Monday, June 29, 2015

More Rain, More Friends, More Relatives

In between the rain drops we went to the Cruise Event. Lots of old cars.
 Then there were lots of old friends to see.
 Donna went to a meeting of her Embroidery Friends.
 Then there was Riley's, Bob's granddaughter's, graduations party.
Bob's son, Mark came from Maine to pick up the tools we brought for him.
His big brother Wayne got a lot of them, too.
 We had a great visit with Mark, Wayne and Matty (Bob's grandson).
Even got to see the Raminator, next door.
 Then the "Parker's" all got together.

Friday, June 19, 2015

More Ohio.....

Our home at the Eagles Aarie in Salem. See there were blue skies.
Most of the time it looked like this outside.
One evening Bob invited friends, relatives and co-workers to come to the Aarie for a party.

One night we took Donna's daughter Terri and grandson Cody to dinner and while we were waiting Joe and Penny Judge walked in and sat with us.
 Maryanne Pieren who worked with Donna came by for a visit.
We moved 8 miles away to Bob's friend, JimElder's home and workshop.
Just after we got there Bob's brother-in-law Karl came by for a visit and had a cuppa coffee.
 When Jim came home we set up and then the work began. Bob helped and they tore the dinette out to move it 6" away from the wall.
 This shelf unit was added so we could get our stuff off the seats.
Now there isn't anything on the seats or on the table to remove when we want to play cards.
Next they started on the couch. We have never had anyone sleep on the hide-a-bed and that was a waste of storage space.
 A box was created under it and we can store our games there. We even can find our card shuffler.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Back Home in Ohio...part one

We returned to our home town. Salem, Ohio
On arrival we parked at the Eagles Aarie and immediately knew why we had left.
It was raining and we had to wait a half hour just to unhook the Jeep to go to Donna's daughter's for a spaghetti dinner. 

Our first week was very busy visiting with family, friends and co-workers. So busy we forgot to take pictures.

We went to Bob's son Wayne's home and unloaded a bunch of tools and a few of Donna's needlework pieces. Out to dinner with them, too. It was a great afternoon.

Donna went out with her 3rd floor retired co-workers from the hospital
 Then it was over to her daughter's for dinner and to cuddle with her great-granddaughter.
 We stopped by Bob's old house and also visited with neighbors.
 One day it was breakfast at Bill and Esther's. They also are RVer's but still have the stick built.
 The same day was lunch with Bob's sister, Penny and her husband Paul.
 While Bob was out visiting ex co-workers Donna enjoyed a visit at the motorhome with her daughter Tracy and her husband's cousin Jo Carol.
One evening there was a birthday party at the Aarie for Tim the trustee who said we could park here.
 A barbecue at Kristin. Donna's granddaughter's.
Kristin, Katie and Terri her daughter.
 A nice visit and lunch out with John & Cynthia (Bob's co-worker)
 And with Marian who was Donna's neighbor.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

The Liberty Bell Meeting

Will Jones: what I learned about freedom at the Liberty Bell

The Liberty Bell is one of the most popular attractions in Philadelphia. The symbol of freedom is inscribed with Leviticus 25:10, "Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land Unto All the Inhabitants thereof." 
The bell has provided inspiration for the abolitionist, women's suffrage and civil rights movements. And it still inspires disenfranchised groups, today.
Strangers meet
As I waited under the hot sun in the long line of tourists to see the Liberty Bell on a recent trip, I met Bob Parker and Donna Huffer, a lovely couple, who by age could be my grandparents.
When they asked me where I was visiting from, I replied quickly and proudly, "I'm from Detroit."
Donna hesitated for a moment when I returned the question their way. She took a deep breath and began to smirk, almost as if she was warning to me to get ready for an adventure. 
She’s answered the question countless times before, but for her, the excitement of sharing their journey never gets old. Where they are visiting from depends on where they were the night before.
Life on the road
Bob and Donna have been traveling in an recreational vehicle for years. Their house is their motor home. 
"If we don't like our neighbors, we turn the key," Donna likes to joke.
They met each other during their travels ten years ago and fell in love. They didn’t think they would find love again after their spouses passed away. 
Donna began living in an RV full-time with her husband in the late 90s. After he had trouble finding a good job in Ohio, she quit her job and they hit the road. Their children wanted her to put the RV in park when she became a widow in 2003, but Donna never considered that option.
She travelled in the RV alone for two years, even making a trip to Alaska. 
"I told my kids I was going to continue. And at first they wanted to know where I was going. I would give them a call, and after maybe six or eight times I did that, my son says, 'Forget it mom. You are fine,’" Donna said.
After Bob's wife died in 2003, he couldn't bear to live by himself in the beautiful Ohio farm house that they remodeled together. It was a constant reminder of his heartbreak.
Bob moved to Arkansas in 2004 to live with his sister, but that wasn't the right fit. 
He bought an RV at the beginning of 2005 and rerouted his life. 
Bob met Donna in Quartzsite, Arizona, in December 2005, just before the start of a singles RV gathering. 
"We tell everybody our spouses whispered in God's ear, ‘Put those two together. They will have fun.’ I really believe it happened that way," Bob said.
They've visited almost every state, including Michigan. Donna recalls fondly her time spent with her late husband in the Upper Peninsula.
The only state they've never been to is Hawaii. Their motor home isn't equipped to travel across water, yet.
Full-time RVers
Bob and Donna say they're meeting more people who have replaced their homes with RVs.
They're known as full-time RVers.
There are no numbers available on how many people have their RVs as their sole residence. 
Norman Wells, the general manager of National RV Detroit in Belleville, says he's seeing more customers who travel for work and recent retirees interested in RV living.
Wells says the RV way of life has its advantages.
"They can travel and not have all the upkeep and maintenance of a house and the expense and carrying costs of a house. They simplify and go to an RV and save their money," Wells said.
National RV Detroit has recreational vehicles such as travel trailers for as low as about ten thousand dollars. The top-of-the-line, luxury motor homes are much more expensive. They're essentially houses on wheels.
"They're fully self-contained and a lot of the high-end ones have induction cooktops and convection ovens, residential refrigerator, washer and dryer," Wells said.
A Recreational Vehicle Industry Association survey revealed RV ownership grew from 7.9 million households in 2005 to 8.9 million in 2011. Industry experts estimate that ten million households now own an RV.
Michigan is third in the nation for RV shipments, behind Texas and California, according to the Michigan Association of Recreational Vehicles and Campgrounds.
No regrets 
Bob, who Donna jokingly refers to as her boy toy, just turned 72. She isn't shy about her approaching 75th birthday.
The septuagenarians know they have more miles behind them than ahead of them on the road.
Bob and Donna don't regret any minute of their travels and have no plans to stop now.
"It has changed my life for the better, all the way around. I really enjoy the freedom that you have in this lifestyle, being able to go when you want to go," Bob said.
Their lifestyle might not be right for everyone, but their attitude is worth packing up in a suitcase and taking on the journey of life.
Perhaps, it could lead us all to our own Liberty Bell.
For them, their bell rings every time they turn the key in the ignition of their motor home to head to their next adventure. 

Pennsylvania Tours

While we were at the Hershey Thousand Trails we took two wonderful day trips.
The first was to Hershey. We went to Chocolate World. Very crowded with lots of kids. We got on a ride that took you through a simulated chocolate factory. Chocolate is no longer made here. It is made in China and Mexico.
 The next day we went to Philadelphia . Found we could ride the Amtrak from a town about 1/2 hour away. It was a two hour ride and cost us $73 for the two of us round trip. Bob was very glad he didn't have to drive.
 We arrived at the 30th Street Station. A very beautiful facility.
 We hopped on the trolly (which ran underground). We took the subway back. It was free with our Medicare Card.
We arrived one block from Independence Square. After a bite of breakfast at the Red Owl. Very expensive. $5 for a cup of coffee. The people at the next table who had a normal breakfast of french toast and a bacon & egg plate with coffee's had a tab of $78. Our's was over $20 for a small croissant, 1 cup of coffee and a regular blueberry yogurt.
Across the street was Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell.
 The line was long and we visited with a man from Detroit who also does a blog and is a journalist.
He interviewed us the following week and published it.

Donna got sick just before entering the building and made a dash across the square so missed out on seeing the bell. She had seen it before anyway.
 We then walked about 4 blocks to the Betsy Ross House.
 She made the flag in her bedroom as English Soldier's were occupying her home.
 An interpreter told us about making the flag and how George Washington wanted a 6 pointed star but she convinced him the 5 point was easier to make. It took 2 weeks to sew it.
We stopped briefly at Benjamin Franklin's grave.
 We watched some children learning how to drill.
 A beautiful cobblestone street nearby
A full standing statue of Benjamin Franklin.
 Out near the 30th St station were these big, beautiful skyscrapers.