Wednesday, April 30, 2014

May annibersary & resumption of motorcycling

31 May:  Belfast, Ireland is "Where in the World is Ron Now?"  ("The world" added to compete with Waldo.  Testing to be done tomorrow. Where's Ron also needed.)  Now Cynthia and I are in total agreement: no more flights.  Our experiences getting here were nothing like some horror stories we've heard, but we felt sufficiently abused to restrict future travel plans to the North American continent.  Thank God there is so much to see & do there.  Ron is up soon after daylight while Cynthia catches up on Zeds.  The hotel is marvelous, check out these pictures.  Peculiar that sunrise seems so very early, perhaps 5 AM.  AHHHNNNNNDDDDD... here she is... Mrs. American Beatty up and ready to roll after a magnificent morning feast replete with 3 Sudokuae done. BMW Motorcycle Shop is the next destination. It is surprising that a top-notch European chef can produce more tasty egg white veggie omelet on the very first attempt than we've enjoyed ever in the U.S.  After breakfast and morning pills (NOT morning after pills), we enjoyed a short walk to the Post Office to exchange currency (sticker shock, pounds sterlings are nearly $2 each) and to the bakery for Sourdough (1.9 pounds Sterling = $4 for a huge loaf) and to Argo to hunt up wheels for the luggage.  Now we are back at the Merchant for lunch and our driver Oliver is already waiting to take us to the BMW dealership.  Life is good; mee weefee is wonderful.  The Charles Hurst BMW Motorrad was a nice place and Simon Armstrong very accommodating (he lent me his helmet), but unfortunately a BMW F800 fairing is too low to offer much wind protection, so the mandatory helmet tried to rip my head off.  I am baffled about these mandatory laws since I am personally convinced that helmets CAUSE accidents due to no hearing, limited visibility, fatigue, and heat prostration.  Sure, maybe they prevent death, but who wants to live as a paraplegic?  At the end of the day, the surprise was that it was at least 10 PM before Mother Nature turned lights out.

30 May:  Neither Cynthia nor I slept a wink the entire flight.  Even in business first, the reclined seating and noise were not comfortable enough.  Cynthia had requested low fat meals for us, but even so, there was still too much fat for my diet.  Deplaning went without a hitch, but Heathrow covers a huge area and our departing flight to Dublin seemed to be located miles from us with at least one more baggage scan and a couple of security checkpoints en route.  Since we brought everything in four carry-on bags, it was quite an ordeal to schlep them so far.  We hope to find suitable "wheels" for our return.  After an interminable traversing the terminal, we found our gate and our flight to Dublin.  When it rains it pours.  Seated directly behind us was an immature 5-year-old who kicked a the back of my seat sporadically, complained, whined, and carried on for the entire duration of the flight.  Retreating from reality into exhaustion is sometimes a blessing.  Fortunately the AirCoach bus from Dublin to Belfast was easy to find, arrived at noon on time, and provided the best seating, best views, and most comfortable situation of our entire ordeal - so we slept. The bus windows were very clean, and the elevated viewpoint allowed us to see OVER the hedges, reminding me that lower vehicles such as motorcycles would see mostly hedgerows.  Hammie's brother Robin met us at 1:30 at the drop off in Belfast and whisked us in comfort to the Merchant Hotel to honeymoon anew where we honeymooned before.

29 May, Thursday:  Ron needed to get an early start in order to park the motorcycle inside the storage locker, returning by city bus.  On the other hand, good sleep is too precious to disturb, so we finished breakfast at 9:30, and Ron left to park the motorcycle at 10:45.  Although the bike measures too wide (by inches) at the mirrors, Ron was able to tilt right then left without scratching the finish while using too much power to climb over the step up into the locker.  Unfortunately the tool kit had NO wrenches, so the battery could not be disconnected.  Fortunately three fuses could be removed, so there is hope that the battery will no be totally dead upon our return.  Wish us luck.  All that went so smoothly that Ron was quite confident about returning to the Holiday Inn early.  Nonetheless, he hitchhiked along Cheltenham and was picked up by a delightful young hippie longhair who rattled along a mile a minute as we first digressed to pick up a friend and two lovely, well kept dogs and second to ACME to check on something else.  Anders was so enjoyable that I hated to leave, but the bus was going to be a more certain alternative to getting to the hotel on time since Anders had groceries needing refrigeration already in the car.  (Hold on a minute while I e-mail Anders.)  Final packing was a bit frantic, but all was ready by the appointed hour of 1:30 when the shuttle promptly arrived to take us to the airport.  Ron thoroughly enjoyed conversation with the driver who had good experiences with his military tour of duty in Okinawa.  One more passenger boarded at her sister's home (and we all waved goodby to the sister).  The day's slide downhill started after the driver called the office and was told to pick up another four passengers at the Days Inn.  One guy was there.  The others were elsewhere.  We drove elsewhere into a run-down area, and could not locate the others.  The office said they had called from the Days Inn and were waiting.  We drove there and again, they were not there.  We waited on orders from the office until 3 PM when the schedule called for us to be at the airport.  Finally we arrived at the airport at 3:40 somewhat irritated by the run-around passengers and the unproductive wait dictated by the shuttle company.  Even in the priority lines, airport security is getting more demanding that passengers have everything prepared before scanning while allowing less space to unpack liquids in plastic bags, 3 computers from carry-on bags, remove shoes and coats, empty pockets, etc.  Then I was "patted down" after the body scan, and Cynthia's backpack was entirely emptied in search of liquids.  We repacked and began to feel comfortable after settling in at the British Airways lounge.  Boarding the flight was no problem, but everything went sour after Ron's prostate demanded immediate release of fluids as the plane sat on the runway, queued for takeoff.  Defying the "seat belts fastened" signs, he bolted to the toilet and endured loudspeaker demands to "immediately return to his seat" and later a berating, belittling, endless tirade by the chief flight steward, who was mollified only after receiving a feigned abject apology.  While serving dinner, the steward behaved as if nothing had occurred to cause hard feelings between us, but the stewardess who had witnessed his ranting simply radiated embarrassment that her colleague had behaved so poorly.

Miss Smoochie Packed for Departure
28 May:  Happy Winds-day; it is a blustery, rainy day in Fort Washington due to "a mild spring zephyr," quoting Pooh Bear.  Ron is sitting in his thoughtful spot reviewing the SCS website with suggestions sent to the Archives committee.  Our packing is in progress and will culminate with storage of the motorcycle for 3 months at Public Storage, if we are not washed away in today's waterfall.  Cynthia does such a marvelous job of preparing for any and every emergency: we are insured for emergency airlift evacuation, cancellation of bookings, illness and driving internationally including a bottle with a note inside should the waterfall wash us away.  Tomorrow the airport shuttle will arrive for us at 1:30 PM; the good and the bad: it is hard to leave dear friends in Philly; yet, we expect to enjoy an idyllic month on the North coast of Ireland, hiking and relaxing.   We will be in Fermanagh again, but there are no Irish records remaining to be discovered.  What a shame that so many records were burned during World War II of necessity for heat.

27 May, Tues:  FUN Lunch Bunch at McMinimins surrounding a day at the Archives.   Cynthia packed bags to EXCLUDE everything that will not fit in a motorcycle side case liner.  This was tough on the girlie who loves cute shoes.  Good thing she checked the passport number on advanced boarding; inadvertently she had not changed the old number  in her files.  Dinner this evening at Scoogi's with our Archives friends was so enjoyable we missed the horrendous downpour outside; Bethlehem Pike was blocked off to traffic because of downed trees and electric wires.
Here is a link to an episode of "the History of Philadelphia" that contains a nice segment about our common ancestor Peter Gunnarson Rambo who was born 1612 in Sweden and emigrated to New Sweden (now downtown Philadelphia) in 1640; he was referred to as "revered Peter Rambo" and identified by William Penn as "my good friend Rambo."  A plaque honoring him hangs outside City Hall of Philadelphia right across the street from McCormick and Schmick's Restaurant.  This TV episode takes 30 minutes to view:

26 May, Mon:  No USA Today.  Departure for a day of exercise despite a promised high of 86 degrees.  Lovely walk despite the heat; the Rhododendrons remarkable.  Interesting discovery of a deer tick crawling on  Cynthia''s forehead.  It had not penetrated the skin.  HOW could that tick have discovered HER on the pavement?  Chester County, PA leads the country in LYME disease.  Ron is turning OCR pdfs into text with a simple batch download.
Rhododendrons in Ft. Washington
25 May, Sun:  Oh oh, Cynthia is outta the shower, so I'd better get ready for lrunch with Herb and Zofia at the 5 star restaurant onboard the tall ship Moshulu at one PM.  After lunch we strolled a bit of Rittenhouse Square.  A man with a dog he described as very unfriendly took up both sides of a park bench.  Later we saw a nice looking woman befriend the pooch without a complaint by the owner.  We sat next to a delightful psychology professor waiting for Eric C; we had coffee at his new apartment.  Another day of divine food and a late night.  Two large deer, a very large goose and goslings amused us on the way home.

Rittenhouse Square Philly 

24 May:  Ron's knit cap (ca. 1940 US American Ski Team; a gift from Kenneth Mc) is missing since arrival home (at the hotel) Thursday night. Perfect cap; a lost treasure.  As usual, while Ron laments the loss, he agrees that if this is the worst thing that happens all day, it is a good day.  We slept in until 9:30, but Ron was still able to edit and add the four newly-found documents into Vol. 6.  (Many Thanks to Kim and Linda, Tusen Tack.)  At 5:15, i.e. late, we rode west towards West Chester, PA (Main Street boasts 42 restaurants, numerous galleries and genealogy resources that await our return).  West Chester would be a good place to spend the fall hiking although there seems to be a dearth of vacation rentals, i.e. month-to-month without a lease.  Kim had arranged a "progressive dinner" beginning with appetizers at Marie and Peter's 1750-era country house followed by dinner of stuffed peppers and salad at Kim-Eric's home followed by Marie's delicious apple-cinnamon tapioca made with zero fat, zero added sugar.  Peter and Marie's property includes a large pasturage for her horse and for Rascal, a beautiful 32-year-old thoroughbred.  It was another late night - driving home after dark.  Thankfully it was not raining this night.  The bright evening clouds in the sky created a marvelous tapestry, often seen framed by forests surrounding the road.  It was distressing to Ron that, because of constant traffic, he misread the GPS and missed the critical turn from I-76 to I-476, thereby committing to 5 miles towards town before there was any exit.

23 May, Friday:  Wilmington, DE to tour the DuPont Downton Abbey costume exhibit as guests of John and Emily T who fed us royally at their lovely home.  The ride back from Delaware in the dark was smooth despite a very brief light rain.  Good night

Campbells Soup Tureen Exhibit

Campbell's Soup Tureen Exhibit

Downton Abbey Costume Exhibit

Winterthur Children's Play Area

Ron Nesting

Back of above dress

Dress from Downton Abbey


22  May,  Sleeping late is becoming habit.  Cynthia's Girl Day while Ron waits with Wrangel, Vol. 6 in hand; the trip to the storage unit at 5 PM hit rush hour traffic amidst gently falling mist which became a really raining storm once we were safely inside the office of the storage unit.  Thanks to Ron's persuasive charm the storm ceased and the sun appeared just in time to drive to Scoogi's for dinner with a dear friend.  She was an hour late because of heavy traffic but the evening was a delight.

21 May, Ron spent the afternoon at the Archives, lunch with Kim-Eric, while Cynthia is making Lea DNA discoveries.  3 month Storage unit for the motorcycle located at half price halfway between the seminary and our hotel. Trip tickets arrived short one voucher which will be emailed this AM.

20 May, Tues:  Whaat?  8:30 already?  Cynthia slept until 9:30.  Zooma, zooma! A busy day looms ahead at the LTS Archives (lunch at McMinniman's Irish Pub) followed by dinner at Scoogi's with Kim-Eric, Jim Z. and John P.   Ron is checking on the  climate-controlled storage unit close to the seminary for the motorcycle and gear for 3 months now that the huge decision was reached to rent a motorcycle in Ireland on occasion.  Buying or renting  in Ireland to travel through customs/borders of various countries became too complicated and cost-prohibitive.  Shipping ours was equally cost-prohibitive since we forgot to remember our original plan was to hike in the quiet countryside along Northern Ireland's seacoast.

19 May, Mon:  The four  documents needed for Volume 6 were located in the Archives in Uppsalla by archivist Linda; this is indeed good news.  We are proud of ourselves for the day's work that included a couple of hours of walking.

18 Mai, The Swedish Colonial Society luncheon and re-dedication of the monument at Governor Prinz Park (Tinicum) honoring the arrival of the Swedes in New Sweden was held at the Corinthian Yacht Club where we had our wedding reception.  What a joy to see our friends and Swedish cousins who even know yesterday's hymn of the day.

17 Mai, Syttende Mai!  Happy 17th Mai on the joyous 200th anniversary of Norwegian Independence after 400 years of Danish rule.  Very much like the 4th of July in the US, Syttende Mai is celebrated with festivities throughout Norway and in Norwegian communities across the US with such fervor all others wish they were Norwegian.  Oh, our celebration was huge getting ripped on a very large pitcher of diet coke with breakfast; lunch at Friendly's was quite an exciting event even if they did not have lutefisk of lefse.  Our merry making festivities bordered on a riotous during a two hour street hike.  Exhausted ve were unable to join the hymn sing (Ten Thousand Swedes run through the woods chased by one Norwegian) in the basement of the Lutheran Church. Uff da. Vat a day!

16 May, Friday: The rain forecast translates to doing computer work in our room.  Exciting news: Ron will put a new zipper in his cargo pants.  The rain turned to mist opening a window of opportunity to drive to Scoogi 's for a delicious salmon dinner followed by a walk for Ron and sleep for Cynthia after wrestling with a series of Bible studies she is writing for publication.

15 May, Archives committee meeting at the seminary was highly successful.  John T. is a masterful group leader who led us to agreeable decisions.  Lunch at McMinamin's is always a treat with Archives friends except when they have nothing on the menu without fat; Ron ate only a large salad, but devoured a large bag of Snyder's pretzels after lunch.   Jim Z. Joined us for dinner at Earth's Bread and Brewery making it a special evening. Our Wheatberry salad with grilled chicken was amazingly filling.  Ron had to finish Cynthia's food.  Homemade sorbet "aqua dulce" for dessert topped off the meal.  Puzzled we cannot locate the external hard drive in the Archives.

14 May, Wed:  We will drive the Jersey Shore highway before crossing inland to Philadelphia for the next 14 days at the Holiday Inn Express in Fort Washington.  The ride was cold enough Cynthia wore heated gear, yet it was very enjoyable meandering through pristine summer homes on nearly empty streets.  The "Season" begins in another week.  Traffic through Philadelphia was bumper to motorcycle.  Almost.  Stops and starts.  Too tired to go out for dinner we ate in the hotel restaurant.

13 May, Cape May; a cool but sunny day to take the beach walk, although not through the beach sand, enjoying a diet coke on one of the hundreds of memorial benches lining the walkway.  The memorial/honor plaques are so very interesting to read.   Our walk continued for another hour or so, becoming lost a bit, before departing for dinner at the Lobster House. The lobster was good; Cynthia is not fond of clams or oysters so Ron enjoyed those delicacies.   After wrestling with options for renting vs. buying a motorcycle in Ireland vs. shipping ours to Dublin, we opted to rent on occasion instead of making this a motorcycle trip.  $10,000.00 shipping plus complications in getting the bike across borders became a deterrent.

12 May, Third anniversary and Ron's 67th birthday in rural Mt. Airy, MD:  In the early AM the smell of coffee drew Ron downstairs to chat with Jim about off-road motorcycle accouterments which prompted another brief excursion to the garage for measurements and show-and-tell.  Joni was awakened around 6 and off to work soon after.  Jim is now readying himself similarly, and Ron is free to update this blog again.  The blog blogged, Cynthia awake, we enjoyed a sweet walk in the Maryland woods before departing to Bob's BMW motorcycle shop where Cynthia found the perfect jacket, an anniversary gift for herself.  Ron found a new best friend, a motorcycle policeman willing to pose for a photo.    The ride to Cape May was very pleasant meeting new friends on bikes crossing Chesapeake Bay on the ferry.  We dined at the Lobster House upon arrival; it was good enough to return tomorrow night.  We are ensconced at the Angel of the Sea B&B for two days.

11 May, Sun: Frederick, MD:  Kamie and Chris provided a wonderful breakfast of cinnamon bun waffles, whole grain waffles, and very nice microwaved egg white veggie omelets.  Chris's sharp eyes, a pair of binoculars, and two rabbits provided morning entertainment.  Kamie's memory books are indeed works of art as well as memorials to the individual lives of her parents.  A day later Ron realized that he should have taken pictures and shown Kamie how to create a Google Picasa album with them.  After late morning tour of the yard and photos, we departed.  The ride to Mt. Airy from Purcellville was short, sweet and very enjoyable.  Cynthia asked for a photo stop to capture a green field shot (which should appear in this space in the near future). Mother's Day dinner with Jim and Joni's families at Nido's was excellent although the entire list of names is far beyond me.  Lotsa banter and posturing was enjoyed by all except for the two attendees whose hearing is entirely inadequate.  I did switch seats to spend a few minutes talking with Frank face-to-face.  In retrospect, I shoulda woulda coulda enjoyed talking with him much more.  Their unadorned salmon was cooked to perfection for our diet; we were very pleased with the meal and our entire evening.  Jim drove both ways and provided us a pleasant bed for the night.  The fresh nighttime air was wonderful as was the smells of all the flowers Joni received from her children for Mother's Day.

Joni, Jim, Jim's Mom

Sweet Woods in Maryland

Rons' New Best Friend 

Crossing Chesapeake Bay

Virginia Countryside
Chris, Kamie, Cynthia, Ron
10 May: Purcellville, VA:  We rode only a lovely half hour to meet new-found cousin Kamie, see her parents' memory books, and join her family on a day trip to Hillwood in Chevy Chase, MD.   Marjorie Merrriweather Post loved decorating, entertaining, and collecting and created for posterity a magnificent museum including beautiful Russian pieces she saved from destruction during the years her husband was ambassador to Russia after the Revolution: Awesomely awesome collections.

Russian Exhibit
Hillwood Gardens
We celebrated Ron's birthday with Kamie's family by dining at Bob's Shanghai Restaurant in Rockville, MD.  The menu had changed and place seemed to be under new management, but according to Google, Bob's Noodle 66 moved one block north in 2013.  Photos soon.  Cynthia enjoyed a good autobiography by Elizabeth Warren, despite disagreeing with her ideology. We enjoyed a good night's sleep, surrounded by Kelsey's impressive collection of horses, in the guest bedroom.

9 May:  We awoke in Clarksburg, Harrison County, WVA, and Ron's genealogy research for Patrick Sweeney in the very large courthouse was a success; he found two deed records for Patrick Sweeney and his brother Joseph, one of which said that he was "of Washington County Maryland."  After lunch at Ruby Tuesday, we departed at 1:30 PM  for Winchester, VA on old US Highway 50, a motorcyclists heaven.  Ron warned Cynthia that we would see very little straight road on the older roads in West Virginia.  Did I say the road has turns?  Locals told Ron that the trip would take 4 hours, but we stopped for Coke once and to reduce fluids twice, so it took us 3 hours despite lotsa posted 15, 20, 30 and 35 MPH hairpin twists.  The views were good; the dogwood and rosebud trees lining the roads were awesome; a great time was had by all of the survivors.  Ron and Kamie exchanged many phone calls to decide logistics of our visit.  Cynthia opted for the Hilton Garden Inn in Winchester, VA tonight.  We walked to the nearby Ruby Tuesday for dinner of salmon and veggies to celebrate Ron's coming 67th birthday (Monday).  We are amazed to hear that Cynthia's grand-baby no. 11 will be delivered by C-Section on May 12th, Ron's birthday.  On some years we will be celebrating our anniversary, Mother's Day, Ron's birthday, and grandchild's birthday all on the same day; WOW.  Ron continued his genealogy chase until midnight thirty but found very little more about the Sweeney's in Washington County, Maryland.  Hagerstown is in that county.

... and the rest of the story begins here:
scheduled departure for Ireland from Philadelphia  - May 29;
scheduled: Hammy will meet our arrival.
scheduled arrival  Belfast 30 May-1June
scheduled arrival #1 Vacation Rental 1-14 June -
scheduled arrival #2  Vacation Rental 14 June-30 June:
schedule:  Belfast  30 June - Scotland
schedule: 30 June - July 5 -  Dumfries & Galloway
scheduled: 6 July arrival at Dr. Katja,
schedule: 8 July from England to  Denmark;
scheduled 3.5 hour ride to  Copenhagen
scheduled 4: 30 PM  Copenhagen to Oslo, Norway
scheduled Friday, 11 July: lodging Oslo
scheduled: 23 July:  Overnight Oslo
scheduled: 24 July: LV at 8:05 Oslo and arrive in Bergen at 3:00 pm. Independent transfer to hotel. Join tour group for welcome dinner and overnight Hotel; dinner at 6:30 PM
Day 18-21: Friday, July 25 – Monday, July 28    Norway: Scenic and Historic Tour
Follow Norway:            
Day 22: Tuesday, July 29                                        Excursion to Stiklestad
Today you will pick up your rental car and drive from Trondheim to Stiklestad. View the St. Olaf drama. Arrive back to Trondheim and overnight with group at the Radisson Blu Royal Garden Hotel.  

Kim: NOTE: car rental from Trondheim to Stiklestad for the St. Olaf Drama. (Compact car approx. $155)  3 PM  Avis Car Rental; ticketed by Brekke;  return to Hotel after the Festival of St. Olav (outdoor theater re-enactment of the martyrdom of "Holy Ole.")

Day 23-27: Wednesday, July 30 – Sunday, August 3                 Norway: Scenic and Historic Tour

Day 28: Monday, August 4                                     Oslo
Tour ends following breakfast. Overnight at Hotel.

Day 29: Tuesday, August 5                                                Oslo – Gothenburg, Sweden
Breakfast at hotel. Depart Oslo for Sweden. Approximately 3 hours (180 miles) drive to Gothenburg. Overnight  Hotel

Day 30: Wednesday, August 6                               Gothenburg
Breakfast at hotel. Day free for independent exploration. Overnight at hotel.
 Day 31: Thursday, August 7                                              Gothenburg
Breakfast at hotel. Day free for independent exploration. Overnight at  hotel.
 Day 32: Friday, August 8                                        Gothenburg - Stockholm
Breakfast at hotel. Approximately 5 hours (295 miles) drive to Stockholm. Overnight at Hotel
 Day 33: Saturday, August 9                                                Stockholm
Breakfast at hotel. Day free for independent exploration. Overnight at hotel.
 Day 34: Sunday, August 10                                                Stockholm
Breakfast at hotel. Day free for independent exploration. Overnight at hotel.
 Day 35: Monday, August 11                                               Stockholm
Breakfast at hotel. Day free for independent exploration. Overnight at hotel.
 Day 36: Tuesday, August 12                                              Stockholm - Oslo
Breakfast at hotel. Approximately 6 hours (330 miles) drive to Oslo. overnight at hotel. 
Day 37: Wednesday, August 13    Oslo   Ship motorcycle to Philadelphia                      
Breakfast at hotel. Day free for independent exploration. Overnight at  hotel.
 Day 38: Thursday, August 14                                            Depart Oslo for USA
Services end following breakfast. Independent transfer to airport for return flight to USA.
 Flight Information:
   Class: Business
    Departs: Oslo, NORWAY - OSL
   Date: Aug 14,2014                    
   Arrives: London Heathrow, UK - LHR
   Date: Aug 14,2014                   

 Flight Information:
   Reserved: BRITISH AIRWAYS 67
   Class: Club Exc In Uk
     Departs: London Heathrow, UK - LHR
   Arrives: Philadelphia, PA - PHL
Helmet Law in WVA

Susie Ron and Alice
8 May, Thurs:  Cincinnati to Athens for a delightful visit with genealogy cousins Suzie and Alice M. that included a birthday celebration at Ruby Tuesday's.

OH 32 E to Athens
US 33 SE to I-77 S to Clarksburg, WVA, Hilton Garden Inn.

7 May, Wed: Bummer!  Bronchitis again.  Sleepless night with way too much drainage.  Ron heard Cynthia's cough and drove to ER .  Three hours later we were on our way with a shot in the butt and RX waiting at Walmart.  Arrived in Cincinnati, OH about 7 PM.  Ron surprised Cynthia with a celebration dinner at McCormick's.

Bir-sary Celebration McCormick's
Ron age 35

6 May: Delivered a post card written in October to junior high friend Dick E., attorney in O'Fallon, followed by the drive to Trenton to see friends of fifty years, Don and Ann S. who had fun stories about coaching baseball.  Cynthia was impressed.  The Bir-sary was celebrated without singing on or off key.   By three PM Don fell asleep when Ron was coaching him about Sudoku.  Five hours later we arrived in Montgomery, Indiana at the Amish Village Inn for a nights lodging of $72.80.  No Wi-Fi.  Good night.

Miss Smoochey and Mr. Smooch 
Miss Smoochey Biker Chick
5 May: No Room at the Inn was last nights story that changed to yes we have room this AM for one more night at the  Hilton Garden Inn O'Fallon, IL.  Pleasant ride to Mt Olive to see the eVile older sister, discuss DNA, and package and mail TRS-80 computer discs.  Celebration Bir-sary Dinner with nephew Eric and his fine family.  Off-key Happy Birthday sung to Ron.   Bright, cute kids growing up and up.  Saw a brown fox, meeting Spring again with trees leafing lighter shades of green.  Good night Zzzzzz

4 May, Sun: Rise and Shine and Give God the Glory!  Wow! A motorcycle club in colors on a ride ahead of us as we departed Texarkana.   We checked Google for the Illinois Hot Wheels MC but did not see that name amongst the Outlaw clubs.  Very courteous, thoughtful group.  We stayed almost in staggered formation behind them for well over an hour.  Pleasant cool ride until high noon near Little Rock, Arkansas.  Hot!!! Windy!!! Temp was likely in the low 90's until late afternoon.  Cooled off nearing St. Louis and got cold crossing the Mississippi River.  O'Fallon Hilton Garden Inn has space for tonight only.  Ron told the clerk we could sleep with other guests.

Route:380E to I-30 to Little Rock
US 67 N into MO
US 67 N almost to St. Louis
East on US 225
O'Fallon Hilton Garden Inn $92.00

I-64 W to New Baden
IL-4 N to Mt Olive
Return to US 50 E to Cincinnati
OH 32 E to Athens
US 33 SE to I-77 S to Charleston
I-79 N to US 50 to Winchester
VA -7 to Purceville
VA 287 N to I-70 to Mt. Airy and the Sweet Chateau
N to Philadelphia more later

3rd May, Sat: Texarkana, TX and Tired, Hilton Garden Inn,  Goodnight.

Grandson Eric TX A&M Class 2013
2nd May:  Cynthia's grandson Eric was reviewing in preparation for the last final of his freshman year at Texas A&M until 1 AM, so we felt indeed honored that he arose in time to join us for breakfast. (He does NOT like to pass up a meal.)  Ron and Eric compared heights.  Ron is almost as tall wearing his "elevator shoes" boots.  The 3 hour ride from Bryan to Denton, Texas was mostly scenic and pleasant except for construction slow downs throughout Ft. Worth which turned it into a 4.5 hour ride. After checking in at the Hilton Garden Inn ($99.00 includes breakfast), we spent  a few hours with Dorothy B, our 97 year old genealogy cousin, until her eyes closed.

Storage Unit Before Beemer 
Smooch Packed and Ready to Roll
Magnolia Babies Blooming
1 May, Thurs.  We are ready to roll!! early ??? YEEEESSSSS ! or Maybe ???  About 2 PM Ron is much closer; at 5:15 PM with the bike loaded and the rental car packed we did indeed roll ... to the storage unit to unload the car and search for some few missing items in the other storage unit. Next we returned the rental car, filled up with gas, picked up a last minute prescription and THEN we FINALLY rode off into the setting sun, arriving at the Hilton Garden Inn in Bryan, Texas about  7:30 PM.  Veritas Restaurant prepared an awesome sea bass with a marvelous array of Asian prepared vegetables.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

April flowers (bluebonnets on 1st in Texas)

30 Apr, Wed:  We are not ready to roll today.  Ron is feeling weller; maybe early morning we shall begin the journey to the promised land(s) of North Texas, Illinois, Washington, D.C., W. VA, and Philadelphia.  The deadline is the Archives Committee meeting 15 May.   Off to run errands and finish packing before we create more recycling requiring a U-haul.  Bummer!  Steven and Samantha's grandfather was removed from life support; the funeral for both grandparents will be Saturday in Cleveland, Mo.  Cynthia's daughter-in-law is devastated.  I can only imagine the devastation of the 20 year old who broad-sided them causing two fatalities.  Lives changed forever.

29 Apr,  Tues:  We are not ready  to roll today.  Ron is weller, but he is not weller enough  to depart; nor is he healthy enough to visit our 97 year old genealogy cousin in Denton, TX.  Jon and Ron successfully jumped the old Beemer the first time; it died once en route to the storage unit but Jon jumped it again and success ensued.  The bike is parked for time and perpetuity in the walk-in-closet without the gas tank.  Progress is processing what remains to be done after the next monumental job was completed; we hauled half a house in the back seat of the SUV to the recycling center in Spring, TX.  Ron was beaming because they took all of his treasures, even the thousands of tiny slips of shiny paper 1/4"X1/4"!   I shoulda called Mayflower to haul the recycling.  After such success we dined on cedar plank salmon at Pappadeaux.  Ron found a delightful surprise on the patio: the magnolia tree is pregnant  with big buds ready to burst into bloom.  The bluebonnets are phenomenal this year.  Wish we had stopped to take photos between Houston and Austin last week.   We hope to leave late afternoon and spend the night in College Station so we can see Eric before we leave.

28 Apr, Mon: We are not ready to roll today.  Ron reluctantly agreed to see the ENT as an excuse to eat breakfast at the Toasted Yolk but the reason he gave to the doctor's nurse (on the chart) "Wife dragged me in  here."  The nurse checked his temp (97 ) and Cynthia insisted she re-check (almost 100).  The ENT said it is allergies; Cynthia said it is a bacterial infection and then the DR. said it is a bacterial infection.  They both agreed he should be on antibiotics; the Dr. gave Ron a steroid injection in the butt that had almost an immediate impact, OUCH!  RX phoned into the pharmacy we took the opportunity to look at the microfilm of Herndon Haralson's Diary we had ordered from NC and found nothing new to report.   It was simply too convenient to pass the opportunity to have another meal at the  Toasted Yolk for lunch.  Cynthia moved the remainder of the clothing and the other thirty thousand cute shoes to the storage unit, organized it all with an inventory in the computer.   Ron is improving by the  hour.

Here is a link to the bishop's blog: Scroll down to last Thursday to see video and photos.
Dr. Jay Alanis, Cynthia, Dr. Elizabeth Stein

Dr. Jay Alanis, Cynthia

Rebecca, Brenda (rear), Carla, Ron, Cynthia, Jon

Committee, Dr. Evelyn Streng, Cynthia, Dr. E. Stein

Cynthia's grandchildren (Steven and Samantha) lost their maternal grandmother in a car accident Saturday morning near Kansas City.  Their maternal grandfather is in serious condition and sedated in a hospital near Cleveland, MO.  They have been very close to those grandparents since the loss of their dad (Cynthia's son) when they were toddlers.

27 Apr, Sunday: Cynthia delivered another version of her "Lords Prayer" sermon at Grace Lutheran before we said our good-byes there.  She was very amused when one  of the parishioners asked if she could try to be more expressive.   She cannot talk without hands flying hither and yon.   It was a very good day followed by brunch at the Yacht Club to say good-byes there as well.   A nap seemed to help Ron's elevated temperature and sore throat making it possible to tear into our packing to depart process.  The foyer was filled with plastic storage containers, clothing and thousands of cute shoes.  Maybe ten thousand.

26 Apr:  Only two days until scheduled departure.  We may not actually get out of town on schedule, but we should be only a motorcycle away.  (The R75/5, with its dead battery, needs to be moved into storage.)  Today we need to pack bags for the motorcycle, take recycling to Magnolia, and Cynthia has a sermon to prepare.

25 Apr:  6AM in Montgomery Texas and Cynthia is to be awakened to leave for mammogram before long. Long is past.  Ultrasound and diagnostic mammogram had perfect results.  50,000 bluebirds are singing the Halllelujah Chorus, but Ron is only able to croak along with his sore throat.  After a busy day that included digging up yet another busted sprinkler head (this one hidden 4" deep underground) and assembly of two shelving units in the storage locker, aka walk-in closet (pictures taken), Cynthia filled the bread machine with raw ingredients, and we drove to Perry's in Cypress for an excellent dinner with Roxanne, Julie, and Jon.  Fine food, good conversation, and a fun time was had by all.  Julie was astonished that her mother had received a standing ovation from 100 pastors the day before.

24 Apr:  The Rev. Cynthia wowed them with her after dinner speech.  The assembled pastors gave her a standing ovation.  The beautiful day ended with a sour note as Ron finally succumbed to the sore throat that has plagued Cynthia for a month.
Distinguished Alumna 2014 Award

23 Apr:  This was a beautiful spring day for a drive to Austin; the wildflowers were wonderful with fields of bluebonnets and others of orange Indian paintbrush and still more with yellow flowers.

 22 Apr:  Ron started printing the 772 pages of Vol. 6 to be mailed to a proofreader and ran out of ink.  Good grief, $20 for 170 pages is awfully expensive compared to the last printers he used that had ribbons.

21 Apr:  Eureka!  Vol. 6 is newly updated on DropBox.  Soon after getting outta bed and straightening up the house, we drove to Jim's Hardware (fast becoming a favorite store) to find a fitting for the sprinkler riser.  Peculiar to be given the same part that I first bought and exchanged, thinking that the threads were a different pitch.  We had discussed breakfasting at the Toasted Yolk, so decided to stay with that idea, since it is our new favorite.  Then we stopped at Home Depot to exchange vacuum cleaner brush and at Kroger to exchange Glucosamine/Chondroitin and at Wally World for two additional shelving units which we deposited at the walk-in closet.  Afternoon Ron vacuumed while Cynthia received manicure & pedicure.  Then the Dirt Devil was disassembled to find that it had no suction because the filter was already clogged after a cleaning not long ago.  After another trip to Jim's hunting for the vacuum filter, we ate salmon at Phil's and returned home to find cool weather, ideal for weed pulling.  Now it is dark, so Ron inserted TOC and index and posted the new Vol. 6 to DropBox.

Apr 20, Sunday:  HAPPY EASTER!  Montgomery, Texas.  Another early start, 4 AM, answering e-mails and updating this blog before resuming work on James Lea.  Pastor Jim H. had a terrific sermon at Grace Lutheran's 8:30 service; from there we boogied to brunch at the Yacht Club with Bill and Merry at 10:30. The ice sculptures were marvelous.
Easter Basket Ice Sculpture
Then I'm guessing that another root is calling for me to dig it up and saw it out before the sprinkler can be fixed.  Surprise, no root, although the riser broke in the same place.  That quick discovery left time for a haircut and nails cuts.

Caddy Shack View
Apr 19:  I still haven't found the James Lea grants, so more looking at photos of documents this morning.  Sunrise is spectacular, and photos should be forthcoming.  Cynthia is feeling better this morning.  I worry about my SmoochSmooch.   AWW!  She is better.  Swine Bronchitis!  After breakfast omelets at the Caddy Shack brunch, Ron spent most of the day washing dishes and dirty recyclables.
Walden Yacht Club Dinner
 Jon and Barbara joined us for dinner and wonderfully pleasant conversation at the Yacht Club.  That second broken sprinkler was twenty feet away from where the water came to the surface.

Apr 18:  Ron is again up and at it at 4:30 AM.   We have a million photos of documents about James Lea.  Home improvement projects are winding down, so I can get back to the basic three: James Lea, Vol. 6 of Swedish Church records, and recording notes.  Endless weeding is always available to provide a productive break outside.  Next home improvement project just might be regrouting floors - after fixing the broken irrigation sprinkler.  Cynthia spent the entire day feeling puny and miserable.  Ron got lots done: cooked omelets, dug to huge root that broke sprinkler, watched movers haul filing cabinet to storage locker, bought shorter screws and a push saw and a sprinkler fitting at Jim's, sawed "teeth" to install shelf across clothes pole in back of storage locker (the 10' board was 1" too long and the walls are corrugated vertically, so these teeth lock the shelf and clothes pole in place), sawed through that root (1" diameter is huge) to discover that the fitting I bought is not the one I need, trimmed the broken piece to re-install the sprinkler head and turned the water on briefly only to see it pouring out of another break, pulled weeds for a while, and finally took a shower before bed.

Apr 17:  Poor Cynthia has had another miserably sick day.  As soon as she arrived home from Somerville yesterday a bacterial infection made her nauseous.  Today she drove to her audiologist to have her hearing aids adjusted and to an ENT for medications.  Dinner at the Caddy Shack stayed down and after tossing and turning quite a while, she finally fell fast asleep.  Ron was busy this morning at 5 AM scrubbing the last few square feet of floors with brush to remove the dirt from grout lines.  There was quite the flurry of final cleaning as Jon prepared for the open house.  Report is that everyone was wowed by the place, as usual.  Ron was delighted to ride the motorcycle Magnolia to the recycling center and delighted to visit with Merry over breakfast at that Magnolia Diner.  Unfortunately the omelet was very oily; obviously the cook didn't pay any attention to the order that the omelet was to look dry.  At 2 PM Ron rode the motorcycle back to the hardware store in Montgomery for screws to install the clothing pole in the walk-in closet at the storage locker.  One more measurement is needed, the distance from the wall.  The heavy duty shelving from WallyWorld needed no tools; everything snapped together.  Cynthia arrived, and we placed plastic storage tubs onto the shelving and discovered that there is going to be lots of room.  Dinner at the Caddy Shack and quickly to bed by 8:30.

Cousin Greg in Bluebonnet Country

Apr 16:  Another 5 AM start to the day in Montgomery, Texas.  Only 12 more days to pack & organize before we are leaving together on the motorcycle northward and eastward.  James Lea has again resumed primary early morning priority.  The hydrangeas from the wedding still smell marvelous although they droop and shrivel.  After breakfast at the Magnolia Diner, Cynthia and Gregory drove to Somerville, TX for a delightful day meeting his octogenarian biological birth grandmother.  The rest of the family welcomed him heartily as nephew.  The blue bonnets are at peak!!

Apr 15: Ron is scrubbing the limestone kitchen floor spotless; the dandelions jumped out of our lawn and into the neighbors lawn when his footsteps approached; the walk-in closet is absolutely spacious.  Thank you Smooch!  After straightening the house, our morning started with another trip to Toasted Yolk en route to Home Depot to buy more boards, attachments for the upright vacuum (Cynthia misses the built-in vacuum at the ranch!) and various and sundry items that make a techie content now that re-cycling is nearly finished.  Today was cool and dry, so we walked our usual route in two hours.  Cousin Gregory is due from New Jersey momentarily to visit his birth grandmother for the first time.  Greg's father was adopted in DesMoines, Iowa in 1946 and passed away from MS in 2005.  Iowa unsealed the adoption records and Cynthia found the birth mother now 87 living 1.5 hours from Montgomery, TX.  The birth mom later had three daughters and is elated to learn about the son adopted at birth.  My favorite stories are, "I was lost, but now I am found." We walked 4.5 miles. Gorgeous day.

Apr 14:  Good grief, where does the time go?  We are still in Montgomery, Texas.  Cynthia and Ron are busy packing and preparing a 10'x15' storage locker to become her new walk-in closet.  Last message from me was prior to the wedding when I expected to be miserably uncomfortable in the dress shoes, but they were not that bad after all.  Since then Ron has had one melt-down (imagine that) from which he is mostly recovered.  This morning is so steamy humid outside that the wall of windows is covered with condensation.  Keeping them clean is not a problem; spotless is another story.  Today's mission is to install the free-standing 10' clothing pole across the back of the locker.  More storage tubs were delivered to the storage unit before breakfast at I-Hop.  The local hardware store did not have the 1x12 nor any other size that works for us. The temperature dropped 15 degrees in two hours with thunderstorms ready to begin in 17 minutes.  This is a good day for quiet time.  Cynthia has already packed another four tubs for the storage locker.  Since we still need that 1"x12"x10' board, we have an excuse to breakfast at the Toasted Yolk again tomorrow morning.  It has turned stormy with rumbles of thunder and whitecaps on the lake.

Apr 13, Sunday:  Why does church service begin so early?  We hafta get outta bed by 7 AM to arrive on time.  Retirees should be able to enjoy snoozing later than that.  Breakfast brunch at the Yacht Club was again delightful.  The omelet chef provided the same hot sauce as last week.  This time Ron spread it over two omelets, and it was perfect.  After complaining about the early start, I now remember getting up at 4 AM and wasting those three hours processing recycling.  We attempted a walk, but turned around because of the rain and drove to Phil's Roadhouse for an early dinner.  Ron continues his quest to pull every weed out of the lawn, roots and all.  Only a few dandelions remain, mostly in hiding (or as roots underground).

12 Apr:  In order to have an excuse to breakfast at the Toasted Yolk again, we opted to pick up the lumber needed for Cynthia's walk-in closet clothing poles, three pieces of lumber sawed to length, 2"x12"x7'.   The hole saw worked perfectly, but it took a couple of hours to drill (imperfectly) five holes through the 2" wood because the bit needed to be cleaned often so that the small drill wouldn't become overheated.  Ron again enjoyed "digging in the dirt" and pulling dandelions.

April 9, Wed:  How can it be that we are so close to May's departure to Philadelphia?   Morning chores took us to the storage unit to get measurements for lumber followed by breakfast at  the Toasted Yolk;  Cynthia was amazed when the gramma of a new four-day-old baby girl let Cynthia hold the baby.  The gramma is a waitress in the TY.  Wonderful, but what are today's parents thinking of taking  new borns into public places like restaurants????    Home Depot had the 10 foot clothes rods and more large plastic totes.  Ron picked dandelions out of the yard for an hour.

April 8:  Have we mentioned we like the Toasted Yolk????  The house was cleaned for buyers (where are they???) before we departed for breakfast,  but we quickly returned home because the A/C repair folks were arriving to replace the coil on the upstairs A/C.  Our to-do list shrunk: we rented a storage unit, bought plastic containers and shelving, etc.  We also bought Blue Bell non-fat yogurt with 19 gm sugar.  It tastes a lot like ice cream.   The 4.5 mile walk to the fitness center was a necessity on this lovely, but windy, day.  Four deer played near-by before bouncing off into the woods when a noisy pick up truck appeared.  Bluebonnets are blooming.  Tired.  Good night.

April 7 Mon: Carol and Rich had a super send-off breakfast at the Toasted Yolk.  We returned the tux (whew!) by two PM  before we boogied over to the Montgomery County Library to view two reels of the Herndon Haralson diary.  It was of interest but hard to read, so we need to find dates of events we wish to confirm, like deaths and marriages and births.  Eyestrain prompted us to leave early and inspiration prompted us to dine at the Toasted Yolk for our "evening" meal.  Computer projects were re-deployed, but with the new caveat that the house must always be presentable to prospective buyers, especially when we go somewhere.
Water Fowl Flotilla 

April 6th:  Ron awakened "very sad" from his emotional evening but was able to carry on despite the sadness.  We enjoyed Sunday brunch at the Walden Yacht Club with Carol and Rich; Samantha joined us to celebrate her birthday; dinner that evening was fabulous, as usual, at Pappadeaux.  We were exhausted from our previous night, so were happy to enjoy our very necessary sleep.

Apr 5th:  Carol, Rich, Ron and Cynthia walked to brunch at the Caddy Shack.  Sasha, Cynthia's Houston hairdresser, drove to the lake to get Cynthia and Carol gussied up;  Ron and Rich declined to have their three hairs styled.  The wedding was elegant; granddaughter Rachel, the bride, was beautiful.   A good time was had by all the survivors.  Carol and Cynthia's mothers were two of three sisters descending from several generations of females.  Hence, a photo of any gathered descendants is called Miller Time.  The wedding was quite a
Rachel and Ryan
success, but later that evening Ron suffered from an "emotional depression" that disturbed our sleep until the wee hours.

Jon and Rachel

The Smooch Smooches

Carol, Rich and Cynthia

Lauren, Rachel and Jon
Ryan's nieces

Bridesmaid, Bridesmaid and Lauren

Eight Bridesmaids
Cynthia's Dress for Rachel's Wedding
Apr 4:  Ron dragged out of bed early again, unable to sleep.  Thank goodness that the house is cool again since the air conditioner was fixed yesterday.  A tiny leak had let nearly all the freon escape, so it is now welded closed, and that expensive weld is guaranteed, but there is still a coil leaking upstairs that must be replaced Tuesday.  Fortunately that one is still under Carrier warrantee, so will cost us absolutely nothing.  Time for Volume 6 briefly on this Mac, then back to James Lea photograph search.  Carol and Rich arrived about noon from Denver for the wedding.  We rode to the Caddy Shack for lunch while Ron decided to walk; he and Carol walked home.  The rehearsal dinner was good and thanks to the mother of the groom we had baked fish with seconds.  She was very sweet.  While we were at the rehearsal dinner the rest of Cynthia's family gathered for a dinner at the Grotto in the Woodlands.

Apr 3th: Cynthia is taking a Girl Day while Ron is taking a Ron day.  Usually a Ron day means  Ron Recycle Day.  Great success, Cynthia is happily manicured, pedicured, and all else-a-cured.  Recycling is all cleaned and organized and, most importantly, hidden from sight.  Most of everything lying in piles has been picked up and hidden, so we are mostly prepared for company and prospective buyers.  Thanks to Smooch for editing my speech.

Apr 2th:  Awake at 4 AM, up at 4:30, coffee at 4:45, never ending recycling chores, and Ron is again at work on James Lea.  Now that the Intro, Analysis and Conclusion are reorganized and work smythed, it is time to look at millions of photographs of documents searching for source citations.  Thank God for Picasa.  Our 4.5 mile hike was completed with nary a drop of rain despite the foreboding dark green blob bouncing around on color radar.  Two deer had us in their sights en route to the fitness center; on the return,  we stopped for grilled Tilapia and a Spinach salad at the Caddy Shack;  someone asked Ron if the MIT on his shirt meant he voted for Mitt.

Smooch Smooch Amidst Azaleas
April 1:  Indeedy didy do, bluebonnets and azaleas all over everywhere.  Cynthia loves her flowers.  We hiked the second day in a row on the Lone Star Trail in the Sam Houston Nat'l Forest nearby and rode the motorcycle to get there again (10 miles) and ate afterwards at Phil's Roadhouse again.  The day started off with an excursion to the land of dis-comfort to try on Tux and shoes preparatory to intense suffering on Saturday while actually wearing them for more than a minute's fitting.

Red Cardinal

Deer in Sight

Deer in Flight
Lone Star Trails
Lone Star Trails
Lone Star Trail