The Road Trip, in FullThis is my rough draft of The Whole Story(tm). I don't know if there will ever be a final draft, but now there are pictures.
I've also written up the mix of music I put on a tape after the trip, collecting significant songs we listened to along the way.
The NorthWestern U.S.
The Southwestern U.S.
Sarah and Anne were both living in a house with four other roommates this past summer, and both had to move out by August 21st. However, we had decided to preempt this deadline by leaving the 17th of August. We had only to finish painting Mom and Dad's dining and living rooms, pack all our stuff for the trip, and all the rest of our stuff for storage, pack the car, and leave. Not too surprisingly, our actual date of departure was Sunday, August 18th.
We arrived at the home of Anne's boyfriend, Bill Murphy, in the North suburbs of Chicago, late that night. The next day was spent recuperating from the move; Anne spent the afternoon sleeping, Sarah in Evanston visiting her old friend, Carrie. That evening we were welcomed into the home of our second cousins, Chuck and Christa Penhaligan, to eat dinner, see the new baby, and visit with them and Aunt Ann. After another full night's sleep and a slow morning repacking, we headed on to Minneapolis.
In between Chicago and Minneapolis, as you may know, is a goodly chunk of Wisconsin. We had never expected to enjoy it so much as we did, those lovely gently rolling hills, densely dressed with trees. Brochures at a rest stop directed us to a small historic town, where we stopped and bought another tarp for the tent and shopped for hiking books. Anne found some that fit her easily. Sarah didn't get any yet. David Leppik and Jordan Wood, two of Anne's friends from college, were unsurprised to receive the call late at night that we were just arriving and lost already, looking for their apartment.
The next morning Jordan went to Work, David went to Class, and Sarah and Anne caught the 11:00 Tour of the University of Minnesota campus, ditching it at noon to meet Dave for lunch. Dinner was Ethiopian, and quite enjoyable. On Thursday, Anne made appointments to speak with members of the History of Science and Technology program. Sarah did laundry and shopped for Hiking Boots, but got none. However, we did get a couple nice sleeping rolls, and had a good long talk about sisterly things in the afternoon. On Friday we took our leave by way of a short visit to the capital building and made it as far as the West side of Minnesota. There we found sweet corn and a perfect campsite, made camp, cooked dinner on our first fire, and declared ourselves one day behind schedule.
Saturday we drove through South Dakota. That's about all, really. On one side is Sioux Falls, at the other Rapid City and the Black Hills. In between is a lot of flat space, a couple sunflower fields, the Badlands, and Wall Drug, the most advertised drugstore in the world. We arrived in the Badlands just as the sun was setting across from a full moon high in the sky. They make you feel huge and lofty, those rugged landscapes. The prairie was dry and hot and there we camped again, finishing the badlands loop in the morning-- the one that took us to Wall Drug [good ice water], and breakfast.
There's a lot of stuff in the Black Hills. Before sundown we visited the Borglum Museum [well worth it], and went and saw his biggest sculpture, Mount Rushmore. Glanced from afar at the under-construction Crazy Horse Monument, and high-tailed it down to a state park south of Hot Springs. There was just one detour, a walk to see a couple buffalo. We set up camp and showered so the next morning we arrived at Wind Cave right after they opened and got the first Natural Entrance tour of the day. Boxwork is beautiful. Time was on our side and we just made the next tour of Jewel Cave on the other side of the hills. By lunch time we were in Wyoming. By about midnight, we were south of Red Lodge, Montana. Sarah was driving us down a pitted road to a free ( and rustic) campsite.
Tuesday was one of the nicest mornings of our lives. Waking up in the mountains, washing up in a rocky mountain stream (no other water's the same), driving up the Beartooth Highway, heading back into Wyoming for a visit to Yellowstone park. Yellowstone was much as we remembered it from our youth. Sarah insisted we go to the hot sulfur springs since last time our family had been there we had discovered Anne's allergy to Sulfur and she was afraid to return and face the possibility of another rejection from her stomach. Sarah prevailed and we have many lovely pictures, especially of Canary Spring. (see photo)
We got a warm welcome that night from Dennis Steinhauer and friends in Bozeman, Montana. With perfect timing once more, a soft rain began after we unloaded our stuff to the big old farmhouse and cleared out before the following morning, when Sarah, Dennis and Isaac went kayaking on the Madison river and Anne walked to Montana State University to log in to the computers. On the drive North to Great Falls, the rain returned just enough to present a full, double rainbow for our viewing pleasure. Aunt Dana put the cheese enchiladas in the oven; Erin told us about her moving plans; Uncle Joe... was quite himself, and so we settled in for a stay with the Duffys.
We decided the Duffys have to be the neatest people in the world with which to watch the democratic convention. In the meantime, Andreé took us out to lunch and shopping again for hiking boots for Sarah, and we met her husband, Aart Dolman, and saw the Great Construction Project which was their house at the time. Aart spent early Friday morning taking the two of us Kayaking on the Missouri river. Sarah, the experienced Kayaker, took the single-person kayak built the year she was born, and the double was shared by Anne and Aart. It was a beautiful morning to take a two-hour turn up and down the river. Later that day Andreé accompanied us on our regular pilgrimage to the Charles M. Russell Museum. For those who know him not, C. M. Russell was the true Cowboy Artist, who knew and lived what he painted, what some call the wild west.
Saturday morning we were with Andreé again, heading to The Cabin. The Cabin is in the Lewis and Clark National Forest, West of Choteau, Mt. Andreé kindly shares it with us, has done since before we were born. The West fork of the Teton passes to the South; the cabin sits in a bed of mountains. On Sunday Andreé showed us a couple trailheads and on Monday we were on our own, left at the bottom of the canyon by our hostess on her way out. One backpack and a walking stick to share, plus extra shoes for fording the river, were our equipment for our first real hike of the trip. We were warm enough by the first good water hole to take a dip, and were immediately much colder, but that's why it was fun.
A slow day to recover, and Wednesday we faced our first hard hike, up the side of Mount Wright. We breathed hard on the way up and we sang on the way down; the top was glorious. Next day we left in hail and reunited with Andreé on the road to the Shemms' Cabin, where we lunched and then hiked with George, Janet, and Joey Shemm. By sundown the next day we were pretty sure we'd exausted the sights of Great Falls. Without being sure exactly who we'd stay with, we headed to Missoula, Montana, where three family friends had been brought together by the college.
Bjorn Vandervoo had the extra space for us and even time the next night to join us seeing a presentation by Tibetan Monks (in exile). Monday morning we hiked up to the big M on the mountainside over campus, which winded Anne but not Bjorn and Sarah, so the next day Anne met Vann Lovett for breakfast while the two physically fit people went mountain biking. Anne also visited the History Museum, and afterwards she and Sarah biked slowly around town. By then we were actually staying with Anne Duffy, who was sick and also very busy with sorority RUSH, but let us hang around anyway, which we appreciate.
The next day we actually backtracked, but we had good reason: another Kayaking trip for Sarah and another day on the Net for Anne. You guessed it; back to Bozeman to see Dennis once more.
Thursday we were heading West again, the Big Sky resplendent in glorious sunshine, the tawny hills gleaming underneath. We saw an ancient Buffalo Jump, and also some live buffalo, and then we ate some (buffalo) on our way North. The sun had set and it was threatening rain as we settled in on the East shore of Flathead Lake for the night. We couldn't get the stakes all the way in due to the concrete three inches under the sand in the tent square, but nothing blew away before morning.
Glacier National Park was of course under construction, but we could get far enough on the Going To The Sun highway to walk barefoot along the Weeping Wall and get back down to a creek for a picnic lunch. We had decided this time to go where we hadn't gone as children: the far West side of the park. Anne had her finger on a campsite beside Bowman Lake, and the road looked fine on the map. A bag of reeses pieces ended up being dinner as we arrived, just after a hail storm, at the ranger station to get the "sure, go ahead" from the Ranger who'd just cleared the road, and moved on to Bowman. This was our first experience setting up camp in true rain, but it was worth it and the gravel road ride when, the next morning, we feasted on one of the prettiest sights of the whole trip.
We only took a short hike that morning but it was green and alive and we whistled and sang. The tent was only damp when we returned, packed up, and headed across the panhandle of Idaho. The sun goes down very early when you're in the mountains.. we kept hoping to get out of them and into more light, but it was late when we hit Cour d'lien. After giving up on finding the AAA-listed campsite north of town, Sarah actually found a cheap hotel room on a Saturday night, which you'd have expected to be harder, but wasn't. Visa cards are nice.
Sunday was slow. Anne had a fever and it was cloudy so we opted for a movie in Spokane, Washington. Then Sarah drove forever and a little longer and we had yet another star-studded session of putting up the tent. The name of the campsite was Canyon Creek, on Highway 20, the ground was soft, it was free, and the Milky Way was shining just for us.
The Cascades were beautiful, but hard to appreciate from the road. We zoomed South through Seattle at the tail end of rush hour and Mike and Michelle Kerby made us welcome even though we made dinner late. Roscoe made us welcome too, in his own way. Borrowing Michelle's more modern sleeping bag for Sarah, we headed so far North we left the United States and went into a rainy Vancouver, British Columbia. Next day we ferried out from the mainland to Vancouver Island to see the belle of B.C.; her capital, Victoria. No, we didn't see the Buchart Gardens (everyone asks). We got there after dark, but we had a terrific evening and both wrote poetry and our tent was even dry when we got in it later, though the trees were hung with moss and inhabited by banana slugs.
Let us not go into the particulars of catching ferries, but due to a twist of fate we "decided" to go to the San Juan islands and thus back to Seattle on Friday. Happily this let us spend the day Saturday with Michelle, seeing her favorite bits of Seattle. After the football game was over we met Mike and another friend downtown for drinks and relaxation; it was great. Sunday Sarah and Michelle took the car around and heard dire reports about our power steering rack needing replacement, and Mike and Anne slept a lot, being sick. Monday morning Sarah triumphed over the local know-it-alls with the help of a tip from a mechanic back home: the U-joint needed oiling. No $800.00 replacement job, just oil.
We gave Michelle back her sleeping bag and set our sites on the Olympic Peninsula. The Northwest corner of the (contiguous) United States is just as varied as the books say. We camped at Deer Park, hiked Blue mountain, picnicked at Crescent Lake, drove along the Strait of Juan De Fuca, camped in the Hoh rain forest, walked the hall of mosses, paced the length of Ruby Beach, sat on the largest Sitca Spruce in the world, then drove Highway 1 down to Oregon, where we turned our car toward the Lunar Eclipse and marveled at it all the way to Portland and our next sanctuary, the guest house of the Schemms. It was Thursday, Sept. 26.
On Friday the Schemms got unpleasant news re: the health of George's mother. While he went to visit her, Joey went with Anne and Sarah to the End of the Oregon Trail presentation there in Oregon City. That afternoon Janet and Joey took us in to town for an introduction to Powell's, which must be one of the largest book stores in the country, if not the world. We also saw the Vietnam Memorial and the Portland Rose Garden. That night and our whole time there we were very impressed by the Schemm Family's ability to continue being gracious hosts at such a complicated time.
Saturday morning there is a special Market in Portland, so Sarah and Anne went down and spent the morning seeing it, the riverfront, and public sculpture in town. In the afternoon we were thrilled to be taken flying in George Schemm's small plane. He and Sarah let Anne take the Copilot's seat and even hold the stick for a bit, while Sarah took pictures of the clouds washing in from the coast and of the clear cuts that were so horribly prodigious on the slopes below.
That night there was a car accident out front that took down the Schemm's mail box and interrupted their slumber, but didn't prevent Janet from walking a marathon the next day. Since this was a big day for the family, we drove off to a place they recommended for hiking and found out why-- a lovely easy-going hike along a creek that occasionally becomes gloriously picturesque in the form of waterfalls with names of Punchbowl and Tunnel. Yes, you actually get to walk under that last one. We returned in the evening to congratulate Janet on her first marathon. On Monday Anne did laundry, Sarah shopped for boots, and we got final advice for the next day's drive.
It started with a stop at REI, where we FINALLY got Sarah's Hiking Boots!!! Then we headed out to the coast and the Oregon Aquarium, which treated us to the sight of sea otters, seals, crabs and other denizens of the sea, and most especially Keiko, the orca that starred in Free Willy. His health is much better.
After a night camped just inland, we headed Southeast to Crater Lake. Fortune smiled upon us and stopped traffic for construction; the fellow holding the stop sign directed us to a most magnificent campground on the shore of Diamond Lake, just North of Crater Lake [not listed by AAA]. The loons sang to the sunset and the next morning we enjoyed warm showers and clear skies. There is no deeper lake in the U.S. than Crater Lake, but the sky must be blue to fully appreciate it; for us it was. Perched above this beautiful vista by the lodge they just finished restoring last year, we chanced to encounter a young man making a journey similar to ours. We exchanged numbers and would rendezvous with Doug in San Francisco. In the meantime we headed for Arcata, California.
Sarah's high school chum, Marnin Robbins, informed us when we called from Ashland, Oregon that we were still very far away and thinking in Michigan distances. This was California. Sarah drove bravely the twisting turning highway that the semi trucks were taking at 55 miles an hour over the coastal mountains in the dark and we arrived, if late, in one piece at the Campus Center for Appropriate Technologies (CCAT), where Marnin is a director.
Friday was projects day at CCAT, which was fun to be a part of, especially the communal dinner and late-night discussion with Professor Dan that followed. During the day we also enjoyed a festival on campus, and the chance to log in-Anne's first time plugged into the Net in (for her) a record 22 days. The next day was full, with an exposition to a homestead in the mountains where we shared lunch with Snow and Spirit and their family and learned from them valuables about cooking, raising children with fetal drug and alcohol syndromes, and building with "cob and bale" construction, something CCAT planned to use in an up-and-coming shed. Sarah and Anne and Marnin left early to catch a glimpse of the pot festival in the redwoods near Humbolt University, and proceed with daylight left for a drive North to Trinity and a walk in mystical College Cove.
On Sunday we realized we felt like getting a larger Redwood dose, so we spent the day in Redwood National Forest, with a couple short hikes to really get the feel of the place: ancient and complex, like looking in on a Society developed centuries ago. We finished off our visit with a walk in the fog, past the pastel-decorated sidewalks, for a bit of a sit with some Finnish hot chocolate.
Monday we spent going in and out of Big Tree Country, down the coast. Just after dark we drove by the Napa Valley, with the windows down, inhaling deeply. We were lucky to have a place to crash for a whole week: the Oakland home of another Penhaligan cousin, Jane.
Jane took the day Tuesday to show us the Berkeley campus, the Palace of Fine Arts, and the Palace of the Legion of Honor Museum, where we had a picnic lunch in view of the Golden Gate Bridge and then enjoyed the museum's terrific collection of Rodín and other artists. Afterwards we drove across the same bridge to see the view from mount Tam and pick up some fresh salmon to grill for dinner. Jane's roommate was home to start the grill and then left to see the Tibetan monks, who had caught up with us.
After that, we did some exploring, mostly on our own and with Doug. Golden Gate Park, the museums, a local foundry visit for Sarah, a longer one to Berkeley for Anne, Peir 39 and the Sea Lions, Chinatown, Coit Tower, bookstores.
Friday we spent in the Napa Valley, following a well-worn map of Jane's through the sunshine and a growing glow from wine-tasting. Some pan au chocolate, a baguette, and some asiago cheese completed the experience.
On Saturday we bid our farewells and headed South to Santa Cruz, surfing capital of the world. We rapidly learned that campgrounds on the california coast fill up on the weekends, so we took a nap on the beach and then headed for a night on the town. A few hours of dancing, listening to live bands and street performers, and hanging out in shops and cafés later, we headed to a recommended quiet spot in the woods by campus and spent a cozy night in the car. Sunday was the Welcome Back, Monarchs festival, where thousands of monarchs are observed at the end of their annual migration to a grove of eucalyptis trees near Santa Cruz-- enchanting! We also felt lucky to see Dolphins sporting with surfers from our dinner beach site, after which, having temporarily had our fill of the coast, we moved along inland toward Yosemite park.
Sarah did a marvelous job of driving late into the night, waking Anne up long enough to get directions to a campground, and then pitching camp all by herself. The next morning we enjoyed an early start, with showers and beautiful weather for a trip through the breadbasket of California. The Yosemite canyon was more than we had ever imagined. We rested by the river, took a space in the communal campground where people, mostly rock climbers, are assigned 16 to a site at only $3 per person per night, had a conversation with a couple of those climbers over dinner, took a short walk up to an unexpectedly marvelous view, caught a sunset shot of Half Dome mountain, and still made it to bed early. The next day we wiped the sap of our tent, broke camp, and went at least halfway up a rock face on a steep and winding trail. Hiking boots are essential.
That night we camped in a group site on the other side of the park; the next morning we borrowed a spatula from our neighbor to scrape the ice off the windshield, and we were on our way South again. Upon arrival at Sequoia National Park, we learned there was an hour delay for any departures to the South and re-routed our plans to include the North grove of Sequoias and then all of King's Canyon instead of Moro Rock.
King's Canyon is certainly something else, and as we headed back out the way we'd come in, we abided by a whim and took the Big Stump trail. Darkness was descending as we reached the far half of the mile-long loop and gazed upon the face of what once was the Mark Twain tree. Larger than any left standing, that honorable tree was felled and sections were sent to all corners of the planet to convince people that the immensity of these trees was no myth. Fifty men could stand shoulder to shoulder along the edge of the stump. Sarah and Anne walked up on it themselves, then, feeling giddy and fulfilled, stumbled back to the car by the light of a crescent moon.
We slept in our car up on a mountain an hour North of Los Angeles. The following morning we discovered for ourselves how dirty and congested is L.A. and proceeded without much dallying through Hollywood and Malibu and on to San Diego, where our aunt was awaiting us with warm chocolate chip cookies and fresh spaghetti. We had many great things to eat and, generally, a terrific time, the week we spent staying with our Aunt Pam.
We lounged on the Coronado beaches, enjoyed the San Diego Zoo, the Wild Animal Park, The Old Town, and scenes around the city, including a boat tour of the bay. A generous neighbor loaned Anne a pair of roller blades and Sarah a bike, and another took us out for a lovely dinner. Balboa Park and the Air and Space Museum were a couple of our last stops, and we also spent a certain amount of time watching old movies, reading, and relaxing from time on the road. Friday night we drove up to Laguna Beach for a brief visit with our good friends, the Lovettes. Every other night was spent with Silver, Pam's venerable old furr-face who purred when we were there and, according to Aunt Pam, missed us after we left Monday, October 29, for Tuscon.
The stretch of land between San Diego and Tuscon, of South-Eastern California and Western Arizona, was a dry period of vast distances, a return to the big sky. The area between mountainous ridges is amazingly flat. We enjoyed our first Arizona sunset well before we arrived at the Davis Air Force Base, home of our brother David, Sister-in-law Kelly, and their five beautiful kids.
There was double preparation to be done for the baby's first birthday and halloween, which were the same night. We helped shop, carve pumpkins, trick-or-treat, and eat birthday cake. It was tough. We also had to play with the kids and watch Toy Story a couple times.
Our Aunt Karen conveniently owns a condo that is less than half an hour from the base. She very generously let us use it; we went from there to our brother's house and also, on Friday, to the town of Tombstone for some down and dirty touring. Saturday evening we enjoyed a trip to the park with David and all the kids, and on Sunday we took the three eldest; Dane, Kim, and Lainie, to the Desert Museum, in Saguaro National Park. As much a zoo as a museum, it was so interesting that the kids lasted an impressive four hours to see what was there.
So we enjoyed a delicious meal Kelly had prepared, said our sweet so-longs to the kids, went for one last spin in the swift sportscar of our brother, the Arizona Speed-devil, and on Monday morning we cleaned the condo and were on our way North. Our cousin Adam lives in Scottsdale, to the Southwest of Phoenix. We got in just before rush hour got nasty, and he took us hiking up Camelback mountain. After an enjoyable trip up the East side of this rocky trail, often by necessity marked with blue dots, we reached a point where we should have been able to see the big city. Instead, we enjoyed the smog-induced sunset and then raced the dark to the base of the trail and spent a lovely evening swapping family stories over dinner and a couple drinks.
We also spent tuesday with Adam, with an evening of watching the (mostly projected) election results roll in on the television. On Wednesday, November 6th, we began a long haul of camping. The first cliff dwelling we visited was the misnamed Montezuma's Castle, and our first campsite was among the pine forests and red rock of Oak Creek Canyon, Sedona, Arizona. No, we didn't know there were pine forests in Arizona either. Sedona is glorious, and we were glad to catch a tour of the Lowell Observatory, in Flagstaff (site of the discovery of Pluto).
Right after lunch on Thursday we were on our way to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. By 3:00 we had garnered our first impression of the canyon (incomprehensibly huge), and by 3:30 we had taken reconaissance at the visitor center. We collected two jugs of the most delicious water we've ever tasted, and, following the recommendations of a helpful ranger, set out on a path that would hit the best-loved views along the rim and get us to a good spot on the East end from which to watch the sunset. Red rock is set off nicely by snow.
In the dark, we headed to a site with an even higher density of red, Zion National Park. In Southern Utah, Zion is one of the prettiest places in the country, and even the roads are red. We arrived at the peak of the fall color; with the plentitude of cottonwoods in the canyon, that means bright yellow. We camped there among the unafraid mule deer for two nights, with the Hidden Canyon hike in between. [A hidden canyon is one whose floor is high above the floor of the canyon proper. As long as you're not afraid of heights, it's a great trail.] On Saturday morning we headed back out the two-mile tunnel to Bryce.
Bryce canyon, an hour North and then a short ways East on scenic highway 12, is a long narrow canyon populated by hoodoos. Hoodoos are tall spires of rock, known for being pink, though we thought them rather more orange. We went for a hike down among the hoodoos after lunch, then continued Northwest on 12, hoping to make it to Capital Reef National Park by sunset.
Highway 12 has earned its reputation as the second most scenic highway in the U.S. and we'd love to know what highway holds first place. Hogback ridge is a memorial to the Civilian Corps, which built this, the first postal service access to the area, in the 1930s. We were still at an elevation of 9,000 feet when the sun set, but we were enjoying the snow-laden aspen wood up there, and we discovered the height to be perfect for viewing the entire length of the Capital Reef, its russet ridges deeply colored by the sun's lowest light. We stopped for a spell once within the park, standing by the car, talking and watching the sky darken and the stars striving to match their falling compatriots in brightness.
By midnight we had made it to the Island in the Sky, the Northern access to Canyonlands National Park. Exhausted and not immune to irritability and discord, we successfully set up the tent and just as successfully ran down the car battery while distracted with other things. Happily, we encountered some friendly fellow campers the next morning. A father and son from Colorado, they generously jump-started our car, and then welcomed our company at their fire that night, after we had spent an adventurous day in short hikes and a last-minute dash across the highway to Arches National Park, where Sarah enjoyed an English-and French conversation with a traveler from Montreal and Anne enjoyed clambering around on the slickrock, photographing the conversationalists as sillouetted in an arch against the lingering light of the Western sky.
A walk to see the dawning light hit the canyons on our second morning at island in the sky gave the sunshine time to melt the ice off our tent, so we packed up and headed off for a brief sojourn on highway 666, destination: Mesa Verde.
Anyone visiting Mesa Verde should plan on at least an hour simply to enter the park, since you have a lot of climbing to do. Our timing was fateful; it was the last day of the year they were offering guided tours of the largest cliff palace. Our guide was terrific, and our group was small, so we were allowed to enter a dwelling and see the murals painted within. We also received a well-presented lesson on how unchecked overpopulation can destroy the ecology to the point where everyone has to leave or die. Our timing was good in another respect; rangers informed us there was a seasonal dance the next day, at Jemez Pueblo.
We put the dark hours to good use, stopping for groceries andgetting an unexpected response to our inquiry after showers for rent-- showers for free. Washed and rejuvenated, we made significant headway South toward Jemez, camping in a state park amid the New Mexican Badlands. Tuesday morning we made our way to Jemez, where we observed a unique event which helped us appreciate, through observation of costume that has been traditional for centuries, the vast trading network established by the ancestors of the pueblo indians, the Anisasi. Their cultural center, Chaco Canyon, was where we landed at nightfall.
That was the site of our most wonderful campfire, (natural rock chimneys are cool) which we left in the hands of a neighbor from Taos. Over breakfast the next morning he suggested Sarah and Anne take the Pueblo Alto trail, which we did late that afternoon. In between, a video on the Sun Dagger taught us how the Anisasi charted the passage of the moon and sun through their cycles, and then we toured a series of cities which were planned and built in the 12th century, possibly according to a cosmic pattern we still don't understand. We had enough time before sunset to see the largest Kiva, or ceremonial room, in the canyon, and as dark came, we went-- West now, to Canyon De Chelley, in Navajo territory.
Above the canyon, the campground was warm. We were awakened at an early hour by cocks crowing and dogs barking-- Canyon De Chelly is a rural area. As we performed the now-familiar task of packing up camp, we fell into conversation with our neighbors, Don Ring and Cal Dewitt. It was a wonderful opportunity to discuss observations and thoughts engendered by our trip with other thoughtful, friendly people.
The Navajo people were also friendly, and so felt the canyon, as we stood above it in the wind, wearing but warm, watching a raven show off his aerial skill. It was nice to be at a canyon still inhabited by its native people. This set it appart from Zion canyon, to which it is otherwise somewhat similar. Too tired to commit to a hike down into the canyon, we traversed the rim, bought jewelry and petrified wood, and expressed hopes to return another time.
We arrived in Albuquerque that same night, at our typically late hour. We were cashing in on the hospitality of another of Anne's friends from College, Erika Thomenius, and of her fiance, Jason. They tolerated our using up their quarters on laundry, disappearing for an evening with Middle Eastern diplomats we met at the National Atomic Museum, and lingering an extra day or two while we got one tire patched, two replaced, and the suspension realigned, all with good grace. We even managed to spend some time with them, when we weren't touring the museums of Los Alamos or the sites of Santa Fe.
By Monday evening we were on the road again, heading South to our last campsite of the trip. It was on a mountainside East of Las Cruces, New Mexico, and was part of a slight miscalculation of distance. The next day we naively set out to reach Austin, Texas, by way of El Paso. We made it, but it took us 12 hours. Texas is, to put it mildly, BIG. Another unexpected fact is that Austin in mid-November felt like Ann Arbor in mid-July. That was fine by us. We toured the capital building, sipped espresso shakes on the shore of lake Austin, and enjoyed the company of our hostesses: Claire, a friend of Sarah's, and her cat, Moo.
Having recovered from the long haul, we departed Thursday for Houston. In the afternoon, while Anne's friend Lowell was still at work, we were in Galveston, Capital of Texas before a hurricane in 1900. If you go there, don't miss a tour of the Bishop's Palace; it will make your whole visit worthwhile-- it did ours. We braved rush hour traffic, snuck into Lowell's gated complex, and didn't object to being taken out to a delicious seafood dinner. Friday saw us in Space Center Houston, the dramatic and educational complex which offers among other things a tour of whatever parts of the nearby Johnson Space Center are not in use at the time of your tour. After an all-too-brief visit to the Menil art collection, we made it back to Lowell's for a home-made meal and weekend plans.
It was, admittedly, not difficult to talk Lowell into going to New Orleans with us for Saturday night. We appreciated having his company as we explored Bourbon street, Jackson Square, the waterfront, and the assortment of restaurants. We highly recommend Pere Antoine's, where we moaned and exclaimed over dinner. The next day we arrived at breakfast by 9 am and parted ways with Lowell, heading right across lake Ponchartrain , trading naps through Mississippi to arrive in early evening at the Tresvant Manor, the Memphis center where our family friend, Robert Harnden, is head of the residents association.
Uncle Bob was college roommates with our grandfather, and we were delighted to be mistaken for his grandaughters as we toured the manor and Memphis in general. We were treated to a tour of Elvis Presley's place, a terrific barbeque lunch, a quiet rainy drive through a peaceful monday, topped off with a look at the photo album display from Bob's trip to China, a wonderful steak dinner, and another album to go through after that, with all accompanying stories.
On Tuesday we had to move on, for by Thursday, Thanksgiving day, we planned to be home. Our last stop in between was Lexington, Kentucky. There we stayed with dear Martha and Thomas ____ and their pets; four dogs and two cats. Despite Martha's grueling work schedule (nights as a nurse), we had a lovely visit. It including a spin through the Humane Society, where Thomas works, a trip to a television station to help five people on-screen handle seven animals being promoted for adoption, lunch in walking distance of the downtown Mare Park, and an afternoon drive past some very posh horse stables.
Our last late-night arrival was at our parents' house, 11:30 wednesday night. We were very impressed that our '87 Chevy Nova lasted the whole trip, as did our fond regard for one another. We cannot thank you enough who helped us on our way. The same trip would not have been possible without your contribution.
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