Sunday, October 05, 2008

Cross-Country Trip - Summer of 2008 - Day 21

Saturday, August 2 - Today Uncle Floyd took us hiking at Franklin Delano Roosevelt State Park SW of Barnesville, and we were joined by Monta Rae’s three boys, Scott (19), Aaron (17) and David (14). After a hot and humid hike, we went swimming at a spring-fed pool in the park, and then barbequed hotdogs next to the Park Headquarters where Lynn’s mother worked for three summers during college. (Her father, A. Newton Moye, was Georgia State Parks Director around that time.)
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Cross-Country Trip - Summer of 2008 - Day 20

Friday, August 1 - Our destination this day was Barnesville, Georgia, about one hour south of Atlanta, where Lynn’s mother grew up and her family has lived for many generations. Ralph and Lynn stayed with Lynn’s uncle and aunt, Floyd and Twila Moye, while the boys stayed with their son, Fred, and his family down the road. The Moyes have developed the old family farm (Redbone Farms) into a Fly-In Equestrian Community - Little Tobesofkee Creek - with 10-12-acre properties for people who have their own small planes. Their daughter, Monta Rae, and her family also live down the road.
That evening, Cousin Fred took Adam fishing at the nearby pond, where he caught his first fish, a 3-pound catfish! The next morning they went out again and Adam caught a 4-pounder (see picture). Fred prepared and cooked the fish, which we enjoyed on Sunday evening.

Cross-Country Trip - Summer of 2008 - Day 19

Thursday, July 31 - Since we were in western Virginia near the Blue Ridge Mountains, we decided to drive part of the Blue Ridge Parkway on our way to North Carolina. The scenery was marvelous but the winding road was much longer and slower than we expected so we were late arriving at our destination, Shelby, North Carolina. (We were always trying to pack in too much each day!) Along the way we made a stop at the Blue Ridge Music Center where we were treated to some Bluegrass music.
We stayed at the home of Marywinn and Dickie Amaya, Lynn’s second cousin, where we had a great dinner and got to see their daughter, Isabel, who flew in that evening from Wyoming for a friend’s wedding, and their married son, Evan, who lives nearby.

Cross-Country Trip - Summer of 2008 - Day 18

Wednesday, July 30 - Since we were not driving far this day, we spent the morning and early afternoon touring Mount Vernon, the home of George Washington, on the Potomac River south of DC. We were very impressed with the wonderful restoration that has been done by the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association which began restoring the property in 1858! Half of the furnishings are original to the house as it was in 1799 and the other half are originals from the same time period.
In the afternoon we drove west to Sperryville, Virginia to spend the night with Lynn’s mother’s cousin, Demaris Miller, and her husband, Jim. We had an enjoyable evening with them and their three dogs - two Shelties (Tilly and Trooper) and an enormous German Shepherd named Thor (who at nine months wasn’t even fully grown!)

Cross-Country Trip - Summer of 2008 - Day 17

Tuesday, July 29 - We took our leave of Rochester and headed south on US 15 toward Washington, DC. Lunch was at a small state park on a bluff overlooking the Susquehanna River. Then we made a quick stop at Gettysburg, spending only a little time in the Visitor’s Center with a drive through the battlefield. Our time was short as we were heading to Rockville, Maryland, a suburb of DC for dinner with old friends, Peter and Cheryl Rice. After a great visit with them and their children, Jared (23) and Ellie (18), we drove to Annandale, Virginia where we spent the night with John and Sandy Stait, Navigators missionaries that we have been supporting for many years. Our visit with them was brief as they were flying out the next morning for meetings in Chicago. We greatly appreciated their hospitality in hosting us despite their busy schedule.

Cross-Country Trip - Summer of 2008 - Day 16

Monday, July 28 - Today we all piled into our van to go see Niagara Falls. When we reached the park on an island in the Niagara River, we started out by walking to the top of the falls. The island is between the Horseshoe and American Falls, giving an impressive view. Next we took the Maid of the Mist boat ride to the base of the Horseshoe Falls. Despite the ponchos they issue, we were quite soaked, but it was an experience not to be missed! The volume of water is truly impressive, especially after we learned that part of it is diverted for power generation, so you don’t even see the full force of it!
That evening Peter and Christina treated us to a nice dinner at a German restaurant in Rochester. The rainstorm we ran into on the way back from Niagara had fortunately passed, so we could enjoy dinner on the patio.

Cross-Country Trip - Summer of 2008 - Day 15

Sunday, July 27 - This morning we went to church with Peter and Christina at North Baptist Church of Rochester. Afterwards we went for a walk along the Genesee River to see the falls.
That afternoon we drove to a beach along Lake Ontario, where some of us went swimming. Since it was right by where the Genesee River empties into the lake, the water was a lot muckier, although warmer, than Lake Michigan. In the evening we had dinner at the sidewalk tables of a nice neighborhood restaurant near Peter and Christina’s place.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Cross-Country Trip - Summer of 2008 - Day 14

Saturday, July 26 - On to our primary destination - Rochester, New York - where we would spend three wonderful days with our oldest son, Peter, and his wife, Christina. Aside from a brief visit they made to Southern California in May, we hadn’t seen them since they headed out to Rochester a few weeks after their wedding last year. We stayed at a La Quinta Inn in Rochester, but one night Peter and Christina graciously allowed the boys to stay with them in their small flat and give Ralph and Lynn some private time.

Cross-Country Trip - Summer of 2008 - Day 13

Friday, July 25 - Another short driving day, only as far as Mount Vernon, Ohio - NE of Columbus. Here we stayed with Bob and Theresa Kasper, old friends from our old church, First Baptist of West Los Angeles. They also have three sons, Joseph (15), Daniel (18) and David (21), but unfortunately they were all away at the time. This was especially disappointing as we wanted Nathan to meet Daniel who was born on the same day as he in the adjoining labor room at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles! But we had a great visit getting re-acquainted with Bob and Theresa, whom we had not seen since before Adam was born.

Cross-Country Trip - Summer of 2008 - Day 12

Thursday, July 24 - This was one of our shortest driving days as we were only traveling as far as Fishers, Indiana (outside Indianapolis), where we stayed with Tonia and Tony Sargent. Tonia was one of Lynn’s college roommates and one of our bridesmaids. They have three sons like we do, Matt (15), Ben (19), and Tom (22), but Ben was out-of-town and we only say Tom briefly. We had a fun evening playing the "Settlers of Catan" board game with the rest of the family.

Cross-Country Trip - Summer of 2008 - Day 11

Wednesday, July 23 - We relaxed at the Vranishes’ in the morning, doing laundry and shopping, then we all piled together into their van along with our dog, Troy, and their 90-pound Labradoodle, Rover, to go to a leash-free dog beach on Lake Michigan. Rover loved swimming, but Troy, who is not a water dog by any stretch of the imagination, studiously avoided the water and Rover - when he got out and shook off! With the wind coming off the lake, we had waves similar to our Pacific beaches, but it was quite cold. Brrrr! It was a lot like an ocean beach but without the sticky salty feel to the air or the salt-water to sting your eyes. David returned home that evening, so we got a chance to visit with him.

Cross-Country Trip - Summer of 2008 - Day 10

Tuesday, July 22 - We battled mid-morning traffic to drive through downtown Chicago and see the Sears Tower, then had pizza at a nice restaurant (though not Chicago-style pizza!) and sang a belated happy birthday to Adam along with the restaurant staff. After more than a week camping and seeing the natural wonders of our country, we were pleased to be visiting old friends in Grand Rapids, Michigan for the next two nights. Ken and Peggy Vranish are old friends (Lynn and Peggy went to junior high and high school together!) that we don’t get to see nearly often enough! We continued the celebration of Adam’s birthday with a cake that Peggy had purchased at Lynn’s request. Their oldest son, Job, and his wife joined us for dinner, but their younger son, David, a certified search-and-rescue person was on a search in the Upper Peninsula area of Michigan. Their daughter, Teá, took Nathan swing dancing with friends that evening, which he greatly enjoyed.

Cross-Country Trip - Summer of 2008 - Day 9

Monday, July 21 - The morning of Adam’s 11th birthday was spent in Sioux City finding an internet café (because the Motel 6 didn’t have wi-fi) and doing laundry. The weather had cleared in Sioux City, but we saw lots of evidence from the storm in terms of downed tree branches. Traveling across Iowa that day, we trailed the storm, only experiencing a few downpours, but our night’s destination, a KOA campground in the Des Moines/Moline Quad Cities area, had no power due to the storm. Unfortunately the power outage was wide-spread, so there were no other lodging alternatives in the Quad Cities. We had to travel farther into Illinois, ending up at a Super 8 motel in Rock Falls at 10:30 that night.

Cross-Country Trip - Summer of 2008 - Day 8

Sunday, July 20 - We attended a church service at the KOA put on by a group of college students who were working at the campground for the summer, then back to Mount Rushmore to get some daylight views before heading out of the Black Hills. Our next stop was the Badlands National Park for some amazing rock formations and wildlife, including pronghorn and prairie dogs. We crossed the Missouri river out of South Dakota and into Iowa where we stayed at a Motel 6 in Sioux City. That night we were treated to a spectacular thunder and lightning show as a rare severe weather event, a "derecho,"cut a 60-mile-wide path across Iowa and into Illinois, with winds of 65- to 95-miles-per hour. (Check out this article for more details about the derecho:

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Cross-Country Trip - Summer of 2008 - Day 7

Saturday, July 19 - In the morning we toured Jewel Cave National Monument, currently the second-longest cave system in the world. It may well pass up Mammoth Cave in Kentucky, since based on airflow out of the cave, they may have only mapped 2-5% of the passages!
We spent the afternoon doing laundry and relaxing around the campground. That evening we watched the lighting ceremony at Mount Rushmore which was very inspiring (despite the ranger with her elementary school teacher style of talking s-l-o-w-l-y about how the four presidents portrayed were known for taking "risks.")

Cross-Country Trip - Summer of 2008 - Day 6

Friday, July 18 - As the museum allowed two days of visiting for the price of admission, we were able to see more of the museums in the morning before leaving Cody. Now on to the Black Hills of South Dakota by way of the Big Horn Mountains. On the way to our campground we caught a glimpse of the unfinished Crazy Horse Memorial being sculpted from the hills near Mount Rushmore. We checked into our cabin at the Palmer Gulch Resort and KOA - the 2nd largest KOA in the nation, with 2 pools, water slide, water park, giant bounce pillow, fishing pond and more!

Cross-Country Trip - Summer of 2008 - Day 5

Thursday, July 17 - This morning we packed up and headed out of Yellowstone by way of one last area - Mammoth Hot Springs, a part of the park with many travertine terraces. As we headed out of the park we encountered a large bison coming up the opposite lane of the road. Notice the picture with the driver’s sideview mirror showing in the corner. That’s how close it was! (Of course we stayed in the car!) We had planned to take the Beartooth Scenic Highway from the NE entrance of Yellowstone up into Montana, considered to be one of the most scenic drives in the country, but we decided that we wanted to visit Cody, WY to the SE, so we only went partway up the Beartooth Highway before detouring down the Chief Joseph Scenic Highway over Dead Indian Pass. Cody is home of the Buffalo Bill Historical Center (, including five world-class museums. Since Nathan and Adam had just finished performances of the musical, "Annie, Get Your Gun," about Annie Oakley and Buffalo Bill Cody, we really enjoyed seeing exhibits about the real people involved in the musical, including Pawnee Bill, whom Nathan played.