Sammy and I are back! We flew space-a as far as Tucson, AZ and got stranded when the last leg of the mission to Hawaii got cancelled. We had a great time while the ride lasted, then switched gears quickly and made our way up to Phoenix for the night, then caught a Hawaiian Airlines flight this morning. We are happy to be back. We really enjoyed meeting all the wonderful KC-10 crews along the way while flying on the military planes, and I have a new appreciation for the adventure now after flying among the hordes… More details later, but wanted to let everyone know we’re back home in one piece. Time to shower!!!!
We are heading back to Hawaii tomorrow via space-a. I think we’re going through Georgia, then Arizona, staying over on Sunday evening, then flying the last leg on Monday. It’s the same mission number all the way through, so we are allowed to catch a ride. It’s exciting to be so close to getting home! Say some prayers all goes smoothly 🙂
All the travel pictures are now in the album, and for a short time you can view pictures of my friend Ron Lester’s hike up Island Peak, right near Everest. He brought a rock back for me from Everest base camp. Very cool!
Sammy and I are back in NJ now – staying with Dad and Marilou for a few days, then down to Delaware to visit Aunt Kate, then back up and hopefully catching a flight home on Sunday. We have over 2000 miles on the car, traveled through 7 states, and stayed in 9 homes. It has been wonderful to see so many people and reconnect with dear friends from many years ago. I have a lot of work to do uploading pictures from the last week, but that must wait until after I’ve done some “real” work 🙂
Sammy and I enjoyed a trip up to the Adirondack high peaks today. Maureen and Amy were eager to head up to Lake Placid as well, so had great company for the trip. We decided to hike Mt. Jo, near Heart Lake. It was such a great day – we were really surprised by how warm it was. I think it was easily 70 on the trail. But in true Adirondack fashion, we still managed to catch a chill on the summit – the combination of sweat and wind will always do it! Sammy did a great job hiking up the trail. I had to help him scramble over all the boulders but he did the whole distance. It was 2.5 miles and 700 ft elevation gain. When we got back to the ADK info center, I asked if they had a patch for Mt. Jo and they did! So I bought him a patch for his first Adirondack peak. I almost cried – this is such a special area to me and I really enjoyed sharing it with my little friend. There were some funny stories along the way, but to preserve the privacy of those involved I will only share the vaguest details… We saw something dart across the trail – not huge, but not small either. Mo spotted it, and I got a tad nervous. I had my baby on the trail and absolutely nothing to defend ourselves with! Mo reassured me there was nothing to worry about. Nothing big and hairy, anyway. THEN I heard a growl. A low, gutteral growl. I was like “MO! Did you hear that?!” She just looked around and said “No?” in a sweet little voice. OK. So on we go. I decided to hike in front and let whatever was lurking behind have to deal with Mo as she brought up the rear. She is far less tasty than succulent little Sammy. So I figured she’d be safe, and I’d get warning. We hiked on up, Sammy took a trail pee as I peered deep into the woods in a 360 just like the secret service guys do, eyes probing. Didn’t see anything. Then I heard the growl again from a bit higher on the trail. Strangely near where Mo was standing. This time I said “Mo! You heard that, right?!” And she said “OH!! Yes.” Then chuckled. I must leave the story there. The rest is classified. But I will say that I laughed like crazy in relief and enjoyed the rest of the day. Of course, I had to tell her hubby, Tim, as soon as he got home that night.
Here we are with Sammy’s uncles in the fall foliage outside Boston, MA. We were in Sharon for Dave’s cousin Jack’s wedding. It was a great weekend! Sammy led a little hike around the hotel and enjoyed tossing rocks into the stream with his uncles, watching Tim jump off a bridge railing (pulling a 360 while he was in the air) and looking for trolls. We’re in Saratoga Springs now for the first week of October. All the photos and stories are up in the album 🙂
Sammy and I went to NYC to visit my brother Doug, and his fiance Mary over the weekend. Sammy finally got to ride a “big fat bus” (something he’d been talking about for months) and get his hair cut at a salon! He also enjoyed sushi with Mary and Doug’s friend Tricia, and cupcakes afterwards from the famous Magnolia bakery in their neighborhood. We were so wiped out after all the adventures that we both crashed hard last night. Sam JUST woke up (it’s after 9am) and I got 10 hrs of sleep. Last night we also celebrated Richie and Diane’s 26 years of marriage with a wonderful dessert spread prepared by Jen. I haven’t offloaded those pictures yet, but you can find all the photos of our time on Long Island and NYC through yesterday afternoon by clicking on the shot above. Gail and Bill are finally back from Alabama (Gail’s father passed away a week ago) and we’re going to see them later this morning. We’ll be staying at their house in Amityville through the end of the week. Sammy is excited to see his Nana and PopPop, and they are very excited to see him!
Here’s Sam cheering Stacie on at her volleyball game (which they won!). We also picked out a pumpkin this morning and some really wild colored gourds for the front stoop. It was fun to do some fall things and have the air be appropriately warm and crisp 🙂 Tonight we had awesome pizza for dinner and Sam had about three different desserts I think. He had grass on his forehead (from romping on the front lawn with Stacie, learning how to do sprawls and other cool moves) and frosting all over his chin. Happiness! He’s having a blast playing monkey with cousin Richie and soaking up all the attention from Aunt Diane and Uncle Cool. Jen and Stacie lavish lots of loving on the little guy. He is lucky! We are enjoying ourselves, and looking forward to seeing Gail and Bill soon.
Dad took us to a remote “tank farm” at Ft. Dix today where they repair tanks used in training. Above is 1Lt Johnston who graciously gave us a tour of Abrams tanks, tank recovery vehicles, personnel carriers and humvees.
We had an impromptu visit from Doug and Mary this afternoon! I thought they were traveling this weekend, but it turned out they were both in the City (a rarity these days) and were interested in coming down for a visit to the ‘country’.
We drove 30 min north to Princeton today to see my old home and high school (we moved there just before my 11th grade). Our old house seems massive compared to my recollection, and the town of Princeton was gorgeous. The weather was equally nice – warm, dry, and leaves falling.
(Click on the picture above for photos from our trip so far.) Sammy and I checked out the Historic Smithville Park today. After getting a decent rest, we were ready for some adventure. A friend of Dad and Marilou’s is in charge of all the Burlington County parks. They certainly did a nice job with this one. We ran about 5K on a series of woodland trails past a stream and around a small lake. We found some leaves turning yellow – Sam picked up a maple leaf and said “I found a star!”
It is always weird losing 6 hrs of your day! I was wondering how tough it would be to adjust to east coast time. My philosophy is don’t start shifting bedtime in advance, just exhaust yourself on the day of travel and you’ll wind up feeling tired at the right time the next day.
We made it! We’re in the same time zone as many of our family and friends! No mental math before calling 🙂 Here’s the story of our amazing adventure flying to NJ on a military plane. We had such a great time…