Custer State Park The Working Adventure: Baby Animals

I’m having a difficult time picking just the right pic for the feature photo. As you will see there is an abundance of cuteness in this blog post of the babies we have seen in the past few weeks. So enjoy!

Buffalo calf. Custer State Park.

Since I’m at Custer State Park, and one of the main animals many come to see here are buffalo, I’ve chosen one of the baby buffalo as my feature pic. There are over 350 calfs in the park this season. They start out cinnamon color (above) and darken up over their first year. If you zoom in you can even see the start of the horns. One of the things I keep encountering here are people who think its cool to get out of their vehicles to get a closer view. Definitely not a good idea. Buffalo can run at 30 mph. Last time I checked…I’m not outrunning that on foot.

Older Buffalo calf. Custer State Park

Babies in the herd. Custer State Park

Along Highway 16A, we spotted the mountain goats. This mamma had twins.

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Mountain goat kid. Custer State Park

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It’s better…they are mountain goat twins! Custer State Park

There are plenty of nicknames for the parks small herd of burros, the most common is begging burros. But I could beg to take this little guy home. He’s no bigger than a large dog, and he is definitely cuteness on over-load. I’m calling him Buddy Burro.

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I haven’t heard his name yet, but the small herd of burros has an addition. (I’m calling him Buddy Burro.) Custer State Park

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Foal “Buddy Burro.” Custer State Park

“Buddy Burro.” Custer State Park

The Pronghorn are busy too. This mama has triplets!

Mama Pronghorn with triplets. Custer State Park

Triplet pronghorn fawns. Custer State Park

There are no shortage of white tail deer here. The fawns are just mesmerizing to watch. They hop about and jump with no restraint as they enjoy the day.

Mama Deer and her fawns. Custer State Park

This shot cracks me up. Fawn #1 is poised and ready to follow mamas lead. Fawn #2, not so much.

Every family has the obedient child…and the other child. Custer State Park

And with a little sibling scolding…they were off.

Come on brother…time to move. Custer State Park

What a beautiful treat to see the babies in the park. Living proof that life goes on and the promise of newness. Thanks for taking the time to share our adventure. We will be back with more from Custer State Park soon.

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Custer State Park the Working Adventure: Life Around Camp

We are beyond happy with our decision to come all the way to Custer State Park in South Dakota! This place is awesome…and the work we are trading for our campsite isn’t too bad either.

We signed up as volunteers at Custer State Park. Russ has been assigned to the Ground Maintenance team and is doing more than he was originally told he would be doing. And has a work truck…and…HE GETS TO CUT GRASS TOO! Yes, he is that excited.

I survived my first week of visitor center training (there are four of them here), it was like standing in front of a fire hydrant. But I’ve already met people from all over the world, and it helps me get my two thousand plus words a day out!

One of four visitor centers, Badger Hole is by far my favorite places. Badger Clark was the first Poet Laureate of South Dakota and wrote the Cowboy Prayer. Custer State Park

We arrived later in the day on June 29th. Setting up was going uneventful when several of our neighbors started talking about an in-coming storm. Several moved their vehicles across the road under the trees. The sky darkened up. Hail was mentioned, and just as we buttoned up the last few things…it let loose. Welcome to South Dakota, home of the bi-weekly hail storm.

But the hail can be overlooked when the view is in your backyard. Here’s just a few of our initial greeters.

That’s a big boy. Buffalo in the campsite. Custer State Park

 

Little man, you still have fuzz on those antlers. Custer State Park

 

Little Buck. Custer State Park

 

“I’m sure there will be something good if I get closer.” Custer State Park

This is the view looking down into our camping area.

Home sweet home for the summer and fall!

 

Our fire pit has a view up the hill. Custer State Park

 

We have many birds, this little American Goldfinch stopped by to rest on a rock in the yard. Custer State Park

Just behind our camp site and up the hill, is one of the many hiking trails in Custer. Lover’s Leap is a 3 mile loop and if you don’t confuse the trail marking “ahem, Jennifer” its a fun trail which crosses over the creek about a dozen times and has a scenic view of the park and beyond, from the peak.

Early morning dew. Lover’s Leap Trail, Custer State Park

 

Lover’s Leap Trail, Custer State Park

 

Dragonfly. Lover’s Leap Trail, Custer State Park

 

Dragonfly fun. Lover’s Leap Trail, Custer State Park

 

Taking a break from the cold creek. Lover’s Leap Trail, Custer State Park

There was a fire in the park last December, about half the park was effected. But, everything is greener and making a come back.

Remnants of 2017 December fire. Lover’s Leap Trail, Custer State Park

 

Fire damage. Lover’s Leap Trail, Custer State Park

 

Everything is coming back strong. Lover’s Leap Trail, Custer State Park

 

Lover’s Leap Trail, Custer State Park

 

Lover’s Leap Trail, Custer State Park

 

Ruger is new to hiking. Not sure if he knew he was stepping in mud or not, but he sunk down pretty deep and needed a creek clean up. #muddydog. Lover’s Leap Trail, Custer State Park

 

You can lead a dog to water… Lover’s Leap Trail, Custer State Park

 

Almost a dozen creek crossings. Lover’s Leap Trail, Custer State Park

 

A little trail break. Lover’s Leap Trail, Custer State Park

 

The view from the top. Lover’s Leap Trail, Custer State Park

 

view from the top. Lover’s Leap Trail, Custer State Park

 

Afternoon storm approaching. Lover’s Leap Trail, Custer State Park

 

Lover’s Leap Trail, Custer State Park

 

Lover’s Leap Trail, Custer State Park

There is more to come from our Custer State Park, can’t wait to share all the baby animals we’ve seen so far. Thanks for sharing our adventure with us.

Custer or Bust: Summer/Fall 2018

PHOTO CREDIT: JOYCE BARINGER!

Making Custer State Park with 2,129.5 miles behind us, as I hurriedly gather the last of the pics together, we have 196 miles left is almost happening! Our newest adventure in the Black Hill of South Dakota will involve work camping three days a week and four days to explore and enjoy one of our favorite spots from our Short, Short Trailer, Long, Long Trip back in 2016.

We left Home 12 days ago, and for the most part we have putted across the States to our destination. (Look it could be done in 30 hours and there was a time when we were that crazy dumb!) Instead we scheduled a leisurely two nights at each camp ground, we did some kayaking, some motorcycle cruising, bicycle riding and hiking. With only a minor last minute change to our plan, I’ll explain later, we enjoyed the trip.

Here’s the log, enjoy our trip with us:

Custer South Dakota Trip

June 18, 2018 depart

June 29, 2018 arrive

-Day 1, 2: June 18, 19 Rainbow Springs SP, FL

19158 SW 81st Place Rd

Dunnellon, FL 34432-2463

Site #2

(352) 465-8555

$73.30

Estimate: 212 miles, 3- 1/2 hrs.

Actual: 212 miles

Loved this campground, and I don’t know how we’ve never done this one. We unloaded the kayaks and did a relaxing three hours up to the spring head and back. Took some time to splash in the cool water and got back to the camper just as the afternoon storms blew through. Did I mention I’m not missing everyday rain showers!

We only used our kayaks, they also had tube rentals and a shuttle service, which was probably a nice float downstream from park.

After the afternoon showers, we rode bicycles through the park and down to the tube drop off area, which was a nice paved road with no traffic because it’s only for the shuttles.

-Day 3, 4: June 20, 21 High Falls SP, GA

76 High Falls Park Dr

Jackson, GA 30233

Site #1 (very nice site)

(800) 864-7275

$70 add $5 for your vehicle

Estimate 320 miles, 4-1/2 hrs.

Actual: 331 miles

This was a quiet and peaceful park just off of I75. Temps were nice in the shade. Not a lot to do, a couple of hiking trails, and other activities on the lake above the dam. We hiked along the Towaliga River to the abandoned hydro plant (that might have brought back work memories for someone), and on our second day we took a motorcycle ride into Jackson for some lunch at Zaxby’s. Definitely felt strange to not be pushing by traveling everyday.

-Day 5, 6: June 22, 23 CEDARS OF LEBANON STATE PARK, TN

328 Cedar Forest Rd

Lebanon, TN 37090

$62.13

Estimate: 291 miles, 4-1/2 hrs.

Actual: 306 miles

Area 3, campsite #105, new area all paved sites. This site was quite elevated, plenty of mud around sites

The mud aside (lots of rain and new grass hasn’t come up yet), this was one of our favorite stops. Early morning hike down by the butterfly garden yielded a deer encounter as well as lots of birds, a turkey, rabbits and of course butterflies.

The road that bisects the park was great for our road bicycles and we took a ten mile ride on a cool afternoon.

Our only issue with this park was the Atlanta traffic (we planned to miss rush hour and got stuck by an accident) and again in the area where you pass back and forth between TN and Ga a few times (no accidents, just stop and go traffic).

We found out too late that there was a cave on site, so we have a reason to return and explore some more.

-Day 7, 8: June 24, 25 Robertsville SP, MO

902 State Park Rd

Robertsville, MO 63072

(636) 257-3788

$46.50

Estimate:386 miles, 6 hrs.

Actual: 389

Campsite #026, community h2o next to site otherwise sites do not have individual h2o

All sites are gravel and mostly sloped, was able to barely push MC up into site.

We had a little bit of trouble with the motorcycle trailer at this campground, but not enough to make us reconsider towing it with us. At each site, we have to unhook it and push it into place before we backup the camper. The slope into the site was a bit steep and we couldn’t place the trailer behind and hook it up before pulling out, so we had a little extra maneuvering.

I took and early morning bicycle ride down the the Meramec River, and had to walk the bike back a good bit of the way! Florida girls and steep hills…gonna need to figure out the gears and get the thighs in better shape!

Our walk to the nearby cemetery was cool, many very old stones from late 1800’s and early 1900’s. Unfortunately the take away was a load of ticks on the dog…and chiggers for the people! Lessons to learn.

We also hiked the 2.6 Lost Hill Trail which would around the creek and highest part of the park.

-Day 9, 10: June 26, 27 Weston Bend SP, MO

Weston Bend State Park

16600 State Route 45 N

Weston, MO 64098

Access Road West Bend Street Park

$50.50 only stayed one night (too late to get refund).

Estimate: 264 miles, 4-1/2 hrs.

Actual: 274.5 miles

816-640-5443

Campsite #005, no h2o at site, most other sites are more shaded. Site is also next to camp host but nicely spaced. All sites are paved and mostly level.

We got here’s bit late and decided to move closer so we could enjoy more time at Palisades in South Dakota. We rode our bicycles around the camp area, out to the dog park (which was quite nice, but we didn’t use). Again some steel hills and bike walking for Florida girls!

Day 10 June 27 Stone State Park Iowa

Stone State Park

5001 Talbot Road

Sioux City  IA  51103

Estimate: 267 miles, 4 hrs

$16

Campsite #

From Interstate 29, take exit 151, which is Hwy. 12 north. Go north on Hwy. 12 approximately 4 miles to the park entrance.

Okay, so here was our first camping fail. We arrived at this cute park, with the smallest campsites ever! Bring you cute little pull behind or pop-up, not your 30′ fifth wheel to this park. The huge mud hole created by the camper that got stuck the day before was a big clue. We we fortunate to get turned around and be able to get out without unhitching anything. We re-grouped and called Palisades State Park to see if they had anything for tonight. We were blessed by adding an additional night and they switched our campsite to one right on the creek.

18325 mile change to palisades sp

-Day 11: June 28 Palisades State Park, SD

25495 485th Ave

Garretson, SD 57030

(605) 594-3824

$29.97 actual 64.22 (add extra day and $12 for your car).

365 miles, 5-1/2 hrs.

Actual: 379

Campsite #31E actual 35E

We hiked every muddy trail in the park. The cap host, Merl told us they have had over ten inches of rain in the past week.

This is a fabulous park, the river, which we didn’t swim or kayak in had people doing both. The Sioux Quartzite formation are beautiful and I’m sure the trails would be less muddy in a week or so.

And here is our BIG CHANGE! We couldn’t get into the area we wanted to Sage Creek Campground. They changed the length restrictions and we are too big. We really don’t care for the parking lot they call the other campground. We considered some local private campgrounds, but in the end just decided to make our final stretch all the way to Custer. Since we aren’t there yet, I’ll share pics of the site on the next blog.

I must say this is the first long distance trip for us in many years where we didn’t wear ourselves out to get to our destination…we may just be figuring this thing out.

Thanks for sharing our trip with us, we are so glad to have you join us.

Day 12, 13 June 29, 30 Badlands (cancelled)

Day 14 July 1 Custer SP, SD (BECOMES DAY 12 and final day of travel).

13329 U.S. Highway 16A

Custer, SD 57730

(605) 255-4515

$- work camp

Estimate:104 miles, 2 hrs.

Approximate actual: 432

Total trip miles: 2323.5

Last day to Custer State Park:

No More Toys! No, No, No!

It’s definitely to warm for the blanket!

They brought the shed! No, Russ…you cannot get a shed.

Dignity of Earth and Sky. South Dakota rest stop art just before crossing the Missouri River for the last time.

Definitely too hot for a blanket today.

Our last crossing of the Missouri River.

This was fire truck #5 out of we lost count….but awesomely interesting way to pass the miles.

Wind turbine blades, these are unbelievable in size.

Leave some mud for someone else!

PopPop Sailing School, Grands and Weddings: June 2018

We received a call that it was most likely going to happen in the next 48 hours! Grand-baby number 8, Zayden Damien Baringer was on his way. So we rented a car, drove it and the jeep both home…and…it didn’t happen.

I seems Zayden wasn’t ready, he had other plans in mind.

So being the resourceful last minute planners that we have become accustomed to being, we loaded up the rental car with two other grands, and headed back to Marineland to bring the sailboat home. Hopefully we would get it back before Zayden came, and with enough time to get her out to Indiantown and tied down before the upcoming wedding of Russ’ brother Steve and his fiancee, Terri.

Graduates of PopPop Sailing School, Austin and Kiera. Honoree acknowledgement for Ruger the pup.

Before we left Marineland, we spent the morning at the Dolphin Adventure and slinging sand at each other on the beach. I blame PopPop!

Marineland Dolphin Adventure June 2018

Playin around.

Marineland Dolphin Adventure June 2018

Austin, Marineland Dolphin Adventure June 2018

Kiera, Marineland Dolphin Adventure June 2018.

Newly opened tourist picture rock. They reopened the original entrance for the 80th Anniversary. Marineland Dolphin Adventure June 2018.

I see it!

New shark exhibit at Marineland Dolphin Adventure June 2018.

Russ, Austin, and Kiera, Marineland Dolphin Adventure June 2018.

Marineland Dolphin Adventure June 2018.

Hey, thanks for coming! Marineland Dolphin Adventure June 2018.

Sand slinging Baringer style at our favorite beach.

Got PopPop good!

Farewell Marineland Beach, we will miss you until next time.

We didn’t have a plan for PopPop Sailing School, it just sort of morphed out of keeping a 12 and 10 year old off of their tablets all day and not whining “are we there yet.” In the end…I think we did a pretty good job…at least they were still smiling when we tied up at the dock!

For several days the tablets stayed charged up…we did relent a bit once the everyday rain kept us down below all afternoon.

PopPop Sailing School starts with knots. I’m sure glad to have extra hands…cause I still do not have all my knots down.

Knot tying 101. PopPop Sailing School.

Austin’s bowline.

Ruger failed knot tying. It might be a thumb problem.

Taking the helm seriously.

Captain Austin.

Captain Kiera.

And there was dinghy training.

Dingy training was an after hours affair.

Kiera practicing her maneuvers.

Austin does a fine job with his sea trial.

Fortunately PopPop Sailing School had lots of breaks.

Scrabble can be won with three letter words.

Cooling off after a long day.

That’s my line.

Oh noooo PopPop!

Was that the best you got?

No grandchildren were injured…but PopPop may feel that for a while.

There was plenty of fishing…just not any edible catches.

Can we catch our own dolphin?

This is bait?

I’m not sure Kiera is cut out for this part. But Ruger is willing to help out.

Biggest catch of the day.

Not bad, Kiera.

In other news.

Small spaces make for big messes. Really Ruger?

Nanny wants to know if we are there yet!

Every day afternoon storms!

But the storms bring beautiful rainbows.

And relaxing sunsets.

Some well earned tablet time.

Whose bunk is this?

And before you know it, its our last sunrise.

ICW sunrise.

Then it was time for the PopPop Sailing School final.

Kiera’s knot final. Check and Pass!

Austin’s knot final. Check and Pass. (He’s twelve…they come with faces like that.)

Yes, it was there was a written test.

Success. Great job PopPop, Austin and Kiera!!!

With the Roosevelt Bridge in view, we are almost back to the dock.

And just in time…because Zayden Damien Baringer decided that this morning, June 8, 2018 he would make his appearance.

So exciting!!! Grand #8

Proud PopPop.

Three Generations of Baringer Boys.

Mom, Dad, big sis Choloe and baby Zay are all doing great.

Welcome Zayden Damien Baringer!

After some baby hugging and holding, we got onto the task of settling No Ka Oi for the hurricane season at Indiantown Marina. She is filled with cat litter and damp rid, stripped of all her sails and canvas…so we are pretty sure everyone can take a deep breath because we won’t be having any hurricanes in that area since we are totally prepared this year.

No Ka Oi’s first trip through the St. Lucie Lock since we have had her. Thanks Captain John for the assist, we couldn’t have done it without you.

Filler up please.

Hauling out at Indiantown Marina.

She’s on the hard for the summer.

All tied down and no where to go!

And finally, and not just finally for us to be ready to go away for the summer….but finally these two FINALLY tied the knot after eight years together. Russ’ brother Steve and Terri had a lovely wedding at Indian Riverside Park on Sunday, June 17th. It was a perfect June day for a wedding! Congratulations Steve and Terri!

Mr. and Mrs. Steve Baringer.

I know this is a long blog, thanks for sitting through the slide show of the grands…I’d do it for you! We have said our goodbyes, given out lots of hugs and kisses, and we are on our way to SOUTH DAKOTA for the summer and fall!!!! Updates and exciting news along the way, stay tuned, and thanks for following along with us.

 

Spring Forward: St. Augustine 2018.05.01

We arrived in St. Augustine. Six days wasn’t overly ambitious of us, we would have taken longer, but when there’s favorable winds you do what sailors do…sail!

Here are a few pics from the trip, enjoy.

Home is where the eggs are.

 

Salty getting his sea legs.

 

Obedient Pelican.

 

No Ka Oi in the Mosquito Lagoon.

 

Sunset Mosquito Lagoon.

 

Sunrise Mosquito Lagoon

 

Ponce Light, New Smyrna Beach.

 

I’m sure I’ll fit, right here!

 

We have seen many old bridges go and new high rises replace them, but we never saw one torn down before the new one was built. Memorial Bridge, Daytona Beach.

 

Nice Ride! Daytona Beach.

 

Good dog/Bad Dog?

 

Marineland Beach.

 

Marineland Beach.

 

Marineland Beach.

 

ICW sights.

 

Sunrise, St. Augustine Marina Mooring Fields.

 

Our favorite bagel shoppe!

 

Bagel bites for Salty Dog.

It’s going to be a laid back week for us. Thanks for stopping by and sharing our adventure with us!

Spring Forward to Our Next Adventure

Ruger sets sail

I’m not even going to try and fill in the blanks from the last time I posted…last August…from Key West!

That was before a three week trip to North Georgia.

Before we left No Ka Oi tied to a seawall in Marathon, Florida.

Before Hurricane Irma.

When we couldn’t get back to get her out.

When it took forever for us to get back in.

Before we cried our way south through piles of debris and sadness left in the wake of Irma.

We were spared and consider ourselves fortunate. Irma tried to chafe a hole in her belly, but she’s a strong old girl.

We were able to get a patch in place and take her home in early October.

Others were not so fortunate.

Many still deal with the aftermath and will continue for sometime. We are sad and heartbroken for all the loss.

No Ka Oi has had her repairs, a little lipstick and a new coat of paint.

While that was happening, we got busy with the things of life, hurricane clean-up and repairs, sick parents, grandchildren visits, and things we can’t even remember.

The sidetracks are part of the adventure, but not all that exciting for a blog.

But now that we are back out adventuring, No Ka Oi is a happy girl. With the wind in her sail, she is pointed north.

We are St. Augustine bound or maybe waylaid at some place we couldn’t pass up. Hoping for some sunshine and crew restoration.

This is our first adventure with Ruger the pup. He came to his forever home last October via Martin County Humane Society. He ain’t right…but that’s probably good, cause those running his forever home ain’t all there either.

Pepe Le Pew is glad to be back at it, as are Russ and I (and Ruger isn’t sure yet). We sure hope everyone will join us in our newest adventure, and as always we hope you might come out and join us along the way!

Here’s a few pics from today.

High tide. Check.

Roosevelt Bridge

Roosevelt Bridge and railroad bridge up. Check.

Pepe Le Pew. Check.

Ruger. Check.

Ruger working out his chill skills. Check.

Sail up, check.

Always a nicer view from this side of the gate.

All systems checked and ready to go!

We did our first Facebook live video this morning! I’ll figure out how to make them play here. Technology issues at are real at our house. But there is time to figure it all out.

Sunset from Vero Beach City Marina

Welcome Committee

Thanks for sharing our adventure with us!

Georgia 2017_04_01 to 2017_05_31: The Fun People

Fun wouldn’t be the same without all the great friends we have made along the way. Our time in North Georgia was filled with friends and family…what a blessing!

Rick and Jennifer came up to their cabin in Blairsville, the second week in April, and we had a great time with them.

They came over to Cleveland to check out our camp site, and then we took a ride, to Helen, along with some of our Paradise neighbors, Bruce and Teri, and Brian and Lynn. We had a great lunch at the Old Bavarian Inn. I look forward to their Reuben sandwiches any time I can get one.

Reuben Sandwich, Old Bavarian Inn, Helen, Georgia

However, this was not the highlight of our afternoon. It seem that a certain someone forgot the key FOB for his motorcycle. It is possible to start your bike if the key FOB is nearby (say hanging on the hook in the camper) and then one is able to drive far away from their key FOB. It only becomes apparent that one has made such a mistake, when, upon shutting down the bike, they cannot start it up again.

There is another way to start the bike, if a security code has been set up. Everyone was hungry, so over lunch, a security code was searched for in the owners manual, phone calls were made, and Iphones diligently searched. To no Avail.

NASA we have a problem.

I’m not going to name any names, but dessert on this ride was humble pie.

Humble Pie for dessert.

The guys went to retrieve the key FOB, while the ladies did some shopping in Helen.

Feeling a little Jerky?

Fortunately, Helen isn’t that far from Paradise Valley R.V. Resort, so once the key FOB was retreived, we still had time for a great afternoon of riding.

Sunday afternoon ride through the mountains of North Georgia.

Hanging with Rick and Jennifer means relaxing on the porch, enjoying the beautiful mountain view.

Best seats in North Georgia. Rick and Jennifer’s porch

Great riding.

Out riding with Rick and Jennifer.

A picnic lunch at Brasstown Bald.

Hey…we have cell phone service! Can we make it all the way to the top? In these motorcycle boots???

Getting silly after all those curvy roads.

Out for more riding with Rick and Jennifer. Hay, what’s the hold-up?

Rick and Jennifer’s cabin is not only comfy, but it has a beautiful view!

Finally got to see their dogwood tree bloom.

Relaxing sunsets.

Sunset at the cabin.

We also finally finished up the curtains for the man-cave, had many wonderful meals, and Spades! Alas, our week went too quickly…time to retire you two…hurry it up already!

Right after our week with Rick and Jennifer, we headed over to Charlotte, to spend Easter weekend with my brother, his wife and family. We had a great weekend, which included fabulous food, great games, and some hiking to work off the calories. I’m going to group their return visit to us, over Memorial day Weekend, right here. It is so wonderful to get to have more time for family! Time with Bert, and Soher is always full of love and fun.

Easter weekend with Bert and Soher, in Charlotte.

We focused on seeing a few water falls, while Bert and Soher came to visit us. Anna Ruby Falls, Vogel State Park, and Helton Creek Falls, as well as…lots of good food.

Anna Ruby Falls, with Bert and Soher.


Helen, Georgia, with Bert and Soher. Hofers Bakery and Cafe for dinner and some take home desserts.


I have to go back…they are closed! Helen, Georgia, with Bert and Soher.


Relaxing after dinner in Helen, Georgia. Bert and Russ. FUDGE!


Too many Jerky signs in this town! Helen, Georgia, with Bert and Soher.

At trip anywhere near Blairsville, has to include food at Jim’s Smokin Que.

Lunch at Jim’s Smokin Que, with Bert and Soher.

Then onto Vogel State Park and Helton Creek Falls.

Vogel State Park, with Bert and Soher.


Vogel State Park, with Bert and Soher.


Helton Creek Falls, with Bert and Soher.


View from Richard Russell Scenic Highway, with Bert and Soher.

We spent a great day with John and Janet. Of course it started out with a quick lunch at Jim’s, but we took the adventure to Paradise Hill Vineyard, for a bottle of wine and great music on their patio. Then back to our campsite for dinner, which unfortunately did not include a camp fire because of the rain!

John and Janet, at Paradise Hills Vineyard, Blairseville, Georgia.

It’s nice having some retired friends around! Gary and Debbie, whom we met in Marathon a few years ago, when they were sailing Aldeberon, have moved along to Hiawassee, Georgia. They build an adorable little retirement house and we enjoyed our visits. We really enjoyed the building project, because the “pay” was completed with fantastic gourmet meals prepared by Chef Debbie!

Russ and Gary built steps and a deck to connect the driveway to the beautiful front porch.


Completed front porch access deck.

We all know that all work and no play…is just not fun, so we made sure we had lots of time to go out and explore, a few fire-side nights by the creek and plenty of hiking outings were fun for all.

Hiking Brasstown Bald with Gary and Debbie.


Hiking Amicalola Falls, with Gary and Debbie.


Hiking Smithgall Woods State Park, with Gary and Debbie.

We made fast friends with Bruce and Teri. It seems we have lots in common, their winter home is close to our place in Umatilla. They love motorcycle riding. They just love life!

Shortly after they arrived from their winter home in the Villages, they began making preparations for the newest addition to their Paradise homestead. Their caboose arrived with much fanfare and activity. Finally by the end of the day, I spotted them relaxing in their chairs, admiring the caboose!

The Caboose arrives, Bruce and Teri’s new RV! (look how cute they are sitting their at the end of the day)

Out for a beautiful ride.

Riding the mountains in North Georgia, with Bruce and Terri.

These two love-birds do this at the end of every ride!

Love this…they do this at the end of all their rides. Sooo cute!

We are always excited when we get to spend time with our family. Especially our California gang, who don’t get back to this coast as often as I want them too. Fortunately for us, Ray’s younger sister graduated from UF (Go Gators, Yeah Maggie!) We became part of the two week loop they did from Orlando, to South Florida, to Gainseville, to Georgia and then South Carolina! Wow, I’m tired for them.

Nanny is ready for two little grands!

Ready for the Grands!

Good morning Nanny. Is PopPop awake yet?

Monta and Gabby visit Nanny and PopPop.

Out for our first Hike, at Dukes Creek Falls, located on Richard Russell Scenic Highway.

Jennette, Ray, Monta and Gabby at Dukes Creek Falls


Hiking Dukes Creek Falls with Jennette, Ray, Monta and Gabby.


Hiking Dukes Creek Falls, with Jennette, Ray, Monta and Gabby


PopPop has hiking buddies. Hiking Dukes Creek Falls, with Jennette, Ray, Monta and Gabby


Hiking Dukes Creek Falls, with Jennette, Ray, Monta and Gabby

There is never a dull moment with this guy!

Nanny, I stacked the shoes by the door like you asked.


Extra shoes make Nanny’s heart happy.

Time for bed! Deep sigh, Nanny is tired!

Sleeping in Nanny and PopPops camper with Thomas is the best.

Day two, more hiking, at Smithgall Woods State Park, with fun in the creek!

Hiking Smithgall Woods State Park with Jennette, Ray, Monta and Gabby.


Having fun in the creek, under the covered bridge at Smithgall Woods State Park, with Jennette, Ray, Monta and Gabby.

We made the best of a couple of rainy days. Babyland was a big hit, with an afternoon trip to Dahlonega. The Cleveland library had lots of games that were PhD approved by Dr. Daddy! I’m not sure I ever truly appreciated an inside playground this much! Thank you Chick-fil-A.

A rainy day was meant to be spent at Babyland and holding newborn Cabbage Patch Dolls.


Babyland, taking care of the Cabbage Patch Babies. I think she will fit, I can make her fit!

An afternoon trip to Dahlonega, with a stop at the Cottage Vineyard and Winery.

Lunch at Zaxby’s ana an afternoon in Dahlonega. PopPop, stick to the story line!


Rainy days and Libraries with PhD approved games, and Chick-fil-A! Thanks for the indoor playground!


Then just like that it was time for them to leave!


Time for Nanny to cry!

PopPop says don’t worry, I won’t let her cry for long!

No crying aloud!

We loved our Georgia Mountain spring visit. Of course we have moved along and there are more adventures to come.

Thanks for following along with us.