South Africa at.Last

Magic Thornybush nature park adjacent to Kruger park. The 2 parks are currently merging during this long term drought especially to allow more wildlife to survive, Lakeside lodge is an A plus, too high scale but once in awhile it is good to be pampered. Pail has shared over all adventures in his blog, my short blog will pinpoint adventures, No photos until I find a way to load them in undr minutes per image.

We have enjoyed 5 safari drives and a hole led by Dan a native of SA. He can drive that Toyota mountain lion rig anywhere, and he did, thru brush thick and thin. We were in pursuit of a male leopard on the good. The gorgeous animal stayed in sight and did not go off into gullies so as not to be seen. In our speedy pursuit we climbed over trees, up and down “would be” mountains. and and logs. In the van we were ducking Acacia branches with their terrifying thorns and big branches. I was protecting my head but was punched in the eye to my dismay just as we began to track the beast, I could not shoot photos due to pain, I have quite a shner now but did get 2 shots. bummer! I m fine but disgruntled, However as we enjoy our final day here we anticipate more critters, Dan and hi co worker found all 5 big jungle animals,  amazing!!!

Monday’s Blog; Thoughts on travel and packing

Three days to go before we trek off on a wonderful trip to S. Africa. No matter how many times I do the travel prep and check off items on the to do list, it is always a bit chaotic and stressful. Being in town for a month felt like a long time at the beginning. However, when we hover for a period of time in Rochester, we have the usual push to get to doctor appointments, making plans to see with friends, check off places to visit in town or take short side trips to visit family and friends and then handle the angst of not doing it all or seeing everyone we want to see.

Luckily, after enjoying so many extended travel adventures, the packing becomes much easier. The less taken, is of course better and we have become skilled at lightening the load so much over the years. Yesterday, we took a break and had the joy of once again, of visiting the Sonnenberg Gardens and Mansion in Canandaigua, NY.  The mansion is open for tours, a massive 40 room Queen Anne structure built by Frederick Ferris Thompson and his wife, Mary Clark Thompson between 1885-87. 

What impresses me in the architecture and design of this mansion is the high regard the couple held for wall sized windows, large rooms and high ceilings reflecting their love of light and breathing space.  Learn more by going to

Reflecting on my efforts at getting packed, I chuckled upon viewing the various large and unwieldy steam trunks used in that era for travel by ship to Europe and the Orient. Not only were their travel times long but the fashions of the times had no relationship to our modern travel clothing that can be rolled and packed, hand washed and dried in no time with very little weight or bulk. Probably the bulkiest items we carry today are the binoculars, cameras and too many hand held electronic devices. They are not roll and stuff friendly or easily hand washed.

Image result for images vintage steamer trunks

The fashions in the Thompsons’ days, of course, included long and bulky dresses, voluminous hats, men’s suits and jackets and more hats plus lots of accessories and toiletries. Many steam trunks were partitioned in layers and sections for specific types of items as are the modern packs and duffles of today but layering large and long dresses, crinolines, and all of the items of the period into the wooden trunks would be daunting. How heavy they were when fully packed. But travelers did not carry them or transport them. They had lots of help with strong backs in that department.

Keeping the ways of the distant past in mind relieves some of the stress and angst I may feel in preparing to depart. I anticipate many new adventures and will share them in the coming weeks. I also enjoy the great feedback I get from you folks and appreciate hearing of your adventures to some of the same regions. Enjoy the final weeks of summer.
Image result for images vintage steamer trunks

Image result for images vintage steamer trunks

Monday’s Blog; Our perch over downtown

The arrival in Rochester this July was a bit traumatic and not according to our usual homecoming. However, all is well and we are nested among our favorite works of art, books, familiar items from a lifetime and fabulous friends and family. We have learned patience in awaiting the outcome of our RV repair or other choice. However, we are so busy catching up with our city life, preparing for our upcoming journey to South Africa and beyond that we have to make lists of our lists to remember necessary chores to get us efficiently moving ahead. 

I have always been a list maker. Even in facing advent of on line data bases, calendars, notebooks and smart phones, I still resort to handwritten paper lists and notes. My husband giggles but I stick to my old ways (along with on line resources as I am trying to stay up to date). 

I do maintain a paper calendar that hopefully reiterates the entries on our on line calendar, therefore hopefully avoiding double booking and having one car between us. Amazingly, we have discovered the advantages of living next to the relatively new Rochester Bus Terminal next to our St. Paul Street apartment. Often we will walk to a destination on Park or East Ave and then, using Paul’s Rochester bus schedule app we can determine what bus stop to head toward for the next bus home. What bus line?  Park Avenue of course. Some things do not change. I have always been an avid people watcher and what better place than on a bus.  What a tickle it is to ride the bus at 50 cents per senior and then walk a short distance to our Apartment door. 

Of course, I reminisce. Having grown up in Rochester, I also rode the bus with my girlfriends to Grants 5 and dime. We were 7 or 8 years old I guess and carried our favorite dolls with us to purchase doll clothing and accessories. After all, my Alexander doll could drink from a small bottle and then needed a fresh diaper and perhaps a change of clothing. We rode the Park Avenue bus line from Edgerton Street into town. 

An image of a more modern Alexander doll

Or I would ride the bus with my mom or both parents to shop downtown at Sibley’s, McCurdy’s and Forman’s department stores or purchase shoes in the shop with the hydraulic basket system flying over our heads to transfer the bill and payment from the sales floor to the sales office. And along with my memories, my mother was an avid list maker. So I come by it naturally and from a good teacher and role model as well. My den/computer room rises over St Paul street and as I type, I hear the buses pass by on their scheduled runs. A sort of percussion music to my ears. Back to my list, written of course. 

Monday’s Blog, entering eastern daylight savings time zone

Time zone changes become common when traveling across country or across the world. However, entering the eastern time zone always gives me a surprise, a spark,  a comfort zone that I don’t feel in other time zone changes. It is indeed coming home, coming full circle, having lived a long life in the east.  Even though I have traveled through time so often, there is always this subtle undercurrent, a low-key pulse of return when I reach the my homeward bound time zone.

Traveling quickly eastward toward Rochester in July we reached our day’s destination; a northern Michigan campground in Cedar River after a stretch of long driving days, The camp ground is set in a rustic, very backwoods area with sand filled sites, rough dirt roads and dead quiet. After the attaching the
usual hook ups I walked to the office to register and looked up at the clock. It read an hour ahead of my watch, taking me by surprise. No road sign marked the zone time change on our way and I had not noted the time zone on the paper map. It was then that  I experienced that always surprising and momentary feeling of return, of centering and comfort that I alluded to above. The feeling again took me quite by surprise. A feeling of return, of home and I guess it showed on my face. 
The campground owner noticed my reaction after checking her clock. I had to explain what I was feeling and she was quite tuned into my emotions having lived herself in this area for a lifetime and occasionally traveling to other parts of the US to visit family in the northwest. Her life was filled with farm living, growing corn and hay, an obsession with horses and horse back riding and eventually becoming the main long time caregiver for a close family member. Her children live elsewhere. She chose to become a campground owner after years of RV travel with her husband and family. She savors the backwoods, rustic and laid back nature of her property and most sites were filled for the July weekday night. 

Strangely lit twilight images from somewhere on our eastward trek

Other travelers were heading toward various destinations as well for the summer season and she enjoys hearing their stories and feeling their emotions as some of them head toward their home territories. So I guess I am not alone in this feeling perhaps of closure. She mentioned the possibility of harmless snakes and flies buzzing our ears and we said goodnight. The evening hours continued to be quiet and restful before we set off for the next days push eastward. 

Monday’s Blog; Dragon Breath; An Acceptable Moment

Bad breath, a touchy subject, suffers a bad reputation, and well it should. Can you imagine a time when it may be acceptable and even shared with others. The Fox Run Garlic Festival on Seneca Lake in New York State’s famous Finger Lake’s Wine region took place this past weekend and Paul and I and our lovely cousin Ellie took it in. Of course, garlic is a controversial herb, loved, hated, tolerated or even allergy inducing for many. What does a garlic festival offer? For one and the most important the knowledge that garlic means much more than the white, dry, somewhat bland imported garlic found most often in the ever flourishing grocery chains lining our roads and byways. (That is a topic for another day).

Most obvious, immediately on stepping in front of the vendor tents are the numerous varieties of garlic available. Choosing a few to take home among the huge range of flavors, shapes, sizes, colors is daunting. Tasting becomes an adventure in itself.  Each garlic vendor offers samples in small cupfuls of chopped garlic with name labels, toothpicks and the chance to explore the world of garlic. The flavors are fabulous. the breath is another matter. But it is a shared matter. The saying to your companions is “if I taste garlic you have to as well” so as not to offend but to share in the experience. Some attendees walk with their hands in front of their mouths at first but soon become caught up in making choices among the vast array. Chatting with the growers is invaluable in selecting a variety of flavors, sizes and hints and recipes and roasting directions as well. The shame is that more varieties are not readily available to place in our shopping carts at the groceries. Online ordering is helpful in that regard.

This Variety is called Music, It is large, flavorful and wonderful to roast as well as use in recipes

Garlic aside, the festival presents, food demonstrations, vendors selling honey, maple syrup, oils and vinegar, salsa, spreads, as well as handicrafts. The constant musical performances are wonderful as well as enjoying the Fox Run wine tasting bar and cafe and taking in the sounds, smells, landscapes and joys of visiting the Finger Lakes region of New York State. The lingering mouth taste of garlic fades and becomes pleasant in anticipation of using the purchases in your own kitchen. Yesterday, I made a delicious Garlic soup, a warm mushroom salad (with roasted garlic dressing) and I invented a version of potato pancake or latke using sweet potato, Yautia (a Tuber in the Yucca family) and of course, garlic. Yum. Bon Appetite