Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Postscript….A Summer of Endless Memories

I’ve been trying to to piece together my thoughts about this journey… What my original expectations were and what was reality at the end of the day…

First,  I wanted The Boys to experience this country from an exploring angle...through camping…the emphasis on an interest both had….History and Military…my original plan had twice as much on the "seeing America" plate....and a much longer time span for this adventure….but we had to shorten the original plans based on  when school would start….

Second….in reality, I had to remember they are only 11 and almost 9 years old…so Forts, History, Space, Camping, Hiking, and Museums, etc. will only go so far….kinda like having “DQ Blizzards” every day…I soon learned that I had to mix it up…maybe a smore or pop tart once in a while….So stuff like swimming in the ocean or pool, go-karts, arcades, miniature golf, rock climbing, Glass Bottom Boat Rides, etc, also became part of this Journey.....

Third….Camping in the Casita….while they truly enjoyed it, at times  it became somewhat confining for them….how can you play “Grab-Ass” in 84 square feet… when it's raining for 2 or 3 days in a row….

At the end of the Day….the feedback from Daughter and SIL is that they had a terrific time and enjoyed not only the Camping portion but also the time spend at the “Homestead”..and the interaction with Omi(the Bride)... my observations would agree with that assessment….in fact they kept talking about what we where going to do and/or go next year….

Now, lets assess me… did I fare…I’m no “Spring Chicken”…I’m going to be 71 in the next couple months...… I'm held together by Duct Tape, Super Glue, and Baling Wire(lol)...though I have never felt that your chronological age drives or limits your level of physical activity...I hate when Doctors try to put you in a  "Box" based on your age....However, I do feel fortunate to be able to do these activities....A lot of my friends thought I was crazy for wanting to do this….but at the end of the day it was an experience that will continue to put a smile on my face and a glow in my heart…it will rank up there as a very special and priceless moment in my life…Did it wear me out…yes, but mostly in a good way…and I have been in a relaxing mode since I've gotten back …I have  put on several extra pounds… from the fast Food places we went to, the increase in wine consumption(lol), and a lack on doing my daily walks...would I do it again..God willing and the creek don’t rise…the answer is yes……probably modify the adventure somewhat....I still want us to mostly camp in the Casita...and I believe they do also. But maybe along the way sprinkle in a couple...or more "Motel Sleep Overs".... .I think a trip to the Blue Ridge Mountains, Skyline Drive area would be fun...maybe during Easter /Spring Break....we'll see...somehow/someway I also want to do my Canada/Alaska trip next year...though I will need a green light from my Doctors, which should be a no brainer, I hope....and more importantly a pass from my supportive " Bride".....

At the end of the Day it was one Hell of a ride… one that I will never forget and that I think every Opi and Omi should try.... at least once….I was fortunate in that I have watched The Boys several times solo for up to 2 weeks in the past….so the 3 of us knew each other and our “warts”…

I want to thank all of you that stopped by to read my daily ramblings and those of you that left all the positive comments….my photo’s for today are a look at some past memories…last year at this time I was wandering  through Glacier, Yellowstone, Tetons, Badlands, etc…so I thought I would post some photos from  that Adventure…until  next time….Happy Trails…Horst sends

The 3 wandering Amigos
ps...I just noticed that there is a large gap between here and the bottom of the page where you can leave a comment or go to an older post...don't know how to fix if you want to do either it will take a little scrolling....sorry...Horst sends


Saturday, August 24, 2013

Memories Part 2

Before I get in my summary, an explanation to a couple emails I received this past week....The question was asked if everything was ok as I left so quickly after arriving in Charleston...No, nothing is further from the truth. I had always planned to do that, unless the AC  problem prevented me from leaving....I felt that when I brought the Gsons back home, the immediate focus should be between the Parents and the Boys....I didn't want to take away from that with Daughter and  SIL thinking they had to spend time/entertain  me...nor have the Gsons feel that way....and with it being the weekend they would have two full days to relive the trip with their parents....and friends...

#2Gson photo..Ft McAllister

#2Gson photo...SA Zoo
Riverwalk Boat Ride
Now back to Part 2 of the some of  best Memories ever...arrived at the Home front on a Saturday about 1430 sometime in July...Sunday was down day...Monday we start our first local adventure.....The Alamo, Boat ride on the Riverwalk, Guinness Display of World Records....A walk along the Riverwalk exploring....and the famous Haagen-Dazs Ice cream cone....

Safari Land..HorstKelly photographer 

Witte MuseumHorstKelly Photographer
Had our small "hiccup"..but couple days later it was off to the San Antonio Zoo...the second one they have seen on this trip.....its a GREAT Zoo, and the Boys didn't know where to go first...#1 Gson was given the map and in charge of navigating around the took us a good 3 hours to see most of the sites... #2 Gson took a bunch of photo's...
#2Gson SA Zoo
#2Gson SA Zoo

We had some cool refreshment and on the way back home stopped for lunch.....guess where...yup  "Taco Bell"....we have so many real Mexican places to eat some GREAT food...nope.."TB" it is....came come relaxed...bonded with Omi, math, Skype, dinner...relaxing with Omi on the bed watching a movie and eating popcorn.....that became a "nightly ritual"...
Witte Museum

Next on the Agenda was Witte Museum...One of my favorites...all things to all ages...I and my two"Buddies" also enjoyed it...first was the "Dinosaurs Unearthed" exhibit....that in itself took over an hour and a half...the Campus is it was the South Texas Heritage Center..all things Cowboy; Oil; live, four legged creepy crawly things...along with snakes, and static displays of stuffed critters...a walk around,  authentic old log cabins and other
Witte Museum...HKelly Photographer
building...Then it was off to the HEB(Texas Grocery Chain) Science Treehouse...and 90 or so minutes there.....multi-story..that includes all things science and most stuff is "interactive" the Rock climb and suspended bike was a super day for adventure, fun, and learning a little Texas and prehistoric history....lets the good times roll with my two favorite Buckaroos....

#2Gson Photo

They have been wanting to go to Green Acres.....the arcade, golf, go-karts, bumper boats,  and whatever day is the day....first was off to drive  some go-karts....where #1 Gson crashed going around a curve do to looking behind him...couple other outdoor stuff, and then the much awaited "Arcade"....I gave them each a ten dollar roll of quarter(so as not to nickel and dime me)...they turn those into tokens...when the tokens are we we....when you win at a game, it spits out tickets...and those two Boys got more tickets than you could count in a week....and they stretched out their 10 buck for at least 2 + hours...took the tickets to a machine that ate them and spit out how many points they got, which they turn in for some the Boys get rather cleaver...Opi, if we come back we can win a lot more tickets and get much better can you argue with that logic.....with that we head home to get out of the heat....another adventure in the books.
#2Gson Photo SA Zoo

Wildlife Safari is a self driving tour on a Ranch that has over 500 animals from 40 exotic, native and endangered are allowed  to feed the animals with their special pellets...the Gsons where all smiles as we started this adventure...we spend 90 minutes driving, taking photo's from inside the Xterra, and feeding the Animals as they came up to the open windows...afterwards we went to the petting and feeding Zoo which they really enjoyed.....the temps where reaching 100+ degrees..time to head home...its a wrap....

Couple minor adventures, IHOP breakfast, back to green acres and hit it big for some neat prizes, glass boat ride on a lake, buying Cowboy hats for the "Buckaroos"...

IHOP Adventure

The next Houston for a tour of the Johnson Space Center...took about 3 hours to get there...what a place...did the tram tour to the to Mission Control first, off to see the rocket that took them to the Moon, the main center with simulators, walking tours, the Shuttle,  and so much more...the day flew home 1830 that evening...Wow...what a day.....even got some souvenirs...a super way to cap off their time in Texas..

Houston Space Center
Johnson Space Center..HKelly Photography

Its not over more Adventure before we launch back to Charleston..A theme and amusement park...Rock climbing, Go-karts, simulators, Parachute Drop, Trampoline, two Arcades....and much more...What a neat 4 hour day of fun....

ZDT Adventure Park
So there you have it.....we left on a Wednesday for Charleston SC...Lot of Hugs and Kisses to Omi and we where off.....arrived on Friday, a day sooner then we had planned..A Super welcome from Mom and Dad....and on Saturday I started my return trip...arrived Monday...and now I'm veggin and before I put a bow on this adventure, I'll do one more post on these reflections....I thank all of you folks that took the time to stop by and also those that left all the positive comments...Take care my "Blogging Friends"!!!...Horst sends  

Monday, August 19, 2013

Memories Part 1

I thought I would do a summary/recap of the Gsons and Opi's Adventure....

First the boring stats.
Total time with the Boys: 5 plus weeks
Camper miles: about 3100
Total auto miles: somewhere around 6720
Total Cost: Can't put a price on an Adventure with Gkids

...and we're off
First camping day
Ft. McAllister....Horst kelly Photographer
Ft McAllister....Horst Kelly Photographer
Underground Room Ft McAllister 

Museum at Ft. McAllister..Horst kelly photographer

The Adventure began the latter part of took me four days to travel from my home to the Kids house in SC....instead of going the Southern route(l-10), I decided to go north and hit l-20 at Tyler, Tx....My first day ended at the Shallow Creek RV Resort in Gladewater Tx....A typical commerical real WOW factor except for the fact it has a golf course that wraps around the CG and it has a swimming pool...with Passport America discount it ran about $ it was onward to Askew Landing CG, Edwards Ms...privately owned on what was once a does have a WOW factor...rustic, small lake, walking trails, swimming pool, grass sites, wild life...cost is $ 19.26.  A great relaxing evening...only negative...can't buy wine at your local store...well yes you can if you want to drink "Boones Farm Apple Wine"...I'll pass and have a Shiner this evening...definitely a place to return when I have more time...and its close to Vicksburg, Ms

Ft McAllister Museum

Next Day was a ride to Auburn, Al and the Auburn RV Park...nice park, rolling hills, treed, a creek or small river running through the park..easy access to the Interstate....Easy drive, relaxed, grilled some chicken, salad, Texas Toast.....and a Shiner....bed by 10PM.

Next day was the final leg to Charleston was suppose to a relaxing short drive.....well it all went south pretty fast....first was the standstill, took me one hour  to make the 3 miles to the exit I wanted.....conquered that without a rise in blood sooner was I heading south when the Rain came...not just a nice little rain...rather one that caused visibility to me almost zero.....rain followed me for most of the trip..... what was to be a short day turned into a 9 hour adventure...but I arrive no worse for wear....Kids handing me a "Brew" Gkids want to give their friends a tour of Ms Casita.....we order take out, relax and off to bed around 1030PM...My below is my trip to Charleston:

View Larger Map

After 4 days of relaxing, reconfiguring the camper, cleaning it, repacking the Xterra, we where ready to hit the road....8 July about 0900..we three launched for about 160 mile drive to our first destination..Ft Mcallister SP in Georgia....Here is our trip Map to Tx.: why does it not appear smaller??

View Larger Map

Daughter led us out of Charleston...then it was a relaxing trip to Ft Mcallister...arrived early afternoon, had the Boys pick a site, unhitched and took a look around....Great campground situated next to the Fort. Spend 3 terrific days there exploring the area..then it was off to our next destination...
Little Talbot CG
Little Talbot Beach...The Atlantic
Okefenoke Park
Okefenoke...Horst Kelly Photographer
Okefenoke Resident...Horst Kelly photographer

Little Talbot State Park, Fl is next on our agenda...The main sits on the Atlantic Ocean...a great way to relax for several days of having pure fun..with a little sand mixed in...also a trip to  Okefenoke National Park...what a great day that was....more beach time as well as the next couple days....the weather was perfect, maybe a little warm for the Boys...but thats why we have the beach...

Next stop Suwannee State Park, the Panhandle...what a bust that rained for 3
days...the only saving grace...Taco Bell......Finally departure day arrived and not a minute too soon... and we're off.

Suwannee River State Pk.


Ft. Pickens Beach

Ft. Pickens here we come.....we didn't know what to do first...The Boys loved the Fort....we also had the beach, a little miniature golf, go Karts, more beach time...campfires,  smores, Naval Air Museum,  Blue Angles, Simulator (a favorite with them)..and much more.....several days of pure action...
Ft. Pickens..Horst Kelly Photographer
Ft Pickens

Ft. Pickens..Horst Kelly Photographer

Light House Pensacola  NAS

Made a team decision to forgo Johnson Space Center in Houston and go North to the Mississippi River and Vicksburg...
Horst Kelly Photographer
NAM Display...Horst Kelly Photographer
I'm out of Ammo...NAM

Another super adventure as we camp right on the Mississippi River...has a pool, as they said "sweet"....Spent almost a day at the Battle Field in Vicksburg..its a self guided driving the CD and it becomes an instant evening a real thunder storm...cut into the pool time...sitting on the banks of the river watching the Barges go by.....and fun time....
Vicksburg Battle Ground...Horst Kelly Photographer
Vicksburg BG...Horst Kelly Photographer
Vicksburg BG...Horst Kelly Photographer

Now we're off to Shallow Creek CG...just an overnighter...didn't unhitch...they have a pool, so most of the afternoon was spent there....Next morning it was to the home late afternoon...Omi greeted us with Hugs and Kisses.....and we're ready for part two of their Summer Experience ....

Horst Kelly Photographer
Vicksburg...Photo by #2Gson
Maybe a future Blue Angel in the Making
Can't fly until you have a personal call sign
How many cockpits can they sit in...

I will summarize Memories 2 as a separate blog as not to bore you to death.....will be back in a couple of Days...Happy Trails...Horst sends