Wednesday, December 19, 2012

"The Hobbit" a few thoughts

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

I was 19 the first time I read The Hobbit.   I became an instant fan.  Tolkien's humor, incomparable imagination and ability to transfer written word in to a reality that I could totally engage my loyality and devotion.  I loved the characters....good, bad and ugly, very ugly.  There were no subtle refrences to evil--it was clearly identified.  And the Good, well, it was noble and sincere completely admirable even tho each noble character had shortcomings, they were each totally believable, charming and heroic.  We all need a hero.  Tolkien gave us all of Middle Earth! By the time I was 20 I had read all of the Lord of the Rings saga...and each year afterwords, I re-read all three just for the sheer pleasure of enjoying the story all over again, that is what classic literature is meant to be....sheer enjoyment! I read LOTR every year in my 20s and 30s.  In my 40s I probably read it 5 my late 40s I discovered the unabridged audio of LOTR and the Hobbit and wow!  I then began listening each year of my 50s....I have grown old and never tire of the reading or hearing of the story of Bilbo, Frodo, Gandalf, Aragorn, Sam and on and on....Technology finally made possible a movie rendition of the saga!!!  When I saw the very first trailer in the movie theater I could identify all the Fellowship and I knew these movies were going to be epic!  I was not disapointed in the fact, Paul and I saw the first movie 20+ times in the $1 theater!
So, when we went to see the Hobbit yesterday, I sat back and just flat out enjoyed myself lost in the miracle of a fantasy turned into reality in the very best way!  Oh, this young Bilbo is so loveable and true to the book....I don't know if you are a fan or not, and maybe this rambling seems a bit over-board, but friends I just had to let you know, you should go see the movie, then read the book.
Thank you Peter Jackson.

Oh, we have also seen "Lincoln". an outstanding movie with a cast of wonderful, talented actors who all performed Oscar-worthy not miss this one.
And then there is Bond, James Bond....of course we have a loyalty to the brand...again, our youth is attached to Mr. Bond as sure as our attachment to the Beatles...a totally entertaining movie to see on the big screen for sure!
Tally ho ho ho for now,

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Christmas in aCasita...ho ho ho

I am a huge fan of Christmas...the Nativity, of course and all that means for mankind is awesome to ponder....then of course, the music both sacred and popular, and then there's the family traditions of fun, food and fellowship and of course entertaining and being entertained, all the wonderful programs both school, church and community.....there is just so much going on....even in a 17 foot Casita!  You remember, I left 50 + boxes in storage chock full of Christmas "stuff".  Well, I did bring along a couple of things from home....

This is ourWee Forest Folk nativity set and a few of ourChristmas mice....

We do have a small tree....

And a bit more of our halls are decked....


So, we are ready, areYOU????

Tally Ho Ho Ho,

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

6 Months!

Hello to all!  We have been "on the road" for six whole months officially.  We left NC on June 10th and headed north spending time in DC area, NYC area, Boston burbs, Bar Harbor/Acadia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Vermont, Massachusetts, New York state, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Nebraska, Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Alabama....*whew*.  We have had a blast (great 60s expression!).  Time has certainly flown and altho my blogging has been at best, sporadic, please know I have a ton of great info and experiences to share and I will share, promise!  We watched "Christmas Story" the other night (just one of our many Christmas rituals....) and were reminded how long it use to take to finally "get" to Christmas...but now seems like poof, it is here and gone!  That is what time on the road is like too.  When we first started Paul would say, "We will go 6 months and then see how we feel about it...", then he would admit to a year and now....well we know a year will not be close to enough time to fit in all we want to do and see.  That is the first realization we have come to after 6 months out.

The day we left NC
The second thing we realize is we miss our family!  Whether it is our grown kids and our grands in NC, or my folks, sister and cousins in the KC area or Paul's family scattered all over....well, we miss the connections and being around the ones who are so dear to us!
Our grandson Zion
Next realization:  We are so fortunate to be able to have this "adventure" !  We cannot begin to explain how amazed we are at being able to travel as we do, believe me when I say we never take this opportunity for granted and altho we miss folks and a "normal" life....well, living our way-un-normal life is so exciting and educational...Usually, as folks age their world becomes smaller (happens to most of us), but we are trying to keep our world wide open and least for a while and then, when the time comes, we will have lots of photos, videos and blog posts to remind us of a time when we were foot loose and fancy free!

Claudia standing outside her 5th wheel with Bella, her pug, after their first night in a Walmart Parking lot!

 Here we are in MiniPearl at Walmart too!
Another thing we have learned is to be flexible.....we do have to work at this, but when we do, we are both alot happier :-).  I finally dropped a whole container of vegetable soup on the floor of  Mini.  Luckily, it was not alot of liquid and we had it cleaned up pronto.  We bump into each other frequently as this is a small rig, but, we still agree it is the best choice for our situation and we have learned we can live very well inside our little "egg".
We use the elec. kettle daily and the food processor, not so much....but could not do without either.  As for the iron...well, haven't used it since Boston!  We have had summer clothes on until we hit KC, then got out the winter stuff only to break into the summer again when we hit Alabama.  Glad we brought for both seasons.  We have really used our travel duffel bags, they hold alot and don't take up much room.  We bought a coleman ice-less cooler that runs on a 12 volt with a converter to DC and love it!  has enlarged my refrigerator storage and that is something I have really had a hard time adjusting to....4 cu ft of refrigeration is dismally small, but I try to shorten my list, really I do!  Practice is making me better, that is for sure!  Our Nissan Pathfinder is a true champ and the best choice for a tow vehicle....we have lots of room for storage in there.

Our set up in Alabama...we do travel with quite a bit still after much parring down.....the tent is our garage where we store our bedding during the day, our Coleman elec. cooler, and the big boxes out of the back of our Nissan.  The ground is super sandy here and full of tiny mean ants....not my favorite location, but all in all, a great place for the month!
Statue:  The Pioneer Mother
I so admire those amazing brave pioneers who forged a country from the wilderness with such courage and tenacity.  Paul and I are enjoying our journey in our own way!
Two days in a row!  hooray and Tally ho,

Monday, December 10, 2012

Time Travelers

I am so behind in my blogging, if anyone is still checking, I may have lost everyone just through boredome!  I think I will just start from where we are now....altho we have been enjoying ourselves. Have been in Alabama a whole week already.  We are about 40 min. from Mobile, the closest large city.  Have made several trips there for groceries, church and Camping World.  The campground is in a wonderful location very close to the beach.  The weather has been excellent until can we complain tho, it is still jacket weather!

Dauphin Island in the distance, this is the bridge you must cross to get there!

Campground entrance

Fiona does not like the water, but it is a beautiful beach and the water is warm!

We have been to see the light display at Bellingrath gardens just down the road.  Perfect clear warm evening and spectacular lights, Claudia and Paul and I enjoyed ourselves and agreed it was worth the price of admission.  Mr. Bellingrath made his money via Coca Cola!  We want to go back and tour the mansion, it looked lovely.
We get free wi-fi at the campground pavillion so that is where I am now.....

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Kansas City here I Come

As I said before, we spent all of November in my home town.  I never thought I would leave KC...but I did in 1966 and have not lived there since....still, it is home to me although I have lived in NC actually longer....My sister and her hubby and my folks all live there.  Claudia and Neil have a 5th wheel and have been itching to hit the road for a longer trip, so they decided to join us as we traveled south! 

We stayed at Walnut Grove, short on ambience, long on well-maintained, friendly, super clean and quiet and excellent all in all, we were very pleased with our home for the month!

 We visited the Nelson Art Gallery and joined my parents for lunch

My folks
The museum is famous for the Shuttlecocks sculptures on the front lawn, they are ultra cool
Of course, the Country Club Plaza is a highlight of any visit to the KC area....
My folks live on the Plaza is a lovely building close to everything!
This is their building and they have a view of this....

This is the Plaza all lit up for Christmas!  They have a big lighting ceremony on Thanksgiving night, we all are up in my folks apartment eating delicious goodies and enjoying some holiday spirit...then...the lights are turned on and wow, it is always amazing.  This is something I remember from my childhood as my parents also remember....wish my children could see the lights too.

What's up?

We met with
 long-time friends, Ron and Karen Stith in Branson, Missouri!  Branson is unique in so many ways. We caught the peak week of autumn color with the trees ablaze and the weather sunny and warm, could not have asked for anything better.  Karen and Ron try to make it to Branson from their home in New Mexico at least once a year and they pack lots of live music performances into their schedule.  Paul and I were delighted to get to spend some quality time with them.  We did the train ride and had several meals together, Cowboy Church and the Baldknobber show...Paul and I did the Titanic experience....very very interesting and well-done....

Outside our MiniPearl

I thought the conductors were so friendly and full of good info and witty too!  They do a Polar Express Show in December, wish I could go!

Karen and Ron were stationed in Germany when we were there in the 70s.  We lived close on base, attended the same church, they introduced us to camping European style and we traveled many places with them and their children.  So many good memories we share and more to come...we will visit them when we are in New Mexico the first of next year!

This is the amazing train we took for a beautiful ride.

So, this all happened in October, yes, I know I am way behind. Right now I am sitting in our camper and we are back in Branson!!!  On our way south for December.....heading to the Alabama shore....We spent the whole month of November in Kansas City visiting family and seeing some old and new sights.....more on KC next post.  I really am still out and about, we are well and having a great time....still! 

Thursday, October 18, 2012


I (Cathy) am now in Rogers, Arkansas and today will be heading for what my sister and I affectionatly call....WAR EAGLE.....which is a huge. and I mean BIG....maybe gigantic is a better word...collection of craft fairs surrounding Rogers...Bentonville, Bella Vista...each town has several of these going on all at once, perhaps totalling over 5,000 different booths!!! Ah mazing.  I try to join my sis and several of her good friends for this special weekend whenever I can.  Last year I announced that "next" year I would be here camping because I would be on our adventure. Well, to be honest, I never thought that would happen, but lo and did.  So, I leave Paul and Fiona to fend as best they can, while I get my annual infusion of autumn leaves, awesome crafts, kettle corn and good times!
So now to catch up...we did Yellowstone in a day, we will go back, promise, but ate a good lunch in the Lodge, saw Ol Faithful go off, viewed the scenery and saw a buffalo, left Cody area and headed back to the KC, MO area for a couple of  weeks, then headed south to Branson, Mo to meet up with long-time friends Karen and Ron, Branson is their thing, but we had a good time visiting with them between all the shows they attended! Now, as I said, we are in Rogers, Arkansas so that is actually catching up to real time!  horay!!!

This short video gives you a bit of an idea what is in store for the weekend....taken last year! 
Tally ho,
PS.....we get silly in Arkansas....

Monday, October 15, 2012

Totally Wild Bill!

We had reservations for several nights at Buffalo Bill Cody State Park outside Cody,
easy drive from Custer State Park....with an overnight in a Walmart Parking Lot and a surprise visit from fellow travelers and friends Brian and Marla...we enjoyed visiting, catching up on travels and learing about new places we should see while on the road.  Brian and Marla are very seasoned travelers with lots of good ideas and suggestions....we have taken them up on several which have proved excellent!

The Irma Hotel was owned by Buffalo Bill, named for his daughter and is still in operation.  the flag below the American flag is Wyoming state flag, very impressive!  We had lunch at the Irma, very very good!

We arrived in Cody and drove outside of town a few short miles, past the dam and there was the beautiful resevoir surrounded by amazing mountains.  We were really excited to be there until the guy at the gate informed us he had given our reserved site away and there were no more elec. sites to be had!  Long story short...we had a huge incident with the rude and bully ranger...who ended up comping us two nights for our inconvenience and we decided to get over our indignation and enjoy the scenery and our time and WE DID....  

We stayed here

Our site....
The resevoir...kind of smoky because of the fires in the area...

we enjoyed visiting the Buffalo Bill Cody Museum....what a treasure and certainly worth every minute we spent there....took us two days to see just some of the 5 different museums incorporated into the building.

These mule deer were resting in town in someone's yard....we thought they were plastic yard ornaments!
We have been taking tons of pix of the wild life....
Isn't he cute?

This is a big ol Bull Bison.....
Same guy, better shot, still foggy!
I guess we will do Yellowstone next!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

And a little further west you have....

Our "objective" was a visit to Mt. Rushmore...we planned to stay at Custer State Park which is close to the town Custer, SD.  We had no idea how incredible the area was, but we soon found out that Mt. Rushmore isn't the only wonder to be seen!
This is Sylvan Lake located just inside Custer State Park.  We followed the path around the lake which took us behind those beautiful rock formations you see.
Once again, the weather was perfect and it was an easy and enjoyable walk.

The path led us through a walled passageway....

And up above the lake...what a view!

Then, we drove the famous "Needles" Highway which took us through very small tunnels and around hairpin curves...but oh what sights

We happened upon a few mountain goats...isn't he something?

Another tunnel....

And then back to our campground.  That was our first day....The next day we visited Mt. Rushmore by way of the Wild Life Loop

We had a nice chat with some of the burros....

This big guy walked right along beside our car!

The prong horn sheep are beautiful, we were able to see several does with their babies


There were several more tunnels to pass through and more very winding roads, here is a famous shot of the Rushmore sculpture through one of the openings of a tunnel...
We were there on Sept. 11...the flag at half mast

Very impressive.  We had our lunch and visited the exhibits.  Another wonderful adventure.  This is the condensed version of our travels...when we get finished, I plan on making one huge slide show of lots more photos and you are all invited to come see...bring a sleeping bag and we will provide the popcorn!
Coming soon...our Cody visit and a great shot of Old Faithful!!!  I know you can't wait!
Tally ho,