Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Rainbows & Patience ~~ Life's Gifts

Last Friday I went to visit my mom and, by the time I left her yesterday, she was exhausted. There will definitely be a post or two about some of the things we did, but not tonight.

Driving home for three and half hours through intermittent rain, I photographed some amazing sky/cloud scenes that I'll also share at some point. Tonight though, I'm simply sharing this photo of a rainbow taken from our deck during a brief shower shortly after I arrived home yesterday. Clear, complete, perfect rainbows are on my list of life's most amazing gifts.

While I was gone, MOAO painted our bedroom. What a job that was! It's a big room and there's a short hall to our bathroom with closets on both sides; there's a lot of prep work. A few years ago we had painted it two contrasting, but both very dark, colors. It took two coats of one of those new ultra coverage paints to cover those colors.

Do you want to know how I rewarded him? Aw c'mon, just gently breaking it to him that I hate the color...the color I picked out before I left! Of the many things I did today, one was picking a couple more colors and getting those little sample jars this time which I slathered over his new paint job in various spots around the room. We'll be painting again tomorrow. His patience...another of life's most amazing gifts.

Lovin' Life ~~ Recognizing Life's Most Amazing Gifts

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Joliet's Bascule Bridges

Yesterday we took care of some business in Joliet, our county seat, then drove to Plainfield. That meant crossing the Des Plaines River on the Cass Street bridge in Joliet. As we approached this historic drawbridge, the gates dropped and the bridge floor began to lift. Luckily we were the first car and I had my camera. Being stopped at the Cass Street Bridge gave us a clear view of  the bridges to the north and the south of us too.

While preparing this post I learned that this bridge, and three others in Joliet are Scherzer Rolling Lift Bascule Bridges. Now that's a mouthful! The name refers to the design of the bridge. I'm including this link to a site with more information about these historic bridges if you are interested. The photos and the descriptions there are much better than mine.

The Cass Street Bridge is in the raised position in this photo. The enormous gray concrete blocks are the counterweights that enable it to roll on a track to raise and lower the two sections of the bridge deck.

Looking to our right we saw the first barge approaching after passing under the Jackson Street Bridge, which remained in the raised position to allow a second barge to pass.

Looking to our left as the first barge passed in front of us, the Jefferson Street Bridge was raising. You can see the green deck of the first barge passing from our right to our left.

Looking to the right again we saw the Jackson Street Bridge lowering after the second barge had passed under it.

This photo shows the counterweight rising as the bridge deck begins to lower.

Here the counterweight is nearly in its fully raised position and the bridge deck is almost in place.

At last the safety gates lift and we are on our way. The raising and lowering of bascule bridges only takes a very few minutes which is why it was such a popular design in the 1900s. We have crossed these magnificent bridges many times but never had a front row seat to watch and photograph the three as they raised and lowered.

Lovin' Life ~~ And Lucky Timing

Playgrounds Await!

But not for long! Our grands will visit us in just a couple more weeks! This is a collage of their favorite park playgrounds here. Now that school has begun, the playgrounds are empty on these brilliantly beautiful fall days.

Lovin' Life ~~ Awaiting Our Grands

Sunday, September 18, 2011

In Our Own Backyard

As we travel I post photos in an attempt to share some of the magnificent sights we behold. You don't necessarily have to travel to far flung places to see indescribable beauty though. Sometimes, you just have to be awake!

This morning I woke up at 6:15 and glanced out our bedroom window at this our own backyard.

As the sun rose, the sky was constantly changing.

Need you ask...of course I went back to bed after taking these photos!

Lovin' Life ~~ Appreciating the Beauty of Home

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Old Glory at Home

I wrote and published the 9-11-11 post Old Glory while we drove home on the final day of our six week trip to the northeast. Since then I've been busy with laundry, unpacking, appointments, cards, calls, know, LIFE! This post can't be put aside though. As we approached the turn into our neighborhood that afternoon, I shot this...

After turning onto our street and drawing closer to our house, this is what we saw...

And this shot was taken after I got out of the motorhome. Every one of the 117 homes in our neighborhood had an American flag in front, courtesy of one couple who places them and then picks them up every year.

Knowing how we love seeing flags proudly flown as we travel you can surely imagine how proud we are to live in such a neighborhood.
Lovin' Life ~~ And Our Neighborhood  

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Old Glory

On this day of remembrance for all Americans, the blogosphere is filled with posts and comments written with such deep feelings of patriotism and love of country on this tenth anniversary of that horrid day. While we drive home this morning, I've been reading the many poignant comments to Pioneer Woman's post. The only photo she included this morning is of a large American flag that flies in her town. She remarked that "The flag wasn’t here ten years ago."

I don't have any brilliant words to offer in remembrance today. I do, however, have this...

This enormous flag was flying over a nondescript building as we drove to the subway station to attend the baseball game in Boston.

We have been equally touched by displays of flags of all sizes and by communities, such as this one, where flags were displayed along their streets.

These are but two of several such photos I have taken since we began our travels. We love seeing these flags flying high and proud throughout our magnificent country. I am reminded of 9-11 every time we see one and suspect that most were not there ten years ago and are flown to keep alive the memory of that fateful day. I am grateful to all who continue to inspire patriotism and remembrance through this awesome display.

Lovin' Life ~~ Our Flag, Our Country  

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Hitching Posts

Today we went to Shipshewana which is the more touristy of the seven communities in this well known section of Indiana. We did some Christmas shopping and picked up a couple of goodies at a bakery.

We had not seen very many horse drawn buggies until today, but Saturday is apparently market day for the Amish. Here are three photos I took there...

Customers' buggies are tied to the hitching post at Wells Fargo Bank, which uses a stagecoach as its emblem...lovin' that.

Can you read the sign by this hitching post? It says HORSE DRAWN VEHICLES ONLY. We don't have these signs in any parking lots near us, how about you?

Horses are tied to the hitching post close to the pumps in this gas station while their passengers enjoy lunch inside at Subway.

Next, on our way to the WalMart in Goshen, Rich drove through country roads lined with perfectly maintained Amish farms. We were frequently treated to scenes where draft horses were working with them to harvest field crops, most clotheslines were filled with laundry drying in today's gentle breeze, and barefoot children were mowing lawns.

This sight, as we drove through the WalMart parking lot, is the one that surprised and thrilled me the most though. This is what I call customer service.

This shelter sits to the side of the parking lot at the end nearest the front of the store and is provided by WalMart for the convenience and shelter of their Amish customers' horse drawn buggies. My mom is going to love seeing this! I spoke with an Amish couple who had just parked there and were on their way into the store. They told me how they appreciate the shelter and that this store is now so popular that oftentimes all the slots are full!

Tomorrow we will arrive back home; it's hard to believe that we have been gone for six weeks. We've visited so many incredible places that the time has flown. This last evening I want to share photos of the girls that I took after Rich and I got back this afternoon. They are such great traveling companions but I'm sure that they will love having more space to chase each other around in the house.

Dora wrestling with the sheet we keep on the couch.

Bella lying close to Rich while he reads.

Lovin' Life ~~ Our Beautiful Life  

Friday, September 9, 2011

Indiana ~ RV Hall of Fame

All good things must come to an end and we are parked at the last stop on this trip. Yesterday we Rich drove and drove and drove some more. It rained off and on, of course, and there wasn't anything along that stretch of I-80 through the rest of Pennsylvania and all of Ohio and a good chunk of Indiana that really grabbed our attention. We decide to spend a few days in Indiana though to visit the RV Hall of Fame, do some cleaning and organizing to prepare for the unloading when we get home, and to eat some of that great Amish cooking!

Here's a glimpse of our day here...

Rich and the Go RVing elk at the RV Hall of Fame. We saw several delightfully painted elks as we drove around the area today.

This road in the RV Hall of Fame displays many antique recreational vehicles. We spent quite a while there looking at the many RVs and chatting with folks.

We're certainly not too travel weary yet; we haven't lost our ability to make fools of ourselves!

Rich getting some tips from Poker Patty at the RV Hall of Fame.

After leaving the Hall of Fame, this is one of the sculptures we saw around Elkhart. I'm lovin' this one!

This is one of the twenty-seven flower beds laid out in the design of a favorite quilt block that were planted throughout the seven communities around Elkhart and Shipshewana, Indiana.

This buggy was parked at a store. I would never photograph any of the Amish folks though because it is against their beliefs.

What do this a "sign" telling us where to go on our next trip?

We had not eaten out for a while and this was an Amish restaurant. Do you know what that means? Delicious food!!!

A great end to a leisurely day...and of course it rained again today.

Lovin' Life ~~ And Amish Country  

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Rainmakers For Hire

Since the weather folks were not predicting that the rains would stop for a few more days, or until after we left the area, we decided this morning to continue on toward home. It had not stopped pouring...yesterday, overnight, this morning so I offered to drive the car until we got to a town and highway. It was a good plan.

The first part of our drive was on roads like this...

...that were remote, narrow, sharply curved, often steep, with water coursing across them and flooding along either side. We were so glad that Rich didn't also have to deal with the additional challenges of towing. Roads were closed at one point but, thankfully, not in the direction we were turning. We got into town without mishap, made our way to I-84 then to I-81 and on to I-80 which passes near our a few hundred miles that is!

Special Offer:  Much of the day's drive has been through torrential rain. Because we seem to attract rain...heavy rain...wherever we travel (except for Texas, so sorry), we're considering offering our rainmaker services to communities that need it. We can provide references...lots of references!

Here are a few photos of today's drive. You will notice a couple of squiggles or smudges; my beloved Canon G-9 is failing and somehow these are inside the body, not on the lens. We'll be researching before shopping so any suggestions for a new camera would be greatly appreciated. Many of you know how devastated I am about this and how difficult it will be to select my next camera.

For now though, this was the scene for much of today's drive. I have lots of photos of flooding, but Lord knows we've all seen too much of that this year already.

I try to shoot as the wiper clears, but it was not a great day for photography. This was our drive through the Appalachian Mountains in central Pennsylvania. It's beautiful country and we certainly hope to pass through here again sometime under better weather conditions.

We're parked for the night at a WalMart. I hope they continue to let RVs park for the night at most WalMart stores because it is so convenient and we do most of our shopping there anyway. Speaking of shopping...Rich already walked over there...I'd better get a move on!

Lovin' Life ~~ Persevering Through Storms  

Northeastern Pocono Mtns.

It rained all day yesterday...all day. We finally took a drive anyway to explore the area which will be indescribably gorgeous in a couple more weeks when all the trees have donned their fall colors. They are beginning to turn now.

Between Hamlin and Honesdale we stopped to soak in the beauty and unusual plant life of the Price-Simpson Wetland.

Honesdale claims to be the "Home of the American Railroad"...huh?...which I still need to research.  After driving around town for a while, we struck out on remote country know us. Here are a few of my favorite sights.

Natural stone fences abound in this area.

I love old barns and sheds.

This gazebo was on the grounds of a monastery we visited deep in the hills of Pennsylvania..

But this...this is such a beautiful photo. I would dearly love to have an island in a pond with an arched bridge on a piece of idyllic property like this! Obviously this pond is out of its banks; as are all ponds and streams there. I could have PhotoShopped this to brighten the colors but I love it SOOC; this is what I saw, this is what entranced me.

Lovin' Life ~~ Rainy Day Drives, Too  

Monday, September 5, 2011

The United States Military Academy

Arriving for our planned stop at WalMart last evening we noticed signs for West Point, the United States Military Academy; we didn't even realize we were close to that historical institution. Unfortunately, we could not take the tour of the Academy today because we were driving the RV and don't leave the girls unattended in parking lots for more than very short periods. The Academy is located a short bus ride from the Visitor's Center and Museum, which we did get to visit.

For the next couple of days we are parked at a small campground on Lake Henry in the northeastern part of Pennsylvania's Pocono Mountains near Hawley. There are signs of fall here...some colored leaves! This is a very rural area so internet access is difficult. It has taken forever to upload this one photo so I'll be expanding this post when I can.

Lovin' Life ~~ And Historical Sites

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Two State Capitols

This part of the country is so compact that it is easy to visit two state capitals in a day. However, we took two days to visit the capitols of Rhode Island and Connecticut. We're doing easy days...remember?

Yesterday we took a short drive to Providence, the capitol of Rhode Island. That capitol building sits on a hilltop overlooking the city and occupies a sizable plot of land which is a requirement for that massive building! It makes one wonder why. Why would the smallest state in the country require such a huge capitol building? If the objective was to compete with the big guys all around it, they succeeded.

Here is the front.

This shot of the back shows the size of it better.

It is Labor Day Weekend and it was incredible how full our KOA was when we returned from our drive compared to when we left around noon. As we drove into the park, this train was on its way to pick up passengers. We've stayed at lots of KOAs but never saw this before. Our grands would love this!

We left the great Middleboro KOA late this morning, drove around Providence, and through Connecticut to New York...again! New York is a huge state! We Rich (you do remember who does EVERYTHING, right?) drove through Hartford, Connecticut so that we could check out its state capitol building too. Except for the gold dome, this one reminds me of a European castle. Check it out...

This is the front.

This photo shows a portion of the back.

I should start a folder of state capitol buildings; I have no idea how many we have photographed but enough to maybe make a cool collage or something. Perhaps I should wait until I have photos of our own state capitol???

Yes, we have turned our RV westward toward home. We wanted to spend tonight in Connecticut but the WalMart did not allow overnight parking so we came on into New York. We're going to try to visit West Point tomorrow before driving on to Pennsylvania where we may spend a couple of days.

Lovin' Life ~~ And the Architecture of Capitol Buildings