Summary Posts

Summary of Blog Posts:

Here is the list of the blog posts that I created in the order that I posted them:

Big Changes in My Life

http://tlburriss.wordpress.com/2010/12/02/make-big-life-changes/

Public Unemployment Announcement Post

http://tlburriss.wordpress.com/2010/12/15/tomorrow-i-am-unemployed-by-design/

1 Week Left – Better Start Packing

https://tlburriss2.wordpress.com/2010/12/12/start-packing/

Packing and then Pre-Trip Sleep  

https://tlburriss2.wordpress.com/2010/12/17/packing-and-then-pre-trip-sleep/

Day 1 – Big Travel Day and a Bruise

https://tlburriss2.wordpress.com/2010/12/21/day-1-big-travel-day-and-a-bruise/

Day 2 – Another Big Travel Day

https://tlburriss2.wordpress.com/2010/12/21/day-2-another-big-travel-day/

Day 3 – New Discoveries and Perspectives

https://tlburriss2.wordpress.com/2010/12/21/day-3-new-discoveries-and-perspectives/

God’s Sunset over New Mexico

https://tlburriss2.wordpress.com/2010/12/21/gods-sunset-over-newmexico/

Day 4 – Carlsbad Caverns

https://tlburriss2.wordpress.com/2010/12/22/day-4-carlsbad-cavern/

Day 5 – More Discoveries

https://tlburriss2.wordpress.com/2010/12/23/day-5-more-discoveries/

Day 6 – Santa Fe New Mexico

https://tlburriss2.wordpress.com/2010/12/25/day-6-santa-fe-nm/

God’s Grand Creation – The Grand Canyon

https://tlburriss2.wordpress.com/2010/12/26/gods-grand-creation-the-grand-canyon/

Day 9 – Traveling to Las Vegas

https://tlburriss2.wordpress.com/2010/12/27/day-9-traveling-to-las-vegas/

Day 10 – Travel & Laundry Day

https://tlburriss2.wordpress.com/2010/12/28/day-10-travel-laundry/

The California Coast

https://tlburriss2.wordpress.com/2010/12/29/california-coast/

San Francisco Visit – Day 12

https://tlburriss2.wordpress.com/2010/12/31/san-francisco-visit-day-12/

Golden Gate Bridge & Muir Woods – Day 14

https://tlburriss2.wordpress.com/2010/12/31/golden-gate-and-muirs-woods-day-13/

The Upper Northwest USA – Day 1

https://tlburriss2.wordpress.com/2011/01/02/the-upper-northwest-day-1/

The Upper Northwest USA – Day 2

https://tlburriss2.wordpress.com/2011/01/02/the-upper-northwest-day-2/

The Upper Northwest USA – Day 3

https://tlburriss2.wordpress.com/2011/01/03/upper-northwest-usa-day-3/

Leaving Seattle– Make a Right Hand Turn

https://tlburriss2.wordpress.com/2011/01/04/make-a-right-hand-turn-now/

Travel to Wyoming

https://tlburriss2.wordpress.com/2011/01/05/travel-to-wyoming/

Heading East Thru Wyoming

https://tlburriss2.wordpress.com/2011/01/06/heading-east-thru-wyoming/

Visiting the Midwest

https://tlburriss2.wordpress.com/2011/01/09/visiting-the-midwest/

Burlington Iowa – A Bitter/Sweet Trip

https://tlburriss2.wordpress.com/2011/01/09/burlington-iowa-bittersweet/

Lima Ohio – More Family Visits

https://tlburriss2.wordpress.com/2011/01/11/lima-ohio-more-family-time/

Visiting the East Coast (a Coast-Coast event)

https://tlburriss2.wordpress.com/2011/01/13/visiting-the-east-coast/

Visiting Poolesville MD

https://tlburriss2.wordpress.com/2011/01/15/visit-poolesville-md/

Final Words

https://tlburriss2.wordpress.com/2011/01/18/final-words/

I tracked our journey using the Foursquare app that not only
kept a listing of the places that we visited, but it allowed me to post on
Facebook when we got to different locations and most importantly, it allowed me
to plot the places we visited on a Map

Here is the list of Venues that we visited – http://teddyburriss.com/trip-venues.htm

Here is the Map of the places we visited – just a graphical
representation of the 225 different places we went to – https://tlburriss2.files.wordpress.com/2011/01/foursquare-posts.png

Bum also wrote a blog which can be found @ http://RLBurriss.wordpress.com

Here is a summary of her posts:

Counting Down the Days

http://rlburriss.wordpress.com/2010/12/01/counting-down-the-days/

 

5 Days and Counting

http://rlburriss.wordpress.com/2010/12/12/count-down/

Last Night at Home for 30 days

http://rlburriss.wordpress.com/2010/12/17/last-night-at-home-for-30-days/

Day # 1 – Saturday December 18, 2010

http://rlburriss.wordpress.com/2010/12/19/day-1-saturday-december-18-2010/

Day #2 – Get out of Oklahoma

http://rlburriss.wordpress.com/2010/12/20/day-2-get-out-of-oklahoma/

Day #3 – Palo Duro Canyons

http://rlburriss.wordpress.com/2010/12/21/day-3-palo-duro-canyons/

Day #4 – Carlsbad Caverns

http://rlburriss.wordpress.com/2010/12/22/day-4-carlsbad/

Day #5 – Albuquerque & Santa Fe NM

http://rlburriss.wordpress.com/2010/12/23/day-5-albuquerque-and-santa-fe/

Day #6 – Santa Fe NM

http://rlburriss.wordpress.com/2010/12/25/day-6-sante-fe/

Day #8 – The Grand Canyon

http://rlburriss.wordpress.com/2010/12/26/day-8-the-grand-canyon/

Day #9 – Las Vegas NV

http://rlburriss.wordpress.com/2010/12/27/day-9-las-vegas/

Day #10 – San Simeon CA

http://rlburriss.wordpress.com/2010/12/28/day-10-san-simeon/

Day #11 – Up the California Coast

http://rlburriss.wordpress.com/2010/12/29/day-11-up-the-california-coast/

Day #13 – Leaving San Fran & Heading for Redding CA

http://rlburriss.wordpress.com/2010/12/31/day-13-leaving-san-francisco-and-heading-to-redding/

Day #14 – Portland OR

http://rlburriss.wordpress.com/2011/01/02/day-14-portland/

Pictures on the Road – Oregon & Washington

http://rlburriss.wordpress.com/2011/01/02/pictures-on-the-road-or-and-wa/

Seattle Washington

http://rlburriss.wordpress.com/2011/01/04/seattle/

Travel to Wyoming

http://rlburriss.wordpress.com/2011/01/05/travel-to-wyoming/

Omaha Nebraska

http://rlburriss.wordpress.com/2011/01/07/omaha-nebraska/

Burlington Iowa

http://rlburriss.wordpress.com/2011/01/09/burlington-iowa/

Last Days of the Trip

http://rlburriss.wordpress.com/2011/01/13/last-days-of-the-trip/

Map showing our Trip

http://rlburriss.wordpress.com/2011/01/16/map-showing-our-trip/

Wrap up and Pros & Cons

http://rlburriss.wordpress.com/2011/01/18/wrap-up-and-pros-and-cons/

 

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Final Words

This has been by far one of the best ideas I have ever come up with – 30 days touring the United States with my best friend & lover who happens to also be my beautiful wife (professionally Rebecca / Bum to Grandkids, Son-in-laws & FB).

The trip was dramatically more enjoyable because I left behind all of the trappings of everyday life:

No work to do because I have no Job (Bum says I can do this for a little while longer)

No calendar tasks pending

No intrusive emails that required reply (for the most part the only emails I got were the Hilton Hotel Confirmations)

No tweets, FB posts or phone calls requiring any urgent response.

No drama, no arguments (honestly – she loves me and me her)

No worries at all – thanks to the skills I learned from my Dale Carnegie course (thanks NDA!)

And

No agenda beyond the consistent statement of “Across the Bottom, up the west Coast and back home across the heartland of the USA”

The only firm date was that we had to be back in NC by January 14, 2011. (unless one of the daughters hit the big lottery)

We promised ourselves that even on the travel days we would stop by 5pm and we generally did.

We did not go to bed before 10pm with few exceptions. (I did get strep @ the Grand Canyon and went to bed early one day there)

We committed to getting out of bed whenever the mood struck, and we did well sticking to this commitment. (Now it’s time to break this habit -quickly).

Bum tracked these statistics of our journey:

Actual Days – 29

Actual Hours – 696

Hours in the Car – 150 (she did this based on 60mph average. We know it’s more like 70mpn average when I drove)

Miles driven – 8847

Hotel rooms – 20

Cities stopped in – 40

States we passed thru – 23

Additional Statistics I tracked:

Four Square Posts – 225

Pictures taken – 2240 (prior to any editing)

Blog Posts – > 50 total by both of us

Gallons of Wine– Not To Be Disclosed

Gallons of Good Beer– Not To Be Disclosed

Glasses of Bad Beer – 2

Good cigars smoked – 2 (what’s up with this?)

$$ spent in a casino – $10.25

Visits to Doctors for Boppy – 2 (no big deal, Strep throat and allergic reaction to Amoxicillin)

Number of times I failed to lock the car doors – 0 (inside joke)

Number of times we ran out of gas – 0 (close is only valid in horse shoes)

Number of times I lost my wallet – 0 (Bum took it once to make a point)

We brought along a bunch of new books that we never found time to read. It’s not that we were too busy, it’s that we had too many other things going on that were enjoyable to do. If we had gotten bored enough to sit back and read a book it would have been a different style of trip.

We only ate at a fast food joint once or twice. We had a food budget but it allowed for a lot more than Wendy’s and McDonalds. Besides we both believe lots of fast food will kill you.

We only ate at a chain restaurant once, and this was because Bum’s Uncle in Iowa had a hankering for Applebee’s. It was good food.

Oops – I lied. We did eat at Rock Bottom Brewery and Hard Rock Cafés twice. Both places have really good drinks and food.

Many times we asked the locals for ideas of good dining places and this was a good idea. They knew better than us tourists.

We found that for the most part, Pubs and Bars & Grilles had the best easy and simple food, generally for mid-day meals.

In the smaller towns we really enjoyed the local diners. In Lima Ohio we had a great meatloaf meal and in Evanston Wyoming we had a pretty good steak with home cooking style sides.

Before embarking on this journey Bum and I discussed how this activity could affect us. We expected that it would leave a lasting effect on our lives. (I tried to use affect and effect properly here.) We thought that we would meet people along the way who would share something with us that had great meaning to us personally. We also hoped that we could have the same effect on some as we shared with them.

Many times we told folks we met about our journey. They asked questions and most of the time their reply was, “Wow, I want to do this.” Our reply was always the same and simple – “Do it – do it as soon as you can.”

We met homeless people in San Francisco who were smiling and happy.

We met pan handlers who were polite yet assertive.

We met smiling waitresses and barmaids who wanted to chat and laugh with us.

We met pleasant hotel staff who were very helpful with everything from directions, suggestions, attraction ideas and recommendations to places where we could do our laundry.

We met people who wanted to share local history and information with us

I talked with the subscription manager at The Business Journal as I stood in front of the First Pony Express Station in Gothenburg Nebraska. He told us lots of history about the Pony Express and then I renewed my subscription for 2011. Thanks Gary Marschall.

We met a family friend’s father who took us out to a really nice restaurant in Omaha Nebraska for lunch. Thanks Brian & Greg

We met a classmate from my high school (Poolesville HS 1976) who shared her story with us. A great woman with enough love for her family to overcome any obstacle and help her kids achieve their life goals.

We met family that we have not seen in years and created new relationships with new generations while we laughed and joked for hours on end.

We met small business owners who told us about their businesses and their passion for doing what they do. Even when things were tough over the past few years, the ones who loved what they were doing, kept plugging along and now are happy they did.

We met trolley engineers and bus drivers who laughed and smiled with great enjoyment for their jobs.

The stories told and heard were enjoyable and in some cases left lasting impressions.

Our blogs got lots of activities. Many days we topped 50 readers each.

Our Facebook posts received lots of attention and good natured joking at and with us

I received dozens of tweets from my Twitter community thanking us for the posts and encouraging us to keep having fun.

One guy sent me a tweet early on and told me my wife does not want to hear any more about this ridiculous journey. Later on he sent me a new tweet and told us that they were planning their trip now.

Many times Bum and I have been asked. “What was the best thing you saw?”

For me, the Grand Canyon and the coast of California stand out the most, but it really is the sum of it all. Palo Duro, Carlsbad, Cadillac Ranch, Golden Gate Bridge, Portland, Seattle, Omaha, etc, etc, etc.

But Bum said it best and I agree with her. The most exciting thing about this trip is that I too spend 30 days with my best friend. We laughed, played and had so much fun together. This is a priceless.

If I could sell all of my possessions and put another few $$ in the bank, I would start all over again and this time instead of traveling at 80 mph I would slow down to 40 and drag it out for 60 days. If we can have as much fun as we did in 696 hours, imagine what we could do in 1392 hours or more. Having to work, take care of household chores and other daily tasks requires us to “find” time for each other. I hate having to do this, but we will do the best we can, until we can schedule another Walk About across the USA or beyond.

The only negative to this trip is that we had to leave our girls and their families behind. This was hard to do. Fortunately we have instant access via Text Message, Skype and FB to compensate as best we could.

This being the only negative, I still can’t be more serious about this recommendation. If you want to do something bad enough – do it. Don’t wait until later, until you retire or until there is enough $$ in the bank. Do it now. The rewards are far greater than you imagine.

This will be my last text post to this blog. I will post a gallery of pictures at some point and link it to this blog and then I will close this blog until our next trip.

Thanks for following us and I hope you enjoyed our journey.

Teddy

Posted in General Interest, People Experiences, Travel Experiences | 1 Comment

Venues Visited

I used my FourSquare data and put together a listing of all of the venues that we visited.

Here is the link to the listing of all the sites that we visited from December 18 2010 thru January 15, 2011.

Venue listing

Did we go anywhere that you have visited? If so, what memories do you have

Teddy

Posted in General Interest, Hotel Experiences, National Parks, People Experiences, Travel Experiences | Leave a comment

Visit Poolesville MD

We left Atlantic City New Jersey mid morning on Wednesday (1/12/2011). It had been an interesting visit and was now time to head out of town.

Driving out of town during the day was a much different view than driving in during the night. Once you get past the grandiose views of the casinos and boardwalk, the rest of the town is much like many other communities across the country. The community style in Atlantic City is townhouses, single family homes and lots of small businesses along small narrow streets. Here, many of the properties appeared to be not well cared for and/or abandoned. Very few trees or shrubs and only a few cars on the side streets. Typical of many of our casino and tourist towns across America. Many a politician has said that bringing tourism or gambling into town will help to revitalize the community. Unfortunately this does not occur as easily as proposed and in many cases it never occurs.

Bum & her parents

Bum with Tammy & Jacklyn and Jacklyn's kids

We headed south toward Poolesville Maryland to spend some time with Bum’s family and friends. Too bad we were out of time. There are many friends in Maryland that we would have enjoyed catching up with.

We got into Poolesville late in the afternoon on Wednesday (1/12/2001). We had already called in to our favorite bed & breakfast in town and were assured of a bed and a fine meal upon our arrival. We have never been disappointed at this private property, i.e. my In-laws.

The driveway up the hill thru the woods was covered in snow except for the tracks where my father-in-law had shoveled. He wanted to make sure that we got up to the house safely.

We were greeted in the driveway by the family dogs with the standard dog greeting. Once we open our car doors they stick their heads into the car and nuzzle us as if to say, “Hey where have you been?” My father-in-law assures me that they are actually saying, “I hope you are not going to be here long. You always distract our humans and we do not like this.”

Walking into the house is where the best greeting usually occurs. Even if my mother-in-law is not there, I know she is happy that we have come to visit because of one regular and well appreciated treat. She will always have a freshly baked home-made apple pie either on the counter or still in the oven awaiting our arrival. This trip she went above and beyond.

Besides the apple pie she had found time to make the following for our Wednesday dinner:

Fresh homemade Cinnamon rolls (snack & breakfast for the next morning)

Freshly baked loaves of homemade bread (completed with homemade jam)

Full coarse meal of Roast beef, potatoes, coleslaw and garden green beans (most of the ingredients out of my father-in-laws garden).

And Bum wonders why I did not want to come home.

We had a great time catching up with Bum’s parents and then with her brother, sisters and their respective families. We shared stories of our trip, got caught up on the family activities and laughed at stories from our past.

Wednesday evening Bum and I slipped away for a quick drink with my Favorite Poolesville Cousin at one of the local pubs. It’s always fun catching up with TCP.

We made it an early evening and got into bed before midnight.

Thursday we had to hunt down free WIFI at the town Library and we updated our blogs before running around town visiting a few people and taking care of a few chores.

One of the chores was to get the Wyoming, Illinois, Iowa, Indiana and Ohio salt off of the Honda. At the car wash the attendant asked us where we were from. I told him that we have been doing a US Tour and while on the road we have blogged and posted our story. I told him that we have been promoting Honda, Hilton, Starbucks and other businesses along the way. I got ready to tell him that no one has paid us to do as he handed me the receipt and blurted out, “Get a picture of me in front of my carwash.” I finished my statement with, “Oh Yeah, I am not getting paid to do this.” He giggled and said, “never mind.”

Afterwards we visited a few friends and then headed off to have dinner with family again. Hard to beat home cooking while on the road.

We caught up with a few more family members and had a really relaxing day. Both of us needed this R&R time.

Friday was another bitter sweet day. We wanted to get home after 30 days on the road, yet we really had enjoyed the trip and did not want it to end. The final leg of the journey, 6 ½ hours driving home. It was a quiet trip with nothing remarkable occurring at all.

Pulling into McGee Court and signing into the Burriss Country Home at 4:45 on 1/14/2011 marked the end of the journey.

But, by no means does it mark the end of the memories, the stories, the laughs and the affect this trip has had on Bum and me. More about this later

Now I have to go play with the Grand kids. I missed them.

Teddy

Posted in People Experiences, Travel Experiences | 1 Comment

Visiting the East Coast

After Lima Ohio (1/9/2011) we had originally targeted Pittsburgh Pennsylvania as our next city to visit. Bum and I spent that night in Columbus Ohio hoping to reduce the travel time to Pittsburgh. On the road bright and early Monday morning we were scoping out what we wanted to do in Pittsburgh and nothing really piqued our interest. We discussed changing our target city to Baltimore Maryland. Bum and I both have spent time at the inner harbor of Baltimore and really enjoyed it there. Baltimore could be fun.

As we looked over the maps and google info we saw Atlantic City New Jersey. A city neither of us have been to yet. Yeah!

At night - Beautifuly lit up - during the day, not so beautiful.

Atlantic City – here we come! We can put the Pacific Ocean and Atlantic Ocean on our list of experiences all in one trip.

We knew it would be a long trip, close to 8 hours in the car. No worries. We knew how to have fun while driving. Crank up Key$ha, Katy Perry and Ting Ting.

I called my good friends at Trump Towers (actually the Atlantic City hotel group) and booked a king size, non-smoking, beach facing room for 2 adults for 2 days. The total cost – less than the cost of 1 night in any other city so far.

The TomTom did a pretty good job getting us across all the bridges, thru the 3 toll plazas and into the Parking lot of Trump Towers. A few wrong turns that corrected pretty easily.

Driving into Atlantic City at night is very interesting with all of the high rise hotels, casinos and even the landscape along the freeway and in the city decorated beautifully for night viewing. Note – the drive out during the day is far different. More about that later.

We parked in the gigantic Trump Properties parking deck along with the other 18 or so cars. This image prepared us for the lack of people we would not see on this visit. Parking was rather inexpensive as well. $5 for both days. Not bad compared to the $38 a day in San Francisco CA or the $14 per day in Santa Fe NM.

We walked into the hotel and up to the front desk. Atlantic City Hotel Group made a mistake on our reservation and I had to wait for them to fax an updated reservation to the hotel. Did you get that. I had to wait for a fax. What is this? A fax, you have to be joking. Bum told me to be quiet. I did.

It took about 10 minutes to correct and then all was OK. We got our room key, headed off to the 11th floor, dropped off our bags and headed off to find food.

There are about 10 restaurants in the casino. We wanted something light and did not want to spend a lot for a quick snack. We ended up at an unusual place. Sbarros for a salad. I did not expect that to happen, but it was a good fresh salad. No beer or liquor, hmm, didn’t see that coming either. We walked thru the casino (which you do to get anywhere in gambling towns), our money buried deep in our pockets and headed back to the room. It has been a long day and we were both worn out.

The next morning we got up, headed back thru the casino and out to the board walk. On the way out we got an OK breakfast at one of the casino restaurants.

We walked a large section of the casino and I believe we saw less than 100 people. I’m sure most them were employees. Yes it’s a Tuesday, it’s cold and the middle of January, but wow, how can this property possibly make money with such a low attendance.

We walked out of the casino and saw very few people even on the board walk. Most of the small shops were closed and even some of the larger shops and restaurants on the boardwalk were closed. The most active business on the boardwalk was the shuttle bike guys.

These guys have little 2 person buggies that they push up and down the board walk for a standard fee based on the distance. Bum and I opted to do walk, not because of the ride costs, but because we needed and enjoyed the exercise.

We walked a mile (I saw a map later that showed this info) down to the Taj Mahal Casino. Along the way we visited Bally’s Casino, Lucky Lou’s Tattoo (no ink for us), Ripley’s Believe it or not, Hard Rock Casino & Cafe and the Caesar’s Casino and shops.

They are passionate about the boardwalk cats

We stopped and talk to one of the cat ladies who cares for the boardwalk cats (see http://www.alleycat.org/NetCommunity/Page.aspx?pid=252) and then got serenaded by a boardwalk Christian music singer (interesting songs for a casino boardwalk).

Lots of people who appeared to be homeless, but we did not get approached by any pan handlers during the visit to Atlantic City.

During the visit to the Caesars’ shops we walked by a really neat water fountain just as it started a water show that is programmed for an interesting water, light and music show. We got it on video and it will be on FB soon.

All of the shops at the Caesar’s Shops were open. Bum got a great deal on rubber boots with butterflies on them, some strange soaps for friends and I snagged an IPad Camera Connector for less than normal prices. More $$ and stuff to carry.

Good Irish Pub

We left the shops and found an Irish Pub to relax in for a while. Trinity Pub, on the boardwalk was a nice place, good people, good Guinness and Irish coffee. A very friendly and chatty bartender here.

Atlantic City in the Winter - very quiet and not much going on

We headed back to Donald’s place (Trump Towers) to unload our shopping booty and then headed down to his casino to play.

Bum went out on a limb and fed up to $10 into a few slot machines. I opted to just watch. On Tuesday late afternoon, again very few people around. And again, I believe there were more employees in the building then there were gamblers.

We played for a while and then headed out to check out the beach. It was really cold and again very few people out, except the buggy guys. The beach is very flat and there are no dunes in front of the boardwalk. The waves are low and gentle as well. Nothing like the Carolina beaches and way different than the Pacific beaches.

We left the beach just as the rain started coming in (precursor to the snow) and headed back up the boardwalk to Hard Rock Café for dinner. On the way up to HardRock, as well as on the return trip to Trump Towers, we were constantly asked by the dozens of different buggy guys if we wanted a ride. Once a pan handler walked up to us trying to sell what appeared to be gold necklaces. They were all very polite but, No Thanks.

The other merchants that were seeking us were the massage therapist and palm readers. They would wave to us from within the warmth of their shops trying to get us to come in. I beckoned for them to come out. Neither of us gave in.

We had a good meal at Hard Rock Café and then headed back toward Donald’s place. Along the way we went into Bally’s casino for some warmth (it was cold on the boardwalk and it was beginning to rain and sleet).

Bally’s was just like the other casinos, quiet and only a few gamblers at any of the tables or slot machines.

Bum and I fed the slot machines with a few more $$ and then called it a night.

Atlantic City NJ was an interesting place to visit, but I am sure we will not come back.

Vegas is a much more active and even architecturally beautiful casino town. Lots more to do and see in Vegas. Atlantic City just does not compare, unless all you are looking for is craps, black jack or slot machines. There may be some good shows during the tourist season in Atlantic City, but we did not see anything listed for January or February.

We got up Wednesday morning and started heading out of town. It became apparent then that there are two very different parts of this town. The tourist areas and the local areas. The casinos may be old, but they are well maintained. The locals near the casinos live in older multi-family and single family homes that are in different states of disrepair. There appeared not to be any new residential construction around at all. I read of this depression around Atlantic City a few years ago and got to see it first hand today (1/12/2011).

Now we are heading out of town and toward our last stop of the trip.

I’ll update you later.

Teddy

Posted in Hotel Experiences, Travel Experiences | Leave a comment

Lima Ohio – more Family time

Bum and I left Burlington Iowa on Saturday mid-day and landed in Danville Illinois for the evening. Our target was Lima Ohio for Sunday mid-day.

We got to Lima around 2pm and made the left hand turn onto Bowsher Rd to get to my Uncle’s place.

OK - this is not my car and the snow was not that deep - use your imagination

Now, here is something just a little out of the ordinary. There is a bridge that is closed right in front of my Uncle’s house. 8 years ago they closed the bridge because it was unsafe. In order to get to the house you have to drive drop off the road, into a field and then thru the small creek.

After a good rain the creek can be as much as 6′ deep. I’ve heard stories of teenagers trying to drive thru the creek and getting stuck and worse, getting their trucks submerged in the steam.

This day the stream was less than 6″ deep and normally easy to cross. However, there was snow on the banks and the Honda couldn’t quite make it back up the bank on the first try. I backed up the first bank, pulled the car back into drive and punched it. Gravel and snow flew, but we got up the bank and back on the road. Later that day I learned that there is a route around the bridge that does not require creek crossing. I’d do that next time but I also learned this year they are replacing the bridge.

While at my Uncle’s house lots of my cousins, there wives and some of their children came over. We sat around the kitchen table and told stories about ourselves and laughed for hours. They wanted to know about our adventures as we went across country. Bum and I told them some of the highlights and lots of the crazy things we did like chasing tumbleweeds, meeting big moose and nearly running out of gas deep in a canyon. We talked about our plans to create a tumbleweed business and the possibility of turning around and back tracking a little slower this time if we hit the lottery.

Uncle Ralph told us more stories about Aunt Jackie, including a really funny story about playing checkers. Had to be there folks, or call him up and ask him. Terri told us about how she peeled off her scalp as a kid, Cathy told us how she should be on workman’s comp for her hip replacement and Jimmy told us about some family members and the noises they make when you press her buttons. Again, had to be there folks.

At one point there were 12 of us at the table and the stories were overlapping and the laughs were non stop and loud. The stories ranged from PG to nearly not-rated and there was no beer or liquor involved. It was another great family time.

Good country cooking dinner in Lima Ohio

We left Uncle Ralph’s by 7pm and headed off to find some food. Melvie & Terri joined us at Ike’s Family Restaurant in Lima and the stories and good family conversations continued on for at least another hour.

Bum and I made a few more friends this day as we met and talked with some of my 2nd cousins, there wives and kids. This was fun to do. We know each other, but once you tell each other a good joke and story, you actually create real life friends.

We had our eyes focused on our next target city and for the sake of time we had a room booked in Dublin outside of Columbus Ohio. We headed east again, a little late this time, but we were pushed the Honda and the ride was only 1 1/2 hours. Another good night in a Hilton property for Sunday night.

I’ll check in with you later at yet to be disclosed destination.

Teddy

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Burlington Iowa – bitter/sweet

On Friday (1/17/2011), Bum and I headed out of Omaha Nebraska toward Burlington Iowa.

Uncle Wayne and Aunt Barb live here with their grown daughters, Tina & Candi and their respective families.

Nice quiet community covered in clean white snow

We pulled into Uncle Waynes driveway by 2PM and the fun commenced almost immediately.

Uncle Wayne and I are similar souls. We laugh at our selves and with others and a good joke must never be kept secret.

We had a great time @ Applebees with Uncle Wayne's Family

Uncle Wayne, Aunt Barb, Bum and I got together for dinner at Applebees with Tina, her husband Dean and their sons, Kyle & Ryan as well as Candi and 2 of her 3 children, Kayla and Aiden. Allanah had to work and could not join us.

Put all 11 of us at one table and we had a blast catching up with each other.

Later, after dinner (midwesterner’s call the 6 o’clock meal Supper), we got together at Uncle Wayne’s and we laughed and told stories until after midnight.

Uncle Wayne and Aunt Barb Told stories of raising their kids, getting married and celebrating 50+ Anniversaries and numerous weddings and grand children birthdays.

Uncle Wayne told us grandiose golfing and fishing stories, most that started with the pre-qualifying statement of, “This is the truth”, which of course we all did.

Dean, Uncle Wayne and I did a good job of keeping each other on task and challenging each other when needed regarding the truth of our individual stories. The women and teenagers in the room felt obligated as well to appropriately challenge our stories; however I believe we all honestly tried to not “stretch” the truth too much.

Below are some interesting (yet not totally true) notes from the evening:

Bum and Tina both have secret desires to own tumbleweed farms
Dean and I both tried (feebly) to accommodate these weird feelings for scrap desert shrubs
Uncle Wayne is overly concerned that “everything come out OK?” and that we believe his “This is a true story”
Dean secretly got his nose pierced, yet he will not admit to it and blames the piercing on a bad fishing trip accident Aunt Barb made a kings ransom playing Penny slots over the past 50+ years.
Kyle and Ryan are united in their plans not to have a spare bedroom in their future homes for their mother when she gets too old and ornery for Dean.
Uncle Wayne’s dog has become good friends with Bum, yet he (really she) is still not sure what to think of me.

And

We cut up and laughed to midnight @ Uncle Waynes

For those who do not know Uncle Wayne, he had the fingers on one hand, between his pinky and pointer finger cut short in an industrial accident years ago. Basically he cut off half of each of these two fingers. At one point during the story telling he held up two fingers and said something like, “I had two…” of something. I immediately looked at the one and a half fingers in the air and retorted, “That’s only one and a half.” Aunt Barb and Bum nearly fell out of their chairs in laughter. Uncle Wayne laughed and then said, “no one has ever said that to me.”

These are just a few good example of the types of humor and laughter we had that night.

By midnight we were all pretty worn out and we all agreed to end the shenanigans.

Saturday morning Bum and I joined Uncle Wayne & Aunt Barb for breakfast. Over fresh donuts and really good coffee we talked about family and friends, shared more discussions about life and the great rewards and happiness we have experienced so far.

The time we spent with Uncle Wayne & Aunt Barb and their family was very enjoyable. Bum and I both are really glad we were able to stop in Iowa.

The next part of the Midwest journey was interesting, but less enjoyable.

Big Memories of an old & small bridge over the Mississippi

Bum and I drove down to Keokuk Iowa. This is the Mississippi river town where Bum’s maternal Grandparent’s and her paternal Grandparent’s lived. All of Bum’s Grandparent’s have passed, but her memories of them are as fresh as the days they occurred.

We found both of their homes and were a little surprised at the condition of each of them.

Granny-C-House

Lots of Great memories of this home. It's the Memories, not the structure

Granny C’s place was abandoned, the front door open, front porch gone and clearly uninhabitable any longer. We thought that the house had been demolished, but this was not the case. Seeing an empty lot would have been easier to see.

Bum has many great memories from being with her grandparents at this house

Grandma & Grandpa Hoewing’s place was also abandoned and the door wide open. There was clothing in the closets and food in the cupboards. It was clear that the home had been abandoned in a hurry. Again, seeing their home in this condition was not something that Bum wanted to see.

Bum has many fond memories of spending time at her Grandparent’s home. They were loving and fun Grandparent’s. Her memories of these homes have always been enjoyable. Seeing the abandoned homes created painful wrinkle in these memories.

We left Keokuk shortly afterward and headed toward Illinois on our eastward trek home.

After crossing the river we drove thru Carthage Illinois, past the original campus of Carthage College where Bum’s Dad & Mom went to college. Many years ago the school was moved Kenosha Wisconsin. The campus today is owned by a group who want to create a veterinary school. They are struggling to create this school.

We kept moving east and ended the night in Danville Illinois. Another really nice Hilton Hotel Group property. Tomorrow we head into Lima Ohio.

Who knows what that trip will be like. More family and I am sure more great times telling stories and jokes. I’ll let you know later.

Teddy

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