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When I started my retirement travels - the first of which was my solo overseas trip to Italy in 2009 - I wanted a way to share it with family and friends as it happened. Hence, "My Travel Journal". However I realized I wouldn't always be on a trip and wondered what to do with the blog in between times. My daughter pointed out, wisely, that travels can also include trips to the kitchen to try a new recipe, trips to visit family, trips to my neighborhood Starbucks, or a fun day trip with a friend. You're welcome to join me on any of these journeys!

P.S. I've set up separate pages for each of my major trips (see tabs above).

I recently added an "Italian Word a Day" thingie which shows up at the bottom of every page. You see the word and can click to hear it pronounced. I've been enjoying it and I think my accent is improving as time goes by.

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March 13, 2012

A Great Visit with January!

Well, January has been and gone but I sure have a lot of nice memories to pull out and enjoy every now and then.  She got here Wednesday night and the train was only about half an hour late or so which wasn't bad at all.  And she didn't hate this trip nearly as much as she did the one other time she made it so that was good.

I feel like I mostly entertained her with eating, but there are worse ways to be entertained, right?  Our first stop on Thursday was lunch at Hillbilly Hotdogs - seems like any family member that visits wants to go there which is fine with me.  It poured rain all day Friday so we mostly stayed in and that was nice too cause we got lots of visiting done.  January decided she would update my I-phone for me and that ended up taking a long time because apparently I haven't been doing that much, if ever.  So now I'm all spiffy on my phone.  I introduced her to a game on the phone that I've been playing with a friend and she downloaded it and has been absolutely trouncing me ever since!  I told her I didn't really know how much more humiliation I could take.

Oh, and my Texas sheet cake which at first bite (still warm from the oven) had me pretty worried cause it just wasn't like I remembered it, turned out to be very good and gooey just like it's supposed to be.  I took some of it down to Starbucks Wednesday night and then, when we picked up Jamie for lunch on Friday, I also took some into the office.  So we didn't have too much that we had to eat ourselves. :)

And on the subject of eating, I've given up on ever seeing the view from on top of the Huntington Prime restaurant building.  We stopped in there on Friday afternoon to see about going up either that evening or Saturday and they have yet again changed their reservation policy and I've totally lost track of how any of it works and figure I'll just be content with my own view. 

We decided if the weather stayed nice, we should maybe do a letterbox search.  I looked to see if there were more letterboxes in this area that my sister and I hadn't looked for and there were several actually.  Three were at Beech Fork Lake and I printed off the clues for all of them.  Incidentally, Beech Fork Lake is where everyone in the Tri-State area goes for swimming, fishing, boating, etc., and in the 34 years I've lived here, I'd never been there.  So, now I'm that much closer to being "native".

I went ahead and registered at the website and we went to one of the craft stores and bought a little rubber stamp and an ink pad so we were all set.  Got ourselves out to the park and found that we couldn't do the first part of the instructions on the box we had chosen because at a certain point down the road we were to use, the gate was closed.  But there was a place to park the car off to the side of the road and we walked around the gate and started what turned out to be at least a 2-mile trek, I'm sure.  Her directions would have taken us all the way to the last parking area before starting on the trail and the trail was 1.3 miles long so...

And now, pictures:

As you can see, it was an absolutely gorgeous day!  Fairly chilly, but with the sun and all the walking we were quite comfortable with no coats.  This picture is as we started down the road after going around the gate.  The picture on the right is just cause the white trees were so pretty again the blue, blue sky.

We finally got through the two parking lots and down to the creek only to find that the creek was obviously higher than when the clues were written.  But the picture on the left shows the first set of stones we found for crossing.  The picture on the right is January sussing out the next crossing.  I think we ended up having to cross it three times going and coming back.  But, of course, that made it quite an adventure and we felt very much like intrepid explorers.

It turned out that the "planter" pulled a fast one on us.  Her directions took us beyond where the box was hidden (although we didn't know we were passing it by) all the way to the end of the trail.  We think she just wanted folks to enjoy a nice hike and it was nice.  There was a bench there so we sat for a minute and then started back.  And we found it!  It involved probably our trickiest creek crossing, but that didn't stop us, by golly.

I didn't know January was taking the picture on the left but was tickled at how gung-ho I look.  It really was quite an exciting day.  And on the right, success!

Quite pleased with ourselves, we stamped, dated and signed the book and started the long trek back.  January took this gorgeous picture of a tree in bud.  All these pictures were taken with our phones, by the way, and I think they did a great job.  Of course they usually do when conditions are this good.  The sky was just unbelievable!

When we got back to the road (which was now uphill), January noticed that most of the wood pylons along the side had a really unique and cute moss growing out of them.  So, of course, we took pictures of that also.

I had never seen moss like this with its almost infinitesimal red flowers.  The foliage is green although it doesn't show well in these pictures.  After the blooms die, there are little grey puffs and the picture below is one that I think looks like an alien landscape.

So that was pretty much it for our letterboxing. It was such fun (as were my first treks with my sister) that I came home and looked to see if there were any listed for Nice or Paris. The closest one to Nice was in Monte Carlo and I won't be going there, but there are several in Paris, so I may just have to give it a try there. I'll definitely take my stamp and inkpad with me! :)

After such a workout, we treated ourselves to a nice dinner at our local Thai restaurant.  It was quite delicious and January (who loves Thai food) said it ranks right up there with some of her favorites in the DC/MD area.  It's family-owned and everything is apparently house-made.

Then, home and finish up a load of laundry for January, get everything gathered up and packed, and then close to midnight and right about the time January was saying she didn't think she could go to bed yet cause she was just all edgy, we suddenly remembered the time change.  So it was now close to one o'clock actually.  We decided we'd watch one more episode of Black Books, an insane British comedy and see if she could go to sleep then.  So, going on 2:00 a.m. we finally toddled off.  Of course, with the train scheduled to leave at 7:10 a.m., and me doing my regular 5:30 a.m. wake-up, I figured why go back to sleep.  I got up and called Amtrak to see how the train was doing and they said it would be about 20 minutes late.  So waited a bit and woke January up.  We got ourselves down to the train station where we found that it was now going to be about another 15 minutes late.  Then it was another 15 minutes and I think it left around 8:30 or maybe closer to 9 - I wasn't too clear on anything.  But she got off, made it home safely, and I spent the day in a zombie-like state, dozing off about every time I sat down.  Couldn't even get all three of my Sunday paper puzzles worked down at Starbucks! 

But the whole visit was a delight for me and I'm pretty sure January enjoyed it also. 


Christopher said...

Sounds like a completely splendid weekend... and another official letterboxer! Guess that means I'll probably have to join too--at least in time for my Iceland trip! Next time you come here, we can hit up the 2 letterboxes at the cathedral, too ;)

January said...

It sure was a nice visit! I'm glad you enjoyed it as much as I did :) And, if it's any consolation, I finally found a friend to play the scramble game with, and he is absolutely destroying me every time! OH THE HUMANITY!!!
I love you, and I'm glad we got to finish off your birthday week so well.

Mary Lynne said...

Well, it DOES make me feel a little better but it's also kind of scarey - with you getting your 1300 something scores his scores must be out of sight to be "destroying" you. I bet he is a robot disguised as a human bean.


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