Monday, March 31, 2014

Treacherous Travel

We have been making the same trip back and forth from PA to SC for 15 years in our pickup truck. For the 10 years before we retired, we traveled there in a motorhome once a year. We now come and go three times each year, adding up to 45 truck trips to date. One way is 764 miles, a total of 22,920 miles and the Mister drives it all. I’m the navigator, of course. Yesterday’s travel caused us to be on our game every minute - more so than ever. Usually we make it in 121/2 hours to 13 hours. This one took 141/2 hours, but the end result is that we are home in PA and safe. 

We got through SC and NC pretty well. We hit several rain showers and then snow in VA. Heavy, wet, slushy snow.  It was a good thing that the truck still had its winter heavy duty storm blades in place instead of the lightweight summer wiper blades. Of course the window washing fluid was filled up before we left so there was plenty of it and we sure lowered the level throughout the journey. After we hit PA  at 3pm, we started seeing cars going off of the roads into the deep gullies of the grassy medians that are all along Rt. 81. There are concrete divider barriers in several areas. At 4pm it was awful! When 18 wheelers going south passed us going north, if the concrete dividers were there, the slush was thrown over them onto our windshield with ominous messy and blinding splats! The ice was evident on all of the trees, causing them to droop heavily and the wind was coming on strong at us broadside and then changing to head winds. It was rough going.

We hit a rest area at 5pm and the temperature was 31° just before exit 80. At mile marker #112, it had dropped to 29° and we saw the first catastrophic accident, a car upside down in the median. None of the following accidents were witnessed by us but all had happened within just a few minutes of our passing. Now I’ll detail the rest. (mm=mile marker)

mm116- one totally smashed car in median, mm122- one car upside down in ditch, and everyone else crawling along the deep slushy mountainous highway at 20 mph near mm140. mm173- one car deep in median gulley, AND at mm175- another car was in deep median gulley. 

At mm176- 6:25pm- our truck was put into 4 wheel drive. At mm178- a car was in the ditch, and then at mm188- two cars crashed in the left lane (ours at the time) right into the concrete divider! At mm192- a car was in the deep median gulley and at mm193- one car was crashed into the guide rail on the right side of the highway. At mm214- in the southbound lane there were three cars in the median gulley with two of them upside down. At mm216- a car was in the median. FINALLY our exit 223 appeared through the snow and very foggy surroundings. It had not been salted, sanded or plowed and we drove down and around the curve with great caution, another car on our tail. On the highway, however, PennDOT was out everywhere, plowing, sanding, and salting. 

The arrival home was wonderful, even though the roads weren’t plowed. It was snowing and 29°. The cabin was warm and power was on and the water pipes didn’t freeze. Whew!

We know that at least 14 cars didn’t make it home last night and wonder if their occupants did. 

This morning our roads were plowed. Another area in our county had snow ten inches deep!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Block Fence #1

I forgot to show you the last pictures I took yesterday on on my fence quest.

These decorative blocks do have a purpose. The shots from yesterday don’t show what grows up behind it! Well now you know. I dug into my archives and found these. It took me an hour to locate by guessing what year I took the pictures. It was in May 2012. 

 That plant with lovely and interesting leaves obliterates the entire fence in May!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Fence Surprises

After joining a link up about good fences, I had fences on my mind. I believe I have some good fence photos in my archives, but today I went out and about especially to find fences - bad OR good. The following photos are today’s fences and a couple of surprises. It is my last chance to take pictures here and it was about to rain. It did rain just after I returned to cover up the golf cart until our next arrival. 
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Good Fence?

Well it is a sturdy fence, though crooked. I'm not sure if I'm linking up correctly, but would like to do this every Thursday. I have many fence photos to share.

This fence goes across a small foot bridge in a SC campground.

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Linking up to:

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Paper Bark Trees

When I was very young I remember our family traveling to New Hampshire to visit my Dad’s brother and his family. We stayed in a little tourist cabin in a woods that had only bunk beds and a table and straight chairs and a kerosene lantern. There was a small attached open deck with rocking chairs. My mother walked with me and my brother into the woods one day when Dad was taking a nap and she showed us “special trees.” She called them paper bark trees. We peeled some of the bark that was hanging loose and brought it back to the cabin. That evening, under the gaslight, we wrote letters on the bark and Mother mailed them to Grandma in New Jersey. We also made little bark canoes to float in the stream nearby. I now also remember that the mosquitoes there had a huge feast on Geraldine’s delicious blood and almost drained her dry, leaving huge insanely itching welts!

Today I took these photos of two clusters of these trees that are growing at a back entrance to this campground. I spotted them as we entered last evening after my birthday dinner. Whoa! I thought I had covered this whole place with my camera but I sure missed this! I was excited! I had forgotten all about the time we learned about the “special trees.”
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I spotted this bug in the bark and took a shot too.

Betula papyrifera is a species of birch native to northern North America. It is the provincial tree of Saskatchewan and the state tree of New Hampshire.

Young trees feature reddish-brown bark with horizontal lenticels. Latter the bark becomes chalky and creamy white, peeling off in horizontal strips. 

The bronze birch borer is a serious pest of white, paper, and cut-leaf weeping birches. Bronze birch borer is the principal insect pest. Larvae tunnel under the bark girdling the tree leading to premature death.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Birthday Dinner

Friends here alerted us that there is a grill restaurant here that gives a complete free dinner of choice to a person on his or her birthday. We seldom eat out but figured that we would try it. It was an “interesting” meal and a memorable event.

I asked the hostess to please seat us at a table, rather than a booth and she did - a table for 6. We sat in the middle and had an overlooking view of the beach and ocean through a massive expanse of windows. We had just arrived and as we were sitting down, the strong wind came up and the rain poured down and the sea and surf looked very angry. Then, magically, all stopped and a huge and vivid rainbow appeared over the ocean, reaching right into the sea. Then! A second rainbow showed itself. They lasted for the longest time I have ever experienced and many other diners left their seats to rush out on the balcony to photograph them with telephones. It was wonderful to see such a spectacular rainbow event over the ocean. 

After making our selections from the menu, the waitress (they call them “servers” I noticed) asked us if we would like anything to drink and we ordered coffee. When it came, she left the table so quickly we didn’t have a chance to ask for creamers, which weren’t delivered. I caught her as she passed by, and asked for them. She returned - after a while - with four little creamers. Then she tripped away before I could ask her for spoons so we could stir in our sweeteners and creamers. I caught her again in a while, and ask her for spoons to stir. "Oh! OK!" And - get this - she returned with one spoon - a large round bowl soup spoon. I looked at the Mister and smiled, as she disappeared quickly. We shared our spoon.

Then the salads were delivered with a nice looking tiny loaf of bread with each. There was no butter served. I had to catch her eye again and ask for butter. I asked for real butter, not a spread, please. She replied, “real butter?” I said, “Yes, real butter,” and later on she brought us little frozen squares of real butter. FROZEN like a rock! Are you getting a picture here, folks?

The salad was very fine, the bread was very fine, and the coffee was getting very cold. Later, and I might say quite a bit later, our main course was served. I asked to have our coffee warmed up. We started eating, me with my crab cakes and he with his rib eye steak, medium. The crab cakes were wonderful and very tasty, The steak was inedible. When she returned with the coffee pot she asked how the dinners were. We told her the steak was tough and stringy. She left. Just like that. She left. In a bit, a grill cook, who could even have been the manager, came out to see the steak and ask about it. After convincing him it was inedible, he took it away and brought another - only a bit more tender but the Mister got the middle part cut out and it was OK. Meanwhile, the waitress asked me for my driver’s license to show to the manager so my meal would not be charged to our bill. Do you know, can you believe, that when she returned with the bill and my cake in a box, as I had requested, she forgot she still hadn’t returned my license. I asked for its return and it was in her apron pocket! Surprise! Surprise!

This was a real learning experience for her, wasn’t it? The check was for two coffees $5.00 and one meal $19.99, and tax. There was a stamped suggested gratuity on the bill giving the amounts to leave the waitress (oops! server) at 18%, 20% and 25%. We left $5.00, and were glad to give her something, because she sure didn’t know how to do her job and seemed to be innocent of her mistakes or should I say inadequate skills at this occupation. 

I can only laugh it off and found the humor of the evening - 2 1/2 hours for a simple meal at a so-called “popular” place to eat with an overlooking view of the ocean. 

The memory of the beautiful rainbows on my 78th birthday will always be with us. It was a very nice evening after all. The cake was delicious for our lunch treat today.

Both of the pictures below were posted online by our local weatherman.
Dustin Matthews took this great shot of a double rainbow after the hail and rain in Pawleys Island. We were 22 miles north of Pawleys Island at the restaurant.

This shot was taken by Fred Gibson, a Snowbird from Kincardine, Ontario. 
He had to be nearby where we were. It looks as if the 2nd rainbow hadn't yet appeared.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

What is it?

I thought I thought I was pretty efficient at researching the web for information, but I've run out of energy trying to identify this item.  A friend bought this item at an estate sale just because it seemed to be somewhat unusual. The seller had no information regarding its time of usage or the name that was stenciled on the top cover. My Mister thinks it might be some sort of munitions container. I found locker boxes, ammo boxes, gun and rifle boxes and many other similar containers but none as slim and as shallow. My thinking is that it could be for a field spotlight or a surveyor tool. Can anyone help? It measures 45 inches long and is only 4.25 inches deep. There is a handle in front and one on each end. The photos she took show it on her kitchen floor and standing upright. Army and Navy surplus sites don't show it and I'm totally at a loss to give it an accurate name.


Run Down - Stopped

Well it was a rainy day and there are no flowers in full bloom -  so I created more note cards.  Did I EVER say that before? 

Well, I did make more cards and now will be quitting that project for a long time. All 46 are sold.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Winding Down

Well it was a beautiful day but there are not many flowers in full bloom - yet, so I created more note cards. So far I’ve made 41 and sold 39. The two not sold are the ones I just made this afternoon. The Mister watched Sprint Cup races and I made cards. I have more creative juices running in the morning, though, and almost never feel like digging out all the supplies and starting in the afternoon. 

Time here is winding down and we’ll return for a month, and then come back! Yes, for two more months before the southern summer heat and humidity set in for the tourist season! It is not a peaceful nor a quiet place at all then. Vacating these premises is very necessary for a quieter time in the place we call “Tranquillity.” are the last six I made.
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There is something for everyone and I would like to make some very whimsical ones...when I figure out what I mean I'll let you know.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Spring Day 1

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Yes it is spring! Hooray!

The SC flower is in full bloom and the sun is shining!

The beach is beautiful and warm.

The egret is growing restless to find a mate.

 And look at that green grass!