Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Home from the hospital

Mom was released this evening. She was feeling a lot better and anxious to go home.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Mom in the hospital

As Mom and Dad were getting ready for Kim's service this morning Mom began to feel weak and at one point couldn't speak - just make noises. Julie and Marie were there to take them to the funeral and decided Mom needed to go to the hospital. Julie stayed with Mom and Marie left with Daddy. Mom was dehydrated and they weren't sure if she'd had a TIA so they admitted her. Greg's family and Marie and Daddy came to the hospital after Kim's service. It was a stressful day for all and I wish I had been there.

Tonight was Little League. Dom is playing this year and he really wanted his Poppa and Nana to come watch him play. He is doing very well. Watching those little guys play ball is a fun evening.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

It's good to be home

We finished setting up our home, spent not enough time cleaning the outside, picked up some parts to replace (thank heaven there are far less things to repair in this) and went up to see Dayna's family. Had a nice time catching up.

Dayna won two tickets to the NASCAR race for last Sunday (she is one of the luckiest people I know when it comes to drawings!) which included a pit pass, breakfast & lunch and all their drinks at the Stanley section, lots more drawing there (which they didn't win), and parking - a several hundred dollar prize. Darin was quite jealous as he's the big NASCAR fan. He was hoping for an autograph of his favorite driver.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Back to Denton

It was only about 250 miles to Denton. We decided to have the truck and trailer washed before we parked it so we went to the truck wash just north of Denton. We arrived about 3:15 and waited until 5:00 before we gave up. By then they had only finished washing 2 trucks and there was one more ahead of us. We would not have gotten out of there before 7 PM so we drove to our permanent space at Destiny RV Resort.

Backing this rig into the space we have is a good trick. It is the largest space in the park, but we have to back in around a large tree and do not have a lot of room to maneuver. Everyone in the area has to come out to watch the show. I have disappointed a lot of people who are expecting to see yelling, screaming, crashing and cussing. Maybe I missed my calling as a truck driver!

Friday, April 22, 2005

Ruston, LA

Today was a driving day. We left early and gained an hour as we entered the Central time zone. We drove over 500 miles and found the nicest campground of the entire trip. It is the Lincoln Parish Park, just a couple miles off I30 in Ruston, LA. Being a parish (county) park, it was also about the least expensive. It is located on a man made lake with a paved walking trail all the way around as well as bike and horse trails. They had picnic areas and a sandy beach for swimming. We were able to back into a spot overlooking the lake and did not even have to unhook. They had full hookups, beautiful scenery and it was only $16 plus tax. We would not mind spending more time there.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Visiting Darin & Diane

We drove to Chattanooga today and checked into Raccoon Mountain Campground. Darin, Diane and Katie came over from Cleveland in the afternoon. We went to dinner at Cracker Barrel and had a good visit. Christine had to work so we did not get to see her.

Difficult Day

We received the sad news that Tina's sister Kim passed away recently. Tina is the Executrix and there are legal problems to sort out so it has been a double whammy for her. You are in our thoughts and prayers, Tina.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Biltmore Estate

Today we toured the Biltmore Estate, another of the Vanderbilt homes. This is still owned by the Vanderbilts and is a working estate, although most of the work is with tourism. The do have a winery and some farming still in existence, but they only have about 40,000 acres left of the original 120,000 acre estate. The Biltmore is the largest privately owned house in the country, with about 250 rooms. We toured the house and the gardens which were beautiful. The tulips were in bloom. We ate at the lunch room which used to be the stable. Nicest stable we ever saw!

We spent the night at Taps RV park in Ashville. It was listed as a place with Big Rig sites in the campground guide, and the manager who checked us in said it would be no problem to get in. "Bigger rigs than yours have been in here." Right. These people have no concept of a rig that is 65 feet long! We had to unhook the truck from the trailer and if the people in front of us had not left when they did, we would have had to back out. I hope I have learned my lesson. Don't trust anyone who stands to make a buck if I stay in their campground. Check it yourself!

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Salisbury, NC

Dianna spent the day exploring the county records and library in Salisbury, NC and found several documents in her genealogy research. We spent about four hours there and then drove west about 10 miles to Mill Bridge where some of her ancestors are buried. The grave of her Revolutionary War ancestor, William Knox, was beside his parents' grave.

She didn't know his was there so it was a great find for her! The church was established in 1747 - years before this country was a country. Fascinating history. Spent the night at a lake resort near Conover, NC.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Genealogy in North Carolina

We made it to the Raleigh, NC area so Dianna could do some genealogy research. We spent the night at an RV park very near Duke University where Lauren was initially treated. Dianna did not find much at the State Library, but it was an interesting place to visit. She has high hopes for her visit to Salisbury, NC tomorrow.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Four States in One Day

Yesterday we left MA and got as far as Mountain Top, PA, between Scranton and Wilkes-Barre. The owner once lived in Cuba, NY (where Richard was born and lived until he was 11), once owned the hotel on Main St. and loves Cuba Cheese! The world continues to shrink!!

Today we drove from Pennsylvania, through Maryland and West Virginia and are spending the night in Petersburg, VA. We've enjoyed absolutely gorgeous weather, finally seeing some green lawns and green leaves on the trees. We're sooo glad to be on our way home and back to warmer country!

Friday, April 15, 2005

On the Road, Again

The trailer is packed and we are ready to leave Rhode Island/Massachusetts first thing in the morning. After 70 degrees last Sunday we have had temperatures no higher than 50 this week, but the trees are just starting to push buds so leaves can't be far behind. Today we saw some daffodils growing along the highway. That's the first color we have seen!

We are on our way to Raleigh, NC so Dianna can do some genealogy stuff, then to Salisbury, NC for the same reason. Then we plan to go to Ashville, NC and tour the Biltmore mansion after which we head for Chattanooga to see Darin's family overnight. Then it's on to Denton and home. Our route from here to Raleigh will be anything but a straight line. We plan to head west through CT, missing Hartford this time, and then across the Newburg Bridge above New York City and over to near Scranton, PA. Then south on I81 until we are into Virginia. The route through PA is pretty mountainous but we will miss all the Atlantic seaboard population centers like New Haven, New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington DC. Those areas are bad enough in a car, let alone 65 feet of truck and trailer.

Postings may be sporadic the next few days as I don't usually bother to set up the satellite when we are just stopping overnight. More and more parks have wireless connectivity, and many of them offer it for free, so we will try to update our progress as we go.

Even with the bad weather the past two months, we have enjoyed seeing the new places here. But we are also excited about seeing our kids and grandkids again so leaving is not hard at all. In fact, we long for the day when we can spend a few weeks in some place and then move to the next whenever it suits our fancy. We really are vagabonds who love to be "on the road again".

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Embroidery Days

Here is what Dianna spent the past several days working on. She finished these for Donna today.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Genealogy Hunt

I've been doing some genealogy research for my mother-in-love since we've been back here. The Briggs' are from Rhode Island so there is a lot of information about them in various places. It's too bad it hasn't helped unravel the mystery of all the John and Job Briggs'! She had high hopes for me to try to resolve what the professionals haven't been able to. I went to the Newport Historical Society today as that is the area many of them are from.

Now that we're leaving I'm finally beginning to have a better feel for where I am and how to get to where I'm going! It's confusing countryside with no roads running NS or EW.

I was hoping to find something different from what I found at the Providence H.S. Other than a listing for the birth of John Briggs of South Kingstown in the Friends (Quaker) records and a few pages on the Coggeshalls - a line that married into the Briggs - I was unsuccessful. So, unless I make a trip to D.C. to check the National Archives there I don't think I'm going to find anything else locally. Sorry, Mom.

Monday, April 11, 2005


Remember those 294 steps up the Bunker Hill Monument? Well, my aching legs sure do! I am so sore today I can hardly walk. Dianna was up and down all day and is doing pretty good, but I worked at my desk for a couple hours at a time. Every time I got up I almost fell back down.

I climbed the monument about 10 years ago when I was in Boston for a conference, and I don't remember being anywhere near this sore. I guess I really need to get back in shape. We went up to the hot tub tonight, and it helped some but I still hurt.

Sunday, April 10, 2005


As we had another gorgeous, warm day today we decided to tour the USS Constitution (Old Ironsides). The last time Richard was in Boston it was closed for rehab so we were glad to find it open. They've added another level for touring so it was better than he would have seen had he been able to do so. It was awe inspiring to find ourselves on the decks of a ship that has been used to fight for our country's freedom for so many years. It's the oldest commissioned naval vessel, built in 1793-96. The still take her out and sail her 4 or 5 times a year.

The tour guides are Navy personnel, some in regular uniform, some in period costume. Our guide has had a tour in the Mediterranean, carrying on the tradition of fighting for our freedom.

At Bunker Hill we decided to climb all 294 steps. Boy are we out of shape!

It's been so wonderful to see so many historical places while back here. The east is truly a fantastic place to visit and steep ourselves in our country's early history.

Saturday, April 9, 2005

Road trip across Massachusetts

Since this is our last weekend in the area we decided to see as much as possible in the next couple of days. It was a gorgeous, warm, clear day so we enjoyed our time, some of it outdoors.

Today we went to Concord, MA to see the Minute Man memorial where "the shot heard round the world" started the Revolutionary War. Normally you can walk from the Visitor's Center across the North Bridge to the memorial. But as you can tell from the picture that was an impossibility. With the tremendous snow melt off and rain we've had the river is way over it's banks. Fortunately there's a road that will take you to it.

In the area is Walden Pond where Henry David Thoreau lived and wrote his book by the same name and Louisa May Alcott's home. It was also the home of Henry W Longfellow and Nathaniel Hawthorne at one time or another.

Then we drove by Clara Barton's home, the founder of the American Red Cross and on to Old Sturbridge Village, a village much like Williamsburg, set in colonial times with all the shops and homes set in period. It was closing in an hour so we decided not to spend the $40 to see it.

On to the Blackstone Valley where the American Industrial Revolution began. Mills were built along the Blackstone River and they used the water to run them. There's not much left now except for a lot of stores to tempt the tourist. Along the route we visited Purgatory Chasm, a chasm full of rocks to make your way over and around, at times with much difficulty. It reminded Richard of Chochise Stronghold near Wilcox, AZ.

We ate dinner at the Lafayette House, a former tavern built in 1784. The room we ate in is part of the original carriage house. George Washington, Benjamin Franklin and Lafayette all ate there and some spent the night. Great food and wonderful history.

Thursday, April 7, 2005

Don't try to understand it

After much discussion and debate the company decided to have me return to Dallas. We will be here thru next Friday and leave Saturday the 16th. When we came up from Dallas we made the trip in 4 days. Since it was the middle of winter we had to miss the storms and the window of good weather followed us accross the country. That was really pushing hard . We drove over 600 miles one day. We are going to go back a lot slower than we came. We are going to take the whole next week and be back in the office on Monday the 25th.

Now, here's the part that is hard to understand. There is a lot of work for me to do up here but they want me to fly back and forth from Dallas. I will actually put in just as many hours either way (although much of it traveling and doing no productive work) so there is no difference in the cost of my salary. They will just get less work done.

The cost of my flying back and forth will exceed the cost to keep me here full time, to say nothing of the inefficiency from wasted time travelling and the impact on my family life, but it will cost the company less since they will be able to charge our customers for my travel expenses from Dallas but could not charge them if I was here.

I bet this sounds as stupid to you as it does to me. I just keep telling myself that I only have about 15 months left until I can retire!

Tuesday, April 5, 2005

Warming Up

Today it was over 60 for the first time since we have been here. It's finally beginning to feel like spring.

It looks like we may be asked to stay here through the summer. There is more work to be done than we thought and they are not sure if they want to hire someone permanently or not. So I may need to stay for a while and see how it goes. This will mean a trip back to Dallas to move our stuff out of the space in Destiny so we are not paying for two places. Not sure if we might bring the truck and boat backup up with us.

Dianna went to the National Archives today. She didn't find anything except the National Archives, which is a feat in itself! The nice weather makes it much more enjoyable to get out.

Sunday, April 3, 2005

Looking for a new campground

Yesterday we drove over 100 miles in search of a possible new campground. We have to be out of Normandy Campground here in Foxboro, Massachusetts on the 1st of May. We didn't find anything very promising on our tour. It is surprising how few campgrounds there are in this area, and how few of the ones in existence that we would consider living in. And then there's the cost!

Today we went to one more place and found a great spot. It's expensive and does not open until May 1, but that is exactly what we need. It's on a lake and the sites are quite large. We were shown a spot where we will have no problems with the satellite and it is no farther from work than were we are now.

Friday, April 1, 2005

Normandy Campground

Here's the trailer in Normandy Campground where we are camped. The campground is in Foxboro, Massachusetts. This was before the bigger snows we had. At one time there was over two feet of snow on the ground and there were places in the park where it was piled 15 feet high by the snow removal crew.