Saturday, May 30, 2009

Recent Events

We come to accept the fact that Ben has left the building. I don't blame him; he's distracted. Thomas and I will pick up the baton and carry on. Here are photos of the last few day's events.

No, we did not trade in the RV on something more substantial. We went to a museum that featured military artifacts. This thing gets even worse mileage than our rig, but it's easier to park.

Nick is still Nick; at least he respects tradition.

William, Anthony and Caleb strike a pose in front of the Illinois Govenor's office. The Illinois Capitol building is very beautiful. Go see it if you ever get the chance.

Some photographs defy captioning. I'm not going to try.

Thomas found a few friends that were willing to get in the inflatable with him.

We celebrated Ben's birthday. He is 24 now. Tiffany made a wonderful dessert to commemorate the event.

The boat is more than just a bedroom. We spent the day on Lake Clinton, which resides in the shadow of a nuclear reactor. If asked about the unfortunate incident, I will deny that it ever happened.

Ben is still Ben. He can't avoid an odd hat any more than Nick can avoid being attacked by large metal objects. Our time in Illinois is drawing to a close; we are planning to hid the open road on Monday morning. Ben is flying home and Thomas and I will pilot the RV along a route that will take us near the Canadian border. We hate to leave, we can't wait to get home. Life is full of difficult contradictions.

be safe,
Hec @ 19

Friday, May 29, 2009

Tommy Update

As Dad said, Ben is slacking. Time for a Thomas update. YES I AM HERE!!! Since I did not have the privilege to be with the family during the first portion of the trip, I will have to continue the blog from when I arrived.

On the 21st I jumped on a plane that took me from Sacramento, CA, to one of the biggest airports I have been to: O'Hare International. From there I took a smaller plane to Peoria where my family was waiting outside the terminal. But it wasn't just my family waiting at the airport, but the McDonald family as well! I was pleasantly surprised.

One of the first things we did that was actually captured on film... er... memory card, was to take the boats out on their pond at the back of their house.

No motors or sails involved. Just good old fashioned rowing.

Which do you think was faster?

It's also a spectator's sport.

Sara was having a wonderful time. Either that or she ate a lemon.

Dad and Nic on the other hand?

No one wanted to row with me.

I don't smell that bad. See, I put deodorant on!!

There was a certain couple that needed chaperoning at all times. Even someone to sit on the couch in between them. Mom looks happy.

Our trip here in Illinois is coming to an end, and the trip home is being planned. Perhaps a Northern route through North Dakota and Montana? Hopefully we will keep you updated.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Daddy update

I think that we can all agree that Ben is slacking! In an attempt to fill the void, please enjoy the following shots.

be safe,
Hec @ 19

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Photos of a prodigal....

As we emerge from the back woods of Tennessee, where the closest thing they seem to have to internet involves smoke signals, I am back to preparing the blog posts. As I get the next one ready, I wanted to show you a bit of what dear brother Thomas is up to. He emailed these photos to me:

Yep, he looks bored. We can’t wait until he flies out to meet us! Only one more day, Thomas!!!!!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Lazy day...

Today was a very relaxing day. No deadlines for us to meet, no towns that we had to get to, and no state lines we had to cross. Because of that, we didn’t even get up until 8:30am! It was so nice….

On the map we found a town by the name of “Hector”. That was just too good to miss, so we marked that as our first destination:

They had a hardware store named after us:

A pharmacy:

A football team:

Our own café:

And even a Presbyterian church:

We had to get a (family-1) photo in front of city hall:

After that we drove though the Ozark Mountains, and admired the scenery. For lunch we stopped at a cemetery. Weird, I know, but the neighborhood was quiet:

Someone forgot the can opener, so that meant we had to figure out another way to get to our tuna. My first idea was a shotgun, but dad had better ideas:

Then we decided that we would slowly make our way through the backwoods of Arkansas, on our way to Memphis. One of the downsides of backroads are that you never know who is going to be one them. In this case, we got stuck behind a school bus, which stopped at nearly every driveway. That took awhile:

Coming down out of the Ozarks there were lots of signs warning of steep grades, and other such hazards foretelling the end of the world. Dad gritted his teeth and mentioned something about there might as well have been a skull and crossbones on the sign:

We kept waiting, and waiting, and waiting, for the steep part, but this is all there was:

Yep, they think to much of their downhill grades in their state, our driveway is steeper.

After that, we crossed into Tennessee:

Driving through Memphis we saw very odd things. A pyramid:

A large stone egg:

And the house of Elvis:

Supposedly, Elvis was downtown, playing cards with Bigfoot, and the Loch Ness monster, but we were in a bit of a hurry to get to dinner….

Monday night means one thing, Dancing With the Stars is on. Trip or no trip, that is something that can’t be missed, especially the semi-finals! So, we had to made dinner quick, and this is what we chose:

So, pulling into the RV park, we settled back with a few burgers, and relaxed. It was a good day….


Monday, May 11, 2009

Finally, some fun....

In preparation for the Lord’s day, we found a family integrated church in Oklahoma City, which was 3 hours from Shamrock, TX. Church started at 10:30am, which meant leaving early, but that is something our family is rather used to on Sunday mornings. Well, some more used to it than others:

Our photographer was so tired, that he missed the Oklahoma state line sign, and the “Welcome to Oklahoma” sign, so we had to make do with this third sign, not quite sure what it is for, but it said Oklahoma, so we were happy:

When we arrived in the area of the church, we drove by a massive worship center, with acres of parking, and three people with those little orange wands that people use to direct planes, to manage the traffic pouring into this mega-church . They even had an entirely separate building devoted to the “kids”. We didn’t go there:

Our destination was a very modest community center, the home of the Heartland Baptist Church, where we were welcomed quite warmly. Most of the families were out of town with family, as it was Mother’s Day, so we caught them on an “acapella” Sunday. Even so, we had a
good time of worship, said goodbye to our new friends, and hit the road. (Oh, and the sermon was on Psalm 37, if you are feeling distressed, that is a really good Psalm to read):

Because it was Mother’s Day, we decided that going to one of Mom’s favorite restaurants in Oklahoma City would be in order. Yes, we have been through this town enough times to have favorite places to eat:

This particular eatery is called “Pearl’s”, and specializes in Cajun cuisine. It is a very good place to eat, and I would heartily recommend it, if you are ever in the area, and like a bit of the South, imported though it may be. The following was a picture taken out front, and as Nic was so kind to point out, it should be titled “Swine before Pearl’s”:

What is a special day without dessert? Not very special, so we couldn’t have that:

Next stop, Arkansas!:

This was our cut off point, no more pushing hard for a little while, and we decided to do some sightseeing. The first town over the border was called “Fort Smith” which means a fort. Mom loves forts, so we headed for that. After getting lost (dad’s fault this time!), we finally found our destination. Of course, the Visitor’s Center had already closed, so we wandered the site on our own. Another thing Mom loves, informative signs, and we took a picture of every single one. I’ll not bore you with all of them, but here is one for an example, with Mom’s finger as an added bonus:

The Trail of Tears didn’t seem like the kind of place you could be happy about:

Nic just wanted to “hang around”:

But then, we found a cannon! Lots of good photo opportunities with a cannon. Anton is being very trusting, considering Nic is on the firing end of things:

Here are the four boys, looking very heroic:

And the girls, looking sweet:

I think JT got himself stuck:

Family shot!:

There were lots of old buildings to look at, all built of stone or brick!:

After spending an hour and a half wandering around a deserted National Monument, (only our family could milk a historical site that much without getting bored), we hit the road, but not before one last photo:

In Fort Smith, there was a monument to the Confederate Soldiers who died during the War Between the States, had to get a photo of that:

Wanting to get a few miles into the center of the state, we headed East. Passing through Paris, yes we can say we saw Paris in the Spring, we drove on a lovely scenic detour into the Ozark Mountains. It would have been even lovelier if the sun had still been out, and we could have seen the surroundings, but you can’t have everything. Here is a shot of the lights of Paris, as seen from a mountain vista:

Tonight we have bedded down in the Wal-Mart parking lot in the little town of Dardanelles. We got the little ones off to bed, and then finished out the day with the first episode of the British comedy Jeeves and Wooster. It is a delightful show, and a smashing way to end an evening.

Across the street is a McDonald’s, where I could post this; but it has been raining on and off tonight, so I don’t really feel like walking the 1000’ and getting wet. Therefore, this particular post shall have to wait until morning.