Friday, June 26, 2009

We're Home!!!

We loved traveling the country and seeing things and meeting people and taking in the beautiful scenery. We are glad to be home but so happy we took the time and spent the money to do this! We recommend it! Just share your blog (and wait until the last day to run over your laptop)!

The "Welcome Home" sign made by Julia, Lucy, George, and Jane was the fitting end to our trip!
After pulling in, we ditched the Atlas!
Singing our theme song with John Denver "It's so good to be back home again!)

The next day buying a brand new MAC! (Did I say it's good to be home?)

We arrived home on Thursday evening to a home-cooked bowl of soup and a fresh fruit salad, compliments of my mom. It's so good to be home! We loved the trip but we were ready to get on with life (and more ready to step off the moving amusement ride).

In case you're interested, here are some interesting facts and numbers from our trip journal:

We left Spokane on April 29th and returned on June 26th. We were gone for 58 days.

We traveled through 32 states, traveling nearly 13,000 miles.

We put in 54 tanks of gas. (That's also 54-44oz. Dr. Pepper, and 54 gross rest rooms!)

We had 3 oil changes.

We stayed in 36 hotels, some great, some not so great! The average price was $63. Our favorite was the Marriott Marquis at Time Square. We try to forget about the least favorite!
Most reservations were made through Priceline on the fly. We're converted!

We were blessed to stay 14 nights with family:
Sandy Utah -- Steve and Barb and kids
Austin Texas -- Jon and Suzette (family reunion)
Durham N. Carolina -- Donna and Ed Hicks (Denny's cousins)
Fredericksburg Virginia -- Betty and Ken McConnell (Denny's cousins)
Elizabethtown Pennsylvania -- Roger and Jeannie Pickett (parents of Annie Ditto)
Hudson Ohio -- Wally and Sue Selden
Hinton Iowa -- Ron and Sylvia Fischer (Denny's cousins)
Woodbury Minnesota -- Craig and Carolyn Selden

We kept track of the roadkill:
deer, raccoon, possum, fox, armadillo, skunk, goose, bird, squirrel, prairie dogs, cats, dogs, coyotes, rabbit, badger, mouse, porcupine, and tons of rubber re-tread.

We found out "Freeways" are not free in the east. We spent $93 on toll roads (Turnpikes).

We found out parking is expensive in big cities! We spent $262 on parking!

Most humid place: Atlantic side of Florida

Hardest rain: Southern Iowa

Craziest drivers (besides Denny): New York City

Best food:
Mexican: Austin
Barbeque: Sticky Fingers--Charleston
Pizza: Savanah
Nice dinner: Savanah (we celebrated our mission call to Romania)
Lobster: Maine
Car food: Cheetos and Dr. Pepper

Best Bed: Marriott in New Orleans

Best CD: John Denver Greatest Hits

Longest day driving: St. Paul to Billings (13 hours, 900 miles) We could see the barn!

Best Sport: Denny

Our highlights:
Visits with family
National parks
Hummer trip in Moab
The Deep South
Visiting Civil War sites in Vicksburg and Gettysburg
Beaches in South Carolina and Florida. (you can't believe Clearwater and Sanabel & the Keys!)
Key West
Getting our mission call in Savanah Georgia
New Orleans
Kennedy Space Center
New York City, Washington DC, Boston
Church History Sites, including 7 Temples
Seeing the rocky mountains after 58 days!

Signs we liked:
"The weather is here. Wish you were beautiful!" (Biloxi Mississippi)
"NO LOITERING" Thugs, crackheads, prostitutes, drug dealers, gangs, vagrants, pimps, drunks, drug addicts, shoplifters. (gas station in Mississippi)
"Bridge may ice in cold weather" (Louisiana...every bridge had this sign...are you kidding me?)
"If Noah was wise, he would have swatted the 2 black flies." (Maine)

What we spent:
Food: $1629.00
Gas: $1232.00
Lodging: $3652.00
Entertainment: $1424.00
Misc: $688.00

Total for 58 days of almost pure fun= $8,625.00

The Seldens in Minnesota

As we headed west, we talked about the highlights of our trip and decided at the top of the list had to be our reconnection with family along the way. Our last stop before gunning it for home was to visit Jon's family in Saint Paul Minnesota. It was so good to sit in mom's living room again and talk, eat apple pie and laugh.

David and Marnie, Craig, Grace, Carolyn, Walt, Denny, Gloria

Walt and Grace celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary June 24th.

Craig and Carolyn and Jessica took us on a drive to see the Minneapolis Temple and Coldstone!

Jon's brother Dave and wife Marnie.

Jon's brother Craig and wife Carolyn. We loved staying in their home.

Emily (Craig and Care's oldest) and girls Emma, Grace, Marie, Olivia. Dang cute!
Mom's famous and delicious apple pie. She also made rolls but we devoured them before I could take a picture. Can't you just smell it?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


A guilty man is a good thing to have when you want a "Mac"!

We are in St. Paul Minnesota at the Mall of America. We are at the Apple Store checking out computers because yesterday our heavy, slow, outdated laptop found it's way under our front tire as we backed out of a Mc Donalds. Denny got our drinks in but left the computer leaning against the tire. We're checking out the Mac!
We're still married! Actually, we both laughed when it happened. What can you do?

Saturday, June 20, 2009


To honor our son-in-law Logan, who unlocked the code to our laptop, we visited a small town in Iowa with his name!
The rock of Logan

Logan...the giver of directions. based. of opportunity.

Logan...always a party! the money!

Logan...always observing. (Who's Herald?)

Logan...nothing mini about him.

...and finally, a hardware store named after him--fittingly named "Best".

For 6 days now, we have been laptop challenged. At one point along a long stretch of road in Ohio, we pulled off the highway to find a computer store and a nice hippie to get us up and running again. No go! The next day, we found a "Best Buy" and their "Geeks" couldn't crack the problem. Then I called Logan! After an hour of patient trial and error, he said. . .
"Start, accessories, system tools, system restore, choose date, ENTER!"

It was nothing short of a miracle and we're back in business! Logan, you are remarkable and WE LOVE YOU, not only for being Julia's wonderful husband, but for knowing how to help us with computer problems 2,000 miles away from home!

The Midwest, IOWA


When Denny called his family in Iowa to tell them we'd be coming through, the phones started ringing and before we knew it, there was a party planned. There's just nothing like a family picnic in the midwest. These are great people and we loved being with them, hearing old family stories, sharing pictures, and laughing our heads off. This was a Sunday afternoon we'll never forget!

Rolls, potato salad, deviled eggs, home bottled pickles and beets, baptism napkins!

...fried chicken, potatoes, beans!

Let the stories begin.

Denny's relatives all gathered for the picture.

Denny's mom is from a farming town in Moville, Iowa. There are still a number of aunts, uncles, and cousins in the area so of course, we're here enjoying visiting everyone. Today we visited La Vern and Marilyn in Denison and Uncle Chris on "The Farm" in Moville. We're staying in the beautiful home (on a 4,000 acre farm) of Ron and Sylvia Fischer. This countryside is beautiful and we've had quite the education on farming! Ask us anything about hogs! I only want to visit, I don't want to be one!

The farm where Denny's mom was born and Uncle Chris still lives.

Uncle Chris... Still on a tractor, after all these years.

Beautiful Iowa hills!

Uncle LaVerne from Denison, Iowa

The home of Ron and Sylvia Fischer close to Hinton, Iowa. We stayed in this beauty for 2 nights.
Ron and Denny. Ron is a hog farmer and land baron!
Ron's Cougar!

You absolutely cannot believe the smell I endured to take this picture!

Nauvoo, The Beautiful

It was a long drive from Chicago to Nauvoo but we had two objectives; have some Annie's Custard and attend a session at the Nauvoo Temple. We accomplished both so it was well worth the drive! Annie's is owned Helen, the sister to a Spokane friend, Margaret Clinger. We have been hearing about frozen custard for years and finally, we're eating it! You can't go to Nauvoo without at least one stop at Annie's. We made two, within 5 hours!
We found a quaint motel and headed for "Sunset on the Mississippi", a variety show put on by senior missionaries and aided by some BYU singers and dancers. It was a riot! Lucky for us, the next show was a performance by the BYU Ballroom Dance Team on tour. It knocked our socks off! All this took place in an outdoor theatre, complete with mosquito's and fireflies, a touch of the Midwest! The next morning we went to the Nauvoo Temple. We loved it!

The "Sunset on the Mississippi" with the "Sunset Dancers"!

BYU Ballroom Dance Team

The BYU dancers.

Denny and Helen at Annie's.

Da-Bomb! Mine was the best...vanilla with fresh raspberries!

Such a cute place. We met a group of old Heritage Hall roommates on their 45th reunion. One is a neighbor of Susan and Dee Humpheries. Small world!

A new statue of Joseph and Hyrum on their last ride out of Nauvoo. It is directly west of the Temple.

The reason we drove to Nauvoo. It was worth it!

Denny Do Right, coming to the rescue!

We ran right into the most violent rainstorm of our lives. The wipers couldn't even keep up. I thought this looked like a brewing tornado. Luckily, it was only wind and rain and hail!

We "Go to the Ohio". Kirtland!

The Saints endured much religious persecution in New York until finally in 1829, Joseph Smith received a revelation to go to a more peaceful place, Kirtland, Ohio. This was our next stop and we enjoyed visiting the historic city and the Kirtland Temple. We especially loved the video at the visitors center which was based on the diary of Elizabeth Whitney.

This is the Kirtland Temple. We took a tour and loved it.

Next to the temple is an old cemetary. We found the grave of Joseph and Emma's twins buried in 1831.

The Church has done a fabulous job of restoring this little part of the city. The Whitney store is especially impressive and important to us as it was used as Church Headquarters from 1831 to 1837. Many great things happened here.

The Whitney Store.

Cute missionaries who took us around. Sisters Harmon and Frederickson! I especially loved Sister Harmon! JANET......!

Viva Niagra

Viva Niagra!

Niagra Falls is a few hours from Palmyra and we drove to within 10 miles so we would be ready for the first " Maid Of The Mist" boat.

Question: Is it a sign of old age when you arrive at an amusement park an hour before it opens? We did! It was a beautiful morning and we sat on a park bench

with the other retirees and shook our heads at all the energetic and tatooed youngins!

Don't worry! We are first in line and it's 9am!


The mist we were about to enter (for some reason, this is fun!)

We tried to smile.

The Maid of the Mist.

We are off to Cleveland and the home of Wally and Sue Selden. We will stay with them while we tour Kirtland, Ohio.