It's been over 6 weeks since our last post because we haven't been doing much sightseeing since our first stop in Ohio's Amish country. After our last post, we returned to the Pittsburgh area for our originally-planned late-April visit. We had planned to stay 2 weeks, but we had to extend our stay a week because Paul needed some additional dental work. :( The good news is we got to spend more time with family. During this time, we traveled north of the city (for doctor appointments, visits, and for church) and back south to where Lora and J. Michael live 11 of the 21 days we were in Pittsburgh. Since the kids moved south of Pittsburgh, we rack up the mileage on the car for visiting our parents, friends, and keeping doctor appointments; but it's wonderful to be able to park the motor home on the gravel pad next to their garage, which is something we couldn't do where they used to live in the North Hills. The ability to leisurely visit back and forth is great. Actually, this campsite is super! The hosts are wonderful, the laundry room immaculate, the meals superb, and we even had a campfire with timely updates on the Penguins' playoff game with Philadelphia! During our stay, Paul worked on several projects around Lora and J. Michael's new home, we met former co-workers for lunch, and we shared a lot of meals with the kids as Margery and Lora traded off being sous chefs for each other. Lora and Margery shopped and and enjoyed doing "activities of daily living" together. Something that has become somewhat of a tradition is their "girl thing" they call "Tea and Toes." They start with a pedicure at Salon Vivace in Treesdale. Although their cost is a little higher than others, it is justified by the fact that the French pedicures can last up to three months. Here are Lora and Margery being pampered at the salon. Following the pedicure, Lora and Margery went to The Johnston House in Cranberry Township. This is Margery and Lora's favorite tea room for its delectable sweet and savory offerings, the gracious service, and the beautiful house and gardens. Paul finished upgrading the parking pad beside the kids' house. They had a nice gravel spot there where they park their trailer; but with having to park the motor home a few feet farther away from the house to allow room to walk and to open the entry and storage bay doors, the pad was a little too narrow and we left some pretty deep ruts in their lawn when we visited last August. A few days before the end of our last stay in Berlin, we asked the kids to have a couple of tons of gravel delivered and we drove the 100 miles from Berlin to Pittsburgh in our car to level the gravel and widen the pad a few feet. After we arrived a few days later in our motor home, Paul lined the newly-widened pad with landscape timbers and filled in around the edges with some leftover gravel. There were lots of additional projects as well. Paul did some repair work on the kids' trailer, installed a couple of new outside light fixtures, installed a new toilet in the master bath, cut some new wooden leveling boards for their trailer, helped J. Michael and his brother install a new roll-out awning over their deck, fixed the hanger for the hummingbird feeder, and more. One of the things Paul misses about full-timing is the ability to work on various projects around the house. He enjoys the satisfaction of seeing things working properly and of seeing the improvements completed. There are always a few projects around the motor home, but it's not quite the same. We left Pittsburgh and headed back to Berlin for a few days. Of course, we stopped (again) at Der Dutchman for the salad bar for dinner and for the breakfast buffet we love so much. We also made stops at Sugar Valley Meats for smoked beef jerky and ham loaf mix, at Winesburg Meats for beef snack sticks, and at Lehman's Hardware. Our second stay in Berlin was originally scheduled for 9 days, but it was shortened to 2 because of our extended stay in Pittsburgh for Paul's dental work. From Berlin, it was on to Caesar Creek State Park, a Passport America campground near Waynesville, OH for two weeks. Although it is very crowded on weekends and a little zooey on holiday weekends because it is so close to both Cincinnati and Dayton, it is still one of our favorite campgrounds. Being close to two large cities, it is primarily a weekend campground and it it is usually pretty quiet during the week. When we arrived Sunday afternoon, there were only two or three other RVs (other than the camp host) on our loop. The photo below shows the campground on Monday morning after we arrived... ...and the next one is the same view on Memorial Day weekend. The photo was taken fairly early in the morning before too many cars, bicycles, kids playing, and walkers were on the road. We have camped at Caesar Creek on Memorial Day and Labor Day for six years, and it is a good place to meet Lora and J. Michael now that we are full-timers, which is what we did this year. Lora and J. Michael arrived mid-afternoon on Friday and got set up. By early evening, the campground was essentially completely full. We hear on the news about people canceling trips because of the high gas prices, but since Caesar Creek is close to two major cities and since holiday weekend reservations need to be made far in advance to get in, most people showed up as planned. On Saturday morning, we headed to Der Dutchman Restaurant (sister of the one in Berlin) in nearby Waynesville for the breakfast buffet, then went to Traders World Flea Market a few miles southwest of Ceasar Creek. Traders World is a mostly indoor flea market; but on this beautiful, sunny day, there was a really good crop of outdoor sellers including a number of vendors some very nice hanging baskets, perennials, and flats of annuals. Lora and J. Michael bought a pair of beautiful hanging baskets of petunias for only $10 each. This was the first chance for Margery to do major walking (not fast-paced, but sustained walking AND standing) since her knee surgery. She did very well and only sat down a couple of times during the 2 hours we were there. Her knees held out so well that her feet started to hurt from all the walking. She probably should have worn tennis shoes instead of sandals. On Sunday, we went to the nearby Caesar Creek Flea Market. Of the several markets in the area, this is one of our favorites since they usually have a nice balance of new merchandise with the indoor vendors and used merchandise with outside vendors. This time, however, there were not many outside vendors in spite of the fact it was a magnificent day with bright sun and temperatures in the low 70s. Nevertheless, there was a good crowd of potential buyers drawn by the hunt for bargains. Although we always attend this flea market after a big breakfast and usually don't partake of their food (or "fair fare" as we call it), there is an excellent selection of "fair fare" with smells that are very tempting. The view below is looking toward the food vendors and the entertainment stage with a pretty decent bluegrass band. Again, Margery's knees did very well, especially since this was the second day in a row we did quite a bit of walking. We even rode our bikes in the evenings after the flea markets. We started staying over after holiday weekends at Caesar Creek until at least Tuesday even before we went full-time, so we could avoid the long lines at the dump station and so we could enjoy having the campground pretty much to ourselves again. Ever since Lora and J. Michael got caught waiting over an hour to dump several years ago (Caesar Creek has since built a second dump station to better handle the weekend crowds), they started doing the same. By Monday afternoon, there were only a few RVs left on our loop and we enjoyed the peace and quiet. Lora and J. Michael left on Tuesday and were the only ones at the dump station. As many times as we've been in this area, we never have visited the National Museum of the United States Air Force, which is located at Wright Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton. The museum was originally started as the Technical Data Section of the Engineering Division in 1923 at McCook Field. The museum was moved to Wright Field in 1927 and opened to the public in 1932. Construction of the first of the current museum buildings, which are designed to look like huge hangars, was started in 1970. The museum now includes 3 main buildings and an IMAX theater. The museum houses several hundred meticulously restored aircraft ranging from the first plane sold by the Wright Brothers to the U. S. Army Signal Corps in 1909... ...to the most recent, high-tech aircraft such as the B-2 Stealth Bomber... ...and the F-22 Stealth Fighter. The collection also includes numerous presidential planes (Air Force One) and many experimental aircraft. These are located in another area on the Air Force base and require a short ride on a shuttle bus. Unfortunately, we did all of our self-guided walking tour of the museum before we went to inquire about the shuttle, and it was already booked up until later in the afternoon so we decided to save that part of the tour for another visit. If you want to take the shuttle to see the presidential and experimental aircraft, sign up as soon as you arrive and fit the rest of the tour around your scheduled shuttle ride over to the base. There is also a guided tour of the museum available every day at 1:30 and a behind-the-scenes tour of the restoration area available on Fridays with advance sign-up. The aircraft are arranged in chronological order so you can view them in historical context. It's interesting to see how aircraft design has evolved over the years. You don't necessarily have to be an aircraft enthusiast to enjoy the Air force Museum. There are numerous displays of artifacts and photos giving the historical background of the various time periods represented by the aircraft from early flight, WWI, WWII, Korea, the Cold War, Viet Nam and Southeast Asia, all the way up to the present time. Many of the displays include not only artifacts and photos, but also a 3 to 5 minute video. Best of all, the museum is free, except for a flight simulator ride ($3.50) and the IMAX Theater ($6.00 - with discounts for seniors, students, and tours). The photo below Margery watching a video on dropping the atomic bombs on Japan. The plane is the B-29 bomber, Bockscar, that dropped the atomic bomb called Fat Man on Nagasaki on Aug. 9, 1945. A similar plane, the Enola Gay dropped the atomic bomb Little Boy on Hiroshima three days prior. Japan surrendered six days after the second atomic bomb was dropped. The display includes replicas of the bombs - Fat Man is the yellow one near the fuselage and Little Boy is the one to the left by the wing. Back at the campground, a few additional people came in on Thursday and a few more on Friday, but it was relatively quiet after the crowds on Memorial Day. On Monday, we will be leaving and heading west to the Escapees rally in Gillette, WY over the 4th of July and then on to Yellowstone.