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Enjoying a step back in time on the Strasburg RR (the oldest continuously running short line in the US!), several D2 families took a ride on the rails and stopped off for a picnic.  Other local attractions include the National Toy Train Museum, the PA Train Museum, and the Red Caboose Motel.

the engine providing the power

ticket in paw and ready to ride!

meeting with the conductors

Matt and the kids

 

 

 

 

 

 

showing the Engineer what to do

snatching a quick ride

 

 

 

 

 

 

All Aboard!

National Toy Train Museum

 

 

 

 

 

 

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JoJo is back on the road.  Out spreading the good word and visiting with Brothers from foreign countries.

A recent trip had him riding with Brother Eric LeHew down to his mother Lodge in Franklin VA.   Eric’s first masonic coach (RW William “Billy” E. Allmond, III) received his Masonic 50 year veteran pin during their visit.

Bro Eric with RW Billly

JoJo and the Brothers from Franklin Lodge No. 151

 

 

 

 

 

 

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JoJo was out West again visit with Brother Lance Cottrell and his family over the holidays..

Christmas Eve dinner with the family

trying a new beverage

making friends with a gnome

visiting the local Lodge

trying his paw at D&D – seems he is a natural

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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JoJo knows sports… Brothers LeHew, Veprakas, Bareanz, and Alanis take in the Giants thrashing of the Redskins.

JoJo remains a staunch Steelers fan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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JoJo has gone international!  He has been visiting with RWB Les Center in Bermuda.  They have been seen at Civil & Military and Lodge St. George.  Invitations from Hannibal Lodge and the Bermuda Past Masters Lodge have already come in for January.

JoJo taking part in a Sunday morning rehearsal at Civil & Military Lodge for a First Degree.

 

RW Bro Center, Organist of Lodge Civil & Military, along with his Assistant JoJo on the night of their installation.

 

Hanging with the Brothers before Lodge.

 

JoJo at his official post in Lodge as Organist’s Assistant.

 

Rt. Wor. Bro. Center and his Assistant with the newly installed Master (Ian Hunter) of Civil & Military Lodge No. 726 on the night of Installation.

 

JoJo pays an official visit to Lodge St. George on the occasion of their annual installation. Seen here sitting on RWB Center’s knee. JoJo had a great time, and was a huge hit with the Brethren.

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A visit with Brother Eric Husebo in Falmouth MA afforded JoJo to see inside Marine Lodge and to see his first light house.
Brother Eric is serving Marine Lodge as their Senior Steward.

light house in the background

 

The murals reminded JoJo of Hiram Lodge in Winchester.

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JoJo and Brother Will Nutter trying to reach others on the HAM radio.   Maybe MW Loyd Davis is listening in??

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A monkey needs to climb…

 

at Spanish Landing

 

kicking back on the beach

JoJo found himself back on the left coast and enjoyed some down time with Brother Jacob Yates…

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A few more photos from Brother Steve while in Texas…

Here is JoJo in Frisco – you can tell you’re in Frisco when the cars start looking like this:

 

At the Dallas Star in Frisco, which is basically a Dallas Cowboys (America’s Team!!!) themed Reston Town Center, and the Dallas Star is also the world headquarters, training & medical facility for the Dallas Cowboys (America’s Team!!!!!!)… anyway – a lot of Dallas Cowboys players are honored around the Star – here is the Greatest Dallas Cowboys Quarterback of all time (GDCQBOAT) Troy Aikman’s memorial… may God rest his soul… wait, he’s not dead yet… in fact, he has a restaurant in Arlington called “Troy’s” which isn’t far from here, and he does a lot of advertisements for a local brick company: (editor’s note: JoJo is a staunch Steelers fan)

 

Here is the Dallas Cowboys indoor training facility at the Star (the Ford Center). There is a giant TV that shows all College and NFL football games (not just Cowboys games) and people can sit on the field, or sit in any of the restaurants across the street with outdoor terraces and watch the games. Up to the right there is the Omni hotel and that ledge with a glass railing is the hotel pool, so you can also sit near the Omni pool and watch football games as well. Up the left is Cowboys Fit, which is a gym you can join and get personal trainers who are ex NFL players or active/ex Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders – they also have a rooftop pool deck where you can watch football games on the screen from. No shortage of pools at the Star.

 

Here are some commentators broadcasting live from the Star:

 

There is a Lincoln dealership at the Star… I think you can get coffee and food in there as well – which is is weird. Completely unrelated to Lincoln, I forgot to mention earlier that some high school football teams that don’t have their own $50-100,000,000 football stadiums (there are a few) play games in the Star’s indoor stadium:

 

Speaking of high school football, here is the brand new Scottish Rite Childrens Hospital North Campus in Frisco – It is part of the Dallas Scottish Rite Childrens Hospital but the North Campus is strictly an outpatient facility. There are quite a few $50,000,000 – $100,000,000 high school football stadiums around here (Friday Night Lights is a real thing!!) and when some of those kids get injured, theoretically, they could come here and get their ACLs and what not fixed. They do outpatient surgical procedures and they have an indoor/outdoor running track and rehab facility… It’s pretty souped up in there. Fun fact, Dionne Sanders is a high school football coach (for his son’s team) – Jerry Jones’ grandson (just graduated this year) was QB for Highland Park High School – welcome to Texas!!

 

Neat rainbow effect, the side of the building is lit up rainbow colored at night as well:

 

Note the S&Cs:

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A road trip with Brother Eric…

All buckled up and ready for the road trip from Virginian to West Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky, and North Carolina!

 

First a stop in West Virginian to see the world’s fourth longest single span bridge!

 

Found a Lodge in Bristol, TN after a long drive. Too bad it was closed for the night, but the mural on the side was very inviting!

 

Following in the footsteps of Frontiersman Brother Daniel Boone!

 

Just hanging around with the Park Rangers!

 

Driving into Pigeon Forge, TN, JoJo saw his long lost uncle and idol “King Kong!” What else is there to do when visiting a Tourist Trap?

 

A third National Park off the List, this time with SD Eric LeHew!

 

Got to have the standard Park Entrance Sign photo too!

 

When visiting the Smokey Mountains you need to make friends with the natives! This is Barnaby the Bear and he sends his greetings from Gatlinburg, TN

 

Heading home aver a long 1,500 mile road trip, JoJo started to take a nap and shirked his duties as Co-pilot for Brother Eric LeHew.

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A visit with Brother Steve Palmer in soggy Texas….

Texas is experiencing an usually wet end of summer / early fall

Here’s what would have been a shot of JoJo at the Alliance Air Show

Here are some pics from Ray Roberts Lake – Ray Roberts Lake is up near Tioga where Gene Autry is from.  Randy Travis has a place up in Tioga also.  Ray Roberts Lake is also near Pilot Point where they were going to have Bonnie and Clyde Days (technically it was only going to be a one day event, so I’m not sure why they call it Bonnie and Clyde Days) but they cancelled it due to rain – fun fact, Bonnie and Clyde Days Day celebrates the actual filming of the bank robbery scene from the movie Bonnie and Clyde starring Warren Beaty which was filmed in Pilot Point, and I think that is hilarious.  But I was hoping to get a shot of JoJo while they were reenacting the bank robbery scene from the movie – but it was cancelled 🙁   So we took JoJo to some places and no events.

Here is the spillway control structure for the Ray Roberts Lake Dam

 

Thats the Ray Roberts Lake dam on the horizon. What you also can’t see very well because of the bokeh is the fishing pier that is underwater due to the rain we’ve been having. This is a stark contrast to as little as a few weeks ago when we were on water restrictions. The Trinity river in Dallas is 40 feet above normal right now.

 

Ray Roberts Lake has a very nice beach… and it is flooded right now

 

Ray Roberts Lake also has a ton of wild life and trail systems that go all the way to 380: JoJo cautiously watches the deer….

 

We took JoJo to the “Dam Store”:

 

As you can see, at Little Elm Park, Lake Lewisville raised so much they flooded the beach and the bon fire pits are fully submerged. The lighted sand volley ball courts (that are open 24/7) are on the verge of being flooded.

 

Here is the Little Elm Park amphitheater where they have live music, plays, speaking events, etc:

 

Little Elm Park flooding – in all of my 1 year and 10 months of living here, I’ve never seen it flood like this before:

Odds are, if you were to move to Texas, it used to be that you’d want to move to Austin, Little Elm… or maybe Frisco. And, if I had to choose between Frisco and Little Elm (which I did) I’d choose Little Elm (which I did) because it is cheaper and there is less traffic.  But it turns out that I should have chosen to live in Prosper which was not even on my radar when I was looking for a house.  Last year (a year after I moved to Little Elm) they announced that Windsong Ranch, which is a “burbclave” in Prosper, was getting a 5 acre Crystal Lagoon.  If you don’t know what a “Crystal Lagoon” is, Google it – basically the water in the picture below is going to look like the Bahamas next year, and they are going to have a bunch of beaches on it.  If you don’t know what a burbclave is, it is a fully autonomous walled community as coined/described in the book “Snow Crash” by Neal Stephenson.  The North Dallas and North Texas areas are filled with burbclaves.   But now, if you are reading this and you want to move to Texas, you should move to Windsong Ranch because I need friends in Windsong Ranch so I can hang out at the Crystal Lagoon:

Then we took JoJo to Denton, the county seat of Denton County, it has a town square with a nice looking building in the middle, as does most every town in Texas (note the break in the clouds lasted about 2 hours). Name a good sized town in Texas, and odds are the town square looks similar to this:

 

Then I took JoJo to visit Lebanon Lodge in Frisco:

 

Past Master and current Senior Warden of Lebanon Lodge, Bill Foreman, was kind enough to get his picture taken with JoJo.

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Greg, Axel, and JoJo visit with the wonderful Brothers at Metropolitan

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JoJo weathered Hurricane Florence in Hilton Head with RW Ken Shelton.

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JoJo stopped in to see WB Chuck Covarrubias and Judy while passing thru the Sunshine State.

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JoJo visits New York City!

Being a great baseball fan, you enjoyed the Yankee seats.

 

He checked up on his name sake.

 

and went out partying on the town

 

but when a monkey goes to NYC, he only really thinks of one thing….

 

how hard could it be?

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JoJo visited with WB Bill and Sue Rennagal while they attended Supreme Assembly IORG at Hampton, VA.   Sue is serving as the Supreme Worthy Advisor and several Rainbow Girls.  There were about 1400 in attendance from all over the world.

Sue, Bill, and JoJo with the Rainbow Girls

We’ll have to see if JoJo has any “Renagal Minutes” to share on his return

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JoJo continued a westerly course and meet up with Right Worshipful Brother Rob Hopkins in Portland.    Together they stopped by Kenton Lodge No. 145 in northwest Portland.    Kenton goes dark for July and August.  Very friendly Brethren here.  The barber shop is on the ground floor of the building.  The Lodge Room is on the 3rd floor.   It is about a half mile from home, so they could walk to Lodge meetings or to get a trim.

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On a trip through Idaho, JoJo stopped in to visit with Brother Jason Wright and his lovely daughter Elizabeth.

Elizabeth shows JoJo the falls at Idaho Falls.

 

They stopped by the local Lodge.

 

But, no one was around.

 

Jason regularly plays chess at the local library.  JoJo wasn’t much help.

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JoJo was soaking up the history while visiting colonial Williamsburg.    He skipped the processional, but enjoyed climbing the Lodge and looking for WB Chuck Covarrubias.

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JoJo was feeling the brotherly love at Hamilton-Thompson 37.    In quite the paradox, both Herndon and Freedom Lodge both had 4 Brothers in attendance (but there were only 5 visitors…) for “friendly visits”.

JoJo hugging it out with Ed Ziemba while Bros Axel and Brad stand guard. No more Monkey nappings!

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MONKEY NAPPED!

While resting peacefully in the truck during a recent visit to Freedom Lodge, JoJo was awakened from his slumber and snatched from the vehicle, bound and brought to parts unknown.  The Monkey Nappers left this note along with a photo… Our JoJo certainly seems to be in peril.  

Slowly but surely clues began to emerge.   JoJo was leaving behind signs to point his rescuers to his location.

The first lead up a winding staircase… 

Beyond some ancient ruins…  To a place where a founding father declared the view worth the trip across the Atlantic…

But, the captors then retired up into the country.   The trail had gone cold…  

JoJo’s fortunes were not to be turned so easily.   Additional intelligence came via a local that he had seen a group of 3 strangers passing that way with another being lead by a cabletow.   They were traveling a westerly course.   They attempted to pass here…  which would have landed them near this marker… 

Additional clues to his whereabouts began to surface… 

A passerby spotted JoJo in a upstairs window!  We were getting to close to finding him.

In an odd turn of events and by use of his guile and charming personality, JoJo was able to escape his captors.   He ran wildly into the street where he looked up to see this emblem… 

He gave the grand hailing sign and yelled “CARTWRIGHT!”  But, no one came to his aide.

When he thought all was lost… his captures closing in on him once again… he then saw the promised land…    

The Brothers hearing his call, rushed to his aide and chased off those that would have brought him harm.    The ruffians had been identified and foiled of their plan to illegally gain that of which they were not entitled to have.     They were last seen ducking into this building… 

JoJo is once again home and safe.

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JoJo took a trip with the Herndon and Ashburn (Hernburn) DeMolay Chapters to Elizabethtown PA for the 3rd annual  Dodgeball for Dyslexia tournament, benefiting the Children’s Dyslexia Centers.  Twelve teams competed – NoVA brought five.   JoJo was eliminated early but the Hernburn DeMolay  brought the trophy home!

While roaming around Pennsylvania, Jojo visited the Masonic Village in Elizabethtown PA.

The Lodge room is huge, but the walls are too slippery to climb.   They also have a lovely Chapel that is just too pretty to climb.  JoJo just sat there trying to identify all the Masonic Families and symbols in the stained glass.  How many can you find?
 
So instead of climbing JoJo ran to Chocolate World at Hershey Park.  He made a new friend.

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JoJo (and others) paid a visit to Spurmont Lodge No. 98 in Strasburg VA.    Bro SD Eric LeHew’s Great Great Great Grandfather was the charter Master of this Lodge.  His Father (Bill LeHew) joined for the visit as well.

WM Mike Singleton with Bro Eric & Bro Bill LeHew

 

WB John Jewell serves up some BBQ with JoJo

 

JoJo with the Officers

 

Great Great Great Grandpappy LeHew

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JoJo on the Gettysburg Battlefield…

But… quickly found the horses to be just too intimidating and retreated to the saftey of the vehicle.

 

JoJo started the day off strong…

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JoJo tried is paw at the Secretary’s desk during Brother Evin’s Master Mason degree.  He was overheard at the end of the evening from the cleft of the desk proclaiming “this job is not for every monkey, I never want to sit here again!”

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Herndon Open House

Never one to miss a good breakfast or pass on a great opportunity to learn, JoJo dropped in on Herndon’s Open House to take in the happenings.

Helping in the kitchen with Sandy and Paul Turner.

 

Selling Tom Feely a breakfast ticket.

 

Chowing down with Brothers and sharing fellowship.

 

Wearing some bling with Howard Sobel.

 

Accepting the Lodge’s Challenger Team photo from RW Pobat.

JoJo was equally comfortable on either side of the education programs offered – whether it was taking it all in with others or showing RW Rhey how to get the job done.

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Visit to Treadwell No. 213 in White Post, VA.

This visit was a little more relaxed.   JoJo helped WM Mark Williams make breakfast for the visitors then sat down with Geoff and Heather Hoyt to enjoy a big meal himself.

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Visit to George Washington Lodge No. 143 in Chambersburg, PA.

John Brown historical marker.

JoJo started his Civil War tour of the Town at the house where John Brown plotted his raid on Harpers Ferry..

From there, he made is way over to the Masonic Temple that also played a roled during the Civil War.

Things then got a little crazy as JoJo put on his best King Kong imitation…

He settled down once he got inside.   He posed with the Master, the DDGM, the Officers, and even turn a turn running things from the East.

GW 143 that night was honoring 7 50 year vetrans, 1 60 year vetran, and 1 70 year vetran.    This made JoJo feel quite young.   The Brothers of GW promised to come visit JoJo in Herndon this Fall.

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JoJo resting up for the start of his journey.

JoJo is our Lodge monkey and good will Ambassador.   He will be out and about – visiting other Lodges, stopping in to check on distant Brothers, comforting those in need of support.  Updates for his travels will be posted here.

 So, where in the world is JoJo?