2014 - Year in Review (Page 3)

Summer Road Trips

Linda: On June 9th (five days after our move) we started the first of three road trips this year. We bought a 2010 Lexus E450 luxury sedan as my retirement car (we previously had only one car between us) for the specific purpose of traveling North America in comfort. We have taken to state roads over interstate highways and paper maps over google maps for direction. We have hotel apps for finding accommodations while en route and take pleasure in the sense of adventure we get from having a less structured travel itinerary.

KC - to - North Carolina

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Linda: Between June 9th – 18th we traveled through the Smokey Mountains National Park, stayed a night in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, before arriving at Rick and Gina’s on June 11th (near Myrtle Beach).

Rick and Gina have created a very pleasant retirement life where they live in a golf community. Rick plays golf every day he can and won club champion this year. Gina works with elderly people where they live in a group home. They have many friends with whom they seem to have great fun. Their life seemed quite comfortable when we visited them for the first time in NC. They treated us to many things including a variety show at Alabama Theatre. I noticed how the dancers smiled all the time and I couldn’t take my eyes off of them. That encouraged me to smile during my own dance which helps me smile more often everywhere.

We attended the US Open Golf Championship while at Pine Hills, NC which Gary loves and I tolerate just barely. It was hot and dusty and you don’t see much golf with the large crowds always where you want to be.

On our return trip, we stopped in Ashleigh, NC where we watched the US Men’s Soccer team beat Ghana (2-to-1) in a World Cup match. It was good fun. In Nashville we visited Abi who works at the Country Hall of Fame Museum which we toured.

I didn’t know Dolly Parton wrote “I Will Always Love You” – one of my favorite songs. Ryan sings it with the BTA and we all sing along with him. Abi took us to the honky tonk street in Nashville where music emanates from every establishment. However, our minds were elsewhere as our realtor called the day before and said the buyers could not close as planned on June 17th.

KC to Bentonville to Little Rock to New Orleans

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Linda: Our trip getting to Gulf Shores was filled with delight. Gary and I drove south to Bentonville, Arkansas where the Walton family heirs have built a museum, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, which we toured. We had a milkshake in a soda shop designed to replicate the 50’s when the Walton’s first opened a store in that down town. In the town square, there was a memorial to the confederate soldiers that bothered me. I said to Gary, they should replace those memorials with apology statements for the wrong they perpetrated on African Americans.

Next stop, Little Rock to visit the William Jefferson Clinton Presidential Library where we saw the wonderful glass exhibit by American artist
Dale Chihuly. Of course, the political animal that I am loved the library and history told from Clinton’s point of view. I was most struck by the themes of Clinton’s presidency they tried to convey as purposeful, strategic visions that guided Clinton’s administration. They aligned their actions to achieve their vision for world peace, national prosperity and justice for all.

In contrast to the confederate memorial in Benetton, outside the Clinton library, there was a statue of
Sojourner Truth (name of SUNY New Paltz Library) with a child in hand and a quote that said: “Children, if you are tired, keep going; if you’re hungry, keep going; if you’re scared, keep going. If you want a taste of freedom, keep going.”

That, I liked.

Hope, AK beckoned as we drove south so we stopped for a brief tour of the Clinton family home.

Then, we spent the night in Natchitoches, LA where Gary grew up.

Gary: It’s so much fun traveling through the south (my home places) with Linda. She’s seeing stuff for the first time that were part of the background during my entire youth (e.g., confederate soldier statues), but were taken for granted.

Natchitoches, Louisiana

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Gary: Home of Steel Magnolias, we spent an evening on Cane River lake.

We ate gumbo and a Cajun meal, then visited a local college “watering hole.” Staying at a Bed and Breakfast downtown allowed me to get up early to walk Cane River in early morning hours.

I enjoy seeing all cities at sunup. Not many people interfere with my photo time. I enjoy seeing the city (or town) before all the morning activity.

In Natchitoches, I had Cane River lake to myself, except for a Blue Herring and a few fishermen out for the morning.

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New Orleans, Louisiana

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Gary: Brett joined us for an evening of Cajun food and music in New Orleans.

We walked the Bourbon Street area together for a while, then we went in search of NO fine art, while Brett spent time relaxing.

After dinner at Arnaud’s, we walked through the French Quarter to Frenchman Street to listen to music at The Spotted Cat Music Club. We listened to Jamaican jazz where the locals go for their Saturday nights out on the town. What a blast to be in New Orleans and getting off the tourist “beaten path.”

Linda danced at the
Spotted Cat Music Club with other women who invited her to the dance floor. Brett, Brett’s friend and I sat at the bar.

The next morning, we picked Ryan up from the airport and headed to Gulf Shores.

Gulf Shores, Alabama

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The Gamso Clan joins together for a family reunion in Gulf Shores Alabama, near where we grew up. This year we rented an 8-bedroom beach house (VRBO) which housed our 16 adults & 5 little kids (i.e., grandkids of Norm & Eileen Gamso).

The Gamso family enjoys meeting somewhere we all enjoy, then pitching in for meal planning, cooking and clean-up. So, the meals were fantastic as they required hours of preparation. Meals included seafood gumbo (Gary & Nancy), sweet & sour cabbage (Tim), pulled port tips (Dustin), and fresh caught king mackerel.

The family enjoyed late afternoon walks on the beach. Our beach was very peaceful and quiet in early morning and late afternoon hours. During the heat of the day, the August sun was pretty hot & the water felt great.

Cigars compliments of Tim Gamso and beer compliments of all the young guys. It must have been here on the beach they hatched their plan to visit a local bar on Friday night. We created a few family legends among our kids and their cousins, which must remain un-documented for the moment.

Nancy and I chased the turtles that were nesting on our beach and another beach 3 miles (or so) down the road. After dark, we traveled to the distant beach and just missed numerous newly hatched turtles make their way to the water.

Suzanne and Butch enjoyed the family time, especially with their grandkids. We were all part of the morning crew, with a few cups of coffee and most of the world’s problems solved by the time the crew decided to start their day.

Tim occasionally found a quiet moment for reading and reflection. He also watched the final cooking of Sweet & Sour Cabbage which we had for dinner. Tim and Harrison enjoyed an early Saturday fishing trip. They returned with fresh fish we ate for Saturday lunch and appetizers at dinner. There’s nothing like eating fresh fish.

Our very pregnant Ashley got a few quiet moments with Austin. He was most relaxed with his mom and the kids with whom he's grown up. He watched his cousins & took it all in.
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