Thursday, September 24, 2009

Photos - Ellen's Hampton Visit

It has been a relaxing week here in Hampton with Nancy and Mike.  We visited, played with corgis, Iris and Cory, had movies with popcorn, played Scrabble, baked pies, cooked together, ate together, laughed and had a very good time catching up!  Nancy and I went to Yorktown one afternoon, and today spent the day in Williamsburg.  We had a very delightful lunch at Williamsburg Inn.   Today was hot and humid and we are having a thunderstorm right now.  Tomorrow morning, Mike will take me to Newport News to take the train back to Alexandria to meet up with Rae and Zander.  It will be hard to say goodbye...

Photos - Indiana Dunes/Lake Michigan

I love these pictures (click on title).  The first one was taken in the morning after spending the night at Indiana Dunes State Park.  We had driven more than 400 miles from Minneapolis, through Chicago at rush hour, and arrived here on day 10 of 12 of our journey to Alexandria and Hampton, VA.  It was so peaceful in the park and Lake Michigan was beautiful.  We wished to stay here longer.  Ellen

Monday, September 21, 2009


Annette picking out a fantastic bunch of radishes, everything looked great.... I just had to add these two photos...

Catching My Breath...

Today was a catch-up day, like Ellen, I have been reviewing pictures I took on our trip... I am so glad we have digital cameras now so we can take as many photographs and we like... One of my favorite places we visited was the Minneapolis Farmers Market. While eating breakfast burritos we, Ellen, my cousin Annette and I watched this little Hmong girl arrange produce at the market, she was very effecient. There was row after row of vendors and some of the produce we had to ask about...especially "sour balls," a type of egg plant. Not only was the produce fresh...but very reasonable.
Visiting with my cousins was wonderful, especially seeing Annette and Tim's beautiful girls, Marian and her new husband, Erica and her family and Maggie the college student... all are very busy with busy families... Kim King, one of my daughters friends from high school (now living in Minneapolis) was able to spend the evening with us and joined us for a family dinner... it was so much fun...
Then today, I had time to check out the RV... we had lights go out on the back circuit (a fuse) that was easily replaced, two new windshield wipers, and an oil and filter change. Derrick is going to change the oil/filter so we don't have to move the RV... it is leveled in their driveway.
So, we will be ready for the second half of our adventure...
Brooke had to work today, but is off the rest of the week, so we can have several days together and I hope to have lunch with old friends from here in DC that I haven't seen for a while...
Good night... Rae and Zander

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sunday Update

Today, Rae is with her family in Alexandria celebrating Sarah's first birthday.  Happy birthday, Sarah!  I hope and expect that Rae is taking lots of pictures so we can all see the fun.

I am spending this week with Nancy and Mike after an pleasant Amtrak ride from Alexandria to Williamsburg.  It was a 3 1/2 hour ride through some VA towns, including Fredricksburg, Quantico, and Richmond.  Today has been a very relaxing day:  Football, reading, cherry pie baking...  Mike fixed Dark and Stormys, a drink made from Bermuda rum and ginger beer.  I had to take a nap.

I am slowly getting photos organized and posted.  More soon.  E.

Photos - South Dakota

South Dakota was beautiful, from the Black Hills to the prairie and the Ingall's Homestead in DeSmet. 

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Photos of Wyoming

Click on Title for photos of Yellowstone, Cody, Devil's Tower.

Photos - Boise to West Yellowstone

Click on Title to view photos.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Alexandria, VA

Dear Friends,

We reached our destination last night.  From the beginning it was our hope to post along the way about  interesting and beautiful sights.  As adventures go, this has been a smooth one, although we did not have much luck at hooking up the laptop to wireless...not enough bars to log on!  I want to share some highlights:

Driving east through South Dakota on the grassy prairie, I started reading aloud "My Antonia" by Willa Cather.  It is a story of the early immigrant settlers of Nebraska and life on the prairie.  It seemed to us a suitable book to read.  I love to read aloud, and Rae who has done the lion's share of driving, said she liked to be read to.  Our stop for the night was one of my favorites.  We had selected the Ingall's Homestead in DeSmet, SD, as it was described in 1000 Places to See before I Die, the United States and Canada Edition.
What a wonderful place.  It was easy to imagine the Ingall's life on the homestead where "Pa" built the half-house for "Ma" and the family in the " Little "Books.  They have recreated the original house, a barn with a hay-covered roof, complete with a calf and chickens, as well as a dug-out and a shanty.  We were the only visitors for the night and could experience the prairie for 360 degrees.  The starlight at night was amazing.  Zander got to run around and around until he was silly.

Our next stop was in Minneapolis, MN to visit Rae's cousins, Annette and Tim Gagliardi.  We spent Saturday evening and Sunday with the family, ate delicious home-cooked meals, and I enjoyed meeting 3 of their 4 daughters, 2 husbands, and 1 granddaughter, Hazel, who so reminded me of my own wonderful grandchildren.  Sunday morning, we went to the Minneapolis Farmer's Market very early.  It may be the largest farmer's market I have seen and everything offered was pick of the season.  Of course, we have lots of pictures but we are still trying to figure out the upload.  It was so nice to have a day off from driving too.

The next three days were the push to get to Alexandria.  We did stop at 2 very good quilt shops, one in Lake Preston, SD, and one in Eau Claire, WI (we liked it the most).  We spent one night on Lake Michigan at the Indiana Dunes State Park and the next at the Tall Timbers Campground on Lake Erie.  No WiFi, but beautiful campgrounds.  Going through Chicago was during rush hour (aren't we crazy?), and we finished reading "My Antonia" along the way.  We will read "O Pioneers!" on the way west, probably as we drive through Nebraska.  We are in Alexandria now, having driven 3164 miles and almost $1000 in gasoline.
Rae was so excited to see Brooke, Derek, and her granddaughters, Leah and Sarah.  It has all been great!  I hope Rae will post and give her impression of the trip.  Tomorrow I take Amtrak to Hampton, VA for a visit with Nancy and Mike.  Ellen

Friday, September 11, 2009

Mt Rushmore, S. Dakota

Here we are yesterday viewing one of our national treasures! This trip has many firsts for me...and visiting Mt. Rushmore has been on my list of "must see" places. Over the last two days since leaving Cody, WY the road traveled to Mt. Rushmore has taken us through the Bighorn Mountains (breath-taking views) to Devil's Tower National Monument, both in Wyoming.

Rae's grandson Matt made each of us a walking stick to use on the trail around Devil's Tower. The trail is only 1.3 miles long but we celebrated our accomplishment in completing it. Native Americans consider this place sacred and there were many prayer bundles and flags tied to trees along the trail. We saw several climbers climbing the columned rock face on all sides of the tower which reaches more than 800 feet above the trail. We spent the night dry camping (no hook-ups) in the Devil's Tower campground with an inspiring view of a sunlit meadow at daybreak. With our America the Beautiful Senior Pass, we had free entry to the Monument. Our campsite was $6 for the night. Lots of prairie dogs and deer...but no WiFi.

Gary, our campground host at Devil's Tower, suggested a route to Mt Rushmore that took us first to Sturgis, S. Dakota (home of a famous annual motorcycle rally) and then through the Black Hills and towns of Deadwood and Leads.

After our stop at Mt Rushmore, we drove the short distance to Rapid City, our destination for the night. For you quilters out there, we visited a very fun quilt shop called Thimble Cottage Quilt Village, home of Pearl Louise Designs. Lots of fun. Have a look at

We are loving the freedom of traveling by RV, making our own meals where and when it pleases us. Gas prices are getting better and we are no longer shocked when we fill up the tank. Zander has settled in, sleeps with Rae, and likes to look out the window from my lap. Some dog! Loving life on the road...


Not a PS: Today is September 11, a day of remembering the great tragedy of 2001, but also a day to celebrate our great country and the freedoms we enjoy.
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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Cody to Devil's Tower

A quick breakfast this morning and we are on our way... The sun is coming up over the mountains warming the valley... it got pretty cold last night, a "one-dog-night." Since I have only one dog, Zander is becoming quite a seasoned traveler... Unfortunately, he loves to run and we have to keep him on a home he loves to chase the deer and when we stopped to check out the bison, I didn't want him taking off after them... Ellen on the other hand, had to get a picture.... then we read that they can run up to 35 mph... somewhat faster than Ellen. I kept the motor running!!!

Even though I have been through this area a number of times... it is always amazing, seeing it through new eyes (and an older sense of appreciation for the beauty) and having someone to share their thoughts with...

Planning a second day in Cody was a great idea, it gave us time to catch our breath and settle in, I am still organizing my stuff... and of course, Ellen's bed is made, the RV is in order, dishes done and all is ready of inspection. On the other hand, the back of RV is less tidy and I am going to have to mend my ways?

Our visit to the Buffalo Bill Cody Museum was a wonderful experience... there is so much to see and I was pleased to see that some of areas had interactive displays...a comuputer program for
painting or composing your own picture... color a postcard for the children...and lectures running throughout the day... we of course walked around the shops and aided the Cody economy... we visited one Quilt shop and finally called it a day...

We are on our way to Devils Tower, Wyoming... a six hour drive, less mountains and more rolling hills...

Have a wonderful day... Rae, Ellen and Zander

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


As an early riser I like the quiet of morning for prayer and reflection.  Today I am remembering our drive yesterday through Yellowstone National Park and western Wyoming.  More than once Rae and I commented on not just the beauty around us but how grateful we are to be making this journey together at this time in our lives...

This was my first trip to Yellowstone.  Truely awesome!  We saw geysers and fumeroles framed by green meadows and tree-lined hills.  We had a good look at elk and buffalo.  The herd of  buffalo we saw and photographed were much larger in  real life than in pictures.  Old Faithful performed for us with no waiting and we had a postcard-perfect vantage point.  I was amazed by Yellowstone Lake.  There was enough wind to make whitecaps and breakers on the shore.  The lake is immense.  We did a lot of walking...

The drive in Wyoming to our destination of Cody did not disappoint.  We followed the Shoshone River with the most amazing rock and clay formations rising to the sky.  And we were already at some altitude.  After checking in at Ponderosa Campground we had pizza at a little Italian restaurant.  Tired, and content with the day, we were ready for sleep at 10:00. 

We will stay here one more night.  Today we will go to the Buffalo Bill Historical Center and the Whitney Museum of Western Art.  They are within walking distance. 

"Zander" is a fun little dog to have with us and he is doing well. 


Monday, September 7, 2009

Boise to West Yellowstone

Good morning from West Yellowstone...having a wonderful time. 

We left Portland in the rain Saturday and arrived at the Wilson's in Boise at dinnertime.  They were out on the sidewalk to greet us and we had a fabulous evening with Carter and Gail.  Rae's friendship with the Wilsons goes way back and they caught up on family and all the fun they are having in retirement, as well as reminiscences of Rae's husband, Bob.  Gail has been a quilter for 25 years and she also collects antique quilts.  We took pictures which we will post later.  They also collect Native American artifacts and have a wonderful collection, much of which had been collected by Carter's mother.  They were the most generous hosts:  we enjoyed dinner of steak, fresh picked corn on the cob, tomatoes from the garden, a South American dish of rice, quinoa, and pine nuts.  But then was the piece de resistance, a homemade peach pie, to die for...

In the morning we were sent on our way after breakfast of cheesy eggs, Kentucky. sausage, Carter's homemade tomato juice and sour dough toast with homemade blackberry jelly.  We asked to stay with them until wasn't just about food!

We drove another 400 miles to reach West Yellowstone last night.  We invited Jessie and Dick Mossey to dine with us in "Gypsy".  They came over as soon as we parked at Grizzly RV Park to help us hook up.    Dick and Jessie are full-time RVers and they had so much to share with us. I haven't seen Dick and Jessie for at least 10 years!  We enjoyed their company so much and swapped adventure stories all evening long over dinner,and wine.  They brought two bottles of sipping tequila from Mexico for us to try.  Very smoooooth.
The Mosseys are in West Yellowstone until Oct 1 but we leave today...for Yellowstone National Park and Cody, Wyoming.

I haven't said anything about the missing gas cap key but it will catch up with us when we get to Brooke's house (mailed from Boise).  Maybe Rae can tell that story...

Beautiful weather, awesome scenery, good friends, lots of laughs.  We couldn't ask for a better beginning to our adventure.  I drove the RV for the first time yesterday.