30 Jul: Sunday morning, a pleasant 70 degrees with the sun shining, and we only had energy to hike to the ski lift - about 2.5 miles RT taking 2 hours because of trail maintainance. We spent the rest of the day working on Rambo genealogy until the wee hours of the next day. Zzzz
29 Jul: We were a bit tired and slow this morning at breakfast & after, so our plan was to do a short, comfortable hike to give our bodies a rest. Short didn't happen; we hiked to the ski run & back, 4.4 miles according to Cynthia's FitBit. Ron took clippers and saw, so stayed very busy clipping, but by-and-large we enjoyed a casual hike, and spent half an hour enjoying the view from the ski run where we encountered a Harvard grad and delighted in talking to that philosopher for half an hour. Surprise #2 was seeing Tom and Sue (from MIT) again at the Inn; they are prepared for another night of Irish music. Sue thinks that the second woman MIT graduate I met a week ago was her junior year physics lab partner, Lee Ann. We agreed that if we had known then (at MIT) what we know now, we would have been much better students. 5 hours of hiking. Photo of Cynthia's aunt JoAnn and cousins at aunt Betty's memorial service:
28: Jul: Killington Vermont, Inn at Long Trail. Ron is awake this morning feeling much better rested and less achey than yesterday. Longstride.net has an interesting blog, and Ron spent his morning hour reading instead of writing. Cynthia is still snoozing at 7:30 am, so this blog will get a quick update. 11 am now and we are up, fed, and nearly ready to hike. Our choice today is perhaps sloppier, but with less elevation gain & fewer rocks around Kent Pond and over to Thundering Falls. Since we will be riding the bike to Gifford State Park, we will take a basket of oranges to drop off for hikers on the other side of Thundering Falls. It looks to be a gorgeous sunshiny day. WOW: 7 hours of hiking wore us out. Double WOW! Ron stepped out the door to go to the market when a lovely lady jumped up from the lawn chair to hug him! It was our friends Trillium and her husband from Pennsylvania who stopped to see if we were in Vermont. Oh what fun!!! 7 hours hiking.
27 Jul: Once again, at breakfast, we enjoyed pleasant conversation with the Long Trail hiker, LongStride. Once our stomachs were fed and happy, we slowly changed into hiking gear despite the objections of our worn-out bodies. As we ventured outside, huge rain drops splatted down; Cynthia's interest in hiking immediately melted into a resolve to stay dry. Those raindrops wet the ground and roadway but soon stopped, so silly Ron decided to hike despite the forecast of afternoon thunderstorms. The reason silly Ron likes to hike in the slop is to find more easily those places to exercise his hiking hoe to improve the trail. He was creating a channel for water runoff in one of the last sloppy segments when a day-hiker, Kevin, paused to inquire. Ron quickly decided to use Kevin to pull him up the trail, and the two fell into a long lasting pleasurable conversation all the way to Pico Camp, Kevin's destination, and beyond to the AT trail junction. On the return a couple of water holes demanded an exit which the hiking hoe created in short order. At bedtime Cynthia reported that her day had been boring; Ron countered that she would have found hiking in the slop with him more engaging. 4.5 hours hiking.
26 Jul: Breakfast was most enjoyable, visiting with our new friend "LongStride" from Maryland. The sun appeared, so did we on Sherburne Pass Trail hiking to Jungle Junction - 5 hours. Ron took only clippers and trimmed many of the branches violating air space over the trail. (Those branches wetted his balding head yesterday.) We are proud of ourselves for accomplishing this long hike. Anthony (GoodJohn) and his dog, 'Tober, made terrific company on our journey. Ron walked with Anthony to the sink holes and waited there for Cynthia. Anthony hiked up Pico and caught up to Cynthia on the downhill. LongStride was at the inn with lively conversation when we arrived for dinner; he has a neat keyboard for his iPhone. Five hours hiking.
25 Jul: This drizzly day prevented Cynthia from entertaining thoughts of a hike in the slop, but Ron wasn't daunted. As he crossed the parking lot, he remarked to another couple crossing the road that they and obviously found mud today. The woman of the couple approached Ron and asked if he went to MIT (since his maroon shorts are emblazoned with MIT). She also graduated from MIT in 1985 in materials science; her father has taught there for 60 years. Too amusing to meet two MIT women from the same class here in Killington. Ron hiked 2.9 miles to the junction of the AT, Long Trail and the Sherburne Pass Trail. Cynthia is distressed with cell service and wifi being mostly bad in our room. (Bozo Jane, a reply will happen). This was a four hour hike sans trail maintenance.
24 Jul at 6 am at the Inn at Long Trail on U.S. highway 4 east of Killington, Vermont: Ron is up early for the first time since leaving Virginia. Rain is forecast for today all day, but it hasn't started here yet although the color radar shows it all around us. I'm guessing that the winds across the pass are blowing the precip past us just now. Ah ha, I hear the drip now. No hiking for us today, the rain was quite consistent all day.
23 Jul, Sunday: A Beatty Happy Birthday Sistah Carol! Ron phoned to sing the annual birthday song properly out of tune to cheer her on for another year all the while Carol was singing Happy Birthday Cynthia. And our precious imaginary daughter, Little Carole Anne, turned 7 on auntie Carols special day. Before hiking, we dropped off fresh oranges north of Thundering Falls as Trail Magic for hikers. Thundering Falls presented a pretty cascade today with good flow; Cynthia took a video clip. The temperature here in Killington reached the upper 70's making for pleasant hiking, except that the mosquitoes were ferocious as we hiked past Kent Pond. Ron threw a ton of dead wood out of the many bogs be-muddying the trail. He is embarrassed to admit that he became totally lost in the woods when he ventured off trail in search of a manageably big rock to place in the middle of a sloppy spot. Fortunately he came across a ski trail and followed it out to highway 4 and regained his bearings and his SmoochSmooch. Another wonderful Appalachian Trail coincidence developed after we met hiker Pineapple on the trail and then Ron happened by Mountain Meadows Lodge where a standing dead tree is carved with a giant pineapple totem. Cynthia was enjoying conversation with a young slight female hiker who typically hikes 25 miles a day. The hiker was enjoying food & drink provided by a couple of trail angels from their pickup truck at the state park parking lot. Upon their asking, Ron enjoyed a Gatoraide and was amused twice later in the day to meet those same two people in stores in Rutland. As he was buying more oranges, they reported how delighted one hiker had been to discover those oranges after exhausting himself on that mountainous decent. It was a most enjoyable day. Cynthia will catch up on email if it rains tomorrow. Three hours hiking.
22 Jul: Another successful day on the trail. The .6 mile hike northbound up to the trail junction was a strenuous climb over large rocks. The 1.5 mile hike down to Gifford Woods was a muddy mess going down, but on the return trip it was surprising to see how much Ron's trail maintenance had reduced the slop. We were delighted to again meet MIT Sue after our dinner; her husband also seems to be a very nice & enthusiastic guy; they were at the Inn to listen to the Irish music. Ron was popular that evening. Crystal is a young Long Trail ridge runner who was eager to meet Ron and ask about his trail maintenance. Ron is can talk on and on about the proper cleaning of water bars. Four hours hiking.
21 Jul: Rested, we were ready to hike the Sherburne Pass Trail by 10:30 enjoying a lovely cool day. Ron continued making improvements to the trail while Cynthia boogied ahead. Ron met Sue, a 1985 MIT grad who stopped to visit upon recognizing his maroon MIT shorts. We reached the ski run with energy to continue to Pico Shelter but reconsidered upon reflection that part of the trail is likely to be muddy. We were so PROUD of us for a great hike that we went shopping. Walmart had a coffee pot on sale for $8.74; now we can heat water for our oatmeal. Three hours hiking.
20 Jul: Killington, Vermont at the Inn at Long Trail: We are both tired. Ron had a fast hike northbound to the trail junction, returning sweat drenched because it is humid (and because he removed quite a pile of sopping wet dead wood from the trail). After lunch we went southbound up the Sherburne Pass Trail which was wet, slippery, and badly eroded. The humidity sapped our strength, and Cynthia returned after half a mile, whereas Ron continued to the ski run maintaining water bars all the way. Grandson Brett was accepted into a top physics program, step one towards the PhD. Five hours hiking.
19 Jul: Aurora, New York is a lovely town of 765 people founded in 1789 on the eastern shore of Cayuga Lake. Now it is famous for Wells College, MacKenzie Childs furnishings, and The Inns of Aurora, mansions turned into inns. We stayed at the Rowland House. The breakfast was a blueberry scone and coffee. No !!!, no scones for us, no coffee for Ron. Ron made rolled oats instead. Todays 7 hour ride was long but lovely. We stopped at Brewster Inn in Cazenovia for lunch, but they don't serve lunch and referred us instead to Owega Vineyard to enjoy a great salad. No vino. Our route was hither, thither and yon. We started on U.S. 20 east but missed a turn in Auburn, NY and stayed on 5 East until the GPS threatened to take us through downtown Syracuse. So we turned south on NY 174, east on 175, south on U.S. 11, enjoying nice views and one fast moving stream, until we eventually arrived on 20 east again. Jim had recommended McDonald's 99 cent salad, so we tried it after a fuel stop, and yes, they are worth the price. We turned left onto NY 80 north, but it was lumpy and bumpy, so we turned more north on NY 10, also lumpy and bumpy, so when the GPS suggested a local road, we followed its route on much smoother and more pleasant county roads through the Adirondacks until we found ourselves detoured through Lake George. We resumed our planned route on NY 140 through Fort Ann and U.S. 4 into Vermont, through Rutland and arrived at the Inn at Long Trail by 7 pm, somewhat surprised that we had covered 300+ miles in one day. Cynthia's seat was tired. Murray immediately found a hoe and a saw and a mattock to help with Ron's trail maintenance exercise program.
18 Jul: Williamsport, PA is home to the Little League World Series and the Genetti Hotel where we slept soundly through the night. The chef made oatmeal without sugar and milk but thought vegetable oil might be ok for egg white veggie omelet. No.. No oil, butter, fat, cheese or sodium is our litany. Cynthia could not eat the fruit which was canned in syrup. Now, packed up we rode through a most enjoyable neighborhood filled with iconic Victorian homes. The ride was lovely with blue skies, fluffy white clouds and nary a rain drop; ouch, then we crossed onto NY state's rough roads. Bumpity bump. We arrived in Aurora, NY boasting a downtown of three buildings. The rest of the city is comprised of many grand old mansions, once donated to Wells College, some are now turned into the Inns of Aurora. After checking into our Inn, we dined on pigeon sized portions at the Inn's restaurant. After we went to our room In the Rowland House, Ron drove six miles to the next town for rolled oats. The room is a lovely brilliant pink and soft gray decor with a marvelous view of Lake Cayuga. Early evening we explored the grounds.
Wynn: Our route was 27 North to 407 to 31 to 75 to 84 to Trevanion Rd becomes 134 in PA. We were lost or confused twice around Harrisburg before getting on Highway 11-15 North to Sunbury, then 15 Nortth to 14 North through Elmira, NY to 34B North to Aurora. I hope that is correct.
17 Jul: Ron, the early riser, was up by five mapping out the day's journey to include scenic roads with lots of twisties. We didn't get started until noon. Cynthia enjoyed the ca. 1800 historic main streets in Uniontown and Taney town, Maryland. Corn was beginning to tassel out. We took a wrong turn and missed a turn twice around Harrisburg, PA, stopping for a veggie sub and gas at Duncanon. By 3:45 we arrived in Sunbury, PA to say a brief hi to friends. The sky looked threatening with ominous black clouds and severe weather alerts but we arrived in Westport, PA dry at a lovely, very old hotel. After checking in we took the risk of reaching a Ruby Tuesday restaurant for Garden Bar dinner. A dangerous thunderstorm with flashes of lightning hit while we were safely ensconced inside nice and dry. It lasted about 45 minutes. We returned to the hotel dry.
|SmoochSmooch & her mommy.|
15 Jul: A gorgeous day for a bike ride over hills and dales to Sandy Spring, Maryland for lunch close to where Jim went to school. The Quaker Meeting House was intriguing because the Underground Railroad history.
|Quaker Meeting dates to 1753|
14 Jul: After rising early we drove to I-Hop for breakfast and groceries. That was a good thing because loud, clashing thunder announced major moisture spewing from the skies preventing us from leaving the house for lunch or dinner. We ate oatmeal for lunch and dinner nstead of going to Smokey Glen Farm for the evening party. Our backpacking gear is now packed to ship back to Texas unused. Cynthia enjoyed the day engrossed reading Attkisson's, The Smear.
13 Jul: Mount Airy. MD for five days with Jim and Joni! We had a lovely lunch with Cynthia's newly found cousin. Jim and Joni joined us for dinner at Mt. Airy Tavern.
12 Jul: Jessup, MD Bob's BMW bike repair ... took all day, arriving in Mount Airy. MD by 5:44 - it appears the bike is fixed!
11 Jul: Apart from long good-byes to the hotel staff, we departed on time. Wynn: our travel route was 340 North from Waynesboro, VA to I-70 to Baltimore, MD, then 695 south, on to 95 south, to 32 to Jessup, MD where we are overnighting in a hotel near Bob's BMW Motorcycle Repair. This is my least favorite hotel but walking distance to the shop.
10 Jul: Our room looked like it was hit by a tornado with repacking and recycling everywhere before stopping at the recycling center; after a two hour hike, followed by an hour long meal at Ruby Tuesday's, Cynthia worked on a DNA article for publication while Ron recycled plastics at Target and returned home with contraband: Ben and Jerry's Triple Caramel Chunk. She shared.
9 Jul, Sunday: We missed yesterday... because we were busy hiking McCormack's Gap to Beagle Gap in one fell swoop.
8 Jul: Waynesboro, VA, and our time here is coming to a close. Ron really needs to stop working on James Lea to focus on recycling and thereby reducing our load. But in the early am, while Cynthia is still sleeping, James Lea is quieter and darker. Today's hike was Beagle Gap up, up, up, over and half way down before turning back to retrace the ups and down, down down. Ron saw a bear
Recommended summerreading: Paris, by Edward Rutherford, Killing Lincoln by Bill O'Reilly, Sojourner Truth by S.T, Ulysses S. Grant, autobiography, Harriet Tubman, Killing Kennedy, by O'Reilly, Make Your Bed by Andrew McKraven.
|Ron resting in MIT purple shorts.|
6 Jul: In Waynesboro, Virginia, Ron slept not a wink until 6:30am. Plotting plats on the map is exciting, yes? He did try twice to fall asleep, but was just wide awake for no good reason. We arose at 7:20am after the usual mandatory morning stretches. It was a beau-ti-ful day for a hike, overcast and sinisterly foggy. The perfumes in the air were overwhelming as the flowers expressed their gratitude for the rain. Poison ivy is berried and lush, a bumper crop, and several of the plants had extended branches out over the trail at face height or above. Walking under a canopy of poison ivy is anything but reassuring. Todays hike at McCormick's Gap was "only" 3.22 miles because we are gently reintroducing our bodies to the rigors of hiking. The hill is a lot steeper than the one at Jarman's Gap, so not descending down the far side reduced our risk of slipping on a wet rock or mud. Hard to imagine that we hiked a couple of hours without seeing another hiker; usually we see between five to twenty of 'em. Ruby Tuesday welcomed us for lunch early (12:30), and we each ate a baked potato and salad until full as usual with the addition of one order of salmon to split (for essential oils) today. Ron mailed six cards & letters in response to cards received within the last three years and is finally beginning to reduce the paperwork he carries with us on the motorcycle. Cynthia has read five books in the last three days on her iPad; her favorite of these was Killing Lincoln.
5 Jul: We didn't hike due to threatening storms and Cynthia's allergies. She slept the morning away to half past afternoon. Ron spent the entire day reviewing his plat plotting of all the landowners near any James Lea in Caswell County. The analysis paid off in a couple of realizations which came about as he meticulously documented all of his references. With a couple of exceptions, most everything was within shooting distance of correct (that is a couple of hundred yards).
|The patterning is quite pretty. Ron is tiny.|
3 Jul at 5:29am: Ron is up and blogging briefly before resuming normal morning plat plotting exercises. Cynthia awoke and the Triduum celebration of eating, sleeping and platting continues quite peacefully. Yup, for the third sequential day the motorcycle sat; methinks it is growing roots.
2 Jul, Sunday: Zzzzzzzzzzzzz. We slept in again and just got to breakfast before 9am, then took a nap until noon, and Cynthia had another nap around 5pm. We ate at Ruby Tuesdays, the only restaurant we've been to this month while staying in Waynesboro. We did NOT hike, and our bodies appreciated the second day of rest & recuperation. The motorcycle didn't move for the second day in a row. (We walk to Ruby Tuesdays, only three blocks away, and Ron walks every evening to either Wally World or Martin's grocery, six blocks away.) Cynthia wrapped up her article but hasn't delivered it to the editor (Ron).
1 July: A Beatty happy day begins; Cynthia begins celebrating her birthday month. We party hearty by taking a full day of nothing but rest. Our bodies were beat up from the longer hikes, and we needed to recouperate. The motorcycle didn't move. Cynthia is working on her article for publication about Harry Bernard King who was born as Charles Edwin Rinker. Ron continues to transcribe hand-written notes from his collection of scraps of paper and to transcribe metes and bounds of plats preparatory to plotting. His mid-year letter is this:
1 July 2017
My memory has never been spectacular, but I vaguely remember that I needed Thank You cards to send to you folks that sent me (or gave us) a card in 2016, and I vaguely remember clipping return address labels to remind me of you. Since I have no other clues, you are receiving this mid-year letter in addition to the annual letter.
2017 has been a great year for us with no problems and no traumas so far (June 28).
As a matter of fact, the year has been spectacular, and we thank God as we count our blessings. Cynthia is my wonderfulest blessing, and she counts me high on her list too.
After doctors appointments and family visits and the completion of capping 10 of my front teeth, we returned to Crystal Beach for two weeks while we waited for the genealogy DNA conference to begin in San Antonio. My sister joined us there and helped the instructors instruct us. One exercise called for using new tools to find autosomal matches, and Cynthia discovered a new 2nd-cousin match to her aunts and herself that turned out to be from her mysterious great grandfather Harry Bernard King. That match descended from an earlier marriage when his name was Charles Edwin Rinker !! It is a huge find and worthy of publication in genealogical magazines. We are now working on those articles.
Next stop for the year was the Pritikin Longevity Center in Miami, and yes, we did learn how to become good little longevities - mostly by eating a plant-based diet and exercising a lot. The interesting part is that Cynthia is now controlling her diabetes by eating lots and lots of veggies but no salt. She loves this new diet because we get to eat until full all the time. The diet boils down to: “if it grows in the ground, you can eat it.” Refined flours and grains do NOT grow in the ground; whole grains do and their flours are OK too. Other participants found the diet bland; we find it wonderfully more varied than our previous 10-grams-of-fat-a-day diet. Ruby Tuesdays, our favorite restaurant, is right on target with its salad bar, and we call ahead to have them bake a potato for us without salt.
En route to the year’s big event, we visited my college roommate Greg in Columbia, South Carolina. The big event was held at the Union League in Philadelphia, a really swanky place, and I was honored with an impressive award from the Swedish Council of America for my efforts on behalf of the Swedish Colonial Society. My brother and sister both came to heckle, and a good time was had by all.
The original plan was to commence hiking the Appalachian Trail southbound from Harpers Ferry on June 6th, but we walked too many miles on concrete there preparing, and Cynthia’s sciatica returned with a painful vengeance. Fortunately icing her feet, hip and knee combined with the exercises we learned at the Pritikin Center for the IT band and the piriformis muscle have her feeling quite well again. Meanwhile we have been staying at the Comfort Inn in Waynesboro, Virginia, a favorite place, and hiking daily in the nearby Shenandoah National Park on various segments of the Appalachian Trail. Meeting the current crop of thru-hikers has been great fun, and Ron has worn himself out with trail maintenance: cleaning out water bars, clipping overhanging shrubbery, and tossing unwelcome rocks and sticks off the trail.
We were considering beginning the hike July 5th, but it got too hot, so we will head north towards Vermont after motorcycle maintenance scheduled for July 12th.
We were considering beginning the hike July 5th, but it got too hot, so we will head north towards Vermont after motorcycle maintenance scheduled for July 12th.
25 Feb 2017 (annual letter is late)
After 3 cardiac procedures in 2015, 2016 started with dental work and soon turned miserable; I bled profusely from the roof of my mouth every third day for three weeks, then my atrial fibrillation returned which led to an ablation and a pacemaker (my little alien). Now I have a blood clot on a pacemaker lead. Hmm, that sounds much worse than what I experienced. I feel fine now.
On April 15th Cynthia and I left Texas for Sedona and bought a brand new BMW motorcycle in Scottsdale, AZ. Sedona is Cynthia's favorite spot, and we stayed six weeks ... except that we did rent a car and drive to Sacramento to see Cynthia's aunts. (Too hot to ride the bike - 104 degrees at Hoover Dam.) While there, I insisted that Cynthia see California coastal Highway 1 north to Fort Bragg.
From Sedona, we rode north to the Grand Canyon, where I confirmed that my cardiac care was functional by hiking 3 miles down into the canyon in 1½ hours and back out in 2 hours with no breathing difficulties, no undue strain, no sore muscles. Monument Valley was awesome; the highlights were our Apache guide and climbing the 40' Indian ladder to enter one of the cliff dwellings.
We were in & out of Durango, Colorado four times to see Dr. Youssef & get injections into Cynthia's spine. The cortisone worked, and she's been much better since. We visited friends in Santa Fe and hiked there and in Pagosa Springs, Ouray, Estes Park and Grand Junction, CO. We even ventured into Denver to visit Cynthia's grandson.
Cynthia performed the first of 2 religious ceremonies this year by baptizing a Taos Pueblo Indian boy at the Lama Foundation, a hippy spiritual commune dating to the 1960s.
We rode past Dinosaur en route to Salt Lake City, where Cynthia flew back to Houston for doctors appointments. My Rambo cousin Roy White showed me the Golden Spike, the gigantic Kennecott open pit copper mine and the Spiral Jetty.
The ride from Salt Lake City to Denver was spectacular with shimmering golden aspen filling a couple of valleys. As we crossed the country in late September, the temperatures were pleasant or cool. We visited friends in Des Moines, Iowa and my 97-year-old Aunt Eleanor in Keosauqua, IA. (She was quite surprised when I told her that she was the third oldest relative we visited last year.) In Mt. Olive and Trenton, Illinois we visited my sister, my nephew and a couple I've known since high school. Next stop Cleveland to see MIT buddy Walt & wife Pam.
We arrived at the Inn at Long Trail in Vermont just in time for peak leaf peeping. Colors were brilliant, although the drought lessened the effect. Dinner at the Pasta Loft in Milford, NH with several MIT friends provided a wonderful opportunity to "catch up." We turned south to Gaithersburg, Maryland, where on Oct 16th, Cynthia officiated the marriage ceremony for Jim & Joni, motorcycling friends. The groom owns a BBQ catering business and catered his own wedding - a fabulous affair.
We visited friends in Philadelphia before fleeing south, visiting my brother Dean and wife Janina in their new home in Lewes, Delaware, a comfortable town.
Old man winter caught us because we stayed a bit too long on Lake Hyco in northern North Carolina (doing genealogy), so the ride to Atlantic Beach, NC was quite cold. Ditto the ride to Columbia, SC, where we visited and walked daily with friends. Ditto the ride to Macon, Georgia and the ride further south to El Governor Hotel in Mexico Beach, FL. We like that hotel because it is right smack dab on the beach. We decided to try a new location, Biloxi, MS and discovered fabulous accommodation at the Hard Rock Casino. Our suite was fit for a Rock Star: sitting room, 3 TVs and a shower big enough to wash the car.
Crystal Beach on the Bolivar Peninsula near Galveston, TX is our new favorite wintertime walk.
On January 5 we returned to Houston for our doctors appointments and Cynthia's favorite hair stylist, Sasha. In summation, we enjoyed a marvelous year despite the miserable start.