Such a Fall!
Since retirement, our fall seasons have included traveling and then arriving on South Padre Island in November. This fall, however, one of us has returned to school while the other one is continuing to enjoy retirement.
Chic was appointed Interim Principal of Gillette School in Long Hill Township, New Jersey. He opened school on September 5 and worked through December 23.
(our 21 year old 1990 Mazda Miata is in front of Gillette School)
As coincidence would have it, Gillette School is in Long Hill Township, where we lived for 15 years and our temporary housing is an apartment in Chatham, the town where we lived when we were first married in 1984.
Below are the three homes.
Our first home from 1984 to 1994 - 14 Lum Avenue in Chatham
Our Gillette home from 1994 to 2009
Our Chatham apartment for four months (only 1/5 of the house)
(this house is right next to the Chatham NJ Transit station)
Returning to New Jersey for these past four months has provided us with such wonderful opportunities to reunite with our friends and colleagues, entertain family visitors AND enjoy many visits to the city that never sleeps. We've had a blast!
Our September highlights included:
(besides a Board of Ed meeting and Back to School Night!)
New York City Ballet performance of Swan Lake - It was wonderful to return to magnificent Lincoln Center.
Later in September, we attended a huge RV show in Hershey, PA, had dinner with Joan Hazen, Caroline Hontz, and Becky Dembo at Garlic Rose in Madison, attended a 9/11 Memorial Service in Chatham, enjoyed a Chatham High School football game, experienced the Broadway Show Billy Elliott, attended the Bauschard Reunion in Erie, and put our motorhome under ground in a limestone mine in Pennsylvania. Below are pictured some of the highlights.
Yep, we're storing it underground!
Robin's Aunt Yvonne and Uncle Dan and Robin's mom, Barb, and sister Yvonne
October was busy with highlights including:
Dinners with Tom and Rona Landrigan, Dianne and Brian Conti, Randy and Ed Raffo, Becky Dembo, Nancy Ebeling, Shawn and Bill Hogan, Fran and Jack Drew, lunch with the Close girls, an NJMEA Reunion in Hammonton, a Woodland School Reunion, house guests Tom and Lori to enjoy Avenue Q,The Mountaintop with Samuel L Jackson,Spiderman - The Musical, Newsies, Robin's cousins reunion, a Lafayette School retirees luncheon and a major snow storm!
Tom and Rona Landrigan Dianne and Brian Conti
Robin's cousins Barbara, Dianne, Aunt Jeanette, and Sandy.
Randy and Ed Raffo C & R with Tom and Lori
Becky and Chic Shawn and Bill Hogan
Past NJMEA Presidents - Tony Guerere, Joe Mello, and Chic Hansen
Robin and Becky Jim Kelly and the Lafayette Girls
The Close girls made a visit to New Jersey
Jack and Fran Drew
Woodland School friends
and then the SNOWtober event that closed schools for a week!!
Chic enjoyed dressing as Frosty in the Gillette School Halloween Parade.
(He continues to tremendously enjoy serving as principal of Gillette School!)
November activities included four Broadway Shows, an Opera and a Performance by Chanticleer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, more house guests, a Robin birthday, biking, a visit to Ground Zero and tour of Ellis Island, a Pre-Thanksgiving Dinner at Nancy Ebeling's home, and Thanksgiving with Mom and Dad Holder in PA.
Birthday girl biking adventure
MerryJo and Cali visited us for a long weekend
Dave, Chris, Jocelyn and Jake visited for sights and shows!
Jocelyn and Robin at the 911 Memorial
La Boheme from our box seats at the Metropolitan Opera
We sure enjoyed our time with Mom and Dad over Thanksgiving
Our final month of December was filled with excitement including dinner in the Iron Bound section of Newark with Jack & Fran, Chic sold his beloved 1990 Miata then received a most thoughtful gift from Robin, a Christmas Concert at Drew University, dinner with Jonathan Sprout, dinner with Pete and Angie in York, PA, and a farewell weekend in NYC.
Look what my sweet wife bought me!
Chic and Jonathan
Visiting with Angie and Pete
Christmas Concert at Drew University
The gift of love.
The gift of peace.
The gift of happiness.
May all these be yours at Christmas.
Love to you all, Robin and Chic
The Water Steps are a popular destination feature in Chattanooga's unique Riverpark that runs for two miles along the Tennessee River. The steps offer a playful element to the Park and a beautiful display of water landscaping.
The city of Chattanooga has preserved the Walnut Street Bridge, originally erected in 1890 to connect Chattanooga's downtown to the North Shore. The bridge was closed to motor vehicles in 1978, and sat in disuse and disrepair for nearly a decade. Repairs and structural modifications have been made to turn the bridge into what is now a pedestrian walkway. The 2,376 foot span is one of the longest pedestrian bridges in the world and sits near the heart of a massive, recently completed urban renewal project. The bridge is well-loved by local residents and very popular among tourists.
Pedestrian Bridge and River Walk
As we walked across the bridge, we were truly surprised and delighted the see the beautiful Delta Queen moored on the North Shore. This grand lady has logged over two million miles and carried over half a million passengers on the waters of the Ohio, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Cumberland Rivers between Cincinnati and New Orleans and ports in between. She has entertained Presidents, foreign dignitaries and a multitude of celebrities. Due to federal regulations prohibiting the operation of overnight passenger vessels with wooden superstructures, the Queen was forced to retire from river operation and now serves as a floating hotel in Chattanooga.
ON THE ROAD AGAIN! We sing that Willie Nelson song everytime we take off for the season and this time we did it in our new coach. This rolling home has 2 bathrooms, a HUGE improvement over our 1 bath model. Robin's full bath is also serving as the cat room for Emmy and Stanzy and our furry friends LOVE their new digs. Many friends have asked for interior pix so we will add a couple on each post.
We left South Padre on Monday, April 17 and went only 47 miles that day to weigh the coach. Why weigh the coach? Tire pressure is calculated by the weight on each tire and with a 40,000lb vehicle that has 8 tires, the weight on each tire can vary widely. Once the pressure is determined, it takes time to correctly inflate or deflate the 8 tires and we finished the job in the dark.
On Tuesday we drove 250 miles to San Antonio where camped at Traveller's World RV Park. There was a bus stop right in front of the park so we took the 42 route six miles into San Antonio. It was a great way to access the River Walk and we spent 2 days walking, exploring and, of course, EATING our way through this beautiful area. Unfortunately, Robin lost her cell phone but Verizon made quick work of having a new one sent to our next campground in Houston.
(Eating at Casa Rio Restaurant on the San Antonio Riverwalk)
Friday, April 22 is our next travel day (218 miles) to the east side of Houston where we stayed at San Jacinto Riverfront Park. We LOVED our site! Right on the river and we had a private hot tub where we spent EVERY evening, favorite beverage in hand. This coach has an ouside TV so one night we sat in our jacuzzi and watched a movie! Don't be fooled - we are roughing it - HA
(Our site at San Jacinto Riverfront RV Resort)
We spent one day biking around The Woodlands area of Houston and were able to have lunch with our good friends, Dotty and Joel Kuhn. Unfortunately Robin took a tumble on her bike when a gust of wind blew her hat off - no broken anything - just a few bruises. Whew.
A favorite day was our visit to the San Jacinto Battleground and Memorial. This was the final battle for Texas independence from Mexico in 1836. Up to that point Mexico owned a third of what is now the United States including New Mexico, California, Montana, Utah and more. What would it be like today if Mexico had won?
(San Jacinto Memorial)
On April 29th we began our 232 mile trek northward to Shreveport, Louisiana. Tall Pines RV Park is our home for 2 nights and we visited Barksdale Air Force Base where they have a great collection of war birds. We were motivated to visit after reading Laura Hillenbrand's nonfictional book "Unbroken", the story of Louis Zamperini, an Olympic athlete and WWII POW. We were both so engrossed by the story that we added Shreveport to see a B-24 the B-29 airplanes up close in person.
(Robin with the B-24 Liberator and Chic with the B-29 Superfortress)
We left Shreveport for the 187 mile trip to Vicksburg, MS on May 1st . Here we visited the Vicksburg National Military Park.
The Union army, under the leadership of Maj. General U S Grant and the Confederate army, led by Lt. General John Pemberton, were engaged in a hard fought battle for 47 days that ended with a surrender by the South on July 4, 1863. Because of this, the Fourth of July Holiday was not celebrated in Vicksburg until World War II. The Cemetary in the park has 17,000 men buried, but only 4,000 have been identified.
Vicksburg is right on the Mississippi River and everyone here is preparing for the river to flood it's banks and to peak on May 18th. At that time it is to be at 57 inches above flood stage, the highest in recorded history.
Over the last 2 weeks we have travelled about 950 miles through 3 states. Tomorrow we move on to Alabama. Cross your fingers that we don't meet up with any tornados!!
As always, thanks for reading. Godspeed.
C & R
OK, OK, we know it's been a LONG time since our last post but we've been so darn busy having fun that we just haven't forced ourselves to sit at the computer.
In our last blog, we reported that we had parked our motorhome in Shenango Valley RV Park where we would settle for 3 ½ months. In exchange for our RV site, Chic delivered firewood, escorted campers to their sites, cleaned the Rec Hall and it’s bathroom and was the camp photographer. Robin worked in the office and store.
During the summer months we had a great opportunity to spend time with family. Robin’s parents were regular guests to our campfire at SVRVP and playing cards and mowing lawns were common activities at their house. Our nieces and nephews went on a trip with “Uncle Chic and Aunt Robin” to various cities including Niagara Falls, Cleveland(with it's wonderful zoo!) and New York City where we got up VERY early to get onto the TODAY SHOW. We also went to a preseason Pittsburgh Steelers game with Pete and his two girls, Abbey and Syndey (Go Steelers! - says Robin!)
(Above - Koala bear with joey at Cleveland Zoo, American Falls at Niagara, Ann Curry, Cass and Robin on the Plaza with the TODAY show, Abbey, Pete and Sydney at Heinz Field)
We traveled back to the Garden State to visit Jack & Fran Drew at their wonderful shore
house in Manasquan, New Jersey along with Nancy Ebeling, one of our
(Fran and Jack Drew and Nancy Ebeling)
In September, we took a 3 week, trip of a lifetime to Israel and Egypt with Dotty & Joel Kuhn. This adventure had us walking the streets of Palestinian occupied Bethlehem, Christ's childhood village of Nazareth, and Jerusalem where our hotel was located. We floated in the Dead Sea which is so salty that it is impossible to actually swim. Besides touring the haunting Holocaust Museum and viewing the Dead Sea Scrolls we also stood in Gethsemane among the olive trees and visited the 14 stations along the Via Dolorosa which is now in the middle of a huge local market.
(Standing on the Mount of Beatitudes along side the Sea of Galilee; Sign posted on the lower slopes of the Mount of Olives entering the Garden of Gethsemane)
(The Via Dolorosa, or "Way of the Cross" is Christendom's most sacred route. On the right, the entrance gates into Jerusalem along the road traveled on Palm Sunday.)
Then we flew to Egypt which is truly a land of superlatives: the largest and most ancient temple complexes in the world ... the grandest, most inspiring pyramids ... the priceless treasure of Tutankhamun ... and some of the friendliest, most welcoming people. What we had only seen in books since childhood came to life on this trip. We gazed upon the Pyramids of Giza and the inspiring Sphinx, sailed down the Nile River, viewed the Aswan Dam, marveled at the antiquities in the Cairo Museum(which housed the famous golden mask of King Tut), stood before the mighty Abu Simbel, explored the Valley of the Kings, and even visited Karnak Temple (no sign of Johnny Carson, however!)
s with our Chic, Robin, our Egyptian guide, Hala and Dotty & Joel Kuhn. On the right, the magnificent Abu Simbel build by King Ramses II.
(The Pyramids of Giza.)
Robin and Chic in front of the Sphinx.
Upon our return we had a fun-filled week staying with Chip’s kids (Robin’s brother) and on October 4th, we got in our motorhome and began a rambling return to SPI.
The motorhome first took us to it’s birthplace, Tiffin Motorhomes in Redbay, Alabama for a tune up. We continued to Memphis, Tennessee where a visit to St Jude Children’s Research Hospital left us with awe and gratitude for this institute with such a big heart.
Our campsite was right on the Mississippi River. Watching the huge barges navigate their way on the mighty Mississippi was pure entertainment. The Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock, Arkansas was our next treat and the following day we arrived in Dallas, Texas.
(Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock)
The Texas State Fair, the largest fair in the US, was taking place in the fairgrounds by the Cotton Bowl. WOW – it was mammoth and tons of fun.
(Behind Flat Stanley is the Texas Star, standing 212 feet high, it is the tallest amusement ride in the Western Hemisphere!)
In Austin we visited with Rick Cole and Linda Levine, childhood friends of Robin’s, and Linda’s husband Steve. Many years have passed but we all look great – of course, our eyesight isn’t so hot…..
(Linda, Robin and Rick - West Middlesex, PA buddies)
We’ve been back on the island for about 6 weeks. Our cats, Emmy and Stanzy, prefer the condo to the motorhome – many more hiding places – but we are just enjoying the entire experience. Always lots to do here on South Padre what with Sand Castle Competitions, Friday Night Lights at Port Isabel High School, College Basketball Tournaments here on the island, reading and walking the beach, and enjoying our beautiful sunrises and sunsets. How long can we live like gypsies? Stay tuned.
Please keep in touch – we’d love to hear from you! Have a Happy and Healthy New Year!
As always, thanks for reading. Godspeed. R & C