Thursday, June 13, 2019

Visit with Brother, Finally at Black Lake

Probably will not be posting here again, for a while.  We do not have unlimited data, but today is the last day of the month...and I have enough left to bring our travels up to date.

Day four of our trip north took us from Dunmore, PA to Kirkwood, NY to visit with my baby brother, Dave Benjamin.......and then the final leg.... arriving at our cabin on Black Lake in Hammond, NY.

Picture below....crossing the PA/NY border... Me and my brother Dave at his home in Kirkwood, NY,  His Chocolate Lab, Jake, a view of his beautiful  back yard, David again with Rich, our cabin on Black Lake, in Hammond NY, and our view from the cabin.


I'm not one to complain much about cooler weather......but it's been COLD, RAINY and very WINDY.  As a result we've only been out fishing three times in 6 days!  Today it's very very windy and in the low 60's.... with rain.  Picture below..  The fishing has not been much better and the lake water is really pretty high.  We've caught a total of 17 fish.  Rich has had the better luck..His first fish was a 20' Northern Pike, (picture/bottom left),  and our last day out he caught another Northern. This one was 26".( Top middle picture)  My first fish was my biggest fish so far........ and that was an 8 1/2" crappy!  (top right).  You can see the water has been pretty rough....Top left picture is a view of our cabin from the lake....and I was able to catch the rainbow a couple days ago...as we were heading in for the day.


This weekend Bass Season opens, so I'm sure we'll have a full house here at the Log Cabins.  Our Pennsylvania friends will be coming in Saturday, so I'm sure we'll get together a couple of times while they are at Roger's Camps.  

Yesterday was my birthday.........Rich planned on taking me out for dinner, but I just wanted to stay in.  There's a little store down the road called Echo's on the Lake where you can get take out........and they have a great fish fry.  Rich had the fried chicken dinner w/fries, and I got my Fish Fry!  Excellent!

6 1/2 weeks left........then on to Columbia Crossroads before we head back home. 


Friday, June 7, 2019

North to Black Lake - Day 3

Today we left Troutville, VA and headed for Dunmore, PA.  On the road again, about 7:30 AM.   Stopped and filled up on gas, before we left VA.... as gas is much much cheaper!  Made it to West Virginia about 10:15, Maryland, about 10:35, and the PA state line about 10:45.......and got to the hotel in Dunmore around 2:00 PM

The rain was pretty steady, a bit heavy, and the visibility when we started the trip was not real good.  On the road about 35 minutes and the traffic was backed up a bit....not for long.  Seems that the weather was responsible for this truck sliding off the road.  Of course the weather made it almost impossible to get any good pictures in Virginia.....where the mountains and hills are so beautiful...


 But by the time we got to PA I was able to get some decent shots.  Love the farmlands with the rolling hills in the background. the rock ledges on the hillsides, and the view of the Susquehanna River.  Yes there were some major traffic back ups today, but thankfully they were going in the opposite direction,


Everything in PA is expensive.  Now remember I said we stopped for gas before we got out of Virginia.  We paid $2.399/gallon.   We stopped for a quick breakfast at McDonald's ( and I won't complain too much - but even Rich complained when our sausage burrito's were cold)  But no far down the road the gas at a Loves station was $3.359!  Most others we passed were much less - but still ranged from $2,69 to $2,85/gallon.

Lots of construction on 81 near Dunmore - but finally made it!  This is not a fancy hotel at all....just the basics, very clean, and very comfortable.  Nice pool and exercise pool.  But this year they have new beds.... those real high ones... that short people like me, feel like a little kid trying to climb up on!   We stayed at this hotel when we came north last year....and the price is pretty good.... for Pennsylvania!


Just a short walk from the hotel is Joey's Pizza, a family owned Italian restaurant.  They have everything imaginable on the menu.........and it was quite obvious it's favorite of the locals.  Last year we had ordered deliver.. (not realizing they were right next door!).  Rich ordered the linguine with meatballs, and I had penne pasta with broccoli and garlic sauce  Came with salad and garlic rolls.  It was AWESOME!  Absolutely delicious. 



Tomorrow will be the last leg of the trip, with us landing at the Log Cabins on Black Lake, NY.  Going to stop in Kirkwood, NY, on the way, for a short visit with my baby brother!

Thursday, June 6, 2019

North to Black Lake - Day 2

We were back on the road at 7:30 AM........leaving South Carolina and headed for Troutville, Virginia..... and checked in about 2:00 PM at the Quality Inn.  We had stayed here last year on our way to NY......and remembered that the Cracker Barral was right next door.  After driving all day - it was nice to be able to just walk across the parking lot.   Unfortunately dinner was not the best today.  Rich ordered a burger and fries, and I had the special of the day, Turkey dinner. The turkey was OK, but the stuffing was so dry... the potatoes, cold and the green beans straight out of the can. Very disappointing.


Not a lot of pictures today......not a lot to see in North Carolina.  Traffic was pretty heavy going through Charlotte. Lots of construction going on - so got a picture of the skyline.....and a couple of Lake Norman as we passed by.


Virginia is such a beautiful state.... I always find myself snapping a lot of pictures of the hills.


The entire trip today, regardless of what state, on I-95, I-26, I-77 or I-81 the trucks were everywhere.  Never fails when you are on 2 lane highways, they just monopolize both lanes.

And then on top of that... today Vice President Pence was visiting near Roanoke, VA for DDay.  So, of course, whenever someone like this is in town, the traffic is affected, while he is escorted in and out of the area.  And we were about 15 minutes from the hotel when traffic just stopped. 


Plans are to head out early again tomorrow.... we'll be headed for Dunmore, PA

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

North to Black Lake, NY - Day 1

On the road today!  Left home at 8:00AM .........on route to the Quality Inn & Suites in Hardeeville, SC.

Longest part of the trip today was getting out of the state of Florida.  But I do always like the trip around Jacksonville.....especially the views of the cable bridge and St John's River.


And then all the rivers you pass by driving through Georgia......... Below is the South Brunswick River, Turtle River, Chapney River, and the Savana River....


We arrived safely at the Quality Inn and Suites in Hardeeville, SC around 3:00PM.... no rain, no problems today, and just a couple of stops, once at McDonald's for breakfast, and then again for gas.  Hotel is nothing fabulous, but clean, comfortable, nice pool, friendly staff, and a reasonable price.


We got brave tonight and tried a local, family owned restaurant here in town.  Checked for different places on Trip Advisor - and this one had some really good ratings.  It definitely was not what we expected.... very very small and older building, with maybe 5 or 6 tables.  You go to the window to order.  Not hard to tell from the traffic of people that most of their business is take-out...but we sat there and ate.  The food was absolutely excellent, delicious, freshly made, piping hot, and the people were so friendly!  Two pieces of Chicken, with two sides, roll or corn bread.  Wish we had a place like this at home.

  Gwen and Franny's Fried Chicken

Pretty good day........Wake up call set for 6:45 in the morning!   Headed for Virginia!

Sunday, June 2, 2019

More doctor appointment.....Blue Heron Fledglings, Getting ready to go North

I can't remember a week recently where one or both of us has not had a doctor's appointment.   It was a week ago today that we got back from Cocoa Beach....  We enjoyed our stay, as usual........and before we left, we signed and filed the quick claim deed to transfer ownership...we no longer own the time share at Ocean Landings. I will miss it......



Monday was Memorial Day...........no celebrations...just a normal day.
And being thankful.... remembering those who served, and gave the ultimate sacrifice to our country and our freedom!

God Bless them all.

Tuesday, both of us had appointments with our Primary Doctor.  Rich's was a followup  for his blood work..Everything looked good! Mine was a follow-up for my CPAP - which is required if you want medicare to keep paying for your equipment!  Everything's good there .

Wednesday - I had my follow-up with Dr. Thakkar for my Upper Endoscopy.  Lower Esophagus biopsy shows Barrett's esophagus with moderate chronic inflammation, and confirms presence of focal intestinal metaplasia.... but is negative for dysplasia..  Bottom line we don't know how long I've had it....it is one of those "silent" types..... can become cancerous.

Basically the esophagus, that carries food and saliva from the mouth to the stomach, changes so that some of its lining is replace by a type of tissue similar to the stomach or intestine.



So I am on two different medications, provided a list of  trigger foods to avoid (chocolate, onions, fatty meals, caffeine, mints, tomatoes, citrus, alcohol...)  and I will need to return in one year for another endoscopy.....to make sure there is no change.


 Pretty much on medication forever..... unless it becomes cancerous and the esophagus is removed.


Thursday was my six month visit to the oncologist........... sight in my left eye is getting worse....so I will be scheduled for cataract surgery when we get back from NY.  Additionally - my eyelids continue to droop...and are now starting to get in the way of vision.........so we are talking about lid surgery AFTER the cataract!

Update on our Blue Heron.....The two fledglings are doing well.  One of them flew from the nest  on Wednesday at 56 days old...., and we are still watching to see when the second one does the same.  We see the one, along with his mom in our yard or down by the canal most every day.  Pictures below of the two fledglings,, and of the second one still being fed by its Mom... They always make so much noise and spread their wings when being fed.   Amazing to watch


Trying to use up as much of the food as we can before we leave for NY.    So we used the ground beef with the Hamburger Helper.... the Chicken for Fajitas w/ re fried beans and rice, the Shrimp, and the rest of the Heavy cream for Cajun Shrimp Pasta..... and I had some Butter cream icing to use.....so we made a Butter Pecan cake.....put 1/2 in the freezer.........  Today was hot dogs and potato salad..... and tomorrow will be the last two Turkey pot pies in the freezer!


Monday we'll pick up something, either Chinese take out or Subway....and I'll pick up a small package of ground beef, so we can use the last pizza crust, and the leftover pepperoni...... on Tuesday.  The few veggies, cheeses etc. anything that will spoil........we'll give to the neighbors.   And got a pretty good start.... along with a checklist to get the packing done......



OH... and we can't forget Onyx's Birthday.   Today Onyx is 13 years old...  Dennis put his picture on facebook today.........with this lovely message.

This is the most incredible boy! He's so amazing & the bestest! 

He's a retired school obedience service dog, he was the best big brother & comfort for Shadow & Venus and now the big brother & companion to Zoey. Loves this boy so much! 💓🐾🐕 
Happy birthday Onyx & wish you so many more! 🙏



Friday, May 24, 2019

Thursday and Friday.........Just one more day before heading back home...

Thursday morning I woke up early, so headed out to the beach to catch the morning sunrise........It was a bit cloudy, but still a hint of color.   Off in the distance I saw this guy....in the water!  It was about 6:15 AM Thursday morning!


Spent most of the day Thursday and Friday at the pool. Rich got talking with two or three guys interested in equities, stock market/investments etc...... so I'm sure that made him happy!  Actually one of the guys (Larry)  got to telling Rich he was looking for a timeshare, here at Ocean Landings, for a friend..........  We have been trying to get rid of our timeshare for several years..........but they are very hard to sell, very hard to find a buyer...... WELL............the Quick Claim Deed was completed today and filed.  We are no longer owners~    actually that's a little bit sad.  I will miss coming here.

White Russians again on Thursday...........and Pizza Delivery.  Pizza was OK.


Today, Friday...........again a fun day at the pool.........And tonight we used our $50 gift certificate  at Gregory's Restaurant, here at Ocean Landings.  This is one of our favorite places to eat...........not very often, because it is extremely expensive.  But the food is the best!  Tonight we had (Rich - French Onion Soup, Me - Ceaser Salad).  We both ordered the Jumbo Shrimp w/ crabmeat stuffing and Bay Scallops, along with a baked potato.   It was absolutely delicious!!


We're both pretty full..........so don't think we'll do the beach walk tonight!  Can't believe tomorrow will be our last day here........No big plans scheduled.......

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday ---fun, sun and good food!

The weather here in Cocoa Beach has been just beautiful.  Sunny days, always a nice breeze......... Monday morning I was up bright and early, heading to the beach at about 6:15 AM....to catch the sunrise. A bit cloudy.....but a beautiful morning and a decent surise.


Need to share all that this Resort has to offer.  The location is perfect.  There are five buildings that have everything from 1-2 bedroom waterfront, 1-2 bedroom off water rooms, and then just plain hotel rooms.    The grounds are well maintained...........and there is always something to do or enjoy.   Below are pictures of the two waterfront buildings (Caribbean and Dream Buildings), the Terrace Pool, which is a lap pool......the Main Pool and the little building at the pool where you can buy breakfast, lunch, drinks, ice cream.......one of the two tennis courts, the kitchen/cooking area where you can prepare meals, and which is adjacent to the picnic/grilling area.  Perfect for cookouts..... large or small groups.

The pictures below were all taken in "The Center"..... where you can enjoy the gym, sauna, game room, bar, Party Room, Spa and Massage.  The lobby is where you check in.............and there are a couple of large rooms, for meetings or gatherings.  Tennis racquets, bicycles are available, and a small store for drinks, sandwiches, microwavable items and goodies are available.


Gregory's Restaurant is also on site.  The main dining area is downstairs.... the prices are pretty steep.....but the food is absolutely excellent.  Upstairs is the Comedy Club - where you can also eat (bar menu) and drink to your heart's content.  This, however is not a place we will return to..... It just is not the kind of "comedy"  we consider funny or entertaining...so is not something that we enjoy at all. 

Skipped the morning sunrise on Tuesday and Wednesday morning...... but had a fun day at the pool on Tuesday.      Corn Hole tournament at the shuffle board area late morning on Tuesday...  and early afternoon water aerobics at the Terrace Pool.  Most of the afternoon we spent at the pool....drinking way too many white Russians, doing Sudoku puzzles, reading and enjoying conversations with other guests..........Actually.....there were a couple of guys that Rich was talking to in the pool that were very interesting in buying our Timeshare...........

I don't remember what we had for dinner on Tuesday.......after all the booze... but I think we went to Denny's......I know we didn't drive ANYWHERE!

On Wednesday we were invited to a free lunch (Pizza, cookies, coffee, soda etc.) in The Center.....well we needed to listen to "a way to better our timeshare ownership"...  and a new program they have.  We didn't know exactly what it was about.....but by "listening" to the presentation, you got lunch... AND either a free room upgrade, OR your choice of THREE gift cards.  And so we enjoyed lunch and got $75 dollars in Restaurant Gift cards.  One for Brano's which is a great Italian Restaurant and two for Gregory's.....(Even with $50.... we'll still be paying some out of pocket.....)

In the afternoon there was music at the Main pool with DJ Mike.  Lots of people
dancing.....*but we missed the limbo and hula hoop contests!  The music was great - lots of favorites.... and lots of oldies for us older folk!

It was pretty much coffee and water as our beverage of choice today....

We used our first gift certificate Wednesday evening at Brano's.  We'd been here a couple of times in the past - so we knew we'd be more than satisfied.  Salads and bread with seasoned olive oil for dipping.... Rich selected the pasta (fettuccine) with meat sauce, with a (huge) side of sausage.  I had the baked Ravioli, with marinara sauce.   The display of wine bottles is mind boggling.... but we refrained for drinking. 


Did the walk on the beach again Wednesday evening......this time heading North.


And we enjoyed all the sand art along the way! The mermaid, the turtle, the castle and moat....the one man (kid) pool. and of course - what has to be the turtle eggs!


And tonight we graduated from "toes in the sand" to "toes in the ocean"!


Monday, May 20, 2019

A Week at the Beach

So, Friday and Saturday was spent, cleaning, laundry and then packing for the week.

And we took what will probably be our last pictures of the Blue Heron babies.  They have grown so fast, and are flapping their wings and flying from branch to branch.  Chances are pretty good that they will be leaving the nest before we get back home.........We'll see....  And the little yellow breasted flycatcher was back knocking at the widow.


Check in time at the Ocean Landings Resort in Cocoa Beach is not until 5:00 o'clock, so it mid afternoon before we packed the car and started the journey to the east coast.   We have in the past taken the path through Orlando and then the 528 across to A1A........But this time we took Fl 70 across to I-95 N.  It is definitely a much better route,  Going across 70 took us through Okeechobee, hundreds of Love Bugs..........and then a pretty good shower.

Below are a couple of pictures of the trip...
Below is in Okeechobee where we cross the Kissimmee River.......... and the Okeechobee sign.....gives you a pretty good idea of how thick the love bugs were.


And their is an aircraft exhibit that we see, every time we go this way.......Not sure what the exhibit exemplifies.......but it's pretty cool.


Then we made our way to I-95, and then crossing the Indian River and inter coastal area as we made our way to A1A... and from there about 7 miles to the resort.  The bridge on the top right is the Sebastian I-85 Overpass, built in honor of an old railroad.  It is a pedestrian and bicycle overpass with paths that run for 2 miles between Fellsmere and Sebastian.


It was about 3:45 when we arrived in Cocoa Beach, so we decided to stop for dinner before we checked in.  We didn't want a big dinner - having to unload and unpack.....so we stopped at IHOP.  Great choice.  Rich had the Banana and Strawberry pancakes, and I had the French Toast, with Butter Pecan syrup!!


We've upgraded the past couple of years to the Ocean view room. This time we decided to just stay in the Atlantic Building, which is close to both of the pools, and the grilling area.  It's really quite nice, plenty big enough and a sitting area out front.


After getting settled in.......we decided to take a walk on the beach before it got dark.  People still swimming......despite the really really big waves! (Actually it looked like fun).  With the way both of us have been feeling we weren't sure how far we'd make it........but we took our time and had a great walk......TOES IN THE SAND!!!

We're going to some presentation on Wednesday where we will get 3 gift cards for 3 different restaurants.........so tonight we are just going to do Denny's which is right across the street.  Then a trip to the grocery store to pick up a few things for breakfast AND some half and half so we can have our White Russians tomorrow!!

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Getting Back to Normal.....and Getting Ready for some FUN!

It's been a couple of weeks, at least, since I last posted here. Good News ..... I am finally starting to feel so much better.  Follow-up with my primary doctor, and my blood work came back excellent. On Monday I had an appointment with Dr. Thakkar at the Surgery and Endoscopy Center in Sebring. I had my Upper Endoscopy..........and the results were good.  And bottom line, the chest pain, and upper abdominal pain were caused by my Sleep Apnea. While I am still struggling with wearing that mask, my pain is gone.  I have three more appointments before we head North........Follow-up with Dr. Thakkar, Mammogram, and CPAP Follow-up with Primary.  OOPS - make that four!  Appointment with Eye Doctor.

I'm sure that Rich is feeling better...........especially at meal time.  I've gotten the energy (and desire) to get back to cooking and baking!  Tuna Noodle Casserole, Dressed Burgers and Potato Salad..... Potato Soup, Chicken Parmesean, Stromboli......and goodies - Peanut Butter Cookies, Cinnamon Buns, and Banana Muffins. Mmmmm - Good!


Both of us got quite a bit of yard work taken care of.......... The new sod is looking good.  Still need to get the wet and forget sprayed, but the bushes all the way around the house, including the Crotons have been trimmed.   Rich trimmed the Topiary, and finished cutting the palm branches.  So the yard is looking pretty good!


Have to share this..... Sitting out on the back lanai, you never know what you'll see. The whistlers,  the iguanas, the gators........But the other day we watched 3 Black Snakes just outside the lanai screen.......   and the Mamma Blue Heron wandering through the back yard. 


And, of course we can't forget Mother's Day............and we went out for dinner.  I preferred to stay here in town......so I couldn't decide between the Mexican Restaurant, Dock 633, or Golden Corral...................I love Golden Corral - but always, always leave feeling sooooooooo  stuffed!!!

But it's all about remembering mothers........ Got a beautiful bouquet of Tulips from Dennis and the family...........and we sent our wishes to Crystal and to both of our Moms... and want to recognize them here...


Will be heading for Cocoa Beach in a few days, and then a week or so later heading to Black Lake, NY.  Can't wait to get out there fishing again!