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2019-06-06 thru 2019-06-11 – Traveling West – Liberal, KS and then Home…

This morning we pulled out of the RV park in Liberal, KS, and pointed the Villa southwest.  In about three minutes we were in the far western part of the Oklahoma panhandle; about 90 minutes later we were in the far western part of the Texas panhandle; by noon we were in New Mexico…

These parts of Oklahoma and Texas look remarkably like Kansas…

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At one rest stop there were these nice little picnic shelters… Mid Century Modern!… Nice, but a little beat up…

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All day yesterday and all day today, until we entered New Mexico, we followed the railroad tracks.  About every ten miles we came to a small town dominated by these giant grain elevators or silos…

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The further we drove west the smaller and more distressed the towns were… Not being farming folk, we could not tell exactly what these facilities do, but we assume it is related to grain storage, food processing, feed production, or something like that…

By mid day we were at our campground in Tucumcari, NM.

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And, for the record, New Mexico does not look anything like Texas, Oklahoma, or Kansas:

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Happy Hours and a light supper ensued in the Villa; tomorrow we head towards Gallup, NM.

Friday morning dawned nice and cool, but the heat will be arriving soon.  We pointed the Villa west, towards Albuquerque and beyond…

The drive was uneventful, as expected…

New Mexico looks like this…

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At one rest stop we found this Scenic Historic Marker:

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We weren’t sure what it meant… east and west looked pretty much the same to us.  Yes, western New Mexico does has more hills.  We rose to almost 7,000′ elevation before dropping down to 5280′ elevation in Albuquerque…

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Then we went uphill again to 7,275′ elevation at the Continental Divide…

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We eventually arrived in Gallup, NM, at about 6,500′ elevation…

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The sky was beautiful, the sun was hot, but the winds made the 89 degree temperature bearable.  By early evening we were able to turn off the AC, and by sunrise tomorrow it is supposed to be 48 degrees…

Happy Hours and a light supper ensued in the Villa; tomorrow we head towards Kingman, AZ.

Saturday morning dawned nice and cool, but the heat will be arriving soon.  We pointed the Villa west, towards Winslow, Flagstaff, Williams, and Kingman…

The drive was uneventful, as expected…

Arizona looks like this…

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We drove for about six hours, taking time for rest stops, fuel, and lunch… We finally pulled into Kingman, AZ by mid-afternoon…

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Interesting note is that we stayed here almost exactly two years ago as our first stop after leaving Irvine on our 4 1/2 month trip, the day after Lynda retired…

Happy Hours and a light supper ensued in the Villa; tomorrow we head towards Palm Desert, CA.

Sunday morning dawned nice and cool, but the heat will be arriving soon.  We pointed the Villa west, towards the California border…

The drive was uneventful, as expected…

We crossed over the Colorado River…

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And we entered California!

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We were met by some attentive uniformed people who asked us where we’d been, and if we were bringing in any firewood…

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The California Desert looks like this…

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For those of you who insist on calling places like eastern Oregon a “desert”, please stop!  Rivers, grass with cattle grazing, and green leafy trees do not make a desert!  See photo above for what a desert looks like!

We moved on to Palm Desert, where they have succeeded in making the desert green:

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We spent the afternoon and evening with like-minded friends, sharing happy hours and dinner.  Early Monday morning we drove the final hour…

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We arrived home in Redlands; an enjoyable time was had by all…

Tally:

Miles driven: 8,379

Days traveling and camping on our own:  40 days

Days on the Cajun Country Caravan:  16 days

Days on the Springtime in Kentucky Caravan:  22 days

Total days living in the Villa: 78 days

Total number of Airstreams seen along the road:  211

Number of nights in the Villa over the past 24 months:  375 days  (51%)

And one last photo of our girls…

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2019-05-30 – Traveling West – Memphis, TN

Today was a day of contrasts…

First the silly:

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The RV park is right next to the Graceland Visitors Center, so we sort of had to visit… Of course, I never miss an opportunity to visit an interesting house, and this one certainly qualifies…

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We toured the first floor of the house, and visited the basement recreation room.  Elvis bought the house in 1957 and lived here for 20 years until his death in 1977.  Every room was outrageously decorated in the latest 1960s and 1970s style.  I won’t insult your eyes to show many pictures…

The 15′ long sofa in the Living was impressive…

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Dining Room has china remarkingly similar to our own…

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The kitchen is total 1970s…

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The “Media Room” has the latest in TVs…

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The record collection!

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The racquetball court!

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The property is quite beautiful… over 13 acres…

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The grave site of Elvis, his mother and father, and his grandmother…

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Something I had not known:  Elvis had a twin brother who was still-born…

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Not sure what this guy is doing on the roof…

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We left the house tour and returned to the Visitors Center and walked through the exhibits… The only interesting area that I liked were all of Elvis’ cars… Continental Mark II, two Mercedes 600 limousines, MGA, a few Cadillacs, and more…

No photos though…

We returned to the Villa, and caught an Uber into an area just a few blocks south of Downtown…

 

We were unprepared for this…

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Those of you who are my age (or older) know what this is…

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The Lorraine Motel went into bankruptcy a few years later, but was purchased by a local non-profit in 1982.  Today it is the site of the National Civil Rights Museum…

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The museum was very sobering.  Starting with the history of slavery, then moving on through the eras of the build-up to the Civil War, the war itself, Reconstruction, and the Jim Crow era.  It clearly outlined how the 13th amendment ended slavery, the 14th amendment granted citizenship to all former slaves, and the 15th amendment guaranteed the right to vote for all citizens.  That was 1870.  Except that in 1877 the Reconstruction era ended and the Federal troops left the south.  One by one the southern states all ignored the US Constitution and rewrote their state constitutions and laws to take away these rights and to mandate racial segregation.

Apparently no one in the Federal government cared, nor did the Supreme Court…

In 1896 the Supreme Court (nine old white men) ignored the amendments and, in Plessy v. Ferguson, they gave the green light to “separate but equal”… Jim Crow was now the law in the south…

The museum continued through the world wars, and finally Brown vs Board of Education, in 1954.  The case for integrated education and the elimination of “separate but equal” (which was always unequal) was heard before the court in 1952, but a highly divided court couldn’t make a ruling.  Finally, with Earl Warren newly sworn in as Chief Justice, Warren wrangled the other justices into a unanimous decision and the Supreme Court (nine old white men) said that “separate but equal” was unconstitutional.

Again, the southern states refused; in 1955 the court mandated that that they all comply.  It took Federal troops at the University of Mississippi to enroll James Meredith in 1962, it until 1963 that the University of Alabama admitted its first black students, and the State of Mississippi finally eliminated their “colored” schools in 1970.

The museum continued with the Freedom Riders, and Woolworth lunch counter sit-ins, the Montgomery bus boycott and Rosa Parks.  And the Children’s crusade. And the KKK.  And the church bombings.  And the lynchings… As I said, it was a very sobering exhibit.

The museum ends with visitors walking past and viewing the room where Martin Luther King was staying when he was shot…

(As good as the museum was, it dealt strictly with African Americans in the south.  There was no mention of discrimination of against Chinese in California, or of segregated schools in Massachusetts…)

We then walked across the street to see where James Earl Ray fired the single shot that killed Dr. King; the boarding house is the brick building beyond… The entrance tunnel leads to the basement; we went to the top floor…

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The bathroom window where the shots were fired…

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The view of room 306 in the motel…

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The exhibits in the boarding house are all about the search for Ray.  Even though there were FBI agents watching Dr. King along with 11 Memphis city police at the fire station across the street, Ray escaped.  He wasn’t captured until six weeks later, in London.

I had read an extensive book many years ago on James Earl Ray, and his six weeks on the run, and all the conspiracy theories…  We didn’t need to spend much time here…

But now it was late afternoon… We walked to downtown Memphis, about five blocks away…

We found Beale Street; home of the Blues…

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We found the ballpark, but didn’t stick around for the game…

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We had a drink at the Corner Bar at the Peabody Hotel…

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And we had dinner at Cafe Society, a nice French Bistro…

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We returned to the Villa, and an enjoyable time was had by all…

 

2019-05-29 – Traveling West – Nashville and Memphis, TN

Yesterday we flew back from Redlands to Nashville.  We Ubered back to the Villa in Franklin, KY… It was still there…

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Our host invited us to his patio where we shared a few bottles of wine…

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This morning we waved, “goodbye” and headed south, towards Nashville.  We were going to visit Hermitage, the plantation home of Andrew Jackson, the 7th president of the US… The house was built in the early 19th century, like most plantation houses… It is set in 1,100 acres of “park” land, although in Jackson’s day it was a working plantation, earning Jackson his money via cotton through the the hard work of slaves…

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As lovely as it is, the mansion was originally built as a simple house, but it burned down in its early years.  The house was rebuilt, but after Jackson became president, he had the house enlarged again and remodeled to its current Greek Revival form… thus these awkward “false fronts”…

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As was common at the time, economy often was a big feature; these “stone” columns are actually wood, with a faux-finish added to resemble stone.  At least they now have internal ventilation to reduce the likelihood of rot, mold, and wood deterioration…

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The trim around the doors was also wood with faux-finish…

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At the rear of the house the columns are allowed to look like wood…

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Hermitage had an interesting museum telling of the life and times of Andrew Jackson… Some interesting facts, firsts, and lasts…

  • He fought in the Revolutionary War (as a messenger, at age 13).  He was captured and spent time as a Prisoner of War (the only President to have been a POW…)
  • He fought in the War of 1812, and is known for his leadership in the Battle of New Orleans, the final defeat for the British in the war…
  • He was an orphan with no surviving siblings by the age of 20…
  • Both South Carolina and North Carolina claim his birthplace location is in their state…
  • He was the first Representative to Congress from Tennessee; he also was a Senator from Tennessee… He also became a Tennessee Supreme Court Judge…
  • He was the last President to have personally known all prior Presidents (Washington, J. Adams, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, and J.Q. Adams)…
  • He was the first President who was not from the American aristocracy; all prior Presidents were born either in Virginia or Massachusetts…
  • He was the only President whose parents were born outside the country…
  • His wife was a bigamist and adulteress; she died just before Jackson’s inauguration; he never remarried…
  • He adopted two Native American children and raised them as his own; he also raised at least 8 foster children.  He was also the leader of the harsh and brutal removal and relocation of the Native Americans that lead to the “trail of tears”.
  • He was an unapologetic slave holder, and he did not free any of his slaves; all records do show that he treated his slaves relatively “fairly”, he kept slave families together, and he allowed them to cultivate their own gardens for their own use…
  • Jackson faced the threat of secession by South Carolina over “nullification”; South Carolina opposed the “Tariff of Abominations” and refused to comply; the crisis was defused when the tariff was amended, and Jackson threatened the use of military force if South Carolina attempted to secede.  (You would have thought that South Carolina would have learned its lesson that nullification and secession was frowned upon by the Union…)
  •  Jackson became the only president to completely pay off the national debt, in 1835…
  • In 1806 Jackson fought a duel with Charles Dickinson, whom he shot and killed..

The house tour was very interesting.  It is a fairly typical plantation “big house” in that it has a central hall with two rooms on either side, on both floors.  One unique feature of this house is that two ground floor rooms were bedrooms and there is a secondary hallway between the bedrooms leading from the central hall to a side door.  The house was enlarged when Jackson was president to add a large Dining Room on one side and two offices on the side of the bedrooms.  A back stair was also added at the side door.

The main central hall has this spectacular wallpaper:

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(Have you ever heard me rave about wallpaper???)

We were able to enjoy the balcony at the front of the house, which was a social space for family and guests…

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(Hint:  That is not the ocean out there…)

We also saw the back porch, which was a work area for the slaves; this nice grassy yard was a dirt yard for pigs and chickens in Jackson’s day…

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An interesting note about the tours at Hermitage…

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“Uncle” Alfred was a slave, who lived almost his entire life at Hermitage.  This is his cabin:

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Alfred was in charge of horses, one of Jackson’s interests. (He raised race horses, even while President)…  As such, Alfred held a place of honor among the slaves, and he is the only slave buried in the family graveyard, which contains the remains of four generations of Jacksons…

After Jackson’s death in 1845 his adopted son, Andrew Jackson, Jr., let the plantation become dilapidated.  In 1858 he sold the plantation to the Tennessee government to repay debts.  The family was allowed to remain living in the big house.

In 1889 the Ladies’ Hermitage Society was formed to maintain Hermitage and to offer tours.  Some of the 3rd and 4th generations of the Jacksons were still living upstairs when tours of the downstairs began being offered.  Who was one of the first tour guides?  Alfred, the longtime slave!  Alfred lived to the age of 98, dying in 1901; he was a slave during Jackson’s presidency, was emancipated the Civil War, was a guide for tourists curious about this house, and still lived in his former slave cabin…

It was an enjoyable tour, but it was very hot.  We were happy to start our drive to Memphis…

We arrived in Memphis about 5:00, really late compared with our normal scheduling… We did find a neat little place for dinner:

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Uncle Lou’s was featured on the Food Network, and a version of Uncle Lou’s Fried Chicken is served at Playground, in Santa Ana, CA…

We returned to the Villa, turned on the AC, and turned in early…

And an enjoyable time was had by all…

2019-05-25 to 2019-05-27 – Memorial Day Weekend

We returned from Indian Wells on Saturday mid day.  I visited my mother in Artesia, and had nice Happy Hours on the front porch back in Redlands.  While we were Airstreaming over the past 2 1/2 months we have several new neighbors.  We chatted briefly with them and we hope to get better acquainted upon our return in Mid-June…

We received several nice photos from our grandchildren’s visit to Griffith Park and the remnants of the old LA Zoo…

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Sunday we enjoyed church at The River CRC, we had a relaxing afternoon, then we had a very enjoyable evening dining out with Rodger and Cyndi, neighbors who often help our son while we are away… walking the dog, picking him up when he falls, and cleaning up broken glass… The only down side was that it was raining, so we were unable to walk to the restaurant…

On Monday, Memorial Day, we were visited by The Thundering Herd.  The weather cooperated to the point that we could hang out in the back yard on the deck… (The deck was finished in October, but it has been too cold to use it until today…)

Lynda took the kids for a walk…

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The kids built a tower with blocks, with only a little help from me…

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I was able to get reacquainted with the lovely Evelyn…

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By early evening they piled into the car and headed home.  We cleaned up the house and prepared to fly tomorrow…

And an enjoyable time was had by all…

2019-05-21 to 2019-05–25 – The Desert Trip – Indian Wells, CA

Our annual trip to Indian Wells, CA, near Palm Springs, began on Tuesday morning… Indian Wells is a one hour drive from Redlands.  For 5 days we sat by the pools, walked through the resort, and had breakfast, lunch, happy hours, and dinner in all the hotel’s dining venues…

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It was freezing cold all week, until Friday.  Most days were in the high 60s.  On Friday it reached the high 80s, so we could finally enjoy happy hours and dinner outdoors…

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After dinner we enjoyed a nice stroll around the resort…

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Saturday morning, as the resort filled up with families for the holiday weekend, we headed back to Redlands…

And an enjoyable time was had by all…

2019-05-17 to 2019-05-20 – The Wedding Trip – Healdsburg, CA

We rose at 4:30 am, locked up the Villa, and we drove the rental car to Nashville…

We had an effortless check-in; 6 hours later, or so, we were in another rented car and we were driving north from Oakland to Healdsburg, CA…

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California hills are a different color of green than Kentucky… in another two weeks or so this green grass will be golden brown, setting off even more the beauty of the oak trees…

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We stopped for lunch at the Wild Goat Bistro in Petaluma…

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Then we put down the top and cruised back roads into Healdsburg…

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Vineyards are always so picturesque…

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The back roads are delightful!

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The town of Healdsburg is dripping with charm…

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We checked in to our B&B, walked the neighborhood for a while, and met old California friends for dinner…

On Saturday we joined 10 other California friends for a day of wine tasting… The top was definitely up as we drove through the rain to Williams Selyem Winery for our first stop…

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We hurried in to the “Tasting Palace”… We waited for our tour to begin…

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Out tasting was in this private room atop the winery…

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We enjoyed the hospitality of the winery staff, tasted many wines, bought a few bottles, and we drove again, in the rain, to Land of Promise…

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Land of Promise doesn’t have a tasting palace, or a winery, or a tasting room.  We were invited into the owners’ house, and we sat at their dining room table while they poured glasses of wine for us… The hosts were delightful and charming, and they shared their story about their journey to this Promised Land…

They showed us into their wine cellar, and we tripped over each other trying to get photos…

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We drove again in the rain to Wilson Artisan Wines…

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We enjoyed a semi-private tasting area and enjoyed a variety of wines.

Saturday evening the parents of the bride hosted dinner for the Like-minded Friends at a local gourmet burger joint… A lovely time was had by all…

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Sunday morning Lynda and I headed out for a drive to Anderson Valley, hoping to find a little dry spell where we could put down the top.  No luck.  The rain continued…

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We returned to the B&B and prepared for the wedding, held at the MacRostie Winery.  The rain was beginning to stop…

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The wedding went off without a hitch, at least after the bride and her father got untangled from her dress…

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Before the reception I was able to catch Lynda in her wedding finery…

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The rain stopped and the setting sun lit up the eastern side of the valley…

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The reception was in the large tasting area of the winery…

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The hills continued being beautiful…

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And the sun finally set…

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The reception moved to a cocktail lounge in Healdsburg, then we walked back to the B&B…

Monday morning we flew from Oakland to Ontario, and we Ubered home to Redlands.  The trip was uneventful, except that the TSA in Oakland confiscated our lovely parting gifts from the wedding – very nice cork screws.  I hadn’t even taken them out of the goody bag… The good news?  I have others…

On returning home I found out what had been delivered to the house and placed in the wine room during the past 2 months that we have been gone…

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I had my work cut out for me today…

And an enjoyable time was had by all…

2019-05-15 – Airstream Caravan Travels – Springtime in Kentucky; Shaker Village and Danville, KY – Day #21

Today was our last day of sightseeing on the caravan… It’s all over all too soon…!

We drove about one hour northwest to the town of Danville, KY.  It has been around for a while… On December 4, 1787, the Virginia Legislature established Danville as a town in Kentucky County, Virginia.  Danville became a part of the Commonwealth of Kentucky when the county of Kentucky was carved out of western Virginia to became a state in 1792.

The town boasts being the site of the signing of the Kentucky Constitution.  We saw many old buildings located in the central town square…

The original Post Office is the first west of the Alleghenies, opened in 1792.

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I found the hewn logs to be unique – I have never seen joints like this before…

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There was also a jail and the courthouse… plus a memorial to all the Kentucky Governors…

But the real reason to come here is to learn about the achievements of Dr. Ephraim McDowell…

Ephraim McDowell (November 11, 1771 – June 25, 1830) was an American physician and pioneer surgeon.

McDowell was born in Rockbridge County, Virginia, the ninth child of Samuel and Mary McDowell.  His father, Samuel, was appointed land commissioner and moved his family to Danville, Kentucky.  There, he presided over ten conventions that resulted in the drafting of the Kentucky Constitution.

In 1802, Ephraim McDowell married Sarah Shelby, daughter of Isaac Shelby, war hero and twice governor of Kentucky.  They had nine children, but only one son and four daughters survived into adulthood.

On December 13, 1809, McDowell was called to see Jane Todd Crawford in Green County, Kentucky, 60 miles from Danville.  Her physicians thought that Mrs. Crawford was beyond term pregnant.  McDowell diagnosed an ovarian tumor.  Crawford begged him to keep her from a slow and painful death.  He then described her condition and that an operation for cure had never been performed.  He said that the best surgeons in the world thought it impossible.  Crawford said she understood and wanted to proceed.  McDowell told her he would remove the tumor if she would travel to his home in Danville.  She agreed and rode the sixty miles on horseback.

On Christmas morning, 1809, McDowell began his operation.  The surgery was performed without benefit of anesthetic or antisepsis, neither of which was then known to the medical profession.  The tumor McDowell removed weighed 22.5 pounds.  He determined that it would be difficult to remove completely, so he tied a ligature around the fallopian tube near the uterus and cut open the tumor.  He described the tumor as the ovarium and fimbrious part of the fallopian tube very much enlarged.  The whole procedure took 25 minutes.  Crawford made an uncomplicated recovery.  She returned to her home in Green County 25 days after the operation and lived another 32 years (outliving Dr. McDowell…).  This was the first successful removal of an ovarian tumor in the world.

All previous attempts at abdominal exploration before 1809 had resulted in peritonitus and death.  Descriptions of McDowell include phrases like “neat and clean” or “scrupulously clean.”  He was not only neat, but meticulous.  In his report on the operation, he described the removal of blood from the peritoneal cavity and bathing the intestines with warm water.

McDowell did not publish a description of his procedure until 1817, after he had performed two more such operations.  This was widely criticized in the English surgical literature.  There is evidence that he performed at least twelve operations for ovarian pathology.  (None of these patients is alive today…)

So we visited Dr. McDowell’s house and office and pharmacy…

The house is pretty typical for the late 18th and early 19th century, at least for wealthy, well-connected professionals living in a thriving city…

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I particularly liked the custom shutter at the attic window…

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The Living Room…

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The Study and Men’s Lounge…

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The Dining Room…

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Climbing the stairs…

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A unique doorway between bedrooms…

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The Pharmacy…

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Medical books…

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A good supply of leeches is conveniently on hand…

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It was an interesting look at the medical profession of 200 years ago…

One hundred years later, in 1910, Abraham Flexner wrote The Flexner Report; it is the most important event in the history of American and Canadian medical education.  It was a commentary on the condition of medical education in the early 1900s and gave rise to modern medical education.

Abraham Flexner was not a doctor but was a secondary school teacher and principal for 19 years in Louisville, Kentucky.  Flexner then took graduate work at Harvard and the University of Berlin and joined the research staff of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.  For the Carnegie Foundation, Flexner researched, wrote and in 1910 published a report entitled “Medical Education in the United States and Canada.” It is known today as the Flexner Report.

The Flexner Report triggered much-needed reforms in the standards, organization, and curriculum of North American medical schools.  At the time of the Report, many medical schools were proprietary schools operated more for profit than for education.  Flexner criticized these schools as a loose and lax apprenticeship system that lacked defined standards or goals beyond the generation of financial gain.  In their stead Flexner proposed medical schools in the German tradition of strong biomedical sciences together with hands-on clinical training.  The Flexner Report caused many medical schools to close down and most of the remaining schools were reformed to conform to the Flexnerian model.

How did this reform take place?

Abraham Flexner’s brother, Simon, became the first director of Laboratories at The Rockefeller Institute (now Rockefeller University), in 1901.  The Institute was founded by John D. Rockefeller.  Greatly elevating the prestige of American science and medicine, it was America’s first biomedical institute, like France’s Pasteur Institute (1888) and Germany’s Robert Koch Institute (1891).

As the first director of laboratories, Simon Flexner supervised the development of research capacity at the Institute, whose staff made major discoveries in basic research and medicine.  While a student at Johns Hopkins University, Flexner had studied under the Institute’s first scientific director, William H. Welch, first dean of Hopkins’ medical school and known as the dean of American medicine.

These developments lead John D. Rockefeller and his son, “Junior”, to finance the reform and re-invention of medical schools in America.  Any medical school that agreed to follow the rigorous model set by Johns Hopkins would receive funding from the Rockefellers… We owe this philanthropy for the status of today’s medical schools…

Had enough medical talk?

After Danville we drove a few miles north to The Shaker Village at Pleasant Hill.  It is a beautifully preserved and restored village of over 200 buildings on 3,000 acres.

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Of course, we started with lunch…

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Our lunch was in the basement of this 200 year old building… Beautiful stonework…

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After lunch we took a group photo and were given a tour of the buildings; we heard about the history of Shakers in general, and this property in particular…

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Notice the entry doors on these buildings:

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There are two entry doors – one for men and one for women.  Inside the entry hall you see two stairways – one for men and one for women.

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Shakers were celibate.  Men and women were considered equals and they lived in the same buildings, but on separate sides.  By having wide hallways, and separate doors and stairways, it would eliminate the possibility of inadvertent touching…

Shakers were Christian post-millennialists; they believed that the second coming of Christ had already occurred in the form of their founder, Ann Lee.  Therefore, they were living in the thousand year reign of Christ, and their job was to create heaven here on earth.

At one time, the Shaker Village at Pleasant Hill had 500 residents, all living communally, having given over all their worldly assets to the village… There were 15 or so Shaker Villages around the country…

The last Shaker here died in 1922.  I wonder if, in her last years, “Maybe we didn’t get this thing quite right…”

The land had been sold, in exchange for a life estate for the remaining few residents.  Forty years after that last resident died the community bought back the land, and today the village is run as a tourist attraction…

We returned to the Villa, and spent the remainder of the afternoon packing and otherwise preparing for our airline flight to California day after tomorrow…

And an enjoyable time was had by all…

2019-04-25 – Airstream Caravan Travels – Springtime in Kentucky; Bowling Green, KY – Day #1

Beautiful day in Kentucky!  The 2019 Springtime in Kentucky Caravan starts today!

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We spent the morning rearranging the supplies and tools in the truck, running errands, and buying groceries… I also spent quite a bit of time planning our return trip home in June…

We turned in our emergency forms to our caravan leader, and we were given our “Drivers’ Manual” in exchange.  This is a three-ring binder containing all the information we will need for the next three weeks – schedule, driving directions, names and contact information about all the caravaners, financial data, GAMs, and caravan rules.  The first thing I normally do when I get the manual is enter all the contact information into my phone – we do a lot of text messaging on the caravan;  it is frustrating to get a text message and having to respond, “Who is this?”…

At 3:00 pm we all gathered for our first meeting.  We shared brief introductions – there are five couples from California, only one of which we have previously met.  Caravaners are from all over the country – Washington, New York, Florida, Texas, and everywhere in between.  (No one from Kentucky… However, the leader who was supposed to be here IS from Kentucky, but he has had health issues and needed time to recover, so we have a non-Kentuckian as our leader…)

We were dismissed from our meeting in time for us all to carpool into downtown Bowling Green for dinner at 440 Main, one of Bowling Green’s best restaurants.  We arrived early enough to enjoy some adult beverages before dinner.

Soon we were all gathered for dinner.  The service was good, especially considering that the servers had to wrangle requests from 50 people at once.  And the food was excellent; I had salmon, Lynda had chicken.  Dessert was cheesecake with raspberry sauce.  I only had a bite or two, but it was excellent, too.

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After dinner we returned to the Villa.  It was starting to rain as we hurriedly walked to our campsite.  Ir continued to rain lightly all night long…

And an enjoyable time was had by all…

2019-03-13 – Airstream Caravans Travel – Day 1 – Bisbee, AZ

We’re off!  We left Redlands at a very leisurely 6:00 am.  We are heading east to Arizona and New Mexico for a week or so, then on through Texas to Louisiana, where we will meet up with the Cajun Country Caravan, starting March 26.  Interestingly, the Airstream Club is running this caravan twice this year because it is so popular and the waiting list is so long.  The first run started March 5, and we have been reading blogs and seeing posts on Facebook about it.  Sort of a “sneak preview”, so to speak…

After the Cajun Country Caravan we will wander around the south, mostly looking at Architecture and visiting friends and relatives.  April 25 we will meet up with another caravan – Springtime in Kentucky.  After it is over we will meander home, expecting to return sometime in mid-June…

But for today, we are driving through the desert.  It’s amazing how much traffic there is at 6:00 am…

The desert is always a boring drive, but today, at least, we were seeing a lot of green, due to the unusually heavy rains we have been having lately…

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We crossed over into Arizona… The Grand Canyon State welcomed us!

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As is our custom, we stopped once per hour to stretch our legs and keep our Apple watches happy. Sometimes we used rest stops, sometimes we simply pulled of on the side of a road.  A short walk was always in order…

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We were making good time.  Our original idea was to stop for the night in Mesa, AZ, but we weren’t really ready to stop.  We made a few telephone calls and changed our destination for this day to be Bisbee, located in the far southeast corner of Arizona, about five minutes from Mexico and about one hour from New Mexico.  It made for a long day, but after a brief nap it was no problem.

About 4:30 pm we pulled into the RV park in Bisbee, the Queen Mine RV Park.  Not surprisingly, it is located directly adjacent to the Queen Mine.  It is a pretty basic park – nothing but gravel, and only 25 sites.  We found RVs from 11 different states and four (4!) Airstreams!

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Since it was late in the day we set up quickly and settled in for dinner. We walked about the park and enjoyed the views of the strip mine and the town of Bisbee…

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Bisbee is located in Cochise County, Arizona, 92 miles southeast of Tucson.  The population of the city is 5,575.  The city is the county seat of Cochise County, having been moved here from Tombstone in 1929. 

Mining in the Mule Mountains proved quite successful: in the early 20th century the population of Bisbee soared.  Incorporated in 1902, by 1910 its population had swelled to 9,019, and it sported a constellation of suburbs, including Warren, Lowell, and San Jose, some of which had been founded on their own (ultimately less successful) mines. In 1917, open-pit mining was successfully introduced to meet the copper demand during World War I.

The mines were all closed by 1975; the town struggled trying to reinvent itself.  Today it is a popular tourist destination with many art galleries, restaurants, tours and other attractions.

After our long day we turned in early; an enjoyable time was had by all…

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