31 Dec: Happy New Year!!! We celebrate the 9th anniversary of The Great Marriage Proposal that followed four months of Together. She said, "Yes!" surprising us both. Today the rains sequestered us until mid afternoon; Jon later took us out for dinner at Steve's Landing. After a glorious sunset we walked the beach but the revelry is too much. Fireworks are loud!! It is party time at Crystal Beach.
30 Dec: Ron arose early; the sunrise was astounding. Barb captured the photo. Cynthia slept. Paul and his family arrived at 1: 45 for a cold beach day. The ferry road was briefly impassable due to a gas leak. Cynthia was thrilled to have two granddaughters here for a visit. We walked the beach with 2 year old Fyn determined to wear Beach shoes collecting shells loving the sea and sand. With 28 years and 6 feet between the youngest and oldest grandchild we marvel at this perfect miniature person. Jon joined us for dinner and great conversation. Peace reigns supreme.
29 Dec: The sun appeared on Crystal Beach; so did the wind whipping the sand as we walked twice today for a five miler. We especially enjoyed dinner at Steve's Landing with Jon, Barb and her niece from East Texas. The temperature cooled off enough that we won't do a night beach walk.
28 Dec: Only 3 more days to the end of another "Terrific Year of Together." And we have fun. To say I love you is only the half of it. Fog continues to abound as we walked the beach. We looked at a beach house with Jon and Barb before continuing on our projects. Not having wi-if is Not Good!! Dinner was interesting: Cynthia ate fried shrimp, one teaspoon of seafood gumbo, two hush puppies and splurged on a whole pint of Triple Caramel Chunk Ice Cream. We walked the beach in the fog.
27 Dec: Crystal Beach, Texas on the Bolivar Peninsula east of Galveston: Amazing that we are about to turn over a new year again already. I'm not going to complain about time flying (beats the alternative; time stands still for only those who stop breathing.) We have very much enjoyed this beach. Hurricane Ike took all the soft sand elsewhere and left firm sand on this beach that makes for very comfortable walking - so much so that we over-taxed our out-of-condition bodies yesterday, and Cynthia's resulting painful feet made for an uncomfortable night's sleep, poor dear. Ron Continues to work away on computer projects that require no internet connection (since this vacation rental comes with towels but no WiFi. (Jon and Barb have WiFi but no towels.). Did I say dense fog?
26 Dec: Merry Monday: Christmas blissing abounds. Jon and Barb arrived to spend a few days in their own beach house so we walked the beach - a five mile roundtrip - to visit. Cynthia's feet are too-much-over-sore. Dinner tonight with Jon and Barb at Stingaree's was delicious. Home again, we are pondering how to improve Our Bankston website searches on Google: https://sites.google.com/site/bankstonfamilytree/. Good night from Bolivar Peninsula.
25 Dec: Merry Christmas to all our friends; and Ron to Smooch Smooch, "I love you, I love you, I love you... and never in my wildest imagining did I imagine that a marriage, a relationship, could be THIS GOOD." We were buffeted by very high winds riding to the family Christmas gathering at Roxanne's home in Houston. Ho Ho Ho!!!
24 Dec: O Holy Night! After a busy day of beach bumming, computer stuff, showers, dinner at Steve's Landing, the night is young, the story never old. May Christ be born anew in your hearts this night, too.
23 Dec: White Beach Christmas - God does "the light." After walking the beach we bounded onto the bike to catch the ferry to Galveston Island. Guido's Red Snapper was not to our liking. We ran a few errands then caught the ferry home.
22Dec: 27 Miles of beach - only four people, three golf cars in sight - making this very a very peaceful beach.
21 Dec: Winter Solstice: "There is a calmness to a life lived in gratitude, a quiet joy," (Ralph Blum). Ron made delicious omelets before we walked the beach for 2.75 miles round trip. We added 3.6 miles roundtrip by hoofing it to Ocean Grille for dinner, returning with a sunset so magnificent that we stopped often to look back. Ron is nearly finished with the Clements Family Group Sheets.
20 Dec: We ferried forth to Galveston Island about noon-thirty. It was fun to watch sea gulls, pelicans and even blackbirds swarm above the ferry. Ron has a new best friend with a green truck who invited us to visit. Two hours were spent in Urgent Care for a minor infection that wasn't. The beach was really lovely; many large ships were lined up at the port waiting for inspection. Guido's Seafood is the IN place to dine, so we did. The return ferry was loading as we drove up but so many cars were ahead of us we were routed onto ferry# 2. About 10 or eleven people poured out from a Nissan wagon in front of us to watch the ferry cross the inlet - looking like a frat party piling out of a phone booth. The sunset was spectacular.
Our nephew Eric and his lovely family (Carol's son):
Cynthia's sister Merrilee and grandniece in NYC.
19 Dec: Real feel of 22 degrees! The high will reach 48 degrees; we will not take the ferry to the mainland today. At 4:00 PM we venture forth with heated gear to have dinner at Steve's Landing buy more sorbet and some Christmas cards for Sunday's gathering. Ron will mail our cards sometime next year or the next. It is a plan. This is our 9th Christmas together. It's a good thing we like each other being together 24/7! Bundled up, we walked the beach twice today to get our fit bit buzz of 10,000 steps. The sunset was glorious.
18 Dec: Brrrr! Real feel is 33 degrees. This means 10 degrees less riding on the motorcycle - we really felt it when we rode to Steve's Landing for lunch and missed the turn. We forgot the heat apparatus, too. Our salmon was so delicious, so, too, the baked potato. Thankfully, they will be open daily during our stay. Despite Freezing cold, Ron remembered the Gelato sorbet that comes in four flavors at the market; four is a good number in large quantities, plus a half gallon of fat-free sorbet that was greatly enjoyed upon our return to the beach house, all By Ron. The beach house does not have wi-fi so updates will happen eating out. We won't try the ferry to the mainland until warmer weather. Cynthia's sister Merrilee fell in NYC today; a man nearby said he was glad she fell because she was a Trump supporter. His picture was posted on FB and is being shared. Merrilee went to the hospital by ambulance, checked out OK and was released.
17 Dec: Baton Rouge to Bolivar Island, TX (beach house) to 5 January. The temp will reach 80 degrees; we were spared the forecast showers but not ginormous gusts of wind. An interesting stop was Delta Downs Rosewood Grille for lunch. Waiting for the doors to open, the chef passed by; Ron explained his heart condition and restricted diet with the chef acknowledging the perfect meal. And it was indeed. The beach house is terrific, but only one fast food restaurant is open our entire stay. We bought a lot of groceries. Cynthia fell down the last few steps to the carport in the dark landing on her hip. It seems to be OK but she should have it checked Monday when we can ferry to Galveston.
16 Dec: Biloxi, MS to Baton Rouge, LA - scenic gulf coast with serene water views on the left hand and antebellum homes on the right hand. In between stately white columned homes are lots of lots for sale where the devastating hurricane made many a direct hit in its path of destruction. Don's Seafood in Covington was a great place to lunch. Cousin Pat will join us for dinner tonight.
15 Dec: A mighty cold ride to Biloxi, MS; we followed the gulf coast roads staying at the Hard Rock Casino because the rates were $79.00. Guess they like mid week guests because our room/suite is in the tower. Two bathrooms, with a shower big enough for a car. Black and white decor with Mick Jaggers face painted on the bedroom wall. The temp was a bone aching 50 degrees in the room.
14 Dec: What happens in Mexico Beach stays in Mexico Beach. We rode to Port St. Joe for lunch at the Sunset Grille. Lovely restaurant but surprisingly few fish choices.
13 Dec: Mexico Beach, FL here we go! And six hours later here we are; we departed Macon at a Kairos 10:00 AM staying ahead of rain, fierce funnel shaped black clouds, into warm sunshine on the beach at $65.00 a night. Gorgeous sunset, brilliant moon and Subway. Restaurants winter hours - open only Th-Sun.
12 Dec: WooHoo! 15 degrees warmer en route from Lithonia, GA to Macon, GA to visit nieces.
11Dec: More Colderest: Ohmygoodness! 43 is the high today in beautiful downtown Athens, GA as we continue descent towards Texas where we are warned TX isn't any warmer. Our arrival in Lithonia, GA will be an hour from Athens not bringing any relief from the cold. Ron's nice warm gloves are in Texas but his socks are doing the Job along with heated handlebars. We look forward to visiting cousin Donald, the Bankston historian.
10 Dec is the day we resume riding south, and the forecast is a chilly 45 degree high that day. I knew we were a day late and a dollar short in our flight from cold weather. Fleeing south IN cold weather is not optimal. Heated gear will be connected. Our first stop is to see cousin Vince and his lovely wife Janet. By mid to late afternoon we arrive in Athens for dinner with cousin Quint and wife Lori. We overnight in Athens.
9 Dec: More Colder: Ron's schedule didn't vary after breakfast with Cynthia and Dick except the temperature dropped during breakfast. The dump was open to receive recycling. The USB extension cord was happily discovered along with three slightly used Christmas cards, too, at the Gowdo's. The mending Tape was not found so a purchase was made, the pants are patched. Cynthia did laundry and has her bag packed for morning departure. Tonight the gang gathers at Ruby Tuesday's for a farewell dinner. We love our SC friends.
8 Dec: Colder! After breakfast with Dick and Cynthia, Ron walked with the guys. Cousin Duncan is joining us for dinner this evening at Ruby Tuesday's. He is such a great guy.
7 Dec: Cold! Ron walked with the guys and worked at the Gowdos. By 5:00 PM Ron and Cynthia walked to Ruby Tuesday's for dinner with Lizbeth and Clark who kindly treated us to the Incredible Lexington Christmas light show covering acres of park and river area. We walked the river boardwalk through lights and laser shows.
6 Dec: Rain! Breakfast with Dick ended without a walk because of rain. Ron and Cynthia walked the mall with lunch at Ruby Tuesday's and tried to nap the afternoon away.
5 Dec: Ron was up at 6:45 and met Dick downstairs for breakfast. Cynthia provided him quite the surprise by sauntering into the breakfast room before Ron had finished eating. But then, we did get to bed early last night. Ron & Dick left at 7:50 to join Clark & Steve for a long walk around the Coldstream subdivision. Much fun conversation was had by all, but Ron had to cut short plans to hunt for mending tape at the Gowdo residence because his "pill alarm" went off and he needed to return to the hotel to assmeble packages of pills. We thoroughly enjoyed the Christmas concert at Riverland Baptist Church with Mary. The75 voice choir, string orchestra and ballet corps got us into the Christmas spirit.
4 Dec, Sunday: The BIG day, fish and grits at Lizards Thicket with the new hotter than hot sauce Clark & Liz gifted to Ron. We can all hardly wait. We were up early enough to grab a quick breakfast at the hotel. (Lizard's will NOT cook with little enough oil for our dietary restrictions.) Mary picked us up at 7:50am. (Cynthia was VERY grateful to avoid the COLD motorcycle ride this morning.) Liz and Clark entertained Ron all afternoon at the South Carolina State Museum in downtown Columbia. Liz gave Cynthia an email address of a Norwegian friend Ron met yesterday thinking Norwegians might have a connection. Turns out the woman's uncle is Albert Quie, former governor of Minnesota, who is Cynthia's cousin.
|'Lizabeth & Clark at Lizard's|
|Mary and 'Lizabeth|
3 Dec: We awakened in Columbia, South Carolina late this morning and were still abed when my phone alarm chimed 9am, time to take pills (as required by the hematologists at UNC. Last night Cynthia fell asleep whilst Ron was typing/ researching, so in the wee hours of early morning, he is now apologizing to all you faithful readers for blogging so infrequently in the past months... and probably the future ones as well - too many fun things ... Plan for the day is to join Clark and Liz at the train club for a couple of hours [DONE], check Greg and Donna's home for a couple of minutes [DONE], and continue computer stuffs [continuing]. MaryLou Bohler has also deceased since our last visit here in October; she was a delightful friend who nicknamed Ron "Wild Man". May she rest in peace and be with her Charlie again. Ron takes this as a reminder to be happy to be alive and to enjoy every minute of life. Cynthia agrees: Life is good. Ain't love grand?
2 Dec: It was a long, cold ride from Hilton Head to Columbia, but the back-road scenery was very pleasant. Vegetation has all changed into winter wear with browns and grays predominating. Sharon and Don delighted us with a good morning of conversation and a decent breakfast at a local diner. Imagine our continued delight to have dinner with six of our favorite friends in Columbia, missing only Greg and Donna who are on baby sitting station in Minnesnowda. Unfortunately the interim has been hard for everyone. Tom and Cheryl just lost their newly remodeled condo in Gatlinburg to the flames; Mary's loss of Vince is still too recent and too cruel; 'Lizabeth's new knee is swollen and restrictive. The good news is that we are all still alive to "enjoy the disadvantages of aging", all except Vince, whose cheerful presence was too sadly, permanently absent. Ron again got busy with Swedish Colonial packages after returning to the Hilton Garden Inn. The backlog has grown to four or five now since he spent so much time in North Carolina working on Cynthia's James Lea book. There are just too many fun things to do in life - and it would be overwhelming on a daily basis if he were less committed to his enjoyments.
1 December- Charleston, SC is Cynthia's dream city. The open air market was very fascinating and full of too-cute items to delight the grandmother of a 2-year-old. Imagine her joy when told that they can ship purchases! And ship they did. After an intoxicating hour of shopping, we departed Charleston about 11AM, stopped for Ruby Tuesday in Beaufort, and arrived on Hilton Head Island, SC about 3:00 PM. Hurricane Mathew's direct hit on this island left tree debris everywhere. No telling how long it will take to cart all that elsewhere. Cousin Sharon is so much fun. She prepared a lovely salmon dinner with fingerling potatoes and salad. We had so much fun with so much to talk about until we are all exhausted. Zzzzzzz