Murdo Girl…Washing clothes without quarters

I was exchanging comments with a friend yesterday and she said, “You just as well take some pictures of the last 150 miles of your travels.” I’ve become fascinated with taking pictures from SeeYa’s window, and then looking through them to find some that intrigue me.

The morning went from rainy to sunny and then it clouded up again.

We were curious about what the animals would do after being away from home for six weeks.

The cat went outside as soon as we opened the doggie door. It was the first time she was allowed outdoors since we left. She was so good about not trying to get out of the RV. She loves to be outside.

The dogs didn’t want out. They were stressed and didn’t want Kip to get out of their sight.

Sammie even howled once. That is Cyndie looking stressed. No more new yards to sniff out.

The house actually looked neat and clean when we got here. That changed quickly when we unloaded the motor home. We’re slowly getting everything put away. In the RV, you have to lift up on the drawers and maneuver them to pull them out. That’s so they don’t open when your traveling down bumpy roads. You have to shut the cabinet doors hard, too. It takes me a few days not to do that when I get home. Kip winces when he hears me slamming everything shut. I’m on the third load of laundry and I’m still trying to find where to put the quarters in the machines.

It was nice not to have to call ahead for a place to stay and I’m sure Kip enjoyed not having to hook up the water, sewer and electricity… though we have gotten pretty proficient at all of that plus hooking up the tow car. We unhooked in the Brookshire’s parking lot.

No one wanted to go to the store so we ate the only thing we could scrounge up for dinner…two chicken pot pies. Kip had one of the two remaining bear claws, still in the RV freezer, for dessert.

It’s good to be home. I will say this…Our tiny house feels like a HUGH mansion!

Murdo Girl…Back in Texas

We’re spending the last night of our incredible odyssey on the Texas side of Texarkana. It’s a beautiful night and it’s the last evening we’ll follow the travel routine we’ve all settled into these last six weeks and two days. The longest we’ve stayed in one place was three nights. We’ve covered a lot of ground. We’ll calculate the actual miles when we get home.

Rv humor

There are things I will miss. It was surreal to travel around the country in our own little house for that length of time. The whole experience far exceeded my expectations. Our plans were flexible enough to take advantage of the opportunities we had to spend time with friends and family, yet we did almost everything we set out to do in the time we had alotted.

The weather cooperated and we benefited from a tremendous amount of good luck as we made decisions about the RV park locations. It got pretty tense a couple of times when places filled up days ahead of a weekend. We had our three dogs and the cat to consider as well, so proximity to the sights we wanted to see was critical to how much we got to do.

I picked up a few new hats

I no longer like staying in motels. I like having my own sheets and towels and my own things around me. The dogs are used to their second home and make themselves quite comfortable in it. It would have been impossible for us to have traveled any other way and do the things we have done. Our whole goal was to see the New England States and the fall colors. We did that and so much more.

All along the way people came up with wonderful suggestions about what we should do and see. We had to make difficult choices. It would have taken too much time and way too much money to do it all. I think we’re both really happy with the way it all played out and as far as I’m concerned, I wouldn’t change a thing.

I’m anxious to be home and can’t wait to see our family and friends, but life will be really real again. Kip has to look for transportation to replace the pickup I wrecked just days before we left. I’m going to be pretty busy myself with some commitments and projects waiting for me. We’ll only have one vehicle for a while. Then there’s the holidays. I’m making lists in my head as I write this.

No matter what…this trip is in the books. The experience has given me a new perspective on things, and reaffirms my favorite words…Be anxious about nothing…I’m going to take more deep breaths, appreciate all the tiny blessings as well as the big ones, and realize I’m a very small part of a very big world. My life is only as complicated as I make it.

Stop and smell the coffee like these two handsome dudes.

Bad things can happen without a moments notice. I know that. But good things can so easily be overlooked if I’m not paying attention. I tried really hard to stay in the present during this trip and I learned it’s a good place to be.

Thanks to all of you great people who followed along on our adventure. It made it even more special.

Here are a few (not all about the trees) pictures I took today.

Murdo Girl…TennesSeeYa

We drove through some of Tennessee yesterday and after the beauty of North Carolina, I wasn’t really impressed. My pictures are only good when I have amazing scenery to capture and that didn’t happen for me yesterday.

We spent last night at a KOA in Nashville and headed toward Memphis this morning. The weather was great until about one o’clock when the wind and rain set in.

I thought these pictures were interesting. All were taken from the passenger window of SeeYa.

It seems as we’ve traveled through 21 states from late September until now, that each one has it’s own unique fall display.

Cotton Field

The Danny Thomas St. Jude Research Hospital in Memphis is an enormous complex.

Crossing over the Mississippi River into Arkansas.

We’re settled in at the Memphis KOA, which interestingly enough, is in Arkansas. It’s still pouring down rain, but nothing as violent as some predicted. The lady in the laundromat this morning was scoping out a place to stand if a torado hit, and washing her clothes so she could pack her disaster bag. She’s been on the road two weeks longer than we have. Maybe it’s time for all of us to go home…

Murdo Girl…Nothing could be finer

If I had Aladdin’s lamp for only a day…

I’d make a wish and here’s what I’d say

Nothing could be finer than to be in Carolina in the morning

(On the road to Brevard…Thursday morning.)

Friday….

We met Anne and Bear for coffee and a treat

At the Blue Ridge Bakery where the locals meet

Blue Grass musicians entertained us all

Outside the rain began to fall

Bear and Kip were very emphatic

They didn’t want to join us at the resale Attic

So they went to a place called Mantiques

Then met us for some yummy lunchtime eats

We took the dogs for a walk and gave them bones

Before driving up the mountain to the home of the Jones’

Saturday…

On Saturday Bear was kind enough

To take Kip and me to see lots of stuff

He drove us to Highland and Cashiers

We saw a waterfall so loud it hurts your ears

It’s called Dry Falls and yet…

When I stood behind it, my new hat got wet

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Streaming down the mountain that water was raging

If you tripped and fell…there’d be no more aging

We stopped by a thrift store (Which filled Kip with dread)

I bought this vintage hat to adorn my head

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The day was sunny and the mountains were full

Of colorful trees, so incredibly beautiful

We got back in time to take the dogs outside

Before going for another short ride

At Bear and Anne’s we saw James and Janet

Anne made the best dinner on the planet

Janet’s dessert was heaven-sent

We walked when we came and waddled when we went

After dinner the conversation digressed

From colonoscopy stories to barium tests

I’m saying you would have felt left out

If you hadn’t had surgery or at least some gout

All the way back, Kip and I professed

No one in this world could be more blessed.

To have wonderful friends like these four

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And to think…back home there’s even more

When friends become more like family

The world’s a wonderful place to see and be

Murdo Girl…Bear with us

Hendersonville, North Carolina….the Bear Claw capital of the world and a fun place to have friends to visit.

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We had a wonderful few days with James and Janet Adams. We even kept the Mabank tradition of Tuesday night dinner with friends. Kip has not stopped talking about Janet’s delicious homemade soup and if you know Kip, you’ll understand his excitement over her, secret recipe, apple dumplings served hot with ice cream. I could hurt myself eating them.

It really bothered James that the words on the signs in my selfies were backwards, so we spent a little time practicing on his sweatshirt. (We finally got it fixed at the parade.)

Many of you, who are on Facebook, already know that Kip and I entered ourselves in a Halloween costume parade in downtown Hendersonville. Our son and daughter-in-law, Mason and Amy Masteller, who live in Wyoming, gave us “Does a bear go in the woods” long johns for Christmas last year. We decided this was the perfect opportunity to break them in.

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When our kids were little and they asked Kip a question, when the answer was yes, he would always respond, “Does a bear go in the woods?”

We stayed in a very nice RV park near James and Janet and the dogs loved walking the trails. The weather was gorgeous and we continue to enjoy the beautiful fall colors in this part of the country.

We’re off to see our friends who live in Brevard…a short distance from Hendersonville. Hopefully, they didn’t decide to leave town.

SeeYa soon, Anne and Bear!

Murdo Girl…A fun find

We spent Sunday hanging out in Charlotte, NC. The RV park we found is filled with racing enthusiasts during NASCAR season because it’s within walking distance of the Charlotte Motor Speedway. It wasn’t the prettiest location, but the weather was so beautiful, we didn’t spend much time there anyway. Besides, we were on a mission.

Several months ago our daughter, Heidi, ran across some information on a restaurant called The McNinch House. It happens to be in Charlotte, NC.

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The circa 1892 Queen Anne style home of the Victorian-era was owned by long time Charlotte Mayor, Sam McNinch. When he passed away in 1929, his daughter, Mattie McNinch, who never married, resided in the home. She lived there until 1978.

Here is how it’s described:

The McNinch House is of the authentic Queen Anne/shingle style. The house currently stands on the National Historic Register. The exterior of the house is covered with shingles on the upper portion, clapboard on the lower portion, and patterned slate on the roof. tower, wings, gables, and porches are massed together and topped with an eyebrow window. The interior has fine, richly molded woodwork upstairs and down, created by Victorian craftsmen led by world-famous architect Mr. Karl Bitter, who duplicated many of the designs at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, including the beautiful coffered ceiling in the library. The ten fireplaces are all tiled and there is a three-way fireplace opening into the foyer, library, and dining room.

The McNinch House has been owned and operated as a restaurant by Chef Ellen Davis since 1989.

It’s a lovely place and I’m sure the food is to die for, but it wasn’t going to be open again until Tuesday and we were leaving on Monday. Besides that, we didn’t have reservations far enough ahead of time, and Kip didn’t bring a coat and tie.

No big deal! We got sandwiches at the Potbelly downtown and ate them at a table outside…

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It was a relaxing afternoon and the dogs were excited they got to come with us. They were the objects of a lot of attention from others out enjoying the beautiful day. Downtown Charlotte has a very cultural atmosphere and has several beautiful old churches standing tall along narrow streets.

We’re in Hendersonville, NC now. We love this place and we get to see some pretty special people here…

Still loving the fall colors…

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Murdo Girl…Arlington National Cemetary

Thursday…

We decided to drive the 26 miles instead of taking the train to see Arlington National Cemetary. We got to Georgetown, which is in close proximity, without a problem and found a place to park. We stopped at a coffee shop so Kip could get a danish. I had a mocha to help warm me up.

As it turned out, by the time we got to the Cemetary, we found we had dressed too warmly. I needed the stocking hat in the morning, and when it got too hot, I couldn’t take it off. I guess I need to bring a lighter weight hat to change into. Life is full of challenges like that! Hat hair can be a real problem. Especially if your hair doesn’t look that great before you put the hat on.

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Watching the changing of the guard was a profound experience. It’s surreal. The ceremony takes place every hour on the hour in the winter months and every half hour during the summer. I didn’t get a very good video, but you can see a little of the ceremony here. I couldn’t get it edited for some reason, so you’ll have to suffer through the girl to my right messing with her hair and my hand trying to shield the sun.

 

A couple of junior high kids got to help place the wreath. It all takes place at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Almost 500,000 are buried in Arlington National Cemetary and there is an average of 28 internments per day.

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Below is President John Fitzgerald Kennedy’s grave. You can barely see the eternal flame in the picture.

We had delicious slices of pizza at an outside cafe before heading back to camp.

Here is a drive-by shot of the Pentagon.

Today is Sunday…We’re in Charlotte, NC catching up with ourselves…

Murdo Girl…Like a rolling stone.

Written Friday night.. 

We left Maryland around nine o’clock this morning and drove in the rain all day before stopping around four this afternoon. We’ll drive the remainder of the way to Charlotte, NC tomorrow where we plan to stay two nights.

We really enjoyed our brief stay near Washington DC. The first day we took the train to the Washington DC Mall which is where the Smithsonian Museums are as well as most of the monuments and government buildings. 

We paid almost a hundred dollars for a “jump on and jump off” bus ticket, but it was a bit of a waste. The bus was never there when we wanted to jump on, so we ended up walking most places. It was still a super fun day.

Eleven blocks to go!

This is as close as we could get to the White House

The sign says this is the White House Christmas treeI thought they brought one in each year.

This is the Post Office that became a Trump Hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue.

For those of you who aren’t on Facebook and didn’t see this…I spotted Randy and Toni Martin as we were getting on a bus at the Lincoln Memorial. They were getting off. Randy and I worked together fifteen years ago. Quite a coincidence!!

SeeYa is holding up well!

Saturday morning…

I’m going to get this posted. I’ll do a blog later about our visit to Arlington National Cemetary. We were extremely impressed!

We’re having some difficulty finding good RV spots on the weekends. Everyone is having Halloween camping parties! We’re still calling places for the next two nights…wish us luck!

Murdo Girl…Another look back

Monday afternoon, we took the short ferry ride to Ellis Island. I will admit I was not fully aware of the part it played in the history of America.

On the ferry ride to Ellis Island..

It was the gateway for over twelve million immigrants in the over sixty years it was in operation (1892 – 1954).

As many as forty percent of all current U.S. citizens can trace at least one of their ancestors to Ellis Island.

At first most of the people who immigrated to America were from northern Europe. Later, things began to change and more and more immigrants began pouring in from southern and eastern Europe. They made long and difficult trips across the ocean in the hopes of a better life. Many were escaping poverty, famine, drought or religious persecution. 

Often times the husband would come first to get established before his family came. It might be years before a reunion could be arranged and sometimes so much had changed, and there had been so little communication, the families couldn’t face their new life and challenges together. Other times, the families left behind, found they couldn’t leave their homes in the old country.

Once here, the immigrants had to be registered and processed before they could leave and begin their new lives. They usually traveled by train unless they remained in the New York area. 

There were many countries represented and so many different languages spoken, that communication was difficult. Some were sick and weak when they got off the ship. They had to prove they had the skills to support themselves, or a family that was already here and established. Some were found to be criminals. About ten percent were sent back because the criteria could not be met. Sometimes Ellis Island was referred to as the island of tears.

During the peak years, those arriving had to wait in long lines to be processed in the room pictured below.

These young women are meeting their future husbands for the first time. Enlarge the plaque below by tapping on it with your fingers and read about these arranged marriages.

The old train station near the island is deserted and eerie.

I took this picture from the ferryIts my favorite of the day.

Going by the Statue of Liberty on the way back

There are many recorded human interest stories about the people of Ellis Island and what they endured. They tell of the successes and the failures of these people who became a big part of the rich texture of our past and molded our future. 

I encourage you to look up some of the other interesting facts about this very significant piece of American history. It was quite an experience to stand where they stood…to look at the small dormitories they slept in, and see displays of personal items the immigrants brought with them. Items that represent many different cultures. Families have generously donated these treasures to the museum.

There was also an area that showed what was left when it closed suddenly and how it began to deteriorate until it became part of the Statue of Liberty project and restoration began.

It was an enlightening experience…

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We left our spot in Jersey City on Sunday and made our way to Washington DC. We’ve been on the go ever since. Maybe I’ll be able to quit chasing my tail tomorrow and catch up.

I gave up chasing my tail around. I’m trying to help MG relax

 On our walk before we left…

On the way out of town…

Thanks for letting us share this adventure with you. It really adds to the fun…

 

Murdo Girl…A day to remember

I’ll bet not too many people traveling in an RV with three dogs and a cat, and towing a Jeep, could conquer New York City in a day and a half. You can come pretty close if you stay at an RV park-it. (I call it park-it because it really isn’t a park where you put your awning out and sit around a campfire.) The beauty of it is, it’s only a ten minute walk from a ferry that takes you to the financial district, Ground Zero and the Freedom Tower, plus the 9/11 Memorial and Museum…or …The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Each ferry ride is less than twenty minutes. 

We also had near perfect weather. We spent the afternoon we got there walking to and around Liberty State Park.

Cyndie: I’m so glad to be off that scary ride. We don’t have to get on a boat do we?

Sammie and Pattie: Are there places to hide?

The next morning we walked the dogs, turned the TV to their favorite channel, and went to see Ground Zero and the 9/11 Museum and Memorial. We even went to the top of the Freedom Tower and got back to the RV in time to walk the dogs again.

The museum honoring those who lost their lives and the countless others whose lives were shattered by the events of that day, was a highly emotional experience for Kip and me. When you see in person, all of the tangible evidence left in the wake of the horror this country was subjected to on 9/11/2001, it can’t help but have a huge impact. Even seventeen years later.

I think the thing that touched my heart the most, and one of the many things that brought tears,  was one of the quotes stenciled on the wall. The wife of a young man killed in the World Trade Center said she didn’t want that day to end. She said even though it was a day filled with horror, it was still a day she had shared a part of with her husband. 

A little ten year old girl wrote a letter to her favorite baseball player, Derek Jeter. Her father had been the pilot on flight 175. (The highjackers slit his throat.)

I took the above shot standing directly  below the tower. The next one was from the ferryboat the next day.

The view from floor 102 of the tower…

Except for a section of the museum that held a lot of the more personal items and things that should be seen in person, we were allowed to take pictures. That section also had the remains of the building that formed a perfect cross. A symbol that meant and still means a lot to many. I found this picture on the internet.

I didn’t take many photographs. These few include the “survivors” stairs and a couple in the section honoring the dogs of 9/11. 

You really must experience for yourself, this incredible display  representing the many acts of kindness, heroism and evidence of  miracles, as well as vivid reminders of the devastation this nation was subjected to that day.

Above: The Ladder 3 firetruck.

Tomorrow…Ellis Island and Lady Liberty.