Tuesday, August 5, 2014

and the beat goes on....pulsing at a rate of 7.5 seconds

So, mid-June found us with recharged batteries after our trip to Starrett Lake, Sayner, WI.  Though it is, and always will be, our favorite place on earth to relax, this year we had an additional task to compete whilst there:  to leave Molly's ashes. We did this here at this site, where she sat by Bill's side all day 

while he worked on this painting.

Bill's sister Jane took these pix while we were making our final voyage with Molly.
Taking Molly to White Sand Beach

Post delivery 
After accomplishing our goals at Starrett, we returned to Camp Zion to complete our task there.  I think you will agree with me that the signs

 came out pretty nice and will serve Bill's childhood place of refuge for many years to come.  NOTE: we enjoyed our time working at Camp Zion

Me organizing the t-shirt/sweatshirt inventory

so much, we have decided to commit next summer (May-Sept. 2015) in volunteer work at Camp Zion in Ellison Bay, Wisconsin:-)

Our main reason for taking a short break from our "federal" volunteer work was to reconnect with family and old friends, so it was appropriate for us to head to New Lisbon, WI, after Camp Zion to spend a few days with Don and Lisa Whetstone

Having a wonderful dinner, Wisconsin style.

 A visit to the International Crane Foundation

Defensive charge

"you talking to me Willis?"

(near their home), was a highlight!  

A visit to my brother Tim's house had to be postponed, to our great disappointment.

Our final week at "home" was music filled with talent from Audrey's extended family.  On July 4th we celebrated our nations' freedom by attending a concert in Palatine featuring a band of talented, young musicians (teenagers).  The bass player was Audrey's Great Nephew, Dean.  The boys were really, quite good and I thought it was great when the band called up younger (yes, younger) musicians from the audience and gave them a chance to play on stage with "the big boys".  They were amazing!  Renews your faith in today's youth!

A few days later we were headed to Schaumburg for another musical treat, this time Audrey's niece "Pamela Rose & the Windy City Band".  Well, yes, they are a country band, and, yes, I am a country music fan, but I cannot say enough about the the sheer enjoyment of listening to this VERY talented group.  I have paid a lot of money to hear big country stars, that I did not enjoy half as much as Pamela Rose.

Pamela Rose and the Windy City Band

Pamela Rose with Great Aunt Audrey (my BFF)

Not so much fun the next day when Bill had his "procedure".  He is feeling GREAT and will followup with a CT scan in 3 months while we are down here in NC.  You can check out his story at CAREPAGE "Bulletproof".  Upon request, I will send you the link with an invitation to join.

24 hours later we were on our way to N.C. and a 5 day layover with my cousin,

Lynn and her daughter Caron

(my MS biking partner and "thrower" of the plates Bill will be painting lighthouses on).  Check out Andrusstoneware.com to see her work.

I found time to paint my new ceramic Christmas Tree, Caron will now fire it for me:-)

It was during this visit that Mr. Bibbs established his authority over Tessa and ruled the roost, cornering her very chance he got.

Then it was on to Cape Hatteras National Seashore Lighthouse, the tallest brick lighthouse in the world:  198.5 feet tall, 257 steps :-)

Here we are in the nicest campsite for volunteers yet.  Wooded, private and directly across from the laundry.  

We cannot see the lighthouse
from our campsite, but the flash is clear and true every 7.5 seconds.

Two days of training followed our arrival and we hit the bricks (so to speak), 1.2 million of them in the lighthouse.

The days are made interesting by the rotation of 6 posts.  For example, a day might look like this: 

2 hours at the Visitor Center Information Desk
1 Hour of the Resource Cart (filling a mobile cart with artifacts like a Loggerhead Turtle shell, Whelks, eggs etc and taking it outside to talk to guests about all of it).
hour at the Information desk in the Museum.
2 Hours at the "base" of the Lighthouse (giving a safety talk very 10 minutes)
2 hours as "floater" (hanging around the middle of the lighthouse with the medical bag)
2 hours at the "top" answering guests questions (the most coveted position-except when it is 85 degrees out with 85% humidity and a 3 mph wind-which hasn't happened to us yet).
A short story of my most exciting day yet
Timeline July 31st,12:20 pm, I'm due at the "top" for my 2 hour post. I start up the 275 steps carrying my large water bottle, radio and emergency medical bag (which I then transfer to the current person at the top, who then roves the middle with it). I now on level 3 ( of 8) And a visitor descending days "there's a girl up there in trouble"....with 15 lbs of gear I start to double time. 2 flights up I ask another group of descenders who confirm she is still in trouble. Finally, level 6 I find a 17 yr old having a medical event.....30 min later we have her stabilized and escorted back down to her mom......I turn and head back up to the top. 10 steps up, 1st landing I am watching a woman In trouble and her friend saying she fell. REALLY, REALLY???? And I'm in the middle of another medical event ......20 min later she is escorted back outside and turned over to friends. NOW, I still had to get to my post at the top, but I find myself hesitant to walk thru that door again. I finally relieved Megan at the top 45 min. Late. Who says my job is not exciting. PS. A week  earlier we had volunteered for the Thursday Nite Climb, so I got to climb again.....3 trips in one day whoot whoot!  Wonder if that's a good alternative to bike riding, because after a day like that there was no cycling in me:-)

Though every day is different we are at the "top" at least every other day.  
The lighthouse has been closing for climbs quite a bit this week due to the ongoing thunderstorms.  Every time thunder is heard, the lighthouse is closed for 30 minutes.  Whoever hears it has to get  on the radio and say "thunder heard 12:35",  "thunder heard 12:47" etc etc etc.  It was during one of these breaks this week, as I stood in the small "fuel house" staying dry, that I was caught off guard while picking up a broom. My shelter mate, a 4 foot long black Rat snake    
made a sudden move for the corner.  I screamed like a little girl and climbed up on the table.  Even after Ranger Brian assured me that he was harmless. There is still something disconcerting about a 4 foot snake, and I spent the rest of my final hour at the "base" standing in the rain.  

Thus far this assignment rates a 4* on a 5* scale (almost impossible to get a 5* :-) Compare that to: The Cradle of Forestry (4*)

And Curecanti National Recreation Area (4*)

1st Stop Stevens Creek
2nd stop Ponderosa
And Joshua Tree (4* X 2)

At Key's Ranch 2012
At Black Rock CG 2013

And Lyndon Baines Johnson National Historical Park (3*)

And Cape Hatteras National Seashore (4+*)

We feel pretty confident Cape Hatteras will be another fabulous experience.  That said, if I had simply been a visitor to all of these places, they would all have earned a 5* rating.

So much to do around here:  explore the numerous beaches, Museums, watching Sea Turtles hatch

AND all the "ings":  fishing, crabbing, birding, seining, horseback riding, bike riding, socializing.  Not to mention ferry rides to more stuff.

All the while I am "HOT TRAINING" for the "Historic New Bern ride for MS" on September 6 & 7, 2014.  125 miles over 2 days to raise support for research for a cure.  Some of you may remember the last time I rode for MS 2 years ago.  Also in NC, but it was the "Back to the Beach" route.  This New Bern route promises to be less hilly.  Good thing, as my training time is 7 weeks instead of 20.  Training in this heat and humidity has been a real challenge. 

I would appreciate any donation you could make to support and encourage me.  To donate online: https://secure3.convio.net/nmss/site/SPageServer?pagename=Bike_Center&pc2_page=center&fr_id=23481

To mail a check directly to me, make it out to :
P.O. BOX 815
BUXTON, NC 27920

This year I will wear the "I ride with MS" jersey, and once again, I ride with my cousin Caron, and in honor of her sister, Kelly.  But, this years special treat is that my friend Tom Alford (Newport News) will also be joining us, to support me.  I'm afraid he will kick our butts:-)

In an effort  to minimize the potential embarrassment, after riding a converted mountain bike (for 11 years) I received a new Trek 7.7 FX road bike for my birthday from my sweetie.  At slightly more than 10 LBS lighter than my mountain bike, and properly geared for the type of riding I am doing, I feel like I am flying.  It is like going from driving a Caterpillar road grader to driving a Ferrarri:)

Settled in for 6 months of amazing experiences at Cape Hatteras......next stop:

January 1- May 1, 2015, Waccamaw National Wildlife Reserve in South Carolina.

Bonus:  just some fun random shots taken this week

Cottonmouth (well, the back half anyway...man did he move fast!  Fortunately in the right direction)
Osprey with dinner

This one is for Beth Kroll, he's a neighbor

Chill Dude, there's enough for everyone

Sunset Cape Hatteras style

See you in a couple of weeks:-)


  1. Wonderful~!

    I Use To Steam By This Point On My Destroyer From Charleston, SC. As I Remember The Water Was Always Choppy At Best :) Loved It~!