Monday, June 13, 2011

Summer's Here!
Click on the title to hear James Taylor sing it...
It's been a month or so since I posted. My heart just hasn't been into much of anything lately. I've done some knitting, and I went on a trip to North Carolina on the motorcycle with my husband.  The grandkids are out of school for the summer.  One will be a first-grader in the fall, and another will be in Kindergarten.  Another may perhaps be in pre-school. 
The house is rarely quiet, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.  My son and his family have lived with us since the first of March, and will be moving on by the end of this month, if all goes as we hope.  It's a different sort of thing, to have grown children move back home, but lots of folks are going through it these days.  On the one hand, we get lots of time with the grandchildren.  On the other hand, we have LOTS of time with the grandchildren... ; )  And then there are the additional issues connected to having offspring in the house after being empty nesters for awhile.  Those of you who know me well will know how that has gone...the rest of you don't need to be subjected to it. :D
First, the bike ride:

The First Annual Mysterious Swamp and Seafood Tour
 We lived in Swansboro, North Carolina the first two years of our marriage, while my husband served out his enlistment in the Marine Corps.  One of my friends from our motorcycle forum is a Navy captain who lives there now.  He had been asking us to come visit for some time and when he planned a gathering for our motorcycle forum, we decided the time was right to head South.  
The ride there was cold and wet.  We rode all one day in rain with temps hovering around 50 degrees.  Leaving after work on Wednesday, we rode to a point just south of New Castle, Indiana and stopped for the night, wet and tired.  The second day we made it as far as Asheville, North Carolina' before we saw sunshine and we finished our day in Hickory, NC.  The third day was sunny and hot, and we pulled into Swansboro in the late afternoon, showered and changed, and met our group for supper.  Our friend there had insisted that we stay in the apartment over his garage, and he and his wife were the most wonderful hosts!  The picture above shows the view from their back porch.  
 This is Main Street in Swansboro, mostly unchanged since we lived there in 1974-75, but slightly re-organized by various hurricanes and tropical storms.  The town has become somewhat 'touristy' in the interim, but looks much the same.  When we were in Swansboro in 2002, we tried to find the building that used to house Swansboro's tiny public library.  When we lived there, I would walk the three miles from our trailer park and three miles back, just to get books to read every week or two. On this trip we located it, across the street from the fire station.  It was a place that saved my sanity and introduced me to Hemingway and Fitzgerald when I was a young Marine's wife and far from home.

 This is a little slice of heaven called Yana's, and I highly recommend a visit if you ever get to town.  The restaurant is jam-packed with movie memorabilia, featuring Elvis Presly, Marilyn Monroe, and James Dean.  They serve a freshly-made fruit fritter that is one of the best things I've ever eaten. I must admit to eating at least two of them while we were in town.... :D
 The "mysterious swamp" part of the tour was a joke between two of our forum friends...Polecat, this picture is for you. I'm so sorry you couldn't be there to see it in person!

While we stayed in Swansboro, we met up with a few other folks from the forum, rode, ate, had a marvelous tour of Camp LeJeune that was arranged and led by our host, rode and ate some more, and had a generally wonderful time.  We were lucky enough to meet up in Swansboro with a young Marine who had just returned from deployment overseas, and his wife, who is the daughter of friends in Hubbard, Ohio.  There were eleven states represented at the gathering, some people we'd met before, and a few we met for the first time.  It was a wonderful time, and we're so grateful to Bob for setting it all up!
The foothills of the Smokey Mountains

 We took leave from our friends on Sunday morning and headed for home in perfect riding weather, stopping for the night in Bristol, Tennessee.
The weather for our ride home was clear and hot.  We had to take cover and wait out some storms in Bristol, TN, and just south of the Ohio River in Kentucky, but otherwise had an uneventful time.  
We rode around 2,500 miles on this trip, and had such fun! 
How the Smokies got their name

A storm rolls in over Bristol

After the storm

Almost home again, in Indiana
Maybe I'll show what I've been knitting in my next post :)