"It is in the wild places, where the edge of the earth meets the corners of the sky, the human spirit is fed." Art Wolf

Friday, October 9, 2015

Pictures and Stories from Here and There

No posts since arriving back from Ireland but that doesn't mean that I have been sitting in the back room at the computer for the last month.

First there was a get together in Shipshewana, Indiana with a some women from the WomenRV group.  We got to wander around the flea market and buy a few things we didn't know we needed, eat out a couple of times, shared some pot luck dinners, played cards a couple evenings, watch an Apple Fest Parade and listen to bunches of Amish buggies with handsome horses clop, clop, clop down the streets.

And then there was the kayaking trip to a near by lake that Sue found just a couple of miles from our camp ground.  Claudia needed to try out Nan's Advance Element to see if it needed to jump out of Nan's rig and find its way into Claudia's.

One end of the lake was pretty wild and deserted.

The other end of the lake was ringed with houses, docks and pontoon boats that seemed a little over kill for a not very large lake.

Nan paddles away from the launch area in her Hornbeck.

Claudia, who has had to rent kayaks along her travels, finds the Advance Element comfy.

Another pictures that inspires me.  Nan independently loading her Hornbeck on top of her Honda. I never get tired of watching Nan and Liz haul their boats in and out of the water so easily.  Claudia supervised.  

After getting back from Indiana, Audrey and her buddies headed out for a dog show and she picked up two more Grand Champion points.  We then got home and got ready to head out to New York State, to explore some of the Adirondacks, check out some Hornbeck kayaks and visit with my son and Sarah.  Oh, and on the way past Columbus we picked up an English Cocker puppy so he could get his first travel training with the big guys.   To his credit, it made it all the way to New York State and back with a dry crate blanket.

The colors were still muted most places but occasionally popped out.  The weather this summer and fall apparently has set the fall colors back a few weeks.

After exploring some of the winding roads of the park I found Omstedville.  I was going to worry about the winding park roads and then remembered several of my drives through the mountains this summer and told myself that the Adirondacks are the older mountains.  It is interesting that the more miles I drive through some of the less than ideal roadways, the less formidable new roads appear.  

I made it to Hornbeck Boats on a gray chilly, Wednesday afternoon in the rain.  We discussed options and both decided that the possibility of sunshine on Thursday morning would make trying out kayaks in the pond more attractive for both of us.

So I unhooked the car and parked in the field across from the office.

Then I walked some dogs and walked some more dogs.  This is the view of the barn where the kayaks are made.   In the summer they can make use of the outside areas.  One of the workers makes  walking sticks in his spare time and lines them up against the kayak shed on the right.

On Thursday morning about 10:00, we headed over to the pond and tried out several different models and lengths.

The new puppers came back to loo over the models during his walking break.  Stuart had not explained kayaks to him, yet.  There is plenty of time to learn those skills hopefully after he knows a nice "Sit and Stay."

He answers well to pup pup but will get his new real name at the Urbana Dog Show this weekend.

When the dogs and I made it to Ben's driveway Friday we were able to get the rig parked carefully with Ben's help and directions. The space was tight, slightly off level even with some leveling blocks but adequate for a couple of nights.  And the price was right!    On Sat, Sarah came up and the three of us headed off to pick up a handmade redwood canoe Ben had located on Craig's List.   The canoe is beautiful.  The gray haired gentleman in the picture with Ben made the canoe not sure how many years ago.   It was neat but also sad meeting him.  The canoe was being sold by his family because he has had several major health issues that have left him with short term memory losses and the inability to take care of himself.   He told several stories of his canoeing adventures, some of them more than once.....Along one wall of the house the canoe came out of was a cluster of dusty musical instruments that also once were his and now he could no longer play.  All a reminder not to take the present for granted.  I think the canoe found an excellent and deserving new home.

Ben and Sarah and the photo op, next to the lake.  There are lakes and reservoirs all around Patterson which was why the canoe was "needed".  

On Sunday the three of us headed off for a nice "four mile" hike.....ah, not exactly.  lesson learned always bring water and lunch or snacks.   By the time our trail was complete the Fitbit reported over 18,000 steps.  We started at the trail head next to the stone fixer upper.

Next to the field with the drone practicing his maneuvers.

The trail was a beautiful mix up of hills, trees and rocks with several ponds with beavers thrown in for interest.

Once again we try to figure if we have made it to the right  "high point" yet....

Definitely found homes of some of the woodland creatures of fairy.

Stuart would not admit to getting tired, but all of us did. We did catch him sitting down once and he was asleep within minutes of making it back to the car and getting back on the road.   I can now say that I walked a couple of miles on the Appalachia trail.  It was steep and rugged enough in places to expand my appreciation to the walkers of the trail and to know my time to put it down on my "bucket list" has passed.  Good thing that the world if full of other choices.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The last days in Ireland

On our way down the road after climbing Skellig we stopped to make sure our legs didn't get too stiff. These were our last two days on the tour and our last opportunities to be Vagabonds.  Dee made the sure we made most of them.

Nice art work on the table base.  We visited the home of Daniel O'Connell know as the Liberator because he liberated the Irish majority from their political obscurity back in the early 1800's.  

We also took the stop as another opportunity to visit a bathroom.  Thought I would post and example of the "Big" flush/"Small" flush choices you get.  I think IKEA has some similar choices in their stores but, hey, they're from Sweden.

Dee sent us around the hose grounds in search of fairy houses.  I found some things humans had built to look like they thought fairy house might look. I do believe in faeries but having recently been to the woods of western Oregon and Washington, places where some Irish faeries must have emigrated, I knew that real fairy trees don't look like they were made by a human.....If you doubt me go back to some of those Washington blogs.

I did find some of their tiny mushroom crop.

Daniel had a tower built out on the grounds. Think his century's version of a man cave where he could escape from a house full of children and think and produce great articles of grand oratory.  The stones inlaid in the floor created patterns like its own labyrinth for thought.

A two story tower at that.

Coming back around the grounds towards the car park I passed the back door of the small cafe and their storage area for the fresh vegetables. 

Arriving back a few minutes early, Dee sends me out the lane for a quick view of the nearby beach.  She knows I can walk fast on level ground.  

Turning back around I look at the house and imagine growing up in a house such as this one with fairy gardens, the beach and mountains beyond to go climbing.  It just needs a few horses.

Another afternoon stop to experience an old stone circle hiding in plain sight out on a farmer's land.

As we look around it is clear why the folks thought this was a good place for energy and spirits.

Looking back down towards the circle from higher rocks.

Can you see the Druids and their robes?

Another quick bathroom stop.

Thursday afternoon we also made a stop in a small park to get our personal introduction to the Irish Sport of "Hurling"  Dee demonstrated how to make contact with the small and very hard, ball.

Tom took a turn practicing picking up the ball with the stick. No hands allowed at this stage.

We also got to participate in a relay race of sorts that involved several maneuvers one of which was to walk balancing the ball on the stick.   Egg in Spoon games are much easier. There is no rim on these sticks.

Surprise, another Castle!

Which now looks like this.

Then we drove to our last hiking adventure of the day into the forest park of Gugan Barra.

Carefully hoping across the boulders in the creek.

So we could see one more vista before we sleep tonight.

And so we come to our last evening together.

In the morning Liz and I get up a little early to greet the sun and roam about outside exploring the grounds around the lake, chapel and hotel.

The sunrise fought off the clouds occasionally to spill onto the mountains.

Breakfast and then it is off to the Blarney Castle and the Rock of Cashel before making the final run back to Dublin and saying our good-byes.

Some of the later owners of the castle found it a little uncomfortable to actually live in and built nearby.

No, neither Liz and I, nor many other visitors, saw a need to crawl around on the floor and bend over backwards to kiss a rock.  In our case, we both felt that we could tell stories as well as we needed to at this point in our lives.  It did appear that the gentleman made some attempt to clean the rock between seekers of the gift of "Blarney" but Monica reported that she saw the residue of "lipstick" still hanging around the rock.  eeew....

Narrow stairs.  Hard enough for knights and folks with swords but I kept thinking about the servants that had to carry foods and other goods up and down from level to level throughout the day.

Liz and I passed the two "traveler's" wagons before we made our way back to the van.  Later in the day as we were driving back towards the city I saw another colorful wagon parked along side the roundabout, along with a trailer and some tenting and a horse.  Some travelers are still out and about in Ireland.  

Our last stop was to see the Rock of Cashel.  By the scaffolding you can tell that part of the cathedral is undergoing some reconstruction.

Still it is pretty impressive.

Even if surrounded by busloads of people and guides speaking different languages.

Not everyone buried on the grounds are ancient.  Makes you wonder who you have to know?   I found several "Ryans" buried on the grounds.  I claimed them as long lost relatives to my Grandfather Ryan's family some of whom came over during that famous famine era. 

Housing for the parish.

From the Rock of Cashel we climbed back in the van for the last leg of our journey to Dublin and our drop off points around the city.   Liz and I didn't even try to leave the hotel Friday but grabbed some dinner, made reservations for the shuttle to the airport to pick us up at 6:46 am, finished packing our bags and headed to bed.

Bye Ireland.....