Babies & Butterflies ๐Ÿ‘ถ๐Ÿผ๐Ÿฆ‹

Last stop: Panama City Florida for a week with my brother Dave and his family. Dave’s son Carl, wife Kari, and baby Theo arrived towards the end of the week.

We enjoyed Lisa’s renowned cooking and spent time in the Butterfly haven she has created in the backyard of their stunning home on the bayou.

Lisa’s Butterfly Haven in Panama City

Another great set of family memories as the Tubridy family marches on!

Connellsville

It was a very scenic drive leaving the State College area and heading for Connellsville just south of Pittsburg. Beautiful green, rolling hills with a touch of early Fall color.

We stayed at another large KOA getting ready to celebrate Halloween this weekend. It is on the Youghiogheny river in a hollow. A very scenic setting. The weather was cold but fair while we were there.

Morning mist on Youghiogheny river

My Mom’s family, Mary & Michael Kovach, immigrated here in the early 1910s from Checklosovakia. My nephew Adam told me he thought they could be Rusyn Americans. According to a person I met, a lot of Slovakian immigrants came to this area as miners.

The immigrants were of an Eastern Orthodox religious background. A Byzantine Church was built in the late 1880s about 5 miles outside of Connellsville in Dunbar township. This is where the 1930 census has my mother living with her older brothers and sisters. The groundskeeper at the church told me it was the first Catholic church built out of stone in the United States. It was striking (and a bit out of place) with the onion dome towers.

St Stephen Byzantine Church in Dunbar Township Pennsylvania

Behind the church was a larger, well-tended cemetery with the graves of her mother, father, and several of her older brothers and sisters.

St Stephen Byzantine Church Cemetary

Mom came from a large family with 10 brothers and sisters. Her mother passed from complications of the birth of the last child, George. The father, for whatever reason, did not participate in their upbringing. This left the older children to take care of the younger ones. Most of the younger children were girls and married, and left the area like my Mom.

My grandfather Michael. He died at 82 in a car accident. My mother only met him once (after she was older) that I know about.
My grandmother Mary. She died following the birth of the youngest child. My mother was not even 2 years old.
Oldest brother Michael and his wife. He was born in Czechoslovakia and stayed behind for several years before moving to the United States. Mom told me he didn’t like it here but stayed anyway.
He had a large family. One of his daughters visited an area in the Ukraine where she thought they came from but was unable to find anything. It remains a bit of a controversy as to their actual origin but all of my geological research points to Checklosovkia.
Oldest Sisters Ann and Helen. They never married and raised their younger brothers and sisters along with the eldest son Michael. Ann worked at the church for her whole life.
Older brother James. He never married and I believe worked for the railroad.

Like in Snow Shoe, I tried to make a connection with these ancestors while there. Wondering what their lives were like in this beautiful mountain area.


Connellsville itself was a large town – almost a small city – with a lot of traffic. It sits right on the river which makes for some scenic views. I visited the waterfront and learned the Great Allegheny Passage, a 150-mile hiking and biking route, runs through Connellsville.

Youghiogheny river in Connellsville

This ends the ‘roots’ part of the program! Tomorrow we make our way south (through the remnants of Ian ๐Ÿ™ƒ) through the Appalachians over three days and a long stop at my friends Bill and Laura Zweigbaum in Tennessee.

Snoe Shoe

It was a quick trip to Bellefonte Pennsylvania for two nights while I started the ‘roots’ part of our adventure. A couple of hundred miles west of New York, this area was opened to commercial logging followed by coal mining in the 1800s.

We stayed at a nice campground that obviously catered to Penn State football fans in the Fall. A lot of unattended large rigs are covered with Penn State hoo-ha. They had a game the coming weekend so a few early birds were there. The facility was very nice, had a nice pond next to some horse pastures. It also had a rather elaborate set of tracks for motocross bike racing.

Pond at Bellefonte KOA
Horse pastures near Bellefonte KOA

My 2 x great grandfather Thomas Tubridy immigrated with his young family to the mountains just north of here in what is now the Burrough of Snoe Shoe. His youngest son, Thomas Anthony, was a successful coal miner and his son Edward Bernard – my grandfather – went to college at Penn State nearby to our RV park. More detail is on my Tubridy page.

It was a steep climb to the exit right off of Instatestate 80 for Snoe Shoe. I identified three different places in my genealogy research: Snoe Shoe, Moshannon, and the village of Gillentown which lies in between. This is where my grandfather lived with his father and two aunts in the 1900 census.

I imagined my grandfather making his way down to State College where he attended Penn State in the 1910s. Did he ride a horse or have a carriage? How long did it take?

Gillentown was listed as my grandfather’s residence in the 1900 census

St. Mary’s Catholic Cemetary is located near the Catholic Church in Snow Shoe. Two generations of Tubridys and some of their children are buried here. The first generation headstones were in pretty bad shape but the second generation had held up very well. The cemetery was well kept up.

It was moving to touch the headstones knowing that my ancestors had once touched them too.

Thomas Tubridy – First Generation born in Ireland
First Generation Tubridy Family
2nd Generation Tubridy – Thomas Anthony. Separate markers for himself, his second wife, and his eldest daughter.
Grand Dad’s younger (half) brother James and his wife. This grave seemed to be visited more often – one of my relatives? From my research, he did not have any male descendants.
Sister of Great GrandFather Thomas Anthony. I don’t think she ever married.
Frank (or Francis) was 2 x Great Grandfather Thomas’s eldest son. Frank was born in Ireland right before they immigrated and had many descendants, including the only males other than our family. He was Thomas Anthony’s 12 older brother.

Moshannon is an unincorporated community about 3 miles outside Snoe Shoe to the northwest. Right before you get into Moshannon is the village of Gillentown. There is a large facility here that is part of the Snoe Shoe Rails to Trails Association. This provides access to the old railroad bed that was vital to the extraction of lumber and coal. Membership in the association allowed the use of the trails for ATVs.

I imagined if my ancestors would ride the train into the coal mining areas.

Gillentown Trail Access. This is the old railroad that brought lumber and coal out of the mountains.

Moshannon has a Post Office and to my surprise a small memorial to the veterans that fought in World War One – including my grandfather Edward. Like the cemetery, the monument was well kept up.

Moshannon WW I Memorial with Grand Dad’s name

I imagined being there when the locals including my family were there to see its dedication.

Moshannon WW I Memorial with Grand Dad’s name

I was planning to visit a museum the Lions David House museum in Snow Shoe, but alas no one showed up at the time it was supposed to be open. It has a collection of memorabilia and books on local history – it would have been interesting to see what was in there.

I spent time driving around. It is rural, to say the least. Mostly nice brick ranch houses like I remember my grandparents had. Felt pretty red ๐Ÿ”ด.

Snow Shoe had a pizzeria, a discount beer store, and a laundromat. There is a nice Catholic Church next to the Cemetary and a Firehouse / Community Center. There was a large veterans memorial next to the Firehouse. There is a very large area with baseball fields and a pool at the edge of town. Right outside of town next to the Interstate is a large FedEx facility.

I felt I had accomplished what I was expecting to create a better connection to my past. Makes sense given the fact that it’s really all we have, and all of that is responsible for me being here, now. Pretty ethereal if you ask me.

Dog is good ๐Ÿถ

Baby Theo & Festivus 2021

Welcome to my grand nephew Theodore Armand Tubridy. He was born on the 22nd to Kariline Bringe & Carl Tubridy. The next generation of the Tubridy family begins โค๏ธ. Theo is the seventh generation Tubridy since our ancestors immigrated to the US from Ireland in the 1800.

Our family got together for the annual Winter Solstice event hijacked by Steinfeld. Following the pagan traditions, we attended Cocoa Beach’s World Famous Surfing Santas on Friday and then decadently imbibed and played a crazy gift exchange game on Saturday in a nod to the fable of the baby Israelite. The highlight was a family Zoom call with the newest Tubridy – baby Theo – born on the 22nd (122221 – how cool is that?). We paid a visit to Mom’s grave, told the same stories over and over, and laughed a lot. I love my Fam โค๏ธ.

Baby Shower Weekend in Wisconsin

My nephew Carl married Kariline Binge in 2020. They met in Washington where she was finishing her residency in Orthopedics and Carl was working for an airplane equipment manufacturing company. They relocated to La Crosse Wisconsin near her family farm where she works at a Mayo Clinic and Carl works at a refrigeration equipment manufacturer nearby. They are expecting their first child – and the first Tubridy Grand baby – the end of the year.

Tubridy-Bringe Clans - Kari's Baby Shower
Kari & Carl’s Living Room. Back row Adam, Lisa, Kari, Baby Uno, Carl & Mary Joe. Front row Myhra, Rick, me, Dave and Armand.

Dave, Lisa and I arrived on Thursday and stopped at a local bar near the airport for lunch. The waitress asked Dave what kind of beer he wanted and he replied a cold one. She replied that she would bring him a shitty light beer. Boy were we surprised!

We hung out with Carl on Friday while Kari was working and toured the local sights.

On the way to the farm we stopped at Goose Lake to watch many different types of waterfowl on their way south.

The Baby Shower was on Saturday at the Bringe Farm near Viroqua Wisconsin. While the women celebrated with Kari the guys drove the tractors!

Video of use driving the Combine Harvester
Armand, Carl & Dave
Kari’s Father Armand with Carl & Dave at the Bringe Farm

We had a great time visiting and handing out candy at Kari and Carl’s house on Sunday with Armand and Mary Joe. It was a wonderful time and I look forward to visiting again on the 2022 Excellent Adventure coming soon!

Tippy
Tippy dressed in her Halloween costume

NOLA

Our first stop – a New Orleans wedding reception for my nephew Adam and his beautiful bride Zeynab!

Getting there

We arrived safely at the NOLA (New Orleans Louisiana) with some interesting challenges along the way!

On the way to brother Dave’s house on the 19th we ended up getting a nail in one of the trailer tires. Thankfully I was immediately aware because of the TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitoring System) I installed before I left. Good move on my part for sure after reading tails of what could have happened. But it did not and we met some interesting people which actually re-instilled a sense of faith in this country for me.

We arrive here safely on Thursday with no incidents on our way from Panama City and with some trouble found the KOA campground near the airport. the drive here was through territory relatively new to me (in the past 40 years at least) as will be the rest of the journey until I hit Fort Collins.

Driving in this city is fucking crazy – worse than Atlanta and Atlanta is pretty bad. Once I got the trailer setup I setup the X6 for Sport mode and took it in stride. I am amazed how well the X6 drove in heavy fast traffic!

The KOA here is in a compound of sorts but very nice and not too full. It took me about 30 minutes to get to where everyone else was staying.

We visited with them Thursday evening. Friday I dropped Jake off at Pet Paradise boarding and helped them setup the venue.

Zeynab and Adam’s Reception

Marigny Opera House

The reception was held at the Marigny Opera House slightly east (down-river) of the French Quarter. An old Catholic Church turned into a Opera House and then abandoned after Hurricane Katrina. It has been partially restored now by the local community and serves as a multipurpose venue including weddings and performances.

This is the first time the whole Tubridy family has been together since Kari & Carl’s wedding in Florida in 2019. Zeynab’s Family was there in force from the Washington DC area. Zeynab family is from Somalia and they all belong to the same tribe! Her mother was going to school in the US and forced to stay here after political unrest in her country some 30 years ago before Zeynab was born.

Adam, Lisa, Dave, Collin (the third son!), Rick & Myhra, Carl, Kari & The Dude
Carl, Rick, Dave and Adam

After a great meal of traditional local cuisine (and boy does NOLA have cuisine!) the main act arrived. A fantastic performance by a traditional New Orleans Jazz Band the Young Fellaz played for several hours and included a second line march around the opera house!

Young Fellaz
Second Line street parade at Zaynab & Adam’s Wedding

The event was very special – as special as Adam and Zeynab are. It was great to meet her family – now part of ours – and what the future will hold!

Saturday we all got together with Adam, Zeynab and her mother Fay for a great brunch at Broussard’s – a famous dining establishment in the French Quarter. I was fascinated as Fae told us the story of her family in Somalia.

I picked up Jake later that day – he did better than I expected and of course everyone loved him. We headed back to the Excellent Adventure and prepared for our journey to Alamagordo!

So far…

This blog starts where the last one left off – with the death of my beautiful Mother Betty.

Mom passed away in October of 2019 on the one year anniversary of Dave & Lisa’s house being destroyed by hurricane Michael. My cousin Sandra came down from Delaware for her funeral service.

Mom's Funeral
The three brothers, Carl, Adam, Sandra, Myhra and Lisa in Rick & Myhra’s backyard

Then 2020 hit like a Tsunami! Dave and Lisa made a trip in the Summer to check out Rick & Myhra’s new digs in Rockledge. We were able to get together at Mom’s final resting spot at St Josephs in Palm Bay.

Dave, Ed & Rick at the Cemetery tag St Joseph’s in Palm Bay.

Several years before my retirement I started thinking about what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. I have always had in the back of my mind that it would be fun to travel the USA in a RV of some sort. The idea began to take shape and I created a map with all of the places I could think of to visit. Over the next couple of years I would add places to the map.

Where to go?

Now that I own a boat my initial idea was to buy a small motor home of some sort. I started looking at those but at the same time didn’t care much for the idea of have a large vehicle like that as a tow vehicle. I also felt it would really restrict what I could do on the road.

Dan & Maggie in Port Canaveral

In late 2019 I got a visit from my good friends Dan and Maggie Matheson from Colorado. They visited in their Winnebago RV that they have owned now for several years and made many trips. I was very impressed and started thinking this might be the way to go.

I have owned some sort of SUV since my days in Colorado in the 1990s. I had seen the BMW X6 a few times and was instantly drawn to it’s unique styling. I checked into it as a tow vehicle and determine it would fit my bill perfectly. I could tow it to the destination and then enjoy the X6 to drive and see the sites.

I started looking right at the peak of the pandemic and found a low-mileage, red (of course) 2016 X6 in South Florida. Research told me to stay away from the bigger motor and everything I read said the V6 had plenty of power (boy howdy!) For a month they wouldn’t even talk to me because of the shutdowns. I was finally able to pick it up around Memorial Day. It was of course a blast to drive although a very different ride than my past Porsche and Mercedes SUVs. And yes – plenty of power and awesome stick with a twin-turbo 3 liter through a 8 speed high tech wizardry transmission and drive systems.

2016 BMW X6 xDrive 35i
Flamenco Red Metallic ๐Ÿคฉ

Does one actually take vacations when they are retired?

Me to Jake

Later that Summer Jake & I did our first trip in the X6 to North Carolina to spend my birthday with Brother Dave and Lisa. We enjoyed the idea of getting away (even in retirement) I decided to start looking for a RV. I started to embrace my Dad’s concept of going on vacation when you are retired!

Jake & Eddie in North Carolina

By the end of the summer I was set. I research and found a Micro Minnie slightly smaller than Dan & Maggies and new 2021 model. I was very impressed with the quality of fit and finish when I looked at it. It took me a while to figure out the equipment I needed to safely tow the trailer including lowering the suspension to be more compatible with the X6.

Winnebago Micro Minnie 1808FBS
Winnebago Mico Minnie 1808FBS

The rest of 2020 was spent outfitting the trailer. In March of this year we took a shakedown trip to a campground just north of Gainesville. I was very happy with the way the X6 and trailer handled although not so much with the nearly 50% drop in fuel mileage! The layout and features fit Jake and I very well it seems.

Jake & Eddie's Excellent Adventure
Jake & Eddie’s Excellent Adventure

Meanwhile back at the Beach

Before any of this transpired I first started taking the steps to build my dream workshop out in the backyard. Also something that I had been thinking about since my brother Dave planted the seed at Mom’s funeral. He suggested I look into a portable shed to put in my backyard and build out a workshop. After some research I found what I was looking for with a 12 x 20 foot shed built in south Georgia and shipped by truck to yours truly in Cocoa Beach.

The execution was straight forward – I opened a part of the back fence and made sure they could get the shed down the drop in the back of my yard. It all went well and soon the shed was in place.

I added a 100 amp power circuit and proceeded to insulate and panel the shed, build shelving and hang the appropriate tools after figuring out how to put all the tools jammed into the garage into the new digs. I was worried that it would be too tight but ultimately those fears were dispelled after optimizing the layout.

Workshop
Workshop today

As an added bonus I got the garage back! The M Coupe is much happier being inside these days and I actually drive it a lot more now that it’s easier to do. I also have been able to setup a second workshop for household and auto work saving the workshop for more refined activities!

Orlando Garage
Happy M Coupe!