Wednesday, September 30, 2015

September 30, 2015.....We Get Closer to Home....

Happy Birthday!! our great nephew, Gus!!   2 Years Old!

It seems like we were celebrating his first birthday with a red velvet beet cake with fresh whip cream!
And......Whoosh!!.....a year has gone by already....and, I am reminiscing....yet again....

September 28, 29, and 30 and October 1, 2014

We kept up a normal pace heading east.....   Arizona Interstate 40.

Continuing through Arizona...... Driving on Interstate 40, following Route 66....
We kept seeing signs regarding the Petrified National Forest in, we veered.....and went through the Arizona desert for a half hour ......seeing jackalopes.....nada....
until we arrived at the entrance of the petrified forest.

There were two souvenir entrance booth where we showed our national park pass.
We were given a souvenir map of the various points of, we felt a "little" confident we were on the right path!

I tried to find an online photograph showing the volume of petrified wood in a different location as compared to what we saw on our drive.          (Photo courtesy of the National Park Service)

This is a photo I had taken on our drive.....what a difference compared to the previous photo!
It was so desolate!!......and, not too many visitors......
A lot of the petrified wood is in the souvenir shops or in people's trunks??
There are signs asking you 'Not to pick up the Petrified Wood.'  Obviously, people can't read!

A nice visual, but, so sad to think this ground was covered with petrified wood.....

We continued our drive through New Mexico and we stopped in Albuquerque for the night and saw a new moon.......beautiful!

And drove through a cloud on our way out of was not fog!

Texas.....vintage grain elevator...with tall grass and weeds and no activity....abandoned....

We got off the interstate and drove a while on Route 66.....just to say we did!

Shamrock, Texas along Route 66.

Shamrock, Texas is a tired little did have a Holiday Inn Express at the was nice...
Remembering we arrived around 4:00 p.m. and tried to find a decent place to eat, but, there was nothing that stood, we ate in a lousy Dairy Queen....probably the worst meal we experienced on the whole trip!   Ice cream was good, tho......
The highlight for us was seeing this restored Conoco Filling Station on the main road through Shamrock from the days of Route 66......a little Art Deco going on don'tcha think?  
It was beautiful.  The town has preserved it well!

The next morning we were in Oklahoma and headed north out of Oklahoma City for Wichita, Kansas.
We would be stopping in Kansas City, Kansas to see my aunt and uncle and available cousins for a few hours and have dinner.  We had a lovely afternoon and evening.

We are proud of our Decals!

The next morning following our visit with my aunt and uncle, we drove from Kansas City straight home,
Stopping for gas and a bite to eat.  It is a 12 hour trip.  

Journey Mercies.....


Sunday, September 27, 2015

September 27, 2015.....Remembering.....

We left Coronado, California earlier in the morning of September 26, 2014
Phil and I were both ready to head it home to Indiana......
But, so difficult to leave my sister and family......wondering when we will see each other again!
Thank goodness for emails and iPhone photos.......

Our plans, once we left Coronado was to go to the Grand Canyon and Mesa Verde / Cliff Dwellers....
as our next major stop on the way home.....

It was great to get out of the mountains and the winding roads for awhile!

Arizona Desert

 A storm brewing the further we traveled east.....

We took Interstate 8 to Phoenix and turned north on Interstate 17 to Flagstaff, Arizona and the 
Grand Canyon......planning on doing the 'tourist' thing and visit these sites.  

Note:   When we drive to Florida and take the interstate through some very populated cities, like; Indianapolis, Louisville, Nashville, Atlanta....especially Atlanta....well, it is just crazy drivin' .......too much traffic, too many lanes of traffic.....and, for the most part we know where we are going....but, it is nuts, so, sometimes we veer off the main interstate and find 4-lane roads with less takes a little extra time, but, worth it!  My point being......that out west in the is nice to be on the Interstate!.....manageable traffic!!  And, this time we were glad to be on the interstate!!  Not too many winding, mountain roads!  
Go.....and get to your destination!  Nice for a change.....
Well, that only lasted a day!....

On Sunday morning, September 27, 2014, we headed north on Interstate 17 to the Grand Canyon.  As we travelled north we drove into the Coconino National Forest.   Beautiful red rock formations! A great visitors center.  

We drove into the town of Sedona, Arizona.  We have heard so much about's art galleries, restaurant and resort, we decided to stop and walk around before heading to Flagstaff for the night.....

One of the highlights for me was the  Chapel of the Holy Cross

Beautiful candles to light......I love the flickering....

The Chapel of the Holy Cross was high on the side of a red rock mountain.
I'm glad we stopped there.  
We walked through a couple of galleries and decided to head north.....
While we were in Sedona, weather conditions worsened......storm and tornado watches and warnings and rain and some wind....and we were 5,000 feet in, we thought we needed to make our way down.  
As we headed north the weather got worse....and the GPS was showing us nothing but, twisted, winding, crazy roads to get down the mountain.  Warning signs were posted about the length of vehicles and trailers that could make the curves......and, there was a feeling of desolation...especially due to the stormy conditions.....but, here we are trying to get to Flagstaff the safest and quickest way.
It would have taken us four hours out of our way to get to Flagstaff via the Interstate as opposed to staying on the mountain for a long 30 minutes.  
I was sooooo ready to get off that mountain!!  And, Phil was thankful to eventually drive into Flagstaff!

We checked into our Holiday Inn Express in Flagstaff, found an "Outback" Restaurant.... caught our breath and decided that we had enough of winding roads, pine trees and mountains....doesn't that sound awful of us to think that?  But, it was time to seriously head it home and so the next morning we  changed our travel plans....going home.....missing the Grand Canyon and the Cliff Dwellers......

We learned while we were in Flagstaff there were areas that experienced serious flooding due to the storm, however, no tornadoes!  

I will never forget Sedona, Arizona!

Journey Mercies.....

Thursday, September 24, 2015

September 24, 2015....Family Time in Coronado

Today, a year ago remembering that we visited my brother-in-law's business and shop.  And, later in the evening we enjoyed dinner at Jim's sister's home in Coronado.
It was a great day....just doing our thing...visiting places that were where my sister and family did their daily living......

The view out Linda and Jim's apartment is ever changing with the ships and boats that pass by.
The Coronado Navel Base is stationed on Coronado.  It truly makes one feel protected....

San Diego skyline with a naval ship....just happened to be passing by.....

The Air Craft Carrier, Midway, is docked on the San Diego shoreline as a museum and tribute.

Jim's shop - Active Sign

Jim does signing for apartment complexes, hospitals, and other businesses.  He travels north to Los Angeles and the San Francisco area.  He designs and prints and makes sure that all the codes are met on the signs.  He is a smart man, graduating from IU with a degree in accounting and earning his CPA.
But making signs and growing that business was in his blood since a young boy.  He learned from his dad and with his brothers.....growing up in northwest Indiana.

Jim is one of eight children.  He has 3 brothers and 4 sisters.  Jim is #4 in the lineage.
His father was from Greece and his mother, Australian.   All of Jim's brothers and sisters stay in touch with each other living across the United States.
Jim's youngest sibling and sister, Georgia and her family live in Coronado.  

All of us enjoyed an alfresco Greek dinner in Georgia's back yard.
We passed out gifts of cutting boards and tea towels, and Legos and assorted fairy garden things.

We had a Greek Salad, Gyros, Spanakopita, (Spinach Pie) Tzatziki, (cucumber and yogurt) 
Souvlaki, (small pieces of meat on skewers - ours was chicken) and Pita Bread.

Jim's two sisters, nieces and nephews cousins, husbands, aunts and was a great evening spending time with all of them!!  Thank you!!!....with love.......

Our last day spent in Coronado......remembering we were trying to "get it all in" before we headed east in the morning.....bittersweet....

The beach at Coronado to the west of Hotel del....a huge span of shoreline facing the Pacific Ocean.

Our last night in Coronado....
The San Diego Skyline

The Coronado Bay Bridge

Journey Mercies......


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

September 23, 2015.....Do You Know the Way to San Jose?

It was bittersweet to leave Mt. Shasta.....but, it is a memory indelible in my mind was a life gift!

We made room for Linda in the car to travel with us down the state and sometimes the coast of California on our way to San Diego....their home on Coronado.  It gave us a few more days to be together while driving on Interestate 5 to San Diego.  We had planed to take that 12 -15 hour trip with two nights out and three days traveling.  Phil wanted to go to Monterey Bay and Pebble Beach Golf Course.  He also wanted to go to the Sequoia National Forest, but, we determined we didn't "have time" to do too many of the things that California offered on our trip down.  But, Linda would tell where they would go and where Diane had been and lived and had friends along the way...and it was good for me to put those places in my mind.  
Diane graduated from USC / Santa Barbara (University of Southern California) with a degree in biology. Linda and Jim made many travels to that area during that time.....and Diane made many friends who still live in the area.

When Linda and I were in our later teens, a young singer became well known for her music with Burt Bacarach......Dionne Warwick.   When I was at Ball State, I was able to see Dionne Warwick perform and once (not too long ago) Linda and Jim were able to see Burt Bacarach perform.  
So, with many cities and towns having the prefix "San or Santa" (meaning masculine or feminine of "Saint")..... We would break into song.....singing "Do You Know the Way to San Jose"

LYRICS by Hal David - MUSIC by Burt Bacarach

Do you know the way to San Jose
I've been away so long

I may go wrong and lose my way
Do you know the way to San Jose 

I'm going back to find some peace of mind in San Jose

L.A. is a great big freeway
Put a hundred down and buy a car
In a week, maybe two, they'll make you a star
Weeks turn into years
How quick they pass
And all the stars that never were
Are parking cars and pumping gas

You can really breathe in San Jose
They've got a lot of space
There'll be a place where I can stay
I was born and raised in San Jose
I'm going back to find some peace of mind in San Jose

Fame and fortune is a magnet
It can pull you far away from home
With a dream in your heart you're never alone

Dreams turn into dust and blow away
And there you are without a friend
You pack your car and ride away

I've got lots of friends in San Jose
Do you know the way to San Jose?

L.A. is a great big freeway
Put a hundred down and buy a car
In a week, maybe two, they'll make you a star

Weeks turn into years, how quick they pass
And all the stars that never were
Are parking cars and pumping gas

I've got lots of friends in San Jose
Do you know the way to San Jose?
Can't wait to get back to San Jose

I read on google that Dionne Warwick didn't care for that song, but, she won a Grammy for that song.  San Jose meant something special to Hal David who wrote the words as he was stationed there while serving in the navy.

Anyway.....we would start singing it often as we traveled down the highway heading to San Diego....Just a little 'memory lane' time....

We began being in an area that produces nuts, and veggies and fruits...Southern California, the area that feeds the world....

Piles of nuts....

Our first night we stayed in Salinas, California.  We were hungry.....we thought that salmon and Mexican food sounded, Phil checked for restaurants in the area that offered that kind of fare and he ended up finding the perfect little restaurant in Salinas!......Oscar's 'Golden Fish Seafood Restaurant.'  It is located on Main Street in have to go!.....if you are ever in Salinas!!

The next day,our destination was Monterey Bay and Pebble Beach.
There is a 17 mile drive around Monterey Bay that is a State Park.  It takes you to the coast of the Pacific Ocean.  It was a very overcast day that morning, but, we were able to walk the shore of the Pacific Ocean...there were many "islands" of rock that housed the seals.  It was very pungent!

We then drove to our last 'Point of Interest,' Pebble Beach.
The iconic cypress....that is shown many times when you are watching golf at Pebble Beach on TV.

It was a great morning....a beautiful spot, a lot of visitors.  We were able to eat in the Pebble Beach Golf Club for lunch.  I think we all had the Crab Salad?  I have tried to copy making that salad from the visual once we were was a pretty good try! more night out and then Coronado!
We stopped at a Holiday Inn Express (somewhere?) and believe it or not we had a McDonalds!! For our late night supper.....even, Linda ate a is called "desperation" eating!  :-)
Linda ordered her Big Mac without the sauce and with extra lettuce!  She is so good!  :-)

Next day.....Coronado Bay and Coronado Bay is a tall one!

Linda and Jim's views from their apartment.....
There is always some type of boat / ship activity.  One never gets bored looking at that view!

We arrived late in the afternoon.  Sometimes it is difficult to find a place to park to keep your vehicle in a spot for several days.  But the complex allows for guests....if you have a sticker in your windshield.  We were fortunate to have a parking place close to their apartment.  

A personal moment.....
I guess it was the culmination of being in Coronado with Linda and Jim....but, Linda and I became emotional......that I was finally there!....after 23 years of being in Coronado the last time in 1991.
We brought up our final things of goodies to be delivered....a rag rug....a vintage clock....a corn crib slab from our corn crib on the farm as girls....that I had painted the words "corn crib"......(shop art)
And with every unveiling there were more tears....
It was good......

We enjoyed the views and got familiar with the apartment...did a little unpacking....walked to a restaurant on the bay and had pizzas and an ice cream espresso......
More bliss.....

One of the things I wanted to do was eat lunch at the Hotel Del....we enjoyed the shops in the hotel.  We met Jim and our niece, Barbra there for a great lunch by the Pacific Ocean.
L. Frank Baum, the author of the "Wizard of Oz" had a summer home for many years in Coronado and wrote Oz stories from that location.  There was a shop in the hotel that featured "Wizard of Oz" items.... Our granddaughter was a Munchkin in the school production of the "Wizard of Oz" and, I had to find a trinket or two for that memory.....

Hotel Del Coronado

It was a great California Road Trip!......

Journey Mercies.....

Friday, September 18, 2015

September 19, 2015 - Family Memories

Our time at Mt. Shasta has gone quickly by......

Our chalet was on Lake Siskiyou.

Two different takes with the sun and shadows

At the north end of Lake Siskiyou is the Lake Siskiyou Trail and Walking Bridge.
We could see the Walking Bridge from our deck.

(Courtesy of

A closer view

Our chalet was to the left of this view.

I did not have room in the car to bring this large pinecone home.....but, I woulda if I coulda!
This pinecone and several others were right outside our door.

It was just a perfect, ideal time for us to be in Mt. Shasta.....just hanging out with family and good food and beautiful scenery and perfect temps......
I was proud of Diane and her garden plots.....with all the different vegetables.
We walked the town.....
We visited Castle Lake...
We went to the headwaters of the Sacramento River, located in Mt. Shasta and tasted fresh, cold water from the earth.....
Delicious dinners.....
The week that we were in Mt. Shasta, PBS was showing a Ken Burns Documentary, 
'The Roosevelt's.'  It was on every evening for several nights.  Once we went back to our chalets for the night, we discovered that we all were watching The Roosevelt's.....a great biographical story.

It was about being 'Just Together'

Journey Mercies......

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

September 16, 2015 - Mt. Shasta - Day One.....Remembering......

Phil and I were so glad to have made this trip out west and to have seen and "enjoyed" all that we had visited....
BUT......Our trip to Mt. Shasta was the "pinnacle" of traveling west!  We would finally be able to relax in one spot for a few days and enjoy being with my sister, Linda, her husband, Jim, our neice, Barbra and our neice Diane and Bryan and their new little guy, Gus. 
We were all able to meet within minutes of each other at Diane and Bryan's house and meet our new great-nephew, Gus.  So.....a lot of emotion for everybody....did everyone feel our happiness??  I felt it radiated throughout the land!
(Diane and Bryan are environmental researchers checking out the trees indicative in the northwest)

Phil and I brought a lot of "goodies" to give to everyone from Indiana.....
We brought birthday goodies for Gus, who was turning one year old the end of September (2014).... Mega Bloks, music sound board, some clothes.....
We brought linens and braided rugs and some 'Fiesta' ware....
There were boxes full.....and, I don't recall all that we brought?  But, it was fun!
We all chatted and watched Gus...toured the house and yard and block...and eventually the town of Mt. Shasta....Jim grilled delicious salmon and we had a huge salad and bread....
It was great to be together and know that we would be together for the next few days.....

Our drive into the town of Mt. Shasta showed a terrific view of the mountain, Mt. Shasta.
Note the lenticular cloud formation over the peak.

The temperatures had been very warm that summer and most of the snow had melted off the peak.
I located a picture of Mt. Shasta with snow.   (Courtesy of TripAdvisor)

Jim had made reservations for all of us at the Mt. Shasta Resort.  We shared an attached chalet.
Phil and I had our own chalet and Linda and Jim and Barbra had their own chalet.

At the back of the chalets was Lake Siskiyou.  We had beautiful views of the lake and the mountains and trees.  
The next morning, Diane and Barbra climbed over the deck rail and wished us a "Good Morning!"
We shared all our meals together.....breakfast on the deck....dinner on the deck....
We enjoyed steak on the grill with "hobo stew" veggies....
We had a buffet of vegetarian spaghetti with vegetables from Diane's garden and farmers market....
There were always snacks and food to munch on and "graze" throughout the day.....
We had lunch at a sidewalk cafe....and walked the town of Mt. Shasta and shopped quaint little shops.  I wanted to find something for our, I bought them Mt. Shasta tee shirts....the only tee shirts I purchased the whole trip!  I found little lavender sachets for each of the us with little "inspirations" on, "Eat Cake for Breakfast....knowing they would "never" eat cake for breakfast?  Who does that?  :-)
Gus was glad to have his BGG (grandma) and Papous (Greek for grandpa) there and all the attentive adults to entertain him.  It allowed Diane some free time to swim across the lake and enjoy yoga with her sister, Barbra.
Jim and Gus fed the Stellar Jays peanuts in the shell....we all enjoyed watching.....

Journey Mercies...

Monday, September 14, 2015

September 15, 2015 - Remembering the Oregon Coast.....

September 15, 2014 - 
This was a travel day.  We were leaving southern Washington state and making our way to the Oregon coastline.  
We stayed in a Comfort Inn in Pacific City, Oregon.  A resort town.  I remember as we were driving south that there was a lot of traffic heading north......we couldn't figure out why there were no cars in our lane, but, hundreds of cars heading north...odd....we thought those cars knew something we didn't?  But, as it turned out all those vehicles were heading back to their homes (Portland?) after spending the weekend or longer vacations on the Oregon Coast.  Many resorts, restaurants, 
beach gear shops...etc.
We checked was okay, but, not a Holiday Inn Express.   Comfort Inn also offered breakfast, but, no comparison......
When we woke up and got ready to continue our southern route along the coast......FOG.  We could not see any of the Pacific Ocean at all for the duration of our drive in Oregon....bummer!  I believe we drove in foggy areas for the first half of the day.....

Phil wanted to stop at Bandon Dunes, a golf resort area that he and our son had played on several years before.  I remember it was very cool the day we were there and we needed to wear jackets.

Bandon Dunes                                                  (Photo courtesy of

We had lunch in one of the grills.  
We visited two golf pro shops and purchased a few things....a couple of kid golf caps and a golf shirt for our brother-in-law.

I recall doing a lot of driving that day on winding, forested roads....driving past fields and old barns....
There was not a lot of traffic.

Remote, Oregon 

We didn't drive through Remote or see the store.....but, we were driving on Oregon Highway 42 
and I snapped a quick pic on the fly of the directional sign.....just in case you ever wanted to go there?

"Remote is an unincorporated community located in Coos County, Oregon on the Coquille River.

Remote was named by local pioneers for its distance from other settlements. Its post office was established in 1887. Oregon Route 42 used to run through the center of the community, but realignment of the highway has left Remote several hundred yards away.  Like other Oregon communities, Nimrod and Boring.  Remote is often cited on lists of odd place names."          (Wikipedia)

But......Remote is such a perfect name for its location!.....cause we sure were remote! but, I don't know about Nimrod and Boring?

Remote, Oregon General Store and Post Office. (Courtesy of

Journey Mercies......

Sunday, September 13, 2015

September 14, 2015.....A year to the day we traveled Mt. St. Helens

Mt. St. Helens - Erupted May 18, 1980

Photo courtesy of The Oregon Herald

Photo courtesy of National Geographic Archives

Mt. St. Helens is over 8,000 feet high and a mountain in the Cascade Range.
Mt. St. Helens is a National Volcanic Monument.
Mt. St. Helens was not on our list of places to go, but, we drove right, the car turned left and we went down the 'Mt. St. Helens Road' and took the drive.....

It was an eerie drive in a way....
There were not too many tourists at the three Visitor Centers.  It had been 34 years since Mt. St. Helens had erupted.  Each Visitor Center explained each area that the volcano eruption had affected.

We saw reforeststration.
We saw the remnants of the lava flow.
We saw Mt. St. Helens after it had blown off its top.

Mt. St. Helens - Before Eruption.       (Photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

A picture I had taken and zoomed - September 14, 2014

We were glad to have visited this place.
We were glad to leave this place.
It felt sacred and somber.....
It felt like we were playing a dangerous game.....knowing it was still an active volcano.

If you are interested in Mt. St. Helens, google 'Mt. St. Helens National Geographic Archives'

Next stop - Oregon

Journey Mercies......

September 12 and 13, 2015.....a year later...

Ferry Crossing from Fort Casey, Washington to Port Townsend, Washington
Olympic National Park- Port Angeles, Washington 

We left early morning from LaConner, Washington to connect with our ferry reservation about an hour away. Remembering it was a beautiful morning to drive to our destination.  
We arrived at the ferry dock with a little time to spare and enjoyed the views.  We watched ships crossing the Puget Sound.....thinking where are they going and what are they shipping....?

Coupeville Ferry Dock - the dock where we boarded

We had a perfect "cross" to Port Townsend.....
The weather was perfect albeit, a little chilly.  The ferry is a huge water "taxi" loaded with all types of vehicles and many people.  The inside of the ferry is very comfortable and roomy, however, we opted to stand on the outside on our own "deck."  The breeze was brisk and I wore my winter hat.  But, we would not have missed that experience!  It was a decent 20 minute ride.  

Port Townsend is surrounded by water; the Straits of Juan De Fuca, Admirality Inlet and Discovery Bay.
Port Townsend is one of three Victorian seaports in the United States.
I read online that Port Townsend was planned to be the "New York of the West."  But, the railroad was directed to be built in another direction.  So, with that decision regarding the railroad during the 1880's and 1890's Port Townsend had already begun to build their "Victorian" waterfront.  

Courtesy of

We disembarked...found a parking place and walked to a local cafe for a bite of lunch.  Not the most delicious of lunches, but, it was a great street, with antique shops, galleries...eateries.   
We continued on to Sequim, Washington for the night.... We checked into our Holiday Inn Express and found a laundromat, a car wash and a Mexican Restaurant.....we had a nice evening being "still"  and enjoying a great Mexican restaurant.

Olympic National Park.

Since we were so close to Olympic National Park, we made it one of our "Points of Interest" stops.

I do not know what possessed us to drive up Hurricane  Ridge?.....but, we did.  The drive up the 5,000 foot (plus or minus) mountain was beautiful.  
There were no guardrails!!   

At the top of Hurricane Ridge (Visitor Center).....there were hiking trails to continue to the top of Hurricane Ridge.  We did not walk to the top.  I had wrenched my ankle on a hiking trail at Deception, I wanted to take it easy.

I / We were glad to get down Hurricane Ridge.  We decided not to continue our tour and drove on down the highway to Chehalis, Washington, our nighttime destination.

Journey Mercies......