Our recent trip to New York was a memorable one in many ways.

Penelope turned out to be a great van to travel in, providing a comfortable riding experience.

I had forgotten how vivid the fall colors are in the north. While the tress do change colors here in north Alabama, we do not get the multitude of vivid oranges, yellows and reds. And the leaves smell so different in the north. Here, when they fall, it’s a moldy smell and they don’t crunch as you walk on them. In the north, the leaves have a pungent smell to them and make a stirring, rustling sound when you walk through them. Altogether a more enjoyable experience!

I was struck anew by the number of roadside markets. It seemed like every third or fourth house either was an organized market or had a few winter squash, some Indian corn, bright orange and red mums, and/or pumpkins set out by the roadside to sell. That is not a common sight here in north Alabama. Bill and I have often talked about the reasons why this might be, but for whatever the reason, I do miss the ready availability of fresh produce. And New York apples are still THE BEST!

Charles still does not enjoy traveling. He tolerates it better than he used to when he was younger, but that’s only because he’s figured out his coping mechanisms. Stay up as late as you possibly can during the night so that you can sleep all day while on the road. And earbuds with music playing help a lot too!

It was nice spending long periods of time with Kat and Miss Munchkin. Kat is such a patient mommy. Several of my cousins remarked to me during the party how at ease Kat seemed to be with motherhood.

Miss Munckin has the most beautiful smile!

Watching Miss Munchkin and her second cousin Steven play together was amusing. I have never seen a three-year-old so intent upon sharing his playthings with another baby. And such fun to listen to him sing! It’s a good thing his grandparents on the Gibson side are not spoiling him any!

It had been several years since I had seen any of my cousins. None of them have changed, and yet we’ve all changed. Linda looked healthier than the last time I saw her. We didn’t get enough time to spend together and I was very sorry to miss that last evening’s get-together at Jeff’s.

My cousins’ children are all growing. Nathan has become such a self-aware young man since I last saw him. I had never met Justin or Leah before and didn’t really get to know them this trip, they stuck so tight to their daddy! It was interesting to note that Reb’s boy was interested in his grandfather’s iron pile and the building possibilities therein, while Becky’s children were much enamored with their grandmother’s horsies! I am always intrigued by how individuals inherit certain family traits in each generation!

It was enjoyable to see all my extended family on my dad’s side all in one place, celebrating. I sometimes envy the Pendleton’s, still all living close by and able to organize a dinner together in a day or so, rather than having to consult calendars and vacation schedules. I do miss that part of living in New York, the closeness of extended family. Then again, I well remember that there are some drawbacks to having extended family so close too!

And finally, this vacation reminded me anew how much I really do love traveling. Driving. Seeing new places. Pouring over maps and planning routes. There must be a wagon-train traveler in my blood a few generations back! Or maybe it was an Irish lass, leaving Ireland and emigrating to the new country. Or maybe further back, a Viking warrior raiding the coasts of Ireland.