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Sunday, July 31, 2016

Day 1 - in the plane for the final leg

We are in a plane with lots of empty seats. Final leg is 6.5 hours.

Lulu and I have a full row so we can stretch out a bit.

They are try to sell long foot room seats for $50 extra. I told lulu I will stand on the back to save $50.

We are in an Airbus A330. We have plugs for iPhones but not CPAPs. We each have our own computer screens.

The land of the midnight sun.

Day 1 - Two Legs Down And One To Go

The lady said to us "first class" - when
we checked into the sky club. I was so excited
until she said that was the wifi password.

We rode this neat indoor monorail from gate to gate.

We just landed on the second of our 3 leg excursion. We had two nice flights - we were upgraded to Comfort Plus on both of the flights. Lulu ended up sitting directly behind me again. Since we bought the tickets with FF miles - we are traveling separately. So both times I arrived 3 feet before her.

A little hint - from where we are now - if we traveled south - we would fly over Canada.

We are relaxing in the Sky Lounge. It is a perk Lulu gets with her Gold Medallion. Of course - I am busy trying to get my money's worth - lots of great food and drinks. There is also free wifi.

We leave here at 5:50 PM tonight.

So far - no chances for bumps. Both of our planes were pretty full.

Day 1 - we are in our second plane

On our second flight. I am in 13E. We were upgraded to comfort plus class. Lulu is directly behind me. She has my back.

We are in an MD90. Each seat has power outlet for 110 ac and usb.

This is the second of three legs today. Where do you think we will land?

Weather is bright and sunny where we are.

Plane is full but no bumps. I have the right side window.

Day 1 - First Stop - Waiting For Our Next Leg

Lulu loves Cocoa Beach. Every year - she goes there with the cousins. Funny - while stopped here - we met John and Michelle Maas. They were changing planes on the away home. They are the couple that every year gifts the Cocoa Beach condo to Lulu. They are also the employers of our Homestead Coal Cracker friend - Doris Hollenbach Meneses.

So --- where are we?

Upgraded to comfort class on first leg.

I am in row 12. Lulu is in row 13 right behind me. We were upgraded to comfort class which gives us like 6 inches of leg room in front of my knees.

Can you guess where our first plane will land?

We have 3 legs of travel today --- unless we are bumped. :-)

We took an uber car to the airport today. $15. It was a red Kia Soul driven by a cool older guy - Leonard. I was surprised at how quiet and smooth it was. He was at our home in less than 5 minutes from our post. We love uber cars.

Lots of family travelers on this flight.

Day 1 - The Magical Mystery Tour Is Coming To Take You Away

Lulu and Harry and their two blue bags
We are at the Tallahassee International Airport  at 9 AM on Sunday morning - the only International Airport that has no planes to other countries. Lulu has planned a spur of the moment trip. It will take two weeks - Sunday to Sunday to Sunday.

I will give you a few clues on where we are going -

1. We each have one carry-on bag with us.

2. We will be flying on 5 separate planes on the trip.

3. Lulu bought each of our tickets with 60,000 free frequent flyer miles on Delta.

4. This is not a work trip for Lulu - it is strictly pleasure.

5. High temperatures at our destination are in the mid 70s.

6. It took Lulu less than an hour to plan the trip - planes - accommodations - etc.

I will be writing stories along the way and include pictures as clues.

Coming to take you away - take you today!

Friday, July 29, 2016

Donald Trump Made Up His Wife's Degree

Donald Trump has been bragging about his wife's degree from the University of Slovenia in Architecture and Design. It turns out she dropped out after one year and took a modeling job. The degree is fake - what else is fake about the Trumps?

Where are those tax returns? They will tell us if he is lying about how rich he is. They will let us know how much he gave to charity when no one was looking. We will see how much business he does in Russia. We would see how much taxes he paid.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Volkswagen Car Tower in Wolfsburg

When we toured the biggest auto plant in the world last April in Wolfsburg Germany - one of the neatest things was this car tower. It was 20 stories tall and held 20 cars on each floor. The computer could retrieve any one of the 400 cars in less than a minute. This is where Volkswagen stores the cars waiting for customers to come and pick them up.

The Wolfsburg Plant is like a Disney theme park. There are museums - pavilions - restaurants - showrooms - and test areas. Wolfsburg is the richest town in the world - $125,000 per capita income. The whole town was built to build the Beetle.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

We Need To See Trump's Beautiful Tax Returns To See How Much He Owes Russia

Russian banks have funded Trump's projects when American banks refused.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

1951 Peerless Travel Trailer - A Real Project

1951 Peerless Travel Trailer in shed
Today I went about 15 miles west of town to see a camper - a 1951 Peerless Travel Trailer. I fancy finding an antique and fixing it up for the road. This camper is neat - but the repair is way beyond my pay grade. The last time it was on the road was 1971 - the year Lulu and I eloped to Miami. The old rusty license plate is still on the back.

The camper is in a shed - so it has been kept pretty dry. The inside it lines with birch wood. It has 4 tiny rooms - bedroom - bathroom - kitchen - living room. I did not make an offer on it - but someone could make this nice with some carpentry skills. The body is aluminum was several coats of paint on it.

Thesis what it could look like
This is what the bedroom looks like now.
The bathroom has a toilet - sink - shower.
The kitchen is in the middle.
Two entrances - bedroom - living room.

It has 4 wheels.
This is the living room.
It still has the 1971 license plate on it. 
This is an example of a cleaned up Peerless.
It could have a very open living area.
The open floor plan.

Which of These 5 Presidents Endorses Donald Trump

Why Does Trump Love Russian Stuff So Much

Monday, July 25, 2016

Fredericksburg VA - Halfway Between Washington and Richmond

We took a horse carriage tour of downtown
on Lulu's birthday. 
This historic building was being restored.

Last week on the away home form Pennsylvania - Lulu and I visited Fredericksburg VA. We have zoomed by it so many time on I-95 - we just had to make an overnight stop. If a couple of grandparents had grandkids in Washington and Richmond - this would be a perfect place to live. 

It is about 53 miles to Richmond south and 47 miles to Washington north from this quaint little civil war town. There was a battle here and it is also the home of Mary Washington - the mother of the father of our country. She lived here until her death. The local college - University of Mary Washington - is aimed after her. My co-teacher Joyce Reichard went to college here. She was a true southern belle. 

Fredericksburg has a strong German influence. In the train station downtown - there is a pub and biergarten. There are several trains daily going to Washington and Richmond. Daily you can catch Amtrak to Disneyworld and Florida. 

We had lunch at this drug store counter.
Carolina Street in Fredericksburg.

The historic Sunrise pub.

The German pub in the train station.

University of Mary Washington.
This shirt reminded me of the United Mine Workers.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

All New LED Lights For Philly Boathouse Row

Just in time for the Democratic Convention. 100 miles north on that Schuylkill River is my hometown of Tamaqua PA

Saturday, July 23, 2016

First They Came For The Jews

I think of this when I hear Trump go after the Mexicans - Muslims - Etc.

It can't happen in America :-(

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Cousin Carl Drives The Train At Knoebel's Grove

Carl has always been a train buff. This is a perfect retirement job. Here is Carl with his daughter and grandkids.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

This Is The Only Time My Car Goes To The Gas Station

To get gasoline for my lawn mower.

When I bought the Leaf - gasoline was $4 a gallon - now it is only $2 a gallon. Blame it on Obama. I am not saving nearly as much money as I used to.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016


"Editor's Note: Alpha Pages contributor Doug Litowitz raises a speculative contrarian position on Donald Trump's exact worth, based on what was released to the FEC.  The bottom line is that no one knows Trump's net worth, but the speculation usually starts in the billions.  Doug Litowitz explores the opposite possibility, namely that Trump is, in relative terms, broke. This is solely his speculation and is not meant as a factual statement but a possibility that has been ignored in the mainstream press."
I’ve just slogged through all ninety-two pages of Donald Trump’s financial disclosure submission to the Federal Election Commission, and I can’t make heads or tails of it. 
I cannot tell how much Trump is worth, if anything. His empire, if he has one, is as mysterious as his haircut, and as impervious as his skyscraper in Chicago - a gigantic phallic mirror named after himself.
In terms of real, lasting assets - is Donald Trump worth roughly $10 billion?

Saturday, July 09, 2016

Friday Night Birthday Festival At Jean's

Happy Birthday

Lulu - Marylou - Jean

Lulu - Bill - Harry - Carl - Jean - Marylou

On July 12th - Lulu will be eligible for Social Security. What a better way to celebrate that than with our old bed and breakfast buddies from East Berlin. Just 2 months ago - the 6 of us were squeezed into a 2 bedroom 1 bath condo. In a rented Ford Diesel van - we toured Bavaria - and got passed while doing 100 MPH on the autobahn.

Jean and Marylou are 2 of Lulu's best old friends. They like to travel - and we all like to share adventures. The party was held at the newly-renovated home of Jean and Bill Stolz.

Friday's Visit To Sally Bair's Hegins Farm

Sally and Lulu picking blueberries for lunch.

Small Farms and Coal Mines go together. In 1948 - I was born in a farm house - just like this one - about 10 miles south of Tamaqua where the main highway crosses the Appalachian Trail. For 6 years - habits that have lasted a lifetime were instilled in me by the Pennsylvania Dutch farm families. Then my family moved into the big city of Tamaqua so we could walk to schools and have indoor toilets.

When we visit Sally Bair - all of that heritage floods back into my soul. Sally's Dad - Wayne - is 95 and we just had a wonderful lunch with him. Sally's Mom - Jean - was a Registered nurse. She worked for a private practice Doctor. Wayne used to work in a local mine and kept the farm going. He bought a Farmall tractor new in downtown Hegins - less than a mile from his front door.  Sally and Lulu picked blueberries. I enjoyed my annual tractor ride. Wayne still cuts a couple acres of grass. He does it in 3 days.

The video above shows me driving the 1948 International Harvester Farmall. It is  68 - just like me - and  has never left the farm. It has 4 forward speeds and a 4 cylinder engine. There are two separate brakes for each of the back wheels. There is nothing quite like driving an old tractor with straight axles - no shocks or suspension movement. The battery was low so I had to catch it in gear to start it up once. It is amazing how much torque a tiny engine can put out through giant wheels. One time I choose a higher gear and accidentally did a wheelie. My ride was abruptly ended by a rain shower - good timing - because lunch was ready.

There is nothing more Pennsylvania Dutch than sitting around a large wooden table in the kitchen on a  bench - leaning up against a bead board wainscoting. We had chicken salad - kielbasa and cabbage - and ham and cheese sandwiches. This was highlighted by fresh blueberries - cherries - watermelon - and 2 gallons of Penn State Ice Cream.

Sally is a certified therapy dog trainer. 

Newest Closest Hotel to Tamaqua PA

Main Stay Suites - a 3 year old hotel - about 9 miles NW of Tamaqua. 
This is a bedroom in one of the suites.
A private party room is available
to all guests when not booked.
One of the biggest problems with revisiting Tamaqua is finding places to stay. We stay with family sometimes - but sometimes we like to get a hotel to spread out and relax - especially on long stays back home.

On top of the Vulcan Hill - where I-81 crosses PA54 - is a new hotel chain called - Main Stay Suites. They have hotel rooms and full suites available by the night or for extended stays. It is about 9 miles from downtown Tamaqua. It has free parking - free Internet - and free breakfast. Some evening they have a supper buffet. We did not stay there on this trip home - but Manager Janine Murray gave us the VIP tour. We were impressed with the facility - but best of all is the closeness to downtown.

There is no swimming pool - but the Tuscarora and Locust Lake State Parks are just at the foot of the mountain. They both offer swimming.

Another two exits north on I-81 is the Residence Inn. We have stayed there in the past - we even set up a Christmas trees on Christmas Eve. Lulu makes a big fuss over holidays. It is a little more expensive - but does have the swimming pool.

You can call them directly at 570-773-5252 - ask for Janine Murray. Just across the road is the famous "Patch" town - The Vulcan. My mother was born and raised there.

Don Serfass Wrote of This Tamaqua Tale

Parade of the doomed

Editor’s note: To mark the 85th anniversary, we are revisiting a local tragedy.

Life is priceless.
Yet it took only one dime to kill at least seven men.
Nobody talks about it today. But it was one of the darkest days in the Tamaqua area, and Wednesday marks the 85th anniversary.
It happened during the days of Prohibition. Booze was scarce and so was money.
Still, the summer night of Monday, July 13, 1931, provided an opportunity to party.
A group of coal-region men decided to gather for a good time. They figured they’d build a campfire and secretly enjoy a few illegal drinks. It was a time when the manufacture, sale and transportation of alcohol was forbidden by law.
They set up camp just outside of Tamaqua at the ruins of H.A. Weldy Gun Powder Works, which had been out of business about 25 years.

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Spending A Few Days Back in the Coal Regions of Pennsylvania

Lulu's Childhood Home
We are visiting with Lulu's Mom. This is where Lulu spent the first 16 years of her life. It is just outside of Tamaqua PA in the New England Valley. In the background are the Appalachian Mountains.

This tidy well kept cottage sits on 3 acres of property with south and north facing views of the mountains. On the other side of that ridge is our Florida home about 1000 miles away.

Lulu's grandparents used to live in the tiny house out back. The whole scene reminds me of the life of John Boy in TheWaltons on Walton Mountain. You can almost hear the music playing. Good night John Boy - goodnight Lulu.

We will be leaving here on Monday for the long trip to Tallahassee. We will take a few days getting home - stopping to see folks in Delaware - Washington DC - and Richmond. We are motoring in our Honda Odyssey Van.

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

See The Real Fireworks From Washington - That PBS Refused To Show You

We were there - it was foggy and drizzling. They were neat - but when they went up 300 feet - they vanished into the clouds. The Washington Post said that PBS used last year's fireworks for their broadcast.

Saturday, July 02, 2016

We are in Washington DC at the Churchill Hotel

Churchill Hotel - our home for 5 days
Our trip is going along smoothly - as smoothly as we can expect. In Richmond while showing off to my grandkids in the pool - I pulled a calf muscle going off the diving board. In the third day I can walk in a bit of a shuffle - but it is the first time I have been truly disabled. It is a little better everyday  - but it does stifle our walks here in Washington DC.

We got to meet Max Theodore Everhart yesterday. He is absolutely beautiful. He has been very lucky to be born into the parent lottery he hit. They are both so good and protective of him. I will publish a picture of him if I ever get permission.

We will stay here until July 5th - then we are going to Tamaqua to visit friends and family. We will be staying at Lulu's childhood home.

Our new Honda van has been a great travel coach. It is quiet - powerful - roomy - smooth - and just plain comfortable. We got 27 MPG on the whole trip up. We have the van 6 weeks and have put over 3000 miles on it already. We will add at least another 1200 miles before we get home.