Wednesday, November 30, 2016

We Have Made It To Florida

Destin, FL. "The Redneck Riviera" it is nicknamed. It is a vacation mecca for "locals". Lots of folks from nearby states have long chosen this part of the state for their beach time. Something like 80 percent of the housing is absentee owners. We are in the panhandle. Our Campground is 50 yards from the beach and this amazing sugar like sand on the Gulf of Mexico. Woke up to 76 degrees early this morning. Ahhhhhh.....Amazing humidity compared to what we have experienced out West. That led to some heavy rain this evening  as a serious front moved through which has brought some severe weather to parts of the South. Behind it is cooler weather. 40's by tomorrow morning, 60's for the high. Much more seasonal. We will be here for a few more nights then will move eastward and southbound. Our schedule has us in Florida for the winter. First thing I did once we had arrived and set up was to go to a local fish market. Bought some fresh local red snapper. Broiled it simply with butter. It was divine. We have been craving fresh seafood after being landlocked for so long in our journey around the West and through the lower Midwest and upper Southeast. So look forward to more of that.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Don McCall in Atlanta

Musical evening with Don McCall, Bob's roommate in college!! Thanks Don!!!

Peter and family in Atlanta

And we were able to visit with nephew Peter & Stacy....and their adorable kiddos!!!

Bill and Cinnie in Atlanta

Bill and Cinnie (Bob's sister) visited us on the way to Peter's in Atlanta!!!!! Always fun!!! Can't wait for this summer in Maine

Atlanta Aquarium

Atlanta Aquarium is fabulous....THe whale sharks are huge....I swam with a whaleshark when on the Big Island of Hawaii on a scuba dive....fabulous animals!!

Jan and Greg Atlanta

Wonderful night out with these nice people in Atlanta...Neighbors in Barrington IL for only a year but we sure had lots of memories to reminisce about.....Thanks Jan and Greg for Mary Macs and the lights at the Botanical Gardens!!! And we will be southerns too next year!!!

Atlanta...Joe and Sylvia

Super time in Atlanta with Joe and Sylvia Aiello.....friends since the early Beringer days...Great Italian food and wine...Thank you both for a wonderful evening!

University of Alabama

This nice woman told us about many of the UA traditions.....She has gone to games her whole life...last year she met man at the next door tent....and married him!!! gave us a Yellow Hammer" drink...the drink of the UA football tailgaters! FUN!!!

Crimson Tide

“If anything goes wrong, I did it. If anything goes semi-good, we did it. If anything goes really good, then you did it.” Coach Bear Bryant.
The University of Alabama football program, “The Crimson Tide”, is legendary. They have been at the game since 1892. They have more “Best of This and Most of That” than any other college team. I had been pulled into the Tide due to the great Bear Bryant who coached them from 1958 to 1982, 24 years of my life. He was a wonderful sideline presence and gave memorable press conferences after games with his quotable comments delivered in a wonderfully rich southern drawl. He also could win. His lifetime record is 323 wines, 85 losses, and 17 ties. Today’s program is as, if not even more, phenomenal under coach Nick Saban who has gone 99 wins and 12 losses over the last eight years.
We thought it would be fun, since we were going to be so close at the right time of year, to get tickets to a home game in their 110,000 capacity stadium. Big. 
Last Saturday, November 12th, we did that. It was so enjoyable. The game was at 11 AM, unusual for this prime time team. We arrived in Tuscaloosa, about an hour from where we camped south of Birmingham, at about 8 AM. The activity was already ramping up. We saw a few tailgating trailers rigged up like food trucks with crowds of family and friends. There was an RV dedicated parking lot we walked through to see folks making gameday camp ready. There were vendors aplenty with the school’s logo seen everywhere. The entire scene bled of crimson colored everything. We then went over to the Quad, the main green of the campus. The University has installed electric outlets in a grid around the Quad and folks have set ups of canopy tents with chairs tables, and satellite TV plugged in to their electric outlet. They come for the pre and post game on site activity but do not attend the game. They watch it on TV. Alabama’s “Million Dollar Band”, as it is known, comes over to The Quad before the game and entertains. Alabama’s mascot is an elephant, “Big Al”. We watched Al dance to a concert by the remarkable tuba section of the large and exceptional college band. A tuba concert. About 18 of them. Wonderful. The game was monumental. Pretty much sold out and 110,000 people yelling “Roll Tide”, a huge and loud PA system playing thumping music, bellowing elephant trumpeting and a trolling death bell whenever the opponent had third and long. Which they did often. Bama won handily over Mississippi State who managed to score one field goal. We had a great time with the experience. Also, we learned how an elephant became the mascot. It seems years ago, an elephant wandered into town in great pain asking for a dentist. He was sent to the dental school at the University. His problem was he had a Tusk a loosa.


Pack up the bikes to enjoy Oak Mountain State the low autumnal sun.....just di another great bike ride in Stone Mountain Park, Atlanta.....

Paces in Birmingham

One of our favorite parts of the RV journey around the country is reconnecting with old friends and family......Here is the Pace family....probably haven't seen them since the early 1980s.....Kevin was my youngest cousin....I am jealous that he got our Pop's hair color....We had a group of 8 cousins all within about 8 years of each other in age....we had lots of fun! Others in pictures....Kathy, Kevin's wife...Kelly, Kevin's daughter...and Mallory, Kelly's daughter, an adorable 8 year old...was a fun time


Went to the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute....the first pic reminded me of a pivotal childhood 1957 we went to Florida for the first time....I saw the water fountains in the grocery store like this.....I excitedly yelled to my mom...Wow they have colored water here...I wonder what color it is!....We have come a long way....and don't respond that we have farther to go....We know that!

Gardens in Alabama

Lovely gardens close to where we are staying in Montgomery AL....Used to be a private home...they wanted to celebrate the ancient Greek culture.....Love the Three Graces...they were (and still are) on Clos du Val wines, one of Bob's favorite employers.

Selma Alabama

Went to many sites along the Selma to Montgomery Civil Rights Trail...It actually made me feel like we have come a long way since the 60s. Always good to look back....

Wine in Alabama!!!

Someone posted about his wine that was made by Tyler Wolf...a friend of Jeff's from St. Helena....then Bob saw it in Alabama....Had to buy it!!! It was delicious!!!!

Wall in Alabama

Also went to stone wall built by grandson of Te-lah-nay...she was a Indian woman who was to Oklahoma on Trail of tears and took 5 years to get herself back to Alabama...Tom went thru 2700 pairs of gloves making this wall as a tribute to his great great grandmother....very inspiring...He was there and is 87 years old....looks like 70 years old!!

Relaxing in Mississippi

Nice vegging time and enjoying warm fall days at Joe Wheeler Campground in Northern Mississippi.....Muscle Shoals area...

Cynthia Brown This park was named after my grandmother's great uncle on my mother's side. He was a confederate general. It is Alexis' middle name.
Cathy Hess Janis WOW...what a coimcidence!!! have you guys been there???? We even ate at Daniella's..,,a restaurnt in the park.named after his wife! Hope you are enjoying your new home!!!

My Cheatin' Heart

Almost forgot to post this...while back in Montgomery, AL we went to the Hank Williams Museum. No photography allowed in the museum, so here are the tickets. It is well done. As often seen in artists with enormous talent, Hank led a troubled life. The museum does a good job of relating this along with celebrating his life as well. A couple of his guitars were there. I would have loved to play one of them.

Americus, Georgia

Thanksgiving in Americus. The day started with a soft, pretty sky. Our campground held a pot luck dinner for residents for Thanksgiving dinner. It was a regional experience. First time I have ever had roast turkey with gravy with diced hard boiled eggs. It was, well, different. I brought green beans with toasted slivered almonds. It was the only vegetable there that did not come out of a can or a freezer. But, the company was good and the meal filling. Americus was founded in 1832 by General John Americus Smith. There is not much to be found out about this John Smith other than he started the town to help support his sizable cotton plantation.  Americus is home to the headquarters of Habitat for Humanity and the National POW Museum at nearby Andersonville. Andersonville was the site of the most infamous of Confederate prisoner camps where thousands of Union soldiers lost their lives in the most dreadful of living conditions. Forced to live under open skies and sleep on the ground, conditions at this camp became so deplorable that men were forced to dig their own wells to find palatable water.  I am thankful this Thanksgiving for our RV with running water, electricity and a bed.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Too Funny GPS

Here we are in Georgia and set our truck GPS for our next stop, leaving Atlanta for Americus, GA.

At one point, our lady voice says to turn right onto "guh" 26. Guh 26? what the heck is that? Then we realize, it is Georgia state road 26.  GA 26.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Clitter, Clatter

Clitter, Clatter does it matter when acorns fall by the score?

Pitter patter hear them scatter off the tin roof General Store.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Fire And Smoke

We thought when we left California we would be leaving the land of drought, fires and smoke. Not the case. Here in Atlanta people are wearing gas masks. As of this morning there are 51 forest fires burning in northern Georgia and western parts of Tennessee and North and South Carolina. Atlanta TV news has shown interviews with elderly lifetime Atlanta residents all saying the same thing. They have never seen this in all their time living here. There are not enough firefighters to handle it so it will take rain and plenty of it and there is none in the forecast. It has been seriously dry here. Records being broken. The one bright side is that very little property damage has occurred as the burns are in remote areas. That's good.

Friday, November 11, 2016


I have never successfully played this card game. Tried once or twice but it just never fit my sensibilities as a choice of time to spend in gaming. My Mom was a fanatic, earned her Bridge Masters points later in life and played competitively into her 90’s. She’d have a group of regulars over our house often as I was growing up. I remember one no trump as a bid. Didn't work this hand. We have a Trump. I would not care to spend a minute in the company of the man but I admire what he has accomplished in being an outsider who cracked Washington.  A shake up and change of way of getting things done could prove to be what has been needed. Or it could be back to the game, just different players. Glad it is not my deal.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Our Treat For Enduring The Presidential Race

It's over!!! Now on to important things. Months ago, looking at our travel schedule, it dawned on us we were going to be in Crimson Tide country during season. We are not fans but have admired what these Bama teams of college football players have achieved over the years, Bear Bryant and all of old.
So, those months ago, we bought tickets to a home game. We are going to see Alabama at home this Saturday. Just for the experience. Home team crowd energy from what, it turns out, is our current #1 rated college football team in America.

This is our display at our campsite...(just kidding, but obviously a camper who likes the team...

Ah...but here are our tickets:

A complete report will be forthcoming of this experience.