October 20, 1992|
This year we planned a big trip to France. Again with a rental car and no reservations. Mary Liz always does a lot of research and is the tour director. We did use Thomas Travel to arrange the Iceland Airlines flight and the car rental to take advantage of a special promotion.
We left March 14th. and landed in Luxembourg where we picked up a new car and headed off for Verdun.
I have no knowledge of French and Mary Liz has very little. Arranging for our lodging and meals was always a challenge and we relied a lot on our ability at Charades. It was fun however.
Our first night was in Verdun. As usual we stayed and ate in a native inn. This night Mary Liz tried out her French and we made out OK but after that I made the arrangements for our lodging.
The battlefields of Verdun were extremely interesting. There were routes planned to take one around to the various monuments, cemeteries, and points of interest. A Cloister and Chapel was particularly thought provoking. The names of many casualties were recorded on the walls and below the Chapel, the Ossuary, contained the bones of more that 100000 unidentified soldiers.
Another unusual monument was the "Trench of Bayonets". A group of soldiers were buried with their bayonets still visible in the trench where they died.
From Verdun we headed East to Reims where we had lunch and where, I later discovered that I had left my Visa card in the restaurant. Our route took us through Chateau-Thierry to Paris. We arrived at the Arc de Triomphe at 5PM Friday afternoon. It was our initiation to Paris traffic and drivers. We plowed in and drove down the Champes-Elysees to the Place de la Concorde where Mary Liz found us a great Hotel, the Hotel de Castille at 37 rue Cambon.
It's impossible to chronicle the many interesting sights and experiences that were part of this trip. They will only be mentioned briefly in these memoirs to indicate our path through life at this time.
In Paris we visited the Louve, Montmarte, Eiffel Tower with fog, Napoleon's Tomb, Notre-Dame, and enjoyed the many shops and side walk cafe's. Mary Liz was a pickpocket victim on the plaza in front of Notre-Dame. A couple of youngsters approached her, one distracting her attention while spouting French and waving a newspaper. The other picked her handbag. Were they surprised? They got her make-up purse instead of her wallet.
From Paris we drove to Versailles and then to Chartres. Chartres was the location of a most beautiful cathedral with large wonderful stained glass windows. At Arromanches, our stop in Normandy, we stayed in a lovely old French Inn right above the Gold Beach. Relics of the concrete caissons used to build the temporary harbor were still visible. A great museum also showed how it was at time of the invasion.
From Arromanches we drove to the Utah, Omaha, and Sword beaches and the Point de Hoc. It was an amazing sight. It was being readied for the 40th anniversary. There were pill boxes and old cannons one could examine. We also visited St. Lo, Bayeux, and other towns that were prominent in the campaign. In Bayeux there is a beautiful 11th. century Cathedral and the famous Bayeux tapestry is hung around the naive.
Our next interesting visit was to the Mont St-Michel located off the coast on a rocky islet. At high tide the abbey is surrounded by water.
Mary Liz was hot to visit Lourdes and at last we were on the way. We drove down through the wine country. We visited the many points of interest at the shrine but found the town to be highly commercialized.
The City of Carcassonne was our next significant stop. La Cite' is a walled city begun in the second century. It is located on a high hill with it's many towers, gates, walls, and a moat. We enjoyed walking along these paths of ancient history.
We were now getting to the Mediterranean and we more or less followed the coast line to a great inn we found in Arles. They were most helpful and the proprietress even gave me a kiss when we left. Arles was our base for awhile and we made a side trip to Avignon. Orange, and les Baux. There were the ruins of many Roman Walls and Amphitheaters along the way.
Avignon was another ancient walled city that was made popular in song. It was important to us because the car started stalling. With difficulty, we found a Ford agency on a Saturday. Mary Liz with her mimics got a mechanic to understand our problem and the car was ready for us that afternoon. The charge was nominal and I'm sure their courtesy would not be duplicated in the United States. In fact we found the French to be very nice people as far as we were concerned.
le Baux was very old quaint town built at a very high elevation. After exploring the town by walking the narrow pathways between the old buildings we returned to Arles.
On the 25th. we arrived in Grasse, the perfume capital. We had an interesting trip through a perfume factory and bought quite a quantity of Carolyn's preference and some special soap. There were fields of flowers everywhere.
We now were travelling along the French riviera and enjoyed beautiful scenery, the large boats and harbors. The beaches were stony and didn't compare with our Jersey shore. It was off season, a little before the Canne Festival. I saw only one topless bather.
Monaco was our main point of interest. We travelled the High Cornish in the area where Princess Grace had the accident. It was very tricky driving high above the harbor. We saw where she was buried and saw all of the points of interest. I was berated for trying to take a picture. Our base of operations was Monte-Carlo where we were lucky and found the delightful Hotel Balmoral with a room overlooking the harbor and with a balcony off the bedroom. From there it was convenient to tour Monaco, check the Casino, and walk in the parks.
Our trip continue into the Italian Riviera where we swung North through Torino to Aosta where we stayed for the night in a ski lodge. In the morning we went through the Mont Blanc tunnel and on to Chamonix, which had been an Olympic site. We took the "Worlds Highest Cable Car" to the top of the mountain; unfortunately, the weather wasn't very good and we missed the fabulous scenery.
Geneva, which is located on Lake Geneva the source of the Rhone River, was next on our itinerary. We strolled along the boulevard enjoying the shops and had lunch before we headed for Bourg and Dijon, near the source of the Seine River.
We had promised a friend we would visit her brothers grave in Epinal. We spent the night in Vittel in a quaint inn and made friends with a cookie salesman who gave us a large box of delicious cookies that we enjoyed on our drive. Next day we visited the cemetery and memorial. It was one of several that we visited on this trip. They were all immaculate and it is one of the things that our government does well and we were proud of the respect shown for our dead heros.
We were received graciously by the staff and they couldn't do enough to show us the grave site and to provide us with pictures. We put flowers on the grave and headed for Colmar and Strasburg. We were now in the area that we had visited before when we were in Germany.
The beautiful Cathedral in Strasburg had to be revisited and then we headed North to stay in Achem, Germany near Baden Baden. Along the way the Maginot Line with it's Pill Boxes was very much in evidence.
An unforgettable stop was at Wissembourg, a very old town just across the Rhine from Germany. It had never been bombed and was frequented by the Germans during the war. The buildings were 100's of years old and a lot of restoration work had been done. It was a great place. We stayed in the Hotel-Restaurant du Cygne, one of the places dating back to about 1000 AD.
We now headed back to Luxembourg and explored the area of the Battle of the Bulge. Bastogne made an interesting stop. There was a good museum with wax soldiers and armaments to tell the story of the battle.
There was too much time to kill until our flight home. We decided to take a side trip to Amersterdam. The natives are all fast drivers on these highways so there was plenty of time to extend our tour. Our trip took us through the Ardennes where many of the final battles of WW2 were fought and up along the German and Belgium border to the Netherlands. We followed the concrete tank traps of the Siegfried Line for miles.
We stayed two nights in Heerlen, the Netherlands, at the City Hotel. This was our base for trips into Amsterdam and the surrounding area.
Finally we were off to Luxembourg and our flight home. There is a lot to see in Luxembourg. We spent two nights there and saw a lot of the area including Patton's Grave. Our final stop was in Iceland on the way home. The hot springs and naturally heated bathing pools were a novelty. It was much more rugged and windy than we had thought. We arrived home on April 7th.
My 50th anniversity at Penn was on May 18th. From the 23rd. to 30th. we were at the Oxford House in Bermuda to attend Richard Switlik's wedding. Mary Liz was off to the Rickelmann reunion in Marlin, TX. and to Dallas to see the Hudsons from June 8th. to the 12th.
Our usual trip to Orcas was a little later and shorter this year. We left on July 10th. and returned August 8th. We saw our old friends and did nothing else special.
The year ended with a long weekend trip to visit the Freygangs at their home in Wolfeboro, NH. This had been an annual trek for the last few years.
We timed this trip to enjoy the fall foliage taking a route through New York and the New England states. We tried to stop at Hyde Park, FDR's home, but it was closed because the government had run out of money.
I started getting interested in computers and bought a Commodore 64 as a hobby, which resulted in my giving up making miniature reproductions.
My voice had become hoarse enough to cause concern. Dr. Welsh after an examination explained that it was caused by a broad base polyp on my vocal cord which was not life threatening.
Our friends, the Schoutens, invited the Freygangs, Mallons, and Suttons to Phoenix for a visit. We decided to drive and left on January 5th. and followed a new route via Nashville, Menphis, Oaklahoma city, and Santa Fe to Grants, New Mexico where we visited Joyce Green an old friend from our days at West Beach on Orcas Island.
We had a nice reunion in Scottsdale, AZ; and took side trips to Sedona, Carefree, etc. and enjoyed eating at many of the nice places such as the Biltmore.
On the way home we stopped in San Antonio to see the Ed Glasses, the Jimmy Hudsons in Dallas, and the Rusty Folks in Dallas. We then visited the Vicksburg battlefield and took the historic Natchez Trace from Jackson, MI; to Tupelo, MI. We had planned to stop in the Smokies but we heard there was to be a big snow storm coming so we highballed it for home arriving there on the 30th.
From July 4th. till August 6th. we made our usual visit to Orcas.
In 1985 Carolyn bought a nice little row house in East Falls. I then had the job of making the many improvements she wanted. It was quite a job because it is an hours drive to her house and she never sets a time for me to do the work. Progress is slow and I am still working on the remodeling.
An operation on my vocal cord was recommended and on February 13, Dr. Welsh removed the polyp(?). Question mark because there didn't seem to be any improvement.
I started to work part time at Rohm and Haas. They had a project to improve the electrical distribution system and, since I had made the recommendations years before, they decided they wanted me to run the project. I could set my own schedule and I tried to keep it to a day or two a week.
This year we were on Orcas Island from May 13th. to June 21st. We made side trips to the Expo in Vancouver and to bring Scott back from Bend Oregon.
Carl and Bunnie Vogt invited us to join them on a trip to the Baltimore Harbor in their Bertram motorboat. We went to Stone Harbor and we spent a long day on the Delaware and Chesapeake bays to Baltimore. The Aquarium and other improvements were enjoyed and we had a nice stay at the Hyatt Regency.
This year the Rickelmann reunion was to be in San Antonio and the Ed Glasses were hosting a special party. Mary Liz and I flew down for a long weekend on October 10th.
I bought an IBM XT computer. Working at R & H gave me an opportunity to learn more about IBM computers and programs.
June 10th. to July 15th. was Orcas time again. This time we took a side trip to Victoria to take Scott out of school for the weekend. He had been enrolled at, Shawnigan, a private boarding school on Vancouver Island. We had a nice visit and enjoyed seeing Victoria again.
Vogts planned another trip in their motorboat to Oxford MD. We met the Scotts there and the six of us had several days together. After that trip; however, we declined any further motorboat trips. It's not my idea of good way to get from point A to Point B. A rough ride with too much noise and wind.
We bought a new Oldsmobile Toronado and gave the Buick to Carolyn.
Mary Liz and I always said that we didn't like Florida so it's hard to believe that on February 1st. we are off to Florida in our new car. Our friends keep nagging us to visit them so this year we decided to make the trip again.
We stayed several days with the Switliks in Marathon, with Mallons in Sanibel, and Sayias in Punta Gorda. We made overnight visits to the Scotts on Siesta Key, and to Freygangs in Sanford. Since Disney World was close by, we took in the Epcot exhibit.
On the way home we almost "cashed in our chips". We were by-passing Washington on five lanes going North and were held up because of accidents ahead. I was next to the center barrier when we started to move
and decided to move a lane or two to the right. A little later the traffic, ahead of me,pulled away. Without warning an 18 wheeler crashed through the barrier, burst into flames, headed right at us along with the chunks of broken concrete. I'll never know how I reached the shoulder with only a chipped windshield .
This was a special year for our trip to Orcas. Chris graduated from High School on June 4th. and received quite a few awards. He is all set to go to the University of Washington in the fall. This time we only stayed a month. Even so, Mary Liz squeezed in a five day side trip to the Rickelmann reunion in Galveston. She flew the commuter plane to and from Orcas and met cousin Eileen in San Francisco for the flight to Texas.
Before we left Orcas, I became very ill. I couldn't do a thing and wondered how I would get home. The first day I was home I saw my doctor and he said I had Polymyalgia Rheumatica. I took Prednisone and felt better almost immediately. It took a long time before I could eliminate the Prednisone. Mary Liz and I think I had Lyme disease because I had an odd bite on my back the year before.
The first of the Asses, Bob Applegate, died while we were at Orcas Island.
This year we tried a package tour. We joined the Freygangs and Mallons on a Grand Circle Tour leaving on March 14th. We went as a group but the tour only took care of the transportation and the living facilities at the Bajonillo in Torremolinos, Spain. There were a number of side tours one could take and fortunately we took six of them. It was a three week stay in Torremolinos and the side trips took us on escorted bus visits to Malaga, the Costa del Sol, Gibraltar, Ronda, Morocco, and Granada. We arrived home April 3rd.
We didn't think much of Torremolinos but the side trips were excellent. They provided good lunches on the trip, very good guides, and comfortable transportation. The tours took us through the beautiful country side to see various mosques, Marbella with it's beautiful yachts, and various quaint and interesting villages. The over night trip to Tangiers, Morocco, was very different. We visited the Cashbah, Malcolm Forbes' home and toy soldier collection, and enjoyed the typical Moroccan meals and entertainment.
The visit to Granada included the resting place of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella and to various monuments and historically interesting sites. "The Alhambra" was beautiful with it's gardens and mosaic covered structures. We were on our own to wander through the mosque and gardens.
This year we didn't go to Orcas. Scott graduated from High School but didn't want to continue his education. He went to Bend, Oregon, to live with his friend Ervin Richards and to look for work. Ed Jr. took us by surprise by his divorce from Michele.
My visits to the doctor regarding my throat was a continuing situation and this year another operation was recommended. This was done on October 19th. but the results were the same. Fortunately each time the biopsies were negative.
Jack Vautier, the only cousin that I was close to, died early in the year.
In February we sold the trailer to a friend, Al Trumbull, on Orcas Island so obviously we were not planning on extended visits to Orcas in the future.
next: The Nineties