Thursday, July 30, 2015


On our way from The Villages to Miami, we stopped along the way to visit Lucy and Jerry.  It was a nice break from the car, with a nice meal and a chance to visit and catch up.  From there, we pushed on to Miami.

Once the car was unloaded (we left one in The Villages, it was nice to drive together), Ian and I noticed the mango tree in the back yard going bonkers with mangos.

The good news was that there were a lot of ginormous mangos, the bad news was that they were not close to being ripe - but that didn't stop Ian and I.  Fortunately, a kind neighbor (who let us use her pool) also had mangos, but hers were ripe (smaller, but ripe).

The kids had a very nice time with Chauncey and Nancy.  They went to the library together and did a bit of shopping together, as well as swimming with Nancy in the neighbor's pool.

I don't have too many photos of Chauncey and the kids, I like this one of him and Ian working the HAM radio.

What trip to Miami would be complete without a little kite-flying time?  Unfortunately the wind wasn't too cooperative, but that didn't stop Ian and Leah from having a good bit of fun.



Wednesday, July 29, 2015

More Florida

I forgot that I had some photos on my phone, so I figured I'd go back to Auburn, quickly.  We had a nice dinner with uncle David and aunt Lowell, and then walked around the campus just a bit.  I took this photo right outside Jordan Hare stadium, where Auburn plays football.

So, back to Florida.  Dad and Pam live in The Villages, which is a nice retirement community, complete with golf carts everywhere.  The kids really liked riding in them, especially since they could ride in the front.

We got to see most of the sites there are to see in The Villages, but I'm sure Dad and Pam could find more.  I think this was after a breakfast, and Leah had found a flowering tree somewhere.

We were treated to an airboat ride, which we all enjoyed.  We didn't see any alligators, the boat captain said the water level had been too high from a very wet year last year, so that the normal island which we would have seen was still submerged.  It was still a pretty ride, and a lot of fun on the way back when the captain opened up the throttle a bit and skimmed the boat left and right.

Next up, Miami!



Monday, July 27, 2015

Natchez to Florida

We spent two nights in Natchez, which gave us enough time to explore a bit.  I think Catherine enjoyed the restaurant she picked the first night, which was in a very old building, where they sold locally produced rum used in the drinks made by a mixologist.  The food was very good!

The next day we got out and toured the city a bit, to include some of the antebellum homes, and a few of the churches.  This home had only the basement that was finished, the other floors were pretty rough.

That night we were treated to a pretty strong storm - Mississippi knows how to make them!  Apparently the Mississippi was just below flood stage, expected to crest a day or two after we left.

From Natchez we drove across Mississippi and most of Alabama so that we could spend the night in Auburn.  It was pretty amazing how much the place has changed and grown over the past 20 years.  We met Catherine's uncle David and aunt Lowell, who drove in from Montgomery to see us, and had dinner at a place (Niffer's) where Catherine and I had gone many times when dating.

The next day we drove to The Villages, in Florida, to spend a couple of nights with my folks.  Dad and Pam rented an extra golf cart while we were there (the kids really liked riding in the Green Bay Packers golf cart, though!), and treated us to a very nice time.  One night we had a nice dinner down by the lake, followed by a three-hour tour.

Luckily, the tour had a much happier ending than the ill-fated "Gilligan's Tour".

Though we did watch this alligator attack a turtle, but the turtle got away.

All in all, a pretty fun night down by the lake!



Sunday, July 26, 2015

Resuming normal blogging...

The last time I blogged, Ian was on his way to summer camp with the Boy Scouts, and I was studying like mad for my comprehensive final oral examination for my master of health administration degree.  I am happy to say the Ian had a great time with the Boy Scouts, and I passed my exam (yay!!!!).

Since then we've travelled from Texas to Virginia, where we have settled down for a bit.  I've had my first week at work, which was nice but mostly just in processing stuff.  I'll be posting a couple of brief blogs about our trip, and try to get everyone caught up on what this version of the Skinner clan has been up to.

First, our story picks up where we left off...Ian at summer camp.  Catherine, Leah, and I were all supposed to make the hour trek out to see Ian, but since the movers pushed us back a day, Catherine was stuck at home to monitor the loading of all our worldly possessions into a truck.  Leah and I bravely pushed west, and found Ian at his campsite.  He was very happy to see us and show us around the camp where he'd spent the past week.  Leah and I got to have a scout dinner with Ian, walked around a bit, and then watched some of the closing ceremonies.

We left Ian with the Boy Scouts, returned home to "help" clean up the now-empty house, which took until almost 1 in the morning.  I was a tired boy, that is well past my bedtime! Ian returned home the next day a bit early from the Boy Scouts, so we rushed to the church to pick him up, loaded up both cars (we both drove separately - boo!!!), and made our way to Houston.  The hotel was hosting a birthday party immediately under our room, complete with DJ and a thumping booty-bass line.  Since that hotel was fully booked, we drove to the east side of Houston and stayed at a hotel there - much better!

We slept in a bit and then drove east, said a quick hello to Lamar University in Beaumont, continued across Louisiana, crossed the mighty Mississippi River, and stopped in Natchez, Mississippi for a couple of nights.

Natchez is a pretty, little, Southern town right on the Mississippi.  We had a similar view of the river from our hotel room, but there was a promenade along the river with the best views that we enjoyed.

Well, that's good for now.  Hope all is well with everyone.  Cheers,