Friday, August 26, 2011

Of yesterday and today

Yesterday was spent driving across Minnesota, which was about six hours total.  We had spend the last two nights in Jellystone RV park, which was a fun and relaxing place.  It had some fun perks such as a 'jumping pillow', and useful things like a large laundry room.  Needless to say, we made ourselves at home.  We even met Yogi Bear, the camp's host... :) 

Warming up before hitting the pool


We made a long stop at Wall Drug, a very interesting and fun place.  It had shops, bookstores, candy and fudge places, and even a tiny chapel.  They are partly famous for their free ice water, a tradition of over a hundred years! 


Minnesota is a pretty place.  There are miles and miles of corn fields, large wind machines and farms dotting the rolling fields.  There seemed to be many old, worn farms with tall silos and big barns.  Some were clearly abandoned.  What stories those structures must hold!  If only walls could talk...

We drove to Winona, at the very border of Wisconsin.  There we camped in a very small, heavily wooded state campground, which was very beautiful, very green and teeming with mosquitoes!  We must have put on at least two applications of bug spray, and we still got eaten alive.  After dinner, we took a short walk to the edge of the bluff, overlooking the great Mississippi River.  It was dusk, and the water was high and still and the sun just setting.  It was breathtaking.  

Today we drove to Madison, Wisconsin, to spend four days with mom's side of the family.  My great-aunt and uncle, and my two second-cousins and their spouses.  We are also going to see my great-grandmother tomorrow.  It took only a mere two hours of total driving time, including two or three stops at truck stops to see if we could get into a truck wash.  Unfortunately they were all too crowded.   

Dad in his now-typical work setup

When we arrived at our reletives, we girls got set up in the prepared bedrooms in the house, and dad got set up to work.  It will be nice to get a small break from the trailer bunks, before the next two+ months of crowded sleeping quarters.  

After doing some video skype with friends, we girls made personal pizzas for dinner and cheesecake brownies for dessert.  We ate out on the screened-in porch, which was very cool, comfortable and bug-free!  Our aunt joked that she would put a 'for sale' sign on our trailer so we wouldn't have to leave!

Pizza, anyone?

More tomorrow, Lord willing...

Monday, August 22, 2011

Keystone, Bear Country and pictures

Today we went to Keystone, SD, and did some window shopping.  There were a few cute shops and lots of resteraunts, but other than that it was just tourist-y.  We also visited a free museum in old Keystone, which was once the Keystone schoolhouse.  It had lots of antique artifacts and a large corner of Carrie Ingall Swansey's memorbilia.  That was really interesting.

...A random grasshopper I found perched atop a statue's head...

We also went to a place called Bear Country, which was a large reserve with many types of wild animals.  We drove through a 2-mile maze of wildlife, then walked through a trail with pens of baby animals and Grizzley bears.  It was a neat place, definitely something I would reccomend in SD.  More some other time!

...An artic wolf...

...A mountain lion resting in the shade...

...Take a dip, anyone?

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Pictures at last!!!

Today we arrived in South Dakota.  We visited Crazy Horse memorial and Mt. Rushmore, which were amazing!  Crazy Horse was very unique, mostly because it's not completed yet.  But when it is finished, it will hopefully be a collosal statue of the Indian Crazy Horse, riding his steed and pointing to his land.  Right now though, it's just a huge rock with Crazy Horse's face, which is 87 feet high.  The original sculpter, Korczak Ziolkowski, began carving out of the mountain in 1948, and his wife and ten children have followed in his footsteps and completing his dream.  I hope I live to see the day it is finished, but nobody knows when that day will be.  They are far from completion.  But with God, all things are possible!  I wonder if the Ziolkowski family knows that...

Mt. Rushmore was, of course, awesome.  It was sunny when we first arrived, overcast later, and eventually rained, so we got a lot of different views and pictures of the massive granite monument.  It is a great thing to see, that four great presidents of the past are ever with us, and may we never forget the signifigance of their faces set in stone.

As promised, here at last are pictures of the trip so far:

Sunrise over Mono Lake

Driving through Utah

The long road ahead in WY

Passing time

South Dakota at last

Crazy Horse



Saturday, August 20, 2011

The first three days

This is our third day on the road, officially.  I finally got the internet to post this, after waiting almost all day to get a connection.  I’m going to go back in time just a little bit to Thursday, our day of departure…

On the 18th of August, we were all rushing around and getting ready to leave at 4 p.m.  It was a very productive day, with lots of house cleaning, laundry on top of laundry, packing and washing of vehicles.  Jesse Telian came over that day and was a tremendous help to dad.  It looked like we would actually pull out on time. 

Finally, at 4:30, we all gathered in front and prayed for a safe and wonderful journey.  Then the goodbyes, to both our friend and our home (and the cat, of course).  Then we followed Jesse up the road, all the way up through Oakhurst.  When we got to ECHO, all the Telian’s were on the side of the road, honking and yelling and holding signs!  It was so awesome.  So we jumped out, gave hugs, and with mixed emotions, got back on the road. 

That night we drove 4 hours to Lee Vining, where we spent the night in the Lee Vining High School parking lot.  (School hadn’t started yet, thankfully).  Dad told us, “I haven’t slept in high school for 31 years!”  We slept okay, nobody kicked us out, and we got a nice early start on Friday.

So at 6:58 Friday morning, we pulled out and began one of the longest drives we anticipate on our trip.  But before we hit the highway, we pulled over for a minute so I could get a couple pictures of the sunrise over Mono Lake.  After getting some satisfying shots, we got back on the long road to Salt Lake City. 

Thankfully, we found stuff to do on the boring highways.  We pulled out the license plate game and Libbey’s felt book, and the rest of us either listened to ipods or read books.  Dad worked a bit when mom drove, and when he drove mom wrote letters or rested.  I even caught up on journaling and reading while we drove through the Salt Desert.  Including finally finishing “The Two Towers” by Tolkien!  Praise God for straight roads!  I would have done blogging and emailing, but there weren’t enough DC adapters to go around.  Yet. 

The hours wore on, and finally at 9:00 mountain time, after 14 hours, 750 miles and about 8 stops for gas, we arrived in the great Salt Lake City.  Using the GPS on dad’s phone, we drove through the mess of highways and exits to a Wal-Mart, where we spent the night.  And we weren’t the only ones who needed a place to sleep that night—there were three other trailers there too.  And I guarantee that we were the cleanest, nicest trailer in the parking lot! 

Before we left Salt Lake City, we stopped at a Rite-Aid to get another DC adapter.  Thank goodness!  Driving today was better, only 7 ½ hours driving time.  We went through Utah to Wyoming, where we spent the night in Casper, the second most populous city in WY.  Its population is 60,000, approximately.  Wyoming is pretty, but when you’re driving for hours and there’s absolutely NO civilization anywhere, it gets quite lonely and rather depressing.  It’s funny, once you get to farms and green fields, everyone cheers and feels like they’ve become a part of life again.  Just the sight of a couple farmhouses can lift your spirit, when you’ve seen nothing but snow barriers and hills for ages (if you’re lucky, you might spot a herd of cows here or there).  I really loved Yellowstone and the Tetons, and if I had to live in Wyoming it would definitely be near one of those places.  Maybe the city of Jackson Hole?  This part we’re in now is just too spread out for me…I hope I didn’t offend Mr. Becker though…

It’s been a good day in the truck, except for absolutely no internet connection whatsoever.  We have found almost all 50 state license plates, mostly the ones on the west side of the U.S.  Delaney even found an Alaska plate!  We’ve seen some interesting things in just the first couple drives too.  There have been some interesting signs along the road.  One was a warning of the end times…the set date on the sign being May 21, 2011.  A bit delayed, perhaps?  Just an hour ago, we passed through Muddy Gap.  Apparently, it was the parting point at the Oregon Trail.  Those going to Oregon would go northwest, the California-bound headed west, and anywhere else they were destined to.  It was just a tiny blink of a place, but there were a few really old-looking cabins and shanties that easily could have been a hundred years old.  I wish we could have stopped and just explored, but we didn’t have time. 

For me, the Lord has been good, and so far the only bad carsickness I’ve had was on Thursday, all the way to Lee Vining.  The rest of the time I just have to pace myself, and make sure that I take frequent ‘looking down’ breaks so I can let my stomach settle.  It’ll only get better, hopefully.  (Thank you, Mrs. Lori Smith, for your specific prayers in this area). <3 

 I wish I could post pictures, but as of yet the internet doesn't work well enough right now.  I'll try again tomorrow.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Departure day

The day is finally here.  It would be hard to believe if it weren't for the trailer in the driveway, the entry blocked up with stuff, and a nearly empty refrigerator.  It surely seems to be the Lord's will that we leave today, hopefully at around 4 p.m.  Which also means that I must get off of Blogger and go clean house.  I'll try to post pictures of pre-trip soon!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

In which one of my dreams is fulfilled

I finally got my camera!! 

I have been saving up the money for a couple months, and am only a couple hundred dollars short, but I have it!  When dad and I were at Costco on Thursday evening, I was looking at the package for sale and dreaming of the day when I could finally buy it (in Illinois or Pennsylvania or somewhere).  Dad pulled me aside and said that we were going to get the camera right then and there!  I couldn’t believe it, and he said that I would have to keep working to pay off the last couple hundred dollars, but we were getting it.  I was on cloud 9 the rest of the evening, especially when I unpacked it later that night at home.

It’s a Canon Rebel EOS t2i, perfect for my needs and growing skills.  It’s a full kit and has everything I’ll need for now.  I’ve been trying it out since early Friday morning, and at first I got scared because I thought it wasn’t focusing clearly, but it just turned out that my eyes were really blurry from sleep :P. 

I can’t wait to discover all its neat gadgets and functions, and I will definitely post lots of pix that I take on our trip!!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Whims from the smallest Beyer

One of the things that keep us laughing here at home is all the little words that Libbey has been learning how to say properly (Although I think that the wrong way is cuter in most cases).  I’ve written down a number of them in the past few months, but I won’t bore you with all of them.  Here are a few of my favorites:

Cumcubers (a.k.a. cucumbers)
Grona bars (a.k.a. granola bars)
Unreaser (a.k.a. eraser)
Jonah’s ark (a.k.a. Joan of Arc)
Mow lawner (you guess)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A new beginning

By Judith Porden

‘Beautiful blank pages
Kiss our imaginations
With backgrounds
That demand precision.

Our black letters cross
On tightrope lines,
Curving, slanting
Without wavering
Across deep, invisible currents.

These beautiful blank pages
Are promises of our reflections.
Our gentlest strokes
Of darkness upon light.’

Thus I have joined the blogging world.