Our Travels

Our retirement began February 3rd, 2006. This is an account of our travels. We hope you enjoy them. You can click on any of the pictures to enlarge the picture. Please leave a comment for us...we love to read them.

Monday, October 24, 2011

2011 Installment #3 ~ August, September, October

We left Moscow on Tuesday, August 9, and returned home Monday, October  17, 2011, 10 weeks later.  This was quite a travel marathon ~ two reunions, one wedding, and a lot of USA and UK visiting.  Thank you everyone for treating us like royalty!  It was our best trip ever to ID, WY, NE, SD and UK!!  Other pictures are available on Walmart's photo site as follows (you may have to sign up, but there is no charge):
Our first stop was with friends Gary and Sharon in Middleton  ID (300 miles from home), for two nights (these are friends we see in Arizona during our “snowbirding”).  They took us on a drive to an old mining town, Silver City, ID.  Picture is of Gary's uncle in his rustic cabin.
Stop #2 was with brother Jim and Kathie in Green River WY ~ as always, they treated us very well ~ great dinners with their neighbors, Lou and Tim.  

Saturday, we spent the day on the Flaming Gorge Dam and Reservoir in Tim and Lou’s boat (picture above is the scenery; picture on left ~ Jim keeping boat away from rocks and Kathie).   

On Sunday we continued on to brother Dick and Cindy’s  for more special treatment and a road trip around the countryside.  When we stopped for lunch, butterflies were everywhere (one even landed on my Dr. Pepper can).  
Cindy had arranged for Dick's 60th birthday present to be delivered ~ a huge stone with a golfer engraved in the stone. 

On Tuesday we left Riverton and arrived outside of Alliance NE late in the evening ~ greeted by cousin Judy and Larry with an unplanned steak dinner.   The next day we left the cargo trailer at the ranch and took the motor home and car into cousin Janice and Archie’s to prepare for the 50th class reunion of the 1961 Alliance High School graduating class.  Janice and I graduated the same year.  She was hosting the Friday night event.
The 50th class reunion blog can be seen at this site.  We had a great time at the reunion ~ a first for me was a ride in a sidecar from a classmate.  The reunion events were Friday night, Saturday all day, and Sunday morning.  Tony was very proud when I was given a standing ovation at the Saturday evening events for all my work in finding every classmate, gathering all their information, keeping classmates informed with the class blog and putting the reunion booklet together.  This project took me one year to complete.  I will always believe that I had more fun than anyone ~ to be able to be in touch with so many of my classmates throughout the year through phone calls and emails.
Our classmates were invited to take art to the Carnegie Arts Center in Alliance.  So…..two of my paintings have hung in an art gallery!!  

On Monday morning after the reunion, we moved the motor home back out to the Mann ranch to begin preparations for the Phillip Family Reunion to be held in eleven days.  Judy, Larry, Tony and I had so much fun preparing everything for the Friday night event at the ranch and the Saturday event at the Newberry’s building in Alliance.  Janice took care of the brunch on Sunday.  On Sunday afternoon, everyone ended up back at the ranch for more eating and entertainment.  More about the reunion can be found at the Phillip Blog site
The highlight for me was that 88 family members attended.  All of my generation (17 of us ~ myself, five brothers, and 11 cousins were all able to be at the reunion ~ we can’t remember the last time we were all in the same place at the same time!!).  1st row ~ Bill, Dean, Jim, Paul; 2nd row ~ Ray, Jary, Don, Steve, Dick, Randy; 3rd row ~ Julie, Judy, Janice, Sharon, Lynelle, Mary, Roberta. 
On Monday morning, September 5th, we began clearing up, cleaning up, washing clothes and packing for our trip to UK.  By Monday afternoon we stowed the motor home in Mann’s huge barn and took the car to Rapid City to Uncle Bob’s to spend the night before flying out on Tuesday morning.  Cousin Randy was still visiting there also, so got some quality time with both of them.  Our flight to UK ended up being four flights (Rapid City SD to Denver CO to Montreal Canada to Toronto Canada to London Heathrow airport).  
After arriving in London on Wednesday morning, we caught a National Bus service to Victoria Station where Tony’s son, Neil, was waiting for us ~ next means of transportation was by train service to near Neil’s home (black door in pic) and then a short car ride to be treated with Tony’s first real “UK fish and chip” meal after three years.  
Thursday was spent with Neil (Becky was working).  We did get to go with Neil to his last fitting for his Paul Smith  wedding suit in the heart of London.  

Our ride through London with Neil (a former Taxi driver in his early years) was entertaining.  This picture shows a sample of all the bicyclists and buses that Neil had to dodge all day long.
In the evening we met Becky at the Sarastro Restaurant for dinner.  What an experience that was ~ West End star Colin Roy was the evening's entertainer singing swing and Motown classics by legends such as Frank Sinatra, The Drifters, The Temptations and Lionel Richie.  A three course set menu is served as the perfect accompaniment to the night’s proceedings.  Neil and Becky had reserved one of the upper rooms as shown in the picture on the web site. 
Friday we spent the day with Neil and Becky touring some of London (the Tower Bridge of London~ the most famous bridge in the World ~ and a ride on the Thames in the “Duck” (pic with London Eye behind us).  Trip on the Duck was a little longer than expected because there was a bomb scare at the entrance where the Duck left the tarmac and entered the water.  
Bomb scare was alleviated rather quickly, but the policeman who parked at the entrance lost the keys to the car so the wait was much longer but we were entertained by the Duck guide (see picture ~ not much fun being on Titania Duck ~ remember "The Titanic"!!
In the evening, Tony convinced Neil he would like to have fish and chips AGAIN and they were happy to oblige.  While at Neil and Becky’s I picked up the Great Escapes (Camper and Bus publication).  Neil had pictures and an article in this travel guide (Pages 80-83).
Saturday Becky was having her final fitting for her wedding dress so Neil, Tony and I drove to Slough (near London’s Heathrow airport) to meet Terry and Jacqueline.  Jacqueline kindly offered her vehicle for the next leg of our trip.  We all met ~ and had my favorite meal at Toby’s Carvery ~ Yorkshire pudding and roast beef.  By three pm we started off on our own with Jacqueline’s car and Terry’s GPS (they call them SatNavs in UK ~ Satellite Navigation).  We traveled to Nottingham to begin our time with Tony’s cousin John and Pam.
Sunday we were scheduled to drive to Knipton to spend time with Julie Stansby.  Shortly after we arrived, Julie’s daughters (Emma and Kate) arrived to spend the afternoon with us (as well as Emma’s twin sons ~ Oliver and Thomas). 

On Monday we drove to Grantham where Tony was raised.  We found a place to exchange our dollars for pounds at the 1.66% rate ~ finding ourselves with a lot less after the exchange was completed.  We dropped in on Liz Finn for a short visit.  Monday evening Julie had a dinner party with friends Ian Brodie, and Keith and Jill Harrison.
On Tuesday we were invited to lunch at Susan Singleton’s.  Pam and John came over from Nottingham for the event as well as Courtney and Liz Finn, Geof and Caryll Braunton, and Julie Stansby. Pictured are Geof, Julie, and Caryll.  
Courtney heads up the blue plaque project for Grantham (picture shows two plaques at his home to be placed in Grantham).  We went back to Pam and John’s for the night.  







On Wednesday, Sept 14, 
Pam and John (by statute of Robin Hood in Nottingham, Robin Hood's stomping grounds)






entertained us by taking us via the tram 


to downtown Nottingham (City square), 


to the Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem Pub (the oldest pub in England). 








We walked around the canal (even went on one of the canal boats to look around), and went through the 




Broadmarsh Shopping Center to see the moving clock.  This is a site showing someone else’s youtube video of the clock ~ will give you some idea of what we saw.    

On Thursday, we again headed to Grantham to meet old friends Jean and Bob Perrin (they visited us once in the states and motor homed with us for a few days several years ago).  After walking around town to see the Beehive Pub, a living sign ~ a beehive hanging above the pub,
we met Jean and Bob at the King’s Hotel.  Bob had the rest of the day planned to perfection ~ by first handing Tony a Grantham Journal!  
After lunch we went to the King’s School for a planned tour arranged by Bob.  


Tony and Bob both attended the King’s School and found their class pictures in the school.  


This is the school where Isaac Newton attended.  Go to the photographs and pictures link to see where Isaac carved his name ~ we went up the steps to view it.
And, look very close (double click on picture to see a larger view) where I have marked the next picture ~ when Tony was a teen-ager, he had friends hold him by his feet out the window so he could carve his initials in the cement block "AS".  

Then we stopped in the St Wulfram’sChurch of England next to the school  (at the site you can read about the Francis Trigge Chained Library and the crypt chapel) ~ We ran into Liz and Janet there.  Picture is of stairway to Trigge Library (Tony).   
We went on to what used to be Kontak (now Parker Hydraulics)(where Bob and Tony used to work together).  What fun Tony had when about three different employees remembered him and remembered a hydraulic control valve that Tony was in charge of designing in the 60's (picture shows revised valve still on display ~ notice the smile on Tony's face) for Kontak Hydraulics.  


Afternoon finished with coffee at Bob and Jean’s hotel and taking them to the train station to head back to Exmouth (southern England).  We went back to Nottingham to begin getting ready for our next adventure with Pam and John.
Friday, September 16, all four of us left Nottingham headed for Halifax, Yorkshire.  We had a tourist stop at the National Coal Mining Museum for an underground tour (two hours spent down in a coal mine learning all kinds of interesting information but no cameras allowed).  Tony did get to get on the footplate of a train outside the museum.
When we arrived at Steve and Wendy’s (John and Pam’s daughter), they had prepared a week-end full of entertainment for us.  The first night we were treated to a steak and wine dinner where Wendy’s son, Alex, works (the 12.04 Restaurant on the wharf)(pictured Alex, Katie, Wendy, Steve). 
More relatives arrived on Saturday morning (Pam and John’s other daughter, Richola and Andy and their two children, Natasha and Colby) to go to the Piece Hall market in Halifax  ~ Dating from 1779, when it was built as a Cloth Hall for the trading of ‘Pieces’ of cloth (a 30 yard length of woven woolen fabric produced on a handloom), the Piece Hall was the most ambitious and prestigious of its type when built and it now stands in splendid isolation as the only remaining example. It is one of Britain’s most outstanding Georgian buildings Steve had a minibus to take us all….driving on UK roads in a minibus is an experience (riding was interesting also).  
At the market, we watched a demonstration by a famous French chef, Jean-Christophe Novelli, one of the top chefs in the world.

In the afternoon, even more relatives arrived ~ John’s brother Dennis and Barbara;  their daughter Ann, John and daughter Rosie; as well as Steve’s parents, Pat and Jim.  Pat was so excited to meet an American (she brought us a box of fudge and several local area postcards).  A few neighbors came over also.  Steve and Wendy had set up a marquee for the BBQ and proceeded to bring out tons of food and drinks for the BBQ.  We all had a great time.  Pictured left to right ~ Steve Sharon, Tony, Anne, Dennis, Barbara, John, Rosie, Andy, Natasha, Wendy, Alex, Katie, Colby, Pam, John, Wendy.
Sunday to top off the week-end, we climbed back in the minibus to go to a Skipton Castle (over 900 years old and perfectly preserved ~ picture is of castle entrance, not the castle), 


An unusual tree in the castle courtyard.
The privy for the castle and a sign to go with it.


We watched the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway steam train at two different train stops, 





and then on to a unique village, Haworth, home of the Brontes.  Wendy fixed a Sunday carvery with Yorkshire pudding for the evening meal to top off our visit. 

On Monday we returned to Nottingham with Pam and John ~ Pam and I went to one of her “Young Wives Club” meetings ~ although the name no longer holds so they are now calling themselves the “Wives Club”.  The speaker for the evening was a young blind girl with her guide dog.  It was very interesting.

Tuesday was a down day ~ because all four of us are between the ages of 60 and 70, we needed a down day!!  We did go to Brookfields garden center to look around ~ a garden center with a restaurant, gift shop, antique stalls, etc.  I have never seen a garden center quite like this one.  In the afternoon we went to Wollaton Hall ~ 

(picture of guns hanging on the wall) ~ which included a Natural History Museum, a Deer Park, Gardens 


(including the oldest cast iron glass house in Europe) and 


a snack truck driver sleeping on the job.  The "Dark Knight Rises", newest Batman movie, was shot at Wollaton Hall, the Elizabethan house, in June and July of 2011.  

Wednesday we hit the touring road again with Pam, John, and Richola.  We went to the Ruddington Framework Knitters Museum.  The site shows it better than my pictures.  We saw how close the knitting machines were, the seats they sat on (worn leather straps), the noise of just one machine working and then lunch at the WhiteHorse Inn.  Our visit with Pam and John was topped off in the evening with yet another carvery dinner at the nearby pub.

Thursday morning we left Nottingham to spend the night with Janet and David Armes in Harlaxton, near Grantham   Again, this site can give you a much better look at the village.  
We took a walk around, seeing the unusual chimneys (the claim is that the chimneys are patterned after chess pieces, see pictures).  


David and Janet treated us to a several course dinner with friends ~ (pictured is David doing the final touches after Janet had spent a huge amount of time getting the table set just right!)


~ Rosie Caunt, Ian and Liz Brodie and Dave and Pam Frankish (pictured are Janet and Ian.  





Friday we loaded up the car and headed for Terry and Jacqueline’s to begin our visit in Bromham.  On the trip we stopped at Bourton-on-the-Water and visited the Model Village.  When standing close to each church and you can hear the choir singing.  Within the model village, appropriately, there is a model of the model village.
Again, on the first evening  with Terry and Jacqueline, we were treated to fish and chips!!   Saturday was another “down” day, spending the morning at a “car boot sale”. 


and looking over Terry and Jacqueline's garden allotment.


Sunday we were up and running again ~ going to a dinner at the local pub to meet up with Terry’s daughter, Tara, Nathan, Libby and Connor.  To our surprise, when we arrived several more friends and relatives were present ~ Dawn, Steve and Ann, June, Jan and David, Mike and Becky.  We spent a couple of hours playing skittles ~ something I had never done and...go figure, Tony playing a game!!  Then we went out for dinner at another pub nearby.
Monday we went to Dawn’s new home and beauty salon and to see 


Tara and Connor at their new home (both Terry’s daughters).  Then we spent the rest of the day getting ready for our trip Tuesday to Tenterden where Terry had rented a townhouse for a week in Kent near Rolvendon for the upcoming wedding of Neil and Becky.  On the way down we managed another meal at Toby’s Carvery for the Yorkshire pudding and roast beef meal. 


Wednesday we went looking for the 400 year old barn that was to be the site of Neil and Becky's wedding.  Then we went down to Camber for a walk on the beach and in the sea.  When we went back to the barn, everyone was there working on the decorations and lights.
Thursday ~ We went to the Canterbury Cathedral.  


In Canterbury Cathedral ~ tomb of King Henry IV (1367-1413) and his wife, Joan of Navarre.


Evening was spent with Jonathan, Rachel, Abe, and Lil.  Tony again playing games with his grandkids ~ charades.



Friday ~ We visited the C. M. Booth car museum in Rolvenden, (3 wheeled Morgan cars, 


and took a walk down the country lane to look at the Oast houses, a building designed for kilning hops for brewing.




Friday evening Jan and David stopped by our place.  In the evening we went to the dinner arranged by Neil and Becky at the White Lion Inn in Tenterden.  Pictures of the evening are on the Singo Blog (also the wedding details). 
Saturday before the wedding we walked down to to see the folk dancers (Morris dancing) for entertainment before the wedding festivities began.  For wedding see Singo Blog for the rest of the Saturday events.
Sunday ~ We went to help take down all the barn decorations.  In the evening, Jonathan, Rachel, Abe and Lil (picture) came over as well as 


Becky's parents ( Martin and Pat); the newlyweds, Neil and Becky, and Jonathan and Neil's mother, Susan.


Monday ~ The four of us went to see Whitstable (a seaside village) for lunch and back to Tenterden for an evening meal out at the Vine Inn, one of the prettiest buildings with flowers at every window, formerly Britain’s Oldest Brewer.  Picture is of a fireplace in the women's restroom.

Tuesday ~ back to Bromham with a last stop at Toby’s Carvery (one of my favorite restaurants in UK).  Wednesday ~ we walked  around Trowbridge, and had pizza for supper.
Thursday ~ We arranged a girl's day out (picture of June and Jacqueline).  The three of us spent the whole day in the city.  Tony and Terry went to another car museum.
Friday ~ We went to Portsmouth to the Spinnaker Tower.     


Here they have Europe’s largest glass floor (Terry and I ventured across but didn’t feel as we were walking on air as Spinnaker claims you will).  
This picture shows the glass floor from below.  
This shows the view looking down from the glass floor.













This picture is of the staircase we walked down.  
These are two views of Portsmouth from the Spinnaker Tower.  We went to Bill and June’s for dinner that night.

Saturday ~ Jacqueline is a big Rugby fan ~ her sister June and son Mike came over at 6 am to watch the Wales match.  This was another new experience for me ~ watching Rugby.  Later in the day we went to look at a caravan which Terry and Jacqueline bought before we left.  In the afternoon Ken and Janice came up from Bournemouth and stayed through Sunday afternoon.  I guess I was having too much fun to get pictures of these events.

Sunday ~ to Steve and Ann’s for the evening (pictured ~ Terry and Ann).  Monday ~ Tara came over with Connor.  Tuesday, Oct. 11 ~ return flight to Rapid City.



Fun things we saw ~ Eddie Stobart trucks everywhere.
"Happy Go Lucky" funeral parlor in downtown London with Neil and Becky. 
Delivery motorcycle while in downtown London with Neil.


Bicycles for rent in downtown London


Robin Hood's Jacket Potatoes for sale in Nottingham square.

A load of hay on one of the local roads in UK.


A load of hay in South Dakota.


Saw many students drawing the Canterbury Cathedral.








The model of the village of Bourton-on-the-Water ~ yellow line shows a small portion of the model of the village; pink line shows the model of the model of the village; the blue line shows the model of the model of the model of the village.
A sign at one of the pubs ~ see if you can read the sign.
Our next motor home!!!
Uncle Bob picked us up at the Rapid City airport ~ and we went to bed fairly early!!  Wednesday we went to Otho to visit Mary and Dallas and stopped by Roberta's library before heading to Alliance to get back in our own motor home bed at Judy and Larry's.  Cory and Sherry treated us to an evening of fun with a steak meal and s'mores.  On Thursday we visited Jean and Maxine and also Janice and Archie.  Friday we prepared the trailer and motor home for travel.  Saturday morning we left Nebraska and headed home, arriving by Monday noon, Oct. 17th.

Thank you, again, everyone, for treating us like royalty!  It was our best trip ever to ID, WY, NE, SD and UK!!

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