Thursday, July 31, 2014

7/29 - 7/31/2014 Back to Work, Back to Normal

(Damascus, VA)

It was back to work for both of us on Tuesday, although Bob did work Monday even though he was scheduled off just to try to catch up from the weekend.  I spent the time getting our house back together.

Facebook went crazy with new friend requests flying between nieces and aunts and uncles and cousins.  Everyone was uploading their pictures from the weekend and we were all snagging everyone else's.

I will take all these pictures and make a Shutterfly photo book for everyone.  I also gathered all the information for the family and will make a phone directory and a calendar is in the works for birthdays and anniversaries.  I’m going to be quite busy over the next few weeks.
 
We had a cold front come through and its quite chilly on the mountain.  The lows are reaching the low 40’s and the heaters are in use in our RV’s.
 
Things are very slow in the campground right now probably due to the cold temps.  One night we only had two campers in the whole campground.

Hitch itch has set in for me and I’m counting the days.  I’ve been here long enough now and I’m ready to move on.  We’re committed until Labor Day and within a few days after that we’ll be movin’ on.

We’ve got BEES!  A beehive has been built under our air conditioner shroud on the roof.  Bob was on the roof last week and got stung three times before he could get off.  I called an exterminator and he is supposed to be here Monday to take care of this problem for us.  If its not one thing its another.

Monday, July 28, 2014

7/28/2014 Farewell Family

(Damascus, VA)

Today the kids went home.  I hated to see them leave.  It was so great to have them all here spending time with them.

I knew Tim and his family would have leave fairly early because they had to travel all the way to Delaware, about 8 1/2 hours away for them.  They did get a later start than I thought they would and I was surprised to hear that Jonathan and his family were leaving at the same time.  I thought they would have stayed later since they are only 4 hours away.

Jasmine didn’t want to leave and teared up when she was saying goodbye to Pop-Pop.

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When the last one pulled away I felt so empty.  I wanted them back….NOW!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

7/27/2014 Another Creeper Trail Ride

(Damascus, VA)

No, no, no, it wasn’t me or Bob taking another ride down that damn trail!  Both of our sons and Tim’s girlfriend Shannon, niece Katie and nephew Robert went on the ride.  Oh, and our little 5 year old granddaughter, Jas, went again.

They used a different shuttle company this time and the set up for the tag-along bike for Jasmine was much better, a much more sturdier attachment between bikes.  There was also another difference, her pedaling counted as where the bike she was on the other day didn’t.  Jonathan said he had to use the brakes a whole lot more this trip because she was pedaling so hard.

This trip Tim took a dip in the cold mountain stream and it wasn’t by choice.  They stopped along the way to climb rocks and play near the water and he and slipped on a rock. Jasmine was delighted in pointing out a snake she saw.

To me, some things are done and once is enough, this is one of them!  These guys are already planning another trip to Virginia to do the trail again.  More power to them.

Our plan for dinner was to grill chicken on the grill and me and the girls would made the side dishes inside.  It didn’t quite work out that way because a thunderstorm came in pushed everyone inside.  Yes, nine of us in the RV for dinner.  Can you say crowded?  Can you say extremely crowded?  But we did it.  Thank heavens for paper plates!

We did end up with two overnight houseguests after all.  Grandkids Derek and Briana came knocking on the door late at night because the wind kicked up, it was stormy and they could hear branches cracking all around them.  They hightailed it to us and we welcomed them with open arms.  Well, technically, Bob did, I was already asleep!  This weekend wore me out.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

7/26/2014 Quinn Family Reunion

(Damascus, VA)

Today we hosted the Quinn Family Reunion here at Beartree Lake.

Family members from Tennessee, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Kentucky and Texas all gathered for a day long picnic.

It was special in so many ways.  We had a brother and sister meet for the first time.  We all met a cousin and niece for the first time too.  It’s quite complicated, believe me.

This is the first time we’ve all been together since we lost one of Quinn brother’s several years back.  Yes, it seems we are a family that gets together at weddings and funerals like so many families in America.

Our sons were here with their families and that made the weekend all that much more enjoyable.

I met some family members for the first time and saw others for the first time in many years.

We ate and laughed and caught up on each others lives and we took pictures.  Hundreds of pictures.  Hundreds and hundreds of pictures between all of us.

As with any gathering we had way, way too much food.

We had perfect weather for our special day.  We couldn’t have custom ordered it any better.

The brothers and sisters.

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          Emily      Eugene      Carol     Tommy      Bob         Cathy

Not every family member could make it due to prior commitments and work schedule conflicts.  If everyone had been able to make there would have been about 34 more there counting both adults and kids.  Someday we’ll try this again and give everyone much more lead time to make the proper arrangements.

But here is who was here.

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We had a blast together.

Not only was it Reunion Day it was my birthday.

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Everyone signed a birthday card for me.  I’ve actually been looking forward to this birthday.  Now I can start the countdown,,,,364 days to go till Social Security kicks in!

What a wonderful day it was!

Friday, July 25, 2014

7/25/2014 Creeper Trail Bike Ride

(Damascus, VA)

The ten of us, plus nieces, Katie from San Antonio and Rachella from New Jersey who are here for the family picnic, met in town at the bike rental place at 9:45 this morning.  We had the most perfect day for this ride.  If we custom ordered the weather it would be exactly what we had!
 
We set right to work getting everyone fitted for a bike.

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Son, Tim, tweaking the fit on his bike.

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It took a little bit of time for everyone to get fitted, after all, we weren’t the only one’s there going on the ride.

Brandi, below, had reservations about making this trip from the get-go but we all assured her it was a downhill ride and would be a piece of cake.  If we could read her mind here I’m sure we would hear her saying, “What hell am I doing here???”

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Rachella and Katie getting signed in.

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Shannon, waiting for the shuttle and bike trailer to load.

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I knew the road we had to travel to get to the area where we would start our ride.  I knew that it was twisty and winding and that I had to be in the front seat of the van or I’d be sick.  I secured that seat for myself with the driver in no time flat.

Our group was spread out between the three vans  going to White Top Station.

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Once we got up there Jasmine decided she didn’t want to go.

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For a little while she was not  a happy camper!

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We finally got her settled on her tag-along bike.

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We had all circled the parking lot several times and it was time to hit the first of our 17 mile ride.

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(Shannon, Brandi and Briana)
 
The first half mile was on flat ground and I’m thinking to myself that this downhill part better start really, really fast!
 
We were told to be sure to check out the building which was at the beginning of the ride and I can tell you I was glad to stop even if we had only gone 150 feet.  After checking everything out the last thing  I asked the lady behind the counter was, “How long till we hit that downhill part???”  She assured me that right after the stop sign, which I could see from the step, would start our downhill journey.
Within minutes we were sailing down the path and yes, it was a gentle downhill ride.  For the first five miles or so.
The scenery was outstanding!
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Our next stop was Green Cove.  We’re about 8 miles into our ride at this point.

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This building was a stop for the trains that used to travel this trail.

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Son, Jonathan, waiting under the apple tree for everyone to catch up.
 
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Bob wondering why he ever thought it was a good idea to bite into an apple off this tree.
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Our granddaughter, Briana, keeping a watchful eye to make sure no more apples fall from the tree while she’s under it.

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Jasmine showing us the little green worm she found.  This child loves bugs!

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Back on the trail, Tim and grandson Derek.
 
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A tree farm we passed.
 
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Sometimes the trees were dense and made the path dark.

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We finally hit the 9 mile mark and we were all glad to take a break to get something to eat and drink.  We stopped at Taylor’s Cove where you can eat their world famous chocolate cake.  I’ve been hearing about this cake from our campers every weekend and I, for one, could not wait to try it.

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Most of our crew had a meal with hamburgers, hot dogs, chili dogs, BBQ and chocolate cake.  Well, let me tell you, the cake was good.  That’s as far as I can go with a rating.  It was good, no better than one I make.
 
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Brandi just found out we’re only at mile mark nine.  She’s not a happy camper.

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Jasmine turned into quite the little trail rider.  She even called out, “Passing on the left” when Jon overtook another biker.

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We stopped on a wooden bridge to check out the water.  Jasmine was thrilled with the fish we saw and the snake too.

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The rest of the ride was uneventful for most.  Brandi took off like a bat outta hell because she just wanted to get to the end.  She wanted this to be over with!

Derek, Katie and Rachella were miles ahead of us.  Jon and Jasmine made out just fine and the last time they passed me she yelled, “Grandmom, this is like flying!”

Tim, Shannon, Briana and Bob all pedaled to their hearts content.  Some stopping to take pictures along the way and some just pedaling to watch the miles disappear under their tires.

Now every group has to have one who brings up the rear.  Guess who that was?  Yeah, yeah, it was me.  Speaking of rears, my rear end HURT!  I don’t care if I got that extra padded seat, I was hurting!  I got off at times and walked the bike but now looking back I see where that was a mistake.  I’ll also admit I was tired.  Biting off a seventeen mile trek was a bit more than I could chew comfortably.

That last mile was a killer!  People were passing me like crazy as I walked my bike.  I just couldn’t sit on that rock hard seat any longer.  Well, I hit the three quarter of a mile to go mark and a shuttle van pulled over on the road.  It seems that one of the ladies I had talked to briefly as she passed me recognized me from the van ride and when she returned to the rental place told them I was out there and struggling.   I was never so glad to see that shuttle. 

So I made it 16 1/4 miles of the 17 mile Creeper Trail.  I’ll take it!

The girls and I went to the store after we got back to our vehicles.   I had a whole list made out of everything I had to get and darn if I didn’t leave it at home.  I thought I could remember a good portion of it.

When we got home the girls and I had a lot of food to prepare for the family picnic we are having tomorrow.  It’s a good thing everyone ate at the cafĂ© because no food would be coming out of my kitchen tonight.

This was an absolutely wonderful day all things considered….one sore butt!  Actually there were several sore butts by the time we got home.

It was a great day with the kids, we loved spending time with every one of them.  It was so incredibly special having our boys and their families here doing something so fun, for the most part, for most of us.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

7/24/2014 The Kids Arrive!!!

(Damascus, VA)

Today, Tim and Jonathan and their families arrive for a four night stay.  They brought tents so that’s where they’ll be staying and we arranged for sites close enough to us that we could run electrical cords to them.

Tim, Shannon, his significant other of 21 years, their son Derek, 21 and their daughter Briana, 19 arrived around 12:30.  Bob was working the sites and I finishing up after cleaning all morning, so they got their tent set up and settled in.  We had an hour or so to visit when I had to leave to go to work for the afternoon.

We haven’t seen Timmy and his family since this week last summer.  Timmy is a tad bit more grayer, the kids a bit more mature and Shannon, well, she hasn’t changed a bit.

I hated to go to work but I had forms to type up and print and we are off for the next four days anyway to spend with our family.  I have to say, Edie and Ken have been just wonderful to us as far as time off is concerned.

I Facebook’ed with Jonathan and Brandi and they were on the road, on their way.  Even though we had just spent a long weekend with them this past Memorial Day I couldn’t wait to see them again.  Especially that little five year old they were bringing!

I was off before they arrived and had one huge disappointment when they did pull in.  I was so hoping that Brandi’s son Evan would be with them but he made the football team at his middle school and practice has started.  Brandi said he was torn about what to do but he has his team to think of so he made the right decision.

It was just minutes before I got my first hug from our little granddaughter, Jasmine.  Oh, that felt so good!  It wasn’t too long after that  that I got my first I love you from her.  She just melts my heart.

After dinner we sat around the fire for a bit and it was decided that chopping veggies could be accomplished and it would be one more thing out of the way.  After all, we all have a big ahead of us tomorrow for its then that we are taking a 17 mile long bike ride down the Creeper Trail.  Even Jas is going!

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Since Timmy and his family had their day start at three this morning and Jon and his family had a workday to get through before their four trip here, everyone was tired and we all turned in around 10:30 or so.

Our family is here and we’re on Cloud Nine!

 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

7/22-7/23/14 A Busy, Busy Two Days

(Damascus, VA)

We both slept well last night.  As nice as the accommodations are when away there is nothing like your own bed and your own pillow.

Back to work.  Bob had lots to do to get the camp sites back to his standard of them being done.  I walked right back into the routine of being in the gate house again.

I was busy once again with my lists.  A list of whom Christmas gifts were bought for, a list for the final grocery shopping for the picnic, a list of who was going on the Creeper Trail ride on Friday, a list of questions to ask on the Family Information sheets I was going to hand out and it just went on and on.

Wednesday when we completed our shifts at two we headed to Bristol for some major, major shopping.  Since we are having the picnic here at Beartree Lake and so many are traveling to get here it just made sense that we would get the paper products, the drinks, supply a good portion of the food and pick up all the things a picnic needs.

We started in Walmart and got quite a bit.  Our next stop was Olive Garden for an early dinner.  I know how we are when we shop when we’re hungry.  That couldn’t happen today!  Still in the same parking lot our next shopping site was next door at Sam’s Club.  We christened our membership with this trip.  Oh boy did we ever!  I have a list I’m trying to follow and Bob is just, well, shopping.  A new grill…. eyeglass cleaner…. bags of rice…..food for the picnic that isn’t on my list and that we didn’t need but I wasn’t going to say anything.  I didn’t know how we were going to get all this in the truck.  We brought coolers and ice packs for the cold stuff but that took a lot of room in the back area of the cab so quite a bit had to be packed in the open truck bed.

I still didn’t get everything I needed.  I didn’t want to buy rolls four days ahead of time and some things I should have bought in Walmart instead of holding out for Sam’s Club because Sam’s ended up not having what I needed after all.  It didn’t matter, I would be in town on Friday and would stop at the store in Damascus and pick the few final things then.  I’ll just start another list.

Monday, July 21, 2014

7/19-7/21/14 This Week Went Much Too Fast

(Wilmington, DE)

Saturday

Mom and I spent the day shopping.  I found the birthday gift I was looking for in Kohl’s and a new pocket digital camera at Best Buy.   Bob often says he wishes he had a camera with him so I bought him one today.  The one he had broke a good while ago.  Canon cameras were on sale, I had a store credit and with no sales tax I figured there was no time like the present.

Mom made stuffed peppers for dinner.  This is the meal I requested for my birthday dinner ever year.  Mom likes them too but hasn’t made them since my dad passed.  Some things you just don’t make for one.
 
It still doesn’t seem right that my dad isn’t there when I go home.  I walk in the door and expect to see him sitting on the left side on the front porch and he isn’t there.  When I get up in the morning I expect to find him sitting in the chair at the kitchen table having his morning coffee and he isn’t there.  I stare at the empty chair for a few seconds and I realize, he isn’t ever going to be there again.  I shake it off and don’t give in to the tears that are so very close to the surface.  Time helps you to accept but it certainly doesn’t make you miss any less.

We heard a lot of commotion going on over in the town hall parking lot which is right across the street.  This is actually the school I went to in first and second grades but now houses the Town Hall, the town police department and senior center.  We sat on the front porch and watched the goings on.  Turns out it was movie night and a very large inflatable screen was put up.

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A pretty good crowd of families with young children gathered for the showing of The Lomax or maybe it was Lorax.  I don’t know, after it started we sort of lost interest in it.  One thing for sure the sound was turned up way too loud.  We couldn’t hear each other as we sat on the front porch and the noise was deafening in our bathroom of all places and in the side yard between my mom’s house and her next door neighbor.  It was like the sound got trapped there.

Sunday

Today we will celebrate my birthday, which is next week, with dinner out at Michael’s where I can get my now favorite meal of Crab Imperial.

Today is also my last day with mom.  I’m her shadow today.  If she goes into the kitchen I’m right behind her.  If she goes to sit on the front porch, I’m right there.  She’s probably glad I’m leaving tomorrow morning.

Our plan is to return to Delaware when our stint in Virginia was over in September.  The plan is to stay for at least two or three weeks which will give us time to see friends and family that we didn’t see this time around.  I don’t want to wish my life away but I can’t wait for Labor Day to get here.

Monday

Our day started early again today.  We have a long ride ahead of us once again.  Bob charted a different route going back to Virginia and it shaved more than an hour off our trip.  The ride was much more pleasurable than going since we didn’t have to deal with Baltimore traffic and it was a lot less expensive.  I think we had one $2.00 toll.

We were back in the campground by two.  We made an effort to get everything unpacked and put away today because tomorrow the workweek starts again.

It was great seeing Mom again, a year is much too long and the week went much too fast.

Friday, July 18, 2014

7/16-7/18/2014 Our Week at HOME

(Wilmington, DE)

Wednesday

Kicking back and relaxing was the order of the day for Bob.  I think he is enjoying having nothing to do.  He can spend the day reading, playing computer golf or watching TV.

On the other hand, Mom and I were out and about.  A trip to the local farmer’s market had to be made and side trips to JC Penney’s, A. C. Moore’s and Kohl’s were also in order.

Don’t hate me,,,,I’ve started Christmas shopping.  I’m in sales tax free Delaware, sales are going on for non-seasonal things I want and I get the military discount in some stores.  Besides, we’ll see the kids next week when they come to Virginia and I’ll send wrapped things home with them which will save me a ton of money on shipping costs.  It’s a win-win all around.


Thursday

It was another trip to Boscov’s today and Bob went to spend the day with Bill again.

I was on a mission to find a birthday gift for someone special in my life but didn’t have any luck today.

We met back at the house because our cousin Kathy was coming over so that we could all go out to dinner together.  Salad bar and pizza was on the menu tonight at Michael’s.  Kathy got a new car two days previous so she drove to the restaurant.  It was our first ride in a hybrid car.  We both liked her Prius a lot.  I asked her if I could have it but she said no.  The nerve!

Friday

It was another day at home for us, card playing, laundry, computer time and TV.  Relaxing to say the least.

We had a cheesesteaks tonight.  We had to get them before our time here was up.  As usual, they hit the spot!

I have so little time with Mom this trip and its like I’m glued to her.  She probably feels suffocated but I just can’t help it.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

7/13-7/15/2014 A Week With MOM!

(Wilmington, DE)

We’re going “home” for a week.  I’m in serious need of some Mom time.  Fortunately, Edie and Ken, our park managers, are very understanding about this and had no hesitation about giving us a week off.

Sunday

Our plan was to be on the road by 5:30 a.m. this morning.  I had everything packed except for what we absolutely needed before we hit the road.  Bob had his list of things to do completed and he even had truck packed before we turned in for what was only going to be a few hours of shuteye.  I was way too excited to go to sleep.

I set the alarm and for some reason it didn’t go off.  Luckily, Bob woke up right on time and we jumped into the day with both feet and hit the ground running.   We unlocked the gate and were on our way by 5:40 a.m.  We had a nine hour drive ahead of us.

The sun was just coming up over the mountain as we headed towards I-81.

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A mist hung in the valleys.

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The miles slid easily below our tires and while still in Virginia we saw our first Delaware license plate.  It’s the first one I’ve seen in quite awhile.  Yeah, I still get excited over Delaware license plates.

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Several hours into our trip and we thought we were making good time.  Until…..  Until we crossed over into Maryland.

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We picked up I-95 and it seemed like we could walk faster than we were traveling in the car.  Bumper to bumper.  And we won’t even go into the idiots on the road.  I’m simply amazed at how many people still text and drive and it doesn’t matter if they drive 20 mph or 70.

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This was a welcome sight!

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Bob is really having a hard time with traffic.  We are used to much less out west and even here in southwestern Virginia.  I’m afraid white knuckles on the steering wheel were the norm this trip.  Everyone is in such a hurry here.  Lane changing has become a sport I think and the smaller the space the better.  I nearly put my foot through my floorboard several times.  I have to admit, the language in our truck was a little salty too as we yelled at S-T-U-P-I-D drivers.

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The tolls also seemed to have risen considerably since the last time we traveled I-95.  It’s a good thing I had a little stash of cash with me.

The sign I was waiting for!

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The SECOND sign I was waiting for!

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Since we didn’t know for absolute sure what time we would get in I had told Mom we would take care of dinner ourselves.  This worked!

Subs and a bag of chips in hand we he headed home.

There’s nothing like that first hug from a parent you haven’ seen in a year.  Trust me on this.

Dinner done we settled in for an evening of chatting and catching up.

We thought we would have been in bed early tonight and Bob was,,,,me and mom, not so much.

Monday

We laid low today.  We’re tired.  Bob spent much of the day on the computer and reading.  I had our air card for our Internet connection turned on for the week.  Internet at home!  What a concept… one we miss for sure!

Mom and I played cards all afternoon, talking and laughing all the while.  Evening brought the same thing and it just felt good to be home with my mom.

Tuesday

By mid morning Bob was out the door to see his best friend Bill and Mom and I did something I had been looking forward to.  We went to Boscov’s one of my very favorite department stores.  I bought a few things for our granddaughter as they were having a great sale.

A stop at the grocery store was also in order and we spent the evening watching TV, playing cards and on the Internet.