Monday, November 17, 2014

Day #6 Freedom, Wisconsin to Eureka, Illinois

Day # 7 Freedom, Wisconsin to Eureka, Illinois
October 27, 2014
Next Stop: Eureka, Illinois

Left Freedon at 10:00 am. It’s hard to believe that just over a week ago we were in Hawai’i.  We miss the ocean, the fish and the sun.  We’re getting tired.  It seems to be accumulating so we’re looking forward to spending the extra day in Illinois.  We’re in a hurry to get to NC but also need a break.  Eureka’s a good place for that.  We left at 10:00, stopped at Starbucks at 11:11.  I had blueberry oatmeal, Emilie had a donut.  She was living on the wild side. 

1:30 pm  Stopped for lunch, etc.  Were at a truck stop and the sandwich guy had just wheeled in the fresh sandwiches.  Score!  I also found some Nestle’s chocolate milk that was flavored Thin Mint.  It was sooo goot.  It tasted like runny Chocolate Mint ice cream, just like I love it.  We also found some cheese curds for Angie (she had put in a special order the day before). 

Afternoon I’m slipping—I didn’t write down the time we hit ILLINOIS.  My birth state.  We’re tired!  Anyway, it’s good to be in the motherland.  Things look familiar.  The beautiful black soil, the pristine farmland, corn ready to harvest, fall foliage.  It just feels like “home” even though it’s been 43 years since I lived here.

4:00 EUREKA!! And as my siblings will remember: “First to see the water tower, First to see the courthouse!”  We would always try to be the first to announce the news of home when we’d come home from Chicago or other far flung locales.  We came into town right on schedule.  Miles driven so far: 2,479.  What that means to me is I only have a short time before I have to say goodbye to Emilie for real.  This trip is going too fast.  You’d think that after almost 2,500 miles I may not feel that way but I haven’t faced the fact that she’s really moving so far away.  I’m the Queen of Denial and sometimes it’s OK with me to stay that way. 

It’s now 8:47 pm Central time.  We’re leaving here tomorrow morning, stopping in Bloomington, Indiana to have lunch with my sister, Carolyn and them will continue on to Charlston, W. Virginia.  Thursday we will complete our trip with our arrival in Raleigh in the afternoon.  Before I start my next day (I don’t even know what day this is of our trip—I’ve let myself go.  Oh dear.) I want to talk about our Eureka experience.

We went up to mom’s room when we got here and found out that my cousins, Janet and Stan Reedy were coming as well.  They walked in about an hour later.  We visited for a while and then made plans to visit and have dinner together the next day.  I want to say right here that now the last three times I have been in Eureka, Janet and Stan have been here, too.  There was my brother’s funeral, mom’s 98th birthday party and now.  It’s been so good to get to know them better.  My mom and Janet’s mom were sisters.  This summer when Dave and I were in Canada we visited with Janet’s sister, Alice and her husband John.  We were all pretty close growing up as they lived in Indiana and we in Illinois.  They are 10+ years older than me—closer in age to my sisters—but I LOVED it when our families would get together for holidays.  It was so much fun getting in on the older girls’ activities and our parents played cards into the night.  I was a kid so I didn’t have to do any of the work.  I really appreciate my cousins and am thankful that we are still in touch.

Day #3 Moscow, Idaho to Billings Montana

October 24, 2014
8:00 am Day #3
Leaving Moscow after a stop at Java Bug.

 We’re a little put out by Sam, the iPhone GPS Guy.  We asked him for the closest coffee shop and he was directing us to one 3 miles away and we practically ran into Java Bug.  Not Sam’s fault, I guess.  Java Bug needs to do some marketing and tell SAM/SIRI about them. 
 Coeur d’Alene, Idaho: Beautiful! 
 Gassed up and potty break.
Dinner in Billings
 In 1989 Dave and I took a trip from Kansas to Illinois, dropped the kids at Grandma’s and proceeded to look for a job.  As we traveled through the various states we realized each state had a unique way of warning passengers that bridges freeze before roads.  We started a collection of them.  So I decided to do it again.  Why not? I thought.  So another dimension of these states’ descriptions.  I will announce how they warn us of the bridge hazard.  Idaho’s is   “Bridge May Be Icy”.  Another awesome traveling aid is the speed limit is 75.  These roads are practically empty in some places and a lot of things are very isolated.  If they didn’t raise the speed limit everyone would go that fast anyway and it takes FOREVER to get anywhere this way so it cuts down on commute time.  We had to get used to driving that fast, though.  At 75 mph a second with your eyes off the road =several seconds while going at 55.  Also, it takes longer to stop.  We’ve encountered a few slow movers and they come up to us so fast we really had to be alert.  They come up quickly.

Mama taking over the controls now Yikes Bikes!
Entering MONTANA
Big Sky Country
11:00 am Pacific Time 12:00 Mountain Time 
ETA for Billings, Montana 6:20 Pacific/7:20 Mountain.

We really need to change our watches.  Phones correct themselves but alas we have to manually change the car clock and watches.  What a hassle.  We want better technology so we don’t have to do anything manually again!  We’re Gen X.  I’m also starting to identify more with Emilie.  Must…remember…I’m…a…Baby …Boomer!  I learned how to do EVERYTHING manually.

Watch for ice on bridge.
1:10 Mountain Time
Missoula, Montana
Emilie’s driving again.  She took over after we stopped at Starbucks in Missoula.  I wasn’t sure where we were so I asked the Barista.  Emilie thought we were in Missoula so I lost that one.

Notes on Montana: The mountains are gorgeous.  There are zillions of pine trees and millions of trees changing their color for fall.  Don’t know the type of tree but it must be the only one that grows at this elevation.  The leaves are from golden yellow to bright yellow.  They are about 25% fallen.  When the sun shines on them they sparkle like diamonds.  The evergreen trees are a very deep, deep forest greet.  In fact, we thought they were black until we got closer to them.  People (when we encounter them) are very nice.  I guess when you’re so isolated you like the chance to talk to other people, I guess.

Billings, Montana
Trip Meter: 1006 miles traveled so far
7:30 pm

Arrived at the Clock Tower Best Western.  Got unloaded and were going to walk to a restaurant close by.  Before that, Alice ran out of the room after Emilie.  Emilie had already gone downstairs to the parking lot.  Alice didn’t know that.  She thought Em was still on the second floor.  She could hear Emilie’s voice but couldn’t figure out how to get to her.  She would go zooming around outside the second floor rooms desperately trying to get to Emilie.  At one point it looked like she was contemplating jumping down so I finally caught her and carried her down.  You never know what a dog will do.  Our Eddie once jumped out of the car when he was with Michael.  They were going about 40 mph and he had music on.  She got nervous and jumped right onto the road then ran to someone’s front lawn.  He brought her home and Eddie was all shaken up but only had a few road burns on his little body.

We walked to our restaurant (sans Alice) and watched a heartbreaking game 3 of the World Series.  We had enough leftovers to save for tomorrow’s lunch.  Slept well, got up and out by 8:00 am.  Montana has its beauty but it’s a l-o-n-g way across.  Mostly prairie as we got closer to North Dakota.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

THE GIANTS WIN THE SERIES! October 29, 2014 San Francisco, CA via Cable TV in Charleston, West Virginia!

I'm going to go out of order here.  I'm almost ready to post yesterday's blog but I have to interrupt this travelogue to say: 
I'm still having a little trouble soaking this in.  This is so cool!  Who knew when we were struggling, trying to pass up the dodgers that we actually would not only leave them in the dust but leave EVERYONE in the dust?  

How many life lessons can we learn from this?  The best one is:  Never, never, never give up! (am i channeling Sir Winnie there?) The reason the GIANTS are so great begins with the Skipper, Mr. Bochy and trickles down.  The team has an attitude of teamwork, friendship and just doing it right.  We have our stars for sure, but even they don't take all the credit for themselves.  In a baseball way they are humble.  I mean, seriously, when you're really, really good it must be hard to be humble (when you're perfect in every way...Mac Davis) but they respect each others' talents and find a way to use their own talent to make the team better.

Baseball caps off to the G-Men.

Another really amazing thing is that I watched the playoffs and series all across the US. 


 NCLS                                                                     WORLD SERIES
GAME 2: MAUI, HAWAII                                 GAME 2: McMINNVILLE, OREGON
GAME 3: MAUI, HAWAII                                 GAME 3: BILLINGS, MONTANA
GAME 4: MAUI, HAWAII                                 GAME 4: FARGO, NORTH DAKOTA
GAME 5: MAUI, HAWAII                                 GAME 5: FREEDOM, WISCONSIN
                                                                               GAME 6: EUREKA, ILLINOIS
                                                                               GAME 7: CHARLESTON, WEST VIRGINIA

This has been so great.  The only problem is that I wasn't with Dave to celebrate all the wins!  We watched together by texting but that wasn't the same.  But I did have Emilie with me.  The only problem with that is that she's not such a huge baseball fan as she once was.  But she's Emilie, what more do I need?

Gotta stop.  We're going to Raleigh, North Carolina today!  More later

Day #5: Fargo, N Dakota to Freedom, Wisconsin

Sunday October 26, 14
Day #5
Leaving Fargo, ND
Fargo Sunrise

1,628 miles driven so far
8:00 am

This morning we had a good breakfast at the hotel.  Emilie got a free one because she’s a Best Western Rewards person.  Whoo-hoo! I’m traveling with a celebrity!! There were a couple incidents that I must include in this travelogue.  This “just happened” to be Comic Con in Fargo.  That meant we saw a different crowd than we usually run around with. We feared they would be partying all night to keep us up.  Fortunately our room was completely quiet and we didn’t hear a peep.  However, our neighbor did.  This is how we found out they were rowdy until at least 3 am: Emilie was taking our stuff down to the car and a man apparently thought she was part of the Comic Cons.  He mentioned that they kept him up until 3 am.  Em made it clear the she wasn't one of the offending parties.  Too bad I wasn’t with her at that moment.  He would never have thought we were the offending party then.  Ha. 

The second incident involved Alice.  Em was taking her outside and was getting something from the car.  A guy walked by when Alice did her ugly dance barking furiously like she wanted a piece of him.  Too bad he didn't know that Alice is all show and no go.  He started kicking her away…and a car was approaching.  Em finally got Alice calmed down but Emilie was hot under the collar about the guy.  She does not like anyone being cross with Alice, but also knows how vicious Alice can sound.  Anyway, that’s all water under the bridge (May be icy).

The most exciting thing about this morning is that I figured how to pair my GoPro camera with my iPhone so I can use the phone like a monitor.  Pretty cool.  We took a few videos of the sunrise.  Not too bad I must say. (Remember Ed Grimley as done by Martin Short?  He used to say “I must say” in a really squirrely, dorky way.  Just sayin’)

9:30 am Pit stop in Alexandria, Minnesota.  We came into the state of Minnesota very unceremoniously.  We had gone about 50 miles when we realized we had crossed the state line many miles ago.  It’s cold here and windy.  Trees have almost all lost their leaves already.

I should mention how we’re passing the time on all these long, lonely interstate roads.  Well, Emilie is doing most of the driving. I offer but she says, “I’m OK, Mom.”  I have a “fun box” on the floor by my feet.  Sometimes it’s below my feet.  Our tats are still healing and it seems like I’m always bumping something with that part of my leg.  It’s been over a week since we were tatted up.  Anyway, back to the fun box. I have all the GoPro stuff and both cameras in there. Also the book I’m reading and one I finished and 2 that I have yet to read.  So, I read.  Em’s laptop also goes in there. All of our notes, schedules, reservations, our atlas, etc are in various folders. I’m never able to sleep in the car so I periodically lean my head back and pretend to sleep.  For our listening pleasure we have many options.  On Em’s account we have “The Book Thief”; all 13 hours, 56 minutes of it.  We’re about half done.  When we get bored with that, there’s a “Twilight” CD that seems to always be in Henry’s CD player.  Right now we’re listening to the soundtrack from “Frozen” which Emilie loves, a few songs in particular.  Something about “letting it go”—it represents her new phase of her life.  I’m glad she is taking this chance by breaking out of her mold but the closer we get to NC the closer I get to having to leave her there and I don’t like that.  So I guess I have some “letting go” to do on my own.  It’s good we’re driving instead of flying; it gives us both time to process.

On top of all this, I’m also researching each state we drive through.  I think I’ll make a blog just for those.  We’ve learned a lot about this part of the US.  We also have the average amount of precipitation annually for each state ranked from 1 to 50.  I’ll put that up soon, too.  We are just a fountain of knowledge.  Stay tuned…

12:30 Wisconsin Stopped for lunch at Noodles & Co.  Did I mention Alice today?  Thought I better add that at every pit stop we offer her water and take her on a walk.  Today it’s sunny and 59 degrees Hudson, Wisconsin, don’t ya know?

2:10 Stopped for gas, pit stop and Alice.

3:16 2,000 MILES DRIVEN!!

Arrived Freedom, Wisconsin at  5:42 pm.  Miles traveled so far: 2,155.
Stayed at the home of Andy, Kayla and Emma Brisson.  It was great to have a hot, home cooked meal!  And the huge pieces of apple pie didn’t hurt, either!  Slept well and got started the next morning at 10 am.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

DAY #4 Billings, Montana to Fargo, North Dakota

October 25, 2014
9:00 am
Leaving Billings

Started the day by going to Albertson’s for breakfast—yogurt parfaits, banana, and waters.

We set the GPS for Fargo, ND and it took us to I 94E. Then it informed us: “Stay on this road for 567 miles.”  The interstate is good—4 lanes almost all the way and not congested but it cuts a line across the middle of Montana and ND.  In Montana the scenery is beautiful to Billings then gets flatter, more prairie like. 

12:00 noon
 We stopped once in Miles City, Montana.  Had to drive a couple miles away from the interstate.  Cute little town with farm machinery dealers on every corner.  A nice city park and a cute downtown.  We got gas and had a pit stop.  Then back on I-94 E. Eastern Montana has lots of  beautiful mesas.  And prairies….lots and lots of prairies.

Beach, ND

Hello North Dakota and welcome to the Beach.  No sand or snorkels but a lot of truck drivers at the Flyin’ J.  We sat on the curb in the parking lot and ate the wonderful leftovers from last night’s supper—prime rib, baked potato, and broccoli. Bread, lettuce salad, and cheese quesadillas. Delish.  Took Alice for a short walk and she suddenly started sneezing with her whole body.  Serial sneezes that shook her whole self.   It was cute for me, but Emilie was concerned.  Alice finally stopped and Em gave her ½ Benadryl.  Hopefully we won’t run into that weed again!  But if we do I hope I have my movie camera ready! 
At the truck stop we also got a wide angle mirror to attach to the driver’s side mirror.  I mentioned previously about Henry being stuffed to the gills.  He is.  We can’t see out the back window so we bought this little round mirror and it works beautifully.  Now we can see our blind spot.  Wish it was that easy to get rid of all our blind spots in our lives…

3:16 pm
Central Time Zone so it’s really 4:16 pm.
North Dakota is much flatter than Montana or Idaho.  Lots and lots of prairie land.  There’s only a few towns by the interstate.  The people we meet are all very nice, though.

It’s now 7:06 pm.  We have gone 495 miles today!  I have no idea about the time we’ve been in the car because of all these crazy time zones.  We made a stop in Bismark about an hour ago.  I wanted to get a thumb drive for my iPhone pics because it wouldn’t let me take any more.  So we stopped at Target—where else?  We easily fell into our familiar shopping routine but also knew we needed to get going.  Our big target experience will be in Raleigh to get Em things she needs and didn’t bring.  That’s always fun.  We got a Starbuck’s Latte and some string cheese and apple slices.  Ready to go again.  Our ETA for Fargo is 9:07 pm. It’s 7:09 right now.  We have a backwards and forwards time schedule.  We will have a sandwich when we get to our hotel and go to bed.  We’re going to try to get up early tomorrow. Oh, and we didn’t see any icy warnings over bridges.  We saw one partially dry river bed but must not have crossed any  Bridges.  Are there none in NoDak?
Got into Fargo last night at 9:00 pm.  Had eaten PBJ’s on the road so we could go right to bed.  Emilie did.  I did not.  There was a Giants game on.  And we won 11-4. It was a 4 hour game.  So I got to bed around 11:30 pm.  We both set alarms for 6:30 am.  So, back to the Giants game.  I had almost given up when we were behind 2-4 but in the 5th we broke loose and kept scoring runs through the rest of the game.  Too good not to watch.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Emilie and Deb's Next Great Adventure Begins Day #1

October 22, 2014 5:59 PM. Wednesday.  Day #1
Leaving Susan Lane
McMinnville, Oregon at last!

Emilie's friends cleaned the upstairs bedrooms and bath

Emilie's NOT a happy mover
The Door Shut Tight and Locked
After several days of intense packing the POD finally got full.  The adventures we had with that POD were forgettable but let me explain.  Originally the POD was to be delivered on Thursday.  Em thought we’d pack it up and leave that evening—because of a glitch in the ordering the POD was delivered before we even got home from Hawai’i.  That was a good thing because we needed several days to finish packing, clean the house and start driving.  Dave was still with us (he flew home on Tuesday night) so he helped a lot.  Em’s friends came on Tuesday night and cleaned the upstairs.  That was much appreciated.  The next day Emilie and I finished packing/loading/cleaning and got in the car at 5:59 pm.

6:00 pm
Leaving Susan Lane...again

Went back to Susan Lane.  Thought we left a bill on the counter.  False alarm.  The bill was in Em’s purse.  Here we go (again).  With McMinnville in the rear view mirror (which we can’t use because Henry is loaded to the gills—Explanation: Henry is Em’s Black 2006 Ford Escape.—we were a bit concerned about the POD because it was pouring rain all day and it was starting to leak.  Plus every time we opened it, more rain got in.  I’m talking cats and dogs here people. 

I asked Emilie to share some thoughts as we leave town. 
         I’m so ready
         No regrets
         No sadness
         I didn’t pack too well at the end but all is well—we’re on our way!  Here's the year in review:
 Good Things                                            Not So Good Things
Constantly challenged                          Unnecessarily stressful job
Met girls in Bible Study                      Never found a church home
Had a nice home                        Never connected with community

9:00 pm Rest Stop
Potty break at a little gas station.  Felt a little creepy because it was late and not very many people around.  Guy working there was nice.  We bought Rum and Cherry flavored lifesavers and lemon bars and Nilla Wafers. 

9:20 pm
Back on the road we see red, white and blue lights.  Should we go towards the light or flee?  What state are the lights in?  We decided to go towards the lights.  We think we’re in Washington State.  We know we’re missing out on a lot of gorgeous scenery because we’re driving through the area in the dark and it’s raining.  We just try to visualize what it must be like outside. that's why there are no pictures to accompany this section.

Uh-oh.  We’re still in Oregon.  100 miles to Pendleton, Oregon.  So we finally figured out we’re going east right along the Washington/Oregon border.  If you’re wondering how we managed to get this far without knowing where we were, Sam, the GPS Guy is telling us where to go—in a good way.

 10:33 pm Washington State

Birthplace of George Washington?  No but they have pictures of him all over the place. But this is the Evergreen State.

11:00 pm Anywhereville, USA
Gas, Pit stop and Coffee.  Safeway gas.  Saved 20cents/gallon with our Vons card.  Whoopee!  We are near Walla Walla, Washington.  Jessica says it’s the last of civilization.

No pictures of this drive because it was raining and dark outside.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

We are on a vacation that we've been planning for a long, long time.  It was always a dream to take all our kids with us to Hawaii but for some reason or another it never worked out.