Thursday, June 1, 2017

June is here, spring is sprung

26 Jun:  We are still in Waynesboro, Virginia, enjoying proximity to Appalachian Train and Ruby Tuesday.  Amazing that June is flashing to a close already.  Amazing also that the weather continues to be moderate here and on the trail.  And such a pleasant forecast is to continue until July 5th, when we check out.  Ron is again up early puzzling over the jigsaw of James Lea property plat plotting.

25 Jun:  Since we started our hike late, nearly noon, the weather was a marvelous 79 degrees max, perfect for hiking.  We repeated Turk's Gap Trail north, traveling beyond Skyline Drive within .1 mile of the next parking lot (Wildcat), returning to our bike after a 3-hour, 4.4-mile trip, thereby continuing to improve gradually.  Today we noticed the climb was indeed steep in places and a long uphill.  Strange to think that our memories are no longer good for an entire hour.  It seemed a bit peculiar that we saw about 20 thru-hikers throughout our return after seeing none for the first hour of our hike.  Because of the late start, we were famished and ate heartily, including tilapia in todays meal.  Oh what fun we had in the restaurant watching a TV special about the rivalry between the Lakers and Celtics in the 80's.

24 Jun:  Our hike today was from Turk's Gap north to Skyline Drive.  The ascent was so very gradual that we didn't notice going uphill until the obvious downhill for so long on our return.

23 Jun:  Today's hike was Sawmill Ridge north to Turk's Gap.

22 Jun:  Waynesboro, VA continues to please us.  The weather for hiking is a bit warm, but the Comfort Inn, Ruby Tuesday and proximity to the AT all suit.  Granddaughter Lauren is celebrating her birthday as a psych counselor in private practice with 17 clients:

Cynthia's scary view
21 Jun:  Another wonderful day to awaken: Good morning to you,
good morning to you,
we're all in our places with sunshiny faces,
Oh this is the way to start a new day.
Yup, life is good again, although Ron's knee is a bit aggravated with his hiking, but it is complaining less today than yesterday.  Today's hike was a bit more rugged and steep than either of us remembered, going to the summit of Turk Mountain - 2891 feet elevation.  Hard to believe the official distance of 1.1 miles; it seemed more like two or three each way.  Cynthia's Fitbit registered 4 miles.  The view from the crags atop the mountain were well worth the effort, but Cynthia took an unplanned, scary detour to a lower pile of rocks, so we don't have pictures from the summit to share.   The trail is poorly marked at one particular sharp, rocky turn; Cynthia was not the only one to take the wrong branch.  We left another piece of a tree blocking the wrong branch, but undoubtedly some misguided, well-meaning novice will remove it.  A black bear cub was foraging beside the road as we motorcycled south on Skyline Drive; well worth the time to turn around for a second look.  "Back at the ranch," after eating again and again at Ruby Tuesdays, Ron's mending is going quite well; he has finished sewing an 8"x3" patch onto his favorite hiking pants (a casualty of trail maintenance on that rainy day) and darning his favorite Irish "Giants Causeway" teeshirt.  Recording of receipts is up to date.  Now if only the James Lea plat plotting would take a quantum leap.  This Pritikin eating plan is wonderful; we both get to eat until we are FULL - every meal.  It takes a lot of salad & veggies to fill Ron, so he gets to eat almost all day without stopping.  Talk about a happy camper.

20 Jun: Las Maninitas, "Beautiful is the Morning." 70 degrees, sunshine, sciatica gone, a 5 mile hike, what more can we say?  We did meet Laser Beam on the trail today; her hubby, Yard Dart, was injured in a fall in Georgia, so is providing her moral support while she slack packs the Shenandoah National Park.
Ron busy with stream bed maintenance

Nice vistas abound

19 Jun:  Rise and Shine!  The sun did, and we did,  and we hiked fast and furious because a severe thunderstorm with wicked wind was forecast at noon.   Returning to the trailhead by 12:10 with darkening skies, one of us was alarmed at forgetting her sunglasses on a rock at the summit.  What to do?   Forget the glasses or return tomorrow, risking disappearance due to rain, wind or hikers in the intervening 24 hours?  It was 1.5 miles back up to that rock.  The hike from Sawmill Gap to the rock was only 0.5 miles, so Ron vaulted up and back using hiking poles in a swift 15 minute roundtrip; one of us  is ever so happy to be reunited with her rescued sunglasses.  We were even happier to escape down mountain under black skies with strong winds, but no rain fell until we were secure inside Ruby Tuesdays.  Ron thoroughly enjoyed riding a bit faster today since we had every encouragement to hustle.

18 Jun:  Happy Father's Day to all of the fathers in your lives.  We both lost fathers at an early age.   Our morning hike was excellent despite a real feel of 94 degrees, due to high humidity.  We are revved up for longer hikes on Skyline Drive this week but severe thunderstorms with damaging winds are forecast for tomorrow.

17 Jun:  Ron hiked and enjoyed using his $1 hand saw to help remove a downed tree from the trail.  In getting there he passed a young woman hiker and asked how long she had been hiking.  Upon hearing her reply two days, he offered to carry her pack to the top of the hill and she gratefully accepted his aid.  This poor hiking damsel in distress was carrying a 40 pound pack !!  Ron returned her pack when they arrived at the tree and were pleased that the official trail maintainer was already at work on the tree with his much better saw.  Between the two men and two saws, the work was soon done, and the other guy showed Ron a flowering hickory tree on the way down to Sawmill Gap.  These trees are beleaguered there by some blight or pest that kills them after they get about ten feet high.  At Walmart Ron located an iron-on patch big enough for his torn khakis, but it is for denim and the khakis are brushed nylon.  Good night!

16 Jun:  Where IS Ron NOW?  Check out the Denny's Restaurant in Mt. Jackson, VA where two bedraggled researchers are waiting out a thunderstorm.  We made it to the Edinburg Library and browsed an excellent 1860 Shenandoah County, VA census study, learned the location of Jacob's Lutheran Church and managed to ride to it, past Jacob Rinker's old stone Meeting house, and through Rinkerton, which is now only a crossroads, before the rain started.  Wyn will love the ride of the pastoral views of Virginia's Appalachia hills from Edinburg west on 675 to Columbia Furnace, right on VA 42 south along the ridge tops through Conicville where Jacob Rinker lived to another right on VA 263 through Rinkerton until rejoining US 11 at Mt. Jackson.  So here we sit -- and we SAT for three hours awaiting a promised break in the rain, whereupon we rode home safe and dry on I-81 since the heavier traffic dries the roadway quickly.  Even from I-81, the Shenandoah Valley is breathtakingly beautiful, especially with an ethereal fog floating on the shoulders of the mountains.

15 Jun: The rain brought cooler temperatures making the ride to Skyline Drive very pleasant, but-- a bit scary for Cynthia!  A red pickup had stopped in the passing lane ahead of us, and the car ahead of us slowed suddenly, scaring Cynthia.  As Ron wondered about this driver behavior, he espied a young bear suddenly run across the road and fly over the guardrail like Superman, front legs stretched ahead and rear legs extended flat behind, as graceful as a leaping gazelle before disappearing from view in a flash.  Cynthia was focused on the cars and missed the bear's acrobatics.  We enjoyed today's hike.  Tonight, Ron is mending his khakis.

Soggy Smoochsmooch
14 Jun:  Imagine hikers not checking the weather report.  Tsk! Tsk! We failed to check the weather and got caught without rain gear.  Partway up the mountain we had a little mist that turned to a light shower close to the ridge top so we donned our very light rain ponchos.  By the time we reached our bike it stopped raining. Ron showed off his torn khakis. The ponchos can't be worn riding the bike.   En route to town the deluge hit!  We stopped at the hotel to shower and change into dry clothes before eating.  Jean C. Commented on the photo of a rain-drenched girlie, "Cynthia always embraces the moment."

13 Jun: A good day in many ways except for the temperature of 88 in Waynesboro; the ride into the mountains was pleasant with a cooler temperature of 82 degrees.   We hiked 3 miles round trip on the same trail as yesterday but moved faster and easier stopping short of that last steepl half mile down the mountain on the other side.   If we go down we have to climb back up.   Ron was short of breath doing trail maintenance, likely a side effect from the blood thinner; letting the cardiologist know is a good idea. We met a great many northbound hikers that started at Springer in March. Cynthia noticed the hiker smell. Ron invited a man to have lunch with us because he was asking for food money.

12 Jun:  WooHoo!  Cynthia's sciatica pain is quieting down.  We hiked 3 miles round trip from Jarman Gap almost to Turk's Gap and back without pain.  We again met several thru-hikers but only asked the name of one, Sandals, hiking in sandals.  We are staying in Waynesboro for another week before making the decision whether to backpack south-bound from Harpers Ferry versus motorcycling north to cooler climates.  Prospects for backpacking did not look good yesterday, so we are hopeful that the sciatica will continue to subside.  Cynthia has ice on hip as we speak.  Ron continues plotting plats; more adjoining plats need to be fitted to confirm that the properties are correctly placed.

11 Jun, Sunday:  Today we hiked a happy 1.5 miles on the AT.  Preparatory to hiking, we purchased another set of hiking poles at WallyWorld (a steal at $18) and Ron's favorite Outshine frozen fruit bars.  Imagine our delight to arrive at the AT trail junction with 3 bars remaining where we immediately recognized two thru-hikers, Red Squirrel and Corona, who were quite delighted to receive a frozen treat apiece.  Ron's lower back pain continues to subside as he practices pelvic tilt and morning stretches.

10 Jun:  A day lost in the fogs of genealogical typing.

9 Jun:  Field trip today to Edinburg, home of Cynthia's newly-discovered Rinker ancestors.  The 70-mile-ride getting there was quite lovely, even though we did stay on I-81.  The Virginia mountainous countryside is magnificent when the skies are clear and forests and fields sparkle in the sunshine.  Today is also quite a bit warmer, with more heat in the forecast for the next several days.  The Edinburg Library provided a treasure trove of information for Cynthia including a 1993 genealogy of the Rinker Family (including her Charles Edwin Rinker aka Harry Bernard King).  Back at the Comfort Inn, Charlotte is looking very well and energetic, especially considering that she has one more chemo treatment before the next PET scan and assessment.  Let's all pray for her.  Ron continues to slog along plotting plats of the Leas of Caswell County, NC and was overjoyed to FINALLY connect the William Lea property to everyone else.  John Lea and Edmund Lea properties also fell into place in the last few days.

8 Jun:  Waynesboro, Virginia at our favorite lodging hereabouts, the Comfort Inn, managed by Charlotte, speaking of whom, I must go down to see if she is in and entertaining visitors.  (Charlotte is undergoing cancer treatment; pray for her.)  Daniel says I missed her, but that she will be in tomorrow.  The parking lot was full of motorcycles this evening; a group of water treatment professionals ride to their annual conference as a fund raiser for a water charity.

7 Jun:  A huge gaggle of geese scurried from the driveway towards the pond as we rode away from Jim and Joni's rural retreat.  (Hi Wynn, we rode south on MD highway 26 past Mount Airy to I-70 west to US 340 west through Harpers Ferry, WV to I-81 south and eventually arrived in Waynesboro by 6pm.)  Ron saw a huge mist ahead of us as we neared the gap in the mountain where Harpers Ferry lies, and sure enough, immediately after passing by an exit, the raindrops started and rapidly intensified until the deluge was so severe that we had trouble seeing anything other than the slowing tail lights of the vehicles ahead of us.  Fortunately, that lasted only a couple of minutes until we pushed through the front into dry air.  Since we knew of a Ruby Tuesdays in Charles Town, we stopped there for salads and to check the weather.  Forecast looked like we should be dry if we took our time about eating (and we did), but we still ran into another couple of showers and got wet at a stop light during one shower south of Winchester.  One of our delights on this rainy day was seeing twenty shades of gray skies in contrast with the verdant rolling hills and mountains of Maryland, West Virginia and Virginia.

6 Jun:  Ron picked Cynthia up at the airport right on time (which was a miracle) and took her to Bob's BMW where a new tinted visor for her helmet had arrived.  Thank goodness that Karen had offered to install it; it was a struggle.  When Jim and Joni returned from their workdays, we went to a Ruby Tuesdays in Westminster, MD for dinner.

5 Jun:  Heavy thunderstorms are forecast for Houston at the time of Cynthia's departure with a three hour flight delay.  Rain is forecast for the time of her arrival in Baltimore.  Interesting to see how this plays out.  Cynthia's flight was delayed for 3 hours and the Baltimore arrival was rain free.  What joy to be together again.

4 Jun, Sunday: Ron went to sleep about two AM, arising at 5:30 AM to slave away on James Lea;  he is pleased to have discovered the keystone to the Moravian land puzzle.  Jim and Joni invited him to dinner with their growing family.  Cynthia had brunch at the Walden Yacht Club with family.  The omelet chef and wait staff were disappointed Ron wasn't along on this trip.

3 Jun: Ron is slaving away on James Lea platting early Caswell County property.  Cynthia, in Texas, misses Ron but enjoys family.  Our You Tube interview by A.T. Thru- hiker, Crazy Tree, was posted today: Cynthia did lunch with son Paul and granddaughters Zoe and Fyn who loved the dresses, boots and shoes from her Grandmorher.   Her son Jon took her out for dinner at the Cozy Grape.

Surprise party for Cynthia.  Happy Mothers Day & birth day
2 Jun: mid-afternoon finds Ron slaving away on James Lea of Caswell County, North Carolina, desperate for a break from the Moravian puzzle.  There are too many pieces, and several do not fit.  The can of corn disappeared before the fruit bars, but only by mere seconds. (awwww! Smooch!) Meanwhile in Texas, Cynthia's family surprised her with a late Mother's Day and early Birthday party:

Grandmother gets kisses

and cards

1 Jun: Mt. Airy, Maryland, Ron sits on Jim & Joni's porch typing and enjoying balmy spring breezes and glorious sunshine this afternoon as we type.  Tenting overnight was awesome, but Ron is drooping from too little sleep two days ago.  Nonetheless, his excitement is high now that he can begin plotting more plats in the ongoing saga of editing James Lea.  The larder is filled with rolled oats, raspberries, beans, corn, and fruit bars.  (Guess which one is disappearing fastest.)  Breakfast with Nick this morning was fine & fun.  Nick is an active guy and a great conversationalist, a retired Master Sergeant in Special Forces.  He rode his "sport bike" V-Rod off to volunteer work at 10AM.  John was teleconferencing as part of his job until nearly 11AM, so Ron chatted with Dale, petted Pete, and had lots of time to pack leisurely and leave early.  The ride out to Jim's was very pleasant, but Ron had James Lea on his mind, so was not as appreciative of the lovely early summer landscapes.  Jim & Joni were late getting home and turned on a traveling chef show that entertained them wonderfully.  We all retired around 10pm.  Ron had set the tent up before dark, but discovered that the dew is heavy enough to warrant the rain fly henceforth.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Hooray Hooray for the 12th of May!

31 May: Jessup, MD and Montgomery, TX:  Hey! Rain wasn't in the forecast, and Ron was prepared for dry, so he waited 2:00 AM to set up his tent.  Nature called a couple of times, but after the 5:00AM call, he was unable to go back to sleep, and finally arose at 6:30, slightly disoriented and hungry.  Around 8:45, he interrupted conversation with rider Dawn to ride to Weis, hoping that the intermittent electrical problem would appear so the BMW mechanic could see it; no such luck.  The mechanic discovered loose battery cables, very peculiar since Ron and Jim had checked and tightened them earlier.  Ron visited old friends Harry, John, Dale & Nick, nearby in Silver Spring.  Rain fell briefly before dark, and Ron tented in the adjacent Montgomery County park.

30 May: Departure Mount Airy, MD to Baltimore, MD  at 2:00 PM for Cynthia's flight to Texas leaving Ron without adult supervision for six days, Oh! Oh!  Ron will overnight in Jessup, MD spending the day tomorrow overseeing work on the motorcycle's electrical system.    Smooch to my beloved Smooch!  The flight was on time. TSA PreChek was worth the effort.

29 May, SnowShoe Mountain Resort West Virginia  to Mount Airy, Maryland:  Immediately, at COLD-thirty kairos time, we were dressed in gear  and bound down mountain.  After descending to Cass, WV we warmed by ten degrees.  Mother Earth is putting forth spring finery  -  fleurs are fleuring, and  Cynthia was intoxicated by the fragrance of  the lilacs (even Ron noticed the purdy stink).  We drove WV Highway 28 North to Highway 48 East over hills, dales, and alongside mountain streams.  Once we reached I-81 at Winchester, we spun off to Highway 340 north to Highway I-70 to Mount Airy, MD.   Heavy rains raised the river levels enough that rafters were out in abundance.   Jim and Joni left the mountain top an hour ahead of us, but at the junction of highway 33 (their choice) and highway 28 (Ron's GPS chosen) in Seneca Rocks, they rode by as we waited for the light.  Too much fun !!  Jim stopped at a Sheetz gas station in Petersburg, and Ron noticed a "racing stripe" of cords on Jim's rear tire.   Nothing being open Memorial Day for repairs,  Jim made the decision to wait in Petersburg with his bike while we rode on to their home to get the trailer to haul the bike back to their farm.   Joni  refused Ron's assistance driving back to retrieve Jim.   Instead, Ron went for a great walk while visiting his favorite people by phone, sister Carol and Bro Dean.  How interesting Verizon cell service is not available in most of West Virginia.  Ok.  Now you know the saga of our lives to this moment.  We are tired and going to sing ourselves a lullaby. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

28 May, Sunday:  Weather cleared early and everyone was excited to ride, except Cynthia who decided to protect her back by staying "home."

27 May- 29 May: SnowShoe Mountain Resort in West VA for hiking and biking. NO cell service! No computers!!! Rain!!!  Fog so thick it looks like snow.

School kids escaping incarceration in Harpers Ferry
26 May: Early AM departure for a gorgeous 5 hour ride to SnowShoe Mountain Resort in WVA, was accomplished and arrival by 4:00 PM was dry.  Pam, Walt, Jim, Joni arrived later with sun shining. We are on motorcycles hoping to avoid bad weather forecast for the East Coast this weekend.  We remain hopeful! Nevertheless, we have fun. Our lodging is lovely; we have a pool view, mountains off to one side of building.  Verizon has no coverage here.  We-fi is by room phone only. We will put the electronics away.  Have a blessed Memorial Day weekend.  Ron's fans arrived for a sendoff.

Back porch view from West Ridge B & B-less

Disappointed goose couldn't find correct change
25 May: Surprise! It rained all night, but morning's sunny skies brought forth opportunity to ride to breakfast instead of walking because of one hurted leg.  After SCS projects, Ron hiked working up a sweat, while Cynthia rested, iced her leg and caught up with email.  After a trip to Martin's Market in Charles Town for salads and sorbet, the rain began once again.  It is pleasant, cuddled and curled up on the sofa, listening to thunder bellowing and roaring while looking out the large glass windows at the forest green:

Harper's Ferry educational signage is excellent

John Brown holed up here, but was executed anyway

Harpers Ferry rifle manufacturing was innovative and excellent
24 May:  We enjoyed the bright blue skies above as we walked the many blocks to the Country Cafe.  After breakfast the day turned to gray with a bracing chilly wind as we headed to the canal path with legs tired from yesterday's hike.  En route, we stopped at the post office to return the Hoka hiking boots.  Ron is still amazed the Hoka on-line retail store will allow returns for a full refund for thirty days after purchase !!  The mile-plus walk to the trail uphill and down on concrete city sidewalks soon took its toll when Cynthia's IT band became quite painful after another short mile on the canal path.  We had to hobble slowly back into town so that Ron could hurriedly hoof it up to the B&B for the motorcycle to pick up Cynthia in lower town.  The poor dear had to wait right next to a tantalizing display of warm cinnamon rolls.  Ron enjoyed using Cynthia's hiking poles for added boost up the hills and was quite satisfied with his workout.  A large duck waddled into the coffee shop honking her annoyance that no one was feeding her warm cinnamon rolls either.   We immediately rode to Ruby Tuesday's to enjoy hot baked potatoes with the Garden Bar.

23 May:  After walking to the Country Store Cafe for egg white omelets we returned to the B&B for oatmeal because the restaurant didn't have any to order.  Today's hike was on the canal path in between the Shenandoah River and the old canals providing warmth from the wind with terrific views. A very large great blue heron stood sentinel on a huge boulder below the junction of the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers.  Our total distance was 9 miles!!!  Our awesome friend, Jim S., drove over from Mt. Airy with Cynthia's Gerbings heated gear because she will need it Friday for the ride to SnowShoe Resort.  This much-appreciated act of kindness sent her over the moon with joy.  The three of us had a most enjoyable dinner at Ruby Tuesday's in Charles Town.

22 May:  Harper's Ferry WVA:  Surprise; restaurants are closed on Mondays.  We made hot water in the coffee pot and poured that over our rolled oats and added blueberries for a terrific tasting breakfast.  Our late morning hike proved to us that Cynthia's new hiking boots are too narrow in the toe box.  The Harpers Ferry Outfitter downtown was open with good news the Altra hiking shoe is made with wide toe box.  They fit fine and Cynthia loved them.  After riding to Charles Town and dining at Ruby Tuesdays, we returned to hike another two hours.

21 May: We surprised the Shenk's at Tidings of Peace Church AM; Harper's Ferry, WVA by evening for 4 days of hiking.

20 May:The temperatures dropped considerably making travel on the chilly side.  Plymouth Meeting departure was one PM with arrival in Bethel, PA by three PM to visit Lil Mak and Popeye, and bedtime in YORK, PA. Being hungry we tried out the Pritikin ER method at Subway:,scoop out the bread from a whole wheat sub roll, toast it and fill with veggies. Yes! It was delicious. And warm. Mmmm.  Because we were chilly with an instance of rain we didn't get to really enjoy the views of the peaceful Pennsylvania countryside replete with rambling farmhouses and iconic Stone barns. Lots of horsedrawn Amish buggies ambled down the backcountry roads.  We did enjoy visiting Lil Mak and Popeye, hikers from the AT in 2008. Ron played ping pong and worked on a jigsaw puzzle.

19 May: Ron worked on Swedish Colonial Society FGS until 3:30AM.  Cynthia arose at 6:30.  Ron didn't get enough sleep last night.  92 degrees today. After breakfast we rode the bike to the archives with Becky and Amy following to give them a tour.  They went on to see Constitution Hall while we returned to finalize our packing  for tomorrow's departure to York, PA.  Ron drove two boxes to FedEx for shipping to Texas and to Jim's. Packing is nearly complete so we walked the mall, returned to work on SCS material. Once the sun was setting we walked outdoors; a goose, gander and six goslings made an delightful picture crossing the street to the park.  Ron is very tired with drooping eyes and zzzzzzzzz! Good night!

18 May: We are off to Gloria Dei Church to give presentations to the Swedish Colonial Society on the Craig Collection (Ron) and DNA (Cynthia) followed by dinner with friends.   Our session was well received.  Dinner at Scoogi's with Becky, Amy, Kim  and Ruth was lovely.

17 May:, 82 degrees with a real feel of 93 -  Gl├Ždlig Settende Mai, the Norwegian celebration equivalent to our Fourth of July with similar heat to accompany the festivities.  Congratulations to grandson Eric upon receiving a degree in construction engineering from Texas A&M University.   Eric's dad is proudly beaming from heaven above on this day; Jim suffered a fatal heart attack three years ago while hunting with Eric and friends.  Eric valiantly tried using CPR to save his father.  Eric and Cynthia's daughter Julie in the photo:

Congratulations to grandson Eric & daughter Julia

16 May early morning: A crane boom swung past our 6th floor hotel window creating a moment of panic for the one of the female persuasion as workers were being lifted to the roof for another day of roof repair.   The warm sunshine promised a pleasant ride to the post office, but we were in for a surprise when the largest box didn't fit into the saddlebags or the top case.  Undaunted, Ron got on the bike, Cynthia handed the box to Ron to hold while she got on; Ron then passed the box to her to hold which was a bit unnerving traveling through city streets to Chestnut Hill.  The packages were successfully shipped.  We thoroughly enjoyed the day at the Lutheran Seminary and lunch at McMenamins with John P., the archivist; Jim Z. Joined us for dinner at Scoogi's.  Thanks to Janina B. For the photo:

Da happy Smooches at the awards banquet

15 May: Have a happy day! Hooray for today!  Work on the Family Group Sheet packages consumes Ron along with preparation for Thursday's presentation to the Swedish Colonial Society council on the Craig Collection.  We managed a terrific walk to the mall for lunch at Whole Foods and a walk on the side road of the hotel.  After the latest family group Sheet order (hundreds of pages) was completed we walked the 7 floors and stairs of the hotel.

14 May: Happy Mother's Day to all of the mothers in your lives.  Rain is forecast until evening but hadn't arrived by four PM allowing us to swiftly cross to the mall for our walkathon.  By the time we returned the sky was darkening with threatening clouds.  We enjoyed salmon and steamed veggies for dinner.  Sad news arrived of an MIT alum's passing last year.

Eating Pritiken
13 May: Six years and a day!  We joyfully agree we are the best thing to happen to each other. Cynthia liked one of Ron's cards that said, "I know God loves me (Ron) because God gave me you(Smooch Smooch)."  The rain prevented venturing forth until four PM; after walking 7 hotel halls and up and down the exit stairs, we braved a light mist to complete four miles by walking the mall and eat lunch at Whole Foods fresh veggie bar. See photo.  Interesting to watch so many weird people.  Ron is helping nephew Eric with his website while Cynthia is assisting DNA   participants.

12 May: Hooray for the 12th of May!!!!! This is the day!!!!! Ron turned a very young 70,  a joyful youth he remains at heart.  This is the day to celebrate six years of wedded bliss.  Ron surprised his bride with-not one-but three-bouquets and four happy, happy cards to make the girlie cry.

Happy Mrs. Beatty

11May: Surprise! Yes, we were surprised.  Unsuspecting, we met Sally B. And her son Mark at their home in Berwyn, PA for a 45 minute drive to River Wood, NJ for lunch with Rambo cousin Herb and his lovely wife Zofia who surprised us with a 70th birthday party for Ron and an anniversary party complete with balloons and cake. Yes: we ate a piece of white cake with frosting but did not take the remainder home. WooHoo!  Cynthia learned how to post photos on the IPad by emailing them to the blog.
Eternally Young At Heart

Celebrating Six Years of Joy
Celebrating "70" Young Years

Card by Sally B. Says it All!  
10 May:  Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania (click here), it is Wednesday all day, moving towards our 6th annabir-sary on Friday.  The hotel did not have oatmeal this morning and the omelets were over-oily, so Cynthia prepared some quick oats in the microwave and topped it with blueberries and raspberries.  Today's plan is big time exercise.  We opted for veggie plates for lunch at the hotel, and they did a good job for us; the vegan waitress was impressed and curious.  Tonight we Uber to Rittenhouse Square (click here) for dinner with Ron's MIT colleague Eric C., who is preparing cod for our dinner.  (Uber because Cynthia is too much over-cold to ride the motorcycle in this unusually cool PA springtime.) The dinner and view of sunset from Eric's penthouse was lovely.  The penthouse formerly belonged to Katharine Hepburn. Imagine the shock discovering a dead cell phone battery just when we tried to call a Uber to pick us up. Cynthia frantically tried downloading the Uber app to her IPad that did not have much battery life left either when Ron woke up to her need for a cord. Voila! The MAC case had a spare. We plugged the cord into the USB on the Mac allowing the IPhone to charge before ordering the Uber.

9 May: The outdoor temp was 43 BrrrrrrFreeeeezinnng degrees as we boarded the bike to ride to the Lutheran Seminary.  Despite the chill, the ride was surprisingly warm with blue skies, warm sunshine, and Cynthia's Gerbings heated outfit (that plugs into the bike's electrical system like an electric blanket).  Decades-old azaleas (click here) along our route are nearly peak brilliance and several other flowering bushes provide counterpoint.  John T. arrived to work with Ron on his Forefather data entry project (it is going well); they gave Cynthia a ride to the hair salon in Chestnut Hill; she walked the 2 miles back to the seminary and to McMenamins for lunch with the guys.  Dinner at Scoogis (click here) with Jim Z. and John P. was a treat as always.

8 May:  Recoup Recoup Recoup!  We slept!  We worked!  We walked the mall twice, Ron hit the fitness center elliptical machine for thirty minutes, then free weights, and we both did our stretches.  Cynthia turned blue while swimming in the icy hotel pool for 30 minutes.  Ron met a new best buddy at the fitness center, Ryan from Canada.

Hmm, we didn't drink enough to make the camera blurry
7 May, Sunday:  Our friend Jean C. came for lunch and spent the afternoon with us at the hotel restaurant, a very pleasant, relaxed afternoon of conversation.  We discovered just how chilly 50 degrees could be by walking to Plymouth Mall in anticipation of a long walk, but the mall offered no respite from the cold and no walk because the doors were locked - at 6:30 pm Sunday.  We returned to the fitness center at the hotel for a short run on the machines.

6 May: The e-VILe sistah Carol and triathaloner, marathoner bro Dean and his wife Janina returned home leaving us with wonderful memories. We are working furiously at our projects and fitness routines.  Cynthia's is frustrated with posting blog photos.  Blogsy is dead, so neither the iPhone nor the iPad work; the only way to post pictures to the blog (yes, this blog) is using the MacBook or similar computer.

5 May:  The weather is very chilly.  Ron received his award from The Swedish Council of America Awards Dinner this evening.  Brother Dean and wife Janina from Lewes, DE, Sistah Carol from Illinois, and MIT alum Eric Clemons from Philly arrived to attend the celebration honoring Ron for a national achievement award at the Union League downtown Philadelphia (click here).  Cynthia arranged a ride with Uber, and it was super convenient and easy to get all five of us downtown at rush hour.  The Union League is indeed a swanky place, formerly an exclusive men's club, now merely exclusive.  Let's hear it big for photos on the blog!  Wow!  Ron looks mighty fine!

Brother Dean looks too young
staged photo op

Smiley Smooch
Kim & Ron with awards.  Thanks.

4 May:  New Sweden (click here) (Philadelphia/Plymouth Meeting): We slept until 8:00.  Ron rode to the seminary to retrieve the two boxes of clothes Cynthia shipped for tomorrow night's Awards Dinner, bringing Jim Z. some Mountain Dew and Kettle Chips.  Ron and Kim-Eric had a Hefeweisen (click here) and salad at McMenamins (click here). Cynthia spent the morning exercising.  Ron is making good progress on the packages of family group sheets for the SCS.  After dinner at the hotel, we walked to, through and around the mall to get our steps.  Cynthia unpacked and pressed the dress clothes shipped from Texas two months ago.  Spring has blossomed with cherry, apple trees putting forth; the brilliant colored azalea bushes are magnificent.

3 May:  Brrrrr 60 degrees.  The ride to Philly will be cold.  Cynthia seems to be sleeping well again, two nights in a row; wonderful and Thank God !!  Jim & Joni are off to work, so Ron is commencing to figure out the route to New Sweden and our next hotel at Plymouth Meeting, God willing.  Jim recommends the Conowingo dam as awesome; nope, I like lessor road 372 to cross the Susquehanna much further north.  Packing comes next, oops, I hear Cynthia rustling around; time for breakfast first.  Packing & preparing at 9:24 after oatmeal w/ berries for breakfast. Thanks again to Jim & Joni for wonderful hospitality, friendship, and great food (in tune with our dietary restrictions).  Hey, Ron added links to several places in late April; look for (click here).

2 May:  Mount Airy, MD awakening from a deep, long sleep.  Oh, how lovely.  We are enjoying a cool, but sunny day.  After breakfast at IHop we walked 4 miles over hill and overdale returning for oatmeal lunch with black beans for dessert.   As we coasted down Jim's driveway, his resident wild goose (gander) flew alongside us within 5 feet, a spectacular viewing.  His female consort is nesting by the lake.  Among others, a red winged blackbird, a red headed woodpecker, and a female cardinal are taking turns at the bird feeder outside the kitchen window.  (Ron is partial to the little Downey woodpeckers and one of the BRIGHT yellow songbirds.  The unusual one was the ruby grosbeak (click here).)  Since Cynthia is sleeping better, Ron has completed two packages of family group sheets for the Swedish Colonial Society - only 6 more to do.  We walked off down Old West Falls Road all the way to t'other end and back, about 4 pastoral miles round trip, a nice, pleasant, pretty walk on a cool, clear day.  Jim arrived home for another nap whilst Ron was on the deck assembling the Peter Jones package.  Joni remembered to call "20 minutes out" from the end of the driveway, Jim prepared a huge pile of steamed veggies for dinner, and we all participated in an animated discussion of the political travails our press is inflicting on the unwary within the population.

1 May:  Happy May Day! May! Remember making May baskets?  We awoke to May Day in the Comfort Inn in Waynesboro, Virginia.  After breakfast we will be off to Mount Airy, MD to see Jim and Joni.  (Cynthia expects to arrive about 3:30 PM; she has yet to learn that her iPhone projections do not correlate well with actual Ron routes.)  Storms with hail and heavy wind were forecast for late afternoon, but not a raindrop fell on us.  Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland are breathtakingly beautiful on a pretty spring day.  We nearly froze riding the motorcycle on the Blue Ridge Parkway at 3,000+ feet elevation in foggy conditions; the trees are still bare of leaves at that elevation.  It was fun to clearly see a bear cub close to the road - from a distance of perhaps 30 feet.  We were puzzled by two cars in the driveway and a dark, seemingly empty, open house, but the puzzlement ended an hour later when Jim emerged from his afternoon nap.  Without a thyroid, his energy flags easily after noon, and a nap is necessary.  Joni arrived home after five, and we all repaired to rest shortly after a wonderful home made dinner of steamed veggies and grilled chicken.  Ron, on the other hand, stayed up late, late, late since Cynthia was sleeping VERY soundly.  He was able to complete the Hans Hanson preliminary package for the SCS and gathered together most of the pages needed for the Peter Jones pp by the time of Cynthia's first nocturnal powder room visit around 2 am.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

April Sun Brings Florida Fun

30 Apr, Sunday:  My goodness, where does the time go?  Seems like just yesterday April was beginning, now it is almost over !!  But the fun just doesn't end, thank God.  We slept well but are still a bit tired.  The big decision was whether to stay another night or ride north to visit Jim & Joni, providing that Jim's thyroid-deprevitation headache has diminished.  We agreed to stay another night in Waynesboro allowing time to catch up on SCS family group sheet packages and take a rest from hiking. After Ron worked seriously on SCS packages and nephew Eric's RPM coins (click here)
web site, we walked to Ruby Tuesdays for an early dinner.  During our after dinner stroll, we happened upon a Sweet Frog Frozen Yogurt shop (click here) with 11 flavors of no sugar added, fat free yogurt with low sodium.  Mmmmmmmmm!  Not quite Pritikin perfect (click here), but good enough for us !!

29 Apr:  In Staunton, VA we enjoyed breakfast and delightful conversation with Cynthia's friend Suzanne at the historic Stonewall Jackson Hotel (click here).  Ron mended everything green, a fanny pack and his beloved, faded Giant's Causeway tee shirt (from Northern Ireland)(click here), while the ladies chatted.  Lunch at Ruby Tuesday brought Cynthia the devastating news the famous Ruby croutons do not match the on-line nutritional information; they are high in sodium and fat, henceforth verboten.  We now know where Ruby Tuesdays has hidden relevant nutritional information on their web site.  Today's hike was 5 miles from Beagle Gap (click here) northward on the Appalachian Trail.  We are so encouraged that our hiking capabilities have not diminished so greatly; on the other hand, we huffed and puffed uphill.  Spring foliage is still in the early stages here, putting forth cherry blossoms and poison ivy leaflets.  We met about a dozen thru-hikers who started at Springer Mountain, Georgia on the trail; we only learned the names of two, Doc and Crazy Tree.  Crazy Tree filmed us for YouTube, but hasn't posted our photo yet (click here).  Cynthia was astounded to see one woman running on the trail.  Our bodies are weary tonight and we retired early.

28 Apr:  Virginia is for lovers.  Lynchburg in the morning, Waynesboro shortly after noon, 70 miles between the two.  Walking and workout was the morning plan.  After visiting with innkeeper Charlotte and checking in, we ate lunch at a nearby Ruby Tuesday and headed out for a great day hike on the AT.  We met our first through-hiker of the year: Tumbleweed, a young girl out hiking alone today.  We marveled at reaching the ridge without stopping.  Breathing hard yes; 5 miles total walking today for a 10,000 step FitBit buzz.

27 Apr:  On the road again!  Like a band of gypsies we go down the highway
We're the best of friends
Insisting that the world keep turning our way
And our way
Is on the road again
Just can't wait to get on the road again- 

Hi to Wynn, here is our route from Irmo, SC: I-26 south to I-20 east to I-77 north to Charlotte, NC to I-85 northeast to Greensboro, NC and finally old US 29 (a good four lane) to Lynchburg, VA - gorgeous flowers in the medians on I-85 in North Carolina (click here); Cynthia's favorites were the rosy red ones.  The weather is cloudy and cool enough for us to put on jackets at the first stop.  The ride through Rockingham and Caswell Counties was unexpected and meMorable since Cynthia's ancestors hail from there.  Ron had picked "affordable luxury" at the Kirkley Hotel in Lynchburg.  It is pleasantly unique, not a chain, and has a good chef and comfortable rooms.  Luxury it was NOT; the rooms were well appointed except that there was no bar refrigerator, no coffee maker, and most surprising, no bathroom mirror.  The restaurant was semi elegant with a horse trough planter, but the menu was only typical bar offerings, certainly not fine dining.  On the other hand, the chef aimed to please and did well with what he had available.  We would enjoy staying there again.  We walked from the hotel downhill in the evening and saw a cute little skunk foraging. 

Read more:  Willie Nelson - On The Road Again Lyrics | MetroLyrics Sing it Willie!

26 Apr: Ron walked while Cynthia worked out at the hotel.  The concrete walk with hills and speedy guys in Columbia has returned Cynthia's lower back improvements into ugly back pain again.  Cynthia read "The Captivity of the Oatman Girls" written by the survivor in the mid 19th  century after being freed from captivity by American Indians.   Dinner with our friends at 5:30 PM. Now we pack for an early morning 300 mile ride on back roads to Lynchburg, VA for an overnight.  How frustrating to not have access to Google photos on the IPad to upload to this blog.  GRRR!

25 Apr: A Misty Morning; the walk was called off.  Ron's morning mission was accomplished with email to Dr. Gould and the Pritikin Center.  Cynthia lunched at Ruby Tuesdays and shopped for earrings.  Dinner tonight is once again at the favorite salad bar.   Thankful. Yes, we are ever so thankful.

24 Apr:  Rain prevented a usual walk with the guys but offered a lovely, lazy morning instead.  My goodness, April fun just begun, and now its 6 days to May.   It was dry enough we walked to Ruby Tuesdays but Dick gave us a ride home because the rain she came.  Tom and Cheryl joined the gang of 7 for a most entertaining evening.  Thurs., weather permitting, the road beckons.  Ron scheduled the route from Columbia, SC to our favorite-falling-in-love city: Staunton, VA, arriving Friday.

23 Apr: Ron joined the Irmo, SC friends at their favorite Sunday-Go-To-Breakfast at Lizards Thicket (click here) for fish n' grits made without salt, oil or sugar, of course! Cynthia slept the morning away and walked to a girlie-i-cue afternoon.  Ron, Dick and Clark helped Ron get the motorcycle tire replaced. Elizabeth showed us some lovely children's books with illustrations by artist Jerry Pinkney; she attended his gallery show.  Cynthia ordered 5 of the books for soon-to-be 3 year old granddaughter Fyn,  born on Ron's Birthday.

22 Apr: We are still tired! No walking on Sat. Or Sunday.  Ron edited Cynthia's DNA research report for her besides updating nephew Eric's coin website.

21 Apr: Another morning walk with friends; hey!  Yesterday's hills turned into mountains overnight.   Four miles turned us into hungry, ravenous exhausted wolves. After a trip to the super market we took a nap.   Cycle Gear has the new rear tire we need; Ron has to remove the tire and take it to the dealer on Sunday,  Cycle Gear can mount it, but they are not insured for the liability of removing or replacing the tire.  Another great dinner was enjoyed by all of the survivors.  

20 Apr, Thursday in Columbia, SC where the morning 4 mile fun walk begins even earlier than one of us wants to be awake.  We tossed down oatmeal, egg white veggie omelets and fruit arriving at Dick's by  7:50 AM for the neighborhood hard breathing test of our endurance.  We enjoyed the fragrance of lilacs walking to dinner, but walked around the cosmetic counters cutting through the mall.  Donna and Greg, Clark and Elizabeth and Dick joined us for a fun dinner; thanks to Elizabeth for the big bouquet of beautiful  red roses.

19 Apr: Jesup, GA to Columbia, SC was an easier ride than yesterday's and cooler, too. We so thoroughly enjoyed the Trowell B and B - Cynthia was wishing we had stayed another night.  Traveling north on highway 301 continued to highway 321 in South Carolina.  The bike's electrical system is acting up again and a screw found its way into the NEW rear tire causing a slow leak.  The small Denmark, SC town park was a fun place to stop and eat veggies and an apple.  Ron asked the maintainance fellow where to find the nearest restroom.  When the guy responded with the name of a restaurant blocks away, Ron asked, "Is the tree across the street hidden enough?"  "Yup, I believe so!"   Nice small town!   Immediately upon arrival, we walked a mile to our favorite Ruby Tuesday's to stuff our stomachs at the salad bar.  The walk back to the hotel was slower because we could hardly move necessitating a nap!!

18 Apr: Sebring, FL to Jesup, GA was a 7.5 hour ride on highway 27 North to highway 301 North that included a stop with last minute recycling, a food market, gas stations, missing turns, being 13 miles from Strake, FL and a great restaurant when traffic cane to a standstill because if an accident.  Turning across the median we backtracked to take highway 26 east through Melrose and then north to once again intersect 301 exactly 13 miles north of Strake and a very nice cafe.   The good restaurants in Jesup are closed tonight so we hoofed it to Piggly Wiggly for veggies.  Ron used his pacemaker mobile appliance to send an EKG report to the electrophysiologist in Houston.  Amazing.  We are ensconced in the Lovely Trowell Victorian B and B for one night.

17 Apr: Sebring, FL, Inn on the Lake and Chicano's Restaurant are excellent choices for a couple of days rest from two week non stop events.  The restaurant prepared our oatmeal and egg white veggie omelets with no salt, fat, or sugar;  we dined enjoying a Great Blue heron, glimpses of an alligator and a couple of turtles in the lake. Our morning cardio was hoofing an hour walk along the golf course. Recycle Ron found a recycling center.

16 Apr, Sun: Alleluia!  He is risen!! Happy Easter!  Our sunrise service is a last blood draw before departure.  The guests and staff provided the greatest intellectual stimulation since MIT.   After breakfast is cardio, pack the bags and have Easter brunch before departing for a lake view BandB at Sebring, FL for 2 days on highway 27 north.

15 Apr, Sat: Another early morning.   Cynthia had her Fitbit buzz before noon.

14 Apr, Friday ... We are off to sugar checks, breakfast, cardio, lectures.  Eating morning oatmeal is a significant change for Cynthia. It is made combining with various other 100% whole grains like quinoa and fruits.   But it has 3 grams of fat so Ron gets a very small amount. There are some interesting people attending; one woman is well over 6'tall, widow of a 9-11 banker in the World Trade Center - who showed us his credit card. It was the only piece of him discovered.  Several women are entrepreneurs with products on a global scale. Several people said we are a cute couple.

13 Apr: And the early mornings rush on to late bedtimes.  Cynthia's total cholesterol (good numbers anyway) dropped 40 points in one week. Ron's went from 130 to 112.  Oh my goodness.   The cooking class was marvelous and the food delicious.  The salmon was prepared without any oil other than that coming from the salmon.  The glaze was a cup of tangerine juice with a bit of lemon juice. Tangerine juice was the dressing for the fennel salad.  And the parfait was banana, fatfree sour cream, ginger root juice and vanilla. Mmmmmmm.  We listened to the lecture on salt as the root cause of hypertension again.  Wow!

12 Apr: The days are racing by filled with energizing lectures, cardio, doctor appointments.  Kimberly, the nutritionist wants Cynthia to do a sugar blood draw 2x day for the remainder of our stay.  The program is so fine.

11 Apr. Tuesday: blood draws, cardio, stretch core, Ron has a follow up from back therapist.

10 Apr.Mon: Cynthia has an 8:30 personal trainer appointment with a 10:00 medical appointment. The lectures on atherosclerosis are excellent.

9 Apr, Sun: The days are so filled with activity we fall into bed with no time for our computer work!  Newly discovered Rambo cousin David L. lost 9 pounds this week.  Ron lost several pounds. Cynthia gained half a pound. The plant based program is proven to eliminate meds for hypertension, diabetes in three weeks and reverse coronary artery disease (which is why we are here).  The brunch was magnificent, especially the veggie pancakes.  We waddled to the room.  Last week's guests departed and new ones arrived.  Ron did yoga, we both did cardio intervals, core strength and stretch, plus two great walks with 13, 000 steps, so we are feeling mighty fine. No apparent muscle soreness.   We may return in November.

8 Apr, Sat: 15,000 steps on the Fitbit.

7 Apr, Fri: Great lecture today on metabolic syndrome.

6 Apr: Morning arrived too early because Cynthia had a metabolism test at the crack of dawn.  Eating is our favorite activity at the Pritikin Center, It is really popular!   We are encouraged to eat, eat and eat.  We are learning never trust the front labels of packaging: marketing scams call foods100% healthy, natural, or ORGANIC!  Walmart is the largest buyer of organic foods.   Instead, read the ingredients for no fat, sugar or preservatives in the first 3-5 ingredients. Salt is corrosive to arteries causing arteries to stiffen.  Oatmeal, fruit and egg whites in the mornings, lots of raw and cooked veggies before more calorie dense food like starchy veggies and  2 snacks a day.  Fish, chicken or turkey 3x week. Big changes for our eating plans.  Interesting to hear the stories of guests who left insulin and blood pressure meds free after 3 weeks.

5 Apr: our days are filled with exercise, lectures, med appointments and EATING.  Ron was diagnosed with sleep apnea.

4 Apr: Another day with medical appointments, lectures, and eating. The back seminar was excellent. Ron learned why he has a back issue and how to remedy it.  Dr. Frank recommended an orthopod  that does a new minimally invasive knee surgery allowing tennis and basketball with five day down time. The sports med Dr. Frank spent 2 hours evaluating Cynthia's spine, hips, knees, how she walks, etc., with  exercise recommendations for corrections tailored for our travel.  We enjoyed the relationship seminar; the psychologist Caron said needed: warm relationships,, being vulnerable and validating, criticism destroys.  The food is very low fat to zero fat, high fiber, meaning mainly vegetables, fruits but protein, too.  Tonight's baked squash with quinoa was excellent, so was the amaretto parfait. We are full.  Ron is outfitted for sleep apnea testing tonight.

3 Apr: Pritikin Longevity Center, Doral, FL.  After fasting through the night we had blood drawn, vitals taken, ate a lovely breakfast of egg white vegetable omelets, fruit and fake coffee.  The yoga class was terrific. The rest of the day is interspersed with medical doctors and cardio. And food. They feed us a lot.  We are amazed that our schedule is so busy.

2 Apr: On our way rejoicing as we forward go!  Packing is nearly completed.  After a stop at FedEx,  we had time for a walk to Smoothie King to drink lunch before venturing forth to the Pritikin Center. Our arrival was at 4:00 promptly.  Staff gave us a tour followed by medical check of vitals.  We have both shrunk.  Ron is now 6'1/2". There are three golf courses at this hotel/resort and several swimming pools.

1 Apr: Florida's sun is fine for fools.  After a long night's sleep into day,  filling our stomachs with egg white veggie omelets,  we hit the shady side of the sidewalks to Runners Depot to buy Ron a new pair of Hoka One One's, but the wide toe box he needs is not in stock.  Onwards, we ventured to Smoothie King to drink lunch befire returning to our room for Ron to do his mending.  Cynthia located the right  Hoka style and Ron's size online to purchase with arrival due Wednesday - no shipping costs.  No fooling.  Dinner at Nanking on the canal was entertaining watching the bridge open for tall ships to pass through.  It was fun to see a  huge cruise ship maneuvering into the channel; we wondered if granddaughter Lauren was onboard; she is returning from a nine day cruise.  We won't see her because she is being transferred directly to the airport.  Our entertainment is so cheap: we rode the elevators to the top floor of the empty convention center parking garage to watch the sunset and finished Fitbit steps exploring the views of the channels from on high.   Surprisingly, the convention center was still open auctioning luxury old cars; we ohhhhed and awed at cars selling for hundreds of thousands of dollars.  Good news: our Hawaii property has a buyer!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

March On Two Wheels

31 Mar:  We are anticipating a wonderfully (?) early start in order to enjoy a pleasant visit with Greg & Cindy at Windley Key tomorrow ... picnic lunch, walk in the woods and dinner at Islamadora Fish Restaurant on the wharf.   The manatees and Tarpons were huge.   Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy.  Thank you Greg and Cindy for a very lovely day.  After Ron placed a paper napkin over a bolt and also disconnected the heating wires to the seat the electrical system stopped malfunctioning.  The bike didn't even catch on fire once.  We arrived back in Fort Lauderdale by 8:45 PM. Tired!

30 Mar:  Ron found that a Blogpost app is supposed to make adding pictures a snap (pun indeed intended), but Cynthia managed instead to delete the entire March post.  Ron retrieved what you see by clicking on the Google cached search result for "Where is Ron."  Cynthia is pondering becoming board certified as a forensic genealogist by first taking a 14 session online prep course from Boston University; the course is pricey.

29 Mar:  Walking was hot.  We ventured to the Verizon store to determine a fix for adding photos from the iPad to the blog but left without a fix.  Ron found a 10 mm wrench at ACE hardware, and we enjoyed Smoothies at Smoothie KingCynthia posted several pictures including a couple of the alligators and complained that it was such a hassle to post pictures from her iPhone and iPad.  Isn't it just too strange that Google has begun making decisions very hostile to some of their most loyal users?  It must be that the principals and founders are no longer using Blogger or Google web sites or Picasa (which is now gone !!).  Too bad that they have idiots making idiot decisions now - probably lawyers or professional managers or professional administrators.

28 Mar:  Ft Lauderdale Marina: Ron rode to the Fort Lauderdale BMW dealer; this is their busy season, so they cannot make an appointment until a week from Thursday.  The problem had not appeared in the six miles to the dealership, so Ron rode north on I-95 for five miles and back to the hotel without experiencing the problem, so it may be related to the non-standard terminal block installed for Cynthia's heated Gerbings suit. Ron plans to buy a 10mm wrench and fix it himself.  Jerry and Judy invited us to their home for the afternoon, where we spent much time discussing the last time Ron was at their home (still unresolved).  Jerry and Judy emphatically recommended ubiquinol for anyone taking statin drugs (like us).  We all enjoyed lunch at Sweet Tomato.  Cynthia is overjoyed that her grandson is doing better.  We walked to Pelicans Landing for dinner but the salmon was a smaller portion and not as good as last night.

27 Mar:  Naples, FL to Fort Lauderdale, FL on old U.S. highway 41 south & east to 997 north (Krome Road) to U.S.27 north to FL 818 east to U.S. 1 north to the Fort Lauderdale Hilton at the Marina, near the beach and the airport.  The 110 mile ride was pleasant with some excitement upon seeing live alligators at the Big Cypress Swamp visitor center (adjacent to the Everglades).  Traffic was light and especially surprisingly light crossing Miami to Fort Lauderdale.  First priority is to get the bike to a dealer tomorrow.  We walked over the bridge to Pelican Landing Restaurant for a great salmon dinner with mango salad.  Mmmmm.  It was fun to watch a huge yacht docking next to the restaurant.  Ron will enter the Pritikin Longevity Center cardiac rehab program while Cynthia does a wellness and back therapy program.  Hopefully we will become longevitized.

26 Mar, Sunday:  Naples, FL, Sitting beside the swimming pool having a late lunch after a very, very lazy morning.  The weather is lovely.  After lunch we ventured forth on a  2 mile walk;  Jim and Joni called to let us know they are grandparents for the second time.  Cynthia's friend Annie dropped off a copy of the book Hidden Figures that was made into a movie about the early NASA  "computers" working behind closed doors (black female mathematicians).  Cynthia finished the book before midnight.  Cynthia's brother-in-law, Dr. Robert M. L. Baker, Jr., received the highest award offered by the space industry for his mathematical  research, but he was not familiar with these women.

25 Mar: Breakfast at Denny's with Vic and Nola in Lake Wales was followed by a visit to MIT alum Drew, BD and Beth and Jolly in Venice, FL  It was fun to see their new home half a block from the airport and three short blocks from the beach and to enjoy lunch beside the Myakka River.  Cynthia scarfed down key lime pie without sharing a bite.  On to an evening in Naples, FL with another Iowa couple, Dave and Annie at the Bay House Restaurant, right across the street from our hotel.

24 Mar:  Lake Wales, FL Visiting Cynthia's classmate from Iowa.  Vic is a medical doctor with great stories to share.

23 Mar:  Mexico Beach, FL - WooHoo! no helmet law. After a morning beach walk we will enjoy breakfast at the sunshine restaurant, then we pack for a charming Lake House B&B in  Inverness, FL.  We arrived on Gospel Island at the Lake House B and B about 7 PM after dinner at a nearby Ruby Tuesday's with a greatly improved salad bar.  Ron is remembering how spectacular a few of the stands of Blue Bonnets were in Texas; he revisited 16 March on the blog to do justice to them.

22 Mar:  Biloxi to Mexico Beach, FL.  We did decide to try breakfast at Beau Rivage, and it was excellent and excellently inexpensive - on half price senior Wednesday.  We started riding in too much traffic on old US Highway 90, but after 10 miles we left the traffic behind until switching to I-10 through Mobile, AL, where in the midst of the city, headed down into the tunnel, the bike "cut out" for another brief second or two with electrical warning lights flashing.  We continued across Mobile Bay, mesmerized by the view of all that water, and arrived in Pensacola where we spotted our favorite restaurant, Ruby Tuesday.  Ron called the service department at Wild West Honda, and Dan directed us to the Indian/ BMW/ Moto Guzzi Motorcycle dealership in Pensacola.  The address from Cynthia's i-pad on north West Street was not the dealership, but the clerk at that address suggested that we check the next block to the west, where we did indeed find the dealership.  The battery tested fine. Other than 51 fault codes, the service department found nothing wrong electrically, but we needed a new rear tire, and they had one and time to mount it.  That set our schedule back nearly three hours, and we departed about 5:00.  Then our luck changed, and it seemed as if we got caught by every red light until arriving at the El Governor hotel in Mexico Beach after dark at 8:30.  Imagine our astonishment to find the parking lot ENTIRELY full.  The sign on the door said, "Vacancy," and Cynthia immediately got us into room 427.  After pointing out the beautiful starry night sky, the recycler in our family immediately departed with recycling that had originated in Texas.  Today was a great day for granddaughters Lauren and Samantha, now both state licensed MA psych counselors.  When granddaughter Kira completes her MA next winter we will have 4 granddaughters with an MA in psych counseling.  Have a great day.

21 Mar:  Biloxi, MS is a beautiful white-sand-beach resort area with lots of casinos for the silver haired to spend their silver, except for us.  We don't gamble, and we avoid the smoke.   During a pleasant 4 mile walk along the beach we enjoyed conversation with a local dentist who answered questions about the partially destroyed piers - battered by Camille and Katrina.  And where is Beauvoir, former home of Jefferson Davis the CSA President?  It is 2-3 miles away on Highway 90; it is now the presidential library.  Nice guy, that dentist. with an apparent colostomy, who said his home has weathered all of the storms, yet  - "I have never had a bad day."  Our walk took us on a tour of the Biloxi Visitor Center, near the lighthouse; it is a reproduction of an original palatial antebellum mansion destroyed by Katrina.  (The lighthouse is cast iron; it survived Camille and Katrina.)  Between lovely homes along the beach highway are ever so many empty lots, spaces where homes once lived; Katrina was a killer propelling a 30-foot swell ahead of the storm.   Cynthia was mesmerized by beautiful watercolor paintings in the Visitors Center.   Beau Rivage is an impressive casino (and expensive), but our lunch took forever to arrive.  Lunch ended on a delightful note when an observant lovely lady came to our table and asked, "How long have you two been in love?" Aaaahhhh.  We are indeed in love.

20 Mar: On the road again! Biloxi, MS was a 150 mile ride that took forever just riding out of Baton Rouge due to construction and very slow drivers.  We enjoyed lunch at Don's Seafood in Covington, LA with notable Cajun items on the menu like Boudin N' Cracklins, pot boiling for crawfish, "Pastafalaya!"  How about shrimp and chicken QUESADILLAS?  Never never never use a because they take your money and don't allow modification.  The Hard Rock Hotel is home until Wednesday.  Ruth's Chris Steakhouse fed us a great Chilean sea bass meal without additional fat.

19 Mar, Sunday:  Baton Rouge, LA:  We met spring on 5.5 mile ride down the back highways and by-ways of bayou land; the views were lovely and jarring.  Louisiana doesn't have the flowering redbuds, dogwood, azaleas, lilacs that we enjoyed yesterday in north east Texas, but the bayous, trees with new lacy leaves, forests followed by miles of barren fields presented a constant kaleidoscope of change.  Poverty lives here.  Bleak, broken down homes, yards filled with trash, old cars and appliances speak loudly of lives without meaning.  Our cousin Pat joined us for dinner at the hotel.  Poor Ron could not find a fat free item on the menu.  Worse, Smoothie King had closed at 8:00, so Ron was out of luck, but the Subway was open, so he did get something to eat.

18 March:  We had a very nice day and colorful spring scenery on our ride today - except for the first 40 miles from Denton through McKinney = too much traffic, too many stop lights and quite warm weather.  Once traffic lessened and stop lights vanished, the ride was delightful.  We arrived at the Hilton Garden Inn near the Shreveport airport about 6 pm and walked to dinner at the nearby IHOP.

So, our plan is to get as early a start as we can tomorrow (without setting an alarm and after breakfast), so we should get to Baton Rouge mid-afternoon.  Ron has selected a route that stays off the interstate: U.S. 84 East to U.S. 371 East to LA 480 South (Cushotta) to U.S. 71 South to LA 1 South to LA 10 East to U.S. 61 South to I-110 South.

17 Mar:  Blessings on your St. Patrick's Day from the O'Beatty Family in Denton, Texas, where we are visiting cousin Dorothy, a gently fading centenarian   Ron gave his Williams Sound System headphones and microphone to Dorothy for her hearing disability, but it has not been helpful; he retrieved it in order to foist it upon someone who doesn't like hearing apparatus either (i.e. his beloved SmoochSmooch).  When Dorothy and Louise, her caretaker, "ran" errands, Ron and Cynthia went for a long walk in the park, Ron returned Cynthia to the hotel, and then he raked leaves from Dorothy's driveway until she returned.  Dorothy is distressed because her taxes aren't done, deposits aren't made, and because she falls asleep constantly.  She agrees that she needs to move more to help her stay awake.  Ron restored her "pedals" under the kitchen table (the cleaning people move those pedals and don't replace them).  Cynthia is now tired and it is time for bed.  Good night.

16 Mar:  We arrived in Denton, Texas.  Yes, Ron finished packing by 3:30, and it felt great to be on board the bike enjoying spring.  Wynn in England follows our routes: we rode west on highway 105 to 1774, turned north towards the iconic Texas town of Anderson, featured in many movies because of its antebellum courthouse.  Highway 90 north from Anderson brought us to interstate 45 north to Dallas.  Ron became very sleepy so we stopped at a white, rambling concrete block building with a big sign with Sam's Restaurant in bold RED block lettering and a parking lot filled with cars.  The salad bar and baked potato were indeed good, and they woke us up.  Today we passed through several fields resplendent in the verdant blue of the Texas bluebonnet.  At times the bluebonnets looked ever so much like bright blue, white topped mushrooms, and other times they looked like a blue carpet; just marvelous.  Then as sunset approached we entered into Dallas city traffic and were incredibly surprised by a spectacular sunset casting beams of light upwards from a blazing set of clouds on the horizon, leaving us ohhing and aahhing from Ennis to Dallas.  Cynthia enjoyed the marvelous Dallas skyline, recently named the most beautiful.  I should describe how weary we are, but I am too tired.  Good night.

15 Mar:  Yes, the 15th is upon us, but there is every chance that our "march on two wheels" will begin in earnest tomorrow.   We aren't sufficiently packed.  The Ides of March, the assassination of Julius Caesar, religious observations abound, and once called the devil's Birthday, it is the 15th of March, by golly.   Cynthia agrees Smooch is an adoring spouse and prolific wordsmith.  She has shipped a dress and shoes to Philadelphia for May 5; Ron is deeply concerned we haven't found navy blue pantyhose in size B.  The original Medtronic Pacemaker tester has been swapped for a small version that works with the iPhone.  Cynthia upgraded the OS on the MacBook Pro allowing the Garman GPS to complete the updated maps after a SanDisk micro SD card was added to the equation.  Ron still needs to: 1) pack hiking equipment to be sent to Jim Sweet for our AT hike in June; 2) sort fifty trillion pieces of paper for leaving vs taking with us; 3) scan and send the motorcycle service charges to Western Services Corp for reimbursement.  We are getting there!

14 Mar:  5 am on the appointed day arrived, and Ron arose to dress, eat a bowl of cereal w/ berries and ride an hour to Wild West Honda in Katy, Texas for the 18,000 mile service on our pretty, new BMW K1600GTL that we just bought last April in Sedona.  It has been a wonderful 18,000 miles, Thank God.

Temperature was 41 degrees, but the rain suit and the fairing cut the chill satisfactorily.  The full moon was spectacularly clear and Venus hovered just off her shoulder while a jet trail balanced the picture.  (YES, a jet trail in the night sky !!)  After half an hour, sunrise awakened gradually and beautifully.  It started in the rear view mirror as a pale rose below a clear blue which grew rosier and redder as the blue faded.  By the time the Grand Parkway turned south, the red was fading and the blue was gone.
 The plan was to park the bike in the service lot so that it would be cool when the mechanics began work.  Don't try it; that lot is gated to keep motorcycles in (or out).  A La Quinta hotel sign stood about a block away, so Ron walked there to inquire about the rates.  They are within our budget, $89 / night weekdays !!  The desk clerk graciously invited Ron to enjoy coffee or breakfast and allowed him to sit and sift through papers looking for his Western Maintenance Contract.  He thoroughly enjoyed the warmth of the hotel.  If we had known, we would have booked a night or two there to avoid the cold and the early departure.  We MUST remember that this La Quinta is our solution for appointments at Wild West Honda.

At 8:30 Dan, the chief mechanic, arrived on his bare BMW GS to open the gate.  He says the service will take all day - as expected, and he IMMEDIATELY said that they don't work with service contracts, so the bill for this service must also be sent to Western Service.
Thereafter Ron made himself at home in the waiting area, ate the few pretzels he brought and started reading paperwork from his mail delivery.  (I must tell Clarence that the article about Springbok jigsaw puzzles was entrancing.)  When his stomach began growling, "feed me," Ron attempted to avoid Hooters by eating a tiny apple and a tiny orange, leftovers from the last hotel, but  by the time this post was finished, it was very apparent that that hadn't worked, so OFF we go to Hooters w/o adult supervision.
Cynthia's comment:   What a bummer "we" cannot post photos on Blogger via IPad.
Cynthia is off having a girlicure and running errands in Montgomery, TX.

Cynthia, my beloved SmoochSmooch, I just sent you this e-mail and read your replies, then started to update the blog .... and my e-mail to you is already here !!  You are incredibly quick.  Smooch.
Do you like the changes I made to improve the prose?  I love you.
13 March: Montgomery, TX. Rx ordered, packing continued. Ron completed his asset allocation.  Busy packing.  Ron is being honored by the Swedish American Council on May 5th in Philadelphia.  Cynthia solved the mystery about her great grandfather through DNA.  Thirty plus years of research that DNA ultimately resolved.

12 Mar, Sunday:  Hempstead, TX,  Cynthia preached a sermon on prayer at the First Christian Church.  The singer was really off the charts marvelous.  We enjoyed lunch with the members at the Mexican Restaurant next door; they prepared grilled chicken breast for Ron without oil.   Now off to Jon's new home in Montgomery to prepare for departure to Miami Wednesday.

11 Mar: in Brenham, Texas, Ron is delighted that his installation of 16 GB memory and a 1 Terabyte SSD hard drive seems to be working well (this note is typed on that computer).  It is raining Again! and again - Imagine that in April !!  Ron was able to dodge between rain drops to take paperboard & plastics to the convenient downtown recycling center.  The rain on color radar looked ominously solid, but in fact there have been several substantial breaks.  The rain is forecast to continue throughout the day and night and the temperature will drop overnight.  Last night Ron prepared for today's rain and being sequestered by purchasing his cereals and Cynthia's protein bars, knowing we won't make it to a restaurant.  The Comfort Suites breakfast offered hard boiled eggs and oatmeal packages we brought to the room with bananas, oranges and apples.  Cynthia is writing a sermon on prayer.  It is a cozy day.

10 March: On the road again!  We regretted leaving the historic Menger Hotel, replete with ghosts and fabulous food; we departed San Antonio with wonderful memories of our time with Sistah Carol.   An early phone call from Bob's BMW in MD answered our questions about insurance billing.  On the DNA burner, Cynthia discovered a high match to her brick wall; she is bouncing off the ceiling waiting for a reply.   By 3:00 PM we arrived in the ice cream capitol of the US, Brenham, Texas, the home of Blue Bell. Cynthia will preside at Sunday worship in nearby Hempstead, her former address.  We will catch up on computer projects tonight and tomorrow because 100% rain is forecast.

9 March: School is out!  Forensic Genetic Genealogy was worthwhile because our presenter Debbie Wayne did a terrific job.  Certificates were awarded.  A Rambo descendant's mother-in- law was a participant; she arranged a Skype session for her son-in-law who lives in the Netherlands.  Cynthia thoroughly enjoyed the face-to-face time with their 14-month-old.  Ron sent him missing documentation to his lineage.  Sistah Carol made her plane on time; she arrived home safely in Illinois.   We are so tired.  Good night.

8 March: Continuing studies on autosomal DNA and YDNA took care of all the sessions.  Very helpful.  Tonight is the banquet and a lecture by an attorney/geneticist.

7 March: Forensic DNA Workshop in San Antonio.  The hotel is old and famous; Robert E. Lee rode his horse into the lobby and gifted the Menger's two year old daughter with a gold locket she wore all of her life.  The food is excellent.  This morning we covered basic DNA Genetics; in the afternoon, ethics, business considerations were discussed.  Cynthia's cousin Justin had dinner with us at the Texas Land and Cattle steakhouse.  Ron had a baked potato dry - they were unable to grill even salmon.  We won't be back.

6 March: San Antonio, TX - Menger Hotel. Sistah Carol arrived from Illinois before we got to the hotel because our GPS quit functioning causing us to flounder downtown not finding the hotel until Ron asked a carriage driver for the location.  We spent the afternoon on the famous River Walk that has changed significantly with the addition of high rise hotels.  None of the colorful fiesta dancers and mariachi musicians were present.  We toured the Alamo feeling a heart tug with 6 March 1836 being the final Siege of the Alamo; a color guard presented revile and Taps at dusk.  The opening reception was this evening.

5 March, A quiet day with the computer and IPad.  We walked to Smoothie King to drink lunch, walked all 5 levels of the hotel floors and lifted weights in the fitness center.  Evidently exhausted, we napped.  Sistah Carol arrives at noon thirty from STL tomorrow.  She will take a yellow cab to the hotel where we will be excitedly awaiting her arrival.

4 March, We checked out of the Hampton Inn/San Marcos to make a run for San Antonio when the color radar gave us a 2 hour rain break.   The Hilton Garden Inn/San Antonio has space available for two nights at the same low rate.  We choose the Garden Inn over Hampton because the Garden  makes egg white veggie omelets.  Hampton Inn has the standard vendor buffet.  We receive free breakfast at the Hilton Garden Inn plus points.  Factoring in the cost of buying breakfast at $12-15 apiece, our hotel room costs drop to $75 - 80 with the Hilton breakfast.   Light rain began falling 5 minutes away from our hotel but we arrived dry.  Shortly after checking in, heavy rain started falling.   Ron put on his new Marmot rain gear to go shopping.  The best hotels are next door to a Smoothie King.  We lunched on fat free Smoothies.  The fitness center has a nice selection of equipment.  We used the weights.  The hotel has five levels that is helpful for exercise, too. We walked each level 3 times using the stairs as steppers.  Duke and NC are playing a terrific game tonight.

3 March: On the Road Again!  Breakfast was followed by two trips to the storage unit and a return trip to Magnolia Diner to locate Ron's pack he accidentally left on the floor by our booth.  Thankfully, no one noticed it.  Now the ride SW towards San Antonio, our home for the next 7 days.  The earth Is putting forth - magnificent azaleas, ­čî║  flowering cherry trees and best of all, Texas bluebonnets bordering the roadsides.  We traveled the Texas Independence Trail on Highway 105 west from Montgomery to Washington County, the birthplace of Texas March 2, 1836.   105 continued through Brenham, the ice cream capital of the world (home of Blue Bell Ice Cream)  we looked but we did not buy.   Leaving Brenham on Highway 290 west, we Turned at Highway 71 southwest driving through the antique capitol of the US spread over small towns of Round Top, Warrenton and Winedale.   At Bastrop, Cynthia booked reservations at a Hampton Inn in San Marcos where we are ensconced for the night and maybe tomorrow if the rain doesn't relent.  It's been a fun day.  Good night!

2 March: Happy a Birthday Texas!  Pack - Pack - Pack! Magnolia Diner fed us well. Cynthia boogied off to The Pharmacy, Lab Corps and Dr. B.  Ron had new keys made for Jon's house ultimately converging at the storage unit.  We shipped a box of work out clothes to the Pritikin Center for our April 2 week stay; a box of clothes went to Philly for special events; now we are packing for San Antonio.  Tonight we had a lovely dinner with Roxanne and Julie.

1 March: We leave Texas the end of next week until next December.. Yes!  Yes! Yes!  Good news on every front.   The Dow rose 1K points.  A new wave of optimism meets the morning.  We slept good. Jon had breakfast with us at the Toasted Yolk. Both of us enjoyed dental appointments and recycling. Packing for the years travel is upon us.    Thank God Thank God Thank God.