Friday, May 22, 2015
That evening, after sharing a scrumptious chicken casserole that Krissy made as a surprise, complimented by Chuck's homemade sour dough bread and Jan's yummy carrot cake, we got our brains fired up on genealogy research. There are always stories to share of those ancestors that are tough to unlock and those that we've gotten to know better lately. And the latest news is that Chuck's getting closer to publishing a history for their grandchildren. So, Jerry and I were interested to see the draft of his ideas. But wait just a minute, now Chuck and Jan are getting deeper into ancestry.com. The discoveries of more censuses and marriages and all kinds of connections are growing. I'm sure the story will jell soon though. And it'll be the right time to publish. Meanwhile, it helps to brainstorm with friends on how to create a story that appeals to everyone in our families. Something they'll read beyond the introduction and the conclusion. You know….the story has to have some zing!
The time flew by. Since I was leaving the next morning for a family history conference in St. Charles, MO., the four of us made the most of our time. Of course, in the morning we enjoyed another chat over coffee and sour dough toast. The Moores headed to the Cincinnati area to explore a few family connections there and visit more friends. (They had a serendipity occurrence - Read it here.)
I took I-70 West toward Missouri, on a jaunt toward improving my research skills. My five days at the National Genealogical Society Family History Conference were interesting and fun, too. I still haven't sorted through all of my notes from the 16 programs I chose - a wide selection - from German Digital Libraries to What Is "Reasonably Exhaustive Research?" I'm now a little better at digging deeper and proving those family ties though. A valuable part of the conference for me were the 30-minute breaks between sessions. It seemed that these longer breaks sparked conversations as we waited for the speaker. Someone sitting next to me would comment about the last session they attended and we'd end up sharing a tip or two, or a website or discussing some research experience.
Another bonus for me was that I met some new friends who are willing to help and listen and laugh all the while. These historians came from every state, California to Iowa to Virginia to Tennessee and, of course, Indiana. One especially nice friend, Marsha, invited me to tag along with her for dinner and whatever. Three or four of us sampled restaurants and roamed in the historic old section of St. Charles, or relaxed in the hotel for happy hour and dinner. In the photo above I'm listening to Daniel Boone, a local favorite, during one of our explorations into St. Charles. (By the way, this sculpture is by Harry Weber - no relation to my Harry Webers, but isn't that ironic!). Lewis & Clark were abundantly celebrated here, of course, as it was an important stop on their Expedition. The park in their honor is on the Missouri River running through St. Charles. This little town was founded by Louis Blanchette, a French fur trader, in 1769 and the tiny house in the photo above is his. A local told me that this is the original house, with a few repairs. It's among many historic homes that line the cobblestone streets.
Well, my story here started with nice people in Indianapolis, taking time to share our latest experiences with Jan and Chuck. And I'll end it with a couple of newer friends, also sharing camaraderie. Here are Robert and Marsha, from Tennessee and Virginia. None of us knew each other before the NGS conference, but we hit it off right away and found commonalities in life that kept us engaged during our time in St. Charles.
Thanks for spending your time here at Hurley Travels.
Copyright 2015 © Nancy Niehaus Hurley
Sunday, May 10, 2015
Fortunately, as soon as we got out of our car we saw people leisurely hanging out on the grounds of this historic home in casual conversations. And we seemed to have great timing, too, because the master gardener we met at the entrance was a lovely person. Shirley greeted us in her pleasant British accent, with a huge smile. She asked if we had anything specific we'd like to know about gardening. From there on, Shirley walked and talked with just the two of us, giving ideas and demos as we came to various shrubs, trees and flowers. She showed us how to plant and prune and position. And she gave Krissy some tips to keep her just-planted, acidic-loving bushes happy. Very laid back, but informative!
Thinking about the variety of plants we saw along our path, my top choice for the afternoon would be this Andromeda. Maybe you can see in the picture how the bright crimson leaves spray out of the layers of green under them. Each one of the limbs of this small shrub has its own green and red bottle-brush of leaves. They are beautiful! And Shirley explained that there are flowers earlier in the spring that drape in long fronds out of the center of those red leaves.
But....we also had an ironic experience during our visit with Shirley in the gardens. We were about half way through our sunny tour when we heard a loud rumbling somewhere overhead. Everyone looked up to see a formation of about 12 historic airplanes flying over our heads. After they were passed, Shirley remarked that it reminded her of when she was young, living near London during World War II during the Blitz. She described darkening their windows and the warnings they received if they left a crack of light. She remembers that even though they lived miles outside London they had to be ready to be hit. If there were bombs left after hitting the assigned targets, the bombers might just drop them anywhere.
Just as she was describing how the bombers made the first fly over to scout their target and the second to drop their bombs, the array of airplanes roared overhead again going back to wherever. It was a unique coincidence that just at that point in time we were standing there with her to hear her stories. Very interesting!
We did squeeze some shopping into our birthday afternoon, too. On the route home to meet Jerry for dinner was a consignment/estate sale barn that called to us. The place was packed with furniture, art, jewelry, etc. Krissy found a sleek, mahogany, arts & craftsy-type coffee table that was meant to be hers. (After measuring at home, she made the return trip to grab it.) At the end of our escapades, we were starved. We let Jerry take us out for an early dinner, enjoying the rest of this nice spring day on the patio at a local restaurant.
Mother's Day: Happy Mother's Day to all you ladies who are mothers of any kind. I hope you had a pleasant day. Mine was fantastic! Krissy prepared a delicious brunch of ham frittata, fennel salad and lemon pound cake with raspberry glaze. The three of us toasted motherhood with mimosas and enjoyed an excellent meal and our time together. There were a few spring showers today, but they didn't dampen anything going on inside.
To top off this Mother's Day, I've chosen to dig up a couple of generational photos for some flashback fun. Here's my mom, Rosemary (Weber) Niehaus with her mom, Tillie (Kuhn) Weber and me, Nancy (Niehaus) Hurley with my daughter, Krissy Underwood.
Have a beautiful Spring! Thanks for staying with us here on Hurley Travels.
Wednesday, March 25, 2015
March usually does bring a few surprises, or maybe I should say developments. Regardless, we've marched through it and the crocuses are sprouting in our front yard. I'm energized and ready to bring things up to date on Hurley Travels. There is a bit more to say here than I usually do in one post. You know how life goes….one thing after another. No time to write the Hurley Travels blog. (Insert smirk or smile.) But anyway, let's march on.
The contrasts in the photos I'm posting below are typical of the "in like a lion, out like a lamb" unpredictability of March in Indiana - sunny and 70 degrees - then snowing and 30 degrees the next day. Having friendly family shovelers and hiring the neighborhood teenager with a snow blower helped so much during this winter's weather. At this stage in life we have become excellent supervisors. This month has had several of those ins and outs of climate. The two scenes below are within a few days of each other: Eight inches of snow covered our suburban Fishers landscape with the beautiful white pillows of snow. And just a few days later we were relaxing in Tim's yard with a cold refreshment observing Tim and Jamie and Luke and Eland preparing the backyard landscaping around the pool. There was only a small mound of snow left as evidence. That was a warm, fun afternoon. When the kids had to leave for homework and sports, Tim, Jerry and I relaxed for a little conversation. Then one of Tim's long-time friends, Dan, stopped by. From there it was more stories…you know how that goes. I had to snap a shot of these three characters. Just a little reminiscing and laughter going on there!
Then, there's that other day in March …it seems to keep popping up too quickly. My birthday wishes from friends and family around the country did give me the warm fuzzies though! Marti and I hung out for a long sisterly birthday afternoon, that I talked about on the other blog, Indiana Ties. My hubby asked, "what would you like to do? " I thought about a trip to Germany or Jamaica. But that would take too much packing and I just did all that to move. So….I say, "how about we take a day trip to northern Indiana???"
We somehow selected the small town of Markle, about 90 miles away. Maybe because we could get there in an hour or two, or we were able to stay completely off interstates…OR just because we hadn't been there. And where to go to eat is always a decision too, right? This time we agreed we would look for a restaurant on the way, also something new, where we would stop for dinner on our way back.
First, a few miles from home we took a quick side trip. It just happened that way. I got to see where Ferd, the Foretravel motorhome, and Ole Yeller, our old jeep, now live. The family that owns them is from Fortville, Indiana. Rob's in the stone business and owns the local grain elevator and surrounding buildings and property. You can see the structure at the back of this photo where Ferd is now parked inside. The family took some motorhome trips last summer. We ran into Rob as he was preparing that morning to take Ole Yeller to the Indiana Flower & Patio Show to setup his exhibit. These old pals of ours are having a pretty good life!
As we wondered through the towns, I lost track of the route that day, since I was just being a passenger. But I know we were traveling north, taking mostly highways 36 and 3. I was being lazy, looking at little towns and watching people. Part of the fun of one of these types of trips is not knowing what to expect, right? Soon we meandered our way into Markle. We took a quick tour through the quiet, clean town with the Wabash River running along its south side. When we saw this small park with a sign next to an old mill stone we thought that would be a nice place to take a few minutes and stretch our legs. It seems like there is usually some point of interest, or unusual spot, in every town along the road that you choose to stop and look. Here's what the sign says where I'm standing:
Indian Mill Stone
This stone is from the first Grist Mill constructed by the U. S. Government, circa 1833, for the use of the Miami Indians in this locality. It was built on Rock Creek, 1/4 of a mile up stream from the Wabash River. Presented to the Markle Historical Society on June 1, 1983, by the Geiger family who have owned the land since 1864.
Then, there was more excitement for my birthday! Our car found the way to a huge antique mall just on the outskirts of Markle. Oh, and there was a lot to explore. Jerry and I split up after the first few booths and agreed that we would keep in touch by text. A couple of hours later and a few more treasures for Nancy they locked the doors. And Jerry even did some hunting himself.
Remember that we were thinking and looking along the road for a restaurant? Well, we did see one that we both thought looked interesting and remarked that it would be easy to retrace and stop on the way home. It was called the Iron Kettle and seemed to be popular at midday when we passed it. No problem, we'll find it easily. Wellllllllll, who knows what happened to that place. Our route back didn't seem to pass it. But we did end up our birthday exploring day with a delicious dinner at Maggiano's just a few miles from home. The lasagna and wine tasted fantastic after all that traveling and sightseeing and hunting for antique deals.
But there's still one more story: On the weekend Krissy decided as her gift she would prepare a meal and bring it to our house. She made these unique deviled eggs that are seasoned with hot sauce and other yummy ingredients. (Sorry, Krissy, I don't remember, but I loved it all.) Then there was a fantastic chicken dish that I wish I knew the name of - with spices, olives, lemons and cashews - served over couscous. The crunchy salad of snap peas, radishes and feta cheese with sumac dressing was a great compliment. And for the perfect ending - decadent Guinness Brownies - scrumptious!?%#! We all were very content that evening.
Yes, this was more wordy and photo-populated than my usual post. But actually, I could add other happenings…gifts from MJ…visits from C…furniture purchases…etc., etc. But I'm going to call it quits right now.
Thanks for visiting Hurley Travels. Stay well.
copyright © Nancy Hurley
Thursday, March 12, 2015
I'm traveling back to a beautiful piece of country we were surprised to find. This canyon is estimated to have been inhabited by humans for 12,000 years. But these two Hurleys can be recorded there only ten years ago. We are glad, however, to have left our footprints in Palo Duro Canyon. It remains one of the most pleasant surprises in our RVing.
As we explored the Texas Panhandle in March of 2004, early in our fulltiming lifestyle, we came across this state park with a stupendous terrain. We were traveling through a stretch of dusty and flat northern Texas hoping to find a nice spot to settle overnight. What we found needed more than overnight attention. It seemed as though the ground suddenly opened up to Palo Duro Canyon State Park near Amarillo. As soon as we started our drive down the winding, rapidly descending road we knew we'd situate the fifth wheel in this campground a little while. (This photo shows a view from above the road leading to the campground in the bottom of the canyon.) We had a colorful few days surrounded by the ruggedness and beauty of nature. I remember we rambled down the many roads throughout the park, finding several picturesque picnic lunch spots. We also learned about the centuries of inhabitants, southern Plains Indians, ranchers and the CCC who built structures in the 1930s for us to enjoy today. And as the sun set and the array of colors shifted, we'd relax at our site to watch the wild turkeys roam the campground, visiting with everyone.
It's nice to reflect back on these unique experiences! Some of them occurred before our Hurley Travels blog, so they're receiving their first mention at this late date. Now Palo Duro Canyon has a place here with many more interesting times. I think it would be good though if I stop talking now and let a few extra photos tell the story this time.
Thanks for visiting Hurley Travels. Be Safe.
And here's a link to more information on this outstanding surprise: http://tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/palo-duro-canyon
copyright 2015 © Nancy Hurley
Friday, February 6, 2015
I've been filtering out photo files on the computer and I'm coming across some I've almost forgotten about. Of course, then it's mandatory to stop to dwell on a memory or two. And some of those recollections take me a while.
Anyway, I was hanging around in 2004 and realized I actually have a couple of photos of the first day of our RV Fulltiming Test Trip - Jan 12, 2004. That would be when we closed up our condo in Indy and went out to make our decision whether we could and would live for whatever time frame in our new Sunnybrook fifth wheel.
Thankfully there wasn't snow and ice on the roads as we traveled south on I-65 that January. Jerry and I planned that we'd stop overnight in Haskell, Tennessee, at an Escapees RV Park. A nice distance to travel and still be in daylight, so that we could clean out the antifreeze that we had in the lines from winterizing the trailer. We pulled into the park in time to get one of the two last spots available. Everything was cool! Electric hooked up, water lines cleaned out, before it got dark. In fact we were watching TV when a park employee knocked on the door. It was nice of him to walk around the campground alerting us all that the forecast was in the teens that night and we shouldn't leave our water lines connected. Wouldn't want to have frozen lines! No problem. Jerry took care of adding water in our holding tank and disconnected the line. We were cozy for the night.
But…..actually, we laughed the next morning when we both realized how silly it was that we didn't roll up our hose and store it away so that it didn't freeze in the extended position. LOL! We had to wait a while in the morning for the sun to heat it up so that we could bend it enough to store it. No harm done. And it was good for a smile as we shared the story down the road at happy hour with RV friends.
Oh yeah, the test trip proved positive. Those four months resulted in the decision to sell our condo and live on the road. And the rest was an adventure that took us to unbeatable places, people and events for ten years.
Thanks for visiting Hurley Travels. Stay safe.
copyright © Nancy Hurley
Friday, November 14, 2014
Celebrating a Special Birthday with Friends -- We enjoyed very much being a part of Tim Payne's 50th birthday celebration in early September at Summit Lake State Park, east of Pendleton, Indiana. Becky's parents provided a fabulous meal of bbq ribs, chicken, fantastic potato salad and more goodies; friends and family shared libations, games and just plain old hanging out.
This was our first occasion spending any time in a campground in the past ten years minus a home on wheels. We couldn't have had a nicer group to break that tradition with. The park and the people were both enjoyable. Here are a few of those birthday memories (above): The birthday sign created by Becky's brother gave the perfect atmosphere at the camp site. Tim loved Stella's help opening his birthday cards. And Jamie and Becky accommodated my photo-taking while enjoying some girlfriend time.
Our First Hotel Trip in Vinny -- Wisconsin is one state where we've spent very little time during our RVing life. So, when it was time to take a break from our home projects in late September, we loaded Vinny and headed for cheese and beer country. Besides, there would surely be some great spot along the way where we could celebrate our 14th wedding anniversary on September 30. The only plans we had were to find some sharp cheddar, cheese curds, Wisconsin beer and see a few new places - new to us, that is. After taking a route through small towns and countryside for two days, we paused in Fond du Lac, at the south end of Lake Winnebago -- because it seemed like the right place to stop. We found a pleasant hotel room at Country Suites; then asked the desk clerk about a good local spot to have a beer. She recommended Fat Joe's, downtown. The place was just what we wanted, like Cheers. The chatter at the bar was fun with locals and others passing through like us. On the bartender's suggestion, we tried a beer brewed and sold only in Wisconsin called Spotted Cow. It has a crisp lager-like taste - brewed by New Glarus Brewing Company. Well, we had to have a second one. And before we left the state we purchased some to bring home.
More local recommendations led to interesting places over our next few days in the area. For instance, the unexpected sitings in a small town south of Fond du Lac named Waupun. We were surprised to learn that this town of 11,000 people has a beautiful collection of outdoor sculptures. In fact, it is called the City of Sculpture. The benefactor of these art pieces was a local successful industrialist, Clarence Shaler, who wanted to give back to his hometown. He commissioned a bronze replica of the famous "The End Of The Trail" sculpture by James Earl Fraser that is a National Historic Landmark in Waupun. (above) Shaler was a sculptor himself, donating his work. The two photos below are among the sculptures by Clarence Shaler on display in and around the town. "Who Sows Believes In God" is a young peasant woman and "Dawn of Day" is an American Indian woman casting off her garments, Shaler's first piece. This photo I took from the back because I thought it showed the textures in her hair and the clothing she's holding, against the beautiful autumn tree. Mr. Shaler didn't begin his sculpting until he was 70 years old, after a productive, inventive career. He, obviously, had many talents.
A short drive east of Waupun is the Horicon National Wildlife Refuge, where we spent a few pleasant hours relaxing and enjoying nature. The drive around the loop is peaceful and scenic. And there's a one mile walking trail that includes a wooden path winding over a part of the marsh. The leaves were just beginning to turn, enhancing the views at the refuge.
And, of course, during our travels in Wisconsin, we also visited two cheese factories. We found some interesting, squeaky cheese curds and a fantastic sharp cheddar. And since we had a cooler in the back of Vinny, we could make some cheese purchases for snacking in the evening and taking home to share.
When we left Indiana we were thinking we would probably end up in Door County, Wisconsin. There's so much said about the beauty of that peninsula into Lake Michigan. But…..we were on our way further north when we took a look at the weather forecast. It was looking pretty gloomy, rainy and cold. We stopped briefly on our way out of Fond du Lac to consider if there might be a better direction to go. I can't remember exactly how it happened but we decided we would make a left turn and go southwest toward Iowa. We could miss some of the rainy stuff. And, there was one place that was still on our bucket list in that state - "Field of Dreams."
Baseball & Museum & Sushi Make For A Great Anniversary: We had less than 200 miles to the new destination, Dyersville, Iowa. But the obvious place to find a resting place was about 26 miles east in Dubuque. I'm sure most everyone remembers that the Field of Dreams is in the cornfields, not an area where you'd find a hotel. So anyway, using our new hotels app, we located another Country Suites in Dubuque, since we had a good experience the few days before in Wisconsin. The next morning we set the GPS and found our way to the Field of Dreams site. Our first impression approaching the site, was that the ambiance was preserved by the noticeable lack of commercial advertising. How nice! This site couldn't be more authentic to the actual family home and baseball field used in the movie. The minimizing of the commercialization carries forward all around the grounds. So far, the setting is preserved as it was when it was the site of the movie in 1985. There is a small gift shop and a display that gives the history of the property, the farmers who owned the property and the making of the movie. It seemed so peaceful there. We walked around for a while, standing on each base and the pitchers mound, listening at the cornfield and sitting on the team benches. A few other people arrived while we were there and did similarly. But mostly, it felt like we were alone. You could have your own time to think about tradition, family, dreams...or whatever the movie represents to you. We were happy that we finally took this road to this place.
As we were finding our way earlier through the city of Dubuque, Iowa, taking yet another look at the Mississippi River that we crossed often in other travels, we noticed a large structure alongside the river. It turned out to be the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium. This was another pleasant surprise full of interesting exhibits on the river, the people involved with it, the industry, the animals, and more. Of course, Mark Twain was thoroughly embedded in the stories and there is a paddle wheel boat ride available. There are also at least a dozen different aquariums with all sorts of wildlife - otters, frogs, turtles, beavers and many huge fish found in these waterways.
To complete this little trip, we tried to come up with an appropriate restaurant to have dinner on our 14th wedding anniversary. Nothing exotic or formal, just a nice meal and, if possible, some place a little different. Yelp and Urban Spoon didn't seem to bring up any good prospects. Then, I remembered that we had passed an Ichiban sushi restaurant in our driving around the area. Since we had recently learned that sushi is much more than raw fish, we decided to give the place a try. We enjoyed sharing three dishes that we chose pretty much blindly, from the ingredients in the menu descriptions. Two of them were very creatively displayed, with avocados and other food forming various shapes. Everything was delicious! And we now know that we are fans of pickled ginger.
That's the story on our new life situation at this point. There are plans for more episodes on-the-road. But…..who knows where or when.
Thanks for visiting with us at Hurley Travels.
Copyright © Nancy Hurley 2014
Saturday, October 4, 2014
When last I wrote for the Hurley Travels blog I talked about being fluid, exploring a different phase in life for Jerry and me. Well, quite a bit of that changing and flowing has happened in the last four months. Also, I took some time to consider whether our Hurley Travels blog should have its last chapter. If we were ceasing our life on the road, did I want to also cease writing here about our life??? It took me a few months, but I've decided there are still episodes to record. We are planning to keep on exploring in various ways. So, here I am moving along into the next mode for Hurley Travels.
But first, it just wouldn't be right if we didn't say a few words about turning this corner away from RVing. Jerry and I absolutely loved our ten years of being on the road. There are volumes of wonderful memories that we couldn't have experienced without the culture that is available among RVers. We appreciate the people everywhere along that road that are the special ingredients. There are so many unique, interesting and indescribable facets of those ten years that make us smile all the time.
This past winter was quite a moment in time for us. We had the feelings of uncertainty last fall about how many more roads we would travel in Ferd. But neither one of us was ready to say yet. Regardless of where the next spring would take us, we began our travels in November with repairs on Ferd and also had him polished up nicely in Nacogdoches at our favorite facility, Motohomes of Texas. That 1995, 36-foot, no-slide, Foretravel diesel pusher was feeling and looking good. It turned out to be a very nice last winter in Texas and Alabama. After considering a trip to Florida, it seemed best for us to make the winter stop in Gulf Shores, Alabama. While settled in our spot at the Gulf Shores State Park we contemplated how much longer we'd be traveling as RVers. We had some time to discuss and vacillate about what our next steps would be. We came to the conclusion we would end our RVing adventure. But I have to say we'll miss those desert gatherings and stops along our route to see old friends. Those times can't be matched. Thanks friends! You know who you are. There will be other ways, I hope, to stay in touch and visit occasionally.
Once we adjusted to our decision to sell Ferd, we started making plans for the change. The story isn't quite this simple, but to keep it short and sweet, we returned to Indy, found a buyer and turned over ownership in a matter of a couple of months. We did hold onto Ole Yeller (the loyal towed Jeep) for a while. It was hard to cut that final string. But actually, the good result was that the same young family owns both the motorhome and our Jeep. We're glad to see them enjoying the fun that connects them.
It will take some getting used to this new phase in our lives. But…onward we go. Pretty quickly we made more plans. We're thinking we'll still travel… to those places we missed in the motorhome, right? So we need a "highway car" that's roomier and more comfortable for those trips when we'll now be staying in hotels. Anyway, we took that step, too. Here's a shot of Jerry making the transition from Ole Yeller to Vinny (the new CRV).
Speaking of transitions, we made a major one in mid-July. We purchased our new home, just a few miles northeast, in Fishers, Indiana. Our little condo was just right for the time we were on-the-road, but we were looking for more space now that we didn't have our home on wheels. Usually older folks downsize, but these two went the other direction! We now have a home with a big garage that has space for the cars, a motorcycle, a workbench for Jerry and the extra refrigerator. And we have more room inside for visitors and to store those things we're accumulating again. Besides, we're also pleased that Krissy bought our cute little condo. It's perfect for her! So now I should post a pic of the front of the house, right? Instead of one of those, I think I'll insert one of the flowers on our hibiscus tree that is among several flowering plants, bushes and trees we are enjoying at our new place.
I could also write many happy words about this summer's activities that didn't involve the chore of moving. We've had more than our share of good times. For instance, there were super visits with old friends that came through Indianapolis, fun family reunions, several special birthday celebrations, helping with our grand dogs, hanging out on our new deck, setting food on fire on the grill and meeting new neighbors. I won't try to describe those experiences, just keep doing more. This short story will have to suffice as the catch-up on Hurley Travels for now. The leaves are falling and it's time to move on.
Thanks for sharing some time with me. Check in here at Hurley Travels again as we see where this path leads us.
Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Winter hit our condo in Indianapolis with a staggering punch! But there’s recovery in this story. Our ice maker on the refrigerator decided to go nuts and spray water everywhere while we were wintering in Gulf Shores, Alabama. Tim came to the rescue when he found the disaster. He got the water shut off, brought in the guys to tear up the flooring and stabilized things until it warmed up enough for us to get back with the motorhome. There’s not much use crying about it now. The homeowners insurance kicked in and we got things livable as quickly as possible. We’re once again settled in on Cape Drive in Indy.
Meanwhile, during the repairs, we had our old parking spot for Ferd at Tim’s house. Somehow this situation seemed appropriate, depending on Ferd the Foretravel as our home again for a spell. So, things were very comfortable when they could have been treacherous.
We arrived in Indianapolis, and were all setup a day or two in advance of the March celebrations. To start off right, we joined a few family and friends at the neighborhood Murphy’s restaurant on St. Patty’s Day. It was fun to tip a few and chow down on corned beef and cabbage, while catching up with our peeps who had weathered the long, frigid winter in Indy.
Two days later I was treated to my birthday lunch and a really cool time at the Indianapolis Museum of Art by Krissy. Here I am inside the bamboo exhibit in the three-story lobby. This is one art exhibit that you can touch. Imagine these reeds hanging from about 50 feet(??) up, just a few inches apart, in a huge circular design that you can walk through. Oh well, it's hard to explain. The photo doesn’t do it justice!What a fantastic mother/daughter day we had. Krissy found a small, white-table-cloth restaurant for us to try with great food and nice atmosphere. We saved our birthday brownie deserts for later when we knew we’d have restored our appetites after walking the museum. The featured exhibit currently is Robert Indiana, “the Hoosier state’s most famous living artist.” The exhibit includes his most iconic works, such as, the Love statue and his Numbers pieces. There’s a good deal of background from interviews with him that bring some light to the motivations for his work. It’s very interesting to learn about his history and what influenced the pieces he created. We used the audio tour to walk through while we heard all about Robert Indiana. Plus, we roamed through more of the creations on other floors in the museum before our feet were beat. For instance, look at this unusual piece of artwork - it’s actually wearable! Want to try to order a McDonalds wearing this?! Krissy and I thoroughly enjoyed my birthday browsing both contemporary and ancient works of art. http://www.imamuseum.org/
About the time we got settled back into our condo at Cape Cod Village, April started out with a treat. Mary Jo (friend since high school) came to visit from New Mexico. Of course, she has other folks to see besides me. But I was lucky enough to have some time with her on three occasions during her week in Indiana. Thankfully, we never lose touch. Between visits on our travels, her occasional trips back to Indy, email and phone calls, we keep each other up-to-date pretty well. But these times when we can just talk together like old times are the best. We had a super time on our day in Nashville, IN, with her cousin, Nancy, (great gal). It was a blast for the three of us to make the trip to Brown County, cruise around the state park we all love, and then browse for the afternoon in the shops in Nashville. Here are Nancy and Mary Jo with a furry stuffed friend we found outside a local establishment. And I had to stop to say hello to Abe at the woodcarver’s shop, too.
The latest celebration was just a few days ago with Grandson Ben. He’s 19! It seems incredible that he’s grown from that little boy drawing pictures in our living room to this 6-foot-something young man on the road to being an electrician. We sure enjoyed having a birthday evening at Applebee’s with Ben and his sister, Caroline. Here’s Ben and Gramps having one of those special moments.
Our lives seem pretty fluid right now. We’ve given Ferd the last sprucing up. He’s awaiting the anticipated transfer to a new owner. We’re just moving into a new phase in our lives -- whatever it turns out to be. For sure, we plan to roam some more. Who knows where, when or how. Keeps life interesting!
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
The winter weather in the north is finally finishing up -- taking its sweet time! We’re enjoying the last few days of temps in the 60s and 70s in Alabama while the weather in Indiana keeps improving. We’ll be winding our way back home soon. So, I thought I’d write the “Last Hurrah in Alabama.”
We’ve enjoyed being in the community of Gulf Shores, becoming used to the surroundings as you do over a three-month stretch. There have been many sunny, 60-deg. days, but also some tremendously wet days. A few days the rain pounded so hard on our roof it hurt our ears. I’ve written about some of our days when we checked out the beach, the parks, and the various goings on. (See Alabama link on right) We even made it to a movie - American Hustle was a great surprise! We’ve had some good times trying out the local cuisine, the seafood and sausage dishes are great. I’ve walked the routes around the 496-site campground many times, observing the array of license plates from Alabama to Ontario. Many of the people we’ve been parked with in the monthly-section here have made this their winter home for a number of years. They reserve their spot for next year as soon as reservations open. You see gatherings of old friends everywhere along the roads as you are coming in or out of the campground. We are surrounded by folks from Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, as well as from Florida and Alabama, and the many Canadians. They all agree that this winter has been colder than usual. But, it’s a very nice place to be.
I do have one more food story. In our exploring of the great seafood in the Gulf Shores area we noticed that there are “Reds” on the menus. Since we haven’t spent any time in this area we weren’t really sure what this was. Red snapper first came to mind, but they wouldn’t call it that, right? So, we googled it. We learned that these are a special kind of shrimp found in the deepest areas of the Atlantic ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. They’re very popular for their lobstery taste. The other day we decided it was about time to try them. We were planning to share an appetizer of a pound of Royal Reds that we found on the menu at Mikee’s, one of our favorite spots. Then, we inquired about how they were served. And you know how Jerry doesn’t like to “work on his food,” unless he’s the chef. When the waiter explained that the “Royal Reds” were served whole, with heads, tails and shells, Jerry said “never mind for me.” Well, I decided they sounded too good not to try them. I ordered the pound as my meal and got busy pulling off the heads and peeling the shells. Yes, they are pretty messy. But, Oh My My!! They do taste like lobster, mild and juicy. And they are served with the melted butter, too. Yummy, yummy. I think the waiter was surprised I ate them all. But I thoroughly enjoyed my feast!
To wrap up my Last Hurrah I wanted to post my video of the ocean, lapping away at the shore. It’s really beautiful - spectacular! (LOL) But, for some reason I can’t get YouTube to upload it. Tried it from my phone and from my laptop…no luck. It’s frustrating. I’ll figure it out later. (Instead I guess I’ll post my selfie at the beach!)
As we’re making plans to sell Ferd soon, we’ve been talking quite a bit about how fortunate we’ve been. These years on-the-road in the RVing lifestyle have been tremendous for us. The fun experiences, the fabulous people, the beautiful scenery and unique places - they’ll never leave us. Thanks to everyone who shared with us and made our time special. And thanks to our families who encouraged us to enjoy ourselves! We’re winding up this phase of our lives, but not Hurley Travels. There are more travels to come, just a different type.
We could never choose the best of all those memorable stops, people and events. Many of them are in our posts for this blog in the right column, all fixed up with a title and attached photos. Some of them we have to remind each other about. Then we can smile again, sometimes even there’s a cringe, while we describe what we each think we recall. But, just for fun, here’s a brief photographic sampling of the last ten years at Hurley Travels:
Thanks for visiting Hurley Travels. Be safe.
Sunday, February 23, 2014
Since we made the decision to stay put this winter here at the Gulf Shores State Park, you could say we’ve settled in to our Alabama home. We’re getting familiar with local sites, the people, the sounds, smells, tastes.
Similar to much of the northern and eastern areas of the country, the weather has been colder than normal. We even had a few days in the 20s overnight!. One day the ice was actually wilting the trees around us. And, wow!, the thunderstorms these past few days are as loud as I’ve heard in my life. Mostly though, the sunny 50s and 60s is very nice compared to the snow, ice and single digit temps up north. There’s another part of the weather story that I won’t dwell on that involves our condo in Indy and a bad icemaker and electrical outage. Thanks again Tim, for running interference for a while.
On those nice days here in Alabama we’ve been exploring the area at our leisure. We visited the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge and the local farmers market and local artist gallery. Oh yeah, the gallery was closed the day we went. Have to get back there. We had an interesting afternoon exploring Fort Morgan, the fortress built in 1823 to defend Mobile Bay. This fort is well known for the Battle of Mobile Bay during the Civil War when Confederate Navy Admiral Farragut is quoted as giving the command: “Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead.” Fort Morgan provided protection and served as a temporary training ground until it was finally abandoned by the U. S. Army in 1950. The signs of each era of coastal defense are there to see and touch. It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1960.
The local food continues to bring more good flavors. Our newest favorite restaurant is King Neptune’s. Jerry’s found a creole Andouille sausage dish that’s become a repeat. Some of the other delicious menu items are the catfish, seafood gumbo and the Greek salad with grilled shrimp. (I won’t post those food pics since it annoys Jer!) And add to the good food, the 1/2 price happy hour Monday through Friday from 11 am to closing. The Yuengling is cracklin cold on draft and $1.75 can’t be beat. The ambiance is extreme casual and the wait staff is super friendly. What more is needed!
We’ve also explored the back roads and beach routes that lead around the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach communities, scoping out the homes, restaurants, movies, shopping and just plain being nosy. (Who knows when we may want info on a rental, or something.) In addition to the high-rises, there are the rows of beachfront two or three-story properties stretching out on the peninsula, most perched on skinny stilt legs and painted a pastel color. Of course, there’s always the fun of walking in the sand or finding a bench along the shore to watch the ocean and people. Then, one day we drove over to Pensacola, about 35 miles east, to get supplies from Sam’s Club. What? 35 miles? Sure, why not.
Since a favorite part of this ten-year lifestyle is remembering our unexpected, or extemporaneous, events that happen as we move along the road, it’s time to write a few more down. You know how you’re out doing the usual, grocery shopping or filling up with gas or pausing to look at the ocean, when you exchange a few casual words with a stranger or see an unusual site. Or maybe you’re just settling in at your chosen spot in the desert when someone knocks on the door. (Remember Grateful Ted?!#) Well, these are those kinds of everyday encounters.
These latest events have happened when each of us was out somewhere on our own. Jerry has started a new practice that usually elicits at the very least a smile, and sometimes an appreciative comment. He’s concluded that since he’s become a guy in his 70s he has a new-found acceptance. He says that the reactions of women change when you’re “an old guy.” “They will smile back at you and sometimes even strike up a conversation. Because it’s safe now, I guess.” Since he’s “harmless” now, he’s decided to spread a little joy. When he sees an attractive lady he’ll try to improve her day with a comment. The other day he was at WalMart getting the ingredients for a crock pot chicken recipe he wanted to try. (Turned out great, BTW.) Well, in the parking lot he saw a lady loading her groceries in the car next to him. He said: “You have great hair!” She responded, looking so pleased: “Oh, that’s so nice of you. I’m taking chemotherapy. This is a wig.” He wished her good luck and she thanked him again.
Another day Jerry was grocery shopping again, waiting for a middle-aged mother and her two sons to move so he could grab a dozen eggs. All of a sudden she realized he was waiting. She apologized and said: “Oh, I’m sorry to be in your way.” Based on his premise that “Now that I’m in my 70s I can say this,” he replies: “A pretty woman is never in my way.” Jerry says that she just glowed, gave him a big smile and told him “You made my day.” I wonder what will happen to him next.
I had my own peculiar, but heartwarming, happening while out on my own. I was on the way back to our home after visiting a bead shop and a local art fair when I decided I would stop at the beach for a little while to soak up some ocean views. I found my parking spot and was walking the short distance to the beach when I noticed a bright red mustang with the convertible top down. Then, I saw the rest! There were bags of oranges completely filling the backseat and the passenger seat. I mean they were piled high from the floorboards to above the sides of the car. I didn’t see anyone around. But you know I had to snap a photo. As soon as I pulled out my phone a man walked up to the car and put something in the trunk. He smiled. So I asked if I could take a picture for my blog. And I also had to ask why so many oranges. The explanation might be a little quirky, but I love it! He was happy to share his story: “I’m taking them back home to Flora, Illinois, from Ocala, Florida. Every year I drive down and pack up my car with oranges from the same place. Everyone loves them in Flora. That’s F – L – O – R – A, Illinois.” I’m sure he didn’t make it too far up the road before he had to put the top up and change from his shorts and sandals. But, think about the juicy aroma all the way home. He sure made me smile. What a nice guy!
I know everyone has a story to tell. What’s happening in your life lately? Thanks for visiting Hurley Travels! Be safe.
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