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Sunday, December 15, 2013

Wait! One more thing: lessons learned

I knew I'd forget something. Happens all the time.

Especially for my child-free friends, DO NOT travel when school is out. This trip was so easy compared to driving out West to Mount Rushmore in the late spring. Even though I was sick and tired, it was easier than constantly dueling with entitled parents and their brats. I think we saw, like, four kids, and interacted with none of them, and therefore, not with their breeders either. Fall is great and probably early spring. We will not travel to child-centric destinations any more in general, but certainly not in summer. Other good alternatives are cruises for adults only, such as, but not limited to, Olivia Vacations, which are for women over 18 only. Check out Olivia.com

We liked the convenience of Red Roof Inns, for the most part, but the diceiness (Is that a word?) of their clientele and run-down condition of many of their properties makes us shy from using them again. What we figured out to do, however, is call any hotel we're interested in, in advance, to make sure pet families are housed on the first floor reasonably close to the back door. We can easily manage one cartload of crap now that we've greatly cut down on all the stuff we drag with us. Another option is to go to an area and look at some hotels before checking in, to see if they accept pets, have a drive-up arrangement, and have vacancies. But we really don't like to be quite that spontaneous. especially Joyce! So we will be taking the middle path unless we already know about a good Red Roof Inn, like Brunswick or Troutville. We seriously wish MOTELS would start a loose association and web-site of their own so we can find those drive-ups in advance. I once suggested to Hotels.com that they show entry arrangements for all hotels, but they blew me off. We don't reserve through them anymore, anyway. We have been quite disappointed with their responses to our concerns in the past, and they want all the money up front. Use them to locate hotels; we still do, but then go to the site for that hotel, or its chain.

As for private rentals, if you've read this blog at all (previous trips included), you know they run the gamut, and seem to have few, if any regulations. So if you spot a place you like, and can't get all the info you need from the site, call them, armed with a list of questions about things they don't come right out and show you, like how narrow a bathroom is, or what the entry to the building is like (stairs, railings, loose stones, etc.) Ask about specific things that are important to YOU, like if the ice-maker works, or if they provide dishwasher detergent. It may be they can fix a lot of stuff before you arrive, that they just didn't think of before.

Finally, if you're not used to having someone up in your face all day, or you're a loner, private person, bad sleeper, whatever, consider going the one adult per room route. You can hang out together as much or as little as you want, and your routines and personal stuff don't crowd either of you. I'm just saying, I think it had more to do with the success of the trip than just saving me from her snoring, and her from my bitching. We each got all the sleep we neeeded, that's for sure.

So as I said in my previous entry, this blog will return in the spring when I get back from the Philippines. We are going on a battlefield tour of the Bataan Peninsula to see where my Uncle Karl fought, was captured, and died, and to visit his grave, which the Army has just now identified for the first time in 70-plus years! And yes, they did know all along, but somehow "forgot" to tell anyone. Joyce will stay home with the dogs, but I will go with my aunt and cousins. Should be quite the adventure!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Road Rash

We booked in advance for two nights in Troutville because we knew the previous day would be exhausting, and it was, and Sunday, we didn’t go anywhere but the pool. We watched football all day except for walks with the dogs (enough leaves were now gone that we could see the elusive waterfall, but not photograph it) and we ordered pizza in so as not to miss any games. The next day, Monday, we drove to Columbia, South Carolina, for one night. That darned rash was bothering me something fierce. The Red Roof Inn was on a par with the other bad ones: no ice buckets, malfunctioning machines, dicey-looking clientele. But as always, the staff was very nice.

The morning we were to leave Columbia I showed Joyce my rash. Lucky for you, no pictures! She went ballistic. I told her I could stand it if I could stay on Benadryl all day, but she would have to drive. She agreed, and we drove to the Red Roof in Brunswick, Georgia, which turned out to be such a short trip that we were able to get directions and go immediately to a walk-in clinic nearby only to discover I had a bad staph infection, possibly even MRSA, but the doctor didn't want to fool with a culture because, as he said, he'd treat it the same either way. Off to a local pharmacy for heavy antibiotics, back to the hotel and collapse. Joyce took care of EVERY damned thing except Nick's meds. This Red Roof was among the best, very pretty grounds, excellent location, huge comfy rooms. Obviously it had belonged to another chain before. And best of all, the previous guest left behind four ice-cold Yuenglings in my fridge. They went well with the antibiotics and a pizza.

Next day Joyce drove us all the way home. After another round of antibiotics two weeks later, I was finally rid of the damned thing, and this was good because just a few days ago, we had a real bad scare thinking Joyce had broken her hip. Just a real bad back sprain, though, and she will recover in time. For now, I am doing EVERY damned thing to pay her back for a month spent in bed (yup, all of November).

I'm going to the Philippines in April, so when I get back from that, I'll be back here with new blogs.

Merry Christmas! Happy Holy-Days! Happy Kwanzaa! Happy New Year!

Monday, December 9, 2013

South for Troutville

Joyce insisted we get up early and get on the road because we would be going such a long way, for us: 300 miles. And we had to pack Van O’White first, which meant the night before, we put everything in the living room, just inside the front door. I would then go get the van and drive it down, park illegally right in front, and we would load. And the night before, Joyce had emptied and dried the large cooler, then filled it up with all our fragile prizes. The little cooler would suffice for those few days on the road.

Here’s the last picture from our “neighborhood.” Someone has done a hell of a job on this Victorian restoration, which we callled the Queen Bee. It would be great if the rest of the neighborhood would catch up, but we’ll never know. We had to be out no later than ten, leaving a load of laundry going in the washer, and having swept the floor, or they would charge us a fee. On TOP of their outrageous prices. So the chances we would return there are slim to none, especially since we discovered a Red Roof Inn right down the road. Just kidding, but there are plenty of other places to stay.
Fortunately every inch of the way was interstate, including a stretch of Pennsylvania Turnpike, which apparently hasn't been re-surfaced since my mother first drove on it in the 60s. Luckily that was the short part. And there were lots of gret leaves but also lots of traffic and no easy or safe way to pull over for pictures. Being as tired as we were, we wanted to keep stops to a minimum so we could rest up as much as possible in our hotel every night. We got in well before dark and went to the same Cracker Barrel we ate in two weeks earlier. Guess what. On Saturday night, they're not nearly as efficient as midweek or lunch hours. I like Cracker Barrel but now I know better about weekends.

And so to bed.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Get your milk glass hens on nest while supplies last!

This was our last “real” day in the area, because we would need Friday to prepare to leave. This of course was made more difficult by the fact that we couldn’t pack any of Van O’White in advance because of the bad neighborhood. We could only put in a few things we could stand to lose, like the nylon cage and the bag of shit bags. But never mind that, Thursday was reserved entirely for antiquing. We drove to the far end this time and worked our way back. We probably went in and out of half a dozen places. I found some old Hardy Boys books (happy memories from childhood) but nothing different in vintage glass until this:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Mosser-Hen-on-a-Nest-HON-Black-Amethyst-Glass-White-Head-/190993051809

I had never seen or even heard of, black milk glass at all, let alone in one of my favorite themes. Joyce found it incredibly ugly, and wanted me to get anything but that. I had to have it! It was so shiny! And not at all as expensive as in the link. I just reminded her we have a whole year of gift-giving occasions ahead of us, never mind Christmas, and these things won't depreciate waiting in the closet. I mean, think about this: every item you buy in an antique store has lived somewhere else, possibly many other places. People sell their stuff, or die and their kids get rid of it. On and on it goes, from one home to another. If you watch American Pickers (which I can only stand for about ten minutes at a time) or any of the hoarding shows (which is why I wash everything in antibacterial soap) you know it's true. It's not like a head of lettuce; it won't go bad. Who knows where that chicken started out, or where it will end up? So for now she will live with us.

We found some other pieces for Joyce's desk and a couple of things for me and then we went back to that Park City diner for lunch again. They have the best cornbread. And everything else. Our final stop was an antique mall right across from our turn off the highway near the Horsefly. It was only open Thusday through Sunday anyway, so we couldn't have gone earlier. It was massive. I was overwhelmed. I went through maybe a dozen booths before I turned to Joyce and said, "I think I've had enough." She went back for a Carnival folded basket dish, and that was it. I felt woozy and light-headed and asked her to drive us "home."

Of course we were both very, very tired after a month on the road, and I had a peculiar rash on my arm that just wouldn't quit no matter what I put on it, and we travel with a pretty good-sized pharmacy bag for us and the kids. I was wearing long-sleeved shirts to hide it and Joyce didn't think to ask. She hadn't seen it in maybe a week. It would start to get better, then break out again. Since I have very sensitive skin, I am used to these things, and I really found it more annoying than anything else.

So we had dinner and watched some TV and went to bed. In fact, Nick and I went to bed several times! And was it ever getting cold! We had frost the last three days there, although it quickly burned off. I wanted to get out of there before mosture started freezing on the roads. Anyway, we were all ready to go home.

Friday, December 6, 2013

More wandering around the countryside.

Because that's what we came for, after all. Before I get into our activities, I want to make note of something I could have put under "Bitching," but forgot. Due to the dicey neighborhood we were in, we thought it best to carry with us anything valuable or dangerous. All this schlepping added two trips back and forth, up and down the hill out back, through the gardens, every time we went in or out. Oh, and there was a cipher lock on the back (kitchen) door of the place. "Tarzan" showed us how to work it, and when we tried, we couldn't press the buttons! We both have arthritis, and it was too much. "Tarzan" is huge and strong and didn't get it, but Joyce told him he'd better have an alternative means for us to get into, and lock out of, the house. Fortunately the stupid thing can be overridden, but that was another reason not to consider this property a primo vacation destination.

There was other stupid stuff, too, like loose throw rugs all over and bedding that didn't fit. They are so concerned making it cutesy-kitschy that they weren't very practical. The ice-machine in the fridge didn't work, and there were no ice cube trays anywhere on all their properties that they could get to! Thay had to bring bags of ice from the Hive. Next day we bought cube trays, and took them with. Normally when we rent, if we buy some little thing or other, we leave it for the next guest. But this place was high-priced and low-satisfaction. It was okay, but a rip-off all the same. Never again, of course.

So we spent that day driving around in ever-deteriorating weather conditions, only too delighted to scamper back to our warm, if inconvenient, cottage, and nap (because we were so tired all the time!) and watch TV and surf the internet. I am not doing without TV and wifi again. Learned the hard way. Oh, well. I wish I could blow it all off like we used to, but I need updates a couple times a day. Joyce can make do with once. I think I could make do with a newspaper and a decent radio station, but even those things aren’t always available. It was also at this point we ceased taking pictures, because it was so cold and gray. We decided the next day, Thursday, we would antique again, for the last time, and spend Friday doing the usual routine of laundry, packing and prepositioning. But anyway, here are the last couple of shots we took. We got to see more color on the drive south, but for reasons that will become apparent, we were no longer stopping for pictures.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Alternate day wandering

Joyce had enough of being inside so we went exploring the next day. The dogs were glad, too, because while we are prowling stores, they’re waiting in the car. It was cool enough not to have to worry about them, although we always parked in the shade just in case. So we shut off Sam and just started driving, figuring she could lead us home when we’d had enough, and that’s how we got to Blue Ball. They have “Amish” sightseeing places set up, but we wanted to see the real thing so we just went off into the countryside, which isn’t so easy around Lancaster, which is actually a small city. Nothing to see, folks, keep moving. Really, it was in one side and out the other.

What we did enjoy seeing was the big Amish working farms. They keep these places so beautifully, and their animals are so healthy and happy. If I were a farm animal, I would want to live on an Amish farm. We came around a curve and saw this one guy leading a brace of four mules backwards. They were gigantic, and just stepping along backwards all perfectly synchronized. Like they do it every day, which they undoubtedly do. And in the grocery store lot in Blue Ball, another Amish market, there was a special buggy parking area. And here’s how you can tell Mennonites from Amish: the Mennonites drive cars. Anyway these horses are amazing, just trotting along surrounded by motorized traffic.

Because we were mostly driving, and scenes changed too fast to get pictures, I have found a couple of pics of what we saw out there:

http://abcnews.go.com/images/Health/gty_amish_children_dm_120507_wblog.jpg&imgrefurl=http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/health/2012/05/07/amish-have-fewer-allergies-due-to-farm-effect/&h=269&w=478&sz=42&tbnid=eP-knlXvJRitlM:&tbnh=117&tbnw=208&zoom=1&usg=__QlSdCEZSO4U5eFdXntQWBH_Z2jU=&docid=1gXI_3kRt37RlM&sa=X&ei=MISfUtP_JYbMsQS50YLoBQ&ved=0CC4Q9QEwAQ

AND

http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://davidmixner.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8341c90b153ef017ee4f2e38b970d-pi&imgrefurl=http://www.davidmixner.com/davidmixnercom/&h=305&w=450&sz=173&tbnid=9Ul3wnAueSeKgM:&tbnh=129&tbnw=191&zoom=1&usg=__qR4WiX7ZUjObDvDAKeMm8gGZwT8=&docid=wWISZJU-HkdZfM&sa=X&ei=-IOfUqGuIpPLsATjmICABQ&ved=0CDUQ9QEwBA

One of the weirdest things is the little children all solemn-faced in miniature grown-up clothing. Now, I don’t even like kids, but I felt sorry for these. I have watched enough Amish TV to know that not getting enough education ruins their lives, and a lot of beatings go on, and these are reasons why they go out on Rumspringe and never come back. Sometimes it's just best not to think too hard about these things, like when you travel to a third-world country and see dogs roaming the streets. But I can make donations to animal rescue organizations. There's not a lot I can do about saving the Amish children. However, from the number of Mennonites living in the same place, it looks as if they will soon save themselves. They can have religion, education, and convenience all at the same time. Otherwise, there will be no religion at all. It's pretty much up to them.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Antiquing we have gone

I’m not a big fan of verbing, but I’ll do it here for the sake of simplicity. As I said in a previous entry, until maybe a year and a half ago, I had no interest in antiques at all. Until then, I might have gone into half a dozen antique stores in my entire life. If any of you are interested in antiques, get ready to laugh at my ignorance. I don’t mind. I laugh at it myself!

So Adamstown basically consists of a highway with antique shops on it. Sometimes a restaurant or a drug store, but not much else. Many are Pennsylvania Dutch-themed, by which I mean, their names, not their contents. One was called German, and there was nothing especially Deutsch about it. Maybe they ran out of clever local-themed monikers. Or maybe they are sick of the phrase “Pennsylvania Dutch,” because these people are not Dutch at all; they are ethnically German. And they don’t sell antiques, they use them every day.

To backtrack a tiny bit, when I first ventured out in search of vintage glass, I was puzzled by the set-up of most antique stores. They are a series, sometimes a seemingly endless one, of little tiny-three sided booths. Each booth, I discovered, is owned and operated by a vendor, who pays rent and administrative costs for it. Vendors often take turns guarding the merchandise for one another. They wear big bunches of keys to open the locked glass cases and you can always locate them easily. In these stores, someone is always watching you, and I think this must have been learned over the years by trial and error, due to breakage and pilferage. A lot of old things are small and fragile. Go figure!

So when you enter you see all these rows and rows of booths all looking totally random, because they are. The closest thing to organization I saw was toys, books, and Christmas ornaments. All other booths are a hodge-podge, and except for those few specialties, what you are looking for can easily be spread from one end of the place to the other. If the venue is a single shop in Plant City, for example, you can tour around and maybe finish a twenty-vendor store in an hour. In Adamstown, they are called antique barns, malls and warehouses for a reason. You stay there all day.

Then there’s glut. So many things all jammed into one place. You don’t know where to start. We tend to go counter-clockwise, like in a supermarket. And there are rooms on rooms and plenty of two-story-buildings, and unless you want someone on your heels to show you, say, every WW II German pistol in the store, you have to look for your stuff yourself. And Joyce likes to carry stuff around and compare things, so we always have to keep track of where we got stuff, or where we left it, because if you pick something up and walk two feet, there is a vendor ready to take it up front for you. So I would check an entire store without picking anything up, until I was certain, and then I would back-track. Totally different method from Joyce. One other caveat: I stink at taking pictures of things. So if I want to show you something, I’ll find a link to one like it on line. It will save tons of bother.

We drove out and turned right, and went until we found the first open antique place. I can’t remember all the names but this wasn’t as large as some. Even so, after wandering around and around, we were ready to buy something. Here’s another funny practice: Everything is automatically ten percent off. You can try bargaining if you wish, but I am not at all good at that, so I leave it to Joyce. She always gets more off; I never do. It was in the first place that I found my slag. Slag is one of those odd things that is rare, in fact, unique, and worthless at the same time. It’s a mix of types of glass from cleaning out the molds at the end of the day, and every piece is different. By rare I mean, you will see 500 pieces of “normal” milk or Carnival glass before you see one piece of slag. Until this trip, I had never seen one. Here’s close to what I got:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/like/271179419862?lpid=82

Once again, I tried to make a link, and in fact the URL just disappeared, so I have to put it in as plain text.

Later in the trip I saw a few, a very few, other pieces of slag. I was glad I grabbed this when I saw it. And it has subsequently disappeared into a hidden gift cache (each of us keeps one of these for the other) to reappear on a special occasion. We shop for gifts year round. Reduces stress.

So after one store, we were both exhausted! Again! Yes, even though we were no longer staying at the Tsetse Fly, some of the effects lingered. We were both running out of energy quickly, which Joyce blamed on the stairs and I blamed on my weight. So we went to a diner we had spotted while grocery shopping. Joyce is a big fan of family-owned businesses. Did you know you can get chicken livers Italian style? Me, neither. And baklava as well.

After lunch we went to one more place, and it was so big we didn’t finish it, but decided to return later in the week. It was here Joyce started hunting for gigantic glass vases to house her kitchen tools so they are easy to reach on the counter. And interesting containers for the top of her new desk, to keep crap in. This is good! It gives me plenty of time and leeway to get what I want if she can get whatever she wants. I found this and convinced her it would make a great Valentine’s Day gift.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/FENTON-ART-GLASS-HEART-SHAPED-HUMMINGBIRD-BLUE-CARNIVAL-GLASS-TRINKET-BOX-/281207294945

Joyce thought it was beautiful amd wanted me to get it then, but I wanted to see more, and these places weren't crowded. No worries, I did go back and get it, but not at this price. Holy moly, I can't justify that much for one piece. Later on, though, I got a piece she finds incredibly ugly. And I bought it anyhow, damn it! I have no intention of returning to this area in my life, let alone any time soon.

And here's a picture of foliage we took while wandering around the countryside. As usual, overcast, if not raining.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

A day off for bitching

So on Monday, after our mad dash across the state Saturday, complete with whirlwind moving in and getting ready for the get-together on Sunday, Monday seemed like a good day to take off. It was raining anyhow, and according to a brochure we picked up, many antique dealers are closed Monday on that stretch of road. You should check it out. Here’s a link. Except you have to cut and paste it. Blogger is being an ass again.

http://www.antiquescapital.com

Up until a few years ago, I had no interest whatsoever in antiques. Then my former spouse mentioned going through her parents’ crystal collection, and I was reminded that I had inherited some Carnival glass from my Aunt Lucy. I discovered it had little marks on the bottom. I discovered you could look up these marks and patterns on line. I started matching my stuff with these marks. I started realizing it was pretty! I decided I had to have more. But I am not a great shopper, not even for things I like, so this sort of thing happens no more than twice a year, max. We live near Plant City, another antique Mecca, and we vacation near Apalachicola, likewise. So occasionally we go looking for glass. It reminds me of my grandparents’ house, which is a very pleasant memory for me. And Joyce thinks some of it looks nice. Not all of it, though, as you will see, because I have also re-discovered milk glass, homely relative of Carnival glass. And we have limited space so I have to be pretty judicious about it, and have limited myself mostly to animal-themed items. And then we use it for holiday decorating at Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving and so on.

So we did laundry and laid around napping and watching TV, and making sure we never climbed up the stairs to use the bathroom without taking something up or down at the same time. Now, our dogs knew nothing about stairs. They almost never see anything higher than a curb. And for their first stairs, of course, they encounter a steep, slippery flight with no means of gripping the floor whatsoever. There were marks where treads had been, I have no idea why they weren’t replaced. I can do stairs all right, but among us, I was only one at first. The little dogs learned it pretty well, trial and error. Joyce used the banister to haul herself up.

Then there was Nick. He’s 18 and while sturdy and muscular, he’s ancient. He has old bones, though no real sign of arthritis (because he's been on preventive meds for years). For his size and breeds, that works out to about 90 years old. So we blocked the stairs at the bottom and made up his bed in the kitchen. That lasted about five minutes, the length of time it took him to remove the obstacles and slowly but surely, haul his ass up there. So I went out and got his bed stairs* and we spent the next day working out how the hell to get him down. We weren’t about to let him try that on his own, and when he went up, one of us was always right behind him, although in a day or two he could just fly up them as well as the others. And he has to go out several times a night, so when I get up, I just take him out. The best way to maneuver him down the stairs was to get ahead of him, put a hand on his chest, and let gravity do the rest. Got a lot of exercise at the Horsefly. At least I could let him into the garden instead of walking him. It was so cold at night he did his business and was back upstairs in bed before I could even lock the door!

That Monday was also the day the five Great Danes arrived at the Dung Beetle for a dog show. Although the entire area was supposed to be dog-friendly, Stella isn’t, so we had to make sure none of the big dogs were out when we took ours anywhere, leashed, of course. And now, here are some of the surrounding buildings. They are not part of the cottage complex, but have their own characteristics and deserve special names, too, I think.

First, the Blow-Fly, a hideous warehouse of abandoned donations, apparently. This was right across from our back garden, and a fence had been erected on "our" property to block the view. It didn't work very well.

Next, the Millipede, directly across from our front door. A horrible, deteriorating residential row. A man who enjoyed flaunting his underwear lived over there, coming out all but naked at random times. So I did not wish to go over there to take a picture of the front of the Horsefly.


Finally, the Silverfish, kitty-corner to us at the four-way stop. This housing and a crumbling apartment house not pictured (the Ant Hill) were why we had to park in back and off the street. It was too dangerous to park down front. Another thing you can't tell from the website.



I want to emphasize the houses and grounds were beautiful, and situated away from urban blight, they would have been more than adequate. But they weren't. In fact, every diesel-operated vehicle in the town, as well as every motorcycle, would roar in and out of that four-way intersection day and night. You didn't get 15 minutes of quiet all at once, ever. The nasty buildings across the way would have rendered the fire-pit and gardens unusable if the weather had permitted, but it was cold and rainy most of the time so that was never a real issue. And this is why they say, in real estate, "Location, location, location."

* Bed stairs: a small, covered plastic staircase we schlep around so Nick can climb into all the beds he visits.

Welcome to the Horsefly

We stayed at a place in Adamstown that rented a string of cottages with cute bug-like names, like Ladybug, but to protect myself from libel, I’ll just rename them to demonstrate how we felt about our stay there. The Horsefly and Stink Bug are side by side. Here they are from the back. Why from the back? You can’t easily take a shot from the front. You’ll see why soon.

The Horsefly is on top, in gold, and the green Stink Bug is on the bottom. Notice how crowded this neighborhood is. Once again, right in the middle of town, specifically at a four-way stop. Why this matters will also become apparent later. Behind me, not pictured, is the Dung Beetle, which holds huge groups of people come for antiquing. It's beyond popular here and we really had fun, but more on that later. Back to the Horsefly.

No, wait, back further, to the Hive, which is the main building where the office is. We had to find that in order to check in. Sam got us there, all right, but the driveway was straight up into a blind lot. I got out and Joyce did it. She's very good at driving straight up. Just leans on the horn and guns it. Okay, glad I don't have to. So she gets out and heads for the office and I stay with the dogs. A minute later, she's back. "Gimme my cane. There are a lot of steps and no railings."

Since it was cool enough to leave the dogs, I went along to make sure she didn't kill herself. The place is on multiple levels with flagstones and concrete stairs and wooden stairs and the odd ramp. Okay, it's really beautifully kept, all of the properties in this little complex are gorgeous and dripping with antiques, which is very appealing, but no way of knowing you would have to be a rock climber to get in.

So we got in, and the woman, "Jane," immediately disappeared to send out the man, "Tarzan," who is very, outgoing, shall we say, loves to talk. Talk talk talk. Ramble on, expostulate, and he's nearly seven feet tall and has to duck under trees. Nice guy except he can be a little much. I started challenging him because he got on my nerves so much with his endless pushy restoration expertise, and Joyce said he didn't like it, wasn't used to that. Tought turtles. Don't try to intimidate me. I mean, maybe he wasn't even trying, he's probably just proud of all he's done with the place and wanted to make sure we were appropriately impressed , but I'm just like him; I push back.

After check-in, which was endless with paperwork, he directed us to the Horsefly and said he would meet us. I drove this time, and he came right after. That was how we learned we had to park in back and carry all our gear downhill through three levels of gardens on a rough path and steps with only one short railing. As soon as we got in the house we discovered both bedrooms and baths are on the second floor up a very steep, narrow and slippery flight of stairs. Well, we had already paid, so that was that. He helped us carry in all our stuff, all the way upstairs. Joyce, with the bad back and cane, could just about manage herself, so "Tarzan" and I schlepped back and forth for about half an hour. Once that was done, he left and we took the dogs for a long walk in the gardens.

However, we couldn't stay put because we were expecting my relatives from south Jersey the next day, and Joyce wanted to lay in some snacks and other supplies. We found a Mennonite market (has electicity) and stocked up on all kinds of local goodies, including a fresh-killed chicken which Joyce roasted that very night. If you give Joyce a kitchen, she will cook something in it. She makes complete meals of all kinds on trips, from the simplest to the most complex. We don't eat in restaurants much once she has herself a kitchen.

Next morning we got up early to make sure the place was all neat again after having moved in, which made it real handy that I was awake when my relatives started cancelling left and right. So many of them suddenly had to work at the last minute! Out of ten invited, three showed in the middle of the afternoon up by which time we had taken off our bras and left them on a chair in the living room, when they burst in the front door loaded down with goodies. Joyce grabbed her bra and took off for the kitchen to put it on while I'm standing there with mine in my hand, hugging and kissing everyone. We all pretended not to see it.

Because this house had comfortable seating and a great big TV, we could all easily chat in the living room and watch football at the same time. Each dog claimed a cousin and sat with them. It was funny. I can't show you the cousins, but here are the dogs and the nice gas fireplace which, unlike the Tsetse Fly, didn't try to kill us.

More on the amenities and surroundings in the next entry.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Transition Days

Friday was our last day, and as always it was reserved for laundry and packing. And it rained, too, which made me glad we were leaving. We had both forgotten how much it rains in the Fall in the Northeast. And we finally felt some cold and saw some frost. Our next stop was about 200 miles south and east so we hoped to see still more foliage. Following our tradition, we got on each other’s nerves and alternated between napping and dragging stuff hither and yon to pack or pre-position. Joyce was in logistics, so she knows a lot about pre-positioning. She decides everything about how to pack the van, just as I decide everything about the routes we take. And I do most of the heavy lifting and more than half the driving, but she does all the cooking.

So we got everything we could out of the Tse-Tse Fly and into Van O’White so we’d have less to do in the morning. Knowing how hard it was to get going in that place, we even bought me a six-pack of Diet Mountain Dew earlier in the week and that seemed to help. I don’t drink coffee.

Here are a couple more interior shots of the Tse-Tse Fly. You can see what I mean about lack of comfortable seating. Love our 50’s dinette set! And see Joyce's cane? Well, that's gone back into her closet. She doesn't need it in warm, flat Florida. I must say it was odd to see her using it at all. She got it once for a sprained ankle and just kept it. Good thing, too.



I forgot to mention about the previous day that we ate in a Greek restaurant in Wellsboro. Actually it was more like a diner with a page full of Greek dishes, because the people across from us were eating fried chicken. I'm sure if we had asked them, they would have said, "Greek food? Us? We don't eat Greek food!" And in that case it was their loss, because we had the gyro platter and it was excellent, as was the baklava, of course. So here's a shout out to George's, and if yoou're ever up that way, try it.

We were up and on the road at practically the crack of dawn for us: 8 AM. We had breakfast and finished packing before we left. There's no point getting up to travel in the dark; neither of us can drive at night. Even though we knew the approximate distance, thanks to Samantha, she can't figure in all our stops, so we allowed sunup to sidown, almost, to get ourselves to Adamstown, antique capital of Lancaster County. Except that we had to make so many changes, it wasn't all that tedious and we saw some great colors, but couldn't stop to take pictures lest we lose the light. So here's a shot from the parking lot of the Adamstown supermarket where we went for supplies after checking in to the Horse Fly cottage. Ignore the car. That's where I had to stand to get all the trees.