Friday, June 22, 2018

Day 3 to NY

We left Virginia and traveled to Pennsylvania.  We were on the road at 7:30, and started our 400 mile drive.  Virginia is one of those states that you think you'll never get out of......We began the trip at Exit 150 on I-81...... and ended at Exit 323, 173 miles before we left the state.  We stopped at Exit 323 for cigarettes and gas, and since we were at Flying J for gas, we went in for breakfast.   Note that the gas prices in Virginia ( we filled up twice) ranged from $2.39 to 2.57.  So it was 10:54 by the time was arrived at the West VA state line.

Driving through West Virginia and Maryland goes very quickly! We were at the Maryland state line in 20 minutes ( 11:15)  and at the Pennsylvania state line in 11 minutes (11:26).  West Virginia and Maryland was right around $2.65, but Pennsylvania was $2.97!!!  Pennsylvania has (of all these states) the highest gas taxes, and it's quite obvious they are not using that money to fix their roads.  They are a mess!!

The weather today created some really really nice cloud formations.  They ranged from mist and fog early in the morning, and then layers of white, blue and gray as the fog lifted.  And of course the dark clouds that eventually brought rain by the time we were in PA.

The rainy weather made it a little bit more difficult to get some good pictures, but I was able to get some of the farmlands and hillsides, the rolling hills and rock ledges further north, and the dark skies over the Susquehanna River in PA. (bottom right photo)

And we finally arrived in Dunmore, PA about 2:05 this afternoon, at the Sleep Inn and Suites.  Nothing fancy - but clean and just off I-81.  The rooms are smaller than you find in the Quality Inn or Comfort Inn, but sufficient, clean and comfortable. 

We were both pretty tired from all the driving, so decided we'd stay in and order delivery.  We found a place called Joey's Pizza and Italian Cuisine..... Rich ordered the Meat Stromboli, ( sausage, pepperoni, ham and salami) and I ordered the Philly Cheese steak.   We also asked for an order of onion rings.....but they sent us french fries.  No  problem.........everything was very very good, and very very filling!

Tomorrow we have less than 3 hours travel time, plus making a stop at the grocery store for a few items.  So we'll probably sleep in a bit in the morning.  It will be nice to finally get to the lake, get settled in and get out fishing!

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Day 2 to NY

We left for the second leg of the trip early.  We were on the road at 7:30.  Didn't plan on stopping so soon - but saw a sign for gas $2.47.... so we stopped and filled up the tank.   But we found it even cheaper at one of the last exits in SC at the Flying J, where it was $2.39!  While we were there we had breakfast at Dennys, picked up a Cinnabon for Rich, and a toothbrush for me!  Yes, I packed by toothbrush holder - but without the toothbrush!

By 8:30 we had turned off of I-95 north and headed west on I 26, and shortly after saw flashing lights.  If you are waiting for a UPS delivery - I hope it was not in the truck that went off the road here in SC.   Hoping that no one was seriously hurt...........

Our travels today took us from South Carolina into North Carolina, along I-77,  passing through Charlotte,  and then into Virginia, and continuing through Virginia on I 81 N....

Parts of the trip were quite enjoyable - seeing some beautiful trees,  decorated medians, and the always beautiful Lake Norman in NC. 

BUT a good portion of the trip today was slowed down either by rain, or miles and miles of construction which lead to miles of traffic backups.  We encountered our first in Charlotte, ( top right in photo below),  and then things continued to get worse.  On I-81 in Virginia  with only about 60 miles to go - we got in the middle of another long long back up of traffic ( bottom right).

And then a tractor/trailer blew a tire, had pulled off to the side of the road, but a large piece of his tire was in the middle  of the road, in the lane we were traveling on.........and unfortunately we were not able to swerve quite enough to miss it.  A huge bang..........on the drivers side did a job on the front bumper and the back/side panel.   Rich was able to snap most of it back in place, and where he couldn't he wired up!

After the accident we drove through a heavy heavy thunder storm.  The visibility was terrible!

But we finally made it to the hotel.  Quality Inn and Suites in Troutville, VA.   Very nice, comfortable, very clean,  coffee, juice all day long, and very very friendly staff.   Right next door is a Cracker Barrel Restaurant.  So, for the second night we could just walk to dinner.  We both enjoyed the Chicken Fried Chicken with mashed potatoes and green beans, and buttermilk biscuits!

And then about 8:00 Rich had his Cinnabon for dessert..... and we were in an relaxing until lights out. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Day One to NY

And finally the day has arrived for us to beginning of our  1447 mile trip to upstate NY to the Log Cabins on Black Lake and the to Elmira, NY for our family reunion, and probably to Columbia Crossroads, PA to visit with friends before we head back home.

We were on the road at 7:05 AM this morning and the weather all day was very accommodating........ we actually had no rain the entire drive.  And with the exception of the Orlando area traffic moved right along.  Orlando, on the other hand between the amusement park traffic and the construction was terrible. It was bumper to bumper slow slow traffic that seemed to last forever.  We've already decided that we will NOT go home that way.   And so by the end of the day we had passed through Orlando, Jacksonville, Georgia and into the State of South Carolina.

And  so let me share a few of our favorite and not so favorite sites...... including the nasty construction in Orlando...... the rivers and bridges........ and I can't remember where we saw it.........the US Air Force airplane........

We arrived at the Quality Inn and Suites in Ridgeland, SC mid afternoon.  Not hard to tell that this is an older hotel, but they have done a decent job keeping it updated, comfortable and clean.  The indoor pool is awesome!  We .  were both pretty tired after the drive, and just not in the mood for even getting in the car to drive anywhere......... and pizza delivery did not sound good at all.  So we walked next door the DQ Chill and Grill, where I enjoyed a chicken sandwich and fries, and Rich had the 1/2 lb cheeseburger with onion rings and a Peanut Butter milkshake.

And while we thought we'd get through the day without rain...........we had a pretty good thunderstorm around 5 o'clock. 

Back to the room for a shower and we're now watching President Trump's Rally in Minneapolis on TV before calling it a night.  Our next stop tomorrow will be in Virginia.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Celebrating Father's Day...........Countdown to Black Lake

Another day of celebrating, as today is Father's Day.  So the first thing we need to do is to remember two special people in our lives, and that's our Fathers'.  Both of them are missed very much.........  Happy Father's Day Bob Donald and John Benjamin..........

And Happy Father's Day Wishes to Rich and Dennis!

Of course the highlight of the day was the phone call from Dennis to his Dad.
  And they talked for quite a while.  I usually make sure that Rich gets his ice cream cake, or giant chocolate chip iced cookie.................but we are trying to use up as much of the food and goodies before we leave on this year, while not forgotten........ he got a 1/2 dozen Father's Day Cupcakes!  And he'll have one of his favorite meals for dinner, Roast Beef w/ mashed potatoes and gravy!

We always look forward to our summer vacation ( from the Florida HEAT) at Black Lake in NY, but it sure does require a whole lot of preparation time!!   That means getting the yard done, make sure all the sprinklers are working, secure the boat for the hurricane season, pay ahead any bills ( like water and lawn service), plan the trip, book the hotel rooms, make a packing list, and a to-do list, make sure the car has been serviced, and then the packing............

And the packing is well on it's way........  Not done........but well on it's way!!!

Tomorrow Rich has one final doctor's appointment  - to have his stitches removed, and will stop to get a haircut........... The plants and any food left in the refrigerator will go to the neighbors and we'll get the majority of the packing done on Tuesday.........and be on the road bright and early Wednesday morning.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Birthday Celebration

Well first........That beautiful Blue Heron, who frequently visits our back yard, and has found a comfortable spot on the back now enjoying her perch on the bushes in the Front yard..........He found another tinted window to look at!!

Today was my birthday...... but we started the celebration on Sunday.  Rich took me to the Broadway Palm Dinner Theater in Ft. Myers to see Ring of Fire.  I was so glad when our friends Nathan and Krystal decided to join us.  Excellent buffet - of Chicken, Delicious pork, Fried Fish, Roast Beef, veggies, Scalloped Potatoes, and homemade Ravioli!  Great salad bar, excellent chili..........and every dessert imaginable!  The show was very good..........but not one of the best we've seen.

Picture below was taken going south on SR 31 on the way.  Crossing the Caloosahatchee River, and there was a nice Boat Marina  just south of the River.

The four of us enjoying dinner and an adult beverage!

The show was very good!

Today I got Birthday wishes from so many people be it phone call, message,
Facebook or physical cards.........AND I got a bottle of my favorite adult beverage, a bottle of Chivas Regal Scotch Whiskey!

But tonight I am enjoying a glass of Riesling and making Linguine and Meatballs for dinner!

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Booking Rooms, Doctor Visits with a few stitches! ...........Dinner with Friends

For much of the day on Monday, I was on the computer, planning the drive to NY.  Rich would tell me about how many miles/day he wants to drive, or how many hours..........and I search for the city and hotel where we'll stay.    Got three nights booked for the trip north, and we'll arrive at the lake on day 4. 

Monday evening we met up with Nathan and Krystal, and Buddy and Diane at Hibachi.  Nice to see Krystal out - we've missed her the last couple of times.  This will be our last get together for a while, as everyone makes there summer plans.  Probably September before we get together again......( Well - actually Nathan and Krystal are meeting us in Ft. Myers next weekend at Broadway Palm).  But our regular monthly get togethers  probably will not resume till September. 

On Monday the roofers finally made it to our friends house on the other side of the canal.  Can't remember what number they were on the list waiting to have it done..........but it's been since Hurricane Irma, last September! Our neighbor a few doors down, still has not had his started.

On Tuesday Rich had an appointment with the dermatologist to have a cyst removed on his back/shoulder.  Originally a boil.......he needed to have the core removed.  So he came home today with a big pressure bandage on his back, which he has to leave on for 24 hours. Remove, keep Vaseline on it, and cover until no more draining.  Back in about 10 days to have the stitches removed.

On Wednesday I  went back for a follow-up with the foot doctor, and got another steroid shot for my heel!  Hopefully this is the last one I'll need. 

And today our resident Blue Heron was back.  This time he gave us quite a show on the rail of the deck.  Normally he just stands there and looks around, but today he stood there with his throat fluttering.  That usually means that he is hot!  And usually when they spread the wings, and flatten them, they are just sunning - but I think he was actually drying. It was really amazing to watch.

Can't believe that tomorrow will be Friday already!  The week has flown by.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

This week has just flown by!

With the weather forecast for more rain, and very heavy rain and possible flooding predicted for the Orlando area on Sunday - we made the decision to head home a day early.  Well that wasn't the only reason........ we had upgraded our timeshare to an Ocean Front, which means check out is on Saturday......... but as owners our week runs to Sunday.  So we could have moved to another room.......  We elected to drive home.

The trip home was uneventful.........not even any rain!    Until Sunday.  And we have had rain Sunday through Friday!  So this week has been, updating records, lots of laundry ( from the 10 days we were gone)  grocery shopping, a lot of cooking, and a little baking.  We cooked a Ham on Sunday with Scalloped Potatoes and Asparagus, Lasagna ( that we promised John) on Monday, Potato Soup  on Tuesday, left overs on Wednesday and Thursday............and on Friday I made Banana Bread and a couple dozen Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Friday morning when Rich went outside our Blue Heron was in the backyard.... carrying his breakfast!  Seems he found himself a nice sized fish, which he was carrying.  He, and his fish, were right in the yard, and I had a perfect shot from the deck,  BUT, while I can usually almost walk right up to him......... it was a different story when he had a fish in his mouth, and he flew to the yard across the canal!   So while I managed to get a picture - it's a little bit difficult to see the fish he's carrying.

And, since I had been cooking all week - we decided to go for a fish-fry.  Original plan was to head to Dock 633 - but we decided to to go to Jackson's on the Lake for their all you can eat (catfish) fish fry.  Pretty good - all you can eat fish, fries, hush puppies and slaw!

This weekend we were pretty busy!  We've been wanting to get some yard work done, among other things, but we seem to get rain or storms almost every day.  But we were able to get a good head start on Saturday - finishing up trimming bushes all the way around the house, before we had our late afternoon shower.  And on Sunday Rich sprayed for weeds.

On Saturday Rich also worked on the boathouse, hosing, cleaning the boat, covering the seats, and getting the boat tied down for the hurricane season ( or for at least while we're away). 

And in addition to the Blue Heron (above) visiting us.......the Ash-Throated Fly Catchers, are back using the nesting box in the back yard.  And as usual they continue to like to come and peck at the window.

AND............. while Rich was cutting the bushes in the backyard yesterday, we saw probably the biggest grasshopper we've ever seen! Along the sidewalk, on the deck, and then today climbing up the slider

Still got more to do outside before we leave but we still have a little time.  We have dinner scheduled this week along with a couple of doctor appointments.  And then the following week we're going to Broadway Palm for my birthday.  In the meantime - I'll be starting to get things around and start some packing for the trip north!