Moving On Up To The East Side

As the Jefferson’s would say: “We are moving on up….To the East side…”

Okay… now that I have you (older) folks singing the tune to the old 80’s sitcom, The Jefferson’s… If you have forgotten it this will help:

Heather, Dizzy and Dave are on the road to Cottonwood Canyon State Park. What will they expect to do there? They will work on trails with a trail crew, catch more Bass out of the John Day river and when not busy with those two main “chores” do some paddle boarding down the John Day.

Of course evenings will be with friends around the fire pit burning heaps and oodles of wood… while taking turns with the telescope to look at moons of Jupiter, the rings of Saturn, as well as the glow of Mars. We don’t look at Uranus too much though…. Just saying.

So off to the “East Side” we go….

OH…we have no Internet there. No phone. No newspaper. No television. No cell phone reception.

We DO have lots of rattlesnakes and S-I-L-E-N-C-E………………………………….


We will be there for a month. See you all when we get back.

Still on the move!

We’re still moving around the country! We haven’t spent enough time online to do updates but we’ve been lots of places, taken a few pictures and we’ve got plenty to write about!

Tonight we’re camping just west of Biloxi, Mississippi. It was t-shirt and sandal weather today and will be for us for the next few days while we hang out on the Gulf of Mexico.

Stay tuned!!!!


The butterfly mosaic made with remnants from the debris.

Branson Bound

We spent our last day in Wichita doing some mall-walking and people watching followed by the hunt for Christmas Light displays. We ate at the Old Mill Tasty Shop, a soda fountain and malt shop in Old Town. They still make soda the old fashioned way in any flavor you want, I had a cherry vanilla Dr. Pepper. Dave had a root beer float and we shared a Peanut Butter Banana Honey sandwich on homemade white bread. Then to top it all off the three of us shared a Butter Pecan malt with pecans. It was all so yummy and something you can’t find in too many places anymore. We ended the day with homemade candied bacon on vanilla ice cream….wow….soooo good!! And so sticky we didn’t dare try to touch the phone to get a picture…

On Sunday morning we got up bright and early to hit the road for Missouri, time for me to finally meet Dave’s parents!

We spent an hour the night before de-icing the car and lucky for us the freezing rain turned to just wet rain so everything didn’t freeze over again. The roads were fine and clear but the fields and trees were still encased in ice, it made for a really pretty morning drive.

We came into Missouri on Route 66 which took us right into Joplin. We drove around a bit and found Cunningham Park. The EF5 tornado that swept through Joplin in 2011 came right through this park. It’s now a beautifully done memorial park. From the displays you can look down the path of the tornado, a 6 mile swath devoid of trees. There are hundreds of survivor stories from that day, I love the stories of the Butterfly People.
Cunningham Park
Butterfly People

From Joplin we started following the backroads that headed in the general direction we wanted to go. Looking at our Atlas we found the George Washington Carver National Monument and took a detour to check it out. Worthy stop but we didn’t have enough time to really delve into the exhibits. After chatting with the Ranger and volunteer inside we decided to spend the little time we had walking the interpretive trail to see the Carver Cabin. Next time we come out here we’ll make sure to plan a couple of hours to walk through the Center. George Washington Carver was an impressive man.
The Carver Trail
George Washington Carver Bio

We pulled into the Colonial Mountain Inn around 4, unpacked, then hit the town for a BBQ dinner! Neither of us had ever been here so it was quite an experience! It’s a very bright, flashy, colorful, and busy town, even now in the “off-season”. There is so much to do there with the shows, amusement parks, museums, restaurants, zoos, tours…. We wanted to see all of it but almost every activity would take a day to truly explore, and none of them are what we would consider budget-friendly, definitely something to save up for. The museums alone will take us a week to check out. We just didn’t have the time this trip so we settled for a couple of meals out and a driving tour. We still had fun!
We also highly recommend the motel. It’s under new management and a renovation but the owners are super friendly and very hospitable and it’s affordable! The day we left there was a crew there from a show called Hotel Impossible on the Travel Channel, apparently they will be featured on it. Check it out if you’re in Branson.

Wichita's Riverwalk is impressive. Many miles of paved path along both sides of the river.

Wichita History

On Wednesday we rolled out of bed around 1130, had a big brunch and eventually headed downtown to the Wichita Sedgewick County Historical Museum. We only made it through 1 1/2 of the 4 floors before the museum closed, we were so engrossed in the displays. Awesome museum, we’re looking forward to our next trip out here to finish walking through the building. One of the displays is called “Wichita Cottage” and is a perfect replica of a middle class family’s home in the 1890s. It’s an amazing, very detailed display, down to the way the house was wired!

Wichita is the founding home to Coleman, Mentholatum, Pizza Hut, White Castle and a few other nationally known companies. It’s also the Air Capital of the world! Airbus is still here, Cessna, Beechcraft and a few others were started here. We’ll make the Aviation Museum next time, too.
After the Museum closed we walked down to the river to get some pre-Thanksgiving exercise in and see what was down there. We found a few more scultures, a lot of fountains (all shut off now), a flock of Canada Geese and a great walking trail. The river bank has been built up on both sides into miles of paved paths with many great sitting areas, interpretive panels with more local history and green parks everywhere. Next time we come we’ll bring our bikes and rollerblades!

We also came across the America3, a huge racing yacht built and raced in the early 90’s. Unlike most racing yachts built by boat builders and enthusiasts this was built by aerospace engineers. It’s massive! The mast is 110 feet tall and the keel is huge! I’ve never seen one like it.

From the river we wandered through town admiring more of the gorgeous historic buildings and eventually ended up in Old Town. There we found the Museum of World Treasures, another one on our must-do list for next trip.

We’re really impressed with Wichita. It’s very clean, very artsy, and has lots of history.
Today it’s just really icy so instead of driving around we skated down the road to the Spangles restaurant for hot cocoa, coffee and wifi.

We hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!!

A herd of wire buffalo on the Platte River!

Kearney Kruisin’

On Monday we took a road trip to Kearney, Nebraska, where I lived from kindergarten to 4th grade. I don’t remember much about the town so it was interesting to see. It’s a really nice town, lots of old brick houses and business buildings, cobblestone streets downtown, a lot of city parks and old tree lined streets. We found the two houses I lived in, one of the elementary schools I went to and the movie theatre my dad started in the mid-80’s. The rest of the tour was pretty much new to me. We only spent the afternoon there (and didn’t get many pictures) but I’d love to go back and hang out for awhile.

We started the Kearney tour at the Great Platte River Road Archway. We didn’t have time for the tour of the arch but we walked the grounds for awhile. Great Platte River Road Archway

The trip up there was pretty fun, too. We took the backroads, as we’re prone to do, and came across a smiling barn, the World’s Largest Ball of Sisal Twine and stumbled across the Geographical Center of the Lower 48 States.

Technical Difficulties….

We’re having some difficulties loading pictures onto WordPress but stay tuned!! We have a lot to show you! We don’t have internet where we’re staying so we have to seek out wifi, luckily they have Dunkin Donuts here!!

We’re still hanging out in Wichita and taking day trips to see the sights. Hopefully we’ll get the uploader figured out soon so we can catch you up on what we’re up to.

In the meantime, Happy Thanksgiving!! Enjoy time spent with family and stay safe if you’re traveling. 

Wichita Art Scene

On Saturday Greg took us on a driving tour of Wichita. It’s a much, much bigger city than I had imagined. Beautiful historic buildings and art everywhere. We had lunch at TJs Burgers and then headed to Bradley Fair for the Christmas Tree lighting and carriage rides! We had a blast just walking around taking pictures listening as Greg sang along with every Christmas song that came on, many of which neither Dave or I knew.

The next day we went back downtown to walk and take pictures while there was no one on the streets. It was peaceful, no traffic-not even city buses, there were very few people around, and just about all of the buildings were dark.

Just before sunset we headed over to check out The Keeper of the Plains plaza. There are multiple firepits around the Keeper that are lit up for awhile every night. We missed it but hopefully we’ll see it before we leave.
Keeper of the Plains

Then in our search for wifi we found a Dunkin Donuts!

Dunkin Donuts!
The first Dunkin Donuts we’ve come across this trip. Seemed like a great place to sit and use the wifi! And get a Salted Caramel hot chocolate and a donut…

Welcome back to the Midwest!

We made it to Kansas on a beautiful, warm, sunny day!
My family moved from Nebraska to Washington when I was 10, I haven’t seen land this flat since we left. I actually kind of miss it, the wide open spaces, the horizon, long straight roads, being able to see a house for 20 miles before you actually get to it… The weather was soooo much better than the drive to Denver. Blue skies and dry roads, awesome!!

We stopped at the Kansas Welcome Center for coffee and picked up some tourist info. Nice place, nice people, lots of info, and lots of people coming off the freeway with huge tumbleweeds stuck to the front of their cars.
We made it to Wichita just in time for pizza and wings! The following day was dedicated to Dave’s second mom, Mabel who passed away the week before, this was the reason for the unplanned trip east.
Now, we’re just hanging out, catching up and seeing what Wichita has to offer.

Whiteout in Wyoming

Today’s drive was an alternating combo of calm and easy, nervewracking & scary. 
We started off easy leaving Ogden – we got out early, there was no traffic and the roads were perfectly clear. The wind picked up just before we got into Wyoming and made for a really interesting drive, lucky for us it was to our back and we enjoyed the 38mpg. If we stopped we had to remember to open only one door at a time so the wind didn’t blow everything out the other side, and it blew so much sand and peagravel during one stop I’ll be surprised if my new paint isn’t pitted on one side. Overall, the wind was not a big deal as long as we were moving. We just took our time and enjoyed Western Wyoming’s amazing landscapes! We also stopped at the Sinclair Gas Refinery. You would know them by the Sinclair gas stations you see from time to time.

We eventually started to climb in elevation up to Laramie and that’s when the snow started blowing. I don’t think it was actually snowing at first, the wind was just picking it out of the praries and blowing it across the interstate. By the time we got to Laramie it was a full on blizzard and our washer fluid had frozen! We made it into town for gas and then got back on the road as quick as we could. We made it back to I80 just in time for the whiteout… We tried to stick behind a semi that we followed out of town but we lost him when he passed another truck and then we were on our own, couldn’t see much past the hood, we could barely see the sides of the road! Scary! We eventually caught up to slow moving traffic but the snow was blowing so hard even with hazards flashing we would lose sight of the car 50 feet ahead of us.

It was a slow, white knuckle, panic attack inducing drive for about 2 hours, everyone was pretty good though, we only saw 2 cars in the ditch. We got out of the whiteout a few minutes from Cheyenne but the wind was still an issue, we saw 6 semis on their sides before we got into Colorado. Hopefully, no one was injured today.

The rest of the drive to Denver was pretty smooth, we hit another snowstorm but it wasn’t too bad. We’re just thankful that we made it here safely!
Our hosts tonight are Dave’s nephew Scottie, his fiance Erika and Dizzy’s new bud, Jake, a smiling & happy, 14 year old Chocolate Lab.

Cross’ going cross country

On the road again! This time on an unplanned, last minute, and possibly cross-country trip in our car.

We left Mosier, Oregon yesterday afternoon and landed in La Grande for the night with some of our favorite people and Dizzy’s best playmate, Lexie. Thanks Mike and Kathy for accomodating us on such short notice, feeding us delicious, gourmet meals and sending us off with homemade caramel corn! Fuel for the road! You guys rock!!

We woke up to a surprise snow this morning (we didn’t see it forecasted on any of the weather sites) which was exciting but made for slow driving through the mountains.


We almost made it through Idaho without a hitch, we got pulled over by the State Patrol less than 2 miles from the Oregon border… The young guy that stopped us told it was for an incorrect lane change/bad signalling but all the while we were being asked if we had weapons or any form of marijuana or paraphinalea… He was very creative in his questioning, I’ll give him that, he’s good at his job. But, I wonder if it actually just had something to do with Dave’s long hair and my dreadlocks? Or, was it that we have Arizona plates and we were coming from Oregon? Hmmm…. I think the AZ plates was the start, 4 other vehicles with out of state plates were pulled over at the same time, one of them was in the process of being searched. He lost interest in us when we told him he was more than welcome to search the car. They were out in full force today, we saw at least 15 State Patrol cars within 5 miles of Oregon. Marijuana may be legal in Oregon, but Idaho still wants nothing to do with it, and it seems that they’re making sure everyone on I84 knows it.

Anyway, other than that, it was smooth sailing through Idaho at 80 mph (the posted speed limit).

Tonight we landed at the Day’s Inn in Ogden, Utah. We did a lot of searching online last night and this sounded like the best bet for the price. It’s under renovation so it’s kind of in between new and old which is ok and pretty interesting, but right now we’re a little disappointed with the price to current room status ratio. Oh well, it’s safe, warm, we have plenty of hot water, the pet fee was waived, we get a free breakfast and the wifi is fast. And we had a great chinese dinner down the street.

Tomorrow we’ll be up bright and early for a 6am breakfast so we can be on the road early enought to get to Englewood, Colorado before dark.