Category Archives: Traveling Days

Our “Fourth”

Well, actually our “Third” and “Fourth”.

Our little town has its fireworks show on July 3, so as not to interfere with the event in a neighboring town in our same county.

This year, for the first time, our Ruritan club rented a local venue for a cookout with music and a great view of the fireworks.  When Motor Man and I learned of this, we immediately bought tickets.

I took the above photo as we were leaving for the event. We had a great time visiting with friends, enjoying the music, and the wonderful fireworks. But, unfortunately, I didn’t take any pictures while we were there.

Our friend, Mark, who owns the hot air balloon, had been asked to bring the balloon to the tiny town of Ivor (in a neighboring county) for their July 4th celebration. The plan was to offer folks free tethered balloon rides.

There was some “iffy” weather early in the evening, so while we were waiting, we had time for a selfie.

After a brief shower, the weather cleared, and the crew set about preparing the balloon and giving folks rides.

Motor Man and I met Mark’s mom for the first time. There was a wonderful band providing music, and she wanted to dance.

Then, she and I spent some time together while Motor Man went to meet the folks in line for the balloon ride.

After just a few rides, another storm “blew in”, and the event was over for the evening.  There are plans to reschedule balloon rides and the fireworks for another date.

So it was an eventful Fourth for us. You could say it had its “ups and downs”.

Care to share how you spent your holiday?

~These Days Of Mine~

 

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When Was The Last Time…..

….you did something for the first time? (Catchy song by Darius Rucker.)

Well, I did something for the first time on Friday.

My friend, Donna, treated me to a trail ride for my birthday.  We had scheduled it for  a few days after my birthday the first week in June. And we were so disappointed when we had to postpone because of rain that day.

Our rescheduled date was this past Friday.  The weather was sunny and hot, but we didn’t mind.  We arrived early, so excited about our adventure. The ride is offered by Two River Trails, near historic Shirley Plantation in Charles City, Virginia.

I immediately asked for the “laziest horse in the state”, and I was paired with “Gracie”.  (When I learned her name, I thought of Motor Man’s late mom; although everyone knew her as Grace, her given name was Gracie.)

So, horse Gracie and I had a little talk before the ride.

Donna’s horse was named  Gypsy, and Donna was a bit apprehensive when she was told that Gypsy didn’t like to stand still. But they made out just fine.

In addition to Donna and me, there were four other riders and our leader, Lynn.  For much of the ride, Gracie preferred to “bring up the rear”, and that was fine with me.

Our ride took us through Upper Shirley Vineyards:

And along the James River, where Lynn generously offered to take photos of us with that beautiful background.

Dusty Diamond Dianna and Dashing Derringer Donna

Following our ride, Donna and I were ready for lunch (and lots of iced tea) at the Upper Shirley Vineyards Restaurant. One of the other diners asked if we happened to be from Texas…wonder whatever gave him that idea?

Thanks, Donna, for a most wonderful experience, and I’m already looking forward to my next time on a horse….whenever/wherever that may be.

~These Days Of Mine~

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Something Has Been Missing

Perhaps you’ve noticed…. I haven’t had any recent posts about the Corolla Wild Horses.

So today, I’m remedying that situation.  These are pictures from one of our recent visits.

The beach was packed with folks enjoying perfect weather.  And the horses were enjoying the beach, too. I took quite a few pictures of one of the five babies born (so far) this year to the Corolla herd.

Mom and baby were running from the dune to the water’s edge when I took this:

The little one was so interested in the surf.

I think he may have even taken a drink.

Then he suddenly started running – this picture gives you an idea of what it’s like on the beach: people, beach chairs, umbrellas, vehicles, dogs, children….and wild horses right in the mix.  You really have to be on constant alert when you’re driving on the beach.

Ah, the family enjoying some time by the water.

Looking over my photo gallery, I can assure you that I’ll be writing more posts about the wild horses soon. There are some fun pictures just waiting to be shared.

~These Days Of Mine~

 

 

A Wish Come True, Part 2

As I posted about on Monday, my niece, Barb, and I took a trip last week to meet in person some Gypsy horses.  Barb was invited by her Facebook friend, Darcy, to visit her farm and see her horses Hemi, Honey, Drago, Valhalla and sweet baby girl, Chevelle.

Not long after we arrived at Darcy’s (and while we were loving on her horses), she made a phone call. Then told us that a friend of hers, Rosie, who lives just a few minutes away, also has Gypsy horses. AND, had a filly born just six days prior.  Darcy had called to ask if it were okay for us to visit. And Rosie said yes!

Meet sweet baby “Trea”, whose given name is “Blackbeard’s Hidden Treasure”. That’s mom Winnie in the background.

Darcy and Rosie explained that I should get down on Trea’s level, so she could check me out.

Sweet!

Both Darcy and Rosie tried to teach me how to hold Trea to give her a hug. It took a few attempts, but it was fun learning.

This is Rosie, loving on that adorable baby.

And just look at “Auntie Darcy” getting sweet baby kisses.

Trea was very interested in nibbling on the back of my neck, my hair and my shirt sleeve.

Darcy and Rosie, along with their beautiful horses, certainly gave Barb and me a day to remember. We are so grateful for their kindness.

~These Days Of Mine~

 

 

 

 

A Wish Come True, Part 1

WARNING: this post has LOTS of pics….

My niece, Barb, is an all-around animal lover, but she’s partial to cats and horses, as am I.  Gypsies are her favorite breed of horses, and because of that, she’s become Facebook friends with several folks who have that breed.  Recently she posted a question on her page, asking if any of those friends in her area would be willing to have her visit. For such a long time, she has longed to see a Gypsy horse in person.

Her friend, Darcy, was quick to respond and extend the invitation. Darcy lives about an hour and a half from Barb. And Darcy has a 3-month old Gypsy filly that Barb really wanted to meet while she was still small.

I offered to take Barb, partly because I, too, love horses (as you all know), and also because I thought Barb might like to have company on the trip. We planned our visit for last Wednesday.  The weather was perfect: temps in the 70’s with the gentlest breeze.

Darcy could not have been more welcoming and offered to take pictures of us with her horses.

Barb and I promptly fell in love with the little filly, whose name is  Chevelle.

How precious is this baby? That fluffiness at the bottom of her legs is called “feather”.

Chevelle’s “mom” is Honey, also a Gypsy.

And her “dad” is Hemi. (Can you tell that Darcy is a muscle car fan? And, interestingly enough, my second car was a 1969 Chevelle, and, currently, I drive a Dodge Charger with a Hemi engine.)

Darcy has taught Hemi some fun tricks. She was happy to show some of them to us.

Darcy also travels to show her horses.

Hemi will also “bow” in exchange for treats. This was one of my attempts.  If you can enlarge the pic, you’ll see that Hemi’s head is between his front legs and his mouth is open, waiting for me to drop in the treat. Fun. The pooch is “Hookah”, and he is never far from Darcy’s side.

Darcy also has another beautiful Gypsy stallion named Drogo.

 

I just had to get a short video of him running. (Near the end, you can hear Darcy say “shoot”, because she hadn’t intended to leave that gate open to the pasture.)

 

Valhalla, who is part quarter horse/part Belgian is also one of Darcy’s horses. He has such a sweet temperament. I loved seeing Barb’s face light up so many times during our visit.

We both had a wonderful time visiting Darcy’s farm and can’t thank her enough for her kindness.

Darcy’s farm logo

She also had a surprise in store for us, and I’ll share that with you Wednesday in A Wish Come True, Part 2.

~These Days Of Mine~

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flying High On My Birthday

Tiring of my birthday adventures yet? If so, you may just want to return to the blog, oh, maybe Friday of this week.  It was a busy birthday week.

You may recall that Motor Man and I are friends with Mark, who owns a hot air balloon. We’ve been to several launches, taken many photos, and, prior to last week,  had ridden with Mark on two occasions. If you’re interested in reading the previous posts, you can find them here and here.

A few days prior to my birthday, Mark called Motor Man and said that he was planning to fly EARLY Tuesday morning, alongside Reed, a long-time friend of his, who’s also a balloonist. Mark wondered if we could fly with Reed and take photos of Mark’s balloon.  He had no idea when he called that the day he planned to fly was my birthday. Surprise!

Hot air ballooning is VERY dependent on the weather.. and not just rain. The winds play a huge part in whether or not a flight can happen. So I was excited, but knew that there was a chance we’d have to cancel at the last minute.

Tuesday morning, the conditions could not have been more perfect.  Before sunrise, we met Mark, Reed, their ground crew, Rich and Luke, as well as the reporter and photographer from our local paper that were to be Mark’s passengers.

Our launch site was just a few miles outside of town.  Mark’s balloon is “Spectrum” on the left, and Reed was piloting the Remax balloon.

Motor Man and I signed up as crew members for the Remax balloon.  Our pre-flight job was holding the envelope (the balloon) while Reed first filled it with cold air, using a powerful fan. Notice Motor Man’s billowing jacket.

Once the balloon was filled with cold air, and while the basket was still tethered to the chase vehicle, Reed began filling the balloon with hot air from the propane burner. (This photo was actually taken during our flight.)

Soon the balloon was vertical, Rich released the rope tethering us, and off we went.

My friends have had varied responses when I mentioned that we went up in a hot air balloon. Some say it’s on their bucket list, and others say there’s no way they’d ever fly in one. I must admit that I had a few seconds of “angst” when our flight first started, but it was so peaceful and beautiful, I was soon enjoying the scenery.

Here’s a slideshow of photos from our flight:

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At the end of our flight, we enjoyed a very smooth landing.

Motor Man and I helped Reed and Rich gather up the envelope to be packed in its tote. Once that was done, the balloon and basket were loaded into the van.

We then treated our two pilots to breakfast at a nearby restaurant. I contacted Marshall, and was delighted that, even with such short notice, he was able to join us.

Mark, knowing it was my birthday, managed to “sneak” a cake into the restaurant without my knowledge. The servers brought it to our table after our meal and sang a cute little song to me: “If you’re good, you get your wishes. If you’re bad, you do our dishes!”. (Evidently, I was good.)

Nice…. the cake icing surprisingly coordinated with my jacket!

Sneaky Mark.

I had planned for this to be the final post regarding my this year’s birthday fun, but Motor Man asked that I write one more. So that will publish Wednesday. And after that, we’ll return to “regular programming”.

How about you?  Would you fly/have you flown in a hot air balloon?

~These Days Of Mine~

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Birthday, Part 2

A couple of weeks ago, Motor Man and I learned of the Black Bear Festival (June 1 and 2 this year) in Plymouth, NC. Plymouth is a little over an hour and a half from Roanoke Rapids, where we had gone to the Sawyer Brown concert Friday evening.

Saturday morning, we motored on to Plymouth, where we found a HUGE gathering of folks for that festival. This is the fifth year, and it is obviously a very popular event. We drove around for a while until we happened upon a fairly close parking space.

Motor Man had read that they were offering airboat rides, and since that’s one “mode of transportation” we’ve never experienced, we set out to buy tickets for a ride.

Along the way, we came across this “long, lanky cowboy”:

We bought our tickets for the airboat and waited our turn. It was a rather long wait, but we found seats in the shade and enjoyed a nearby band playing beach music. We’ve never encountered nicer people anywhere in our travels.

Then it was time to don our life jackets and ear protectors and get ready to ride.

The first thing Motor Man looked at was the engine: a GM, but he wasn’t able to determine what size. The wife of the airboat owner/driver was in charge of the rides, and had the cutest look on her face when Motor Man asked her about the engine. (It’s the same look I have when folks ask me about engines.) The airboat ride was very popular, so her husband and Motor Man didn’t have time to “talk engines”.

This video wasn’t from our ride, but it gives you an idea of what we experienced. It was a perfect day for the festival AND boat rides.

 

We had fun!

As we were making our way back to our vehicle, we were just in time for the motor bike stunt show.  These  guys were amazing. They started off doing some wheelies.  See that ramp in the background?

This was the reason for that ramp:

Although I’d seen similar events on tv, seeing it in person was unbelievable.

I do believe this rider was looking directly at me.  Hey, buddy, thanks for being part of my birthday celebration!

And….the birthday posts continue next week. (Bored yet?)  Have a great weekend everyone!

~These Days Of Mine~