Monday, October 22, 2018

Dover - Delaware Capital and More

After three months in WashPA we are slowly heading south. We continue to have an issue with the leveling jacks and were not able to get an appointment to have them repaired. We did have a mobile service come and look at them but they could not get us in for a repair, so for now I will raise them manually. The new plan is to try and get an appointment in Florida. As for the acceleration problem we have driven over 300 miles and so far it has not been an issue. Who knows???   
Our original plan was to stay a couple days near Annapolis and tour the capitol. Since the jacks are a pain in the butt, we decided to head to Delaware for a longer stay and tour that capitol and then do a day trip to Annapolis. Driving to the Delmarva Peninsula means crossing the Bay Bridge over Chesapeake Bay, a very high level experience. We are staying at the Delaware State Fair Campground in Harrington.   
Delaware is known as "The First State" since it was the first to ratify the U.S. Constitution on December 7, 1787. It ranks 49th in size and 45th in population. Legislative Hall, the second capitol building in Dover, was built in the Georgian Revival colonial style. It has been the home of the state government since 1933 with a couple expansions as the government got larger.
In 1776 Delaware not only declared its independence from Great Britain, but also from Pennsylvania which had controlled the area since 1682. The Delaware Continentals statue honors those from the state who fought in the Delaware regiment of the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War. 
The state has 21 Senators who are elected to four year terms. Only two presidents have ever been to this capitol, in 1998 President Clinton addressed the legislature in this chamber. President Obama came here to pay his respects to Beau Biden, the son of Vice-President Joe Biden, who passed away in 2015.
I always like the tours where you get to sit in the big chair. Such a feeling of power.
The state seal of Delaware. 1704 was the year the lower counties established their own legislative assembly, 1776 was the year they declared Delaware an independent state and 1787 was the year they signed the U.S. Constitution. The corn and wheat symbolize agriculture, the blue is for the Delaware River, the ox is for husbandry, and the ship is for the ship building industry. The men are the citizen-solder militia. The motto is "Liberty and Independence", 
The House of Representatives has 41 members who are elected to two year terms.  The paintings in both the house and senate represent historic events that helped shape Delaware.  Both houses are in session once a year from January to June.  
Exhibit and chair honoring POWs and MIAs.
The Hall of Governors. There is even a portrait of a governor who only served 19 days when the old governor was elected to another position. He even moved into the governor's mansion and had a party there everyone of the 19 days he was in office.
While the Delaware capitol is not the grandest we have toured, it is a beautiful and functional building that is well worth a visit.
The capitol is part of the First State Heritage Park. At the welcome center in the archives there was an exhibit about WWI. There were several examples of Trench Art created by soldiers from old shell casings.
The poppies on the column are part of a display about Flanders Field and the Delawareans who gave the last full measure in that war. 
War time posters encouraging people at home to support the troops and war effort by buying bonds. 
The Old Statehouse was the first capitol in Dover. It was built in the Middle Georgian style between 1787 and 1792. It was the seat of the state government from 1792 to 1932. It also was the Kent County Court House from 1792 to 1873. 
Very neat sculpture at the Biggs Museum of American Art. The birds leaving the tree on the outside and then fly into the foyer of the building.
While Delaware was the first state, it was the last state to get a National Park Service site. The First State National Monument was established in 2013 and the First State National Historical Park in 2014. It includes seven site throughout the state including The Green in Dover. All the buildings around The Green are built in the colonial style.
The site of the Golden Fleece Tavern is on The Green. It served as the meeting place for the Delaware Assembly Upper House when the government first moved to Dover from New Castle. It was here where Delaware was the first to ratify the U.S. Constitution. When the government moved into the Old Statehouse the first law they passed was that the legislative branch could not meet in any building that served alcohol. The tavern was torn down in 1830.
Every state was given a copy of the Liberty Bell from the French in 1950. We don't always find them when we visit the capitals but here is Delaware's on the Legislative Mall with the Hall on the other side.
On Saturday we saw something we have never seen, a truck parade. It is a fund raiser for Special Olympics with over 200 participants. There was every kind of truck you can image; tow trucks, garbage trucks, flatbed trucks, trailer trucks.......
......tanker trucks, concrete trucks, pickup trucks.....
......firetrucks, box trucks and more. The parade is a 29 mile ride through Kent County. In 2017 they raised $63,000 for Special Olympics. You just never know what you will see while traveling this great country.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Family, Friends & UHS Class of 1968 Reunion

Our last week in WashPA was very busy, getting together with family and friends one last time before we start our trek south for the winter. We stayed to the middle of October so Nanc could attend her 50th class reunion where she saw many former classmates. As I said in the last post, we NEVER get to see all the people we intend to or get everything done that we had planned. Oh well, there is always next year. 
We had dinner with Rick and Denise one last time at Leogreta, a new Italian restaurant in Carnegie. We had a wonderful meal and a great evening of conversation. We don't know when we will see them again as Rick is still working and Denise is overseeing the construction of their new home in North Carolina.
We went to another new to us restaurant, Gaucho Parrilla Argentina in Pittsburgh, with my cousin Chuckie and his wife Deb. Gaucho's is an interesting place as they take no reservations, so we had to stand in line for over an hour to order. The food was worth the wait and it gave us a chance to catch up with Chuck and Deb who we have not seen since we went on the road.

On another day we visited our friend Mary Lou, who we often visited in Florida but now lives at Friendship Village, her new home up here. She has a beautiful apartment in a place that offers all the services anyone would need. We also went out to dinner but I did not get any pictures.  
We got together with the euchre club one last time and in addition to cards, we had a fun time with Bentley and his friend hiding behind the mask.
Nanc, Georgie, Mike and Sherri at cards. Nanc has that big smile because she was the big winner for the evening taking home the first place prize of $9.00. 
Jim, Mary Lou, Di, Tim and Bentley who was either looking for a treat or a seat at the table.
Mike, Bentley and Jim relaxing and waiting for dessert after a fun evening with friends and card playing.
Wednesday we went out with the lunch bunch one last time for this visit. Gail, Georgie, Linda, Jim, Nanc, Chuck, Sandy, Patrice and John enjoyed their meal at Bacon Bourbon and Beer. B3 is a great local place owned by one of our former students.  
We went to Al'an Rubens for an evening of music with Josh, Mark, Greg and Dan and a great meal.
Friday night at the Union Grill, another local institution that we have been going to for years. This is truly a Cheers-like place where friends meet and the food is great. One thing we like about all the places where we dine when we are here is that they are locally owned restaurants where the owner will be there to greet you. 
We attended Nanc's 50th reunion for Union High School Class of 1968. It sure was a step back in time. Here is Nanc in second grade.
Nanc in third grade.
Nanc's senior picture (3rd row, second from the left)
UHS Class of 1968.  It was the first class reunion Nanc attended and she enjoyed seeing and chatting with her former classmates.
A couple of Nanc's classmates, Chris and Diane with Nanc.  It was Diane who told Nanc to apply for a job she was going to be leaving.  It was her first job out of high school where she worked for a local attorney and also with my Mom and that is where the Jim and Nancy Tidball story began. 
While I was not a member of the Class of 68, I knew many of the people who attended the reunion. It was great seeing them and they even gave me an award for having the most beautiful wife.

We are now heading south, but where we will be from day to day is still very much up in the air. We have a couple of issues with Opus that we hope to be able to work around until we get to warmer weather. Our big picture plan is to head toward Annapolis and then Delaware to tour the capitol buildings. If Opus is running okay and the weather cooperates, we will then head down the coast to the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

We sure had a great three months here in WashPA and will miss everyone as we hit the road again, but we will be back before we know it. 

Monday, October 8, 2018

Busy Week of Fishing, Pens, Celebrating, Running

Our time here in WashPA is quickly coming to an end and even though we have been here for three months, we did not get to see all the people we intended to see or complete all the projects we had planned. Don't get me wrong, most of what we do while we are here is all about good times with friends and family, so it is not like we are not having fun. The week after we came back from the cruise has been one of the busiest since we got here in July. It started with our last doctor's appointment with a new physician since our old doctor moved away. That required explaining our lifestyle and the fact we do not do snow so we will not be back until late next summer.
On Thursday while the ladies got together, Mike and I went to Cross Creek Lake for a bit of fishing. While the catching was not very good we did see some interesting wildlife. See if you can find the heron in the picture above. We also watched a single goose that was honking like crazy as it seemed to be looking for its mate. We also saw an osprey hit the water twice to catch more fish than we did.
While the catching was not great, Mike did manage to have a bite on both poles at the same time. Luck was not with us as he missed both.
On Friday we went to Pittsburgh with Georgie so Nanc could pick up her packet for the Great Race. After getting her packet we went to the Church Brew Works for dinner. As the name says, the brewery is in an old church. This is something we have done every year Nanc has run the race, but sadly this is the first time we did it without our dear friend Tom. 
Saturday would have been Tom's 80th birthday, so the card club group got together for dinner at the Back Porch and a bit of "Tom"foolery in honor of Tom. Here are Nanc, Jim, Georgie, Di, Sherri, Mike and Tim "spooning" for Tom. This is something that Tom had done at many restaurant all over the country so it was a fitting tribute.
At Georgie's request, our waitress Melissa played Happy Birthday on her ukulele, something she did for Tom last year.
On Sunday Nanc ran the Great Race in Pittsburgh. This is the largest 10K (6.2 miles) race in Pennsylvania. Here she is near the finish line looking like she is ready to keep on going another 6.2 miles.
The happy runner finished 8th out of the 33 women in her age group. Congrats on a great run!!!!!
Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday we went to Mike and Sherri's place at Pymatuning Lake. Mike and I had three days of fishing while the ladies did a day on the boat and a couple days of shopping. As you can see Mike lived up to his name Captain Catfish.
Mike, Sherri and Nanc enjoying the early October sunshine. Our second day turned into quite an adventure. Mike and I were on the lake when we began to hear distant thunder. We looked at the radar and saw that the storm was several miles away so we fished on. Then we saw a flash of sky to ground lightening so we moved closer to the marina. After that I got a phone alert (not 45s) that said we were under a tornado watch so we motored to the dock. When we got there we got a call from Sherri to let us know that because of the tornado warning she and Nanc were in the basement of the Campbell Pottery, where there was a special tea pot exhibit. It seems they chose to shop in the path of the tornado that destroyed a big senior citizen's home. While it was a bit scary it all turned out fine and the pottery staff had a little tea party for those waiting out the storm. 
On our last day Mike and I hit the lake for three hours before heading back to WashPA. What an unbelievable three hours it was. I landed FIFTEEN fish in that time, a number I have never come close to on any single day in all my years of fishing or catching. As you can see Mike lived up to his name as every catch was a catfish. At one point Mike (he landed six) and I both landed a fish at the same time and another time all four poles had hits. It sure was a lot of fun. 
Maybe our good time was because there was no fishing pressure as we were usually the only boat on the water. Thanks to Mike and Sherri for the fun time at the lake.
On Thursday we went to our first Penguins game at PPG Paints Arena. The arena opened in 2010 as the beautiful new home of the Pens. Every game played here has been a sellout.
The Pens' five Stanley Cup banners in the rafters of the arena. Three of these have come since we went on the road.
It was the first game of the season so all the players were introduced one by one. Of course the last one was number 87 Sidney Crosby. 
We were two very happy fans, not only seeing our first game in the new arena but the Pens bringing home an overtime win against the current Stanley Cup chumps, the Washington Capitals. 
Outside the arena is a statue of Mario Lemieux - Le Magnifique that honors the man who saved the Penguins both as a player, winning Cups in 1991 and 1992 as a player and in 2009, 2016 and 2017 as the team owner. 
GO PENS!!!!! 

We have one week left here before heading south. We want to spend some time in the Outer Banks on our way, but all our plans depend on how Opus runs when we leave on October 15.