Sunday, August 28, 2011


I guess we are beached out.  We let the “golden Hour” for photos slip away as we played in the AC.  Reports from the hurricane zone weren’t terrible, but lots of trees down and standing water around the house in New Jersey.  Tim, we really wish you were here and not having to deal with that!
We all wore the tie dye that Emilyn lovingly crafted and distributed to us the first night and Cassie’s bracelet that she handed out the last full night with everybody.They matched the colors of the tie dye t-shirt!!   We made quite an impression at the beachside. 


2011_0825GRAYTON_BEACH_30045Cassie’s comments:
Anthony has been cracking us up mimicking everybody and playing  games like hide and go seek. Anthony can’t stay hidden long; he always comes out or makes a big noise!! LOL!! I love him!
 I also found out Anthony is very ticklish and that he wants Emilyn’s iPad since Emilyn let him play on it.  Anthony also helps Meme win the card games by holding the important cards and drawing cards from the deck making sure Meme doesn't give away the good cards like she has done a couple of times . Now when Meme is usually talking to herself she has an excuse to say she is talking to Anthony.
The waves were so big yesterday! There was even an undertow so I had to go out in the water with daddy and he would help us not get pulled away! Emilyn and I would both try to swim against the undertow but the furthest we got without being really tired was like 5-10 yards !! But not to worry he made sure we would not get past him. He said that we couldn’t go boogie-boarding on the towering 5-10 ft. waves (even though I wanted to boogie-board them so so much!! ) Well that is all of Cassie’s comments  I’ll try and blog later !! bye!!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Our own beach

Weekdays at the beach after school has started –SERENE.

We are up pre-dawn. Papa and Anthony search for reptiles, preferably pterodactyls, but without success.  We found a sign that said “Do not feed small children to the Alligators; It makes them very sick.”

We decided to go to the Beach and we had a full half mile of sugar soft sand to ourselves. 

We had a nice day at the beach waiting for Cassie and Emilyn, Aunt Trina and crazy Uncle Jeff.  Here is  place where you can see the pictures….
Anthony's day at the beach

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Joanie and Anthony Arrive


Ok, so we probably didn’t have to get to the airThe336port TWO hours early, but we had strolled the oft photographed Airsteam food vendors at Seaside, declared them both picturesque and overpriced and the weather at noon really really HOT.  


…and unknown perils of the highway might have delayed us… and the beach traffic on a school day Wednesday notoriously congested out there on  US 98… and sit down dining might take forever…So,  we choked down a Sub and drove direct.  Picture two doddering old folks in beach clothes lined up in the arriving passengers aisle nodding awake with every announcement.

Hi Meme.  I MIssed you...

Hi Meme,  I really missed you.


Let’s go to the Beach…


grayton day 1 collage



2011_0823GRAYTON_BEACH_10090Ok that looks serious, lets go to the Airstream.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Dear Tim,


2011_0824GRAYTON_BEACH_20011We are down here at Grayton Beach State Park in Florida awaiting the arrival of your little family.  I guess they will be glad to escape the week-long torrential rains.  It’s clear and sunny here with highs in the 90’s and, of course, the steady onshore breeze. 

Geeze, just heard about the EARTHQUAKE.  Did it disrupt the flood repair efforts?

We just got back from an early morning dip in the turquoise waters of the Gulf.  We had 700 yards of soft sugar white beach all to ourselves.  Well there are turtles, but they haven’t hatched yet, so they aren’t doing much to disturb the tranquility. It’s nice and shady here in the campground and the air conditioner seems to be able to provide a cool spot to return  to when    the beach gets crowded.  We had to leave earlier this morning because another couple wanted to use the 700 yards of beach, but the walk through the dunes was nice.  This park has been lucky; the dunes weren’t hit too hard by the hurricane. OMG!  HURRICANE. Look out. There is one coming your way.  Hope it doesn’t hit the Jersey Shore.  Oh the humanity.2011_0824GRAYTON_BEACH_10031




Thinking of You…..

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Should trip preparations go off half-baked?

Around here, we have always understood that we are never ready to go until Patty has the brownies baked. No matter how many (or how few) critical details remain before a Trip, Al will be found in front of the computer and Patty will be banging baking pans. Supposedly, Al is marking electronic maps, checking fuel prices, or checking weather but it’s likely he’s cruising other sites. Ironically, he is often researching the NEXT trip; does that make any sense to anybody?

Patty’s “Brownie Habit” started long ago when this was a release from the multiple pressures on a mother, wife, business owner and caregiver. Likely it was the wife part that …. Whatever the cause, it was axiomatic in our house that everybody get very quiet and “on task” whenever it was whispered that “Mom is baking brownies…!” Even today I get Joanie’s full attention when the phone call starts with reference to pastry preparations.

Well today large jars of cookies (two kinds)are baked, beach toys are on board, food boxed and catalogued, secret surprises prepared…fridge is cooling in the ‘stream and two days remain before launch. Al has removed nonessential winter clothes, hiking shoes and fishing gear while creating multiple “load outs” for future expeditions --the house looks like a warehouse. Patty is straying across gender specific lines and checking weather reports on Tropical depression Irene, inquiring about oil changes and Al is printing recipes . Can this mean we have a little too much prep time?

Monday, August 15, 2011

Preparations Anew

Evidently a week home from the beach is  just enough time to remove all pesky sand particles, rinse off salt spray and erase all memory of how really HOT it is in a Tin Can on the Gulf.  Of course no power on earth could resist a visit from Joanie and Anthony, a family friendly condo on the low rise part of the Gulf Shore for Jeff and his girls and Airstreaming all packaged together with predicted lower humidity.
Joanie and Anthony will fly in from New Jersey Wednesday, Airstream with Meme and Papa at Grayton Beach State Park and move into the  Condo with the Montgomery contingent Friday Thursday through Sunday.  The Grannies will maintain sleeping quarters at the park and a strong presence at the Condo a couple miles away.

Lottie has been rinsed inside and out, had  her pesky TPMS repeater system rewired (see Arcane Airstream stuff),  LED taillights added for better visibility in coastal thunderstorms, as well as the regular refitting, rearming and refueling.

Grandgirls have had a week to plan every minute and another week to get too excited to remember they are starting school.

About ready here for an August  23 departure….

Saturday, August 6, 2011

We Had the Time of Our Lives

Emilyn & Cassie’s Excellent Beach Trip of 2011 was a huge success.

The weather was Hot but we were cool in our tin can and the beach was breezy, the water clear and comfortable.  We ate well and everybody pitched in to do the chores and  we learned a few new ways to use the Airstream.
Day Two we toured the Fort by bike and traipsed around with the Ranger.  THEN, we explored all the tunnels and passageways with  our own flashlights.  We climbed the spotting tower and 2011_0803FORT_PICKENS0093rode our bikes around the other campground stopping to wet down in the showers.  Hitting the beach after lunch was the best idea, so we stayed all afternoon.

Day Three  we toured Pensacola and took in the Lighthouse, the Naval Air Museum and (Al’s favorite) Joe Patti’s Fish Market and the Shrimp boats. 

Halfway up the 177 steps in the lighthouse a young man saw Patty and announced, “Dad, look at this lady.  If SHE can make it up here, Mom and Susie could have!”  Dad looked a little sheepish…
That’s OK Patty responds. “When we were packing up to leave, a young camper came by to say goodbye to the girls ‘and their Mom.’”
Thanks to Emilyn the “Water Police” and Cassie the “Sun Lotion Enforcer” we stayed hydrated and a comfortable shade of tan.  The girls rode to the camp store for supplies and checked out the sand trails in back of the campsite.  We saw dolphin swim by several times while playing in the ocean, caught a glimpse of a sea turtle just off shore, saw a couple of sting rays (now that scared us), and had fun collecting sea shells, boogie boarding, body surfing and building sand castles.  Forever young!!!!!!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Gulf in August–It’s Beachin

Hot…Very Hot, and Predicted to be Hotter!
The ride down from Montgomery is pleasant with good roads and little traffic.  We stopped at the Pensacola Visitors Center and stepped out into sizzling heat.  Oh Boy!  This is not going to be like it was in May… 
Another disappointment –the Blue Angels are out on Tour and won’t be practicing this week.  (Patty has a little crush on the Blue Angels; in May we watched three practices and she really, really wanted to attend the autograph party.)
girls signing in
arrival at Ft Pickens
All signed in at the old Coast Guard building, we are off to get set up in site A001, just yards from the boardwalk to the beach.
unloading bikescassie chockinEm awning
all set up
   All set up
Fort Pickens Campground, Gulf Islands National Seashore.  Nicely rebuilt campground.  Note the damaged trees from the Hurricane winds and salt water surge.
We would never have made if if it weren’t for t2011_0803FORT_PICKENS0048he help from both young ladies and especially Emilyn, “The Water Police”, who kept us hydrated in the really really stifling noonday sun.

At Last, it’s time for the beach.
Checklist: Drinks, boogie boards, flip flops, light coat of oil on young and ….
oilin MeMefinally the beach
just cooling my heelsSand castles
yes, right there..

  Yeah, right there.  No, just a little to  the  left…  

sea turtlle signs
Record number of Turtle nests on the seashore this year –70 so far. This one only last week.  Volunteers watch them at night and are on site when they hatch out in 60 days.  We asked to help, but there is a long waiting list.

We’re tired.  Let Papa cook.
we're tired
heatin bar b que

Monday, August 1, 2011


are underway for a a four day beach trip in the Airstream.  Participants include the the Twobikes crew (hereinafter referred to as Meme and Papa) and two  Grand girls  (hereinafter called EM and Cass).  First Airstream adventure for both and only second “camping” trip for each.  I know, I know..

The goal is Fort Pickens campground in the Gulf Islands National Seashore 2011_0513SOUTHERN_SWING0009where Meme and Papa enjoyed a lovely interlude in May.  My notes indicate that this was a record cool spell and that perhaps explains why even Al enjoyed the sand.  Right now it is not cool, but cooler at the beach than in Montgomery.

Grandparent: “We will be camping on a Barrier Island…”
Grand girl: “Will we have WiFi…?  Is there someplace to plug in my I pod?”
“We will be camping 50 yards from the Boardwalk over to the beach… there are trails through the dunes and bike riding and a huge fort to explore…”
“What about showers? “
The trailer is provisioned with teen approved food and drink, bikes and boogie boards loaded, TV fueled… we will see…
Along the way down the Interstate…..
“Note the evidence of clear-cutting as indicated by….”
“WOW! I can text 8 people at a time.”
“Are we there …..?”
“Now you know that  we don’t ask that.  You may refer to the graphical representation of  our position on the computer… which shows the ETA….blah, blah…”
……..we will be crossing a long bridge over to…”
Bridge? how long?  Is that the bridge? Will I be able to smell the beach from there? Are we in Florida now? Can I roll down the window?