"Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive." Anaïs Nin

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Monday, September 22, 2014

Oklahoma and Steampunk Chuck

When Gary and I first discussed our your across the US, he said we have to see his friend, photographer Chuck Coleman, aka Steampunk Chuck. 

Gary and Chuck Coleman

Sylwia Sobczak Coleman

Their boys friended B. Bear and entertained him playing games. When it came time to leave, Bear let us know he wanted to stay longer. He showed his appreciation to the Coleman Family by hugging everyone goodbye and thanking them. The Coleman's were incredibly gracious and hospitable toward us.

Recently, Chuck's work was recognized by the Library of Congress.

Here is a photo Chuck recently took of Mrs. America, Michelle Evans:

Mrs. America, Michelle Evans
Hair Extensions: Di Biase Hair USA, LLC 
Photographer: Chuck Coleman
MUA: Madi Taylor
Hair: Vikki Humann Parman
Light Crew: Morris Griffin Jr.
Cinematography: Jaclyn Church

Here is a video demonstrating what a unique experience it is to have a photo shoot with Chuck. Grab a bunch of friends and make it a "Big Girl's Dress Up Party"!   


Check out more of Chuck's work here, then watch the video below: Responsive Portfolio

Friday, September 19, 2014

Our Journey: Graceland, Memphis, TN

Today, we drove from Nashville to Memphis via I 40. We left around 10:00 this morning and arrived at Graceland RV park and campground ( http://www.graceland.com/visit/graceland_campground.aspx ) around 3:00.

We could not pass Memphis without visiting the home of Elvis. http://www.graceland.com

****see photos at the bottom of this post****

We are just 1 block's walk from the entrance to the tours, the private jets, and Graceland is across the street. We took tours of both planes, then hopped on a bus that took us across the street to Graceland. Though it is not pretentiously huge, as so many celebrity homes are today, it is spacious and tastefully grand for the era it represents.

The tour through the grounds are self guided, and there are iPads freely distributed if you wish to use one. I had my hands full with B. Bear, and Gary was busy taking photos, so we opted out on the iPads.  There were so many fascinating fixtures, decor and interesting rooms, B. Bear never once said, "I"m bored", which is rare for a 10 year old active boy. B. Bear hasn't had much exposure to Elvis as we have, so I'm quite pleased he went through the tour as well as he did. Someday, when he is older, he will realize the significance of the music culture of today's tour. He will be able to say we brought him here. I like knowing that.

There is a restaurant called Marlowe's ( http://www.marlowesmemphis.com ) that boasts, "Elvis ate here." Their gimmick is a free Pink Limousine ride to and from the restaurant. True to their word, the limousine picked us up right at our camp space, dropped us off, and then brought us home after we finished dinner.

The menu is strictly southern, and quite reasonably priced, and the service was outstanding. Thursday nights are Karaoke, but we were tired and wanted to come back and just chill. The showers here in the bath house are wonderfully hot and relaxing.

September is a wonderful time to come to Memphis and tour Graceland. Kids are in school, the tours aren't crowded, and it's not too hot to enjoy the weather. There are many mature tourists, and families usually had very young children in strollers. People from all over the world were here. We talked with people from Japan, New Zealand and Germany today

Our Pink Limousine ride to the restaurant 

The final resting place of Elvis in the meditation garden

The Jungle Room

This isn't double exposure-this is a mirrored stairwell.

Elvis' real hair color was light brown. He began dying his hair black because his favorite icons when he was a teen had black hair- Tony Curtis and Roy Orbison.

His parent's bedroom  

The first room on the right when we enter through the front door

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Our Journey: Nashville and the Farm

Today, Eric drive us into Nashville to "White Lightning" makers of the Alien Bees lighting equipment for photographers. Gary had been looking forward to dropping by and checking this place out since we began planning this trip.

"White Lightning" is an amazing facility. Paul C. Buff has an amazing assortment of his art on display throughout the facility. It is like walking through a museum. I did not take photos, because there was a notice asking us to refrain from photographing the art and the building. If you get a chance to stop by while your in Nashville, do so! Some of the art we saw today is posted on this page:   Modern Art by Paul C. Buff

Next, Eric drove us to Centennial Park. We walked around the pond, duck and pigeons in tow asking for food. We stopped and had a little snack while B. Bear ran around and expended some energy.  We continued our walk toward the life size replica of "The Parthenon".  I had no idea we had any such replica in the US, and even more surprised to find it in Nashville, Tennessee.

I see a lot of this side of Gary when he's hard at work.

The doors of the Parthenon

The side view 

As evening set in, we hopped back into the car and our next destination was Eric's daughter's farm in Carthage to take care of the dog, chickens, and Big Boy, an old gentle bull. While B. Boy went with Eric to feed the chickens, I sat on the porch swing enjoying the evening and the view. Gary suggested we go see what B. Boy was up to. A lone hen came up the step and started clucking at us. We opened the gate and followed her. She led us to where Eric and Brody were walking out to the henhouse and pen across the field.

B. Boy enjoyed helping Uncle Eric feed the chickens.

B. Bear entertains Big Boy.

Here is a video of Big Boy and B. Bear having a stare down. Big Boy is gentle, old and never bothers anyone, especially those who come to feed him...but B. Bear doesn't know that...


For dinner, we stopped in at The Blue Moon near the Tennessee State Fair grounds. Along the hallway of the Blue Moon are autographed photos of Minnie Pearl, Johnny Cash, Payton Manning, John Wayne, and various other celebrities. I tried southern style okra for the first time and I LOVED it!! The smoked chicken was absolutely delicious.  Check out their page: Blue Moon, BBQ

There was a clown coming to each of the tables talking to everyone and handing out balloons contorted into various twists and turns shaped like animals and hats. I saw that Brody looked very confused when the clown was talking to him. Eric told me that Brody couldn't understand the gentleman's thick "Tennessee twang" and didn't understand what he was asking him.

Gary "clowns" around with the clown at Blue Moon BBQ in Lebanon, TN 

 It was hard for me, too. I ran into the same issue in Virginia. I explained to Gary that while I could hear, I could not understand what I was being asked. Gary said, "Don't feel bad, I can't either. It's a thick southern dialect." 

I'm sure our dialects sound just as odd to them, as well.

September 16, 2014: Our Journey Begins

We left Mount Joy yesterday around 3:30 pm. Gary got the car dolly hooked up to the RV and we are on our way.

We took 81 through Maryland and West Virginia and Virginia.

We spent our first night on the road in Harrisonburg, Virginia.

I was exhausted from all the packing these past few days and really looking forward to climbing into bed. Did I say “climb”? Good. Because it would take a skilled climber to make it up on top of the master bed if you have short legs like me.

The sleeping bags we put over the sheets have shiny, slippery material on the outside. I kept slipping off the edge of the bed each time I attempted to get up in there. Gary had to come help me up by grabbing my feet before I slid back down off the mattress and pushing me up. I was laughing so hard, it's a wonder B. Boy didn't wake up.

One never knows what one will see along the way. I caught this gorilla waving his banana at us as we sped by along a country road. 

We stopped and toured the Natural Bridge in Virginia. It was a gorgeous morning on the trail. We walked all the way down the trail to the bridge then onto the Monacan Indian village and beyond that to the end at Lace Falls.

B. Boy found a peculiar looking rock that looked like a goblin's nose. He started getting silly with other hikers on the trail trying to scar them with it.

Along the way, we saw a beautiful blue Heron take flight and it flew up along the creek just above the water. When I got near the falls, B. Boy found 2 caterpillars and tried to take one home. He didn't get very far on the trail when I saw him talking to other tourist. I walked up to them and asked them if he was showing them his “goblin nose Rock”. They said no it was a Catapillar.

I had to explain to him that once again he could not take creatures from their habitats away from their families. That they need to stay with the families where they live so they can grow and have babies and populate the earth with more creatures like themselves..

Gary set up the timer on the camera so that we could have photos of ourselves with the waterfall behind us. He got some lovely photos along the way. I love traveling with Gary because he likes to take photos and enjoy the areas, not just race through one place and the next. I really like that. I enjoy spending time enjoying the moment and taking it in.

After we left the Natural Bridge in Virginia we continued on through the day towards Eric's house in Mount Juliet, Tennessee. It was a beautiful drive, though incredibly long. 

I'm amazed at how long and how far we drove the motorhome today. I understand now that it has about a 50 gallon tank. The car is doing well on the tow dolly, we just have to make sure we stop all the time so the straps can be tightened and whatever else Gary needs to do to make sure it's all in place.

It was really good to finally arrived at Eric's. He looks good, and it's hard to believe it's been five years since we have seen him. 

Gary took photos, too! check out his Natural Bridge album at https://www.flickr.com/photos/hipfotoguy/sets/72157647717954125/