Friday, November 30, 2007

Jolly Ole' England!!

SO. England. So far so good. We've been back 3 weeks now and we've only been out walking in the rain twice!! Unseasonably mild and dry - but it's England. It's bound not to last. But we have been making the most of it. Don't look a gift-horse in the mouth!! Since we've been back we've walked 77 miles. This is us keeping up with our latest fitness regime (something else that's bound not to last!!) Start the day off with a 4 mile walk, trudging round the English countryside - great!!

So with the mild weather we even managed to get the top down in our 'old' SLK!! My folks kindly put us back on the insurance for us to drive while we're here (actually less of the 'us' - they wouldn't insure me due to 'age unacceptable' - go figure! Still being chauffeur-driven isn't so bad! This is the view from 'up the hill' looking down on Kingston St Mary - the village I grew up in, and where my Mum & Dad still are. Looks far more 'romantic' here in B&W than it ever was when I was here!

And - FINALLY we found some autumn!! After missing it all in the States there are some remnants here. And plenty of leaves!! (Picture taken 28 Nov in Kingston)

Yesterday we had beautiful weather and so took an afternoon trip out to the seaside with my Mum & Dad. One of the nearest places to us on the South coast is Lyme Regis in Dorset. I remember all the fun trips I took there as a teenager with friends staying in a beach chalet and generally running riot - the promendae is all tarted up and looking rather different, but the old cottages and 'the Cobb' (was used for filming in the movie French Lieutenants Woman) protecting the harbour never change. Strolled along the shore, stopped in a little English tea-rooms for cream teas, hot chocolate, buttered crumpets and mulled wine! - Ahhhh - tis good to be back!!

Monday, November 12, 2007

One day to go!

Time is counting down. This time in 24 hours we'll be on a plane back across the Atlantic. For our last few days we've based ourselves in Conroe, TX - about 35 miles north of Houston. Great place, great campsite and a perfect place to prepare for home, prep the RV for 5 months of winter storage and pack. Looking forward to seeing our family and really excited about 'going home for Christmas'.

The trip is on hold now for 5 months. This is not the end. We have return tickets booked for mid-April!!

'Old Baldy' - seen in Hill Country, TX - Yes YOU Backhouse!!!

Whilst in Austin we also caught up with Marty and Tom - a couple we'd met when visiting the Four Corners Monument (in Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah - take your pick!!). Finally after all our plan changes this year we visited their home and had dinner with them - also in Austin, TX! Great to see you both!

Friday, November 09, 2007

Time with old friends

A couple of shots of Chris with his old buddy from RAF II Squadron days - 'Geordie' Sparrow - now all grown up, retired from the RAF and mature he's better known as John! Had a great couple of days staying with him and his family - Michelle, Kate & Callum in Austin. They took us to the MOST fabulous Texas BBQ joint - The Salt Lick restaurant. HUGE plates of BBQ ribs, sausage & beef brisket served family style with heaps of beans, bread, pickles, potatos, sauce. Oh wow - just fab stuff and all you can eat so we all waddled out a couple hours later to listen to the live music playing in the garden of the resturant!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

39th State

This is our USA states sticker map. It's stuck on the door of the RV and we peel off and stick on the states as and when we've visted! Vague criteria qualify a state for sticker status - we have to have stayed the night and 'done' something (for example driving 2 hours through Arkansas 2 years ago didn't qualify much to Chris's irritation, it wasn't until last month that it actually got it's sticker (And soaking for 2 hours in a Hot Spring and hiking was good enough in my book!)

So 39 States in 34 months. And what with our flights back to the UK booked for less than 2 weeks time this is all we can achieve for the time being. So 39 - not bad (we could sneak in a couple more on that figure given that we've both been to Hawaii, and I've been to Kansas & Massachusetts but not on this trip so disallowed! - Yes, yes - I'm strict with the rules!) Poor old West Virginia is out on a limb a bit so we might never get that one! New Mexico I haven't 'really' been to. We went to the 4 corners last year and put a limb in 4 states which I admit is stretching it a little (OK, since I'm short it was stretching it a LOT) but anyway, Chris did do his bike trip there last year which MORE than qualifys him!

Snuck in to Oklahoma this week (mainly to bag a final sticker before we go!) Went to the beautiful Chickasaw National Recreation Area. Went off merrily for our morning hike. All very nice, although I was grumbling along about how thick the undergrowth was making it tough going. Well that became the least of my worries when a very dodgey geezer in camo-gear informed me that it was 'Black Powder' (whatever the hell that means) season and I looked like a white-tailed deer (something about the cream sweater I was wearing rather than my natural grace and elegance) and was highly likely to get shot at. Nice. We beat a hasty retreat and stuck to the roads to the sound of guns going off all around. Chris re-assured me by saying that if I heard the shot it missed me. Mmmm. Thanks for that. Also in Oklahoma did a mammoth Christmas shopping spree - with the $ at $2.08 to the UK£ it can't be bad - spend, spend, spend!!