Our Next Stop….Visit With Good Friend Tammy….Lots of Laughs

After we entered Kentucky through the Cumberland Gap Tunnel we headed north to the Kentucky Bluegrass Parkway.  Central City is on the other end of the state.  It is the home of my friend Tammy and her family.  She was anxiously waiting for us.  We have been to visit her several times before, the last time was 2 years ago.  Time sure has a habit of flying by doesn’t it.  We decided to take our time as it was raining again….Imagine that…We stopped halfway across the state and stayed overnite at a truck stop.  Rich said they have a great theater room their and we could watch a movie….haha…well guess what was on….His favorite channel…USA…Law and Order…Now we have been watching that channel for the last 5 months in Texas.  I think we have seen all the shows 5 times each.  After an hour, I decided it was time to go back out to the MH.  In the morning, we took off and headed for Tammys.  She has a long lane that dead ends at her house in a circle drive.  Rich managed to make it and back up to her house after we unhooked the truck.  It is only level spot.  Well lets just say,  the most level their is.  She was so excited to see us.

I met Tammy back in 1991.  I had just started working at Plano Molding in Feb.  Tammy started in June.  She was so young, right out of high school.  Just a baby….hahaha….don’t get mad Tammy, but you were…..but she was so much fun.  We all worked on a pod.  It consisted of 3 plastic molding press’s that made product and delivered them to the pod area by robots to be assembled by 5 or more workers.  After assembling we packed them in boxes and sent them down the conveyer for shipment.  We made many different kinds of  tackle boxes, lure boxes, caboodles, recipes boxes, cd storage and even a toy line of storage cases.  It was total monotony for 12 hours.


Top row….Tammy, Mary and me….Second Row ….Julie and Dawn…

OMG…..So Hilarious

We all worked together for 4 1/2 years on nite shift.  6 pm-6 am.  I had a 45 min drive both ways.  You can only imagine how boring it became every nite on the pod.  We all became family.  We knew all about our family’s, good and bad.  Horse play became an every nite occurrence.  There was a lot of wrestling and hair pulling….I can remember a number of times ending up on the floor.  All in fun of course….Lots of times, it was at other peoples expense also.  Those times I can’t write about here…….lol….Just to let me tell you how BAD we were, one nite we brought in Super Soakers……hahaha…….We hid them in the nurses office….The nurse was only their days.  I had the key as I was on first aid committee.  When the supervisor was gone, we got them out…..Ohhhhh what fun we had….We filled them up and shot each other.  Then we hid behind the other pods and shot each other…..lol…Then we would shoot over the pods in the air…..We never got caught or if we did, Larry never really did anything.

The one time I will never forget was one nite we were on Pod 1…Tammy was working the link machine.  The robot would come from behind and feed 2 links into 2 tubes that were at the top of the machine.  They would sometimes clog and you would have to climb up the step ladder to unclog them.  Tammy was on top of the ladder and forgot about the robot. It came up behind her and was pushing on her back trying to complete its cycle.  Tammy left out a scream and everyone came running.  I was at the bottom but we couldn’t do anything. As I looked up at her, her hands were inside the tubes….I had visions of her hands being chewed off, even though I knew nothing was in them.  She kept screaming and crying.   Larry the Supervisor and John the maintenance came running and pushed the E stop.  They climbed up and started to pull her down.  Her shirt was caught in the robot, so as she came down the ladder,l her shirt pealed off of her and all she had on was her bra….John through a coat over her and they carried her to the nurses station and then to the hospital.  She was fine.  Bruising and cuts on her back and emotionally drained.   OMG…I can still relive it….What an evening….

During that time Tammy was dating Dan.  We all went on camping trips together.  What fun we all had.  It seemed like during the 12 hour nites, we let our imaginations run and conversations escalated until the unimaginable came out.   One nite we were talking about our up coming camping trip with the whole pod, and we led poor little incent Tammy to believe we were all ……”SWINGERS”……Yes we were trying to get her to commit to……. “SWING”…..with us…..lol….We told her….”Why do you think we all go camping together?”……lol….I think she started to believe us……We all went camping, and we tried to get her to come around the corner of the camper late at nite…..We finally told her it WASN’T…..true…..We had so much fun with her.   Dan and Tammy finaly became engaged and bought a house and started remodeling it.  We took her on a surprise Bacholorite Party to Peoria.  We told her to pack her bags for an overniter.  I made reservations at a motel not far from the gambling boat, Paradise in East Peoria.  We didn’t want to pay for an extra room, so 2 of us went inside and opened the window,….. lol….The rest crawled in…..I think some slept on the floor. We went to the Paradise that nite and gambled.  We had all signed up for a drawing.  While we were playing the machines, Mary’s name was announced over the PA…..would you believe she won $1,000.   How excited we were.   After that we went to Big AL’s strip club across the river in Peoria.  I remember drinking these big huge shark drinks at 2 am in the morning, sitting on the balcony outside.   We went back to the motel, crawled in the window and went to sleep.  Next morning we went to Bob Evans for breakfast and of course, we had Mary pay for all of us….


Finally Tammy and Dan’s wedding day came….. August 20, 1994…….(its wrong on the Pic.  me bad)…..She was so Beautiful …..Dan was so handsome….

After awhile I couldn’t handle the nites any more.  I was falling asleep behind the wheel on the way home.  I went to days for another 3 years and then finally got smart and found a new closer job.  Tammy and Dan had 2 kids, Travis and Racheal.


This was taken 2 years ago on our visit.  Travis is now taller than his mom, and Racheal is almost even with her.  She is growing to be a beautiful young girl.

Eventually Dan’s job caused them to move to Central City Kentucky.  He found them a Beautiful home with some land and garages to keep all his man toys….lol…Tammy has been able to stay home and be the housewife and mom….That would be Taxi driver also…..But we have never forgotten our friendship.  We talked often before, and now with facebook, it has just made it so much easier.  3 or 4 years back, Dawn and I made a weekend trip to visit Tammy.  It was a riot.  We pitched blankets on the floor and had a big ole slumber party telling stories till the wee hours of the morning.  Then 2 years ago Rich and I took the motorhome down on its maiden voyage….That is one of the 2 cover photos.


We had Tammy take a new picture with this motor home.  I have added it to the cover photo slide show.

We had such a great time.  We spent so much time laughing.  That’s what we do best.  lol.  Tried taking some selfies.  lol.

Oh gees….so corny….But is was so much fun visiting again.  Talking about old times, catching up on the family.  Tammy has also become a great cook and host.  She made meatloaf, chicken, salads, and a great fabulous Dump Cake.   Peach Dump Cake.   I will be trying this one.  You don’t leave her house empty.  She is always pushing the food.   Is that why we have gained weight?……..  Guess I can blame her….lol……After a fun couple of days reminiscing old times, we had to leave.  I know it was sad for her and for us.  She loves company.


They love their baby kittys.  Giving them love and hugs…..

We will be Back Again……Don’t Worry

Next Stop HOME………


We Rode The Tail of The Dragon……Rich’s Bucket List…….

We left Chattanooga for New Tazewell Tennessee.  We had to take the back way in the morning as the underpass was still flooded and closed.  We now had to cut across the state of Tennessee catty corner.  New Tazewell is an hour from Knoxville on the other end of the state.  Julie had made reservations for us at the Cedar Lake Marina on Norris Lake…..An Absolutely beautiful area.  She met us on the highway and took us in to the marina. So many boats and house boats…..


I met Julie back in the 1990s, when we worked at Plano Molding.  Chris was a supervisor on another shift.  We worked 12 hour nites….ohhhh…what a long nite it was assembling tackle boxes and Caboodles.  I could do it in my sleep…lol… Their were 5 of us that were close and we started going camping together….Me, Julie, Tammy, who is in Kentucky now, Dawn, and Mary.  We had so much fun at work, (devious fun)…..lol…and also camping.  Any other place we would have been fired immediately for some of the things we did, but that’s another whole blog….Ohhhhh we were such an evil bunch…lol…Julie and Chris moved to Tennessee over 12 years ago.  Plano opened another branch their and he became plant manager.  We were down couple of times to visit, but its been over 10 years ago.  Way over due for a visit.

The office to check in the campground was out on the harbor.  After checking in, we parked and opened up the slides and went to Julies.  Chris just got home from work.  Julie took us to their house.  We hadn’t see Jennifer, their daughter in so long. We met her husband Travis.  Jen’s family has grown from the small little baby we seen last time, to 3 boys…..We went out and ate Italian and had a good time and stuffed our selves…lol…Then we went back to the RV and had a great visit.  Chris decided the next day we would take bike rides….They have 2 beautiful matching Harleys, a Road King and Softail.  Julie let Rich drive hers as he has many years experience. lol.  She trusted him……

The next morning we went to their house and took off.  Now Chris had decided to take us to the Dragon…..I had NO IDEA where or what it was.  It turned out it was on “Richs bucket list”, but he had given it up along time ago.


“The Dragon’s Tail” is a stretch of road that runs from eastern Tennessee into North Carolina. The road gets its name from its numerous curves, which give it a similar appearance to the tail of a dragon. Due to its turns, the stretch is known by motorcyclists and sports car enthusiasts as a great riding road, but the road also has proven a dangerous stretch. Designated US 129, the road is bordered by the Great Smoky Mountains and the Cherokee National Forest, with no intersecting roads or driveways to hamper your travel. It is considered “the destination” for thousands of motorcycle and sports car fans throughout the spring, summer, and fall.  Tail of the Dragon consists of  318 curves in 11 miles, is America’s number one motorcycle and sports car road….It brings bikers and sports car enthusiast from all over the USA, and the world.  The nearby Cherohala Skyway is quickly becoming a destination too, with its remote 60 miles of breathtaking scenic mountain highway

Julie said it was suppose to be sunny that day.  It started off that way, but the farther we went, the clouds came.  After couple of hours we finally entered the mountains.  Chris took us the back way up.  First we went through the Cherohala Skyway.

So beautiful….breathtaking scenery….every curve was another gorgeous view.  The smells as you drove were so wonderful.  The smell of cut wood in the lower elevations, where there were homes dotting the country side, and as we climbed to the upper mountain areas, the smell of the forests and the flowering trees.  Its a smell that never gets old.  …..


.And then the smell of coming rain…..We stopped at an overlook and you could see the rain coming.   We took off and sure enough……it rained….did we have rain gear? ….NO….but it wasn’t cold, so it wasn’t that bad.  We dried up and then it rained again.


Finally we came to Deals Gap, Home of the Tail of the Dragon…..We were so wet.  Julie gave me a sweatshirt to change to.  We eat lunch of cheeseburgers, onion rings and French fries.  Did some souvenir shopping and finally the rain stopped again.  Deals Gap is a pretty cool area.  You can rent a cabin right by the road, or tent camp. From their you can watch all the bikers and sports cars fly by.


Their is a tree in the middle of the parking lot called….TREE OF SHAME….It is full of broken bike and car parts, that people have put in the tree, due to crashes.  The road has many accidents and claims lives every year.  Trucks over 30 ft. are not allowed on the road.  Finally we took off again, almost dry.  It had been several years, that Rich had rode me as a passenger on a bike, so we took it rather slow.  It pays to be respectfull of dangerous roads, especially in the rain and when your not on your own bike.


Well along we went and it rained again.  Pretty much kept spitting rain the rest of the trip in the mountains.

But the views and the ride was so worth it.  We seen 1 accident, a crotch rocket had crashed. When we got their, he was up with his bike and ok, but the front was smashed and smoking.   Lesson learned I hope…..lol….Around 5 times during the ride, they had photograpers taking pictures of you.


The Cover Blog picture is one that was taken.  I hate my picture taken as you know, but I decided to post this one. They can be bought online….What a great gimmick …..We stopped at the other end of the dragon, and the view was spectacular.  In the distance you will see a dam.

They call it The Fugitive Dam.  It was photographed in the movie of The Fugitive with Harrison Ford.   Finally we ended up out of the mountains, back in the main highways and traffic.  It was at least another hour to the house.  We returned to Julies house around 7:30 after riding over 300 miles.  When I looked at the map, I realized that we were past Gatlinburg and half way back to Chattanooga, where we had been the day before……What an awesome day it was, even though it rained 50 percent of the time.  It was on Rich’s Bucket list and now he has made another check off.  lol…Great Ride…..Great Company….Great Day with friends from the past.  Thanks Chris and Julie for the Great Memories of the day…….and Julie for letting Rich ride your beautiful bike….I have to add…..What a great seat….Wasn’t sore at all….Just a little damp…..lol…The next morning we took off.  We were going to stop at another friend from the past, Anita.   Another Plano friend that I haven’t seen since late 1990s….Anita was busy that day, so hopefully we can see her year another time. We worked together also for over 3 years.  We shared some special times.   Onward we went into Kentucky to see another friend Tammy.

We crossed into Kentucky and went under the Cumberland Gap tunnel which is over 2 miles long.  And guess what happened.

  “‘ ….It Started Raining Again….lol…'”

Chattanooga…..Rain Rain Rain………….

We left Tuscaloosa yesterday, and decided to stay a night or two in Chattanooga.  Lots to do in the area.  So we drove across the state of Alabama and the little corner of Georgia and entered Tennessee.  Chattanooga is tucked in between the mountains and ridges.  It is near 2 lakes and the Tennessee River.    We found a campground on the internet, Raccoon  Mountain Campground.


It was a rather nice drive overcast but not raining.  We got settled and decided what to do the next day.  Here on the campground, which is in the mountains, is the entrance to the Raccoon Mountain Caves.  We decided to pass on them and do Rock City the next day.  Woke up the next morning and it rained….and it poured all morning….some hail….Finally around 2 pm, It was letting up, so we headed to Camping World.  Our wiper had died the day before. Were about a mile from the interstate and as we drove over the last hill this is what we seen….


Lot and Lots and Lots of water….Notice the dump truck in the water?  That was an exit ramp off the highway.  The underpass was closed off.  Their was another car that had also been caught driving through.  It had to be pulled out with a tow truck.  Right to the left of us was Waffle House…..We stopped and had sandwiches and watched for awhile. It looked like the water was coming up, so the road wasn’t going to be open anytime soon.  We decided to go back past the campground the other way.   We drove at least 10 miles.   The road wound around the Tennesse River.  It was a beautiful drive, but sure wasn’t heading us to Camping World.  Turned around and went back to a road that said, Visitor Center, Laurel Point Overlook.  Rich thought he might find a map at the Visitor Center.  Six miles later of winding mountain roads, following the river and up the mountain, we ended up on top.  We drove across a dam that was over a mile long.  It was one way traffic. It had started raining so hard that it looked like we were driving into oblivion.


It turned out we had stumbled on the Raccoon Mountain Pumped Storage Facility, run by the TVA, Tennessee Valley Authority.  It is a Hydro Electric facility, that is used during peak power usage.  The reservoir at the top is over 528 acres of water.  The dam holding it is over a mile long.  The water is released through an in ground shaft through the center of the mountain down to power the hydro generators at the bottom. This picture is taken as we drove over the dam.  It was one way.  lol….It was a beautiful drive.


When we got to the top of the mountain, turns out the Visitor Center was closed for construction.  I wanted to walk down to Laurel Point and look out over the top, but another round of rain was coming.  So back down we drove…lol….6 miles….round and round….passing the 2 underground tunnels we seen along the Tennessee River at the bottom.  The water was just pouring down the gulley’s along the road.  Little waterfalls.  So wanted to stop and take pictures, but it was pouring rain still.  After we were back out at the highway, we headed back into town.

Maybe the water was gone by now?………….No…………still their.  The dump truck was still their also…..and water getting higher….along in front of us was a loaded dump truck.  He turned around and Rich decided to follow him.  He knew where he was going.   Several blocks back up the road, he turned.  We found the way to the other side of the interstate…………yea…..finally we got on the Big Road.  Now if you don’t know, their are 3 main interstates that converge on this city.  What a mess.  Stop and go…We had to wind our way around to the other side of Lookout mountain to Camping World.  really not far by mileage, but the traffic was stop and go….Finally ….5:45…..we arrived….They closed at 6….We bought our wiper and made the trip back.  But this time we used side streets….much faster that way.  So that was our day……Our trip to Rock City or Lookout mountain never happened, and the trip to Camping World took over 3 hours …..one way….lol….but we got our wiper….so maybe Chattanooga will be on our list another time….So today we will leave and head up past Knoxville Tenn. to our friends Chris and Julie.  We haven’t seen them in over 10 years…..Can’t wait.


Kitty is getting use to traveling…..He loves his Dad…..lol….He always wants him to pet him….Even when driving…..Kitty has his own foot stool that we put in-between us when driving down the road….Oh what a life…..


Lucky Kitty…………..

Time for Goodbyes and the Return Trip has Begun…….

We have been debating on when to leave.  It seems to keep storming.  The roads dry up and then another wave comes through.  It was suppose to rain all weekend until next Thursday.  We finally decided on Sunday to take off as it was cloudy but not raining.  I packed up the inside.  You have to take everything off the counters that will fall……. nothing left.  My clock has to come down, take the big TV off the dash, and lock up all the drawers and cabinets.  They will come open when you drive.  After awhile you learn what has to be secured.  Rich had to pack up everything outside.  The smoker, bikes, chairs, mat, and unhook the sewer, water hoses, and electric.  Even the cable….. lol….. Everything has a place.  Then the good byes.  We have gotten really close friends with our neighbors across the street on Albatross Lane.  Ken and Roberta, have the 2 birds.  They were tattoo artists in Missouri before retiring.  They have some beautiful tattoo work.

They have a little gazebo that is decorated so festive.  Its lined with netting, flowers and shells.  She wanted some flamingos, but couldn’t find any around.   Well a pair showed up mysteriously from New York….lol….and don’t they look at home….

I also made her a stepping stone.  I thought about it for quite awhile.  It had to be special for Roberta, as she is a very special lady.  She took care of Kitty last Christmas when we went to San Antonio.  She loves animals, birds, any form of nature.  She speaks to them…..And she really does read their mind.  They communicate.  She is an exceptional person.  I told her one time that she was unique…..lol…Hoping she wasn’t offended, because I fell so honored that we were neighbors and we grew to know each other.  So I designed it with her in mind.   The reds and blues and yellow for her babies, and the mirror to reflect the sun.  She said the 4 strips reflect the 4 directions and the winds.

Here are her babies……Maui her Parrot….and little Love Love her Cockatoo with the broken legs…..Love Love was playing with my necklace…. These guys are the luckiest birds.  They have a wonderful home, and they give them such pleasure and love in return….

So time to hook up now and leave.   Ken and Roberta came out to say good bye and also Dave and Twila, the resident Chaplin.  They were leaving the next morning for Minnesota.  It was sad, but we will all be back again next fall.   But Ken and Roberta will stay and take care of Albatross Lane….They are permanent residents…So finally off we drove, waving Good Bye……The park is now so Empty…..


On the way to Corpus Christy we had to go through Border Patrol.  They have cameras set up on the approach.  They have a dog sniffing and ask you if your an American Citizen.   So many illegals these days. …..How do you like my birds on the dash…..lol…. We spent the first night at the Walmart Parking Lot….lol…Where else do you stay when you need supplies.  Of course, go in shopping and come out and enjoy their parking lot.

Today we went through down town Houston at noon.  Wasn’t to bad.  Went past the Minute Maid Arena,  Home of the Houston Astos.  Finally we were out of Texas for the first time in almost 5 months.  Louisiana here we come……

Traveled through Lake Charles, across the bridge.  They had a nice boat dock area and a great beach…..

Onward to the east on I 10 and through Swamp Country….miles and miles of elevated roads…


How about Whiskey Bay…..The swamps go on for miles and miles…..check out the dirt on the window…lol

Finally here we are tonight….Between Baton Rouge and Slidell Louisiana…..another Truck stop….but that’s ok…..we have everything we need….hot water heater….shower….potty….refrigerator….AC….Tv….and a generator to make it all work….so why pay camping fees….So tomorrow it on to Slidell and heading north….We are going to visit some really good friends that we haven’t seen in probably 10 years or more in Tennessee…..


Poor Kitty, he had a rough start again….He was really scared when we left, but he is back in the swing of things today.   But never the less, he was so so tired…………Good Nite…

Happy Birthday Scott……Today is Your Special Day……

Lol…It seems like I keep saying that doesn’t it…Today is your special day….lol…Yes, all 3 kids Birthdays are so close together.  Accident? ….That’s what I say.  Scott is the last one…THE BABY…I was the baby also, and I use to just HATE that, when my parents called me the baby of the family.

Scott was born on a Saturday afternoon April 10 1982.  Just before I found out I was pregnant, we moved to a larger house across town.  We went from 2 bedrooms to 3.  Whew…at last, more room.  Then I found out we were pregnant.  I wasn’t working anymore after Tina was born, but I was doing some babysitting to bring in some money.  During the pregnancy, when I went to the doctor, I was approached by the nurse wondering if I would mind having a nursing student from the Jr. College nursing program follow me during all check ups, and witness the birth.   I said sure, I didn’t care.  So the next visit I was set up with the student.  Her name was Pat Tonioni from Standard.  At the time I didn’t know her, but it turns out that I know her granddaughter now.  Niki Tonioni is a Good friend of Tina’s and is Tina’s boss at the courthouse.   Small world.  Right.  Well she followed along at every visit until Easter weekend, which was late that year.  She wanted to head south to her family for the holidays.  She took the risk of going, hoping I would wait till after Easter.   Well, It just didn’t work that way.  Saturday morning, it was time.  On our way, we decided to ask our good friends, Bob and Carol Burke if their daughter, Pam, would like to come and watch….hahaha….corny aren’t we…..and so she did.   Pam was just a teenager in high school.   What better way to learn about the consequenses of birth control.  lol.  Along came Scott not long after 1 pm.  Fast as usual.  Finally a Boy.   7lb. 11 oz.  The biggest one yet…..So now we were finally done….I hoped…and we were….

Of course he was bald too.   He was more the rolly polly of the 3 while he was a baby.  He finally started growing hair around 2….


The girls had so much fun with him.  They would pick him up and pull him around.  I remember wondering when he would walk.  but why should he……They did everything for him…..As he grew older, he thinned out.  Scott turned out to be the skinny one of the 3…..lol….

Along came Kindergarten.  He was always such a ham.  He went to Florida with dad and bought the Hog Shirt and Hat.   He thought he was so …..COOL….


He played T Ball but wasn’t in to sports.  Not even in grade or High School.  As he grew, we found out that every electronic device he got his hands on, he would tear apart.  VCRs, TVs, Radios, you name it…It went to pieces.  Then he started in on bicycles.  He would find broken ones and take them apart and make some really weird bikes.  I remember one time he told me he was going to start a bike shop.  lol.

Finally he was old enough to mow grass.  Oh how he loved to drive the John Deere rider.


Finally he graduated and entered High School.


He went on a trip with his dad one summer to Sturgis on the Harley.  That set the precedent for the future.  His love of bikes.  When he got his liscense to drive, I can’t even list all his cars.   Always working on them, and still tearing them apart…..but not as bad….


He also decided he loved to snow ski.  He really became pretty good at it.  He went on many trips until just a few years ago.   He fell and must have gotten a concussion.  He lost several days he never remembered.  I don’t think he has been skiing since.


Scott finally Graduated from Putnam County High in 2001.  He has had some bad luck, some his fault some not.  But it has all made him a better man.  He has learned so much since graduation.  Scott lost his arm in an Industrial accident in 2004.  He has so excelled in life since.  He picked himself up and became a better man and has learned so much.  Nothing has defeated him.  He now has a small trucking company, Scottys Trucking…. But continues to try new things in life.  lol.

He tried Scottys Party Bus….lol…It was fun while it lasted….

Scott and his Girlfriend Brandy have been together for 4 or so years now.

He still loves his bikes….

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Now he’s off to something ……NEW…..One Pawz’s Pub………lol…Get the name…He has just bought the little bar in McNabb.  It was Kathy’s before.   So if your ever in McNabb Ill. Population 350, stop in One Paw’z Pub.   You won’t miss it.


But the one thing were most proud of is how he has rallied to help his sister Tammy to achieve her dream.  Words can’t explain what him and Brandy also,  has done for her.  Tina also, both were their by her side for the years it took for her to graduate.   And still they have their moments………..

But still they are close………How Lucky We Are As Parents……………

Happy Birthday Tammy, Today is Your Special Day…..


April 6, 1978, was 37 years ago.  It is so shocking to think it has been that long.  Tammy was born on a Saturday morning 1:37 am.  She was 6 lbs and 19 inches long.  She was our first child.  I was working at Toluca Garment.   We were so poor.  lol.  No insurance.  We were going to move from Oglesby to McNabb.  We rented a little house from Gertie and Buck Buckingham.  They were remodeling it.  Rich had just started to work for Sandberg Trucking the summer before.  Tammy was not due for 3 weeks.  We had started to move a few things and then I went to the doctor that day.  Dr. Farley and his Midwife, Mary Bradish said I was retaining so much water, that they wanted to induce me.   Grrrrrrrrrrr……..so off we went to the hospital that evening….once they broke my water, 4 hours later, Tammy was born.   It was a tough 4 hours as this was the first time I had ever experienced childbirth.  lol…..But now I realize that it wasn’t all that bad.   Only 4 hours, that’s pretty good.  In the meantime at home, Rich and his friends moved us to our new house.   lol.   When we came home, I didn’t have a clue where anything was.  The kitchen had been put away.  But it was all done.   Tammy was so tiny and cute…………and bald……….lol.   but then that’s how they all turn out to be….Buck and Gertie just loved her to pieces.  They never had any kids so Tammy became theirs also.  As she grew, they would take her everywhere, shopping, to the coffee shop, boating, even on a trip to Gerties moms one weekend in southern Illinois.

When Tina was born 2 years later, she was the best sister ever.  All she wanted to do is help.

As Tammy grew, she had the most beautiful blonde hair.  It was so pale blonde in the summer with a hint of curl.  She has her dads skin, she tans beautifully.  Tammy really wasn’t into sports.  She played girls softball one summer but didn’t really enjoy it.  When she was around 4 or 5, I enrolled her in Jodi’s Dance School…..

They did floor tumbling and also trampoline.  She was in it for 2 years.  Tammy also had a paper route as she grew older and she detasseled for Griffiths seed company.  She did that every summer till she was old enough to get her license and get a real job.  When she got their check at the end of the season, I make her spend half on school clothes and the other half she could spend on what ever she wanted.  It was like Christmas to the kids.  She would buy all the latest electronics.  Boom Boxes were big, cassettes were the latest thing.  Vcrs and all those video tapes…..

When the New Kids On The Block became famous, she became so infatuated with them.  I would take her and her good friend Jamie Myres to the concerts that came to our area.   Her walls in her room were just full off all their posters.  She bought all their music, videos, clothes, anything to do with them.  Even today, her and Jamie are still fans.

Several years ago, when the NKOTB made a come back, the girls went again several times.  They even went Rockford and took their other good friend from school Angie Reynolds and relived the old times..

Tammy graduated in 1996.

Her first child Cameron was born in 1998.  Then along came Cassidy in 2004.  During that time she held several jobs.  She worked for Starved Rock Trolley part time for a summer.  I thought that was pretty cool.


She would take the guests from Starved Rock Lodge over to Utica and The Lock and Dam.  She started working for Ryder Bus Service that was later bought out by First Student.  She was a bus driver and later went into the office and became dispatcher, and sub driver.  The employees all became family.  They were all very close to each other.  Tammy decided she wanted to become a nurse, so Rita her boss arranged that she could begin her classes and move her hours around according to her classes.  They were ALL SO SUPPORTIVE of her and her future plans.  Around the time she was ready to move on to the full time nursing school, First Student lost their contracts.  It was great timing for her.  On to Peoria and she enrolled fulltime in St Francis Nursing School…………..  Surprise, along came Carly……………….  But with all her support of family and her wonderful friends, she only lost 1 semester.  Rita even came and babysat Carly for the first few months.  What wonderful friends and family First Student were.   We had a Diaper Baby shower, and she received diapers for almost 2 years.  Amazing.  We all had our duties to help.  I did a lot of babysitting after work.  Tina was always their on call.  She took the kids a lot on weekends so Tammy could study, and Brandy and Scott had their evening also.  Brandy would pick Carly up from day care and Tammy would pick her up on the way home.   Betty’s Daycare, wow what a wonderful friend she was.  Betty was so good also.  She let Tammy leave Carly at many times whether it was really early and sometimes late.  Finally Tammy Graduated in May 2014 with her Bachelors in Nursing, and Cameron presented her with her diploma…..What an honor..

……Tammy Bergen BSN…..

Today we are all so Proud of her.   She has done this because she truly wanted it and strived to make it happen.  So much hard work.  Every time she hit a wall, she stepped back and picked up the pieces and continued.


Today she has a job at Mendota Nursing Home.    She loves it.  She loves helping people and all her co-workers love her.  We are all So PROUD OF YOU TAMMY……..It made everything we all did to help so so worth it, to see you                       “Happy”

…….You Achieved your Goal…….

…….Something only you could do for yourself…….


Happy Belated Easter To All…..lol……Our Day Trip to Boca Chica……

Technically our contract as Workampers is over, but we still are working, well Rich is….lol….  We are still here for a few more days, so why not. lol.  But last Thur. was a beautiful day and everything is so slow now, we took the day off and went to Brownsville.  Now if you look at the map, and find Brownsville, you will see the channel from the Gulf is called the Port of Brownsville.  It is where the salvage and ripping apart of the ships is located.  The highway on the north side is #48 and takes you to Port Isabel and Padre Island.  On the south side of the channel almost to Mexico is #4.  It dead ends after 20 miles into the Gulf of Mexico.  It is a desolate but beautiful drive.  So this was our exploration for the day.

We took the south route out of Brownsville, #4, also known as Boca Chica Highway. We passed a checkpoint but only have to stop on the way back.  Later I realized we were just a short distance from Mexico border.  Like probably a half a mile or less in spots.  As we drove down this road we could see the Port of Brownsville ship yards in the distance.  Such beautiful scenery.  With all the rain, the palm trees, grasses, and cactus are so green and healthy.  The land was full of greenery and also marshy.  As we made our way out we passed a small town called Boca Chica Village.  We would explore it later.  Two miles later we came upon sand dunes…..and then a sign the said………..”Pavement Ends”……….and it did…..lol

We drove through the sand dunes and the pavement ended, right into the Gulf of Mexico.   What a beautiful sight.  This is also Boca Chica State Park.  It is full of sand dunes and miles and miles of beautiful sand beach’s.  The County of Cameron had their city dump truck and endloader there.  They were pushing the sand back into the water.

The waves and tide bring the sand in and cover the road.  We drove past them and onto the beach and parked.  Several cars and trucks passed us as we sat their and drove down the beach into oblivion.  I got out and walked a little.  The water was a little cold but the sand was so smooth and pristine.  Just untouched.  The sound of the waves lapping the beach and the birds flying overhead was just so peaceful and beautiful.

Everytime you made prints, the waves came in and covered them up.  All the birds were flying and landing on the beach and enjoying the sun and the wind.  After a few minutes we noticed the waves were coming up higher and higher.  Rich was afraid the truck might get stuck…..lol….so we turned around and left.  So back we go to explore everything we passed on the way in.  First stop ……Boca Chica Village…..

It is the only sign of civilization in sight.  Its only off the highway about 2 blocks.  We drove in and made the left turn and this is what we seen.   A deteriorating road with 32 ranch style houses, some in good shape, but most also falling apart.  Each house had huge plastic drums of potable water.  The road had a Boulevard in the middle with palm trees, sago palms and cactus.wp-15857012587268251030452861575624.jpg

Upon checking the history of this little town, I found that it was built in 1967 by John Caputa, a Chicagoan property developer, and was initially aimed at working class Polish migrants.[3] Shortly after building a community of 32 ranch-style houses, and naming it Kennedy Shores, the settlement was devastated by Hurricane Beulah later that year, which destroyed the restaurant and public utility systems. Electricity was restored, but many of the homes did not have potable water even decades later.

In 1975, local resident Stanley Piotrowicz was voted in as town mayor, who renamed the village Kopernik Shores after Nicolaus Copernicus, and attempted to have the village recognised as an incorporated community, but this was denied. In 1990 and 2000, the population was 26 people.

As of 2008, only 6 people were permanently living in the village.  Today, only 2 families live their full time.  The rest are a mix of 13 renters and Winter Texans.  As we went to drive out of town, their was this beautiful Shrine on the corner sunk into a corner of planted overgrown long needle soft evergreen trees.

It was constructed with concrete and stone with bottles, colored glass pieces, and shells pressed in to decorate.wp-15857013242004911487407114451858.jpg

The  statue of Christ was in the middle with old colorful weathered flowers surrounding it.  So beautiful. Back to the highway we went.  This area is also full of history.  We passed several historical markers.  This area was where some of the last battles were fought of the Civil War with the Blue and the Gray.  The battlegrounds look just as desolate as they did back in the Civil War Days.

As we drove on there were several miles of cleared land.  Cleared of all trees, cactus’s and grass’s.  This is were they are building SpaceX.  SpaceX, started by billionaire and PayPal founder Elon Musk, is building the spaceport over 50 acres of privately-owned land at the end of Texas Highway 4 and be launch-ready in about two years. The complex, which will include a rocket launch site, launch command center and ground tracking station, will do up to 12 launches a year.  Right now it is only permited to do cargo launch’s.  The owner has hopes that someday they will do manned launches.wp-15857013557732306764980921722077.jpg

On down the road, we finally came back to the checkpoint.  The 2 Border Patrol agents stood on each side, and asked pleasantly but professionally questions as to where we had been, and where we were from.   I thought they might check the back of the truck as it was covered, but they didn’t.  So on we went, back into Brownsville.  We got on #48 which follows the Port on the north side and ends up in Port Isabel, by South Padre Island.  We passed the shipyards, where the ships were being scrapped, and next went to the Shrimp boat basin.  We had been in this basin full of shimp boats when we were on the Boat Tour.  It had a much better view from the boat.   On land it was much harder to see.  We did find a public access point were they sold shrimp, so we drove in and walked around.

The first boat I seen was Captain Bligh.  Rather Humorous I thought.

The water was so clear.  Right now is off season, their was a lot of maintenance going on…….We drove the rest of the way to Port Isabel, which was around 15 miles.  We passed many lagoons, water inlets and sand areas.  Some places, their were screens along the side of the road to keep the blowing sand off the road……Rich said it reminded him of the Salt Flats of Utah.wp-15857014817962359690532003041422.jpg

After we arrived at Port Isabel, we headed home for the 45 min. drive.    We had been invited to Deb and Ricks, the Park Managers, for Happy Hour at 4……..So we made it in time and enjoyed a beautiful evening under their carport, visiting with several neighbors watching the sun go down………wp-15857015144063655784002027790805.jpg

Now this is the way to end a day………This Is Retirement…………..lol…..