Friday, May 31, 2013

Looks Familiar

So I'm walking along in a strange city where I know no one. Out of the corner of my eye I catch a glimpse of a familiar figure. So I stop to take a second look. And then I laughed and took out my phone to take a picture of my "friend." No, not the statue. The reflection in the glass. Of me. I'm such a ditz.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

I made it!

Good day so far.

On the ground in Denver...

Turns out it wasn't a non-stop flight after all, but I don't change planes. And at least I can stretch my legs for a few minutes.

Sunrise...

...at the Spokane airport. Headed to Omaha.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Not-Friday Fragments

When I'm not traveling it seems I blog in fragments these days. Oh, well... three more conventions to go, over the next three weekends, and then I'll be done for the season.

I'll be flying to Omaha tomorrow morning. While I don't mind flying, it sure doesn't offer the "scope for the imagination" that road trips do. My flight is 5.5 hours long, though, so it should be relaxing to have that much down time. Okay, maybe "down time" isn't exactly the right phrase for a flight, but you know what I mean! I'll take my Kindle, and my MP3 player with an audio book to listen to (though not while I'm reading my Kindle), and some crocheting. Hopefully I can get an aisle seat to accommodate my long legs, and I'll be all set.

The next two weekends will be road trips to Boise and Seattle, so I'll have more pretty scenery pictures to share, I'm sure. In the meantime, we loved seeing a rainbow over our house yesterday at sunset.
We had a lovely Memorial Day weekend. On Saturday we had errands to run most of the day, but took time to have lunch with friends. On Sunday morning it was good to be back in church (after being on the road the previous two Sundays). Then we had other friends over later in the day to watch the Indy 500, which Lyle had recorded. On Monday we enjoyed a barbecue with a large group from our church. It was hosted by a family who lives about 80 miles away. As always, we enjoyed the drive. It drizzled on and off throughout the afternoon and evening, but it was still a fun time with good fellowship.

Our calendar is beginning to fill up with fun summer activities and busy work schedules. We still haven't been camping yet this year, so we are looking forward to getting out to the wilderness for a weekend before too long.

Hope your summer is off to a great start!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Along the Way

I used both my camera and my phone for taking pictures on our trip. As I was transferring the files from my camera to my computer this morning, it occurred to me that most of the pictures that I shared along the way were from my phone. And I had so many more interesting ones on my camera! 
Rocky Mountains coming into view
along Highway 550 in Colorado.
Overlooking the town of Ouray, Colorado
which was tucked up in this canyon.
We figured this section of the highway
had probably only been open a couple of weeks.
Traveling through New Mexico.
Historic Route 66.
Who'd've thought I would run into Anne Shirley
clear down in New Mexico?
The other buildings grouped around the
Modern Restrooms along Route 66.
We decided this might have been a gas station
once-upon-a-time with the little carport in front.
And this was apparently a motel
back in the day.
This place was a little fancier with a service garage
on one side and a motel behind.
This must have been a little diner,
don't you suppose?
I was glad we had shipped most of my convention
supplies when we had to unload all our
luggage to get to the spare tire.
My parents' home in Arkansas.
The church where we got married
in West Plains, Missouri.
It's a pretty little church, isn't it?
I'm glad it hasn't changed in 27 years.
Lyle and his mother.






Monday, May 20, 2013

Trip Wrap-up

Miles traveled: 5,390
Average fuel mileage: 36.15
States driven through: 16
Spent the night in:

  • car (2 nights)
  • Montrose, Colorado
  • Tucumcari, New Mexico
  • my parents' house near Mulberry, Arkansas
  • my mother-in-law's house in Rolla, Missouri
  • Paducah, Kentucky
  • Nashville, Tennessee (2 nights)
  • Belle Fourche, South Dakota
Observations:
  • I still love to travel with that man of mine. We'd stay on the road full-time if we could, I think.
  • I'd really love to make a "Route 66" road trip some year, following the old highway as much as possible all the way from Chicago to California. Getting off the interstate was so interesting to me.
  • Simple, elastic wrist bands designed to help with motion sickness actually seem to work. I've worn them several times now as we've driven over winding mountain roads and haven't experienced motion sickness while wearing them. (And I'm usually susceptible to it.)
  • Smaller, cheaper hotels are often more comfortable and friendly than the bigger, expensive ones.
  • I feel sorry for the people who are taken with the over-the-top, lavish decor of the "world class" hotel where the convention was held. The indoor, faux river and waterfalls, while impressive, don't begin to hold a candle to the beauty of the western wilderness.
  • It seemed weird for southern accents to be the norm rather than the exception at the convention. I could hear mine getting more pronounced as the weekend wore on. 
  • The air in the South is soft and heavy. In the Northwest it's light and crisp.
  • It's nice to visit the South, but even nicer to live in the Northwest.

Travel Stats: Day 10

Departed Belle Fourche, South Dakota: 7:45 a.m. MDT
Hours driven: 10:40
Miles driven: 791
Average speed: 74.1 mph
Fuel mileage: 32.4 mpg
States: South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho
Other VW Jetta wagons spotted: 2 (white, black)
Weather: heavy rains and wind through Wyoming and eastern Montana, which made it a little scary passing semis on the two-lane
Read-Aloud: the first few chapters of Trim, Healthy Mama by Serene Allison and Pearl Barrett
Car Talk podcast: 2 episodes
Also listened to: yesterday's sermon
Arrived home: 6:00 p.m. PDT

Happy to be safely home! I'll post a trip wrap-up next, just for the record.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Travel Stats: Day 9

My fans (a.k.a. my kids and my mother) are complaining because I haven't been keeping up with my blog. I hate to disappoint anyone, so here is today's update.

Departed Nashville, Tennessee: 9:08 p.m. CDT.
Hours driven: 19.5
Hours slept: 4.5 (in the car just east of St. Louis)
Miles driven: 1,332
Average speed: 68.3 mph
Fuel mileage: 36.4 mpg
States: Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, South Dakota
Other VM Jetta wagons spotted: 1 (It was black. At a gas station. I asked Lyle if he sang the Veggie Tales song, I Like Your Car, to the other guy. He said no, but they did exchange pleasantries. I think he should have sung, don't you?)
Weather: overcast with scattered showers throughout the day
Audio book: The Harbinger by Jonathan Cahn
Lum and Abner MP3: 1 episode
Also listened to: highlights from Indy 500 qualifying, Laugh USA, and enLighten on Sirius radio
Arrived Belle Fourche, South Dakota: 7:57 p.m. MDT.
Monday's destination: Home again!

St Louis Arch

On a gray Sunday morning.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Hanging Out in Nashville...

...at the Teach Them Diligently conference.

Set-up today was not without its challenges but we did manage to finish getting the booth put together before the vendor hall opened at 6:00 p.m. We had a busy evening visiting with homeschoolers. I'll be working long hours the next two days, so I probably won't blog again until Sunday.

The leisurely part of our trip is over, and we'll be pushing to get home by Monday evening-- 36 hours of driving time in 2 days! But I'm sure we'll still manage to see interesting things along the way. Stay tuned. I've enjoyed having you travel along with us!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Travel Stats: Day 5

Departed Rolla, Missouri: 11:05 a.m. CDT
Hours driven: 5:05
Miles driven: 331
Average speed: 45.6 mph
Fuel mileage: 40.1 mpg
States: Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky
Wildlife spotted: toad, turtle, squirrel (we see more "dramatic" wildlife out west, I think!)
Other VM Jetta wagons spotted: 0
Weather: sunny and hot... and humid
Car Talk podcast: 1 episode
Rivers crossed: Mississippi, Ohio
Arrived Paducah, Kentucky: 4:10 p.m. CDT
Attended Wednesday night Bible study at the Nazarene church pastored by a college friend whom we hadn't seen in 29 years.
Thursday's destination: Nashville, Tennessee for the Teach Them Diligently convention.

Travel Stats: Day 4

Departed Mulberry, Arkansas: 11:20 a.m.
Hours driven: 7
Miles driven: 331
Average speed: 47.2 mph
Average fuel mileage: 39.7 mpg
States: Arkansas, Missouri
Other VW Jetta wagons spotted: 1 (black, like ours)
Wildlife  spotted: turtle, possum (which may or may not have been dead, with possums it's hard to tell)
Point of interest: drove past the church where we got married 27.5 years ago
Arrived Rolla, Missouri: 6:20 p.m.
Wednesday's destination: Paducah, Kentucky

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Travel Stats: Day 3

Departed Tucumcari, New Mexico: 8:00 a.m. MDT.
 Hours driven: 9
Flat tires: 1
Hours stopped to change the tire and get it fixed in Amarillo: 2.5
Miles driven: 590 (including 44 on Old Route 66)
Average speed: 50.2 (including stops)
Fuel mileage:  39.7 (40.259 on one tank!)
States: New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas
Wildlife spotted: 2 snakes crossing the road in New Mexico
Other VW Jetta wagons spotted: 1 (silver)
Weather: sunny and warm (high of 95 in Amarillo)
Car Talk podcast: 2 episodes
Lum and Abner MP3s: 6 episodes
CBS Radio Mystery Theater episodes: 2
Indications that we had reached the Bible Belt: a giant cross as a tourist attraction, and a billboard advertising the Jesus Christ is Lord Travel Center
Arrived at my parents' house near Mulberry, Arkansas: 8:35 p.m. CDT.
Tuesday's destination: My mother-in-law's house in Rolla, Missouri.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Modern Facilities

At the junction of a (dirt) portion of Route 66 and another (dirt) highway. Eastern New Mexico, almost to the Texas state line.

Route 66

Trying to pretend the Interstate running parallel to our left is not there, and visualizing what it might have been like to travel across New Mexico 50 years ago. "Gettin' my kicks..."

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Travel Stats: Day 2

Departed Montrose, Colorado: 7:30 a.m. MDT.
Hours driven: 9.5
Miles driven: 503
Average speed: 52.9
Fuel mileage: 39.9 mpg (still hoping to see 40 mpg!)
States: Colorado, New Mexico
Wildlife spotted: deer, burros (though the burros may or may not have been "wild")
Other VW Jetta wagons spotted: 0
Weather: sunny and warm
Bicyclists going up the mountain as we were coming down: 51
Car Talk podcast: 2 episodes
Unshackled podcast: 1 episode
Lum and Abner MP3s: 3 episodes
Also listened to: our pastor's sermon and a Cathedral's CD
Arrived Tucumcari, New Mexico: 5:00 p.m. MDT.
Monday's destination: My parents' house near Mulberry, Arkansas.

Have Lemon, Will Travel

Albuquerque, New Mexico

New Mexico

And on we go...

Molas Pass Summit

10,899 feet elevation.

Bear Creek Falls

On Highway 550, western Colorado.

Rocky Mountains

Western Colorado... A beautiful day to travel a beautiful route...

The John Wayne Room

We stayed last night at a cute little vintage-y motel in western Colorado. The kind they used to call "motor courts" where you park right outside your bedroom door. This one had a western motif with log walls, and each room had a different western theme. Lyle had reserved the John Wayne Room for us. Not that we're big John Wayne fans. (I'm not sure I've ever watched a John Wayne movie, come to think of it.) I asked him why he chose that theme and he said he didn't know... there just weren't many left to choose from when he was making the reservation. Mainly it just means there are several pictures of John Wayne adorning the walls.

As we stepped into the lobby we were first greeted by a large black lab dog barking and growling at us. Since we're "dog people" we could tell she wasn't really threatening us, but more just letting us know she was there. The proprietor wasn't far behind the dog, scolding her and apologizing to us.

She welcomed us warmly in a stereotypical country/western style. "Now, the John Wayne Room is just over here," she said, showing us a map. "It looks like it's next to the lobby, but it's not. It's next to my bedroom, but don't worry, ain't nothin' goin' on in there, so it'll be nice and quiet for you."

She pulled a box set of DVDs out from under the counter. "And here's ya some John Wayne movies to go with the room." Seriously. The room comes with movies to match the theme. Is that not just too cute? (I regret to report that we didn't avail ourselves of the opportunity to experience at least one John Wayne movie, but alas, we were too tired to stay awake that long.)

"Now, if you need anything, I'll be here the rest of my life, Lord willin'."

I just love staying at places like that, even if they aren't all modern and luxurious. What fun!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Another Road Trip: Day 1

We're traveling again this week, driving from Idaho to Tennessee. We're taking a couple of extra days to take the "scenic route" and to visit our parents briefly. Just thought you might be interested to see our route and our travel stats for Day 1. I'll be posting about our adventures along the way, too.
Trip Tallies:
Departed Post Falls, Idaho: 10:00 p.m. PDT Friday night.
Hours driven: 16:40
Hours slept: 4
Miles driven: 1,062
Average speed: 63.7
Fuel mileage: 36.6 mpg
States: Idaho, Montana, Idaho (again), Utah, Colorado
Time zones: 2
Wildlife spotted: antelope, turkey
Other VW Jetta wagons spotted: 3 (1 red, 2 silver)
Weather: sunny and warm
Audio book: finished Forbidden by Ted Dekker
Car Talk podcast: 2 episodes
CBS Radio Mystery Theater MP3s: 2 episodes
Lum and Abner MP3s: oh... 6 or 8 episodes (they're short!)
Arrived Montrose, Colorado: 7:40 p.m. MDT Saturday evening

From the "Did she really just say that?" department:
Cashier at McDonald's drive-thru after Lyle handed her a debit card-- "Do you want me to run this as a credit card... or what's your PIN number?" (Have you ever had someone ask what your PIN number is before? That was first for us. Needless to say, Lyle told her to run it as a credit.)

Cashier at Wal-Mart to Lyle after checking out-- "Have a happy Moth... weekend!" (Nice save! LOL!)

Friday, May 10, 2013

Natasha's Lambs

 "Would you like to come out and see the lambs?" she asked at church last Sunday.

You see, all winter I've been asking her, "Are you going to have lambs in the spring?"

Natasha has three pet ewes and all three were expecting "blessings" this spring. I looked forward to seeing pictures and reading about them on her blog, Day by Day. I mean, seriously, is there anything cuter than babies in the spring?

Sadly, one of the ewes lost her babies, but another one had twins, and third one a single-- so there are three babies. And when Natasha invited us to visit the lambs we jumped at the chance. Yesterday was a perfect day for it-- sunny and warm.
The sheep were in the orchard which is, of course, in bloom. Ah, spring! Curious, as many farm animals are, they were interested to see us coming along the lane.
Natasha introduced them to us. This mama is Sweet Pea. Her older daughter (born last year) is Maggie-- also known as the Nibblin' Lamb-- and her new baby is Katniss.
Emma, the white sheep, has twins, Amy and Rory. The babies decided it was time for a quick snack... and I have to tell you, a still picture does not do this moment justice. It is just adorable to watch the little lamb tails wag furiously as they nurse.
After a little while the sheep seemed to get comfortable with us being there in the orchard with them. Sweet Pea and Katniss snuffled on my feet. Later Maggie decided to try to take nibble! Which, of course, is how she got her nickname.
Just look at this sweet face! I could sit and watch the lambs all day, I think. Natasha says they're especially fun to watch in the morning when the lambs run and skip. They had settled down in the warm afternoon by the time we arrived, so we didn't get to see them gambol.
We wandered on down the lane to visit the other farm animals. Here Bob peeks around the barn at us. He's not sure it's worth leaving the shade to say hello.
 But Natasha finally coaxed him out. He's a dear ol' fellow. Age 22.
We finished up our tour by stopping by to see the Guard Llamas and Calvin-the-Pet-Ram. The Bonnie Dog was our escort for the duration of the tour. We had Cookie with us, and she and Bonnie seemed to enjoy getting acquainted.

It was a fun afternoon. I'm so glad Natasha invited us to stop by!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Purple Pretties

"I gotta run some errands, Mom," she said as she tried to hurry out the door yesterday afternoon.

It's not like her to not say where she's going. "You just ran some errands this morning. What errands do you have to run now?"

"Oh... just errands," she said vaguely.
 I was beginning to get alarmed. "Dad knows," she reassured me. "I just can't tell you."

A-ha! Mother's Day is coming up. I had forgotten. And so, off she went on her "secret" errand.

***

We'll be gone this weekend, so yesterday evening my family presented me with a gorgeous hanging basket full of petunias and other complementary flowers I don't know the names of. I was told it would

love the sun, but needs plenty of water. I have a perfect place to hang it, just outside the kitchen door on the back deck.

Such a thoughtful family I have! I will enjoy my Mother's Day flowers all summer.

***

I stepped outside the front door this morning to take a picture of my miniature azalea bush which is flourishing nicely. It was a house-warming gift from my friend, Kay, when we moved into our home 5 years ago.

I'm glad it has thrived. It reminds me of sweet Kay in heaven every time I notice it. The Precious Moments statuette is in memory of our previous dog, Murphy. So this is my little "memorial garden."

***

My lilacs are coming on, too. I expect they'll be in full bloom when we get back from our trip week-after-next.

I do love spring!