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5 Jul 2010 Click on the pictures to enlarge them.
Greetings again from New Mexico. This year brought us a lot of moisture in
New Mexico throughout winter and spring. The mountains received much snowfall in
spite of the fact that Albuquerque saw little snow. The melting snow pack in the
Rockies will help give us relief from the drought conditions that have been
prevalent in recent years. June is usually our hottest month and this year is
certainly no exception. We seemed to have gone from winter to summer very
rapidly. We have made three trips so far this year. In April we went to
Washington DC and Baltimore, Maryland, for Robert's 50-year high school reunion.
In May we went to Las Cruces and Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, for our
niece's graduation. June saw us in Colorado for an Air Force reunion.
FMCA WINTER CONVENTION
The winter convention of the Family Motor Coach Association was held in
Albuquerque. We, along with our local chapter (of which Linda is treasurer)
served several thousand doughnuts and coffee early in the mornings.
REUNION IN BALTIMORE
Robert graduated from his high school (Baltimore City College) on 9 February
1960. This year the 50-year reunion was held on 11 April. We flew to Washington
on 5 April so that we could have some time to visit the city. The first couple
nights we stayed in Clinton, Maryland, and rode the Metro into the city. We
spent some time there in the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) library.
From previous DAR membership applications, Linda was able to extract some
information about her Baxter ancestors. The same day we also walked around the
Tidal Basin and saw the Japanese Cherry trees in bloom. The peak time for blooms
had passed, but the trees were still beautiful to see.
Jefferson Memorial framed by cherry tree.
We stopped at the Franklin D. Roosevelt memorial and the Jefferson Memorial. We
also spent a couple days with Linda's cousin, Tom Fitzgerald, in Alexandria, VA.
From there we visited the National Air and Space Museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy
Center near Dulles airport, and a couple other destinations in Washington.
Linda and Tom.
Robert with an AGM-76A Falcon Missile.
We visited the National Museum of Natural History and the National Archives. At
the Archives we photographed Revolutionary War service records and Civil War
pension applications for some of our ancestors.
The Hope Diamond at the Natural History Museum.
After our time in Washington, we went over to Towson, Maryland, where we stayed
with Robert's cousin, Jan, and visited several of Robert's relatives.
Linda and Jan.
Robert and cousin, John Oettl.
With nephews’ families.
On Sunday we attended Robert's 50-year reunion of the February 1960 class of his
high school, Baltimore City College. City is the third oldest high school in the
United States. There were seven classmates present who had not only gone through
three years (10, 11, 12) (1957-1960) of high school together, but had also gone
through the three years (7, 8, 9) of junior high school together in an
accelerated 2-year program (1955-1957).
The current principal was at the reunion, and he invited anyone to come to the
school for a tour. The next day we went to the school and got a great tour. We
were also taken to the top of the tower where we got a panoramic view of the
city. (Only graduating seniors get to go up in the tower.)
Baltimore City College.(Robert’s high school)
Looking toward the harbor from the tower.
We toured some sites in the city. One was the house where Mary Pickersgill sewed
the "Star-Spangled Banner" that flew over Ft. McHenry during the battle of
Baltimore on 13-14 Sep 1814.
Star-Spangled Banner Flag House in Baltimore.
When our business was completed in Baltimore, we drove over to Cambridge on the
Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay. There we met Melanie Young who had
contacted Robert a couple months earlier. She has a collection of letters
written (between 1891 and 1935) to her ancestors by the James Malseed family of
Tullybeg and Moyagh, County Donegal, Ireland. We spent the day scanning the
letters, photos, and postcards. We are very grateful to have the opportunity to
see this collection.
Chesapeake Bay from Melanie’s home.
GRADUATION IN LAS CRUCES
In early May we took the motor home to Las Cruces, New Mexico. Our primary
purpose was to attend our niece, Stacy's, graduation from New Mexico State
With Stacy, an honor graduate of NMSU.
This summer she is moving to The University of Pittsburgh to attend graduate
school. While in southern New Mexico we spent a few days enjoying the area. We
went to see Kilbourne Hole and Hunt's Hole. They are two maar volcanoes out in a
desolate area near the Mexican border. When Robert was stationed in Germany, he
was close to maar volcanoes there, but they were filled with water. You can see
that our volcanoes are dry.
Linda and Derry on edge of Kilbourne Hole.
Linda, Robert, and Derry on edge of Kilbourne Hole.
New Mexico State University has what is probably the most extensive collection
of petrified wood. It was amazing to see the hundreds of pieces on display.
A small portion of the petrified wood collection.
While in Las Cruces we went to old Mesilla to have dinner in the La Posta
La Posta in old Mesilla.
Since Derry had never been to White Sands National Monument, we took him there
Claret Cup cactus at White Sands.
Derry with Linda as wind blows white sands away.
Coming down from a dune.
We left Las Cruces and then stayed at Leasburg Dam State Park for a night.
In the motor home at Leasburg Dam with Derry.
The park is next to the ruins of Fort Selden. In 1884-86, future general Douglas
MacArthur lived there since his father was in the army also.
MacArthur home at Fort Selden.
Our next stop was Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. We were there for a rally
of our Chaparral Chapter of the Family Motor Coach Association. While there, we
took a tour of Spaceport America which is being built in the Jornada del Muerto,
southeast of T or C. The 10,000 x 200 foot runway is nearly finished. Richard
Branson's Virgin Galactic airline will be taking tourists on sub-orbital rides
into space aboard a combination airplane first stage and rocket second stage.
In front of the spaceport terminal building.
The tour also included a look at some historic sites and ranches. The Jornada
del Muerto (route of the dead man) is a desolate section of the Camino Real
(royal road) that connected Mexico City and Santa Fe. One of the largest ranches
in the area is Ted Turner's Armendaris ranch. These are some of bison herd on
No roller skating here.
A month after our niece, Stacy, graduated from college, her step-brother, Matt,
got married. We attended the wedding of Matt and Rose which was in a beautiful
location in the Rio Grande valley. Rose has just graduated from The University
of New Mexico where she got a teaching degree. In fact she did her student
teaching in Linda’s brother James’ classroom.
Mathew & Rose with wedding party.
James and daughter, Stacy, at the wedding.
AIR FORCE REUNION
Forty-five years ago Robert was sent to Bitburg, Germany, as a missile
maintenance technician for the 525th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron. In June, the
525th FIS held a reunion in Colorado Springs. We packed up the motor home and
headed up there. We stopped on the way at Sugarite Canyon State Park in Raton,
At Sugarite Canyon State Park.
Inside our Trek motor home.
We had a good time at the reunion swapping stories and pictures and enjoying
some meals together. We also went to the museum at Peterson AFB for a reunion
with an F-102 aircraft - the type we had in Germany. (The 525th is now flying
F-22s at Anchorage, Alaska. One of the young pilots came down from there for the
Gathering around the F-102.
Robert enjoyed his own reunion with a Falcon missile just like ones we had in
AIM-4D Falcon missile.
Linda has cousins in Colorado Springs and we enjoyed visiting with Sally and
Robert & Gilda.
Robert with Linda’s cousins.
We also visited Uncle Fremont and Aunt Barbara's graves.
After the reunion, we rode the cog train to the summit of Pike's Peak. (Altitude
14,110 feet – 4,300 meters) It was a cold, partly cloudy day. There was fresh
snow on the summit with a temperature of 25 F.(-4C).
Linda at the freezing summit.
Our campsite was by Fountain Creek in Manitou Springs. We enjoyed looking around
Manitou Springs and touring the Miramont Castle there.
RETURN TO DENVER
We continued north to Denver and camped in Golden, Colorado for a few days.
While there, we visited nearby Morrison, Colorado. Morrison is famous for its
geological and paleontological attributes. A layer of rock formation present
throughout the southwest is named for the town. The Red Rocks Amphitheater is
located here. The area is also rich in fossils. We visited Dinosaur Ridge and
its fossil trackway. Cousins of Linda (the Rooneys) used to own most of the
area, but now have only a small ranch by Dinosaur Ridge. Many years ago they
gave Linda’s parents a collection of gastroliths (dinosaur gizzard stones) that
were found there. We have those interesting stones that have an oily smooth
Footprints on Dinosaur Ridge.
We also stopped at the Morrison Natural History Museum and we hiked on
Triceratops Trail which is partly on the Golden golf course.
The sandstone fin in the foreground is full of fossils.
In Denver we went to the “Wings Over The Rockies” air museum. It is located in
an old hangar that used to be part of Lowery Air Force Base. The base has been
closed for a while and there is little evidence of its existence except for a
few old buildings. Fifty years ago Robert was stationed there from 1 April to 22
November going to Falcon Missile school. He was happy to see the F-102 in the
museum loaded with old GAR-1 (AIM 4) Falcons.
Under an F-102 with missiles from early 1950s.
On the final day in Denver we spent most of the day at the Denver Museum of
Nature and Science. There is a great view from the museum of the Rocky Mountains
towering over Denver.
Snow capped Rockies over Denver skyline.
That evening we met up with Chris, Matt's brother. (Chris is second from left in
the back of the wedding photo.) Chris lives in Denver and plays percussion in a
After dinner with Chris.
Derry continues to amuse us.
I smell toes.
Robert gave his presentation on Stars to the Valencia County Association of
Educational Retires in January and then to James’ 4th grade class at Petroglyph
Elementary School in May.
Looking at sunspots.
He also spoke about aerospace engineering to middle school students at the
annual School-to-World exhibition at the Albuquerque Convention Center.
Showing students how a Falcon Missile worked.
As we mentioned in our Christmas newsletter, our newer tablet PC had been taken
when our house was burglarized. We now have two new computers – a powerful
desktop and a small mini notebook. Both go with us in the motor home, but only
the mini for airplane travel.
This summer we will be taking a 7-week trip to Montana, British Columbia,
Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, and Colorado. In the autumn we are taking a
cruise from New York up the coast of New England as far as Halifax, Nova Scotia.
For several years we have had a TracFone cell phone that we only used when
traveling. This year we decided to get a second TracFone and a MagicJack phone
that we could connect through our computer. Doing away with our land line paid
for all this, and we now have caller ID.
Our old cell phone number is now Linda’s phone, our old home phone number is now
Robert’s cell phone, and the MagicJack now serves the 4 wireless phones around
our house when we are home. We take the MagicJack on trips with us where we can
use it if we have a good internet connection anywhere in the world. This
internet phone gives us unlimited US and Canada phoning for $18/year. All phone
numbers have voice mail, and MagicJack sends us the voice mail recording as an
e-mail attachment. Since MagicJack is so much cheaper than the pre-paid cell
phones it is our preferred phone to use. Please take note of these new numbers
(505) 990-7928 home (MagicJack)
(505) 265-1842 Robert (505) 238-5818 Linda
THE BOTTOM LINE
We continue to be thankful for the Lord’s provision for us. We trust in Him, and
pray that you will do likewise and enjoy a wonderful summer of 2010.
Robert & Linda
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