The Big State of Texas, Caving, and the Desert!

We arrived at our sister-in-law’s house on a hot, humid day.  How did we remember that it was hot and humid?  Every day in Texas is hot and humid when you get into the month of July!  When you just stand in the heat of Texas, you can feel the drops of humidity fall off your fingertips onto your shoes!  It’s like hitting a brick wall when you leave any location with air conditioning.

Our sister-in-law was in the process of building a beautiful, grand home near the Galveston Bay!  It was almost finished, but not quite!  The inside was livable, but it was still a work in progress.

Judy's Home in Texas

Judy's Home in Texas

We parked our little 19 1/2 foot home right next to her big, grand home!

Our Little Home Parked Next to the Grand Home

We visited with Judy for a few days, but before we left we just had to swim in Galveston Bay!  We just had to!  Judy warned us that there had been a major oil spill in the area about a year before on July 30, 1984 which spilled 65, 500 gallons of crude into the bay near Louisiana.  The oil traveled smack dab into the very beach we wanted to go to which was on Galveston Island.

Upon arriving at the beach, we noticed a few articles of debris that had spotty, black, oily splotches, but it didn’t concern us.  It was the only time during our trip that we were going to be in the Galveston Bay.  We decided to chance it!  Hey, there were other swimmers enjoying the water, so we figured it couldn’t be too bad!

Bill waded out into the water…

Bill in the Oily Water at Galveston Island

He wore flip flops as Judy had also warned us that this particular area of Galveston Bay was covered with rocks and sharp stones.  While in the water, Bill didn’t see any oil, he didn’t feel any oil, heck, there’s no oil in this bay.

Then he promptly walked out of the water, and gasp!  His flip flops were covered in oil!  They were black as coal, and he ended up throwing them into the garbage can right there on the beach!

Laurie, being the more hesitant  and cautious of the two, decided to stay real close to shore.  She didn’t venture out into the oil field!

Cautious Laurie at Galveston Bay

The remainder of the day, we soaked up some rays and started on our tans.  Being from New York, we had no tan, and we really wanted to take advantage of the beautiful day!

We stayed in Bacliff, Texas for a few more days, then we set out on July 11, 1985 to travel across the big, wide-open state of Texas.  Upon leaving the Houston area, we were caught in a torrential downpour (once again).  We really started getting paranoid about taking this storm with us all the way to California.

When we arrived in New Braunfels, Texas around noon time we stopped to visit the Natural Bridge Caverns.  Natural Bridge Caverns was discovered in 1960 by a small group of college students from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio.  The cave is celebrating it’s 50th year since it’s discovery this year in 2010.  How amazing when you think we visited it 25 years ago, only half the time since it’s discovery!

Natural Bridge Caverns is a living cavern.  A living cavern is one where there is a constant drip of water which sustains the many formations within the cave.  The constant water supply also means that the formations are ever changing.  Natural Bridge Caverns has a guided tour that offers a dazzling sight of lustrous colors and formations throughout.

The cave was named in honor of the majestic (we do seem to like that word, don’t we) natural limestone bridge that spans the entrance of the cave.

Natural Limestone Bridge

Inside the cave, the lighting wasn’t always the best; and you have to remember this was 1985 so we really were limited with our little 35 mm Pentax camera.

The different areas of the cave have some very appropriate names.  This particular picture shows the area dubbed, “The Castle of The White Giants.”

Bill Among the Giants

The Castle of the White Giants

The area of the cave named “The Broom Closet” had a lot of very interesting formations, including many of these strips that look like bacon.  In fact, they call them “Bacon Strips.”

Bacon Strip

Other really impressive formations were in ‘The Broom Closet” too!

Formation in The Broom Closet

More of The Broom Closet

And some more unique formations throughout the cave!

Unique Formation

At the time we visited Natural Bridge Caverns there was a lot of water that covered some of the walkways.  Unfortunately, due to the excess water we were unable to see the entire cave, but we did get see most of it.

Here’s an example of some of the pools of water that had developed within the cave.

Room Partially under Water

When we finally ended our tour of Natural Bridge Cavern, we started out traveling toward New Mexico to an even bigger and better cavern!

But before we could reach the beautiful state of New Mexico, we had to drive miles and miles and more endless miles across the Texas desert!  We saw tumble weed.  We saw road runners.  We saw cactus.  We saw a lot of this:

Then we drove through some more of the Texan desert, and saw some more of this:

More Texan Desert

Finally, in the middle of the Texan Desert we stopped at a little state park named the Lady Bird Johnson State Park.  What appeared to be in the desert somehow smelled very much like a cow pasture.  In fact we believe that the Lady Bird Johnson State Park was indeed a cow pasture.  We could hear cow, we could definitely smell cow, and we were getting eaten alive by the biggest mosquitoes that we’d ever seen before!  Of course, Texans always brag they do every thing bigger and better in Texas, and we know for a fact that they grow bigger, meaner bugs in Texas (most especially at the Lady Bird Johnson State Park) than anywhere else that we visited along our travels.

We really didn’t mind the bugs, the smell, or the heat at that point as we were so tired; we just went straight to bed.

We hope you enjoyed our travels through Texas.  Come join us next time as we enter New Mexico.  No one answered our question from last time as to what famous cave lies within New Mexico – so you’ll need to stay tuned until next time to find out the answer as we travel along down the road in our home on wheels.

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Leaving Florida

While visiting Florida, we spent days gathered with family, went out to eat, and swam in Laurie’s aunt and uncle’s pool. They were lazy, hazy days, but we really enjoyed them.

One particular meal that we ate out was at a place called Duff’s Smorgasbord! Laurie’s grandparent’s all time favorite place to eat out was Duff’s. They had a plethora of different dishes for everyone to pig out on!! Bill often calls it “putting the feed bag on.” Anyway, we did want to mention that although Duff’s Smorgasbord Franchise did go out of business, the wide selection of food they offered was done so at the miraculously, cheap price of $3.75 for adults back in 1985. Can we just tell you that the place was packed, the food was good, and the grandparents paid! You couldn’t ask for anything more than that!

But getting back to our travels, we left Sebring, Florida at 2:20 a.m. on Saturday, July 6, 1985 to travel to Panama City, Florida.  By driving at night we found that it eased our travel days considerably. We’d go to bed, get 3 – 5 hours of sleep (hey, remember, we were kids, and could function on that little bit of sleep), then drive throughout the night.

There were many advantages to traveling this way. First, we wouldn’t be traveling during the hottest part of the day in the middle of the deep south. Secondly, we found that not being able to drive much over 55 mph, it was easier to drive when the traffic was thin. Thirdly, we would usually arrive at our destination about mid-morning; therefore, allowing us the entire day to go sightseeing.

On our way to Panama City, we drove right through the Apalachicola National Forest. It had appeared to have recently had a bad fire in the area. We often drove through National Forests on our travels. We  routed ourselves so we could see the best scenery while traveling across the country.

This particular day we crossed into the Central Time Zone. We arrived at Panama City at approximately 10:30 a.m. We checked into the campsite, donned our bathing gear, grabbed our beach towels, and ran for the Gulf of Mexico. We had to hurry as the clouds looked mighty dark and gray. We got to swim in the Gulf for about 15 minutes, then we ran back to the campground just in time to prevent getting drenched or hit by lightening.

We started to realize in the summer Florida had daily thunder storms, and they were usually pretty strong ones. But 30 minutes later the sun came out, and it was a beautiful evening. Here’s a couple of old postcards that we kept all these years of Panama City Beach.

On July 7, 1985 we left Panama City, Florida at 3:30 a.m. to arrive in Lafayette, Louisiana after traveling 400 miles.  The old motor home seemed to be humming right along with no overheating problems, nor did the clutch give us any more scares!

We arrived in Lafayette, Louisiana to be faced with yet another storm.  Bill made the statement, “We’ll probably take this storm all the way to California with us.”  On our way to Louisiana we crossed the Mississippi River.

Photo from freefoto.com
Photo from freephoto.com

The next day we traveled from Lafayette, Louisiana to Beaumont, Texas in order to stay a few days with our dear sister-in-law.  Beaumont is a suburb of Houston, but it’s on the Galveston Bay!

Join us next time as we tell you about our brief visit in Beaumont (and the nasties we experienced swimming in Galveston Bay), then traveling on across the BIG state of Texas!  Yes, we drove across the entire state of Texas, but it wasn’t boring!  We visited a beautiful cavern, which we’ll document next time followed by arriving in New Mexico!

Do you all know what famous cave is in New Mexico?  Go ahead, guess!  We bet someone knows!

When we arrived in New Mexico the following conversation took place:

“Bill,It finally feels like we’re really starting our trip!”

“Yes, my dear Laurie, it does!”

Until next time!

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The Wonderful World of Disney – Or Not!

If you read our last post, you’ll know that this particular post is mostly about our visit to Disney!

But first, we thought it would be good to let you know about the condition of the RV. Laurie’s aunt and uncle lived very close to her grandparents (same town), and they told us of their mechanic. Laurie’s uncle said he was very good, and he was! He fixed the clutch. He also told us that he didn’t think we were having any overheating problems, but that the dummy light was defective or overly sensitive. He installed a new gadget (that’s what Laurie called it) to the dashboard that gave a read out of the exact temperature that the engine was running at. With the new “gadget” we could tell if the engine was overheating or not. What a relief!

On July 2, 1985, we planned to visit Disney.  We got up early.  We left at 7:45 a.m. on the motorcycle and traveled  over 70 miles up the highway.  The day was hot, hot, hot AND humid. The ride up to Disney wasn’t too bad. One has a tendency to generate their own wind chill factor while riding a motorcycle, don’t you know!  We hadn’t started to feel the heat yet!

Upon entering the park, we were a bit overwhelmed by all that there was to do.  What to do first?  What to do next?  What would we enjoy the most?  All the typical questions that a first timer has while visiting Disney.

First, we went on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride.  This was before the days of Jack Sparrow, but that was the name of the ride!  In fact, we found this ride to be a very good run, and we only waited 45 minutes to get on!

This was before Disney had implemented RideMax or FASTPASS.  Basically, RideMax and FASTPASS estimate how long your wait for a particular ride will be through a computerized system.  Instead of wasting time in line, the system enables you to go enjoy different areas of the park while you’re “waiting.”  In 1985 the World of the Magic Kingdom hadn’t dreamt up this wonderful feature, so you had to do it the old-fashioned way – wait in line!  Wait, then wait some more, then fall asleep on your feet in the heat, then wake up to wait more before you could actually go through the magical turnstile to the ride.

But we felt the 45 minute wait was well worth it for the Pirates of the Caribbean ride.  Unfortunately, we were so excited to actually be experiencing a ride, that we really forgot about taking out the camera and getting pictures.  In fact, we only got this one of the Pirates of the Caribbean.

Next on the agenda was to head over to the African Safari exhibit ride.  Do they even have these rides anymore at Disney World?  We don’t know, we only made one visit to the Magical Kingdom ever!  And we don’t believe we’ll ever go back again!

The African Safari exhibit was quite interesting as we got to ride in a rather sturdy float boat through the entire exhibit.  It was all water generated, and we really didn’t mind being on the water as it was already starting to get unbearably hot!  Bill remembered to pull out the camera and he snapped lots of pictures!

Then suddenly the reedy branches parted and out popped this creature with a mighty trumpeting roar!

Near the end of our boat ride we got to see this mighty beast yawning his large jaw open and shut.

After the African Safari ride, we ventured over to a sight seeing area of Disney World.  There was a rather large grotto-type formation that you could walk by, get your picture taken near, or ride a riverboat past.

We quickly thought what a wonderful place to rest out of the hot sun and scorching heat.  We practically ran to the nearest cave opening, burst in through the cave entryway to be suddenly confronted with the most horrible stench of human urine that anyone could imagine.  Apparently there weren’t many public bathrooms in that area of the park, because many had decided to use the cool, dark enclosure of the cave as a bathroom.

But Bill urged Laurie to stand in the entryway without plugging her nose, and snapped a picture.

To this day Laurie insists that whenever she  looks at this particular photo, she’s sure she’s smelling a dirty, sweaty toilet!

Next we had lunch.  It was very expensive.  We ended up paying over $20 for a scanty meal.  You have to remember $20 would most likely feed us both for a whole week back in 1985.  We each had a burger only, then we bought a drink from a different stand, because the stand where we bought burgers didn’t sell drinks.  The drink stand offered chintzy ice-type drinks with blueberry, strawberry, or grape flavorings, but they did put a little toothpick umbrella thingy in the cup.  Perhaps that’s why they cost $5 each!

There were two people in front of us in line for the food, but they appeared to be together.  It seemed like a very long wait, when suddenly the servers started putting up mountains of food onto the counter.  Out of nowhere people were coming up to the booth to collect their food.  That’s when we realized that the two people in front of us had ordered about 20 meals!  We didn’t notice how much their bill was, but we bet it was humongous!

Meanwhile there was a man who noticed the almost 20 people randomly grabbing food off the counter, and he assumed they were budging ahead in line.  He had on a cute little wide-brimmed straw hat with his rather large ears sticking out from underneath.  He had large coke-bottle type glasses (don’t laugh, Laurie’s eyeglass prescription is of the coke-bottle type too), and he was utilizing his high-pitched nasally screech to pr0claim, “Hey, Hey, Hey!”  We really wish you could hear us imitating this man.  Twenty five years later,  whenever we hear someone yell, “Hey, Hey Hey!” we smile and  think of this man!  He’s imprinted upon our minds forever!

After almost an hour of waiting for our food, then 5 minutes of actual eating, we were back in the crowds looking for a great ride to go on.

Since most rides had lines of 2 hours or more, we had decided to find Space Mountain, which was the newest and greatest attraction that year at Disney.  We would ride it, then head on back to our home on wheels.  Once we located Space Mountain, we realized the line looked to be about a 3 hours wait!  What was a person to do!  We stood in line for over 3 hours!  In great anticipation we had edged our way up to the front of the line!  There were exactly 3 people in line ahead of us!  We knew we were going to be on the very next run of the biggest and best attraction!

But unexpectedly an attendant came to the front of the line that we were standing in, and stated, “Sorry folks, the ride has broken down, and we’re shutting it down for the day.”

By this time, we were exhausted from the heat.  We were fed up with the fact that we had been at Disney for a good 10 hour day, and had accomplished a total of 3 rides, and a crappy, expensive meal!  So we looked for a cool spot to rest our weary feet.  We found a small patio with umbrellas to shield us from the hot sun.  We rested for a little bit, when we got the really bright idea to go visit the castle.  The castle has four large awnings going into it (or at least it did then).  Upon entering you found yourself in a wide open space beneath the concave roof of the castle.  Or at least that was the way it was supposed to be.

We walked swiftly over to the castle, and it seemed as if we were sucked into it like a big vacuum.  It just sucked us and about 300 other people into a space that truly looked to be about 10 feet by 20 feet.  A lady with a stroller ran over Bill’s foot about 15 times on the way into the building.  We were unable to turn around to try to exit the castle due to the crowd behind us.  Plus the lady with the stroller was one determined lady!  She was going to get into that castle with her twins (yeah, it was a double stroller) if it was the last thing she did.

Being pushed into the dark, dreary castle by the crowd was not a fun thing, because we could sense that all four entryways were experiencing the same thing.  What happened was a huge human traffic jam of great proportions!  Now you may be thinking that we’re just exaggerating this piece of history to make it more interesting, but honest injun!  It happened just this way!  We could see that all four entryways had been entered by such a large crowd at the exact same moment that everyone met in the middle!  No one could move forward due to looking someone square in the eye who had entered from one of the other entryways.  There was no going backwards as there were people pushing, pushing us all forward trying to get into the middle of the traffic jam!

Finally, a Disney employee came along with a bull horn and started directing the human traffic out.  Bill’s foot was run over another 15 times by the stroller lady as we all inched our way backwards out of the castle!

By this time, we were whupped, tired and not very impressed with Disney.  It was around 8 p.m. and we had seriously discussed heading on back to Sebring, when……suddenly, Florida did it’s favorite thing!  It poured buckets from the sky!  Thunder was roaring, and lightening was putting on a pretty good show shooting across the sky!  Buckets and buckets later, we were starting to become concerned if we would be able to leave this nightmare at all!  Remember we were riding a motorcycle.  One thing you never do (if you want to live) is ride a motorcycle in the rain!

So a few hours later, and a few very expensive , plastic, rain ponchos later, we headed on back to our RV.  We arrived back at 1:00 a.m and we happily plopped ourselves into bed!

We realize that Disney World is not the same place that we visited 25 years ago, but in explaining to our son our impression of Disney World, Bill stated, “It was….it was…Mickey Mouse!”  Yes, it was very much a Mickey Mouse kind of outfit back then.

Come visit again soon as we tell you of our adventures at Panama City (which was a much more happier time than Disney – we promise!), and beyond!

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Continuation of the Broken Down Home On Wheels!!

We last left you when we were in the middle of an intersection in Avon Park, Florida in the pouring rain.  Yes, our little home on wheels was not going to move.  The clutch had stopped working on the RV.

The drivers around us were having a hard time seeing the road in front of them, so we were fretful that someone was going to hit our new home before we reached our first destination!

Laurie jumped out of the motor home and bravely started to stand in the middle of the very busy intersection (hoping and praying that she wouldn’t get hit).  She started directing traffic around the RV.

In the meantime, Bill jumped out of the comfortable driver’s seat, and shot out the door to the back trunk to fetch some fluid to pour into the clutch.  He uncapped the fluid, poured it in, pumped the clutch, then yelled, “Laurie, get back in here, we’re ready to roll.”

And roll we did.  We rolled into a nearby parking lot.  The clutch seemed to be back in working order, so we called Laurie’s grandparents from the pay phone (those were the days when every major intersection, parking lot, and place of business had a pay phone – no one had cell phones back then) who promptly drove to Avon Park to lead us back to their home.

Upon arriving, we were tired, hot, and soaked!  After getting the RV parked on the side lawn of Laurie’s grandparents’ property, we decided to relax for a little bit, then go see some sights.  We still had a motorcycle that was operating, and we were beginning to wonder if it was going to be the only mode of transportation that we would be using for our cross country trip.

It didn’t cross either of our minds to turn back and return to New York.  We were California bound, and we were going to get there somehow, someway, some day (we hoped).

After getting our wits about us, we decided to take the motorcycle out for a ride.  We drove to the Highlands Hammock State Park in Sebring.  Highlands Hammock State Park is one of the oldest state parks in Florida.  It first opened to the public in 1931.  The park is known for its old-growth cypress swamp.  There’s a boardwalk that winds through the beautiful cypress forest.  The trees are hanging with Spanish moss from their mighty limbs.  Algae and lichens adhere to the great trunks so they mainly look greenish-gray in color.  When the sun shines at the most perfect angle, you can see the reflection of the trees in the murky swamp water.

We walked along the boardwalk that runs through the park, because mostly we wanted to see a real live alligator!  We had heard that they could be seen from the boardwalk.  We did see one!   It was a little baby alligator!  See!

Okay, maybe we need to point him out to you, because he’s so tiny!

Can you see him?  His little beady eyes were poking up out of the water!  That was the only gator that we saw in Florida!  Truth be told, it was the only one that Laurie wanted to see.  He was big enough.  But Bill has an adventurous streak in him, and he wanted to go find this little guy’s mama!

Upon driving out of the park, Bill saw a couple of deer.  Okay, he really did!  They were tucked back in a rather dark, shaded area; so you can’t really see them very well.  In fact, Bill  had to point them out, because they are hardly discernible. See!

Okay, okay, we’ll point them out to you, because really, we saw those deer, but now they aren’t so easily seen!

We think that’s the back end of those deer.  We aren’t too sure, but we think!

Our visit to Highlands Hammond Park was an enjoyable one, but it was cut short as it was getting to be dark, and the park closes at dusk.

Come back and visit soon, because our next post will be about our visit to this well-known park.

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Our First Days Traveling

It was Tuesday, June 25, 1985 when we had planned to leave on our massive trip across the country.  We had gotten married on a Saturday, then planned to give ourselves a few days to get things situated into the RV before traveling south to Florida.  Laurie had family that lived in Florida which we wanted to be sure to visit on our way out west.  Well, they may not have been on the way, but we decided that we would like to see them anyway!

We frantically had been packing the RV for a few days, and hoping beyond hope that it would be finished before we planned to leave on Tuesday.  There were more things that we planned to put in that RV than we could actually fit into it!  How did that happen?

Tuesday morning we said our tearful goodbyes to Laurie’s parents as we were staying with them until we left on our trip.  We said our goodbyes very early in the morning as they both were off to work for the day.

Then we rushed out to the RV for the remainder of the morning to frantically shove stuff here and there, trying to get everything we wanted to take with us within the 19 1/2 foot walls.

Things weren’t going too well, because there just wasn’t enough room.  Maybe we would have to stay another day in upstate NY and get better situated.

An elderly neighbor lady to Laurie’s parents walked across the street around noon time and said, “I thought you two were planning to leave today.”

We responded that we had hoped to, but we just couldn’t get everything situated into such a small space just yet, at least maybe not today – maybe tomorrow.

She put her hands on her hips and said, “Laurie, you just can’t put your parents through the turmoil of saying goodbye a second time.”

She was right!  We knew we had to hightail it out of there before Laurie’s parents got home for the day from work.  Laurie’s dad was home pretty early in the afternoon most days, so we just threw the remaining belongings helter skelter into the RV and started our trip!

Really, that’s about how we got started.  Clothes were lying on the back bed which is where we had planned on sleeping.  Cookware was shoved into the cupboards…..well, let’s just say that it was a complete mess!

But down the road we drove.

Cruising down the road several hours later, we really got tired of the one lane traffic through Pennsylvania due to construction.  Can we just say that Pennsylvania is always like that in the summertime.  Pennsylvania has some rolling hills (and some mountains) that curve and sway through Route 81 coming out of NY.  It’s treacherous most summer days as the construction crews can only work during the warmer months to get the roads back in good driving conditions.

So we took a detour off Route 81 and started on a different route.  We ended up in Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania for the night.  We had only traveled just under 180 miles that first day.   At that rate, it would likely take us over a week to get to Florida.

At the rate we were going, we started to think maybe we should have one of these:

But nah!  We couldn’t have used a carriage without one of these:

We did a bit better the next day.  We got up bright and early and were on the road at 7:30 a.m.  We drove until 1:30 then ate a small lunch in the motor home.  One of the nice things about taking your home on wheels is that you can fix food, and eat it as you drive.  Or you can pull over and have lunch at the “kitchen” table.  We drove to Enfield North Carolina that night with a total of 425 miles.  A bit better, but still slow going.

The third day which was the day we had hoped to arrive at Laurie’s grandparents house was a little rougher going.  The motor home seemed to be overheating, or at least that was what the gauge was reading.  We stopped, let the RV cool off, then we’d try to drive a bit further.  Same problem, overheating or at least that’s what the gauge was registering.  We’d knock our fists onto the dashboard and say, “I wonder if this thing even works!”

We got just across the Georgia border when the RV, once again, overheated.  We pulled over for an hour, then we pulled off some extra blankets that we had sitting in the cab just over the motor (thinking they might be insulating the engine too much and making it overheat).  We even turned the heater on in the RV, because the heat is filtered off the engine thinking that might help.  We do remember it being an extremely hot, sticky day and with the heat on – it was unbearable.

You can imagine our dismay to discover that we had a lot of miles that we planned on driving in the next few months, but we couldn’t drive the RV too fast or too far without the gauge reading “HOT!”  We ended up driving as far as St. Augustine, Florida the third day before pulling over for the night.

The next day we were a bit apprehensive as to what the driving day would bring with our ancient home on wheels.  We continued with all our antics to keep the temperature gauge from going into the red zone, such as keeping the blankets off the engine cover (which sat between the driver’s and passenger’s seats) and running the heat.  It helped enough for us to get as far as Avon Park in Florida.

Avon Park is just 9 miles north of Sebring where our destination was.  Laurie’s grandmother had told her to call them when they arrived in Avon Park.  She and Laurie’s grandfather would come lead us to their house.

The only problem was….we had another problem.  It started pouring rain!  Bucketfuls came showering down upon little Avon Park and us!  We were not able to see only a few feet in front of us, when suddenly, the clutch went out on the RV.  Bill couldn’t move it one foot forward or backwards or sideways.

Join us next time as the true saga continues of our travels across the United States!

P.S. Yeah, we know – it’s a cliffhanger until next time!

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Why Is Our Blog Titled I Can’t Drive 55?

Well, first we’ll tell you a little bit of history about the song written by Sammy Hagar titled, “I Can’t Drive 55.”

Sammy Hagar had a little cabin in the area of Lake Placid, NY. That’s the same Lake Placid that the Winter Olympics took place in 1932 and then again in 1980. Apparently, Sammy wanted to get away from it all and visit the cabin to do some songwriting. Unfortunately, there is no direct flight into Lake Placid (or at least there wasn’t at that time), so he rents a car to drive from Albany, NY to Lake Placid. It’s quite a drive, so Sammy is cruising along at 62 miles per hour in a 55 mile per hour zone at 2:00 in the morning with one little cabin in the woods on his mind.

Next thing Sammy knows he’s getting pulled over by a police officer, and he tells the man, “I can’t drive 55.” The officer informed Sammy that in this particular area of the country they give tickets for driving over 60 mph in a 55 mph zone. Sammy claims that before the officer finished writing the ticket, the lyrics for his song were being written in his head.

So, what does that have to do with our blog?

Twenty five years ago when we got married we had a master plan. Our plan was to move to California. We wanted to see the country before settling down in California, so we had to have a plan. Our plan was to save our pennies, buy a motor home, then sight see our way across the country.

We bought a 1968 Winnebago Motor Home. Now you have to remember that this was back in 1985, and even then a vehicle built in 1968 was ancient. It had under 75,000 miles on it. The engine was in good shape, and we got a great deal on it. It was 19 1/2 feet long, and it is what we called home for 8 months (traveling for 3 of those 8 months). Everything that we started out in our married life with, fit into that little 19 1/2 foot long home! We know we could never do that now, but hey, we were kids, young, free, and newly married!

Here’s a pictures of our little home on wheels.

This particular vehicle was built back in a day when very few highways were traveled at high speeds.  In fact, we found that we often couldn’t drive it much over 55 mph or it would overheat.  You have to keep in mind that we also had all our belongings housed within its walls, which was a substantial weight, and we also had to haul up some pretty good sized hills and mountains during our travels.

So now you know why we called our blog “I Can’t Drive 55” because we really couldn’t!  Well, we could have, but we’re sure we would have left the motor somewhere in Utah if we had.

But we also strapped to the back of our new home, this little baby:

No, Laurie didn’t drive the motorcycle, nor did she drive the motor home.  She couldn’t reach the clutch pedal for shifting the motor home which had a 3-speed on the column.  And she didn’t even want to try to ride the motorcycle other than being a backside passenger.

Although she did like to pretend to want to drive both. Here she is sitting in the driver’s seat of the RV, relaxing.  That’s all she ever did in the driver’s seat of the RV – RELAX!  It was a comfy seat, you know!

Of course while Laurie was busy relaxing in the driver’s seat that she would never use as it was meant to be used, Bill was cleaning, fixing, stripping, screwing in cupboards, on the motor home.

“No, Bill, you’re wrong.  I was packing, making curtains for the motor home, and getting ready for a wedding.  There was no relaxing!”

“Whatever you say, my dear Laurie!”

So, we call our blog “I Can’t Drive 55” because we really couldn’t drive 55 mph with our new home on wheels.  We thought we really had to baby that old motor home, but the truth is that we drove it over 10,000 miles, and it never broke down.  It didn’t even sputter or cough once.  Well almost!

Our next post will tell how our journey began and where our travels took us to first.

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Where It All Began

So we decided to share with you a small portion of our wedding album!

When we got married 25 years ago, we both agreed on a couple of things.  We wanted a family and best friend only wedding.  We wanted a home wedding, and we wanted it to be simple, but complete.

How does one go about that?  We got married in the back yard of Laurie’s parents house.  There was a huge, looming pine tree that majestically towered over the family’s back yard.  That was the spot.

Laurie and her mother cooked all the food in advance, because they wanted home-cooked food.  Bill’s family was a large family, so a lot of cooking went on for days and days.

It was a touching experience for Laurie and her mom as they talked, laughed, reminisced about “the good old days” not realizing that one day Laurie and her husband-to-be would one day write about those very days, and call them “the good old days” for our blog “I Can’t Drive 55!”

Note:  You may be wondering why this blog is called “I Can’t Drive 55” but that’s a future post.

The day arrived as a hot, humid, windy day in a small community in upstate New York.  Bill’s family arrived from across the state to spend the day with their new daughter-in-law and their son.  Laurie was the first of her family to marry, so her brothers arrived with their friends too.  You know, home-cooked food is a huge attraction to country folk!

The wedding party was assembled, and they proceeded with the ceremony before all their friends and family.

The guys (Bill and brother-in-law, Paul – who was best man) waited patiently for the ceremony to begin along with the Justice of Peace who was actually Laurie’s mother’s boss.  In fact, Laurie’s mother signed her marriage certificate.  But, oh yeah, the guys waiting…….

Then, here comes the Maid of Honor who was Laurie’s childhood best friend, Diane.

And finally, the bride on her father’s arm.

Are they laughing at the bride?  We can’t remember.  But we do know that when Bill and Paul get together  – there’s lots and lots of laughing that takes place.

In fact, the laughing lasted through much of the ceremony!

Can you see Paul?  He’s mumbling something to Bill.  He is!  He did that most of the ceremony, so we had more of this laughing going on!

But then again, we did have some solemn moments too!

But then it was time for the rings, and well, see Paul – he’s at it again! He’s mumbling something to the bride and groom!  Paul!  You stop that!

Then finally!  The kiss!  Oooh, laaa, laa! Sweet!  But look at Paul, we know he was saying something!  What?  Neither of us know, but we just know he was saying something.

Congratulations all around now!

Pictures with the families!

Then finally, the food, the relaxation, and just getting used to “He’s my husband” and “She’s my wife.”  Notice how we aren’t even looking at each other??  What’s up with that?

Oh, yeah, we almost forgot…the cutting of the cake!

That’s how it all began, folks!  It was a grand day!  It was a beautiful day for us to start our life together.  Here we are 25 years later retelling it all, and it feels like it was just yesterday!

Continue on our journey as we tell you next time just why our blog is called, “I Can’t Drive 55!”

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