Last 2018 Weekend In SC

30 Jul 2018 – Leaving With A Heavy Heart

Thu: running errands before thinking about packing! Returning library books (0.80c penalty for 2books and 2days late) and clothes to  charity. Great catching up with the Barbara&Justin. Calamari&Bruschetta starters followed by Soft-shell crabs@Alodia’s with a Bellini to celebrate this last Thu dinner in the US.  Truly blessed with the best family&friends like the Lufurnos who are very special ppl to me – their kindness by letting my family stay in their parents’ condo after the house fire will always be appreciated and remembered.

Fri: TGIF and a good weekend to all. Saw this below posting. SIN and Norway on top of the list – explains why I like being there! Bolivia, Sierra Leone, Botswana are at the bottom of this list and countries I have not been…,

http://www.rdasia.com/travel/destinations/which-countries-are-safest-visit

Getting foods ready for the weekend and it will be another year (ie if I live to see another year 🙂 ) before I make food for this family again –  Curry shrimps, Bourbon SalmonIrish-creamed potato+mushroom&fresh fruits.

Sat: congratulations to dear grand-nephew SuiChang for his marriage, welcome Mrs Lam to the family – will update with name when back in SIN. All the very best to them and might even be blessed to see a new generation! Waiting to hear what the colour will be for the new generation! So far brown has been suggested by niece JenLeng. Pix credits to another dear grandnephew, KeeYang. L-R: LAM JenMum, ANG KeeYang, SiewKeng, ANG QiYing, 2sis-in-law,  LAM SuiChang&his bride, LAM JenLeng&MrANG, MayvenLEE&LAM JenWee. This is 2bro’s (may he RIP) branch in the family tree.

#5 belated Bday Party@Lake Murray – not that easy to get my whole flock together. Jeff is on call today! Will try later before I take off!! 

 

Rub-a-dub dub, too many boys in the tub – boys will be boys and glad to be able to be here to capture them all having such fun. And grandma will be grandma and she sure likes taking pix, especially candid shorts 🙂

Anna, Tiffany & Tai with their boys and Rich with his 2girls. These kids sure make me feel old. It really did not seemed that long ago when we babysat baby Cody when Tiffany had to go for her haircut after giving birth. He is now 14 and has a great sense of humour.

Stayed indoors in the AC with the hormonal teenagers, #1&2, Cody, Tyler including the dog! This must be the most expensive US$20 S$27 treat I have ever gotton for any dog – Prairie DogTreat/Antier Elk Horn, organic and was told that it should last for months. Will need the kids to let me know how long it will last…

Managed to gather the flock together for dinner@TopChinaBuffet with Tiffany&her boys. Bday boy here is hidden behind #4 in this pix, but they are all here. My only rule to all buffets is – they can take whatever and however much they like, but NO food wastage. The kids like it here as they can eat as much ice cream as they want. For 11ppl the price is not too bad, US$85 S$115 including 10%discount.

Sun; breaks my heart to see someone heading to the misguided dark path in their life’s journey. While the family is at church today, hopes, prayers and thoughts that the light will guide their footsteps thru’ the tunnel of darkness back to the light.

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Mon: my least favourite thing to do – but pack I must. Here are pix to remind me what I have stored with L&J but will probably forget again this time next year…

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Tkx to L&J for storing my stuff so that I am able to travel with a small bag and my own self-made tag!+a Ultralight bag-pack, ie no check-in luggage.  Should really have a tag that say  I wish I could remember MY name&where I am going –  lol

牽馬到河邊容易,逼馬飲水難。(意指為他人做某事創造條件易,使其做某事難)You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink – as the Chinese saying goes!

Back To SC

26 Jul 2018 – For One More Week

Sun: breakfast@Dutch Kitchen Restaurant Frackville/PA before hitting the road. Wiggs and I had a Mimosa for vitaminC ration 🙂 and to celebrate our time together before going our separate ways.

Picked up HIHills’s car@TrailAngel Marion/VA who was out to feed us in 2005. Dropped Lizard at some junction in VA where she was picked up by her partner and Wiggs@her home in Blacksburg VA.

Stopped to communicate for directions and it was strange to recognize one of the Greyhound’s stop by McD – trying to remember which trip it was when I was here ?2015? Welcomed by a beautiful rainbow (showers and sunshine on the whole drive) and 2 cute rabbits in NC. Most appreciative to Glenda&Franklin for driving up&down this trip to ME.

Mon: Happy to Bdays #5 (7) and to grandnephew Lucas in SIN.

Paying respect to a legend Tom Dula/Dooley in Wilkesboro/NC, who was hung for murder – my thought is that he was innocent! Appreciations to HiHillsFranklin for finding the location and driving me there. Strangely enough the roosters at the nearby farm all started to crow when we were got to the gravestone, even though it was past 1400hrs and they stopped when we left!! Wonder what our other hiker buddy MoFo will make out of it 🙂 🙂

https://northcarolinaghosts.com/mountains/tom-dooley/

A lovely short drive by the YadkinRiver drive thru’ these Kudzu invasive plants which look very green but rather eerie. The Crepe Myrtles on the other hand, look delightful, even when pix is not sharp!

Blessed to have G&F crossing this life’s journey and for their being. Dinning on their lovely designers’ cast-iron furniture in their bed-room patio to end this wonderful trip to&from ME. Looks like Franklin is having second thoughts on my home cooked Bourbon Salmon – lol

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Enjoying their lovely garden before I have to take off – was told that it was unusual to have 3humming birds together at the same feed!! My first encounter with a Weeping Norway Spruce

Tue: 0945hrs bus from Wilkesboro-WinstonSalem/NC in heavy rains with a good driver app 1hr drive, on schedule and uneventful. The WS bus station has a nice map on the floor with interesting ppl here!

App 4hrs delayed in WS and no big deal and glad to have lunch again@SweetPotato and fun wander around the artsy area near the station. The Greyhound customer service here was good today and was willingly to store my luggage and came to update me with info regarding the delay.

Seems like the sculptures here like to be on the rooftops or on the wall which makes it difficult to get eye-contact with! Managed to do all the gifts shopping@MastGeneralStore.

1700hr – took off in a bus without air towards Charlotte/NC and it was either that or wait another 5hrs! 2hrs was not that bad, but there were definitely some ppl upset and all kinds of language&drama on this trip! Did not help with the bumper-bumper traffic getting into Charlotte in the bus without air! Cloud gazing usually have a calm effect on me. All’s well that ends well, there was another bus with air and the 1+hr ride to Columbia/SC was smooth&uneventful arr 2100hrs. Tkx to Linn for picking me up.

Wed: a day to rest and reflect feeling so appreciative&grateful to my hiking friends who have helped to make another wonderful trip with good memory to cherish.

A Walk In The Woods!

21 Jul 2018 – Yellow, Blue&White Blazing

Wed: our hikers started 0430hrs heading towards the approaching trail for Mahoosuc Notch&Arm but had to turn back due to road closure to get to the trail head from The Cabin. This section is known to be the most difficult mile on the AT where I fell and hurt my back in 2005.

Lovely day-hike Blue&WhiteBlazing@DunnNotch.

W-Branch of the Ellis River thru’ conserved wilderness, passing pools, cascades and the beautiful Upper and Lower Dunn Falls. Return along the AT for a loop hike. What a privilege to be hiking with Honey (86) and her great-grand son Josh (14).

Good lobster roll@SundayRiver Brewery.

Sunday River Covered Bridge (1872) for pedestrians only and the local general store. Good of AndyBrown to drive all the way from Bangor to catch up. The last time I saw him was@the ATthru’Hike in 2005 where he was our TrailAngel and I ate 5hotdogs here somewhere in ME.

Thu: drove to the NotchTrail to check out the trail-head for tent sites. Snacked@White Mountain Cafe/Gorham, good quiche but slow service, so if tight with time, find a fast food place!

Tent-City! and if you were starting your hike from the trailhead here, you will surely not miss us. Tents for HiHills&Frankin, PacMan&Josh, Wiggs, I, Pokey&Lizard – tkx to the Tripletts for the loan of tent, sleeping-bag, ground-sheet, air-mattress, etc, not expecting to hike, left my camping and hiking gears in SIN.

Fri: TGIF wake up call for the hikers 0430hrs – hikers on the trail by 0700hrs for another attempt for the Mahoosuc Notch&Arm. It sure took me some time to dismantle and pack the tents, must be out of touch!!

Car was dirty after driving thru’ the gravel roads to the trail-head – gave both cars a wash. Shared an omelette for brunch with HiHill@Welsh, Gorham. 

Yellow-Blaze 8mi (drive!) up Mt Washington. Had actually wanted to take the Cog Railway, but the timing did not fit, so not meant to be.

Last time here (2005), could not even see my hands when they were stretched out, had to link arms with Wiggs, Gadget&T² to hike thru’ this section. On top of Mt Washington is also the location with the highest wind record 213mph in 1934. Thus understanding why the building is chained to the ground!

Drove back to the Cabin dropping Pokey’s car@GraftonNotch via Gorham.

Grafton Notch ScrewAugerFalls – is a 25-foot plunge over the lip of a broad granite ledge into a gorge. A transparent curtain of whitewater is created by the plunge. Below the main plunge, the Bear River travels through a curvaceous gorge, dropping an additional thirty feet in a series of cascades past giant potholes, shallow pools and grottoes. There is also a small natural arch here, a rarity for New England. And again had my feet in the water and it was on the cold side for a CandyAss

http://www.newenglandwaterfalls.com/me-screwaugerfalls-grafton.html

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Sat: group got in past 0100hrs. 0900hrs heading South on the Yellow-Blaze – appreciations to Honey&Bear+Hopper for their kindness&hospitality@The Cabin.

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Glad that our hikers are all safe and sound. Thank you to TrailAngels HiHills&Franklin.

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YellowBlazing down I-95South.

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Dinner & overnight@FrackvillePA.

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IMG_6188Yummy dinner@Anthony’s Pizza

with an interesting&interactive restroom sign! Excellent food, one of the best Tiramisu – managed to buy the last 2pieces and they were consumed before I had the chance to take my camera out!! Was pleasantly surprised by the standard of the food here and seems like a  big population of Italian decedents here.

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A decent night sleep@the EconoLodge was appreciated by all. Sharing the room with Wiggs&Lizard makes it more affordable, US$30pp S$41. Cool map of US car licence plates in the room. Tkx to Franklin for booking this.

Life is without meaning. You bring the meaning to it. The meaning of life is whatever you ascribe it to be. Being alive is the meaningJoseph Campbell

Mooselookmeguntic Lake – ME

18 Jul 2018 – Rangeley & The Surroundings

Mon: PacMan not well to hike, the rest heading out 0600hrs in Pokey’s car. Back to S Arm Rd to drive her car to the next AT Trail-Head on this lovely Mon morning. With Franklin driving his car and I driving Pokey’s car, we will manage to get it to the trail-head where they will end up this evening. Passing Roxbury on Rte17 with 22windmills on PartridgePeak, Flathead Mt & Record Hill.

AT Trail-Head by Height of Land, top of Spruce Mountain in Rangeley/ME. Met one Thru-Hiker Switch and did some TrailMagic. He started in GE and now has about 10days to complete his Thru-Hike – Happy&Safe Trails to him.

Spectacular views of MooselookmegunticLake.

RangeleyLake with sections of the AT at the far background in the neck of the woods with Moxi&LongPonds.

Good lobster salad lunch@ParkSide&Main/Rangeley. Was hoping for a sea-plane ride around the lakes, but the office was closed and no answer on their phone. Heard it above our heads during lunch but it did not land, not even after lunch!

Smalls Falls Rte4, Rangeley – a series of waterfalls and cascades on the SandyRiver in Township E-West Central Franklin. Looked refreshing and would have taken a dip if I had my swimsuit.

Coos Canyon – of Rte17 in Byron. And it is no wonder that a snooze was well-received back at The Cabin after a great touring day. Poor Franklin! he too must be rather tired. The beautiful nature in ME makes it all worth with these long drives. Glad that my hiking buddies arrived back safe&sound even when it was nearly midnight after 16hrs on the AT.

Tue: places en route to Farmington – Rumford, is home to both Catalyst Paper’s Rumford Mill and the Black Mountain of Maine ski resort.

Thru’ Dixfield, Wilton & Mexico, ME – besides Mexico, there is also China & Peru here but did not have a chance to visit.

Lunched@Homestead, Farmington – OK lobster salad and good lobster bisque, US$36 S$49.

Churches and library.

Excited about learning and observing maple syrup in the making@Maple Hill Farm.

Thank you for the vanilla ice-cream with warm maple-syrup and to Bruce for showing us their sap-house – a good place to be during winters! Appreciations to Franklin for driving. Lovely night sleeping to the raindrops and hopeful for a short hike tomorrow.

Road Blazing 2018

16 Jul 2018 – NC, VA, WV, PA, NY, CT, MA, VT, NH&ME

Thu: leaving WilkesboroNC 0930hrs, arr 1200n to Wiggs@BlacksburgVA to pick her up.

Continued with a slight detour to check out Woodside Farm which formally belonged to Kenneth Wherman’s family (JessicaLee’s husband/HiHills&Franklin’s son-in-law). Passing by New Market/VA to join the main road again.

Interesting places of worship and traffic back-ups at a few places on I-81 due to road constructions.

@The Millworks Harrisberg/PA

Yummy dinner – fried green tomatoes, trout and cobbler. Arr 22.30hrs@Red Roof Inn, Wilkes Barre Arena/PA US$80 shared with Wiggs, US$40pp where we were all ready to call it the day.

13th Fri: 0900hrs, sharing a good omelette+extra avocado with Wiggs@IHop before heading back to the highway. Irresistible fresh produce – blueberry-pie,  honey, plums, sweetcorn by gas station.

PA Welcome Center

On I-84E by passing Hartford/CT (Waterbury Golden Dome?) detour off the interstate by fate! to capture the above pix.

VT Welcome Center – nice location with a fund-raising for a swim-team.

Hello ME – passing Bethlehem and a drive-in movie with personality where I had to take a leak behind this white building. Arr@The Cabin, Andover 1900hrs.

Sat: appreciations to Honey&Bear and good to see them again here@The Cabin.

Glad to see the group again@The Cabin when we can enjoy the world’s best blueberry pancakes – the secret is in the batter!

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Wiggs attempting to flip those pancakes. HiHills&Lizard helping with the cleaning and freezing of the rhubarb.

While Lizard, Pac-Man, Pokey&Wiggs were hiking, HiHills&Franklin and I dropped the car to the trail-head@S Arm Rd and drove on to Richardson Lake.

Playing tourist in Andover was fun – Main St, First Congregational Church across the road from the Town Hall.

Good lobster salad lunch@Little Red Hen. HiHills had a yummy HaddockChowder which I had a taste and Franklin had LobsterBLT with fries.

MillsMarket (was told that in has been in this family for 4generations), some beautiful private property on Main St, School@PineSt.

Library (originally a church), PostOffice, Tiger-Lilly in full bloom, TinyHouse for rent.

LoveJoy Covered Bridge.

Random pix from the walkabout.

Sun: 16mi to grocery&lobsters shopping@Rumford.

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A massage with Donna but she does not remember that she gave me a massage in 2005!  With full schedules and the only masseur in this area, how can she remember? As for me, I remembered it well as that was the day after I fell. Kodak moments for this old gas station across the road from her.

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The long anticipated infamous Surt&Turf dinner@The Cabin and well worth the wait.

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Group pix credits to Daniel/PacMan, Pokey’s grandson.

A woman should never be seen eating or drinking, unless it be lobster salad and Champagne, the only true feminine and becoming viands ― George Gordon Byron

SC And NC

12 Jul 2018 – Greyhound & Automobile

Tue: tkx to #1 for driving me to the Greyhound Station in Columbia. She is a good driver and also a quick way to earn some pocket money by paying her to drive me instead of getting a cab or UberApp 2hrs ride from Columbia-Charlotte – en route to the AT in ME to join HiHills, Pokey&Lizard to do a support hike.

Charlotte/NC, (2hrs layover) to catch another bus (about 1+hr ride) to WinstonSalem.

Greyhound and bus station across Main St/Downtown North Historic District@WS

Appreciations to Franklin for a tour of Old Salem, historic district of WS – a restored Moravian community which shows the culture of the Moravian settlement in NC during the 18th and 19th centuries.


Campus of Salem College and Academy

WS – Main St/Avenue of the Arts,

interesting insects! on the wall; Mast General Store with this Chaco bench!

Good Southern dinner@Sweet Potatoes: starter – green fried tomatoes&okra with a yummy sweet potato dip;  main – cat-fish with grids&spicy greens; dessert – sweet potato pudding & strawberry-key-lime pie.

Wed: Wilkesboro/NC – tkx to HiHills&Franklin for putting me up in their lovely home and for driving. Not sure how much I will be able to blog or to be online when on the road and the trail starting tomorrow until 23Jul, but will surely update when possible.

Environmentalists have a very conflicted relationship with their cars – Tom Arnold

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Wilkesboro was founded in 1800. Behind this former Court-House, now Heritage Museum was a ClevelandOak tree, grew possibly 3centuries and was used as a hanging tree for at least 5Tories during the fall of 1779. Wilkesboro Presbyterian Church is a historic church built in 1849-50 by a man named Dameron for $1040.

Tom Dula (Dooley), from Wilkes County a Confederate veteran was tried and hanged for the murder of his fiancee, Laura Foster. Many people were convinced that one of Dula’s jealous ex-girlfriends murdered Foster, and that Dula was innocent of the crime. Dula’s story was turned into a top-selling ballad in 1958 by the Kingston Trio, the song was entitled Hang Down Your Head, Tom Dooley. The story was subsequently turned into a 1959 movie starring Michael Landon as Dula, and each summer the Wilkes Playmakers present a popular play based on the story.

A Full Weekend

9 Jul 2018 – Packed With Activities

Fri: TGIF and such a fun day@Riverbanks Zoo&Garden. Have always liked this zoo and today was exceptionally a good one with #3,4&5. Thanks to Cindy for her pass and managed to save US$70 for the 3kids+1senior. Good pizza lunch@Tuskers to fill their stomachs to last for the afternoon.

Started our tour indoors due to the humidity&heat and an excellent choice by the kids. We managed to spent nearly 2hrs@Aquarium Reptile Complex, a 20,000-sq-ft (1,900 m-sq) building where #3 impressed me with his knowledge about many of the inhabitants here.

For those who know me also know my phobic for snakes, but today somehow I managed to capture pix of nearly all the snakes housed here – RatSnake, SC Copperhead, Vietnamese-LongNose, GaboonViper+many more not posted here. Even charmed the KingCobra out of its jar. Was told by a couple of others who are regulars here for the past 20yrs that it seldom leaves the jar and today it was a privilege to see it out all the way.

Strangely enough, was standing in front of the glass when the KingCobra pop its head out, had a staring contest and asked with both my eyes and lips for it to come out! Very surprisingly there was no fear in me, but just fascinated at how it slithered so gracefully and quietly out of the jar, was totally amazed at the length! No, still not a fan of snakes and if not for the thick and hopefully unbreakable glass, would not be near these reptiles!

By the time we got out away from the snakes, the grounds outside seemed to have had a visit from some passing showers and thus cooling off a little but still humid. Breathing thru’my mouth where the penguins are housed! but they are cute and can really swim fast The movie HappyFeet came to mind.

Victoria Crown Pigeon has impressive head feathers and they are the largest pigeons in the world – my first sighting of one.

The highlight was the CA Sea-Lion, especially with the younger ones who can still enjoy running&playing with the mammal to see who can move faster! Seemed like the sea-lion also enjoyed their Happy Feet. It was such fun and more so since we were the only ppl there. Not surprisingly so, as it was closing time and we were not aware until the guard told us that we had to find out way out to the exit!!

Some random shots – this is so far the best zoo visit for me and that says a lot as I am not a zoo fan! Perhaps it was bc there was no crowds and we were indoors away from the heat.

Sat: Soda City on Main St and never too young or old for balloons or glass sculptures with Chihuly@the museum.

Tkx to Cindy for yummy pizza@Persona Wood Fired Pizzeria.

Watching the kids with their secret sign language at the State House, and somehow it will not surprise me if #5 decides to go into politics, but hopefully NOT

Hanging 2014 – most unusual piece of work, but it served its purpose when we needed a place to sit for our boiled-peanuts (a Southern thing!) break. Was lucky to buy the last package before their closing.

First time@Columbia Marionette Theatre (CMT) founded 1988 by famed puppeteer Allie Scollon and her son John.

They did a good job with Beauty&the Beast. Another form of art I do enjoy is the art of quality puppetry. We are all but puppets but some of us are aware and see the strings!

Sun: 01.45hrs picked up #1 from her trip@camp and good to have her safely home. While Cindy and the kids were at church and at her place for the afternoon, took the time to make 2dinners. L&J will be home tonight and do need some calm time to focus on getting ready to head to ME on Tue.

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Mon: packing here and since was not planning on hiking this year, have that left most of the hiking gears in SIN. Hopefully will be able to borrow from both HiHills&Wiggs. This will be as close as I can get a shot of a Cardinal. A few days ago, found these feathers by the lake and #3 saw a head of a Cardinal. Seemed like a hawk had got the rest of it. Today, the neighbour’s cat could not be found, but they saw traces of blood&fur on the driveway.