Saturday, October 27, 2012

On the Road: We're off to Santa Rosa Beach

We've been in Pensacola for just about two weeks and it's time to head on to the next stop.

One of the fun things to do in Pensacola is to visit the National Naval Air Museum on the Pensacola Naval Base. It's FREE! There are planes from WWI to present, though none of the current technology of course - as they wouldn't want to be giving away military secrets. RVPainter and I were reflecting on how much history we've learned on every stop of our journey, and how much of that history revolves around war.

And, I was able to sit in one of the Blue Angels jets - many mornings they fly overhead practicing formations, and they are so much fun to watch.  Well, we're off to Santa Rosa Beach, which is not too far a drive from here. It looks like it's beautiful there too, so I'll let you know.




Tuesday, October 23, 2012

On the Road: Gulf Breeze, Pensacola, Florida

We've made it to Florida! We'll be heading down to the Punta Gorda area soon, but right now we are in Gulf Breeze on the Florida panhandle. The beaches and water are gorgeous:


Beautiful sunsets:



And lots of wildlife - birds, including eagles, as well as lots of butterflies. In fact, they've got this sign posted on the road:


Sure do hope he makes it wherever he's going!

Pensacola is the home of the Blue Angels and the National Naval Aviation Museum. This morning on our walk we were treating to a Blue Angels practice overhead - but of course I didn't have my camera! Well, take my word for it, it was spectacular and so fun to watch!

Hope you're having a great October day :)




Thursday, October 18, 2012

On the Road: Memphis, Tennessee

I'm a little behind in posting - we've actually moved on down to beautiful Gulf Breeze, Florida now. Our last stop - after Nashville - was Memphis, Tennessee. We were there for just two days, so the two things we did were to go to Graceland and to the National Civil Rights Museum. What a contrast!

We tried something different with the camping - there is an AgriCenter International where they do farming and have a big events complex and also a great Farmer's Market, and they have an RV Park. We knew the RV park would be "rustic" - meaning it was more or less a field with RV hook-ups. But since we were just there a couple of nights and the idea of the big Farmer's Market was appealing, we gave it a try. Well the RV park was pretty dumpy! I can't recommend it even as just a stopover. So, as Forrest Gump said, "Life is like a box of chocolates; you never know what you're gonna get." We add to our list of "experiences" - which is our way of saying that even the things that aren't great are still part of the adventure ....

The Farmer's Market was extremely nice:



The first day, we went to Graceland, the home of Elvis Presley. I was curious to see it and much of it was quite interesting. I have to say though, that it is the most over-commercialized place I have ever been, and that part is almost offensive. And, it's quite expensive - you pay $10 to park and the Platinum Tour is $36 per person. So that is $82 for two people to visit Graceland. I don't regret it, but if you plan to go, just know that it's pricey and you may feel as I did - Glad I saw it, but not sure it was worth the price!

Here are some pictures:

From the outside, Graceland is a gracious southern mansion



Inside, it's a time-warp - the rooms preserved as they were decorated when Elvis lived there. Of course the decor was from the times, and that in of itself is interesting! What were we thinking with shag rugs? But even for the times, Graceland's decor is rather strange - though I don't think anyone would be surprised by that!


The living room

The media room
The famous Jungle Room
Displays of Elvis perforrmance costumes
The Pink Cadillac
The next day, we went to the National Civil Rights Museum. This is located at the Lorraine Motel, where Martin Luther King was killed. This was a totally different experience - very moving and educational. And, parking was free and it only cost $11 per person for the museum. There was a 30-minute film about Martin Luther King's last days and his assassination. You can view the room he stayed in the night before he was killed, and the spot on the balcony outside his room where he lay shot. You also tour the building across the street, including the room from which James Earl Ray fired the fatal shot. But it's not just about MLK, there is the whole history of the Civil Rights Movement - the signficant events, marches, murders, protests and all the key players. Really inspirational to remember - or learn for the first time - about simple, ordinary people who put their lives at risk for equal rights.

The National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel


The wreath is placed where Martin Luther King was standing when he was shot. The cars are placed just the way the scene appeared at the time.


The place where Martin Luther King was shot on the balcony outside his room.

So, we visited two places of history, honoring two men who died too young, and who both were called "King." Graceland was interesting but very commercial. The National Civil Rights Museum was very moving and educational. It was a weird contrast for us over the two days, and I have to say that we got more out of the Civil Rights museum.

We're in Florida now, and we'll be moving further south in a couple of weeks.  Hope you're all having a great day!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Looking Back on Six Months on the Road

Hard to believe, but RVPainter and I headed out on this RV Adventure just six months ago. I can't believe all we've done and seen in that short time - it makes it seem much longer, and yet it's also gone by in a flash! The trip to England and Wales came at the perfect time at the start of September. When we got back and started out again on the road, I felt different - more settled, less scared.

I have to admit that the trip to England and Wales was my favorite part of this year - because it had a special personal meaning for me; because we got to see dear friends Deirdre and Nigel and meet their little ones; because we made wonderful new friends from the Liverpool Blue Coat school; and because well, we simply loved it: London, Bath, Liverpool and Beaumaris.

Here's a little recap of this journey since it began when we started out on April 5th:


Back in a flash to Santa Fe to say Goodbye to dear friends


First major stop: San Antonio Texas:



Second major stop: Charleston, SC



Up to New England: Memorial Day with my family & Dick's family reunion



Up into Maine:



On to Nova Scotia...




Then to Quebec, "Our Paris":



Then ... Back to Elkhart, Indiana for warranty work on the RV :(

Who wants to see pictures of that??? Not me!!

Then! On to England and Wales.

London

London

Stonehenge

Liverpool Blue Coat School

Beaumaris

Then ... back to Elkhart again!! :(
No pictures for that either...

Then we headed into Kentucky and down here to Nashville. Next we're going to Memphis to see Elvis, and after that, it's on down to Florida.

10,000 land miles in the RV, plus a few thousand to England and back - it's been quite a journey so far.

Next post I'll tell you the best and worst parts about life on the road....





Friday, October 5, 2012

On the Road: Nashville

Well, we've landed in Nashville, Tennessee for about a week. Yesterday we went to the Grand Ole Opry Hotel and the Grand Ole Opry, and today we went to the Ryman Auditorium (the original Grand Ole Opry) and wandered around downtown for a bit.

I've actually been to Nashville once before -when I worked for UNUM, we had one of the sales conferences here at the Grand Ole Opry hotel. I remember walking around the hotel with my friend Sue. And, when our departure was delayed, Sue and I ended up going to a show at the Ryman. Vince Gill hosted it, and Tricia Yearwood was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry! Fortunate for us - we got to see two big name stars that night, just by chance.

Okay, here are some pictures of what we've seen so far:

This is inside the Grand Ole Opry hotel - that place is HUGE!

This is INSIDE the hotel! It actually reminded us of the Riverwalk in San Antonio

RVPainter outside the Grand Ole Opry

Johnny Cash's boots - at the Ryman

Inside the Ryman Auditorium - they are setting up the stage for tonight's show with Mary Chapin Carpenter

Down on Broadway

and more

BB King's restaurant and club

RVPainter enjoying ribs at Martin's BBQ in Nolensville

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Book Review: Dee Ready's "A Cat's Legacy: Dulcy's Story"

As a little change of pace, I've got a book review for you! This book is by blogger Dee Ready, who blogs at Coming Home to Myself. If you haven't visited Dee's blog, you must! She has led such a rich life and has so many stories to share.

Okay, so now for the review of:


A Cat’s Legacy: Dulcy’s Story
by Dulcy & Dee Ready

I am delighted to review and recommend this wonderful book! It’s a slim volume at just 76 pages, yet it is packed with wisdom, love and spirituality. Yes, Dulcy is a very spiritual cat!

At first you might think, “Oh, how cute! A book supposedly written by a cat and her owner – I’ll get that for my cat-loving friends.”

But please don’t underestimate this book, because it is SO much more than that. It’s about longing and disappointment; it’s about hurt and heartache. It’s about caring, compassion and commitment. Most of all, this book is about love and learning to trust in love. It’s a love story and it’s a handbook for LIFE.

Dulcy’s commitment to loving her human, whom she hopes with all her heart will someday also love only her, is moving and poignant. Dulcy is wise, she is proud and sassy, she is steadfast and true. She is clear about who she is and what she wants. We are mere humans, and so it is Dee who must learn from the example that Dulcy sets.

Dulcy and Dee’s lifetime together unfolds through 12 chapters in which Dulcy reveals her feline wisdom, meant to be helpful to “kits and cats,” and Dee shares how Dulcy’s guidance transcends species and can help us human beings live richer, more loving lives.


Here are a few of my favorite moments from the book:

Dulcy: “Find your heartwish and begin to dream. Everything is possible for a kit – or cat – who dreams.”

Dee: “…Given freely, love can make us unique .... But more than my love has made Dulcy special. She knows how to listen and how to give delight. She knows the possibilities of silence. But most of all, she knows herself to be loveable.”

Dulcy: “I am old now and one day the great god of cats will call me. But I have planted memories in my human’s heart. When I am gone, she will discover them there, and they will comfort her.”

Dee: “How can we let another see the deepest, darkest secrets of our life? How can we let another see the yearning, the longing, the dreams, the heartwishes? … How can we step off the cliff and trust ourselves to the abyss of another’s love?”

As you can see from just these few snippets, the book is beautifully written. Dulcy’s personality is so real and vivid that you will quickly forget she is a cat! And there are many, many more beautifully expressed words of wisdom for life from both cat and human, but I want you to have the chance to read them for yourself.

I really loved this book – so much so, that writing this review made me want to read it again - which I am doing!.

So YES, this is a GREAT book to give to your cat-loving friends, but it’s simply a wonderful book all around. I hope that you’ll enjoy it for yourself too.

The book is available in paperback and ebook from Amazon.com. Here are the links:

A Cat’s Legacy: Dulcy’s Story - Paperback

A Cat's Legacy: Dulcy's Story - Ebook

Dee's Blog: Coming Home to Myself



Monday, October 1, 2012

On the Road Again

Although I just wrapped up telling you about our trip to England and Wales, we've actually been back in the U.S. for three weeks. We spent two more weeks in Elkhart, Indiana, where Nexus continued our warranty work. The delay was caused by new cabinet doors that had been ordered, but not received. The finish on the first cabinets was not properly sealed, that's why we needed new ones. Turns out, the company doing the cabinet work never actually delivered them to Nexus - at least not before we left. Good thing that someone at Nexus had the forethought to order a set from another cabinet maker, because those did come in and got installed.

I think I told you that we had the leveler system removed - the new one malfunctioned (third strike!) so out it came. And, our third Magellan GPS failed so we sent that back. We picked up a nice little Garmin GPS and so far I like it much better - mainly because it WORKS!

Last week, we finally headed back on the road. Our first stop was in Battle Ground, Indiana at the Prophets Town State Park. This is one of the best parks we've been at in terms of how it's laid out. Nice big, flat spaces (important now that we are traveling without levelers), with lots of trees in between for privacy. Pretty country too.

Then we moved on to the Dale Hollow Lake State Park Resort in Tennessee - this too is a beautiful park, well-laid out and in a beautiful area. Here are a couple of pictures:

RVPainter relaxing in his chair behind our RV

The marina at the state park on Dale Hollow Lake


Next we head for Nashville, Memphis and then down to Florida. We'll be stopping again at Ft. Pickens State Park in Pensacola - one of our favorite stop-overs when we first set out and were heading east. We'll stay longer this time. Then we'll be heading further down into Florida for the winter months.

I'll be heading back north on my own (by plane) in late November for more classroom visits and some book signing events - I've got a pretty full schedule of those booked!

Today is a rainy day, so I'm just piddling around with this and that ... I've got a new Louise Penny mystery to read - always something to look forward to!