Saturday, July 26, 2008

Back on the Hill

As we were reminded just today, all good things must come to an end - and so has our journey westward. We arrived home Friday evening, just before dark, and you can tell at least Hitch was anxious...he's right up in the windshield watching and waving as we pulled into the drive. And by the way, we know it's not safe to ride in the car without seat belts, but they just don't make miniature ones, so we were forced to make exceptions for him.

We've had a great time - and sharing it with all of you through this blog has been such fun. Many times we would think, let's take a picture of Hitch here so the folks checking in can see. And THANK YOU to all who have kept up with us - and sent messages, prayers and thoughts. It's our final blog for this trip - but who knows, there's probably more to come - - AFTER we recover from this one.

We've racked up the memories, the laughs, the tender hellos and goodbyes to friends we don't get to see often enough, and the miles. That's the other thing Hitch was amazed at - the final number driven...9,608.3. WOW!!

Thanks to God for the time, ability, and safety to make the trip.

And thanks to everyone who's been,
Traveling with Hitch

Blessings one and all!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

From Poolside to Tableside

For more than three days, we relaxed around the pool (Hitch LOVED the slide and we LOVED the peaceful setting) and caught up with friends. It was a taste of what life is like back on the hill in NC - and we suppose it's time to get back there. more stop in Savannah has found us busy - very busy. In the last two days, we've enjoyed everything from eating a fantastic 27 item "home-cooked" lunch at Mrs. Wilkes and an outstanding dinner including charcoaled (yep, you read that right) oysters at Uncle Bubba's Oyster House (who happens to be the brother of Paula "ya'll" Dean) to a tour of Fort Polaski, a long walk on the beach at Tybee Island, and a trolley ghost ride late into the night yesterday. Today included some time for shopping, a long tour through the Mighty 8th Air Force Museum, more delicious food and ending the day with a carriage history tour of downtown.

We can honestly say we have packed as much into two days as we could - what fun!! Our feet are sore, we're a little sunburned, and as momma used to say, our eyes are full (not to mention our bellies).

Goodnight for now,
Traveling with Hitch

Friday, July 18, 2008

Cowboys and Kings

Thursday we arrived in Oklahoma City early enough to spend some time exploring the Cowboy and Western Museum. It is a wonderful museum and well worth the time spent there - in fact, there was too little time to do it justice. Tributes to "cowboys" like John Wayne and Will Rogers are included, but so are the real mccoys (pardon the pun) - the actual cowboys and cowgirls who really wrangled the west. And the traveling art shows were unbelievable. Like I said, not enough time, but an afternoon well spent. (By the way, Hitch had to stop for a photo opp as we were leaving.)

Tonight we are staying in West Memphis in Arkansas. But...who could resist the quick trip over the Mississippi River into Memphis, TN, to eat at Marlowe's Ribs and Restaurant on...

Elvis Presley Blvd. Yep, fantastic food and the chance to see Graceland from the street all in less than a mile stretch - what more could you ask for??!!

Tomorrow we are headed to Alabama for a couple of days to visit friends and then back on the road to be in NC soon. We'll catch you up next week.

Goodnight for now,
Traveling with Hitch

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Making Our Way East

Tonight we are in Amarillo, TX - making our way east on I-40. Last night we were in Albuquerque, NM. Between the two is lots and lots of land - and not a whole lot else to see. BUT...between Flagstaff on Monday evening and Albuquerque last night we made three great stops.
First was not too far oustide Flagstaff - Meteor Crater. It is the "first proven and best preserved impact site on earth." "The floor of the crater is 550 feet deep, equivalent to a 50 story over 4,000 feet across and 2.4 miles in circumference." Okay - the picture makes it hard to tell, but it's HUGE. About the middle of the picture are two black dots - they are actually people down a set of stairs about 1/8 the way into the crater. Don't they look little?

Next,'s a clue - Hitch is 'on a corner' on a 'Flatbed Ford' - in AZ. Got it?
Yep - we had to stop in Winslow, AZ and take a picture "Standin' on a Corner". The Flatbed is there just for photo opps. And...the song keeps running through our heads - it's such a fine sight to see!

Our last stop was the Petrified Forest National Park. Hitch is at the Agate Bridge - which is actually a petrified tree. It's quite a place - and next to the Painted Desert. Now...there's too many pictures to chose from for a Blog, so it'll have to wait until we're back.

Goodnight for now,
Traveling with Hitch

Monday, July 14, 2008

Headed Back East

Well, we have said goodbye to California and begun our trek eastward toward home. We still have some fun things planned, but we realize time is winding down. We must say, though, we were ready to leave California - the smoke had begun to get to us and then as we headed south, it was the rain (seems we are here during monsoon season?!). On our way Sunday from Lee Vining to Barstow, we encountered a THREE HOUR delay near Independence due to mudslides. Now, far be it from us to think all this was only about our inconvenience - poor Independence suffered last year from a fire that left little ground cover to keep the erosion from happening during the mudslide (it was three feet deep in some places and Highway 395 was where the delay came) that affected them this year. California has its challenges, that's for sure.

After a night in Barstow (and some decent Mexican food), we headed today to Flagstaff where we are tonight. I mention food because, for the most part, we had difficulty finding really yummy food in California. Not to worry - we were rewarded tonight. We found Horsemen Lodge, just outside the city limits. Great food and true cowboy decor. We all, including Hitch, enjoyed it tremendously. In fact, husband drove the majority of the day and somehow I didn't get lunch. I told him the meal tonight was punishment for not letting me eat lunch and he said, "If that's the case, you won't eat lunch tomorrow either" because dinner was that good. Too much food, though, and an after dinner walk was in store.

Oh well, now we're rambling. Look out, though, we're headed home now.

Goodnight for now,
Traveling with Hitch

Saturday, July 12, 2008

More to see

After two FULL days of sightseeing - we're chilling out here in Lee Vining. And resting up for being in the car again - many days headed back east, starting tomorrow. Must say - it will be good to be back, but boy are we seeing the sights!!

Thursday we spent most of the day in Bodie, CA. It's claim is being the most authentic Ghost Town in America. Bodie was a gold-mining town, in its heyday in 1879. Due to many factors, fire being one, the town declined and officially became a designated state historical park in 1962. What you see is only a small portion - and, in case you miss him, Hitch was hanging out at the old post office and saloon. Hard to pull him away. It's something, though, things are pretty much like they must have been left - clothes still hanging in closets and such. And...a fun "fact" were copies of letters written to the park returning items "taken" by visitors and how they must be responsible for the "bad luck" the "thiefs" were having. Seems taking things from the site is more than just wrong - it's flirting with danger.

Then, yesterday, we spent the day in Yosemite again. One of the things we discovered quickly, is Yosemite is more a hiking/camping place than a driving place - but we did our best to see what we could by car and short walks. And...the smoke makes things so hazy, too.
But Yosemite isn't just El Capitan and Half Dome - there is Mariposa Grove of the giant Sequoias. The one Hitch is in front of is called Bachelor and there are three beside it called the Three Graces. The trees are amazing - and almost immortal - except for this shallow root system they have. Hard to imagine such a huge, old tree has a shallow root system. Hmm...there's probably a sermon in there somewhere. In fact, this trip may find its way into many sermons some day.

Goodbye for now,
Traveling with Hitch

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Another Park - More Unbelievable Mountains

We arrived in Lee Vining, California, Tuesday evening. Lee Vining is a small (VERY small) town just outside Yosemite near the Tioga Pass entrance.

However, another claim to fame is the town is on the side of Mono Lake, an interesting salt water lake (supposedly twice as salty as the ocean). Know it's hard to see from this picture (although Hitch IS on the sign), but it's a nice body of water. Notice, too, how hazy the picture is - it's the smoke. Wish California could get some rain and help out with these wildfires!!

Today we took our first trip into Yosemite, over Tioga Pass and nearing 10,000 feet above sea level. Quite a ride! We stopped at the Olmsted Point Overlook and took this photo of Half Dome in the far distance. From where we were you could actually see people climbing the side facing us headed to the very top. They looked like ants through the binoculars!! Nope, that is NOT for us!!

Goodnight for now,
Traveling with Hitch

Monday, July 7, 2008

Time to Move On

With much sadness, we said goodbye today to our home away from home in Island Park, Idaho. The Lakeside Lodge was a great place to park it for the last two weeks - near Yellowstone and Grand Tetons and the fishing we enjoyed again on Saturday (another day-long float trip with MUCH fishing success for both fisherpeople on the Madison River in Montana). None of us really wanted to leave, but it's probably good we left when we did - before we fell completely in love with the place and decided to never leave.

Tonight we are in Elko, Nevada. We just had a Basque meal at the Star Hotel here in Elko (a local favorite, we understand). The dinner was homestyle including soup, salad, Halibut, beans (two types), spaghetti, and homemade bread - yes, all in one meal. Needless to say, we're stuffed and satisfied.

But, on the way to here, we stopped in Idaho and found a portion of the Oregon Trail. What you see behind Hitch is actually old wagon-wheel ruts of the original trail. The highway (I-86) is in the background. Quite a piece of history just off (or on) the beaten path.

It's good to be back to internet, too - the last few days have been without!

Goodnight for now,
Traveling with Hitch

Thursday, July 3, 2008

A Very Happy Fisherman

Well, our time here in Island Park, Idaho (about 25 miles west of Yellowstone Park) is about over. But, as time goes quickly by, there's still time for fishing. And there was a very happy fisherman last night.

He fished the Firehole River in Yellowstone and caught some really pretty trout (don't worry, he released them safe and sound). It was possibly the best fishing he's had since our day long trip a few days ago. As for Hitch, he's not a fisherman and I'm finding these mosquitoes are just too much for a GIRL!!

But, he wasn't alone. Take a look at the GIRL who decided to visit him while he was fishing. In fact, took a drink of water out of the river just below him. Quite awesome. Then she came by the car so I could get a photo opp. If you blow up the photo and look over her, toward the downed tree to the left, you can just barely see the top of the fisherman's hat. Unreal!!

Everyone have a safe and fun Fourth!

Goodnight for now,
Traveling with Hitch

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

On the Other Hand

Those pesky mosquitoes we talked about earlier are still here and still affecting not only the fishing, but basically all outdoor activities in general. Remember, it's the abundant rain and snow this year that has made them so plentiful. But there is an upside - the same rain and snow has made something else abundant in this area. The wildflowers are simply gorgeous. As far as you can see in some places are flowers. Hitch found this particularly lovely spot and we stopped for a photo opp. The picture isn't nearly as beautiful as the real thing, but you get the idea.

And, since fishing isn't really too feasible until later in the day, there's plenty of sightseeing time. Today we found Upper Mesa Falls - not far from where we are staying. Hitch had me pose with him - he seems a little nervous about heights and didn't really want to be out there on that railing by himself. I personally don't blame him. But the falls are simply gorgeous (ok, so after about a zillion tries to get this to upload in the right direction, it just WILL NOT. Other than the mosquitoes being in the computer, any suggestions on what I'm doing wrong. Honestly, it's in the right direction saved on the computer in "my photos". I tell you, microsoft word is soooo much easier!)
Goodnight for now,
Traveling with Hitch

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Two Days of Sightseeing

We've been busy the last two days. Busy, you say? Thought you were on vacation. Well, there's just too much to see. We took Hitch on a ride over toward the Tetons on Friday. We just kept going, trying to get a little closer (and a better photo). Outside of the town of Driggs, Idaho, we discovered the Scenic Byway and it's just an unbelievable view.

Yesterday we spent the day in Yellowstone. Our friends who now live in Moose, WY, were camping there and we met up with them - had a picnic and traveled around in the park. It still amazes me the various topography - from boiling mud to snow covered peaks. We stopped by the Yellowstone River to watch the native Cutthroat Trout in their effort to brave the rapids and head upstream for spawning (no photo could do them justice, unfortunately); then on to the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone - isn't it awesome?! fishing for two days, but never fear, plans are made for later today. And, we're making sure to have a fresh supply of bug spray. Those mosquitoes WILL NOT win!! We'll keep a count this time, too, of how many are caught and how many get away. :-)
Goodbye for now,
Traveling with Hitch

Friday, June 27, 2008

Look out fish, here we come

The first fishing was early evening day before yesterday. A beautiful spot where a creek meets a river. I took a chair and book in order to sit back and enjoy the outdoors while the fisherman did his thing. It was anything but peaceful, however. The MOSQUITOES nearly carried us both away - swarms of them. Seems with all the rain and snow this area has gotten, the little devils are the worst they have been in a while. Of course!

But don't fret, we weren't outdone. Armed with some serious bug spray, we entered an adventure of an all day outfit trip - a drift boat, with a guide, for both of us! Don't be too surprised, though, the guide was more for me than he. Yes, I'm in the very early stages of learning the art of fly fishing myself (that's probably more the surprise!). So, a full day of practice is a good thing. Until the next morning and the muscles remind you that you used ones not familiar with those back and forth and stretching motions. Yep, just a little stiff this morning!

After about six hours (with a short lunch break), I was finally satisfied with my learning for the day and sat back to relax the last 45 minutes or so. Gave me a chance to take pictures of the real enthusiast. I'm pleased with the fish we caught (sorry no proof pictures - not a guide who liked to pose the fish for photo opps - but there were fish caught by both of us) and even the ones that got away. It was a fun day on a lovely river and who knows, I might really get into this stuff.

Oh, and in case you are missing Hitch, well, seems he is just not into the fishing scene. So he did his own thing while we went out fishing. Don't worry, he had a good day, too.

Goodbye for now,
Traveling with Hitch

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

It's more than just Ol' Faithful

Yesterday we left Cody, Wyoming and headed for Island Park, Idaho. The best way to get here from there is through Yellowstone National Park. For the most part, when you think Yellowstone, you think Ol' Faithful and geysers. But the park is oh, so much more.

Hitch found a beautiful spot, at the base of the mountains beside a lake at the top of a snow (yes, we said SNOW) bank. He certainly enjoyed the drive through the park and saw all kinds of wildlife, too - mountain goats, buffalo, elk, black bear you name it.

For now, we have parked ourselves here at Island Park for a long stay - going to get in some fishing! (Who's surprised?) But, not to worry, the place is peaceful, and the view - well, as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words and this is literally the view from our window. Not bad, huh?

We'll let you know how the fishing goes. We're very optimistic!
Goodnight for now,
Traveling with Hitch

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Keeping on keeping on

We left Spearfish this morning and headed northwest. Time to finally make our way to Wyoming. In fact, we are in Cody tonight, anxious for our time in Yellowstone area to begin and the opportunity to stay in one place for a little while!

But, on the way over, we took the time to stop at Devils Tower before going over the Big Horn Mountains. Hitch enjoyed this tremendously - a mile and a half hike around this hill was a welcome change from just being in the car!

Devils Tower is a very special place. Seems President Theodore Roosevelt proclaimed Devils Tower in 1906 as the first national monument under the new Antiquities Act. Of course, scientists have their theories as to how the mountain pushed it's way upward in the middle of mostly grasslands. Hitch, however, prefers the Native American tale. As quoted in the Park Service brochure, the Kiowa people say, "Eight children were there at play, seven sisters and their brother. Suddenly the boy was struck dumb; he trembled and began to run upon his hands and feet. His fingers became claws, and his body was covered with fur. Directly there was a bear where the boy had been. The sisters were terrified; they ran, and the bear after them. They came to the stump of a great tree, and the tree spoke to them. It bade them climb upon it, and as they did so it began to rise into the air. The bear came to kill them, but they were just beyond its reach. It reared against the tree and scored the bark all around with its claws. The seven sisters were borne into the sky, and they became the stars of the Big Dipper." (quotation from N. Scott Momaday, The Way to Rainy Mountain, The University of New Mexico Press).

Just a little food for thought as we say...

Goodnight for now,
Traveling with Hitch

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Oh, the things we've seen

But first, the promised picture of the Mitchell Corn Palace. This picture doesn't do the place justice, but notice in the bottom right corner two men on a scaffold. They are in the process of decorating by stapling grass to the outside of the building. It's really a sight to behold.

Yesterday was a FULL day - not of driving, but of seeing the sights. We traveled through the Badlands of South Dakota. Where they may be bad for some things, they are certainly beautiful to see. Hitch thoroughly enjoyed the wide open spaces, not to mention all the wildlife we saw - sheep, deer, antelope, prairie dogs and buffalo. We also had the opportunity to visit a classmate who is the new pastor at Pine Ridge Retreat Center on the Pine Ridge Reservation. We had lunch in Oglala, authentic Native American soup, and dinner in Rushville, Nebraska. What more can you ask for?
Then, today, we saw Mt. Rushmore (Hitch obviously loved it!), Crazy Horse Monument, Custer State Park (including the Wildlife Loop and Needles Highway) and dinner in Deadwood. Tonight we are in Spearfish, SD. We're racking up the miles and filing away memories!!
Goodnight for now,
Traveling with Hitch

Thursday, June 19, 2008

So much to see...

Except we cannot get the photos to upload - problems with internet. Very disappointing!

Oh well, tonight we are in Wall, SD. Home of the famous Wall Drug Store - in reality an overgrown gift shop!

On the way here, we took some time in Sioux City before we left to visit the Monument honoring Sgt. Charles Floyd, only member of the Lewis and Clark Corp of Discovery to die on their expedition. The Monument is an obelisk actually erected on the very spot he was buried on their trip.

Next, we visited the Corn Palace in Mitchell, SD. Let's see - it's a sight worth seeing if only for it's uniqueness. It's really the coliseum, of sorts, for the area where they have harvest festivals in the fall and other events throughout the year. The unique part is that it is decorated on the outside totally in corn and other agricultural products of the area - totaling a cost of over $100,000 each year. Quite a thing to behold. We'll try to include a picture next time.

We've seen some beautiful country today and have arrived just outside the Badlands. We have lots planned for tomorrow. So...

Goodnight for now,
Traveling with Hitch

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Crossing the Mississippi

We missed checking in yesterday - had a nice long day of not driving!, but enjoying spending time with friends in Peoria, IL. It had been WAY too long since we had seen them and we enjoyed catching up and seeing the sites - churches, the Peoria River, the old ice cream store we have visited every trip, for example. Hitch missed out on all the fun and was ready for the adventure of 8 hours on the road today.

Tonight we're in Sioux City, Iowa. But, not before we had to stop after crossing the Mississippi River for a photo opportunity. See if you can spot Hitch to the front of the duck on the water.

It was a sobering trip across Illinois and Iowa. As you might can tell by the photo, the river is up and just before spilling over its banks at the place where we stopped. Then, while at the Welcome Center in Iowa, the topic of the day among the locals was flooding - who's been affected already and who is in danger. Many of the rivers we crossed were well past flood stage and, thankfully, some seemed to be receding. The countryside on the drive was beautiful, but the heart is heavy knowing what so many are trying to cope with.

Goodnight for now,
Traveling with Hitch

Monday, June 16, 2008

Two Long Days

The day started out with another game of checkers with Hitch. This time he wouldn't be as lucky, though.

But, after two long days of being on the road, seems the only way to settle everyone's nerves was...

ice cream! You know, nothing else works as good as a good ice cream float or shake to cure whatever is ailing ya!!

We're in Peoria, IL tonight, planing to visit friends here for a day or so. And rest up for the next leg of the journey.

Goodnight for now,
Traveling with Hitch

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Ordination and starting westward

The ordination yesterday was wonderful. The service was so meaningful, and what a joy to see our daughter become the pastor she has dreamed of for so long. We were so glad we were able to be there - we just wouldn't have missed it!

And if you're wondering where Hitch was - seems he wasn't up to all the excitement. He took the day off, but we're sure he'll be back in the swing of things soon.

Tonight we're in Dayton, OH - headed westward! Keep checking in - we'll see you soon.

Goodnight for now,

Traveling with Hitch

Friday, June 13, 2008

Getting Started

This is the story of our great adventure west. We invite you to keep up with where we are, how we are, and the sights we see by coming along with us via our new blog. As often as internet service will allow, we will keep you posted daily.

You may wonder how we got the name, Traveling with Hitch. Just who is Hitch? Let us explain - we began our adventure west by actually heading north on Tuesday - to Manassas, VA. See, we're first going to PA to visit family and attend a very special ordination. The first leg of the journey was a night in Manassas. At breakfast on Wednesday morning, I sat down to a friendly game of checkers with a well-known celebrity - you may recognize him from his years on a popular late night Saturday evening television show or his more recent commercial. He told us his friends call him "Hitch" and we were soon to find out why. Turns out he was planning to head west himself. After the game (where he beat me hands down), we offered for him to ride along with us (after all, everyone needs a traveling companion!) and he was very happy to do so. Keep a look-out, then, for all the places Hitch will be found as we all make our way across country.

After Manassas, we headed to Baltimore for a day at Ft. McHenry....

and the Inner Harbor. Of course, we enjoyed a dinner of crabcakes - and Hitch had some, too. Turns out, he thinks they are as YUMMY as we do.

After leaving Baltimore, it was time to head to PA to visit with family for a couple of days. We took Hitch and our aunt over to the cousin's to see their new room. They did a really great job, creating a nice, cozy, relaxing spot. After enjoying a delicious lunch, we headed back to our aunt's.

We had to be back in time to pick up an order - seems there's always time for getting everyone together to eat fresh steamed crabs. YUM!! YUM!! Can you find Hitch right in the middle of the fun? He was LOVING it!

Now, tonight we're in State College and getting ready for the ordination tomorrow.

Goodnight for now - more later.

Traveling with Hitch