Repair, Maintenance and R&R

Karen and I left the States on April 3 and did not return until June 20 traveling across the Atlantic on a repositioning cruise, a cruise around the western Mediterranean , 8 days in Portugal, a Viking River cruise of the Duro River and 3 weeks in Italy, followed by a fantastic Safari in Tanzania with our daughter and family.

WE NEEDED A BREAK!IMG_2634We returned to the back porch at 36 East Middle Street in Gettysburg for a two month stay. We also used the front porch as well, greeting our neighbors as they went to work each day.

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We also needed to do annual visits to doctors, dentists, hairdressers and of course our Gettysburg friends. We have both lived in this town longer than anywhere else so friends are very crucial.

Karen also got a new pair of eyes. Everyone gets cataracts if they live long enough; Karen did and the fine folks at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore fixed her up nicely!IMG_2671This was eye #1 yielding a 20/15 vision to her absolute delight. Number two followed two weeks later purposely set just a little near-sighted so she can now read menus without glasses.IMG_2639

After wearing the same set of clothing for roughly 2 1/2 months we visited our 10 X 10 storage locker and traded clothes so that we will look like different people on our next adventure. I was tempted to burn Karen’s raincoat.

It was also good to get back on our bicycles for the first time since February when we were in Florida.IMG_2714This photo was taken at a toll house along the Chesapeake and Ohio tow path which has been one of our favorite places to ride. This national park is a treasure that follows the Potomac River from Washington to Cumberland Maryland for 183 miles. One of our objectives on this visit was to complete two sections missing from our bicycling “curriculum vitae”. We achieved this and now have a contiguous 135 miles along this beautiful pathway.IMG_2717IMG_2708This is the site of a lime kiln used to produce cement for the construction of the canal and later produced some of the cement for the completion of the Washington Monument. This park owes its existence to the efforts of Supreme Court Justice William O Douglas who fought commercialization of the Maryland side of this scenic river.

We took several trips during our stay here, visiting a sister in Danville, Va and friends in the Philadelphia area. One of the really cool places we visited was the site of a tile factory which is now a state park called Font Hill.IMG_2705In Doylestown PA the founder of the Moravian Pottery and Tile works built this unusual castle to demonstrate the uses of decorative tiles to builders of the era. It was made entirely of concrete covered with thousands of tiles. The owner even set a fire on the roof to prove that concrete homes don’t burn down.

We also enjoyed our favorite walking areas; the Gettysburg National Military ParkIMG_2654

and the Ramble trail in Caledonia State park near Gettysburg.IMG_2663IMG_2664We really enjoyed the two months in Gettysburg and we were ready for our next venture…

Oh Canada!

 

 

BIRDS OF THE SERENGETI UNANTICIPATED DELIGHT!

873We were delighted to discover the beautiful array of birds in Tanzania. We expected lots of animals and startling vistas but never even thought about birds.

The intensity of the colors continued to amaze us. This Von der Decken’s Hornbill  found a grub for lunch.7161262We identified more than 60 species.

We have earlier mentioned flamingos but it was incredible to see hundreds of thousands of them.1049Three large lakes covered with them. They seemed to go forever around the lakes.

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Birds of Prey also abounded. This is the Augur Buzzard, much prettier than his name.

986Black shouldered Kite

1374Not all are pretty! This Marabou Stork takes the prize for ugly.

Some are spectacular! These crowned cranes are stunning.2376

This was a pair with two chicks.

 

 

 

1432This secretary bird struts proudly.

The rollers are very colorful; this is the lilac-breasted roller.
567When we returned home we learned that there are 1106 different species of bird in Tanzania. We had barely scraped the surface. No discussion of birds can be complete with an Ostrich. This is a male attempting to attract a girlfriend.

Elephants, Elephants, Elephants!

1399In so many ways this photograph captured our African Safari. Taken from the balcony of the fabulous Four Seasons Resort (where we stopped to use the restrooms) over looking the beautiful infinity pool with a herd of elephants drinking from the lake behind the pool. You may have to click on the photo and enlarge the dead center of the picture to get the full effect. This is the Serengeti and the elephants go where ever they please thank you!

They pretty much go where ever they wish. The Leading female; the matriarch is usually in front follow by the balance of the herd and the dominant male is in the rear.1274It is amazing how quietly they move considering how huge they are. 2462This was the dominant male who trailed the herd as they marched within 15 feet of the rear of our truck. We had watched them walking parallel to us and Robert decided to pull the truck ahead of their column and let them walk past us. We could hardly hear them moving except when the bull approached our truck he flared his ears and gave a toot from his trunk as if to say “that’s close enough guys”.

This nursing baby and his mother was one of many we saw.1208

2408This little guy followed us for a couple of hundred yards.12802464

The baobab tree provided a beautiful backdrop for this large female grazing in the tall grasses. She seemed to be particularly fond of an invasive member of the morning glory vine family.

There were adults, juveniles and babies in this grouping.1276

FABULOUS ANIMALS

1056In many ways this photo epitomizes our African experience ; wildly diverse animals utilizing the same space. We passed three large lakes where thousands upon thousands of lesser flamingos were feeding on the crustaceans that create their unique color. They reached from the shoreline perhaps 100 yards out into the lakes. At the same time wildebeest and  zebra were crossing. There were many examples of different animals mingling. Perhaps humans can learn something.

 1245Giraffe were everywhere! We saw them from the truck and also were able to walk fairly close to them before they got spooked and ran away. We discovered they walk by moving both legs on each side at the same time. One would not think they could keep their balance but they appear quite graceful for such tall animals.

1368We found quite a few pools with hippos cooling in the waters. These are actually very dangerous to man; they won’t eat you as they are vegans but they fiercely defend their territory.

1165Zebra often assume this pose as they watch each others back  for predators. We could tell that this was a colt with a mare as the stripes have not yet turned from the brown they are born with.

1116This was the mating season for wildebeest and we saw many challenges among the young males trying to impress the girls.

1111We felt very fortunate to catch this shot as rhinos are very rare and to see one with her calf was very special. This was from a very long distance which made the rhino and us very happy.

1044The warthog is an ugly thing that moves constantly across wide areas of the Serengeti. Whenever I saw one it made me think of a brand new corporate vice president running around trying to look busy and important.

1104Karen decided to do her own nature walk here, we had stopped for a restroom break and she could not pass up a photo-op. They did not seem to be the least concerned. I was a little bit!

1007No one likes hyena. Ugly, mean and vicious they usually attack the belly of their prey on the run and have been seen to eat the victim alive as he is running to escape.

A much more handsome predator is the black back jackal shown below:989He almost looks like you would take him home from the pound.

747This banded mongoose ran into the road as we we looking at a large herd of baboons that came down from trees and surrounded our vehicle. There must have been 300 of them.752749It was a bit frightening when they surrounded the truck but they seemed to be only curious.

766We saw herds of water buffalo that appear very benign but the only time we had a park ranger with a gun is when we were hiking to a waterfall near their herd. Wonder if they could mate with a Texas Longhorn?

647We came upon the remains of an elephant surrounded by hundreds of vultures. An eerie sight but necessary.

This is the other side of life watching a young grants gazelle nurse hungrily.

We actually saw a number of different nursing moms as it must have been that time of the year.

This posts was about the wide variety we enjoyed. The next post will cover ELEPHANTS!