Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Necessities and Simple Pleasures in Indiana

Roger here....  Not much going on as we wait for the closing to take place on the little house in Indiana that we are selling - just taking care of necessities and enjoying simple pleasures.

     -  Costco (frozen food and supplies for our next long trip)
     -  Trips to the post office
     -  Cleaning the house before turning over the keys (Dianne finds something new to scrub every hour.
         -- By the time we leave there will be no dirt within a mile of the place)
     -  Washing the motor home roof
     -  Washing and waxing the motor home
     -  Cleaning the front windshield and applying Rain X
     -  Buying groceries
     -  Doing laundry 
     -  Moving things back into the motor home
     -  Getting rid of the few remaining items in the house (trips to Good Will)
     -  Buying bicycle helmets (still need to do) (Thanks to Nancy & Bill for giving us the nudge to buy bicycle helmets; if anyone needs one, it's probably me! -- D.)
     -  Doctor appointments
     -  Eat, sleep, shower, brush teeth, shave, go to the bathroom
     -  Indiana tomatoes from our neighbor's garden

     -  Walking the dogs

     -  Bicycle rides

     -  Dianne's flowers

     -  Views of the cornfield across the street

     -  Discovering lichen on the rock in the yard (Lichen only lives where the air quality is good - words
        from a former junior high science teacher.)

     -  Transferring old pictures that my parents took from slides to a CD (Dianne is have a lot of fun 
         finding old and embarrassing pictures of me.)

     -  Naps with the dogs  (Dianne here:  I want to make sure you know this is Roger's hairy leg, not mine!)

     -  Silhouettes in the Indiana sky

     -  Watching Dianne (pyro queen) have fun making a camp fire

Here's one of mine:  Jasper & Chaplin begging for dog treats at "wine-thirty" every late afternoon!  (Those are my legs -- D.)
     -  The Indiana sunset

     -  Listening to the sounds of tree frogs compete with the songs of the newly emerging cicadas  (For some reason this sounds fine on my computer, but when uploaded to blogger there are aliens in the background! -- D.)

     -  The perfect campfire

     -  Oh yeah, Indiana tomatoes from our neighbor's garden (huge and delicious!)

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Roger's ride to another time - a nostalgic trip

Roger here...   From time to time in the full-time RV lifestyle,  it is good for the "loved ones" to be apart for  short periods of time.  Sometimes the separations are planned.  Sometimes not.  Today was a planned separation, and for me, it was a very good day.

Dianne left late in the morning for a wedding shower for a cousin near Lafayette, IN.  Roger was at loose ends. He replaced the broken handle at the RV door.  The previous acrylic handle had cracked and broke in the hands of a friend.  Doesn't it look nice!  It was actually replaced earlier in the week, but it seemed like today was a good day to post it; otherwise it would look like Roger did nothing productive today.

After a quick shower to rinse off the sweat from the hot and humid Indiana day, Dianne dropped me (Roger) off at the Pendleton Historial Museum on her way to the wedding shower.  I intended to drop off (donate) my Class of '68 Jacket that I obviously no longer needed.  (Dianne here:  Last winter, the museum had put out a request for vintage school items.  Since we were in Texas at the time, our "donation" had to wait until now.  Also, in my spare time I'm digitizing old Norris family slides from the '50s and '60s so we can dispose of the bulky, heavy originals.  There are literally hundreds of them!  Since I'm the editor of this blog, keep an eye out for some "unauthorized" photos inserted into Roger's nostalgia blog!!)

(I [Roger] only wore the jacket during my Sophomore year of high school ..... followed by various leather jackets until I graduated.   My mom had carefully preserved it for half a century, and it seemed wrong to not have others at least glance at it.  With some trepidation, I tried the jacket on one last time.  It still fit (somewhat)!  Just like it did when I was 16!   Well, it was a bit tight, but I WAS ABLE TO SNAP ALL THE SNAPS.

Unfortunately, the museum did not open for another hour, so I left the jacket by the door and walked to the motor home to eat lunch.  At the noontime hour, I rode my new (and loved) bicycle back to the museum to finish the donation.  After filling out a form that stressed that I was DONATING the jacket to the museum and talking with one of the volunteer docents, I headed back into the Indiana heat and humidity to ride my bike back to the motor home.

I then realized that, with Dianne away,  this would be a great time to ride for a few miles on my new bicycle.  Before leaving, I took some pics of the museum and the historical plaque.  (Growing up, my teachers insisted that we know our heritage - particularly the part about the hangings of white folks for killing Indians and the fact that Pendleton was one of the earliest Indiana towns.)  (Dianne here:  There was actually a book published in the 1970s by Jessamyn West entitled "The Massacre at Fall Creek" which told the tale of the three white men hung for killing Indians.)

I cycled by the library and next to the public swimming pool.  Looks inviting, doesn't it?  I never swam in that pool, but don 't feel sorry for me, as my experience was far better (soon to come).  I soon passed the "Conservation Building" where our senior party was held in 1968, just before we graduated.  Some thugs from nearby Anderson invaded the festivities and started a fight ---- some things never change... luckily (for me), I wasn't the recipient of a random punch.

Across from the Conservation Buiding, I crossed into the town hiking/biking pathway.  This part of the park did not formally exist when I was a kid, but it did exist, and it was sooooo cool.  Still is. Lots of bridges across the various streams and benches for resting.

I crossed the road on my bike and entered an area that, in my youth, was only accessible by foot.  I passed the classic arches of the railroad track.  I soon emerged next to the frenetic baseball diamonds where hundreds of parents cheered the exploits of their children.  After a while I crossed under the elevated railroad to ride along the heavily wooded pathway.   At one point, I was able to view the "1910" tunnel under the railroad.  Soon, I arrived at the north end of the hiking trails where a pond and picnic area emerged.  The red barn portrays a strong image and memory of the bucolic Indiana landscape.

Turning back toward town, I pedaled up to the old "interurban" trackway - now wooded.  It led next to the old Pendleton cemetery (some great shots through the trees).  As you can see from the one of the gravestones, Pendleton is one of Indiana's older towns, dating from the early 1800's.

I soon passed the "tarzan" grapevine area over the ravine.  It is now a series of steps that lead to a small stream.  Back in the day,  a WONDERFUL grapevine allowed many young people to swing with abandon over the ravine.  I was one of those.  My friends and I would often go there after school in the spring and fall to swing across the abyss.  It is one of those memories that is entrenched in my mind.  My friends would yell, "Give 'er Hell." as each of us leaped into the abyss - relishing and laughing that this was a forbidden thing to say.  Such rebels.  One day (I was not there at the time) the vine broke and our star basketball player fell and broke his arm.  The high school coach was not pleased.  Not a good thing in Indiana.

(Dianne again:  Guess who's on the diving board??)

The bike path eventually wound back to Falls Park and the waterfall that the park was named for.  Across the falls you can see MY swimming pool - not the turquoise one with the curly slides.  In my  youth, Fall Creek was dammed creating an amazing swimming area.  The one-meter diving board was in front of the falls.  The three-meter diving board was OVER the falls. You could even dive from the rocky cliff into the turbulant water below.   In the shallower area a tall "water-filled" slide allowed us to skim and bounce over the water.  What a place it was.  We could actually swim under the falls and stand on a ledge.  So sad it is gone.   I took a few pics of the falls, the museum from the other side, and a couple of kids playing in the creek above the falls  where I once played with friends, before finding my way back to the bike and the pedal back to the motor home.

No nostalgic trip would be complete without a picture of the home place.  The stone house is across the street from the house where I grew up.  At one time it was the site of a glass factory.  The red-brick house was the home where I spent the first eighteen years of my life.  My parents bought the house just before I was born.  My bedroom was at the front of the house, just right of the arched bathroom windows.  (Dianne again:  I'm sure Roger will protest the photo of his bedroom because his first reaction to seeing it was "Look how high my pants are hiked up!"  My first reaction to the photo was:  "No wonder he grew up to be so smart; look at those posters and models!"  Anyway, I like the photo, so I'm putting it in and there's nothing he can do about it - it's too late!!)

When I returned home, it was time for another shower (two in one day).  94 degrees with high humidity is pretty intense for Indiana (see self portrait).  Upon entering the motor home, Chaplin insisted on going outside.  Look at those plaintive eyes!  Sorry, Boy.  Too hot for whippets!

I took a couple of shots of the atlas (planning for our next venture) so Dianne wouldn't think I wasted the day.  Honestly, it wasn't wasted, it was a good day.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Lake Time in Indiana

Roger here....  Beautiful Lake Cordry, located in Brown County in Southern Indiana, is a well-kept secret.  The lake is not huge, but with its various fingers and large central area, it is perfect for boating of any type.  It is surrounded by well-kept lake homes, complete with decks, landscaping, and swimming areas.  It is not an RV spot; in fact, I would be hesitant to drive our RV on the twisty, hilly, narrow roads with the one-foot drops from pavement to ditch.  The low hanging branches that at times resemble a tunnel could also be an issue. 

 HOWEVER, we are fortunate to have long-time friends, Jay and Nancy, who own a "cottage" on the lake.  The "cottage" has a three-car garage, four bedrooms, three bathrooms,  endless outdoor decking that flows down the hill to the water, complete with an enclosed boat house with a wide porch for sitting down close to the water.  It is a very nice "cottage."

We have spent many weekends with Jay and Nancy at the lake over the years.  We watched their kids, and ours,  grow up there -- lots of skiing, swimming,  card playing,  and good eating over the years.  When Jay and Nancy invited us down for the weekend, we jumped at the chance.

We alway enjoy sitting by the water, sometimes reading, but often just watching the water.  Dianne here:  When you've been friends for 40+ years, there's no strain to have to make small talk.  The four of us can sit very contentedly together, reading, Sudoku (Nancy taught me how several years ago), catching up on each others' kids, or just lake-watching.  It could not be any more relaxing!

A cool thing about Lake Cordry is that it is a no-wake zone until 10:00 a.m., and then again after dusk.  Only kayaks disturb the calm -- extremely clear -- water.  The deck is a very quiet and peaceful setting for lunch and dinner.  Each morning we enjoyed  coffee and breakfast, even the Sunday paper, on the porch of the boat house, down by the water. 

 Jay and Nancy have taught us everything we know about wine, so each evening we enjoyed watching the sunsets and having wine and snacks on the deck. 

 At 10:00 a.m. the atmosphere shifts to a frenetic pace - an endless parade of skis, wakeboards, speed boats, pontoon boats, and tubers.

But, sitting is far from the only pursuit that we enjoyed.  This weekend we took a long walk across the dam and along the southern, cottage-filled shore.  We took several trips in Jay's newest toy, a beautiful pontoon boat to complement the latest in a series of ski boats.  I don't know if it is because we are older, or because the lounging features of the pontoon boat are so enticing, but we decided that we now prefer the pace of the pontoon boat to  the speed of the ski boat.  

We always eat well at Lake Cordry - lots of colorful fruit and healthy food (at least this time) to go along with an endless supply of snacks.  (We decided to go with leftovers for our last lunch together.  Check it out; with leftovers like this, who needs to cook??)

  We always spend a lot of time floating and swimming in the clear water.

From my perspective, there were two highlights from this particular weekend.  I GOT TO GO TUBING!  I haven't done this for a long time.  It was just as much fun as I remembered, and my sixty-year-old bones held up well.  Another plus was that I was not thrown from the tube in the choppy water around the point -- bounced around a lot, but not ejected.  Being thrown from the tube is considered a sign of weakness in the Lake Cordry community.

The other highlight was the restful evening time sitting on the porch of the boat house by the water, as we watched a distant thunderstorm pass.  Quite a light show!  The lightning was far enough away for us to be safe (30 miles or so), but the display was spectacular.  We were so mesmerized by nature's fireworks that we dug out the camera to capture some of it.  (Dianne again:  I'd never seen a lightning display like this one, and neither had the rest of us.  It went on for over an hour and a half.  We didn't capture the biggest lightning displays, only a small snippet.  Some were like giant spider webs all across the sky, lighting up the entire sky!  To see a small snippet of the hour+ show we enjoyed, click on the movie above.  (Ignore the background chitchat; Roger told us all to be quiet, but no one listened to him as usual!)