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Happy New Year 2014
Posted by Tina on Thursday, January 02, 2014 - 01:38 AM
(415 Reads)
Family News Tina writes " The New Year of 2014 has begun! To all my family, relatives, and friends I wish for 2014 to bring you many treasured moments!
The year of 2013 brought my family as well as extended family new job opportunities, new homes, and two blessed events, the Armand marriages. These wonderful accomplishments and new beginnings filled my heart with happiness! My grandchildren, Alexa and Paul Andrew, continue to light up my life and allow me to be a kid again. And their hugs just melt my heart.....
I am grateful that my dear husband and I were able to travel to so many wonderful places and also visit family along the way. I will never forget our hikes this year in the White Mountains of New Hampshire and the Colorado Rockies!
It is now time to say goodbye to 2013 and tuck all these memories away and welcome 2014. Indeed the new year has begun......"

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From the Mountains to the Prairies to the Ocean
Posted by Tina on Tuesday, August 06, 2013 - 02:46 AM
(502 Reads)
Land Travel Tina writes " Our last summer trip took us out west and on July 12th after a 2 hour delay in Atlanta due to summer storms we arrived in Denver late in the evening. We spent our first weekend with Dave and Lori and cutie Jack. Saturday afternoon we attended the Irish Festival in Littleton - just love Celtic music - and dined out later in the evening. Nancy joined us for Sunday brunch the next morning but could not join us for our visit up to South Dakota.
Hot Springs, South Dakota is about 350 miles from Denver and much of that distance is prairie. There are prairie dogs and pronghorn antelope to capture your attention here and there but the scenery cannot compete with mountain roads. On the way back to Denver we stayed off of interstate and found the road sides more interesting....
In the Hot Springs location of the Black Hills we visited the Mammoth Site which is an indoor dig site that has produced over 60 mammoths since the
1970's . We also visited Wind Cave National Park and traveled one and a half miles underground in the 4th largest cave in the world! The next 2 nights we stayed in Hill City, South Dakota and we traveled throughout Custer State Park and had up close encounters with literally hundreds of bisons as well as wild burros. These burros will poke their head in your open car window to receive treats if you are offering! We just petted them as we walked among these lovable animals! We traveled through the Needles Mountains and I got to travel through several tunnels that would only allow one vehicle to pass through at a time. Honk before you enter was the name of the game!
Our visit to Mt. Rushmore National Memorial completed our sightseeing in the Black Hills of South Dakota. When you first arrive the president's heads seemed smaller than what you imagined ,however as you walk the Presidential Trail and get much closer the enormity of these magnificent sculptures is evident!
We headed south back into Wyoming, stopping at Ft. Laramie National Historic Site and drove where pioneers traveled on the Oregon Trail. We stayed 3 nights in Estes Park, Colorado and hiked some new trails in the Rocky Mountain National Park. Dave and Lori joined us and we wrapped up our hiking with a lovely dinner at the historic Stanley Hotel where the TV version of the "Shining" was filmed.
Our visit to Colorado, Wyoming, and South Dakota was wonderful in many ways. Our travels took us to such varied landscapes and historical places. We met
many very interesting fellow travelers as well as westerners. And best of all we visited with Dave and Lori...."

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July 4th 2013
Posted by Tina on Sunday, July 07, 2013 - 11:40 PM
(530 Reads)
Family News Tina writes " The weathermen all agreed- July 4th MIGHT be the first day of the month of July that it would not rain off and on all day. Definitely not the forecast you want for a beach vacation! And sure enough Monday , July 1st was a washout.... We arrived at Siesta Key , Sarasota on Wednesday joining the Armands family and friends for some fun and sun. We did manage to get in beach time each day but rain showers were the main event in the afternoon. There were lots of waves and even an undertow from the heavy surf but it did not deter Paul Andrew and all of us water lovers! Alexa and I went under using the boogey board when a big wave hit us but she surfaced without a scratch. We flew the Scott Sled kites fashioned out of garbage bags just like those I made back when I worked at Wright Brothers National Memorial. Grandpa got to make the kites this time!! The children had a blast running through an obstacle course and even the Grandmas got into the fun! We used the inflatable pool later to house all the "tickly" mole crabs the kids found at the water edge. And then that afternoon a wild wind played havoc with the beach chairs and canopies!
Fortunately, Dan was able to get off from work this year and was able to enjoy the fireworks on the Siesta Key beachfront. And it definitely was a blast as usual!!"

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Alaska Bound
Posted by Tina on Sunday, July 07, 2013 - 10:27 PM
(506 Reads)
Cruise Travel Tina writes " I have been guilty of modifying Gene's vacation plans over the last decade but this was the first time I advanced a planned vacation! The plan was to do an Alaskan cruise for our 40th anniversary in 2014. Well, we just returned from Alaska 2 weeks ago leaving my dear husband to plan another 40th wedding anniversary...
We sailed on the NCL Jewel visiting Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway , Alaska with a final stop at Victoria, Vancouver Island. Packing a combination of short and long sleeve shirts as well as rain ponchos I figured we were ready for chilly Alaska! To our amazement the sun was out for much of our visit and we had low 80's in Skagway! The rain gear stayed in the luggage....
Excursions can be quite expensive but we struck a balance that was not too expensive. We visited Totem Bight State Park in Ketchikan and enjoyed a great guided tour of the Native Americans life in Alaska. In Juneau we went on a whale watch with Allen Marine Tours and viewed a group of 14 humpback whales taking turns in a cooperative fishing maneuver called bubble netting . Later that day the cruise ship sailing through the Tracey Arm Fijord was absolutely stunning. On our balcony with sunny skies Gene was videotaping off and on for 4 hours! Seeing the ice field was amazing and I never dreamed we would see mother seals with their pup floating by on ice rafts! We ended up booking on the cruise ship the Liarsville excursion which included some sightseeing from the bus, a short hike to a lovely waterfall, and a delicious salmon bake. We ate at a gold mining camp that was recreated at the same site where in the late 1890's fortune seekers began their dangerous trek to the Yukon. We enjoyed the show provided and even got the opportunity to go panning for gold! Together Gene and I found 13 flakes valued at about $10.00!
Our final stop was at Victoria, Vancouver Island where we visited the Butchart Gardens. These spectacular gardens were a feast for the eyes and once again we enjoyed them on a sunny day! We arrived the next day back in Seattle and my cousin Stella and her husband Doug picked us up at the cruise dock and throughout the day we did some sightseeing, dined out and visited their lovely home. It has been 6 years since we last got together and it was wonderful seeing them again!
We almost ended up staying overnight in Seattle with them when we found out our red eye that night was cancelled. We ended up getting placed on an Alaskan Airlines plane which was quite nice and had a great crew. Alaska for sure was a great adventure and Gene will probably need many weeks to work on all the video and photos he took throughout our trip. But then it was Alaska.......


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Home Sweet North Carolina
Posted by Tina on Thursday, June 27, 2013 - 02:29 AM
(529 Reads)
Family News Tina writes " When we traveled to North Carolina with Paul and Dan back in June 1999 we said we would not wait another 9 years for our next visit. Somehow we did not make it back until 14 years later! We arrived by plane to Norfolk, Va. on May 28th and spent the first part of our visit with my brother Bob. He drove us around and I got the chance to visit some of my childhood and teenage years stomping grounds. My Catholic School, Christ the King, had new additions but most of the school was as I remembered. Ocean View Beach where my girlfriends and I hung out was all updated with the removal of all the old beach properties. In the evening my brother Bob took us to some delicious seafood restaurants and obeyed my rule of no cooking on this visit!
We rented a Ford Taurus and headed south to the Outer Banks. We first visited Hatteras Island and enjoyed talking to John Couch. I worked at his family's gas station and tackle shop in the summer of 1973 before starting my freshmen year at Virginia Tech. That summer I was already deeply in love with my husband of now 39 years. We had first met in June of 1972 at the Cape Point Campground where the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is located. Memories, memories..... The next day we then drove north back up to Kill Devil Hills where we stayed on the Atlantic Ocean beachfront. During our 3 day stay we visited Roanoke Island- both Wanchese where we lived for 13 years- and Manteo where we both taught at Manteo High School. On Roanoke Island we enjoyed visits to the Ft Raleigh National Historic Site where I worked several years and the Roanoke Island Aquarium where I volunteered. Of course I had to visit Wright Brothers National Memorial where I gave countless flight room presentations . It was great seeing Darrell Collins who started working at Wright brothers in the late 70's as well!
Highlights of our visit where spending time with my brother Bob at Virginia Beach and seeing our friends, coworkers. and past students. John Couch of Buxton, George and Elena Gundaker of Wanchese, Bett and Jim Beasley of Manns Harbor and all of Gene's students that joined us for dinner we truly feel blessed for all the fond memories we shared during our years on the Outer Banks of North Carolina as well as the new memories from this visit....."

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