Cold Feet: Nylons, Knee Socks, and my RV Adventure with a Spanish Dancer


When my nearing-ninety Godmother, a former Flamenco dancer, announced her plan to travel alone from Miami to Pittsburgh this summer, she scared me. It wasn’t her going itself that bothered me, or her going alone. Rather it was her plan to pilot a 37-foot RV, towing an SUV the entire way–a solo flight.  It was her doing THAT that concerned me.

My Godmother piloting her RV (April 2015)

My Godmother piloting her RV (April 2015)

“I won’t be alone,” she insisted. “Pepe will be with me.”

“Madrina, Pepe’s, well . . . .”  Did I dare say it?  “Madrina, Pepe’s . . .  a cat.” (“Madrina” is the Spanish word for “Godmother.”)

A sweet cat?  Yes.

A smart cat?  Of course.

But could “Pepe le Mew” (his full name) read maps and flash a valid Florida driver’s license if pulled over for hijacking a huge-to-most-of-us motor vehicle and elder-napping a retired Spanish dancer fast approaching old age?

(I knew you’d agree.)

You see, my Godfather, a former Venezuelan movie star, passed away last fall, one month shy of his 97th birthday. And in January the Florida chapter of the American Massage Therapy Association acknowledged his decades-long contribution to the profession, a vocation he pursued after retiring as a dancer.  At the same meeting, my Madrina was switched from an alternate to actual delegate; she would represent her state at the national convention in Pittsburgh this August, assuming the position to which her husband had been elected. Ever since that conference at the beginning of the year, she had been determined to take the trip.

This had been bothering me for months, when I woke from a dead sleep recently with the sudden realization that I should ask to travel with her. Sure I’d have to get to Miami from my home in Cuenca, Ecuador, but then I could keep track of her. At least, that’s what I told myself.

Upper Greenwood Lake 1984

Kathy and Madrina (Estrellita Izquierdo), more than 30 years ago–

It was only then that I realized the full extent of her plan, that she also wanted to attend the World Massage Festival in July, since she and Raul had been inducted into the organization’s Massage Therapy Hall of Fame in 2008. She expected to be gone nearly 8 weeks, to travel as far north as Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, and as far east as Manhattan.

And it was only then that my instruction began on items to pack, the kinds of lists I needed to start, and why I should bring enough knee socks and plenty of underwear—at least 14 pairs. (All of this because of limited laundry opportunities.)

“Madrina?” I was reluctant to pass along the sorry state of affairs when it came to my undergarments.  As it was, it took me nearly an hour to confess I had a mere 12 pair of panties.

“Yes, Baby.”

“I don’t think I own a single pair of knee socks.”

“As long as your legs won’t get cold.  Now, maybe you know, football players wear panty hose under their uniforms in the winter.”

“You don’t say?”

“Well, I like to wear them under my slacks to keep warm, but since it’ll be summer, we might not need any. Even in August, though, it can be cool in the early mornings.”

Estrellita Izquierdo performing in the early 1960s)

Do those feet look cold? (Kathy’s Godmother, performing with her and Raul’s company, Ballet Granada, in the early 1960s)

So begins the story of my summer travel with Madrina–a journey set to start in only a couple of weeks.  And since I did NOT inherit my Godmother’s grace, it’s a “trip” I’m certain to stumble and stagger through.

We hope you will follow our adventure and discover how my Godparents met, fell in love, and traveled the world as dancers, partners on and off the stage for six and half decades.

Estrellita and Raul Izquierdo took the stage by storm!

Estrellita and Raul Izquierdo took the stage by storm!

And just so you know, I’m now the proud owner of knee socks, a navy, nylon pair, my calves (and feet) certain to “stay warm” during a blistering summer of COOL temperatures, LOW humidity, and CRISPY road tripping with my very own Fairy Godmother Flamenco dancer.

Do you wear pantyhose under your slacks, lest your legs and feet get cold? Or maybe you prefer knee socks in the summer. Do tell us in the comments below! Will you take a road trip this summer?

Note: I grew up in Pittsburgh, the oldest daughter of a mobster bookie. (Some of you know I’m writing a memoir about my childhood, one that was punctuated by FBI raids and Grand Jury investigations.)  Since the last official stop on our grand tour will be Pittsburgh, I will use that visit to reintroduce the tale of my family. I also plan to write a book about my road trip with Madrina. It will share, not only our summer adventure, but also my Godparents’ back story. And at the end, it will launch the memoir about my early years in Pittsburgh. So stay tuned!

If you’re inclined, we’d love you to share this post via social media.

119 thoughts on “Cold Feet: Nylons, Knee Socks, and my RV Adventure with a Spanish Dancer

    • OMG–this comment is hilarious! I will have to be sure we get a photo of Pepe in knee socks. The funny think is that when I returned from Miami after a recent visit with my Godmother, she sent ballet-slipper socks for my Maltese! I kid you not. I’ll have to add a photo of Lucy in said socks. Thanks SO much for reading! Great to hear from you today!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I saw your response to Kathy Drue last evening and what a great surprise to see you have posted on your blog this morning!

    It sounds like a grand journey, one my own mother would have taken on her own as well!
    I rarely wear socks at all and pantyhose have not been part of my wardrobe for sometime!

    I look forward to the stories!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jeff you are a hoot! No panty hose these days? What a disappointment! Seriously, Jeff, I’m SO happy to hear from you this morning! Will you remind me where you live these days, as we might have a chance to see you along the way. Wouldn’t that be fun???!!!!

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  2. I’m in awe of your amazing Godmother, “go girl” I say. I’m pleased I have found your blog so I can follow you through the next 8 weeks of adventure. Travel safely and keep those undies and knee socks handy…

    Liked by 1 person

    • You and me both, Debra! Have to admit that I haven’t worn panty hose in at least a decade. But don’t tell my Godmother!!!! lol Hope all is well in Italy these days. Wish our road trip were taking us to your neck of Europe. Wouldn’t that be fun!? Great to hear from you this morning. Thanks for stopping by!

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    • Oh, thank you, Magdalena. I think she’s gorgeous, too. Not sure she understands how beautiful she is. I will pass along the compliment and try to get her to respond your comment herself. Love you, my friend!

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    • Ah, yes, hadn’t thought about the impact on the planet, Sybil. Good point. Thanks for the reminder, and thanks for your comment. I’m thrilled you will tag along. How are your critters these days? You don’t have a cat named Pepe, do you?

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  3. Can’t wait to hear the story’s of your adventure. I am so glad you will be doing the navigating….actually, maybe that should be left to Pepe. I know your navigational skills…..you are going to have a great summer!

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    • VERY FUNNY, David! Madrina says I am the navigator in name only. She has heard about them moving the Supermaxi in Salinas. However, she insists on calling it the “Minimaxi” for reasons I shall explain to you in private. Missed seeing you yesterday!!!!

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  4. Yay!!! You’re back! Trust me when I tell you that you don’t want to see the socks I wear. If I have no holes
    where two of my toes stick out…..I’m doing good! Loved the pics of Madrina and Raul. She definitely looks
    a lot like Ava Gardner. I laughed out loud about Pepe and invisioning your potential clumsiness. Although
    I’ll miss you terribly, I can’t wait to read your blog as you traverse the states…..It will be a hoot! Love ya! The one half of the boys!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, I LOVE you, dear Juan! Good to know the details about your socks, my friend! I will pass along the Ava Gardner info to Madrina. Trying to get her to respond to some of these comments herself. We missed you yesterday at Paladar’s. Have to see you some time this week. Love you, Juan

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  5. Dear Kathy:

    If you’re coming anywhere near Charleston, SC, PLEASE let me know. I’ll even come to meet you somewhere. Given your itinerary, you must be traveling on Interstate 95 at some point……..Can’t wait to read more about this Make a Memory (or many) adventure. I hope I’ll be just like your madrina when I’m 90. We all need to keep our sense of adventure alive.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, Andra, I’m SO happy to hear from you! And guess what? I plan to read NOT WITHOUT MY FATHER while we are on the road. I don’t know if we will make it through Charleston, but I will let you know if we will be anywhere near you. I would LOVE to see you. Later today, I’m going to ask my Godmother to respond to some comments, and then I can find out how close we will come to you. You are such an inspiration! I only hope that my road trip book can be half as successful as yours! Would you mind PMing me a phone number for you?

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  6. —Kathy,
    This trip should be documented by 20/20 or something. AMAZING. Gosh, I’ve, missed your interesting, fascinating, exciting, Soprano-like, Ecuadorian, crafty, creative adventures!!!

    Your aunt is Stunning. She looks like Anais Nin! WOWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW. What a handsome couple. Movie Star Looks.

    We want details. We want it all.

    I ADORE the photos of you both.

    You. Excite. Me!!!! xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kimmy, I’m tickled to hear from you! And thank you for tweeting my post. Your excitement always means so much to me. Love the 20/20 idea. If only I knew how to peak their interest. I think my Godmother is gorgeous, as well. And yes, does look like Anais Nin! Hope you are well, my friend!

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  7. What an elegant couple (always loved Flamenco dancers). My dad and his brother easily drove around well into their 90’s. Two of them with trailers/motorhome and across the country travels You can’t hold some of the liveliest ones down – and no need, but how much fun you’ve packed up and found knee socks to join the fun. What an adventure awaits!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, some just won’t and shouldn’t settle down! My Godmother is a better driver than I, sadly to say. Interesting to hear about your father and his brother. How are things in your world these days? Happy almost-July to you, my friend. Thanks for reading and taking the time to leave a comment!

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  8. Way to go, Kathy and Madrina! In 1989-90, my late mother and I spent 20 months on the road in a Class A motorhome towing a Chevy Nova behind (I drove that rig 35,000 miles). We were touring all 50 states while writing a bi-weekly series of subscription letters to home schoolers in the USA and four foreign countries. It was as if the kids had an aunt and grandmother on the road and were vicariously traveling with us! Mom celebrated her 75th birthday in Alaska (we went via the Inland Passage Ferry). The motorhome did not go with us to Alaska nor Hawaii. It was the adventure of a lifetime, as I am sure your trip will be. ENJOY!!!
    P.S. While in school in Málaga, Spain in the summer of 1976, I studied Flamenco dancing every afternoon. LOVED it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow, Juanita, I didn’t know you studied in Spain or had studied Flamenco! How cool! I think I remember your story about the roadtrip with your mother! What fun that must have been! Glad you didn’t try to take the motor home to Hawaii. LOL That may have been wise. Now I want to hear MORE about YOUR ADVENTURE! Thanks for reading and taking the time to leave a comment!

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  9. Hey Lady, Sure have missed your musings and all of the neat activities going on around you. I can’t wait to follow your summer trip with your Madrina and pray you will travel safely, cherish your time together and meet a host of interesting folk. Beautiful photos, too!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much! Glad you want to follow our adventure. It’s going to be a hoot! And we appreciate your prayers. I’m happy you appreciated the photos, too. I will share plenty of more throughout the summer. I appreciate your reading and taking the time to leave a comment. Now, if only I knew who you were—-Mindy, by any chance?

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  10. It will definitely be an adventure. I’m so glad to see you back in the blog-o-sphere! Yes, nylons under slacks help keep warm and yes in the upper UP mornings can be cold and damp, even in the summer. You might want to throw in a pair of wool socks just in case (after all you’ve gotten accustomed to a much more temperate climate!)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Lisa! Your warning that the UP can be cool in the mornings is a good one. Hadn’t thought about packing some wool socks, but that is an excellent idea! I just visited your blog a while ago, and you look incredible, my friend–so, so happy and centered! I could not be more thrilled for you! Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to leave a comment. Great to hear from you!

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  11. This is going to be some adventure. I like your Madrina already. I can’t believe she planned on going herself in that huge RV and her just a little thing. Oh my. Let the drive begin. 😀

    You may prefer pantyhose but I like leggings, sometime without jeans but with a long top or sweater. Keeps my legs and ankles toasty. ❤

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  12. Pepe le Mew is an adorable name for a cat! That’s a great idea to take the trip with her. I’m sure you’ll have a fantastic time. As for knee high socks or pantyhose, I wouldn’t dare to wear either during summer. It’s way too hot.

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    • I think it’s a really funny name! Glad you agree. You know, I need to post a photo of Pepe–preferably wearing knee socks. Wouldn’t that be a hoot–a cat in knee socks! Yes, it’s going to be an amazing trip. And, I’m with you: TOOOOOO hot almost always for either hose or knee socks. We won’t tell my Godmother, will we? Thank you SOOOO much for stopping by and taking the time to leave a comment. I can’t wait to check out your blog!

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    • Thank you so much, Nicole! Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment! Sounds like you all had a wonderful road trip, as well. Looking forward to reading about your climb! Take care and stay in touch.

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  13. Kathy this post made my heart feel so warm and joyful. Your adventure is full of beautiful energy and purpose I will be cheering you on. Wow both you and Estrellita are phenomenally beautiful in the gorgeous photos, you will light up the road as you drive! I admire flamenco dancers so much, what a craft. I’m no expert but a big fan of Maria Pages, have to confess I only know her from the Riverdance shows. Her spirituality that flows through music is so special. Estrellita looks so accomplished too. All good wishes to you and Sara too. I am still thinking about the video of hers I watched some months ago. Pure quality. Looking out for her next film. And in other news, I’m a barefoot kinda gal, even in Winter!

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    • Ha, ha! Yes, I guess it’s been a while. So happy you will keep your schedule open. Can’t wait to see you, Jackie. I know my Madrina will be happy to meet you, as well. Take care, my friend. And special greetings to Reggie!

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  14. Diane Fonderlin, Kathy, as anonymous. Not certain why my name did not post. I’ve shared your story with an Aussie friend who is on a 6-month to a year travel adventure: PNG, Hong Kong, now in Uganda for 3 months and then on to Greece and Turkey after that.
    She very much enjoyed your writing and photos and I promised to keep her updated.
    Again, great to “hear” from you and looking forward to future stories.

    Liked by 1 person

    • SO happy to know it’s you, Diane. Your name does not show up now either. Maybe a glitch in WordPress today. At any rate, thank you SO much for sharing with your friend. And let me know if she blogs about her travel adventure. Would love to read, if she does. And thank your friend for reading, too. Talk to you again soon.

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    • I’m so happy to hear from you, Val! I can’t tell you how excited I am about this adventure and about the opportunity to write about it. Bet it’s getting hot down in Dallas about now. Stay cool, my friend! Hugs to you! And thank you for stopping by!

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  15. But you didn’t buy any extra knickers Kathy??? This is going to be an awesome trip with your godmother (who is absolutely beautiful and no way nearing 90!!!)
    Apologies for not replying to your comment, I’m a bit ill at the mo, but I’ll be following every step of your adventure x:-)x

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    • Oh, you are such a sweetie! No need to respond to comment. Hope you are feeling better. And yes, my Godmother is 88, but you are correct–she’s absolutely beautiful, in SO MANY WAYS! No, hate to disappoint you, but I’ve purchased no knickers! Alas! Take care, my friend. Hope your week is going well and you are on the mend!

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  16. I’m so looking forward to reading about your adventures, Kathy. This is the stuff that memories are made of. I’m so glad you’re doing this, and that we get to come along for the ride.

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    • Thank you, thank you! So lovely to hear from you this afternoon. I think this will be an exciting adventure, as well, glad you agree and want to come along for the ride. Hope you are doing well, my friend! Talk to you soon.

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  17. Oh my goodness – I only wear pantyhose under my pants in the winter on bitterly cold days when I plan to be outside… (I wish I had brought a pair to Norway in May!)

    What fascinating godparents you have, Kathy. I’m very much looking forward to reading about your upcoming adventures! Safe travels!

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    • Hi Barbara. You know, I don’t think I have EVER worn panty hose under pants, though I imagine they would keep one warm. And interesting to hear that Norway is so cool, even in May. Hope you are well, my friend. Thanks so much for stopping by. And hugs to you!

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  18. Ahhhhhh…..WP feels more normal now that you are ‘here’. 🙂 I am in love with the pictures! And the woman you will be traveling with has captured my imagination. I’m also a little jealous of the adventure you are about to embark on! 🙂

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    • Oh, Colleen, I’m so happy to hear from you! It feels good to be back; that’s for sure. Your sweet comment has made my morning. You are welcome to accompany us virtually. Hope all is well in Ohio. Hugs to you and David!

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    • Thanks you so much, Lisa! I have thought about you SO OFTEN since I learned how sick you have been. Please, get better soon! And you know what? We have got to meet in person! Sara and I have been in Ecuador for more than two years, and STILL we have not seen you. That’s a crime. Hugs to you, my dear. And be well.

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      • Yes, you are right. I have a new friend who is moving to Cuenca, and she’s a bit overwhelmed about feeling a bit disoriented as she adapts and meets new friends. It will be later in the year, but I owe it to her to go visit, and I will give you and Sara plenty of warning… Maybe we can do a drawing/painting workshop while I am there… More when you’re finished w/your road trip and back in country! have fun!

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  19. What a fabulous adventure! Your Godmother was absolutely gorgeous as a young dancer, and she’s beautiful today! The picture of the two of you is pretty great! You have the most interesting background, Kathy, and I will definitely enjoy hearing all about this recent adventure. Keep writing! 🙂

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    • I’m so happy to hear from you this morning, Debra! How are things in sunny California? Glad you enjoyed the photos. I agree that my Godmother was and still is gorgeous, but I’m not exactly objective about that. LOL I’m delighted you want to virtually accompany us on our journey. Hope your week is going well. And thank you so much for stopping by!

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    • Ha, ha. I want to look that good at 90, too! And yes, isn’t Pepe’s name a hoot? “Le Mew,” as he MEOWS ALL THE TIME! Hope all is well in London. Take care and thank you SO much for stopping by, my friend!

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    • We are looking forward to our trip, as well. And it will be all the more fun, if you accompany us virtually. Thank you so much for stopping by and taking the time to leave a comment. It’s wonderful to hear from you today. Hope you are having a lovely week!

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  20. Kathy, you know I can’t wait for your travels to begin. With your beautiful Madrina and Pepe le miew( I adore Pepe le Pew btw) in tow, this trip is going to be RV fun all the way. So lovely to read a post from you. I have to say those photos of your god parents and your god mother in her flamenco days are extraordinarily beautiful. I saw some flamenco in Spain and that image has never left me; their grace and beauty was beyond anything I had ever seen. What a wonderful trip you are going to have.
    Hugs my friend
    xxx

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  21. Dearest Estrellita, so happy to see you so happy, and to be able to follow your journey. Last month I was in New York to give a talk, and had lunch with Lucila (Gladys) and other old friends…she looks gorgeous, younger and prettier than ever, she must be taking the same vitamins as you!

    Love and best wishes,
    Estela

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  22. Kathy, I swear! 🙂 You are related to and connected to people with the most interesting lives! Such a contrast to my quiet, somewhat boring midwestern existence. Not that I’m complaining. Boring has its own merits.

    So good to see you back here in blogland!

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  23. Hubba Hubba. I can’t wait to read all about your adventures my friend. This is going to be an amazing adventure full of so much fun! I want to hear all about it. XOXO – Bacon

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  24. I look forward to seeing you and meeting your Madrina, but please keep Pepe in the RV. I’m deathly allergic to kitties. Do you guys have any idea where you’re going to park when you take Manhattan?

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  25. More great fodder for a book! I have never known anybody with such a diverse and fascinating background as yours. You have more intrigue, suspense, thrills, and danger in your past than most of us would experience in a dozen lifetimes! Nice to hear from you again, my friend.

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  26. Your godmother is friggin’ gorgeous!!!!! I want to be just as spry as her! Have a great time on this trip and both of you ladies stay safe. If you travel by my neck of the woods let me know. Maybe we could have lunch and I could meet this Pepe your madrina loves so much. Love you, lady! Send my love to Sara, too!

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  27. She’s a stunner! And good for her! I am so impressed, but she’s not alone. Just this weekend I was watching CBS Sunday Morning and they did a story on an older woman who decided to drive all over the US to spend a month in each town Charles Kuralt had ever recommended. She traveled with her sister at first, but then her sister became ill and had to return home. Then she continued alone! Women Power at its finest! Enjoy the trip. Can’t wait to hear about your adventures!

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  28. I am so excited to read about your adventures!!! And can’t wait to read all about Raul and Estrellita’s life together. Be safe and have fun!!!! How could it be anything but FUN with Estrellita?!?!?

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  29. Pingback: Rider’s Blog: My RV Adventure with a Spanish Dancer (Part 2) | reinventing the event horizon

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