Post Thanksgiving, again

Seems this subject comes around about once a year. We drove from Rochester to Covesville VA in the Jeep, in a day and have been here since Sunday night. Carol and I have had to mesh with the family more than usual since we don’t have the coach to retreat to. It has been working out just fine. As I write it is Friday and we have plans to drive in to the UVA Grounds to see an original copy of the Declaration of Independence and wander on the Grounds. We hope that it is far enough away from the shopping zone to keep us out of trouble.

Given the presence of many chickens on the farm, Thanksgiving was celebrated with an excess of chicken and no turkey. All the fixin’s were wonderful from the cranberry chutney to the mashed potatoes – which made a wonderful pancake for breakfast too. We rolled away from the table by 4 PM and no one had any room for even a snack before bedtime. Alexander, Corey, Carol and I got very involved in batting a balloon around the living room. This simple entertainment continued for more than 45 minutes  until we were exhausted from laughing. Carol claimed her face ached from smiling and laughing. I must admit thta I too was feeling sore about the face from laughing so hard and for so long.

We have been suffering with smoke from two nearby forest fires settling into the Hollow. I can only imagine how much worse it must be for the Israelis being forced from their homes and communities as the Sabbath approaches and knowing that many, if not all, of the fires were intentionally set. Over the years so many of us have bought trees, forests with our contribution. On our trips we have planted trees ourselves to reforest a land that had been stripped of its trees in the decades and centuries before the founding of the State. To see those trees burning from arson is to see attacks on the very heart of Israel. The trees are important to moderate the climate and to preserve the land that Israel has been restoring. These are attacks not only on the State and the people, but on the environment.

Other very upsetting news come from the attacks on the Reform Synagogue in Ra’anana by ultra orthodox, why?

We got to the Small collection on the UVA campus where there is a display of many copies of the
Declaration of Independence including an original print of the broadside printed to distribute the news to the country side. UVA Small Library We were all moved by the installation and being in the presence of this document that is so important to our history.

More anon.

Movies and Politics and a Coach Update

I haven’t talked about movies in some time and even less about politics. We had Trumbo (2015) sitting on our watch list for a while and kept forgetting what it was about. In short Donald Trumbo was one of the Ten, Hollywood screen writers who were blacklisted by the studios, under great pressure from columnists and congressmen. They were indicted for contempt of Congress for refusing to answer “Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party?” There was no “right” answer. “No” would have been met with “proof” of perjury and “yes” was met with a demand for who else was a member. I know this is old news, but the story of how Trumbo survived twelve years of black list and what it cost him is well told. Also it leaves me very worried that we now have an appointed member of the administration, Steve Bannon, who Southern Poverty Law Center says has no business in the White House and members of Congress who could create a modern day HUAC.

Moving back to the movies. The Black List was broken when Kirk Douglas made Spartacus and announced that Donald Trumbo was writing the script, already an open secret. Hedda Hopper went after everyone in sight to stop it or to prevent people from going to see it. The American Legion ordered its members to boycott and it was a box office smash. It didn’t hurt that John F Kennedy was seen to have sneaked out of the White House to see it. The movie is indeed a blockbuster, the cast includes, Kirk Douglas, Charles Laughton, Peter Ustinov, Jean Simmons and Laurence Olivier. Also 10,000 troups from the Spanish Army and that is just half the battlefield. It is gory for its time and it is a love story and romantic for its time. It runs 3 hours 15 minutes. We got it from the library in an edition called the Criterion Collection. The finest piece in the extra material is a film made by the Hollywood Ten as they were preparing to go to jail for a year for contempt of Congress.The added material in the Criterion Collection made the experience far more than watching a movie, it even includes correspondence from the MPAA with their censorship concerns.

We did not set out to have a political experience, far from it, enough already. As I said Trumbo has been on our watch list for months. I would have preferred to have watched Roman Holiday (written by Donald Trumbo but the Oscar went to Ian McLellan Hunter who was not on the blacklist). Ricki and the Flash, with Meryl Streep is on our watch list, maybe that will be safe to watch.

Coach Update: The date is now December 1. I had a long talk with John, the body shop manager, and they are just getting ready to paint. He figures they need a week. There is no way we would be able to drive it to Virginia leaving next Tuesday. We are going to take the car to Charlottesville and have a great time there and see people in DC. Then back to Rochester for a day before picking up the coach and taking a day to settle back in before heading out on a northerly route dependent on how the weather looks. Wish us luck.

No Politics Zone – a Ramble

I have given up reading the NYTimes for a bit. I won’t read political rants on FaceBook. I’ve had it. Nothing I do or say is going to change the basic facts. The country will go on about its business, people will be worse off or better off and I want to get out in the desert with a whisper of internet to stay in touch with friends and family and find beauty in the plants and animals that make their own way unconcerned about affairs of people. Yes, I know we are changing the very places they live. So much damage has been done already. . .  argh, there I go off into politics without even meaning to.

I long for the feel of the road beneath our tires, knowing that we will find a place to stay the night, or a week, or a month if it suits us. To connect with people we have met living the same life and share a happy hour and a pot luck meal. To meet new people who will join the ranks of our extended friendship circle, or occasionally people who are interesting for one time only (ref: The Moon is Harsh Mistress, Heinlein).

Hmm, maybe just to sit quietly and reread some Heinlein and Asimov and Niven, not sure I am ready to reread Orson Scott Card again. Michael Connelly has a new Bosch story out, can I wait for the price to come down or will I just buy it and get on with it :)?  Carol says “get it from the library”.

Yes I know I am rambling. It comes from sitting and getting accounts current and hanging more pictures in the apartment so they will be up when we come back in the Spring and reading too many posts on RV forums. I will just let this ramble on for a bit more.

Just read about the 7.1 earthquake in New Zealand. Were we really there, just six months ago, in those very places. Saw Kate on FaceBook proclaiming they are well and unhurt, we first met her at Steven and Daisy’s wedding and then in Wellington for a day as we were passing through. The forces of nature are not to be toyed with. The pictures are horrifying although the death toll so far is low.

Enough words, how about some sunsets?

The above are from our Africa trip 
From the apartment window through dirty glass – just now.

Itchy Tires

Itchy tires is a syndrome caused by staying in one place for too long. We have been in our apartment since our return from Africa September 19. That is more than 6 weeks with only two brief trips out of town. We were in Syracuse for a day and a half for my aunt’s memorial service and we had a couple of hours in North Tonawanda (Niagara Falls area) to see what was going on with the coach.

The primary symptom is endless reading of RV blogs by others, reading and responding to forum postings (, and I am even deeply engrossed in a selection of Facebook groups dedicated to various aspects of the RV Lifestyle. Last night I even watched a video replay of a live presentation about lithium batteries for the house electric supply. No way am I even considering the expense of such a conversion which would take over five years to recoup/justify.

Another symptom is early morning wake ups thinking about the chores needed to get underway again. We took so much off of GeeWhiz that is a chore to keep it separate from the stuff we leave in the apartment. I am even rethinking all those hats I sorted last week which was really part of the process of getting ready to roll. Maybe once we roll I’ll sleep more soundly. After all preparing to move on in the coach does not require any decision making about what to take, everything, and it is all has it place for being underway.

I’m even writing this post, which if I look back over the years seems to be a harbinger of time to move on. But! I talked to John at Colton yesterday and he is slipping our November 15 departure date, he thinks. They have the new front cap installed and they only need one small part before they can put the generator back in and well, there are a world of small parts that still need to arrive. Meanwhile the compartment doors are in the process of being painted and other work is proceeding.

I am trying hard to live with indecisiveness. We will leave when the coach is ready and not a minute before, also not much more than a minute later. In reality, I suspect we would be sitting in Rochester even if the coach were merely in storage for now. We have friends to have lunch and dinner with, we have concert tickets and so many other wonderful activities right here. Carol has let the refrigerator and pantry drop to the lowest point we can remember. We are eating out so much and preparing to travel. Indeed we will need to shop soon just to be able to have breakfast in the apartment.

Life is good and I have learned that Itchy Tires is a syndrome with an easy and lasting cure: Get on the Road!