Sunday, May 31, 2015

June, Too Soon to be June!?

Saw three times, rotate once. Ron at work.

30 Jun:


29 Jun, Mon: A cloudy morning, rain through the night, convinced Ron it is the perfect day to saw fallen trees lying across the trail. By two PM heavy rain hit near the Inn with light rain where Ron was working. After removing seven very large trees, returning at hiker midnight, he was very surprised to find the trail down mountain more sloppy than going up mountain. His very sore body is not a surprise.

28 Jun: Where does the time go?? Rain, rain & more rain promise to keep us from hiking for the next several days. Pat has offered us the use of a car, and Cynthia eagerly accepted; we go to pick it up when Pat leaves work today. THANKS Pat. Ron found five puzzle pieces on the floor, so the zebra puzzle needs to be done again. Oke is supplying Ron with Sudokus, so Ron now has a compelling avoidance activity to occupy precious time. Cynthia's feet have been fine, no pain, no problem; what an incredible relief. Maureen, the physical therapist, is excellent and is now working on Cynthia's hip pain & piriformis muscle. Ron has reduced the immensity of the Desktop Tragedy from 15000 files to 628 by restoring files to the originating directories, incidentally also removing duplicates. Hiking and trail maintenance continues to be our primary goal here. The food is excellent, the staff ditto, and Oke and Reggie are pretty fun. More later.

27 Jun: Sat: Our hike was delayed to after lunch, but we moved with lightning speed up to the ski run and back before the rain hit. Floods are promised. Dinner at Rosemary's Restaurant was marvelous. The Salmon filets were delicious.

26 Jun, Fri: Great, fun hike to the ski run back in time to shower and drive to Killington for dinner at Chef Claude's "Choices" restaurant. We had forgotten just how awesome the meals taste especially the veggie couscous in curry sauce. The swordfish was an epicurean masterpiece. From there we joined the "I Ain't Dead Yet" Reunion of Killington residents from thirty , forty, and fifty years ago. Funny, no one remembered us. Hahaha! To three men, Ron said he and Oke were kindred spirits. Three times the immediate response was, "Oh, you don't wear shoes, either?" Oke was an affluent character who arrived here from Connecticut in the late sixties driving a Morgan convertible, liked the place, took off his shoes to live barefoot, and grow marijuana for a living.

25 Jun: Physical therapy day followed by lunch at Sugar and Spice.

24 June: Wed: 7 Mile hike beyond Jungle Junction

23 June: Physical Therapy followed by shopping and a hike to the sinkholes

22 Jun: Time flies once again. Ron has finished "IMPOSSIBLE" jigsaw puzzle (of tightly knit herd of zebras), finished "Desktop Tragedy" (equally daunting computer puzzle), and is again using the computer with internet. Trail maintenance will resume later this morning after the trail has a chance to dry after the heavy rains last night, so this daily post will be brief. Approach-avoidance is the word of the day; Ron has never willingly resumed a big project after dropping it for a couple of months, and the current projects are no exception: 1) Vol. 6 of the Colonial Records of the Swedish Churches, 2) James Lea, James Lea, and James Lea of Caswell County, North Carolina in 1790; which one married a daughter of Lawrence Bankston?, and 3) updating Rambo genealogies (very cold on back-most burner).
21 June: Despite heavy evening rain last night Ron ventured forth with his tools. The Green Mountain Club is interested in his hours.
Relaxing in the sunshine on the ski run
20 June: 7 mile hike for Cynthia while Ron continued working on the trail.
19 June: Friday was a good day for hiking five miles to the ski run and back
18 June: Rain was not forecast. We planned to hike after physical therapy. The forecast changed; Accuweather said rain! it looked like rain. Oh, well, Instead of hiking, Ron worked on a very challenging jig Saw puzzle. Cynthia puzzled over her current manuscript. The sun came out! We shoulda hiked!!! A very long time ago, In June of 1980, Mrs. Iowa America was the third runner up in the National Mrs. America Pageant in Las Vegas.
Mee WeeFee in Jun 1980, a beauty even then
Alumnae honoree WeeFee likes this photo of Ron in suit

17 Jun, Wed: The sun is shining and we are off to hike. Cynthia likes this photo of Ron in a suit.

16 Jun: Physical Therapy day! Lunch at Sugar and Spice and driving home in the rain. Oke found a tough jigsaw puzzle for Ron. Oh boy!!!

15 Jun: Mon: Ron hiked 8 miles accomplishing a lot of stream bed maintenance. It was supposed to rain but did not pour.

14 Jun, Sun: Another beautiful day, another great hike, and the Sherburne Pass Hero cleared the log from the trail! "Give me a lever, and a place to stand, and I can move the earth!"

13 Jun, Sat: Awesome even: we were on the trail by 10:30 AM for a six hour hike and trail maintainence, of course!!!

12 Jun, Fri: The Five Mile hike to the ski run was indeed pleasant. Ron was proud of his trail maintenance.

11 Jun, Thurs: The temperature reached a pleasant 70 degrees with no rain as we rode to Rutland to see the physical therapist and the orthodontist. Cynthia lost her retainer. Kids! Ron started hiking at 4:30 PM returning at hiker dark. Kids! Ron bought a new toy for his new passion: a one pice trowel and garden fork. Kids!

10 June: Rain through the night caused a delay to hike until 3:00 PM. The trail is a muddy mess. We are watching the news of the escaped convicts some 2.5 hours NW of us with interest. No doubt the intense focus on an area near the prison will bear fruit today. Yellowbuttons for Cynthia's Texas friends:

9 Jun: already. We dodged the rain this morning by waiting until noon to get onto the motorcycle and take Cynthia to the PT (Physical Therapy/ Physical Torture). Maureen again did a marvelous job of finding and treating ankle and hip. Cynthia is feeling much improved. (Now if we could only fix that typo on her birth certificate ...) Ron shopped at WallyWorld for groceries and managed to get everything except yard tool/ stream-bed maintenance implements. Work on the Desktop Tragedy continues. Twisted turns out to be a very quiet, soft spoken guy, so we recommend you read/ view his blog. Apparently Ron's back is no longer tolerating even light raking. Trail Maintenance Addict will just have to suffer withdrawal.

8 Jun: It is rainy this morning; Ron intends to hike regardless; Cynthia is more sensible. Ron is again wondering where the time goes. Amazing that a techie can spend so much satisfying time restoring files and removing duplicates from a "Desktop Tragedy." Today at breakfast we finally met hiker twisted, a very nice, soft-spoken guy who is taking a rainy day zero here. We will let you know more about him soon. We did get in a couple of hours hiking early this afternoon.

7 Jun, Sunday: Amazing!!! We started hiking by 10:30 AM and managed to go uphill all the way to the trail junction (Jungle Junction) with nice rest breaks and no foot pain; with the downhill return, todays hike totalled 6.4 miles in 6 hours. It was a beautiful day with a 65 degree high. Nice to see the trail drying; stream-bed maintenance does work. The borrowed saw was not a multi-purpose tool; it might be fine for whacking off vegetation along Kent Pond, but it is intended to saw lumber, not trees. Today we met a nice couple who had to give up a Long Trail hike due to his knee problems: Movin' On and Thin Mint.

6 June: National Trail Days. Ron was doing trail maintenance on the Sherburne Trail while Cynthiaplugged along to the ski run with black flies biting us no matter what repellent we use. Five miles round trip. Woo hoo!

5 June, Friday: Physical therapy began this morning. Cynthia's foot is rapidly improving after the cortisone shot; the ankle swelling has greatly diminished. Ron is almost finished fixing the desktop tragedy. Short one mile hike

4 June: Thurs: We hiked two miles because the trails are so wet.

3 June: Quiet time allows Ron Geek Time; thankful for IBook on her IPad, Cynthia reads a book a day. Recent recommedations: The Power of Habit, The Nightingale (great historical fiction), Born Survivors, Stalin's Daughter, The Last Train to Memphis, Child Bride, Autobiography of Jerry Lee Lewis, All the Light We Cannot See (Best Fiction), Malala, The Girl on the Train, Hope (tragic tale of abductions) and re-reading Frank McCourt's autobiographies. Apart from Frank McCourt's excellent books, the biographies were stomach wrenches: it is sad so much talent produced such wasted lives. Our swordfish at the Southside Steakhouse was very good (They have zero fat sourdough bread).

2 June: See comment for June 1th!

June 1th, Mon: My new book, "Three Rainy Days in a Mountain Cabin Eating Chicken, Turkey and Tuna On Irish Soda Bread With No Hope of Escape Because We Ride A Motorcycle," is certain to become a best seller with an Academy Award winning movie on the horizon.


Saturday, May 2, 2015

AnniBirsary Month of May

31 May: Merry May has run away. All too soon it's June. Rain is forecast for the first two days of June. Ron found two hungry hikers and fed them a hearty meal besides donating Aqua Mira for their water treatment as they continue hiking the Long Trail. Ron is working on the giant puzzle Okie brought him. Hiking at one PM won't happen because the rain won't quit.

30 May: Delightful breakfast conversation with Fancy Feet & wife & two attractively dressed Long Trail through hiker girlies followed by a six mile hike round trip through Gifford Woods. Oh, boy, the rains came after dinner. Ron wrote a script to repair a computer glitch while Cynthia progresses reading a book a day thanks to IBook on her IPad.

 -29 May: Oh Boy, Oh Boy, Twisted is in Massachusetts already or soon. Several others should be app4oaching. "Orange Crush" is in the 100-mile wilderness, and it is time for Cynthia and I to hike today. We hiked nearly to the ski run today, but Cynthia's left foot is still painful. The ankle brace helped for a while, but then became part of the problem. Ron is quite puzzled that his stream-bed maintenance is not withstanding the flood of leaf debris on the trail this year.

28 May: Imagine ! Cynthia has been seen by the Orthopod for her sprained ankle, scheduled physical therapy starting next Friday, eaten another good breakfast, and dropped by Thundering Falls to see them fully falling after yesterdays several downpours. Next up is to hike although rain is predicted at 1 & 2 today. Ron has the notion that he can reposition loose rocks to impede water flow and soften the trail (and has begun that project). The cortisone injection into the top of the foot was indeed excruciating but thankfully brief and followed by immediate relief. We kept our hike to a minimum (the sinkholes) to avoid over-exertion on the treated foot. It seems peculiar that we've not met more hikers on the trail or at the Inn.

27 May: We are up at 8:30, breakfasted, and hiked sooner since thunderstorms are forecast to begin at 3 PM. It was another hike up the Sherbourne Pass Trail to the sinkholes. Cynthia's foot is again a problem, but we continue to thank God for whatever still works. Thankfully, family and friends in Houston are dry and safe amidst the devastating floods that have hit Texas. Ron is eager for the rain forecast to help him evaluate his stream-bed maintenance. The short hikes these last two days have been a blessing to his abused body; he has no good sense, and in the past, over-use of the rake has caused him severe and lengthy shoulder pains.

26 May: Another lazy morning although we did get to breakfast sorta early for us - 8:00. All we've accomplished by noon-thirty is that Cynthia has a 7 AM (?!!) appointment Thursday in Rutland to have her foot examined and Ron called Tanya at his storage locker in Illinois to find out the size check to write for the year's rent. Now we are again bellied up to the bar eating lunch prior to today's hike (which never got started; Ron was suddenly very tired at 2 PM and slept for an hour). Inobservant me just noticed the sign: "Irish Diplomacy: The ability to tell a man to go to hell in such a way that he actually looks forward to the trip." Another sign: "Beer: so much more than a just a breakfast drink." A late-afternoon trip into town got the check into the mail (Rutland pick-up is 6:30) and resupplied diet coke and French bread.

25 May: Where does the time go? This is our third night at the Inn at Long Trail, and things are mostly back to normal, although I did forget to leave a tip at breakfast today. The plan was to eat (we did) and then to hike up the Sherbourne Pass Trail. We did, but Cynthia's foot started complaining as we crossed the road, so we quit early, an easy day ... except that Ron decided to retrieve Murray's saw from the woods and hiked 2.5 miles uphill to resume trail maintenance until nearly dark. It is never exactly comforting to notice that darkness is increasing just as the first few raindrops fall. Cynthia had already eaten, so Ron returned the saw to Murray and asked to borrow his machete tomorrow.
Thundering Falls when not generating hydro-electric

24 May: Today's hike was a bit easier; we commenced at the lodge of Gifford Woods State Park and hiked across the new pedestrian bridge over the lovely small waterfall and along the wooded shores of Kent Pond past Mountain Meadows and through the pine forest to Thundering Falls (which was flowing well). By the time we returned to the Inn, we were both quite tired, and Cynthia's feet and back were complaining. As has become our routine, Ron applied Zheng Gu Shui and Voltaren with a gentle massage. Cynthia's back complained through the night, causing her to be easily awakened (i.e. Ron was unable to sneak out of bed early - not that he wanted to, his body needed the rest after excessive trail maintenance including removing several tree-sized branches that were blocking water flow and causing the trail to become a perpetual water-logged, boggy mess).
The Inn at Long Trail is below Deer Leap (those grey-white rocks)

23 May: 2 AM and Ron was sleepless, so he got up, Jetboiled coffee, and added Isopure chocolate protein powder. After shuffling paper for a couple of hours and organizing the junk we shipped to ourselves here, he returned to bed for a couple of hours. We arose earlier than usual because we wanted a longer hike and showed up for breakfast already by 7:35, greatly surprising Wannie and Pat; breakfast was excellent, as always. We hiked up the Sherbourne Pass Trail all the way to the ski run. The weather was great, and Cynthia's feet felt very good after the hike. We are hopeful that this is a continuing trend. (Sorry, no such luck, only temporary relief.)

22 May: Goodness but today was busy. Paulette made yet another lovely egg white veggie omelet, enlisting Ron's help only for determining when to flip it and for the actual flip. By 10:30 AM we were packed, goodbyed, and motorcycling. (Never mind that Ron missed a turn, Vt. Hwy. 125 skirted the lake for wonderful views.) When Ron noticed Basin Harbor Road, we turned north (to Cynthia's great puzzlement) until resuming our planned route 17 ride over the Green Mountains to highway 100 south, both lovely roads but with some rippled pavement in need of replacement, especially in turns. Although we could not remember the name, Sugar & Spice Restaurant was beckoning us to join them before 2 PM for another breakfast of egg white veggie omelets, this time with blueberry pancakes. At the Inn at Long Trail, Okie greeted us into our favorite room 17, and Owen proudly displayed pictures of newest son, Wesley. Ron first retrieved all three boxes from the Killington Post Office, so it was close to 4 PM when we commenced hiking up the Sherbourne Pass Trail and 5:03 when Cynthia stopped to rest at the sinkholes, delighted that her feet were substantially pain-free. A beaming Brogan waited on us at the bar, Reggie cooked blackened chicken served with Irish soda bread, and Murray is convivial as ever. Life is good, and we went to bed soon after 8 PM. We entirely forgot that Mt. Philo State Park opened today. DRAT, I REALLY wanted Cynthia to see the view despite her owie ankle & foot. Hopefully, a foot and ankle doctor will be able to inject cortisone to help relieve her inflammation.
We enjoyed lovely sunsets and sunrises over Lake Champlain
Lilacs near Lake Champlain
Lake Champlain from Button Bay Point
Gorgeous greens on this island

21 May: 5:30 AM the brainy puzzle addict is at work with the puzzle covering the dining table. Paulette invited us to eat breakfast at their dining table upstairs. We have thoroughly enjoyed this B&B with its fabulous lake view from the guest room bed. The amusing books about Vermonters brought us lots of laughter. "Nope and Yup and other Vermont Dialogues," "The Champlain Monster," and "Humorous Tales" by former governor Deane. By 3 PM the puzzle was complete, and we opted to ride to Shelbourne to see the museum - which closes at 5, so we contented ourselves looking at the books in the gift shop. The museum looks to be well worth visiting with fascinating collections of quilts, dolls, tools, circus, textiles, etc. Outside again, we essayed to walk around the museum and discovered the Bearded Frog, another recommended restaurant, but it did not appeal to us as much as the others.

20 May: The temperature is 45 with a real feel of 43 until 2:00 PM. Our lovely hostess brought Ron a marvelous puzzle, so he has been a busy boy, thoroughly enjoying hemself. Cynthia was working on DNA and edits until late afternoon when the temperature warmed enough for us to ride to Mt. Philo State Park. The park road to the top is not open until Friday the 22nd, so we walked most of the way up the mountain until Cynthia's foot became problematic. She sat while Ron finished uphill to enjoy the views of the Adirondacks. We stopped at the Starry Night Cafe on our return and enjoyed a delicious dinner before returning to the B&B to continue puzzling and DNA until "late."

19 May: Our five mile hike to the Button Bay State Park accidentally turned into a 10 + mile adventure in being lost. Thankfully, we discovered the Red Mill Restaurant, part of the iconic Basin Harbor Club. Michelle, the restaurant hostess, arranged for Erol, Jamaican, to drive us in the golf cart to Button Bay Point so we only had 3.5 mikes to walk back to the B&B. We slept very good!!! Cynthia's feet complained of abuse.

18 May: Button Bay Bed & Breakfast, on Lake Champlain, sounds wonderful - no fast food joints around. Cynthia's labs are done and we are packing to leave before noon. This ride was another pleasant one with several river crossings and lots of lake views. Eschewing the interstate, we continued east on NY highway 146 to old U.S. 4; this took us through Mechanicville and Schuylerville to Whitehall, where we picked up NY 22 to Ticonderoga, NY and into Vermont via NY 185 and Vermont 17 with an immediate turn onto Lake Road (lovely lake views) and Arnold Bay Road, arriving at the B&B around 4PM. Following Paulette's recommendation, we dined at the Black Sheep Bistro, nearby in Vergennes, NY. Their food was great, our favorite in the vicinity.- (This dash is the only way I've found to convince blogsie to leave a blank line.)

17 May, Sunday: Today we rode on many lesser roads to the Hilton Garden Inn in Clifton Park, New York, north of Albany. The GPS took us on some roads without a center stripe, some without two full lanes, and down a lane or two. It was a marvelous day. U.S. Highway 209 seemed to become Pennsylvania Highway 209 for quite a while before resuming as U.S. Highway; this was the best road of the day. The first unexpected turn was onto the Lucas Turnpike, county road 1 into Kingston. There was a surfeit of marvelous old homes/ mansions along Albany and Ulster Avenues. Pennsylvania 32 was also nice with a good road surface and lotsa twisties. In Saugerties, NY we took a right and stayed on U.S. Highway 9W parallel to the RR tracks, less appealing but faster, and found a great restaurant by noticing lotsa cars parked out front of the Pegasus Restaurant in Coxsackie, NY. Eventually we took a left on state road 81, Coxsackle Road. After a good dinner, we rejoined highway 32, crossed western Albany on Osborne Street (county road 154) and arrived at our destination without difficulty. All in all, we enjoyed our nice warm, dry, 150-mile ride through wonderful springtime forests and pasture lands.

16 May: At the Hampton Inn in Matamoras, PA, Ron has been enjoying being lazy in the mornings, sleeping instead of blogging, and today we didn't arise until 9:30 AM, breakfasted at Perkins next door, and were flabbergasted that 3 PM arrived so quickly. After being awed by the Raymondskill Falls in the Delaware Water Gap Nat'l Park, (I know Cynthia took pictures) we hiked briefly uphill (puffa puffa) on the cliff view trail but turned back when we heard thunder. Good thing too, as the rain dampened us and the motorcycle as we returned to Milford on county road 2001. We continued past the Hampton Inn to Two Rivers Grille and repeated our order for tilapia and salmon identical to last night. (The chef remembered us immediately.) Now Ron has figured routes and weather for tomorrow, so it is time for bed. Good Night.

15 May: After breakfast at the Midway Diner, we rode to the Blue Mountain Summit B&B on the AT at PA highway 309 and treated a hiker, Scout, to a luncheon hamburger. Imagine my amazement that he was too full for desert !! Cynthia did not care for the B&B, so we continued on to Lehigh Gap. This view did a lot to quiet Cynthia's fears of that trail. From there we stayed on smaller roads until joining U.S. Highway 209 into Delaware Water Gap. The Appalachian Trail actually crosses the Delaware on the I-80 bridge in Stroudsburg, so we overshot and ended up in Milford and Matamoras. It was too amusing in the Best Western parking lot to ride amongst dozens of formalled beauties on prom night. Upon recommendation from the Hampton Inn staff, we ate an excellent dinner at the Two Rivers Diner.

14 May: Here we sit at the Comfort Inn in Bethel-Midway Pennsylvania. We enjoyed breakfast and dinner at the Midway Diner. In between we rode to Port Clinton to pick up our bounce box. Post Office hours are 12:30 to 4:30 now, so we walked south on the AT through the Reading, Blue Mountain, and Northern railyards and up the stone steps to the bicycle path. It was then that we realized that we have no hiking poles !! (But Jim has promised to ship them to Vermont - and indeed, they did arrive.)

13 May: We didn't quite get to Port Clinton before the Post Office closed, so we opted to stay at a familiar hotel, the Comfort Inn, and eat at a familiar place, the Midway Diner.-
Four years already !!
I do, I do, I do -- Love you
Happy dancers

12 May, Happy Birthday to the love of my life. Happy Anniversary!!! I love you!!! Leave it to God to improve upon perfection.

11 May: Walt & Pam returned to Ohio, Me Beloved WeeFee returned to Ron.

10 May, Sunday: Jim & Joni led us on a delightful motorcycle ride on this highways of rural Maryland; beautiful.

9 May: I was first in line and Bob's did service the Beemer. Walter and Pam arrived from Ohio late afternoon.

8 May: Jim's birds certainly get noisy at 6:30 AM; we didn't experience that on the trail. Ron is awaiting the (hint, hint) phone call, but sorry to say, his cell pbone has no signal, so is turned off. We are still curious to hear from Rain about Sprinkle. First order of business today is order; Ron tried to pack up EVERYTHING prior to 2:30 PM when he ode to Bob's BMW for 48,000 mile service on the motorcycle.

7 May: Ron was up at 5:30 AM continuing with computer projects. Blog is nearly finished (unless Cynthia has posted more pictures); TrailJournals is nearly done although more remains on the voice recorder; receipts and product information is nearly up to date. Boring, boring, boring. Towards noon Ron picked up sticks to re-awaken himself. When Jim returned in the evening, he suggested a ride, and we zipped along back roads through lovely Maryland scenery decked out in the vivid colors of spring through Frederick, near Hagerstown, to Boonsboro and Sharpsburg to Shepardstown, West Virginia, where we stopped for dinner just before sunset. Jim treated, so I don't know the name of the restaurant. We returned via I-70 with one more stop at Jimmy Cone (closed) and Tutti Fruitti (fat free frozen yogurt). By the time he stretched out to sleep in the tent, it was 11 PM. From Texas, Cynthia reported a stressful day; 1) reroute/ misdirection into downtown Houston while driving to see Sasha 2) early arrival to Mother's Day dinner with children resulted in unintended engagement with her ex - 3) but the end results were fine: 1a) on time at Sasha's 2a) lovely visit with children (& ex).

6 May: Coffee at 4:45 this AM. Wake up call at 5:30, breakfast at 6:08, and airport shuttle at 7 AM sharp. Cynthia reported that security was a breeze since she was cleared in advance. Once in Houston with son Jon, Cynthia lunched at the Toasted Yolk (surprisingly unsatisfactory), was pedicured and manicured, and dined at the restaurant formerly known as the Caddy Shack. Ron rode home the same route at 10:30 and has been sluggish all day. A non-fat yogurt quart from Jimmy Cone didn't help alertness; maybe additional coffee, cereal & Isopure will. Well, yes it did, but the downside was getting up every hour all night. I opted to sleep in the tent and enjoyed being out even though a brief rain and some morning mist left the exterior very wet.

5 May: Coffee at 6:30 this AM. Jim suggested that Ron consider a Yamaha FJ-09 or Suzuki V-Strom (wee or 1000 CC) for his next bike - 200 pounds lighter. We breakfasted at IHOP then shopped for pretzels, protein bars, and gasoline. Joni suggested MD-144 to MD-166 to I-195 to the airport, and that route was gorgeous with so many flowering trees; in one place pink and white flowering trees overlapped in front of a dark red one. Our room (thanks to diamond Honors upgrade) had a jacuzzi and more square footage in the bathroom alone than in most entire hotel rooms. We dined at the nearby Ruby Tuesday and went to bed tired just before dark.

4 May: Ron again slept well until smelling coffee at 5:30 AM and blogged while Cynthia slept. New springh photos below !! We enjoyed a long walk on asphalt and gravel roads over to Buffalo Road and return, unpacked all our possessions to see if a box needs to go to Texas (no), and ate dinner at the Mt. Airy Tavern (trout).-3 May, Sunday: Ron slept wonderfully well until smelling coffee at 6 AM and arose to blog while Cynthia slept. Ron and Jim spent the morning washing five motorcycles. Jim & Joni invited us to Lindsey's birthday lunch at May's Restaurant (think crabs). Newest arrival Elise (Jamie's daughter) grabbed the spotlight by sleeping the entire time. Good food and marvelous company; Ron drank nearly a pitcher of Blue Moon.

 3 May: We are near Mt. Airy, MD, visiting friends Jim & Joni. They prepared a marvelous dinner of barbequed chicken with rice & salad to feed us full. Preparations were interrupted by the running of the 141st Kentucky Derby after hours of pre-race programming. (Ron & Jim preferred pre-race watching "Turn & Burn," the find & fix & sell a collectable old car show; our friend Lee woulda loved that show.) It seemed strange to walk from the garage to house without anything in hand; no backpack, no fanny pack, no water bottles, nothing in hand or on back = indeed very strange. Speaking of strange, you shoulda overheard the conversation that began after we noticed the thumping noises from the drier and Joni explained that her balls were pounding around inside the drier. Joni dropped us off at IHOP when she went grocery shopping. Ron opportunely grabbed diet cokes and pretzels at the Weis grocery next door. Again strange to NOT purchase nuts or peanut butter; we are back on the diet: no oil, no butter, no fat, no cheese. Jim and Joni obviously got an early start to drive 2.5 hours to pick us up at 9:15 in Lickdale, PA; THANKS. We were just packed when they drove up.

2 May:  Our springtime morning ride through the flowering Pennsylvania and Maryland countryside was gorgeous. PA and MD scenery is amazingly beautiful, especially in spring. WOW. THANKS again to Jim & Joni, and Praise God.-
beauties and the beast
You shoulda seen the display across the road
Ain't spring lovely
and they come in white too !!
Deer at edge of meadow (no they are not minatures)

1 May: Lil' Mak picked us up at the hotel about 5:30, and we enjoyed a lovely evening of conversation and great food at the Summit View Restaurant. (We are all stuffed. The restaurant has no web site; it is in Schuylkill Haven, PA.) Popeye has already hiked to Delaware Water Gap. Cynthia and I made the mistake of assuming we could walk to the Appalachian Trail from Lickdale and back without any difficulty. Unfortunately we did NOT know to walk a little farther east to pick up the Swatara Rail Trail, so instead we "enjoyed" a highway walk along busy route 72 for 3 miles to the old historic bridge which carries the AT across the Swatara River. There we enjoyed a sit and snack and met a delightful young man who had just begun his AT hike at the Susquahanna with a 60-lb pack - WHEW. He replied that his "trail name" is Peter for now, and I opined that was a terrific trail name and thoroughly unique. I may have just named a second hiker.
Oh yes, yellow chicadee centered perfectly
Our problems started when we decided to return on the smaller streets east of the river instead of using the Swatara Rail Trail. That weather was beautiful, and that route was indeed lovely. Unfortunately the street signage is no better than the Appalachian Trail; the street we needed (Monroe Valley Drive) was NEVER labeled by any street sign; all the insignificant side streets were named, but not Monroe Valley Drive. We misread Cynthia's iPhone GPS map, missed that turn and walked an extra half mile to the golf club where we were directed to backtrack. By the time we returned to the hotel, ALL of our feet hurt. Asphalt is really hard on us.