Wednesday, May 29, 2019

#3 2019 Trip to Alaska

          As I said already, we took a fast trip across the lower 48 and hit the border on the scheduled day we were supposed to.  Once through the border without International incidents, we headed for the big mall in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. I had a good time there although we only went through ¼ of the whole mall. Since I have posted pictures from the mall on other blogs, I will only post a couple here.
Outside Dragon Fruit

Inside Dragon Fruit
This is a Dragon Fruit we found in a giant Chinese grocery store.  One of my many mottos is:  If it doesn’t crawl off the table, I’ll eat it.  Becky looked up the information about the weird, yet beautiful fruit.  Couple of things I found noteworthy were that they were grown in Asia and Florida. Who knew?  Another thing is if its juice is mixed with a certain fruit juice (which one now escapes me, but it doesn’t matter since I don’t intend to mix it with ANY juice.) you could suffer from anaphylactic shock.  Possibly leading to death.  That might put a slight damper on the trip for the rest of the group. Other than death, it is supposed to be good for you.

          This picture is of Mary Read, aka Becky Morris and Captain Morgan, aka Jim Morris. They had just out sailed Johnny Depp and we were off to celebrate victory with a meal at Bubba Gump’s Seafood. Coconut Shrimp, Popcorn Shrimp, Boiled Shrimp.  Well, you know.

Until later,


Thursday, May 23, 2019

Post #2 2019 trip to Alaska

          Before I start posting on our day-by-day journey, I’d like to tell you what brought this adventure about.
          Somewhere around the end of the 1990’s, Richard and I drove to Alaska in our motorhome following his brother, Howard and his wife Mary Jane.  We LOVED the beautiful scenery and pristine waters of the whole state.   Many times Richard and I agreed had our kids been younger (they were teenagers by then) they would have grown up in Alaska. Since that time, we’ve made several trips back to the beautiful state.  One of Alaska’s mottos is the Land That God Forgot.  I don’t think He forgot it, He just knew He got it right the first time.
          On my Bucket List, I have several things left to accomplish: Receive the Nobel Prize in Literature for a book titled How to Kill Your Husband and Get Away with It. Just to ease everyone’s mind, Richard is well aware of the plotting of this book and even helped me with the research.  (More on this later.)
          Another item on my BL is to work on a campaign for my grandson Drew when he runs for governor of the Great State of Florida.  I vote by absentee ballot because I am usually absentee during the elections.  So, Drew comes over to my house and he and I talk about whom we should vote for.  His reasoning is usually pretty sound and occasionally profound.  But, I won’t discuss politics on my blog.
          And, as usual, I digress.  The item we are working on now is living in Alaska for ONE YEAR.  We have rented a house in Fairbanks and one in Homer.  We invited some friends, some family to come up and stay with us for 7 to 10 days.  Our calendar for the summer filled quickly.  However, nobody was interested in coming to Alaska during the winter months.  Most were afraid they might turn into ice cubes.
          Anyway, a couple of years ago, I reconnected with an old school friend around the time of our 50th reunion. During the next few years we were able to get together and meet each other’s spouse.  James Morris, who also goes by Jim and Jimmy, and I went to Franklin Jr. High and graduated from King High School (both in the Tampa area) in 1967. 
          Jim and Becky left with us from our house and we all spent the next two weeks in Lincolnton enjoying bluegrass and gospel music at Little Roy and Lizzy Long bluegrass festival.  Then Mother’s Day weekend we attended the Jeff and Sheri Easter’s Homecoming.  Becky and I went to the Easter’s house after the concerts and to help a dear friend of mine, Peggy Fauscett.  Not that Peggy needed any help. She does most of the cooking before she leaves home and warms it before time to eat. Since I normally only see Peggy once a year, I enjoy visiting with her while we are waiting for the crowd to arrive and munch down all her delicious vittles.
Peggy Fauscett

          As I’ve written about before, Richard is very involved with the Homecoming which is held at the Lewis Family Homeplace. Jim was a lot of help with Richard getting the camping area ready.  Meanwhile, Becky and I worked hard at making sure no deals were missed in the local antique and boutique shops in the surrounding Georgia towns. 
          Richard and I dragged the Morris’s all over Lincoln County, introducing them to some of Lincolnton’s finest citizens.  We ate a couple of our evening meals with Walker and Carol Norman and then Little Roy and Bonnie Lewis.  At the local café, we ate breakfast with Coroner turned Sheriff, Paul Revere.
          On Mother’s Day afternoon, Jim, Becky and their cat Hemi and Richard and I took off in our motorhomes for what I would call the fastest trip I’ve ever taken across the United States. Here are just a few of the pictures we took while in Lincolnton.

Nothin' Fancy

Bennett  Little Roy and
Bonnie's grandson

Becky, Jim, Richard, Me on Jeff Easter's Boat
Sunset cruise on Savannah Lakes

Lizzy's Brother, Lizzy

Ricky Scaggs
Sorry for the microphone in the way.

Until later,

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Ah! Summer Vacation

          Most of you know that for many years Richard and I have traveled the United States on summer vacations.  This year is no different except the extent of our happy journey.  We are going to stay in one of our favorite places for a whole year.
          NORTH TO ALASKA has taken on a whole new meaning.  Just a little introduction of main characters may be in order.  And, the answer to the most asked questions I’ve been faced with in the past few weeks.
          Traveling in their own motorhome with Richard and me is an old friend I graduated from high school with.  Jim (James Morris). We attended Franklin Jr. High, in Tampa, Florida and King High School in Temple Terrace, Florida.
Jim, Becky, Me, Richard
Notice the cute sign they put on
the back of their bus.
          My maiden name is Morton.  So Morris and Morton were always together in the same homeroom.  We had other classes together through the years, but for sure we started our day off in the same room.  I remember Jim as one of the most thoughtful, kindest, and funniest people I hung around with.
          Jim and his wife, Becky, have been married for 30+ years.  Becky and I instantly hit it off.  She and I start laughing as soon as we are together.  It started when she volunteered to carve the Thanksgiving turkey in our tiny motorhome.  I’d neglected to securely lock the lift-up counter space.  It fell and in a perfect BERTIE MOMENT, after a little slipping and sliding in failed attempts to catch it, the turkey splattered into the floor. We used the 10 second rule and rinsed it off.  It was pretty good.  I might scrub all my turkeys before carving them from now on. Becky reminds me of my cousin, Sandy.  I think the three of us could definitely strain something should we ever get together.
          Richard (my dear, loving husband of 44 years) is still the same, with no signs of changing.  He jokes in some of the ways Jim does, but when it is given back in the same manner, Richard doesn’t understand.  Let’s just say that sometimes he leaves his sense of humor in his back pocket.  For example, he had made it plain he did not wish to drive through Chicago.  So, Jim tells him over the CB (?) radio that we are getting on I-75, North to Chicago.  Richard was sputtering so much I thought he might choke.  Shortly, Jim came back with the true directions of I-24 to Nashville.
          Then there is me, Dolores J. Wilson.  I’m a wife, mother, grandmother of 9, and a published author of Women’s fiction, both happy and sad. I’m a crafter, and a cook who is excited about fixing all kinds of food for people who enjoy eating.  Unfortunately, my husband is not one of them. 
          Some of the questions I’ve been asked is why?  Because spending a year in Alaska to experience all the seasons and the Northern Lights has been on our Bucket List for years.  Richard is 75 and I’ll be 70 in a few weeks.  As Elvis sang, It’s Now or Never.  I’ll have more details in a later blog.
          Next: Are you crazy?  You’re going to freeze to death.  Well, my answer is that I thought my degree of craziness had been established years ago.  And I had no intention of freezing to death because I don’t plan on leaving the house if the temperature is below 50 degrees.
          I’m going to try to post a blog page at least 3 times a week.  Please leave your comments so I know who has read the daily post to Blame it on the Paste.

Until later,
Post #1 2019

Sunday, May 20, 2018

After almost three weeks, we have left the beautiful town of Lincolnton.  When we are in the same place for an extended amount of time, it is sometimes hard to find things to write about.  So now that we’ve move on, I’ll tell you a few highlights of our stay in N.E. Georgia.
First of all, our forever friends, Jack and Jeannie Dickson, arrived from Joplin, Missouri in time for Jeff and Sheri Easter’s Homecoming Festival. My sister, Nancy, flew into Augusta, Georgia, from Morgantown, West Virginia.
Richard is in charge of taking care of the parking area for campers at the Lewis Family Homeplace.  He received a call from a lady in Canada who was making arrangements for herself, her sister and her mother to come to the concert but they would be staying in a motel.  They were excited about meeting Jeff and Sheri and seeing them perform in person.
Richard was very impressed that the three where making such a big trip to see the concert. He decided it would be a nice gesture to have me fix a luncheon for the ladies.  I said sure and set about making plans for what I would need to serve a luncheon under a tent outside the bus. 
Richard said no, that maybe Carol Norman would allow us to use their screened-in patio. Carol graciously agreed.  Then Richard decided it might be nice if Carol’s husband, Walker T. Norman, Chairman of County Commissioners of Lincoln County, Georgia, would come by and talk to the ladies about Lincoln County.
Richard also decided it might be nice to ask Sheri Easter to stop by to visit with the ladies who had traveled so far, but, sadly, Sheri had a prior appointment.  Everything else went really well and just as Richard had planned it.

Chicken Salad on Butter Lettuce
Grapes          Bacon Crips
Strawberry Trifle
Lemonade              Sweet Tea 

Paula, Jeannie, Me, Laurette, Sandra
and Carol
Laurette, Paula, Sandra

      After lunch, Walker took the ladies for a tour of Lincoln County. When I first met Walker, he took me and Betty Brooks on that tour. We had no idea we would be gone so long and neither did Shelby Hewett or Wanda Givens who were waiting on a park bench in front of the library for Betty and me to return from Walker’s office at the courthouse.  During our ride, he made tactical maneuvers never attempted at Atlanta Speedway. It was an                                                         unforgettable trip.  
      I wasn’t around when the Hansen Ladies got back, but I was told they enjoyed the tour.  They also got the opportunity to meet Jeff and Sheri and they learned the Hansen’s were singers.  During the concert, Jeff invited sisters Sandra, and Paula, and Mom Lauretta onto the stage. Their beautiful voices entertained the crowd.  And Richard and I enjoyed meeting and entertaining them for a short while.

Until later,


Monday, May 7, 2018

This is my most requested entry in my travel blog.  People write to me to get a copy so they can get someone else to read it  It was originally posted June 1. 2013.  Wasn't too funny then, but I can't read it now without laughing. Hope you enjoy it.  Be sure to post comments.

Day 7--Day 13   May 3, --  7, 2018
Since we crossed the border from New York into Canada today, I thoug it might be a good time to remind those who have heard my border stories before and to tell those who have never heard them what it is like to cross the US and Canadian borders, at least for Richard and me.  We have crossed the borders at many different places, and every time, learn something new.  I can’t remember when most of them happened, but that really isn’t important.  It’s what happened that counts.

                One time we were going into Canada on our way to Alaska, and we were going to enter on the western side of the US.  Well, it was early in our traveling time and we hadn’t been well educated on what you could and couldn’t take with you into Canada.  We soon discovered pistols are a no-no.  We could take a shotgun, but we had to register it for $50.00.  This was a trip where we had parked in the airport parking lot in Vancover, British Columbia.  We drove a van, which we had towed, with the intention of giving it to a family member up there who could really use the van.  We would then do our trip through Alaska on a train and then a bus and then we would sail on the Princess Cruise Line back to Vancover where we would get back to our bus.

                We went through so much to get the gun registered.  But, also, we had to figure out what to do with a pistol Richard had.  “Oh, oh,” he said, “I have a brilliant idea.”  Those 5 words always drive me into a fetal position.  Mr. Wilson put the pistol under his jacket and went into a local bank and rented a safe deposit box and put the pistol there.  He can do things like that because he is . . . well, Mr. Wilson.  I on the other hand would have tripped, fell face first, the gun would have slid across the floor.  Several security guards (none of which would look like Patrick Swayze) would bounce on me.

                But Richard got away with it.  It was several harrowing hours later when we crossed the border, parked the bus, and then loaded our tired bodies into the van and took off for Alaska.  As I said we were tired, so Richard decided to stop at a rest area and take a power nap.  He opened the van doors, folded down the seat that turned into a bed and soon was asleep.  I took my book and coffee to a nearby picnic table.  It was a beautiful day with beautiful flowers.  Suddenly, two cars loaded with many people pulled up on both sides of the van.  I watched in amazement as about seven small Oriental people emerged from each car and began to talk very LOUDLY in their native tongue—whichever Asian country has the highest pitch to their sounds.  It was loud.  I just sat there and watched the confusion that ensued.

                Let me add this-Richard spent 10 years in the USMC and served in Vietnam.  He doesn’t have PTSD, but I saw that day that he would react quickly if he was under attack.  He was rather shaken; I was all but laying on the ground rolling around in hysterical laughter.  He decided the nine and a half minutes he had slept was all he needed.  So, we were back on the road.  About an hour later, we were talking about all we’d been through that morning with the pistol and getting the gun permit.  Suddenly, he slammed on the brake, and he said the funniest thing I think I’ve ever heard him say.  “I forgot to get the shotgun out of the bus.”

                When we got back to the states, Richard went back to the bank and got his pistol.  He couldn’t understand why I chose to sit in a nearby café while he went to retrieve the pistol.  I told him one of us needed to be able to bail the other one out and that I was too pretty to go to jail.

Second Crossing of the Border
                We were going into New Brunswick from Maine.  John and Wanda Givens were with us in their own motor home.  We had learned about leaving pistols behind and about getting permits for the shotgun.  All under control.  They asked if we had any weapons.  Yes, we have a shotgun.  We were told to pull over and John and Wanda were also told to pull over.  They had a huge (2 ½’ high) stuffed dog.  Please remember that.  The STUFFED is important.  They checked all our papers and then brought out the dog.  Real, not stuffed.  They asked Richard where the gun was and he told them in a cabinet over the bed.  They brought on the hounds, I mean one hound.  He ran straight to our bedroom, jumped on the bed and sniffed the cabinet.  The handler brought him back out and told the other customs agent that it was right where we told him it was.  He then moved over to Wanda and John’s coach.  He took one look inside, turned around and told the other guy that they had a dog in there and he wasn’t going to take his in.  Richard searched northeast Canada and the US for a stuffed dog like that, but never found one.

Third Crossing of the Border
                We were going into Canada from Maine, I think.  Anyway, Jack and Jeannie Dickson were with us in their motor home.  We had found a really nice winery and had bought a couple of cases.  When we got to the border, we found out we couldn’t take the wine in and out.  My sometimers has kicked in and I can’t remember the exact details, but it involved more pistols that had to be shipped and wine that was left somewhere, for a minimal amount, and we retrieved it coming back into the States.  Richard and I refer to this as our Border Dance.  We actually feel like the border patrol is shooting at our feet like they used to do in the western movies.

Fourth Crossing of the Border
                This also involved Jack and Jeannie Dickson.  Richard and I made it through without a scratch.  Jack and Jeannie?  Not so much.  Somehow, in the conversation they had with the little man in the customs booth, the subject of Wolf Chili came up.  They had had some in their motor home and the patrolman moved them over to the side and went through and through and through their coach in hunt of Wolf Chili.  They said they had to inspect it.  I think they were just wanting lunch to go along with the oranges and bananas they had confiscated from the coach ahead of us.

Today’s Crossing of the Border
                To set this up, Richard and I did everything we could to make sure we didn’t have anything we shouldn’t have.  No oranges.  Our pistols were illegal to carry in New York, so we stopped in Pennsylvania at a licensed federal firearms dealer and shipped the pistols to a licensed federal firearms dealer in Fairbanks, Alaska.  We still had a shotgun, which you are allowed to carry through Canada if you have a permit.  We had a permit for it from several years back (refer to crossing #1), but it was expired so we expected to have to stop at the border and renew it.  No, problem.

                Problem=When we stopped, a couple of agents came to the door and ordered us out of the bus.  I had just gotten out of the shower 30 minutes before.  I was dressed, but had no shoes on and my hair was still wet.  I turned to put on my shoes and they yelled get out of the bus.  I’ve lived a good life, and if it is my time to go, so be it.  I put my shoes on and THEN got off the bus.  We were ordered to go across the parking lot and stand against the wall.  Richard told him where the gun was, which was at the foot of our bed, unloaded.  The agent didn’t like the idea that Richard told him he was going hunting in Alaska.  So, this brought on a full-fledge search of our bus.  I don’t mean peeking under bed.  I mean take apart EVERY inch of space inside our coach, the bays, the engine compartment, our car, under spare tire, under the hood.

                It was then I got the opportunity to cross something else off my bucket list—I was frisked by a uniformed officer.  Although, I must say, SHE wasn’t exactly what I had in mind when I put that on my list.  I was ordered to turn around, put my hands behind my back, she grabbed my thumbs.  I was ordered to take off my shoes, spread my legs, point my toes out (yeah, easy for her to say).  My arthritic knees objected violently.  She then proceeded to rub her hands all over my body in places Richard hasn’t even touched in years, if ever.  I was okay with all that, but I was highly offended when she kept asking me if I had anything in there and she would dig under my rolls of fat.  Now, I have been guilty of sticking napkins under some of those rolls, and lose them until I stand up from the table and they all jump out of their hiding places, but nothing of importance.

                To this point, we still didn’t know what they were looking for.  We had told them everything they asked.  I did catch whispers of us carrying more cash than we were allowed to.  Several people asked us the same questions over and over again.  They kept asking what we were doing there.  I bit my tongue to keep from saying—you mean other than having our property destroyed and our bodies violated.

                By 1:30, I was feeling lightheaded because my sugar level was dropping and I hadn’t eaten since early this morning.  We had been there approximately 3 hours and a half.  We still didn’t know exactly what was going on.  Richard was in the office and I was on a bench outside.  A female officer (different from Happy Hands) came out and asked if I was okay.  Richard had told them I am a diabetic and she came to check on me.  I asked her if I was allowed to ask any questions.  She said sure.  So I asked what they were looking for.  Well, Richard didn’t realize he had to ship the magazine clips with the gun.  Past experience had told the patrols that if there were clips, the pistols were hidden somewhere on the bus.  I told her we shipped them to Alaska, but we didn’t realize the clips had to go too.  Turns out not shipping them with the gun was against the law.  She asked if I had proof we had shipped them.  I told her yes.  She told me I could go to the bus to take my meds and get some crackers.  She didn’t mention drugs, but I needed some badly.

                They asked how much money we were carrying.  He told them and it turns out we were a few thousand over the limit to not be declared criminals with ill-gotten gain.   They opened our safe.  After almost 5 hours, we were fined $500 for the citation for the clips.  We were also told we could have been fined $25,000 for having too much money, but they were going to be nice to us and let us go.

                We have never had a problem going from Canada to the US.  (We probably will now that I mention it.)  It appears the US isn’t as picky about who comes in.   I need to lie down and put an ice pack on my throbbing head.

                When we got home, we received a letter of apology from the government; they returned our money, and the clips they had confiscated.  The best part is we have been cleared from the data base as hostile and evidently marked as nice people.  We’ve made several trips back into Canada since that time and we are sent right on through at the speed of light. 
My mug shot.

Until later,

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Day 5—8 May 2—5 2018
     I find it very hard to spend my time at the state park where the concert is being held, then come back to the bus exhausted and try to type out pearly words of learning and/or entertaining.  So, I’ve missed a few days of blogging, but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the entertainment.  Tonight is the last one until next Thursday.
     Since this is the last night, we won’t be in the state park any more.  But I’d like to tell you some of the history of the man and his courageous wife who settled in this area a long time ago.
           As I’ve mentioned, the festival is held in Elijah Clarke State Park in Lincoln County, Georgia.  Besides being a beautiful 474-acre state park located on the J. Strom Thurmond Lake, it is also a memorial to Elijah Clarke.  He was born in 1742 in Anson County, North Carolina.
Elijah Clark (1742-1799)

In 1773, this area belonged to the Creeks and Cherokee Indian nations.  After 1773, a treaty was signed with Europe.  Elijah Clarke and forty other families settled in the area.  He was a frontiersman, a Continental Army Officer and Revolutionary War hero.
After the war, Clarke was elected to the Georgia legislature.  In 1794, he organized the Trans-Oconee Republic, several settlements in counties of Georgia in the traditional Creek Territory.  From there he attacked several Creek villages, but was restrained by the Georgia government.

Clarke's Home inside the park
Houses built with dog-trot construction (a central open hallway divides the rooms of the house) were common during this time.  A newly renovated log cabin displays furniture and tools dating back to 1780.  The house had four rooms.  Two of the front rooms were paneled in maple, which was unusual for the time.  Windows were barred and also had shutters for even more protection.  Gun ports were in every room through the outside walls.  Because it was hostile territory, Clarke knew he had to protect his family.  He also used the central hallway to house cows and horses by stretching rope across each end to keep them safe.  The cabin was known as Clarke’s Fort. 
In the house, their beds had ropes under mattresses drawn tight in place of springs we have today.  The ropes were kept tight for comfortable sleep.  That is where the expression “sleep tight” came from.  If someone over-stayed their welcome, Hannah would loosen the ropes to make for uncomfortable sleeping so the company would leave. The mattresses were made from hay.  Expression “hit the hay” came from this.
The kitchen is in a separate house.  Hannah believed a real lady cooked inside and not over a campfire.  Breakfast would be corn meal mush, apple cider.  Lunch was usually a stew made from whatever meat the men killed.  Last meal of the day would be cold leftovers.
 Clarke’s wife, Hannah, was a Virginia lady, who followed her husband into the frontier.  She made all their clothes.  It was important to her that each of her eight children have two complete sets of clothing—one to wear, one to wash.  On a loom, she produced linen for two shirts for Elijah, which she was very proud of.  When the Tories started over running the settlements, she hid the linen shirts under the smoke house floor.  When they got to their home, the Tories asked the kids where all their treasures were hidden.  They led them to the shirts.
Hannah helped fight in several Indian attacks.  Once, when Elijah was gone, the Tories took over their home and burned it.  Hannah escaped with all eight kids.
Elija and Hannah Clarke's grave marker
         Elijah Clarke died on December 15, 1799.   He and his actions served as one of the sources for the fictional character of Benjamin Martin in The Patriot (a 2000 Mel Gibson film).
The park is also the site of the graves of Elijah and Hannah Clarke.  I think Elijah and Hannah Clark were brave settlers.
Until next time,

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Day 4--May 1, 2018

     During the many years we have been lucky enough to travel, we enjoy finding out-of-the-way places to visit.  Usually, we get into a campground, eat, then go for a ride in whatever direction looks the most interesting.

     Everyone around the Lewis Family Home Place and Elijah Clark State Park is very busy preparing for two big events two weekends in a row. So, while we are in the true working stage of the events, I thought I'd tell you about a few places we have visited.

     Did you know that the Smithsonian Institued has a Tick Museum in Statesboro, Georgia? Most people don't, but stick with me, I'll show you the whole United States.

     The World's largest tick collection is only open for one hour every Wednesday or by appointment. You will see the largest and smallest they have in bottles.  They have a machine that freeze dries the ticks and coats them with gold for better viewing under the high powered microscopes.

     The museum workers have put together +one of the largest curated tick collections in the World.  There is over 125,000 accessioned lots, over one million specimens, their associated data, and an extensive library (reprints, monographs, and books). The collection contains specimens from all continents, most of the approximately 860 known species of ticks, and a quarter of the primary tick types. It belongs to the U.S. National Museum of Natural History (Smithsonian Institution) and has been open since 1990.

Tick Tock Tick Tock
     Let me know if you've ever visited the tick museum.  I'd love to hear your comments.