Saturday, July 30, 2005

There's that masked man again..........

There is that masked man again.........

Well it's Kevin getting ready for Santa!! Santa??? Yup the old Chief Ranger in Red rode in for a visit to the Lincoln Hall of the Drummer Boy Campground in July!! We didn't know this event was happening and hadn't prepared and one of the things we didn't have was a gift for the gift exchange. Colton's sister Madi had an extra gift and brought it for Kevin to use for the exchange.

This enabled Kevin to participate and he loved the chance to hang out with his buddy Colton. WoW how cool and so Kevin and his friend Colton were in line sit on Santa's lap and get a present and a candy cane.

Colton was a little younger so he went in the first group and Santa and Mrs. Claus got his request for Christmas and gave him a Basketball and Hoop set. Scott, Colton's father, managed to quickly start playing a game of hoops along with Coltin's mom, Monica, and Colton.

Next the wiley Kevin managed to win over Santa by not asking for a Red Rider BB-gun with a scope and a thing that goes pop averting the old phrase "You'll shoot your eye out kid"

Kevin got a pair of kites and gave one of them to Colton........

...... with the understanding Kevin would put them both together. Colton (He reminds me of a young Bart Moyers especially in this picture) and Kevin were pals through think and thin by the end of the day and later Scott and Monica took Kevin along in their golf cart to swim. Not to be outdone I donned my swim suit to join them (you will NOT see pictures of that scene).

Later that day we ate at T.G.I. Friday's in York because Kevin discovered (in eating my leftovers from the previous meal there) Sesame Chicken Strips and then dropped him off in York. It was a nice day topped of with a red sun at night (Sailor's Delight) a good sign.

Scrabble Score - Scrabble Queen 337 - The Contender 324 Oh Shucks!!!

Quote of the Day -
"The longer I live, the more beautiful life becomes" ~ Frank Lloyd Wright

Friday, July 29, 2005

York and the Drummer Boy Christmas

We started the day on a trip to York, to take in the historic sights between Gettysburg and this historic town. York is one of those cities where you can see the many faces of the East coast from the historic to the recent depression to the doorstep communities that drove this nation for years.

The first Thanksgiving was declared in York on November, 1 1777 to be celebrated Thursday December 18. This declaration was written by Samuel Adams who was born in Boston, Massachusetts on September 27, 1722. He was a leader of the fight against British colonial rule, and a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Adams was a cousin of John Adams who became President of the United States.

It's hard to read in this reduced picture but this wall mural says "Service Above Self" - I just love some of the murals that artists have created around the country.

On a very old building hangs this water fountain of a lion. I found it interesting that the artisan that created it mounted it with a bolt through the head of the lion and from the looks of it had water flowing over the tongue of the lion.

Couldn't resist this one - Great name

If folks around the country think there are no patriots back East they better think twice. From Pennsylvania to Maine (that includes Massachusetts) these states are the roots of our country and the framers of our nation.

Back in Gettysburg after a quick run to T.G.I. Friday's we found out this weekend is Christmas in July at the Drummer Boy Campground. More pictures to come but this campsite at the "North Pole" is just out of our front window. Who is that masked man?

Well it's Kevin of course and I got a picture of Sharyn showing the little nipper how to make Peach Ice Cream.

As night fell the lights came up it was a very nice day.

No Scrabble

Quote of the Day -
"If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home from us in peace. We seek not your counsel, nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you; May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen." ~ Samuel Adams, American Patriot Politician 1722 - 1803

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Gettysburg Sunset

We are back at Gettysburg and I've been lazy about taking any pictures. I walked outside and this sunset woke me up to the idea of Carpe Diem. Seizing the day is a noble ideal and a precursor to Nike's "Go fot it." What do we really see every day? What do we miss?

Scrabble Score - Scrabble Queen was so far ahead in this game she got bored and I was easily convinced to quit before the end. So, no score, only a red face for The Contender.

Quote of the Day -
"Pat!! Don't sit on that"
~ Dr. Seuss from hop on pop

Tuesday, July 26, 2005


The Dunker Church - Battlefield Shrine

The Battle of Antietam, fought September 17, 1862, was one of the bloodiest battles in the history of this nation. Yet, one of the most noted landmarks on this great field of combat is a house of worship associated with peace. Although more commonly known as the German Baptist Brethren, the name "Dunker" referred to their method of full submersion baptism used by the denomination's founders.

The Cornfield Avenue - That's what the black sign with white letters says.

The battle at Antietam Creek Maryland started on September 17, 1863 when the fighting in the cornfield near the German Baptist Church commonly called Dunkers broke out. Joseph Hooker was the Northern general in this part of the battlefield. Hooker had crossed Antietam Creek with his men to face the Confederate line commanded by Thomas Jackson. The Confederates eventually fell back to Miller's cornfield directly south of the North Woods. The fighting in this cornfield was extremely bloody, and control of the cornfield changed hands almost fifteen times in three hours.

Famous people who were noted for other events who were at Antietam:

George Custer (1839-1876) was a 22 year old officer for the Union Army at Antietam.
Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. (1841-1935) was wounded in fighting in the West Woods at Antietam.
I love this story about Oliver.

During the Confederate attack on Fort Stevens, President Lincoln came out from the White House to make a tour of Union defenses. The task of piloting him fell to Oliver Wendell Holmes, aide-de-camp to the general in command. Lincoln wanted to know where the enemy was, and Holmes pointed them out. The President stood up to look. Standing, and supplemented by his high plug hat, Mr. Lincoln was a target of exceptional visibility, and there came a snarl of musketry fire.

Grabbing the President by the arm, the young officer dragged him under cover, saying, "Get down, you fool!"

This was not the approved style for an officer to employ in addressing the commander-in-chief of the armed forces of his country. Oliver's worry came back when, just as Lincoln was quitting the fort, he took the trouble to walk back.

"Good-bye, Colonel Holmes," he said. "I'm glad to see you know how to talk to a civilian."

William McKinley (1843-1901) was the 25th president who recognized for bravery at the Battle of Antietam, for assisting Union troops. He was in charge of his regiment's commissonary at age 19.

Stonewall Jackson (1824-1863) Thomas Stonewall Jackson is one of the most famous military commanders.
Robert E. Lee (1807-1870) in June 1862 took over command of the Army of Northern Virginia.
Abner Doubleday (1819-1893) fought in many Civil War battles, including Antietam.
Clara Barton (1821-1912) Founder of the Red Cross who has a monument dedicated to her for aiding the sick and wounded during and after the battle at Antietam. Notice the Red Cross at the base of the monument.

Like Gettysburg the tour around the battlefield has many monuments and the tour can either be driven or walked (in cooler weather)

Another view of the battlefield from the cornfield looking east.

The Sunken Road - A natural trench a "Bloody Lane"

Troops which include famous Irish Brigade, clashed in a raging fight that lasted more than three hours. The fighting along Sunken Road (Bloody Lane) finally ceased from confusion and exhaustion on both sides. Casualties, in the end, totaled to about five thousand. For nearly four hours (about 9:30 am to 1:00 pm), Union and Confederate soldiers fought a harsh, bloody battle on Sunken Road. Because of the horrific amount of blood on this road after this particular battle was over, it was nicknamed Bloody Lane. It was told that the Blood was literally "flowing like a river". This battle was one of the bloodiest battles fought at Antietam.

Bloody Lane looking West

Bloody Lane from the observation tower looking West from the East end. Yes that's the Musemobile down there with Scrabble Queen sitting in air conditioning ....

.... while I climbed the 81 stairs to the top

Burnside Bridge
Burnside Bridge, formally known as Lower Bridge or Rohrback Bridge, has been deemed as one of the battlefield's most famous landmarks. Ambrose Burnside attempted to move his troops across, but were held off by 400 Georgia riflemen. The battlefield's most intense fighting occurred here, in turn, naming the bridge after the famous General Burnside. Union general Burnside did eventually cross the bridge, but his men were eventually forced to retreat by 3000 rebel soldiers who made a timely arrival from Harper's Ferry, West Virginia. General Ambrose Burnside as noted earlier was famous for "Sideburns", The lost battle at Fredericksburg and having twelve thousand men held off by 400 riflemen on a hill while trying to cross a bridge......

no more than 10 feet wide.

I just loved the look of the battlefield fences and the well cared for grounds. Antietam, like Gettysburg are two places every President, Congressman and General should visit prior to sending troops into battle. To honor the brave soldiers who were and will be put in harms way they need to know the true costs up front. I say this not so much as a criticism but as an uncle of a brave and dear young man I couldn't help thinking about today.

Freedom is a long road and it's all uphill every day.

Scrabble Score - Scrabble Queen 314 - The Contender 297

Quote of the Day ~
"Beware how you take away hope from another human being." ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes

Monday, July 25, 2005

Monticello - Finally but.............

We finally made the return trip to Monticello since the last in the area time we never got a chance for a visit and it is a place very high on Sharyn's list of places to go. The weather like most of the trip was hot humid and about as close to being burned alive as I can imagine. After parking we purchased the tickets for the tour, took the shuttle to the house and waited in queue (I threw the queue thing in instead of "in line" for my international audience), and finally were led inside. I was most impressed with the weather vane and look of the whitewashed wood on the red brick.

Unfortunately I wasn't allowed to take pictures inside but we were not there very long. After visiting the foyer, a room roughly 10x10 containing roughly 25 people who were in our group, and the library Sharyn began to feel ill. So we exited to the back (the most common view of Monticello) and Sharyn took off for the shuttle and the air conditioning of the RV. There were people walking all over the grounds and getting in my picture so I told them all to leave....

...... and they did!!!!

I'm not sure about anyone else but Monticello has always been larger that life in my eyes and yet physically it was the size of a medium home in the Lake Conroe area of Texas. Still the mystique of Thomas Jefferson who wrote the Declaration of Independence at 32 years old, helped form this country, read books in seven different languages, helped preserve and improve farming, etc........ was rather special.

I particularly liked this louvered room near the back of the house.

There was a small fish pond in the back of the house with a bench to sit on and ponder what it must have been like to have lived during those times.

There was a series of covered walkways that must have made it both cooler and dryer walking around the outside of the house and to the two smaller houses/rooms on either side of the main house.

I especially liked the tunnel between the kitchen and the main house.

The vegetable/herb gardens were beautifully created and very special to see as they would have been when Thomas Jefferson was there.

Sadly, Sharyn missed all of the outdoors adventures but was feeling better later and enjoyed the pictures.

Quote of the Day
"Question with boldness even the existence of God; because, if there is one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded faith." ~ Thomas Jefferson

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Matthew - The Name means "Gift from God"

Matthew knows when we named him we chose the name because it means "Gift from God." Seeing this boy grow into such a fine man, father, son and person. Anyone who knows Matt knows he is intense about his beliefs but never closed to listening and learning. He is driven or driving.

He has formed friendships that last and is a good example for anyone he touches.

He is a gentle man, sometimes impatient but in the end give you everything he is and can be never settling for less.

Matt is a clown making you laugh with him long after the joke because his humor is intelligent and takes time to penetrate your brain.

He is a child and an adult enjoying the finer points of fun.

...and taking you to the heights.

He guides his daughters and helps them grow as he also grows.

He has a shirt that says "Grumpy" but never lives up to that name.

Matt not only is that gift from God he created two great gifts in Sierra and Ansley.

We will truly miss you sweet granddaughters and that wonderful man you call dad and we call son. Have a good flight home and say hi to Diana for us Statesiders

Quote of the Day
"You don't raise heroes, you raise sons. And if you treat them like sons, they'll turn out to be heroes, even if it's just in your own eyes."~ Walter Schirra Sr.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Travel to the stars and back

We left Natural Bridge, Virginia and headed back to Williamsburg. We drove along highway 64 the same route we had taken out of Williamsburg on the way to Asheville and Pigeon Forge. Highway 64 runs through Richmond and afforded us a chance to refuel and resupply at a Costco. I am always amazed but James Sinegal the C.E.O. of Costco and we read again today of the Wall Street types critical of this company and it's dedication to their employees and customers. Costco is criticized often for treating it's employees too well (pay averages $17.00/ hour vs $9.70/Hour at Walmart) and customers (he insists on margins no higher than 15%). Mr. Sinegal you are a true American hero.

Matthew decided he wanted to rent a car that he could use in Williamsburg, Virginia so we went to the Hertz at the Richmond International Airport and dropped him off (with our extra cell phone) to find Hertz. In the meantime the only place to wait in our RV was in front of "The Virginia Aviation Museum"

It was pretty cool being next to this amazing SR-71 reconnaissance plane. It was unofficially nicknamed the "Blackbird," the SR-71 was developed as a long-range strategic reconnaissance aircraft capable of flying at speeds over Mach 3.2 and at 85,000 feet. The first SR-71 to enter service was delivered in 1966 (the year Scrabble Queen and the Contender started the great Scrabble match) and due to politics, it was retired in 1990. If you think there is a resemblance to today's stealth aircraft you can start to realize the time it takes to achieve some of the technical advancements made over the last

The A7 (Corsair/Intruder/Crusader) was a treat I always considered it a rather Rube Goldberg looking contraption but those who's lives were saved by pilots flying the daring missions they were used for love these planes and their pilots.

We arrived in Williamsburg and Matt and the girls took off for Water Country (again) and then Bush Gardens (again) with Maggi and Nathan while I sat around with Scrabble Queen and washed clothes and watched the latest news and even rented "Million Dollar Baby." The movie got two thumbs up and despite having a really emotional ending the story, dialogue and acting were first rate. Clint Eastwood and Morgan Freeman were so natural in their dialogue it made you forget who they were (despite the indelible characters they created in the Unforgiven) and Hillary Swank was totally believable as Maggie Fitzgerald. Later that night as Matt and I were hanging outside late at night I snapped some moon shots through the trees.

The moon in this picture is from one of the pictures I snapped at high zoom and superimposed over the second picture where the exposure of the moon was solid and did not show the features. I found in order to get the trees to show I needed a longer exposure but the moon was blurred and to get a sharp exposure of the moon the trees were blurred so voila a little magic and all is well.

Elaine and Doug dropped by our last day in Williamsburg after their trip to Maine. It was good seeing them both and after they left I thought about how dear Elaine is and how good a man Doug is and has been in her life. It was a little more special when Kathy called Elaine while they were visiting because I could say hello one more time to my big sister that brilliant artist lady from Texas who prides herself on the quality of her fire ants. Love you both Kathy and Elaine.

Well here I am we dropped off Matt and the girls in Stafford after a great Japanese dinner in a "fix it in front of you" place as the girls called it. After a lot of fire and sizzle we ate and couldn't help but wonder why the cook at the table next to ours who was way more daring, flipping knives and with much higher flames bad his entire nose bandaged. Bet he got an extra tip or lost the one he had (between his eyes)

Well it's been a great trip and we have one more week or so before we head home. I miss Oregon and the green mountains and the Pacific ocean and the tiedyed Saturday market and the yes the rain....... Sharyn's orchid she left with Serena is blooming first time in 3 years and we will miss the blooms (drats) but life goes on and that's all any of us can ask except for Maggie Fitzgerald.......

I do have my images and this one I found from the drive on Sears road between Creswell and Cottage Grove.

Scrabble Scores - sorry I lost the paper with the scores but we played two games and it was a split decision Scrabble Queen eeeeeked one out and the Contender clobbered her in the rematch

Quote of the Day
"It's the magic of risking everything for a dream that nobody sees but you." ~ Eddie Scrap-Iron Dupris (character played by Morgan Freeman in the movie "Million Dollar Baby")


©Paul Viel