Sunday, May 22, 2016

Waking Up Hurley Travels With A Quick Recap

     I didn’t really break up Hurley Travels, it just took a year-long vacation.  (Something close to a quote from The Eagles Reunion Tour, right?)  I’ve had a hiatus to consider how, or whether, this personal corner of the world should carry on.  The decision --- I’m not ready to call it quits at Hurley Travels just yet.  It’s still fun to take a look back in the blog history every now and then, especially since my recollection abilities are just a little fuzzier than they used to be. If you get my drift.  Time for a wake-up call!
     So what’s been happening?  We’ve been busy with living, doing whatever happens to us retired folk.  There are many distractions, from house projects to travel to hobbies to family to family history, or just foolin around.  During this blogging break I did occasionally mull over the moments that I’d want to add to the blog.  Some of those posts are still stuck in my head, I guess.  But don’t worry…there won’t be any novelettes written in these pages. I thought I’d have some fun with a sample of the past year in photos and keep the rhetoric simple. Here goes with the high spots:
     Summer 2015:
     --  The Cleveland Irish Fest with our friends, Mike and Suzanne Flynn, was a super weekend in July of song, reminiscing, tattoos for the ladies, tshirts for the guys and refreshments of our choice.

Cleveland Irish Fest 2015 (1)
Cleveland Irish Fest 2015 - Nancy and Suzanne take an afternoon plunge into the tattoo world!
        ---  Jerry and I went into the farming arena last summer.  Well I guess it was dipping maybe one toe into that arena.  We grew two kinds of tomatoes and two kinds of peppers in containers in our back yard. Hurley Vegetable Growing, 2015 (5) Actually, the plants produced a good many veggies and they were delicious.  We especially liked the cherry tomatoes’ juicy flavor.  And we could share them since our plant was plentiful.  There was also an added bonus.  Marti did  a fabulous job of canning the peppers and we had spicey treats for a while after.

  




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      Indiana State Fair, August 2015:
     --- Krissy and I had a lot of fun lapping up  all the State Fair offerings.  We visited with horses, pigs, llamas, goats, rabbits and other appropriate animals.  We perused the handmade quilts, clothes and artwork submissions. And it wouldn’t be right if you didn’t visit the farm equipment.   And, of course, we had to try enough fried food to last us another year. 
Indiana State Fair, Aug, 2015 - Krissy gives a treat to an adorable Pigmy goat.
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   Jerry’s Birthday, September 2:
     ---  It’s always fun for Tim to get his Dad out acting like a kid.  On Jerry’s birthday Tim talked him into taking a spin on one of their ATV’s. These pics remind me of how our roles reverse as we and our children get older.  Jerry made a quick trip around the yard and had us all laughing, of course.
Riding ATVs at Tim Hurley's (6)Riding ATVs at Tim Hurley's (5)Riding ATVs at Tim Hurley's (2)
   







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Our Wedding Anniversary, September:
     ---  September 30th was 20150930_142118our 15th wedding anniversary.  We decided to explore around home for the day, find totally new places to experience.  In this picture I'm standing outside Mama Irma’s Peruvian Cafe in Fountain Square.  I can’t remember our exact menu choices, but everything was tasty, fresh and fun.  The waiter helped us20150930_133521 to get a good sampling for our first Peruvian food.
    Then, with our tummies full, we took a tour of two downtown Indy spots.  The art gallery in an old branch bank was new to us and we saw some interesting local artists’ work.  Then, we also roamed through the Midland Antique Mall for a dose of old treasures.


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November in the Southwest, 2015:
     ---   What can I say about the chance to visit our good friends, Jerry and Dee Thomas and Mary Jo Wallen.  We decided to make this trip to the Southwest by car, taking our time and stopping at a few old favorite places.  Besides, Jerry wanted to see Lucas, Kansas, again – the Grassroots Art Center of the world. (In our minds anyway!)
     We did notice the difference on this trip in hotels rather than in a motorhome, with your own bed and your stuff.  But we found good stopover places, especially our three days in Santa Fe. One very important stop was in Albuquerque, New Mexico to see Mary Jo. We’ve been friends for soooooo long and it’s always good to get some face-to-face time. 
     Then, we arrived at our November spot with Jerry and Dee, and special four-legged buddy, Jaxon, in Congress, Arizona.  We had about three weeks of doing whatever; sometimes just looking at the beautiful desert scenery out our back door.   The evenings were filled with laughing and sharing. Always a treat to have time with these nice people and other special RVing friends there at North Ranch.  I have somehow missplaced the photos from New Mexico-Arizona 2015. So I’m  going to do some flashbacks.  These oldies are fun anyway!  
Nancy  and Mary Jo, New Mexico, 2012
Jerry Thomas with Jaxon, Christmas out in the desert, 2012.Dee Thomas and Jerry Hurley taking a break while on a four-wheeling adventure, Wickenburg, AZ, 2013Trail Fun near Wickenburg, AZ, Jan 2013, Bill and Barb, Jerry and Dee, Jerry and Nancy
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   Christmas, 2015
     ---  We enjoyed having family and friends at our home at Christmas time!  Below are a few of those smiles that add joy to this time of year.  First, Granddaughter Caroline with her cousins, Lila, Jude and Ava Chamberlain gathered to create this beautiful moment. 
Hurley Christmas 2015:Caroline Fairfax, Lila Chamberlain, Jude Chamberlain, Ava Chamberlain
     ---  Then I'm adding a totally clowning, jiggly pic from the other Christmas event.   Captured below are my nephew Alan with Krissy (adult cousins in the back), and a few of the youngsters in the Niehaus clan. In the front are my sister Linda’s grandchildren:  Eli Marcum, Madison May, Annabelle Marcum and Madelyn Marcum. 
Niehaus Christmas, 2015 (3)
     ---  Lastly for the holiday photos: My sisters and I - Nancy Hurley, Linda May and Marti Fleetwood.   We ate to our hearts content, played cards, shared stories and presents and loved our family time.
Niehaus Christmas, 2015: Sisters, Nancy Hurley, Linda May, Marti  Fleetwood
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     Caribbean Cruise with My Sis, January, 2016:
     ---  Lin and I took a seven-day cruise to Cozumel, Mexico, Belize City and Roatan, Honduras in January.  Saw beautiful undersea sites snorkeling, road a submarine 100 feet down, and toured the fascinating Mayan Ruins.  The Caribbean Princess food was fantastic and we had a fabulous time on our sisters cruise.  Even played some bingo and musical trivial pursuit on the ship!
Lin and Nancy on the deck of the Caribbean Princess, leaving the dock in Houston in style.Roatan, Honduras while we were on our snorkeling trip.
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     Sunny February Visits in Florida:
     --- Margie Hurley and Nancy Hurley, having some time together in her new home near Orlando, FL. We escaped the cold for a couple of weeks in February.  It was nice to visit Margie (Hurley) in her new home near Orlando. We got to meet her special friend, George and let them show us around their local area.
Nancy and Karen on the beach in Clearwater, Florida, February 2016.  We enjoyed music, drinks, snacks and great conversation at a spot on the beach where we have gone in times past.
   Then we made our way west to the gulf coast to see Karen again in Clearwater. We were just in time to help Karen adjust to her retirement. In fact we were there for her first Monday away.  And I think she got into it very quickly!  She's now excited to have more time for biking, walking and movies with her Dad.
This Florida escape had another special ingredient. Jerry escorted all of us ladies wherever we chose to go, to good restaurants, for drinks at waterview spots, to shop in quaint places, listen to music or walk on the beach.   









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March through May, 2016, More Momentos:
Krissy Underwood and Darrell Bragg, Sweet!    ---   I’ll bring this year-long post to a conclusion  with comments on a pleasant birthday I had in March.  Krissy and Darrell (her special friend) created a fantastic meal of baked Tilapia, asparagus with hollandaise sauce and rice with almonds and served Jerry and I at Krissy's place. There was even a special creamy birthday tart with berries.
Cream cheese tart with raspberries and blackberries for Nancy's Birthday, March 19, 2016.  Krissy and I are still enjoying her gift of yoga lessons together.  Mother’s Day and Krissy’s May birthday would be worthy additions to this year’s recap. They all go into our memories vault forever.

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    Well, that’s enough for one helping of Hurley Travels.  I have to go check on Jerry now to see what he might have up his sleeve.  There may be some surprises here in the future.   Hello to everyone from both of us.  Thanks for taking the time to stop by Hurley Travels.
  
  Nancy Hurley

Copyright (c) 2016, Nancy Hurley

Friday, May 22, 2015

Friends and Family History Fun -- From Indy to St. Charles

     HowGirls: Jan Moore and Nancy Hurley; Guys: Chuck Moore and Jerry Hurley. fortunate we are to keep our old friends and to make new ones.  Jerry and I enjoyed both these past two weeks.  We were glad that it worked out for our RVing friends, Chuck and Jan Moore, to stop overnight as they traveled through Indiana.  Their motorhome nestled perfectly on the street alongside our house as we all enjoyed an afternoon, evening and morning of talk, laughter, meals and libations.  The four of us are Midwesterners, turned RV wanderers who met in the Southwest about six years ago.  Somewhere along the road we discovered that not only did we have exploring in our RVs in common, but we were mutually involved in family history research. This visit included time reminiscing a little about RVing and getting caught up on family and friends.  After all, we're still interested in who's on-the-road, who's got a new rig, where everyone's been boon docking, what the Boomers are up to and who's decided to buy some additional type of "home,"and where's the next stop.
   That evening, after sharing a scrumptious chicken casserole that Krissy made as a surprise, complimented by Chuck's homemade sour dough bread and Jan's yummy carrot cake, we got our brains fired up on genealogy research.  There are always stories to share of those ancestors that are tough to unlock and those that we've gotten to know better lately. And the latest news is that Chuck's getting closer to publishing a history for their grandchildren. So, Jerry and I were interested to see the draft of his ideas.  But wait just a minute, now Chuck and Jan are getting deeper into ancestry.com. The discoveries of  more censuses and marriages and all kinds of connections are growing. I'm sure the story will jell soon though. And it'll be the right time to publish.  Meanwhile, it helps to brainstorm with friends on how to create a story that appeals to everyone in our families.   Something they'll read beyond the introduction and the conclusion. You know….the story has to have some zing!
    The time flew by.  Since I was leaving the next morning for a family history conference in St. Charles, MO., the four of us made the most of our time.  Of course, in the morning we enjoyed another chatDaniel Boone sculpture in St. Charles, Missouri, by Harry Weber. over coffee and sour dough toast.  The Moores headed to the Cincinnati area to explore a few family connections there and visit more friends. (They had a serendipity occurrence - Read it here.)
     I took I-70 West toward Missouri, on a jaunt toward improving my research skills. My five days at the National Genealogical Society Family History Conference were interesting and fun, too. I still haven't sorted through all of my notes from the 16 programs I chose - a wide selection - from German Digital Libraries to What Is "Reasonably Exhaustive Research?"   I'm now a little better at digging deeper and proving those family ties though.  A valuable part of the conference for me were the 30-minute breaks between sessions. It seemed that these longer breaks sparked conversations as we waited for the speaker.  Someone sitting next to me would comment about the last Louis Blanchette home, St. Charles, Missouri.session they attended and we'd end up sharing a tip or two, or a website or discussing some research experience. 
     Another bonus for me was that I met some new friends who are willing to help and listen and laugh all the while. These historians came from every state, California to Iowa to Virginia to Tennessee and, of course, Indiana.  One especially nice friend, Marsha, invited me to tag along with her for dinner and whatever.   Three or four of us sampled restaurants and roamed in the historic old section of St. Charles, or relaxed in the hotel for happy hour and dinner.  In the photo above I'm listening to Daniel Boone, a local favorite, during one of our explorations into St. Charles.  (By the way, this sculpture is by Harry Weber - no relation to my Harry Webers, but isn't that ironic!).  Lewis & Clark were abundantly celebrated here, of course, as it was an important stop on their Expedition. The park in their honor is on the Missouri River running through St. Charles.  This little town was founded by Louis Blanchette, a French fur trader,  in 1769 and the tiny house in the photo above is his.  A local told me that this is the original house,Robert and Marsha as we said so long on the last day of the NGS conference, May 16, 2015. with a few repairs. It's among many historic homes that line the cobblestone streets.
     Well, my story here started with nice people in Indianapolis, taking time to share our latest experiences with Jan and Chuck.  And I'll end it with a couple of newer friends, also sharing camaraderie.  Here are Robert and Marsha, from Tennessee and Virginia.  None of us knew each other before the NGS conference,  but we hit it off right away and found commonalities in life that kept us engaged during our time in St. Charles.  
    Thanks for spending your time here at Hurley Travels.
    Nancy
     Copyright 2015 © Nancy Niehaus Hurley

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Spring Celebrations

 Krissy's Birthday:   What's better to kick off spring but a gardening show!  Since Krissy is totally into sprucing up the outside of her new home, I thought she might like that idea. An event at Heritage Park in Fishers fell right into our plans for celebrating her birthday this past Sunday.  Being in a nice garden is a great start and if we learned to be better growers, that would be a bonus. 20150503_134609 But what we weren't interested in was a lecture-type event. So we decided we'd check it out first, thinking we could reject the idea at the last minute if we didn't get the warm fuzzies.
    Fortunately, as soon as we got out of our car we saw people leisurely hanging out on the grounds of this historic home in casual conversations.  And we seemed to have great timing, too, because the master gardener we met at the entrance  was a lovely person.  Shirley greeted us in her pleasant British accent,  with a huge smile. She asked if we had anything specific we'd like to know about gardening.  From there on, Shirley walked and talked with just the two of us, giving ideas and demos as we came to various shrubs, trees and flowers.  She showed us how to plant and prune and position.  And she gave Krissy some tips to keep her just-planted, acidic-loving bushes happy.  Very laid back, but informative! 
Andromeda at Heritage Park , Fishers, IN, 2015.    Thinking about the variety of plants we saw along our path, my top choice for the afternoon would be this Andromeda.  Maybe you can see in the picture how the bright crimson leaves spray out of the layers of green under them. Each one of the limbs of this small shrub has its own green and red bottle-brush of leaves. They are beautiful!  And Shirley explained that there are flowers earlier in the spring that drape in long fronds out of the center of those red leaves.     

    But....we also had an ironic experience during our visit with Shirley in the gardens.  We were about half way through our sunny tour when we heard a loud rumbling somewhere overhead. Everyone looked up to see a formation of about 12 historic airplanes flying over our heads. After they were passed, Shirley remarked that it reminded her of when she was young, living near London during World War II during the Blitz. She described darkening their windows and the warnings they received if they left a crack of light.  She remembers that even though they lived miles outside London they had to be ready to be hit.  If there were bombs left after hitting the assigned targets, the bombers might just drop them anywhere.
     Just as she was describing how the bombers made the first fly over to scout their target and the second to drop their bombs, the array of airplanes roared overhead again going back to wherever. It was a unique coincidence that just at that point in time we were standing there with her to hear her stories.  Very interesting! 
    We did squeeze some shopping into our birthday afternoon, too.  On the route home to meet Jerry for dinner was a consignment/estate sale barn that called to us.  The place was packed with furniture, art, jewelry, etc.  Krissy found a sleek, mahogany, arts & craftsy-type coffee table that was meant to be hers. (After measuring at home, she made the return trip to grab it.) At the end of our escapades, we were starved. We let Jerry take us out for an early dinner, enjoying the rest of this nice spring day on the patio at a local restaurant. 
Mother's Day: Happy Mother's Day to all you ladies who are mothers of any kind.  I hope you had a pleasant day. Mine was fantastic!  Krissy prepared a delicious brunch of ham frittata, fennel salad and lemon pound cake with raspberry glaze.  The three of us toasted motherhood with mimosas and enjoyed an excellent meal and our time together.  There were a few spring showers today, but they didn't dampen anything going on inside.
      To top off this Mother's Day, I've chosen to dig up a couple of generational photos for some flashback fun.  Here's my mom, Rosemary (Weber) Niehaus with her mom, Tillie (Kuhn) Weber and me, Nancy (Niehaus) Hurley with my daughter, Krissy Underwood.  1937 Mom & Grandma
Underwood, Nancy Krissy

      Have a beautiful Spring!  Thanks for staying with us here on Hurley Travels.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

March Developments

     March usually does bring a few surprises, or maybe I should say developments.  Regardless, we've marched through it and the crocuses are sprouting in our front yard.  I'm energized and ready to bring things up to date on Hurley Travels. There is a bit more to say here than I usually do in one post.  You know how life goes….one thing after another. No time to write the Hurley Travels blog. (Insert smirk or smile.) But anyway, let's march on.

    The contrasts in the photos I'm posting below are typical of the "in like a lion, out like a lamb" unpredictability of March in Indiana - sunny and 70 degrees - then snowing and 30 degrees the next day. Having friendly family shovelers and hiring the neighborhood teenager with a snow blower helped so much during this winter's weather.  At this stage in life we have become excellent supervisors.   This month has had several of those ins and outs of climate.  The two scenes below are within a few days of each other:   Our yard was a winter wonderland as the snow came down hard and heavy.  We found the local teen who did a great job of clearing a path.Eight inches of snow covered our suburban Fishers landscape with the beautiful white pillows of snow.  And just a few days later we were relaxing in Tim's yard with a cold refreshment Tim and Jamie got busy cutting down the ornamental grass around the pool.  The boys stacked it all deep on the trailer to be hauled away.observing Tim and Jamie and Luke and Eland preparing the backyard landscaping around the pool.  There was only a small mound of snow left as evidence. That was a warm, fun afternoon. When the kids had to leave for homework and sports, Tim, Jerry and I relaxed for a little conversation. Then one of Tim's long-time friends, Dan, stopped by.  From there it was more stories…you know how that goes. I had to snap a shot of these three characters.  Just a little reminiscing and laughter going on there!Tim Hurley, Jerry Hurley and Dan Nelson enjoy visiting.

     Then, there's that other day in March …it seems to keep popping up too quickly.  My birthday wishes from friends and family around the country did give me the warm fuzzies though!  Marti and I hung out for a long sisterly birthday afternoon, that I talked about on the other blog, Indiana Ties.   My hubby asked, "what would you like to do? "   I thought about a trip to Germany or Jamaica.  But that would take too much packing and I just did all that to move.  So….I say, "how about we take a day trip to northern Indiana???" 

     We somehow selected the small town of Markle, about 90 miles away. Maybe because we could get there in an hour or two, or we were able to stay completely off interstates…OR just because we hadn't been there.   And where to go to eat is always a decision too, right?  This time we agreed we would look for a restaurant on the way, also something new, where we would stop for dinner on our way back. 

     First, a few miles from home we took a quick side trip.  It just happened that way.  I got to see where Ferd, the Foretravel motorhome, and Ole Yeller, our old jeep, now live.  The family that owns them is from Fortville, Indiana.  Rob's in the stone business and owns the local grain elevator and surrounding buildings and property.  You can see the structure at theFortville, IN - where the Foretravel we used to own now has a home. back of this photo where Ferd is now parked inside. The family took some motorhome trips last summer.  We ran into Rob as he was preparing that morning to take Ole Yeller to the Indiana Flower & Patio Show to setup his exhibit.  These old pals of ours are having a pretty good life!  

    As we wondered through the towns, I lost track of the route that day, since I was just being a passenger.  But I know we were traveling north, taking mostly highways 36 and 3.  I was being lazy, looking at little towns and watching people.  Part of the fun of one of these types of trips is not knowing what to expect, right?  Soon we meandered our way into Markle.   We took a quick tour through the quiet, clean town with the Wabash River running along its south side.  When we saw this small park with a sign next to an old mill stone we thought that would be a nice place to take a few minutes and stretch our legs.  It seems like there is usually some point of interest, or unusual spot, in every town along the road that you choose to stop and look.   Here's what the sign says where I'm standing: 

Indian Mill Stone

This stone is from the first Grist Mill constructed by the U. S. Government, circa 1833, for the use of the Miami Indians in this locality. It was built on Rock Creek, 1/4 of a mile up stream from the Wabash River.  Presented to the Markle Historical Society on June 1, 1983, by the Geiger family who have owned the land since 1864.     

Nancy Hurley in Markle, Indiana, at the site of an old grist mill stone on the Wabash River.

     Then, there was more excitement for my birthday!  Our car found the way to a huge antique mall just on the outskirts of Markle.  Oh, and there was a lot to explore.  Jerry and I split up after the first few booths and agreed that we would keep in touch by text.  A couple of hours later and a few more treasures for Nancy they locked the doors.  And Jerry even did some hunting himself. 

     Remember that we were thinking and looking along the road for a restaurant?  Well, we did see one that we both thought looked interesting and remarked that it would be easy to retrace and stop on the way home.  It was called the Iron Kettle and seemed to be popular at midday when we passed it. No problem, we'll find it easily.  Wellllllllll, who knows what happened to that place.  Our route back didn't seem to pass it.   But we did end up our birthday exploring day with a delicious dinner at Maggiano's just a few miles from home.  The lasagna and wine tasted fantastic after all that traveling and sightseeing and hunting for antique deals.

     But there's still one more story: On the weekend Krissy decided as her gift she would prepare a meal and bring it to our house.  She made these unique deviled eggs that are seasoned with hot sauce and other yummy ingredients. (Sorry, Krissy, I don't remember, but I loved it all.)A new slant on deviled eggs - just enough extra spark.      Then there was a fantastic chicken dish that I wish I knew the name of - with spices, olives, lemons and cashews - served over couscous. The crunchy salad of snap peas, radishes and feta cheese with sumac dressing was a great compliment.  And for the perfect ending -  decadent Guinness Brownies - scrumptious!?%#!  We all were very content that evening.

The wine and brownies topped off a fabulous meal.  Rich, smooth, chocolate with a hint of salt - yum!

Yes, this was more wordy and photo-populated than my usual post.  But actually, I could add other happenings…gifts from MJ…visits from C…furniture purchases…etc., etc.  But I'm going to call it quits right now.

 Thanks for visiting Hurley Travels.  Stay well.

Nancy

 

copyright © Nancy Hurley

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Outstanding Palo Duro Canyon - Flashback Friday

     I'm traveling back to a beautiful piece of country we were surprised to find.  This canyon is estimated to have been inhabited by humans for 12,000 years.   But these two Hurleys can be recorded there  only ten years ago.  We are glad, however, to have left our footprints in Palo Duro Canyon.  It remains one Road leading to Palo Duro Canyon State Park campground.of the most pleasant surprises in our RVing.

      As we explored the Texas Panhandle in March of 2004, early in our fulltiming lifestyle, we came across this state park with a stupendous terrain.   We were traveling through a stretch of dusJerry soaking up the sites, firing up the grill.ty and flat northern Texas hoping to find a nice spot to settle overnight.  What we found needed more than overnight attention.  It seemed as though the ground suddenly opened up to Palo Duro Canyon State Park near Amarillo.  As soon as we started our drive down the winding, rapidly descending road we knew we'd situate the fifth wheel in this campground a little while.  (This photo shows a view from above the road leading to the campground in the bottom of the canyon.)  We had a colorful few days surrounded by the ruggedness and beauty of nature. I remember we rambled down the many roads throughout the park, finding several picturesque picnic lunch spots.  We also learned about the centuries of inhabitants, southern Plains Indians, ranchers and the CCC who built structures in the 1930s for us to enjoy today.  And as the sun set and the array of colors shifted, we'd relax at our site to watch the wild turkeys roam the campground, visiting with everyone.

     It's nice to reflect back on these unique experiences! Some of them occurred before our Hurley Travels blog, so they're receiving their first mention at this late date.  Now Palo Duro Canyon has a place here with many more interesting times.  I think it would be good though if I stop talking now and let a few extra photos tell the story this time.  A sample of the shades of Palo Duro Canyon, TX, Mar 2004.

IM001040

Scenery around us as we parked at the campground in Palo Duro Canyon State Park in Texas.

Wild turkeys traveled the campground at Palo Duro Canyon Park near Amarillo, Texas, in March 2004.  We were starting our ten-year escapade with a real dose of nature.

 

 

Thanks for visiting Hurley Travels. Be Safe.

 

And here's a link to more information on this outstanding surprise: http://tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/palo-duro-canyon

copyright 2015 © Nancy Hurley

Friday, February 6, 2015

The Test Trip of 2004 - Flashback Friday

No, Hurley Travels isn't closed down just yet.  Not ready to let this old friend be silent - just took a short break. But, let's kick it back on by a Flashback Friday.
I've been filtering out photo files on the computer and I'm coming across some I've almost forgotten about. Jerry sets up at our spot in Raccoon Valley Escapees Park, Jan 2004.Of course, then it's mandatory to stop to dwell on a memory or two. And some of those recollections take me a while. Smile

Anyway, I was hanging around in 2004 and realized I actually have a couple of photos of the first day of our RV Fulltiming Test Trip - Jan 12, 2004. That would be when we closed up our condo in Indy and went out to make our decision whether we could and would live for whatever time frame in our new Sunnybrook fifth wheel. 
Thankfully there wasn't snow and ice on the roads as we traveled south on I-65 that January.   Jerry and I planned that we'd stop overnight in Haskell, Tennessee, at an Escapees RV Park.  A nice distance to travel and still be in daylight, so that we could clean out the antifreeze that we had in the lines from winterizing the trailer.  We pulled into the park in time to get one of the two last spots available.  Everything was cool!  Electric hooked up, water lines cleaned out, before it got dark. In fact we were watching TV when a park employee knocked on the door.  It was nice of him to walk around the campground alerting us all that the forecast was in the teens that night and we shouldn't leave our water lines connected.  Wouldn't want to have frozen lines!  No problem.  Jerry took care of adding water in Nancy as we're ready to get down the road RVing, Jan 2004.our holding tank and disconnected the line.  We were cozy for the night.
But…..actually, we laughed the next morning when we both realized how silly it was that we didn't roll up our hose and store it away so that it didn't freeze in the extended position. LOL!  We had to wait a while in the morning for the sun to heat it up so that we could bend it enough to store it. No harm done. And it was good for a smile as we shared the story down the road at happy hour with RV friends. 
Oh yeah, the test trip proved positive.  Those four months resulted in the decision to sell our condo and live on the road. And the rest was an adventure that took us to unbeatable places, people and events for ten years.
Thanks for visiting Hurley Travels. Stay safe.

copyright © Nancy Hurley

Friday, November 14, 2014

Travels In Our New Hurley Situation

     Our adjustment to the new Hurley Life Situation  --  without a home on wheels -- is going well.  We've managed to squeeze in a couple of short excursions in the past couple of months, during breaks from the new house projects.  Our newest transport, Vinny the CRV, is proving to be a comfortable ride to wherever.   In keeping with the history here at Hurley Travels blog, here's an update:
     Celebrating a Special Birthday with Friends Tim Payne and Stella --  We enjoyed very much being a part of Tim Payne's 50th birthday celebration in early September at Summit Lake State Park, east of Pendleton, Indiana.      Becky's parents provided a fabulous meal of bbq ribs, chicken, fantastic potato salad and more goodies; friends and family shared libations,Jamie Savage and Becky Payne games and just plain old hanging out. 
Happy 50th Birthday Tim     This was our first occasion spending any time in a campground in the past ten years minus a home on wheels.  We couldn't have had a nicer group to break that tradition with.  The park and the people were both enjoyable. Here are a few of those birthday memories (above):  The birthday sign created by Becky's brother gave the perfect atmosphere at the camp site.  Tim loved Stella's help opening his birthday cards.  And Jamie and Becky accommodated my photo-taking while enjoying some girlfriend time. 
        Our First Hotel Trip in Vinny --  Wisconsin is one state where we've spent very little time during our RVing life.  So, when it was time to take a break from our home projects in late September, we loaded Vinny and headed for cheese and beer country.  Besides, there would surely be some great spot along the way where we could celebrate our 14th wedding anniversary on September 30.  The only plans we had were to find some sharp cheddar, cheese curds, Wisconsin beer and see a few new places - new to us, that is.  After taking a route through small towns and countryside for two days, we paused in Fond du Lac, at the south end of Lake Winnebago --  because it seemed like the right place to stop. We found a pleasant hotel room at Country Suites; then asked the desk clerk about a good local spot to have a beer.  She recommended Fat Joe's, downtown.  The place was just what we wanted, like Cheers. The chatter at the bar was fun with locals and others passing through like us.  On the bartender's suggestion, we tried a beer brewed and sold only in Wisconsin called Spotted Cow.  It has a crisp lager-like taste - brewed by New Glarus Brewing Company.  Well, we had to have a second one. And before we left the state we purchased some to bring home.   
     More local recommendations led to interesting places over our next few days in the area.  For instance, the unexpected sitings in a small town south of Fond du Lac named Waupun.End of The Trail sculpture in Waupun, WI.      We were surprised to learn that this town of 11,000 people has a beautiful collection of outdoor sculptures.  In fact, it is called the City of Sculpture.  The benefactor of these art pieces was a local successful industrialist, Clarence Shaler, who wanted to give back to his hometown.  He commissioned a bronze replica of the famous  "The End Of The Trail" sculpture by James Earl Fraser that is a National Historic Landmark in Waupun. (above)  Shaler was a sculptor himself, donating his work.   The two photos below are among the sculptures by Clarence Shaler on display in and around the town.   Pioneer Woman sculpture by Charles Shaler. "Who Sows Believes In God" is a young peasant woman and "Dawn of Day" is an American Indian woman casting off her garments, Shaler's first piece.  This photo I took from the back because I thought it showed the textures in her hair and the clothing she's holding, against the beautiful autumn tree.Sculpture by Charles Shaler, Waupun, WI. Mr. Shaler didn't begin his sculpting until he was 70 years old, after a productive, inventive career.  He, obviously, had many talents.
    Horicon National Wildlife Refuge, Horicon, WI   A short drive east of Waupun is the Horicon National Wildlife Refuge, where we spent a few pleasant hours relaxing and enjoying nature.  The drive around the loop is peaceful and scenic. And there's a one mile walking trail that includes a wooden path winding over a part of the marsh. The leaves were just beginning to turn, enhancing the views at the refuge. 
      And, of course, during our travels in Wisconsin, we also visited two cheese factories.  We found some interesting, squeaky cheese curds and a fantastic sharp cheddar.   And since we had a cooler in the back of Vinny, we could make some cheese purchases for snacking in the evening and taking home to share.   
     When we left Indiana we were thinking we would probably end up in Door County, Wisconsin.  There's so much said about the beauty of that peninsula into Lake Michigan.  But…..we were on our way further north when we took a look at the weather forecast.  It was looking pretty gloomy, rainy and cold.  We stopped briefly on our way out of Fond du Lac to consider if there might be a better direction to go.  I can't remember exactly how it happened but we decided we would make a left turn and go southwest toward Iowa.  We could miss some of the rainy stuff.  And, there was one place that was still on our bucket list in that state - "Field of Dreams."
      Baseball & Museum & Sushi Make For A Great Anniversary:  We had less than 200 miles to the new destination, Dyersville, Iowa. But the obvious place to find a resting place was about 26 miles east in Dubuque.    I'm sure most everyone remembers that the Field of Dreams is in the cornfields, not an area where you'd find a hotel.  So anyway, using our new hotels app, we located another Country Suites in Dubuque, since we had a good experience the few days before in Wisconsin. J. R. Hurley on first base, Dyersville, Iowa, Field of Dreams. The next morning we set the GPS and found our way to the Field of Dreams site.  Our first impression approaching the site, was that the ambiance was preserved by the noticeable lack of commercial advertising.   How nice!  This site couldn't be more authentic to the actual family home and baseball field used in the movie.  The minimizing of the commercialization carries forward all around the grounds. So far, the setting is preserved as it was when it was the site of the movie in 1985.  There is a small gift shop and a display that gives the history of the property, the farmers who owned the property and the making of the movie.  It seemed so peaceful there.  We walked around for a while, standing on each base and the pitchers mound, listening at the cornfield and sitting on the team benches.  A few other people arrived while we were there and did similarly.  But mostly, it felt like we were alone.   You could have your own time to think about tradition, family, dreamJerry walks to the pitcher's mound at Field of Dreams.s...or whatever the movie represents to you.  We were happy that we finally took this road to this place.
     As we were finding our way earlier through the city of Dubuque, Iowa, taking yet another look at the Mississippi River that we crossed often in other travels,  we noticed a large structure alongside the river.  It turned out to be the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium.  This was another pleasant surprise full of  interesting exhibits on the river, the people involved with it, the industry, the animals, and more.  Of course, Mark Twain was thoroughly embedded in the stories and there is a paddle wheel boat ride available.  There are also at least a dozen different aquariums with all sorts of wildlife - otters, frogs, turtles, beavers and many huge fish found in these waterways.  
     To complete this little trip, we tried to come up with an appropriate restaurant to have dinner on our 14th wedding anniversary.  Nothing exotic or formal, just a nice meal and, if possible, some place a little different. Yelp and Urban Spoon didn't seem to bring up any good prospects.  Then, I remembered that we had passed an Ichiban sushi restaurant in our driving around the area.  Since we had recently learned that sushi is much more than raw fish, we decided to give the place a try.  We enjoyed sharing three dishes that we chose pretty much blindly, from the ingredients in the menu descriptions.  Two of them were very creatively displayed, with avocados and other food forming various shapes. Everything was delicious!  And we now know that we are fans of pickled ginger. 
     That's the story on our new life situation at this point.  There are plans for more episodes on-the-road.  But…..who knows where or when.
    Thanks for visiting with us at Hurley Travels.

Copyright © Nancy Hurley 2014

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Making More Transitions

     When last I wrote for the Hurley Travels blog I talked about being fluid, exploring a different phase in life for Jerry and me.   Well, quite a bit of that changing and flowing has happened in the last four months.  Also, I took some time to consider whether our Hurley Travels blog should have its last chapter.   If we were ceasing our life on the road, did I want to also cease writing here about our life???   It took me a few months, but I've decided there are still episodes to record. We are planning to keep on exploring in various ways.   So, here I am moving along into the next mode for Hurley Travels.

     But first, it just wouldn't be right if we didn't say a few words about turning this corner away from RVing.  Jerry and I absolutely loved our ten years of being on the road.  There are volumes of wonderful memories that we couldn't have experienced without the culture that is available among RVers.  We appreciate the people everywhere along that road that are the special ingredients.  There are so many unique, interesting and indescribable facets of those ten years that make us smile all the time.  

     This past winter was quite a moment in time for us.  We had the feelings of uncertainty last fall about how many more roads we would travel in Ferd.  But neither one of us was ready to say yet.  Regardless of where the next spring would take us, we began our travels in November with repairs on Ferd and also had him polished up nicely in Nacogdoches at our favorite facility, Motohomes of Texas. That 1995, 36-foot, no-slide, Foretravel diesel pusher was feeling and looking good.  It turned out to be a very nice last winter in Texas and Alabama.  After considering a trip to Florida, it seemed best for us to make the winter stop in Gulf Shores, Alabama.  While settled in our spot at the Gulf Shores State Park we contemplated how much longer we'd be traveling as RVers.  We had some time to discuss and vacillate about what our next steps would be.  We came to the conclusion we would end our RVing adventure.   But I have to say we'll miss those desert gatherings and stops along our route to see old friends. Those times can't be matched.  Thanks friends!  You know who you are.  There will be other ways, I hope, to stay in touch and visit occasionally.

     Once we Jerry takes a little time to contemplate the great times in Ole Yeller and the coming trips we plan in our new car.adjusted to our decision to sell Ferd, we started making plans for the change.  The story isn't quite this simple, but to keep it short and sweet,  we returned to Indy, found a buyer and turned over ownership in a matter of a couple of months.  We did hold onto Ole Yeller (the loyal towed Jeep) for a while.  It was hard to cut that final string.   But actually, the good result was that the same young family owns both the motorhome and our Jeep.  We're glad to see them enjoying the fun that connects them.

     It will take some getting used to this new phase in our lives.   But…onward we go.  Pretty quickly we made more plans. We're thinking we'll still travel… to those places we missed in the motorhome, right?  So we need a "highway car" that's roomier and more comfortable for those trips when we'll now be  staying in hotels.    Anyway, we took that step, too.   Here's a shot of Jerry making the transition from Ole Yeller to Vinny (the new CRV). 

     Speaking of transitions, we made a major one in mid-July. We purchased our new home, just a few miles northeast, in Fishers, Indiana.  We have a pink and a white hibiscus.Our little condo was just right for the time we were on-the-road, but we were looking for more space now that we didn't have our home on wheels.  Usually older folks downsize, but these two went the other direction!  We now have a home with a big garage that has space for the cars, a motorcycle, a workbench for Jerry and the extra refrigerator.  Smile   And we have more room inside for visitors and to store those things we're accumulating again.   Besides, we're also pleased that Krissy bought our cute little condo.  It's perfect for her!  So now I should post a pic of the front of  the house,  right? Instead of one of those, I think I'll insert one of the flowers on our hibiscus tree that is among several flowering plants, bushes and trees we are enjoying at our new place.    

     I could also write many happy words about this summer's activities that didn't involve the chore of moving. We've had more than our share of good times.   For instance, there were super visits with old friends that came through Indianapolis, fun family reunions, several special birthday celebrations, helping with our grand dogs, hanging out on our new deck, setting food on fire on the grill Winking smile and meeting new neighbors.   I won't try to describe those experiences,  just keep doing more.  This short story will have to suffice as the catch-up on Hurley Travels for now.  The leaves are falling and it's time to move on. 

     Thanks for sharing some time with me.  Check in here at Hurley Travels again as we see where this path leads us.