We stopped for the night in Fort Meade, Maryland and stayed with my brother. It was great to get to spend some time with him.
I’m very proud of all that my brother has done in his last 19 years in the Army. Unfortunately, it has taken its toll on his body and he is looking at the next year or so getting multiple surgeries on his ankles at Walter Reid to try and fix everything that got busted up so that he can hopefully continue to be able to walk without as much pain.
We had a great evening getting caught up, but unfortunately the night went by too fast and we had to head out for home the next morning.
One the way home we got caught in a traffic jam behind a casket truck, we thought it was kinda funny. 🙂
We came back through Tennessee where we stopped for the night.
Thursday we traveled over to Franklin, NY to visit with my uncle and his family. He is the Mayor of Franklin. It had been a long time since we had gotten to visit, so it was good to get to see them again.
Franklin is a beautiful upstate NY town, very quiet and peaceful. My other uncle, Jimmy lives just outside of town up on the mountain.
The Delaware County Fair was going on the day we were there so my Uncle John took us over to it.
Uncle John took Stormy for her first bareback ride on one of his grandkid’s horse.
She really loved it. We spent the afternoon at the fair and had a blast. the girls rode lots of rides and ate cotton candy. It was a great time!
We couldn’t have planned the day any better. We really enjoyed our visits and drive through such beautiful scenery. Hopefully we can return again one day.
Tuesday and Wednesday we visited with my sisters and their families here in Albany. This was the first time I have really had the chance to sit and talk with them. We have been staying with my sister Tina while here in New York. She loves to bake and makes some of the most beautiful cakes.
Tuesday & Wednesday during the day we visited with my sister Gina that lives across town.
We got to visit with my niece and nephew. Holly & Stormy got along with their cousins like they had been best friends forever. It was great to be able to get to know everyone.
Tuesday evening we went to visit Tina’s son, AJ and his wife and her family.
We had a blast! We enjoyed a dinner then karaoke and sharing pictures and stories on the back patio. Weisu is from china and her parents don’t speak English yet, but they were so incredibly sweet and we all managed. Stormy just fell in love with Weisu’s parents and can’t wait to visit them in china one day.
Albany is a beautiful city. Holly has fallen in love with it here and is planning a trip back with her best friend to visit again soon. Maybe even check out some of the local colleges. I definitely can’t wait to come back to visit again, but I am very thankful for the time I have got to spend with my family.
Monday morning we headed out toward Cooperstown from Albany. It was a two hour drive, but it was very beautiful. There was alot of breathtaking scenery along the way, and a few spots that brought back some memories.
When I was a teenager I lived in a little town called Pleasant Brook, just outside of Cherry Valley. It wasn’t the most pleasant, more like camping out for the summer.
Of course that was about twenty-five years ago, so most everything has grown up around where the old house used to be. Sometimes you are not prepared for the memories that come flooding back when you revisit places that may not have held the best memories as a child.
But I thank God I have learned to forgive and be able to smile and remember the positive things out of maybe some of the worst memories.
Pretty soon we were coming up to my dad’s place. I love the road off the highway that leads up to his home. It is so pretty, but in winter time it’s a bugger to get through. This used to be my dad’s families old farm when they left New York city. I barely remember my Nana, just a few memories from when I was real little. She was Italian and I can still remember how I loved to sit and listen to her when she spoke.
Just past Nana’s old house my dad was able to keep about ten acres and built his home. Our visit is bittersweet as it is great to visit with my dad and my step-mom, Sharon, but it breaks my heart knowing this will probably be the last time I get to visit with them before they pass.
My dad’s health hasn’t been going to well and the doctors have given him just a short time left and Sharon is passing from lung cancer and is on hospice at home.
We were not sure if she would make it till we got up here, but of course she has always been very stubborn, and we were able to visit with her for a little bit before she became too tired. It was nice to be able to visit with both of them for a bit.
After our visit with my dad and step-mom I took the girls down into Cooperstown. We just had to eat at Sal’s Pizza! It is probably the best pizza I have ever eaten. If you are ever in Cooperstown you want to eat here.
But go after lunch, during the lunch rush there will be a line down the block to get a slice. The girls really enjoyed their giant slices of pizza!
After our Pizza break we wandered next door to the Tin Bin Alley. By far the best fudge and old fashion candies you will come across. It is worth the visit just to look around. They have unique signs and collectibles too if sweets aren’t your thing.
But of course no trip to Cooperstown is complete without a visit to Doubleday Field or the Baseball Hall of Fame. Or one of the many baseball shops in town. They still continue to use the field. While we were there they had a youth baseball game going on.
Just remember to plan a full day to visit, you can’t just see it all in a day. Maybe even a few days. There is more than just downtown. They have a Farmers Museum that has a working carousel, and an Art Museum, plus much more. There is Otsego Lake and there are many places to stay around the area, some even have gorgeous views of the lake and are a quick hop into town. Some even are close to Trolley stops that can take you into downtown.
My daughters and I love the architecture of the older homes and buildings in the area. And of course the weather was really nice. It was about 75 degrees with a light breeze. It was 100 down in East Texas at that same time with 90% humidity.
Friday morning my girls and I just rested. We were just flat exhausted from the hours on the road and decided to sleep in a bit. We did get up to enjoy the free hot breakfast that the hotel had. They even had a hotcake machine! I’ve seen the hot waffles, but this was the first pancake maker I’ve seen at a hotel breakfast. But right after breakfast we all went back to bed.
Later that afternoon we got to visit with some of our friends that we used to go to church with back in Texas. They moved up to Maryland last year and it was such a joy to get to see them again and get caught up. It’s so good to hear how God is blessing their lives.
We had a little while before my sister and brother where going to be done with their weeks so we wandered out behind the hotel where there is a beautiful lake and park. They have a playground for the kids and a stage for live bands. Some of the locals where telling us that they show free movies out there and will have all kinds of concerts and events there.
My sister, Cindy, also lives south of DC in Virginia, but she happen to have a bodybuilding competition in Maryland on Saturday. She arrived Friday evening at the hotel where we were staying and we got to visit with her between her evening preps. She looks so wonderful.
Friday evening my brother and his family drove down and took us to dinner. We shared stories and laughed for hours. It is good to see my brother stateside for a while. He is currently serving in the US Army, but after multiple injuries over the last several years he is starting a long process of surgeries at Walter Reid in DC for the next year or so. My prayers go out to him and his family for a speedy recovery. And hopefully I’ll get to make it out this way to see him again.
Saturday morning we got to visit with my brother and his daughter for a little bit, then we just relaxed at the hotel room the rest of the afternoon. That evening the girls went to check out the hotels indoor pool and I headed over to my sisters competition. She looked awesome! And took home fourth place in two different categories. Yea sis! I’m so proud of her and her accomplishments. I know she will hold the first place and overall one day soon!
It’s hard to say goodbye to the ones we love, especially when we don’t get the chance to see them very often. But I am very thankful and blessed for the time we got to spend with each one and look forward to another chance again one day.
Sunday morning rolled around and it was time to pack up and head off on our next leg of this journey. We decided to take the scenic route and head over to Hwy 81 outside of Hagerstown, Md and head north to upstate New York. It was beautiful and the traffic flowed along well until we reached New York where it got a little congested for a bit.
We made it in to Albany, NY, where my sister Tina lives, and where we will stay for the next few days here in New York. It is wonderful to get to spend time with her and we are so thankful for her gracious hospitality.
Looking forward to trying to see everyone while we are up here.
We spent Wednesday evening in Kingsland, GA at the Comfort Suites off exit 3. It was so beautiful. Our room was very clean and comfortable. We really didn’t want to get out of bed because they were so soft, but the hot and fresh waffles and fresh breakfast made it a little easier. We would definitely recommend this hotel. With the coupon in the free hotel coupon books available at Florida’s rest stops and also in the hotel foyer our stay here was less than $70.00.
Georgia was beautiful. Lots of green and rivers and creeks. One thing I did notice was how the drivers just seemed to be very courteous. I’ve never seen so many drivers smiling, waving, letting others merge and just good safe driving. Maybe it was partly to the fact that right as you enter Georgia there is a huge billboard declaring that texting in Georgia is ILLEGAL! And there were several reminders along the roadways.
We were impressed by the entrance to South Carolina. But wow! It seemed like it took forever to get across the state. Hwy 95 North was a pretty drive, lots of trees and green.
As we drove we started seeing lots of billboards for a place called South of The Border. We thought maybe it was a restaurant or big store. But we were not prepared for what we saw when we drove by. It was its own town. There were amusement rides, a sombrero tower, a train, and much, more. It was very interesting.
We crossed over into North Carolina just passed South of the Border. Then into Virginia a few hours later. It seemed like we drove forever.
We finally arrived in Maryland about 11:30pm, but boy we were not prepared for what happened next.
We had reservations at the Red Roof Inn in Laurel, BUT what your online reservation doesn’t tell you is if the hotel is in the BAD part of town! There were vagrants wandering all over the parking lot and people hanging off of the above balconies.
We pulled up and everyone started looking at us like we were steaks and they hadn’t eaten in a week. I got even more worried when I went to the front office and they were behind bullet proof glass. Let’s just say we did NOT stay. Instead we went across town and got a room at the Holiday Inn Express. MUCH nicer and MUCH better part of town. Really looking forward to visiting a couple days here in Maryland.