Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Return to Georgia

I made it back home again and survived Billy's Graduation so now I have time to send out some updates.

First let's look at my second trip to Georgia.
Most weekends were spent doing not too much of anything, but Thanksgiving weekend was included in this trip and I had some visitors. Mom came down to see Paula Deen and Billy came down to see the alligators. LOL I was just there to show them around.

On Thanksgiving Day we went for lunch at Lady and Sons. We showed up about 15 minutes before the seating time and managed to get a table. Some people had been there for a couple of hours just to make sure they got a table. We got lucky on our timing. The food was wonderful, but we should have eaten more when we got the bill. It was fun though. We also went down to the river front and walked around some. Not all of the shops were open, but it wasn't crowded either so that was nice.

We went out to the animal preserve looking for gators and saw lots of turtles. There was a whole family of them getting some sun on some reeds in one location and a few others hanging around in a quiet pond.

There were a few alligators out there though. We never saw any really big ones, but this one might have done enough damage if he wanted to.

We also went to the beach on Tybee Island one afternoon. Here Mom and Billy are looking for sea shells.

We had a pretty good time for the rest of the weekend. Did some shopping and relaxed a bit.

Once I got home I had a week to get the house ready for Billy's graduation party. I will post that story next time.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Georgia Part 1

HI! Yes it has been a while. I hadn't been on a trip for a while, but that drought is over. I just got back from a 3 week trip to Savannah, Ga. I like to find adventures or at least insteresting sights during these trips as you can see from past blogs. This trip has lots of stuff to see, but the best thing I took pictures of so far is out at the wildlife preserve in South Carolina.

The preserve is basically a swamp with wildlife in it and a four mile road that people can drive through it on. The grass is actually too tall at this time of the year to see much, so we didn't seem very many animals, but I did get some pictures. Like this heron below. It was standing in some shallow water waiting for something to happen.

The alligator below was sitting near the bird, just getting some sun. I missed him the first time I was looking, but he isn't exactly noticable until you know he is there.

We drove through most of the preserve without finding much else, but about 100 yards from the exit we found this little guy. I am pretty sure we were watched all the way through the park. The alligators are out there, they are just hiding.

After I left Georgia and got back to the land of hills, dales, and real trees I noticed how the leaves were just barely hanging on to their leaves. So I took the scenic route from the airport and snapped some pictures. Here is one that shows the top of the world from my angle.

I have another trip to Georgia in a couple of weeks. So look for new pictures. Later!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

NC and WV in July

Ok, this is how July worked out for me. I ended up going back down to NC like I said in the previous post. While I was there I finally got a picture of this interesting building. I don't know what the history is, but any thing shaped like that with so many doors is interesting to me.

Before this return trip to NC got scheduled I had made plans to go to a Car Show and Charlie Daniels band concert in Beckley, WV. I didn't realize that the show would include a parachute jump by the Black Knights. It was kind of funny, I spend weeks working with the Army and have to go home to see them perform, but it at least gave me more pictures! This one carried in the West Virginia flag. Another was supposed to drop in with the football that would be used at the Marshall vs WVU rivalry game, but they didn't have the right harness to hold it in place during the jump, so that got scratched.

After the jump and the opening act were done the main event, Charlie Daniels started. We were pretty far back in the crowd, but my camera has good zoom. We loved the concert. I had never been to any like it before and had a great time, so we might have to go to more. This one had a good price though, thanks to the WV Coal Show for bringing it in.

Well, that is it for the show. We brought some friends' kids with us, three 14 year old boys. They had a good time looking at the cars and daring each other to talk to the girls. Some friends also came along with their kids and they had a good time over in the game area. Over all it was a lot of fun.

Next trip is tentatively in October, so I have a long time at home to get things done and aggravate Bill for a while. I have already been working on decluttering the house. We took a bunch of too big and too small clothes to the Goodwill, made a run to the dump with some other things, we rearranged the basement slightly and put down a floor made up of 2x2 foam pieces over the concrete. That makes it much more barefoot friendly! We got the whole end by the pool table done and the base of the stairs padded. We have some more that will make a path toward the laundry room door, but we have to stay away from the wood stove so that will stay bare.

Next is the living room, which needs rearranging and paint. That should be fun. By the way I almost forgot, while I was in NC Billy and his cousin repainted the bedroom! I was very surprised by that, it looks great! Later, All!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Return Trip NC2

OK, I really didn't mean anything bad by saying Fayetteville is kind of boring. It really isn't that bad, I could put more effort into finding the interesting stuff. Now can I go home?

The rest of the story is that we had some computer problems so the trip is taking longer than it was supposed to and I had to come back a week after I left. I did volunteer, so you know, be careful what you ask for, it might actually happen.

I am actually glad to be here working because this part of the project is what they call Over the Shoulder. We are going out to the locations and checking on them to make sure they aren't having any problems with the new system. I have learned a lot about what I need to work on, that is for sure. I will be here for a while yet, so I might be able to get out and see some sights.

Monday, June 26, 2006

North Carolina

I don't want to offend anyone from the area, but there really isn't much to see right around Fayetteville, NC other than military museums and the like. Well, ok, there is the girly bar, tattoo shop, pawn shop, and used car sales repetitive circle that exists outside most bases, but that isn't really something I want to take pictures of to remember it.

I didn't have my camera along at the Airborne and Special Ops museum or I would have a picture or two of that. I must say that is the best museum of its type I have ever been to. It is interesting, the displays are well laid out, and the information is good for all ages to get something out of it. You can go take a look at it on their website though. If you are in the area I recommend seeing it. http://www.asomf.org/museum_lobby.htm The best part is it is free. They also have some interactive sections that cost a little bit, we missed those somehow, but I would go back and see them if I had the chance.

On the way home we stopped at this place in the picture below to look at the roses this man had for sale. They are beautiful plants for the money, I would have gotten some, but I don't have anywhere in the yard that I want to put roses right now.

That was North Carolina. We worked, ate, and slept for the most part. Learned a lot on that trip and all, but not much to look at. Next trip is probably somewhere in Georgia.

Midwest Vacation Part 2

The trip out west included travel through a lot of states along lots of miles. We were in Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, and Missouri along with West Virginia, which isn't really very much west but was our start. I spent most of my time looking out the window in search of old barns or other scenic things to take pictures of on the way.

I found this old barn in Kentucky, I think it was a tobacco shed, but I don't know. I saw several other old barns in various stages of life, the one below has seen better days.

This old house was sitting in the middle of a field in Minnesota. It looks so alone out there. Probably at one time it was surrounded by trees and other signs of life, but now it just waits for the crop to come up around it and hide it a little bit.

A sight in Minnesota that was new to me was the wind farms. Up around Woodstock they are showing up everywhere, they are even building a factory to build more of them in Pipestone.

This old barn is actually hidden from the road, it is on a farm in Missouri. The lines are still straight on the roof, so it might find another use in the future. Just needs some wall boards and doors replaced from this angle.

The strangest thing I recall seeing is this ferris wheel sitting between two buildings in Iowa. I have done some work on the picture to remove some power lines that were covering it up some, and intended to take the chevy out before I posted it, but you get the idea. What it is doing there I don't know, but it was worth taking a picture of for sure.

That was most of our trip to the Midwest. Next up is a business trip to North Carolina.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Midwest Vacation

Latest trip was for personal reasons. My Vande Berg family all collected in Orange City, Iowa for Grandma Jen's 90th birthday party. We did pretty good, all but 2 of our cousins made it to the reunion. Jenny was happy to see everyone and we were all glad to be able to visit with her a little bit.

Here you can see Bill and I, my mom Kae, my brother David, and sister Kim. This spur of the moment picture turned out a bit better than some of those we have paid for in the past. Except that Steve (Kim's husband) is missing of course, he was coaching some winners at the Nationals that weekend.

The luck of the birthday party timing put us there during the Tulip Festival. The court house is a pretty building with a nice bed of tulips out front.

Later after one of the parades I caught a bunch of the children still in costume playing on the court house lawn. The city is very authentic about how they do this parade. Lots of people in costume even in some of the businesses.

After a few days in NW Iowa we headed back to Kim's to have lunch with her and Steve before moving on to Missouri to visit some friends.

Billy and I rode in Mom's van while David and Mom followed us in his van.

I will have to add some more to this later.
Bye for now.

Friday, April 28, 2006


Well I have been to Colorado and come back already. We had a pretty good group of soldiers out there, wish they would have gotten more conversions done, but things take time. The base is right on the edge of the mountain range. I thought it was crazy that when you looked East there was absolutely nothing out there, but turn around to the West and there is Pikes Peak, Cheyenne Mountain, and a bunch of other ridges.

The first place Greg (my fellow instructor and travel buddy) and I went to see was the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame. Greg used to ride bulls at a ranch down in Georgia, so it was a pretty cool stop for him. I thought it was interesting too and actually learned a few things about the rodeo. This statue of "The Champ" is outside the hall, the rider is legendary bronc rider Casey Tibbs and the horse is Necktie.

Our next stop was on the way up to Pikes Peak.

This view from the resevoir below Pikes Peak shows the slope, the brown spot near the top of the highest ridge in the middle of the picture is what I drove up to get to the top.

By the way there are almost no guard rails the whole way up. I got the T-shirt "Real Women Don't Need Guard Rails" when we made it up there.

This mountain is also visible from the resevoir, don't know what it is for sure, but I liked the view.

When we made it to the top the temperature had dropped about 30 degrees and the wind was blowing, the wind was always blowing in Colorado, but it was pretty wild up there.

This view is westward from the top of Pikes Peak. It seemed like we could see forever. The peak is 14,110 feet above sea level.

After about 15 minutes of walking around I think I was feeling the altitude just a little because I said "The thin is air up here." I realized it as I was say it, but it was oddly funny at the time, guess I was little more light headed than usual.

This is one of the funny sites on the road to Pikes Peak.

We didn't see any sign of Big Foot, but we kept looking.

After we came down from Pikes Peak we took off for Cripple Creek for dinner and a little slot machine action. That is what happened too, just a little wasted money. But we had a nice drive over there.

The next day we headed over to the Royal Gorge.

This view is either from the bridge or the top of the ridge, I don't recall where I was on this one, but it certainly shows the Gorge depth which 1,053 feet below the bridge.

This picture is from the bottom of the Gorge looking back up at the bridge.

We had a pretty good time. The weather was nice both days and I got some sun.

Actually got more sun tan in Colorado than I did in Hawaii.

Anyway, that is my latest trip. For those keeping track, in December I went to Texas, January was Louisiana, February was Hawaii, March I could have gone to New York with Billy and Gertrude, they left the day after I got back from Hawaii or I would have, April I went to Colorado, May will be Iowa on vacation, and for June I have North Carolina scheduled. If I am not traveling for work I am traveling for fun. Glad I have a nice quiet porch to come home to in between trips!

If any of you are in the neighborhood stop in and visit, Billy will probably be here. HAHA

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Left over Hawaii and more

Hello, well I have been home for a month now and am getting ready to leave again so I thought I better start getting my stuff ready. I decided to clean out some old pictures on my camera and look what I found! Old pictures. These are some that I took from the balcony of my hotel in Hawaii the night before I left.

This one is a shot of the fireworks display that they did from the Hilton Resort every Friday night.

This is a palm tree framed by the pool next door at another hotel.
I was on the 32nd floor of the Hyatt, so this was a pretty cool shot. It is zoomed in quite a bit, so it was really hard to get a shot without shaking.

The picture below is straight down from my balcony with no zoom. That pool with the palm tree is just out of site on the left side.

These pictures were taken by Billy. The mask was made for his art class. It is a pretty good Curious George I think. The steer in the other picture is named Gilligan, Billy thought he looked pretty Cool smoking that piece of hay.

Well, that is it for cleaning out the camera this time. My next trip is to Colorado so you should be seeing pictures of the Rockies, some falls, and the Rodeo Hall of fame in the next few weeks.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Hawaii Part 3

Well, this is the beginning of my final week in Hawaii. Every thing has gone pretty well so far. We sent two of our original four people back to West Virginia today and six more are coming in this weekend. Training is going pretty well, most of the soldiers are happy with the new system. It seems pretty good to me, though I can hardly believe that the Air Force was doing a lot of this 20 years ago and the Army is just catching up. No wonder we (AF) have all the good toys! Tracking maintenance and hours justifies a lot of requirements, but it is getting better now.

We went to see the Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor today. The memorial is pretty nice and the museum has a lot of good displays that tell the history very well.

I took this first picture as we were actually leaving the memorial, but it is the best that I have and turned out nicely.

This is me on the Memorial, with part of the Arizona showing in the back ground. There isn't much of the ship showing above the water line and what does show is pretty corroded.

Here is a better view of that gun turret that is showing. I think that is what it is called anyway. It is hard to tell, but more of the ship is visible under the water. Another thing that is happening under water is an oil leak. you can see it every now and then when a drop of oil will pop to the top of the water and then spread out.

This is the USS Missouri, which is the ship where the Japanese signed the surrender documents. It has been turned into a museum. We didn't go over there to look at it, might have if we had gone over last weekend, but that didn't work out, had to study our lesson plans.

We have had a pretty good time here during the last two weeks, we were successful in the classroom, saw some cool stuff, and built some good connections with the other instructors. This last week is going to be more challenging because of a few factors that I won't go into here, but suffice it to say, I have a lot of work to do, so the week should go quickly. I hope so, I miss Billy, a lot.

I haven't mentioned food this trip!! Let's see the first week, we ate sandwiches from our commissary shopping trip, that weekend we went to Hard Rock, then more sandwiches, except for the day we got a home cooked meal at Travis', then this weekend we ate at Bubba Gumps, you know from the movie, that was pretty good. I expect this week will be more sandwiches since we restocked from the commissary, but I want to go out Friday night, there are a few more good restaurants on Waikiki, the Cheesecake Factory makes the top of my list right now.

I better go now. We are going back to the Swap Meet tomorrow morning. They have lots of good stuff, some of it we can get from the row of shops near the hotel, some of it not, but it is interesting.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Hawaii Part 2

Hawaii is a great place to vacation. I know you have heard it before, but it is true. The weather is beautiful for the most part and even when it is raining it is warm. The pictures below are of my first trip around Oahu. We took off driving Friday (17th) morning and just kept the water on the right. It was a lot of fun.

We climbed Diamond Head, which is quite a hike, and got this picture back toward Waikiki.

We stopped at several Overlooks and saw all sorts of rock formations and waves.

We saw lava mountains. that rose WAY above sea level.

And watched surfers wide waves that came in from all angles on several beaches. If you look there is someone in this wave.

Saturday (18th) we went to the Polynesian Culture Center and enjoyed visiting villages that represented several island countries. There was also a Luau and a show. The picture below is from the show, we got tickets through a friend who is in the Army. The ticket agent really set us up nice, we had front row seats to the show.

We had a really relaxing weekend. Sunday (19th) we went to the Swap Meet and found some good bargains. Next weekend there are some more people coming in for training. We will probably do some more adventures then. Check back later.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006


What a difference a day makes! On Saturday, 11 February it started snowing in West Virginia. After it piled up for a while I went out and used the "Snowman in a Can" kit that Mom gave me for Christmas last year. Turned out kind of cute I think, though the missing tooth does make it a WV snowman. LOL

The next day, 12 February (ignore the date, I seem to have something confused in the camera) I was on top of a 10 story parking garage taking pictures of a sand castle that two little girls had built on Waikiki Beach in Hawaii. Good zoom on the camera too.

Let's show that difference one more time.
Jenny and the boys might recognize this truck, it shows a Georgia 2x4 in an unfamiliar, but classic winter pose, parked with snow piled on top.

And the opposite, a garage top westward view of the sunset off Waikiki.

By the way, we aren't parking on top of that garage anymore. My rental is a Dodge 1500 Crewcab, the garage has a 6 foot 6 inch clearance. We didn't scrape the top, barely, but 20 hairpin turns going in and out of that 10 story garage were too many for me. We are now using valet parking, they can deal with it. I have enough to worry about while getting up to speed on this system we are fielding. I will have plenty more to share later, so check back when you can.