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Retirement Year 1

Today is the first anniversary of Richard’s retirement and boy what a year it has been.

May 2014

Trip to Talladega with Alex and my Dad.

Listening to race radio.

Listening to race radio.

 

Chillin after the race.

Chillin after the race.

June 2014

Newell Rally in the Ozarks with Dad and Brenda

Riding on the Katy Trail in Missouri.

Riding on the Katy Trail in Missouri.

Our camp site at the Ozarks.

Our camp site at the Ozarks.

July 2014

Trip to the Outer Banks & Washington DC with Alex.

We camped right on the beach at the Outer Banks.

We camped right on the beach at the Outer Banks.

We actually did remember how to fly a kite.

We actually did remember how to fly a kite.

Watching the kite boarders after dinner.

Watching the kite boarders after dinner.

We toured the city on a double decker bus.

We toured the city on a double decker bus.

We arrived before the Smithsonian opened.

We arrived before the Smithsonian opened.

We were moved by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

We were moved by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

September – November 2014

First big retirement trip to the 4 corners states.  We hiked 208 miles including a rim to rim trek in the Grand Canyon.

Colorado Trail.

Colorado Trail.

Uncompaghre Peak in Colorado.

Uncompaghre Peak in Colorado.

Arches National Park.

Arches National Park.

Canyonlands National Park.

Canyonlands National Park.

Riding to Hermit's Rest at the Grand Canyon.

Riding to Hermit’s Rest at the Grand Canyon.

Wupatki National Monument.

Wupatki National Monument.

Saguaro National Park.

Saguaro National Park.

Guadalupe Peak, the highest point in Texas.

Guadalupe Peak, the highest point in Texas.

December 2014

Christmas with the family in Chattanooga & Seneca

Dinner out with Tyler, Alex, Dad & Brenda.

Dinner out with Tyler, Alex, Dad & Brenda in Chattanooga.

Richard cleaning out his Mom's gutters.  What a good son.

Richard cleaning out his Mom’s gutters. What a good son.

January – March 2015

Wintered in Florida where we rode 747 miles on our bike.  Also spent time with Tyler at SCAD.

Tybee Island, Georgia.

Tybee Island, Georgia.

Found some time to work on our golf games.

Found some time to work on our golf games.

Dunedin, Florida

Dunedin, Florida

Richard had to do a little repair on the way home.

Richard had to do a little repair on the way home.

April 2015

Bike Cruise down the Mississippi River on the American Queen.  Toured Graceland, ate lunch at a prison and biked on Natchez Trace & Bourbon Street.

Boarding the American Queen for a week long tour down the Mississippi River.

Boarding the American Queen for a week long tour down the Mississippi River.

There were about 370 cyclists on board.

There were about 370 cyclists on board.

Richard got a good upper body workout every day.

Richard got a good upper body workout every day.

About 100 of us rode around downtown New Orleans.

About 100 of us rode around downtown New Orleans.

We rode our bike 200 miles on this trip.

We rode our bike 200 miles on this trip.

So far I don’t think that Richard has had much time to be bored yet!

Can't wait to earn some more bling for the Subaru!

Can’t wait to earn some more bling for the Subaru!

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The Year That Was

Here is my poem of the year we had with some pictures added.  I hope everyone has a happy, healthy New Year.

The trail to Ice Lake near Silverton, CO.

The trail to Ice Lake near Silverton, CO.

The year 2014 began with Richard finishing the master bathroom remodel … more or less.

The last final touches will have to wait until he retires, I guess.

The new shower.

The new shower.

The brutal West Virginia winter gave Richard too much time to look at RV’s on the net.

So we picked up our new-to-us coach in February. Will this be the last? I wouldn’t bet.

Two of our RVs, Junior & Mickey.

Two of our RVs, Junior & Mickey.

The Newell mechanics installed a new windshield and sway bar during the light of day.

But oddly some projects requiring their equipment were completed at night during our stay.

Maybe there was a creature stirring after all.

Maybe there was a creature stirring after all.

On a Tuesday afternoon in March, Tyler received a phone call that he had been accepted to SCAD.

So he had 1 1/2 days to withdraw from Marshall and pack up all of the things that he had.

View from the front door of Tyler's dorm room.

View from the front door of Tyler’s dorm room.

This spring Richard decided that a BMW sports car would be a nice addition and bought an M3.

Afraid that he would end up in the hospital or in jail, he returned the car for a “small” fee.

Kissing his new car goodbye.

Kissing his new car goodbye.

In April Richard and I headed back to Mayo and with mostly good news I thought I was set.

But a bout with severe adrenaline insufficiency this summer would be the toughest time yet.

Mayo Clinic.

Mayo Clinic.

On May 1 Richard retired from Alcon to spend more time with his wife.

He hasn’t looked back one minute because we are so excited about this new chapter in our life.

The guys at the shop made this for Richard's retirement.

The guys at the shop made this for Richard’s retirement.

Richard, Alex, my Dad & I went to Talladega where many red necks were on the scene.

I hope Alex and Dad aren’t too scarred from all the things they might have seen.

Listening to race radio.

Listening to race radio.

Alex is writing computer code to collect & store data on a rocket to be launched next year.

He gave a 4 hour presentation to NASA on Wallops Island, Virginia with 3 of his peers.

Alex at his favorite restaurant, Panda.

Alex at his favorite restaurant, Panda.

In June Dad, Brenda, Richard and I met our Newell friends in the Ozarks, way out in the sticks.

We really felt away from it all because the closest town, Blue Eye, had a population of only 36.

Enjoyed playing golf at our campground.

Enjoyed playing golf at our campground.

Dad and Brenda spent 2 days in nearby Branson, Missouri with so many things to see.

And with Brenda’s clever negotiation skills, practically everything they did was free.

Dogwood Canyon.

Dogwood Canyon.

In July Alex’s girlfriend, Faith, came to our house in the West Virginia hills.

She is the yang to Alex’s yen and in the kitchen that girl has some wicked, mad skills.

Faith making Chicken Alfredo from scratch while Richard takes notes.

Faith making Chicken Alfredo from scratch while Richard takes notes.

In August Richard, Alex and I headed in Mickey to the Outer Banks to soak in some sun.

The boys went kite boarding and Richard found himself bested by his youngest son.

Watching the kite boarders after dinner.

Watching the kite boarders after dinner.

Then we drove on to Washington DC and in Les Miserables we enjoyed watching Faith perform.

We toured the capital and wondered if seeing a fox at Jefferson’s Memorial was the norm.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

In September with Tyler off to Savannah College of Art & Design & Alex at WVU,

Richard and I headed off in the RV to the 4 corner states by ourselves, which was kind of new.

Colorado Trail.

Colorado Trail.

The first state was New Mexico where we began our binge on Mexican food.

The hiking and wine tours there certainly solidified the retirement mood.

Atalaya Trail in Santa Fe, NM.

Atalaya Trail in Santa Fe, NM.

In Colorado we did tons of hiking & thought bagging another 14er, Uncompahgre, would be neat.

But with sleet and snow up to our calves, we turned around at 13,000 feet.

Uncompaghre Peak in Colorado.

Uncompaghre Peak in Colorado.

In Utah Richard mountain biked and more hiking in Arches & Canyonlands NP were on tap.

But the sections of narrow ledges, friction pitches & brushes with death weren’t apparent from the map.

Arches National Park.

Arches National Park.

In Arizona we returned to the Grand Canyon & hiked rim to rim, 21 miles, in just 1 day.

We will never tire from this hike’s splendor except for the rattlesnake we saw along our way.

South Kaibab Trail at dawn.

South Kaibab Trail at dawn.

A few days later we hiked to the highest point in the state, Humphrey’s Peak.

Then on to the McCloud’s Garage Mahal where Richard worked on scaffolding for most of the week.

Humphreys Peak elevation 12,633 feet.  It was a little windy up there.

Humphreys Peak elevation 12,633 feet. It was a little windy up there.

In 73 days we saw 11 National Parks/Monuments & slept in 26 different camp sites.

We drove 6510 miles, biked 82 miles, hiked 208 miles and gained over 21,000 feet in height.

Guadalupe Peak.

Guadalupe Peak.

For Richard & I this first little retirement trip worked out just fine.

So this winter you will be able to find us down in Florida enjoying the warm sunshine.

Coming Home

Two weeks ago, Richard and I returned from our amazing first retirement trip to a rainy West Virginia.  We had to wonder if we had made a mistake as the rain turned to sleet and eventually to snow.  After all, I had only busted out my first pair of pants of the season the week before.

A dreary welcome home.

A dreary welcome home.

We came back to our cold, dusty, wasp infested house and were immediately reminded that after 4 months we still didn’t have our new carpet installed.

Media room where our water heater burst 4 months ago.

Media room where our water heater burst 4 months ago.

The living room - where all the media room junk is now located.

The living room – where all the media room junk is now located.

While Richard tackled the mountain of leaves in our back yard, I began sorting through the mountain of mail we had received over the past 10 weeks.

I had no idea how much junk mail I receive.

I had no idea how much junk mail I receive.

That first night we crawled into bed, even our pillows didn’t seem right.  Then we both caught colds that still refuse to go away.  More than a few times we asked ourselves, “Why did we come home?”.

But last Saturday that question was answered.  Alex came home for Thanksgiving.  I had forgotten that he is no longer that awkward child but a young man now who is coming into his own.  He told us about his 4 hour presentation to NASA at Wallops Island, Virginia the previous Thursday, how he made a 110 on his senior level Computer Science midterm and how things were still great with Faith.

Surely he is not still growing!

Surely he is not still growing!

We didn’t eat out any this week because Alex had a long list of foods that he had missed while away at school.  I’m happy to say that he requested as many of my dishes as he did Richard’s.  Alex & I enjoyed a trip to the bookstore, working the crossword puzzle over coffee every morning and many games of Jaipur.

I was definitely giving him a run for his money by the end of the week.

I was definitely giving him a run for his money by the end of the week.

Every day I would call my Dad and tell him that Alex had beaten me again.  Dad would always reply that he was not surprised.

Richard and Alex changed the brake pads on the CRV.  I never realized that Alex might indeed be mechanically inclined like his Dad.

Alex was really happy when he learned how much money he saved.

Alex was really happy when he learned how much money he saved.

Well, he is his father's child after all.

Well, he is his father’s child after all.

They also brewed 3 batches of beer that Alex can legally drink in 4 months.

Vanilla Porter, Nut Brown Ale & Citra IPA.

Vanilla Porter, Nut Brown Ale & Citra IPA.

During the week I told Alex & Richard about the fried apple pies that Mamaw Duggan used to make me.  I guess I flung a craving on Richard because he made a batch the next day.  They were great and Alex decided that he wanted to make a big batch to take to his office mates on Monday.  He is the only undergraduate there so maybe this treat will help him overcome his “minion” status.

Alex is developing some cooking skills of his own.

Alex is developing some cooking skills of his own.

Hope the apple pies actually make it to Morgantown.

Hope the apple pies actually make it to Morgantown.

Yes, I think that up in heaven this Thanksgiving week Alice Elzora Emily Flynn Duggan was smiling down on her great-grandson as he learned to made fried apple pies.

 

Uncompahgre Peak Trail in Colorado.

Uncompahgre Peak Trail in Colorado.

# Miles we drove the RV – 6510

# Miles Rhonda drove the RV – 0

# Miles Richard drove on the longest day – 580

# Miles Richard drove on the shortest day – 35

# Miles Rhonda followed Richard in the Subaru on the Million Dollar Highway – 70

Very curvy highway 550 from Durango to Ouray, Colorado.

Very curvy highway 550 from Durango to Ouray, Colorado.

# National Parks we visited – 9

# National Monuments we visited – 2

# Hitchhikers we picked up – 1

 

Biking Chickamauga Battlefield.

Biking Chickamauga Battlefield.

Black Canyon National Park

Black Canyon National Park near Montrose, CO.

Canyonlands National Park

Canyonlands National Park in Utah

Devil's Garden trail @ Arches NP with narrow ledges & wicked friction pitches.

Devil’s Garden trail @ Arches NP with narrow ledges & wicked friction pitches.

Prater Ridge Loop at Mesa Verdi National Park

Prater Ridge Loop at Mesa Verdi National Park

Our old friend, the Grand Canyon.

Our old friend, the Grand Canyon.

Surprisingly interesting Garwood Loop at Saguaro National Park.

A surprisingly interesting Garwood Loop hike at Saguaro National Park.

McKittrick Canyon at Guadalupe National Park.

McKittrick Canyon at Guadalupe National Park.

The Big Room at Carlsbad National Park.

The Big Room at Carlsbad National Park.

Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument

Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument

Pueblo ruins at Wupatki National Monument.

Pueblo ruins at Wupatki National Monument.

# Campsites we stayed in – 24

# Driveways we parked in – 2

# Crackups we saw – 3

Hilton Head, SC

Hilton Head, SC

 

Santa Fe, NM

Santa Fe, NM

The train to Silverton ran through our campground in Durango, CO.

The train to Silverton ran through our campground in Durango, CO.

With the bedroom window open, we listened to this river every night.

With the bedroom window open, we listened to this river every night in Ouray, CO.

Parked Mickey in Montrose, CO while we drove the Subaru to Lake City to hike Uncompahgre Peak.

Parked Mickey in Montrose, CO while we drove the Subaru to Lake City to hike Uncompahgre Peak.

Moab, Utah

Moab, Utah

Cortez, CO

Cortez, CO

Meteor Crater RV Park near Winslow, AZ.

Meteor Crater RV Park near Winslow, AZ.

Richard demonstrated expert driving skills parking in Trailer Village at the Grand Canyon.

Richard demonstrated expert driving skills parking in Trailer Village at the Grand Canyon.

I had to wake up to this every morning from my neighbor in Flagstaff, AZ.

I had to wake up to this every morning from my neighbor in Flagstaff, AZ.

Voyager RV Park in Tucson, AZ.

Voyager RV Park in Tucson, AZ.

Enjoyed the campground at Guadalupe Mountains so much that we stayed 2 extra nights.

Enjoyed the campground at Guadalupe Mountains so much that we stayed 2 extra nights.

Cool sculpture in Fort Stockton, TX.

Cool sculpture in Fort Stockton, TX.

Buckhorn Lake Resort in Kerrville, TX.

Buckhorn Lake Resort in Kerrville, TX.

I could have chipped golf balls from my campsite in Austin, Texas if I hadn't left my golf clubs in Chattanooga with my Dad.

I could have chipped golf balls from my campsite in Austin, Texas if I hadn’t left my golf clubs in Chattanooga with my Dad.

Richard & Forest had plenty of elbow room to install the new batteries at the Lamar Expo Center in Gonzales, LA.

Richard & Forest had plenty of elbow room to install the new batteries at the Lamar Expo Center in Gonzales, LA.

We were even given chocolates in the evening at this camp site.

We were even given chocolates in the evening at the McCloud camp site.

# Miles biked – 82

# Marathons we disrupted – 1

 

Riding the road to Hermit's Rest which is closed to car traffic!

Riding the road to Hermit’s Rest in the Grand Canyon which is closed to car traffic!

# Miles hiked – 208

# Rattlesnakes I almost stepped on – 2

# Big, hairy spiders we saw – 3

Rattlesnake at Enchanted Rock in Texas.

Rattlesnake at Enchanted Rock in Texas.

Tarantula at Lost Maples State Park in Texas.

Tarantula at Lost Maples State Park in Texas.

# Miles we hiked from the South rim to the North rim of the Grand Canyon – 21

# hours it took – 15

# hours we hiked in the dark – 3

# skinned knees – 1

# miles we rode in the shuttle van back to the South Rim – 260

# fellow hikers that threw up in the van – 1

 

South Kaibab, Grand Canyon.

South Kaibab trail, Grand Canyon.

# 14,000+ foot peaks we attempted to summit – 1

# Times we turned around at 13,000 feet because of snow – 1

# Highest points in a state we climbed – 2

Uncompaghre Peak in Colorado.

Uncompaghre Peak in Colorado.

 

Humphreys Peak in Arizona elevation 12,633 feet.

It was a little windy on top of Humphreys Peak in Arizona elevation 12,633 feet.

On top of Guadalupe Peak in Texas elevation 8,749 feet.

On top of Guadalupe Peak in Texas elevation 8,749 feet.

# Holes of golf I played with my Dad – 36

# Holes I beat him – 0

# Holes-in-one my Dad made while we were away on this trip – 1

# Lifetime holes-in-one my Dad has made – 6

 

Staying out of Richard's way while he worked on air bag issues.

Staying out of Richard’s way while he worked on air bag issues in Seneca, SC.

Finishing up at Hilton Head.

Finishing up at Hilton Head.

# Tennessee football games I attended – 2

# Games we won – 2

# Times Tyler directed me to drive down a closed street – 1

Arkansas State game.

Arkansas State game.

 

A slightly colder Kentucky game.

A slightly colder Kentucky game.

# Families we reconnected with – 12

# 4-legged friends we saw – 3

 

Dad and Boo Boo Entrekin.

Dad and Boo Boo Entrekin.

My nap buddy Missy McCloud.

My nap buddy, Missy McCloud.

Quinn Day, now weighing in under 200 pounds!

Quinn Day, now weighing in under 200 pounds!

# Books read – 0

# Magazines read – 0

# Netflix movies watched – 0

# Episodes of Breaking Bad watched – 0

# Days we squeezed out everything we could – 73

 

 

Talladega

On May 1 Richard, Alex, my Dad & I kicked off Richard’s retirement by taking a trip to Talladega.  This trip began like all others with my running down the list of things we needed to take.  I always start with Precious (my cell phone) and her charger.  Next is Semi-Precious (Richard’s phone because his isn’t as special as mine … to me at least).  Most of the time I’m going over this list just for myself because I’m sure everyone else just tunes me out.  But last Thursday when I mention Richard’s phone he stops in the middle of the road and says, “I don’t have my cell phone.”  He turned around, drove back 200 yards to our house to retrieve his phone & we are on our way.  Now I’m thinking this should buy me a couple of months on no eye rolling while I’m going over checklists.

Hostess Gift

My Dad brought 2 boxes of donuts for us to enjoy over the weekend.  The first problem was that as he loaded his stuff on our RV Friday afternoon, I noticed that one of the boxes was already empty.

Empty box

Who ate all these donuts?

The second problem happened while Richard and I were at the bathhouse on Saturday morning.

Only 3 donuts left.

Only 3 donuts left.

I’m sad to say that I didn’t even eat one of these donuts.

Neighbors

Our next door neighbors at the Speedway campground was a family from Alabama.  After we got over that fact, we really did enjoy visiting with them over the weekend.  My Dad especially enjoyed meeting Penny.

Dad's new BFF for the weekend.

Dad’s new BFF for the weekend.

We didn’t meet the couple camping here, but you just know that there won’t be a dull moment in their house on the 4th Saturday in October.

Isn't that orange flag really pretty?

Isn’t that orange flag really pretty?

Richard even found time for a little mechanic work.

Richard is always happy to lend a hand.

Richard is always happy to lend a hand.

Fans

As we were heading into the gate I heard a Mom warning her ~5 year old son that just because he would hear bad words today doesn’t mean that he should ever say any of those words.  By the end of the race on Sunday I was glad that I had overheard that lecture.

Heading into the speedway.

Heading into the speedway.

On Saturday I noticed that the stadium seats were really roomy even for me.  I’m not sure what this says about the size of the average NASCAR fan.  When we arrived at our seats I was distressed that there was a lady in a purple shirt in my seat.  When we pointed out this fact to her it was obvious that she wasn’t going to move and I’m not sure that I could have made her.  So as the seats to my right began to fill in, it was pointed out time and time again that I wasn’t in the right seat.  But somehow it all worked out.

Watching the little boys race.

Watching the little boys race.

We did splurge on headsets for both races so that we could listen in on drivers, spotters & crew chiefs.  This made the races more interesting to me especially when we listened in on teams that had wrecked.

Listening to Trevor Bayne.

Listening to Trevor Bayne.

Fun and Games

We watched a little of the movie Talladega Nights while we were at Talladega on Saturday night.

Shake and Bake!

Shake and Bake!

We also played 3 different card games during our long weekend.  Alex introduced me to a new game Agents.  He beat me every time we played.   Alex and I also played about 10 games of rummy where the person going first won every time.  But the most serious games played (by far) were the 3 rook games.  Friday night Alex & Richard were partners and they beat Dad & me.  Saturday night Alex & I were partners and we beat Dad & Richard.  On Sunday night Alex and my Dad were partners and they beat me and Richard.  So Alex proved that he could win at Rook no matter who he was partnered with.

Chillin after the race.

Chillin after the race.

Camping

When we arrived on Friday afternoon I was surprised that so many people were already there.

Family Campground Section D.

Family Campground Section D.

And come Sunday afternoon I was happy that we didn’t have to fight the traffic.

A lot of people attended the race Sunday.

A lot of people attended the race Sunday.

Although Monday morning there were a fair amount of RV’s leaving, but I’m pretty sure none of them had been drinking that morning.

Leaving Monday morning.

Leaving Monday morning.

As we dropped my Dad off in Chattanooga, I asked him if he had everything and started down my checklist.  He assured me that he had everything.  So imagine my surprise when I found a drawer full of his dirty clothes.  I’m not sure if I need to add him to the list of family members that ignore me when I’m going over my checklist or maybe this was just a ploy to get me to do his laundry.

My Dad's clothes all washed and folded.

My Dad’s clothes all washed and folded.

 

Hiking at Carter Caves

Descending into Shangra La Arch.

Descending into Shangra La Arch.

Last Friday Richard and I loaded up Jim Tom and headed to Carter Caves State Park in Kentucky.  This was apparently a great plan because lots of other folks had the same idea.

There was only 1 empty campsite Friday night.

There was only 1 empty campsite Friday night.

Thank goodness Richard asked me to call and make a reservation, so we were able to back right into site 18.  The only trouble was the distance from the power pole to Jim Tom.  Richard had an extension cord, but the power box would only accommodate 30 amp.  Luckily the camp office had an adapter for $5.  We later met 2 other folks that had to purchase said adapter.

We met 2 other campers who also had to buy an adaptor.

Jim Tom’s power cord isn’t this long!

Richard grilled us some hamburgers for dinner so that we would be powered up for our big hike in the morning.  I’m pretty sure that neither of us will die from consuming under cooked hamburger meat this weekend.

A great evening to eat outside.

A great evening to eat outside.

On Saturday morning we woke to a glorious morning and set off on our hike.

Mile 1

We ran across this hornet’s nest and I told Richard that I wanted to take a picture of it.  What I didn’t tell him was that I was just looking for any excuse to stop and rest from all the elevation we had already gained.

A nice distraction from my burning legs since no one was home.

A nice distraction from my burning legs since no one was home.

Mile 2

We happened upon a meadow and Richard said that this would be a perfect place for us to see some hedge trimmers.  We have been calling deer hedge trimmers / yard crew ever since we moved to West Virginia since they are so useful in keeping our hostas trimmed back during the summer.  And right on cue, we see our first 3 members of the yard crew.

Mile 3

We obviously experienced a local shower, but I guess that I was too tired to remember it.

Richard's rain soaked back.

Richard’s rain soaked back.

Mile 4

Shangra La Arch collapsed somewhat over a year ago, which makes getting through it somewhat of a challenge.

It's a little more interesting getting through the arch these days.

It’s a little more interesting getting through the arch these days.

Mile 5

It was nice to see that this suspension bridge that was out of commission last year had been repaired.

We didn't have to wade across the creek like we did with Clarke & Elaine last year.

We didn’t have to wade across the creek like we did with Clarke & Elaine last year.

Mile 6

We found a big rock by a stream for a little snack.

Richard always finds the best spots for a snack.

Richard always finds the best spots for a snack.

Mile 7

We ran across this Pileated Woodpecker eating lunch by the trail.  I can’t believe that we were only 12 feet away when he finally flew away.

I guess he was pecking so loudly on this log that he didn't hear us approach.

I guess he was pecking so loudly on this log that he didn’t hear us approach.

Mile 8

This bridge by the earthen dam is my favorite spot on the entire hike.

A perfect place for a nap.

A perfect place for a nap.

Mile 9

Fern Bridge was a cool spot on a warm afternoon.

Cooling off for a minute.

Cooling off for a minute.

After almost 4.5 hours we completed our 9.5 mile hike.  I must say that with the length and all the elevation changes that this was some good training … just in case Richard has some crazy idea about an epic hike we might attempt this fall.

The last weekend in March Richard & I were going to drive up to WVU and take Alex out for his birthday.  But Alex was sick and didn’t feel like eating and Richard & I didn’t want to catch whatever he had, so we stayed home.  But when the weather man called for no rain or snow this past weekend, we decided to try our little trip once again.  When noon rolled around on Saturday I was worried that we shouldn’t go.  For one thing the squirrels were acting like they owned the place, making it difficult for the cardinals to eat.

 

2 squirrels in the feeder and 4 in the seed pit

2 squirrels in the feeder and 4 in the seed pit

Secondly the Blue Jays were eating all of Huey’s food.

 

Wasn't sure if any cat food would be left by 6 - Huey's dinner time.

Wasn’t sure if any cat food would be left by 6 – Huey’s dinner time.

Richard finally convinced me that our backyard critters could fend for themselves for 1 night, so we loaded up Jim Tom and headed to Morgantown.

 

I was glad to see the dry fire wood packed up on the left!

I was glad to see the dry fire wood packed up on the left!

We had a nice dinner with Alex at Panda and he filled us in on his semester.

  1. Classes are all going well except possibly statistics.
  2.  Landed an internship working on a weather data collection project in conjunction with NASA
  3. Has a special female friend, but wasn’t ready for her to meet us (What’s up with that?)
  4. Has time to hang out with friends 3 nights/week
  5. Is still digging the dorm room

After dinner we went back to Alex’s dorm room since Richard had never seen it.

Here is the game lounge.

 

Hasn't had a negative impact on his grades so far.

Hasn’t had a negative impact on his grades so far.

This desk is for computer work.

And maybe a few computer games as well.

And maybe a few computer games as well.

This desk it where the high powered studying happens.

Minimal distraction for the high powered thinking.

Minimal distraction for the high powered thinking.

After Alex opened up his birthday goodies Richard took a nap.

I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it.

I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t seen it.

Since Alex had a social engagement at 8:00, Richard and I drove Jim Tom to Stonewall State Park to camp for the night.  I really wanted to sit out by a campfire and Richard built a nice one.

Campsite by the lake.

Campsite by the lake.

We enjoyed it so much that Richard built another one Sunday morning for us to enjoy as we drank our coffee.

A foggy start to the day

A foggy start to the day

Then we started our 5.5 mile hike.  This deer showed us where the trail head was located.

One of many deer we saw on our hike.

One of many deer we saw on our hike.

We hiked Heveners Orchard Trail and saw several stone walls like this along the way.

The trail had some interesting sights.

The trail had some interesting sights.

After our hike we ate lunch at the resort and then went outside on the back deck for awhile.

Practicing for retirement

Practicing for retirement

I’ve been worried about keeping up with Richard 24/7 once he retires.  Maybe I’ll be O.K. after all!

View of the ridgeline we hiked from the lodge.

View of the ridgeline we hiked from the lodge.