Truck being stalked by Cougar

Truck being stalked by Cougar
Truck Being Stalked by the Cougar

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Sunday, July 24, 2011

Vacation July 2011 Traveling Home

It's time............ We explained to the kids Thursday night that we would wake them in the middle of the night to take us to the bus station. We decided to catch the 4:45 a.m. bus. Our flight wasn't until noon but we were going on a space available status. So, we figured if we couldn't catch the first bus there was still a chance with the second at 7:00. We didn't have any trouble getting on the first. The alarm went off at 3:00. I was already awake. I took a picture out the window because dawn was breaking. Jeff and I both got ready.......... Keys and Jake woke up and came down. I woke Justyna (and she hates mornings) about 4:00. Jeremiah wasn't feeling well. and Alli was just like a rag doll. We said our see-ya's at the bus stop and got on the bus.... heading back to Heathrow....... need to sleep but can't. Once at Heathrow we checked bags and got boarding passes for Chicago but not for St Louis. We had a good breakfast and walked around for a bit. We boarded the plane and off we went............ heading west. By the little map thing we were headed northwest over Greenland then headed over Canada to Chicago. There was clouds off and on over the Atlantic and over Greenland. Not that you can see much from 35000 feet. But the clouds cleared over the  Canadian coastline. It looked beautiful and rugged and I could just imagine Polar bears running across the land. Landed in Chicago on time. My Iphone was again a phone. I was pleased. Charged it for a bit and listened to voicemail. One was from work from the 13th. Nothing I could do 10 days later. Will send email on Monday. Another was from our friends Leonard and Sondra welcoming us home!! how awesome is that? I called my sister and Justyna to let them know we had arrived safely! And talked to my sister a few more times while in Chicago.  Delayed 90 minutes in Chicago. Had time (Going to board the plane in Chicago they took my carry on (had medicine and jewelry in it) because suddenly it was too big!!! OKOKand lots of it) to have a Chicago Hot Dog. It was awesome. I can pick it up in the jetway after we land.......................... "Ladies and Gentlemen--if we stowed your carry-on you will now need to pick it up at baggage claim" WONDERFUL!!!! Still have to get boarding passes for Cape Air. So we part I go for the boarding passes and Jeff goes for the carry on. I find the Cape Air Counter and the lady will not give me a boarding pass because I don't have all my carry on's with me (not to mention Jeff) and she needs to weigh them. OK--mind you I don't even know at that point just how long I had been traveling but I was DONE!!! So, Jeff and I find each other and go back to the lady who at that point is suggesting I apologize. I walked away. Jeff dealt with her. THEN -- I realized that the truck keys were in the luggage. WONDERFUL. Can't do a thing about it but pray that the luggage follows us to Fort Leonard Wood. Get on the last plane-- a 10 seat Cessna, which was awesome in the light of the day coming to St Louis just a few weeks before. But now scared me silly. I was so relieved to touch down at home. Luggage arrived on a second plane about 10 minutes later. We dug out the keys and came home.

And that, my friends, is it for our vacation in July 2011 to Lakenheath England!

here is a link for the pictures:

Vacation July 2011 Hearts Apart Dinner & Cambridge

Our time is beginning to run out. I am ready to go home but not ready to leave Justyna and the kids. Although we talk most every day and sometimes many times I day... I still miss my daughter being close. I can't readily help. Right now her husband is away so she is a one parent machine with 4 little ones. I give her credit where credit is due. She doesn't have a second thought about going anywhere... even driving on the wrong side of the road.
The last time I was there we went to two Hearts Apart Dinners... and this time we were able to go to another. This was at the bowling alley. The kids bowled and Justyna helped them. I took pictures and attempted to  keep up with the messes. :)

On the 22nd we ran to Cambridge.................... another Tesco............... more bags!!!! We also got some lunch at Tesco's. I got a tuna and cucumber sandwich which was terrible and when Justyna took a bite (while driving) I thought she was going to vomit. OMG it was so funny. She spit out the window and didn't know if it went out or back!!!! We also had OX flavored chips........... now now..... they really were good. Kettle type chips that tasted like they had been dipped in au jus.
Here are two links to the rest of the pictures:

Vacation July 2011 Ely Cathedral

Day 13.
Justyna wanted to show Jeff the Ely Cathedral. It is listed on some of the Wonders of the World lists ( ) And and there is a Tesco there. I can get more grocery bags. Anyway....... we get everyone in the car and off we go. Ely is about a 35 minute ride. We parked in the exact same spot as we did the last time I was in England. Walked up the monstrous hill and into town. I gave Jeremiah a camera and told him that he could take a picture of anything he wanted to. Then we ddecided we were going to look around a bit. oh oh a fish and chips place....... but, too early for lunch. We window shopped and then found Ely Museum. It wasn't expensive to get into so we took the tour. It was small. After that we walked over to the Cathedral. It was HUGE ........ inside the entry door was a maze-- when you walked around it it was as far as the walk up to the tower. (we can't go on the tower tour--none under 11 and they were booking the 2:00 p.m. tour) But we bought ticket to see the Cathedral and Stained Glass Museum. As with any Cathedral across the pond........ it was fabulous -- even worn as it is. Jeremiah and I got a kick out of Mr. Gotobed's plaque. I added the link for the cathedral above because there is no way I can explain it in that detail. But, I will say that before we realized........... it was 2:30. everyone was being good but discovering they were hungry. So off to the fish-n-chips place. It was wonderful. I even had mushy peas!!!! then we went to Tesco and I bought bags!!! They are recycled burlap with a plastic lining and oh so much better than anything you can get in the states. bought snacks at Tesco's too!
Here is a link to the pictures Jeremiah took:
And the rest:

Vacation July 2011 Daytrip to London

Day 10 Saturday............. we prepared for Sunday Day 11.

When we got up the weather looked promising ............. we had gotten everything ready so that the morning would go smoothly. Having to wake all 4 kids and get them ready and on a bus by 7:30 was going to be fun!!! Ok got on the bus and as we drove the 2 hours to London it rained off and on. The way we went into London you saw nothing that you wouldn't see in any other city! This daytrip was a do it yourself. The bus would drop us off and pick us up at a predetermined location. That location was Madame Taussand Wax Museum. We had HUGE plans of seeing many many things in the 7 1/2 hours we would be there. First things first. We bought tickets for everyone on the tour (hop on and off) bus. So on we hopped. (mind you it isn't just hopping with 7 people)......... rode for about 25 minutes to Trafalgar Square. We got off because there was a walking tour of the Horse Guards and we hoped to catch that. But the National Gallery seemed to grab us for quite a bit of time. Finally, we asked directions of a local policeman and he told us how to get there. We missed the walking tour. BUT another nice local policeman said if we walked up the "lane" and grabbed a spot and didn't move we could watch the Changing of the Guards at ..... Buckingham Palace. This is something that Jeff has mentioned wanting to see. So up the "lane" we went. We grabbed a spot and didn't move-- through the rain, sunshine and gathering crowds. The palace wasn't near as big as I thought it should be. Nor as opulent. BUT, nevertheless, it is the Queen's Residence. So we waited and were treated to a "Changing of the Guard" a very small procession (makes one wonder just how often they do this through the streets). The crowd was quiet again. Though you could hear different languages as people walked by. When the Guards left the palace we walked so that we were in front of the palace....... Police on Horseback kept you moving. but we did manage a few more pictures. FOOD we had to do something for the kids. The snacks in the bag were running out and the natives were getting restless. We found a little place and went in for sandwiches. I have forgotten what we had but I tasted most of it and it was good!!! By the time we were done eating we realized that we weren't going to have enough time to do everything we wanted........ but I thought MAYBE just maybe we could get on the bus and at least see more. On the wrong bus.......... jump off and on another (mind the rain) on another............. seats bad off and on again. OK this is no longer fun.......... kids are unhappy......... we are all wet............. it's getting late. Get on a bus heading back to Madame Taussand's. OK OK back there and bought souvenirs. Decided that I needed a Starbucks. Lo and behold there is a McDonald's right next to it. So we get the 4 Happy Meals and a 20 piece nugget meal. UGGGG ............ but the kids are now happy. Mind the rain again. Go back to meet the bus. The bus was 30 minutes late. When we finally got on bus most everyone slept all the way home. Ate cereal for dinner. Even though we didn't see everything we wanted to (and I didn't get to sing London Bridge on the London Bridge) we had a great time.
Here is a link to the rest of the pictures:

Vacation July 2011 Mildenhall Farmer Market

Day 8 Thursday was a run errands day with Justyna. While running errands we saw they had a small country fair in Lakenheath. Made plans to go on Friday.
Day 9 Friday.... Justyna had told me that there was a farmers market in Mildenhall on Fridays. So after Jacob was in school we went to town. The farmers market was small. We bought some fresh fruit. there was a man selling fresh seafood out of a truck. Not wrapped or anything. After dinner we headed to the fair. Free parking and the cost of the rides was not bad. The kids rode some rides. I went into the fun house with everyone. Jeff rode bumper cars with Jeremiah. Justyna rode with Jacob. BUT the very best part of the fair was the fresh made donuts. I was good -- only had one. Good thing we waited til we got home to eat them. I would have bought more!!!!

Vacation July 2011 Swindon & Stonehenge

Day 6&7 Tuesday we headed west to Swindon. I had made hotel reservations at the same hotel that Justyna and Shane had stayed at. When I called the lady said 200. I thought ok for two rooms that isn't bad. They have family rooms. On the way we stopped at a "Services" place along the highway and had fish and chips (not very good). We got to the hotel to check in and they explained where breakfast was and we were shown our rooms. I look in the little book in the room and realize that this isn't a "traveling type" hotel. It is a 4 star hotel complete with gold course, spa, 4 bars, 2 restaurants, pool, sauna............ and probably more. Too late then............ The bill was over double of what I thought it would be. Hey, it's my vacation! Off we go to Stonehenge........ It was about a 40 minute ride from the hotel. On SKINNY curvy British roads that Justyna did wonderful on. She kept saying that Stonehenge was in the middle of a sheep field. I honestly thought she was kidding. We didn't see any signs until we were within a few miles. (following the GPS all over the country). And we crested a hill and there it was. Not only in the middle of a field but on the top of a hill.  It was amazing. And we were going there!!!!! We pulled into the parking lot and the attendant charged us 3 pounds to park but said it would be refunded when we purchased our entry tickets. I said well that is kind of silly and he said. I agree but this is what they pay me to do. So we paid him. You have to go under the road through a tunnel to get to Stonehenge. The first view of it is amazing. How did they get the rocks here? how did they position them like that?? WHY did they do this?? It was very quiet.... mysterious... the first maybe 50 feet and last 25 feet of the circle was paved. The rest we walked on the grass of the field. Amazing that there WAS grass for the amount of people that walked on it. We walked around Stonehenge and then bought souvenirs. We were there only for about 2 hours. But it was so worth the ride out there. On the way back Justyna wanted to go to Wal-Mart. Well--the British version. I bought my friend Joy her Spotted Dick ( a steamed suet pudding containing dried fruit (usually currants), commonly served with either custard or butter) and a reusable bag. The bags in England are so much better than the bags in the states. Someone should take notice of them. I can't be the only one who will travel thousands of miles for some. After the local Wal-Mart we then HAD to go to McDonald's. Not sure if it was for the grandkids or Justyna. England has family parking. Close to the building and larger spots. Also, you must pay to unlock a cart/carriage at the store. In order to get your money back you have to return it. What a concept!!! Back at the hotel by 8 and the pool was closed for the kids. told them that we would go after breakfast. We go down to breakfast and eat then to the pool. After that we get in the car and being the trip home.  Justyna needed gas so we went to a USForces base. It was out of the way by about 15 miles and come to find out it had been closed!!! Though they were having an air show! Here is a link to the pictures from the day:

Vacation July 2011 Keylynn's Party

Day 3 Saturday-- we had a birthday party for Keylynn. Again lovely English weather about 65*, wind and rain off and on. Justyna had rented a bouncy castle. The kids loved it. Jeff grilled with a plastic fork and knife. There was a pinata... now kid friendly..... it had strings that the kids had to pull to release the candy and toys. Excuse me but what happened to the "beat it with a stick" pinatas???
Here is a link to the pictures from the party:

Sunday and Monday we didn't do much but go to Mildenhall to Sainsbury's which is a grocery store. Again blew my diet to hell with bread :).........

Vacation July 2011 Getting to England

Our Starting Point
So I managed to keep the secret. And did not tell Justyna when we would be arriving until......... well let me start at the beginning..... July 6th at 9:30 we arrived at the Fort Wood Airport. Upon check in they weighed everything, to include carry on baggage and purse, then they asked what we weighed. A plane came in..... ok so it was a luggage plane (luggage travels separately) then our plane arrived. I have never before flown on a Cessna. It was truly terrifyingly amazing! High enough to be flying low enough to make out everything. Upon arrival in St Louis we had to change terminals (not bad). Once we found our gate we also found a sandwich shop and a Dunkin Donuts shop. Diets???? What diets??? nope off of that til I return home. On the plane to Newark. Had good seat except mine wouldn't recline and there were two magpies (Heckell & Jeckell) in the seats in front of us. They screeched all the way to Newark. Once we landed in Newark we again had to change terminals...... this is becoming a fact of life on this trip. This time we took moving sidewalks and a city bus. ok ok hurrying through.... 3 gates away and I find a food court. YES! they had pizza!. You know the kind you have to fold to eat???  Grabbed two slices (one cheese the other pepperoni) and went to the gate where we boarded immediately!!! This time Jeff's seat doesn't recline and they can't do anything about it. Wonderful......... all the way to Heathrow sitting straight. And he has a know it all beside him. We ate the pizza and then they fed us some kind of chicken and a croissant later in the flight. When we arrived at Heathrow we were in Terminal One and had to get to Terminal Three. Wonderful........ had 3 hours to get through Customs and get over there. Got in line at Customs and made it through with no problem. Asked someone how to get to Terminal Three and was told to go outside and wait for the 555........ So glad it wasn't the 666. So out we went to the LOVELY English weather. It is July but it seems England doesn't know it. It was 7:30 in the morning and probably 55* with wind and rain. I was in Capris and Jeff was in shorts!!! Not dressed for this at all. The bus comes and we get on with all of our luggage. And it is off to the races................. Jeff's first experience with driving on the opposite side of the street. It was rather funny. After a 25 minute ride we make it to Terminal 3 and I find out just where we need to be for the bus to Lakenheath AFB. Then we changed into more appropriate clothes and grabbed something to eat. Not sure how traveling works up an appetite but it does.
Finally, the bus to Lakenheath arrives.... we have a Space A seat and we are off. Two and a half hours later we are at Lakenheath....... Raining and cold and now I am not sure I could tell a taxi driver how to get to her house.  So I go into lodging -- have them call her and tell her that she has a large package to pick up. And my wonderful daughter says........................ they can walk........ but she shows up within about 15 minutes. Then we drop of luggage and go check mail. Since it was Keylynn's birthday we went out for supper to the "Club" Damn near almost as good as the BlackJack. Jet lag hit us on Friday ............ tried hard not to sleep during the day (for them during the day) It doesn't get dark here until about 10:00 p.m...... and the sun starts rising about 4:00 a.m. Kids seem to think you don't have to go to bed until it is dark. And that you get up when the sun is rising. Here is a link to the pictures from traveling to England:

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Carlyle Lake COE IL 10-13 June 2011

This is being written a few weeks later. Life keeps catching me. Not to mention WORK!!! Anyway about our anniversary weekend. We were meeting our friends Leonard & Sondra for the weekend. We packed the Pod on Thursday night and hauled it to work on Friday. Getting used to it being out there. Not such a pull. I got off work at regular time but Jeff didn't. I made dinner for the road, changed my clothes, talked to Leonard who had gotten our site all ready by moving the picnic table. And told me which exit to get off of. (Easier than the way GPS'er would bring us) And then he said he would walk me right in. I had been looking forward to camping at Carlyle Lake (had heard much about it). While talk to Sondra on the way there leonard nicely let us know to fill up in Missouri. We were thankful because with gas near $4.00 a gallon 25 cents cheaper by the gallon in Missouri was wonderful. Who would have thought we liked gas at $3.80??? Then we had to get through St Louis. Here is where Leonard was giving me lessons in lane numbers. We drove through Lebanon, Illinois. 
Leonard & Sondra
  Didn't look much different than Lebanon, Missouri. this would be the first night that we spent in Illinois in the Pod. Finally got to the campground. Full hookups that were NOT uphill!!! We were racing the sunlight. (This does not work well when you are headed east) and got there just as the sun set. But Leonard and Sondra helped. I backed Jeff right in (do have to say i am getting better at that all the time) ....................... Saturday we spent finishing setting up and did a run to Wal-Mart. We had lost a bumper cap and a section of sewer hose. I am trying to imagine going down the road following a travel trailer and this happening. We were just glad that we didn't need 2 section of hose. Can't get satillite. think the LMB on the dish is bad. We were able to get Leonard and Sondra's within seconds!!!! We did hook up to theirs so I know now that I can have satillite in both the living area and the bedroom!!! WOOHOO!!!! Sondra and Leonard knew it was our Anniversary weekend and so on Saturday afternoon brounght us this grand old Griswold cast iron pan and griddle!!!! I was so very excited!!!!  

Before Cleaning

After Cleaning!! isn't it pretty????
Then we worked on some mods for the POD............ The door handle so we don't have to open the white plastic door thingy (how is that for technical terms) and the refrigerator vents so we don't have any unwanted guests such as wasps or bugs or or or mices!!!
 You can buy a contraption for the door. But this was much cheaper.
We shared dinner on Saturday Night. Sunday we went for a ride around Carlyle Lake. Big....... and most of the campgrounds were nice. We did see this travel trailer that had a tarp tied around it. Why I didn't get a picture I haven't a clue. But it was strange!!!! Shared dinner again on Sunday night and discussed a trip in September. We are going to pot luck with others who will be camping too!! Can't wait. Rv'ers -- Campers are the bestest!! Jeff wants to start goecaching again. Monday morning brought the "oh no it's time to pack up to go home" blues. Except Jeff was SICK.............. he had no energy .... Leonard helped a bit and Jeff did what he could to load up and we hit the road. Jeff took us to the interstate (I am not ready to drive on back roads yet) and then I drove. Took the wrong way and after I turned around I ended up on 64/40 west. Going through downtown St Louis. OMG I was so scared. God then decided that all the city traffic, wind by semi's, lane changes wasn't enough for me --- he started blowing the wind -- sending thunder and lightening and sheets of rain. There was a break in that so we stopped for gas............. Wonderful........ another first for me Jeff was telling me the whole time how great I was doing. Three hours later I got out of the drivers seat (at the end of our driveway) after driving in from St Louis and up our state (curvy and hilly) highway. I was very proud of myself though I could hardley walk and my fingers hurt from gripping the steering wheel. But I know that if needed, I can drive drive the truck ... hauling the Pod. We won't be camping again until August... it's off to England for us to see Justyna and kids.
You can see the rest of the pictures from the weekend. good bad and indifferent at my facebook page:
Til next travels to you and you and even you!