Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Recovery from Embarrassment; Stone Mountain; Hilton Head, SC; Linus; Air Bag Problems; Porn??? Darien, GA; Home!

Okay, in our last post, My Lovely Bride (AKA "MLB" or "Suzanne") was mortified by the reaction she got from some (probably young, good-looking) redneck guys concerning her attire, but I digress... she recovered, and in the process of avoiding Hurricane Florence, we moved on southward. Somewhere along the way, we saw this door sign... frequent readers know my feelings towards lawyers. 

Another day's travel brought us to Stone Mountain, Georgia, and a beautiful campground only a mile from the monolith that has enormous carvings of Confederate heroes Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and Jefferson Davis. (Remember that I am a Southern boy at heart...) Coincidentally, I am now reading one of the classic histories of the War of Northern Aggression (AKA the Civil War, or the War of the Rebellion), The Civil War (1958, when historians were actually apolitical), by the brilliant historian Shelby Foote, highly acclaimed on both sides of the Mason Dixon Line (even the Gray Lady!, hard to believe, but back then, newspapers were relatively neutral). 

Our campground was in Stone Mountain Park, on a hillside, where I had total trust in MLB to guide me back into our designated site. Another 10 feet, and we would have been down the hill into the lake! (Newcomers to this blog may note that our coach looks much like a Greyhound Bus! But we are living aboard for 6 months each summer, and Suzanne has indicated that a 6x6 ft tent is unacceptable...)

Two days of kayaking and hiking later, we headed for Hilton Head, South Carolina, where we linked up with two of our dearest friends, Irene and Tony Vouvalides. We are linked spiritually to this lovely couple by our shared grief, having both lost beautiful daughters, our Susan and Irene and Tony's Carly. (In fact, today would have been Carly's 30th birthday). Irene leads the Hilton Head chapter of Helping Parents Heal, and is Vice President of that organization which does so much to bring healing and consolation to parents who have lost a child (and some more than one). 

While at dinner, this shrimper cruised by; the sight of her with the backdrop of Low Country marshes made me wish that we were closer to the water, instead of almost 100 miles from the ocean in The Villages, as nice as it is...

Linus was Carly's beloved Golden Doodle, and is the sweetest dog we have ever met. Gretchen still barks at him occasionally, but Rudy accepts him pretty well. Our mini Dachshunds can walk under Linus' belly without touching!

While in Hilton Head, I spotted this car with three stickers. (Note that the nearest military base is Parris Island, where young Marines enter into the service of their country at boot camp. The three blue stars on the one on the left indicates that the family has three sons or daughters serving in the military. The Marine Corps eagle, globe and anchor on the right is darn well self-explanatory. The sticker at lower right is hard to read, but has two parts; the left side with "Your Kids", and four figures; the right side, labeled "My Kids", also has four figures, with three holding rifles. Very impressive... I honor the entire family for their patriotism, sacrifice and service to our nation.

A weekend jaunt took us to Charleston, where Suzanne gave her "Your Emerging Soul" workshop to an enthusiastic group at Unity of Charleston. On the way back to Hilton Head, we experienced the first significant mechanical problem of our six month tour. Our coach uses air bags as a suspension system, instead of springs (because it weighs 23 tons!), and one had failed. (This photo is of the air bags on the back end of a semi tractor, the truck that pulls 46-53 ft trailers). They look like barrels, but are filled with compressed air to 125 psi.

Suzanne drove back to Hilton Head, and I limped into the Freightliner repair shop in Summerville for repairs. Tony drove up to Summerville and drove me and the puppies back to Hilton Head for a party at his house. I asked him to call when he was five minutes out. I got his call, "Ty, I'm in front of the porn store!" "What??? I don't know where the porn store is... Tony, are you sure they have those here? Summerville is a family-friendly town!"

36 hours later, we were fixed. Our technician, Eric, showed us the failed air bag support... 

Back "in battery", as Navy gunners say, we headed south another day and visited more dear friends, Mike and Beth Pasakarnis. Their son Wolf (Mike, Jr.) was killed by lightning like our Susan, and we are very close. They had recently moved from Mashpee, Mass, to Darien, Georgia. Here are Mike and Beth with some of Wolf's mementos in his room. (If you haven't read Suzanne's book, Wolf's Message, it is a winner!)

Another days drive brought us home to the Villages, in central Florida. It had been six months to the day, and 10,910 miles of driving, as far west as Scottsdale, AZ and Boise, Idaho, and as far east as Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada. Another great summer, meeting and helping many wonderful people along the way. We are enjoying sitting on our patio and looking at the live oaks behind our house...

In closing, I have one final story to relate; tonight I mentioned to Suzanne that I was taking our little mini-Dachshunds Rudy and Gretchen out; thinking that dinner was soon to go onto the table, she said, "Oh, I hope it's a short puppy walk..." I replied, "Well, duh... of course they are short puppies; their legs are only three inches long!"


  1. So glad to hear y'all weren't trying to fix the bus in a porn store. The mind boggles at the possibilities. �� It must be nice to be home after such a long journey. This is a great update. I hope you'll keep it up through the winter. xo

  2. Ty.... this is the first time I read your blog. You are hilarious....same humor as my husband Mike who was also in the military as a Marine Captain. They must teach a class in the military on "Military Humor for civilian life". Hope one day on your travels you visit Nashville TN and you can meet me and my "ball and chain better half". Tell your MLB(hilarious to call Suzanne this) that I am one of her "groupies". Read several of her books, attend her monthly seminars, attended a serving spirit class and now starting a Helping Parents Heal Support group - first one - in Nashville/Brentwood area. Would love for her to speak but most importantly having another guy with the same sense of humor for my hubby to hang with him. Can't wait to read your next month's blog. M&M

    1. M&M, Thank you for your kind comments. Looking forward to meeting you in Nashville if we can direct next summer's tour your way. Otherwise I may have to put MLB on a plane to Nashville... Tell your hubbie that we are fond of Marine Captains; anyone who survives the PLC or Basic Courses is a cool guy! Semper Fi! And thank you for starting the HPH Support Group. You are making such a difference in parents' lives.