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Photograph of Robert Bruce Thompson Barbara Fritchman Thompson Diary

Week of 6 August 2007

Latest Update: Sunday, 12 August 2007 1:50 p.m.

Monday, 6 August 2007

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I'm back. We had a wonderful time though by midday Saturday I was beginning to think the trip was doomed. When we got down to Level Cross Saturday morning where Holiday Tours is located I turned the car off to unload the luggage. Not sure why I did since I have to park the car after we unload at the bus. Thankfully, this time I did. When I went to crank the car to park it did a nice whirring sound but would not crank. 

I kind gentleman brought his car over while I fished the jumper cables from the car. They told me when it cranked sparks flew from around the battery terminals. I parked the car and raised the hood. I carry a screw driver and a hammer in my car. I needed a racket set to get the cable connector loosened. The same kind man had an emergency took kit in his car. He loosed the terminal nuts. Around the outside of both posts, particular the positive one there was a lot of corrosion. When I removed the cables the inside metal was coated. I always carry a pocket knive with me on trips in my pocketbook. I spend maybe ten minutes scrapping the gunk from the connectors and posts before we reattached both. The car cranked right up. 

If you read Bob's page on Saturday and then again this morning you will see I sent him a correction to his Saturday post. He thought the man who helped me did the scrapping work. Since I am sensitive to the helpless woman thing I sent him a retraction from work this morning to let him know I did all the hard work, the man just loosed the nut and bolt. 

Just as we left Holiday Tours and got on the interstate we saw black smoke up ahead. A 4 wheel drive was literally burning up on the side of the road. Something I have never seen before.

I called Bob from the rest stop to let him know what had happened though there was nothing he could do about it. After we arrived in Columbia and made a lunch stop we drove to our first site seeing event. More on that later. I pulled out my new camera to take some pictures and...yep, the batteries were dead. I called him from my cell again. He said to try the other set of recharged batteries. No joy. I put in the set of regular alkalines and thankfully got a full charge. Whew. From there on out the camera worked just fine and the trip went along smoothly also.

When we arrived back at Holiday Tours last night the car cranked just fine. Still, I will have Bob call our mechanic to ask him why they never cleaned or replaced the cables when they were checking the battery for charge life. Plus, they had it twice this month and should have noticed the sluggish starting problem.

Since the car appeared to be behaving well we stopped for dinner on the way home. I was home by 7:30. No gym tonight as I have a lot of things to finish up including catching up on mail, etc.

Sometime later this week I will have pictures to post and stories about the trip.


Tuesday, 7 August 2007

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It's hot. After a relatively cool June and July the heat has arrived. It was close to 100 degrees Sunday in Columbia when we left the zoo at 12:30. I knew it was going to be hot. I packed a dry t-shirt in my tot bag for the return bus trip home. The sleeveless shirt I wore during our three hour tramp around the zoo was soaked by the time we boarded the bus.

Here, today, the heat and humidity pushed the outside conditions up over 100 degrees. More of the same for tomorrow.

I have almost finished the Masie Dobbs. It was a perfect book for the trip. The first third of the book author Winspear introduces us to Masie and her newly opened private investigator business. The middle portion of the book reads somewhat like a book version of Upstairs/Downstairs, the popular British drama series shown on Masterpiece Theater. Masie starts her life in the service of a wealthy family of whom her dad delivers produce. Very quickly the Lord and Lady discover Masie's yern for learning and her high IQ. Masie's roommate in the house has fallen in love with the young Master of the house. Masie eventually goes off to a woman's college but WWI interrupts her life and everyone else's around her. I have about thirty pages left to read to the end. The third portion of the book goes back to the case she starts investigating in the beginning of the book. We learn what happens to the man Masie fell in love with during the war and how she solves her first case.

I love Winspear's writing and her characters. She has three more books out in the series which I look forward to reading.

Bob downloaded my pictures from the trip. He will have them ready for me for my post tomorrow night. We are in the middle of a Midsomer Murder so I best get going.


Wednesday, 8 August 2007

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Thanks once again to my web master (Bob) for posting my pictures. I took 102 pictures. To save Bob a lot of work I chose a few to represent the trip to share. If you are interested be sure to hit the web sites I provided links to for more pictures and information. 

This is the Lorick House. It now serves as the Lake Murray Welcome Center. You can read about the history of the house on the web site. The house is one of the few plantation homes to survive Sherman's torching of the south. 

Our next stop was the State Museum of South Carolina. Again follow the link for more information. The museum is housed in an old cotton mill. If you are ever in Columbia, SC I highly recommend this museum. Lots of things for kids as well as adults. I loved this Henry Fitz telescope. They had several different telescopes on exhibit but this was my favorite.

After checking in to the hotel and grabbing a quick bite to eat we headed to Lake Murray to catch this boat for a 45 minute ride out to Bomb Island to see the purple martins. About ten years ago these birds starting spending the months of June through the first of August. They then spend three months flying back to South America. 

The island has was used for bombing practice during WWII. The birds began swarming back to the island each evening around dusk to find a place to roost for the night. Each morning they leave in large swarms to fly as far as 40 to 50 miles before coming back each night. Many of the pine trees you see in the distance are black with birds rather than green. They swarm in great flocks of thousands at one time. We were about a mile or so out and the noise was deafening.  You can only see a few boats in this picture but there was literally hundreds of them on all shapes and sizes watching the birds.

I was able to get a fairly decent picture of one flock flying right over head. It was truly one of the most amazing sights I ever witnessed.

The next morning we arrived at the Riverbanks Zoo and Garden when it opened at 9am. This was one of the finest zoos I have visited. We had about three hours which was not long enough to see everything but long enough to be out in 100 degree heat. The animal enclosures are designed to allow the animals to be close enough to see unlike some zoos where they are so far off you need binoculars. This cute fellow was a tortoise but I cannot remember his exact species.

Grizzly bears

Sea Lion

And of course, penguins. We spent a long time in front of their glass enclosed habitat.

This little guy kept sticking his head in to steal fish while the guy was feeding them. 

When we walked up the meerkats this one was standing guard. 

This one was asleep but woke up to poke its head out from the hole down below.

A few minutes later the first one went down the hill and crawled in that same hole behind the one peaking out. Then this one climbed up to take his place.

Here it sits standing guard

Hope you enjoyed the pictures. I just got home from getting a hair cut and making a couple of quick stops. I was supposed to eat dinner but could not decided what a wanted so I came on home. Popcorn with a Midsomer Murder sounds like a good plan as we continue to be scorching in 100 degree heat.


Thursday, 9 August 2007

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Friday, 10 August 2007

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Saturday, 11 August 2007

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Greetings. I had a very rough couple of days at work. When I got home last night all I wanted to do was eat dinner and watch a Midsomer Murder. I did not even come back to check my mail. After a good night's rest I was ready to roll this morning.

Or course, with me being gone last weekend the house was in need of a good organization and cleaning. I still had trip stuff to put away, table tops to clean off, etc. With the vacuuming and dusting finished I headed for the yard.

I had not mowed since the Thursday before I left. With the hot, dry conditions the only thing growing is the Bermuda grass. If you are not familiar with this type of grass it loves hot, dry conditions. You could lay a piece of Bermuda grass on the sidewalk and it would take root and grow. So, while the other grass has started to turn brown the Bermuda continued to grow. It was way too hot to try to mow earlier in the week. Both Thursday and Friday we hit triple digit numbers for highs.

This morning we are having a cold wave. It is 82 and feels like 85. A few clouds and nice breeze made it pretty nice to be outside. After I mowed I walked the dogs down to the corner then let them lay outside in the yard while I swept the sidewalk. When the sun comes out it gets hot again but things are much improved.

I am taking to break to read mail and check web pages. This afternoon I will clean up the basement of the boxes and kitchen items Bob removed last weekend from his office and lab clean up. And as usual, my desk needs some major work.

One of the funny stories from the bus trip I forgot to mention. The bus we were on had one of those new on board talking GPS systems. As we were going along "she" would give out directions making it very weird while watching a movie or playing bingo. This was a new trip for Holiday Tours and the driver. We had to find our way around the area to the places we were going. The driver and escort did a wonderful job but several times the GPS system got a little upset if the driver missed his turn. "She" would frantically repeat "recalculate, recalculate" when he did not go the way "she" wanted him to. Thankfully, "she" did not try to play Bingo.


Sunday, 12 August 2007

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Even though the temperatures were somewhat cooler this morning at 7:20 when we teed off it was still pretty warm. Once the sun got up over the morning clouds and haze it turned hot without any breeze stirring at all. At least by the time we got to the back nine we a little breeze kicked up once in awhile.

Other than paying bills and doing a few other things here at my desk I plan on spending the afternoon relaxing until time to fire up the grill for dinner.

I finished the J. P. Beaumont last night. Not sure what I will start next. Perhaps something from my TBR shelf.


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