Wednesday, August 20, 2008

ALASKA TRIP WRAP-UP . . . . . . . BLOG # 20

   My old original Fishermen Trio buddies, Dan Betzer and Jimmy Smith, made a connection with me while we  were out near the Utah/Arizona border. We are going to try to get together and do a little music out of the past down in Ft Myers around the middle of  this coming January. We all came to work for Ford Philpot in Lexington in the early seventies. Dan was an Associaate Evangelist, Jimmy was piano player, accompanist and soloist and me, as Crusade Choir Director and soloist. A few weeks later, while gathered around a piano at Tattnall camp in Georgia, we just sort of began putting together a little harmony and voila', there it was, a good sound and a lot of fun. Two or three years later they both moved on. So here we are, about 35 years later and we're going to give it another shot. Can hardly wait. Awesome!

   Now, back to the journey. OF COURSE WE MADE IT TO TEXAS.  The short cut around Albuquerque takes us for about 30 miles over the old MOTHER ROAD. That would be Historical U S 66. For me that's memories of November, 1954.  Ron Scheibner and I were just a few months out of Marlette High School and both working at General Coach building house trailers. When they shut the small factory down for deer season, we jumped into my lightly customized '52 Ford and headed for California. Being young and needing little sleep, we drove day and night. I recall so well rolling along through those western states to the music of the Chordettes singing, "Mister Sandman, bring me a dream.....". Heady stuff for two l8 year old squirts who at that time, had ALL the answers to life. We truly "got out kicks on route 66." So here we are in the Motorhome rolling along on 66 a few days ago and what comes up on disc three of that multi-stacker up top? Along with Tennessee Ernie Ford's, Sixteen Tons, there again was the sounds of Chordettes, doing it one more time , just for me, out there on the Mother Road. Awesome again. This trip has had an awful lot of AWESOME!

   Just outside of El Paso we picked up I-10 and with a few breaks here and there, ran that super-slab the whole 880 miles across Texas. West Texas was hot, wide open and a bit boring with an 80 MPH speed limit. No, I do not drive the coach 80 miles per hour. I might approach it at times heading down a long hill in order to gain momentum for the up-grade ahead, but that's all. Besides, there is a governor that cuts everything off at eighty.

   We pulled into the Hidden Valley Campground just outside the circle by-pass on the southwest edge of San Antonio on Tuesday afternoon. We called Daniel and Kristen to plan our schedule. We wanted to see them an Little Zeke. We set up camp, turned on the A/C and headed over to see the grandkids. After warm and exciting greetings, it was time to head for the hospital to see the baby. When Ezekiel and I had our first greeting I could tell he was excited to see his great-grandfather. What a precious little boy. Small of course, but doing well. Great-grandmother, Sweet Lynda, thought he was very SPECIAL too. We had a bite of supper and went back and spent more time with him.

   On Wednesday we decided to check out a bit of downtown SA. We parked the Blazer in the deck at the RiverCenter Mall and walked inside. Ambled back out to the River Walk and strolled up and down and back and forth along this delightful path through the city. How nice and so appealing. Went back into the mall to catch the IMAX movie of the Alamo. Very good, too! At 2pm it was time for our scheduled tour of the city. Which tour, you might ask? Gray Line? Taxi? Horse and Carriage? No way, Hosea. Young and virile upstarts like us headed for Segcity. You probably know that a Segway is that two-wheeled conveyance with handlebars that you stand on and lean ever-so-slightly forward or backward to make it go. It takes TALENT and SKILL of course. I was a little slow but for Sweet Lynda, no problem. Matt was our leader and we saw the city. Gorgeous old theater's, more of the River Walk, remnants of the 1968 World's Fair and of course, the Alamo.  We really had a good time.

   On Thursday we spent the day again with the kids and Ezekiel. These are special loving people and we continue to pray that the little boy will do well. Not easy to say good-bye to these dear folks.

   We pulled out early Friday morning, filled up with gas on the east side of town at Flying J and pointed this home-on-wheels toward Louisiana on Interstate 10. Rain off and on throughout the day. Stop and go traffic through Houston. Camped north of Lake Charles at Quiet Oaks in Fenton and moved on up US 165 at 6:30 Saturday morning. Did the breakfast buffet at Shoney's and kept on going. Picked off the southeast corner of Bill and Hillary's home state and turned east again , this time on US 82. We crossed the Mississippi river on the old bridge but they are nearing completion on the beautiful new one. US 82 across Mississippi is an excellent highway. We eventually came to the Natchez Trace Parkway and turned north/northeast. About 240 miles to Nashville. The Trace is a very lovely and well-maintained two lane road with no towns to contend with but a little too much of the same thing. The Blue Ridge Parkway is much more interesting. It was after dark when we got to Nashville. We continued on up to Flying J at Franklin, KY. It was a long day of over 700 miles While having breakfast at Cracker Barrel in Bowling Green Sunday morning we got at call from Dave Evans with the Central Ohio Camping Club. The group was at the hot air balloon doin's in Findlay. We would like to be with them. They are great people to hang out with.

   We were back in Danville about noon. . . with a bit of sadness in our hearts. Good to be home of course, but sad because this marvelous journey was over. Saturday evening, Evans, Teresa, Jasmine and Sophie arrived back from the other side of the world. Sunday evening we went over to the farm to see this precious, new little granddaughter. WELCOME SWEETHEART! It was good to see everyone again, including the neighbors. . . . . and last but not least, Madchen, the Doxie.

    THE TRIP?  Of course we missed the planned conclusion because of the Texas swing. So, maybe in a couple of years we can still do the Arches, the Canyonlands, the Million-Dollar-Highway, Durango, Mesa Verde, the Four Corners, the Royal Gorge, Pike's Peak, the Garden of the Gods, the Air Force Museum and Rocky Mountain National Park. And maybe the Gateway Arch too. We drove the Georgieboy Cruise Master 13,812 miles and the Workhorse with the Chevy V 8 performed perfectly. No problems at all. For that I am truly thankful. In every way, it was a wonderful journey for both of us. Alaska has been a strong desire for most of my adult life. To have been able to do it all with my beautiful wife and companion, Sweet, Sweet Lynda has been an extra special joy. We have traveled well together.

   To our families, loved ones and friends from all over, thank you so very much for all the phone calls, e-mails and blog comments along the way. We could not have possibly made it without you. Hope you've enjoyed the blog.

Love and blessings always . . . . .thanks for sharing the adventures of Winston & Lynda


Sunday, August 10, 2008

SOUTHERN UTAH . . . . . . . . . . BLOG # 19

   We left Jacob Lake campground last Monday morning, rolled west, northwest back down off of the high Kaibab plateau and on over in Kanab, Utah. We sat at McDonalds for a few minutes and made some phone calls. There's phone connectivity in the towns but not out in the Hinterlands. Filled up with fuel a little farther up the road and turned right on Route 12. This took us past Bryce National Park with all the spectacular Hoodoos but we didn't stop. We both saw it just a few years ago so we moved on through Tropic and Cannonsville and on up through this lovely land to Escalante where we parked for two nights at Broken Bow Campground. Actually a neat little town with a Sinclair gas station/True Value hardware combination. Things to see require back-road driving. The Blazer is 4-wheel drive but Hole-in-the Rock road was pure washboard. We opted out.

   I've read about route 12 for years and have wanted to see what it was like. From Escalante   northward it is big-time uphill but wonderful. On top, it's a narrow, skinny hogback for a ways. We were definitely close to Heaven up there. We spent a couple of hours driving this gorgeous highway on up to Torrey, a much prettier area. We camped at Thousand Lakes just west of town. We took the car and drove a dozen miles or so east on route 24. It took awhile. Holy Cow! We stopped for photos over and over. Marvelous and rugged beauty. Stuff like Twin Rocks, Gooseneck Canyon and the Castle. We drove past the visitors center and took the ten-mile scenic drive. Whooppee! At the end of that we headed on back Pleasant Creek (dirt) road for several miles. a few sprinkles of rain here and there but we both enjoyed it very much. Then it was back to the campground for a western cookout. We had packed a lot into just one day.

   On Thursday morning we drove farther eastward to the town of Hanksville and stopped at the Red Rock restaurant for a little breakfast. Eventually we got to talking to Larry at the next table. Larry is a 65 year old Morman who is in the sawmill and lumber business. So very personable and talks about everything including farming and old tractors. We hung-out with Larry way too long but we certainly had a good time there. Sort of hated to say goodbye.

   We drove the long stretch southward down route 95 in the general direction of Monument Valley. Awesome country as usual. We stopped at an Overlook for a view of the tail-end of Lake Powell and talked with Nicholas and Kenny, a couple of young travelers from Belgium who were  spending a few weeks vacationing in the country.

   We cut off on route 261, the road to Mexican Hat. The road looked fine BUT there was a warning about hazardous conditions twelve miles ahead. Obviously, NO PROBLEM. An l8-wheeler had passed me before the dangerous zone so I figured if he can make it, I can make it. When we arrived at the overlook I saw him, down there on the valley floor and heading for town. When I saw what was ahead however, I almost changed my mind. The problem was, I couldn't SEE it. The road hugged the vertical mountain edge all the way down and it was out-of-sight. Five miles per hour with several switchbacks. Passing cars coming up was very limited. Sweet Lynda was not happy.  We eased this baby back and forth straight down that half-baked excuse for a road, gunned her off the last hill and headed for town too. Sweet Lynda was STILL not happy. She added it to her 'short list' of roads never to travel again in her lifetime.

   Once through Mexican Hat, Monument Valley begins to open up. There's no place like it. This is where John Wayne made some of his best films, like Stagecoach, The Searchers and She wore a yellow ribbon. Two nights at Goulding's campground. On Friday I drove up to Moab to pick up our mail. On the return I drove 20 miles off to the west of route 191 to the Needles Overlook that eyeballs the way-beyond-spectacular CANYONLANDS. There's nothing like IT either. Four years ago Alan and I drove the Shafer trail down to the canyon floor from the other side. I could easily see the road below from the rim where I stood and sure enough, it called out to me, loud and clear. It's on my BUCKET LIST...along with a few hundred other list. A few things however, have been crossed off in the past few months.

   Well, there's news. Have your plans ever changed? Our's have. We left Monument Valley yesterday morning and are currently parked out west of Albuquerque near I-40. We plan to be in San Antonio sometime Tuesday afternoon. You see, our first great-grandchild was born four days ago on August 6th. Ezekiel Solace Pike arrived way early and weighed in at only 2 and 2. But they took him off the respirator yesterday and he's breathing on his own. Put "little Zeke" on your prayer list. His parents are Daniel and Kristen. We can't wait to see all three of them.

   It's 6:45 on Sunday morning. Today we will worship and praise the Lord while rolling down the Interstate. Sweet Lynda and I (can you believe I/m married to a Great-grandmother?) are headed for the Lone Star state.

Blessings...on the road with Winston and Lynda somewhere west of Albuquerque and headed for Texas.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


Leaving the camping spot at Angel's Camp, CA, I 'scrunched' a boulder with this delightful Monster we're driving and living in. A slight dent along the bottom of one of the storage bays and a bent-up exhaust tip resulted. I got out my large pair of channel-locks and re-opened the end of the exhaust so the engine could breathe again. We were heading for Yosemite but just beyond Sonora on route 49 we decided to stop and make a phone call. The guy at the campground down that way said not to use route 49 because of the new fires in the area.. The park was open but smokey. Probably not a good move for us. We discussed it a bit more over breakfast at the Holstein restaurant and charted a course for Paso Robles. The Yosemite fire was said to have started by a hunter doing target practice. It's hot and dry in southern California. Of course, it's ARNOLDS FAULT. The government is expected to fix everything.

Our mail was at Paso Robles two days after being sent from Kentucky. It's a very nice area with rows upon rows of beautiful vineyards up and down the steep hillsides. We stayed at the Wine Country RV Resort, the classiest place at which we have camped. We sat there for three nights. Also the most expensive we've stayed at. We drove a few miles west and took a final 'last look' at the Pacific Ocean. Just a bit to the north sits the enormous Hearst ranch and castle. William Randolph Hearst HAD and DID it all, including a few things he shouldn't have had and did. A publishing genius, he began building the castle, which he called a cottage, at age 56. Work never ceased for l5 or 20 years and of course, it was never totally completed. Oodles of Hollywood celebrities enjoyed weekends at the place in it's heyday. Antiques and purchases from around the world fill the rooms. We enjoyed seeing it all. Hearst's father, George, fresh from mining wealth, began purchasing ranch land around the end of the Civil War. The ranch was a place W.R Hearst enjoyed his entire life. He was born in l863 and died in l951 at age 88. The Castle is impossible to describe but wonderful to experience. We made additional camping reservations and had the motorhome serviced before leaving town.

We rolled east a hundred miles or so, around Bakersfield and on toward Barstow. Sweet Lynda continues to knit everything imaginable and continues to cook up tasty meals. The slow-cooker does a great job on beef and potatoes. Saw hundreds of huge windmills on mountain tops doing their thing. Got a phone call from my old buddy, Bobby McFalls, from down in North Carolina. We both worked for Ford Philpot back in the seventies and have tried to keep in touch now and then over the years. He was always a good friend. It was 105 degrees in Barstow but cooled down over night. The next morning, August 1st, we headed northeast on I-15, had breakfast at Denney's in Baker (next to Pike's gas station), turned east and drove 30 miles to Searchlight, NV (Home of Dingy Harry, where I suspect he currently is since he and Nancy turned out the lights in Washington), and headed an hour north up to Hoover Dam. While passing through Searchlight, I recalled Cottonwood Cove, just a few miles to the east on Mohawk Lake, where four years ago , Alan, Elizabeth, Ethan, Noah, Angela the baby sitter and I camped for three very hot days on our five week long "King of the Road" trip. Good times!

Lynda and I drove the outfit through Boulder City and on down almost to the dam when the guy at the security check said, "I need to look in your storage bays." Well, the whole rig with car and all was too big to maneuver anyway in the relatively tight surroundings, so we made a U-turn and drove back to a large vacant area across from the big casino, left the coach there and again got in line behind the slow-moving traffic headed for the dam. Hoover Dam is always a great sight to see but the new bridge being built across the chasm is something else. It is sticking out some distance from each side but the long center section is not there yet. Scary! It is to be completed sometime in 2010.

The thermometer in the Blazer has always been very accurate and this day it bounced back and forth between ll6 & ll7 degrees. The gentleman at the tool booth said it was ll2. By the way, that one-time, ten dollar Golden Age Pass is one of the best investments a senior citizen can make. We have entered everything related to the National Park system, not just the parks themselves, free of charge. We drove the Northshore senic road along Lake Mead about sixty miles on up to Overton. Stopped several times just to take it all in. At Overton, we plugged into 50 amps and turned both air conditioners on high. We just "let em' run" while we went to supper at Sugar's and topped it off with a little dessert at the Inside Scoop. Before we ever left home we decided we were going to check out the ice cream places around the country. It seems as though we have held up that part of the plan quite well. Of course, Sweet Lynda only likes ice cream during daylight and nightime hours. With all that ice cream in her, she has turned out to be a 'real cool' wife.

Saturday morning we 'clipped' off the extreme northwest corner of Arizona an I-15. The 'slice' through the mountains in that short distance is absolutely wild and jaw-dropping awesome. I never saw a road like that little stretch. My, My, My! We thought about turning around and driving back through again just for the thrill. In St. George we grocery shopped at Walmart and filled up with fuel at Flying J. Then it was off to the east-southeast across the Kaibab Plateau and a long, scenic, up-hill drive to Jacob Lake, AZ, a 45 mile drive from the Grand Canyon.

We have both previously been to the South Rim, so on Sunday, two days ago, we drove down to this KING OF THE SEVEN WONDERS OF THE WORLD, the North Rim. It's a busy place but nothing like the other side. As the Bald Eagle flies, it's about 10 miles to the South Rim. By road, it's over 200 miles. We took in the 10 am church service in the auditorium. The Lodge south lobby windows give an instant view of this amazing spectacle. We made dinner reservations, then lunched at the Deli. We walked out to a couple of near-by points with straight-down looks. I walked the quarter-mile trail out to Bright Angel Point. Too much! Talked to both Brad & Angel while there. We checked out the book and gift shops. I won't tell you what Lyrical Lynda purchased. Later we hung out in the lobby and read a little, snoozed a little, looked over the edge some more, etc. At 4:45 we had dinner with a view and then drove to Imperial point to look into the Abyss from that perspective. After that, an additional 15 miles to Cape Royal to watch the sunset. It was somewhat overcast but still magnificent and a joy so see. It was dark when we drove away but it was definitely a very special day.

A couple of thoughts before we ring off::: #1 - "The time to dance is when the music's playin'." #2 - "You can't get ahead of anybody you're trying to get even with."

Just a final word: Special thanks to the gentleman's blog comment concerning Fred Waring and the Pennsylvanians. So very nice to hear all about it. We are currently in Escalante in southern Utah. Will wander around this general neck-of-the-woods for the next week or ten days, then a week or so of Colorado. Expect to be back home before the end of the month.

Blessings to all . . . . . on the road with Winston & Lynda

Sunday, July 27, 2008



This is Sunday, July 27. We went to worship this morning at Foothill Community Church located nearby. Last Sunday we met up with Barb's wedding party friend, Andrea, with husband Kurt and two boys pushing into their teen-age years. It was at an old lodge in southwest Washington a few miles north of Hoquiam. Many other family members were in attendance as well and we both enjoyed meeting them all, in particular Kurt's dad who was celebrating his eightieth. The whole mob took a trail hike through a nearby woods a bit later. Picked up a late lunch and prepared to head into Oregon on Monday.

Because of extremely high winds recently, there were hundreds of broken off and flattened trees in the area. The lumber business is absolutely HUGE in this area. Trucks hauling logs and lumber mills everywhere. Many forests have been cleared out and thousands of new trees replanted. We entered the state over a very long bridge spanning the Columbia river at Astoria. The eighty year old gentleman at the visitors center directed us to the Clatsop state park where Lewis and Clark and their entourage erected a fort for their first winters' shelter. A delightful two hour stop on our journey. Picked up a few groceries at Fred Meyer's and continued on.

We dry camped just north of Seaside. First thing Tuesday morning we wiggled the rig back into Ecola state park for an awesome "first look" at the picturesque Oregon coast. WOW two or three times. Just like all the pictures but much nicer in reality. We hung around there awhile. As we got down into the southern part the next day we saw so much more. It wasn't long before we came to Tillamook. Tillamook cheese and ice cream , if you will. We stocked up on one and sampled the other. So did everyone else coming down that highway. The parking lot and sales building were both crammed. A very popular place with good reason. We paused at numerous turnouts along the way and eventually arrived at Heceta Head Lighthouse. A nice, white, normal looking lighthouse. Enormous granite boulders sticking up out of the water provided a rocky breeding ground for thousands upon thousands of various species of birds. A few seals were lying around as well. The stench? Give it your most objectionable thought. You're not even close! IT'S MUCH WORSE THEN THAT. That was enough for the day. After doing a bit more grocery shopping we "shut 'er down" at a sweet little campground near Florence.

The Pacific ocean is in view most of the time on this drive and of course, the scenery is gorgeous. Some of it is rocky and rugged; at other times we looked at the most beautiful beaches imaginable. Just an outstanding drive. Oooo's and aaaah's all the way. At other times, a little misty eyed. At Coos Bay we paid a visit to Sheriff John. A friendly visit of course. He runs the old car museum there. After he retired from in southern California, he came north and opened up this place. Thirty some cars in the place along with all kinds of memorabilia and hundreds of dolls. My brother Norm's '55 Pontiac hardtop was in there with the hood ornament Indian Chief that lighted up. That car still looks good. Also looking good was a '53 Studebaker Starlite Coupe, a '39 Lincoln Continental, a '65 Oldsmobile Starfire hardtop and a '51 Kaiser Tudor. I had my picture taken with that one. The Sheriff said he'd sell that one to me for about ten grand. Can't afford it. . . . . spending all our funds on fuel. I still miss my 1954 Kaiser Manhattan that I had in the 70's though. Sheriff John has a very classy layout. At Brookings we picked up our mail and camped at Driftwood Park. Walked over to Smuggler's Cove for supper. A super 350 miles.

Crescent City was just over the border in the Golden State of California. We stopped at the visitors center to get acquainted with Colonel Sanders younger brother. I met Colonel Harlan Sanders in the early seventies at the studios of WLEX TV in Lexington, KY. Kentucky Fried Chicken was big stuff in those days and still is. The Colonel was going to be interviewed for the TV program, The Story. There he was, white suit, string tie and all. Of course I never really knew him, but I did shake his hand an say, "hello." He was somewhere in his eighties then. (Did you notice that a lot of people in their 80's are floating around in this blog?) Since the Colonel was a elderly gentleman back then, I suppose if he were still alive today he'd probably be dead. Anyway, this guy at the visitor's center looked just like him. They could use him for KFC advertising today and nobody would ever know the difference. What a nice person. He talked to us for awhile about Redwoods. Very helpful.

Those redwood trees are truly SOMETHING ELSE! Some folks in their Bounder from Frankfort, KY were cruising through too. We stopped long enough to see the "BIG TREE." We actually drove slow and took our time. Camped at a neat little 'family campground' near Garberville on US 101. Friday morning we had breakfast at Judy's Junction on Route 20 and rolled east over to I-5. This area is dry but this is irrigated farming country. We swung down around Sacramento, topped off the gas tank @ $ 4.05 at Flying J and turned east on l20 toward Yosemite. So here we are at Angels Camp. Nice campground. It was cool all along the coast, in fact, for most of the trip. We've been looking for some summer weather. Well, we found it. The temperature is just barely under 100. We plan to do Yosemite on Tuesday. Hope to show SWEET LYNDA Hearst Castle about Thursday, Hoover Dam on Saturday and The North Rim next Sunday.

Yesterday we shopped at Sonora, looked over the old gold mining town of Columbia, and took in the VW show here in town. I didn't know so many old Microbuses were still in existence. The Karmann-Ghia still looks sharp. To all the responders to the blog, thanks. Till we meet again......

Blessings. . . . . . . .with Winston and Lynda on the road

Saturday, July 19, 2008


The custom's officer looked over at his buddy and asked, "Whaddya' think. . . should we take it apart?" His co-worker hemmed and hawed for just a moment and then replied, "Naw, let him go." When they said, "go ahead", I didn't hesitate. I moved quickly back into the good old USA. By the time we got to Walmart in Bellingham an hour or so later we had traveled almost 500 miles since leaving Prince George early Wednesday morning. Several other travelers were parked with us overnight there. Thursday we moved over to a nice rv park in Ferndale. Our mail was waiting for us there at the post office.

I was just past my 19th birthday when I met Drell and Gloria Butler in the early summer of l955 in southern Michigan. They were just a bit older then me and already had a few kids. She played piano and he was minister of music at a church in Pontiac. We quickly became good friends. A few weeks later he and I traveled together to Fred Waring's Music Workshop in Deleware-Water-Gap, PA. Most high school choirs in those days sang some music from Shawnee Press. Those were the masterful arrangements by Fred Waring and the Pennsylvanians; stuff like "Give me your tired, your poor", "This is my country", and "You'll never walk alone". Mr. Waring showed up for the evening sessions, driving his new Packard. (For you young kids, that was a luxury automobile in the old days.) Fred Waring was a musical genius of his time and we both enjoyed the workshop immensely. Drell was in my wedding party when Anita and I were married a few years later. We kept in touch and in the mid sixties I joined his staff at a church in Canton, Ohio. We did a lot of singing together. After being there for a while, I moved on and in l969 he packed up his family and all and moved to southern California where he pastored a church for the next twenty-five years. Later he moved to northern Washington state. He went on to heaven about three years ago.

Before leaving Alaska, I called Gloria. Thursday evening, two days ago, Lynda and I met her for dinner at the local Olive Garden. It's been over thirty-five years. Of course we hung around the restaurant too long, reminiscing, recalling and remembering people, places, and happenings of another era. We finally made our exit from there and went over to McDonald's and wrapped things up over a cup of coffee. What a blessed few hours.

When we left the "Land of the Midnight Sun" on the 10th, we drove a few miles over the Alaska highway for breakfast at Buckshot Betty's in Beaver Creek. You probably think I'm making that up. That piece of road from the border eastward to Destruction Bay is rougher then trying to drive a tractor crosswise across a cultivated corn field. It smoothed up a little as we got over past the Haines cut-off and on over to Whitehorse where we spent a couple more nights at the Pioneer RV park. Nope, we didn't stay 'on the marge of lake Laberge'. It just didn't work out with our Skagway side trip the next day.

Beta Tremp (how's that for a name), drove the bus to Skagway. He also does other things in life, but he was made for this. Extremely knowledgeable and an all-round nice guy. We stopped at the delightful little town of Carcross on the way down. Still 95% Native. The scenery was outstanding. We roamed around town in the strong wind, checked out some of the stores, had a delightful halibut lunch and saw a cruise ship in the harbor. That still gave us time when we got back to pick up a Subway and check out the Fireweed bookstore one more time.

We stopped at Rancheria an the way up and told them we'd see them on the way back. We did! The pie was excellent. We filled up at the junction of route 37 and the Alaska highway and headed south on the Cassiar; twenty miles of construction. Before it was all over, we (notice I said 'we', although Sweet Lynda had nothing to do with it),were stuck in soft, course sand. Without realizing it, the front wheels on the blazer had "crimped" and we were trying to pull it that way. A workman held the steering wheel straight as we pulled on out. Big horse flies aggravated the situation. The road improved only slightly as we drove on down to Jade City. Yep, that's where they mine the stuff. Jade stuff everywhere. We parked in their parking lot overnight with a couple of other campers.

The next morning we stopped at Mama Z's at Dease Lake for the obligatory omelet. Talked to a pilot there who flies 747's to the Far East for UPS. Lives in Alaska. Also talked to Colorado Bob. a cyclist who had ridden to Alaska and was on his way back to Colorado Springs. Saw him again at Bell Lodge that afternoon. Said he was going on to Stewart for the night. We thought we might too but decided to pack it in at a sweet little campground on Meziadan lake near the Stewart turn-off. Our campsite was right on the water. Sooo nice! We checked out the glaciers in the area. Sooo nice, too!

Got into the Blue Spruce campground in Prince George late Monday afternoon. On Tuesday we caught up. Laundry, car washing, shopping, haircuts, etc. Ran into Colorado Bob one more time at a New Hazelton cafe. He was just finishing his breakfast when we walked in. We chatted a bit more and wished him well. A real nice guy in his mid-forties, traveling alone. We observed numerous lumber mills in that area.

Coming on down Route 97 on Wednesday from Prince George we passed nice farming country, lush fields of hay; much of it already baled, we stopped at Williams Lake for an A & W root beet float, and blew by towns like Horsefly, Spuzzum, and Likely. Saw some very rugged country and some more productive farmland before crossing the border. Today we traveled down a very heavily traveled I-5 through Seattle (we only waved at the space needle), stopped for fuel and an omelet at Flying J, and came on down to Hoquiam where we are parked for the next two nights. Gas was $ 4.19.

Tomorrow we are going up the road a ways to visit with Andrea, a college friend of Barb's who was in her wedding sixteen years ago. Then southward down the Oregon coast.

In my last blog I neglected to wish granddaughter Anna a happy 9th birthday, so thought I'd better do it now. Daughter-in-law Teresa's birthday is today, Kristen has a birthday tomorrow, the 20th and son Brad has one coming up on the 22nd. New granddaughter, Sophie, will be two on the 25th. Daniel and Kristen celebrate their 4th anniversary on the 24th.

One more thing, Camp Sychar begins this coming Thursday. It will be the first camp meeting session I've missed in a long, long time. It is always a blessing and very worthwhile in terms of spiritual nourishment and great fellowship. Those precious folks who gather there to both give and receive are in our thoughts and prayers. We love you all.

Blessings . . . . . . . On the road with Winston and Lynda (Grilled chicken & potato salad for supper tonight)

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

.....ON LEAVING ALASKA Blog # 15

   And the Lord, the Almighty Creator, the Man Above spoke to the heart, soul and mind of the weary, wandering traveler, saying, "Well my son, how have you enjoyed my enormous chunk of real estate far up in the northwest where the sun shines at midnight? Was it alright for me to show you the lovely Matanuska valley and glacier along the Glenallen highway the other day? And how about the cruise out on Prince William Sound last Sunday afternoon when you saw the whales, the sea otters and the eagles. Oh yes, and don't forget the puffins."

   The traveling man waited in stunned silence, seemingly at a total loss for words. He thought back to the other places visited on this exciting odyssey. Especially Homer and Denali. And what about that Moose that invaded wedding back at Wonder Lake?

   "You liked it when that moose and her calf showed up, didn't you?", said the Lord. "I thought it was a nice touch I added to the ceremony.  And didn't it bring you a special feeling yesterday when driving back up from Valdez over and through Thompson pass, past the Worthington glacier and up the gorgeous forty mile valley? I recall making that area especially breathtaking.

   The traveling man suddenly rediscovered his voice and a renewed energy. "It seems, O Lord", he said, "that the things I've appreciated most on this journey, besides the marvelous landscape of this state, have been the wonderful people I've met all along the way, the support of family, a wonder and warm-spirited companion with whom to share this precious time, and above all, a sense of your wonderful Presence mile after mile."

   And the Lord said, "As friends, I have enjoyed it all with you, and of course, we are not done yet, are we? My Presence will surely go with you the rest of the way, and eventually, right on into Eternity. No frost heaves in the roads there." (And God smiled) 

   The eyes of the traveling man were suddenly misty as he lifted his head and smiled back.

                                                         *          *          *          *          *

   Sweet Lynda and I are still in Alaska tonight just three miles from Canada. We camped in Tok again last night and picked up the mail before noon today before heading 85 miles through major road work to reach here. We loved Valdez for three days. Fishermen coming in to the campground there with their limit simply gave us an entire salmon filet for Monday night supper. Absolutely delicious. We also toured the Whitney museum there which was simply out of sight. We have been especially thankful for good health all along the way. Don and Maxine, five weeks in this state are not nearly enough. I know why you enjoyed it so much those many years ago.

   The sun is finally out after several days of rain. Sweetie Pie is fixing steaks for supper and tomorrow we head for Lake Laberge (Robert Service & Sam McGee). After that, one day out for a quick excursion to Skagway, then the long drive down through British Columbia to the Seattle area. What a wonderful journey.

Blessings to all . . . . . on the road with Winston And Lynda                          


Friday, July 4, 2008


   The many bald eagles of the Homer area appeared to know what freedom was all about. They perched majestically on the peak of the old theatre or on the light pole nearby. They were oblivious to all the people moving about. As we drove up the steep hill north of town we paused at the nicely manicured turn out, got out and gazed back over the bay and the little piece of land known as Homer Spit. We lingered for awhile. Not easy to leave. Driving on toward Soldotna, we had a lovely view of two gigantic mountains across the Inlet, both snow-covered. We had driven this same scenic highway a few days earlier in the other direction. Dave Stancliff, the Alaska ballad singer from Tok, had reminded us when we entered this Land of the midnight sun a few weeks ago, not to go looking for Alaska, but to rather let Alaska find us. Eureka!!! We have surely been waylaid and willingly captured by a dear Friend and have no desire to try and break loose and run away.

   We continued on the Sterling highway and then up the Seward highway stopping only for fuel at $4.42 a gallon (picked up a couple of apple fritters too, along with some other goodies) and then topped off the tank in Anchorage at $4.39. Drove across the street to Fred Meyers and purchased a few groceries and planned to park there for the night, but a bit later decided to go another fifty miles north to Wasilla. It was slow going in rush hour traffic on the Glenn highway but we soon arrived at Fred's there. Spent the night there with a few other rv'ers. 

    After getting the Blazer oil changed and exploring the new Walmart, we checked into the nearby Homestead campground about noon on Wednesday. A very nice shady and busy spot. Our mail had already arrived.  We have since wandered back over and through Sam Walton's major enterprise several times. It is Sweet Lynda's favorite hangout. More groceries; more of this; more of that, etc. My philosophy is: Whatever it takes to make her happy. . . . . because is she ain't happy. . . . . . . .

    Just east of the campground here is the town of Palmer. I have been aware of this place in Alaska since the late fifties. In 1959, the 59ers, a group of several families from in and around Royal Oak, Michigan, where I was living at the time, sold everything, packed up families and belongings and moved all the way up here to the Matanuska valley to take up homesteading. A local Michigan reporter traveled with them and filed a daily column on the odyssey. I was only in my early twenties, but can still recall thinking how exciting an adventure it must be. The lure of the newest state gently tugged at me even then. 

    So, you ask, "Whatever happened to the 59ers?"  That was certainly my question and I intended to inquire. After all, "Inquiring minds want to know." Sweet Lynda and I trekked on over to the Palmer visitor's center. First we met Helen, a delightful, pint-sized bundle of lightning. An extremely active senior citizen with strong, razor-sharp opinions and a disarming smile and a personality to match. We liked her at once. Seems as though I've known a few others like that in my life.....but I best refrain from listing names here. Anyway, she thought we were talking about President Roosevelt's homestead re-location program of the 30's. Not so. About that time a sharp and very talkative young lady named Dawn typed in  59erstoalaska  on google and sure enough, there it all was, right before our eyes. I wasn't crazy after all. Articles, conversation and photos and lots more available to read about. History, if you will, from 49 years ago. It grabbed my attention RIGHT NOW and I've just begun to get into it.

   40-ish, Shane Lamb, is a local artist in Palmer. At the visitor's center his drawing of "Palmer Pride" drew my interest. I was ready to buy a black & white copy when Dawn told me that his studio was right across the street. Really? We wandered over to find a very engaging artist and a room full of warmth and beauty. After spending a lengthy period of time there, we left with a framed color print of "Palmer Pride." Got a photo of Shane & me holding the picture. ( "Why isn't it on the blog?", you ask.  The answer:  Because I'm new at this computer business and I can't seem to get photos downloaded from the camera or uploaded to the blog. What little I've done has been with help step by step. Maybe later).

   Today is July 4th. The park owners sponsored a picnic earlier. Talked to oldest son Evans...& Teresa and Jasmine in Kazakhstan this morning. It was July 4th evening there. Earlier in the afternoon the judge there said a strong and permanent YES! July 4th is little Sophia's(Sophie) INDEPENDENCE DAY from the orphanage. She now has freedom to experience a new and exciting life in a loving family. Today we gained a new granddaughter. She will be two on July 25th. Is the Lord good or what?

   Talked to our beautiful, grown-up granddaughter, Macy Carol, too. She is tall and terrific and nice. She turned sixteen last month and now has her license. Be careful, sweetheart. We don't ever want anything harmful to happen to you. We are proud of you and love you very much.

   On this Independence day, we again recall, with thanksgiving, all the freedoms we enjoy in this country. We express heartfelt appreciation to veterans of earlier times and to those now engaged in defending this nation. To paraphrase, "If we do not pay attention to and learn from that which has happened in the past, we are doomed to repeat our stupid mistakes all over again."  The problems of our times will not disappear and become non-existent just because we stick our heads in the sand and wish it so. Your particular politics are not important, but how you respond to an enemy who wishes to wipe your way of life and your personal freedom from the face of the earth is crucial. With all my heart, I wish for my little grandkids and great grandkids still in the womb, to be able, by the grace of God, to celebrate Independence Day in their old age. 
On the road again with
Winston and Lynda