Day 730 - 2 Years and COUNTING

Day 730! Today marks two full years on the road. Over 18,000 safe miles down the highway, and 100's more on the trails. So very lucky and blessed to have the traveling partner I do. Here's to another adventure filled year on the “Friends & Family Tour”

A Thousand Words are worth a picture, or two, or a hundred......

The last few months we have traveled a lot fewer miles than usual, but experienced so many memories - it will be hard to capture them all. Our “Friends & Family Tour”, that we have been on since February of 2017, has taken us across these beautifully incredible United States in hopes of seeing as many of our natural wonders, but more importantly, as many as of our loved ones, as possible. While we have missed connecting with a few special friends, because of weather, or bad timing, we feel fortunate to have spent many a day filled with love and laughter. So, while the title may be accurate that you will find a thousand or so words here, there will be many more pictures involved…guaranteed!

This is where I warn you…before you settle into reading this…..have a cup of tea, a glass of wine or another adult beverage on the table beside you. In the case of our friends from Melbourne, pour yourself a healthy dose of Jack….there is a lot to cover from the last few months.

As we leave the coast of Florida and head west, it is time to once again fill our senses with the beautiful red mountains of Arizona that we have come to love, and perhaps we may fall in love with other lands left unexplored.

Family Reunion / Henderson Style November 8-14, 2018
We aren’t a very large family, at least if you don’t count all of the Florida cousins that Sara has found through her research the last few years. Turns out our family , on my Mom’s side, were some of the first settlers in Florida, back in the 1700,’s.

We tried to get most of the Henderson side together back in November while we were parked with the motorhome at Lisa & Brads’.

Ralph, the youngest sibling, came up from his home in the South Miami area and Sara and the boys were able to fly out from California. Unfortunately, Travis got called up for his last deployment and wasn’t able to make the trip east. As I mentioned, we aren’t a very large family and with Greer and Ian here, we were only missing a few of our loved ones, especially Travis and Ralph’s beautiful wife Carol. And miss them we did, but hopefully we will have everyone together for the next one.

We also had Jim & Rita, the absolute best friends that Lisa and Brad could have, with us for the weekend. Turns out there were many a concert we attended together in the heyday of Miami back in the 70’s so the memories were flying around the fire…”Did you see Jethro Tull at the Sportatorium”, “Hell yeah, how about the Doors??????” “Ahem”…..the first time I was tear gassed ..and on and on it went. When it was $5.00 to to get in to an amazing concert….

Having us all in one spot also made it the perfect time to shower Greer and Jarrett with some “Baby Finn” love. (I have also included a photo from our weekend trip down to see Ralph and Carol in South Miami. We couldn’t leave the state without a hug and visit with her and our nephews Dylan and Rueben )

Christmas at Bok Tower December 25, 2018
I am fortunate to be able to say that there are actually quite a few places on this earth that make me feel completely centered, and one of them is Bok Tower. Christmas Day, we made the hour journey from our campsite in Wauchula, in the middle of the state of Florida, to spend the day surrounded by its beauty.

Ormond Beach-By the Sea December 3, 2018- January 20, 2019
We may have found our “landing”. Over the last couple years part of our journey has been to find an area of the country that we would want to spend the rest of our days. We had come to the conclusion that we would need two homes, one in the north, and one in the south, just to chase the nice weather. After spending almost two months on the beaches in the Ormond area of Florida though - we feel it may be the spot for us. It has an extremely laid-back feel, and the entire width of the northern peninsula is only 1/2 mile. One way finds you on the beach of the Atlantic, a quick walk the other places you on the Halifax River (Intercoastal Waterway). Gentle giant oaks fill the area and the wildlife - while not quite as wild as we had out west - still brings some photographic challenges to me. Only time will tell, as we venture back west this spring and summer and see if the golden red rocks of Sedona, the massive mountains of Montana, the rugged coast of the Oregon, the wildlife of Wyoming and the glorious tall trees of Washington still have their pull. I am afraid they may.

Baby Finnegan arrives!!! December 28, 2018

How do you describe when you sister first holds her baby grandchild? You can’t. You just remember the feeling when your first one came along. All the love that overflowed to your child, and through her, your grandchild. The feelings of remembrance of wanting to make everything perfect for them…forever. Life happens, and we know now with a couple of grandsons under our belt that no matter what you do, or what you try, they are going to be themselves. Their perfect selves.

The Wedding January 12, 2019
My niece Lauren, my brother David’s youngest, was married in a beautiful ceremony a few weeks ago to her long-time love, Andrew. While it happened towards the end of our three months in the south, it was absolutely one of the highlights of our trip. It was the main reason we planned this extensive period of time in the south to begin with. Once again we gathered as a family, but this time it was the “Manville/Plair” side. Add to that the fact that some of our closest friends - that were in BOBS’ AND MY WEDDING in 1974 - were also able to attend and it made for an exciting memorable weekend.

The Jones’s
We got to have two enjoyable visits with Kylie and Sterling and their beautiful little girls, Addie - 3 1/2 , and Henley - who just turned two. Their home is located in Tifton, GA so it was on the way from Lisa’s in South Carolina to Florida for both of the trips we made. Our first visit was when Kylie was 9 months ready, and when we returned they had a beautiful new baby girl, Sutton, in their arms. What a loving and hard working family they are. Kylie first came to work for us at The Flower Tree when she was in high school. Having the privilege of watching her, and now Sterling, grow and mature has been a joy. Added bonus, Barry - our dear friend from Alaska, was working in the area and came down and camped out with us for a night.

Hannah State Park with Bo & Kim January 17-20
We were fortunate to spend a few days with a couple of our favorite people before we left Florida. Bo and Kim were Sara & Travis’s next door neighbors when they lived in Jacksonville. But what started as neighbors turned into best friends and we too got close with them on our many visits over the years. It was fun for Bob and I to camp in the same campground where the kids had been many times. We camped right on the ocean and spent our days bike riding and shark tooth hunting. Turns out being good at Easter Egg Hunts, which I was as a kid, does not help with shark teeth. I didn’t find a one, but Kim sure did. A wonderful weekend filled with laughter and good food!

Those that follow this blog know that I love to photograph wildlife. Following a massive bull moose as it makes its way across a wide stream hoping to catch that glint in its eye as he turns to look at me is such a thrill!! Bear, antelope, deer, bison, elk and all the other smaller critters we have had the privilege to get close enough to photograph this last couple years will be forever imprinted in my memory. When we got to the Southeast, I must say that I was going into a little withdrawal as far as my camera time was concerned. The landscapes didn’t fill me with awe like the Grand Tetons do, and there were no critters to capture through my lens. Then I started looking for birds and the challenge began. Birds don’t sit still very much -obviously. They flitter and fly at the most minute sound and turns out they are sometimes harder to catch then a 1500 lb. elk that is moving at you at a pretty good clip. I am enjoying learning this new skillset of not only photographing, but identifying them as well.

Well I am pretty sure I am WAY over my 1000 words, and if you are still with me to the end, I THANK YOU! Writing this blog has allowed me to hopefully give our grandboys a sense of our history. After my parents passed I tried my hardest to piece together their history. I wanted to know where their “Happy Place” was.

When my Grandboys are older, my hope is that they will look back at some of the pictures and words here and see that we took chances - and we followed our dreams. We ventured to new destinations and made time for what’s important to us, Friends and Family.  Trust me, it has been the tour of a lifetime.

A lot of catching up to do......


I have neglected you Dear Blog, and so I will sit myself down and try and get you caught up, a little bit at a time, and we will start today and go backward….and forward…and backward again.

It is always amazing to me when people say, “What do the two of you DO ALL DAY on that Re-started Path thing you talk about?” Well I am here to tell you, there are not a whole lot of dull or empty moments in our lives. Right this very minute I am sitting outside, just steps from the Peace River in the middle of Florida in the late afternoon of Christmas Eve. The air is extremely still and the spanish moss hangs from all the oak trees around me, draped like a shawl on a fancy dress. It’s off-grey color combined with the gentle sounds of the acorns dropping from the trees I find very soothing. The sun is just setting and the sky is filled with the vibrant pinks and blues that seem to only be present when it is a calm clear night.

Today we had an adventure of sorts, if you include alligators and bike riding an adventure, AND I DO. We rode the mile or so over to Pioneer Park, not that far from where we are camped, in search of the elusive Sandhill Crane that is on my list of “Must Photograph”, this trip to Florida. Didn’t find any cranes, but we did have a nice ride filled with Ibis, ALLIGATOR (only 1), and a magnificent, but shy, Blue Heron.

This area of the Great State of Florida is where a lot of “My People” still live today. We are extremely fortunate to have a family historian, thank you Sara K., that has managed to compile through DNA and an immense amount of research, an extremely thorough history of our family. It seems that the majority of relatives on my Mom’s side were some of the very FIRST settlers in the state of Florida. When we told Sara we were going to be in Peace River area she told us “if you get in any trouble, just throw a dart, bet you will hit a cousin because I show at least 50 in the general area.” hmmmmmm…..

Tomorrow, Christmas Day, we are on our way to
Bok Tower. That little piece of land holds many fond memories for me. As a child, we would try and visit the tower on the return from a week at Daytona Beach after our summer vacation. My brother and I would wander up and down the fauna and flora filled paths, chasing squirrels and throwing them the peanuts that they dispensed in the little machines, for I think a nickel - at that time. My Mom and Dad would wander off by themselves and we would catch up to them every once and awhile and check in. It wasn’t until I was much older that I realized the significance this little piece of earth held for my Mom. What I would give to sit on a bench with her once again and listen to the birds and her gentle soothing voice as she told me the tales of the 1940’s when her father worked the land around the tower and she would drink in it’s beauty. But that’s for tomorrow…….

Merry Christmas Eve to all our family and friends! If you are reading this, then you signed up for our emails, AND WE REALLY APPRECIATE IT! We love to keep connected with you this way, and hope that this next year brings you so much joy and happiness, a little bit of travel…OR A LOT IF YOU ARE SO INCLINED, and a few giggles along the way. Love to you all, Sue & Bob.

New England in the Fall


It’s been a little over two weeks since we returned from Boston, our routine here in South Carolina now firmly settled once again. Walks in the morning next to the now harvested cotton fields, trips to the library to get some work done on websites that I manage, bike rides for Bob and evening meals with family. We could really get used to this. After not been “settled” for quite a while, it has been nice to sink our roots in a little.

The weather has changed. Gone are the hot and humid - sit out by the pool all afternoon days, they have been replaced with the crisp cool temps of fall, with a scattered thunderstorm every few days.


The two weeks in the Boston area were more than we could have hoped. The only thing that wasn’t in our favor was the cold and sometimes rainy weather that we experienced. It didn’t put a damper on our spirits though and our visit with my Aunt Sue was truly wonderful.

Her beautiful home sits on a corner just a short block from Duxbury Bay in one direction, and a park dedicated to Miles Standish’s first settlement in the other. The area is filled with history and we wandered through the towns of Duxbury and Plymouth viewing areas of not only Revolutionary times, but more important to me, the areas were my father grew up. This was the history that I was looking for. As my Dads younger sister, my Aunt Sue has always been my “go to” for family information.

This was the first time that Bob had been to the area, so she told him many stories of Dads adolescence and summers on the bay. I just sat in the backseat and closed my eyes…traveling back through the years long ago.

The sweet smell of the breeze off the bay, the crackle of the leaves as I ventured out on a morning walk..all these memories I take back home with me. And, a brick to be mailed to Michelle for the “Travel Collection”.

The sweet smell of the breeze off the bay, the crackle of the leaves as I ventured out on a morning walk..all these memories I take back home with me. And, a brick to be mailed to Michelle for the “Travel Collection”.

A few days later we ventured through the hell known as “Boston Traffic” and made our way to the Beacon Hill area where we had rented an AirBnB for a few days. Our good friends Melissa and Tim from Susanville were arriving at the airport that night. A great location, it allowed us to hop on the train to go into the historic areas the next day.


We ate and drank our way through Boston. Placing our feet on the red brick route of the Freedom Trail , we set off for our first stop, Faneuil Hall. Next stop - Quincy Market where it was time for Mel and Tim to get their first “lobstah” roll and some hot and hearty New England Clam Chowder. We ventured off the path for cannolis at Mike’s Pastry, and then it was on to Paul Revere’s House, Christ Church, Copp’s Burying Ground and over the bridge to see Old Ironsides’ herself, The USS Constitution. What a great day, and although chilly, the sun was out and the skies were crisp. The Northern section did not disappoint for a fabulous Italian dinner either.



Of course we had to do the taste test between Mike’s Pastry and Modern Pastry. Located a couple short blocks from each other on Hanover Street in the North End, we started with Mike’s in the morning with some coffee. Had Modern Pastry after dinner, and then went BACK to Mike’s for a follow up taste test another day. No follow up was really needed, we ALL agreed, MIKE’S PASTRY was the bomb!! Even found out that they ship anywhere!! They send the cannoli shells separate from the cream and extra toppings. Christmas treats anyone????



Next up on our “must do” list was a visit with our good friend Jayne who lived in Connecticut. Stationed together in Hawaii FORTY YEARS AGO, we had seen each other only once since we left there. What a kick!!!! How does it happen that all that time can go by, but you feel like it has only been weeks? We have had children, and now grandchildren! We reminisced about the days in Hawaii and the times that only your 22-25 year old self can have. Memories flooded back as we looked through photo albums and recalled long ago times upon the shores of Upolu Point, the Coast Guard station where we lived. I wish we would have had more time with her and as Bob says “there is always next year”, but hoping we can get her to come and visit us out west.

Thanks to Aunt Sue’s loving hospitality, we returned to her house with Mel and Tim and used it for the jumping off point to see parts of Cape Cod. We spent our days wandering around Duxbury and the Cape, making sure that Melissa and Tim had their fill of seafood, a huge part of their “New England Bucket List”. Fall color was just starting, we were a couple weeks early for peak, but it was still beautiful and we took the opportunity to visit a few garden centers too. Well OF COURSE we did, we are Garden Girls after all. We even shot a few videos for her YouTube channel.

Aunt Sue’s sweet little girl, Moxie. She kept all of us in line, and enjoyed a treat or two that just happened to fall to the floor.

Aunt Sue’s sweet little girl, Moxie. She kept all of us in line, and enjoyed a treat or two that just happened to fall to the floor.

Duxbury Bay, and Big Beach. Looking out to the bay from the house where Aunt Sue and Dad grew up.

Duxbury Bay, and Big Beach. Looking out to the bay from the house where Aunt Sue and Dad grew up.



The parting was hard, always is. Not just with Aunt Sue as we left Duxbury to head back to Boston, but with Mel and Tim when we boarded separate planes to head home.

Next up, the excitement of a full on HENDERSON SIBLING REUNION! Bob’s younger brother, Ralph, arrived for a week in South Carolina last Saturday, and SARA will be here tomorrow. With Cash and Carson in tow, you can say we are very HAPPY people!!! Only one missing for a true happy day is Travis, but the Navy had other plans for him this week :{

As much as we love exploring new vistas, National Parks and trails …Family and friends - it’s the best reason to travel.




We arrived at what we lovingly refer to as “The Baker Resort”, at the end of September. I am still amazed every time I walk up the driveway that Bob was able to get the bus in through all the trees. Lisa, Bob’s sister, and Brad, her husband, cut down A LOT of trees at the beginning of the driveway in order for us to get the bus in. It only took him one shot to get it into place. Mad skills he has!!!


Their home is located on a remote country road in an historic area of South Carolina and the acreage is filled with lush plantings and hundreds of trees. Lisa has been a Master Gardener for her county extension for years and it shows. It is a beautiful comfortable home, inside and out, that they have made for themselves.

I spend my early mornings on quiet peaceful walks through the nearby cotton fields and Bob is getting caught up with chores around the bus. With Brads massive and fully equipped workshop/man cave, he is enjoying having a place to tinker. The temps have been in the low 90’s the last couple of weeks so of course we have taken advantage of the pool most afternoons. It has been very easy to come off the road and get used to this “resort” living. We plan on spending the majority of Fall here, until the temps get to low for us to comfortably stay out in the motorhome.


”Baker Resort” kidding aside, here is the REAL reason why we are enjoying being here so much.

In the summer of 1976 we were living at the Coast Guard station on Folly Beach, SC, just outside Charleston. Bob was newly home from being stationed for an isolated year in the middle of the Pacific - Marshall Islands/ Enewetak. That summer we asked his parents if the kids - Lisa (15) and younger brother Ralph (11) could come up for a few weeks’ vacation. They sent them from Miami on the train and we had weeks of lounging on the beach, working on surfing skills, playing pool, and just generally being a family that loved to hang out with each other. The next year our lives took us West, first to Hawaii and then eventually to Nevada where we spent the last 35 years until we hit the road in 2016. There were mini-visits where we would come home to Florida or Georgia, and times when Lisa and Brad made it out west, but they were always limited to days…not weeks.

Fast forward 40 YEARS and we now have time. The time - to just relax with each other. This is the longest period of time that they have had together since that long-ago summer, and as is so often the case - if you are lucky, it is as though no time has passed. They still tease each other, they find comfort in just sitting for hours in each other’s company with no need for words, and their laughter is infectious as they remember pranks from the past.

We are off to Boston in a couple days, spend some time with my Aunt Sue, reconnect with a friend that was stationed with us in Hawaii 40 years ago, and meet up with our good friends Melissa and Tim from Susanville, CA. It will be a packed two weeks of hustle and bustle. But then we will return….to The Resort on Brattonsville road, and reconnect and relax some more.

I can’t wait.

Time for an Update

An updated vehicle that is. We finally bit the bullet and got a new car. The 1995 Jeep Grand Cherokee that we have been cruising around in has been a great ride, but with more miles planned going down the highway this next year we thought it was time to go with something a little more dependable. What did we decide? Another JEEP of course. We still want to be able to hit the backroads, climb some rocks and have many adventures off the beaten path.



This will be the 3rd time he has had to install a tow plate on the front of a vehicle. Unfortunately every car we have towed, the original TJ, then the Cherokee, and now the new JK requires a different set-up.

First things first, we needed an organizer for the back. Usually we just kind of stack everything around in the cargo area, but Bob found this one so we are going to give it a try. It is a SUNPIE Roll Bar Storage Bag Cage Multi-Pockets & Organizers & Cargo Bag Saddlebag Tool Kits Holder. We will have to see if it can help keep us a little more organized, AND keep things from flying all around when we are in some rough places.

We also need to add on a trailer hitch to hold our bike rack. The rack we have now is a swing away and a good one. It holds the boys bikes when they are with us, so we would like to keep it if possible. Our Cherokee did not have the spare tire on the outside like this JK does though, so we may end up having to get the rack that fits onto the spare tire if this doesn’t work.

The next couple things are going to be a little more time consuming and difficult. Lucky for Bob though, we are parked in Lisa and Brad’s driveway so he will have much more access to tools and a comfortable area to do the work. Last time he had to add the braking system to the Cherokee he was working on a piece of carpet in the dirt outside the motorhome in Sedona.

Because we tow our car behind the motorhome we need a braking system….RIGHT??

The one he is going to install is the same brand that we have now, but you have to put a new plate, specific to that year and model vehicle to the underside. We also need the wiring kit that allows the brakes and turn signals from the motorhome to show up on the jeep while it is being towed. We have all these ordered, and I will update this blog post after Bob gets them installed.


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Long Road East

We left Wyoming on a big white puffy cloud day. I had taken my last trip around the lake the evening before and already I was longing for the day we would return to this little corner of the world in the Bighorns.


Thus began our long trek to the east coast where we will rendezvous with friends and family over the next few months. Our first stop though was in Box Elder SD, just outside Rapid City. A long day for us at about 325 miles, we made it in time to pick up our mail from the service we use, Americas Mailbox, and then we settled in for the night at a nearby brand new Cabela’s. After Bob did an extensive journey through the store we set our chairs up outside the bus and a beautiful sunset developed in front of our eyes.

Next morning it was off to Pickstown, SD where we would finally have a reunion with Bob’s “Brother from another Mother”, Neil. It had been a long five years since we had seen him at Bob’s retirement party and we missed him….a LOT!

250+ miles later we were pulling up to the Corp of Engineers Dam project where he works and started to set up at the campground nearby to wait for him to get off work.

Look at those grins, this is another one of the big reasons why we travel,
to have this time with the ones we miss and love.


Our campsite was peaceful and quiet, right on the Missouri River overlooking the dam where Neil worked. Located within the rolling plain of the Missouri Plateau, the Fort Randall dam project was completed in 1956 and sits not far from the site of the original Fort Randall that was used as an outpost in the mid 1800’s. All the buildings had been moved or destroyed long ago, but we walked through the remainder of the forts graveyard, and gazed out over the Missouri River wondering what it must have been like to live there at that point in history.


Also known as home to one of America's largest wintering concentrations of bald and golden eagles, Neil took us on a side trip in search of some. We found a pair of goldens nesting in the trees right by our campsite, and watched them soar at an area across the river. Such a beautiful site to see.

Was a great weekend. We ate and drank just enough and laughed around the campfire at night. It was a beautiful way to start this trek east and we just hope it’s not five years before we see Neil again.

Notes for next time: we stayed in space#19, but any and all along the river would be nice.