Sunday, June 30, 2013

Saint Augustine to Virginia

Starting our journey north from Saint Augustine our first port of call was Savannah, a town worth a second visit; this was our third and we still found new places to walk and a new place to eat. Walking along East Drayton we spotted The Tea Room which is very like Lisa's Tea Room in the Pruneyard in Campbell, CA.  Lunch was beautifully served and included a little plate of scones with whipped cream and raspberry jam, short bread and carrot cake to finish. The selection of teas was the largest either of us had ever seen. The day was hot and humid but Savannah's tree lined squares keep the center of town somewhat cool.
When we arrived at the RV Park we noticed that we were minus the inside light of the tow dolly; the complete unit was gone with only the screws left. Tom found a garage that would replace the light unit, not cheap but a lot cheaper than being pulled over by the cops.

From Savannah we went to Santee on Marion Lake, South Carolina. Lake Marion is a manmade lake and a very popular spot for weekenders. This being Mayfly season there were thousand flying about; thousands more dead on cobwebs, on the porches of unoccupied caravans and all over windows and doors of nearby apartments. There are several nature reserves around the lake; we hiked in two of them; one was through a swamp where there were warnings about large alligators but having kept our eyes wide open and our running shoes on we saw none. In the other reserve we walked beside the lake through a wooded area to an Indian burial mound on which the British had built Fort Wilson; it was captured and destroyed by the Americans during the Revolutionary War. Remarkably, we saw more wild life on our after dinner walks near the RV Park.
After Santee we went on a marathon drive for us, 270 miles to Roanoke Rapids NC. A nearby town was listed as historic Halifax, once a thriving town as it was an important port on the Roanoke River and was the center of commerce for many plantations and a vibrant horse racing area; sadly…the train and time passed Halifax by. Today it is being branded as Historic in an effort to attract tourists with many of the older building still standing and in the process of renovation to preserve their history. All commercial life has left the area.

When we stopped for gas, our first stop in Virginia, we saw a big horse box with a lady feeding the horses so Adele walked over and started chatting, Adele told her that she was from Ireland and the lady said so is my husband he’s from Co. Kildare in Ireland where the Irish National Equestrian Stud (known as the National Stud) is situated; Tom had a chat with him.
We just had to tell them the story about a Senior Executive of the National Stud arriving at an airline ticket counter in the US to collect his ticket stating “you have a ticket for me…the Irish National Stud”; the ticket agent immediately made a loud announcement…”Ladies come and meet the Irish National Stud”!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Tom's big celebration!

Celebrating with family and close friends at Fitzwilliam Lawn Tennis Club, Dublin

Hannah, Molly and Adele

Adele, Ciaran and Richard the 3rd in Leicester

Sairsha teaching her cousins how to use an iPad

Leslie, Sairsha and Cearull at Foxton Locks

Party time in Jennifer's back garden - the sun shone!

Grandchildren helping cut the birthday cake

Another Dentist in the family?
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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Irish visit

European Rugby Championship Trophy

Adele's College Reunion

Thatched cottages in County Waterford

Lismore Castle - home of Adele Astaire

Reunion drinks

Irish National Stud, County Kildare

Childhood Friends
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Thursday, June 20, 2013

Rambling along on the road once again

Isn’t it hard to believe that we started out on this odyssey in October 2010…almost 3 years ago? Although as you all know we took a six months break, five of which we spent in Florida in beautiful and historic Saint Augustine which is celebrating its 500 anniversary this year – yes, founded in 1513; now that’s old for the US – our question is – why does US history begin at Plymouth Rock? We rented an apartment literally 200 yards from the beach on which we walked twice every day and also enjoyed swimming in the sea, especially Adele with her body surfing. Of particular delight was that we had so many friends visit us which gave us the opportunity to return their wonderful hospitality received as we journeyed around the US.

We flew to Ireland in early May as Adele had a College reunion; 16 of her college pals spent 3 nights in Faithlegg House Hotel a former Manor House in a beautiful setting on the Suir River near Waterford City in the southeastern part of Ireland surrounded by a golf course. Adele’s Mother came from this part of the country so Adele has many childhood memories of this area. Tom joined the reunion for the last evening after having visited his 93 year old Mother, his brothers and cousins in Cork. The following day both of us visited the Waterford museum where, among other artifacts, we viewed 450 year old Priest Vestments which are in perfect condition after having being hidden in double metal boxes and buried under the floor of the church when the priests heard that Cromwell was coming to Ireland in 1640. These vestments, made of silk and gold were woven in Venice and elaborately embroidered with biblical scenes in Florence; they are magnificent and are an unheralded Irish treasure.
On our visits we stay with Tom's brother Jack and his wife Esther; they make us feel so welcome we are reluctant to leave. We’re looking forward to having them visit us in Saint Augustine next spring. While in Dublin Tom held an early birthday party at his tennis club for family and close friends; we had a private room with a bar and balcony overlooking the tennis courts – and, the sun shone! In fact, we were blessed with good weather for the majority of our time in Ireland.

The following day we traveled to England to spend a few weeks at our daughter Jennifer's family home where Tom celebrated his actual birthday with a backyard barbeque in glorious sunshine surrounded by his (English) family and friends. Tom’s surprise present was the arrival of granddaughter Sairsha with Mom Leslie and Dad Cearull from California…not a dry eye in the house! Okay, so what was special about this birthday? 70 years! Yes, Tom cannot believe it either!

Now we’re back in Rambling Rover heading north to the Canadian Maritimes; our journey will take us through South and North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland (we plan on visiting Ocean City where Jennifer and her friend Susan spent a summer working at the Spinnaker restaurant), Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine; for another visit with Eileen and Carl. Adele has just finished reading Bill Bryson's book "The Lost Continent” relating his trip around the US in the 80’s; some of his observations are so true - one Adele thought really funny was that if one stood on two telephone books anywhere in the Midwest you could see for a thousand miles in all directions. Another which we know is true is that when one drives on minor roads, signs are few and far apart; then suddenly you are shot out onto an interstate highway with so many signs one can't read them all. Imagine the following signs 95 North/187 South/20 East; lane ends in 100 feet, speed limit 70 mph, next exit Floribunda, next rest stop 102 miles, food and lodging next exit. And…one had better know exactly where one is heading because there’s no quarter given; trucks and cars go whizzing by; all madly rushing to where they should have been an hour ago!
All the while we ramble along at a safe and leisurely 60/65 mph!