Thursday, April 28, 2011

Did you know...?

that Paul and I love to travel?

that we just came home from being on the road for over three months?

that we spend over five months of each year living in our camper?

that we celebrate our 60th birthdays this year?

you only go around once?

Paul and I brought home our dream "home" today?

We are thrilled!

We'll talk to you soon. After we get back from our maiden voyage!!!!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A little catching up.

We've been busy since we've been home. More on that later.

Last Sunday, our niece and nephew-in-law, Mike and Elizabeth, invited us to their home for Easter dinner. And, a wonderful dinner it was.

Our nephew, Joey, Elizabeth's brother,

is home on leave from the Navy. It was so great to get a chance to visit with him. We really have missed him. Elizabeth and Joey are so dear to our hearts.

And, we were able to see Haley, our grand niece. Or is it great niece? Well, she is great. And so cute.
She belly laughed at Paul. Made his day.

We forgot our camera, so I had to borrow some pictures from family facebook albums.

Thanks for a great day, Elizabeth and Mike!

Is it Spring yet? Brrrr!

Tomorrow is a big day for Paul and me. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

We're Back!

Well, we made it.

I hope our kids did not conjure up this image when they learned of our arrival!

I'm back!

We put many miles on the Tundra since our departure in January.

It was a great trip.

The last leg of our journey took us to Kansas. I would not be lying if I told you that for the first time I was scared to sleep in our camper. The weather was not pretty last Friday night.

Fortunately, we survived. We attended a class in the small town of Yates Center, Kansas on Saturday to become certified judges for the Kansas City Barbeque Society. Paul and I spent the day with twenty other people taking notes, tasting food, judging and discussing what makes good barbeque. It was a very fun experience.

The next step for us is to sign up to judge at a competition or two this summer. We took notes to share with our nephews, Chad and Kevin, as we hope to work on their team at a competition this summer as well. Next winter, we plan to look into the possibility of judging a competition on our route home from Florida.

We got up early Sunday morning and decided to make the trip home in one day. There wasn't much stopping us!

And, now, we will look around our beautiful state and enjoy the spring.

That is, if it ever gets here! Talk to you soon.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Ozarks!

Paul and I spent the past five days in Arkansas in the Ozark Mountains. We stayed in two different spots, Mountain View and Withrow Springs State Park, near Huntsville. We had a fantastic time enjoying the spring weather. I tried to make a slideshow of some of Paul's pictures. I hope it works!

We are now in Kansas and boy, is it cold!!! And windy! Tomorrow we take our class for KCBS judging certification. We are excited! I even have a new notebook!

Talk to you soon.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Memphis: History, Geography, Music and Food

We left Florida early last Friday morning and drove to Southaven, Mississippi, just outside of Memphis. We looked forward to our first visit to this city. We had done our research and were ready to see the city.

Our first stop on Saturday morning was at the Lorraine Motel. It just seemed fitting we go here before any place else. This is where Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in April 4, 1968, a day we both remember very vividly. The site now houses the National Civil Rights Museum.

I was not expecting to be so emotionally overwhelmed standing in this spot. It is preserved, just as it looked in 1968. We both remembered the television footage of him standing on the balcony.  It was a very sobering experience, to say the least.

Memphis is a river city and they have made excellent use of their Mississippi River front. Other cities should take lessons from Memphis.

We spent an entire afternoon at their Mud Island River Park and Museum. The river walk is a scale model of the entire Mississippi River. We walked the length of the walk and worked our way through the impressive museum as well.

Of course, we also walked the entire length of Beale Street, although we didn't venture out there at night, when the real action takes place.

And, of course, we paid a visit to Sun Studio,  the birthplace of Rock N' Roll where Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley and many others started their recording careers.

We also spent an afternoon at Graceland,

where Elvis lived,

was laid to rest,

and where his life story is on display. It is amazing.

An important part of our trip to Memphis was to experience some Memphis style barbeque. We sought advice from others and settled on two places. We were not disappointed.  Admittedly, we may have seemed like Jerry Seinfeld's parents (early birders), but we chose to be there at lunch time. There were no lines and we walked off our meal in the afternoon. Our first stop was Rendezvous.


Our second Memphis barbeque experience was at Corky's. Again, superb.

We ordered ribs, pork shoulder and brisket at both places. Which did we prefer? We liked certain things at both places, but both were fantastic. We came away with questions for our judging class this Saturday in Kansas.

Memphis was wonderful. What a beautiful city. 

We got up early Monday morning and drove in heavy rain and are now in the Ozarks. We will talk to you soon.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Three Rivers State Park

We just left Florida. I am doing this blog entry while we are driving through Alabama. We both have been pleased with tethering with the iphone. The trip from Venice on Wednesday to Three Rivers State Park in northwestern Florida went well except for being hit by a flying barrel on northbound I 75 near Ocala. We suffered minor damage to both the truck and the camper, but we are very, very lucky.  People need to be careful about securing objects on vehicles before driving 70 miles an hour on a freeway. 

We had a lovely campsite on Lake Seminole. Except for the gator we saw swimming across the lake and the Spanish moss, it seemed like we were home in Minnesota!

We looked right across the lake at the state of Georgia and the Eastern time zone.

Paul threw some casts while I did some birding in the campground. We met a fellow camper from Inver Grove Heights. He has been in Florida since October, sleeping in a tent the entire time!!! He had interesting stories to tell.

We enjoyed the sunset and the sunrise on the lake.

And, for the first time on this trip, we also had a campfire. I am so excited to camp in the north woods!!!

We stop this afternoon this side of Memphis and will spend the weekend there. I'd better get back to being a supportive copilot. I'll talk to you soon.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Our migration begins

The sun is setting on our last night in Venice. Sigh.

These snowbirds are starting northward early tomorrow.

We have planned a fun trip home. I'll keep you posted!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Hurray! Kids!

Grandma Marlys, this is for you! Thanks for sharing your grandchildren with us!!! 

Matthew, who turned three on Saturday,

and his big brother, Andrew, who is five,

brought their parents, Kevin and Julie, to Florida this past week. They had been up in Orlando doing the Disney thing and convinced their parents it would be fun to visit the old folks down in Venice for the weekend. We were able to spend the day with them out at Paul's place, better known as Caspersen Beach.

Paul spends hours out on the beach. He showed Andrew how to sift for shark teeth.

Kevin got into the activity as well.

Julie took her boys swimming in the warm gulf waters. It was a beautiful day.

Matthew became one with the sand. Those boys put miles on that beach. It was fun to watch.

We gathered at Mary and Jim's for a birthday dinner that evening. Right before he blew out his candles, Matthew said he was wishing for a kitten.

And, then, while he was eating his cake he said, "This is the most wonderful birthday I ever had!"

Thanks for making our day, Matthew and Andrew and Kevin and Julie!!!  We were so happy to be able to share Matthew's birthday with your family. Come back!!!!!