Spring 2012, #1: Friends and Family

 

A Great Family

Once again we find ourselves on the dreaded Interstates.  This time we are heading towards California and Oregon.  We have already spent a lot of time in the Southeast, and to give ourselves more time in the West, we are taking Interstates from Southwest Florida to Kansas City.

Vacations were a regular part of our lives when we were children, even though neither family had much money.  Vacations then meant visiting friends and families.  Motels were an extravagance; hotels were impossible.

Lady Luck has smiled on us and free lodging is not needed but visiting friends and family is still special.  We saw more than usual these first few days.

Bob’s father passed away, so we went to Lakeland for the funeral.  We didn’t know the gentleman, but we have known and loved Bob for decades.  He is Cousin Ruth’s husband, and they have three wonderful children, Shelley who came in from Alaska, David from Virginia and Tim from Missouri.  Sister Jo Ann and her husband Don drove up from Fort Myers.  It is not often we can all get together.

 

The Garden Cafe

Since we were in central Florida, we wanted to see friends Bill and Peg in Lake Placid and Doug and Pat in The Villages.

However, even when visiting friends, we are tourists.  Lake Placid calls itself the “City of Murals.”  The people of this small town have commissioned 42 murals by 21 artists in the last two decades.   Not being satisfied with huge wall paintings, they have unusual trash cans, bird pictures and clown portraits throughout the town.  The local “Clown College” inspired the latter, and with over two thousand graduates, they boast the most clowns per capita in the world.

 

The pilot and why he serves.

Sebring had musicians on the street around the central circle in the evening.  We couldn’t help a woman gathering names for a local politician’s petition, but she told us about a great new restaurant, The Garden Café at McLean’s Country Garden, a plant store on the main street.  It was in an open building surrounded by flowers; it was beautiful, and the food was good.

On the way to see Bill and Norma in Olathe, Kansas, we stopped to see Tim (again) and Melissa in Warrensburg, Missouri.  We may add more in a future blog, but suffice it to say, Tim is a B2 pilot.  He walked us around the hanger under A10s, let us climb up to look into a T38, and took us up into the tower to watch B2s practicing touch and goes and landing.  It is great to be with family!

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About ralietravels

Ray and Alie (Ralie) are a retired couple who love to travel. Even during our working years, we squeezed a trip in whenever we could, often when we had to stretch the budget to do so. We have been fortunate to vacation in all 50 states, all the provinces of Canada and one territory and a little more than 50 countries. We like to drive, but we particularly love to travel back roads to find unusual sights, people, and experiences.
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