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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

End of the Fun

After a nice visit with the grandsons, we have to take them to their new home tomorrow in SC.  It's about an 8 hour/500 mile trip.  Wish we were able to make the trip in our Journey, but it's still up in PA with our SIL Brian.  Of course, we'll take some run around breaks.  We're sure gonna' miss them, they fill up the house and the days. :c)

I have a portable DVD player that we'll be using to help them pass the time.  Wish I had a DVD player when my kids were little.  Funny, though, their favorites are the Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Looney Tunes cartoons, the same ones I enjoyed as a kid.  I think those cartoons are timeless, unlike the junk that's out there today.

Marti and I hope to return home on July 3rd to beat the holiday traffic.  If we have time, we'd like to check out the nearby military CG and make plans for future visits.  I may not post over the weekend, our daughter  Heather has not yet gotten an Internet connection in the new house.

Other than that, wishing you all a great Independence Day celebration!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Everywhere we drive around our home in Northern VA, we see cars and SUV's with "OBX" bumper and window stickers.  "OBX" is the abbreviation for the Outer Banks of North Carolina, a chain of barrier islands off the North Carolina coast.

It is a favorite tourist destination, with miles of sandy beaches that during the off season you can drive your SUV on.  People are drawn to this destination like flies are drawn to, um, sugar.
Marti and I are always looking for a new adventure in our RV, so in late fall, we loaded the tadpoles into the Element toad, hooked it up behind the motorhome and headed out to see what OBX is all about.

We arrived and found a nice campground that bordered the ocean on one side and the bay on the other side, we could have our pick of nearly every site there.  We chose the bay side because it was less windy and we could watch nice sunsets over the bay.

We explored up and down the main drag and ventured up to Kitty Hawk, where the Wright brothers launched the first powered airplane in history in 1903. 

The museum at Kitty Hawk has a full size replica of the Wright Flyer.

A Park Ranger gave a talk about the Wright brothers, their plane and the events that led up to the day when they became the first men to fly.  It was a fascinating presentation, it had about 15 minutes of information packed into 45 minutes.  Yes, the Ranger was impressed with himself.

We walked the grounds of Kitty Hawk and paced out the distance of the first flight.  It wasn't very far at all.  We read about how the Wright brothers chose the Kitty Hawk location and traveled there from their home and bicycle shop in Ohio.  Kitty Hawk had strong, steady winds that were necessary for flight.

The day we were there, a kite flying contest was being held.  It was comical, none of the kites got airborne no matter how hard their owners tried.  There was no wind!

The next day we explored some of the beaches with the Element.  It was a new experience for us, we've driven the desert, but not the sand.  The Element did just find, despite the soft sand.  I let air out of the tires, down to about 20 psi to give the tires a bigger footprint.

When we were done, I re-inflated the tires to the correct pressures with a portable air pump I carry.

The last day, we drove down to the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. 

This light house has withstood hurricanes and all the inclement weather Mother Nature could through at it.  But it couldn't withstand the creeping erosion of the sea.  It was picked up and moved intact from its original location to a new place one quarter mile further inland.  The original site is marked by a ring of stones.

We discovered that OBX has alot to offer and can see why so many people enjoy coming to the area.  I also realized that even though I spent many years out on the ocean in sea going assignments, I missed being out there.

We browsed through many shops all along the Outer Banks.  And no, we didn't buy an "OBX" sticker.

Thanks for visiting and please feel free to leave a comment.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Buoys, boats and boys

After finally wrestling my computer away from my two blogging grandsons, I had a few moments to post what we did today.  What more fun for a three and six year old boy than go to work with their Pa?

I don't work in the usual place, my office resides on a large Coast Guard Training Center with all kinds of interesting stuff.

At the Aids to Navigation School, Coastguardsmen (Coasties) are taught the fundamentals of buoy servicing, repair and positioning.  The Coast Guard maintains thousands and thousands of buoys, lighthouses and other channel markers all around the United States to assist mariners in safe travel on rivers, bays and oceans controlled by the United States.

Andrew and Owen got a look at some of the  Fresnel lenses that are found in lighthouses.  These lenses multiply the intensity of the light so it appears brighter and can be seen farther out to sea.

                           Some of the lenses are relatively small.

Others are a little bit larger.

The boys took turns manning the wheel of an old Coast Guard Cutter.

Outside, Owen got up close on a can buoy.  These buoys are found in inshore waters.  Note the tiny solar panels that power the white light on top of the buoy.


Then they inspected a large buoy that is found marking channels in the oceans.

I took the boys down to the boat basin where the Coast Guard boats are kept that new Coasties train on.  These boats are some of the newest boats in the Coast Guard fleet.

I had to show the boys the 41 foot Utility Boats that I maintained and ran during my career.  They may be old but dozens are still in service. 

I thought they'd be impressed but they were more fascinated by the Jellyfish floating around in the water.

So much for early recruiting efforts! ;c)

Thanks for visiting and please feel free to leave a comment.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Owie's Turn

I'm Owie and I'm Bubbie's little brother.  His real name is Andrew but I still call him Bubbie 'cause that's what I called him when I was little.  Now I'm a big boy, I'm three and Bubbie and I take turns in everything we do.  Pa said I could write today's blog.

Today, we went to our favorite breakfast place.

I had hot cakes.  I really like them!

Bubbie likes them too, but they're not as good as the hot cakes my daddy makes!

Today Pa and Mimi had a surprise for us.  They took us to an Air Show!  It's called the Flying Circus and it was near Pa and Mimi's house in a town called Bealton, VA.

They had lots of old bi-planes that were beautifully restored to flying condition. (Pa says if you click your mouse on the pictures, they'll get bigger.)

It was really hot.  Mimi made us wear hats and sprayed Sun Block all over us.  We ate Ice Pops to try and stay cool.

I watched the planes fly while looking through a fence around the air field.

The planes did lots of tricks and flew in formations.  They had a man jump from a plane with a parachute and another man wing-walked.  He even hung upside down from a wing!

It got so hot we poured water in our hats to cool down.

After the show, Bubbie and I talked to one of the pilots.  He teaches people how to fly and said he'd teach me when I get older.  I'm going to learn to fly next year, I'll be four!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Notes from the Third Generation

Hi everybody!  This is Andrew writing tonight instead of Pa and Mimi, who ya'll know as Paul and Marti.  They are my grandparents and I'm staying with them and my little brother Owie while mommy and daddy get our new house ready for us in South Carolina.  Pa said something about he's too tired to blog tonight, so I said I'd do it for him.

Pa and Mimi do all kinds of fun stuff with us.  Today we left the house and went to Burger King for lunch.  It's a neat place because they have an indoor playground.  Owie and I liked the slide the best.

I tried Burger King's Chicken Fries, I never had them before and I really liked them.  I think I ate about a Zillion of them!

Owie liked them too!

Owie and I wanted a nice picture with Pa.

Pa wanted a nice picture of Owie and I with Mimi, so he snapped a photo when we were looking our best!

After lunch, we had to take a quick run to the car wash.  Pa said his car was visited by a flock of birds.  It sure was noisy in the car wash!

We went to a museum that was all about Marines.  They had lots of neat stuff in there.  I liked planes and tanks and Jeeps. 

Owie like the sandbags the best!

After the museum, we went back to Pa and Mimi's house where we did the funnest thing we like to do there.

After supper, I wanted our picture taken with Zoe, the dog.  We tried and tried but she wouldn't stay still.

Mimi thinks she's afraid of the camera's flash because she hates thunder and lightning storms.

We like staying at Pa and Mimi's house, it's almost as much fun as when we go camping in their motorhome.  Mommy, if you're reading this, can we stay at Pa and Mimi's longer?  Please!!!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Having fun with the boys.

Started out the day early to get to the range for my quarterly firearms qualification.  I was going to shoot, then beat feet home to take over from Marti so she could go to work.

Of course, my mind was not firmly on the target and for the first time in my entire career, I didn't qualify!  So I had to step back, take a breath, slow down and shoot the course again...and I was successful.  Phew!  Then I beat feet and of course hit traffic, with a broken down 18 wheeler blocking a lane.  Some days (some days?) you just can't win.

Got home as soon as I could and Marti handed off the boys to me.  A quick lunch at McDonald's (with the great inside playground) and the grandsons and I hit the pool for a nice long swim.

We sure have been enjoying the pool in the backyard, nothing to fancy, just an inflatable 18' x 4' pool we ordered on line.  It was a careful purchase because we know we'll only use it for a little while and pass it on when we hit the road.

Today was GS Owen's third birthday.  We had a party for him the other day when his mom and dad were here, before they had to leave to travel to SC and close on their new home.  Marti thought we still needed to do something special, so we hopped in the car and went to Chuck E. Cheese's for some fun, games and really gross pizza.  The boys loved it.  Pass the Rolaids!

After dinner, it was off to Baskin Robins for some ice cream and rainbow sherbet, the boy's favorite.  Marti and I had cones and Andrew asked me if he could try my ice cream cone.  I handed it to him and he bit about 2 inches off the bottom of the cone and then to make it even more challenging, took a big bit out of the side of the cone, then handed it back to me.

Marti lost it, she cracked up and couldn't stop laughing.  Here I was trying to hold together what was left of my cone and ice cream and avoiding getting it all over me while watching the tears roll out of Marti's eyes.  A little comic relief, I guess.

We wouldn't trade one second of time with the grandson's for anything. :c)

Sorry it's nothing special today, (not every day can be a wonderful post about a great historical site) but it's a slice of our lives as we contiune on towards our full time future.