A Travellerspoint blog

Across the UP to the straits and down to Traverse City!

A troll heads home!

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Although I would have loved to stay in South Dakota longer (I really enjoyed it there) I was being sent to New Jersey. I decided to go through the UP, across the bridge and to Traverse City to see my dentist and doctor. I checked out of the local office and drove until 3am stopping to sleep for a few hours in the parking lot of a Michigan Welcome Center in Menominee. I could have gotten a hotel room, but then I would have gotten back on the road much later than I wanted. I don't drive when I am too tired, honest!

Those who live under the bridge are trolls, and most Michiganders are trolls since the UP (upper peninsula) doesn't have a large population relatively speaking. People who live north of the bridge in MI are Yoopers. :-) There is also a band using the name that is regionally popular: http://www.dayoopers.com/travshw.html

It was nice to see my first decent view of the Mackinac Bridge (which connects the UP and the LP) in quite a long time.
http://apps.detnews.com/apps/history/index.php?id=156

_The_Bridge_.jpg

I stopped at a couple of lookouts and there was a monument to the men who died building the bridge, which opened in 1957 and at the time was the world's longest suspension bridge.

Monument_t.._bridge.jpg

I don't like heights and don't particularly like driving across the bridge. I always stay in the inner lane, remembering the woman who went over the side of the bridge in her car in 1989. The winds in the straits of Mackinac can be fierce and if anyone is too afraid to drive across, there are actually people who will drive your car across for you.

I also stopped to see a memorial to Father Marquette which is just west of the bridge on the northern end. http://www.nps.gov/fama/

Father_Mar..emorial.jpg

After wards, I paid my $3.50 and went across. I stopped in Harbor Springs http://www.harborspringschamber.com/visitor/ to visit a very special old friend who also happens to be my go to guy when I need jewelry repaired and then I was on my way to Traverse City. http://www.jvlipscombjeweler.freeservers.com/

I checked into my hotel The Sugar Beach http://www.tcresorts.com/ and relaxed for a few minutes. The water always has a very soothing effect on me and I had a great view from my room.

It_s_nice_..e_City_.jpg

I worked for many years at the TC Convention and Visitors Bureau and always liked to deal with the people at the Sugar Beach as well as the Grand Beach. They are both attractive, well run properties. They aren't the only ones I can say that about of course, but they certainly made doing my job easier on many occasions.

I went to Potter's Bakery http://pottersbakery.com/ to pick up some cookies and a couple of cupcakes. When I lived in Greenville SC, I never could understand why so many baked goods were so expensive. I was told that you get what you pay for, but the favorite bakery in Greenville is just OK compared to Potter's!

Then it was on to The Taco House to get a red meat wet burrito. It is to die for. Yum! http://tinyurl.com/37mc8gx I wish I could get one right now actually. I just realized I haven't eaten hardly anything today.

Thursday I went to the dentist in the morning and then tooled around the Old Mission Peninsula a bit. I lived out there for about ten years and loved it. I drove by a centennial farm where we rented a small house for a couple of years prior to building and was shocked to see a peacock in the driveway of the house next door! How does a peacock handle a northern Michigan winter I wonder?

A_freaking_peacock_.jpg

Then I went out to the lighthouse, which was a place my kids always liked to go. It is a township park and although the lighthouse was decommissioned many years ago, there was usually a caretaker who lived there. The father of my daughters best friend lived there for a time. Now they have opened it as a museum which was cool as I had never been inside before. Here is a link to the lighthouse keeper program http://www.peninsulatownship.com/parks/lkpa.php

The_Old_Mi..hthouse.jpgOM_Lighthouse.jpg

I went into town, had lunch with my former boss at the bureau Sarah, and it was really nice to catch up with her. I also saw another friend, Kelly and wish I'd had more time to visit many others. Next time I will make sure I can spend more time and see more people. After my doctors appt. I drove out again to the peninsula to take a couple of pictures near Chateau Grand Traverse. You can see West Grand Traverse Bay in the distance in one of the pictures.

OM_Vineyards.jpgVineyards_..raverse.jpg

The peninsula used to have the greatest density of cherry trees anywhere in the country. I wonder if that is true now that so many orchards have been replaced by vineyards. http://www.wineriesofoldmission.com/

The Cherry Festival is coming up pretty soon and that is always a lot of fun. http://visit.cherryfestival.org/

Now it's time to be on my way to see my parents, brother, and sister-in-law in the Detroit area.

Posted by NancyA 17:36 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Memorial Day Flags and the Little House on the Prairie

Plus Some Clouds

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I was hoping to find a Memorial Day Parade near where I was staying, but although there probably was one somewhere, no one could tell me where. I love small town parades. I was able to take pictures of some flag displays put up to honor those who have died in defense of our country. It's a huge reminder that freedom isn't free. Nothing of value ever is. http://www.usmemorialday.org/backgrnd.html

The first two pictures were taken at a park in Arlington SD at the intersection of Hwys 14 & 80

Arlington_..31_2010.jpgFlag_Displ..gton_SD.jpg

This photo was taken on Hwy 14 somewhere between Arlington and De Smet

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Since I was pretty close, I decided to check out a couple of the Laura Ingall's Wilder sites in De Smet SD. De Smet is where the Little House on the Prairie was. I actually listened to a couple of the books, Little House in the Big Woods and Little House on the Prairie, and even though the stories were written for children, I enjoyed them. It sure made me realize how spoiled and soft most of us have become. I mean, the girl had a corn cob for a doll and was thrilled to get her very own tin cup for Christmas! Anyhow, it is all about Laura Ingalls Wilder in De Smet! http://www.lauraingallswilderhome.com/

The Ingall's family homestead site

Ingalls_Fa..Smet_SD.jpgHomestead_..Smet_SD.jpg

The house built by Charles Ingalls in 1887

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Here are the Memorial Day flags on display in front of the Kingsbury County Courthouse in De Smet

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I also like clouds, although I couldn't tell you the difference between a cumulus or a nimbus cloud to save my life. So along with the occasional humongous fake animal, there will be pictures of clouds now and then.

Clouds_South_Dakota.jpgMore_Clouds_in_SD.jpg

Posted by NancyA 15:45 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Big Fake Animals and Into the Wild

OK, I have a confession to make. I have finally admitted to myself that I have a tendency to take pictures of giant fake animals. Birds, bison, whatever. When I see them, I want to pull the car over, grab the camera and take a picture or two. OK, probably three or four. I'm trying to rein in the compulsion, but from time to time (like now) you will be subjected to giant animals. These were photograped on Hwy 14 in Huron SD

Giant White Buffalo Huron SD

Giant White Buffalo Huron SD

Giant Pheasant Huron SD

Giant Pheasant Huron SD

Then there was this amphitheater, also in Huron which was in a park with a large lawn area. I imagine it gets a lot of use in the summer. I just liked it, that is why I'm putting up a picture.

Ampitheater_Huron_SD.jpg

While I was out working, a woman I spoke to told me that I really needed to go to the Cabaret in Carthage, as it isn't far from where I was staying. She told me the food was good and reasonably priced and that part of the film, Into the Wild http://www.intothewild.com/ was filmed there and that the main character Christopher McCandliss (sp?) had lived and worked in the area for a time. I never made it there for a meal, but did drive over to take a look. If Linda from the Greenville SC Census office sees this, these pics are for you. Linda really likes the film.

Carthage SD The Cabaret

Carthage SD The Cabaret

The Cabaret  Carthage SD

The Cabaret Carthage SD

Posted by NancyA 17:42 Archived in USA Comments (0)

The Corn Palace - Mitchell South Dakota

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When I was small child, my family made a trip from our home in the Livonia Michigan to see relatives in California. It was a great trip, and we stopped to see a lot along the way, from Mt. Rushmore (beware of the poison waiters!), to Zion National Park (chipmunks galore!) and Disneyland plus many other places. I have always vaguely remembered going to the Corn Palace http://cornpalace.com/ in Mitchell SD and figured since I wasn't too far away, I would go again.

It is a really unique building. The first Corn Palace was decorated in 1892. It was originally in a different location, but has been in it's current spot for many years. The design is changed out yearly using many different colors of corn and is pretty cool to see. The interior of the building, houses a nice sized auditorium, which also has some panels decorated with corn as well as a gift shop selling pretty much anything corn related you could possibly want, or not. This is the main tourist attraction in town, although there are a couple of museums in town also that looked like they might be interesting. The light posts (at least in the downtown area) are even decorated with an ear of corn.

Corn Palace

Corn Palace

Side View of the Corn Palace

Side View of the Corn Palace

Another Side View

Another Side View

Inside the Corn Palace

Inside the Corn Palace

Corny Light Post

Corny Light Post

The Corn Palace - Mitchell SD

The Corn Palace - Mitchell SD

Posted by NancyA 17:34 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Chicago to SD via Billings MT, Yellowstone & Grand Tetons

I had six days to play with from the time I left the Chicago area until I had to check in to my new assignment in a small town in eastern South Dakota, so I decided to go visit my youngest son, Andrew who lives in Billings MT.

I couldn't take the company car that far for personal use, which is a bit of a hassle, but it is what it is, so I rented a car and left the company car at the airport in Sioux Falls SD. I didn't pick up the car until around 5:30 pm and drove most of the night to get to Billings although I did stop at a rest area to sleep for a few hours. I was awake in plenty of time to be driving while the world was waking up. I love driving at dawn. There is just something special about it. Not so much in the city, but in the country, it is kind of a magical time of day, especially with the wide open expanses out west. It kind of feels like it's just you and the earth, all alone, and there is nothing lonely about it.

I arrived at my sons about mid day on Sun. and we just lazed around and did a little shopping until he had to go to work. We decided to go to Yellowstone the next day. http://www.nps.gov/yell/index.htm We left around noon Mon. and took a few things with us on the off chance that we decided to spend the night in the area. It was pretty much a perfect day, and as Andrew said, we really deserved and needed it after moving all my things into storage.

You may already know, but Yellowstone was our first national park, and it is an amazing place. We saw a ton of wildlife, deer, elk, buffalo, a couple of beavers swimming across a river, pelicans, loons, and a bear crossing the road a little ways in front of us. We didn't see a moose though, but maybe next time! The views throughout the park are just amazing and there was still snow in a lot of spots and ice on the lakes. We spent a fair amount of time at the West Thumb Thermal Area. They have boardwalks that allow you to get pretty close to small geysers and thermal pools. There was quite a variety to see, both in size and color. This area is right along the shore of Yellowstone Lake and when you weren't looking at the geysers and pools, the lake views were breathtaking.

We were going to go to see Old Faithful that first day, but while we were heading in that direction, we saw it going off in the distance. It goes off approximately every ninety minutes and we weren't going to stick around just to see if go off again. We stopped by that area to see if there were rooms available and Andrew came back from checking to let me know that others visitors were being told that all they had left were rooms and suites that cost upwards of $400.00 a night. We decided to keep going and find a place outside the park as it was getting late in the day.

We kept going south and went through the Grand Teton National Park, and as beautiful as Yellowstone is, to me, the Tetons are even more beautiful. We ended up in Jackson Wyoming, where there is an elk refuge http://www.fws.gov/nationalelkrefuge/ and you see a ton of them from the roadside, at least you do around dusk. I was surprised to learn that Jackson Hole is not a city, but a valley, and Jackson is just one of the cities in that valley. It is a beautiful place, and I can easily understand why people want to live there. Jackson is an attractive town, and I am glad we were traveling on a Monday during the shoulder season as I doubt we could have afforded the hotel we stayed at, The Rustic Inn http://www.rusticinnatjh.com/ on a weekend or in season. It has a great location and the room was very comfortable. The front desk staff put us on to the Snake River Brewing brew pub and it was excellent. http://www.snakeriverbrewing.com/

In the morning, we took a quick tool around the downtown area and had our picture taken under one of the four elk antler arches that are on each corner of the town square. Then it was back on the road for more picturesque views. It was overcast, so not a great day for pictures, but a nice day anyway. We did stop to see Old Faithful on the way back as it was earlier in the day and it was chilly, rainy, and windy, but cool to see anyway.

On the way back, closer to Billings, Andrew spotted a huge eagles nest built on top of a telephone pole. You could see two eagles heads poking out the top. Sadly, it was too dark to take a picture.

Back in Billings, Andrew suggested we go up on the rims to get a view of the city at night and it was really pretty.

Wed. I left fairly early to go back to Sioux Falls. I dropped off the rental, which by the way was a Subaru Impreza which drove really nice, and spent the night in SF before heading to my current assignment the next day. Sioux Falls seems to be a really nice town, and I would like to explore it more if I get the chance.

Yellowstone Lake May 17, 2010

Yellowstone Lake May 17, 2010

Buffalo Yellowstone National Park  May 17, 2010

Buffalo Yellowstone National Park May 17, 2010

West Thumb Geyser Basin Yellowstone  May 17, 2010

West Thumb Geyser Basin Yellowstone May 17, 2010

Into The Deep Yellowstone  May 17, 2010

Into The Deep Yellowstone May 17, 2010

WestThumbY..5_17_10.jpgAndrew and I - Jackson Wyoming  May 18, 2010

Andrew and I - Jackson Wyoming May 18, 2010

Old Faithful Geyser Yellowstone  May 18, 2010

Old Faithful Geyser Yellowstone May 18, 2010

Posted by NancyA 20:51 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Chicago - A short trip back in time

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My grandmother was born in Chicago in Feb. of 1900. Both of her parents died before she was 19 months old, but I never heard her complain about the hand life had dealt her. I was very close to her and decided to drive by the house she had lived in as an infant and toddler on W. Monroe St.

I had always thought that the house had been demolished, I think my grandmother thought it had been too, but my brother Tom, who is waist deep into the family genealogy, found the house several years ago and took photos. Apparently, when he was there, he spoke to some people who were living in the house.

When I drove by, there was a no trespassing sign posted and it looked pretty sad. I would have loved to have gotten out and peeked into the windows, but to be honest, the neighborhood looked very iffy to me and I decided it might not be the wisest thing to do since I was alone. I didn't get any photos of my own, which is fine. It was a dreary day and the pictures Tom took are better than what I could have taken anyway.

It was actually kind of painful to be there, which may sound kind of strange. I always felt sorry that my grandmother had never gotten to know her parents, and it wasn't until a few years before she died that she was gifted with a chair and I believe some other items that had belonged to her parents. That of course meant a lot to her. That chair is sitting in my parents living room now and one day it will sit in mine.

My feelings were a mixed bag. Sorry that she was orphaned at such a young age, but also aware that if they had lived, she probably never would have moved to Canada, where her parents had moved from, probably never met my grandfather, never had my mother, and there would be no me or my brothers and sister as well as our children and my grandsons.

I actually just called my mother to ask her if her mom ever talked about what it was like growing up as an orphan, and she said no, only that in the summers, she would return to Chicago and was treated very well by family members who remained there. Evidently they were friends with the Walgreen's and she even met President Taft at some point. Everything wasn't always great though, and she married my grandfather fairly fast after meeting him to get out of the home she was living in that was reminiscent of a Cinderella situation. She told me that things could have turned out badly, seeing as she didn't really know my grandfather well, but that she was lucky.

I think all in all, she did feel that she was lucky, even though she lost her parents at such a young age and lost an infant son when she herself wasn't yet twenty.

Some people dwell on their misfortune and seem to revel in it. Others decide to look on the bright side and live a happy life anyway. That was my grandmother, and even though she has been gone since 1977, I miss her to this day.

Posted by NancyA 19:37 Archived in USA Comments (0)

John Brown's Body Lies A Mouldering in the Grave

A Visit to Harpers Ferry West Virginia

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I hadn't been to Harpers Ferry since 1980 and it was very different from what I remembered. Still very cool though, and certainly a historical significant place. I really need to get a good pair of walking shoes though because what I have now just isn't cutting it! There are a lot more areas of the National Park to see than I remember, that's for sure. In a one of these pictures, you can see what looks like netting over the front of a building. There was a lot of that going on, so it really was hard to get a decent 'atmosphere' shot, and a place like Harpers Ferry has a ton of atmosphere. http://www.nps.gov/hafe

The building with the arched window was a stronghold for some of John Brown's men when he staged an unsuccessful slave uprising in town. I need to start writing down some of these facts so I can report them more accurately, but I believe it was the only building left that was part of that incident. The stairway leads up to the higher part of town, which I didn't go to, but will next time, when I will hopefully have those comfy shoes! It was cool to see the houses up there, even from a distance. The last picture was a building that is built right into the rock face.

I like rocks, I also like ruins, so if you continue to read this blog, you will see them whenever available! :-)

Preservati..s_Ferry.jpgThe_engine..erry_WV.jpgStairs_to_..of_town.jpgBuilding_b..rmation.jpg

Posted by NancyA 17:16 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Day Trip to Lewes Delaware

I finally made it to Delaware!

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I have been wanting to get to Delaware for the longest time. It was until today, the only state east of the Mississippi that I hadn't been to. So I decided to make a day trip of it and cross DE off that 'states I haven't been to' list. I asked for a recommendation on the city-data forums as I didn't know where would be the best place to go. I was given a couple suggestions, but Lewes (pronounced Lew Iss) It is the oldest town in DE and is really beautiful. If you like old colonial homes, this is a very pleasant town to visit. The downtown shopping district is pretty much exclusively geared towards tourists, but was attractive and only a couple of blocks long.

I only spent a couple hours in town and driving around it, but really enjoyed it. The weather was perfect and the drive was pleasant. I wish I had found a good place to take a photo of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, but I didn't notice any place to pull off. The view from the bridge is really beautiful. I felt myself relaxing as soon as I saw the water. There is something very soothing, for me at least. about large bodies of water.

Lewes and what I saw of Delaware was very nice. I wouldn't mind returning sometime. http://www.leweschamber.com/
Oldest_Bui..elaware.jpgMuseum__built_1931_.jpgLewes_DE_042.jpgLewes_DE_048.jpg

Posted by NancyA 19:19 Archived in USA Comments (0)

The adventure has finally begun!

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There is no way I could ever fully explain how horrific it was moving my things into storage. I will say that there is no way I could have done it without my youngest son Andrew who came from MT to help. I gave him my car as I will have a company car and so no longer need it, but trust me, that car doesn't come close to repaying him for all he did. Thanks Ang!

I have been in training near Baltimore for the last week and a half and it has been a lot of information, but I feel comfortable with it and am really looking forward to beginning the job proper.

This past Sat.. the five of us who have been training took the Metro into DC and checked out a couple of the Smithsonian museums, the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial. It had been a long time since I had been to DC and it was a lot of fun.

On Sun.. I drove up to New Oxford PA, where I lived for a few short months in the mid 70's and to Gettysburg, which is nearby. It was interesting to see how some things had changed so much and other things remained the same. I'm hoping to get back there again.

This coming Sat, I am hoping to make it to Lewes DE, it was recommended to me, and I want to hit DE as it is the only state east of the Mississippi I haven't been to. :-)

I will try to do a better report about that trip and hopefully have some photos to share. Training ends Friday and from what I understand I will be traveling to my first assignment, a suburb of Chicago, on Mon.

Posted by NancyA 20:06 Archived in USA Comments (0)

A Quick Trip To DC

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While I was in MD, the five of us who were training together decided to take the Metro into DC. All of us had been before except for one person, but DC is interesting no matter how many times you go. We checked out the Washington Monument, but sadly, the tickets for the day were already sold out so we weren't able to go up it. http://www.buzzle.com/articles/facts-about-the-washington-monument.html

Then it was off to the Lincoln Memorial. http://www.buzzle.com/articles/lincoln-memorial-facts.html and we also checked out a couple of the museums at the Smithsonian. It would be easy to devote an entire day to each museum, but sadly, we didn't have that much time and we had five peoples interests to take into consideration. We did pretty good I think. Thankfully we all got along well. We went first to the National Museum of American History and saw The Star Spangled Banner, the flag that flew over Fort McHenry and inspired Francis Scott Key to write our national anthem. http://americanhistory.si.edu/ They also had a great exhibit about the Apollo Theater which we all enjoyed as well as a display in the cafeteria area of lunch boxes, many of which were from our own childhoods.

We spent some time at the National Museum of the American Indian too, and I'm kicking myself for not taking any pictures of the building. It is meant to resemble cliff dwellings and is a really beautiful building. For some reason, the official website isn't opening for me, so this is the best I can do at the moment http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Museum_of_the_American_Indian

The Washington Monument 4.24.2010

The Washington Monument 4.24.2010

The Lincoln Memorial

The Lincoln Memorial


The Lincoln Memorial 4.24.2010

The Lincoln Memorial 4.24.2010

The Washington Monument viewed from the Lincoln Memorial 4.24.2010

The Washington Monument viewed from the Lincoln Memorial 4.24.2010

The Capital Building 4.24.2010

The Capital Building 4.24.2010

Statue honoring Vietnam Veterans 4.24.2010

Statue honoring Vietnam Veterans 4.24.2010

Posted by NancyA 12:06 Archived in USA Comments (0)

It's been a horror show

Mpre later

Stress at all time high. Trying to remind myself that in less than 13 hours, I will be out of here, no matter how things stand.

Posted by NancyA 22:06 Archived in USA Comments (1)

Achy and stressed

The movers are coming tomorrow morning to pick up the large stuff and heaviest boxes. Hopefully, it will go smoothly and quickly. I am hoping to have time to go out to lunch with a friend, if it takes longer than I expect, that won't happen. :-(

In the evening, I will be driving to Atlanta, to pick up my youngest son, Andrew, who is flying in from MT. He will be helping me move the rest of the boxes, etc. into my storage unit and on Sun. will drop me off at the airport here in Greenville and head back to Billings in my SUV. I'll be getting a company car, so rather than sell it, I offered it to him.

I'll be so happy when this is all over and done with.

Posted by NancyA 23:03 Archived in USA Tagged preparation Comments (0)

Slowly but surely getting there

(AKA - am I kidding myself, or what!)

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Get cat new home- Done!
Rent a climate controlled storage unit - Done!
Start moving what I can carry into it - Not done, but begun!
Arrange for Two Men and a Truck to pick up my stuff - Done!
Bug youngest son as to whether he is coming to get my car - Done!
(Still waiting to hear the final word on that)
Help my current boss by working for her the start of this new quarter - Not done, hope to be by Mon. or Tues.
Finish my background check stuff online - Doing tomorrow, my day off!
Pack - No where near done

Posted by NancyA 17:00 Archived in USA Tagged preparation Comments (0)

One more step almost completed

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One thing I have been concerned about was finding a new home for my cat, Clementine. I took her to visit a woman tonight who lost a cat last year and whose remaining cat has been really lonely. Clementine hissed at him, but her ears weren't back and she didn't seem threatened. He wanted to be friendly. I think it's a match. Unless something happens between now and then, I will deliver her to her new home on Sat.

Dang, there is still a lot to do though.

Posted by NancyA 19:30 Archived in USA Tagged preparation Comments (0)

Freak-Out Mode

I could get a lot more done if I didn't have a nasty cold. :-(

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I took a bunch of stuff to Goodwill today, and have more to go tomorrow. It was pretty cold today for South Carolina in March. My head is all stuffy and I can't think. All I want to do is sleep, but there is too much to do. I have to get as much done as I can this week as I need to go to Michigan for a few days to see my folks before I leave for training. Then starting April 1st, I will be working as much as I can for my boss on my current job to help her out, plus finishing packing, talking to Two Men and a Truck and the storage place. I also have more to list on CL and an online friend from Singapore will be in Atlanta and I am hoping to carve out a few hours to go see her.

I will be so happy when I have done all I can and am on my way.

Posted by NancyA 23:53 Archived in USA Tagged preparation Comments (0)

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