Wedding on the Beach – St. Pete, Florida

DSC_0286.jpgThe main event of our recent Florida Vacation was our nephew’s wedding to his beautiful bride on the stunning beach at St. Pete, Florida, …a perfect day!

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A hint that something extraordinary was about to happen!
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Hmmm,
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Friends and relatives gathered.
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And as the wonderful ceremony proceeded, beach people watched…
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The event was awesome. The beautiful blessed couple shined in the late afternoon sun, and the people cheered and partied into the night.
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Thanks for viewing,  Comments are always welcomed. M ūüôā

Look Through My Window, To the Street(s) Below

Still “Winter Isolated” here in northern New Jersey, this morning I captured this image from our window, reminding me (obliquely?) of the classic Mamas and Papas song of forlorn love in the 1960s, here. And yes …those are still our trees in the foreground!

Thanks for viewing, and maybe even listening. Comments are always welcome. M ūüôā

 

 

 

The Great American Road Trip, (Part 1) – Day 1 and 2

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Day 1

Sunday, Aug. 13, 1967. AT 3:00 AM I picked up my friend Tom and we left our hometown of Bergenfield, NJ, headed west on Rt. 4 and beyond, to begin our 11 day, 7000 mile cross-country round-trip, buoyed on by the excited anticipation of what lies ahead – and soon noted hearing The Mamas and The Papas “California Dreamin'” playing on 77 WABC. ¬†Despite the late hour, we were wide awake and savoring the reality at last. With little to no traffic, reaching the $.10 toll bridge at the Delaware River in Easton, Pennsylvania took about 1-1/2 hours, now on Rt. 22 heading through the night to Harrisburg. About 265 miles from home, the Pennsylvania Turnpike took us through old railroad tunnels bored in the 1880’s under some of the ancient ridges of the Appalachian Mountains. Tom took the wheel at daybreak off I. 70, south of Pittsburgh after we took a short break, stretched our legs and put the top down. Shortly, we passed into West Virginia near Wheeling, and then over the Ohio River into Ohio on US Rt. 40.

Passing from West Virginia into Ohio over the Ohio River, about 6 1/2 hours, and 430 miles from home

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This is how it was, pretty much non-stop driving, one of us resting and sleeping (sort-of!) and the other driving and navigating generally in 6 hour shifts of about 300 plus miles. In the East, the Interstate Highway System was well under development, which allayed a faster and smoother but frankly somewhat lackluster aspect to this part of the trip. Our expectations were more focused on the West, with more intimate, older roads and the potential of new and more dramatic experiences and sceanery. As we drove to Columbus, then south-west towards Cincinnati, the right seat had been converted into a semi-comfortable lounge by removing the seat back bolts and leaning it backwards against the dashboard. Particularly when the convertible top was down, this afforded plenty of leg room Рover the luggage behind the seats, and onto the rear deck. We would quickly manage to switch the seat back and forth as desired.

Tom checking the map on Interstate 40 – an hour or two east of Columbus, Ohio. Good road, fast and smooth, but a little boring.

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About 700 miles in, we crossed the Ohio River again, out of Ohio and into Kentucky, taking the Blue Grass Parkway towards Elizabethtown. It would be 7:30 PM, north of Bowling Green on Rt 35 W before the first stop for local cheeseburgers, previously munching on mostly much appreciated girlfriend-supplied goods and snacks. Tom was driving now, after I had done the past 355 miles, and – we were still feeling fine, actually singing (if it could be called that) and otherwise enjoying the ever-changing AM radio stations along the way – particularly those with relevancy: Beach Boys, “California Girls;” The Rivieras, “California Sun.”

Leaving the Kentucky Turnpike. Tolls in Kentucky totaled $1.40 with some booths under overpasses.

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Soon, crossing into mid-Tennessee, I was reveling in the passenger “lounge” while the top was still down, and the reverse seat back cushioned by blankets and pillows. Staring up at the night skies, I was content – the car feeling “substantial” to me, and riding well. That’s a lot to say for a 12.5 foot roadster. I must have been overtired.¬†

We purposely passed through Nashville to see the city lights and buildings, but not stopping the momentum for actual sight-seeing. We chose to keep pretty much to our pace. It would be at a primitive I. 40 rest stop, about 100 miles east of Memphis when Tom pulled off and literally rolled out of the car onto the ground with his sleeping bag. I continued sleeping in the car, top up now, as we ended our first day at 12 Midnight, 21 hours and 1118 miles from home.

Waking well after the sunrise, 100 miles east of Memphis Tennessee, on Interstate 40

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Day 2

Monday, Aug. 14,1967. For some reason(!) we slept well past sunrise, the sounds of passing cars and trucks providing a lulling background to the sleep-deprived.¬†Wheels moving at 8 AM (CDT,) Reaching Memphis and the Mississippi River by 10:00 AM. Sign in city: “The Monkeeys are coming,.” ¬†“Hey, Hey we’re the Monkeeys,” and a quick stop before the bridge at river’s edge to see the riverboats. Arkansas was at the other end of the bridge, …and there, we were now west of the Mississippi.

The shoreline of the Mississippi River, across from Mud Island, Memphis

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Shortly after, we stopped for essentials: ¬†snacks, fruit…and fireworks! Gas was expensive, 12.4 US Gallons costing $4.70. Bobbi Gentry’s “Ode to Billy Joe” was playing on the radio just past Little Rock. At a brief stop at a little highway stand for sun tan lotion, a local woman commented about our “fancy car,” like it was from another planet.¬†

Poverty was apparent in some rural areas of Arkansas, and it seemed  some dogs were even given second class status.

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400 miles into this warm, sunny day we stopped to bond with the Oklahoma State sign, on I. 40

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And closer to Oklahoma City, the sight of oil wells became common, still on I.40

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It was about 5:00 PM CDT and we were now seeing the subtle changes in terrain and appearance of never before seen oil wells. Tom took the wheel in the late afternoon and would drive the rest of the day. I turned the seat back around and watched the road disappear behind us, exchanging waves to a NJ plated car as it drifted behind our 65 to 70 mph pace. A¬†little while later, we would meet and talk, and share stories with this driver at a small eatery on Rt. 66, just past Oklahoma City. Passing through the state capitol at dusk, was the unusual sight (for us,) of an oil well planted on the lawn, right in front of the State House. The TV show theme “Route 66” naturally came to mind frequently along here. Heading west after dark, this road would take us into the beginnings of the western plains, towards the Texas Panhandle. After a few more hours, we pulled over and stopped for the night at 1:30 AM CDT, on Rt. 66, completing a total of 750 miles today and about 1875 miles from home. We were in Oklahoma, 30 miles east of the Texas line. Tom preferred his sleeping bag at the side of the car while I “continued” sleeping in the car. ¬†The¬†real trip¬†would start in a few short hours.

 Day 3:  http://wp.me/p37YEI-DW  

The Great American Road Trip – Prelude

ImageMy friend Tom and I had traveled together before, but California was the real thing, the ultimate road trip, and the time was right. Summer breaks from college were ending; future obligations with military and careers were looming; and each of us were becoming more involved and closer with the girls who eventually would become our wives….and still are. The image¬†of Jeanne above was taken a few days before we departed, and would be in my thoughts constantly.¬†

My 1965 MGB had one more stop before Tom and I would depart Bergenfield, N.J. at 3:00 AM August 13th. That would be with Jeanne and I to the Forest Hills Tennis Stadium, (Queens, NYC) to see Simon and Garfunkel in what would become perhaps one of the most memorable concert mismatches of the 60’s: relatively quiet, thought provoking, folksy songs of the headline duo; opened by the almost¬†unknown, screaming loud, freaky, scary antics of Jim Morrison and the Doors – the latter having a bad emotional night and venting that with screeching and instrument smashing. Sitting high up in our $5 seats, we¬†shared the shock and stunned silence bestowed by the audience to the new group from California, which left Morrison to reportedly say “I want to kill this crowd!” (“Killing…” is a phrase he prolongedly¬†screamed out in their first number, “The End.”) ¬† Ironically, S&G came on shortly after with their iconic hit “Sounds of Silence!” (See a description of this iconic¬†concert here.)

Of course, the Doors would go on to become one of the premiere rock groups of the 60’s, of which I have long been a fan (Think: “Light My Fire.”) And Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel have left us with a lifetime of great music.¬†

Driving home after the show, I was psyched for the cross country trip to begin, starting in just 2 hours.

Below is the MGB as it looked, freshly cleaned the day before. Note it is actually British Racing Green, not black as photographically rendered.  

See Part One here.

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