Friday, April 8, 2011

"Road Trip".........

The cliffhanger from the past blog entry is solved.  Joe never made it to the "Dancing With the Stars" debut.  He had a very ligitimate excuse: "ooops".

With all the formal events behind us, it was time for a "ROAD TRIP"!!  We boarded a plane in Tampa and flew to Washington, DC for Vicki's niece's wedding.  Aimee Cooper and Fish (Brian Fisher) were married on Saturday, March 26.  Vicki's minister-uncle (Aimee's great uncle) performed the ceremony, Norm walked Aimee down the aisle and gave the "Father" of the Bride speech.  He was quite honored to have been asked to do that and he was moved by the event.  It was a great wedding.  How could it not be when the program listed "Congo Line Coordinator".  And, since Aimee grew up with our three girls, they all came to the wedding too with hubby's in tow.  Little JoycE came too.  It was a mini-family reunion. 

The Cheery Blossoms were out in DC

Vicki standing by the Pacific side of the WWII Memorial and the place where she (secretly-not allowed) buried some of her father's ashes.  Cal served in the Navy, escorted the ship where the Japanese surrendered,  and was very proud of his service.

It was chilly there!

Fish is a tour guide when not directing school bands.  He got the tour bus exclusively for family on Thursday night.  Gave any family in town at the time a fantastic historical tour of the monuments.

Aimee was the conductor and flag distributor

Here's where the "elected children" play

Daughters Katie and Chris; and, baby JoycE and Son-in-Law Joel

Korean War Memorial--Spectacular at night

JoycE, Joel and Chris on the tour bus

Rehersal dinner-someone brought mustashes, eyebrows and beards--required attire.

Aimee and Fish

Norm and Aimee

Norm giving the "father"-of-the-bride toast.  He had to wear socks for this event, folks.

The bride and groom having a tender moment on the dance floor

Daughter Katie and Vicki

Daughter Colleen, (with grand-miracle #4) and Norm on the dance floor.

Four Generations:  Vicki's Mom (Avie), Vicki, Chris and JoycE

It was time to depart Washington DC, unfortunately at the beginning of the Cherry Blossom Festival.  We rented a car and drove to some Virginia towns we have never been to.  First stop was Charlottesville, VA,  home to Jefferson's University of VA and Monticello, Jefferson's home.  We really enjoyed this stop and learned a lot about Jefferson.

Jefferson's beloved Monticello.  His grave is in the family plot a short
distance down the hill from the mansion

Then it was on to Lynchburg, VA.  Interesting town built on the side of a mountain.  Lots of Confederate memorials here.  And, Jerry Falwells Liberty University is here.  Very impressive campus and most important (to Norm anyway) a ski hill with no snow.  That's right, it was some other material that is kept wet.  Watch this:

Check out this ski hill with no snow.  Cooooool!!

The road trip continued to Roanoke, VA.  Both Lynchburg and Roanoke are in the midst of urban renewal.  They have real promise but now lots of closed up shops and scars of urban decay.   Actually, we were very excited about these towns as possible retirement locations.  But, really not our mojo there.

It was on to Raleigh, NC next.  We stopped by Rick and Lynnie's home in Cary (suburb of Raleigh) for a couple of nights.  You devoted blog readers will remember our good friends Rick and Lynnie and their Defever "Rickshaw".  They buddy-boated with us for a few years.  They are land-dwellers now and sold their beloved Defever.  We had a great time.  Vicki and Lynnie got a pedicure.  Norm helped Rick with a house project.  After all that, it was play-time.  It was a wonderful visit.  It was sad to say goodbye when they put us on an Amtrack train for our journey back to Sarasota. We didn't get much sleep on the train and 1 hour outside of Tampa, the train hit a truck that tried to beat the gate--but didn't, by a hair.  No one was injured but the authorities had to investigate and fill out reports and do interviews, etc.  We were delayed by an hour.  The last leg of this journey was on an Amtrack bus to Sarasota from Tampa.  We arrived home safe, but exhausted. We've been relaxing since them.

Vicki, Norm, Lynnie and Rick at the University Chapel

Rick and Lynnie took us on a tour of Durham, Raleigh, and these gardens.  Where's Wal__, ooops, I mean Vicki?

Lynnie and Rick at the gardens

One night while playing canasta, Vicki tried to do the mind-meld with Rick.  But he wasn't having any of it and protected himself with this mind-meld barrier.  He won!

This truck tried to beat the RR gate--and lost!  No injuries and only minor damage, luckily. 

No long rest for the weary, though.  Vicki took off today for Columbus, Ohio for Colleen's two baby showers this weekend.  So Norm is "batching it" on the boat tonight.  Tomorrow, our friend Roger will pick Norm up for a drive down to Cape Coral to see their new home.  And, maybe a toddy or two.

More later............

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