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

SOUTHWESTERN VIEWING BLOG # 17

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

ALONG THE PACIFIC COAST. . . . . . . BLOG # l7

FOR THE BEAUTY OF THE EARTH, FOR THE GLORY OF THE SKIES;
FOR THE LAND WHICH FROM OUR BIRTH, OVER AND AROUND US LIES:
LORD OF ALL, TO THEE WE RAISE, THIS OUR HYMN OF GRATEFUL PRAISE.

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 sheriff...ing 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

"GETTING BACK TO THE LOWER '48' " BLOG # 16

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

INDEPENDENCE DAY Blog # 14

   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. 
Blessings-------
On the road again with
Winston and Lynda
    


Sunday, June 29, 2008

"SPIT" & POLISH. . . . . Blog # 13

   It is a little after 9 am, Sunday morning, at Homer Spit, Alaska. Sweet Lynda is getting ready for church. Shortly we are heading over to worship with the Nazarene congregation. A while ago I stepped over to the water's edge and wetted the toes of my shoes in the waters of  Kachemak Bay that surrounds this five mile long, skinny little strip of land. The sun is shining at the moment and the winds are calm. I try to take in the whole scene of the encompassing, snowcapped mountains and the charter fishing boats heading out into the waters for the day's catch. When they return in a few hours the Halibut and all will be strung up, photographed, and bragged over. The motorcoach is parked looking out at the bay, the mountains and the rocky beach. Several tenters are camped on the beach even though it has been very cold here. 

   I tell myself that I want to remember and be able to recall all of this at a future time. Of course, we will do that in some fashion or other through pictures. But really, it's a spiritual thing. I want to inhale deeply and do my best to absorb it in it's entirety into my heart and soul. I want to take it with me when we leave. I joyfully concur with the words of the Psalmist in chapter 103, "Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His hold name."

    Homer Spit is a crazy place: from the Salty Dog Saloon to the Spit Sisters Cafe, to the Spit Licks ice cream shop, to the numerous charter fishing outfits and the myriad restaurants and eatin' joints. Campgrounds and campsites litter the place. There are RV's of every era and kind. All are equal here. A few kids are around, but mostly older "hippies." Not that Lynda and I qualify for that designation, of course. Not often, anyway. One old couple camped across from us the past couple of nights in an old VW Microbus camper with a flip-up top. Neat!  Another couple, Bob & Mary,  from near Traverse City, Michigan, are pulling a very well preserved 1972 Holiday Rambler trailer. It looks like the one my folks pulled in the early seventies. In the wintertime, Bob & Mary, both several years older then me, drive big John Deere tractors grooming hundreds of miles of trails for various snowmobile groups. She fed us tasty lemon squares while we chatted for a spell.

    In this area float planes are parked at the docks. Class C rental motorhomes are virtually everywhere. In town there is a great True Value hardware store and Pharmacy combination, along with delightful bookstores and gift shops, as well as a couple of large ocean-going vessels anchored off shore. Yesterday we watched a sailing regatta on the bay in front of us. We are enjoying it all.  You might say we've been "Homer-ized."

   Traveling this way over the Sterling highway a few days ago, we became more acutely aware of the many, fast-moving rivers. They are everywhere. We had a late breakfast that day at the lovely and rustic Princess Lodge overlooking the Kenai river gorge. We parked along with many other rv'ers that night, in Fred Myers lot in Saldotna and then took our time cruising on down here to Homer alongside the breath-taking Cook Inlet. 

   From Louis L'Amour's "Lando".   These would be words from the book's main character, Orlando Sackett.
   "Odd thing, I'd never thought of my pa as a person. I expect a child rarely does think of his parents that way.  They are a father and mother, but nobody thinks of them as having hopes, dreams, ambitions and desires and loves. . . . I got to wondering if he ever doubted himself like I did, if he ever felt short of what he wished to be, if he ever longed for things beyond him that he couldn't quite put into words."

   Well, it's Sunday afternoon now. Lynda is working on a bit of lunch. She has taken a multitude of pictures.  We met for the first time three years ago tomorrow at the farm at Herrington Lake. Love at first sight? Pretty much. It didn't us long to discover that we cared for one another. And fortunately, the relationship continues to grow and prosper. We travel well and happily together. Tomorrow I'll take her out to dinner (the early-bird special), and tell her I love her for the umteenth time. Those are words we never tire of hearing from one another.

   On Tuesday we'll head out of here for other parts of this 49th state, but a chunk of my heart will remain at Homer Spit. I've eye-balled this little finger of land on the map for many years, wondering what it was like. Now I know.

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

   

     

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

What a Country!!! Blog # 12


   It was late afternoon a few days ago when Sweet Lynda turned to me and said, "My wonderful, darling husband; (Those may not have been the EXACT words), here we are surrounded by gorgeous snow-cappped mountains, a blazing campfire crackling at our feet, the aromatic assimilation of thick wood smoke oozing into the pores of our skin to a point where we no longer need to worry about deodorant or a shower, food on our plates, the warm sun beating down on our backs, mosquitos flying in from all over. You know hon," she said, "It just doesn't get any better then this!"  And of course, she's right. This a wonderful and exciting voyage.

    We rolled out of Anchorage last Friday morning after filling up this monster with $ 4.19 a gallon gas and making a quick stop at Fred Myers for a few more groceries. What a lovely fifty mile or so southeastern drive along the waters of the Turnagain Arm. Many turnouts for viewing and photo ops. We downed part of a yucky lunch at the Girdwood turnoff and drove a few miles over to the Alyeska Resort. A sweetheart of a hotel where we could surely stand to hang out for awhile. Anyway, we rode the ski tram up to the top of the mountain for a look-see across the countryside. Whew! Colder then a bear up there. There was also a restaurant, a snack bar and other amenities as well.

   We drove another 20 miles or so down Whittier direction. Bad signage or no signage caused a bit of confusion with the tunnel and visitor's center. When we finally got there, the visitor's center turned out to be one of the best ever. All of the extra interactive add-on features not normally found in such places. We went back a second time the next day. We checked in at the nearby National Forest Service Winniwaw Campground where we ended up dry camping for the next three nights. A wonderful, scenic location featuring the Creator's awesome touch. On Saturday morning we drove the Blazer through the alternating one-way-at-a-time tunnel ($12), and into Whittier and connected up with Jim and Shirley, our dear friends from Akron, who had just disembarked from the Princess cruise ship and were boarding the Alaska Railway train for the continuation of their journey northbound. It was so good to see them for a few minutes. 
After that, it was a bit of breakfast at the Anchor Inn. 

    We just lolly-gaged around the campsite for a couple of days(see first paragraph), napped a little and did quite a bit of reading, crossword puzzles, sudoku and the like. Good idea to park for a day or two now and then. My sister, Vonda, called about 5 am one morning. It was 9 am where she lives in Michigan. She had forgotten about the time difference. We had a nice chat. We both have talked to all the kids in the past few days. Alan is at a conference at Saddleback church in California, Brad's hanging out in KY, Angel's taking care of her family in Michigan, Barb's doing the same thing with her clan in West Virginia and Evans is in Kazakhstan with wife, Teresa, and Jasmine. We just talked with them, visually and audibly, earlier this morning on Skype. They are working on the adoption of baby Sophie. She will be two in July. They have sent some great pictures of her.

   This is our third day in Seward. We stopped at the gorgeous Summit Lodge at mile 47 on the way down here and did the omelet thing again. May try to do it on the way back too. An absolutely delightful setting. Seward is a good-size town down here on Resurrection Bay. We did the Alaska Sea Life Center on the waterfront yesterday. $18 for seniors but a very special 2 or 3 hours. Real live creatures everywhere. If you ever get the chance. . . 

   We're parked at the Stoney Creek campground but tomorrow we're packing it up and heading over to the other side of the Kenai and down to Homer and Homer Spit campground. Here in Seward, RV's by the hundreds are parked along the waterfront. I think that's how we'll be in Homer. We'll see.

   Words from a 16th century poet:   "Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future."

   Well, I've got to get to work on my to-do list. My sweet Lynda is doing laundry at the moment. Rainy and chilly here today but all is well. Praise the Lord!

Love and blessings. . . . . on the road with Winston & Lynda


Thursday, June 19, 2008

Anchorage Blog # 11

   Traveling south from Denali last Sunday afternoon, we dawdled our way along the Parks highway headed in the direction of Anchorage, about 225 miles away. We moved over on several occasions to let faster traffic shoot on by. Why would anyone want to rush through such majestic surroundings?

  Earlier we had driven for a final time around the area and had taken some final Denali photos. We stopped by the bookshop at the visitors center and picked up a few items, then drove to the top of a high cliff to the Alpenglow dining room at the Grand Denali Lodge and enjoyed a wonderful buffet breakfast...with a view. Back at the campground I emptied the holding tanks, disconnected, pulled in the slides and reluctantly, we slowly escaped in the southerly direction. We had truly loved and enjoyed Denali. Of course Denali has been in the news the past few days with the very real story of two young female summer employees that have been missing in the park for several days. That's the bad news. The GOOD news is that they were found yesterday and are in fine condition.

     During our time in the area we had totally missed seeing Mt. McKinley It is so high that it makes it's own weather and was clouded in 24/7. Farther south there are some great viewing points for the highest peak in North America so after about a 100 mile drive we decided to park it all at the state campground at Byers Lake and try to get another look. All the mosquitos in the state of Alaska decided to park with us. We drove a few miles down the road to a designated viewing spot. No success. Drove a few yards farther to McKinley View Lodge for a piece of pie. They said, "Come back early in the morning and you'll be able to see it." Baloney! It was no better Monday morning. (But the pie was excellent)

   We stopped along the way at the Trapper Creek general store for propane and a little breakfast. For Sweet Lynda it was the obligatory mushroom omelet. The ladies running that place were super and very hard working. Got to talk with several fellow-travelers as well.

   At Wasilla we checked out the Transportation and Industry Museum. Good move. Some very nice old tractors. Airplanes, cars, railroad cars & stuff, old equipment and oodles of other interesting things. We spent a couple of hours there but more time would have been better. So glad we stopped.

   In Anchorage we went on a picnic, watched the trains go past the Ship Creek RV campground at least 100 times. Those tourist sight-seeing cars ARE fancy. We talked to owner Rosie at the Mountain View car wash and went to the Zoo. Got back a bit ago from having a wonderful dinner downtown at the Glacier Brew House . On top of that we went to WalMart, Barnes & Noble, and Fred Myer's grocery store a couple of times. Tomorrow we head south into the Kenai peninsula for a week or two. Might try to connect up with Jim & Shirley at Whittier  early Saturday morning before they board the train for their northward run.

   We discover that it's necessary to take a break and rest up a little now and then. Talked to Jamie. She and grandson Josh are in a family way. Another great-grandkid in the making. The Pike dynasty continues. (Now you know about this one too, Angel).

   From Louis L'Amour's Bendigo Shafter.....     "The world isn't built around people who do 
                                                                                     what they want to do. . . what they want regardless of who gets hurt.  It is built by people who do what they SHOULD do."

   More in a few days from down around Resurrection Bay.

LOVE AND BLESSINGS. . . ALWAYS. . . ON THE ROAD WITH WINSTON & LYNDA

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Good stuff to see in Alaska Blog # 10

    "Welcome to the University of Alaska Museum of the North." So say the words across the top of the fancy brochure of this facility located in Fairbanks as part of the campus there.  We spent several hours there among the nearly 1.5 million artifacts and specimens. Objects of all sorts representing Alaska and it's native population from historic times up to the present. Hand made clothing and works of fine art are on display to draw your interest. You can have your photo taken with "Otto", an 8' 9" brown bear who appears to be the chief greeter. (stuffed, of course).

   Displays include birds and their migratory routes, a hugh gold display, a major layout on the building of the Alaska highway in the 40's, marine mammals of the western Arctic and the World War II Aleut evacuation. That of course, is a fabulously interesting story of it's own. There is much, much more.

    Upstairs is a room called, "The place where you go to listen." We listened for a few minutes and decided if too much time was spent in that place it would be perfect preparation for entrance into the "Funny Farm."  Had lunch in the nice little cafe and spent too much time and money in the book store and gift shop. Those folks know how we tourists are. They are nice, smiling, talkative people but definitely there for a purpose.  The whole building is architecturally wild and a delight to see. A very enjoyable day.

   On Thursday we drove on south of Fairbanks for 2 or 3 hours through some awesome and lovely countryside and are now parked a few miles north of Denali NP at the Denali RV campground. When we got here we went on down to the Wilderness Access Center and picked up our tickets for Friday's excursion. Went to see the Kennel and the Huskies while there. Sweet Lynda got to pet and talk to those beautiful animals a bit. Jen, the ranger, did an outstanding presentation for the group. Had a bite to eat in the park and stopped for ice cream on the way back.

      Got up early yesterday (Friday) morning. Things to do, places to go. Food and water has to go with us. The bus left at 8:15,  for a 12 hour, 184 mile round trip all the way back to Kantishna at the other end of the park. There were other "idiots" who made this long , bone-wrenching venture with us. We're talking school bus and third rate dirt roads here. Was it worth it?  YES! YES! YES! 

   Mike handled the bus very well with brief rest stops every hour or so. The country soon opens up to enormous proportions. It's impossible to wrap your arms and soul around the vast size and measure of it all. We were overwhelmed as we literally rubbed shoulders with the Polychrome rock mountains and quietly observed as the myriad peaks of the Alaska Range, still robed in their winter vestments, watched over and guarded us as we crept along the precarious park road. 

   The game of "stop" was played throughout the day. We were not just out for a leisurely drive over this "drop-off-the-edge" highway. We wanted to see the inhabitants of this marvelous masterpiece of creation. And see them we did. Golden eagles, several foxes, Alaska ground squirrels everywhere, caribou, beaver, a pair of young owls, and flocks of Dall sheep high on the mountains. We saw eight grizzlies, two of them right next to the road. Several buses were stopped for a look but these monsters paid no attention. They were male and female. It's the beginning of the mating season. At this point they are just courting. They were just a few feet away and such a delight to watch. Worth the trip.

   Unbeknown to the bus riders, the driver's wife, Jen, (a different Jen) was onboard with us along with her mother Joanne and Bill Dunlea, her fiance'. Again, without anyones knowledge until we arrived there, a wedding was planned for our stop at Wonder Lake. Jen, the daughter, performed the ceremony. Half way through the vows a huge mama moose and her calf strolled out of the woods and into the lake behind the couple. A moment of wonder at Wonder Lake. Nature's blessing upon the event, if you will. The animals swam on out into the lake and the ceremony was was joyously wrapped up. They needed a second witness for the license so guess who stepped in? Yep, that's right. My name is now a footnote in the history and happenings of Denali. Is that exciting or what?

    This is truly God's country. There are by the way, park trips of various lengths. Nick and Miss Terry, I hope you have a chance to make this happen.
   
   I made a mistake in the last blog when I called IT by the wrong name. It's the Trans-Alaska Pipeline. After that last last blog, we got to talking a little more about outhouses. Sweet Lynda strongly suggests that we erect a nice two-holer in the backyard at home in Danville. No doubt the neighbors would appreciate it. At least the one in Joy, AK had regular toilet paper. As I recall, it seems like when I was a kid we used the 'thin' pages from an out-dated "Monkey Ward" catalog.  I could be wrong though.

   I appreciate AR's response to the blog from southern, CA. A nice touch.

   A guy told me the other day that he may be getting older, but he refuses to grow up. I kind of like his philosophy.    Well, this is the land of the Midnight Sun. When a nature break is need at 2am, it's still light out. Tomorrow we are headed Anchorage direction.

   To our kids and grandkids, we love you all. To our Ohio camping group, wish we could have been with you. Miss you too.

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

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Awesome Alaska Blog # 9

   Apologies for this blog being a few days late. Paid $ 5.19 a gallon out in the hinterland yesterday on a little excursion. Prices around here average in the 4 twenties & thirties. Prices on everything are noticeably higher. Spending is up for us as well as everyone else in the nation. As far as government spending is concerned, I believe it was late senator from Illinois , Everett Dirksen, who remarked, "A billion here, a billion there; the first thing you know, you're talking about real money." Every body else seems to spend MY money like it's water. How about yours?

   Sweet Lynda continues to talk about waffles in the road, about red pancakes and a long snake across the landscape (read pipeline) and such stuff. She is trying to teach me all the important issues of life that I missed back in that one room Fox school up in the Thumb. With this dear lady's help my education is expanding at a rapid pace. Oh, the joy.

   Speaking of joy, we stopped by there yesterday too. Joy, Alaska that is. A young couple began homesteading up here in the early seventies, raised a large family and made a go of it all. They have a little store there now. Tour buses and tourists like us stop by. Fourteen year old, home-schooled  daughter, Molly, was in charge yesterday. Deluxe outhouses were just down the path. Nearly all the small group that stopped by used the facilities. We did too. Hey, what does a person do 70 miles from nowhere? For me, shades of growing up on the farm north of Decker. Lynda suggested I title this blog, "Joy in the Morning."

  But to digress a bit, we hustled out of Whitehorse, Yukon  last Monday morning, June 1st, after catching the Follies the night before. They were entertaining but hardly worth $24 per. We did however, get to hear a rendition of , "The cremation of Sam McGee." Heading north up the Klondike Highway, we stopped by "the marge of Lake Lebarge" to see where all this Sam McGee story took place. You say you've not read this? Pull that Robert Service poem off your computer and enjoy. We may try to stay at the campground there for a night on the way out of this territory in a few weeks. In the brief time we were there, Lynda decided it was definitely a place of peace, quiet , and serenity.  Not bad, huh? 

   Part way to Dawson City we stopped for an omelet at Braeburn Lodge. Remember that young squirt at the Canadian border who had a personality like a "decaying cypress stump?" I believe we met his dad at Braeburn. Only this old bird had no personality at all. Perhaps the cold north has caught up with him. The good news is that he is the exception to nearly all the people we have met on this voyage. We dry camped for a couple of days at the Klondike River Provincial Park just outside Dawson. Drove to the top of Midnight Dome mountain to look down on the city. Wow, what a view! Downtown it's dirt streets and old, historic and dilapidated buildings took us back about a century. Had a omelet in a nice hotel dining room. Bought a few things at the gift shop. Checked out the grocery and hardware stores as well as a dress shop. Then on up to 8th street to take a look at the old cabin of "The Bard of the Yukon", Robert Service. Lynda took a photo of me sitting in the old wicker chair in the front yard. I'm still working on memorizing "Sam McGee." It was over to First street for ice cream before heading back to the park and a nice evening camp fire. The ice cream store owner, from Toronto, had just bought the place. His daughter was helping him run the it. Nice folks.

   Early Wednesday morning we ferried the rig across the mighty Yukon river and headed up over the Top-of-the-World highway. I've looked at that little line on the map for well over twenty years but last week I got to experience it. A little scary in spots but everybody should try it at least once. Forty miles later we crossed the border into ALASKA. YES!!!  Finally made it. Sweet Lynda was unimpressed with the condition of the road, especially in the U.S.  Dirt...& not very wide, and of course, guard rails are yet to be invented. Had a cup of coffee at Boundry with the owner and his kids, then on to Chicken. The guy in Boundry was still selling last year's gas. Didn't buy any. Had lunch in Chicken (not much there), and headed on down the frost-heaved and dippy Taylor highway through burned out forest fire areas. 

   Got back on the Alaska highway, which we had left at Whitehorse, and drove a few miles west into Tok. Our packet of mail was there and another came on Thursday. Tok has no local government, no laws and no taxes. Sounds like Paradise, doesn't it? Betty, the very delightful and knowledgeable senior citizen and "executive operator" of the visitor's center there drives a sharp looking 1951 Mercury. Local personality, Dave Stancliff gave a mini concert at the RV park each evening. He sang songs like, "If you can't take a joke, don't come to Tok" and "It's a Moose" along with a few "tear jerkers." Jerry and Everett, you would love his gospel CD. We also heard 'Sam McGee' again.

   Stopped for an omelet at the Buffalo Diner at Delta Junction on our way to Fairbanks last Friday. The place is owned by a very personable Ann Richards and her husband. We are at Riverview RV park near North Pole. We have checked out the Santa Claus house, the visitors center and Harley's Diner here. Exciting stuff. In Fairbanks it was the Yarn Shoppe, Sam's club and Walmart. Even more exciting. At church on Sunday we connected up with Roger and Velma who invited us to there home for dinner. What a a delightful and energetic couple. New friends. Some other ironic and interesting things took place there which we might share later. We'll see.

   Actually, our excursion of yesterday took us, only with the car, over 200 miles away up the Elliott highway, paved, (where we encountered Joy) to the Dalton highway, mostly gravel, and up to the Arctic Circle. The Dalton is known as  the 'Haul' road. It more or less follows the Alyeska Pipeline , Trans America Pipeline all the way to Prudhoe Bay at the Arctic Ocean. We were about 300 miles shy of that. Bought that high priced gas at the Yukon river crossing outpost. The pipeline was close by and visible on much of the run. A very interesting and enjoyable time. We're catching up on odds and ends today. A little more sight-seeing tomorrow and a trip into Denali  National Park on Friday. After that, who knows.

   Oldest son, Evans and wife, Teresa, along with 3 year old, Jasmine are in Kazakhstan for the purpose of adopting a little girl. Will be there for a few weeks. Keep them in your prayers up through July.

   From the pen of Will Rogers:   "There is no trick being a humorist when you have the whole
                                                             government working for you."

   To whomever is reading this, our love and blessings to you all. Keep on the sunny side.

On the road...with Winston & Lynda 

   
 


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Sunday, June 1, 2008

The Alaska Highway Blog # 8

   Now I am in trouble.  I've been computerized for just over a month and suddenly fame has set in...or so it seems. Outside my family, friends and general circle of acquaintances, along comes "ar" from southern California who leaves a comment on my most recent blog. Is it possible this stuff I'm writing is available for the world to read? Wow!  Anyway, ar said some flattering things so he in fact, must be a nice guy.  Maybe I'll hear from again sometime. Whew! What a responsibility to my public. Of course I also received comment from Kristin, Evans, Teresa, and Michelle. But I expect them to say nice things because they ARE family and friends. So here goes. I'll try to "ring the bell" another time. Don't judge me too harshly.

   We dry camped last Wednesday night at Testa River Guest Ranch and Campground along with a new colt, Big Brown, and his mama. Archie runs the place and a generator powers the whole business. Primitive, but certainly enjoyable. Variety is good. Stopped an hour or so up the highway the next morning at Toad River for an omelet. Thousands of hats on display in the place. Later on in the afternoon it was break time at Coal River. The restaurant served up apple and bumbleberry pie...alamode, no less. Lynda insisted, so what could I do? Some folks from Kentucky joined us there. Small world.

   With few exceptions, road conditions were considerably better than expected. Because some of the work sites were watered down to control the dust, the equipment did get very muddy and dirty. Lots of yellow roadside signs with squiggly black lines on them. According to sweet Lynda, that's to let you know that snakes are ahead. She has a whole stockpile of thoughts like that. She told me that's the kind of stuff she used to teach to her 4th graders. I feel like I'm back in school all over again. Great entertainment!

   Thursday night it was the Downtown RV park in Watson Lake along with the infamous "Sign Post City." Tens of thousands of signs from everywhere around the world. The following morning at Rancheria it was another omelet. Do you see a pattern here? Of course breakfast is less expensive then dinner but very little is bargain-priced in Canada. Can't wait to get to Alaska where things will be cheap again.

   Along the way the Rocky mountain range ended with the Terminal mountains and the MacKenzie range kicked in.  After picking up a little more road mud and dirt(while Lynda was at the wheel) we rolled into the Pioneer RV Park at Whitehorse in the Yukon. We're still here.
Blew some "loonies" (Canadian dollars) and washed both vehicles. Had a little slide-out problem but the mechanic on duty was able to take care of it. There goes another day off of the trip. This is a neat town. There is the Fireweed book store, the fish ladder, galleries and museums. We went to a delightful church service this morning and we are going to the Follies tonight. Friday evening we had a lovely candlelight dinner in the Coach and last night it was very tasty sirloin tip followed by a time around the bonfire with new friends, one couple, fulltimers. Actually, we've met quite a few of those on this journey. We really decided to stay here an extra day so I could watch the NASCAR races and catch up on the world of motorsports.

   All is not well everywhere, however. One couple headed out of here yesterday in their very nice Allegro Bus and started home for Texas without ever going on into Alaska. Some emotional and other complications caused them to call an end to it all. He said he will put the RV on the market when they get home.  Life will never be a recreational vehicle. It will always be loving and meaningful relationships with those who mean the most to you. I hope those of you who are reading this feel richly blessed. We do!

From Louis L'Amour's "Conagher"
     "They like it strong out here. They say if you can't float a horseshoe on it the coffee is too weak."

   Tomorrow we are headed up the Klondike Highway (Rt. 2) to Dawson City. On Wednesday, it's over the Top of the World highway to Chicken, AK, and on down to Tok. Our mail should be there. Sweet Lynda is worried about the Top of the World. It's dirt and gravel and maybe mud. Perhaps we'll slide off that "hogback" and end up at the bottom of the mountain. If you do not hear from us again, you'll know what happened. (Just kidding)

   To our families scattered hither, thither, and yon, we love and miss you. Same goes for our friends all over the place.      

Until next time...on the road with Winston & Lynda





   

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Canadian Rockies blog # 7

"Then sings my soul..."

I'm reminded of the old song the Fishermen recorded, 

     "I've been on the mountain, I've seen the other side;
       I've been on the mountain, And my soul is satisfied."

   If a prolonged and overwhelming view of the Canadian Rockies doesn't do something to bring satisfaction to your soul you are possibly in deep need. You are right, Don. Those babies are truly awesome.  Way beyond impressive.

   It was a very cold and rainy morning  on Wednesday, the 21st, as we prepared to exit St. Mary and head up into Canada. The "Going-to-the-Sun" road will have to wait for another time. It is not expected to be all plowed and ready for tourists until around the first of July. While pumping gas, Charlotte, the lady who exercised oversight of the whole corner there( Lodge, restaurant, misc. stores, major gift shops, etc), came out to read the pumps. As we talked she
strongly urged that we have vehicle registrations with us as well as all other important documents for the border crossing. All the other stuff we had in hand. Registrations? Home in the desk. Somehow I had just missed them. Cell phones don't work in St Mary. Thought I'd use the phone card at the booth in front of the grocery store. Dead! The lady inside was kind enough to let me use that one to call the Boyle county courthouse in Danville. Very helpful people all around. Ten minutes later the faxes were in Charlotte's office. I picked up a cappuccino for sweet Lynda, who had been waiting all this time while I took care of business. It was a bit expensive but she's worth it. We drove north.

   The young buck at the border had the personality of a decaying cypress stump. However, he asked for neither the registrations nor insurance cards. He did take Lynda's pepper spray, though. People our age and as mean looking as us shouldn't be walking around with such weapons.  Lynda's STILL a bit ticked about that.

   On up through farm country to Calgary. Filled up again at Flying J and drove over to Walmart. The rain never let up. Did a bit of shopping and hung out overnight. Having been without any horns since Minnesota, we decided to try to get them fixed. We were pointed toward Alberta Auto. They said "Yep, no problem." After spending a few hours at the mall we returned. All horns now worked. I'm guessing there must have been three or four guys on that job without a break for all those hours. The bill was...(none of your business). We may however, have to cut our trip about a week short.

   Went and parked at a different Walmart. Went and saw the latest "Indy" flick. I've always liked Dr. Jones. With our PJ's on and ready to call it a day, Security comes by and says we can't park there overnight. Two others got the boot too. We rolled across the street and parked in another lot together. It was still raining. Shades of Gene Kelly.

   Next morning we were out of Calgary early. Headed west over to Banff . It was raining and cloudy and foggy. Almost there, we pulled off to the side and looked up in awe. Can mountains really be THAT high? Secured a nice campsite and drove down to the old monster l888 hotel that we've all seen pictures of all of our lives. Jersey Cow!!! What a building. Truly a wonderful sight to see. We enjoyed it all.

   Later Saturday , we went for dinner at a nearby lodge. Ambience all over the place. High end menu, good waiter and all that stuff and fluff. There goes a couple more days of the trip. But of course as I've said before, " The little woman is worth it." You men reading this, nod your heads in agreement.

   Sunday we drove up to Lake Louise. We bent our knees and lifted our heads in reverent praise and thanksgiving to our Creator. What a setting. I've seen pictures many times but to see the reality is something else. There  is nothing like the Reality.

   The drive yesterday from Banff for nearly 200 miles up through Jasper and beyond defies
description. Saw many animals of course, including three black bears. High, high granite wonders. Almost too much for the human spirit to handle.

   Parked  with others at the IGA store in Hinton last night. One from Bowling Green, OH. We were on the road before 6am. The others were still sleeping. Stopped at the Alpine in Grande Cashe. The sign to route 43 in Grande Prairie points to the left and says, Alaska, even though Alaska is still a couple of thousand miles away.

   We are in Dawson Creek tonight. Milepost 0 is here. Got the oil changed. Cleaned 786 billion bugs off the front end of this rolling condo. Tomorrow we are on The Alaska Highway for about 300 miles to Ft. Nelson. Lynda will get back behind the wheel again tomorrow. We are in British Columbia and looking forward.

From Winston Churchill:

"...I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which had never happened."

   Lynda and I are not the only ones on this special journey. There are all sorts of RV's with folks doing the same thing.

   Love and blessings until next time.....Winston  & Lynda

P.S. Just finishing up the Girl Scout cookies, Sydney.  Next time we'll buy all Lemon. They are soooo good.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Western Montana/Big Sky - Blog # 6

   Ya' see,...this ole guy in his nice Rexhall Aerbus pulled in next to me a couple of nights ago when I was parked at Flying J in Great Falls. He stepped out of his coach and I walked around and we said hi to each other.  After a moment I discovered that he too, was headed to Alaska from his home in New York.  I told him I was headed there as well and figured I'd better get at it now before I got much older.

   He said, "I'm 72"
   I said, "Me too."
   "My birthday's in May"
   "Mine too", I quickly replied, "The seventh.
   'Naw, you've got to be kidding", he laughed. "The 7th? That's mine. 5-7-36.
   "That' right", I said. "That's the day I was born, 5-7-36
   "Well I'll be", he said, shaking his head, "Isn't that something?"

   A few minutes later we parted and I thought to myself as I walked away, "Isn't life strange and ironic? Here we are, a couple of healthy, happy and handsome old buzzards, born on the same day, running around like a couple of loose chickens chasing our dreams."  Life doesn't get much better then this.  Is God good or what?

   We left the rv park in Gardiner , just out the north entrance of Yellowstone, on Monday morning and headed up US 89 through high hills and expansive and gorgeous valleys that made us both cry out in absolute delight and wonder. Lynda has now lost her heart to both Wyoming and Montana.  But that's alright. She has the great capacity to wrap her arms and heart around to much of this beautiful land, and she does it with such excitement. We are so blest to be able to make this voyage together.

   Yesterday morning, about half way between Great Falls and Glacier, we stopped at a roadside rest area for an hour or so, sat at the picnic table and had a bowl of  Wheat Chex, with banana, and just hung out for awhile. A state worker stopped by to check things out and to do the first mowing of the season so we talked with him for a spell. He said they grow a lot of barley in this part of the state.  We saw so many hugh grain fields encompassing thousands of acres. He was  so personable. We have come across so many folks like this. It is a nice side benefit.

   Arrived in St. Mary early yesterday(Tuesday) afternoon. It is sort of Nowheresville but has beauty beyond words. We are parked on the upper level of Johnson's RV park and straight out the windshield are the massive, and I do mean MASSIVE , mountains of Glacier National Park.  Last evening we drove a dozen or so miles back Many Glacier road in between these tremendous granite hills. Early this morning we headed a short distance up Going-to-the-Sun road and watched two herds of elk out for their time of grazing. What a delightful sight.

   A hard wind blew all  night and continues unabated. Picked up some  cold medicine at the general store. Nice green box of capsules. Opened it up a few minutes ago and a green powder came out all over the place. Whoops! Lime Jello. Wrong box.  They did look similar. Sweet Lynda made waffles and Pike Valley Farm sausage for breakfast. She just put chili in the crockpot for later. Now she's making muffins. What a wife!

   Hope the mail arrives today. We intend to head up into Canada to Calgary tomorrow. No phone service here. We're using this Wi-Fi courtesy of our neighbors next door. Until next time.

Love and blessings.....on the road with Winston & Lynda

P.S.  Lynda's grandson, Johnny B. slammed a home run the other night.   Way to GO!!!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

The best of the west...

I think I just sent a title all by itself. Oh well!

   At this early Saturday morning hour these bleary peepers  are gazing at the most glorious row of "ladies" ever created by the Almighty. These gorgeous beauties are clothed in all their best winter finery (snow) from top to bottom and are truly a sight for these aging eyes. When  I first saw the Grand Teton range in May of 2000 from the windshield of Ed & Peggy's motorhome I just about lost it. It was an extremely emotional moment. It still is! Even as I type this I seem to be trembling a bit...and it's not from old age. Such majesty, beauty, power and steadfastness. Just like the God who made them. Truly a feast for the weary and searching soul.

   It is 31 degrees this morning in this valley where we are camped just east of the mountains. The sun rises a bit earlier here. We had supper last night at Hatchet's Resort and Restaurant just down the road. Before that we washed the car, which was nearly beyond recognition from being pulled through the winter weather over the Bighorn mountains.

   Sweet Lynda seems to love Wyoming. She carries on and on and on about it. It's hard to disagree. The fifty mile drive from Cody to Yellowstone, along the Shoshone river, is truly a TRIPLE Scenic Byway. One of the very best. While filling up with fuel (ouch!) in Cody, we met a gentleman from Switzerland who is touring the country for a few weeks. Saw him again a little farther down the road at breakfast and talked with him a bit. As a travel agent, he has visited here many times and loves this country. We also talked with a delightful couple from England as well. They feel the same way. So do we. What a country!  Our breakfast break was at a place
called Pahaska Lodge, just before Yellowstone. The new lodge is nice but the original, built by Buffalo Bill in 1904, is still standing. Pahaska (long hair), was a nickname given to Buffalo Bill by his friends.                                          

   In Cody, we took time to check out the Buffalo Bill Historical Center which consists of five separate museums. Hundreds of guns, Plains Indians, Western art, etc. Also a fine gift shop. So well done and well worth the time. We were impressed.

   Met some folks yesterday from New Mexico who are also on their way to Alaska. Gave them our card. Maybe we'll see them again in Anchorage.   Tomorrow morning I reckon we'll worship here in the park. Hope to do lunch at the Old Faithful Inn on the western side of the lower loop in Yellowstone and then on up into Montana by late afternoon. 

   From Louie L'Amour and his book, "Jubal Sackett"
        "That is how I would remember my father. There was never a place he walked that was not  the better for his having passed. For every tree he cut down he planted two."

   You've got to love the Sackett series.

   It's now a bit passed 8am. The lovely ladies mentioned earlier are now standing at full stature in the bright morning sun. Lynda is anxious to get rolling. Much to see today. No time to waste.

   Whoever is reading this, We hope you have enjoyed sharing a little of the journey with us. 'Til next time.

Love & blessings....on the road with Winston & Lynda 




The best of the west...

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Black Hills

   We have been parked at the Crazy Horse RV park, about a mile north of Custer, SD, since Sunday afternoon. There are several other units in the park as well. The couple next to us, Andy and Cathy, are from near Calgary, Alberta. They are full-timers and delightful people.

   We have enjoyed so much our time in this area, even though it's been chilly with a flurry of snow now and then. Had a cup of coffee this morning at a restaurant in town where all the "good old boys" hang out, shoot the breeze, and solve all the country's problems. If only they were in Washington everything would soon be taken care of and back to where it should be. The theme in the place was Betty Boop. Some of the more mature citizens reading this will remember her.

   The drive over the Needles highway this afternoon was beyond description with rare and unspeakable beauty, especially the eye of the needle and the neat tunnel that was a part of it.
We drove Iron Mountain road yesterday with it's Pig-tail bridges and rock-hewned tunnels, one of which, as you drive through, looks across the miles-long valley into the faces of George, Thom, Teddy and Abe,also hewed out of rock. Traveled the Custer State park Wildlife Loop yesterday and saw Bison/Buffalo, all over the place along with ten-zillion prairie dogs darting all over the place. Fascinating.

   Took Sweet Lynda down into Wind Cave for a seventy-five minute tour in the bowels of the earth. A constant 53 degrees.  The hundreds of steps went down, down, down. A very unique experience. Fortunately, the elevator at the end went up, up, up. This National park is very nice and well-kept.

   Also spent some time today at Mt. Rushmore. We can report that the presidents are doing ok. We had both been there before but it was again, as special as ever. A very patriotic moment. Had lunch there and Lynda decided to try a buffalo burger. She seemed to like it just fine. We topped it off with one over-sized scoop of praline/pecan ice cream. Superb.

  Tonight it was left-over beef stew and fruit salad. Lynda is finishing up the dishes and putting things away. I'm doing this blog and Bill O'Reilly is carrying on on TV. This has been a wonderful day for both of us and we are thankful.

   Ready for another Louie...ism? 

     "He who would see the far land must carry the far land in his heart. The heat, dust, and struggle are a part of it; these were what made the beauties worth having."

                                                                                         from: The Walking Drum

   Well, that's about it. Tomorrow we are off to check out the Devil's Tower in northeast Wyoming. Then it's on to Gillette, Buffalo, up over the Big Horn mountains and on to Cody. There's a SuperWalmart there. We can hardly wait.

...on the road...with Winston & Lynda




   

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Wall"ed" in

   We (I) did an addition to the travel blog yesterday but touched something on this computer somewhere and everything went away , never to return.I'm still new at this business.  Besides that, this Mountain Standard Time has us all messed up. It is almost 5am and we are both up and going.

   It's cold in Wall, SD.  Never got out of the thirties yesterday. It rained hard. The wind blew wildly and rocked this Georgieboy Cruise Master at will. Sweet Lynda prepared lots of nourishing food and we ate well throughout the day. She does not allow me to have too much junk food. Smart wife and good cook, that Lynda.

   Talked to the KY farm yesterday. Only if I stand facing a certain way and don't move a muscle, does the cell phone work.  Kristen, Grandson Daniel's super-wife, is in KY for a couple of weeks
while Daniel is with the army in Peru.  She is carrying in her slightly protruding belly the greatest gift from God that the couple will ever receive.  Due around the end of October or so.
We are all excited. This will be our first great-grandchild.

   We drove the Badlands Loop. Lynda's first viewing. She went ape. To be honest, it is absolutely AWESOME!!!  It was lousy weather so photos were so-so. If the sun comes out we might drive a few miles back in this morning.  Following that, we stopped at the Wounded Knee museum here in town. The massacre took place on December 28, 1890. A sad event in our history. Certainly worth reading about. Then it was back to Wall Drug store to finish up. Picked up a couple of Louis L'amour books I didn't have. Ready for some Louie-ism's? Here goes.

From: TO THE FAR BLUE MOUNTAINS
    
     "For land beyond the mountains is ever a dream and a challenge, and each generation needs that, the dream of some far-off place to go."

   That' s all for this morning. We are off to Custer later today. This is Sunday. " This is the day that the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it."

Love and blessings ..... Winston & Lynda

Friday, May 9, 2008

T he Black [and now rainy] Hills

Hi friends and family - A friend  asked  Thursday about Murphy's Law - guess we had to test it as you will son read.  We had noticed a loud noise - one sounding like a motor fan which we got checked out Thursday by 2 or 3 different places.  It would be so helpful if  one dealer could identify the problem and have the parts ,  and be able to fix it.  Anyhow, the last place diagnosed it as the compressor for the horn needed to be replaced.  Being late in the day he could not get it overnighted for Friday [here's Winston to take over]

   We stayed at a nice campground Wednesday evening on the southside of Minneapolis and the next morning (yesterday) spent a few hours at the Mall of America. Interesting to say the least.
However, I get my fill of Malls and  shopping rather quickly. So it was on up I-94 toward ND. Lynda's paragraph above happened along the way. And as you might suspect, I am a driver who from time to time has need of a horn. Will try to get it repaired soon. I really didn't figure repairs in the budget. Will have to cut back a little somewhere.

   Big news today; Sweet Lynda  finally got behind the wheel of the motorcoach. About ten miles the first time and another 35 or so later. Had to pry her fingers from the wheel. She loves it. As for me, I'm a nervous wreck.

   Rolled through some lovely farmland today. Early in Minnesota, then about a hundred miles worth of southeast ND. Stopped for breakfast at the Hot Cakes cafe. Old barns and out-buildings long neglected and rusting machinery the same way dotted the landscape. Some of those structures were obviously very nice at one time. Farmers were planting in fields that were dry enough. Drove into  South Dakota from the north, then west on I-90. We are camped at Wall for the next two nights. Tomorrow, the Badlands, Wounded Knee Museum and more of Wall drugstore.  Ended the day awhile ago with a sundae from the local Dairy Queen. Wish you were here to share in the festivities.  

   Talked today on the phone to Evans, Everett & Cathy, Barb, Sherry and maybe another one or two I can't remember at the moment. At the moment it is raining hard upon the roof of this home on wheels but my lovely wife and I are warm, happy and content within these walls. Praise God from whom all blessings flow.     

Until next time...love and blessings to all,                                

Winston  E. & Lynda T....on the road...












Monday, May 5, 2008

Indiana: ...Heading west

   We are supposedly on a vacation of sorts but today was very busy. After hanging out at Flying J near Stony Ridge last night we discovered about 5 am that  the generator would not start, the interior lights were dim and the air horn only operated on one "lung."  We headed over the Indiana east-west toll road, stopped for coffee and ended up at White Pigeon, just over the line in Michigan.  After doing maintenance on the leveling jacks, the technician "suggested" that the coach batteries were probably shot.
   Michiana RV was nearby on the north side of Elkhart.  In an earlier phone call  they said, "bring it on b y."  They quickly confirmed that the batteries needed to be replaced. That done, along with a new slideout switch and we were on  our way, relieved of a few hundred dollars of our sacred traveling funds.
   We are parked at the Elkhart campground.  The "techie" came by and replaced the slideout switch a second time because the slide was only half extended and wouldn't move.  "These are the times that try senior saints souls."
   After a brief nap and it was off to see the RV/MH museum a few miles away. These folks have gone way out of their way to build a first class facility with plenty of room for future expansion. We were impressed.
   We hooked up with Fred and Barb Paulus in Goshen for supper. They are a part of the Ohio camping club and absolutely delightful folks. We all enjoyed top-notch barbecue together followed by a little ice cream.  Talked so long we missed most of the "Dancing with the  stars"episode.  Tragedy!!!
   Tomorrow we intend to roll through downtown Chicago and on up to Elkhorn, Wisconsin to spend an evening with Gary and Harriette, friends we met at Pioneer Village in Ft. Myers, FL.
   This is our first shot at doing anything like a blog. Be patient with us. Don't know exactly how often we will update this.  Will just have to see how it goes.
   Just one more thing. It was wonderful to see the folks at Greensburg Church yesterday. You're the best. The pie was good too, Wilma.

More later...love to all,

Winston and Lynda 


   

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Photos


we are working on the picture business

Herrington Lake, Ky

We  are still trying to learn how to do all of this stuff on computer.  
The old PC crashed yesterday and we sprung for a new Apple this morning. It took quite a bite out of our budget but was necessary if we intend to communicate with our friends on the coming trip.

It is late Wednesday afternoon and we are hitting the road first thing tomorrow morning. More later.


Talk to you again soon,

Winston and Lynda

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Preparing for our trip

Teresa is trying to help us set up our blog so that we can stay connected to our friends and family! We're heading off to Alaska soon. 

Our email address is:         singerpike@yahoo.com

 Please email us and keep up with us!!

Love,
Winston and Lynda