Week 223 July 7, 2018

Happy Belated Heat-Waving-242nd-Birthday USA! From the east coast to the midwest, I have encountered potentially record setting temperatures and humidity. As well, I drove through deluges of rain, saw streaks of lightning and exciting fireworks, all while or on my way to visiting with very special family members and friends.

Loren enjoyed a hike with some long term friends in California, and otherwise has been visiting and helping care for his Mom this week.


I began the week still in Pennsylvania, thoroughly enjoying seeing my good friend and her daughter, eating her incomparably delicious homemade eggplant and catching up on seeing movies, like Shrek, Into the Wild, and Eddie Murphy and Ben Stiller comedies. 

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Then, in making my way closer toward California, I stopped next in Ohio where I spent a wonderful overnight with dear friends. Our memorable visit included a walk in their neighborhood, delicious dinner, a game of Canasta in which lady luck visited me, and, a great breakfast, all affording memorable and meaningful conversations.


Driving further west from there, I camped where I witnessed a beautiful sunset. My site’s picnic table also faced an RV named the same as one of my favorite songs, Imagine.

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Now I am at Loren’s cousin’s in Nebraska. I arrived in time to join her for a potluck dinner and fireworks display at a neighbor’s on night of the the 4th. It has been so fun to see her,  

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one of her daughters, her brother, her son-in-law,

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and her granddaughter and grandson, during my short visit. And, she has adopted her granddaughter’s bottle-fed kitten, who is a mischievous hoot!

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Along the drive so far, I snapped a few shots – *v*e*r*y* carefully so not my best – of favorite roadie entertainment: one among several heat=wave warnings, a couple of many moose and peace sign images on the windows of other vehicles,

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a unique, uplifting sign on an 18 wheeler, a city with a most important name, and, finally, on July 4th, a red cab and a white cab being towed by – what else? a blue cab!

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To finish this week here are my newest favorite quotes:
From Papa Francesco, aka Pope Francis’’ Happiness audio book:
   There is no future without peace.
And, three from Into the Wild, two of them from the main character Chris:
   The core of man’s spirit comes from new experiences, and
   Happiness is only real when shared.
the other from the character played by Hal Holbrook,
   When you forgive you love, and when you love God’s light shines on you.

Tomorrow I head west again, to stop overnight in Colorado…

Week 221 June 23, 2018

This week was a week of visiting with some very special family and friends!

Loren’s and my week began with spending time with Loren’s Mom and sister. We took Mom for brunch near where a new annual classic car show in town added an unexpected out of the ordinary element to the day. Later I was glad that I could help out by washing windows for them, which was much appreciated. Then Loren and I enjoyed a delicious dinner with a group of his long time friends which included great conversations, the evening of which regrettably I neglected to capture a single photo.


The next day we drove Mom around her childhood neighborhood in Oakland, California. She seemed so tickled to see her high school and the house where she had lived just before her marriage. She reminisced, crooned “Hello House” commented on the home’s landscaping, and, asked to return to see it once more before we left that neighborhood.

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The next day Loren and I arrived at DMV 15 minutes before it opened to find a long line had already formed, all with heads bowed toward cell phones. We spent nearly 6 hours in all there to reactivate the registration for our van, persevering through to success!


From there Loren and I drove to Monterey for an overnight stay. We had a really good visit with cousins of mine, near the setting of Steinbeck’s depression era novel, Cannery Row. It was delightful to have the opportunity for both a dinner date followed by a mid-day through evening spent together, with lots of memorable and meaningful conversations in a modern era setting of surf and marine life.

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From there, Loren and I had to split up again for our third period of extended time apart during our Journey. He dropped me at a BART station to reach San Francisco airport in time for my overnight flight to New York through Chicago, while Loren will remain in California. I slept well on the flights so had good energy after my brother picked me up and reunited me with Loren’s van, newly maintained thanks to my very dear bro. After he returned to his job, I visited the cemetery where close members of our family are buried, and worked until satisfied with clearing lichen and encroaching grass from their headstones. 

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My brother and sweet sister-in-law have again opened their lake home to me. It is so peaceful here. This time I have seen a large fish swimming along the water’s surface, heard bullfrogs, seen fireflies as well as a group of geese swimming noisily in formation.

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This week too my brother and his family invited me to enjoy a BBQ with them at their home, which was wonderful. I also had the opportunity with a dear friend to hike through Lasdon Park and catch up over lunch.


Then, the biggest event of my week was the privilege of attending my younger niece’s High School Graduation ceremony.

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When my brother and I first arrived to reserve seats for the outdoor ceremony, my brother conveyed by text to my older niece that she was spontaneously invited by the band leader to add her immense talent on the flute to the band’s offerings to the event. She was delighted to sit with two other musicians who she knew from her high school band days who also each had a sibling graduating this year and who were similarly tapped to fill out the winds section.  


The evening finished with photos and a beautiful family dinner. The weather could not have been more cooperative to enjoy the ceremony outdoors, including dinner later with views of the Tappan Zee Bridge that spans the Hudson River.

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Living 3000 miles away for so many years of my adult life makes participation in and witnessing some of the special events in my brother and his family’s lives that much more precious. And, with technology, Loren too has been able to join me here this week.  

Week 165 May 27, 2017

Loren had to remind me a few times this week, “Whatever the weather, we’ll weather the weather, whether we like it or not.” At the same time, some of the locals we have met advised us that the seasons here are, “Winter, and, construction.” However, we still camped – with the comfort of one AirBnB in between, with cold, clouds, fog, wind, and rain. Despite that, we enjoyed ourselves in seeing more of Iowa. For example, at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and birth home,
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at a Sunday UU Service, and, by visiting the Amana Communities. We also stopped briefly in DeWitt – at the intersection of Lincoln Highway and The Blues Highway. DeWitt actually has loudspeakers set up around downtown to hear some blues tunes. It was all uniquely enjoyable. We camped one night by the shore of the Mississippi River, an attraction too for fishermen and pelicans. When we awoke we saw blue sky and sun! However this lasted mere hours as it rained heavily again at our next camp. We drove along Route 66 to Springfield, Illinois to see Abraham Lincoln’s Museum, which of course included details of the horrors of the Civil War. I wonder if Lincoln himself is included in the casualty tally? We toured his home, which was remodeled from its original one story to two when Mary Lincoln received an inheritance. And, we paid respects at his tomb.
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By visiting the local park in town, we learned that prior to being President, Gerald Ford had served as a National Park Service Park Ranger in what had been Lincoln’s home town. We concluded our time in Springfield by taking a tour of the Frank Lloyd Wright designed Dana-Thomas house.
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We found three more Peter “Wolf” Toth Whispering Giants Trail statues, one each in Hopewell, Utica, and Ottawa. I misunderstood a woman giving us directions – she said we could find the statue – in her vernacular, in Ellen Park. I said, “Ellen?” She said more strongly, “Ellen.” I thought to ask, “How do you spell that?” She said, “A-l-l-e-n.” “Oh!” I said, smiling. “Thank you!” We found Allen Park with ease. I so appreciate our national differences, and in finding these Native American remembrances in the various states. Not only did we see these manmade statues, we also saw a bald eagle in flight that day. Then that evening we saw a fox crossing the road, and, we heard owls calling back and forth at our campground. Ahh, to be out in nature is always so fulfilling and inspiring!
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We awoke to overcast skies on our big day with tickets for going to see our SF Giants play at Wrigley Field, a stadium that Loren has wanted to visit for some years now. Luck paid a visit as if to make up for the weather earlier in the week, and we had an absolutely lovely, sunny warm afternoon at the ball park. In an uncanny bit of coincidence, we sat beside four men from our own south San Francisco bay’s Los Gatos, and, one of them named Sanford, was someone Loren remembered meeting through a friend some years ago. A little street art outside the stadium gave me a chuckle, but then I was disappointed to notice that not one roving vendor sold boxes of Cracker Jack in our section. What has America’s favorite past time come to ?
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Now we are in Madison, Wisconsin. We spent a day here with a man about our age who we had met on a canoe trip in the Everglades in 2015. He and Loren have kept in touch. He gave us a wonderful tour around this city of about 250,000 people. We began with the Dane County Farmer’s market around Capitol square – claimed to be the largest Farmer’s market in the world. Then we went on to see the Monona Terrace Concert Hall – coincidentally designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, and which features a display of some of his works including the original portion of the Unitarian church where Loren and I will visit tomorrow. We also drove along the lakes that make up the isthmus of Madison, and saw the connecting creeks…
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Next was a visit to the Arboretum of University of Wisconsin at Madison – where we saw gorgeous azalea blooming.
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We finished our day with our friend with a visit to the annual Brat Fest – to eat varieties of brat and hear a little music. Another strange coincidence is that the featured brat company – Johnsonville is owned by the family of a friend of ours from California. We took a walk around more of the university campus, and, topped the day off with a snack at popular Union Terrace. A thoroughly delightful time in Madison, despite the clouds.


REPOSTING in Progress: Weeks 2 to 109

This place holder is for the entries from our original blog to be added, eventually. Please check back – this re-creation is a labor of Love and will take a bit of  t-i-m-e- which, while still traveling, we do not always have a lot available to devote to this.