Sunday, November 23, 2008

Virginia Here We Come!!!

  • The Long Beach assignment is now a memory (bad for Sheryl, she left Long Beach Thursday night and drove into Amarillo Friday evening. We packed our stuff and headed for Richmond VA, bright and early Saturday morning, our goal was Nashville TN. We did stop in at OKC and had breakfast with her son Joseph and then we were on the road again. Once we started getting into eastern Oklahoma and western Arkansas, the drive started to become a thing of beauty. With the rolling Ozark mountains and the fall leaves turning it was just a beautiful drive. We made it into Memphis TN. around dinner time and decided we would try some world famous Memphis BBQ. So off the 40 and into downtown Memphis and the visitor center, where we learned of 2 famous BBQ joints, Neely's and The Rendezvous (both have been featured on Food Network.) Since Neely's was on the other side of town and The Rendezvous was right down the street, to the Rendezvous we went. We arrived pretty early as dinner standards go(4:30) so we were pretty much one of the few dinners. Ok enough of the build up, how was the dinner you ask??? We had the ribs and I hate to say we were a bit disappointed, they had good flavor, however were kinda dry, not the juicy, succulent fall off the bone ribs we were expecting. We hope we just got a bad batch, but next time we'll give the Neely's a whirl.
  • On a side note, Best ribs to date: Ellis Island Casino, Las Vegas, NV. After leaving the Rendezvous we were on the search for desert, mainly cheesecake. Our waiter suggested a place about a mile away, good thing was you could take the trolley and it would drop you right next to the place. The trolley was pretty cool, as both Sheryl and I had never rode one before. Well, what better place to try some cheesecake, than a place called The Cheesecake Corner. I must say, what a great place, around 20 different kinds of cheesecake, we stuck with the classic plain with a strawberry glaze. The cheesecake was very good and the presentation was great and we recommend it to anyone passing through Memphis. As mentioned before, the drive was beautiful, probably the prettiest interstate drive we have ever taken, mainly due to the time of year. We made it to Virginia, yeaaaaaaa, now only a mear 5 or so hours to go. Of course we did the tourist thing and picked up all the pamphlets we could. We arrived in the early evening, about will be Sheryl's new home for the next 13 weeks. The room is nice, how ever like any hotel kinda noisy, especially with her working mids.
The following day we decided to go exploring, we picked a park down by the river, so off we went. The park is on a island in the middle of the river, you have to take a foot bridge to get there, and of course we had to do it the hard way (ok we got lost) but ended up finding the back way in and a cool little canoe/kayak put in area on the other side of the river. At the trail head there is the makings of a old dugout canoe, sponsored by one of the local collages. Sheryl just had to jump in and take her turn at shaping the canoe.
The James River runs right along downtown Richmond, in the springtime it has class IV/V whitewater, one of the only urban whitewater areas in the country.
Once on the island, history abounds, the island was home to factories, civil war prisons, Indian villages and numerous others throughout history.
The James river is pretty low this time of year and you can almost walk across it
The island has a beautiful hiking trail which skirts the shoreline, about a mile long.

A couple of days later, we visited the American Civil War Center (part of the National Park Service) It was a very interesting tour and we learned alot about Richmond's role during the war and how the war help to shape our country today. Richmond also offers a riverside pathway, the path is a couple of miles long and has many historic sights. Above is an old factory wheel (part of a display) I thought it would make a good picture depicting the old with the new building.

Speaking of old and new, there is the old R.J. Reynolds Tobacco building (long since abandoned) with more of the new Richmond skyline.

A look at downtown Richmond from the footbridge to the island (yes, the one we were looking for
I was off on my own today, so I hit the hiking trails on the island again. Along with the main trail there are several other that wind there way around and through the island.
Another shot of Downtown.

Well, my trip was over and time to head home, but not until we visited and old friend who lives in Norfolk VA. We had dinner with her and a all around good visit. The first leg of my return home was to Washington DC and a 1 1/2 hour layover.
Since it was lunch time, and I had time to kill, food would be the order of the day. As luck would have it, I found this little burger place tucked away in the corner of the airport, and I must say they had the best burgers at any airport I have ever been to, again, give 5 Brothers Burgers a try if you ever find yourself at the DC airport and hungry.
The next leg of my journey home brought me to Dallas and an almost 6 hour layover. This layover was planned so I could meet up with my daughter Kayla and her future hubby Chris. They showed me there new place (very nice) and feed me some really good pulled pork which they had made, Great Job kids!!!! It was good to see Kayla and Chris again, even if it was only for a short time. Good news is, they'll be headed for Amarillo to join us for Thanksgiving, so we get to see them again soon.
Well that was the VA trip in a nutshell, tried to post at the hotel but the connection was wayyyyyyyyy to slow. Ok, that's it for now, take care and drop in again as we love our life.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Work, Work, Work

Well, it's been a couple of weeks now since we last posted and wow does time fly when working 2 jobs. Working both at Fabwright and Gander Mountain sure does make for some long days and longer work weeks, only 4 days off per month and 2 evening off per week. I'm not complaining because it helps keep my mind occupied and from missing Sheryl so much. Sheryl is still in Long Beach, CA. and is coming to the end of her assignment. Shes not to happy at this hospital and can't wait to leave and move on to her next assignment. She is looking at changing travel companies to one with more assignment selection, she did find one with more choices and is looking at New Mexico. This would put her closer to here and with in a few hours drive (that would be nice).

Here is my new ride, well for part of the week anyway, the job is going good, the route is usually over by 12:00- 1:30 pm depending on the number of stops. I'm learning alot working with Jackie and getting to do more and more each day. Above are a couple of shots of the shop and the type of work we do. The Land Rover in the picture is having a completely new frame installed, quite a project for the shop, so will be interesting to see how it progresses.
The other day, Sheryl had a day off and decided to get out and about. She ended up at Dana Point, CA. and said hey, why not take a whale watching excursion, and so she did. As luck would have it the batteries in the camera died right after boarding the boat, so no pics of the adventure. :( She did however get a shot of the boat and a couple others.

Here she is looking so LA.

No whales were spotted this time, however she said the was a school of dolphins around the boat that must have been a couple hundred strong. The were jumping and playing everywhere as well as schooling and feeding on the fish as they worked together to gather. The dolphins, seals and other wildlife still made the trip worth wild though.
That's it for now, so until next time, keep lovin your life as we do ours!!!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Starting New Job

Today I start my new job, working for Jackie at Fabwright Custom Fabrications I'll be driving a local delivery route in the mornings and working in the sop in the afternoons. As you can tell, Fabwright specializes in all things Jeep, it will be good to learn all the in's and out's of my jeep and how to fix it myself should something go wrong out on the trails in the middle of nowhere. Like any other change, I'm feeling a little apprehensive, but that will soon pass.

Ok, duty call and have to run, more later.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Sheryls New Adventure!!!

Sheryl has begun her new adventure in travel nursing, you are saying What?? Why?? What About....?? Well rest assured, we discussed all the options since her being let go from her job and travel nursing was the best one. Various reasons went into the decision and we are strong enough in our relationship to weather being apart for a bit for the betterment of our future. I will be staying in Amarillo until our daughter graduates next summer and strikes out on her own. Ok, enough about reasons, you want to know where she is........Sheryl is headed for Long Beach, CA. a small town just south of Los Angeles and home to the Queen Mary. She will be working at Long Beach Memorial Hospital for approx 4 months. Her assignments are 8 weeks at a time, and she'll probably do 2 back to back. After Long Beach, who knows, wherever the best job and nicest area is. Best part is, I get several mini vacations to go and see her..Woo Hoo.....
Just wanted to give a quick update to share a new milestone in our quest to become full time travelers/RVers, hopefully we'll have some pictures to share next time. So take care for now.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Return to the Blog Part Deux

Part two of the return brings us to The big "D" and I do mean DALLAS!!!, Kayla was offered a job in Dallas with a bowling company (and since bowling is her passion...well hey why not!!!) and she accepted their offer. So the big move from the Sunshine State (FL) was on, and of to become Texans they headed. They did find a nice apartment in Arlington, just down the road from work. Their second day in the Dallas hmmmm what to do, a Cowboys game what else, ok pre-season but it's still a Cowboys game none the less!!! Our best to both Kayla and Chris, I know they will do well.

Amongst all the turmoil of the last few months, we decided to take an overnight camping trip to unwind and just get out and away. Our destination was the Canadian River Valley just north of Amarillo.

Once we arrived, looking for a camp site was first priority as we got a late start. after a few miles we came upon a pretty nice location right on the river. Camp was set up and relaxing was in order.

Sheryl was off to explore the river banks in all her cuteness. There were several tire tracks in the area but as luck would have it, we didn't see another vehicle the rest of the time we were there.
As Sheryl explored, it was my time to man the grill, a simple dinner of hotdogs and chips was the cuisine of the day

Night fall came early as did morning, so morning coffee was in order. Sheryl whipped up some eggs and sausage for a great start to the day.
Since ladies love their comfort, we picked up a camp shower enclosure at Wal-Mart along with a port-a-potty (will spare you the pics of the To our surprise the enclosure was very well built and very sturdy. The bottom is mess to let water drain away, and it was pretty easy to set up. What a great deal for only 35 bucks. Now to get a solar shower to hang in it and give that a try.

After a morning of breakfast and packing up, we decided to wheel around the area alittle. The river valley has some pretty steep ups and downs and everything from mild to wild.

All our gear was loaded onto our trailer which I had set up for off roading behind the jeep. This gave me my first chance to try it out, it is a standard 4x8 utility trailer which I did a spring over conversion and installed 15" tires on. The trailer now sits pretty much level with the jeep.

As in most shots the terrain is much steeper and rugged than it shows. The jeep towed the little trailer with out even a whimper and the trailer took everything I threw at it.

In the end we had a great time, got away, if only for a night, tested some new equipment and just enjoyed each other and the outdoors. What better way to say we are just Lovin Our Life.

Our Return to Blogging!!!

Wow, it's been a few months since our last post and a lot has been happening. We have experienced the highest highs and the lowest lows, this roller coaster has made sharing our thoughts with the world very difficult. I won't bore you with the details of having to be in the proper mindset to write, instead we'll just get you caught up on the past couple of months.

The past few months have brought us a string of bad luck,

Cassie had some very serious issues toward the end of the last school year and into the beginning of summer, these issued weighed very hard on Sheryl as she tried to deal with them.

Sheryl developed kidney stones to the point of disabling her for a couple days at time, this would occur every couple of weeks.

Sheryl's mom was diagnosed with lung/liver cancer and passed way with in 3 weeks, this was by far the hardest of the hard for Sheryl to deal with. Sheryl was very very close to her mom and was one of the main reasons we moved to Amarillo. Sheryl took a leave of absents for her job to care for her mom during her final days, I'm so prod of Sheryl for this and I hope she knows what a truly great person and daughter she was to her mom. Audrey was a great and strong lady, like many people her life was full of high highs and low lows, however she persevered, and became one of the strongest ladies I have ever known. Audrey you will be missed by all.

Now for some happier news, the wedding of Kevin and Sheryl!!! took place on July 28th 2008. We were married at our home here in Amarillo, Sheryl handled all of the decorations and wedding planning and what a wonderful job she did!!! As you can tell by the photos it was a simple but elegant affair. A couple of highlights with in the wedding were the ability to have all our kids here to celebrate with us, and also be a part of the wedding party. Sheryl's mom was also able to make it, even as sick as she was, she said she wouldn't miss it for the world and she didn't!!!

After all the stress of the above events, Sheryl's health began taking a turn for the worse, and she was diagnosed with Gall stones, she had been putting off caring for herself to care for her mom and it finally caught up with her. She was hospitalized and had her gall bladder removed. As with all surgeries, there is a risk of complications and this was Sheryl's turn. She developed a bowel obstruction and ended up hospitalized for a week along with another surgery to fix it.

Poor girl has been poked and prodded more than anyone should ever have to be and is still recovering.

To add insult to injury, as Sheryl was recovering her first day home from the hospital, she received a call from her employer and was terminated for missing to much work (the things we could say about her former employer, but we'll keep it civil)!!!

Sometime as they say, things happen for a reason and and Sheryl's termination was just a blessing in disguise. After some thought and soul searching, we decided she should begin her travel nursing adventure, the decision was both financial and for her mental well being. We know we will be apart for some short periods of time, but in the long run it will be for the best. Sheryl applied for and was excepted by the FASTAFF Travel Nursing company (like there was ever any and on average will be making double and triple the pay than her old job (hence the blessing in disguise!!!). I will remain here in Amarillo until Cassie graduates high school next year and strikes out on her own, after that I will join Sheryl where ever she may be and begin our full time traveling adventure together.

Speaking of Sheryl's new job, just as she completed the final steps to employment, they called her to ask if she would like to assist in Hurricane Gustav relief, and of course she jumped at the chance (not to mention the pay is well worth it :) So she is in San Antonio , TX. for a week or so at the FEMA headquarters Kelly AFB. She is feeling good about herself and being able to help others is a great benefit.

The house is up for sale and of course perfect timing with market in a slump once again, good thing is we do not have to sell, so we can wait it out and not be stressed. Even with the slow housing market, they are still building new homes n our area, so we are having to compete with lower priced new homes, while attempting to sell our upper end home in the same area, just need to find that right couple to fall in love with the house as we did. So if you know anyone in the market for a beautiful home in Amarillo at just over 200,000 send them our way, they won't be sorry!!!

I know this one was kinda long so I'll break it off into another post, just wanted to begin catching everyone up. So until next time Keep lovin your life as we do ours!!!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Taking A Break

Kevin and Sheryl will be taking a break from Blogging for a bit. Stay tuned for more later, as the adventure will resume before long.

Thanks for understanding.

Kevin & Sheryl

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Jeep Jamboree Work Trips

Each year the Jeep Jamboree is held at the Figure 3 Ranch in the Palo Duro Canyon, the ranch is several miles east of the State Park. The ranch is approx 7000 acres on the rim and in the canyon. The Amarillo Jeep Club (Jeep Exclusive) hosts the Jamboree and people come from all over the country to participate. Each year prior to the Jamboree, the club host a couple of work parties to do trail maintenance (trimming trees and overgrown brush from the trails).
These are a few pictures from the trips (two that we took) to the canyon.

We all met at around 8:30 pm, planning on heading down into the canyon at 9:00. Saturday morning was quite cold, in the 30s, but it did warm up quick. Here every one is lined up for the trip down into the canyon, we split up into 3 different groups, the easy, medium and hard trails groups. We started out with the easy trails group the first day and did more challenging trails the second day.
This is the view at the start headed down into the canyon, very steep areas headed down, which equal very steep areas headed back up. As you can tell, there is only room for one lane, so we make sure via CB radio there is no one coming up or down prior to the start or finish.

Once down in the canyon, we followed a dry river bed for a while until we could go no farther. It was just a short walk to the spring, so we headed out to find it and stretch our legs.

There was lots of travel and stops along the way, here we stopped to let a few folks climb a large rock with their jeeps, one of the guys broke his jeep so we were her for a bit while they fixed it.

Group shot as we headed along one of the dry river beds, these beds were littered with rock fields, so it made travel a bit interesting at times.

Here I am climbing up a steep incline, the shot is at the end of the incline. the picture below, shows the area a little better.

This jeep got stuck here, and had to be towed out by another jeep, so I felt pretty good that I had made it through, considering his jeep was better set up than ours.

After a few hours of trails riding and maintenance, we stopped for lunch. The daughter of the ranch owners was in our group, it was interesting to talk with her and to listen to all her stories about growing up on the ranch and the history behind it. As I have said before, jeeping is fun, but it is more about the people you meet and places you get to see. The jeep is just a vehicle to get you to both.

Since it is kinda hard to take pictures of yourself while on the trail, here are a couple of the more difficult places or trails we were on. This is Jackie, the guy who is does all the work on our jeep.

Thought this was a good place for a picture of the jeep and the canyon, we were stopped here for a while as another one of the guys broke his jeep on the harder approach to this same area. It is amazing what these jeepers can do and fix on the trail (broken axles, broken -joints, holes in radiators, etc.)

Of course we can't go anywhere with out the famous us shot, however this one was taken by Cassie. We stopped at this beautiful canyon overlook, we spent a while here as we all explored and enjoyed the view.

We camped on the canyon rim, my boss was kind enough to let use borrow on of the Jumping Jack Trailers from work, so I could show it to the Jeep club members. It sure was nice to be up off the ground. it was pretty cold that night, but the heater we bought made it pretty nice inside the tent. It was a very windy night, you could hear the wind coming up through the canyon and then WHAM, it would hit the tent and shake it violently. Between the wind and the very uncomfortable mattresses, we got very little sleep. It was still a good time and we enjoyed getting away for the weekend and spending time with friends.
Here I come over a hill with a steep down side, and as Sheryl said, YOU SHOULD HAVE SEEN WHAT YOU JUST DID!!! like with most of the pictures the photos just don't do the area justice, you really have to see it in person.
All in all we had a great time, good times with good people and the enjoyment of just getting away. Just another way that we Love Our Life and try and enjoy every minute of it we can. So until next know the drill, Love your Life as we do ours!!!