Friday, September 14, 2018

Getting Out of Harm's Way

We arrived back Virginia Beach on Sunday afternoon.  We got set up at the Ocean Pines military campground and then went over to see the kids.  Jon and Kelly and the boys were returning from a long weekend at the lake and they arrived in the late afternoon.

Wow!  We were gone 9 weeks and those little boys have changed so much!  They talk more and engage even more.  It is amazing.  We got to play with them on Sunday afternoon and then go see them all day Monday.

But the hurricane was building up and we had to come up with an evacuation plan of our own.  We called around and decided the best escape route was north to the D.C. area.  We called ahead to the Greenville Farm Campground in Haymarket, VA.
The D.C. area doesn't have too many great options for RVing (great meaning affordable, great campground and close to the city), but we've stay there and were able to snag a reservation.  We are about 30 minutes away from Fairfax and about 45 minutes from downtown D.C.

The weather reports were looking grim and the military campground had warned us we may have to evacuate.  We didn't wait for them to make up their mind and departed on Tuesday morning.  The drive to Fredericksburg on I-95 and then over to Highway 17 to Haymarket was actually a pleasant drive.  We expected heavier traffic but it was very manageable.

We got to the campground and were told we'd have to spend a night in partial hookups, then could move to full hookups.  So that is what we did.

Partial hookups were water and 30 amp service in the woods.  That meant no TV but we survived.
The next day moved to our more open site with full-hookups and our DirecTV had no problems connecting.

While here, we contacted friends Jeff and Tiffany.  Jeff and I met with a few of his other buddies on Tuesday night while Pam and Tiffany watched a Nationals baseball game and got caught up.  We are going to be able to spend some time tomorrow with son Adam and daughter-in-law Melissa (who live in Fairfax) and are looking forward to that!

We are glad the hurricane did not continue on its initial projected path and are safe.  Jon and Kelly in Virginia Beach got the all clear word earlier this evening.  They were never in an evacuation zone but parts of the city were.

Our prayers continue for the people in its path.  Even though the initial contact with landfall has been less than expected, there has still been plenty of devastation and it is not over yet.

I hope you and yours are safe!

Thanks for joining us today on the Roadrunner Chronicles!

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Mooch-Docking at Bob and Patty's

Now and then, you meet people in Moss Point, Mississippi that become friends. Before you know it, you reconnect years later in Dunedin, FL and end up parking your motorhome in their driveway for a couple of days.

That's basically what happened with us and our friends Bob and Patty.  We first met volunteering at a NOMADS Disaster Relief site in January 2011.  And then we met up again in Florida in January 2012.   A few months ago, after we posted our travel schedule for our NorthEast Trip, Patty got in touch and we made a plan to see them.  They live in Warren, PA and we could not find a campground close by.  They were generous enough to invite us to park on their property.  So we did!
 I first heard the term "mooch-docking" used by Howard Payne of

We arrived in the early afternoon at Bob and Patty's and got set up.  They have enough room along side and in front of the workshop for us to maneuver a little bit.  That allowed us to get a good satellite TV signal.  With electric and water, we were all settled in.  Once that was done, we wandered over to their home and got a tour.  Patty keeps their very large A-frame Spic and Span clean.  It is immaculate!  They have a beautiful A-Frame that Bob built years ago.  But it looks like is less than five years old.  It's really a nice place.

We enjoyed hours on their deck reminiscing and hearing about their stories on the road.  They full-timed for over 8 years.
The next day, they took us on a tour to see the area.  We stopped first at Kinzua Viaduct (or Kinzua Bridge) that spanned Kinzua Creek and was 301 feet high and over 2,000 ft long.
It was built in 1882 to move coal from the mines to northern NY cities on the more popular railroad line.  It was originally built out of wrought iron and completed in 94 days and dubbed the "Eight Wonder of the World" at the time.  In 1900, it was disassembled and rebuilt using steel to carry heavy trains and cargo over the deep divide.

Tragedy struck in 2003 when a tornado struck and wreaked havoc. Ironically, the bridge was in the process of being upgraded in 2002 because it was showing wear.  They just didn't get the job done in time.

The bridge is owned by the State now and is a popular park with a good sized new Visitor Center.
It has a description of the history and decline of the bridge leading up to the destructive tornado.  An overlook is where the old train tracks were, going out to the farthest point.
Next, we headed to a local spot for lunch.  It had some interesting displays on the wall.
We had more time and made a couple more stops.  The first one was at Kinzua Dam.  Many times we see places and have no idea what the name means.  I assumed "Kinzua" was an Indian name but more than that, it is Seneca for "Place of many big fishes".
Our next stop was Rimrock which had a pretty great view overlooking the Allegheny Reservoir.
After our full day, we went back to Bob and Patty's place and chilled out for a while.  We had such a big lunch, we only had some snacks in the evening.  We had a great time on their back porch again enjoying one another's company and talking.  It was a beautiful evening and after a brief shower, it was quiet in the woods and we could only hear the birds, watch the deer and talk.

Our time with Bob and Patty was too brief, but we were able to make it count in our short visit with them.   We look forward to seeing our friends again.  We are so glad this lifestyle allows us to catch up with folks like these.

Thanks for joining us today on the Roadrunner Chronicles!

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Time in Buffalo with Jon and Barbara

We are in the Buffalo NY area to see long-time friends Barbara and Jon.  We attended the same church while living in Hawaii in the 1980's.  We've been in touch ever since.  This was our third visit to their wonderful home and hometown over the years.

We started it off with a visit to the tennis courts where they have a weekly pickleball game.  Jon brings the nets and sets them up according to how many are there to play.  Tuesday night we had 7-8 folks and we had one net.  That worked out well so people could swap out and get a breather after their match.
It was great fun.  I had forgotten a lot of what I learned in Arizona when I started playing.  But it was good exercise, good company, and I loved it.  It helped to have a good group of folks who coached me through the scoring, strategy and Jon even gave me some 1-on-1 time doing some drills on another court.

We stayed at Darien Lakes State Park which was about 30 minutes from them.  It worked out well. On Wednesday, we all drove in to Buffalo and then over to Niagra Falls.  It was a very hot day.  We parked on the NY side and walked across the bridge to the Canada side.
It is such an iconic view from the bridge. And the views along the falls from the Canada side were equally beautiful.
We walked all the way up to Horseshoe Falls before turning around and finding a place for lunch.
We ended up at Hard Rock Cafe and enjoyed the air conditioning.

Next, we walked back to the U.S. side and then drove over to a new and trendy area near downtown Buffalo called River Walk.
It's an area off the river where old silos and warehouses along the waterfront have appealing places to play and eat.  There is a hockey rink, kayak rentals, paddle boats, rock climbing, zip lines and a large brewery.
It is great to see how areas of town that were past their prime have been revitalized and now are a hub of activity.

We returned to their home for a nice time of conversation leading to dinner.  It rained pretty hard for a few minutes but Jon was able to get the shish kabobs on the grill and we enjoyed a great time together.

On Thursday, we returned and ventured downtown again to see the Teddy Roosevelt Inauguration Site.  This National Park Service stop is where TR took the oath of office to become president of the United States.
President William McKinley was in Buffalo attending the Pan American Exposition.  A 28 year-old anarchist shot McKinley twice.  Doctors removed one bullet but were unable to locate the second one.  That proved deadly a week later when gangrene set in and caused his body to shut down.

Roosevelt was summoned and arrived after he passed away.  TR took the oath of office in the Wilcox home which is where he was staying.  That building is the site of the present National Park Service commemoration of the inauguration.  

We learned a lot.  I either didn't know or forgot (same thing?) how TR became our 26th president.  And I had almost no knowledge of the Pam American Exposition.  And I really knew very little about the impact of the Eerie Canal and development of Buffalo as an economic powerhouse in the late 1890's.

The Historic Site had a lot of great displays and interactive informational presentations.  In the first room, we watched a short video that gave the history of Buffalo and the Pam American Exposition which was attended by McKinley and six cabinet members.  It was a marquee event showing off the technological wonders of the present day.
Upstairs, there was a multimedia presentation using recordings and pictures that reminded Pam and I of the cycle-rama at Gettysburg.
There, it was a mural in the round which was the backdrop for stories off the Civil War.  As a story was told, a spot light homed in on a portion of the mural and told the significant story about that piece of history.

At the inaugural site, there were a number photos behind a glass pane that were highlighted as the story was told.  It was very unique and a great way to make it all interesting.

After our time at the Inaugural Site, we went to lunch downtown at one of the craft breweries.  Next, we drove out to the cemetery at Forest Lawn where president Millard Fillmore is buried.
We looked around the beautiful grounds before going over to the Buffalo History Museum.

It resides in one of the few remaining buildings from the Pan American Exposition built in the Renaissance Spanish architectural style.  It was a beautiful building with lots of displays.

I liked the one of Tim Russert who was from Buffalo.  The exhibit was in the Newseum for and has recently been returned to this museum in Buffalo.  He was a long-time host of "Meet the Press".
 It was also next to exhibits of sports figures that were from Buffalo or played for a Buffalo team.
 Jim Kelly's jersey from his time with the Buffalo Bills and a signed baseball from Warren Spahn.
The museum had three floor of displays which we wandered through.  The museum was getting ready to host an event for the evening.  It was time to go and we had seen a lot in the couple of days we were in Buffalo.

The special part of our visit was spending it with Jon and Barbara.  It another great memory we have on the Roadrunner Chronicles.

Thanks for joining us!