Wednesday, January 06, 2016

December 1, 2015 - January 8, 2016 ::: Christmas Season in Madisonville

 
We returned to Madisonville Dec 1 and started preparations for  Christmas.  It doesn't take much time to decorate SONATA!
 
 
 
 
 
Madisonville is such a sweet little town on the Tchefuncte River with lots of  bay oak trees with Spanish Moss hanging from them..one of our favorite spots is the Abita Roasting Co where we sit on the front porch enjoying our coffee.


We enjoyed a fabulous lunch at Water St Bistro with Bonnie's cousin, Hank, who lives in Mandeville, which is the next town over, and spent a lazy afternoon reminiscing old times...so good to see him again. 


We took a road trip to Lafitte to purchase fresh Oysters, Shrimp and Crabmeat from a good friend of David's and crossed over  The Huey Long Bridge
 
 
Bonnie got to be grandma and help Rosemary make a Gingerbread House! 

 
Alan was nominated to participate for the Student of the Year Award....Proud parents, David and Susan!

 
Grandpa and Grandma Bonnie enjoyed playing "Grandparent Bingo" with William...sorry no winners!

 
We attended the Sounds of the Holidays concert at Madisonville Jr. High where Phillip attends and plays the tuba

 
Charlie celebrated his 75th Birthday Christmas Eve surrounded by all his little peeps! We also took
a "minute" to celebrate our 11th Wedding Anniversary! What was I thinking?

 
 
Christmas morning and everyone is anxiously waiting to open presents!


David celebrated his 46th birthday Christmas day...a busy two days!!!

 
Clayton and Grandpa fight it out in Rock, Paper, Scissors!
 
 
 
Sunday, Dec 27, we headed to New Orleans to enjoy a three day reunion with Charlie's brother and sisters.  Jackson Square, where we stayed, was full of holiday tourists and football fans.
 
 
From left to right..Mary Ruth, Dorothy, John, Barbara and Charlie..oldest sister Ann was unable to come
 

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We took a cable car ride through the Garden District and passed by Jane Seymour's home which was just outstanding with the large white lighted lanterns in the trees
 
 
Robert and Barbara treated everyone to a lovely lunch at Galatoire's
  
 
 
 
We headed back to SONATA for a short visit before everyone went home..We ate way too much wonderful food in New Orleans and really enjoyed our time together!
 

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

November 16 - December 1, 2015 ::: Thanksgiving in Virginia

 

 

Arrival in Virginia, Scott was most helpful in picking us up just after midnight in the early hours of the 17th.  Off to our condo for a few hours sleep.  First item in the morning was to get two vehicles running.  The 1999 Mercury started up right away.  The 2013 Ford ... was dead.  Had it towed to Ford for a new battery and safety inspection.  Next efforts, get ready for Thanksgiving just over a week away.  The preparation would begin in full force after a series of medical appointments, the dentist, and shopping. 
 

We borrowed a table and some chairs from the Admiral's Landing Condo ... set up the dining area for the arrival of all our guests.

 
 
We were fortunate to have the Land Family join us.  Ashley, above, was joined on the balcony by her friend Rob and other members of her family for a sampling of beer which Cam brought to share.
 

 
 
Rob, Cam, Ted, and Ashley on the balcony with the BAE shipyard showing up across the Southern Branch of the Elizabeth River from our location.
 
 
 
Jenine is taking care of two of Cam and Katie's children,  Sarah and Abby.  They appear to be making a sea-shell arrangement on the coffee-table, and doing a fine job at that. 
 

 
 
On Bonnie's side of the family:  Taylor, Brandi, Joyce, Rhonda, and Bonnie.
 

 
The Rood Family, Jonathan, Taylor and Brandi

 
 
The Burke Family:  Charlie, Bonnie, and John (Charlie's brother)


 
Taylor and Grandma


 
Judy, Joyce, Bonnie.  Two Grandmothers, and one Great Grandmother.
 

 
 
Sarah, Abby, mom Katie holding Rebekah, and Josh
 


 
Taylor (oldest grandchild)  holding Rebekah (youngest) 


Later in the day Charlie's two grandsons joined us and enjoyed a plate of Thanksgiving Dinner and visiting with Grandpa, Grandma Bonnie and with Uncle John.


 
Grandma Judy taking care of her grandchildren
 
 

 
Thanksgiving Dinner served


 
Moonrise over the BAE shipyard
 

 
The Norfolk skyline as seen from our Condo Unit #301

 
 
 

Saturday we celebrated Christmas with our Virginia and Tennessee families at Rhonda and Leslie's home
 

 
Charlie's son, Scott and his fiancĂ©, Fonda 
 
 

 
 
Jonathan, Brandi, MaMa and Bonnie enjoying the day.  Charlie and Taylor had plaid shirt contest! 
 

 
Our "Birthday Groupies" had a fabulous meal at Bravos celebrating everyone's birthday all at one time since we will be away for a year..such fun and wonderful friends!
 
 
We celebrated MaMa's 88th Birthday...YAY!!!
 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

October 27 - November 13, 2015 ::: Fort Loudoun, Tennessee, to Madisonville, Louisiana

From Fort Loudoun the trip plan to Chattanooga was revised due to the presence of a tug pushing six barges.  SONATA after refueling at the Fort Loudon Marina, some 400 plus gallons of diesel, remained overnight.  During the night the tug with its six departed the Fort Loudoun lock and headed south, the same direction SONATA was to travel.  We made the decision to pass the tug on its way to the Watts Bar Lock, however, we arrived at the Watts Bar Lock as the tug was working his barges down through the lock in multiple lockdowns.  The lock master allowed SONATA to lockdown while the tug was moving barges on the up side.  In order to remain ahead SONATA continued past the Watts Bar Lock on to Chattanooga ... arriving at about 2300.  The tug with its six barges spent the next day moving through the lock just above Chattanooga.  We would have had to wait for a day to finally make it to Chattanooga.

From Chattanooga SONATA then moved with haste on to a few stops between Chattanooga and Grand Harbor.  At Grand Harbor we remained two days and met up with MANANA to continue down the Tombigbee Waterway.
 


Departing Grand Harbor we had to wait for the fog to lift.  Once we could see 500 plus feet we were underway for Midway Marina.








On way to Midway Marina we went through locks in the fog and when the fog cleared to allow a pleasant journey to Columbus.


Prior to arriving in Columbus Charlie made a phone call to one of his college roommates he had not seen in ... many years.  Tom Coleman called back and Tom and his wife Francis McLean joined us for dinner in Columbus.  Francis and Charlie attended the first twelve years of school together in Jackson, it was a grand time for many walks down many memory lanes for the three. 


 
 




The phone booth that has been observed in the many trips down the Tombigbee ... remains along the riverside.  It remains "out-of-service"?  We had a beautiful white egret follow us along the way down the river and spotted an eagle perched in a tree as we continued South.






Continuing down the Tombigbee SONATA passed the "White Cliff of Epes".  These cliffs follow the name of the nearby town of Epes which was known as a transportation and business service center.





 
Bobby's Fish Camp.  A legend along the river.  A couple of floats alongside the river, with some power added, a fuel pump, and one water faucet.  We had six boats tied up for the night and enjoyed a catfish dinner prepared in the restaurant.  We all departed the next day ... down the river toward Mobile.



The river twists and turns.  You can travel 15 miles on the river and only proceed three miles south.  Little fellow needs to be straightened out ... if you want to be efficient.







 
In Mobile we stayed at the Dog River Marina.  The restaurant across the Dog River opened just to feed our crowd.  A wonderful evening with MANANA and AMERICAN PIE.  There were two other boats crews that joined us for dinner.  
 
 

 


 
 The next day we were off for Gulfport, the Rigoletts, and Madisonville.  Gulfport has a new marina as a result of the hurricane destruction.  A well built marina and a nice visit.  Charlie's family vacationed here when he was a kid.  
 
 


 
 
 
As we departed Gulfport a weather front passed over us and the dolphins ran alongside the bow.  A nice trip as had by SONATA.
 
 
 
After the front passed over and the dolphins departed we continued West behind a tug and its barge.  We passed through the CSX railroad bridge and the mouth of the Pearl River to spend one night at the Rigolets Bait and Seafood Market Marina.  A quiet stay ... no other transient boats in the area.
 
Following the one night stay in the Rigolets we crossed Lake Pontchartrain to the Tchefuncte River and the town of Madisonville, Louisiana.  A quick two day visit, we then departed via Delta Airlines on Monday the 16th for Virginia; a Virginia Thanksgiving to be held in our Admiral's Landing Condominium in Portsmouth, Virginia.