Daddy’s little girl

As I watched out the window of the Boeing 737, leaving Denver behind, I felt a tear making its way down my cheek. I just spent the last seven days with my daughter Betsy as we drove 1800 miles across the south from St. Augustine Florida to Denver Colorado. Betsy had to go to Denver for her internship in Physical Therapy and she asked me to help her make the drive. We drove, we chatted, and we slept as we made our way across the wide expanses of this country. On the way we stopped off to visit my sister and my mother in Granbury Texas. My mom is in a home and Betsy and I spent several hours there visiting.

Our drive to Pikes Peak

I could bore you with the countless things we did and saw on our trip but I wanted to leave you with one important message. My wife and I raised three wonderful children and we have watched as they grew into adults and began their own lives. My trip with Betsy helped me realize how important the time we spend with our children is. She will soon graduate and find a job somewhere, maybe start a family, have kids and become very busy. I realized that this is probably the last time that Betsy and I will spend any extended time together. The tear continued down my cheek and fell to my lap.

Betsy with Grandma Streisel

Rockie Mountain High

Today (Sunday) Betsy and I drove over 800 miles to Colorado Springs. As we approached the mountains I was reminded of the splendor of the Rocky Mountains with their snow-capped peaks. It was Betsy’s first time to see the Rockies and I think she was impressed.
Tomorrow we are thinking of taking the cog train to the top of Pikes Peak if the weather cooperates. Later we travel to Lafayette where Betsy will be staying for the next eight weeks during her physical therapy internship. On Tuesday she will drop me off at the airports for the flight home.
These mountains are so beautiful. I find it hard to realize that there are many folks who have never seen them up close and personal.
The last two evenings I ran about two miles and my foots swelled up today so I am taking the day off…no running. It is cold out here! Hope to be home soon.

Heading for Texas

We arrived in Lafayette Louisiana and found a reasonable hotel. We drove over 700 miles and we are both very tired. Tomorrow we will head for Dallas, almost 450 miles. The weatherman says we are heading into tornado weather…sounds exciting…maybe we will see Dorothy and Toedo.

Talk later

Off we go again

Going to Florida again. This time I am flying. I am meeting Betsy in St Augustine and we are driving to a town near Denver where she will do her eight week internship in Physical Therapy.
It’s a long way from Florida to Denver, a long time to drive on the road…
If you are really bored, check out some of my old stuff. Some of it is readable.
To the airport James!

The shuttle launch

We loaded up the bikes, the suitcases and ourselves and began our long-awaited trip to see a shuttle launch, up close and personal. We stopped off at Sue’s family and had a great dinner, good conversation.

The next morning we continued our journey south down to Uncle Bills at Lake Moultrie where we made some new friends, spent some time on the lake and the bikes.

cruising around Lake Moultrie
A Sycamore tree in the lake
Great sunset over Lake Moultrie

After two days with Uncle Bill we left for Betsy’s house in St. Augustine, Fl.

Betsy and Thomas

It was Betsy’s birthday so we showered her with gifts and treated her and her boyfriend Thomas Eanes to a great dinner at the Conch Restaurant in St. Augustine.

Sue and I at the Conch restaurant, after the bill came

On Sunday night around 10:00 pm we loaded up the car, said our goodbyes and set our sights on Cape Kennedy to see the launch of space shuttle Discovery. We arrived at Cape Kennedy around midnight for the 6:20 am launch. People were already parking cars and finding a good spot to watch the launch.

Waiting around for the launch

We decided to take a nap in the car until 4:00 am and then walk over to the viewing area. It was not much of a nap due to the constant car headlights in our front windshield. Four AM came much too quickly and we found a small piece of ground to sit on. The place was packed and more people were streaming in. Around 5:00 am, Bob Springer, an astronaut, began to explain what we were seeing on the jumbotron.  At 6:04 am Astronaut Springer pointed out Skylab passing over our heads. He explained that Shuttle Discovery would take off, catching up with Skylab for its scheduled docking. Finally the time for launch came and the crowd chanted together, 10…9…8…7…6…5…4…3…2…1…blast off.

The launch along with telephone poles

The sky lit up and the roar of the shuttle, even though we were five miles away, filled the air. About 30 seconds into the launch, as a stream of light headed into the heavens, we could feel the pulsing of the engines against our bodies! The shuttle sprinted off into the dark sky as it began to chase down Skylab. Shortly after the shuttle disappeared,  the sun rose up from the Atlantic to announce the beginning of a beautiful day. A quick walk to the car was followed by almost four hours of stop and go driving until we reached Orlando where we stopped for breakfast at 11:00 am.

Looking back at the condensation trail of the shuttle

After breakfast it took us another two hours to arrive at our neighbors Paul and Norma Weiss who are snow-birding in Englewood Fl on the Gulf of Mexico.

Paul and Norma Weiss...the snowbirds

The weather was perfect and we spent several hours walking the beautiful gulf beaches finding sharks teeth. Paul and Norma have a beautiful house on a canal that connects to the Gulf.

The canal behind Paul and Norma's house
Feeding the birds
Saying good by

Careful not to wear out our welcome we began the long journey home but before we were done we had one more thing to see, the manatees.  Manatees are easy to find if you go on the right day and time when they are all gathering around a warm water power plant vent but after the rivers warm up they disappear into the wild. I found a place called Homosassas State Park which is a sanctuary for injured animals or animals that have been raised in captivity and are unable to survive in the wild. I could tell you how neat this little park is but I will let the pictures do it for me.

One of several coal powered electric plants on the gulf
These are smaller Manatees
Sue, out of control
Mr Hippo, a relative of the Manatee
The Manatees love their lettuce
Wow! Pink flamingos
Of course, the alligators
Mr. Owl
Great place to visit

After we left the  park we drove to Betsy’s and spent the night, got up the next morning and drove to Sue’s sister, spent the night and the next morning made the final drive home after eleven days on the road. Great to sleep in my own bed!

The red buds of Route 50 welcoming us home

On The Road Again

We left on Tuesday for Cape Kennedy to see the April 5th shuttle launch. We stopped on our way to visit Sue’s sister and brother in Charlotte, North Carolina for a night and then on to my Uncle Bill in Moncks Corner, South Carolina. We left Uncle Bill’s on Friday and fought traffic for five hours as we made our way to our daughter  Betsy’s house in St Augustine Fl.
We are hanging out with Betsy on Saturday and Sunday and then leaving for Cape Kennedy on Sunday evening to sleep in the car until the launch at 6:20 am in the morning. We were told to be there at 3:00 am to avoid the traffic which apparently is going to be horrible. After the launch we will travel across the state to visit our good friends Paul and Norma Weiss, in Englewood, FL, on the gulf side of Florida. 

Just found out that we can see the Manatees at Homosassa State Park on the west coast of  Florida so we may make a stop on our way back from visiting Paul and Norma. 

Keep your fingers crossed for an ON TIME shuttle launch. I have waited a long time to see this! 

The Crew