prune picker

This is the blog of a prune picker. (Native born Californian) Retired oilfield. I am an old man. (91) I blog a lot about my body and getting old. As I approach death life gets more interesting. More interesting is not good. I still drive. I attend sports, music, and civic events. I am writing my memoirs. I attend swim class three times a week. Some of my blogs might be interesting. A lot of my blogs are silly and trivial. None are very long.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

(RV 19) Start home from Bergen, New Jersey.

Jackie and I had a swell time taking our grandchildren Steven and Joy Conroe, Texas to Bergen, New Jersey. The happy memories of that trip stayed with us. We had taken the kids to the Newark Airport so that they could fly home. Our trip home would take a lot longer.

We enjoyed our trip home. We saw many wonderful sights in Michigan, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Illinois. At six stops on our way home we stayed for a week. At a camp in Wisconsin Dells we stayed for two weeks. We leisurely visited many interesting places.

Our first stop on the way home was at Hershey, Pennsylvania. 165 miles. We had stayed at Hershey for two weeks June 1987. We knew the area. We liked it. Then 302 miles to Mercer, PA. We had stopped at Mercer in May of 1987. Our friends were there and we had a nice stay of a week.

Then we drove 353 miles to a Thousand Trails park in Nottawa Lakes, Michigan. This was in the city of Marshall. We made a trip over to Dearborn and went to the Henry Ford Museum. We enjoyed it. We went to Battle Creek to see corn flakes. We went back to Battle Creek the next day to a cat show. I still remember the cats and the people. We got to watched the judging. Near to Marshall was a restaurant named Cornell's Turkeyville.

They serve turkey dinners only all year long. Boy! were they good. We ran into two other such restaurants in our travels. One in Vermont and one in Arizona. I bet there are others.

To Traverse City. 250 miles. Interesting place. We went over on the Michigan Lake coast to see the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park.
Big dunes. Looking at Lake Michigan is like looking at the ocean. Big lake. One memorable evening we went to a live show at the summer camp of the Interlochen Center for the Arts. It is 15 miles out of Traverse City. We saw Ray Charles, full band, and backup singers. It was a great show.

We drove to Indian River, MI. 93 miles. On the way there we went through Petoskey, the boyhood summer home of Ernest Hemingway. From here we went to the locks of Saulte Sainte Marie. We rode a boat through the locks of "sue saint marie". We went to Mackinaw City and caught a hydro boat out to Mackinac Island. While we were on the island we took a horseless carriage ride, No cars allowed. We went to lunch at the Grand Hotel.
The hotel has the real long porch that you have seen in several movies. Delicious lunch. It cost about ten time my usual lunch!

Friday, May 30, 2014

Flowers around here.

The Adams's have the prettiest mail box area in the neighborhood.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

John builds a chicken coop.

John is so proud of his new chicken coop. The lumber is all dumpster lumber. His only cost was screen and screws! Now for some chickens. Yard eggs anyone?

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

(RV 18) We take Steven and Joy for a ride. (Washington DC and New York City)

Steven was 16 and Joy was 14. On June 22, 1987 the four of us set off on a trip. We were to drive through the South to New York. With stops at places of historic interest. Tour New York City and then put Steven and Joy on a plane home. For four weeks the four of us bonded. That was a full cab in our pick up. I could hear the music from the kid's earphones. All day long. It was a delightful time, long remembered.

Off to Ashdown, Arkansas. 375 miles. All the tread came off a trailer tire in the middle of the day. We went into Texarkana to get it replaced.

On to Cherokee, Tennessee. 357 miles. This picture is the entrance to our campground. Joy, Steven, and Jackie lined up for me.

To Nashville. Tennessee. 217 miles. Had fun at the Grand Old Oprey Amusement Park. At that time it had a dozen different music shows. Visited the Hermitage. Toured Andrew Jackson's home.

To Knoxville, Tennessee. 154 miles. We drove to the visitor center for the Smokey National Park. Rode a chair lift at Gatlinburg. Notice the size of Stevens strawberry shortcake.

To a Thousand Trails Park in Lynchburg, Virginia. 344 miles. From here we visited Appomattox. A young National Park employee acted out a scene from the Civil War. We saw the parlor where Lee surrendered to Grant.

From here we went to Gloucester, Virginia. Thousand Trails has a RV park here. It is named the Chesapeake Bay Thousand Trails. It was a great park. Probably still is. We stayed a week. Swimming pool, etc. We had a beautiful space with a view up the bay. We made several trips from here. We visited Williamsburg, Yorktown, and Jamestown. Hard to get any places of more historic interest.

We did not get to see John Boy.

To Fredericksburg, Virginia. 100 miles. Stayed here a week too. Saw local Civil War Battlefields. Made several trips to Washington DC from here. Made several tours. Saw the Senate and House. We visited Mount Vernon and Monticello.  Saw Ted Kennedy in the Senate. Had a bowl of Senate bean soup. Watched them make money. Went up in the Washington Monument. A Selfie at the Wall.

315 mile trip to Bergen, New Jersey. Made trips through a tunnel to New York City. Went on one guided tour. The picture was taken at the top of the Empire State Building.
Joy and I went up inside the Statue of Liberty. Two hours up. Ten minutes down. A small tight stairway around a pole went all the way up inside the statue. Joy and I would step up a step every few minutes. Took at least two hours.

We visited Ellis Island. This ghostly picture was taken there. Note the two towers behind Steven

We put the kids on a plane at the Newark Airport on July 19. The space in the trailer and truck expanded.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

(RV 17) Trip home from Oceano, California to Walnut Cove, Texas.

Now to get home with as much visiting along the way as possible. Oceano is a little south of San Luis Obispo and Pismo Beach.

It was familiar country from our years at Cal Poly in SLO. We had a good visit with Jackie's Mother who lived in SLO

Then off to Coalinga 122 miles. We had old good friends there. The Hintergardts. We parked at the curb in front of their house.

Then to Hanford 60 miles. My sister Donna and her son Jim lived there. We parked in Jim's yard.

Then to Taft 112 miles. My sister Thelma lived there. Our visiting swelled with Thelma's two daughters, son and families. We parked in Thelma's backyard. Nice visits and cheap parking. The Fox Theatre was where my brother George worked before he went into the Marine Air force. I wandered under the stage.

Then to Barstow 172 miles. Then to Needles 145 miles. Went to a rock show. Paid a visit to the casinos in Laughlin. And I mean paid.

Then to Picacho Peak 302 miles. We stopped at Picacho Peak on the way to Chino. It is quite a mountain sticking up out of the desert.
It has two peaks at the top. It ts right by the highway. You can see it for a couple of hours from the north or the south. There was a new RV park there. Hot tub and all that stuff. It was the site of the Battle of Picacho Peak during the Civil War. Of course there is an annual reenactment of the battle.

Then to El Paso 385 miles. To Junction 432 miles. This was a couple of long days. Eight or nine hors driving. Junction was where Mike and I hid out during the snowstorm of the previous winter.

Then to Walnut Cove 309 miles. March 11, 1988. It was good to get home.

In June we were going to take our two Conroe grand kids to Washington and New York. We were to put them on the plane in New Jersey and head home with a detour through the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and Branson, Missouri. Stay tuned.

Monday, May 26, 2014

(RV 16) Trip to Chino, California for new black water tank.

We had returned from our tour of the Northeast in September 1986. I had pulled Mike's Volkswagen bug to California in December.

By January, 1987 Jackie and I had developed a bad case of "hitch itch". This condition makes an RVer want to hook (hitch) up their truck and trailer and go. We had a leak in our black water tank. Alfa would repair it if we got the trailer to Chino. So off we went on the first of two trips that we would take in 1987. This first one would take us to the Pacific Ocean at Oceano. The second trip in July through September would take us to the Atlantic Ocean at New York City. That would do it for  1987. Since we retired late in 1985 to the end of 1987 that will be three trips to the East Coast and back. One trip to the West Coast and back. Four trips half way across the US adds up to two round trips across the US.

On this first trip we would make camp 21 different places.

Off we go to Medina Lake, Texas 276 miles. Fort Stockton, Texas 313 miles. Vado, New Mexico 339 miles. Picacho Peak, Arizona 333 miles. Fountain of Youth Spa near Bombay Beach, California 317 miles.

We had friends (Abers) at the Fountain of Youth Spa
and we stopped for a visit. There were natural hot springs at the Spa. Steam baths. Hot tubs or pools of different sizes and temperature. You could see groups of older people sitting in hot water and visiting.
The Spa was like a city. A thousand or more sites. Several clubhouses, poker room, barber shop, etc. To the east of the Spa are the Chocolate  Mountains. These limestone mountains were used for a bombing practice range for the Navy at San Diego. Bombay Beach got its name because that is where the bombers would open their bombays. Bombay Beach is on the shore of the Salton Sea.

Then we went to the Flying B, California 171 miles. Glen Ivy, CA 45 miles. Alfa Factory in Chino, CA 25 miles. Glen Ivy, CA 25 miles. Palm Springs, CA 92 miles. Champagne Lakes, CA 114 miles. Valencia, CA 161 miles. Oceano, CA 177 miles.

In Chino at the Alfa Factory I watched as they took the skin off of the Alfa's belly and replaced our black water tank. You do not want a leaky black water tank.

Oceano is about halfway on our trip. Tune in next blog post for the trip back to Walnut Cove.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Rachel can sing!

Memorial Day Program at the Senior Center.

The Center is closed on Monday, Memorial Day, so they held an early program on Friday. It was quite nice. There were special deserts. Every veteran gave a short talk on their war experience. Some brought items from the service to show. Paul Ford at the keyboard accompanied Rachel and the group on some songs.

 Rachel singing. She is great. I want you hear her. Please see the next blog. Beside singing Rachel serves lunch, leads exercise, and keeps track of things at the Senior Center.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Death in the quail pen.

Last Tuesday John made a trip to a bird grower and bought two pair of quail.

He brought them home and put them in a pen he had built. He had furnished it with all the comforts. A log to hide against, water, and feed. One laid an egg.

Today John noticed one of the males had almost been pecked to death, The poor guy was laying in a corner. Many of the feathers on his back have been pecked off.
He has not been seen to move, The other male is as happy as a lark.

John and I are blue and puzzled. We feel sorry for the poor loser. I think that he is a goner.

(RV 15) Snow storm in West Texas?

In December 1986 our son Mike decided to move back to California. He had the belongings of a music fan, books, clothes, and some furniture. He had a Volkswagen Bug. I volunteered to pull his bug full of his belongings to his sister's house in San Juan Capistrano, California.

I had a tow bar bolted to the bug.

We filled the bug, hooked to my truck and away we went. 1500 miles to go.

Traveling north of San Antonio we ran into bad weather and icy road. Suddenly we were spinning (long bed pick up and bug) around on the road. We came to rest on the right hand shoulder facing San Antonio. The tow bar had sustained some damage. We managed to limp into Junction, Texas where we stayed in a motel until the tow bar was repaired and the icy conditions ameliorated.

We drove the rest of the way without any problems.

It was good to see Nancy's home. I remember hugging her two girls. I was tired. I made it home in two days of driving.

Friday, May 23, 2014

(RV 14) Trip home from tour of the northeast.

Here we are in St Clair, Michigan. We are about 1700 miles from home. I must confess that when we were far from home, like 1500 to 3000 miles, I would get the feeling of being a prisoner. I knew that it was many hours of driving, many camp grounds, and many set ups before we would be home. But that is full time RVing.

380 miles to Niles, Michigan.

370 miles to Park City, Kentucky. This is near some huge underground caverns but Jackie and I did not  visit them. I guess we were touristed out. Nearby in Bowling Green was the headquarters of Camping World. Camping World is a nation wide RV supply company. We did lots of business with them over the years. We stopped there and had some minor work done.

260 miles to Spring Creek Ranch, Tennessee.

320 miles to Hope, Arkansas. We did not get to get to see Bill Clinton. I think that he had been born. We stayed at the Fairgrounds. Honor System. We put our money in a box.

We were parked out in the middle of a lawn. Nearby was a baseball diamond with a loud game playing.

340 miles to Walnut Cove. Home Sweet Home. We stopped in Benton, Louisiana for a visit with the Alfa factory there. The main Alfa plant was in Chino, California. This was a satellite factory.

This first year of RVing we had been to Waco to a Samboree, west of San Antonio, to Florida and Key West, and to the most northern tip of Nova Scotia. You would think that was enough traveling for a year. But no. In December my son Mike and I got stuck in a West Texas snowstorm on the way to California. You have to try to get stuck in a snowstorm in West Texas.

See my next blog.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Delicious lunch at Hart's Corner. Store warming party!

Large delicious pork chops, greens, corn, potato salad, green salad, rolls, and two pies. All by Tina. Served at the store warming on May 22, 2014.

Tina and her Mom Rosa.

Tina and her Baby, Halie.

They are ready for credit cards and have a good price for gasoline.

The response to the Hart's Corner store warming party was luke warm to say the least. Months ago when I suggested the party I asked if it was a good idea. I got a positive response. One man in Texas said he would like to attend. (He did send his best wishes) People volunteered that they would go.

Then time passed. The fact of a 90 mile round trip sank in and people realized that the party would involve a 3 hour or more absence from home. The idea lost a lot of appeal. At the last moment several people who I knew were going to attend had last minute conflicts.

The party today was attended by Nolan Coleman, John Adams, and myself. Tina Rodgers had prepared a meal for 10 to 20, based on my estimate. I am sorry that we caused her this extra work at such a busy time. The three of us agreed that it was the best meal that we had ever had. Thank you, Tina! We all wish Hart's Corner the best. 

I hope that you will stop at Hart's Corner when you are going that way. Their gas price is low. The smiles are warm and the service is good.

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