Friday, December 17, 2010

testing 1...2...3...

This is a test of the feedburner subscription link.

This is me during my Mariachi Band Days.

The boy can strum a mean Harp!!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Moving Day

In preparation for the long overdue dredging of our marina, all boats need to be moved out for a month.

The deadline for doing so is next Weds December 15th

Soon ei' Lean will be floating above the bottom 24/7.  No longer will her keel be sitting in mud during extreme low tides.

It's been rather cool here lately and I kept postponing our moving of the boat but since I was scheduled for surgery yesterday and would be out of commission for a while - I could wait for warmer temps no longer.

So off we went.  It was clear, cool with temps in the low 40's.   Fortunately there was only a gentle breeze so the wind chill was not too bad.  Above is a picture exiting our marina in the channel out to the Intracoastal Waterway  (ICW)

 Here is the Admiral keeping watch over my helmsmanship.

It was a short 4 mile run down the ICW to Towne Creek Marina (remember that place Hayden?) where ei' Lean will sit until mid January when we will move her back here.

ei' Leans new (Temporary) home

This truck driving Mama drove us home

This is a picture of the marina this morning.  There are only about 15 boats remaining to be moved.  It is my understanding that there are 6 people who are refusing to move their boats.  (there's always a few bad apples).   It's looking pretty strange back there now with so few boats remaining.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Jordan Lake

Well we woke up to freezing temps - packed up the Doodles yesterday (Saturday) and headed 3 hrs east to Jordan Lake State Park.

This was us leaving Stone Mountain.

Jordan Lake is quite a beautiful area.  Lots of Pine and Oak trees.  It was one of those clear late fall days, the sky was bright blue, cloudless, crystal clear, and we had the wind and chilly temps to match.

Hanging out at the day-use area

The odd thing here was that when we arrived at noon - we were informed that someone had been camping on our site the night before and since check out time was not till 3pm, we would have to go somewhere and hang out till then.   When I asked if we could check in once they left the Ranger said yes.  However we would not be allowed to enter the campground to check to see if they were gone, and most people do not check out when they leave - they just leave.  So....  The bottom line is we had to go to a day use area for a few hours and hang out.  No big deal but it would have been nice to drop off the camper and go exploring earlier.

Our Campsite on the lake

Early Morning Mist

Next weekend we hook up with friends who have a big class A RV down south in Myrtle Beach, SC.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Meet me in Mayberry

Do you recognize this car?

Ok let me warn you right off.   I'm feeling a bit nostalgic today so I might start waxing philosophical.

One of the reasons for our visit here at Stone Mountain State Park was our desire to visit Mt. Airy, NC the birthplace and home of Andy Griffith.  It was Mt. Airy that Andy used as the basis for Mayberry.  Many of the places mentioned in the series - Floyds Barbershop, Snappy Luch,  well they are right here in Mt. Airy.

I don't know about you, but I grew up watching Andy, and Opie,  Aunt Bea, Helen and of course Barney Fife.  There was always a lesson to learn, and a value to be gleaned from each and every show. Tolerance, Compassion, Responsibility....   it had them all.  We might not have realized it then, but looking back it's hard not to see.

It was a special place and time.   Those of us who were able to live then, and share in that special place were truly blessed.

They say you cant go back home - and I for one am a believer in that.  Try as I have, I've learned that lesson the hard way.  So todays adventure - while not truly going back to that place and time, at least was a fond remembrance.

Our Day in Mayberry started with Lunch at Snappys and of course that means their Pork Chop Sandwich with the works.  This is not a meal for the faint of heart.  This is not Nouveau Cuisine.  No this is good old down home Southern Cooking with all the cholesterol that you can handle.  But boy was it good!  They say this place is unchanged since Andy sat here as a young boy and the recipe is the same.

Walking the streets with the Doodles is always good for meeting people, and while Kate went in and out of all the stores, I stroked my Doodles on Main St and got to meet all the local characters.   I have to tell you, one deputy who called him self Barney wanted to give me a ticket (just for fun) and one other gent who was the spitting image of Don Knotts in his later years stopped to welcome us to town and tell us how glad he was that we were here.

I have to say this just might be the friendliest town that we have ever been to and we've been to some friendly ones.

Several times we saw the Mayberry Squad Car drive by.  There were several of them.  Ford Galaxy 500's.   I don't have a clue to what the year is but they are the real deal.

On the way out of town we stopped by the Andy Griffith Museum where they have this bronze statue out front.   Remember the opening scene where Andy & Opie walk hand in hand to the "fishing hole".  Well here it is preserved for all time.

It was a great day with alot of fond memories.  Thanks Mayberry.

Back at the State park, I just had to show you a picture of the road with all the Rhododendrons everywhere.   This place is just loaded with them.  We have to come back here when they are blooming.  It has to be out of this world!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Day

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

We are currently camped at Stone Mountain State Park in NC. Kate is playing a fireplace dvd on the TV and I'm sipping my morning cup of home roasted Java.

Getting here was a 6 hr ride here thru varying states of leaf color.  Starting out at the coast we were in high color and by the time that we arrived here at 1,900' the leaves were all gone.  The photo below was a stop that we made to pick up some barbeque for last nights dinner.  The trees were so pretty that I had to take a picture.

The campground itself is not exactly the prettiest that we've been to but our site is backed up to a Rhododendron forest.  I would imagine that in the spring it would be quite spectacular.  Reminds me of camping in Oregon.   We did have a wonderful sunset however.  By the time I got around to snapping a shot it had diminished somewhat.

We are only a few miles from the Blue Ridge Parkway and Mayberry so tomorrow we will do some exploring.  Today I think it will be couch potatoes, movies, and of course......  Dinner.

As for the holiday feast - Kate and I cooked Thanksgiving dinner on Tuesday and immediately shrink wrapped and refrigerated everything so today we will have the full meal deal.

We will stay here tomorrow then on Saturday we are headed to Jordan Lake State Park not far from Raleigh.  It is 3 hrs closer to home and supposed to be beautiful.  We reserved a site right on the lake.  Should be nice.

It's actually surprising how many people are here.  I would guess there are at least 15 or so families camping for the holiday.  So much for having the place to ourselves.  We are gonna have to go back to Granite Creek in Wyoming for that effect.

Till then let me just say that I'm thankful for the love of my life - my great wife Kate, our 2 little Doodles, great friends and a wonderful life.  I'm a lucky guy and I couldn't ask for more.

Aufwiedersehen for now.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Maiden Voyage

Friday morning dawned cloudy but the forecast called for clearing and cool temperatures.  Perfect for a quick weekend test run of the new camper.  A flock of White Ibis (and one odd bird) strolled across the back lawn to send us off.

Our home for the weekend is Cedar Pt Campground in Croatan National Forest.

Only 40 min from the house and a couple of miles to the beach.

Lucy's looking out the window

Gracie takes a turn standing watch at the window.

(Notice the educational TV Show)

Do you think they look comfortable?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Land Yacht

Kate & I enjoyed our trip out west so much that we just went crazy and had to get us a new Toy

Our recent trip to NY included a visit to Alpin Haus RV where Kate talked me out of getting a small truck camper to put on the Pickup Truck - and instead we got this 5th wheel trailer

Lucy & Gracie stand guard

We then pulled it back to Beaufort where it currently sits outside of the house.

A few shots of the inside  (its the smallest 5th wheel that I could find)

Kate promised me (in front of the salesman) that she would bake me fresh bread every night if I bought this camper....   Time to get her some sacks of Flour I guess.

So now we are ready to head back out on the dusty trail, and share more blogging adventures with you all.   Hummmm....   I can smell that fresh bread now.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Fine Art of.......

How to pack 20 pounds of junk into a 5 pound box.

The day came to give back the Camper. We didn't want to, but keeping it would be a Felony and we didn't like the idea of turning into Bonnie & Clyde and living life on the run - so turn it in we did.

But first we had to empty all of the stuff that we packed into the Camper into the Van.

One of the laws of Nature is that the stuff you bring on vacation tends to expand in size. This expansion increases with time. I think the exact formula works out to be:

 EndJunk = OriginalJunk x (time x 1.5)

On the way down, we had our usual space behind the front seats reserved for the Doodle Playzone.

This photo - taken while packing for the return trip shows that the doodle Playzone has now expanded into Doodle Mountain.  Now they can look over my shoulder and be back seat drivers......  great!

Then came time to finesse the last articles in the back section.   Notice the fine technique.

There..  done. 

No wait a minute.  Do I see some space next to the cooler??

OK.  Done Now!

11 Short hours later we were back home dreaming & planning our next adventure.

Next Post....   A recap of the trip.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Closing the Loop & Disco Doodle

Yesterday, Sept 25th, at 2;12 pm we closed the loop on this trip.

What I mean by that is our outbound and inbound paths have now crossed.

From that point we are now backtracking our outbound path.  I've always said however that one needs to travel the roads in life in both directions....  The view is totally different each way.

In a few days, when I get home, I'm going to put together a clickable google map, where you will be able to click on specific points, see a picture of that point, and perhaps a bit of a story related to the point as well.    Isn't technology great!

Today we are going to spend the day here at Land between the Lakes  (Interlaken of sorts - just not as pretty) - we will start organizing our gear, packing up some stuff, and get ready to transfer all of our stuff to the van tomorrow night when we get to our hotel.

Now - a short video of Gracie bopping to the tunes as we head down the road.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Oodles of Doodles

Today we traveled 9 hours from our camp in Iowa to tonights camp at Lake Barkley State Resort in Kentucky.  We will now stay here tonight and tomorrow before making the final push to Alabama in preparation of turning in the RV and sadly heading back home.

On the way, our travel plans took us within a few miles of the breeder where I acquired Lucy, our second Labradoodle, so we could not resist a side trip to stop in and say hello, and reacquaint Lucy with her mom.

Since I flew out to pick up Lucy, Kate had never been here so it was a special treat for her.

Our timing was perfect.   They had a litter of pups just last week, and then last night they had a second litter of 11 puppies.....  Yes I said 11!   That is a very large litter for a Mini Australian Labradoodle.

Anyway - here are  few shots of our visit

This is Lucy's Mom - Cimmaron

This is Cimmaron (L) and Lucy (R)

this is a bunch of 6 month old dogs for sale.

Kate wanted to take them all home, especially "Apollo" the dark one with the white stripe on the right.

Kate in the Pen for Playtime

The Breeders - LaNese & Ron Duncan of Quad City Labradoodles really love their dogs and do the most to make sure that they produce a healthy, socialized family pet.

If you are in the market for a great dog you should check them out.

I can honestly say that our Lucy is the best dog that we have ever had.

Thanks Ron & LaNese.  We enjoyed our visit.

We are now camped at Land Between the Lakes for our last 2 nights.

More to come tomorrow.

Palisades Kepler State Park Iowa

After Little House - we moved into road mode.   That is, we now started to make some miles and our stops were primarily planned as just overnight sleeping spots rather than destinations in and of themselves.

That said -  our Friday Sept 24th stop was Palisades Kepler State Park in Iowa.

When one thinks of Iowa, you usually picture endless plains, and fields of corn, but if you get off of the Interstate there is much more to the "CornPatch" as it is referred to by Truckers.

Our night spent as this great state park was short, but the variety of hardwoods, the friendliness of the people, and the beauty of this Location,  just outside of Cedar Rapids on the Cedar River made it a winner in our book and certainly worthy of a return visit when we have more time to walk the numerous hiking trails.

Hot showers,  Electric Hookups, and $16.00 per night - what's not to love?

Our site

The view from our site
Left and right

Good bye Little House

I realized that I did not have any decent photos of the outside of the Ingalls Cabin (yes the actual thing) so in the morning before we left, Kate and I fired up the golf cart ( did we tell you that the lady gave us the keys to the golf cart and told us to go explore the homestead) and off we went in the morning to take a few more shots....

This is the actual Charles Ingalls cabin.   Not quite the same as little house on the prairie, but Hollywood never was one to shy away from "artistic license"

This is the house (on left) with the Livestock Barn on the right

This is the front of the house.

The Kitchen and doors to both bedrooms were beyond the front door and the sitting room was the area to the right.

This is the back of the house.

Maw & Paws bedroom was the window on the right.  The wall between the Parents and the girls was just to the right of the window.

The family area was the window on the left

Friday, September 24, 2010

Is Anyone Out There?

Kate & I are wondering if anyone is reading the blog?

In 3 weeks there have been only two comments posted...

Do you like it?  Do you hate it?  Do you want more pictures of people, dogs, or less of me???

It's a lot of work doing this blog.  Reading it is not free.   You have to put some money in the meter.  And the currency to go in the meter is simply a comment once in a while.

That way we know that you are out there and our work does not fall on deaf ears.

When we were in Europe we were getting many comments each day.    Huh???

Lets hear something from the fans of Team ei' Lean.

The Editor

PS  In case you don't know - you post comments at the bottom of each blog where it currently says "0 Comments"  (maybe soon it will say "1 comment" or even "2 comments"

Click on that and a comment window opens.  You then tell us how much you love our blog and make our day.   Come on people - make my day.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Little Motorhouse on the Prairie

Tonight Maw and I are camped on the Charles Ingall homestead.  This the the real homestead where most of the stories from the Little House on the Prairie series took place.

Its been a rainy windy travel day, and when we arrived we were the only ones here.  The lady running the place gave us the keys to a golf cart to tour the homestead and now we are camped here.  Its a windy evening and we have the place to ourselves.  It's really a hoot.

The windmill and pump outside of the Ingall House

Inside the Ingall house

Paw tasting some of Maws Possum Stew.

Kate mending on Maw Ingalls Sewing Machine

Maw & Paws Bedroom

The girls bedroom

Where we are parked for the night

The teacher heads into the old schoolhouse

The teacher lectures on US History

The class dummie raises his hand