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Go West, (Not-So) Young Man!

Westward Ho!

Tonight, Frank and I are enjoying a quiet campsite at the PA Dutch Country RV Campground outside of Manheim, PA. That wasn’t the original plan. We were supposed to be sitting in a Walmart parking lot somewhere in Ohio about now. But we both woke up this morning a bit groggy. Frank gave me a look that said, “Do we have to spend the entire day in the car again?” We’ve gotten to the point where we can read each other’s minds now, by the way. His sense of humor isn’t quite as dry as I first thought it was. He’s more of a practical joker. But that’s a story for another post.

Anyhow, we are still recovering from a weekend of revelry followed by 10 hours in the car on Sunday. So we decided to spend one more night here. Tomorrow morning, we’ll head out pretty early. I don’t know that will make it all the way to our campground in Kentucky, but I called ahead and they were okay with us coming in a day later … just so long as we let them know in the early afternoon whether we’re going to make it tomorrow or not.

I’m really kind of embarrassed about feeling exhausted. I mean, we’re really not doing anything to feel exhausted about! I guess the only defense I can put up as it we’ve been moving around a lot more frequently of late. In a fit of self-justification, I looked back at our itinerary this afternoon and sure enough -From January 1st until mid-June, we moved 13 times. But over the last two months, we’ve moved 10! That’s a lot of driving, setups and teardowns compared to what we had been used to. So I’ll take that excuse, even if it’s only a pretty weak one. : o)

Unfortunately though, Frank is going to have to suck it up because those frequent moves aren’t going to stop anytime soon. In actuality, we’ve got at least 9-10 more moves will have to go through between now and October 15th! It won’t be until then that we finally reach a place with a month-long stay to look forward to.

Not only that, we’ll be driving halfway across the country, with a couple of north/south zigzags thrown in to boot! Who came up with this itinerary, anyhow? That’s rhetorical, by the way … and don’t let on to my Chief Navigator who it was, please. He’s already asleep in the Nutshell and I’m not sure what he would do with the information.

But anyhow, back to this past weekend …

Frank and I left Massachusetts about 10:30 Friday morning. But not before some sad goodbyes. We’ve been camping next to a cabin where a family had been staying for the last week. We had a little girl that for whatever reason was just infatuated by Frank and me.

Most mornings, she would come out and say hello to us before breakfast; one morning, she hollered down from her upstairs bedroom window and offered to read me her story book. She was absolutely precious! But she had a hard time saying goodbye.

She and her brother came over with their father as we were leaving and it was obvious she didn’t want Frank to leave!  As soon as Frank saw her come up to the driver’s window, he jumped on top of me and was straining to get out to give her one final goodbye. They were at equal eye level, and as soon as Frank noticed the tears in her eyes, he just started licking away!

After that, she broke the news – “In 5 more days, I’m going to be 6 years old, and I told my mommy and daddy that I want a dog just like Frank!”  I took her father’s rolling eyes as a good signal that it was time to leave, so I just wished her a happy birthday, told her it was time for us to get on the road and mouthed, “Sorry,” to her dad. He just grinned and said that she had been asking for a dog for a while. I’m grateful he let us off the hook a little bit.

It wasn’t long before we arrived at Ross Hill Park, near Lisbon, CT. I have to say, this was a magnificent campground! Compared to the last couple of campgrounds we were at, our space was ginormous! We had a beautiful view of a river about 75 yards away and could see a number of other teardrops that had already arrived for the annual get-together of the Tearjerkers’ New England chapter.

We were sitting at the picnic table, getting our bearings when Barry and Nancy, the chapter chairpersons, stopped by to say hello. Talk about being made to feel welcome! They knew who we were just by way of Frank’s smile. But then, pretty much everyone knows Frank by now. We were greeted with warm hugs and handshakes and spent about 15 minutes with them talking about our journey.

We finished setting up and relaxed for a little while before dinner. We had been invited over to have dinner with Theresa, another of the chapter’s organizers. I have to say, I don’t go all out on my cooking. I do what I need to do. And the chicken fajitas that Theresa prepared were beyond delicious! I’m going to have to step up my game a little bit.

After dinner, we all gathered around the community campfire. As stories were being swapped, I joined in a little guitar picking session with Darrell and Rory. Meanwhile, I noticed Frank, whose lead was connected to my chair, going from person to person. He would sit directly in front of them and give them a look that was akin to Oliver begging for more food. He was trying to convince anyone who would look at him that it had been eons since he’d received any attention! Fortunately for him, everyone was more than happy to oblige. He was pretty funny –  as they would reach down to pet him, he would lower his head so that they could scratch the back of his neck. And I would catch him grinning as he was getting stroked. “Heh, heh, heh, bagged another one!”  What a conniver he can be at times!

The next day, we all got together for breakfast, with Frank following up his with a brief dip in the river. And after that came the famous Tearjerker crawl, where everyone went from campsite to campsite to learn about everyone else’s rides. There were some very cool trailers in camp, I have to say. A pretty good combination of manufactured, home-built, antique restorations and the like.

Later on, we all got back together for a pot-luck dinner and more time around the campfire. There was a group photo and an awards ceremony, too. People were recognized for things like “best home-built teardrop,” “best galley,” “best decorated campsite,” and the like.

Frank and I received an award for coming the furthest distance to attend the gathering. I tried to convince them that we’d only just come from Massachusetts, but they wouldn’t hear it. So as a result, I have a beautiful plaque that will be displayed prominently in all my future campsites.

Unfortunately, we had to leave the campfire a bit early. There was rain in the air and Frank had one of his uncontrollable shaking sessions. So we hurried back to our campsite so that Frank could get under his magic blanket in the Nutshell and feel some relief.

Our Sunday was spent entirely in the car. We started out fairly early, but I wanted to stop somewhere in New Jersey to pick up some corn and tomatoes. Now those of you who aren’t familiar with Jersey corn or Jersey tomatoes might think that’s crazy, but if you haven’t tasted them, you have no idea what you’re missing!  they are incredibly sweet, almost like eating candy!

I found a farm stand off I-87 but didn’t have any place to park, except to pull off on the side of a narrow road. I was able to catch the eye of a high school kid that was working there and he came over to the car and was more than happy to pick out some produce for us. A really nice kid – he even protested when I told him to keep the change from the $15 I had given him. But he laughed and relented when I told him that I’d sic my vicious dog on him if he said anything else. Of course, Frank was just looking at him with a big grin on his face.  : o)

We wound up with four ears of corn, three tomatoes, and a pint of blueberries. I wish I could have figured out how to bring back 4 dozen ears! Unfortunately, that wasn’t to be.

After that, I made a quick phone call to make sure he was home and then stopped to see an old friend, Eric, with whom I had worked for a few years while living in New Jersey. Eric had tried to come up to our campground in the Poconos in late May, but just couldn’t work it into his schedule. So we stopped by for a quick visit so he could meet Frank … then we were on our way.

We arrived at our Campground just before 6 p.m. and it was all I could do to empty the trailer so that we could get inside to sleep. And this is where we’ve been for the last couple of days.

This blog post was started kind of late and it needs to get it posted before heading to bed. There won’t be any photos in this one, but I have a number of them to share from the weekend and our short stay here. But we’ve got a long day of driving ahead of us tomorrow, so I want to hit the sack as soon as I can. I’ll post those in the next couple of days.

Good night everyone!

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Posted by on August 15, 2017 in Travels

 

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Frank’s Big Dance Ticket

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Frank’s not happy that the Villanova Wildcats are the #1 seed …

It’s that time of year again! And being the roundball fan, Frank has made his picks for the NCAA tournament.

Frank’s Final Four is:

The University of Nevada Wolf Pack
The Butler Bulldogs
The Wisconsin Badgers
The Gonzaga Bulldogs

He has an all Bulldog championship game, with Gonzaga beating Butler, 77-71.

Do I detect a theme here?

I pointed out to him that badgers aren’t really in the same family as dogs and wolves. He mumbled something like, “close enough,” and headed into the Nutshell to take a nap before the games started.

Quite frankly, I’m surprised Frank said anything to me at all. He’s still upset that I have two Wildcats in my Final Four – Villanova and the University of Arizona.  He didn’t feel any better when I told him that I had the University of North Carolina beating Iowa State in the other Final Four game,  and that I was picking the Tar Heels to beat Arizona in the final. “At  least I didn’t pick a Wildcat to win it all,” I told him!

He gave me the same look he does when I’m ready to go to bed and he’s already laid out in the Nutshell’s cabin, unwilling to move over to give me some room. That blank stare of disgust. I can only imagine the sulking I’ll have to deal with if a team with a feline mascot winds up winning it all.

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Frank’s dream NCAA Tournament team – the Charlotte School of Law’s Legal Beagles!!!

Frank still longs for the day when the Charlotte School of Law has a basketball team,  and that they’re good enough to make the tournament. Their mascot? The Legal Beagle, of course!

He says the same thing every March. And I do the same chant, just to mess with him:

Go Beagles!  Fight That Bail!  Appeal That Sentence!

Sorry, buddy … like I said before, it  just doesn’t quite have that “ring” to it.

 
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Posted by on March 16, 2017 in Frank Speaks

 

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Back on the Road!

It’s been awhile since the last blog post, and I apologize for that. The heart procedure was done, there were no complications and I’m fully recuperated. Thank you to everyone who offered thoughts, prayers, and words of encouragement.

Tomorrow, Frank and I are finally getting back on the road. It’s been WAY too long! We’re headed back to the Dallas area and will return to the Lake Park campground in Lewisville, where we spent a little time this past spring.

I’m still having to work off the phone. That’s been a major impediment towards making any blog posts. Well, let me rephrase that. It’s been an easy excuse to not make them. I’ve been having a bit of an issue with procrastination again. But hopefully that will be taken care of once Frank and I get back into the routine of moving around.

The problem certainly seemed to disappear right after we started out from Charleston eighteen months ago. But sitting around  East Texas for the last four and a half months has  been tough. The anxiety over medical issues. Dealing with the unknown as opposed to having a well planned  itinerary that had to be unceremoniously dumped. And then there was the waiting. This sitting around the campground in the heat, first waiting for the medical stuff to all be completed and then waiting until we could get things squared away in order to leave. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t take a bit of a toll on my psyche. Some of the healing work that took place has been undone a little bit. But  when I look at where we’re starting from as we get back underway tomorrow? There’s no comparison to the mental state I started out with  when we left  Charleston. So I’m optimistic that it won’t be too long before we’re back in the groove and moving forward. Both geographically and mentally!

Eighteen months on the road! It seems almost incomprehensible. Not that I had any expectations when we started out, but iit’s a bit hard to comprehend  that we’ve been doing this for a year and a half. And this is the longest that Frank and I have been in one place over that time span. I am very, very happy that it’s come to an end.

I’ve got a lot of news to share but we will do that right after we alight at our next camp. We’ve built our itinerary up again and it involves a return to the East Coast. We’ve upgraded our membership in the Thousand Trails camping program which has given us additional benefits, expanded the area within which we can move around, and will result in a huge savings! I’ll fill you in in a few days.

So that’s it for now. I can’t adequately put into words how much I’m looking forward to returning to the road. Especially with an optimistic feeling. Optimism! That’s not something with which I have been associated very much. LOL

Stay tuned …

 
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Posted by on November 6, 2016 in Travels

 

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Busted Brackets

Sad Frank

An “All Wildcat” NCAA Final? Please! Let that NOT happen!”

Like everyone else in the world, Frank filled out his NCAA bracket before the Dance started yesterday.

His Final Four were:

  • East Bracket – The North Carolina State Wolfpack
  • South Bracket – The Gonzaga Bulldogs
  • Midwest Bracket – The Butler Bulldogs
  • West Bracket – The Wofford College Terriers

He had University of Kentucky at the bottom of his bracket … along with Villanova, LSU, Davidson, University of Cincinnati and Arizona.  I explained to him that Kentucky had gone the entire season without a loss – he shrugged it off.  I told him that we had a possibility of a championship game featuring two teams of Wildcats!  He put his paws over his ears and started in with the “Yip, Yip, Yip, Yip, Yip” (which I think means, “Na Na Na Na Na” in Beaglese).

I asked him why Cincy was at the bottom – his reply?  “They’re the Bearcats!”  When I tried to explain that they’re not really “cats”, that it’s an entire different animal species, he simply wouldn’t hear it … “I’m not taking any chances,” he said.  If Frank is anything, he’s thorough!

He didn’t take it too well when LSU beat NC State yesterday – imagine a tiger beating a pack of wolves?  Shameful!  He’s holding out hope that either The University of Georgia Bulldogs or the University of Albany Terriers take the East Bracket now, adding to yesterday’s bracket busting.  But he’s laying all his biscuits on Gonzaga at this point.

legalbeagles

Go Beagles!!!!

Frank couldn’t do any worse than I did with my picks.  I’ve already lost one of my Final Four in Iowa State.  My other three?  Arizona, Kentucky and Virginia, but I haven’t had the heart to tell Frank that I’ve picked the Wildcats (Arizona, not Kentucky) to beat Virginia in the championship … so …

GO DAWGS!

(And he is totally pissed that there isn’t a single beagle mascot in the entire Dance.  He keeps hoping the Charlotte School of Law will someday field a team.  Their mascot?  The “Legal Beagle”.)

Go Beagles!  Fight That Bail!  Appeal That Sentence!  Nope, doesn’t quite have that “ring” to it.  Sorry, Frank.

 

 

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Edit 3/21/15

Frank is very upset with me – I misread the Tiger / Wolfpack score.  NC State actually won!  So Frank’s still got three of his four “Dawg” teams alive.  (If one of them wins the whole shebang, he is going to be very difficult to live with!)

 
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Posted by on March 20, 2015 in Frank Speaks

 

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