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Parrottrek Journal 2006

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January 1st - HAPPY NEW YEAR!!
We hope the New Year finds you all in good health. We had a great day. The guys went fishing in the afternoon and the girls did a few home improvement projects. Surprised? Well we are all quite handy when necessary. Later that evening friends of ours had a big New Years Poker Tournament and dinner party. Frank ended up being the big winner of the night at the Texas Hold-em table. Another group of us played five card draw at the free table. I'm not sure which table had more fun. We watched Dick Clark's Rockin' New Year's Eve for old time sake and rang in the New Year with a bit of champagne. Earlier this week we got together with some life long friends of mine. All three Brown girls and hubbies were in town for the holidays, so we all went to lunch. Kari and I have been friends since practically birth and Kate and Kristi feel like my very own sisters since the four of grew up together and did everything together as little kids. It's great to get together with old friends. Even though months or years have past it still feels like no time at all has gone by once you get back together.

January 3rd -
Today is our last day in the Santa Ynez Valley. We will head out this evening and make our way to Scottsdale, AZ. The time sure has flown since we have been here, and we have had a great time catching up with friends and family. It's a good sign when you can pick up right where you last left off with good friends and visit as if no has past. I must say we are both a bit antsy to get back out on the road. We will be able to take our time in getting to Arizona and play tourist along the way. It's crazy to think that it is already 2006. Where did the time go? Speaking of time we will not be back in this part of the country until the end of October. We will pick up our Kenny Bernstein trailer in early February and be on our way to the other side of the country. We are especially looking forward to the race in Florida, and visiting our other home.

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Not much to look at in the daylight

But the sunsets were gorgeous

A bus converted into a pizza place

Rick and LaVerne joined us for lunch

January 8th -
Quartzsite, AZ, a fun little out of the way town with a beautiful open area  to camp for free. We have been here since the afternoon of the fourth. It is BLM land so anyone can stay here whether in a camper or motorhome for up to 14 days. We have had such a relaxing time. We have spent the days outside reading or playing with the birds, taking walks and visiting with neighbors. People out here are very friendly. A lot of them come each winter and stay as long as they are allowed. Apparently in the next couple weeks the town will have a huge rock and gem show and outdoor market. We did go into town yesterday for a bit to shop and explore. It was quite an experience. We were driving along and saw a used book store. We decided to check it out since we love to read. It was a great store with tons and tons of old books and modern books. I found one for half price that I almost bought for full price a week ago. As I went to find Frank to check out, I walked outside the main building and I noticed a man with quite an interesting outfit on. He was wearing only one sock! No it wasn't on either of his feet, and it was the only article of clothing that he had on his entire body! It was made out of silk (I think, since I didn't want to look for too long!) I'll let you figure out what appendage it covered. (Yikes!) We were a little shocked but figured "to each their own" I found Frank and as we were being rung up we noticed all sorts of signs that were publicizing "naturists" I realized that the man in all of the naturist pictures was the man outside... ... ... He was the owner of the bookstore! At least we are never without an adventure here on the road. :-) Good friends of ours, Rick and LaVerne, came out this morning to visit. They are currently staying in Havasu City just 60 miles or so away. That is the best part of traveling. No matter where you are there is a friend nearby. We headed back into town to share the wonders of Quartzsite with them and grabbed a bite to eat. Frank wanted to go to a restaurant that was an old converted bus, but by the time we were all hungry we were on the other side of town.  Oh well, maybe on our next visit!

January 9th -
The Flying J is home for the night. The Internet is here and so are the good RV spaces to stay at for free while traveling through town. We met up with Frank's Aunt and Uncle for dinner. Tomorrow we will drive the rest of the way to Scottsdale, AZ to work the Barrett-Jackson Car Auction. It is supposed to be a crazy and busy event. We will have the same type of kiosk that we had at the Rodeo. We will be working with our friends Len and Ellie that we have worked with in the store all year long. We are greatly looking forward to getting back with friends on the road. We've missed them over the last two months.

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Happy Birthday to Verna, Steve, Dave and Betty

The huge tent that held the auction

Our crowded kiosk

Suzy's dream car

January 23rd - Barrett-Jackson Car Auction -
It was a great thing to have those few days off to relax in Quartzsite since the last week and a half have been anything but relaxing. Time sure does fly when your working 15 hour days. We kicked the week off with a birthday party on Friday night for all of the January birthdays in our group. We then started work on Sunday the 14th and have worked every day until last night. The auction was absolutely insane. You would not believe the amount of money that the cars went for. The only auction Frank and I had ever been to

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before was the Santa Ynez Valley Elks Rodeo Auction where all the town people make blankets and pies or cookies and auction them off to raise money for charity. We saw some amazing cars, buses and bikes sell anywhere from $9,000 to over $4 million. Saturday was the big day. There wasn't even standing room left when the big fancy cars were up for bid.  We were happy to see the crowds though since almost every one of them bought a bag or two of souvenirs from us. I found a beautiful 1985 Ferrari that my dad would love to park in his garage and take for Sunday drives. It went for the bargain price of $56,000. Frank was going to wait and put his bid in on a 1950 Futureliner bus built by GM but the bidding got a little out of our price range when it finally sold for 4.1 million dollars. WOW!!! I wonder if that gives us a bit more equity in our bus?? Ours is considerably newer, and the Futureliner was really just a glorified traveling stage, although it was a beauty. The drivers seat is perfectly centered in the middle of the cockpit and the entry door is just to the left of the GM logo. Pictures do not do these cars justice. These machines were impeccable to look at and pristinely cleaned inside and out. We had a great time experiencing it all. Those auctioneers talk so fast it almost makes you dizzy. That must take so much practice. Tongue twisters are nothing for these guys. I must say the best part of the day is when the auctioneers were quiet! My ears could finally breathe again.

February 14th - Happy Valentine's Day!
Sorry for the time gap, but we have been sleeping for the past week to recover from Barrett-Jackson. That's the good thing about this job, you get more than two days off a week. A group of us went to dinner last night to celebrate an early Valentine's Day. There were eight of us at La Paloma - a local favorite Mexican Restaurant here in Pomona. Tomorrow we are going to see The Pink Panther. That was one of my favorite movies when I was little so we will see how Steve Martin compares. It should be pretty funny.

February 15th -
Well contrary to all of the critics that we read, the four of us - Frank, myself, Kurt and Phyllis thought The Pink Panther was quite a fun movie. Frank and I realized that we hadn't been to see a movie since Christmas day with all of his family and I must say I don't think we have missed many. We have officially worked our first event in our new trailer. We had a lot of fun. The driver of our team, Brandon Bernstein, comes into the trailer once or twice a day to do autographs so that really helps it stay busy. He's a very nice guy just a little older than we are so it's nice been getting to know him. It's hilarious how star-struck these fans are. It's great for him and his popularity and us and our profits, but it's funny to see how people react when he is around. The ladies all love Brandon and the guys all think that he is their best friend. He takes it all in stride and acts as though he knows them all. We hooked up our trailer today to the motorhome for the first time and boy is it a long beast all together. Frank is quite comfortable driving it already which is amazing since we are 71 feet all together which, by the way, is longer than a semi truck and trailer!!! Yikes! We are headed to Phoenix for the next race, but we have a few days off in between so we will travel again with Kurt and Phyllis and explore a few places on our way.

February 27th -
We are finished with the Phoenix race. Unfortunately our team ran into a few engine problems with oil pressure so we didn't make it too far in the final elimination rounds. It's fun to be part of a team since it gives you someone to cheer for, but you feel so bad for them all when something like this goes wrong. Brandon still comes into our trailer for autographs after the losing round which has got to be hard for him. On a happier note we are now off to Florida!!!!! We are soon very excited. We have been looking forward to these upcoming three weeks since we started this job last year. We will leave today as soon as Frank is done tearing everything down from the weekend and then drive like mad and hopefully arrive sometime late Thursday. We will drop our trailer at the track and then head to Titusville where we have a little piece of property in a big piece of heaven. It's called The Great Outdoors. It is an RV Resort where each lot is privately owned. We rent ours out most of the year, but these two weeks we will get to enjoy it ourselves. It has all sorts of amenities including an 18 hole golf course, two pools with Jacuzzis, a very nice gym (I miss the gym) tennis courts, shuffle board courts, an event room where they have all sorts of get togethers and movie nights on the big screen. It even has it's own church, a restaurant on the golf course and it's very own bank along with a 3000 acre nature preserve with all sorts of trails that you can walk through or ride your bikes or golf cart. We haven't been there in over a year and are having great withdrawals. Cocoa Beach is about 10 minutes away. It's a beautiful beach with warm, clear water and white sand. Did I mention it's kinda like my idea of heaven?

March 3rd - Happy Birthday to Cody!!!!
Goodbye California! Hello Florida! We are officially now residents of the great state of Florida. We went to the DMV today and received our new Driver's Licenses to make it official. Florida is so organized at the DMV we were amazed at their efficiency. California should take a lesson. We were in and out with both of our Driver Licenses in hand in less than an hour. Yes, they print your license right there while you wait, so no waiting for snail mail to receive it. It's quicker than 1 hour photo! :-) We finished all of our errands today and now have 10 days to hang out by the pools, play a little tennis and shuffle board and relax. We already feel at home. We wouldn't trade or current job and the traveling schedule for anything right now, but when the time comes and when we are done traveling this is where we plan on spending a lot of time. Tom and Coni, good friends of ours that live here through the winter and work a few events with MainGate during the year, have loaned us their golf cart for the week which is a big help. We have been walking around exploring quite a bit, but the entire park is over 10 miles total so to get from point a to point b is a bit time consuming on foot, although the exercise is nice. It's also nice to have the golf cart to drive to the Jacuzzi in the evenings. The best part is that the evenings stay so nice that once you are out of the Jacuzzi you stay warm the entire drive home. No more freezing California nights.

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Our Super Bowl Party with all our co-workers before the race

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Bradley and I set up the trailer

Open and ready for business

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Here we are hard at work

Our bus and trailer all hooked up

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At Yank's Air Museum with Kurt and Phyllis

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Hooray!!! We made it to our beautiful site on the lake

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All aboard for our search for nature around the resort's trails

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Frank is pointing at a momma alligator and her seven babies

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March 11th -
Our vacation time is slowly coming to an end. This is the first time since we began our adventures last May that we have found it hard to leave one location, yet at the same time we are looking forward to getting back to traveling. The Great Outdoors has been so much fun. We have done so much in the last week or so. We have taken our bikes on every trail possible. We drove down to Merritt Island with Tom, Coni, Rick and LaVerne. It's a beautiful nature preserve with a really nice beach not too far. You can bird watch for days and can spot tons of alligators waiting for the birds to land near them. The alligators of course remain in the fresh water of the lakes on the nature preserve and stay far away from the ocean so it's very safe. Frank and I drove out to Cocoa Beach one day in Coni's fun little convertible Miata and went shopping at Ron John Surf Shop and Cocoa Beach Surf Shop. They are absolutely huge. They are each about the size of Nordstrom. One night the six of us took a dinner cruise that had all sorts of bands playing from The Big Bopper to The Blues Brothers. We drove to church in the golf cart Sunday morning. The church here has an entire area of parking just for all the golf carts. We had a block party

The guys see who dunk each other first

Omelet in a bag step one - fill bag

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Next - take your personalized bag, add all your fixings and boil for 5 minutes

Thursday night and met a bunch of our neighbors. Most of them gave us a tour of the suites that they have built on their lots. We are getting a lot of ideas for ours when it comes time to build. The other morning we all had breakfast at Tom and Coni's and made "Omelets In A Bag" There were great! You start out with two blended eggs, then pour them into a freezer safe zip lock bag. After that you add all of your favorite omelet fixings to the bag, squeeze all of the air out of it, seal it up and put all the bags into a pot of boiling water for about 5 minutes. Once finished you have the best omelets ever made. We will head out this afternoon at some point and drive back to Gainesville for the race there. Everyone says that this is the busiest race of the year so it should be a lot of fun and go by fairly quick.

March 21 -
Goodbye Florida. Boo-hoo-hoo! We are off again for a little over a week. Our next stop will be Galveston Island which is on the coast of Texas. Except for a short trip to St. Petersburg about 3 years ago we haven't spent much time in the oceans of the Gulf of Mexico.  There will be 6 other couples with us. They all go to Galveston Island each year between these two races so they know all the good hangouts. We will stay there a little less than a week and then head up to Houston for the next race. To get there we will have to drive on Highway 10 through Louisiana where Katrina hit. On our way to Florida we took an alternate highway around it so we didn't have to see the bulk of the wreckage, but this time we have decided we will drive through it. We will let you know how that goes.

March 23 -
Wow!! Is New Orleans a mess. It has been many many months and it doesn't look like anything is being fixed or repaired. There are entire apartment complexes that are piles of ruble. There are hospitals still closed and missing half of the buildings. We passed by a couple harbors and the boats were scattered all over the shores and the trees. Most of the people are living in trailers parked where their houses used to be, and there are sign all over telling people to stay safe because Hurricane Season is only a few weeks away. The Highways in Louisiana are horrible. They are made out of concrete slabs that are set about 1/2 of an inch apart with about 1/4 of an inch drop between each slab, therefore when driving down the road you feel like you are being bounced to death. Everything in the motorhome thuds and your brain hurts after awhile. You think we are exaggerating? Look at the picture to the right and you can see for yourself the gaps in the road. They are big enough to grow grass!  We hit a slow part of traffic where we were only driving about 5 mph and that was wonderful. We wished that the traffic lasted the entire state, but no such luck after about 15 miles we were back up to speed, but we kept it slow to lessen our headache. However, when you slow down too much the truckers yell at you over the C.B. to get off the darn road (yes that was the polite version) While we were in traffic I actually took a picture of the road, and the gap in the concrete slabs where the grass was growing. It also gives an idea just how bumpy the highway was with the uneven sections of concrete. Thank God we don't have to drive through that state again until next year!
March 25 -
The shore of Galveston Island, Texas is our current home. The ocean here in the Gulf of Mexico is nice and warm. There are six other with us, so we have been having potluck dinners each night and staying up late with lots of stories and a few pina-coladas. It feels a little like summer camp, except there are no rules and the boys and girls get to share cabins at this camp! :-)

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Yes, that's grass growing on the highway!!!

A lost boat in the trees - 2 miles from the harbor

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"Let's go fly a kite!"   

Look at all the Jelly Fish!

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Good friends, a cup of coffee and a beautiful sunrise!  What more could you ask for at 6am?

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The views went on forever. The sunrises were gorgeous, the sea-life was amazing. There were all sorts of crabs and sand dollars and creatures running about us

The past two mornings Candie has woken up all of us ladies with coffee in hand at 6am to enjoy a long walk on the beach and enjoy  the sunrise. We have collected at least a zillion seashells for Dave and Elaine's fish pond they will build back home in Pennsylvania during their time off. We have found every type of shell imaginable. There aren't shells like this on the Pacific shores.A few of them still had little crabs or snails living in them, so we would put them back on the shore where we found them.  Each morning right after high tide you could see tons of jellyfish sunning themselves on the shoreline. It was amazing to see, but I wouldn't be too quick to swim in the water with that many jelly fish close by. Ouch! Saturday we took a Ferry ride to another part of Texas and drove the Jeep down the beaches there. It's been such a relaxing week. Times like these make us realize just how good God is and how fortunate we are to be able to live this lifestyle.  Frank and I were flying his kite a bit last week, however the wind was rather strong and my kite flying skills aren't what they used to be. Needless to say I crashed the kite and it broke into about a dozen pieces. Quite coincidentally there is a fun kite shop right down the road from our beach front campsite so we bought a new one that is virtually unbreakable. It's a trick kite so there are no plastic parts. We are having fun flying it on the beach, and I am happy to say that my kite flying skills are improving every day.

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April 2nd - We won!!!! We won!!! We won a race!!
Houston Texas has been an outstanding event for our  Budweiser Racing Team. The last three races weren't quite as good for us since Brandon lost in the first round each race due to some sort of malfunction on the car or tire issues, but we have redeemed ourselves and things are looking up. It's so much fun to be part the team in the first place, but to actually be there when they win is awesome. We are currently sixth in points which is much better than 12th  which is where we stood last week. Hopefully next weekend we will do well again and get bumped up further in points. However to get to the next race we have a bit of a drive to get there. We will leave this evening and drive as far as we can stay awake and then do the rest of the 1500 miles over Monday and Tuesday. P.S. We have now officially been full-time RVers for an entire year!! Boy does time fly when your having a blast!! May 22nd will be our anniversary for being on the road for an entire year!

April 10th -
We survived the drive to Las Vegas, and the race. We had such a fun weekend. Good friends of ours from Los Angeles drove over for the weekend, and Frank's parents joined us here at Hotel Prevost. We all went to dinner last night at Applebee's along with Kurt and Phillis and had a blast. Unfortunately I left my camera at home, which I must say is very unusual. Therefore there are no fun pictures to share with you. Today we are relaxing at the track and tomorrow we will head to Chris and Karolyn's house for about a week. They are getting married on Friday and Frank is the Best Man so we will have a very full week including a bachelor party tomorrow night for the boys and a little dinner out with the ladies. Wednesday and Thursday will be busy set-up days since the wedding will be outside and then Friday the festivities begin, well actually Thursday night at the rehearsal dinner.

April 16th - Happy Easter!!!!
We had a very fun week full of wedding planning and surprises. The festivities of the wedding began on Tuesday with the boys going racing at a local indoor Go-Kart race track and dinner and cocktails at Margaritaville. They all had a great time, and ended the evening coming back to the house for a bit of poker that lasted well into the night! We ladies went to a great local Mexican Restaurant and Tequila Factory and enjoyed ourselves immensely with fajitas and all the trimmings. Wednesday we spent the day by the pool with Chris and Karolyn's two dogs and all three birds. Bradley and Dudley got along quite well. In fact Bradley took a little ride with Dudley around the house. The boys had boat races while I sat by the pool and read. What a perfect place to relax at your own private pool nicely heated with a jacuzzi to enjoy once the sun went down. The bride had to work that day, but again the girls met her after work, this time for pedicures and coffee. Thursday was set up day for the Hawaiian weekend and by the time we were done with Mike and Elena's backyard you truly felt as though you were there on Kauai with all the palm trees and flowers and views of the islands. The wedding was perfect. There was Elvis who sang some of his greatest wedding hits and Tom Jones was there to help with the ceremony. Every so often throughout the ceremony Tom would be reminded of a song and break out with it and have the whole audience dancing. Neither of us can think of a more fun and festive ceremony that we have ever attended. Chris and Karolyn are such a fun couple the ceremony fit them perfectly. They were so happy. The reception included a feast of bar-b-que ribs along with Kahlua Pork and every salad imaginable. The DJ's were also dressed as Elvis and kept us all entertained with Hula Hoop contests which I am proud to say that I lasted quite awhile considering I haven't picked up a Hoola Hoop in about 12 years and was crowned the winner. I beat out an 11 year old. WOW! We had a Limbo contest as well and a bit of dancing too. It was a perfect Hawaiian day. Saturday and Sunday consisted of lounging by the pool and eating all of the leftovers from the reception. It was a great idea to have the wedding on Friday, that way everyone had two days to relax before heading back to work on Monday. Well, Frank and I of course have 8 more days off, but we try not to rub that in. :-)

April 18th -
Fun News!!!!! We recently purchased a couple new toys. First and foremost we now have the Verizon Broadband Wireless system for our computers so we now have e-mail and Internet capabilities everywhere we go!!!! Well, at least everywhere that Verizon has service which seems to work well so far. We are in the middle of no man's land right now and it works quite well. Second, we upgraded our little scooter that has a high speed of about 30 mph which is not freeway friendly - to a fun little Kawasaki Ninja that has a high speed of well over the legal speeds of your average highways here in the U.S. We are no longer hindered to side roads, and now we can discover all sorts of fun places once the motorhome is settled, or we are at a track. We left our little scooter at Chris and Karolyn's since hauling the extra weight is pointless and they were wonderful enough to lend us a little garage space -Thanks guys!! We have left Las Vegas and are now in Arizona. In fact we spent the night last night in Winslow, Arizona! Any songs come to mind?? Here's a hint - "Standin' on a corner in Winslow, Arizona such a fine sight to see. There's a girl my lord in a flat bed Ford slowing down to take a look at me." Well apparently the Eagles sang in better than I can. No we didn't look for the infamous corner since it was dark once we arrived, but this morning we did go

The happy couple pose for a photo op

Frank toasts the newlyweds

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What Vegas wedding would be complete without Elvis to sing and Tom Jones to dance??

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Love the matching outfits!

Where are we -  Vegas? Or Hawaii?

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Gentlemen - Start your engines!

Frank finds the water a bit cold

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Bradley and Dudley take a nap  

Chris gives us our first Scuba lesson

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Our new bike and a beautiful view

Petrified wood all around us

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Look closely and you can see all the beautiful colors of quartz that have grown in the wood. Both pieces of wood are the product of years and years of water, ash, sand and pressure

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The crack before it was repaired

All fixed and ready to go!

to the Petrified Forest and Painted Desert National Parks. It is amazing what water, pressure, ash and sand have done to these trees over the years. It's also amazing to see how the colors of the hills change from the morning to the afternoon. These are the stops along the way that make us love our lives more and more each day. We pulled the motorcycle out of the trailer and set off to explore the parks. It was a bit cold, but you couldn't get a better view than the open road of the bike.

April 19th -Near mishap alert!!!!
We had a bit of a close call yesterday on the road. As we were leaving the Petrified Forest and loading the motorcycle back into the trailer, Frank noticed a rather large crack on one of the arms of our trailer tongue. It was such a bad crack that there was only about a half of an inch left holding it together at the bottom of the arm. Realizing just how lucky we were that it didn't come apart on the road and cause the trailer to detach from us and take out the traffic behind us, we were a little worried about what to do next. The last thing we wanted to do was get back on the road and risk exactly that happening, so we borrowed a phone book and called a welder near our current location. The guy was great and only 15 miles away. We drove slowly back to Holbrook, AZ  and he had us in and out in less than an hour. $35.00 and a Budweiser Racing T-shirt later we were back on the road stronger than we were when we started. Thank you God for keeping us safe!

April 20th - Oklahoma City Memorial - 11 years ago - just yesterday - a man drove a Ryder truck to the front doors of the Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City, lit a fuse and walked away. Five minutes later at 9:02am the bomb that was inside of the Ryder Truck went off, removing the entire face

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The east gate reflects 9:01 the moment of innocence before the tragedy struck, and the west gate reflects 9:03. The moment the city was changed forever.

of each story of the building killing 168 people, 19 of which were children.  To see the Oklahoma City National Memorial up close and personal is emotional to say the least. Walking through The Gates of Time and seeing  each of the Empty Chairs is something every American should experience. There is an "Empty Chair" for each life lost that day, 19 of them smaller than the others to represent the 19 babies taken from their families that fateful spring morning. A reflecting pool calmly flows through the middle of the park marking the area where the street entrance to the Murrah Building was those 11 years ago, and where the truck was parked.  On the north side of the Reflecting Pool stands a 90 year old American Elm called "The Survivor's Tree" to show that all who survived are strong enough to live through something like this. Just south of the east gate which reflects 9:01, the time of innocence before the bomb went off, stands The Survivors Wall. This is the only piece of the building that remains standing today, and on it is etched the name of each survivor that worked in the Murrah Federal Building the day of the Oklahoma City Bombing. The west gate reflects the time of 9:03 which marks the time that changed that innocent moment into pure destruction. Our travels usually take us to fun and festive places, but today the mood was a bit somber. We spent quite a bit of time walking through the memorial taking in each area of the park. The feeling you get by just being there is indescribable. You feel a sense of loss for the families of those who were taken, and yet in seeing all of the trees and grass and flowers you realize the feeling of healing is there as well. Since just

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The Survivors Tree stands watch over the Empty Chairs across the Reflecting Pool

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The lasting words left on the neighboring building by one of the rescue crews on the morning of the bombing - April 19, 1995                      

These words in steel mark the east entrance to the Oklahoma City National Memorial today

yesterday was the anniversary of the bombing and there was a service to remember those lost, all of the chairs had fresh flowers on them and the entire fence was filled with letters and pictures of the people that the chairs represent. It was an amazing experience and we are so glad that we stopped to see it.

April 23rd -
Bristol, TN - Home of the infamous Nascar Sharpie 500 race. It seats over 150,000 people and sells out every year. The track is gorgeous and the hills around us are unbelievable. Never in our entire lives have either of us seen such beautiful countryside. It makes California look like a desert. Driving down the highways here is so enjoyable. You can't believe how many different shades of green there are in the trees and bushes by the sides of the road. The hills are covered with every color of flower imaginable, and the lakes and streams are picture perfect. This is definitely a place that we could live someday. The summers here get a bit hot and you are fairly far from the ocean so we might just use it as a winter home and head back to Florida and the beach once summer comes. We toured the Bristol Caverns this afternoon. It is amazing to think of how many caverns there may be under the earth that no one has discovered yet. The formations are so interesting to look at and the temperature difference from outside to below the earth is crazy. Even when it is 105 degrees outside here in August the caverns never get above 60 degrees. The caverns we went to today were discovered by a man that was digging a ditch in his backyard to store meat to try and keep it cooler. After he had dug about 9 feet down he feel into a hole that was about a half of a mile deeper and nice and cool - the perfect temperature to keep meat fresh for weeks. How handy was that??? Luckily he wasn't hurt and decided to rent out the space to his neighbors so they too could keep their meat, and other perishable foods cold. An early entrepreneur, always good to have one of those around.

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Frank makes a wish as he rubs the "lucky stalagmite"

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The front porch of Davy Crockett's childhood home and backyard where we had a picnic

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April 26th - Happy Anniversary to us!!!
Today was a very fun day full of lots of adventures. The other day while looking through the "What to do in Tennessee" book we stumbled across a place called Parrot Mountain! We of course quickly went to their website to see just what it was, and found an amazing place full of birds and gardens and beauty. Since we now have our fun little motorcycle we quickly decided to pack a lunch and head down to Gatlinburg which according to one of our co-workers is only 40 miles away. A perfect drive on a beautiful afternoon. We stopped to have a picnic lunch at Davy Crockett Park where we toured the place he was born and walked along the riverbanks there. We were a bit misinformed however on the exact mileage of our next destination, so 139 miles and about 3 hours later we arrived in picturesque Gatlinburg. Good thing we had lunch early! On our way into town we got a bit lost since the drawn out map we had didn't show all of the roads or exactly the direction that they went. As we past the police station we got pulled over since our motorcycle doesn't have tags yet. Of course we could prove to the policemen that we were legal so they let us go. As they were leaving we asked them where Parrot Mountain

Finally we reach the quaint little towns of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge

Hmmmmm! How many directions can one road go? No wonder we got lost!                         

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Parrot Mountain nestled in the hills with birds perched at every corner and in every tree Frank thought he was in Heaven!

was, and instead of giving us directions they gave us a personal escort to the location. One was in front of us and one was behind. They were very nice and quite helpful.  Parrot Mountain is exactly what we would love to have someday. A home for wayward parrots that people couldn't handle anymore or for parrots that have outlived their owners, and the next generation wasn't ready to take on three fun lovin' parrots. We spent a couple hours feeding and petting and playing with the different parrots. It was so fun to see other people appreciate our beautiful feathered friends as much as we do. They even had a parrot nursery with day old babies that looked more like naked chickens up to 3 month old African Grays that we each got to hold. On our way home we stopped at a cute little cafĂ© and had dinner in Virginia to celebrate 9 blissful years of holy matrimony (well, most of it has been blissful!) :-)

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We spent most of our day feeding all the birds. Don't tell Abbey and Cody

3 day old African Grays

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