Ken continues to make daily slow but noticable progress.
Tuesday evening, Debbie and I decided to eat out at Lee Roy Selmon's, a local restaurant with the best meat loaf around. When we got there, it was no where to be found … replaced by
We discovered that both had the same parent company … and that the meat loaf was even better!
Yesterday Ken had one of his best days since we arrived almost two weeks ago!
Last evening, we had no sooner returned to our motorhome and finished grilling the salmon for our dinner than we were hit by one of the heaviest downpours we've experienced in our coach.
After a gorgeous sunrise,
We took stock of the results of last evening's gale-force winds and discovered we were faced with cleaning up many downed limbs from the tree whose limbs are over our motorhome.
During our morning walk, the strength of the winds was evident where some of the nearby vegetation was still severely bent over.
This morning, I decided to take my camera with us on our daily walk. For a combination RV and park model campground with nearly 1,600 sites (one of if not the largest in the country) which are mostly occupied during the winter months we are here and the activities venues … Sun N Fun
adversies that there are some 178 activities which take place during those seasons … the place is nearly deserted
during the week in the summer.
Some other intresting sights:
Spent most of the day with Ken.
This evening, while enjoying our first glass of wine, we began to hear the rumble of thunder and then spotted two flashes of lightening among the building cumulus clouds to the south.
To the north, another mass of clouds were growing ever higher
although the sky above us remained a crystal clear blue!
Thursday – I spent most of the day at the rehab facility with Ken while Debbie and Cheryl took a "girls day out", getting a pedicurer, doing some shopping and just chillin' out at our motorhome. While at the mall, they ran acorss a most interesting classic car show.
While back on our RV, Debbie and Cheryl were suddenly aware of a loud noise just outside and were sruprised to see a young man … who Debbie thought looked about 12 … with a mini-backhoe breaking up the concrete pad next to us.
She was concerned that he might actually hit our RV.
However, he did his job like a pro, removed the concrete, added cravel and elveled the site
in preparation for the forms to be installed by the end of the day.
Meanwhile, I had scheduled a mobile RV service to stop by to see if he could help me discover where we were getting some water infilltration during heavy rain storms, resulting in a couple of small leaks over our dash. While Jim Smith sealed several suspected area
I trimmed the live oak and the Spanish Moss draping down from it and massaging the roof our RV.
Friday – Again this moring, after our walk, we enjoyed our first … and second … cups of coffee on our "patio" before the humidity got to oppressive.
Soon thereafter, a concrete truck arrived to pour a new concrete patio slab in the site next to us.
Ken and Cheryl's daughter, Kim, and husband, Terry, had flown in yesterday afternoon. The five of us spent most of the day with Ken. Terry, Ken and I playing around-robin cribbage match.
Terry (l) and Ken (r)
Saturday – We stopped by to see Ken this morning before heading out to a local theater to see
This was an extremely well-done movie … and based on an incredible true story.
It tells the story of Ron Stallworth, the first African-American detective to serve in the Colorado Springs Police Department. Determined to make a name for himself, Stallworth bravely sets out on a dangerous mission: to infiltrate and expose the Ku Klux Klan. As face-to-face encounters with the Klan are imperative, he recruits a more seasoned colleague, Flip Zimmerman, into the undercover investigation of a lifetime. Together, they team up to take down the extremist hate group as the organization aims to both sanitize its violent rhetoric to appeal to the mainstream and assassinate a local college black student organizaiton president.
At the same time, the movie was disturbing as it make the view realize that vicious raical, religious, ethnic and sexual-orientation hatred adn bigotry depicted is not artificial but has significant roots is all too many segments of our society and, regretfully not being adequately confronted by our government.
After a morning walk, we spent most of the day at the rehab center with Ken. While he is still very weak, he seems to be making significant strides in his Occupational and Physical Theraphy (OT and PT) session. While he has a long way to go, it brings to mind a quote from Mao tes-Tung, "A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step."
The good news is that he has taken several single steps toward a goal of full functional recovery.
On the way back to our motorhome, we spotted a brilliant rainbow.
which lasted until well after we got home.
Later, while savoring a dinner of cheese & crackers and wine, we were seranaded by hundreds, if not thousands, of cicadas
and the occasional rumble of thunder while threatening clouds billowed all around us
although we had no rain whatsoever.
While tonight's sunset was hidden, it painted the nearby clouds brilliant reds and oranges.
Saturday morning's drive from Lake City to Sarasota was interrupted only by a stop for gas, spotting several of Florida's finest (in some cases with no one but a fellow police cruiser pulled oevr),
power boats with names their owners obviously think adds to their macho image,
the odometer on our motorhome click past
and we also celebrated our 1,300th day of RVIng!
Well before noon we arrived in
and then at
the campground where we spend our winters shortly thereafter.
After getting to our site and hooking up our ultilities
we headed to Heartland Healthcare and Rehab to finally see Ken
Sunday, we stopped by to again visit with Ken before driving to Naples for lunch with Debbie's close and long-time friend, Wendy.
While at lunch, Ken's wife, Cheryl, texted that Ken had fallen and was in the ER at Sarasota Memorial. By the time we were gettng back to Sarasota, Cheryl let us know that Ken had had X-rays, CAT scans, an MRI and several other tests … all of which were fortunately negative … plus five stitches on his forehead and was headed back to the rehab facility. Surprisingly, while he looked a bit "beat up", Ken was very alert, animated and even cheery.
Back at our motorhome that evening, a rather dramatic, post-thunderstorm sunset.
Monday morning, we were back to see Ken and then off to Publix for some badly needed groceries while he had his daily Physical Therapy … and then back to see him again this afternoon. At this tiime we have decided we would delay any plans to head home until next Sunday at the earliest.
This evening, we cooked dinner on our grill for the first time on this trip which began more than two months ago.
Leaving our Pensacola campground, we noticed a painted fence which we'd not seen when arriving yesterday afternoon.
while only the nation's 11th longest public roadway at 2,460.34 miles between Santa Monica, CA and Jacksonville, FL, navigates through perhaps the most varied landscapes of any Interstate or U.S. highway.
From the maze and congestion running from the Pacific through Los Angels County to the deserts of Arizona, New Mexico and west Texas to the crowded highways around Houston to the many low bridges spanning miles and miles of Louisiana and Mississippi bayous to the tunnel and 8 mile bridge in Mobile, Alabama to what is little more than a 200-plus mile green corridor through the Florida panhandle before crossing I-95 and heading into Jacksonville.
Over the years, we've driven I-10's entire length … and had the "pleasure" redriving some 2,300 miles of it again during this trip
For the most part, our five hour drive across the Florida panhandle was most notworthy for its roadside "wall" of trees. However, the road was in excellent shape and the traffic exxtremely light, other than for about 5 minutes just east of Tallahassee.
In several areas, there wre multi-acre sections which had obvisouly been cut down and replaced with evergreens over the years.
Both in the Pensacola area and along I-75 after we left I-10, there was evidence of the state's support for the U.S. Navy.
We only saw one decorated sound barrier
Then there was the woman with her bike … walking!
We also had a semi pass us in whch we could see the refelction of our motorhome … a veiw we rarely see
During our two-month-plus trip westward across the country and now back east, we have been very fortunate not to have encountered any serious weather (having avoided rain, wind and dust storms) other than one night in Altoona, Iowa when we were under the threat of tornadoes for a few hours.
However, late this afternoon, the sky darkened and began to be puncutated with bright bolts of lightening and then the heavens opened up.
We are anxious to get to Sarasota tomorrow and spend some time with Ken and Cheryl,
We traveled through four states today enroute to Sarasota where we are planning on going to see Ken and Cheryl. Ken has been hospitalized for the better part of two months due to his multiple myeloma, both viral and fungal pneumonia and some other undiagnosed reasons for the pain he is experiencing. Meantime, Cheryl has had to deal with Ken, his doctors and the prognsis uncertainties surrounding his diseases.
There was little to distinguish the trip in Louisiana other than a 1957 Chevy truck.
Then on to
where speed limits were posted along with radar indicating a driver's speed.
Perhaps today's most interesting place was the Alabama Welcome Center
which had more sculptures and artwork than we've seen at any other rest area across the country.
An oyster shell adorend with the history and historic figures from Alabama
This Mark-8, 2,700 pound armor piercing projectile – which was fired from one of the nine 16-inch 45 caliber mark 45 “big guns” aboard the USS Alabama (BB-60). It travels at a speed of 2,300 feet per second or 1,568 miles per hour; more than twice the speed of sound. The guns are accurate up to 20.97 miles away from the battleship.
Several colorful inlays in the Welcome Center floor
Model of the USS Alabama (BB-60)
Driving through Mobile,
RSA Battle House dominates the Mobile skyline
Navy F-4 Phantom and Battleship Alabama (BB-60)
Throughout our 150 mile drive through Mississippi and Alabama, we saw an unusual sign.
A little checking yields some interesting information we were completely unaware of.
The United States and Spain held long, inconclusive negotiations on the status of West Florida.
Pink area west of the Florida peninsula
In the meantime, American settlers established a foothold in the area and resisted Spanish control. British settlers, who had remained, also resented Spanish rule, leading to a rebellon in 1810 and the establishment for 74 days of theRepublic of West Florida.
In West Florida from June to September 1810, many secret meetings of those who resented Spanish rule, as well as three openly held conventions, took place in the Baton Rouge district. Out of those meetings grew the West Florida rebellion and the establishment of the independent Republic of West Florida, with its capital at St. Francisville, in present-day Louisiana, on a bluff along the Mississippi River.
Early in the morning on September 23, 1810, armed rebels stormed Fort San Carlos at Baton Rouge and killed two Spanish soldiers "in a sharp and bloody firefight that wrested control of the region from the Spanish." The rebels unfurled the flag of the new republic, a single white star on a blue field.
Fast forward … at 2:30 p.m. that afternoon, December 10, 1810, "the men within the fort marched out and stacked their arms and saluted the flag of West Florida as it was lowered for the last time, and then dispersed."
We finally reached our fourth state of the day (and 22nd on this trip)
and our campground for the night, which recognized members of the military and fallen policemen
was extremely pretty .. as we overlook a small lake.
The last time I was in Pensacola, other than when heading either west or east along
was in December 1960 when ourTufts University freshman Naval ROTC class took a trip to the Naval Air Station in Pensacola for an introduction to Naval aviation.
Together with my roommate, Bob Serino (l), aboard the USSAntietam (CV-36)
Today we completed our trek across Texas, mostly on secondary roads until we were just short of the Louisiana state line where we picked up I-10 again.
A couple on recumbent bikes … they dont' look all that comfortable and are awfully low to the ground
Photo on a TX-6 bridge support on TX-105
We thought they were exticnt
If nothing else, Texas is the American Flag and BBQ
Lots of police on the road, perhaps because it is the first of the month
A really old motorhome
You gotta love the names of some of the towns in rural Texas!
It's building looks like it hasn't been used in decades
Sour Lake, Texas; the birthplace of Texaco with the Spindletop oil discovery in 1901 and birth in 1903 of the petroleum company.
In far east Texas, the trees reminded us of New England
A novel way to display the Pledge of Allegience
Frog City RV Park … with no frogs for miles around
Never let be said that RVing is boring. About 8:00 PM this evening, our "shore" power went out. We quickly discovered that it was not us, or even the whole park, which went dark … but something "blew" outside and also darkened a local gas station and nearby hotel.
As there was a slight breeze and it was still daylight we decided to sit outside … and saw some beautiful sunset clouds (we'd have missed if the power had stayed on).
About an hour later we watched as the gas station lights suddenly came to life, immediately followed by the power in our RV park. Thankfully, we'll have a/c this evening which will make Debbie very happy … and a "Happy Wife is a Happy Life!"
This afternoon we toured the presidential miseum of our 41st president, George Herbert Walker Bush.
Two of many flags which line the Barbara Bush Drive entrance road
After watching a short movie on the life of the president, common at most of the presidential museums, we began our trip through the museum.
Most of the details about the President’s limo are classified, which makes sense since all work done on the cars is supervised by the Secret Service and no one without proper credentials can get too close to it. All ground services involving the limousine are arranged by the U.S. Army.
Still, it is known that the limo, affectionately nicknamed “the Beast”, has bullet proof windows as thick as telephone books, and bullet proof tires; if they are shot at there are wheel inserts which keep the limo driving. There is a remote starter with a bomb detector, self-healing fuel tank, a supplemental supply of oxygen, and layers of Kevlar under the car’s sheet metal from top to bottom.
Today’s Secret service is authorized by law to protect the President, Vice President, the President-elect and the Vice President-elect and their immediate families; former Presidents and their spouses’ children of former presidents until age 16; visiting heads of foreign states or governments; and major Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates.
President George’ Bush’s code name was “Timberwolf” and the First Lady’s code name was “Tranquility”.
George Bush's Parents and Family
Barbara Bush's Parents and Family
George Bush's Youth
Family had a huge impact on George Bush, as evidenced by a reference to it in his 1989 Inaugral Address.
Circa 1940 Jutebox
World War II
Radio similar to the one the Bush family heard the news of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor
When Pearl Harbor was attacked, Bush, then seventeen and still in school, decided to enter the Navy. Six months later, having graduated from Phillips Academy, he entered the Navy on his eighteenth birthday and began preflight training at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His training took ten months and when he finished his training he was commissioned as an ensign in the naval reserve. Still only eighteen, he was the youngest naval aviator in the Navy.
After flight training, Bush was assigned to Torpedo Squadron (VT-51), based on USS San Jacinto (CVL-30)
In spring 1944. San Jacinto was part of a task force that participated in operations in the Marianas in June 1944.
Some of his first missions were flying torpedo runs in crucial operations against Marcus and Wake Islands. Later, he was also flew in missions in the Marianas. It was while returning from one of these runs, on June 19, 1943, that he experienced a forced water landing. Ensign Bush was rescued by another ship, though the plane was not recovered. He was credited with sinking a small cargo ship along with another pilot during these missions.
On August 1, 1943, Bush was promoted to Lieutenant First Grade. The USS San Jacinto then began attacking the Japanese in the Bonin Islands. The plane he was flying was a Grumman-built TBM Avenger
Lt. Bush''s Avenger
Flight jacket, and helmet similar to the one worn by George Bush. This was donated by his flight instructor
TBM Avenger Pilot Seat and Paracute
This operation went on for some time. On September 2, 1944, Bush piloted one of the four planes that attacked Chi Chi Jima.
Photo of Bush's carrier launch for this mission
The Japanese fired back using anti-aircraft missiles. His plane was hit, and his engine caught on fire. Despite this, he and his crewmates managed to complete the attack run, and their shots scored several direct hits that did immense damage. He flew out several miles, and then he bailed out. The two other crewmen on the plane were killed in action, one dying when his parachute didn't open. Bush waited several hours in an inflatable raft, while Japanese boats were on their way to capture him. However, other military planes circled over Bush in order to protect him, until a submarine named USS Finback
rescued him. Bush stayed on the sub for a month, and helped to rescue other pilots, before being delivered to Midway.
Lt Bush's recollection on his shootdown and rescue.
Throughout 1944, Bush flew a total of 58 combat missions. He is a recipient of the Distinguished Flying Cross
He completed his studies and graduated in just 2½ years
Geroge Bush' First Baseman's Glove from his years at Yale. During his presidency, he kept it in a drawer of his Oval Office Desk
Arrival of his first son, George W. Bush
1947 Studebaker which took George and Barbara to Texas
George and Barbara's first home in Texas
After graduation, his father's business connections proved useful as he ventured into the oil business, starting as an oil field equipment salesman for Dresser Industries. While working for Dresser, Bush lived in various places with his family: Odessa TX; Ventura, Bakersfield and Compton, CA; and Midland, TX. According to his eldest so, George W. Bush, then age two, the family lived in one of the few duplexes in Odessa with an indoor bathroom, which they "shared with a couple of hookers"Bush started the Bush-Overbey Oil Development company in 1951 and in 1953 co-founded the Zapata Petroleum Company
In 1954 he was named president of the Zapata Offshore Company, a subsidiary which specialized in offshore drilling.
Bush's Political Career
Bush's career in politics began in 1963 when he was elected chairman of the Harris County Republican Party. The following year, he ran against the incumbent Democrat in the race. He presented himself as a young Conservative Republican in contrast to the aging liberal Democrat Yarborough. He campaigned against civil rights legislation pending before Congress, stating that he believed it gave too much power to the federal government. Bush lost the election 56% to 44%,though he did outpoll Republican presidential nominee Barry Goldwater, who lost by an overwhelming margin toLyndon Johnson.
In 1966, Bush was elected to a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives winning 57 percent of the ballots cast in a race against Democrat Frank Briscoe, who was the district attorney of Harris County.Bush was the first Republican to represent Houston in the U.S. House.
His voting record in the House was generally conservative. He voted for the Civil RIghts Act of 1968, although it was generally unpopular in his district. He supported the Nixon Administation's Vietnam policies, but broke with Republicans on the issue of birth control, which he supported.Despite being a first-term congressman, Bush was appointed to the powerfu House Ways and Means Committee where he voted to abolish the military draft. He was elected to a second term in 1968.
Ambassador to the United Nations (1971–1973)
Following his 1970 loss, Bush was well known as a prominent Republican businessman from the "Sun Belt", a group of states in the Southern part of the country. Nixon noticed and appreciated the sacrifice Bush had made of his Congressional position, so he appointed him Ambassador to the United Nations. He was confirmed unanimously by the Senate, and served for two years, beginning in 1971.
When I turned my back, Debbie managed to sit down with the Ambassador!
Chairman of the Republican National Committee (1973–1974)
Amidst the Watergate scandal, Nixon asked Bush to become chairman of the Republican Naitonal Committee. Bush accepted, and held this position when the popularity of both Nixon and the Republican Party plummeted.He defended Nixon steadfastly, but later as Nixon's complicity became clear, Bush focused more on defending the Republican Party, while still maintaining loyalty to Nixon. As chairman, Bush formally requested that Nixon eventually resign for the good of the Republican party.
Envoy to China (1974–1975)
President Gerald Ford appointed Bush to be Chief of the U.S. Liason Office in the People's Republic of China.
Since the United States at the time maintained official relations with the Republic of CHina on Taiwan and not the People's Republic of China, the Liaison Office did not have the official status of an embassy and Bush did not formally hold the position of "ambassador", though he unofficially acted as one. The 14 months that he spent in China were largely seen as beneficial for U.S. China Relations.
Director of Central Intelligence (1976–1977)
In 1976 Ford brought Bush back to Washington to become Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
He served in this role for 357 days, from January 30, 1976, to January 20, 1977.The CIA had been rocked by a series of revelations, including those based on investigations by the Church Committee regarding illegal and unauthorized activities by the CIA and Bush was credited with helping to restore the agency's morale. In his capacity as DCI, Bush gave national security briefings to President Jimmy Carter both as a presidential candidate and as president-elect, and discussed the possibility of remaining in that position in a Carter administration.
Bush ran for the 1980 presidential nomination but finished second to Ronal Reagan. He then accepted Reagan's offer to run as his Vice President, a position he held for eight years.
The Ultimate Prize
In 1988, George Bush ran for and was nominated as the GOP's presidential candidate which he won in a landslide.
The pinnacle of George Bush's presidency was his putting together a multi-national coallition for the liberation of Kuwait to evict Saddam Hussein trom Kuawit
Patriot (l) and and Scud (r) missles
Abrams M1A1 Tank (full scale model)
George H.W. Bush was a one-term president. Because of this, his accomplishments are often overlooked or minimized. However, he undertook many actions, especially in the area of foreign policy.
His most important foreign policy accomplishments were:
The fall of the Berlin Wall and the reunification of Germany
The collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War
The First Gulf War and Operation Desert Storm
Important domestic policy achievements include:
The Americans with Disabilities Act (1990)
The Clean Air Act (1990)
The Bush White House
Finally, someone you can trust in the Oval Office!
There were "windows" under the White House facade through which we could look into the following rooms.
State Dining Room
Bush Era Dinner Plate
Section of the Berlin Wall
Bush's Phone Diplomacy
Bush's Secure Phone
The 1992 Election
American presidential election, 1992
Andre V. Marrou
James “Bo” Gritz
Lenora B. Fulani
Peace and Freedom
Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr.
James Mac Warren
A tribute to Barbara Bush on her passing earlier this year
Included are a pair of George Bush's socks recognizing her charitable works
Some of the Hundreds of White House Gifts
(as with many other exhibits, the gifts are on display behind glass, causing distracting reflections)
George Bush's 28' cigarette boat which he kept at the family home in Kennebuckport, ME
George Bush's Famous Sock Collection
Jumping out of Damaged and Perfectly Good Airplanes
Parachute and helmet George Bush Used in Recent Jumps
USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77)
The ultiamte honor: USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77) is the tenth and final Nimitz-class supercarrier.
Overall: 1,092 feet
Waterline: 1,040 feet
Overall: 252 feet
Waterline: 134 feet
Maximum navigational: 37 feet
After leaving the museum, we walked around the grounds.
President George H. W. Bush
Sculpture; "The Day the Wall Came Down"
Walkway blocks acknowleging donors to the Library & Museum – this one recognizing former first lady Lady Bird Johnson
A quote from President Bush's Inaugral Speech
Presidential "Catch and Release" Pond
Bush Family Burial Plot
Seen are the graves of Barbara Bush (r) and their daughter Robin (l)
We both agree that this was one of the better of the 13 presidential libraries and museums (we've now visited 12) administered by the National Park Service … in part as it effectively covers the extraordiinary life of George H.W. Bush as a person as much as trying to bolster his political legacy … and the emphasis on Barbara Bush and her many commitments to learning, charitable causes and the less fortunate.
Leaving Fort Stockton early this morning …under a nearly full moon,
the Texas landscape was pretty non-descript, although with more vegetarion than many of the areas west of the city. However, the morning sun made some initial photography a bit challenging.
One of many groups of wind turbines located on flat-topped mesas
There is a clear deliiation between the limestone on the bottom and sandstone laid down at a later date.
All along I-10, we see isoolated homes, miles and miles from neighbors, stores, medical facilities or even gas stations
A pair of white cattle
Winds were out of the southeast at up to 12 MPH
While sheltered when driving through cuts in the rocks to make way for the road, when leaving such sheltered areas we often get "slammed" from the side making driving a challenge, particularly if there is a semi trying to pass at the same time.
Our dogs would never have stayed put in the back of any open truck!
Horses, of course … and of different colors
A long stretch of paving limited travel to a single lane
More roadwork, this time to repair a damage guard rail
We were by this couple before we had a chance to stop to see what type of trouble they might be experiencing
Nineteen miles beyond Junction, TX (where we'd originally planned to stay before changing our travel plans) we eixted I-10 for the first time since leaving California on on to US-290, a pretty and surprisingly better road than we'd aticipated.
Passing through Harper, a Lutheran church steeple dominated the skyline
and a Baptist church was notable by its lack of a steeple
while most ot the rest of the town had a distinctly "western" ambience.
Daily, we continue to pass dozens, and sometimes hundreds of RVs … Class As, Class Bs, Class Cs, Fifth-wheels, Travel Trailers, Truck Campers and Pop-up campers (below).
We found a great spot to pull off for lunch, which Debbie makes before we leave each morning.
Back on the road, we drove through the town of
Yes, this is the city's hospital
Leaving the town, we passed a monument to the Texas Rangers
We also passed dozens of ranches … with only their entrance gates visible
amd many of the 53 wineries
in Texas Hill Country …
most offering "free tastings".
Other items of interest …
Entering Johnson City, most notable as the location of LBJ's Ranch
We considered taking a tour of the Johnson Ranch but we have had three long days on the road and after visiting the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library adn Museum tomorrow, we've another 1,200 miles we'd like to cover in just four days.