Thursday, June 1, 2017

June is here, spring is sprung

24 Jun: Turk's Gap north to Skyline Drive. The ascent was so very gradual we didn't notice how high we had climbed until the return descent.

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.
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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: https://youtu.be/K2ZfjJi7hrw. 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.