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