Monthly Archives: August 2008

A Day with Grandkids

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On Wednesday, Mom, Peyton, and I went to spend the day with Amy and Abby.  Peyton was with us for the day because Lois was at an orientation for her job at Peyton’s preschool.

First of all, we went to Walmart to get Abby’s birthday presents since I wasn’t home for her birthday.

Peyton found a yellow car right away,

but later changed his mind and got a black Hummer – surprised?

Abby chose baby doll food, bottles, etc, play food for her kitchen, and a baby doll. Amy found a Barbie mermaid she thought Megan would like.

Later, we walked (uphill) to Megan’s school to pick her up.

She looks so grown up! We went back to the house to have a tea party.  Megan poured juice from the teapot

and Abby poured lemonade from the creamer and sugar bowl.

Then Abby became a doggie who was licking her plate clean!

Peyton was a good sport during the tea party.

After Mom and Leroy left yesterday to go home, I finished reading the newspapers (and doing the puzzles) that had piled up from vacation.  I was interested in watching the convention last night, and have been watching TV today and listening to Rush for the last time this summer since school starts Tuesday.

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Getting back into the routine of things

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Sunday was a busy day.  I was anxious to see our kids and grandkids!

It was nice to see the kids!

Abby and Megan with their friends, Hope and Hailey

Mom and Leroy met us at church, and we went out to eat dinner along with Jeremy, Lois, and Peyton.  After dinner, we went to the funeral home for our friend, Fred, then went to a party for Chris, who is home on leave from Iraq.  After going back to church that evening, we were ready to go home and collapse!

Yesterday, John and I went to the funeral and the dinner afterward.  I fell asleep on the way home, and slept most of the afternoon.  I called Megan to see how her first day of kindergarten went.  She told me she learned a new way to say “I love you” with sign language.

Megan

Megan

Jeremy, Lois, and Peyton came over for a supper of sauerkraut and sausage.  They brought mashed potatoes with them, because we didn’t have any good potatoes here!  Peyton played with the cars, then looked at the classic car books with his grandpa.

Today, John is building the railing for the new steps he made for our back porch while Leroy is sitting on the porch watching him.

I need to work on my neglected flower garden today.

We’re home!

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Friday morning, we packed everything up in the van and headed toward home.

Colorado, in the Rockies

Colorado, in the Rockies

Toward evening, when we got out of the van at a rest area near North Platte, Colorado, I smelled gasoline so John and Bill investigated.  They found out a gas hose was leaking.  Because of the vehicle problems in the past, John brought lots of tools this trip, but he didn’t bring any gas hoses.  Diane had AAA coverage so we called them and they sent out a tow truck.  John had hoped they could just bring the hose, but to use AAA, we had to be towed.

We all got to ride into town in the truck since it had an extended cab.

The driver dropped us off at an Advance Auto store, and Diane and I went to a nearby Wendy’s to wait for them to fix the van.  When John got the old hose off, it disintegrated in his hands.  John and Bill were amazed this didn’t happen while we were in the desert or when we were near Denver with the high altitude.  After they fixed the leak, they decided to change the front right tire since it seemed to be wearing unevenly.

One of the beautiful sights on our way home.

One of the beautiful sights on our way home.

We traveled through many states on our trip and accidentally visited an extra state on our way home.  John was driving in Northeastern Indiana and realized he was on Interstate 94 instead of Interstate 80.  To get turned around and back on the right road, it was easier to drive a few miles ahead into Michigan to route 39 and head back to 80!

Michigan!

Michigan!

We dropped Bill and Diane off at their house and got home about 10:00 this evening.  I didn’t get the final mileage yet, but we think we traveled about 7,000 miles on our trip!  We were in the following states:  Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Nebraska, Iowa, and Michigan – 21 states!  (States in bold type are states I’ve never been in before). I’ve been in most of the continental states now.  I haven’t visited Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Louisiana and Mississippi.  I told John we ought to visit those states – maybe next year!

I had brought lots of knitting projects to work on and several books to read on our trip, but only read one book and only made one pair of socks!

I bought the yarn for these socks at the yarn shop in California.

Our visit to Arches

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Today, on our last full day of sightseeing before we head home, we went to see Four Corners, Monument Valley in Arizona and Arches National Park in Utah.  I had wanted to visit Four Corners because I wanted to go to New Mexico, and that was the quickest way.  When we arrived at the monument, we found out we had to pay $3 each!  The Indians own the land, I guess, and they want to make money any way they can.  It was really neat to stand on a disk and be in four states at the same time!

John is in , Bill is in , Diane is in , and I'm in .

John is in Utah, Bill is in Colorado, Diane is in New Mexico, and I am in Arizona.

After I bought a pretty blue Four Corners t-shirt at one of the many booths at Four Corners, we drove through Monument Valley and took lots of pictures.

Next we drove up into Utah to Arches National Park where there are many fantastic formations.  Diane wanted to see Delicate Arch,

See the arch?  It looks like a ring.

See the arch? It looks like a ring.

and the map said we could view it from a lookout point 100 feet away from a parking area.  The weather was pretty hot (90s – 100s), and the sun was extremely bright – no clouds.  We started walking, and walking, and then started climbing stone stairs and paths, and on and on . . . I’m not sure how far we walked, but the view was great!  On our way back to the van, I could see the short trail to the lookout.  I’m glad I made the effort to go as far as I did, even though the heat did me in, so I spent the rest of the drive in the car and let John get out to take pictures.  After touring the park, we went to the visitor’s center and watched a movie about Arches and another park, Canyonland.  The formations at Arches are thought to be the result of a large salt deposit underneath this area.  The tutonic plates shifted, pushed the ground up, and formed these spectacular shapes.  They look amazing!

Balancing Rock

Balancing Rock

When we left Arches, we got on Interstate 70 and drove until we got to Fruita, Colorado, where we stopped to spend the night.  After eating Dominoes pizza for supper, we went to the pool at the motel but there was a problem.  The spa was too hot, the big pool was too cold, and there was no pool that was just right!

On to Colorado

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Last evening (Tuesday), we went into Williams, Arizona to get supper.  The clerk at the motel desk told us about Cruisers Cafe on Historic Route 66, so we went there.  It was a great place with a very nice atmosphere.  When we pulled up in front, the first thing we noticed was a big grill with delicious smelling ribs cooking on it. We sat outside at a patio table with chairs that rock.  There was live music – a guy playing a guitar.  Our food was very good.  Before we left, I visited the restroom and saw the stall dividers were tail gates from old pickup trucks!

Next, we walked to another restaurant that had good pies where we got some to go.  Then we looked around in some gift stores in town that were open late.

Today (Wednesday), we got up early to go to the Grand Canyon.

We arrived at the IMAX 10 minutes too late for the 8:30 a.m. show, so we went to the gift shop.  Diane bought the DVD that’s the same as in the theater (about the Grand Canyon) so we plan to watch it on their big screen TV after we get home.  We spent a long time seeing the sights and visiting the gift shop.

After we left the Grand Canyon, we drove a little way through the Painted Desert.

I was hoping for more colors, but pink was all we saw.  We went to Monument Valley and decided to go get a motel room before we went sightseeing.  There were no rooms available nearby, so we headed toward Cortez, Colorado.  We drove past the entrance to the Four Corners Monument (where Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah meet) because it was dark.  We ended up getting a room at a casino about 10 miles from Cortez.  Since we hadn’t eaten yet, John headed for town to get pizza, but ended up with Wendys since nothing else was open!  Tomorrow, we plan to go back to 4 Corners and Monument Valley, then head for Arches National Park.  Friday, we’ll be headed toward home and will probably get there Saturday.

We’ve had a lot fun.  It’s hard to believe our vacation will be over soon.

Las Vegas and Hoover Dam

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Yesterday, we headed for Las Vegas.  When we got away from the ocean, the temperature started climbing – up to 100 degrees or more!

This is called a Joshua tree.

This is called a Joshua tree.

Luckily, the van seems to have a good air conditioner, so we did all right until we got out in Las Vegas late in the afternoon and got out of the van.  We parked (for free) at the Lexur and went in there first.  I didn’t know what to expect!  There was row after row of slot machines, then tables where people were gambling.

slot machines

slot machines

Later, I noticed signs that said the minimum bet was $15 at some tables and $25 at some others!  Maximums were listed on the sign too, but I was so shocked by the amount on the minimums that I didn’t pay attention to the maximum amount.

Next, we walked to the Excalibur.  We ate supper at Quiznos (with inflated prices), shopped a little, then we went to the casino part.  Neither John nor Bill played anything, but Diane and I did.  I put $1 in a slot machine where each hit costs $.25.  I quickly won $5, then we went to different machines where I first put in another $1, lost it, then put in the $5, and lost it too.  By that time, Diane was finished, so we left!  It was a lot of fun to play for as long as I did and only spend $2!

We looked around for a hotel (all sold out), then we drove down the strip to see the lights.  I took lots of pictures again and some of them even turned out!

On our trip, I have been getting more and more discouraged by the quality of pictures my camera was taking and because quite often when I would try to take a picture, it might take 30 seconds before it would finally take it.  Yesterday afternoon, I got a new camera at the Walmart in Barstow.  It’s a 12 megapixel Kodak with a nice zoom and a feature where it stabalizes the picture – great for taking pictures while moving down the road!

Last night, we stayed at a nice motel in Henderson, Nevada, not too far from the Hoover Dam. This morning, we went to the Hoover Dam,

Hats and sunglasses were a MUST in this heat!

Hats and sunglasses were a MUST in this heat!

took the tour, and looked around.  John especially liked the technical part of it and he showed me some things they used that he used to survey.

Jphn said he's used this type of transit before.

John said he has used this type of transit before.

The temperature was over 100 degrees again, so we tried not to stay outside very long.

Proof of the temperature being over 100 degrees!

Proof of the temperature being over 100 degrees!

When we left Hoover Dam, we started driving toward the Grand Canyon.

some scenery from today

some scenery from today

Since it was so hot, we decided to go ahead and get a room in Williams, Arizona.  We are about an hour away from the Grand Canyon and plan to get up early tomorrow to go see it.  When we got to Williams, we were happily surprised to find out the temperature is much cooler here!  It’s in the upper 70s and the Grand Canyon is supposed to be in the lower 80s tomorrow, so we should be comfortable!

Happy Birthday to Abby, yesterday,

This is one of my favorites of Abby painting herself, from early 2007!

This is one of my favorites of Abby painting herself, from 2006!

and to Joe, today!

Joe, Amy, Abby, and Megan, Christmas 2006

Joe, Amy, Abby, and Megan, Christmas 2006

Our Day in California

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Today (Sunday), after church, we went back to the beach (in Crescent City), and we were able to see more since it wasn’t as foggy as on Saturday.

This lighthouse wasn't visible Saturday

This lighthouse wasn't visible Saturday.

After taking some pictures, we started driving south.  We got to another beach that wasn’t as rocky as the first beach and Diane and I put our feet in the Pacific Ocean. It was cold!

We decided to drive south on US Route 101 instead of Interstate 5 because 101 is closer to the ocean and much cooler.  The temperature was in the 60s all day so it was nice and comfortable.  Route 101 also has a lot of nice scenery and neat places we probably couldn’t see traveling on an interstate.

We drove through more Redwood forests, drove alongside the ocean, and saw Paul Bunyan and Babe, his ox.

Notice John, in front of Babe

Notice John, in front of Babe

Paul Bunyan was from Klamath, California.  We also passed a lot of wineries and grapevines.

A winery beside the road.

A winery beside the road.

We got to San Francisco after dark, and crossed the Golden Gate Bridge.  It was difficult to get pictures – the ones I got look like blurry colored lights.  While looking for the Bay Bridge to continue our trip, we decided to stop at the Fog City Diner to experience San Francisco a little bit.  After that, we crossed the Bay Bridge and found Interstate 5.  We’ve stopped for the night at a Holiday Inn Express in Westley, CA.  Tomorrow (Monday), we’re planning to go to Las Vegas.

We’re in California

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Thursday was a very long day for us.  Wednesday night, we got to our motel at 2:00 a.m., then we left early Thursday morning for the trip to Glacier National Park

and to see our good friends, Ron and Sue.

The last time we were at Glacier in 2001, it was very foggy, so we didn’t see some of the mountains.  This time, the weather was great – blue skies – so we saw everything!  There was a lot of road construction, so we spent some extra time sitting in the van, or getting out and looking at the sights until traffic was moving again.

There were several of these Fords, used as tour buses, at Glacier.  They're perfect because they don't have roofs, so people can look up and see the great sights!

There were several of these Fords, used as tour buses, at Glacier.

We saw lots of wildlife!  On our last trip to Glacier, John had wanted to see animals, especially a mountain goat.  This trip, we’ve seen quite a few animals.  First, we saw a mountain goat.  Then, when we got to Logan’s Pass, we saw a lot of people looking at something, and noticed there was a big horn sheep.

A little while later, a mountain goat showed up, too.

After we saw as much as we had time for, we went to Trego, Montana, to visit Ron and Sue.

The view from Ron and Sue's porch.

The view from Ron and Sue's porch

They had a nice cook-out ready for us with brats, sloppy joes, beans, cheese grits, homemade buns, peach pie, carrot cake, and more.  It was great to reconnect with good friends.

We got back to our motel room (the same one as the night before) at around 2:00 again!  The same clerk was on duty – he probably wondered about our late hours!

Friday was a hot (100 degrees) travel day.  We left Montana, drove through Idaho, Washington, and all the way to Portland, Oregon.  We stopped to shop in Idaho – the guys went to Cabellas, and we girls went to an outlet mall.  In Washington, Bill met some “friends”.

Prairie dog?  Gopher?  There were a bunch of them and they looked like tiny groundhogs.

Prairie dog? Gopher? There were a bunch of them and they looked like tiny groundhogs.

We got to our motel room early enough for Diane to swim a little and for us to order pizza before we all went to bed.

Saturday was another busy day with fewer miles traveled.  We drove south to California to see the Redwoods,

John picked the Redwoods as the place he most wanted to see on our trip.

John picked the Redwoods as the place he most wanted to see on our trip.

then went to Crescent City.  The weather was very hot, around 100 again, until we reached the Redwoods,

Bill, Diane, Jan, John

Bill, Diane, Jan, John

where it was in the 60s.  We got a big room at a motel, then went to see where the church was so we wouldn’t have to look around for it Sunday morning.  Next, we found a yarn shop that was just closing.  The lady was nice enough to let me come in to look around.  After that, we drove to see the ocean.

This is the first time I've seen the Pacific Ocean!

This is the first time I've seen the Pacific Ocean!

We had hoped to wade a little, but it was too rocky because the tide was out.

John sat on the rocks, looking at the ocean.

John sat on the rocks, looking at the ocean.

We plan to visit a beach before we leave the area on Sunday afternoon.  After we ate supper at the Mexican restaurant next to the motel, we tried to go do laundry, but the laundromat had just closed.  Since Diane likes to get up really early in the mornings, she and John are going to get the laundry done when the laundromat opens at 6:30 a.m. Sunday.

Check out the last posting, because I added new pictures.

Finally, Time to Breathe!

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We’re sitting in a very nice motel room in Portland, Oregon tonight.  We drove through four states today – we started out in Montana, drove through Idaho and Washington, and we’re currently in Oregon.

Tuesday, we went first to the Badlands National Park.

Badlands

Badlands

There are really interesting-looking mountains/hills that were shaped the way they are because of erosion.  After Badlands, we went to Wall and looked at the shops.  Wall got its name from an area of the Badlands.

Tuesday afternoon, we went to Crazy Horse,

Crazy Horse

Crazy Horse

then to Mount Rushmore.  Crazy Horse was started because an Indian asked the sculptor to make a sculpture to honor Indians.  Crazy Horse is much larger than what I had assumed it was and it’s much larger than the presidents’ heads at Mt. Rushmore.  The man who started Crazy Horse was married and had 10 children.  7 of the 10 have helped work on Crazy Horse.  Unfortunately, I can’t see that any more of this has been finished since we were here in 2001.  There was a nice museum there with a lot of Indian artifacts.

At Mount Rushmore,

John and me at Mt. Rushmore

John and me at Mt. Rushmore

we saw the video about the construction of the sculpture, then we took a walk on the trail that leads to the artist’s studio.  We had talked about staying there until dark so we could see the mountain lit up, but we decided to leave instead.  We drove on to Buffalo, Wyoming to spend the night.  We had driven 1688 miles so far.

Wednesday was a very long but very interesting day.  We had to get off the interstate in order to get to Yellowstone National Park, so we got to see a lot of small towns and other things you don’t normally see when you travel on interstates.  After visiting the Burgess Junction Travel Center in the Big Horn National Park, we saw a cattle drive with real cowboys and cowgirls and dogs herding the cows.

cows

cows

We also saw a field full of sheep.  I had seen a similar-looking field where I thought there were a lot of rocks scattered around, but now know those rocks were sheep.

When we got to a town called Greybull, we stopped at an A&W where they have the waitresses who come to your car and put your order on a tray attached to your window just like they used to do in the 60s.

John enjoyed his root beer!

John enjoyed his root beer!

John and Bill each had a mug of root beer, Diane got a sandwich and a root beer float, and I got a chocolate ice cream cone.  We found out the people sitting in a truck beside us live in Dayton, OH!

Next, we visited Cody, Wyoming.  Bill went to a gun museum, and John took Diane and me to a nice yarn shop called The Iron Kettle.  John worked on the passenger side window unsuccessfully, trying to get it to go up and down.

Before we got to Yellowstone,

Yellowstone Lake

Yellowstone Lake

John and Bill cleaned the windshield very well for us because Diane and I have taken so many pictures, and bugs on the windshield started showing up too much in the pictures!  Yellowstone was both great and awful.  There are a lot of areas where there have been fires and there are areas where insects have killed many trees.  We still saw a lot of great scenery and a lot of wildlife.

Moose

Moose

We visited Old Faithful and got to see it erupt.

Old Faithful

Old Faithful

We had been pretty optimistic the night before and called for motel reservations in Missoula, Montana, so after we left Yellowstone, we drove to Missoula and got there at 2:00 a.m.