Friday, August 15, 2014

Family, Friends, Road Trip (for me)

Roger here...  The opening picture was taken at our friends' house in Indiana.  It really is that amazing.  However, lots of things happened before the picture was taken.


Our oldest daughter, Robyn, and her boyfriend, Atul, flew out to see us in Mission, TX.  Their time with us was short, but we managed to fill it with great times.

They arrived in the early morning.  We ate breakfast at the Diaz Diner. After a nap, Retama Village friends took us on a three-hour pontoon boat trip on the Rio Grande River.  (Robyn wore my hat after hers blew into the river.)  Robyn will insist that I emphasize that this was not her hat :-).

The weather was warm, the company was good, and the scenery was interesting.  We were happy the the Texas Highway Patrol was not looking for us.  

We intended to take a segway tour of the National Butterfly Center the next morning, but due to a communication snafu the segways did not arrive.  We did walk among the butterflies and found this guy (definitely not a butterfly).

Also not Robyn's hat.  She is not a cowboy hat kinda girl, but she did not want a sunburn.

Later we taught the kids how to play Mexican Train.  Robyn won every hand -- in fact, she had no points against her at all until the very last hand.  It's just not right!  (Sorry for the very poor quality of the picture.  We were having too much fun and did not know that the only picture was so bad.)

Dianne fixed a big breakfast during their last morning with us.  We almost got breakfast on the patio before the temperature got uncomfortable.

The iced mimosas helped make it feel a little cooler.

Hopefully, the time between our visits with Robyn and Atul will go quickly.  We miss seeing them.


Our 42nd wedding anniversary arrived shortly after Robyn and Atul left.  We decided to celebrate at Alberico's in McAllen.  Always great food and good wine there.

ROAD TRIP (for me)

The local Mission/McAllen weather guy has an easy job in the summer.  He seldom has any need to change his weather board.  (Hot and Breezy --- like blowing a hair dryer in your face)  This was a perfect time for me to hop on a plane to the cooler weather of Indiana.  (This is an annual trip so that I can do a little consulting for my former employer).

Dianne had plenty of genealogy research to keep her busy in our air conditioned casita.  Honestly, I think that she was looking forward to some quiet time.  


I will not bore you with the work that I did, but I did have plenty of time for fun.  The first weekend in Indiana found me camping with friends.  

I stayed with our camping buddies, Chuck and Cindy, in their fifth wheel.  Unfortunately, I was welcomed by a banner from the wrong Indiana university.  We are great friends anyway :-).  The focus of this annual weekend at Turkey Run is a 10-mile kayak trip on Sugar Creek.  The weather was ideal.  We saw a bald eagle.  The paddle down the creek was excellent.  No pictures this year --- didn't want to get my phone wet.  (There are usually a few tips into the water, as documented in prior blog entries from years past).
Jessica, Chuck, Pat (in the shadows)

Morgan, Cindy, Audrey

Chuck's breakfast juice was also a
highlight, as well as Sophie 
(Chuck and Cindy's) and Ranger
(Pat and Audrey's)

The focus was the kayak trip, but the highlight was spending time with friends.  

EVANSTON, ILLINOIS --- time with Amanda

Our younger daughter, Amanda, recently moved from Florida to Evanston, Illinois with her daughter.  Since I had a day and a half of down time during the trip, it was a no-brainer that I would drive to Chicago from Indy to see her.  Unfortunately, our granddaughter, Kaia, was in Michigan with her aunt and cousins, but it was so nice to have some one-on-one time with Amanda.  It was a four-hour drive.   Fair Oaks Farm, between Lafayette and Chicago, was a mandatory stop for picking up some cheese and enjoying a toasted cheese sandwich and ice cream.

After a few wrong turns in Evanston, Amanda greeted me at the front door.  (Her dark-brown hair is now mysteriously red).

Her twelve-year-old beagle, Cinnamon, actually cried when she saw me.  She then rolled on her back for a tummy rub.  

We walked a couple of blocks to the Firehouse Grill for lunch and then again for dinner.  The outside seating area was dog-friendly, and Cinnamon accompanied us for both meals.  She entertained everyone (at least they were smiling) by doing a beagle howl every time another dog walked by.

I intended to drive back to Indy in the early evening and actually started the drive back.  It was early rush hour at the time.  After a few minutes of heavy traffic, I made the wise decision to turn back and spend the night with Amanda.  The late morning drive along Lake Shore Drive the next day was a snap.  I  was so happy to have some quiet time with Amanda.


As in my past sojourns to Indiana, our dear friends Jay and Nancy graciously opened their home to me.  The garden photo at the start of this post was taken in their back yard.

They are such good grandparents.  The picture below shows Jay cleaning their fish pond under the watchful eyes of three of his grandchildren.

Bonge's Tavern in Perkinsville IN (a central Indiana experience) was the site of a delicious meal that we shared one evening.

Jay visits his businesses as the clown, Pops, occasionally to help raise money for charity.  He actually appeared at an Indiana Pacers game last year.  I was lucky enough to see Pops as he kicked off a campaign to raise funds for Outfitters (a charity group that raises money to provide school clothes and supplies for the underprivileged kids in the local community.)  Since Nancy was busy at a Habitat for Humanity meeting that night, I got to spend the evening with this clown.  Thankfully, he removed the grease paint before dinner.


A weekend trip to Jay and Nancy's vacation home on a lake in southern Indiana is always a treat.  My brother (and only sibling) drove over from Mansfield, Ohio to join us.

The cool and sometimes wet weather did not dampen the fun that we had.  Lots of laughing drifted over the lake while playing Mexican Train outside under a shelter.  

Here is a decent picture of three Sigma Nu brothers from Purdue.  Jay (seated), my real brother Dick (on the left), and me.


My two weeks in Indiana with family and friends were fun, but as everyone knows, it is great to get home.  Dianne met me at the airport in McAllen (20 minutes from our casita).  Not much changed during my two-week absence, with the exception of the vines that we had planted along the lattice next to our back yard.  Two weeks ago the view was mostly white.  Obviously, the vines have taken over.  Plants do grow well down here in the subtropics.  The flower in the second photo is one of the  passion flowers on one of the vines.


Dianne insists that during my absence Bandido often waited for me to return at the front door.  She also imagined that Tequila watched for me through the fence on the back patio.

I miss you, Daddy!


Bill and Nancy said...

Nice to hear from you and glad all is well. Can't believe those temps...thought it was hot here:o((

Gayla said...

Sorry I missed the Bonge's dinner! Love your passion flower!