July 2017
"and miles to go before I sleep."  A line from a Robert Frost poem, but our 'mantra' for the month of July.  We left Palm Creek early on July 1st and headed east.  
One of the things on our "to do list" before leaving Arizona was to have our car serviced.  When we did that about 10 days before our departure date, the service people
warned us of the strong possibility that we would have transmission problems during a drive as long as our planned trip.  You may recall that when our 2012 Escape was
brand new, the transmission burned up while we were towing it behind our motor home.  The replacement transmission and the fluid pump that was installed at that time
had begun to show signs of wear and tear.  Projected repairs were close to the amount of trade-in value.  So, we have made the trip east in a brand new 2017 Ford
Edge.....a very quiet, comfortable, and roomy drive!

Our first stop of the journey was in Las Cruces, NM where we had a fun lunch and visit with Mary's cousins Geoff and Beth.  We continued on into Texas and by the second
night of our trip had arrived at our daughter's home in Leander.  It was a somewhat rare week for the family as all three of our granddaughters and our son-in-law were
home as well.  The two oldest girls attend Texas State University and had been away for special summer programs.  Coffey did research work at the National Archives in
Washington, DC and Close studied and participated in a medical internship program in Quertero, Mexico.  Our son-in-law, Matt, has been working on a special project in
California for most of the last year.  Ann and Merrick have been holding down the fort at home with classes at Austin Community College and Glenn High School.

We had a great time catching up with Ann and her family and celebrating the Independence Day holiday.  We'd passed the facility in Phoenix but had never checked out
"Top Golf".  Our son-in-law Matt was our 'group leader' for an experience at the Austin Top Golf.  What a place!  It's a giant three story golf driving range with about 100
"driving stations."  The golf balls have a chip in them that registers how far you drive the ball and flashes it on a monitor at your station.  The family divided into teams and
had a little driving contest!  The facility offers all sorts of food and entertainment.  We had a great time.

To celebrate the 4th we drove to San Marcos and took a ride on the glass bottom boats at the Meadows Center for Water and the Environment operated by Texas State
University.  Peering through the glass we could see the active springs at the bottom of Spring Lake which is the headwaters for the San Marcos River.   The guide pointed
out various species of plants and fish visible in the crystal clear water, and various others along the shore.  Many years ago the springs and lake were part of a privately
operated theme park and resort.  The old hotel now houses a museum and offices of the environmental studies department.    From there we stopped for a delicious Texas
meal at the Salt Lick BBQ in Driftwood, TX.  What a treat!!!   And what an interesting place...meals served at giant picnic tables and its B.Y.O.B. - or buy "drinks to go" at the
brewery next door. We capped off the day by joining thousands of others at the Leander Libertyfest.  We took our canopy and chairs and set up our space among the crowd
to enjoy live music and fireworks.

Later that week we tagged along to granddaughter Merrick's workout at "Sky Candy".  After seeing a performance, Merrick decided to try learning some aerial tricks and is
enjoying the challenge.    Another treat was a visit to the Zilker Botanical Gardens in Austin.  Its a lovely place for a walk and at the time was featuring about 25 tiny "Faerie
Gardens" made by various groups around the city.  They were quite imaginative displays constructed of "found" materials.      There was lots of game playing hours and
great visiting with the family before we continued east and north.  Merrick was about to head to an architecture program at Texas A&M in College Station and then to a
writing camp back in Leander and the older girls were scheduled for a trip to Abilene, so we were on our way as well.
Back on the road, our next stop was Paducah, Kentucky.  Mary was interested in seeing the National Quilt Museum and checking out some fabric stores there.  The displays
in the museum were quite spectacular but no photos were allowed.   We also were quite impressed with the Floodwall Murals along the riverfront downtown. Each section
depicted something of importance in the history of the region.

We made it to Toledo, our old hometown, on July 11 and enjoyed a week of visits with friends and family.  There were some good domino games with our hosts...good friends
Kathy and Dennie and visits with Tom's sister Judy and husband Ron and Mary's brother Bill and sister-in-law Beth.  Good friends Dick and Liz met us for lunch one day and
we were all surprised to find that we had both purchased brand new cars - almost identical Ford Edge models.  One day we drove to Monroe, Michigan and met Palm Creek
friends Holly and Greg for lunch and a visit.
Next stop was Jackson, Michigan.  While in Toledo we received a call that Mary's mom had been taken to the hospital.  So we packed up and moved on to be with her for
several days while she had surgery to remove a blood clot.  The surgery was successful and after a few days we continued on to Kalamazoo for a grand visit with our son
Reid, Kathleen and Evelyn.  What a difference 6 months makes in the life of a little one.  Evelyn has amazed us with her activity level and knowledge!!!  What a cute little
sweetheart she is!!!  We read books, played games, went on walks, played in the pool, watched the birds and deer in the back yard, went out to eat and to the Farmer's
Market, and visited a Nature Center among lots of other activities. Oh, to have her energy!!  Mary made a day trip to Charlotte, MI one day to meet Palm Creek friend Sally for
lunch and some shopping in the quilt shops there..

Ann and the Texas granddaughters had planned a 'girls road trip' to check out the University of Kansas Graduate School in Lawrence in advance of Coffey beginning her
graduate studies next summer.  (How can that be possible??) So they decided to "swing through Michigan on their way home."  It was a pretty big circle for them, but we had
a great time while they joined us in Kalamazoo.  They especially enjoyed entertaining Evelyn (and vice versa!).  We created a home-made "slippy-slide" on Reid's back yard
hill which was a fantastic time.  We ventured to "Sky Zone" for a session of jumping on trampolines and into a pit filled with giant foam blocks (Grandma and Grandpa were
strictly observers!)  "The girls" made a trip over to Jackson to visit great grandma.  There was some game playing and some meals out and a little shopping as well.  
Meanwhile, Tom and Mary were making trips back and forth to Jackson as Mom went back and forth between the hospital and a rehab center. (and we now have about 5000
miles on the new car.)
As the month of July came to an end, we were hoping that activity would slow down a bit, that Mom
would continue to be stable and we would enjoy a few more days with friends and family before we
head back to Arizona.
Its like waiting turns at a bowling alley..can you hit a target
with your golf ball?
The glass bottom boats date back to 1945 for a quiet trip
over Spring Lake on the Texas State campus.
Steaks, brisket, ribs, etc. all cook on the big pit in the Salt
Lick BBQ restaurant.
Merrick and Close celebrated with large (non-alcoholic)
Pina Colada drinks served in a whole pineapple.
We gathered 'round listening to music, snacking and
waiting for the fireworks in 100*+ heat.
The fireworks finally began.
It was a spectacular show put on by the town of
Leander, TX.
Merrick (in the orange) was learning how to work
in the suspended steel hoop.
The Fairies in this house had a long climb to get
The Zilker Botanical Garden was a cool(er) spot
on a hot day.
The National Quilt Museum in Paducah, Kentucky
Historic floodwall murals along the Paducah riverfront tell
of the area's history, especially in the commerce of the
early 1900s.
Meanwhile we were getting photos from Beaver Island,
Michigan where granddaughter Evelyn and her cousin
Conner were spending the week at the beach.
Evelyn and Daddy made us some delicious Rosemary
and garlic Foccasia bread for dinner several different
One of several families, the momma has two fawns.  
There is also a set of triplets.
No wonder the bird feeder empties so fast!
Evelyn has her own obstacle course in the back yard.
How high can you jump?
C'mon Ann, you can do it!
Evelyn found a hippo in the woods at the
Nature Center.
Wheeee.....great fun sliding down the hill on
a water slide.
Settlers of Cattan pitted relatives against each other.
Evelyn is a great reader and loves to share her books
with Grandpa.
Of course we don't go anywhere without our electronics to
keep up with school work and in touch with friends.
return to our "home page"
return to "What we've been doing..."