Sunrise in Monument Valley

Sunrise in Monument Valley

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Home Again 2

Just a couple more pictures of the kitties. Bentley does enjoy laying in the bed too. He often will get under the pillows to sleep.

This is Nicholas favorite place to ride---in David's lap. His favorite place to hide is the top of David's closet. He used to be able to jump up there, but now that he is so fat he will sit and meow at us and look up at the closet until we pick him up and put him there. Just a little spoiled.

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Home Again

Well, we are back home again and it is hard to say who had the most relaxing vacation.

Finnegan normally gets car sick, at least the first day in the motor home and usually likes to sit with me holding him a good portion of the trip. On the way out he was pretty much a big baby and wanted to be held. On the way home he was much better and claimed his favorite chair, sleeping most of the way.

What can you say about Bentley? He is usually relaxed no matter what. His favorite place is the sofa. He did change positions a few times, just to get his exercise.

This is Finnegan with his FINNY FACE on.

Jonathan who had a serious bout with kidney failure seems to do very well. He is eating and drinking and has gained back some weight. His favorite place was in the window or with Bentley on the sofa.

David and Finnegan look pretty relaxed here. It's a toss up as to who had the best "cat nap".

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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Up, Up & Away Part 4

The happy newly engaged couple.

The field that we landed in was on an Amish family farm. The pilot laughed as we were coming down that the Amish woman was headed to the out house and looked up and saw this large balloon coming over her barn. We think it was an outside phone booth, not an out house. Once we landed the husband (who was in the process of milking the cows), wife and 6 kids came out to meet us and talk to us. They were all so nice and asked where we were from. We would have loved to take a picture of the family by the balloon, but that is a No NO for the Amish.

The video shows the balloon on the ground. The chase team met us there and brought the truck. They folded the balloon up, stuffed it in a bad, loaded the basket in the truck and off we went back to the launch site for orange juice and champagne.

Up, Up & Away Part 3

There were 10 passengers in the balloon and during the flight we flew over a banner on the ground with a lot of people cheering. We wondered what was going on with all the cheering. As we passed over the banner it read "JOELLIE, WILL YOU MARRY ME?" One of the couples on the flight became engaged. How they were able to get that banner right in our path is a miracle since we had no idea where we were headed.

The flight lasted only an hour and it was over too soon. As the pilot looked for a safe place to land the winds picked up and he told us we would have a exciting landing. We weren't sure what he meant by that. I must say I never gave any thought to the landing part of this whole thing. He said the second rule of ballooning was "If it's brown, don't come down". When they cut down the crops they plow it and fertilize it and it's then brown. The pilot looks for an empty field where he can land the basket and large enough for the balloon. Landing in a corn field is not a good idea.

Prior to landing he warned us it would be a rough landing due to the winds. We were to go back into our take off position--crouching down in the bottom of the basket with feet braced, leaning against the middle bar away from the way we were headed and holding on to the straps. I must say it WAS a rough landing. We bounced along the ground 3 to 4 times before resting on our backs (or the basket side). We were told not to get out until he said to in case the balloon had not completely deflated and it tried to take off with us again (since nothing was holding it down on the ground). Once on the ground we were able to get out. WHAT A RIDE!

Up, Up & Away Part 2

This is the second balloon taking off after we have left.

I took several videos, but most of them were too large to post on Blogger. I'll post as many as I can.

The landscape in this area of the country could not have been been for ballooning. We were so glad we ended up going in the early morning even though we had to get up at 4:30AM and call the balloon service to see if it would actually launch. The morning was much cooler except for the heat coming out of the propane heaters that kept the balloon up. It was so quiet and beautiful as we floated across the fields of corn, Amish farms and roads ways, We traveled about 18 miles SE from Bird in Hand, Paradise and Strasberg.

Since I'm not sure how much memory I can upload at one time, I'm going to do this blog post in sections.

Up, Up & Away Part 1

We were scheduled for a hot air balloon ride on Monday night at 6PM. When we arrived the crew had not yet shown as they were dragging their feet due to the high winds. A storm was anticipated later at night, but the pilot thought the winds would die down enough for us to take off. They didn't and so our flight was cancelled and rescheduled for 6AM the next morning.

We arrived at 5:45 AM to find the balloon "Mother Ship" half inflated.

They filled it by blowing air into it with gas powered fans and then turned on the propane heaters as the ground crew held it on the ground.

There were 10 of us in the basket with the pilot. The basket was placed on it's side and we had to climb in, lay on our backs, crouch down towards the bottom of the basket, hold on to the straps as they released the balloon. As the did the basket went upright and we were off.

It was so quiet and smooth, you would never guess we were moving or actually got up to 2500 feet. There was no sensation of moving or heights. You could hear the cows mooing, dogs barking and see people waving. It was much more fun than I had thought and not at all scary.

This was the parking lot at take off.

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Meeting Friends in Gettysburg

On Sunday we met our friends Madonna and Jim in Gettysburg at the Gettysburg National Military Park for a tour of the home and farm of President Dwight D Eisenhower. It was a great tour, but even more fun seeing Madonna and Jim again. They had just returned from Alaska and we had a good time touring the Eisenhower house and catching up on what we'd all been doing.The Eisenhower house and farm is a National Historic place and next to the Gettysburg Battlefield.

We had a nice little in service in the barn by one of the park rangers followed by a very informative tour of the house. We had no idea what a prolific and good painter Eisenhower was or that Mamie was so Victorian in her style.

The pictures did not turn out very bright since we were not allowed to use flash. This was a sitting area.

This is the portrait of Eisenhower that had hung in the White House. A little dark to see here.

This porch room looked familiar to me. I seem to remember pictures of Eisenhower taken in this room.

At any rate we had a great visit, took a lot of pictures and had a nice lunch at Dobbins Tavern before heading back to Intercourse.

Monday was spent visiting local quilt shops in the area---and believe me there are plenty.

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Sunday, July 10, 2011

Arrived at Intercourse, PA--

We LOVE this area. We try to stop here whenever we are traveling in this direction. The people are so nice. Quilt shops are plentiful. There are 3 within 2 blocks of each other another 2 miles down the same road and at least 2 more 30 minutes away. There is just no comparison between this area of Amish country and Shipshewana. This area wins hands down. We could live here it is so nice.
This is the little office at the CG. They have flowers all around and a little garden where you can sit and overlook the farms. We are staying at Beacon Hill Campground which is about a mile from downtown Intercourse. This is our 3rd stay in this quaint little campground. The owners are so friendly and truly try to make you part of their family. They are very friendly with their Amish neighbors which have farms all around the CG. In August the Lapps bring over homemade ice cream for a free ice cream social. The cream content of their ice cream is very high which makes it extra delicious. Too bad it's not August.

When we arrived on Friday, 2 little Amish boys about 7 and 9 and a girl about 11 came to our door selling homemade breads, pickles, canned vegetables and jams. We were out of bread, so we purchased bread and raspberry and apricot jam. The bread and jam was wonderful with our breakfast the next morning. We had peppered bacon and fresh eggs purchase in Shipshewana, so we had a hearty breakfast.

On Saturday, horse drawn wagons came through the CG selling various homemade Amish goodies like Whoopie pies, shoo-fly pie, sticky buns, fresh milk from the farm and homemade root beer and more jams, and vegetables. Of course we couldn't resist the shoo-fly pie and sticky buns. Now I'll need to loose 50 lbs.

We also visited some of the quilt shops in the area, rode around the country side and paid a visit to Shady Maple our favorite grocery in the area. It's about the size of WalMart and has every thing you can think of and it is all fresh and delicious. The bakery, deli and produce section are tremendous. The fresh made Chicken Pot Pies are the best.

When we returned to the CG I sat outside under the trees and worked on my applique. Nicholas really enjoyed sitting outside with me. Also, as it turned out the trailer next to us in the CG had 2 quilters sitting outside at their picnic table cutting out a quilt for piecing. They are 2 sisters that live about 45 min away and come to this CG regularly to get together and quilt.

This is the view I had while sitting outside under the trees. This is Sam's farm across the way where the boys and girl live that brought the homemade bread and jam.

This is the view behind our motor home. Who wouldn't enjoy sitting outside with this view?

This is Sam plowing his fields with 4 horses. He had some type of gas engine attached which is the first time we have seen anything like that in this area. Usually is strictly horse drawn. Anyway he chose to do this later in the day when it was cooler. Beautiful countryside and corn everywhere you look. I love this area,

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Thursday, July 7, 2011

Fort Niagara

Yesterday, we visited Fort Niagara which is in Youngstown, NY north of where we are staying. If you are standing at the fort, Lake Ontario is on your North and Niagara River to the East. The fort is over 300 years old and it was very interesting to walk around and see the different sections.

The State Park here was very beautiful and we have noticed many great parks in this area of the country.

Crossing the moat into the entrance of the Fort.

These pulleys raise and lower the draw bridge.

View through the entrance to the Fort.

Well, inside Fort. Indoor plumbing!

While we were there the staff (in costume) did a reenactment and fired the cannon.

It was a nice day and something besides the Falls. One more day in Niagara before we leave,

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