Historic Butler House, Deerfield Beach, Florida

Today there was a fundraiser for the Deerfield Beach/Lighthouse Point, Pompano Beach/Hillsboro Beach Relay for Life event which will be held at Quiet Waters Park in Deerfield Beach on Saturday, September 22nd, from 6:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. on September 23rd. The name is being changed to the Northeast Broward Relay. Everyone is welcome to attend. Please come out and support the cancer survivors and caregivers and everyone who works hard to put on this event. There are several positions available if you or anyone you know may be interested. Teams are also needed, so go to relayforlife.org and enter your zip code to find a Relay event near you. There are stories on my website for the Deerfield Beach Relay held in previous years when I participated as a committee member, survivor, and team member.

I have been to the Butler House for other fundraisers, however, I always like to go inside the Butler House to look at the antique furniture and the unique items in the gift shop. Also, there is a Banyan tree in the yard that is over 100 years old. It was on the property already when the house was built in 1923. The Butler House is open to the public every Saturday from 10 a.m. until 2:o0 p.m. there is no charge to tour the house. The last Saturday of the month there are various activities like concerts and garage sales. Here are some links for information regarding the Butler House.  Broward County National Register for the Butler House and Deerfield Beach Historical Society Butler House.

Here is a photo album with pictures I took today, which includes pictures of many of the informational signs on the furniture. In April 2016, I was the Butler House for another Relay for Life fundraiser, here is a link to that story and photo album.

A few pictures of the house are shown below, for more pictures please check out the photo album. It’s nice that some things have improved like washing machines. Back in the early 1900’s the washing machines were ringer machines and I remember when I was young seeing my great grandmother feeding her clothes and linens through the ringers to squeeze the water out of the clothes.

 

Surprise, on rare occasions I can post a story and pictures the same day as I took them and was at an event. It doesn’t happen often because usually I don’t have WiFi access, but today I am able to.

Posted in 2018 Trip | Leave a comment

Arnold’s Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, Okeechobee, Florida

I have been back home since the end of November and I haven’t taken any trips, not even locally. So I decided since I haven’t been to see my friend Sue Arnold who runs Arnold’s Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, in Okeechobee, Florida, in about a year, I went there March 23rd through 25th. I drove my camper there so I could stay there for a few days. Thankfully, the weather was nice and it didn’t rain.

It’s always a great adventure to go there and to see not only the animals that I have seen over the many years I have gone there, but also to see what new animals have taken up residency or are being rehabilitated so they can be released. As always, there are several new animals, and sadly several have died some due to age, some to predators that somehow find a way into the cages of some animals.

This visit I got to pet a camel, lemurs, Capuchin monkeys, kangaroos, an albino wallaby, and several other animals. There are also several new types of chickens which always make me smile seeing the various types of feathers they have. Some look like pompoms, others have feathers sticking out in all directions, others have beautiful feathers. One of the days a large crane somehow flew out of the enclosure and several of us had to circle it and herd it into the fenced in area where it belongs. A few male peacocks were trying to impress the female peacocks and kept spreading their feathers and dancing around showing them off. It was pretty interesting to watch.

I have posted a photo album with pictures I took during my three day stay. There are too many pictures to include in this story. Sue and her volunteers work so hard and such long hours every day caring for the numerous animals, feeding them and cleaning their dishes and cages several times a day. There are no restaurants nearby and the drive into town which normally would take about 20 minutes now takes a couple of hours due to construction and only one lane of traffic being open. Thankfully, I know the back road way to get there so I don’t get caught in the traffic. So, I always bring food with me to eat for us and the animals.

When I was about 20 minutes from the wildlife center I was driving past the garbage mound dump station and what did I see in the road… a five foot alligator. This is a back road with not much traffic, so I stopped my vehicle to see what the alligator would do. I wasn’t sure if it would continue crossing the street. I waited and the gator looked around and decided to turn around and go back into the ditch. When I saw it and stopped, it was halfway across the two lane road. I wasn’t able to get a picture, but it really was cool to see an alligator crossing the street.

Upon arriving at the wildlife center and saying hi to Sue and her volunteers and giving them the fruit and food I brought for the animals, I started to walk around the grounds. I saw some new animals which included pigs, sheep, and several new horses. The little pond was empty. It seems it lost power during the hurricane last year and the fish died. Eventually the pond will be filled and restocked. After the chance of a frost is past the butterfly garden will be worked on. This is a beautiful and wonderful area of the grounds that is shaped like a butterflies body and wings and it was created in memory on one of Sue’s daughters who died several years ago from Cancer.

To read about my previous visits to Arnold’s Wildlife do a search on my website and it will show links to my previous stories and photo albums. If you are looking for a great place to make a donation, or leave money in your will, I highly recommend Arnold’s. All of the donations go to taking care of the animals and buying a good quality food for them. Sue says that since she buys human quality food at Publix and a private meat source the animals are healthier and the vet bills are less. She doesn’t feed them Walmart food products any longer, and hasn’t for several years and the animals are healthier.

I continued walking around and I was able to feed fruit to several animals including my favorites the monkeys. They love fruit and will take it out of my hand and let me pet them through the cage and also will usually let me hold their fingers which is a most wonderful feeling. Their fingers are almost like ours, they have finger nails and their hands are so soft. The Lemurs fur feels like a really soft stuffed animal that would be great to cuddle with.

As I was walking past the racoon cage in the morning, I saw one of the raccoons curled up sleeping in a net hung from a branch. I stood there and watched for a while amazed that it was curled up in a tight ball. Gradually the raccoon woke up and got out of the net.

The day I arrived, the mama camel Lulu came over to me and let me pet her, her two year old daughter Annie didn’t come close this time, but I got to watch her drink water out of a pipe that was at the height of her head. There is a new three year old kangaroo, some new foxes, and a few other animals. It seems people buy these animals and then either they die, move, or are unable to take care of them so they find a great home with Sue at Arnold’s Wildlife Rehabilitation Center. Sometimes state officials find or confiscate animals and bring them to her also. I doubt the person giving up their animal provides funding for it’s care and upkeep, but I would like to hope they do. Every time I am there, Sue gets numerous calls a day saying they found an animal sometimes injured or orphaned, and want to bring it to her. She seldom refuses any animal and when necessary takes it to a vet or has the vet come to her.

I tend to be a bit upset sometimes when I see that people walking around don’t put money in the donation box. Sue charges $10 per adult, and children under 12 are free. All the money donated goes to the care and feeding of the animals and this costs about $1,500 a month just for food. That doesn’t include vet bills, medical treatment, cages, utilities, etc .

There are two new baby otters and Sue said that humans have to get in the water with them and teach them how to swim. Usually the otters mother does that but these are orphans and they have to be taught by surrogate mothers, humans. There are also some baby possums and squirrels that are being hand fed and kept warm on heating pads. Also a loon found it’s way to Florida and it can only move in water or fly. It’s legs are behind them and they don’t walk like regular birds.

While I was there Sue’s nutritionist who lives in Iowa and comes to visit I think monthly to check the animals and their diet to make sure they are getting the proper nutrition was there and they were taking about tainted pet food that killed about 15,000 animals. I hadn’t heard about this and asked them what happened. They told me that many pet food companies used euthanized animals in the pet food, both dry and wet food for dogs and cats. I couldn’t believe pet food companies would do that, but they did. It seems it helps to reduce the cost of the food and it helped to get rid of dead animals. Using euthanized animals in the food is not good. The chemicals that they give the animals to euthanize them, and probably to get them sick ones healthy so they can euthanize them in some cases, is still in the dead animal and it is then in the processed pet food.

This is not only lower cost pet foods, but also in many name brands including many that advertise they sell healthy pet food and also advertise on television. If you are interested in knowing more, do a Internet search for tainted pet food. Don’t only read the first page, read down several pages. You will be amazed. This isn’t only a past problem, it happened this year.

At Arnold’s Wildlife the vegetarian animals get fresh fruit and vegetables, and the meat eaters get chicken and chicken necks, beef, and other fresh or frozen human grade meat products, and some get fresh or frozen fish if that is their natural diet.

If you go, feel free to pack a picnic lunch, or bring snacks because there is not anywhere close or convenient to get a meal.

If you want to visit Arnold’s Wildlife, here are the best directions I found for the shortest distance, at least from south Florida and Broward or Palm Beach County. Take I-95 to the Blue Heron exit which is north of Palm Beach. Go west on Blue Heron and a few miles up is the VA hospital on the right and just after that Blue Heron turns into 710. Make a right on 710 going west/north. Drive about 43 miles, you will go through Indiantown and other than that town it’s all country roads.

About 3 or 4 miles before you will make a right turn on SE 128th, off of 710, you will see Martin Road on the right, I think it’s on the right and you will go over a railroad track across 710. You will also pass the junction of CR 714, go 1 mile and turn right on SE 128. About two miles before CR 714 you will cross over a railroad track, three miles (3 miles) past the railroad track is SE 128th, there is a sign a little before the turn. Make a right on SE 128. Go straight about 8 miles and you will come to a stop sign with a restaurant on the right. That is the intersection with Hwy. 70. Go straight at that intersection, Do Not Turn on Hwy 70.  I think SE 128th becomes a different road at that intersection.

Drive about 12 miles past Hwy 70 and you will pass a landfill, and then a while later you will come to a flashing traffic light which is Hwy 441. Do Not Turn on 441, go straight across it. Drive about 3 miles more down this country road and then turn left on NW 30th Terrace and Arnold’s Wildlife is at the end of that street.

To return back to I-95, leave Sue’s, make a right at the stop sign then go straight. When you get to the blinking light at 441, go straight. Keep straight and drive about 12 miles  and you will come to a stop sign and you will cross over Hwy 70 where the restaurant and gas station is located. Go about 8 miles and the road ends at 710. Make a left and drive about 43 miles. You will see several signs and roads that say I-95. You will go under an overpass or walkway type structure, and will pass the sign for Northlake Blvd. Watch for the VA hospital on your left and turn on 708E which is Blue Heron. Go a few miles and then you will see signs for I-95. Make a right to go south back to Broward or Palm Beach counties.

If you want to, feel free to bring fresh fruit and vegetables, or cans of slice peaches for the animals. Even overripe fruit and vegetables are okay, not spoiled, but overripe is okay. If I make banana bread I save the peels and bring them. If you want a personal tour through the wildlife center that is often available at no extra cost. Tell Sue you are a friend of mine, or read about the wildlife center on my website.

If you have any sturdy children’s toys or plastic furniture please donate it to Arnold’s for the animals. Many of them love toys, especially the monkeys. They like swings, chairs, hand toys, etc. You can see it in many of the pictures I took.

When I watch television, I see many repeats of the ASPCA asking for money. I did an Internet search and found out that they spend 35% of donations on overhead. It says that 38 cents of every dollar goes for expenses. In 2012, the ASPCA spent $52 million dollars on fundraising. Sue Arnold spends 100% of the donations she receives on taking care of the animals in her care.

Posted in 2018 Trip | Leave a comment

Keepers Days, Lighthouse Point, Florida

Keepers Day weekend was held again in Lighthouse Point and one of the Keepers that was recognized is police officer Paul McCormick. Paul is an amazing man and police officer. He has a great smile and laugh and is always concerned about residents, especially those in need. He goes above and beyond to help our residents. I have known Paul for many years and I think very highly of him.

Saturday morning was the parade and also there was an antique car show, and the new soldier and hero memorial shrine was completed and is located in a corner of McDonough Park. There are many pavers around the memorial engraved with the names and branches of service of Lighthouse Point residents both current and those who have passed. Also, there are benches located in the memorial park and each bench has an engraved plaque with a different branch of the military as well as recognizing the LHP police and fire departments.

A Photo album has been posted including pictures I took of the parade, car show, and the hero memorial. This year was the first year of the 5K run held in conjunction with Keepers Day so we weren’t sure about the parking that would be available. One of my friends and I got there early and were able to easily get a parking space and a good shady spot to watch the parade. I love listening to and watching the bagpipe players. Their music really touches my heart.

It was nice to get some fresh air and one again attend this event.

Posted in 2018 Trip | Leave a comment

Back home in Florida

After the Native Rhythms Festival was over, I spent the night in Wickham Park and then Monday morning headed home. I started to unpack my camper van and knew it would take a few days. I made so many trips up and down the steps for two days, and that for a few days after that, I had trouble walking. Going up and down the steps was painful. For a few days, I had to limit my trips up and down the steps to two or three a day, I walked carefully in my apartment because my muscles hurt. I walked a lot of miles on my trip but going up and down stairs must use different muscles.

I took a week to adjust to being home, and then, started back to the gym and taking my yoga and cardio classes again. I am back up to taking between two and three classes a day.

Also, I am back in the groove of baking bread, and food from scratch. I am really enjoying using my new cookware that I bought earlier this year. Nothing sticks to it at all. If you want or need the best cookware ever, check out Curtis Stone cookware and his new bakeware. Lots of recipes are on his website.

I have also made numerous flavors of ice cream. It’s fun experimenting with what flavors to make. It sure tastes better than store bought ice cream and I know what is in it.

That’s about it for now, I feel so blessed that I was able to take another trip. It was about 4 months long, and lots of fun. Also, thankfully, as in previous trips, every year something happens and needs to be fixed. This year the major repair was when my transmission stopped working, with no warning, while I was driving through rural Mississippi the end of July shortly after I left home. I was able to find somewhere to get it repaired fairly easily. I wrote about it in an earlier story.

Definitely the fun and joy and experiences made this trip well worth it. I am so grateful that I once again ventured out on another expedition. Live Life… Don’t put things off. You may not have tomorrow. All each of us has is today. I have written about that numerous times. Also, I have several posts of Inspirational Poems and Stories that have helped me out over the years.

This post catches up the past four months of my trip. I did pretty good keeping it up until the Balloon Fiesta began in early October. I had no WiFi from then until I got home. And after getting home I have been busy. At first it was unpacking and putting things away, then grocery shopping and cooking, and I am still crocheting baby blankets and donating them to a local hospital for their premature babies.

I have too much “stuff” so I am working on downsizing again. Once I use up all of my yarn, I will start reading books again and then that will give me more space. I have already donated two bags of clothes and other items. It’s amazing how things multiply. I was down to not many possessions a few years ago and now after about four years in my apartment I have more “stuff.”

I’ve decided I would like to continue to travel and to include much more volunteer work. That would mean I would be home less time and it doesn’t seem wise for me to continue to keep my apartment and pay rent to be gone most of the time. I don’t really want to get a storage unit because the cost of what I would put in it costs less than the storage fees would be. I have my cookware and some kitchen gadgets I like, and some clothes and Balloon Fiesta jackets I got for volunteering, and my ostomy supplies. I need to find somewhere I can have a room or small apartment somewhere more centrally located so if I want to switch out clothes or get more medical supplies I can do it fairly easily. Or have a place near someone I know so they can mail something to me. Right now, if I need something from home it’s a two or three day trip each way to get here. Florida is a long state. It takes me a long time to drive across Texas, but Florida does too.

Truly blessed is how I feel. Every now and then I look at my website, and I go to my photo albums and look at pictures I have taken from all over the country. I have about 165 photo albums and more posts than that. Not every story has a photo album. I have visited and explored numerous National Parks, gone up in the Goodyear Blimp twice, went to several hot air balloon events and went for a ride four times, fed animals at my friend’s wildlife rehabilitation center, and so much more. How lucky and fortunate am I…??? Very. So much to be grateful for. Yes, I have health issues, and a tumor that wreaks havoc with my body at times, but many people have much worse health issues than I do. An Attitude of Gratitude is mandatory for me.

I still have my 5.9 acres of land in Tennessee that I would like to sell. I created an album of pictures showing the land in the spring and late fall. Here are a few pictures.

Posted in 2017 Trip | Leave a comment

Native Rhythms Festival, Melbourne, Florida

After leaving Falling Waters State Park I traveled east and stopped near Jacksonville to visit my friend Cindy for a few days before heading to the Native Rhythms Flute Festival which was almost halfway between where she lives and where I live. I have been to this event several times over the years and I love being there. I get to hear exceptional music and see my friends that are there as staff, or musicians, or vendors. The sad part was that it rained really hard on Saturday and Sunday. I feel bad for everyone there because the rain caused the crowd to be smaller than if the weather was good. The musicians and vendors came from all over the country for this event. And many of the performers have won awards for their music. Go to Native Rhythms Festival to read more about this event and the performers.

I arrived on Thursday afternoon and found out that they had a camp feed for the vendors and performers. I helped with setting up the food and serving items. There was so much food and the bar-b-que and cookies were wonderful. There was a large variety of food and so much left over that we were able to take a large plate of leftovers.

I thoroughly enjoyed visiting with my friends there who I have not seen since last year when I was at the event. Listening to the performers was a challenge. I had a plastic poncho on, and held an umbrella over me. It was windy and cold and all of us that were brave and toughed out the weather were doing the same thing trying to stay warm and dry which was not easy. We did have some breaks in the rain periodically. Saturday morning started out being sunny, that changed about midday.

Here is the album of my photos from the flute festival. I took lots of pictures, as I always do. There are albums of my previous visits to this event. You can search on my website to see the stories and pictures.

Not only are these extraordinary musicians, but many of them are wonderful storytellers. I always love to see these performers. There are so many wonderful performers, I am only posting a few pictures of a few performers below. I was wondering if Arvel Bird has a new fiddle, but it’s the same one he has had for a few years. This fiddle is painted to reflect his Scottish and Native heritage. I am always mesmerized watching the hoop dancer, it takes such skill to perform a hoop dance. It must take a lot of concentration and time to learn how to do this intricate dance.

Posted in 2017 Trip | Leave a comment

Falling Waters State Park, Florida Panhandle

After I left Tom Merrill Recreation Area in Louisiana, I continued heading East. I took a secondary road from Interstate 20 towards Interstate 10. I spent a night in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, in a Walmart parking lot. In the morning I continued driving east and I stopped in Alabama at a seafood restaurant for lunch. It was an interesting old building right on the water. The food was not as good as I was hoping for. The parking lot was packed and the restaurant was crowded. When my food came out it was not even close to what I ordered, but soon they brought the right dish. The service was excellent, but the food and was okay, but, I wouldn’t stop there again. It was near the Battleship Alabama, which I drive past almost every trip but never stopped at.

I continued driving east and stopped at the Florida Visitor Center to get a new State Park book. I asked the staff person there what state park has a campground not too far off the Interstate. I didn’t feel like driving 15 or 20 miles off the Interstate like I have for some state parks. She told me about a few of them and after reading the descriptions of a few I decided to stop at Falling Waters State Park which is about halfway between Pensacola and Tallahassee. It was only about 4 miles south of Interstate 10, and then about a mile further into the park from the entrance. Here is a link to Falling Waters State Park.

Here is an excerpt of what the State writes about this state park:  “Huge trees and fern-covered sinkholes line Sink Hole Trail, the boardwalk that leads visitors to Florida’s highest waterfall. Falling Waters Sink is a 100-foot deep, 20-foot wide cylindrical pit into which flows a small stream that drops 73 feet to the bottom of the sink. The water’s final destination remains unknown.”

This is one of the nicest and most interesting state parks I have been to, including those in other states. I had no idea when I picked this state park to stop in for the night that it was such an interesting park and that it had great trails to walk. Here is a link to the album of photos I took at Falling Waters State Park.

It only has about 22 camp sites, three of which are paved. The others are sand but look pretty level. Since the park was not filled to capacity, and the paved spots near the restroom were vacant, the park staff gave me one of those spots. The restrooms and shower houses are really nice and there are paved sidewalks to them. The shower rooms are large private rooms with toilets, sinks, showers, and mirrors. I really enjoyed taking a long, warm, shower after getting my campsite set up and eating dinner. I usually do not shower at night and when it’s dark but it was close to my camper and I felt it would feel good to be clean and have warm water wash over me. As I was walking on the sidewalk, I saw two pine cones which were about 8″ tall. I didn’t see any other ones that big.

I walked along the trail a while after getting to the campground, and it was starting to get dark and I was wearing sandals and the path was all sand and it was getting all over my feet. That’s part of why I felt a shower would be good at night.

Anyway, in the morning, I put on my sneakers and took my camera and walked the path which after a while took me to a lake with a sandy beach, grills, bathrooms, and a gazebo.

The sandy path then became a boardwalk that continued on through the park. It went to a waterfall, and past several sinkholes. Also, the park is harvesting the non native trees and reforesting the park with native long leaf pine trees. Some of the trees had long needles that were about 12″ long.

I was surprised when I came to a place along the boardwalk where there was a sludge pit and a sealed well head where there used to be an oil well from 1919.

I finally walked far enough and got to the waterfall. There were stairs that went from wood to metal walking down into the sinkhole near the waterfall. Walking down the stairs into the circle of the sinkhole, the further down I walked, the cooler the temperature got. There was lots of moss and plant life growing in this damp environment. The energy here felt really nice. I thoroughly enjoyed walking through this park. I would definitely love to come here again for several days. There are pictures in my photo album that would show clear print of the sign below, and there are signs I took of other points of interest along the trail.

   

Posted in 2017 Trip | Leave a comment

Camping on the way back to Florida, Childress, Texas, and Tyler, Texas, and Tom Merrill Recreation Area, Louisiana

I left Albuquerque on October 17th and I have stopped at several campgrounds along the way. These are places I have not been to before and I am enjoying my new experiences and meeting new people a few who I will probably stay in touch with. I had very limited WiFi using my phone as a hot spot to update my travel map and write short posts to let my friends who read my posts to see how I am doing and where I am at any given time.

I still have my tumor but it is not stopping me from traveling and enjoying life. I am so blessed and grateful. This year my health was better, I know it was in part due to working out at the gym for several months before leaving home and also by staying active and walking a lot while I was on my trip. I still have my tumors and health issues but I really do my best to ignore them and I don’t give them permission to be in my body. I am truly grateful that I was able to take another long trip and do things I enjoy. I am able to walk much further this year than in previous years. The past year or so, I have limited my driving to between 150 and 350 miles a day whereas in the first few years of my travels I would sometimes drive 400 or 500 miles in a day. I realize not only is that too many miles to drive in a day, but then I don’t stop along the way to experience new places and campgrounds.

On my way back east from Albuquerque, the first night I stopped near Amarilllo, Texas. I looked at maps to decide which route I wanted to take. Most years, I stop in Waco, Texas, and stay will friends for about a month and then go straight back home. This year, I decided to do something different. The Texas Visitor Center has a wonderful booklet called Texas Public Campgrounds. It lists state, city, Corps of Engineer and other government or local agency campgrounds. Several are free for a few days such as in Littlefield and Muleshoe. I stayed in these parks in previous years when I took the route through their towns in the Texas Panhandle. I took a different route through Texas on this return trip. I wanted to see different scenery and explore new places. It was cold out west so I decided to head east into warmer territory. But I found out that even though it was cold I stayed in places a few days because I had a good time there visiting with other campers.

Childress has a city park on a small pond and it was $10 a night with full hookups and it was a really nice campground. I stayed there for five nights and one day instead of unhooking and driving into town I walked one and a half miles each way to a pizza place. I thought I worked off the pizza I ate. There was a nice paved walkway around the lake and there were ducks, swans, and some other water birds I don’t recognize. The man in the camper next to me had a dog that would come over and say hi and want me to play catch with him. Here is a photo album I took at Childress City Park.

I drove down Highway 287 and took some other secondary roads. I drove through some really interesting small towns which looked like a nice place to live. One of the towns was a small German town and there was an old brewery that looked vacated, but the vats outside the building were painted with scenes of an old German village. Another small town near there had an old historic church. I liked driving through these towns rather than take highways.

My next overnight stop was Tyler State Park in east Texas. Walking outside around the campground I could smell the wonderful scent of pine from the pine trees. This was a really nice campground. I was able to take a nice, long, warm, shower, it was the first one I had in quite a while. Normally, while in Albuquerque, I wash my hair at a faucet with a hose and wash the rest of me with washcloths. I wash my laundry in a bucket and put it on a chair to dry. I only spent one night here and then continued east. Here is an album of photos I took at Tyler State Park.

While at Tyler State Park, I looked at my Passport America campground book and didn’t see any campgrounds I wanted to stay at on the route I was planning on driving. I looked at Camping with the Corps book which shows all of the Corps of Engineer Parks in the US. My version is from 2010, I have not bought a new one recently. I didn’t think there would be much difference in campgrounds or that there would be new campgrounds.

I decided to stop at a Corps of Engineer Park about half an hour east of Shreveport, Louisiana, and about 10 miles north of Interstate 20. The version of the book I have says that there are 20 campsites with a maximum length of 20′, and that is is not on a lake. I thought this would be a nice quiet campground and probably not very crowded since it was a Tuesday and I thought I would stay a few days. Big Surprise!!! I arrived at the campground and found that there were level, paved, campsites and that almost any length camper would fit on these concrete pads. There are large trees throughout this wooded campground, mostly pine trees. Here is an album of pictures I took at Tom Merrill Recreation Area.

There are restrooms and showers which are pretty nice, a bit primitive but they have running hot water and the showers are private rooms in a little building and the door locks which is nice. I like where I can take a shower and not be in a room with several shower stalls. It felt great to take a warm shower and wash my hair.  The campground hosts were really nice and I taught the wife how to crochet and she trimmed my hair, she was a beautician. We enjoyed our time together while we crocheted and she trimmed my hair. They had just spent a few months in Alaska and traveling around the country.

Evidently, this campground was upgraded a few years ago. It is in a wildlife management area and it turns out that a few days after I arrived that hunting season opened. By Friday all of the campsites were filled… with hunters. I like to walk around whatever campground I am at and sometimes I visit with other campers. In one of the campsites not far from me there were four brothers, two from Louisiana and two from Mississippi. They come to this campground a few times a year to hunt. We started talking and they invited me to eat a meal with them and sit by their campfire. I had a lot of fun visiting with them, they liked to laugh and tell stories. I also learned a lot about deer hunting, and requirements for hunting. Two of their buddies were in a campsite near them and they came to visit too.

While the guys were hunting during the morning, I would walk around the campground and as I walked I picked up sticks, logs, and pine cones for our campfire. In the afternoons, about 4 p.m. we started the campfire. It was cold during the time I was at this campground. Probably in the 40’s or 50’s. I drank a bit of hot cocoa that week. The campfire felt really good and putting pine cones or pine needles on the fire increased the heat instantly and it was pretty watching the pine cones burn when it was dark.

One night for dinner we roasted hot dogs and sausage on sticks in the fire, and another day they cooked pork ribs and baked beans in a crockpot, which was  a really delicious dinner one night. I got the recipe and made it at my friend Cindy’s a few days later when I got to her house, this dinner was a big hit!!! The two men who were friends of the brothers were cooking chicken on their grill on afternoon, it smelled so good. I had some chicken in my fridge and they were really nice and cooked my chicken on their grill for me. I ate it for a few days on my trip towards Florida.

One of the brothers killed two boars, one was a baby. I felt bad for the little critter, but it turns out that the park rangers want the boars killed because they have a lot of babies in a litter, and multiply quickly and they eat the acorns and other things that the deer eat and then the deer don’t have enough food. Because this is a wildlife and recreation management area, the first two days of hunting season the hunters have to take the deer they kill to the ranger station so they can be weighed and some of the deer have a part of their brain or something near that cut out so that they can be examined to be sure there are no diseases in the deer community.

This campground has a cleaning area for the deer and other animals where they can be hung on hooks to be skinned and/or cleaned. I didn’t think I could watch deer being processed, but I was able to. It was pretty interesting to watch how different hunters cut up their deer. No, we did not eat any of the venison, but I did have a good meal or two with the brothers at their campsite.

I spent a week at this campground and every day I walked several miles exploring various parts of the park. There is no lake at this campground, but there is a river nearby within driving or walking distance. There is a levy and water flows through the bottom of it. There is also a nice playground with a shredded rubber tire base under the playground equipment. It felt very strange to walk on.

I walked up the steep hill to the road, that was not easy, and another day I walked around to the other side and that’s where I found the river. There were lots of pine, oak, and cypress trees. Along the bank of the river there were lots of cypress trees and cypress knees. I love seeing cypress knees. If you don’t know what these are, they are parts of the root of the tree that comes up from the ground in the shape of a V which looks like a bent knee.

Anyway, I had a nice time at this campground, even though it was cold. I met nice people and felt very relaxed when I left. I would love to come to this campground again.

Posted in 2017 Trip | 1 Comment

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta

The Balloon Fiesta began Saturday, October 7th and was over on Sunday, October 15. I left Albuquerque a day or so later.

I took about 3,000 during the Balloon Fiesta. I had to create two photo albums in order to get all of the pictures online. In a few months, I will delete most of them and leave about 400 or so pictures in each album, just like I have done in previous years since attending my first Balloon Fiesta in 2011. I leave all of my pictures online for a few months so that any pilots that would like to use my pictures can have time to look through the pictures and take what they want. I have taken about 3,000 every year that I have attended Fiesta.  Every year there are numerous different regular and special shape balloons and it’s interesting to see the new designs and special shaped balloons.

Photo Album of Days 1-4 of Balloon Fiesta.

Photo Album of Days 5-9 of Balloon Fiesta.

If you want to see pictures I took at previous Balloon Fiesta’s, in the search block on this website type Balloon Fiesta and it will bring up the stories and links to the albums. Searching for hot air balloons will bring up additional hot air balloon events and pictures.

Like I wrote above, I took about 2,000 to 3,000 pictures each year, but after a few months I reduce the number to a few hundred photos. I also have stories and pictures from the balloon rally in Longview, Texas, and Shreveport, Louisiana.

I remember the “olden days” when we had to buy rolls of film with either 12, 24, or 36 pictures and also needed flash cubes or flash bulbs to take pictures. I know that is really showing my age, but it’s okay. I really like the digital pictures better. At the end of the day when I download the pictures to my computer I am amazed to see that in a single day at Fiesta I can take between 200 and 500 pictures and not even be aware of it. And it’s great to be able to see the pictures soon after being taken rather than having to wait a few days or week until they get developed. It’s also a lot less expensive using digital images than film.

During the past six weeks that I have been in Albuquerque there have been amazing sunrises, sunsets, rainbows,and stormy skies. Yes, the colors in the pictures below are real, I do not use colored filters. It was interesting to see clouds at the bottom of the mountain. I have included these pictures in the photo album for Days 5-9. It was extremely windy the last day of Fiesta and the balloons did not inflate nor fly. The flags were flying straight out which shows how windy it was. I know everyone was disappointed, but it was better to be safe.

 

As in previous years, I really enjoyed my time in Albuquerque. I volunteered at the Balloon Fiesta office again for the month before Fiesta doing various projects and tasks every day depending on who needed help. It really makes it interesting to volunteer and help different people. Plus, I get to meet new people working with others on these projects. I also get to see people that I know from previous years. And it’s nice to give back to an event that brings so much joy to so many people.

This year, I was able to watch the gas balloons fill and launch. The past few years they have launched at times I wasn’t able to watch. This year I was determined to see the gas balloons, it was really fascinating and very different than the hot air balloons. Hydrogen that the balloons are filled with is flammable so only those helping with the balloons are able to be close to them. The process takes hours and it looks very complicated. Sand bags are used for ballast and unlike hot air balloons which fly for an hour or two, gas balloons fly for about three days or so and they fly hundreds of miles. The balloon that flies the farthest distance wins the event.

 

One day after looking at my photos, I noticed that a few of them were pretty amazing like one of the Wells Fargo stagecoach that looks like it landed on the roof of the museum, or the alligator that looks like it’s balancing on the fin of Nitro Fish, or the Bee’s playing around the Wonder Bread balloon, and several others. Looking at the clown with the blue chicken that looks like it’s sitting on the clown’s head it is amazing to realize those balloons are almost the same size, it’s just the location of their placement on the field that makes one look so much smaller. The astronaut looks through the fence at the visitors and balloons on the field. There are many more interesting photos, all my pictures are in the two albums that have links above in this story. The Wonder Bread balloon brings back childhood memories.

I didn’t realize that some of the pictures, like the ones mentioned above, came out so interesting. At first, I didn’t plan on taking a picture of a balloon like the mariachi man waving to the baby. I noticed it after looking at my pictures the end of the day. After seeing those types of pictures for a few days, I realized if I waited a minute or so when a balloon was going up that I might be able to get pictures like the clown with the blue chicken looking like it was sitting on the clown’s head, or the alligator balancing on the fin of the red fish. As I saw the top of the blue chicken balloon behind the clown, I waited a few seconds until the chicken’s body rose enough to see the bottom of the balloon without the basket. As I saw the astronaut landing, I waited until the basket was below the hill behind the fence to take the picture so the basket would not show in the picture. It made picture taking and looking at the pictures more fun than just taking pictures of balloons.

One of the balloon pilots I have made friends with the past several years gave me an entire bag of pins of their balloon for me to give away. I had so much fun doing that. It gave me the opportunity to talk with more people and when I found out it was their first time at Fiesta I gave them a pin, or if I saw a family with children I would go over and give them pins, seeing the surprise and smiles on the people’s faces touched my heart and I am so grateful I was given the opportunity to hand out so many pins. I also took many of the pins I collected over the years and gave them to visitors too.

During the event, I crewed for the same pilot again, it’s my sixth year crewing for Scott on his balloon Big Blue. I didn’t get to go up this year, but it’s okay, I still liked helping and taking pictures. I also was assigned to the Pilot Registration team which I really like. I get to not only meet the pilots, but also see some that I have seen and/or crewed for at other balloon events, or even from previous years at this one. This year, I helped with giving the special shape pilots their pilot packs which was really interesting. I met pilots from lots of different countries. I appreciate the fact that there are numerous female pilots, several from other countries.

Meeting the pilots and seeing what design or shape their balloons are makes it more fun and interesting for me during the event. I find that I take extra pictures of the balloons of the pilots I know. I also still take lots of pictures of Scott’s balloon Big Blue and since I am at the balloon, I get to take pictures of all stages of the balloon from unpacking to it launching and flying. Since Scott had lots of chase crew the entire week, I didn’t even go on chase crew this year which was okay since I volunteered to help set up for the various parties that Fiesta held for the volunteers and pilots. And by staying on the field I was able to walk up close to the balloons and take a lot of pictures. It is not easy for me to decide which pictures to put in my story, so I just choose a few at random.

The motorcycle balloon was new this year and it was really interesting to watch it inflate and fly. I think it was the largest balloon at Fiesta. This was one of the special shape balloon pilots that I helped during pilot registration which made it more interesting when I saw the balloon inflate. Another few of my favorite balloons is the Scarecrow, Owlbert, Astronaut, and Nitro Fish, and the Bees. There are many more that I like but these always make me smile.

A few years ago while talking with Scott, the pilot I crew for, we were talking about various balloons and especially which special shaped ones we liked. Scott told me that the baby bee is piloted by the first paraplegic balloon pilot. I was fascinated. If my tumor continues pressing on the nerves in my leg it’s possible I may be in a wheelchair. So, when I see people in wheelchairs, or with artificial limbs, it touches my heart how they embrace life and continue to do what they love to do. In many instances I try to talk with them and let them know that they inspire me and it also puts my life in perspective. With their permission, I have written a few stories about people with challenges. Here are two of them: a story about David Nicholson, a story about another double amputee Eddie.

A few years ago, I briefly spoke with Michael Glen who is the hot air balloon pilot for Joelly, the baby bee. I told him and the other bee pilots that they could use the photos I took of their balloons. This year, while I was working at the special shape pilot registration table, I was the person working when Michael and the other two bee pilots came for their pilot packets. During Fiesta, I took pictures of the bees and was really happy when they were flying near my friends Wonder Bread balloon. I took several pictures where it looks like the bees were playing around that balloon, and also the Uncle Sam balloon.

One evening during the balloon glow I was near the bee balloons and I took numerous pictures of them inflating, including quite a few of Michael inflating his balloon and I was fascinated and impressed how agile and skilled he is maneuvering to get his balloon in position to inflate and stand up. I had heard that Michael has a special type of bench that allows him to fly his hot air balloon but I had not before tonight been able to see what it looks like or how he manages this task. From crewing many times, I know how much work it is for those of us without challenges to get a balloon from packed in its bag to inflated and standing upright. I couldn’t imagine what it would involve for someone in a wheelchair or without the use of his legs.

With Michael’s permission, I am posting some pictures of him positioning himself into his special bench seat to get his balloon upright. Here is a link to Michael’s website. I also found this story about Michael Glen telling a part of his story, here is another story.

Meeting Michael and seeing his smile and experiencing his wonderful, friendly personality, and knowing that he lives his life in a wheelchair, inspires me and gives me hope. Many times over the years when I have had operations and faced life changing health situations I wondered if it was more serious would I have the courage and whatever else it would take to have a good attitude and overcome my challenges. Seeing Michael and others with physical challenges gives me so much hope that I would be able to adjust to whatever happens. One day I was at my doctor’s office and I met a young man that has no arms, not even stubs of arms. He wrote by putting a pen in his mouth, and he used his phone by moving the screen with his nose. Once again, I am inspired and in awe.

If you want to read my posts on inspirational poems and stories, you can do a search for that phrase as well. A few years ago I wrote a story called Seriously, Really, you would rather be an ostrich. It’s a post about the importance of having legal documents prepared. I also have stories about my mentor Lois who died in 1989, her influence on my life has helped me on a daily basis.

Balloon Fiesta purchased 19 acres of land on the northwest side of the field and they made it into parking for the volunteers and also they created RV spaces with full hookups, and it’s pretty level which was great. The past several years I liked being on the hill overlooking the field even though there was only electric, but I didn’t like that I had to be on several boards to get level. I feel that this new area is an improvement and is close enough to walk to the places on the field I needed to get to. In addition, there were golf carts and trolleys to get the volunteers from place to place.

Several times during my time in Albuquerque I went to the Balloon Museum and I posted stories and pictures of my visits. You can use the search feature on my website to locate these stories and also other places I visited in Albuquerque and New Mexico. Search for museum or Albuquerque.

I am hoping to attend Balloon Fiesta again in 2018. Feel free to explore my website, I retired in June 2011 and I have traveled around the country and visited numerous National Parks and other places of interest. I have a travel map button for every year of my travels.

Posted in 2017 Trip | 1 Comment

Driving from Albuquerque to Gallup, NM

Several weeks ago another RV volunteer and I took a drive to Gallup, NM, which is about two and a half hours west of Albuquerque. I didn’t write a story then because I didn’t have wifi to post the story. We didn’t see anything we wanted to stop at so when we got there we turned around and drove back to Albuquerque. The scenery we passed on the drive was sometimes just flat and lots of dirt, and other times the mountains we drove through were amazing. We saw lots of trains, and most of them were over a mile long and in many parts of the trip there were double train tracks. I’m guessing that most of the freight is brought by rail.

It was nice being a passenger for part of the trip so I could take pictures. I was out this way in 2011 and I couldn’t take pictures since I was driving and by myself. This is the same road I drove when I went to Acoma Sky City in 2011.

 

Posted in 2017 Trip | Leave a comment

Albuquerque Sunsets, stormy skies, and 100,000 miles on camper

As I was going through eastern New Mexico my camper Molly reached 100,000 miles on her odometer. When I bought her in November 2005 she had 25,000 miles which wasn’t very many miles for her being seven years old. We have traveled a lot of miles together the past 11 years and hope to have many more miles to travel. There have been many adventures and experiences we have been through together, lots of up and down steep mountains, long stretches of road where we enjoyed the scenery and seldom saw any other vehicles or structures, and sometimes drove through heavy rainstorms. I have enjoyed the travels and it is something I have wanted to do since I was in my early 20’s. My dream became a reality, and the adventures continue.

Even when repairs were needed, I was in places where they could be fairly easily. It was not always convenient like my transmission went out in rural Mississippi in July and I had to be towed twice and wait a week for a new transmission. I was able to be plugged into electricity at the repair shop and at one of the two mechanics I was at there was a grocery store across the street. It all worked out well and I was in a safe place. Once again, God took excellent care of me.

Arriving in Albuquerque with about 100,290 miles, I am staying in one of the Fiesta RV parking areas and I am working in the Balloon Fiesta office during the day.

God has been creating amazing, spectacular, and unusual sunsets, and stormy skies. To the east is the Sandia mountain range. Sandia I was told means watermelon and when the sun shines on the mountain in the late afternoon, often the mountain turns to a light pink color like a watermelon. Other than the mountain in the east, the terrain is flat. So when it’s stormy and raining I can see the rain coming down from the clouds all around and I can see it moving towards me. Some days the afternoons bring heavy winds and all of our campers feel like being in a rocking chair. Even the people in the large motor homes feel the wind rocking their campers. In stories I have written while at Fiesta in previous years I included pictures of various shots of the mountains during sunset and the stormy skies. You can search Balloon Fiesta to see pictures and stories from the other five years I have been here.

Albuquerque has the most amazing sunsets and stormy skies. There have been several days recently that in the afternoon the sky gets stormy, the winds pick up, and there is rain all around us. A few days we got rain where we were. Some days the clouds are down over the top of the mountain range, this morning, there were clouds also at the bottom of the mountain. It was really cool to look at. The elevation here is about 5,200 feet.

Here are a few pictures I took of the sky during the different weather events this past week. God creates the most spectacular scenery, almost no two days are the same. The colors and designs of the clouds and sky are beyond spectacular and even beyond what I could imagine most days. Also, how the sky and clouds can change in a day, and sometimes in less than an hour. I added additional sunset and stormy sky pictures to the Balloon Fiesta album of days 5-9.

 

 

Posted in 2017 Trip | Leave a comment

Albuquerque and Hurricane Irma update

I am keeping busy in Albuquerque working at the Balloon Fiesta office and I also took a CPR and First Aid class the other day. I have some pictures to upload of balloons inflating and flying recently. I will try to get that done soon. I have limited time and wifi at this time which makes it a bit inconvenient to post stories and photos. I wanted to write this short post to let you know that I am doing well and that due to the hurricane going more west my apartment and most of the area where I live was okay other than power outages, wind, and rain. There were lots of trees and street signs that were damaged.

That’s about it for now, will try to post more soon.

Posted in 2017 Trip | Leave a comment

Hurricane Irma in Florida, I am in Albuquerque, New Mexico, update after Irma

I arrived safely in Albuquerque on August 25th.There’s a hurricane in South Florida which is looks like it’s going to hit where I live or where my apartment is I should say. In some respects I’m glad I’m not there, but, I wish I were in case something needs to be done in my apartment especially after the storm passes through.

I am extremely grateful to my friend Nona who went with her grandsons and put shutters up on my apartment and tried to secure it the best they could. They also took my important documents to keep them safe and moved my car to where we hope it will be safe as well. This is a very large and powerful hurricane. I was in Florida several years ago when we got the direct hit from Hurricane Wilma. It was very destructive and this storm is supposed to be more powerful and higher winds, etc.

I’m hoping and praying that my car does not get damaged in the rain and that everybody stays safe and there’s minimal property damage but from the size of the storm that may not be possible.

I will have to wait and find out after the storm passes what if any damage there is to my apartment and car, then decide if I need to try to get back to Florida or stay where I am. I am praying that things will be as we all left them and that the damage to everyone in Irma’s path is minimal. I know that there is a mandatory evacuation for the area where I live and I know some of my friends and neighbors have chosen to stay in their homes. I pray that they are safe.

In addition to sending prayers to all those affected by Hurricane Harvey we’re praying that Hurricane Irma doesn’t do much serious damage to Florida or anyone else in her path along the way.

Since my mom passed away a few months ago, I have been giving thought to whether or not I want to continue to live in south Florida or move elsewhere. I have been giving thought to buying a larger camper and living in it full time, doing more volunteer work around the country like other RVer’s I know have been doing. What should I give away or keep of my possessions, etc. I like having an apartment so I can cook, shower, have a regular size bed, etc. However, I have also learned how little I really need to live and be comfortable. A few months before I left I bought a new set of cookware that I really love to use.

I have been praying for God to let me know what I am to do, what God’s will is for me with regard to my future plans and what I should be doing. Perhaps this is God’s answer to me. I would like to believe that it would have been a more subtle and less dramatic answer, but sometimes I need to be made aware in a large way. Either way, I am currently safe, even though my heart is with my friends in Florida and the path of Irma, and my stomach has a bit of a knot in it for the unknown which none of us have control over other than prayer.

It could be that whatever I have with me is all that I have left of my “things.” I know it’s just “stuff” although some of the items can be replaced, other items cannot. Before I left home I had this thought that said to get apartment insurance. At first when I moved there I wasn’t expected to live much longer so I didn’t and then like others since we thankfully did not get any hurricanes for many years didn’t think about insurance again. But for some reason, maybe a premonition, I had a thought to get apartment renters insurance before I left so I did and the 30 day waiting period was over weeks ago thankfully.

The forms from the insurance company said to list everything and I knew I didn’t have time since I was getting ready for my trip. So, I decided to take pictures of everything in my apartment so when I got time, or if it was needed for any reason, I would have documentation by photos. I am so glad I took the pictures and put them on my computer.

Hopefully, the roof will stay on my building and there will be no damage. But seeing as the path of the storm is coming over the city where I live, and we are on the dirty side of this powerful storm, and knowing the damage the wind did from Wilma who was a lesser wind storm, I am not very hopeful at this time. I know prayer works well. I am trying to just stay in the now and not project what will happen. I will know more after the storm passes and Nona can get out after seeing how her home is after the storm, and when she will be able to get to my apartment to see how it did and she will let me know.

Please send all of the people in the path of the hurricane your thoughts and prayers. Thank you very much. Unless I go to the Balloon Fiesta office with my computer, I only have my phone for Internet, and it is very limited. I will try to update my website as I am able to.

Thankfully for the eastern coast of Florida, and sadly for other parts of Florida, the storm damage was not as bad as it could have been and not like the damage from Hurricane Wilma when she hit the southeastern coast. Thanks to my friend Nona and her grandson my apartment was secured. After her family cleaned up the storm damage on her property, she brought my car back to my apartment and she let me know that there was no damage to my apartment or car. There was loss of electric and still many are without power. I am grateful the storm wasn’t as bad for us and I am still praying for all those affected by the recent storms, fires around the country, and whereverit is needed.

Posted in 2017 Trip | Leave a comment

Albuquerque Balloon Museum

Once again I am in Albuquerque and on Sundays the Balloon Museum is open and there is no admission charge on Sunday’s from 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. Last year I could tell that the museum was changing exhibits and that there would be some new ones this year. If you want to see the stories and photos from my previous museum visits you can search on my website, I think there are two other stories I posted with pictures.

There are several new exhibits such as the Arctic and North Pole expeditions, weather information, and several other exhibits. I did miss seeing some that were removed to make room for the new exhibits. Many of the new exhibits have interactive computer games and informational screens that visitors can use to either play games or learn about the background of the exhibit.

I took lots of pictures of the storyboards in several exhibits, I hope you can read them. The Arctic and North Pole exhibits are really interesting. I can’t imagine flying and living in the conditions they did. And some of the people died and the bodies weren’t found for several decades. To see more pictures and read about this and other expeditions explore my photo album.

Posted in 2017 Trip | Leave a comment

Homestead Heritage, Waco, Texas

After saying goodbye to Sue and Mark on Saturday morning, I headed south to Waco to visit my friends in Homestead Heritage and to park in the Yarden’s front yard which is my usual place to stay when in Waco. I love this family and the people in this community. It’s like I am part of their family because I have known them for so many years.

I fill my time visiting with different families and like in previous years, I help out at the Cheese Shop, Gristmill, Bakery, and wherever else my assistance is needed. This year I also volunteered to crochet some baby blankets for them to sell at the Thanksgiving Fair. Sue in the Fibercraft Shop gave me the softest yarn to use. It is 70% baby Alpaca and 30% Bamboo. I really enjoyed crocheting with it. I don’t remember ever using yarn this soft. I know that whoever buys this blanket will wrap their child in the softest, most cuddly blanket. I have been blessed to be able to make several baby blankets using soft alpaca yarn.

In the mornings I walk to the Bakery, it’s about a mile, then in the afternoon I walk back to my camper so I get at least a 2 mile walk every day. Walking gives me the opportunity to observe nature and take pictures as I walk. I love looking at the Century plant. It puts up a very tall spike which reminds me of an asparagus spear, and I also get to look at the beautiful gardens surrounding the numerous buildings here.

I created an album of pictures I have taken on this trip, there are many new buildings and things to see here this year that are different from previous years. I also took pictures of the process we used for making the marinated feta cheese at the Cheese Shop.

Since my visit here last year, there have been several changes. The new Brazos Valley Cheese Shop is completed and they are working in it now. I got to work there last Wednesday, and I will do so again this Tuesday and Wednesday.

The Bakery is making some new items and I was able to sample these delicious breads and treats. The Aquaponics greenhouse is now finished and the fish that are in the tank are plentiful and seem happy swimming in their new home. There are lots of new gardens with plants that I can’t identify but I know they have a purpose and are used for food. The Grocery store has lots of interesting food products and fresh grown produce. The lady that does the writing for the various categories has beautiful handwriting.

The pears have been picked from the Yarden’s trees and I will peel and cut them and put them in the dehydrator. I also help harvest ripe vegetables from the garden and it’s early in the year so I don’t have pecans to collect yet, that happens in October and November.

After I leave Waco, I will head towards Albuquerque, I still have not decided which route to take. It might be the same one as last year, then again as I travel I might see another route to take so that I see different scenery. I pray that the remainder of my trip is incident free from repairs. While in Waco, the friends that I am staying at have a mechanic maintenance shop and they will change the oil in my camper van and check it over to make sure they do not see anything that needs attention. They always do that for me while I am here. I have learned over the years, and also on this trip, that even though everything checks out okay, that things happen, parts stop working, and things that worked fine suddenly don’t. Every year that I can remember since I retired in 2011, there is something that happens or needs to be repaired. Thankfully, I have always been in a location where it can be fixed, and most importantly, where I am safe while that happens.

I know that God is taking excellent care of me. I continue to pray and ask God for direction of what I am supposed to be doing with this extra time I have been given. Am I doing what God wants me to do, am I where I am supposed to be? Asking for direction and guidance is one thing, and the easier thing to do. What is more difficult is listening for the answer and taking that direction. Sometimes it is what I want and other times God has other plans for me and what I should be doing. For example, when my transmission went out in Mississippi a few weeks ago and I was in Mississippi for a week when my plan was to be in Longview, Texas, at a hot air balloon event. That still worked out well as you can read in the story about my transmission in a previous post.

 

Posted in 2017 Trip | 1 Comment

Crowley, Texas, Soldier Memorial at the Library

Most of the time I don’t have my camera with me when I am doing errands or going places with friends so I take pictures with my phone and email them from my phone to my computer, then I copy them into the picture folder on my computer. These photos fall into that category. I had no idea when we decided to go to the Crowley Library that they added this memorial garden since my last visit here a year or two ago.

At the Crowley Library there is a Soldier Memorial Park which I found to be very heart touching. I took pictures of the entire park and all of the granite slabs with the different branches of the military. I tried to get pictures where the wording on each slab shows. The words for each branch of the military and also the words near the center of the memorial really touched my heart. I hope you are able to read them. I think this is an important story to write and read and remember and thank the soldiers who have served our country so we could continue to have the freedom we cherish.

Posted in 2017 Trip | Leave a comment