On the road again (K) The End

Well all good trips have to come to and end. We were up and leaving the motel around 5:00 am. I knew this was a holiday weekend but I wanted to get on the toll road and away from the big city before traffic got to bad. It worked we could see the lights of down town Chicago off in the distance but traffic was not bad even pulling over to pay the tolls wasn’t to bad.

Charlotte got a picture of the river as we crossed back over. We were gettingP1090920 P1090921 hungry because we did not eat breakfast. We spotted a Cracker Barrel just off the highway in Davenport Iowa. We always enjoy eating at Cracker Barrels the food is always consistently good. While eating I noticed a black man and his family coming in to be seated, he was wearing a Vietnam Veteran hat. After we finished eating I went over to the man and thanked him for his service. He looked up at my hat which was the USS Monticello hat and I noticed his eyes getting wide and also his daughter eyes were also. He told me that he also served on the Monticello but it was a different time than me. I thank this was so neat to run into a fellow veteran who served on the same ship. I told him that I was just coming from a ships reunion which made him excited but also sad because he missed it, so I told him to be sure and look up the ships web site and sign up for the next reunion.

We made it home to the daughters house and needless to say she had a couple P1090924of happy hound dogs glad to have mama home. Of course Charlotte had to get a picture of me in my P1090923favorite spot at Ce’s house. Charlotte and I stayed there a couple more days then drove on home to Amarillo.

On the road again (J)

P1090918 P1090919After leaving Milwaukee WI we went back to the motel in Deerfiled Ill and rested up a bit. We decided that we wanted some famous deep dish pizza so we went to Giordano’s Pizza not to far from the motel. Charlotte and CeAnne decided on the deep dish Veg y. I had noticed a small pizza being delivered to a table next to us and after seeing it I knew that I would not be able to eat one by myself so I ordered wings. The wings were great and I tasted the girls pizza, I told them it would have been much better if they had put some sausages or some kind of meat on it.

Lamar Elementary PTA 38 Years Later

It has been 38 years since our kiddos started 1st grade at Lamar Elementary school here in Amarillo Texas. My daughter’s class was getting ready for the Halloween Carnival coming up. The PTA parents were to be in charge of decorating each class room for the carnival. Also the wife was the president of the PTA that year and all the officers were in charge of getting the snacks and food to sell for a fund raiser to help the school. To this day I do not know where she came up with the recipe for what became the Lamar chili but we have been P1090933having it just about every year since that first Lamar Halloween carnival.

Last night 10/29/13 we had the group over for Lamar chili. There are 5 couples of us who have kept up with each other and we get together once a month to catch up on the kiddos. Every October of course we have what we call Lamar night, every one bring something to eat and Charlotte fixes the Chili.

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On the road again (I)

When we made reservations to stay in Deerfield we had talked about staying one more night so that we all could go into Chicago on that Sunday. As it turned out that was the day of the Chicago marathon which meant their would be thousand more people than usual down town. I told Charlotte and CeAnne that even though the Great Lakes Navel base was closed due the the US Government shut down that I would still like to drive by it since we are this close. I went to boot camp in San Diego so I would like to see where the other boot camp was located.

We went down for breakfast and said some more goodbyes to some of the people who were heading home that day. We headed North to the Great Lakes center, of corse it was closed to the public but we pulled into the parking lot got out and walked around in the parts we could. We drove on up to Waukegan Ill. and over to the lake. Looking out across the lake reminds me of the ocean, If you P1090837look hard you can see Chicago off in the distance. We decided that we were this close to Wisconsin we might as well go to Milwaukee and look it over. We stopped at pretty little town called Racine WI it has a couple of neat draw bridges and we found a little place to eat right by the bride called Johns Dock. Charlotte had to have some cheese curds P1090866which is a treat in Wisconsin. We had a good time looking around in Milwaukee and of course Charlotte just had to put her feet in the water and so that makes two of the great lakes she has put her feet P1090880in.

 

 

 

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On the road again (H)

Later that day we all were to meet down in the lobby/ bar area to have a meet andP1090804 greet time. We were to be dressed for dinner and have a time for picture-taking. While we were visiting we met a young man who just graduated P1090798from Great Lakes Navel Training Center, we had a good time visiting with him also, all the men made a point to talk with and congratulate him. It was hilarious trying to get 22 old salty sailors try to pose for pictures. When we took pictures of all the women they just posed and it was done.P1090809

Later that evening we all gathered in the formal P1090825dining room for dinner. We had prime rib mashed potatoes and green beans with bacon it was fantastic. Well I thought it was but it was way to bloody for my wife and daughter they just could not eat it. We had a DJ who played what ever we wanted to hear or dance to, also a few of us sang karaoke. We had a birthday cake for the United States Navy to celebrate it 238 P1090827years, so we all sang Happy birthday to the navy. This was the last night of the reunion so afterwards we said our goodbyes and told everyone that we would see them in two years in Memphis Tennessee.

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On the road again (G)

The next morning we went down for breakfast and discussed what was on the agenda for today. We were supposed to have gone to the Great Lakes Naval training Center, First was to see the recruits graduate, the fire marshals said we could not due to not enough space for us. Second we were to go and tour the base, go to the commissary, and eat at the mess hall. Yep that is when the US Government shut down so we did not get to do that either. So my wife and daughter went back in to Chicago and I held back and had lunch with all the guys at the motel.

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On the road again (F)

While I stayed back at the motel I met and talked with some of the men who served on the USS Monticello LSD (Landing Ship Dock) 35. Even though most ofUSS Monticello LSD 35 these men served on board at different times than I we had the same since of togetherness. We could talk about different parts of the ship, and what all happened on the ship and even though we might not have been on board her at that moment we knew what each other were talking about. There were two men that were on board the same time I was but we did not know each other, we may have seen each other but we were in different divisions which meant we had different jobs on board. I was talking about the time that we were being refueled at sea. My refueling station was in the Boat shop for I was a mechanic. I remember not hearing anything but I felt the ship rock sideways and then the collision alarm went off. When I went to shut water tight doors I could see daylight in compartments that there should not be daylight. The refueling tanker had hit the port side of our ship and their Gun torrent cut open the side of the ship like a can opener, Praise God it was up on the 02 level which was high above the water line. After telling this the other two who were on board said they remember that the fuel line pulled loose when the tanker pulled away from the ship and it spilled fuel oil all over the deck which made a stinky mess to clean up. We were thankful that the ship was still operational and we sailed to Subic Bay Philippines for repairs. Some of the older men hadn’t heard that story about the ship, but they had stories that I hadn’t heard, same with some of the younger men they had some stories also. Even though it had been over 40 years since I had talked with any one from the ship about the Navy days it was great talking with these men.

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On the road again (E)

My daughter was doing some consultant work in Chicago during 9/11/01, all flights in or out were canceled for about three weeks so she had to stay in Chicago. She became familiar with Chicago and wanted to take us down town to show us the sites. I have a lot of pain in my feet, legs, and back and so I knew I could not stay up with them and that they would worry about me so I told them I would stay at the motel and visit with some of the men off the USS Monticello. I took them to the train station just a few blocks from the motel; it was about an hour ride to the Union Station down town Chicago. From the looks of the pictures they had a wonderful time. My daughter has a little gadget that tells her how many steps, miles, and up or down stairs with her, she said they walked about ten miles around down town Chicago. Wow I am proud of them except for one shirt they bought me they did no shopping, there was too much to see and do to do any shopping.

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On the road again (D)

We left Galena Ill. And headed toward our destination Deerfield Illinois, by going this route we missed the toll roads. It was a lot slower but we were in no hurry and could see some beautiful country side. We arrived that afternoon at our Motel, Chicago Marriott Suites Deerfield. This Motel was very nice and the USS Monticello Reunion Occupied the Seventh Floor which was the top floor. We checked in went up to our room unpacked and rested for a bit. Then we went to a Meeting room which was also on the seventh floor plus it had a nice patio to set out on which overlooked a nice park. We could also see the buildings of Chicago off in the distance; I met a lot of the men who had served on the Mo Boat that was what we called the USS Monticello. These men served when the ship was first built all the way up to when it was decommissioned. We were hungry and tired so we went out and got us a Pizza. Lou Malnati’s Pizza Buffalo Grove rd. Cook Illinois, we all enjoyed the pizza. The girls had a vegetable pizza so I ordered my own sausage pizza.

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On the road again (C)

Before our trip Charlotte had been looking at an Illinois book that we picked up from Triple A. She spotted a town on the river that was a civil war port so we decided to go there. After leaving Pella Iowa we headed toward Illinois. We love following the mighty Mississippi River so we got of the main highway when we P1090459reached the river and headed north toward Galena Ill. This is a beautiful town with a lot of history, the down town goes right down to the river it is protected by a tall levee and at one end are these two large gates that can be shut to protect the town from flooding. We did not get pictures of the gates but if you have Google Earth you can type in Galena Ill. Zoom in and you can see the gates. Ulysses S Grant lived here; the town built P1090500and gave him this home to thank him for his service in the Civil War. Grant was also our 18th President of the United States. We stayed in a nice motel up P1090460on a hill just outside of town, I did not notice until the next morning that you could see the river off in the distance it was a nice view of the country side. Oh yes did I mention that I had to take the girls back down town so they could shop, well it was not too bad though I P1090507found a little coffee shop so I got a latte and went outside sit down on a bench and watched the people go by.

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