A day in the life of…

a work camping wife, mom, and gramma on a family vacation… continued ( and finished)

This will be the last post in this “series”  since we’re back to work camping and looking forward to planning another family trip sometime. Actually, next time we’re hoping our sons and their wives make the plans. I do want to post a few more pictures from the Washington DC area and talk a little more about the visit.

The first two pictures here are from the Korean War Memorial.  Even though all the memorials are impressive, to me, this is the most impressive memorials one.korean memorialkorean memorial 2

This memorial is actually called The Korean War Veterans Memorial.  It’s near the Lincoln Memorial and wasn’t dedicated until July of 1995. 36,574 Americans died in this war that lasted from June 1950 to July 1953. Over 103,000 were wounded.   There are 19 stainless steel 7-foot tall statues representing an advance party made up of  14 Army, 3 Marine, 1 Navy and 1 Air Force members. They’re standing in some bushes that are to symbolize the Korean rice paddies. When you look at them you can see they are wearing ponchos that partially cover them and their weapons and gear.  As you walk around the statues, it’s almost an eerie feeling when you notice, there is not a place you can walk by that at least one of them is looking at you.

Beside the field of statues is a wall. This wall is made up of pictures collected from the National Archives of faces of troops from the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard.  If you look closely, you’ll see there is also a picture of a dog on this wall. The wall is made of black granite. Because of this it is very reflective and makes it appear that there are 38 statues which represents the 38th parallel and the 38 months the war lasted. And, if you look at the wall from a distance, it also looks like it is reflecting the mountains of Korea.  The 38th parallel is the dividing line between North and South Korea and was a major issue in this war.

On the other side of the statues is a walkway on which are engraved markers that list the 22 nations that contributed troops to the United Nations efforts in the Korean War.

A Pool of Remembrance is also located there and memorializes those KIA (Killed in Action), WIA (Wounded in Action), MIA (Missing in Action), and POW (Prisoners of War).

Because of time and space and the fact that details about all the memorials can be found online, I’m going to post the pictures and briefly tell about some of the other memorials we visited.

washington monument  This, of course, is a nighttime picture of the Washington Monument.  When I was young, my father was stationed at Andrews Air Force Base, near Washington DC and I was able to visit DC a few times while he was stationed there.  On one of the visits to DC, we got to climb the steps inside to the top of the monument and look out the windows.  I don’t remember exactly now how many steps there were, but there were a lot.  People on the way down gave us encouragement on the number remaining that we had to climb.  On the walls, inside the monument are historic murals and carvings.  Apparently, through the years, some people decided what they had to paint on the walls or carving their initials into these displays was much more important than saving these historic treasures and the public was no longer allowed to climb the stairs.  Years later my family was able to visit DC when our kids were young and we were able to ride the elevator to the top of the monument and look out the windows.  Since then, we’ve been to DC a few more times, and due to some sort of construction or repairs, we’ve not been able to get inside. This last time, we couldn’t even get real close.  If you do get to see the monument close up, you will notice that so far up there is a difference in color. This is because construction was temporarily stopped during the civil war period.

Lincoln Memorial.lincoln in the memorial These two pictures are from the Lincoln Memorial. There are lots of steps to climb in the front of the memorial and you get a beautiful view from there.  This monument is on one end of the Reflecting Pool and you can see several others from there.  If you cannot climb the steps, there is a lower entrance where you can go in and take an elevator ( which happened to be out of service when we were there ). You can also visit the restrooms there and see a few displays.  It took me several visits to notice this lower level as well as the gift shop on the upper level.  You can google the Lincoln Memorial for more historical information about the monument as well as information on the typographical error in the writing on one of the walls.  No spoiler here. You’ll have to find it for yourself.

FB_IMG_1529335142276 It was hard to get a good picture of the Capital Building. This is one that we took.  This was the first time, I was aware that they offered guided tours of the Capital.  The tour lasts about an hour and includes a short visit.  It is worth the time to do this. But… as most of us do, we carry a backpack or bag of some sort when we plan on spending the day in DC with drinks and snacks.  You cannot take any food or drink into the Capital building.  So if you want to visit it, be prepared for that.  Also, although you do not HAVE to have a reservation it’s better if you do.  They only take people without reservations after those with reservations get in.   It’s even better if you know you are going to DC to contact your congressman and ask for a visitor pass.  That will get you in areas not included in the tour.

vietnam statuevietnam wall  These two pictures are the Vietnam Memorials.  Most everyone has heard about or seen pictures of the wall. And many, unfortunately, know of someone whose name is on the wall.  The nearby statue, known as the Three Soldiers or Three Servicemen was designed to complement the wall by depicting warriors from that war.

Something you may not know about the Vietnam Wall is that it originally contained names of 57,939 American servicemen believed to have died during that war.  But, names are still being added to that wall and in 2012 it was up to 58,282.  The increase is due to those who have died since the war due to illnesses or wounds sustained during the war.   Of course, certain criteria has to be met for this to happen.   There are also some survivor names on the wall that were chiseled in in error.

I think this is enough about DC, but I do want to encourage those of you who read this to visit our nation’s capital.  There is so much to see and do and almost everything you would want to see is available at no cost.

Well, we’re back to work camping for a while now so the next post will be about my new adventures and learning experiences working in Activities.   Take Care.

 

 

 

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6-21-18 A day in the life of…

… a work camping wife, mom, and gramma on a family vacation… continued

As you know, we made it to the Pohick Bay Regional Campground.  I want to take just a few minutes to talk about campgrounds, setting up and etiquette.  When an RV pulls into a campground, we always hope for the most level site we can get. Most of the time some leveling still needs to be done. We were happy with the site we got, it was one of the more level ones we have seen. I’m going to talk about a motorhome this time. We’ve had a pop-up camper and a travel trailer before and it’s a little different getting them set up.  With this motorhome, once we get it backed in and know we are close enough to the water, sewer, and electric, we look to see where the levelers will come down and put either 2×6 boards or these square plastic lego looking things under where they will go down or we use both. This helps with the leveling as well as not sinking into mud or gravel.     leveler 

 Then we hold still and while the motor is still running, push the button and the levelers come down and level the motorhome automatically.  Next, Dave usually, well I think I mean always, opens the compartment where the water sewer and electric hoses are and connects them.   We keep disposable gloves in those compartments for this purpose.  Our motorhome operates best on 50 amp but can use 30 if necessary.  We need to be sure to ask what’s available when we reserve our site. Some places don’t have 50. The electric posts usually have both so we choose the 50 amp. Sometimes the box isn’t turned on so you have to flip the switch.  Then the garden hose, we bring, gets hooked up to the water spigot and the sewer hose gets pulled out. We have supports for that hose, so it gets spread out and the hose placed on it. There are connectors that need to be screwed on each end. One connects to the R V and one connects to the sewer outside. r v sewer

There are videos and blogs with details on exactly how to do this. Once I learn more about doing it, I’ll share links to some of these blogs or websites.  Once this is all done and the electric is connected we push the buttons to put the living room slide out and the bedroom slide out. This gives us quite a bit more room inside. There are RVs out there that have multiple slide outs, but we just have two. Then we put the chemical down the toilet and down the sink. This helps for dissolving matter and keeping the odors down in the black and gray tanks.  Black is for the toilet. Gray is the sinks.

Most everyone at campgrounds have chairs and coolers and toys and rugs and whatever else they set outside their campers. As long as we’ve been camping we’ve never had anyone bother them. But you never know for sure so it’s not a bad idea to bring in or lock up anything you really don’t want to lose. We almost always keep the compartments and the RV door when we leave for the day.

Also, it’s important to be considerate of others. There’s a time to quiet down at night.  At this last place, the neighbors across the street were partying loudly until 1-2 AM  the first night and got shut down by the ranger around midnight the second night.    No one wants to listen to your loud music, laughter or shouting at that time in the morning.

If you make a mess, or the trash you left out the night before gets visited by critters during the night, pull out your disposable gloves and clean it up. It smells and looks bad.

And, be safe.  Teach kids not to play around the fire ring.  Don’t use your 3-gallon gas can to start your campfire.

That all said we started the next day touring D C.  Our kids were able to go in the day before we got there, so they were already more familiar with getting to the Metro station and buying the passes.  We didn’t pull our van with us this time so we needed a ride to the Metro the first day. We rented a car from then on.   When you get to the Metro station, there are vending machines where you buy your pass. The pass costs $2. Every rider has to have a pass, except if they’re under age 5, I think it is. Then you add money to your card.  We started with $10 on each card.  This was enough to get us downtown and back and to get out of the parking garage we had to add about $5 more to one of the cards.  You cannot use money from one card and finish it with the balance on another card. So if you get good at this, you can figure out how much it will take you to get where you want to go and back and out of the garage and not have a balance left. We weren’t that good.  We ended up the last day with $3 on one card and $2.95 on another.  We gave it to the Enterprise driver that took us back to the campground after we dropped off our rental car.  There are maps everywhere to help you get where you want to go.Image result for d c metro map

First, you have to determine where you are, then choose what you want to see first.  You’ll be able to tell from the map what color metro line will be best to get you there and you’ll know where you want to switch lines.  Pay attention to the stop you want as well as the name of the stop at the end of that line. When the train comes in it shows the train color and the name of the end of the line stop. That helps you pick the right train going in the right direction. Once you get on the train, then you listen and watch the board for your stop coming up and get off there.   You have to tap your card on the gate when you enter for your train and again when you get off. This determines how much money comes off your card.  If you don’t have enough left on your card, there are places to add more money.  When you exit the Metro parking garage, make sure you have at least $5 on your card, because depending on the time of day, it can cost up to $5 to get out.  You tap your card on the sensor there too.

Before we left for DC, my sister had made us all family T-shirts. They turned out so nice.  Here’s a picture of the back side of them. IMG_20180614_105334106

She put all our names on the front.  I’ll check with her and if she wants her info posted,  if so, I’ll do that and you can see if she can make you some too.

One of the first places, I wanted to go was to Arlington National Cemetery. The Metro does go to Arlington National Cemetery, but we chose to drive. Family members can get a pass so they can drive directly to the grave site. If you don’t have a pass you have to walk.  But, after you leave the grave site, you have to go to the parking lot and walk to wherever else you want to go.  There is no parking elsewhere.  Getting out of the parking lot is a little different because you have to pay in the visitor center, they do something with your ticket and you have 20 minutes to get back to your car and leave the lot.

Dad was buried there 2 years ago in September and we hadn’t seen the gravestone yet.  While we were there we also visited the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  Here are some pictures of Arlington.

IMG_20180613_102635063_HDR  Dad’s gravestone

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Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

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Another one at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

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We saw this while we were in the cemetery.

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Dad was in the Air Force. The spires in the background are part of the Air Force Memorial.  That can be seen from Dad’s grave.

The next post, I’ll put pictures from the sites in the city and from our campground.

 

A day in the life of…

… a work camping wife, mom, and gramma on a family vacation

There’s so must to write about this time and so this doesn’t go really long, I’m going to divide it up into several posts. Our family is geographically divided up so much we don’t get to be together that often.  Getting together at holidays is a rare occasion, so I’m happy whenever we can get together and I usually try to find some way to arrange that.  About 6 months or so ago, I started thinking about where we could go as a family that would be interesting, fun and not cost a fortune.  We’re living in our motorhome, with enough beds for more people, and younger son has a travel trailer so I thought about camping together. I found a nice campground near Washington D.C. that had nice facilities and that had two sites left that were side by side. I booked those two sites almost immediately.  Our older son decided for this trip, they may want to stay in a cabin instead of in the camper so he booked a cabin for him and his family. Turned out this was a good thing.  Here are a couple pictures from the campground website.

 

 

 

From the campground where we are working in Hillsville, Virginia,  it’s a 4 hour 45-minute drive to the Pohick Bay Regional Campground in Lorton, Virginia.  It ended up taking us a day and a half and here’s why. We “readied the camper” and started out in plenty of time. We even added some propane to the tank and picked up a few M&Ms for the road trip. “Reading the camper” means, taking the pictures off the wall, securing everything, unhooking the water, electric and cable, and bringing the slides in.   I think we got on the road about 9 or 9:30 AM.  It took us about 15 minutes to get to the interstate and about 10-15 minutes later, the tread came off the front tire on the driver’s side. We got the camper off the road and parked in a gas station near the exit.  Since we have AAA for the motorhome, we called them right away.  4 hours later, they still couldn’t find a tow truck to bring us in.  We are much better about not getting unreasonably upset in situations, so we waited and waited, but also called them several times to see what was going on. They kept asking where we were, what towns we were close to, and once we even had to send pictures of the motorhome.  Here’s a picture of Dave not getting upset.

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Finally, I got on my phone and started asking for tire companies in the area. We didn’t have a spare to put on. We needed someone to bring us a tire and put it on. Within 40 minutes,  Thompson Tire from Pulaski Virginia came and put on a new tire for us and had us on our way.   We got back on the interstate and made it down to the next exit 3 miles away.  It was probably about 1 mile after we got back on the interstate Dave noticed the heat gauge maxed out at hot. He made it off the interstate to a closed business parking lot. Since we had so much luck with AAA ( note the sarcasm ) we decided not to call them again.  I got on my phone and asked for “mechanics near me”. Tannahill in Christiansburg, VA came up. I was able to get in touch with them and the person who answered the phone was in the area on a parts run.  He stopped by and found that the tire tread that came off had put a hole in the radiator.   He called back to the shop and had one of their 2 tow trucks come out and pull us in.  Note that they had 2 tow trucks and were only 3 miles away from where AAA couldn’t find any.  Needless to say, we are not very happy with AAA right now.

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I think it was the drive train underneath the motor home they had to unhook so they could tow it without ruining anything.  That’s something I didn’t know.  Dave probably did.    It didn’t take very long for them to do this and get us towed back into their shop.

Once we got there, they looked at it more.  Our motorhome has a Ford Engine engine. Tannahill found and ordered a radiator from the local parts department but couldn’t get it until the next day.  They have arrangements with the local Comfort Inn that’s within walking distance from their shop for a special “Tannahill rate”.  So we gathered up some clothes and hygiene items, and of course my skin care products and makeup, and walked to the Comfort Inn.  It was nice and our special rate was only $60 plus tax. So, it could have been worse.  In the meantime, they re-connected the drive train and started removing the damaged radiator.  By then, it was almost 4 PM.  We should have been checked in and set up at Pohick Bay by then instead of staying at the local hotel.  So by renting a cabin, they had a place to sleep that night.

It was probably 3 pm the next day before we were able to take off again. We made it there with no further problems and the rest of the time got to enjoy our sons, their wives and our grandchildren while we toured D C and enjoyed the campground.

I’ll talk more about our travel to and from D C, using the metro, the city and I’ll post a few pictures in the next post.

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A day in the life of…

… a work camping wife, mom, and gramma on a family vacation

There’s so must to write about this time and so this doesn’t go really long, I’m going to divide it up into several posts. Our family is geographically divided up so much we don’t get to be together that often.  Getting together at holidays is a rare occasion, so I’m happy whenever we can get together and I usually try to find some way to arrange that.  About 6 months or so ago, I started thinking about where we could go as a family that would be interesting, fun and not cost a fortune.  We’re living in our motorhome, with enough beds for more people, and younger son has a travel trailer so I thought about camping together. I found a nice campground near Washington D.C. that had nice facilities and that had two sites left that were side by side. I booked those two sites almost immediately.  Our older son decided for this trip, they may want to stay in a cabin instead of in the camper so he booked a cabin for him and his family. Turned out this was a good thing.  Here are a couple pictures from the campground website.

 

 

From the campground where we are working in Hillsville, Virginia,  it’s a 4 hour 45-minute drive to the Pohick Bay Regional Campground in Lorton, Virginia.  It ended up taking us a day and a half and here’s why. We “readied the camper” and started out in plenty of time. We even added some propane to the tank and picked up a few M&Ms for the road trip. “Reading the camper” means, taking the pictures off the wall, securing everything, unhooking the water, electric and cable, and bringing the slides in.   I think we got on the road about 9 or 9:30 AM.  It took us about 15 minutes to get to the interstate and about 10-15 minutes later, the tread came off the front tire on the driver’s side. We got the camper off the road and parked in a gas station near the exit.  Since we have AAA for the motorhome, we called them right away.  4 hours later, they still couldn’t find a tow truck to bring us in.  We are much better about not getting unreasonably upset in situations, so we waited and waited, but also called them several times to see what was going on. They kept asking where we were, what towns we were close to, and once we even had to send pictures of the motorhome.  Here’s a picture of Dave not getting upset.

IMG_20180611_125034489

Finally, I got on my phone and started asking for tire companies in the area. We didn’t have a spare to put on. We needed someone to bring us a tire and put it on. Within 40 minutes,  Thompson Tire from Pulaski Virginia came and put on a new tire for us and had us on our way.   We got back on the interstate and made it down to the next exit 3 miles away.  It was probably about 1 mile after we got back on the interstate Dave noticed the heat gauge maxed out at hot. He made it off the interstate to a closed business parking lot. Since we had so much luck with AAA ( note the sarcasm ) we decided not to call them again.  I got on my phone and asked for “mechanics near me”. Tannahill in Christiansburg, VA came up. I was able to get in touch with them and the person who answered the phone was in the area on a parts run.  He stopped by and found that the tire tread that came off had put a hole in the radiator.   He called back to the shop and had one of their 2 tow trucks come out and pull us in.  Note that they had 2 tow trucks and were only 3 miles away from where AAA couldn’t find any.  Needless to say, we are not very happy with AAA right now.

IMG_20180611_151346438_HDR

I think it was the drive train underneath the motor home they had to unhook so they could tow it without ruining anything.  That’s something I didn’t know.  Dave probably did.    It didn’t take very long for them to do this and get us towed back into their shop.

Once we got there, they looked at it more.  Our motorhome has a Ford Engine engine. Tannahill found and ordered a radiator from the local parts department but couldn’t get it until the next day.  They have arrangements with the local Comfort Inn that’s within walking distance from their shop for a special “Tannahill rate”.  So we gathered up some clothes and hygiene items, and of course my skin care products and makeup, and walked to the Comfort Inn.  It was nice and our special rate was only $60 plus tax. So, it could have been worse.  In the meantime, they re-connected the drive train and started removing the damaged radiator.  By then, it was almost 4 PM.  We should have been checked in and set up at Pohick Bay by then instead of staying at the local hotel.  So by renting a cabin, they had a place to sleep that night.

It was probably 3 pm the next day before we were able to take off again. We made it there with no further problems and the rest of the time got to enjoy our sons, their wives and our grandchildren while we toured D C and enjoyed the campground.

I’ll talk more about our travel to and from D C, using the metro, the city and I’ll post a few pictures in the next post.

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A day in the life of ….

A work camping tourist

It’s been a little slow, for us, this week at the campground.   I work in the store and taking reservations and they had enough people to work so I was only scheduled for two days this week. . Dave works maintenance. He has developed a cold, so since he wasn’t feeling that well, he took off half of today and all of tomorrow.

We found a pretty cool place to go in Galax, pronounced Gay-lax, Virginia last week and went again this week.  Blue Grass / Mountain music is very popular in this area. They have lots of festivals and music venues that draw people in from all areas, even some from several states away. The  Rex Theater is a historic old theatre in downtown Galax and every Friday night the local radio station, WBRF 98.1 FM broadcasts the music from the Rex stage.  Their website says it’s a 100,000-watt station and can be heard in 5 states and also on the web.  The show is called Blue Ridge Back Roads.   The theater is 70 years old and has a comfortable old time feel to it if that makes sense. The seats are cloth and comfortable and they have wooden armrests.  There’s a hole for drinks cut in the armrests but it’s too large for the canned soda and bottled water they sell in the concession stand. When they give you your drinks, they also hand you a plastic cup. You set the cup in the hole in the armrest, place your drink in the cup and voila, it won’t fall through the hole. Thoughtful and easy solution to what could be an aggravation.  The light colored wood floors just add to the character of the theatre. Prices may change at some time, but right now, it’s $5 a person and the drinks and popcorn at the little concession stand are a dollar.

We went last week. The performers for that night were the VW boys.

vw boys

Unfortunately, I didn’t take notes about them last week. But I did pull a little information on them off the web.  We really enjoyed listening to them. They played banjo, guitar, and bass.  The humor they added was so funny and clean.  A nice change from a lot of comedians today.   You can find them on the web under Mountain Roads Recording  -VW Boys. Their names are Tim White, Dave Vaught and “Fat Albert” Blackburn.   Tim is the banjo picker and the baritone singer. Dave plays guitar and has 9 albums to his credit. He has also entertained as a magician.  Albert is also a fine singer and plays the bass.   I understand that they played some of the same venues, eventually decided to join together and have been playing together for several years now.  Either together, or separately they’ve performed on some pretty big stages including the Kennedy Center and the Grand Ole Opry.  You can find out more about them on www.Mountainroadsrecordings.com. Picture of them is above.

Tonight, we went back again. This time was a little different. For one, it was on a Thursday. The big Houston Fest starts tomorrow. Since that draws such a large crowd and the radio station and Rex Theater sets up there, the performances at the theater were scheduled for a Thursday this time.

This time I took some notes, but I’m sure you can find information about these entertainers online as well.

We learned about J.A.M.  This is an organization focused on helping young people learn about and perform mountain music.  It stands for Junior Appalachian Musicians.   There was a young fiddle player.  I think she looked to be about 10-11 years old. She played one tune very well for us.   Then there was another young lady that had an awesome voice and sang one song for us. Four other young people followed her. The young lady played the fiddle, a young man played the mandolin, another young man played the guitar and the fourth young man played the bass. They all sang and they did a couple songs for us.

The shows last two hours and have a 10-minute break halfway through. After the JAM entertainers, Wayne Henderson and Presley Barker played for us.  They did what they called “flatpicking” which according to Wikipedia is playing the guitar striking the strings with a pick instead of your fingers.  Something else I learned tonight.  I don’t know their ages but Wayne was obviously older and stated he’s known Presley since he was a young child.  Presley looked to be somewhere around 17 years old.  Couldn’t really tell. A  picture of them is below.  They played the first half of the show and were followed by three young men called the 3 Heath Brothers.   From what they said on stage, I learned that Wayne has been making instruments for somewhere around 30 years; maybe more.  He’s made guitars for people such as Ricky Skaggs and Vince Gill.  He’s performed in Carnegie Hall and went to Washington DC to be honored as the National  Heritage Award winner. We were told this was the highest folk music honor there is. Presley at his young age has received some pretty high honors as well.  He got the chance to “jam” with Ricky Skaggs and has been invited to play at the Grand Ole Opry.  We really enjoyed their music. The sounds that came out of those guitars and the speed at which their fingers moved across the strings was so impressive.  presley

After the break, the 3 Heath Brothers came out. The younger of these three are the twins, Christian and Clayton.  Their older brother, by two years, is Nicholas.  As they mentioned several times, none of these boys are old enough to drive.   These boys sang several of their songs acapella. Most of their songs were harmonies accompanied by recorded music At one time, Nick, a self-taught piano player, played one tune for us. A little later, the boys brought out their trombones and trumpets and joined by their dad played another tune for us.  The boy’s father is a pastor in North Carolina as well as being their driver and sound man.  Their mother, who at one time had 3 children in diapers, is the daughter of missionaries and spent her first 13 years of life living in Guatemala.  She’s the one who encouraged and taught her children to sing while they were very young.   Not surprising, since their dad is a pastor and their mother the daughter of missionaries, their performance consisted primarily of praise or worship music. These boys have very nice clear voices. They’re young and full of energy.  I expect that these boys will go far.  They also can be found online by googling 3 Heath Brothers.  I believe they said their facebook site has over 2 million hits. heath

Here’s a picture of the Rex Theaterrex outdoor

I tried to copy and paste some of the pictures of the inside of the theater but I couldn’t get it to work, but you can check them out at http://www.rextheatergalax.com

We won’t be going next week because we’re taking off and making a trip to Washington D. C.  I’m sure I’ll have something about that trip next time.

Take Care,

Robyn