Tuesday, May 27, 2008

More Pictures!

Hi All, Sorry I've been slow getting more pictures up, I've had computer problems and I've been lazy : ) My last picture post ended when I arrived in New York. Here we go from there.

I love New York!

Me and Sheila on the observation deck of the Empire State Building

Dinner Party at Sheila's home in Queens

Yale Law School, where many famous, elite people have graduated

Mark and Judy's house in New Hampshire. Originally built around 1750.

Mark, Judy and I spent a day visiting Salem, MA

I took a day to do the John Adams tour in Quincy. Here is his childhood home.

I walked the "Freedom Trail" in Boston. I started at the Boston Commons, just across from the Massachusetts State House.

Self portrait of me and Aunt Dolly at her house in Compton, IL

Cousins Tina and Becky and Me in Aurora, IL

Cousin Lexie and her cute kids in Iowa

Me and Aunt Lois in Iowa

I was welcomed home with a rush hour slowdown. But it was good to be home : )

Thanks for following my big trip! I was honored and humbled that so many followed the blog. I'm not sure what to do with the blog now... any ideas?


Friday, May 16, 2008

Home Sweet Home

I said goodbye to everyone in Iowa on Tuesday morning. It was a little emotional saying goodbye to Aunt Lois and Uncle Bud... I dropped by Tina's place in Mason City to pick up my jacket, and headed to the little Iowa town of Belmond, where my paternal grandfather was born. My cousin Marty asked me to do a little genealogical research for him in Belmond. I dug through the city hall records and visited the cemetery. We got one little piece figured out, but a few others remain. Once done in Belmond, I hit the road and ended up at a Super 8 motel on the Missouri River in South Dakota for the night. Wednesday was a big 12 hour drive from South Dakota, through part of Wyoming and I stayed the night in Butte, Montana.

I left Butte at 10:00 AM MDT, and arrived in North Bend to pick up Midas at 5:00 PM PDT. I got home at 6:30 PM.

Some quick facts about the trip:
Miles traveled: 10,011.4
Ave gas mileage: 26.9
Est ave gas price: $3.55
Places stayed the night: 21

What a trip! It was the greatest adventure of my life. Thank you sooo much to all my friends and family who I visited and stayed with. You made the trip amazing! But, it is also wonderful to be home. After this huge trip, I realize the Pacific Northwest is a especially beautiful part of our great country. It was great to have Midas back, he seemed pretty happy to be back home, too.

More pictures coming in a day or two.


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Iowa and the Journey Home

On Friday, I washed up, packed up and took Dolly to town, had breakfast and then dropped her off at home. We said goodbye, then I headed to Aurora, IL to visit my cousin Becky. Becky and her niece Tina (Tina is my oldest cousin Harry's oldest child) and I went out for lunch. We had a short but great conversation. It's always good to see Becky and Tina! I hit the road again and ended up at my cousin Gene's little acreage in Plymouth, IA for the night around 8:00 PM. My Aunt Lois (Gene's mom) dropped in to say hello.

On Saturday, I went to Lois' (who lives very near Gene) with Gene for breakfast. I visited my cousin Lois Jean with Gene in Mason City. Later, I visted my cousin Harry and his girlfriend in a nearby town with Uncle Bud. That evening Lois and Uncle Bud, Gene's girlfriend Jane, my cousin Vicki and her husband Clarence came over to Gene's, and Gene hosted a big and tasty steak dinner.

On Sunday, again went to Lois' for breakfast with Vicki and Clarence, then Tina and her daughter Tina came over, and we all headed to the Plymouth 1st Methodist for Sunday service. Afterwards, Vicki and Clarence left for home (about an hour away) and Aunt Lois took me to the Mason City Cemetery where I have a lot of relatives and ancestors buried. Tina (the same one mentioned above) hosted a wonderful Mother's Day dinner at her and her husband Dave's place in Mason City. Aunt Lois, Uncle Bud, Tina, Dave, Harry, Sue, Tina's kids Josh and Sara were all there. I played football in the back yard with the kids afterwards to burn off some cals : )

On Monday, had breakfast with Lois, lunch in Mason City with Gene and my cousin Richy. I headed to my cousin Lexie's where I looked at her computers (they're on the fritz, I wasn't able to get them going for her :( and met her wonderful children Ben, Joey and Jesslyn. Ben and Joey work on a nearby dairy farm, and I got a personalized tour! I hooked up Lois to the internet (per my Dad's request :) For dinner, we ate at Lois' with Lexie, her kids, Lois, Bud and me.

Tuesday, I got up, cleaned up, packed and headed to Lois's for breakfast. I'm blogging now, and will head to Mason City to pick up my jacket (left at Tina's on Sunday). I am very blessed with a large and loving family. I didn't know my family in Iowa very well, but this trip has made me a lot closer with a lot of them, and they all are wonderful people.

The final leg of the journey begins today! I should be home Thursday or Friday. I'll post more pics and a wrap-up post when I get home. Stay tuned (at least for a little while longer)


Thursday, May 8, 2008

Sampson Attacks!

I've been enjoying my stay with my Aunt Dolly here in rural IL. We've been having some fun and interesting conversations. On Monday, I went to town in the morning and got breakfast at a decent local restaurant. I jogged in the evening.

On Tuesday, I went to town and bought a new mailbox, which I put up for her. I went jogging in the afternoon and almost got eaten by a big dog with a bear-like head. Well, not really, but it was a bit of a scary encounter with a big, black 100 lb Rottweiler looking pooch with his fur up. The owner was nearby but didn't seem too concerned and just said, "Here, Sampson, here". He started after me again a couple more times as I tried to jog on, I finally asked the owner to hold onto cuddly Sampson until I was gone. She obliged. I took a long walk in the evening, avoiding Sampson's house : )

On Wednesday I had breakfast in town again and went shopping for dinner. Dolly had a couple of friends over that evening, and we had a nice chicken dinner together. I took a long walk in the evening.

I've enjoyed the slower pace of the last few days, I've been watching TV, exercising, doing a few little tasks around the house, reading and chatting with Dolly and a couple of her friends that visit.

I'm heading out tomorrow to visit a Cousin in Aurora, IL, then I'll head to the Mason City, Iowa area where both of my parents were born. I'll visit Aunt Lois, Uncle Bud and a few cousins there, then I'll be drivin' home. I've debated visiting Glacier, several of you have told me about how beautiful it is, but I'm feeling the call of home and will leave that for another trip. I expect to be home around Wednesday, 5/14. Less than a week to go!

Until the next post,

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Boston and Chicago

On Thursday, I drove to the Alewife subway station and took the subway into Boston.  I got out at Boston Commons, what a place to first really see Boston!  I walked around the Commons, grabbed a hot dog and pop, took pictures of the Statehouse (across the street) then proceeded down the "Freedom Trail".   I really enjoyed it- the 2 mile walk goes by Paul Revere's house, Fureil Hall, the Quincy Market, the Old North Church, "Cheers" (a little less historical), the Old City Hall, a few very old cemeteries and ended up at the USS Constitution in Charleston.  The Constitution was amazing, to see such an historic old ship (built 1796).  I got back to Mark and Judy's, had dinner and hit the sack.

Friday, I got up and packed and lounged around.  Mark and I had lunch at a Mexican place in downtown Milford (Judy wasn't feeling well, and she didn't join us), came back to the house and said my goodbyes, and I hit the road once again.  It was an interesting drive, New York is a pretty big state actually.  Lots of forests.  Drove through Albany, Syracuse and Buffalo, saw the Erie Canal.  I stayed the night in a motel in Westfield, New York.  

On Saturday, I left the motel around 8:30, drove through the last bit of New York, through Erie, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana and ended up in Compton, IL at my Aunt's house at 5:00 PM CDT.  We chatted, ate a little dinner, and I hit the sack early.  This morning, I woke up at 7:00, jogged around the block (in rural Illinois, that's 2.6 miles), cleaned up, chatted with Dolly, and headed to Chicago, where I met a friend from my church earning a Masters at Loyola for lunch.  She was nice enough to let me use her computer to catch up on email and blogging, and here I am!

Well, my big trip is on the homestretch.  I'll stay with Dolly for a few days, I'll stop by in Iowa to see more relatives (Have you figured out I have a big family?) for a day or two, then the big drive from Iowa to Seattle.  I was thinking of stopping in Colorado, but I'm finally starting to get a bit homesick, and am thinking of getting home by mid-May.  

Hope all of you are well.  I'll see all my Seattle family and friends fairly soon!

Until the next post,