"Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning." Psalm 30:5

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Trip Statistics

Just for fun!!!

Miles driven:           11,500 (my car)  Doesn't count ferry or trip to TN.
Average MPG:         25.6
Average MPH:         40.4
Length of Trip:        5 months
Damage:                  1 Windshield (large crack)
States visited:           20
 (Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana)

Movies I need to see again after this adventure:

California - "Same Time, Next Year"
Alaska - "North to Alaska" and "The Proposal" (Sitka)
Wyoming/Montana - "A River Runs Through It"
South Dakota - "North by Northwest"
Kansas - "The Wizard of Oz"
Oklahoma - "Far and Away"
Texas - "Giant"

We live in a beautiful country!!!  I had so many wonderful adventures.  Thanks for following along.

Nashville News

Country Music Hall of Fame

Lunch here.
Walter and I played tourist on Friday and went to the Country Music Hall of Fame, ate bbq at Jack's and then went to the Ryman Theater that night to see the Grand Ole Opry.  The Opry was great fun even though we didn't know too many of the older singers.  Kathy Mattea and Blake Shelton both played.  You could take pictures inside but it was really hard.
On Stage at the Opry

Saturday morning Janet and Nick drove up from Huntsville to help me find a place to live.  We met the Realtor at 9:00 a.m. and started looking.  First place was perfect BUT the owner had changed it to a "for sale" instead of rental.  By early afternoon we had found two more possibilities.  One was in a perfect location but the owner was so hard to work with, I decided "not to go there".  Third one was a charm.  I signed the papers yesterday to rent a townhouse in Franklin, TN.  It has a guest room so I'll be ready for visitors soon.

Saturday afternoon, we were tourists again and went to The Hermitage (Andrew Jackson's home).  Last time Janet and I were there it was 15 degrees so we didn't see the outbuildings.  This time just as Janet and I were ready to walk back there it started thundering and lightening.  Maybe next time:)  We did make it back inside before it started pouring.  After dinner and the last blog drawing, Janet and Nick headed back to Huntsville.

The Hermitage

Sunday was one of those days.  Walter and I both are trying to forget it ever happened.  Let's just say it ended with dinner at Arby's.  Not good:)  After a really long day of driving, we made it back to Walter's Monday night.  Most of the trip was good, though, and I have a nice place to live.  Thank you, Walter!

I am now back in Houston at Maynard's (my other brother) getting some things done so I can move in September.  I'll update when I make the big move.

Monday, August 23, 2010

And the final winner is . . .

Nick picking the lucky winner!!
Janet put all the names in a cup and shook things up.

Winner - Ardell!
Ardell is my sister so I'll hand deliver this one.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Drive to Nashville

Our drive on Wednesday through East Texas and north on U.S. 59 was pretty uneventful until about 5:00 p.m.  We had stopped about 4:00 for gas, ice cream, and to use the internet to make our KOA reservation in Little Rock, Arkansas.  Shortly after we got back on the road, there was a terrible accident on I-30 about a mile or two in front of us.   One of the big wreckers used to tow 18-wheelers had a blowout and crossed the median hitting an 18-wheeler head on.  Both vehicles burned and there was one fatality - very sad situation.  The part of the interstate where we were located was closed for almost four hours.  Everyone made the best of it while the authorities took care of the situation.  The RV came in very handy for water, sandwiches, and most important - the bathroom!
Walter and our "neighbors".

Negotiating the use of the bathroom:)
Several miles of traffic - we were in the section that could not be diverted.

When they finally got one lane of traffic moving again, it was almost 9 p.m.  Next mishap was with the GPS.  It let us down and no telling where we were - Walter's comment was "we are lost in the jungle".  (Doug & LA will get that one:)  Finally found the correct address - but there was no KOA!!!  Next stop was a McDonald's parking lot where we got on the internet and found the correct address.  Success!!!  By that time it was 11:30 p.m., and way past our bedtime.  We were exhausted.

Next day we had no mishaps and got to the KOA in Nashville without problems.  Walter did get a DQ treat on the way.  I think I am going to have to take some "language lessons" when I move to Nashville. When we went for dinner last night, the conversation went something like this.  Made me laugh!

Waitress:  Would you like a basket of rose?
Walter:  Huh?
Waitress:  A basket of bread?
Walter:  Oh, yes please.

And they tell me I have a southern accent!!!

Waffle bowl sundae:)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

On the road again . . .and one last surprise!

Ogallala, Ne
It took two long days of driving to get home from Mount Rushmore but I did add two new states to my list  - Nebraska and Kansas.  I stopped in Ogallala, NE hoping to see some historical markers but no such luck. Ogallala was where the cattle drives went and there was also a pony express stop there (remember "Lonesome Dove"??)  I loved that book:)

Tomorrow morning Walter and I leave for Nashville.  We are packed and ready to go!!  This will be the first time he has his RV on the road.

Ready to go!!!!

I have also learned I have to be careful what I say on my blog:)  But I do have one last surprise for one of my readers.  Janet and Nick will be in charge of the drawing this time.    No picture because most of the goodies are in my car - somewhere:):)  But there are items from the lavender farm, Seattle, and all the national parks I visited and I'll add something from Nashville.  Sign up before Saturday at noon CST and I'll mail the package ( U.S. only and winner takes all)  when I get back late next week.    So, all of you that haven't made a comment this is your chance.  I would love to have lots of comments (and stories if you are so inclined).  If you have trouble commenting, email and let me know.   You do have to scroll down to the "post" button.

there is joy

Monday, August 16, 2010

Mount Rushmore National Memorial

After spending the night in Bozeman, MT, I left early so I would have time to go to Mount Rushmore.    It was a beautiful drive through Montana.  It made me wonder what the settlers thought as they crossed in their covered wagons.  I was quite happy in my car with country & western music playing on my iPod.  The speed limit was 75 mph and I paid less than $3.00 a gallon for gas for the first time in months.

Close up of Lincoln
I have wanted to see Mount Rushmore for years but have to admit I was a little disappointed at first.  As I learned more about it and the way it was constructed that disappointment faded.  Really amazing how it was constructed and all the planning that went into it.  Watching the film of the workers hanging off the top of the mountain to set dynamite or polish stone had me covering my eyes:)  That height thing again!!

After seeing the movies and exhibits, I walked on the trail that led closer to the carvings.  You were almost under them and could see more of the detail up close.  I also had a "wildlife" encounter at the end of the trail.

There were motorcyclists everywhere as well since the motorcycle rally in Sturgis was going on.  Amazing number of bikers!  I didn't stop in the town of Keystone because to quote Sarah "I don't do tourists":)  Lots of tourists shops, etc lined both sides of the road.  I did take a shot of the bikes for my brother, Maynard.

Bikes!! (out the car window)

The blog is finally caught up.  The next couple of days I will be homeward bound with plans to meet my brother, Walter, and head to Nashville.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Yellowstone National Park

       I continued my drive into Yellowstone National Park and Wyoming which is a new state for me.  It is hard to imagine the acres and acres that were burned by the fires in Yellowstone until you see it.  Many areas have started to recover but the evidence is still everywhere.

Along the drive, there were cars stopped everywhere alongside of the road.  Of course, I had to pull over to see what everyone was stopped to see.  At first I thought this was a female moose but I have changed my mind - maybe elk.  Sorry Janet - I did my best:)

Next on my list was to see Old Faithful and the Visitor Center.  I really timed my visit well and only had to wait about 10 minutes to see.  It was so neat.  Lots and lots of tourists were there!

After this, I drove by some more geysers and out the north entrance of the park to Bozeman, MT.  Beautiful drive and reminded me of the movie "A River Runs Through It".  There were lots of people fly fishing (in the rain).

Another great day!!

The masses.

Old Faithful

Grand Teton National Park

Arch made of antlers, Jackson Hole, WY

After a not so early start, I drove from Idaho Falls to Jackson Hole, WY and on to Grand Teton National Park.  I stopped at the Visitor Center to see the exhibits and then drove through the park.  Another magnificent park with beautiful mountains, glaciers, lakes and lots of fun outdoor stuff to do.  So many beautiful places to stop and enjoy the views.

Beautiful!  You can see the glacier.
Lunch time.

I had stopped at a Subway earlier in the day so I could have a picnic in the park.  Not a bad spot with that view.  After lunch, I continued my drive through the park with many stops along the way.

I knew Grand Teton NP and Yellowstone NP were close together but I didn't realize the road connected the two parks.  Wonderful drive!  I rolled down my window and played my favorite "park music" (Tony O'Connor if you have ever heard of him).  Peaceful.

Janet and Nick will be camping here in September with Nick's brother and his wife - lucky them!  It will be a beautiful time to visit the park.  Janet is on the look out for a moose.  She has wanted to see one since she was little.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Crater of the Moon National Historic Site

Taken at a roadside stop - Idaho.
When I left Yakima on Thursday, I drove on the interstate until I got to Mountain Home, Idaho just past Boise.  The terrain really surprised me.  I didn't know this whole area was desert like.  I always pictured Idaho as really green but that is the northern part of the state.   The Oregon Trail also was in this area and there were lots of places I wish I could have visited.  Following the Oregon Trail from St. Louis west sounds like it would be a great vacation.

At Mountain Home, I got off the interstate and took the scenic route over to Crater of the Moon National Historic Site.  Another beautiful drive and the craters were really interesting.  The visitor's center was closed by the time I arrived, but I enjoyed looking around at the formations.

That night I drove as far as Idaho Falls, Idaho.  The falls were pretty but I just got a quick look as I drove by.  There were lots of visitors in town and I was lucky to get a hotel room.  Matter of fact I got the last one at the hotel I stayed in.

Mount Rainier National Park

Mount Rainier National Park is just east of Seattle.    Most of the time Mount Rainer is hidden in the clouds but I got lucky.  When I first got there, you couldn't see the mountain at all.  Just before I left, I noticed a little of the mountain peeking through.  As I was driving down the mountain, I stopped at a viewpoint that looked back at the mountain and it was breathtaking!!!!

The Visitor Center is new and very nice.  They have several exhibits and a nice film about the park and its history.  I am one of those people who always watch the park films.

Grove of the Patriarchs
The exit towards Yakima, WA passed by the Grove of the Patriarchs which I also wanted to see.  There was a mile long loop that meandered through the huge trees.  Very impressive!!!  I really enjoyed walking amongst the huge trees and listening to the sounds of nature.  Heals the soul.  I spent quite a while at the park.  There were so many wonderful viewpoints ti was hard not to stop.

Driving down out of the mountains there were a few "white knuckle" places but I did pretty well.  I spent the night near Yakima, WA.

Seattle - last day(:

Sherry, Amy and I had such fun in Seattle.   Wednesday morning we ate breakfast, packed, and got ready to go our separate ways.  Sherry and Amy walked to the post office and tried one more coffee shop while I reorganized my car a little.  I think it is hopeless at this point.

Amy and I took one last walk around Capital Hill to admire the beautiful homes.  Two of my favorites are below.  The limo came to pick up Amy and Sherry at 11:30 (aren't they posh) and I headed east at the same time.

Seattle-Day 3

Sherry & Amy at UPS Park
UPS started in Seattle
We started the day with another scrumptious breakfast.  We decided to take a quick 1.5 hour bus tour of Seattle to see such important sites as Seattle Grace Hospital (Grey's Anatomy fans will recognize the name), the Sleepless in Seattle house, the boats from Deadliest Catch, and that important type of stuff.  The tour bus came and picked us up at the B&B and held us captive for THREE hours.  It was a reminder of why we don't do tours:):)  Apparently, the 1.5 hour tour did not fill so they put us on this one without letting us know.   We learned some interesting stuff but the tour driver talked non-stop the whole time and it was just exhausting to listen to him:)  We finally bailed about noon.
Seattle's Troll

We headed back to the Pike Street Market for lunch at Pike Place Chowder.  It was on our Savor Seattle tour as one of the best chowder spots in Seattle.
 Stopped in at Starbucks (The Mother Lode) for some souvenirs. Walked around the market again to make sure we hadn't missed anything and to look at the flowers one last time.

Original Starbucks

Seattle Skyline from Ferry
For our big adventure of the day, we took the ferry to Bainbridge Island.  Lots of fun and had a great view of the Seattle skyline.  Before returning on the ferry, we walked into Bainbridge for coffee and browsing in the neat shops.

On the ferry.
When we got back, we gave Sherry a break and took the #10 bus back to 15th Street near the B&B.  Dinner was at the great little neighborhood cafe we saw on Sunday.  Best meal we had in Seattle!!!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Seattle - Day 2

Nick, the tour guide:)
We started the day with a delicious breakfast at the B&B and then headed to Pike Place Market.  Amy (trip planner extraordinaire) had booked us on a "Savor Seattle" tour first thing.  It was great fun!!!  Our guide, Nick, had a great personality and kept us laughing all morning - and knew all 14 of our names before we even left the Starbucks where we met.

Flying Fish Market - notice the crowd gathered at the back!
 The tour wandered through Pike Place Market stopping at different locations for "tastes" of the specialties - we tasted lots of good stuff at about 10 different shops.  We had salmon at the famous "flying fish" shop and watched them throw fish!!  We also tasted everything from doughnuts to tea to clam chowder, etc., etc. and learned some history of the market.   We also walked by the very first Starbucks - or as my niece, Erin, referred to it when she first visited Seattle "the mother lode". It was great fun!!  After the tour, we wandered around the market a little bit more.  We were amazed at the gorgeous flowers everywhere - the most expensive bouquets were in the $15 range and most were much cheaper.

 We stopped for coffee at "The Chocolate Box".  Great coffee for me - the coffee came from a local roaster.  Amy and Sherry had super rich hot chocolate.

 Then we started walking (dragging Sherry:)) back to the B&B.  After recouping at the B&B, we headed back to 15th street for dinner at "The Coastal Kitchen".  These two are not party people - they were asleep by 8:30 or 9:00!!!!

Seattle - Part 1

Sunday, August  8th

 Amy and Sherry arrived on time and I picked them up about 11:30 a.m.  We went and checked out the location of our gorgeous B&B - the Shaffer-Baillee Mansion in the Capital Hill.   Perfect place to stay as it was close to everything and we could walk to most of the places we went.  Highly recommend it if you are planning a trip to Seattle.  Too early to check in so our first stop was lunch in a cute little shop  down near Pike and Pine.

Sherry and Amy
Next stop was for coffee!  Amy and I decided we would do our own "coffee crawl" and try out as many of the different coffee shops as we could.  First up was a little shop called Stum.

After checking into the B&B, we went for a walk in the neighborhood and headed to Volunteer Park - designed by the same family that designed Central Park in NYC.  We climbed to the top and had a great view of the Seattle skyline.  I even recognized at least one building!

The park was beautiful with gorgeous trees and flowers.  Lots of them we didn't recognize.  Several of the "natives" we asked were clueless as well.  Volunteer Park is next to a cemetery.  We wandered around it for a bit looking for the really old markers.  We later found out that Bruce Lee and his son, Brandon Lee are among the famous people buried there.
We finished the evening with dinner at a great little Thai place on 15th Street.
Madrone tree - bark is red!
Gorgeous Dahlias in lots of colors!