpires when Ron arrives.  Lotsa fierce barking until Richard handed some cookie treats; what followed can best be described as a Jekyll to Hyde transformation.  Richard has walked Fresh Pond every day for about ten years taking photos of the same spot.  He does this because he is an artist and photographer.   Our walk started close to 1 PM and finished close to dark. Ron did not take photographs while walking Fresh Pond, but Richard ran two batteries entirely out of juice.  Click this link to see his photos.   Besides the final picture of Ron & Jasper on the front steps, there are video clips of bees, wooly bears, and ??, and photos of scenery, trees, apples, berries, loons, anhingas, birds, dogs, Ron's hands petting dogs, frogs, puff balls, flowers, chipmunks, etc.  Richard has certainly developed his talent (pun unintended) and showed me his soon-to-be-published calendar of beautiful bird pictures and Fresh Pond birthrates (primarily dogs and dog owners).  Richard said that the fall colors around Fresh Pond have faded substantially in the past week; trees that were spectacularly photo-worthy today were absolutely unbelievably brilliant a week ago, and Richard has the pictures to prove it.  Besides photography and exercise, we engaged in brief conversation with dozens of people, most of whom were walking their dogs.  Most impressive was one slender young girl who passed by us six times as she raced around the pond, obviously an elite runner in training.  Amazing - 54 people read this blog today, 24 yesterday and 1400 page views this past month from all parts of the world.

12 Oct, Sunday:  Warmer temperatures allowed us to enjoy a pleasant & comfortable walk 3/4 mile to In A Pickle for breakfast; it rates 5 stars for service and yummy omelets.  After pills and dining, Ron attempted to navigate Boston streets without adequate preparation, leading to a somewhat rough and circuitous ride into Cambridge, complicated only by the closure of the Longfellow Bridge.  One we found the address, Ron also found an MIT parking lot.  We spent the afternoon in Cambridge with Ron's exercise guru Maggie, who led a class at MIT's Armory and a program on Boston WGBH TV for 17 years in the 70's, Maggie and the Beautiful Machine.  Her several books, The Beautiful Machine, Maggie's Back Book, Maggie's Woman's Book, and Maggie's Food Strategy Book are all still available on Amazon.  Maggie does indeed still look beautiful today.  She gave us good advice about natural healing using black Elderberry Juice, Dulce Iodine, Vit E, Norwegian fish oil (not capsules), Magnesium powder and Zoco Coconut water.   Cynthia took a photo of a photo of Maggie's great grandson (5 years old) and his little sister; he had been striving to explain mathematics to her despite her disinterest; the facial expressions tell their stories vividly.  YES, at five the boy is a genius taking after his late great grandfather, Jerry Lettvin, Professor Emeritus at MIT.   Afterwards we enjoyed a lovely dinner at Abigail's Restaurant next door.

11 Oct:  The chilly ride in 55 degree air from Killington, Vermont to Waltham, Massachusetts on our touring machine required that Cynthia's heated gear be plugged into the bike.  With heated pants, coat and gloves, she was a happy motorcycling mama.  The scenery was a colorful kaleidoscope of change driving the back roads through New England villages replete with fall festivals, country fairs, scarecrow contests and pumpkins of every size and shape.  Thick fog hovering over Walden Pond and eerily over nearby corn fields made me think Ichabod Crane or the headless horseman might gallop into view.  We arrived at our lodging in the iconic Waltham Watch Factory, now loft apartments, after dark and too tired to go out to dinner.

Miss Smoochie will miss the Inn at Long Trail
10 Oct:  Thank God for Cynthia, and fortunately she is feeling quite a bit better (but not well), yet.  Ron's brain refused to let him sleep after 3:20 AM, so at 4:30 he addressed scenic Vermont cards to send with annual letter in reply to 2013 Christmas cards received.  Coffee is an essential fluid.  Cynthia continued sleeping undisturbed until 8:40, so Ron had time to pack the box to be shipped and commence editing James Lea of Kilgore's Branch.  After breakfast, little SmoochSmooch laundered all and sundry while Ron made a last pass through piles of paper to determine which are recyclables, which are keepsakes shipped back to Texas, and which continue to accompany us as to-do residue.  Now to the post office to mail Christmas letters either early or late!  Life is good, me beloved wee-fee is better.

9 Oct:  Poor SmoochSmooch is very much under the weather today; bronchial pneumonia or whatever has robbed her of voice and energy.  We fed her a hot toddy and tea with honey & lemon after dinner; she seems a tiny bit revivified by them.  Hubsand Ron packed one bag tentatively and then left on a hike up to Pico Peak.  He found another couple, from Florida, hiking industriously up the trail and enjoyed conversing with the wife, a strong hiker.  We parted company at the ski run, and Ron continued on the trail to Pico shelter, looking for a wet spot to "maintain."  Finding none before the shelter, he spontaneously decided to hike up the "hiker's trail" to the top to surprise the Florida couple.  That hiker's trail is severely eroded and steep, still, Ron was surprised that the Florida couple was nowhere to be found at the top.  Smooch was too amused to send a photo to SmoochSmooch - but she didn't get it yet.  Dinner at the Inn was excellent, salmon, cabbage, carrots and rice.

Smooch is just too darn cute!!!
8 Oct:  Murray's mom, Rosemary, entertained us immensely at breakfast telling an adventurous tale about helicopter skiing.  After somehow surviving the first leg precipitously downhill to a luncheon table (the guides dug a trench to circle a "table" of snow and spread the tablecloth). While they were there, the pilot  received a Mayday message that a skier in another party had broken a leg, so he had to airlift the injured person to a hospital.  The first leg had been so terrifying that Rosemary refused to continue after lunch, so the pilot agreed to lift her out, but first they settled on a peak so that he could eat.  He explained that because the Mayday airlift had consumed a lot of fuel, he would have to leave her where her group was to reconvene, before ferrying them all out.  He left her in the middle of nowhere, all alone with her heart pounding, while he ferried other groups elsewhere.  Her party convened, the pilot returned, and all ended well.  Ron hiked up the Sherbourne Pass Trail cleaning water bars while Cynthia read.  Ron returned late, hurriedly pulled on his "elevator shoes," and delivered Cynthia to the spa a minute early.  After Cynthia enjoyed a hair cut, we walked out into a very light rain and rode to pick up a prescription at WalMart.  By the time Ron had deposited recycling at the library (yes, they are happy to take it all), the rain had stopped and we continued on to enjoy a delicious swordfish dinner at the Southside Steakhouse again.  Ron sneaked roses into the house without getting caught.  Tonight Ron is to installing padding into his old, decrepit the motorcycle helmet.  During the next two days we will be preparing for departure early Saturday morning from the Inn at Long Trail to Waltham, Massachusetts.    The 15th we will be in Milford, New Hampshire for a dinner party with MIT alum and friends. 5:00-7:00 PM. Good Night!!!

Rachel and Lauren (Cynthia's granddaughters)
7 Oct:  Early morning arising for the twos of us and then back to sleep because it is raining.  Ron is editing Cynthia's book and she is delighted to have almost a full house of participants on the Caswell County YDNA research project in addition to receiving a photo of her granddaughters from Rachel's April wedding.  Ron spent the sunny afternoon sawing and removing trees blocking the trail while Cynthia labored over DNA.

  Non-Stop Fun
6 Oct, Monday: Ron arose early to hide his messes before the housekeepers arrive while marveling at having a wee-fee.   Life is good.   He will drive the touring machine to see  Beanie who  is awaiting a kidney transplant; this was scheduled last March with a perfect donor until the doctors discovered a melanoma.  After removal, she is cancer free but must remain so for two years before the transplant.  She and  her husband have an inspiring faith and courage.  How fun to see JP (our Sherpa) at the Inn last night.  He and a friend are hiking the Long Trail to Canada.

another view of the falls
Falls in Gifford Woods State Park

5 Oct, Sunday: We are again awake at the crack of 9 AM for breakfast, a bit sluggish due to temporary traumatic family news that kept us both awake until after midnight. We hike down to Kent Pond and onwards past Mountain Meadows into the woods for a bit.  Returning by way of Base Camp Outfitters we bought Cynthia a new lime green Marmot rain jacket to replace her lost new lime green Marmot rain jacket, plus a new green cap and warm mittens.  The BCO is ia good place to shop because they sell only what they use and test.  They recommended a 2 Lb Sea to Summit Duo tent for our Appalachian Trail Hike in the Spring plus a very light back pack for Cynthia with more room than her Camel-bak.  the owner's wife also suffers from Raynaud's phenomenon and recommends Thermomax Warm Cream to improve circulation in her hands and fingers (mixed reviews on Amazon).

Julie with Abigayle and Corrie 
4 Oct:  Cynthia is delighted; she received photos of great-grand-baby Abigayle.  Cynthia's daughter Julie (the new gramma) is holding her with Cynthia's granddaughter Corrie watching.  This photo comes from SE China, where the parents of the baby will be studying Chinese for three years.  Julie is visiting for three weeks.  Here in Vermont, the forecast was rain, rain and more rain.  Cynthia was smart to stay indoors and dry.  Ron, as Shakedown Cruise, wasn't that bright.  At 1 PM, optimistic that a few dry hours were forecast, he decided to get out and move a couple of downed trees off the Appalachian Trail on the backside of Deer Leap.  While walking to those trees, he made phones calls arranging a get-together with local friends at 5 PM on Wednesday October 15th at the Pasta House in Milford.  The first two big trees were well placed as water bars, but the third tree required one cut about 9" in diameter.  The remaining bole was 9' long and weighed a ton, so prying it off the trail took quite an effort.  The fourth tree was already cracked nearly through, and simply prying separated three big segments, each of which was "small enough" to drag off the trail.  Success !!  Never mind that the forecast was all wet.  It rained lightly, steadily until after the saw cut was complete.  The rain abated until "Shakedown Cruise" returned to the Inn at 4 PM.

3 Oct: Okie assured us that tomorrow will bring wind and rain, which will remove all the gorgeous fall color hereabouts, so we agreed to motorcycle for three hours before Cynthia's pedicure and manicure appointment in Rutland. We rode our "touring machine" for three hours viewing the marvelous fall foliage in the Green Mountains. Okie gave Ron a map, but we accidentally got a little lost which meant we could enjoy even better scenery along the river and through the bright red covered bridge at Taftville. The amusing fact is that this dirt road was the prettiest and smoothest road all day.  Woodstock is lovely, too. We arrived at Cynthia's pedi/mani spa appointment only 3 minutes late. From there we hustled to the doctor to have Cynthia's lungs checked. Yup, the pneumonia is lurking yet in her bronchial tubes. With RX in hand we were delighted to dine at the Southside Steakhouse where Patrick is now the pastry chef in residence.  We so enjoyed him at the Inn at Long Trail during our extended stay a couple of years ago. Too funny that he served us Italian soda bread identical to the Irish soda bread we love at the Inn at Long Trail. NO fat, no sugar, no eggs!!!

View from Killington Peak
View Hiking Down from Pico Peak
2 Oct:  What a successful day! We took the bus to the Killington Ski Resort, and rode their gondola to the top of the Killington.  Now THIS is the way to go up hills.  The fall foliage was gorgeous from the gondola, and Cynthia made a video clip with her Ipad. (The video was posted on her Facebook immediately.)  The only negative was that the top had caught a cloud, and the view at the top was sheer fog, so there was no need to hike up to the actual peak.  Another big advantage to our route was the restaurant beside the lift where Cynthia was able to procure a diet coke before our hike down.  Ron, as Shakedown Cruise with rake in hand, was delighted to clean out water bars and drainages as we descended.  The hike down was a delightful six miles although a little slick in places because of the condensation on the roots, rocks and leaves.  Cynthia was delighted to have a lot of energy remaining when we finished.  Smooch was delighted that she feels so much better after her bout with bronchial pneumonia. The six mile descent took five hours. We were hiker proud!

1 Oct: Cynthia's knees are good, but she didn't sleep nearly enough, and uphills still leave her breathless. Although we were enthusiastic, the drizzle, chill and damp discouraged us until lunchtime. (Remember that Cynthia is diabetic; eating regularly is mandatory.) At 2 PM we set out on the Sherbourne Pass Trail, our most familiar route. Shakedown Cruise manned the rake on several water bars without injuring his shoulders, but the rain finally came in just enough quantity to wet the rocks and leaves, so we opted to cut our walk short at the Omland's Outlook again for marvelous views of the continuing kaleidoscope of fall colors. After all, Tomorrow is another day !!