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2019-06-17 thru 2019-06-24 – Family time in San Clemente…

Another Airstream Adventure.  But no traveling…

On Monday, 6/17, we drove the short 1.25 hours from Redlands to San Clemente.  I have been camping here since 1956… It never disappoints…

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We found our campsite – all RV sites are pull-through, about 75′ long, with full hook-ups.  Some are better than others, but considering how hard it is to get reservations here, we’ll take whatever we can get…

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We had a quiet afternoon, happy hours ensued, and we enjoyed a peaceful evening with friends.  This will be the last peaceful evening we will have for awhile…

Tuesday morning (and every morning this week) we walk the 1 1/2 miles along the beach path to the pier…

We’ve been walking this path for about 20 years now…

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We’ve been watching these cliffs erode for about 50 years…

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A landmark along the way is the T-Street bridge…

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Across from the pier is Bear Coast Coffee – the best coffee in So Cal.  Today (and every day this week) Lynda has a latte, I have a decaf cappuccino, and we split the Feta-Egg sandwich…

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After breakfast we walked back to the Villa and awaited the arrival of the Thundering Herd…

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Our daughter, Erin, arrived with Roisin (6), Ian (5), Evelyn (1), and George X (3)…

Erin and Lynda put up their tent while I tried, unsuccessfully, to keep the kids out of trouble…

Despite the cool weather Tuesday (and every day this week)  – it never broke 70 – beach time soon arrived…

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I asked Lynda why she rarely takes pictures of anyone besides Evelyn; she replied that she is the only one who stays still long enough…

(PS:  I don’t do the beach thing.  I sunburn easily, there is no drink service, and I need my alone time in the Villa…)

By about 5:00 on Tuesday (and every day this week) Lynda and Erin and the Thundering Herd arrived back at the Villa; they’re hot, tired, sandy, hungry, and cranky…

We do our best to keep them from killing each other while the cleanup process takes place…

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Usually we feed the kids, then put on Netflix in the Villa while the adults enjoy Happy Hours.  Then we put the kids to bed and finally all the adults collapse…  For some reason on Tuesday (and every night this week) Evelyn refused to fall asleep quietly and required adult attention for about an hour…

Wednesday morning the Thundering Herd accompanied us to the Pier and Bear Coast Coffee…

Everyone watched the train go by…

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We were able to corral the kids for a picture on the Group W Bench:

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Time on the swings ensued…

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And the rest of the week proceeded in exactly the same way…

The only difference occurred late in the week.  Erin and the kids went home Thursday evening, and they returned on Saturday morning…  This allowed Lynda and me to make our marathon walk; we walked to the pier and Bear Coast for breakfast, then we walked to the north end of the beach path; from there we walked inland to Rainbow Sandals to buy new flips for me – walking as much as we do, I wear them out often.  Then back down El Camino Real to Beach Town Books, a used book store Lynda likes, then to lunch at South of Nicks (which is actually NW of Nicks…)

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From there we walked down Del Mar to the pier, and then back to the Villa.  About eight miles…!

On Saturday morning Erin and the Thundering Herd returned…

Another special event occurred Saturday…

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Happy Anniversary to us!  It’s been 45 years !

To celebrate, we took pictures…

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In the afternoon we did our separate things…

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Saturday evening we were joined by friends (whose anniversary is Sunday) for dinner at Pierside…

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We enjoyed the sunset…

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Sunday afternoon we were joined by other friends… Beach time, happy hours, and dinner ensued…

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And then everyone left.  Silence!  Golden silence!

Monday we walked one last time to Bear Coast for breakfast… We packed up and returned to Redlands…

And an enjoyable time was has by all…

2019-06-04 – Traveling West – Oklahoma City, OK to Wichita, KS

We had an easy drive and an easy day in general.  We were awakened in the early AMs with thunderstorms and rain pounding on the aluminum roof… By the time we pulled out of the RV Park the rain had stopped, but everything was very wet.

Oklahoma is green and gold.  So is Kansas.  I’m not sure where these photos were taken – North Oklahoma and southern Kansas look pretty much alike…

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All the rivers are muddy…

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We drove north, stopped for truck fuel, then stopped again for human fuel (groceries).  We arrived at Air Capital RV Park in south Wichita at about 12:30…

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We did errands, caught up on emails and other details, made reservations for the remainder of our trip, and generally relaxed…

We were able to find a fine French bistro in Wichita… We hailed an Uber, arrived early, and walked this fine old neighborhood in Wichita…

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At the appointed hour we arrived back at the restaurant – Georges French Bistro…

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It was delightful.  We sat on the sidewalk, and we enjoyed cocktails and wine along with 5 shared appetizer courses…

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We Ubered back to the Villa;  an enjoyable time was had by all…

2019-06-02 – Traveling West – Eureka Springs and Bentonville, AR

We attended Sunday Services at Thorncrown Chapel.  Worshiping in such a beautiful place is a very special experience…

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An interesting point was that the preacher was the son of the founder and of the chapel… And there was some good old hymn singing going on…

A mystery occurred behind the blue pilaster on the right.  The minister suddenly appeared from behind the pilaster, then he went back again during some of the singing.  Is he just sitting on a chair back there, and had he been there since before we arrived?  Or is there a hidden back door there that he can slip in  and out of?  Or is there a stair to a basement with an exterior entrance?  Any ideas?

After the service we drove to Bentonville; along the way we found, quite by accident, Hoss’s RV Repair.  The place was littered with old Airstreams (23), in various stages of repair and restoration…

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We traveled on…

Bentonville is home of Sam Walton and his family.  And his family’s store:

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The town Square is very nice…

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We had brunch at a very nice modern diner…

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We were very impressed with the center of this town of 70,000 people.  (In 1960 when the first WalMart was built the town had about 3,000 people…)

We wondered, as we looked around at these downtown buildings, how much of this was built, rebuilt, and/or owned by WalMart?  Did the first WalMart, built outside of town on the highway, kill the town?  Did WalMart buy up the deserted buildings and create this Disneyesque town square?  I don’t know…

(By the way, the original Walton’s 5 and dime is just a facade for the WalMart Museum.  There is a WalMart Neighborhood Market just a block away…)

In any case, the reason we were here was to see Crystal Bridges, the Museum of American Art built by the Walton Family Foundation… It is about 3/4 mile from the heart of town…

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The museum was designed by Moshe Safdie, world famous architect…

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The museum sits atop a small creek that has been dammed to form several ponds at several levels.  The weirs (dams) are under the buildings, so the surfaces of the ponds are kept mirror-still…

The vaulted roofs are supported by suspension cables.  Remarkable!

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But the REAL reason we are here is to see a Frank Lloyd Wright Usonian house.  The Bachman-Wilson House was originally built in New Jersey in the mid 1950s.  Over the years it was lived in by a variety of families.  In 1980 it was restored; unfortunately, the adjacent river took up a bad habit of overflowing its banks on a regular basis.  By 2004 the owners appealed to the Walton family and convinced them that there is no greater American Art than a Frank Lloyd Wright Usonian house.  The house was disassembled and moved here, and it was reassembled on a site adjacent to the museum…

It is a classic Usonian, which typically turns a blank face to the street for privacy.  FLlW also typically hides the front door…

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There’s the door…

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(Sorry, no interior photos…)

The house bears remarkable similarities to the Spring house in Tallahassee and the Rosenbaum house in Florence, AL.  The board and batten siding, the views out to the forest, the horizontal lines, the cantilevered carports, and the stenciled cut-outs applied to the glass…

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The house has been beautifully restored and preserved… It is, indeed, a piece of American Art…!

But we move on!

In the little town of Bella Vista, in the far northwest corner on Arkansas, within a mile or two of the Missouri and Oklahoma borders, is another Fay Jones chapel…

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In contrast to Thorncrown Chapel, this chapel is built of steel.  Again, the details are beautiful…

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Built to honor Mildred Borum Cooper, wife of John A. Cooper, Sr., founder of Cooper Communities, Inc, the Chapel is a fitting memorial.  Besides being a devoted wife, mother, and member of the community, Mrs. Cooper had a deep spirituality and a love for nature.  Her family commissioned the Chapel in her honor to celebrate her life and her dedication to God and his creations.

We returned to Eureka Springs and enjoyed a dinner in a fine French bistro: Le Stick Nouveau:

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We enjoyed five courses of appetizers and hors d’oeuvres… and a bottle of fine Pinot Noir from Oregon…

As is our custom, we returned to the Villa for Happy Hours and a light supper; an enjoyable time was had by all…

2019-05-31 – Traveling West – Little Rock, AR

Today we get to add another State sticker to our map:

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We have pulled the Villa through 40 States!  Next year we hope to add eight more!

We left Memphis this morning and drove to Little Rock Arkansas.  We had originally planned to stay in a great urban RV park, right on the river, directly across from the Clinton Presidential Park and Library, which are accessible via a pedestrian bridge.

Unfortunately, the Arkansas River was at record flood stage; the RV Park, the pedestrian bridge, and the park were all flooded and closed… The Library was still OK, but not by much…

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We had been forewarned of the closure by the RV park, so we were fortunate to find “courtesy parking” right downtown in one of Little Rock’s charming older neighborhoods; we parked in this back yard, right in front of another Airstream…

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We walked downtown via Main Street; Little Rock has a population of about 200,000 people and is quite nice…

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The flooding was really extensive, but nothing in downtown was threatened…

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We toured the Library…

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I’m always drawn to the interesting cars…

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The Library was typical of presidential libraries we have seen… I was great, blah blah, blah…

So we headed back into downtown, and stopped for a drink…

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or two…

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We Ubered back to the Villa; an enjoyable time was had by all…

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…

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