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Saturday, December 31, 2011

POST 533 - 12/31/11: OUTER BANKS, NORTH CAROLINA

HAPPY NEW YEAR - 2012

2011 has been quite a year. In many ways, 2011 has been beyond my wildest imagination. Having dodged 18-wheelers by the thousands; having crossed the Rocky Mountains for the second time; having walked most of America's deserts; having discovered new vastness of our West Coast Rain Forest - continuous from the Straits Of Juan de Fuca to northern California -; having uncovered the recent demise of Lake Tulare...the ancient fresh water lake once (since ca.1890) filling the San Joaquin Valley; having confirmed that the Southern USA from San Diego to Jacksonville is nearly out of water...even the aquifers are nearly dry;

and, having found dozens of new friends from coast to coast to coast (Pacific/Gulf/Atlantic)...

this old body - 77 years in June - has not yet come close to reaching maximum performance.

I had the opportunity to share Christmas and New Years with Karen's family and friends in Columbia, North Carolina. Christmas, we did enjoy together. I felt an obligation to assist the Food Bank of Pastor Steve over New Years...a big mistake, as upon my return, the Food Bank somehow shutdown on Friday and there is apparently no New Years Eve activity planned.

So, today, I worked this morning completing DEJA VU yard clean up and spent an additional four hours policing more of Highway SR 12. It rained a few hours ago, so the roadside was particularly muddy & stinky; I went ahead anyway, grubbing out two blocks of roadside ditches full of every imaginable object. At the moment, I have removed all my muddy clothing, slipped into a warm up suit and decided to complete this blog before enjoying a hot shower in HAPPY CLAM.

Then, I plan to read my Kindle - the HISTORICAL life of Jesus...extraordinarily fascinating...; then, watch a bit of NCAA Bowl Football...even tho, I cannot imagine any game could be more exciting than the ALAMO Bowl December 29, 2011: Baylor 67; Washington 56.

Tomorrow, I plan to assist at the Food Bank in the morning and spend the afternoon picking up trash on Highway SR 12.

I wish everyone a pleasant, peaceful, and enjoyable New Years Eve. I am somewhat uncomfortable about our year 2012, but will personally tackle it with a totally positive attitude and trust we all meet again at this time on December 31, 2012.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

POST 532 - 12/29/11; OUTER BANKS - COLUMBIA, NORTH CAROLINA

I have been very fortunate to be invited to share the Christmas Season with Pastor Steve's family and friends in SALVO, NORTH CAROLINA...and with the family and friends of Karen and Craig in COLUMBIA, NORTH CAROLINA.

As Christmas has come near, the Food Bank has been busy receiving, sorting, stocking and delivering all manner of fresh and frozen foods. Open on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, food is made available to EVERYONE with a need...at no cost. Needless to say, the constant rush has kept Pastor Steve's family, Terry, and I - not to mention a number of additional long-time volunteers - busy.


As a special event, Pastor Steve arranged to receive and distribute gifts to young boys and girls...boys and girls who would otherwise not receive gifts this Christmas. The OUTER BANKS has many families who have lost everything - home, vehicles, clothes...just about everything...to the September hurricane.

I was put to work to pack away the hundreds...yes, hundreds...of gifts into the "playroom" beyond the door pictured behind Betty. I was visiting Karen & Family in COLUMBIA when the gifts were distributed.


On December 21, 2011, Pastor Steve's family and friends met in his tiny church where the children put on a rather complex and entertaining Christmas play. They did such a good job that an encore was requested after cookies and drinks.




The meeting room after the Christmas play.

Betty has a pot of coffee brewing most of the time...

Arriving at Karen & Craig's home in COLUMBIA, NORTH CAROLINA...my third visit in two months..., the Sun Room was completed. The front entrance into the Sun Room welcomes guests.


Sons, Carson (left) and Noah ponder the gifts waiting under the tree.


Craig opening his gifts.


Noah flies his remote controlled helicopter to a good vantage point to look on as his Mom, Karen opens one of her gifts.

On Christmas Day, Karen's friends Roy and Elva arrived from MADRID, SPAIN. Roy not too many years ago lived and worked in COLUMBIA, NORTH CAROLINA...Elva is native Spanish, working with the BASQUE community. Should I proceed with my planned walk from EUROPE to BEIJING, CHINA, will certainly spend a bit of time visiting in MADRID.

Roy and I spent many hours in conversation on lots of like-minded subjects.

Have returned to HAPPY CLAM in RODANTHE, where I have continued to fight off a very surprising complex sore throat...fluids have invaded my lungs, giving me a bit of a difficult time. Tonight - Thursday, December 29, 2011, will take a long soak in HOT water, bundle up in Karen's gifted comforter, and watch U of Washington battle Baylor U.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

POST 531 - 12/22/11: COLUMBIA, NORTH CAROLINA

HAPPY HOLIDAY SEASON from COLUMBIA, NORTH CAROLINA...

Visiting Karen and Craig for CHRISTMAS. Son, Noah has guided me through the mysteries of "PhotoBucket" software processing "thousands" of photographs taken from November 1999 thru February 2000 during our 120 day 'round The World Cruise.

Following are selected images of Israel, including JERUSALEM and BETHLEHEM...timely for Christmas 2011:



Young Girl - Old City, JERUSALEM

Approaching ASHDOD Harbor, Israel on our ship, AEGEAN 1, a converted 450 foot automobile Ferry Boat from ATHENS, Greece.


ASHDOD Valley en route up the mountain to JERUSALEM.

White Hills alongside ASHDOD - JERUSALEM Highway.


Relics from the religious battles alongside ASHDOD - JERUSALEM Highway.


Old City JERUSALEM.


Alley in Old City JERUSALEM.



Star Of Bethlehem.



Dome over Star Of Bethlehem.


Roadway to Church Of Nativity, BETHLEHEM.


Church of Nativity, BETHLEHEM.


Entering Church of Nativity, BETHLEHEM.


Manger...Church Of Nativity, BETHLEHEM.


Catholic Sanctuary, Church Of Nativity.


Garden at Catholic Sanctuary, Church of Nativity, BETHLEHEM.


Painting: Church of Nativity, BETHLEHEM with JERUSALEM about one mile North...


Olive Mount...between BETHLEHEM and JERUSALEM.


Wailing Wall - Men's side


Wailing Wall, JERUSALEM..

Men on left side..Women on Right Side.

Golden Dome in above left of image...not shown in this photo.


Female Soldiers - toting machine guns - at Gate of Wailing Wall...

Beginning of The Way Of The Cross.





Way Of The CROSS...

from the Wailing Wall up the hill to the Church of Resurrection.

The entire Way Of The Cross is a narrow Shopping Alley.



JESUS on the Cross, Church of Resurrection, JERUSALEM.



JESUS Taken Down from the Cross.


Tomb Of JESUS, Church Of Resurrection, JERUSALEM.


Dome over JESUS Tomb.



Monday, December 19, 2011

POST 530 - 12/19/11: OUTER BANKS, NORTH CAROLINA

Have modified "Title" line to Blog # and Date...easier to track.

BRrr...it has once again turned cold on the Outer Banks. Winds continue unabated night and day at 25 - 35 mph.

Insulated SPIA floor with a carpet liner mat; also, installed doubled blanket on both inside surface of walls and windows. Should reduce "radiation" of cold through the single-pane windows and non-insulated walls.

Spent Saturday and Sunday at the Food Bank.

Today, cleaned another few hundred feet of trash from Highway SR 12...spending three hours head between knees straddling filthy putrid roadside ditches pulling out cans, bottles, clothing, old papers, and broken lumber/boards.

It goes into reinforced trash bags or into neat piles on the side of the roadway.

The first piles/bags of trash are still sitting along SR 12...this after a month of effort...I may commandeer a couple large trash cans on wheels and go pick up the piles myself.

Then again, the locals are nose to the grindstone still recovering from September Hurricane destruction.

Trash pick-up in the morning. Will complete DEJA VU yard cleanup on Thursday.

DEJA VU contractors are progressing on repairs to the inside of Karen's flooded RODANTHE home. Since I did not return to COLUMBIA, Karen has completed her own painting, which I planned to do.

Friday, December 16, 2011

POST 529 - DAY 330 / 73: SALVO, OUTER BANKS, NORTH CAROLINA

Upon returning last evening from KITTY HAWK, I stopped in at the Food Bank in SALVO, to be informed that many cases of mixed canned foods had been received and would be sorted and displayed on the shelves first thing in the morning.

Arriving at 8:30 am, Betty had already been processing the canned goods for nearly one hour. By the time the food truck arrived with meats, fruits, veggies, pastry, breads and more canned goods for the Friday customers, Betty and I switched from stocking canned goods to unloading the truck.

A number of additional "volunteers" - this Food Bank has been active for years...I am a very late newbie... arrived to unpack and display the food.

It became crowded, so I stepped out and made room for the more experienced folks.

Customers dropped in all day long...the last one about 4:00 pm as the Sun was setting.

Pastor Steve gave me a new project for the rest of the day...cleaning and PAINTING his "new" truck. Using Black Rustoleum paint, I spent the rest of the day painting the entire truck, except for the top portion of the cab. P. Steve and Betty yielded brushes for a good long time too, and by the end of the day, P. Steve had a like-new looking truck.

The painting complete and still an hour or so of daylight remaining, decided to put some more elbow grease into the project by hand-waxing the cab...inside and out.

I must say, the truck looks very nice !

As each day passes, I learn a bit more about the substantial losses the family incurred from Hurricane IRENE. Instead of bellyaching and carrying on with a ..."oh, poor me" attitude, they all pitch in to provide massive amounts of food for those less fortunate.

I just shake my head and ask...what is next ? !

No Food Bank work tomorrow...so, I return to SR 12 policing for a day or so.

Sunday morning, P. Steve drives 100 miles to pick up another load of food for the "after church" crowd. I will be on hand to help the family. I ask: who pays for the truck...who pays for the gas...who pays for the food...

...we know the answer

Thursday, December 15, 2011

POST 527 - DAY 328 / 72: KITTY HAWK, NORTH CAROLINA

Early this morning, drove SPIA North on Highway SR 12 to KITTY HAWK, OUTER BANKS, NORTH CAROLINA.

It was a clear sunny day with a few fluffy clouds drifting on the rather strong South West wind.

We first by-passed the Wright Brothers National Park, ending up at WAL-MART where we did some shopping...first visit in over a month.


We then back-tracked South on Highway 158 - runs parallel to SR 12 -, pulling into the National Park. Since I have a "lifetime" Senior Pass for ALL National Parks, we were waved through by the Park Ranger...

* * * 62 years old or older, any US Citizen can purchase for $10.00, a lifetime National Park Pass. Showing this pass upon entering ANY US National Park allows the vehicle AND ALL PASSENGERS to enter the park FREE * * *

The above photograph was taken from the Visitor Center entrance, looking South at the KILL DEVIL HILL from which the Wright Brother's flew and perfected their un-powered gliders. In 1902 the Wright Brothers made over 600 gliding flights from KILL DEVIL HILL, returning to their DAYTON, OHIO home with a fully controllable aircraft.

Inside the Visitor's Center, are replicas of the Wright Brother's Glider and "Flyer"..."Flyer" is the name given to the first powered flight aircraft flown on December 17, 1903 by the Wright Brothers.

A December 14, 1903 first "attempt" ended in a "stall" (the aircraft looses forward momentum and falls back toward Earth). Wilbur Wright, who won the coin toss to fly first, applied too much Elevator (the small wing in front) - in today's aircraft, the Elevator is in the back of the aircraft -, causing the front of the Flyer to rise too quickly resulting in a stall and crash.

Three days later, on December 17, 1903, the Flyer having been repaired, was again ready to try to fly...this time with Orville at the controls.. Taking off into a 27 mph (miles per hour) wind, Orville piloted the Flyer for 12 seconds, landing 120 feet from the end of the guide rail.

The guide rail was used because the ground was soft sand, not allowing wheels to roll. A wheeled dolly straddled a wooden "rail" lying in the sand, supporting the bottom of the aircraft as it rolled down the rail...at the end of the rail, Orville pulled back the Elevator handle...and flew.

Wilbur then took his second attempt to fly. He flew for 12 seconds, reaching 175 feet from the end of the rail.

Orville took the controls and flew for 15 seconds, reaching 200 feet from the rail.

Then, Wilbur flew again...this time for 59 seconds, reaching 852 feet, landing successfully.

A gust of wind caught the Flyer, tipping it over and damaged it beyond repair.

A piece of the original Flyer was carried by Neil Armstrong, the first man to set foot upon the Moon. That piece of Flyer is now on exhibit in the Visitor's Center.


The Hangar for the Flyer. The building to the right is the "bunk house/kitchen".

The National Park has many information stops along the cement walkway allowing visitors to experience the Wright Brother's efforts at the exact spots they actually happened.

The above photograph shows a replica of the guide rail from which the Flyer was launched.

The large stone was the "take off" point. In the distance are four more stones...each marking the spot where the Flyer landed on the four flights of December 17, 1903.

The above photograph was taken as Orville lifted the Flyer into the air for the first time...with Wilbur running alongside, holding the wings level.


Turning around at the take-off Stone, a sidewalk leads South to the KILL DEVIL HILL, on top of which stands a monolith to Orville and Wilbur Wright.

I walked to the top of KILL DEVIL HILL, taking pictures all the way.

Along the walkway stands this photograph and explanation of a glider flight from the top of KILL DEVIL HILL.

The year was 1902.

This photo looks ever so much like the SATURN V about to be launched to the Moon.

As an aside, I participated in the NASA APOLLO Moon program...subject for another day.

Atop the KILL DEVIL HILL stands this monument to Orville and Wilbur Wright.
Looking to the left - West - from the Wright Brother's KILL DEVIL HILL Monument, one sees a modern aircraft parked along side the runway of the KILL DEVIL Village Airport.

Looking to the North from the KILL DEVIL HILL Wright Brother's Monument, one sees the field from which Flyer made aviation history on December 17, 1903....the stones marking the flight path of Flyer are clearly seen at the end of the walkway.

Beyond is the village of KITTY HAWK, OUTER BANKS, NORTH CAROLINA, with the Atlantic Ocean in the distance.

I must confess...when I visit places like the Wright Brother's National Memorial Park in KITTY HAWK, I become overcome with emotion...finding it difficult to speak...difficult to comprehend that I am actually standing in such a place of history. My walk has taken me to many such places.... more waiting just up the road.

I am honored to share these moments with you.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

POST 527 - DAY 328 / 72: OUTER BANKS, NORTH CAROLINA

As the Holiday Season rolls on, Mother Nature has been kind...cold clear nights, sunny days, allowing completion of the Food Pantry. Overhead lighting is installed and will be energized in a day or two.

Shelving is complete, sanded, varnished, and sanded again. Cleaning products from Disaster Relief Buckets have been stocked on shelves - a few full buckets are held in reserve on the floor awaiting shelve space.

Today is Wednesday...open house for the Food Bank. A big crowd is expected.

One donor left three huge bags of stuffed animals...to be given away free today.


Pastor Steve has negotiated for a "new" truck (above) to fetch food from surrounding supermarkets -

The Food Bank Van was destroyed - along with the homes of Pastor Steve and daughters Melinda and Mandy - by Hurricane IRENE.

Donors still drop off product daily.

Pastor Steve and Terry returned from their early morning food run at 9:00 am. At least 50 people were lined up waiting off-loading and stocking of the shelves...in the mean time, most of the stuffed animals were already sitting on seats of waiting vehicles.

Steve is completing the off-loading

Many folks placed prior orders for meats, fruits and veggies. Betty's fingers were frost-bitten packing frozen meats into boxes and bags according to the written orders...talk about "service"...


Shelves packed to near capacity were half-empty within one hour.

Since the Food Bank is not subsidized by the Government - all activity is from individuals or local businesses -, all items are available from the Food Bank - at NO COST - to any and all who have a need. Those wishing to make a $$ donation may do so.

Records are maintained of large orders for frozen meats...to preclude emptying of the two freezers by a few... everyone, therefore, has an opportunity to take home some meat. Large meat orders are available only once a month to a single individual.

Betty is busy filling frozen meat orders. Shelves of cleaning products are full, with more waiting in buckets for shelf space.

The three cardboard boxes on the table are FULL of fresh fruits and veggies...there was no time to empty, sort, and display these items because of the large number of folks on hand as the truck was unloaded.

There are advertised hours the Food Bank is open...however, if someone stops when the Food Pantry Doors are open, they are not turned away empty handed.

Pastor Steve and Betty have kept me busy from 8:30 am til dark the past few days...P. Steve says it will get much more busy as Christmas approaches. These two are an inspiration...I have yet to see Betty sit or take a break...and they are doing it out of their own resources...all for those less fortunate.

In the past days, even other shelters and pastors have dropped by to pick up boxes of items.

Incredible...just incredible !

The contractors are nearing completion of flood damage repairs to DEJA VU. One more week will see the yard of DEJA VU clean of Hurricane IRENE trash.

This weekend I plan to once again attack Hurricane IRENE Highway SR 12 litter pickup.

Mosquitoes are still out in force. Me? I'm fine...surrounded by such wonderful people, how could I not be?