Sunday, July 29, 2012

Ohio, Kentucky, & Indiana

I've been neglecting the temple pictures page. It's now updated.

Sunday: We visited a small branch in Bowling Green, Ohio. One of the brethren there recognized Dan from our Garden Grove, CA days. Dan was in the bishopric the year they were baptized! I remember them. He had long hair and a beard, and she was impeccably groomed. They have an interesting conversion story, and if you want to hear about it, leave a comment and I’ll e-mail the story to you. He is in the High Priest Group leadership, and has been in the bishopric. It was astonishing to see them 37 years later. We had planned on going to a campground in a different city, but we had to keep driving because there weren’t any openings. I feel this is another of Heavenly Father’s tender mercies.

Monday: We visited German Town in Columbia, Ohio. Most shops and such close on Monday to rest up from the weekend, so not much to see since we don’t drink beer. The Book Loft was open.  It’s a fascinating bookstore—Thirty two rooms in an old house filled with books and we’re in a 22 foot RV with 4 months to go—no room to buy them. We also visited a very nice park.

Tuesday:  After attending the Columbus, Ohio temple, we went to Hocking Hills State Park in Lebanon, OH. They’ve had a dry year, so the falls aren’t as full as usual, but the rock formations were still interesting. We saw a fawn close up. It didn’t seem to be afraid of us at all.

Wednesday: More hikes in Hocking Hills. The hike wasn’t rough like some we’ve been on, but it was getting hot and muggy near the end. Lovely caves and waterfalls, or at least places they normally have waterfalls.

Thursday: A do practically nothing day. Our front end needed an alignment and the only appointment they had was at noon. The earliest temple session was 6:00 pm, so we didn’t have time to go see the Kentucky Derby museum like we had planned. Ah well, such is the life of a traveler. The countryside is beautiful! I’d like to go back when we have more time.

Friday: Travel day. We have a nice campground in Cloverfield, Indiana; however, Dan can’t get the satellite dish to pick up the signal, so no Olympic opening ceremony. We stayed at Wal-Mart two nights in a row so we could stay in the campground 3 nights and watch.)  :(

Saturday: We visited Mansfield Roller Mill which used to grind wheat and corn flower. The latest and greatest in its day. We drove country roads to get to it. It was interesting, built in the mid 1800’s. Not much going on, though. I almost wanted to get into my bathing suit and join the locals in the stream. We also saw one of 2 Buzz Bombs in the US in Greencastle, IN. The other one is in the Smithsonian.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

New York, Niagra Falls, & Michigan

Tuesday: We visited the Grandin print shop where the first 5,000 copies of the Book of Mormon were printed and walked on the floor where Joseph Smith and the other early members walked. It had an amazing spiritual feel. Before the pageant, we walked through the sacred grove. The trees are much larger now than when we went there when our 4 older children were young. The pageant was amazing, and brought out many highlights from the Book of Mormon. To think they brought it all together in 1 week! I’m sure the planning took all year, but the cast didn’t arrive until a week before the first performance.

Wednesday: Niagara Falls! What an amazing trip. I agree with those who say you should go to the Canadian side if at all possible. You see both the American falls, and the Canadian Horseshoe Falls. The latter is larger and more impressive. (Okay, they do fall short of Iguasu Falls in Brazil, but still amazing.) We rode the Maid of the Mist. Where I let my hair and face get drenched, but I had to wear the poncho to protect my back pack.

Thursday: Attended the Toronto temple then spent a quiet afternoon at our campground. I love hearing the birds singing, and crickets chirping in our beautiful campground. Below are pictures of Toronto and the Ontario countryside.

Friday: Attended the Detroit temple and spent a quiet evening at Wal-Mart. Pictures of Michigan.

Saturday: If you are ever in the Detroit area, the Ford Museum is a must. It isn’t just about Fords. It’s the history of the automobile plus much more. Imagine sitting on the bus where Rosa Parks refused to relinquish her seat to a white man. The limousine Kennedy was riding in when he was shot, Regan’s also. It isn’t just cars either there are a lot of historical artifacts including the chair Lincoln was sitting in when he too was shot. It goes on and on. There is a lot more in that complex including a fascinating tour of the Ford truck manufacturing plant. No pictures allowed in the latter, at least not in the manufacturing part or movies. Plan a whole day. We wished we had left the campground earlier. Notice the Nash Rambler. Who remembers the song “Beep Beep?”

Monday, July 16, 2012

It's Part of the Adventure

Monday: Coopersown, NY. We enjoyed visiting the Baseball Hall of Fame. The best part for me was Abbott & Costello’s “Who’s On First.”

Tuesday: Oh boy: Zero travel pictures. We were traveling along on the freeway minding our own business. Suddenly we heard two bangs, one in front of us, and the second much closer. A young woman on the other side of the divided freeway ran into the guardrail and debris flew up to our side. Our front tire blew. It took all of Dan’s strength to steer the RV from the center lane, across 2 more lanes and onto the side just past an on-ramp. The first bang was a fuel truck in front of us that also blew a tire and sustained other front end damage. Besides the tire, the debris also took out the driver’s side mirror. It took our cell phone, and Internet to find someone who could order the mirror for Thursday.

Wednesday: It was 90 miles to Palmyra, but we had already paid for the campground. Have you ever had to drive without a driver’s side mirror? Sure you say just stop, but where would we stay? We found peace in visiting the temple, then drove directly to our campground. I found the best place for me to sit is behind the table, leaning forward and looking out of the back window.

Thursday:  After driving a nerve-wracking 90 miles, we spent the day sitting in the driveway of Decker’s Towing. To make a long story short, the company did NOT send the mirror Wednesday morning as promised ... at least not overnight like they said—they sent it ground! We didn’t find this out until nearly 4:00. We hand it to Mike the mechanic for trying to get it taken care of. You would think we were his long time customers, not someone passing through. The best deal we could get is for it to come Saturday, $40 off of the cost, and they will waive the shipping cost. The original campground said we could come in after we got the mirror Saturday.

Friday: We drove to a near-by campground. The last couple of miles we had a state trooper right behind us. (Remember no driver’s side mirror?) PHEW, he didn't notice. We spent the day doing laundry, and swimming. The swimming was fun. Fanciest campground we’ve stayed in, most expensive too except for the one near New York City.

Saturday: We sat in Mike’s driveway again all day waiting for the part. Nothing. Wal-Mart tonight and tomorrow night. We can’t afford that expensive campground again. Hopefully it will come Monday.

Monday: Since we didn’t have enough battery power for the computer, I didn’t post this Sunday, so I thought I’d finish the story. Mike called the mirror company and the lady was surprised we didn’t have the part yet. About 10 minutes later, the UPS truck came up. It seems they had tried to deliver it to Vernon, NY, not Vernon Center, NY. Two cities next to each other each has a Skinner Street. Our GPS had originally sent us to that address too; it’s in the middle of farm country. We are now back at the campground in Palmyra. We’ll attend the pageant tomorrow then be on our way.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Vermont, New Hampshire and on to New York

Monday:  Fun day. We visited the original Ben & Jerry’s ice cream factory. It was interesting and the best part was tasting a potential new product currently named Strawberry Bliss. Yum, yum. They also had the flavor graveyard for those that didn’t make it like Peanuts! Popcorn!, Rainforest Crunch, and Aloha Macadamia. They all had appropriate epitaphs. 

Tuesday: We visited the Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, Vermont. Yes, the family liked what Hollywood did with Sound of Music. The basic story is true, but there were major differences such as the way they escaped to America was via Italy the day before the boarder was closed. If they had hiked over the Alps, they would have found themselves in Germany, not exactly the place to escape from the Nazis.  They left because they refused to sing Happy Birthday to Hitler. Other differences: They were already world famous, and the 7 children from Georg’s first marriage were in their teens and early 20’s. Maria and the Baron had 2 daughters, and Maria was expecting their 3rd. The third son, Johannes, signed my copy of Maria’s book The Story of the Trapp Family Singers.  We really enjoyed touring the grounds after the presentation. Last picture is of their sugar house. I recommend the book.

Wednesday: We drove along the Kancamagus Highway. Lovely as all forests are. The exciting part came on the Discovery trail when a moose chose to walk that same trail in front of us. Every time we got within 30 feet or so, he/she moseyed along ahead. Every time Dan tried to get a profile shot, he/she turned and he only got the backside. Finally, the animal posed nicely for him, then turned and scurried into the brush. We also saw a waterfall, beautiful rapids, and lovely trails.

Thursday: Today we saw the Flume, an amazing gorge forged when softer black basalt, which had filled in cracks in the granite, had eroded much faster than the granite. The cliffs are 90 feet high and vary between 12 and 20 feet wide. They have built a boardwalk and stairs so we were able to hike up it. We didn’t crawl through the fox den, though.  Boulders left by glaciers in the Ice Age were all over the place.

That afternoon we visited Clark’s Trading Post a clever amusement park. Mostly we went to see the bear and acrobatic acts and we weren’t disappointed.

Friday: We drove to Ticonderoga, New York. On the way we visited Sharon, VT, the birthplace of the prophet Joseph Smith. Since we have long stretches without being near a temple, this was truly a spiritual lift. The birdhouse is a replica of the house he was born in. The monument is 38 ½ feet tall to represent his lifespan.

The Wal-Mart where we had planned on staying had a 3 hour parking limit, so we had to move on to Ticonderoga with a bit of trepidation that the new one wouldn’t allow overnight parking either. Then we hit another concern. The signs along highway 73 our GPS chose to our new destination kept mentioning a ferry to New York. Would it be large enough for our RV? Thankfully, both concerns were resolved in our favor.

Saturday: We only had a 1 hour drive to our campground with nothing planned. Dan remembered passing Fort Ticonderoga on the way to Wal-Mart the evening before, so we decided to go there. It was well worth it. They have re-enactments and tours throughout the day. We happened along on the anniversary of a battle where 3,500 French troops defended against 17,000 British. The French lost the fort a year later because they only left 400 troops to defend against 11,000 British. We even saw a very scared fawn.